Saturday, June 20, 2009

You've given me hate when I know there is love

The thing is, I basically enjoy Roy Edroso's alicublog. It's relentless mockery of those with different beliefs than mine is kind of a guilty pleasure, but most conservative writers are so willfully ignorant, so deliberately crazy, and so cynically disingenuous that I just don't feel bad when they're treated with the same kind of contempt that they show for their readers.

But man, did the latest post piss me off! Mocking the pundits convinced that we can save Iran with Twitter is well and good. And mocking the pundits insisting that Obama needs to insert himself into Iran's election process is well-deserved. But when you just write off Iran as "a theocratic shithole going through a paroxysm", that's when I get off the bus. There's just something so ugly about casually dismissing an entire country, one which has produced some of the major artworks of the last fifteen years, as well as the last few thousand---it's lazy, it's parochial, and it's flat-out racist.

Not that any objections will be raised in the comments, of course. Some websites get even better in their comments section, but alicublog's comments make me wonder if I'm wrong to like the site at all---it's mostly just Two Minutes Hate, plus constant dittoheady bleatings of "what a great post, roy!" and royal court verbal mincing as everyone competes to come up with the funniest comparison of Jonah Goldberg to a tube of biscuit dough.

I probably shouldn't have bothered sticking my beak in---no one responds well to being told they're sounding like Mark Fuhrman (not even Mark Fuhrman!), and the cocooned posse at alicublog is about as likely to say "gosh, we are being dicks" as the readership at RedState. But it was still kind of astounding to see that when one suggests that some nominal sense of solidarity with an oppressed people trying to throw off their government might preclude dismissing their entire country, the response was a lot of carping about Iraq. Iraq is, of course, the opposite of the situation in Iran---a foreign power marching in to impose itself through warfare, rather than a bottom-up rebellion of the people.

It's not unlike the grim experience of reading the diaries of Roy's hero, H.L. Mencken, and seeing how easily contempt for the boobosie could turn into contempt for ignorant negros, filthy chinese, penny-pinching jews, and everyone else who wasn't H.L. Mencken. It demonstrates neatly the limits of the "I'm not a racist, I hate everybody equally" argument---a white guy turning his vast intellectual contempt on poor brown people is just plain different, because history is different, and a denial of that deserves the same respect as "why ain't there no White History Month?" arguments.

David Foster Wallace argued that the danger of television wasn't that people would believe its lies; it was that people would learn early on that they were always being lied to, and a sneer would become the only expression available. Over at alicublog, where they've gone from laughing at those with inflated pretensions of doing political good to laughing at the very concept of political good, it's like watching a baby turn into a wizened old bastard in high-speed timelapse. If the revolution in Iran fails, it'll be business as usual. But if it succeeds---and I'm still willing to hope it does---than the people now mocking Andrew Sullivan for doing more to aggregate information than any other westerner will... okay, not feel ashamed of themselves, because they're visibly incapable of shame, but at least be left behind at history's highway rest stop, where they will bitch about the bathrooms until a farmer shoots them.

No comments:

Post a Comment