January 18, 2011

"What is government if words have no meaning?" — Jared Loughner's question to Gabrielle Giffords is " the stuff, not just of right-wing suspicion of government, or of radical left-wing suspicion of same, but of scores of Hollywood movies."

Writes Lee Siegel:
... from Taxi Driver and Three Days of the Condor, to Guilty by Suspicion and Mercury Rising, to The Sentinel and Syriana, and, well, I can't keep up. For at least half a century, our movies, from simple to complex, have been driven by the idea that official words have no meaning and that government is either criminal or a sham.
If you haven't seen the movies:
...you have probably read the standard texts of advanced American attitudes. Thus you have absorbed throughout college, like any number of Hollywood screenwriters and American tastemakers, the idea — from Nietzsche to Wittgenstein to Foucault to Derrida to Chomsky to Stanley Fish — that the words used by any type of official, political entity, like a government, are nonsense. "What is government if words have no meaning?" That could be the motto of The Daily Show.
If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well?

128 comments:

BJM said...

If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well?

Most of us realize it's a pose by our mid-20's.

Coketown said...

Good question, Ann Althusser. Maybe we've all been successfully absorbed into the Washingtonian ideological state apparatus.

Freeman Hunt said...

If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well?

Are we? Or do we just amuse ourselves with buying things? Seems like birthrates in our nihilized places are plummeting.

deborah said...

Not nihilism, but cynicism. As long as the take is reasonable, graft is seen as the cost of doing business. What the market will bear.

Cris said...

"What is a question if words have no meaning?"

"What is an answer if words have no meaning?"

Scott M said...

@BJM Exactly.

The question itself falls apart if words have no meaning. Words do have meaning, therefor he's spitting in the proverbial wind.

traditionalguy said...

I blame Joseph Heller. In 1961 he had already perfected critical thinking about Governments in action. The sane guys in Catch 22 were the ones who held Yosarrian's point of view.

Palladian said...

Political words have intentions, if not meaning.

edutcher said...

Perhaps, like Victor Davis Hanson, many of us have simply dropped out of the culture. He wrote a piece (which, of course, I can't find) stating that he would rather watch an old Western for the moral lessons in it than much of the contemporary dreck that abounds.

The medium and genre may be different, but I get the feeling a great many Althousians really don't give a damn about Snooki (whoever she is) or what's going on with Mad Men (I know Ann isn't part of this club). Different people may draw the line in different places - The Blonde and I both like HankMed - but we seem to be doing the same thing as VDH.

PS Distrusting the government while loving our country is a hallowed American tradition. This is why we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

I'm not sure why Taxi Driver belongs on that list.

PaulV said...

Giffords should have told Loughter that if words have no meaning his question has no meaning. He likely would have been pondering that answer today. As an independent who did not vote in last election was he member of No Labels Party>

Quayle said...

"If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well? "

Because none of us actually believe that words have no meaning, just as none of us actually believe in moral relativism or evolution.

Sure, we all like to seem open minded and progressive, but at those time in your life when you're a zebra and a lion has your hind leg in his mouth, you search desperately for a moral absolute and for a god to stop the lion.

aronamos said...

If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well?

Most of us just wade through it on the way to our real lives.

wv: stalim. and the previous one was lentin. Vladimir Putin is in ur verificationwarez, corruptin ur readerz.

tim maguire said...

If words had no meaning, government wouldn't be possible. Neither would my shirt, my ham sandwich nor my computer.

In the words of Samuel Johnson, "I refute him thus!" (hits "send")

PaulV said...

Taxi Driver? Hinckley?

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Comrade X said...

Relax. You're soaking in it.

MayBee said...

Brilliant, Palladian.

AllenS said...

AllenS said...
How about Jesse Ventura's tv show, Conspiracy Theories? Or whatever it's called. That one show much reach out and touch a lot of fools. And not in a good way.

WV: trick

Can you believe it? How apt.

Bob From Ohio said...

Slightly off topic:

James Eric Fuller, 63, who was shot in the knee, had told The Post on Friday, the day before his arrest, that top Republican figures should be tortured -- and their ears severed.

"There would be torture and then an ear necklace, with [Minnesota US Rep.] Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin's ears toward the end, because they're small, female ears, and then Limbaugh, Hannity and the biggest ears of all, Cheney's, in the center," Fuller said.

Don't you abhor the "climate of hate" expressed by the left?

bagoh20 said...

"What is government if words have no meaning?"

The dictionary.

deborah said...

""There would be torture and then an ear necklace, with [Minnesota US Rep.] Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin's ears toward the end, because they're small, female ears, and then Limbaugh, Hannity and the biggest ears of all, Cheney's, in the center," Fuller said."

Great day. Would the ears face inward or outward?

Larry J said...

"What is a question if words have no meaning?"

"What is an answer if words have no meaning?"


"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

"If a man says something in a forest and there's no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?"

Henry said...

If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well?

Football.

You want words with meaning? Try these: Touchdown. Field goal. Tackle. Sack. Interception. Fumble.

Don said...

Most of us learned long ago to disregard the ear-necklace left. Just because a dog messes the sidewalk doesn't mean you have to step in it.

bagoh20 said...

"If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well?"

nihilism is the lubricant of a civil society...or something.

Loughner wasn't a nihilist - he was a dictator with limited power, which he used to it's fullest extent.

KLDAVIS said...

I'm sorry, I don't follow...

Anita said...

""What is a question if words have no meaning?"

"What is an answer if words have no meaning?"


What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Palladian said...

I don't know about an ear necklace, but Queen Elizabeth I had an ear dress...

BJM said...

42

The Crack Emcee said...

I see deborah's take on Ann's question ("As long as the take is reasonable, graft is seen as the cost of doing business") to be part of the problem.

I agree with ScottM ("Words do have meaning") and edutcher ('many of us have simply dropped out of the culture,...Different people may draw the line in different places").

But Quayle is confusing:

None of us actually believe that words have no meaning, just as none of us actually believe in moral relativism or evolution."

Evolution? Huh? I don't 'believe" in it, but I understand it and think it's correct.

Sure, we all like to seem open minded and progressive, but at those time in your life when you're a zebra and a lion has your hind leg in his mouth, you search desperately for a moral absolute and for a god to stop the lion.

"Open-minded"? Sure, I guess, as long as nobody's brains fall out. "Progressive"? Fuck that shit, whether you're describing politics or trying to be cool. (Cool: you either got it or you don't.) And whenever I've been a zebra and a lion had my hind leg in his mouth, I didn't search desperately for a moral absolute - and especially not for a god - but for power, a strong will, and a steady aim at the bastard's nose with my other hoof so I could get free and run.

G Joubert said...

@Bob from Ohio

There is some serious doubt about whether he ever really was shot in the knee. There is also information that he is Fuller in the 1974 SCOTUS case Fuller v Oregon. Read about it here .

Crimso said...

"What is government if words have no meaning?"

"If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas"-Don Meredith

Put another way (via Wikipedia):

One famous example comes from the time of the invasion of Philip II of Macedon. With key Greek city-states in submission, he turned his attention to Sparta and sent a message: "If I win this war, you will be slaves forever." In another version, Philip proclaims: "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." According to both accounts, the Spartan ephors sent back a one word reply: "If."

Youngblood said...

I'm with BJM. Most people come to realize that the whole belief that everything is a sham is itself a sham.

You don't necessarily learn the important stuff in films or in school, after all.

Scott M said...

Evolution? Huh? I don't 'believe" in it, but I understand it and think it's correct.

Sure you do. You have to because you, yourself, didn't witness it happening. You have to believe, or dare I say have faith in, the people that wrote the books, gave the talks, or taught the classes that brought you to your understanding.

This doesn't mean you don't understand it or that it's wrong. My point was that from a purely empirical stand point, if you didn't witness it, and nobody else did either, we have to make best guesses and hope other buy our hypothesis.

Michael said...

Because most people are not and cannot be made to be nihilists, the best efforts of the intelligensia notwithstanding. We read the books of the noted authors and rejected their ideas. We listened to the professors and went to their homes for tea and cocktails and conversations and we listened and we watched and we decided that there was a very real disconnect between how they lived and what they said, between what they denounced and the vintages in their cellars. In other words we got it. Or at least most of us did. The lefties, the people who stayed lefties, failed to notice the disconnect and were disappointed and embittered when they saw that the good wine, the really good wine, did not necessarily follow the nihilism. Ergo a lot of smart, disillusioned, pissed off people. Some of whom comment here.

KLDAVIS said...

"Most people come to realize that the whole belief that everything is a sham is itself a sham."

It's not a sham, it's a crutch. Life is what you can make of it, and if you lack power/ability/wealthy or at least the will to work toward creating a better world for yourself*, then it's highly likely you will end up feeling like there is no point to any of it.

*Or, if you believe something/one more powerful is actively subverting your attempts to make a better life.

sean said...

"If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well?"

I can't speak for others, but having gazed long enough into the abyss in school, I made a conscious decision to leave and not gaze into the abyss any more. That is why I went into private practice instead of becoming a law professor, which I used to think I would like.

bgates said...

I don't 'believe" in it, but I understand it and think it's correct.

It's nice to see somebody voicing that distinction. When people trying (I assume, based on context) to gauge my political positions ask whether I believe in evolution, I like to give Crack's statement as my answer - and then ask which lines of evidence my questioners found most compelling in support of their "belief".

Paddy O said...

It's also the stuff of egocentrism. Which I guess typifies Hollywood, and radical politics.

The Crack Emcee said...

Scott,

You have to because you, yourself, didn't witness it happening. You have to believe, or dare I say have faith in, the people that wrote the books, gave the talks, or taught the classes that brought you to your understanding.

This doesn't mean you don't understand it or that it's wrong. My point was that from a purely empirical stand point, if you didn't witness it, and nobody else did either, we have to make best guesses and hope other buy our hypothesis.


Throughout all that I kept waiting for the one word that never showed:

"Evidence".

I don't believe, have faith, or rely on anyone else - the evidence says it's so.

Anita said...

"If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas"

If my aunt had a dick, she'd be my uncle.

Chip Ahoy said...

Don, you're right.

Stop me if you heard this already, it happened recently. I blasted through the door to the subbasement garage and spun around the corner where my truck is parked. A man dressed entirely in green was standing with his back to the openness of the garage right there in the space between the wall and my truck. I realize he's having a wee and I go,

"Busted, Dude! Hahahahaha"

He quickly stuffed his junk and zipped and slid past me so fast he appeared to be a blur of a lizard. But there he left the little puddle almost touching the wheel of my truck which I had to over to get inside the truck. That was easy because it was a small puddle and that told me that my sudden appearance made him cut off midstream and he probably pissed his whole leg trying to get away fast, which caused me to wait until the laughing fit had passed to start the engine and drive off. But now every time I get in my truck I'm compelled to step over the water stain left on the cement.

bgates said...

I like how "scores of Hollywood movies" are set apart from "radical left-wing suspicion".

the idea — from Nietzsche to Wittgenstein to Foucault to Derrida to Chomsky to Stanley Fish — that the words used by any type of official, political entity, like a government, are nonsense

Didn't we just read earlier today that Stanley Fish found a political entity using words that were not just not "nonsense" but in fact "proclaim[ed]...truths"?

Paul Brinkley said...

Words have as much meaning as they've always had. That meaning, however, depends on context.

My sister and brother-in-law will frequently say subtly odd things to my kids to see if they'll catch on (feels distinctly like a country "pulling my leg" sort of thing), and they're not even all teenagers. By adulthood they'll understand to not take all words at dictionary value, but look at the person speaking, read into things, and generally focus not only on what is being said, but also why.

Which I guess is a long-winded way of saying what Palladian said: words have intention, not just meaning (and not just political, really). A lot of basic political science is really just understanding what will make a given politician say a given thing. It's often close to understanding how to haggle a trade. Master this, and political words make a lot more sense.

In fact, they're largely gratuitous; we often know what a politician will probably say in a given situation before they even begin, unless they're forced to improvise. Very few politicians improvise. That way lies macacas.

Scott M said...

In any given scientific field there are mountains of evidence. Unless you collected that evidence yourself, Crack, you have to trust those that did and then you have to trust their conclusions.

Anything you didn't do specifically yourself requires belief, trust, faith, whatever you want to call it.

Chip Ahoy said...

I wish spellchecker would notify when you leave something important out, like a verb.

rhhardin said...

He/she hasn't read Derrida or Wittgenstein, who are above all concerned with what words mean.

bagoh20 said...

When you live on death row you can be a nihilist all you want. Knock yourself out, Jared. Ask your buddies in the yard a few of those questions. I think Jeffrey Dahmer made friends that way.

Crimso said...

"If my aunt had a dick, she'd be my uncle."

I see you get my point. A related concept to that of "if": shit in one hand and wish in the other, and see which one fills up first. "Oh, if only the lotto hits my numbers tonight, the things I'll be able to have and do." If, if, if....

DaveW said...

I haven't seen the movies professor, but I've seen you distort the meaning of homophobia to mean antipathy to gays.

traditionalguy said...

The Professor uses words with a clarity that makes words seem easy. But finding a good word to convey a meaning, for instance in translations from French to English, is a stressful activity. The Bible has always had its translation snafus as well even after the Kings weren't executing the translators and printers. The best job I've seen done is Eugene Peterson's Message Translation. Once you get past missing the old KJV's stunning prose, the Message does a quite good job with the use of words.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Yup. Loughner's request to have his tuition payments refunded in gold and silver because of the problems maintaining a constitutional form of currency just smack of left wing ideology. Especially since no politician espouses this idea moreso than the most left-wing of Republicans: Ron Paul.

Althouse's shameless insistence against deviating from the partisan orthodoxy of her political violence project leads to no other conclusion: She's an absolute dickface, addicted to talking smack and stubbornly refusing to address a single one of the many flaws in her mindlessly subjective position.

Pogo said...

Thucydides wrote about 'when words lose their meaning' in The History of the Peloponnesian War,:

"Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any."

See page 3 in the book: When Words Lose Their Meaning: Constitutions and Reconstitutions of Language ... by James Boyd White.

Pogo said...

"just smack of left wing ideology"

The boy was fond of The Zeitgeist movie.

Not left or right, but New Age lunacy.

Pogo said...

Although full of lefty 9/11 trutherism, to be sure.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

But no right-wingy stuff.

None at all.

Your imagined purity is as much a lie as a shiny turd.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

At some point the imagined purity becomes so strained that it obscures a bigger problem: No conscience.

Outside of the bubble, this is not going as well as Althouse hopes.

t-man said...

I'm in Freeman's camp.

I don't think we are holding up so well. A country/culture can run for a long time, but not forever, on a received inheritance. Erosion is a real phenomenon, but it is hard to see in a specific moment in time.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I guess Loughner was just an easy prey to ideological blowhards of whatever stripe, and the right wingers and drumettes are a little embarrassed that his latter days, when full-blown psychosis took hold, were filled with Ron Paul's/Glenn Beck's ideas regarding faulty and unconstitutional currency, abstruse, powerful language, and other supposed forms of control over the individual.

Just fess up. You fockers are embarrassed. Whatever non-ideological and left-wing stuff he was into at one point, it's not the sort bullcrap that inspired his much more, er, "revolutionary" acts later.

EDH said...

And music!

Missing Persons captures the isolation and withdrawal in their fantastic power-pop one hit wonder...

Words

Do you hear me?
Do you care?

My lips are moving and the sound's coming out
The words are audible but I have my doubts
That you realize what has been said
You look at me as if you're in a daze
It's like the feeling at the end of the page
when you realize you don't know what you just read

What are words for when no one listens anymore
What are words for when no one listens
What are words for when no one listens it's no use talkin at all

I might as well go up and talk to a wall
'cause all the words are having no effect at all
It's a funny thing am I all alone

Something has to happen to change the direction
What little filters through is giving you the wrong impression
It's a sorry state I say to myself

Let me get by
Over your dead body
Hope to see you soon
When will I know
Doors three feet wide with no locks open
Walking always backwards in the faces of strangers
Time could be my friend
But it's less than nowhere now
less than nowhere now
less than nowhere now
now
ow ow ow

Pursue it further and another thing you'll find
Not only are they deaf and dumb they could be going blind and no one notices
I think I'll dye my hair blue

Media overload bombarding you with action
It's getting near impossible to cause distraction
Someone answer me before I pull out the plug

hombre said...

Scott M wrote: In any given scientific field there are mountains of evidence. Unless you collected that evidence yourself, Crack, you have to trust those that did and then you have to trust their conclusions.

I believe in global warming, mm, mm, mm!

No. I believe in global cooling, mm, mm, mm!

Anita said...

But no right-wingy stuff.

None at all.

Your imagined purity is as much a lie as a shiny turd.


Speaking of turds, I smells me some panic.

After the inital statement that Lefty Loughner was obsessed with Zeitgeist, the MSM is studiously ignoring it, while beating to death any factoid about their boy Loughner which they can stuff into their chosen narrative.

Loughner's Zeitgeist obsession is picked up by the blogosphere and - lo and behold - it is disappeared off You Tube where it had been happily residing for 3+ years now, gathering accolades and fist pumps from the Troofers, Bush haters, America bashers and new age progressive types (nary a Tea Partier amongst them).

Why, there's even the obligatory Fox News bashing in this film.
http://theothermccain.com/2011/01/18/the-msms-peculiar-silence-on-zeitgeist-guess-which-network-the-progressive-award-winning-new-age-911-truther-film-suggests-is-manipulating-news/

Revenant said...

Unless you collected that evidence yourself, Crack, you have to trust those that did and then you have to trust their conclusions. Anything you didn't do specifically yourself requires belief, trust, faith, whatever you want to call it.

So let's put it this way: I "believe" in evolution in the sense that I "believe" Europe exists, the Civil War actually happened, and the Earth revolves around the Sun.

I didn't personally witness any of these things. I'm going on "faith".

Fen said...

I see that Ritmo's latest sock puppet is still desperately trying to tie Loughner to the right wing.

While pretending Fuller wasn't a product of MSM hate-mongering.

How pathetic.

ricpic said...

Government is not nihilist. THIS government is nihilist and must be bucked off our backs so that sanity and freedom resume.

hombre said...

Montana Ritmo Tooth Fairy wrote (5:38): ...his latter days, when full-blown psychosis took hold, were filled with Ron Paul's/Glenn Beck's ideas regarding faulty and unconstitutional currency, abstruse, powerful language, and other supposed forms of control over the individual.

Wait. Those ideas about the Fed, unbacked currency and excessive government control originated with Paul and Beck? Objections to, e.g., the Patriot Act's extension of control over individuals and 9-11 trutherism are right wing thingys?

Who knew?

The Crack Emcee said...

In any given scientific field there are mountains of evidence. Unless you collected that evidence yourself, Crack, you have to trust those that did and then you have to trust their conclusions.

What hombre said. mmm, mmm, mmm...

Anita said...

"Whatever non-ideological and left-wing stuff he was into at one point, it's not the sort bullcrap that inspired his much more, er, "revolutionary" acts later.

Certainly not. Of course not. Couldn't possibly. Why, how could the belief that George Bush's government deliberately orchestrated the death of almost 3,000 people provoke anyone to violence?

And the belief that Bush lied to start a couple of wars which have killed countless thousands of others, why no one could ever be moved to violence by having these beliefs constantly reinforced by the left wing blogosphere, Hollywood, the Dems, etc. No, no - perish the thought.

That Loughner shared these beliefs, along with the belief that Fox News lies to people and manipulates the news couldn't possibly have moved him to commit mass murder - it just had to have been the death rays from a map on Sarah Palin's facebook page.

Oh, and because Rush Limbaugh sometimes says mean things and hurts people's feelings. And Glen Beck.

opfor311 said...

"If a man says something in a forest and there's no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?"

According to my wife, the answer is "Yes".

And C4BDH, Mythbuster have already shown that you can polish your comments, er, I mean a turd.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

No one gives a shit about "Fuller". I'll even put his name up in scare quotes just to make sure you realize how far on the defensive you are. It's all about language, punctuation and grammar structure, you see.

Or at least, so said Loughner. And Glenn Beck.

Face it, the paranoia of a psychotic fits in nicely with the emotions of the right, given their fear, yes, you heard that right, F-E-A-R (oftentimes necessarily trumped up and symbolic) of government.

The lefties have their conspiracists, as do the non-aligned and everyone in between. But only the obsessive fearmongering and fixation on government power of the right fits in as nicely with the mindset of a schizophrenic as it did with Loughner.

Own the tactics. The "ideology" and even the themes are somewhat irrelevant. These people can't think; the ideas don't matter. It's your paranoia and inability to use power ethically and competently that they identify with. And that's all that matters. As we saw on the news.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Those ideas about the Fed, unbacked currency and excessive government control originated with Paul and Beck?

Who cares who they "started with"? Alchemy started once with someone else, too.

What matters is how exciting they were to your right-wing thingamajigs, and of course, Loughner.

For a faction that hates reason as much as yours does, you could really stand to understand how all the symbolism and emoting comes into play... (That's what matters in the minds of psychotics such as Loughner and pseudo-psychotics, i.e. his friends broadcasting through tin hats on Right Wing outlets, and of course, their supposedly saner followers).

hombre said...

@Montana Ritmo Tooth Fairy:

What evidence are you offering to counter Loughner's friend's assertion that he was not interested in, and didn't watch, listen to, etc., the news, and or talk radio?

What evidence are you offering that he knew of Ron Paul and Glenn Beck's ideas?

Pogo said...

Ritmo's sounding more like Loughner every day.

Spooky!

traditionalguy said...

Conservative for mental or dental health...Is it ever wise to plead guilty to what you have not done, just to appear more civil? I doubt that. The Blood Libel label is for times when a clearly not guilty indivdual is indicted for the purported evil deeds of a group to which they belong. The Jewish response that amused most me to an accusation that Jews killed God was, " Wait, I have an alibi. I was in Philadelpia." Or is it bad form to defend one's self?

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I'm sure inciting people to take aim at government officials, especially Democrats, excites you, Pogo.

If that were really what you thought of me. But of course, acting that way is just a part of your fraudulence. And Beck's. And every other charlatan on the right who relies on a chorus on weak-minded supporters to sing their song and act out their play.

hombre said...

Revenant wrote: So let's put it this way: I "believe" in evolution in the sense that I "believe" Europe exists, the Civil War actually happened, and the Earth revolves around the Sun.

Would that be because the same quality and quantity of evidence exists for evolution as those other things and you are equally familiar with that evidence? Just askin'.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I have no idea what you're even trying to say, TG. But all of the breathing here surely doesn't sound like an "innocent" plea to me.

Anita said...

"The "ideology" and even the themes are somewhat irrelevant.

Ooooooh, and the stench of panic becomes overpowering. And that sound, that screechy, shrieky sound. What is it? Sounds suspiciously like the sound of goal posts being moved.

I also note the use of the "fake but accurate" standard. Having a leeeetle trouble with the narrative, are we? But it's certainly a tribute to your psychosis that despite it all, you're still able to blame Sarah Palin's death rays. You're a true believer, Mr. Hygiene

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

It's safe to assume that Loughner didn't live in a bubble as shielded from reality as you propose, his "interests" in it notwithstanding. Following arrest, that disposition could change.

And as for whether he got ideas "directly" from Beck et al or just latched on to the same conspiratorial mindset that they loved, I don't think that speaks well of their efforts.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

What blame? She knows she doesn't look good for contributing to and encouraging the political environment that Loughner was a part of, and she knows it. Even when she lies through her teeth and acts defiant about it. Her inflections tell us what everyone knows; she acted shamefully then and she acts shamefully now.

hombre said...

Montana Ritmo Tooth Fairy wrote: ...you could really stand to understand how all the symbolism and emoting comes into play... (That's what matters in the minds of psychotics such as Loughner and pseudo-psychotics ....

Ah. Now I see. He just emoted about the suggestion of his President and "brought a gun to the fight."

I repeat: "What evidence are you offering to counter Loughner's friend's assertion that he was not interested in, and didn't watch, listen to, etc., the news, and or talk radio?

What evidence are you offering that he knew of Ron Paul and Glenn Beck's ideas?"

hombre said...

Evidence, Ritmo.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Since "Hombre" lacks the manliness to do anything other than play a shameful lawyering game for the right wing, I'll just let stand the same answer I repeated as well: Loughner wasn't shielded from the dominant broadcast media and broadcasting figures of our time. He did not live in a cave. (Although he might live in the same bubble that you do).

Assume contact with the world. Exactly how far away is the right-wing free desert island located that "Hombre" imagines? Exactly how isolated from right wing politics is the state of Arizona?

For "Hombre" to think that he can convince anyone of these presumptions is about as shameless a tactic as anyone would expect of him. He also insults the intelligence of anyone by thinking they would take his silly bait.

Michael said...

Conservatives4: Shiny side out, please.

Maguro said...

Fake but accurate, eh Ritmo? I might have known.

traditionalguy said...

Conservative for dental health...I used the term guilt. Guilt comes from a human conscience. You like to use the term shame. Guilt and shame work as a team. They discourage and weaken folks. The trick in today's SlanderMania Matches is to prick innocent people's conscience as a wrestling move against them. Palin used a counter to that move, which is not another shameful act by her. It is use by her of the winning firepower needed. Oops, I should have said winning gamesmanship.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Further, Beck et al are popular enough for direct contact with their broadcasts to not be a requirement. They are talked about extensively by others, both in the media and outside of it; they are popular figures in the culture; they appear on the covers of popular, non-ideological newsmagazines that populate bookstores throughout America and the world. Loughler didn't need to be a devotee to have had sufficient influence from his charlatan-loony leaders.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

You apparently know nothing, Maguro, that you can't repeat from what someone else falsely attributed to me.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

They can also strengthen people, TG. But that's not the way the fertility goddess prefers to understand their uses. Or her followers, unfortunately. And that much is becoming clear.

Anita said...

"It's safe to assume that Loughner didn't live in a bubble as shielded from reality as you propose,

So, your standard for proving guilt is that he possibly could have, sorta, kinda, maybe heard something Glen Beck once said, or maybe could have been exposed to Sarah Palin's death rays, so having, you know, actual proof is not needed.

While those beliefs we know he did have, based on interviews with people he knew -- since they were pretty much standard left wing beliefs popular during that time frame, those don't count.

Do I have that right? Thought so.

You know, Mr. Hygiene, perhaps after Lefty Loughner is evaluated and given the proper meds, he might be prevailed upon to give you some. You're in need.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

If I were desperate enough to resort to Anita's kind of ad hominems, I might say that it takes some pretty strong medicine for someone to assume that a man who speaks at the Lincoln Memorial (with how many in attendance, precisely?) who is one of the must currently successful figures in broadcasting, who is hosted by one of the most powerful and financially successful media empires, would be so unknown.

Are those tranquilizers you're taking or hallucinogens?

DADvocate said...

Didn't some guy say "Just words..."?

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Anyway, righties usually don't get the point through reason, so I'll try not to mock their weaknesses. Let's try another way of thinking about this.

Was Loughner a better left-winger or a better right-winger? Given the impact of his most notable actions, of course.

What do you think?

traditionalguy said...

Conservative for dental health...I still see your accusing the Fertiility Goddess for her associations rather than for her spoken positions. You scored the only good point of this entire 5 day kerfuffle by mentioning that The Ron and Rand Paul paranoia cult has inflamed folks with paranoia problems among schizophrenics by using their Gold and Silver schtick. But Palin was in Philadelphia at the time...she was not doing any of that.

Anita said...

"...a man who speaks at the Lincoln Memorial (with how many in attendance, precisely?) who is one of the must currently successful figures in broadcasting.."

Yes, Beck's speech at the lincoln Memorial was just chock full of hate. Hate. Hate. Hatey hate.

And Lefty Lougher might have, sorta, kinda, maybe, if we just squeeze our eyes shut and BELIEVE brothers and sisters, might have heard a sentence or two, or at least the deathly, violent emanations and rays from those horrid words might have reached him such that he'd turn into a mass murderer.

Those other demonstrated left wing beliefs, by contrast, no way. Why, you'd have to be positively uncivil to suggest that the belief that the president of the US (who the left fantasized about being assassinated) ordered a terrorist attack which killed 3,000 people, would drive someone to mass murder.

I DO have that right, don't I Mr. Hygiene? Why yes. Yes I do.

Obviously, the right, in particular Glen Beck and Sarah Palin's death ray map are guilty, guilty, guilty, as tried and convicted in the media, and anyone who suggest otherwise is engaging in ad hominem attacks, not to mention uncivilized behaviour. You need meds, son.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Methinks someone needs to look up the definition of ad hominem.

The rest of what she writes is incoherent drivel. But then, I can't speak for whatever influenced her to write it. As for how she interprets her faulty sources, I have to assume she writes with a sound mind, as unfair as that is to her for me to do so.

AST said...

So why didn't he shoot a CIA officer or blow up a federal building? He asked Rep. Giffords a bizarre question she didn't understand, because it referred to his own delusions, and then carried a grudge for two years against her while his mental illness progressed. Just watch the video he made walking about Pima Community College. It's pure paranoia. He could have

bgates said...

It's safe to assume that Loughner didn't live in a bubble as shielded from reality as you propose

You'd be surprised. My favorite example of that kind of bubble is a guy who calls himself "DMX", a rapper who gets millions of dollars to star in terrible movies. Here's an interview with the guy from March of 2008. Here's his response when - in March 08, after the Iowa caucus, after the New Hampshire primary, after about 30 more such contests - DMX was asked what he thought about Barack Obama:
What the fuck?! That ain’t no fuckin’ name, yo. That ain’t that nigga’s name. You can’t be serious. Barack Obama. Get the fuck outta here.

I submit that if a black millionaire could be unaware of the existence of Barack Obama in 2008, a mentally ill community college student might not be up to speed on Sarah Palin's beliefs about the vulnerability - sorry, susceptibility to electoral defeat - of various members of Congress in 2010, or Glenn Beck's thoughts on the constitutionality of paper currency in 2011.

Crimso said...

"Given the impact of his most notable actions, of course."

No doubt in your mind his most notable action was wounding a Democratic Representative. I think the people he actually killed are more worth noting. This would include a Republican-appointed Federal judge.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Since Loughner's videos, etc. make direct reference to his own congressional district, it's a bit of a stretch to believe that he was so removed from politics to not be aware of the ads for that seat that Sarah Palin aired in his state.

DADvocate said...

Was Loughner a better left-winger or a better right-winger?

Left-winger, of course. He critically wounded and probably rendered a conservative, gun rights Democrat congresswoman unable to ever serve again. Only left-wingers need apply to the Democrat Party.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Since the seat will be held by someone as conservative or conservativier, I see that you believe Loughner paved the way for reddening the district, Dadvocate.

Just Lurking said...

C4BDH: Where you been? Palin and Beck and Fox news and overall nasty incivility are not to blame for Loughner's action. Obama himself said so last week. Emphatically, even.

Please, that horse is dead... stop flogging it.

Revenant said...

Would that be because the same quality and quantity of evidence exists for evolution as those other things and you are equally familiar with that evidence? Just askin'.

I was responding to Scott's assertion that unless you personally witnessed something, you're just taking it on faith. By that standard, we're just taking it on faith that the Civil War happened. None of us saw it.

That being said, I don't think you're asking the question you mean to ask. Evolution is the change in allele frequencies in a population across generations. Millions of examples of evolution have been directly observed and recorded. So at this point the evidence of evolution would rank ahead of the evidence the Civil War happened, alongside the earth revolving around the sun, and behind the world existing.

Then there is the theory that natural selection causes evolution (confirmed zillions of times), that mutation feeds into it (ditto), et al. So, yeah, again we're on rock-solid ground here. Then there's the idea that the above leads to new species (again, oodles of observations), including ones with new traits (dinno), and so forth.

What people usually mean when they imprecisely state that "we've never seen evolution" is "we didn't witness humans evolving from earlier primates". But even that isn't a sensible statement, because there isn't a bright line between "human" and "earlier primate". We've seen evolution occur in every generation of humans to date. We "believe", on "faith", that this happened to our ancestors too and isn't a recent phenomenon, and that the mountains of evidence of human evolution having happened in the interim (e.g., human populations differ genetically in proportion to the amount of time they've spent isolated from each other) isn't some sort of freak coincidence.

So is our evidence as good as the evidence that the Earth goes around the Sun? No. It is as good as the evidence that the Earth revolved around the sun prior to the 16th century, and didn't just suddenly switch from revolving around the earth shortly before astronomers began taking careful notes.

Marcia said...

"If we're soaking in a culture of nihilism, why are most of us holding up so well?"

Who says we're soaking in it?

Taxi Driver was released in 1976.

It won the Palme d'Or, but it wasn't even in the top 10 for US dollars.

The number 1 grossing film from 1976 was Rocky. Rocky also won the best picture Oscar.

And why does Guilty by Suspicion get to represent 1991? Why not Beauty and the Beast?

DADvocate said...

Since the seat will be held by someone as conservative or conservativier, I see that you believe Loughner paved the way for reddening the district,...

Only hypothesizing on your part. Plus, it doesn't matter what I believe. Only what Loughner has accomplished so far. We all see that you want to twist anything and everything to support your viewpoint.

BTW - Do you have a life?

DADvocate said...

A life other than perpetually posting insipid, transparent, inane comments at Althouse, that is.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Well, I used to have a life, DA, until tubing down the river got a tad boring.

Anyway, I actually misread the initial post and misinterpreted the quoted post to mean something I figured Altie might have said given her ardent defense of violent political speech over the last week or so. In any event, I can't speak for the responses to this twist on the silly issue of whether Loughner was more right wing than left, although I still have a hard time believing that violent anti-government rhetoric from the right didn't influence him.

I don't see how posting political opponents in cross-hairs while accusing her side of destroying the Bill of Rights is an honorable tactic, and I stand by that. Things may have gotten heated and out of hand in this thread, but I can't see what's so disagreeable about that basic idea.

As you were.

William said...

Hollywood looks for nihilism in all the wrong places. Why not give John Reed the same treatment that they gave John D. Rockefeller in There Will Be Blood? John Reed made enormous personal sacrifices and devoted his life to furthering a cause that came to nothing in the end. Instead of taking a cheap shot at Harding, as they do in Boardwalk Empire, they should highlight Wilson's doomed efforts to resegregate Washington and have the United States guarantee the territorial integrity of Armenia (!) at the Paris Convention. Life was rather more pointless and foolish for Che Guevara than it was for Vladimir and Estragon.....I have my reservations about whether it is fitting and sweet to die for one's country. But I am absolutely convinced that dying for the glorious revolution is a total crock.....In any event, the nihilism of Hollywood like the rhetoric of Tea Partiers has little effect in the real world. It's like pornography. Most men by the second or third marriage catch on to the fact that if the wife catches you with baby sitter, she will not suggest a threesome.

DADvocate said...

an honorable tactic,

Never seen many honorable actions in politics.

Try whitewater kayaking. It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Seriously. Went every weekend from the first of March to the end of November for about 5 years. Then I moved too far from the whitewater to go regularly and you lose you edge too much if you don't paddle regularly. But, if you're afraid of the water, it will terrify you.

Anita said...

"The rest of what she writes is incoherent drivel."

Dismissed with a toss of his obviously empty head. Yes, of course, with no evidence other than mighta, kinda mighta, maybe, when you wish upon a star hallucinations, Mr. Hygiene can prove that Lefty Loughner's mass murder was caused - caused, mind you, by things said by Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, along with a map on Sarah Palin's facebook page.

Yet some pretty good evidence surfaces that Lefty Loughner's political views (or anything coherent enough to be called political views) were fairly common left wing political beliefs from that time frame (2006-07 back when dissent was patriotic and when anti-government views weren't nearly as icky as they are now), and we can't possibly use this to suggest the man's politics were far more left than right wing.

We have a friend of Loughner's who said he never listened to talk radio, that he was a "left wing pot head" in high school, that he disliked George Bush, that he was "obsessed" with the film Zeitgeist with it's suggestion that 9/11 an inside job perpetrated by the Bush administration, that Christianity is a myth and belief in the myths of religion condidions us to belive other myths. And that these myths are perpetrated ultimately by central bankers who use them to make money.

Yup, sounds like Glen Beck and Sarah Palin to me.

Flawless logic - it's obvious that you can easily use all of this to pin culpability for the shootings on the right, which should just shut up, accept their guilt, and, did I mention - SHUT UP.

Like I said Mr. Hygiene, you're off your meds.

Pogo said...

"Like I said Mr. Hygiene, you're off your meds."

I think it's nice that the Arizona jail lets Mr. Loughner use teh internets for recreation.

hombre said...

Revenant wrote: So is our evidence as good as the evidence that the Earth goes around the Sun? No. It is as good as the evidence that the Earth revolved around the sun prior to the 16th century, and didn't just suddenly switch from revolving around the earth shortly before astronomers began taking careful notes.

Oh. I see. Millions, zillions and mountains of evidence. Ample justification for your faith.

hombre said...

Montana Ritmo Tooth Fairy wrote (6:33): For "Hombre" to think that he can convince anyone of these presumptions is about as shameless a tactic as anyone would expect of him. He also insults the intelligence of anyone by thinking they would take his silly bait.

Are you Dan Rather?

hombre said...

I just asked for your evidence, Dan.

Revenant said...

Oh. I see. Millions, zillions and mountains of evidence. Ample justification for your faith.

If it amuses you to define "faith" as "belief supported by a large body of proof" then, hey -- go for it.

Just let us know what new word you'd like to invent for "belief that is not based on proof".

Revenant said...

I still don't get what Taxi Driver is doing on Siegel's list. The government doesn't even play a role, and the one politician (Palantine?) is unobjectionable. The main character himself is quite insane, envisioning himself a savior who will clean up society. At the end of the movie he is either celebrated for that or (my interpretation) experiences a vision of such celebration while dying. The movie tries to get inside the head of a Loughner type, but it doesn't hold him up as admirable, nor does it attack the government as useless or corrupt. The *protagonist* does, but, uh... he's insane?

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

It's more fun than writing boring studies on constipation and colonic transit time in the elderly. If I had to choose between something on, say, the more manic side (of which he seems to accuse me) and Pogo's senility and self-delusions, I think I'd have to go with the former. Just a personal choice.

Anyway, I'm conflicted between being kind to Anita and being fair to her. As I said, it would be kind to assume that she writes with a sane mind, but it wouldn't be fair to her to do so. This presents an obvious dilemma: To be kind and pretend that she is capable of putting together something cogent, or to be fair and refrain from encouraging her to do something which is clearly strenuous and even harmful to her. What a vexing conundrum. How should it be resolved?

Maybe we could ask the silly bitch herself for help in determining the proper approach, but she is obviously too busy watching movies about 9/11 truthers.

I might have warned you, DA: The dishonor that pollutes certain circles of politics starts with the most meager of (armchair) footsoldiers.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I hear on psychiatric wards sometimes the patients believe that they're speaking and relating to famous people that aren't, of course, really there.

Pogo just did that to me. At 9:53 PM he imagined me to be someone other than who I am.

So, Pogo. Which antipsychotics have they trialed on you?

Pogo will soon be muttering to himself, and his vanishing memories, and all the "evil" people out to get him. Sad, really.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Also notice how Pogo (a physician whose name anyone could easily find out) takes joy in mocking the mentally ill.

hombre said...

Revenant wrote: If it amuses you to define "faith" as "belief supported by [millions, zillions and mountains] of proof" then, hey -- go for it.

Oh. Am I confused or did I just forgot the "[s]" for sarcasm?

Michael said...

Conservatives4: I read the thread again and Pogo does not mock the mentally ill. Your suggestion that one can easily discover the identity of Pogo is meant to be a barely concealed threat to him and his professional standing. You are not a nice or rational person and threats are not civil.

Pogo said...

Michael,

Sure, it's a veiled threat. That's what Ritmo/Montana/C4BDH does. Every time he comments. Each thread he participates in becomes about him. Boring as hell, but that's the intent: destroy the thread. The topic makes him uncomfortable.

Pretty soon he'll have another flame-out and change his name. Again. No point giving him a serious response. He seems to respect a couple commenters here, but not enough to keep it together for a whole thread.

Pogo said...

"...and threats are not civil"

He combines two Alinsky tactics in every thread:

1) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. (e.g., his response to me)

2) Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. (e.g. the recent appeal for civility and blaming Palin/Rush/Beck for Loughner's mass murder)

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

If Pogo wanted (unless he's having trouble with or doesn't understand technology), he could easily change the Blogger settings in order to keep more aspects about who he is unknown - or as he might say, "veiled".

Loughner is mentally ill. If "Pogo" wanted to incorporate him into a joke or two, I could understand it - provided he gave any impression that he takes mental illness seriously. He has given no impression that mental illness matters to him in any way other than to be used as a joke in flaming others.

Also, someone who can't take criticism - let alone respond cogently to it - doesn't have any standing to opine on what constitutes "serious response".

And finally, given the paltry number of things which Pogo sees fit to actually take seriously in life, it's a stretch to believe that he understands the meaning of respectful behavior.

I never heard of anyone going by the name "Alinsky" before Althouse brought him to fame, but I assume the accusation is Pogo's way of politicizing very simple ideas, and possibly show off a bit of anti-Semitism on his part, to boot.