As I sit in my hotel room in a remote location, somewhere in Washington state, amidst a dark, cold, windy and rainy evening, I’m working on two main tasks: One involving ConfigMgr 1511 with Hyper-V and a bag of cashews, and another watching a documentary on Netflix. I had to stop and unload some brain juice before my head cracks open. I’ll warn you, this is probably going to be a complete waste of your time. Then again, maybe not. So here goes…
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So, I’m watching “Best of Enemies“, a documentary on Netflix about the rivalry between William F. Buckley Jr., and Gore Vidal, and I realized something that I should have sensed much earlier than now. It dawned on me that the campaign stretch of 1965-68 was (is) almost identical in every way to 2015-2016. Racially, economically, national security, gender equality, and Left vs. Right… All of it. Every single bit of it. It’s like picking up the turntable needle off of a record, and setting it back down to start the song over again.
Only this time, the difference is that we have no Buckley or Vidal. What we have now is Waterboy vs. Dumb and Dumber. Dumb versus Stupid. Ignorant versus Psychotic. Oaf versus Goon. Neither side has any intellectual capacity whatsoever, there’s only a pretend version of it. It’s like those fake plastic computers they set on top of those desks in a furniture store. It’s just sad.
If you decide to watch that documentary, be advised of two main caveats:
- It pulls no punches and picks no sides. It simply contrasts the two people.
- It has to be watched from start to finish, or it’s like flushing a winning lottery ticket.
In 2015, we’ve got a line-up of idiots on both sides. Pandering, crafted, practiced, well-funded, self-absorbed, short-term gain, idiots. And we have a cheering section of emphatic, ill-informed, and spoon-fed voters screaming that the unconvinced folks still have to pick something from the menu, whether it be poached, boiled, fried or broiled, the main ingredient in all of them is shit. Pure shit. 100% grain-fed, ground shit. It’s just a matter of deciding which one you can eat while holding your nose and not throw up.
And, to those of you, particularly in America, that sincerely believe 2015 is nearing “the end of civilization”; who walk around in an anxious malaise revisiting Revelations versus, you’re either too young or too ignorant to know that the late 1960’s came closer to “the end” than western civilization ever had before or since. That, or you were too stoned in high school to remember history class, and your parents didn’t talk about those things with you.
Whatever the cause. Whatever the result. We’re slowly, inevitably, descending in most respects with regards to our ability to remain informed, objective and enlightened. At least beyond studying up on the specs for the next major tech gadget. When I say “informed”, I don’t mean reading the same prepared, agenda-loaded Facebook page feeds. The same web sites. The same radio commentators. The same podcasts.
I mean consuming FACTS first and foremost, and they’re not hard to find, IF you bother seeking them out. It also means listening to the words of those you disagree with. If you are confident in your views, you should have no fear or hesitation to listen to the counterpoints. Refusing to hear opposing views at all costs is a major sign of ignorance and self-delusion.
The main reason people put up such a barricade against counter-reason is fear of being deluded or dissuaded from their preferred objective. Enticement. It’s the same for religion, politics, and even techno-centric vendor allegiances. But when you can cherry-pick specific points of agreement from the “other side”, you’re heading to the end zone with the ball. That’s where you can connect and begin a discussion. It’s how things USED to be done, generations ago. Sure, they had their stalwarts and fanatics. They had their social orders and backing teams as well.
But when you read about diametrically opposed views in human history, they often involve famous people, making famous decisions that had enormous impact on our lives to this day. Jefferson and Hamilton. Gates and Jobs. Carter and Reagan. And Buckley and Vidal too. In most every example, the two personalities clashed, and pushed back, but somewhere along the way, each found something to agree on, even if it was just “it’s a nice day today”. I don’t see any of that in American politics now. And the media, having evermore powerful access and outlet, relishes this to the point of stomping on any thought of mutual understanding or agreement. Compromise is not only dead, it’s labeled as suspect. We are heading for some dangerous times ahead, but we still have a long way to go before we match the period from 1965-1968.
That’s all I have. I will now return you to my normal, stupid blog, already in progress.