I’ve mentioned the mad mentality created by the Nuclear Era several times on this blog. Charlie has just done a piece that underscores how ongoing the insanity remains. I would particularly like applaud the nightmarish truth of the Garry Wills quote about the Ground Zero of Modern Secrecy. Wow, Another Fun Report
I cannot resist the notion that the first across-the-USA total eclipse was a sign of evil times. But the happier chips of me left take comfort in one of the huge benefits of science, in this case astronomy, in making a reasonably predictable universe. Otherwise, the sun going out could be the beginning of freakin’ anything, including that it would not come back.
The Aztecs had a particularly creepy mythology associated with eclipses: the sun was under attack from the stars you could see around it when it turned black. These are the female deities/demons Tzitzimime, quite the monsters.
I spent 1978 at BU’s Graduate School of Journalism. A lot of the program was what we would now call “networking” — making sure you had the basics down and getting set up for a job. The stupidest remarks I heard all year were from these two guys “joking” about becoming the next Woodward and Bernstein — because on some level they were dead serious. “Well, sure won’t be you two clowns,” I thought. They were poor researchers and writers. What disturbed me then, and even more in retrospect, is how widespread was the shallowest TV-movie version of the Watergate exposure. It was an adventure. There were few serious barriers or setbacks.
Of course this was false. Ridiculous, even. But far more toxic was the evil flip side of this myth. That instead of a triumph for truth, Watergate was a disaster that must never be allowed to happen again. And all that rested on the foundation that of course nobody as twisted and unfit as Nixon would ever be elected President. That’s why kids should have been taught more about Warren Harding.
Charlie is certainly right about the freakish increase in POTUS power. I hold on to the slim hope that he’s also correct enough sinking ships will desert the rat that he will be out of office. Journalists who insist on telling the cold truth rather than offering soft whimpers would help.
Can’t be repeated often enough that Viet Nam was NOT “winnable.” I remember when this alternative-truth canard appeared and I was astonished how flimsy it was. There was no “if we had done this and this and this, then this would have happened.” Instead, the whole point was to establish “We lost Viet Nam because of protesters! Shriek!”
It was reminiscent of Nixon’s evil nonsense that, just because he was now POTUS, the same failed strategies would magically start to work in Viet Nam. I think the sheer pain of confronting how many lives were wasted for years helps explain why the empty “protesters did it!” caught on.
The only shred of rationale ever offered was that “well, if we’d just kept at it for five years (or 15 years) ((or 15,000 years)), of course we would have won.” The darkest side lurking behind all this was, of course, “we shoulda just nuked ’em flat and be done with it.”
I’d been amazed to discover nonsense that was going over as plausible before. But this is the earliest, most insidious alt-reality I can remember at the foundations.
Yikes, I had never heard of this guy. That he was running such an undercover advice operation (starting from racist impulses, no less), should be a scandal. At least it’s come to light.
Bill Clinton had a number of cowardly moments, but one that really stuck in my craw was the whole “didn’t inhale” garbage. The first POTUS to admit he was going to let the powerless rot in jail for ages because of a harmless “crime” he had committed himself. That’s a new level of hypocrisy and indifference to the weak.
I fell short when I forgot that there was a confessed tyrannical agenda behind these irrational “wars.” And I see how it worked. Operating in total ignorance, my parents thought maryjuana was Satan incarnated in a plant.
“America has horrid sclotches of bigotry and oppression in its history — King Donald is more American than you want to admit.” This is of course another “normalizer” notion, but even as a critique of this country it’s lazy and outright evil. “We never live up to our ideals so let’s just wallow in the dark side.” Not unlike claiming that because Germany gave in to Nazis they are Nazis today.