Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dr. Sanity on denial--sing it!

In a way, my post today on Juan Cole and the Left is really about denial.

Well, Dr. Sanity's the expert on that. And if she ever quits her day job, she has a future as a lyricist. Here's still another in a long line of her clever parody offerings. This one happens to fits in quite nicely with the theme of the day--the Left's denial of some hard but basic truths.

To the tune of "It Ain't Necessarily So," Dr. Sanity writes:

An' just take dese newsfolk
As if dey's a big joke,
'Cuz when it bleeds it'll lede.


Which reminds me to put in another Orwell quote that I came across here, while researching the previous post:

Orwell was perhaps even less kind to the press than Hitchens; when he was not censuring their mangling of proper English (he was once “upset for days” when the Tribune printed “verbiosity” in one of its articles), he was abusing them as “professional liars” and “halfwits.” “Early in life,” he wrote, “I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper."

Orwell was a great writer. But he didn't set it to music, like Dr. Sanity.

29 Comments:

At 2:50 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Loyal Achates said...

I'd just like to know why you keep quoting Orwell, the world's most famous democratic socialist, in your own defense when he disagreed with you about practically everything? I don't see you quoting this little gem from 'The Road to Wigan Pier':

Anything is relevant which helps to make clear why Socialism is not accepted. And please notice that I am arguing for Socialism, not against it.But for the moment I am advocatus diaboli. I am making out a case for the sort of person who is in sympathy with the fundamental aims of Socialism, who has the brains to see that Socialism would 'work', but who in practice always takes to flight when Socialism is mentioned.

Obviously one can disagree with Orwell about anything he said or did. But quoting him as if he were gospel while ignoring the vast majority of his work and beliefs strikes me as shady.

 
At 3:18 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

CDR Salamander has a military take on "denial". Well maybe not denial, but an equally bad thing in the military.

Neo quotes Orwell because Orwell is too much of a master propagandist not to use his opinions, regardless of what he thought or believed to be true.

Unlike other close minded people, Neo takes people as they are, and not as she wishes them to be. That'd be rather dangerous as a therapist. Could make a lot of psychos that way if abused.

I know it is confusing and befuddling to people who draw lines in the sand and say "this guy" is on our side and everyone else is the enemy, but I'm with Neo on this subject, cosmopolitanism is a good thing and parochialism is horrid if not evil.

It strikes people as shaddy precisely because there are only two solutions parochialists adhere to. Either someone is credible or he is a nut case. If he is a nutcase, nothing he says is right, including when he agrees with people the subject agrees with. If he is credible, everything he says is golden, regardless of logical inconsistency.

Parochialism is very very bad.

 
At 3:30 PM, May 03, 2006, Anonymous dicentra said...

But quoting him as if he were gospel while ignoring the vast majority of his work and beliefs strikes me as shady.

Hardly.

You're assuming that a person's "idea work" is a package deal, that because Orwell supported Socialism, all of his other observations on everything else are inextricably linked with that support. In other words, if he's right about one thing, he's right about everything, because it all fits together in one coherent whole.

Maybe to Orwell his ideas constituted a coherent, indivisible whole, and maybe they seem like that to you, too. But they don't seem that way to me or to others. People can be especially perceptive in one area of life while being astoundingly dense in another. In fact, I would bet that all of us are like that: we "get it" about some things but not others. If I picked apart your brain, I would probably find what look to me like logical inconsistencies and incompatible ideas residing in the same cranium. But to you those things fit just fine.

Orwell's observations about the abuse of language and its relationship with tyrrany stand alone quite well without the Socialist underpinnings. In fact, if I read only his pronouncements on language abuse, I would conclude that he was anti-socialist rather than pro. That he was in the same camp as Ayn Rand, who was remarkably clear-headed about the downside of socialism but whose larger theory of Objectivism is, IMHO, NOT the the logical inevitability she seems to think it is.

Here's a question: What are the inevitable and logically inextricable ties between Socialism and language abuse? I would be interested in seeing the narrative that links the two.

 
At 4:49 PM, May 03, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

Loyal: But quoting {Orwell] as if he were gospel while ignoring the vast majority of his work and beliefs strikes me as shady.

That's possibly because you're a little overly invested in the idea of "gospel". I can't speak for Neo, but I don't see anything gospel-like in her references to Orwell. I think it's more likely that he's simply a good illustration of the fact that it's possible, or it used to be possible, to be a leftist without losing your mind and soul -- without, for example, becoming an apologist for every anti-western tyrant and mob that pops up.

As for his socialism, two points: one is that it's largely irrelevant to the theme of the current struggle against Islamist terror that is the predominant topic here; the second, and more interesting one, however, is that it may well pertain to the theme of personal change that's also a significant topic here -- I think if Orwell had witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union, he would have had the intelligence and honesty to admit that socialism, even with glasnost and perestroika, may not in fact 'work' after all.

 
At 10:36 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The problem is Orwell didn't know what Socialism meant right now, so it's not like he got a chance to clarify his position and his use of wording. When he says socialism, doesn't mean the same thing to me that it does to him.

Back in the 1948s, "socialism" was social security and union rights. That was socialism, but America already has those things, among others. So what "more" socialist would Orwell have wanted?

Orwell didn't like communism and knew it didn't work, he was quite in agreement with CHurchill. Don't confuse Orwell's use of words with vernacular meanings, or accussations by Achates here.

 
At 12:07 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous rickl said...

It was probably a lot easier to be a socialist in the 30s and 40s, before we had all the failed examples and mountains of corpses to refer to.

Also, the 1930s saw the Great Depression, which many people no doubt took as proof that capitalism was a failure.

I think many people of genuine good will became socialists in the 30s because they saw no reasonable alternative. The trouble is, their intellectual (emotional?) heirs in modern times continue to think the same way despite the staggering weight of evidence to the contrary.

 
At 7:31 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Rebecca West, in her "The New Meaning of Treason", an examination of traitors from Lord Haw Haw to Profumo, asked a particular question:
Why, speaking of some of the privileged types who became Soviet spies, do so? They were as well-taken care of as any young men in history. Oxford, Cambridge, came from at least some money.
Her answer was that the self-regard that socialists had in spades for their wonderfulness was addicting. Unfortunately, by the time these clowns came along, all the socialisting had been done. Old age pensions, nationalized mines, etc.
How to regain the fun of being in revolution? Got to go further, which meant communist.

 
At 9:29 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Jason H. Bowden said...

From the Dr. Sanity link:

"One of the most amusing aspects of the denial of the Islamofascist threat, is how eager those who deny its reality are ready to embrace the fantasy that somehow Christianity is the real threat. Witness all those who claim that Bush is imminently going to impose a Christian theocracy here; the complete hysteria over Christian "symbols" and the denial of a Judeo-Christian heritage. This is the same kind of psychological displacement that can be seen in the phenomenon of Bush Derangement Syndrome. If Bush is the cause of all the evil in the world, these same people see Christianity (or Judaism--any religion but Islam) as the greatest threat to the utopia in their mind."

I'm not a Christian myself, but I've seen too many people like this.

The left's misguided love for diversity and multiculturalism also has a lot to do with their clouded judgment on terrorism. Why would an "authentic" and "different" culture cause us harm -- certainly it *must* be our fault. So they think.

Excellent blog by the way, neo-neo.

 
At 9:38 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Wow! Who knew I was such a lunatic? Thank you, people who have never met me, for diagnosing me of having these psychological traits!

This is like Bill Frist diagnosing Terri Shiavo via videotape. If this is the Right's version of medicine, I'll pick a liberal doctor any day.

Or maybe you're psychic? I wonder how else you could know what I think.

 
At 10:14 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Jason H. Bowden said...

"Thank you, people who have never met me, for diagnosing me of having these psychological traits!"

I'm glad we can be of service.

 
At 10:26 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Spanky. I did the civil rights thing in the Sixties. I know some of the folks from back in the day. Some have moved on and some got stuck.
And it isn't that there needs to be the lunchroom sit-ins or anything that keeps them looking at posters of Freedom Summer. It's that they never felt better about themselves than they did then.
This is not to denigrate the work done. The feeling, as it happens, of being part of something noble, is offset by the exigencies of actually doing it, fear, fatigue, uncertainty, lousy food, and so forth.
Those who talked a good game, did some work but would have pissed their knickers at the thought of going south of Cincinnati, who think learning to chord "We Shall Overcome" on a cheap four-string is daring [see Tom Lehrer on the folk song army] are where most of the stuck happens.

Point is some people take positions based on how good it makes them feel about themselves.

See "Vision of The Anointed".

 
At 10:34 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Richard,

You do realize that, while some people might only be able to view the present through the prism of the 60s, that the rest of us don't?

Not everyone who is on "the Left" can only think about the 60s. Don't assume that because you knew or know people who have nostalgia for that time that you can determine what the rest of us are thinking.

A few people here (the author of this weblog included) seem to believe that they can read the minds of people who disagree with them, and imagine all sorts of bad things in their heads. I wonder if any of you would like to hear my imaginary diagnosis of what goes on inside your heads? Probably not. So keep your "mind reading" and your "diagnosis" to yourselves, please.

 
At 10:48 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

UB: Wow! Who knew I was such a lunatic? ...
Or maybe you're psychic? I wonder how else you could know what I think.


Oh, maybe from what you say? You know that old thing about walking like a duck and talking like a duck?

(I shouldn't feed them, I know -- sometimes it's just hard to resist....)

 
At 11:09 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger kcom said...

"Wow! Who knew I was such a lunatic?" - Spanky

kcom [raising hand], "I knew. ...I'm just saying."

 
At 12:23 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Spank Sinatra,

You ain't a socialist, is you?

Also, I don't know how old you are, but if you're young enough not to view everything through the lens of the 60s, you're a lucky guy. That particular lens is highly distorted. One reason Neo has this blog - trying to figure out whether she was really seeing what she thought she was seeing all these years. Although she may come to different conclusions than non-neos do, at least she's honestly trying to work it out rather than staring obsessively through the same old lens.

Nothing scarier than a person who has no doubts.

I'm not sure what's up with Dr. Sanity. I read her blog sometimes and comment when it's appropriate. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I suppose she's just trying to make sense of the current situation by viewing it through the lens of her own expertise in psychiatry. Her rhetoric, however, does sometimes make it appear as if she's using psychiatry simply to bludgeon her "client" (i.e., the left) rather than helping them. There is, of course, a field called political psychology, but I don't think that's what she's practicing on her blog.

For what it's worth, as long as you express your political opinions in concrete, realistic terms - rather than resorting to personal attacks, counter-attacks, or hysterical pronouncements about Bush = Hitler, I'll listen to what you have to say. That may just be a personal bias - I have no respect for radicals and inflammatory rhetoric. I'm sure the fringes have a role of some sort in our political system, but convincing me that they're right is not one of them.

When people don't respond with the same courtesy with which you express your opinions, that's their problem. They're not getting any closer to understanding our current situation. Certainly not helping to resolve it.

 
At 12:25 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

P.S. - I view everything through the lens of the 70s. Life is one big disco, and I'm just a dancin' fool...

 
At 4:38 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Thank you, people who have never met me, for diagnosing me of having these psychological traits!

I guess I should thank Spank, grudingly of course, for calling me names, ridiculing me for games that he talks about and I don't even recognize, and for being a mean old trick. You could guess, I suppose, that Spank deserves thanks for being so abusive.

Or maybe you're psychic? I wonder how else you could know what I think.

How did you know? I swear my secret psychic powers from Satan sacrifices were known by no man or woman. There must be a traitor in our midst, in our very mind, who among you betrayed our secret confidence to the rest of the world?!

Not everyone who is on "the Left" can only think about the 60s. Don't assume that because you knew or know people who have nostalgia for that time that you can determine what the rest of us are thinking.

Since Spank wasn't born anywhere near the 60s, given his overall conduct, that's rather um "obvious". Anyone else want to volunteer something obvious?

A few people here (the author of this weblog included) seem to believe that they can read the minds of people who disagree with them,

Neo can only do that if you're woman. Are you a guurrl, Spank?

I wonder if any of you would like to hear my imaginary diagnosis of what goes on inside your heads? Probably not.

Why you asking us, didn't you already take the liberty and did your imaginary diagnosis of me and Justin and a bunch of other people here as well? What are you doing wondering about stuff you already know, you got two split personalities as well? Coo.

(I shouldn't feed them, I know -- sometimes it's just hard to resist....)

FEED ME, said the machine gunner to his ammo carrier.

Nothing scarier than a person who has no doubts.

Ya, true believers, can't live with them, can't live without them. They BELIEVE, baby, and nothing you can say will make them UNbelieve.

That's not so bad, if you believe in the right things, but what happens if you believe in all the wrong things like Spank here does?

 
At 4:57 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Y & S,

You two are a coupla pistols. What are we going to do with you?

 
At 6:24 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I'd like a Super Delicious War Gamer's Manual in How to Slay Trolls, and while I can't speak for Spank, I think Spank wants the Official Primer's Guide to being a Super Patriot and How to Fefend Against Unpatriotic Attacks on his Character.

It has to be exactly as written, with the caps, with the italics. Otherwise, bad things will happen to uuuuuuuu, get the ju ju yet?

 
At 6:39 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Yammer's like a monkey in a cage. You just keep poking him and poking him, and he keeps hollering and hollering, and can't do anything about it. It's very entertaining.

 
At 6:55 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I think one of my friends who used to pull the wings of flies and pour salt over slugs used to say something to that effect.

 
At 7:07 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

See?

No matter how smart he thinks he is, no matter how deep he believes he is, no matter how much he believes he has mastered the secret arts of the blog comment smackdown, no matter how devastating he thinks his comebacks are, he's totally impotent to actually do anything. And so I poke, and he yells, and that's about it.

 
At 8:27 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't he doing the poking, you the yelling?

 
At 9:10 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

You are like two little kids in the back of a station wagon on an endless trip to Grandma's house in Oklahoma. Neo should have brought along some coloring books...

(I could have said something crude about Spanky and his monkey, but I wouldn't want to be the one to sound a dissonant note in the midst of this glorious intellectual symphony.)

 
At 12:33 AM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

It may not be of intellectual use to portray yourself as people stereotype you as, but it sure as heck is therapeutic.

It is only endless if we are going to assassinate Grandma.

We're not going to do that are we, tell me we're not going to kill grandma?!

I no like symphonies, they make my head heart, too many voices in head already.

 
At 11:53 AM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Y - Glad the therapy's working(?), hope you feel better real soon!

 
At 12:16 PM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I tried to get Spank in the program, but he said he already had too many games to play.

 
At 1:01 PM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous Spanky the Vanquished! said...

Zing! That took care of me, surely.

 
At 1:24 PM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I haven't gotten you into the Maw program yet, so don't go saying you're cured, now.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home


Powered by Blogger