30 March 2005

The undoing of America

Gore Vidal on America. Yes, the stories of torture depress me. And the idiocy of the religious right is maddening. And our abuse of the environment for the sake of capitalism certainly seems short-sighted. But what do I know? Now, when someone really in the know like Vidal goes on a sardonic jag about the trouble America's gotten itself into, suddently my anxiety is justified! Yay anxiety.

Anyway, some quotes:

Well, let us say that the old American republic is well and truly dead. The institutions that we thought were eternal proved not to be. And that goes for the three departments of government, and it also goes for the Bill of Rights. So we're in uncharted territory. We're governed by public relations.
[Citizens] have been transformed, by design, by corporate America, aided by the media, which belongs to corporate America. They are no longer citizens. They are hardly voters. They are consumers ...
Some 60 or 80 percent of Americans still think Saddam Hussein was a partner of Osama bin Laden. They hated each other, and they had nothing to do with each other. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. But if you keep repeating it and repeating it--and Cheney still does; nobody's switched him off, so he just babbles and babbles like a broken toy--how are they to know otherwise? Yes, there are good journals here and there, like The Nation, but they're not easily found. And with our educational system, I don't think the average person can read with any great ease anything that requires thought and the ability to exercise cause-and-effect reasoning ...
They went beyond anything in the laws of impeachment. They have to do with the exercise of your powers as president, abuses of power as president. He wasn't abusing any powers. He was caught telling a little lie about sex, which you're not supposed to ask him about anyway, and he shouldn't have answered. So they use that: oh, perjury! Oh, it's terrible, a president who lies! Oh, God--how can we live any longer in Sodom and Gomorrah? You can play on the dumb-dumbs morning, noon, and night with stuff like that.
There is also something in the water--let us hope it was put there by the enemy--that has made Americans contemptuous of intelligence whenever they recognize it, which is not very often. And a hatred of learning, which you don't find in any other country.

He also has a variation of the "abstract noun" gag that Terry Jones uses:

Now, terrorism is a wonderful invention because it doesn't mean anything. It's an abstract noun. You can't have a war against an abstract noun; it's like having a war against dandruff. It's meaningless.

[ via Kyle Gann ]

[ posted by sstrader on 30 March 2005 at 12:30:02 AM in Politics ]