Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Bill Clinton personality cult fascinates me.

This Washington Post story brought Clinton back to public attention, generating squeals of glee from his internet devotees:

Clinton was a leader, Bush is a follower.

I love Bill more than my little heart could ever express.

This administration can do no wrong, apparently. And they always cover their asses by criticizing Clinton, whether it makes sense or not.

And this is I still view Clinton as my president, not the dumb ass in office right now.

It's interesting as an aside that the same usual suspects who have pilloried the Bush administration for its "unilateralism" are demanding that it act unilaterally now, notably Bill Clinton himself, in a far less provocative story that appeared a day before the WP hitpiece:

"It is really important that somebody take the lead in this," he told BBC Radio 4's Today program.

"I think one of the problems is when everybody takes responsibility it's almost like no one's responsibility."

Which hardly sounds like the "coordinated international response" that the Post attributed to Clinton. But I digress.

Clinton's usual narcissistic public sorrow was as unsurprising as always. What does surprise me is the enormous amount of people who can't see through him, who actually think he's sincere. "Clinton has streets named after him in other countries, and for good reason!" gushed one internet groupie; Just guessing, but I don't think Rwanda is one of them.

I'd rather face a 30-foot tsunami than get between Bill Clinton and a TV camera when there's a tragedy that can be exploited for face time.

Friday, December 24, 2004

It's funny that, in an increasingly radical secularist culture deeply devoted to expunging Christmas (and Christianity itself for that matter), one institution that can always be counted on to remember traditional Christmas is....the good old entertainment industry. Saving Christmas, Christmas With The Kranks, this Christmas special, that Christmas album. Even though the entertainment industry is reliably leftist and secularist on nearly all matters cultural, when they want our money...out comes the creche.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Ed's Law Of Controversies states that a controversy is not a controversy unless it's immediately controversial.

That is, if it takes several days after an event for a controversy to be made over it, if people have to be told that something is controversial...then it really isn't. What it means is that the "controversy" is artificial. That it's nothing more than some wanker with a megaphone and an agenda.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Hedrick Smith's 1976 book The Russians relates an incident in the early Seventies in which people in Moscow couldn't go outside without their eyes burning, and the skies over Moscow were filled with black smoke for days--but almost no one knew why. It happened that there was a massive forest fire in the Moscow environs, but the Soviet news media--forbidden to report bad news of any kind--would not report it. Eventually, the newspapers came to tell the story in incredibly oblique ways--new regulations about woodland campfires suddenly appeared on the front pages--but the regime never quite came out and admitted the truth.

A much more serious analog to this story was the Soviet press's failure some years later to report the activities of the cannibal Andrei Chikatilo. The public of southern Russia never knew that a serial killer was hunting children there because the press wouldn't mention it; parents, unaware of any danger, never took precautions with their children. In Citizen X, the very good film HBO made about the Chikatilo case, the Communist Party bureaucrat (Joss Ackland) insists: "There are no serial killers in the Soviet state. It is a decadent, Western phenomenon." In this instance, there was public fury when the Gorbachev-era press finally admitted the truth.

Of course, these are relatively minor failures in totalitarian states compared to the large-scale violence and economic dysfunction that are their hallmark. But still, I think the Soviet collapse had to have been influenced (as Solzhenitsyn predicted)by the collapse of the lies that supported it. When a regime has a Who Are You Going To Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes? moment, it doesn't have much longer to live.

I started to think about this during the CBS forged documents story. The network, in lieu of anything resembling an attempt to divine the truth, clung to its obviously phony story as if it were a crack pipe. The documents story was the WAYGTBMOYLE? moment of the American mainstream media, and I think that it will be regarded as a watershed. The usual media articles of faith still solemnly appear, but there are always antidotes:

"Embroyonic stem cells have shown great promise." Well, actually, no.

"100,000 Iraqis have been killed since the American invasion." Not really.

"Colin Powell lied to the UN about WMDs in Iraq." Not quite.

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