Friday, March 20, 2009

Blame the Danish

Short on time? For syllabus, click here.

If you saw the last post, you know that Absorbing the Genius now has a new car. It's a Porsche Cayman. ATG Readers are eligible for rides around town (in exchange for comments, of course).

With announcements out of the way...

Did they do this in your high school? In the 10th grade, our history and English classes were connected, because in English we studied literature from the period we were studying in history. It was American History: 1865 and on. That all starts with the Emancipation Proclamation, and later on there's the New Deal, and a couple of World Wars, but somewhere in the middle it gets awful "QR" to me, Big Bird. I was in the Honors level, and at some point we started talking about Politics. My fellow smartypants students got it, or they talked like they did. I wanted to get it, but I didn't. My father, who had a history degree from Harvard University, tried to explain it to me. It refused to absorb.

All I know about politics, I learned from Schoolhouse Rock.

(Admit it, weren't you really happy for the animated rolled-up paper?)

I got a few bad marks in history, there in the 10th grade. Fortunately, I had the same teacher for English as history, and I did very well in English, so the teacher didn't think I was an idiot. As a matter of fact, she called me into her office one day to find out if I'd received assistance in writing my (five-paragraph expository) essay on Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt, because she was impressed with it. That was all me, I told her. I get literature! Just not politics.

(This one time? My teacher and I had a disagreement over a point of grammar. I really wish I could remember what we were arguing about, but the cool thing was that she knew I was good at this. So, she sent me off to another English teacher, saying that if that second teacher agreed with me, she'd give me the points. Teacher 2 sided with Teacher 1, but I still love to tell that story.)

(Then there was the time all the guys wore skirts to history class. Ask me about that; it was funny, but way off the topic.)

I've always been embarrassed by my mental block, and I've dealt with it by avoiding discussion. I would nod, smile, and agree. I got away with it for a long time. Then came the 2008 election.

The Obama Opposition

Some of you will gasp in horror when I declare that: I never really liked Barack Obama. I can't tell you exactly why, it's just a feeling that I had. When he spoke it just seemed like he wasn't saying anything (and by contrast, the more I heard Hillary Clinton talk, the smarter and more capable she seemed to me). During the course of the election Mr. O. started to get more and more and more popular, like scary popular, like messiah-worship popular. The day after the election, it seemed that everyone but me had these silly grins on their faces and were acting like Skittles actually had rained down from heaven (taste the rainbow!). We're talking smart, accomplished people acting this way.

(And I have to add that I didn't think Gov. Palin was all that bad either. Stop buggin' yer eyes at me.)

As I have mentioned, I have two small children, so there isn't a whole lot of time for extra reading and research (and I really really like fiction, so if I have a free moment I'm likely to go for that). However, I did make the attempt to understand what was going on here. I did some reading. The mental block was still there.

Some of what I read online was vehemently anti-Obama, very different from what I was seeing all around me. For example, I learned that delegates to the Democratic National Convention were intimidated and harassed, in an attempt to persuade a change of allegiance, and that, as a result, the roll call in Denver was a sham. I said something to the hubs about this and he said, "wouldn't we have heard about this on the news?" That's what I would normally think, but this came from a reliable source. I discovered that there were numerous bloggers saying the same basic things and making Obama appear to be the worst possible choice to lead our country. Worse than GW Bush even. How could this be?

I felt like there was nowhere for me to fit in. My mother's cheering for the senator from Illinois instantly put me on the defensive, and--since I'm not all that good at defensive--a bit dizzy, but reading stuff about Obama being a total douchebag (and every other nasty name there is) made my stomach hurt. It just didn't feel right, none of it. There did not seem to be a right answer. Isn't a democracy designed to get to the right answer? (Ohhh, 12t, wake up, you are sooo naive....)

I tested a couple of my very smart friends at work, Hank Azaria and George Clooney, by mentioning a point or two made by those trying very hard to publicize the Truth about Barack Obama. They shook their heads and said, oh no, you don't have to listen to this. I felt better immediately! Until the next time I happened to be online....

By now, if you know me, you're all amazed and thinking "she fooled me! I had no idea how ignorant she was!" Or maybe you are thinking that you don't completely understand all this either. Maybe you, like me, could use some stripped-down reasoning, a 10th grade (or 6th grade) lesson in the workings of government and election campaigns in the Present Day. A refresher. Sound boring? I promise it won't be. You waste your time here, let me know and I'll make it up to you somehow. Maybe I'll let you drive the Porsche...

I plan to get the lowdown from a variety of sources (including everyone reading this now), but on a Schoolhouse Rock level. I'll ask everyone to turn off their emotion and think slower so I can carefully absorb all of their genius, gently combine (wearing safety googles and gloves of course) and use my mutant superhero zapping powers to smear it all over YOUR computer screen.

Government and Politics 100 Remedial will appear here on ATG like the Smoking Man from the X-Files continuing storyline. I also hope to provide lots of other fun stuff that gets resolved at the end of the hour, so to speak.

SYLLABUS. This post reveals a deep dark secret to the Internet; namely that I have a total mental block regarding all things political. I figure that I'm not the only one with at least some degree of this blurred vision, and so I'm trying to help others by collecting data from political bloggers and others with great minds, after which I will try to explain the differing viewpoints in this blog, treating my audience as if they are as dumb confused as I am. It's a tall order. Encourage me!

Don't go yet....

In 1989 Alphaville released a video album based on their Breathtaking Blue record, which is more accurately described as a collection of short films. The collection reflected a variety of styles and there are a few famous names involved. One of the shorts even won an Oscar. To my knowledge, it was never available in a viewable format this side of the pond, but thanks to YouTube a few of the vids can now be enjoyed.

The following is Summer Rain, starring one Mikael Bertelsen, a Danish TV anchor. This flavor of Danish is always welcome here at ATG. And, this is film-festival-worthy stuff. The lesson to be learned from this film is that the right pair of glasses can really...well, see for yourself.


Armchair General said...

Interesting vid, very sensual. Glad the Alphaville folks aren't actually in it; the lead singer always kind of gave me the creeps....

12tequilas said...

The members of the band do not appear in any of the "shorts," not even in cameo as far as I can tell. I liked that they did it this way, just wish I could get a copy. I may have to put more of them up here, for discussion on the ones that have a less obvious "plot."

petunia politik said...

i'm a fan, but you knew that, 12. those history professors weren't captivating enough for the girl with the mind made of wanderlust. i'm convinced that was the "issue" in school. you needed to dig deep, study humanity, and no one inspired you to do that in the (snooze) history department. politics? you know more than you think. using your vibe with the resident select puts you ahead of the herd of sheep. having the facts to back that up are a mere technicality:)

btw, the music video is entrancing. with less than balmy temps and no one to soothe my soul, that glorious music just carried me off to the vineyard. (martha's, of course.)
i eagerly await your next installment...
now i'm ready for my treat! close-up, mr. demille!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how you could doubt Obama at this point. Look at how much he's done with the few days he's been in office. And that stuff about the delegates is crap...don't even worry you pretty little head about it.

Frank said...

What I want to know is, who is the Lady Danish?

Linda said...

I'm going to appeal to the lawyer in you, or in anyone. If those things about Obama came from unreliable sources, many would claim that it was propaganda. Coming from a reliable source you are taking this as fact. When it comes down to it, it is hearsay. Reliable or unreliable, there are no facts. If there are, I'd like to see them. Now, I'm not saying that didn't happen. Watergate happened and we all knew about that eventually. But until then, it's hearsay. A safer way of phrasing this would be, "Allegedly..."

Now, with Palin, I can actually give you some factual stuff that would blow your mind. Talk about scary. Since I am a special needs mom, and so is she, the whole special needs community got to see her decisions with regard to special needs and special education. It was frightening to see how ignorant she was and how many decisions, as governor, she made against special education. She even continues it to this day as the stimulus package she is refusing holds in it money for special education. OMG She is sadly misguided. I have no tolerance for the ignorance and stupidity that comes from her.

12tequilas said...

As a lawyer and a journalist, I'm confident that paragraph's quite "safe." If you consider the statement along with its context, there is no need for the word "allegedly." This issue will be revisited and we'll see some facts, I think.

As for the Palin thing, I admit to knowing very little about her. Thanks for that information. It just seemed to me she got spanked by the media a lot more than she would have if she were a man. More to come on that too. I hope you will agree to be a source of class material as well.

Linda said...

Okay, taking the allegedly out of it, my point still remains. It's hearsay until facts present themselves.

And, hey, as long as you keep reminding me about posts here, I'll keep coming back. :) You know I love to debate (meaning that in a good, productive way).

Shtuey said...

I was in Denver and recorded a Clinton delegate stating that they were being harassed. I wanted to video tape and photograph her. She refused out of fear. She was also reluctant about going on the record. I have not as yet published her comments. Others approached us on the street to tell us state party chairs and elected officials were threatening them. I can assure you it is not hearsay.

I myself, a number of my colleagues, and a few delegates gave interviews to the foreign press. The American media was very uninterested in covering this story as it was not part of the whitewash in preparation for Obama's coronation on Mount Olympus; a ludicrous spectacle where followers displayed the Obama "O" salute invented by an LA marketing lackey.

Here;s a bit of hearsay: the American media is objective when it comes to reporting on the President.

Shtuey said...

In terms of Palin, I have not experienced anything more reprehensible than the way Palin was treated by the press, accused of lying about her pregnancy with Trig, (and Charlie Gibson editing his Palin interview to make her look like a colossal moron Not one word of refutation on that charge from the "Change" candidate.

Accusations of racism were levied at any critics of the One. But who in the press spoke out when Obama supporters took to the streets wearing shirts that said "Sarah Palin is a Cunt?" Message received: Racism bad. Misogyny okay.

I would posit that Palin's rejection of the Porkulus money lies not on some insensitivity to special education, but on the fact that accepting that money comes with a lot of concessions to the federal government that erode state sovereignty. She's not the only one who is rejecting it.

For everyone's reading pleasure:

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...

I totally see why 12 Tequilas moved out on her own to this blog, now. LMAO

I want to point something out, Shtuey. Phrases about Obama, such as (Mount Olympus, the Obama "O" salute, the One), are perpetuating statements, especially if you yourself are media. Quite simply, if you don't want to see him elevated to the status of a God, don't exemplify that behavior yourself. That's the epitome of hypocrisy.

A lot is being concentrated about how Palin was treated without discussing specific politics that have been butchered by her. I never heard those things that you said were being said about Palin and I'm truly sorry they happened. Time to let go now.

I have been a supporter of Obama since before he even considered running, and I'm sure that doesn't come as a surprise. That said, I don't like everything he's doing. I'm actually quite the fiscal conservative so all this stimulus money crap is making me crazy. But something changed this year. I wanted to really DO SOMETHING. So, I'm showing up at the state house, writing representatives, writing the governor, etc. I like that Obama was the person who motivated me to do that. He made me feel as though I could make a difference. Whether you think that is too touchy-feely for your taste is completely irrelevant considering he did the same for many more people who are now becoming more personally active in our political process. Sure, I like debating about this on my blog and others. However, I am much more satisfied to have my voice heard in person at the state house. Nothing I write here can change laws. Thus, whether I like everything he's doing or not (and, of course he can't please all of the people all of the president can), what he has already done is far more valuable than his predecessor.

12tequilas said...

To my loyal and very attractive readers:
Linda, my decision to go off on my own has nothing to do with my stance as pro or anti, and nothing to do with yours. I wouldn't be here without you.

I'm pretty, okay, I'm absolutely positive that calling the prez names like "the One" and etc. is meant as sarcasm. I don't see how it's hypocritical. There really has been a lot of blind worship of this guy; you must have seen some of it yourself.

I love the debate; necessary to be unfettered for a free society and all that. But I must point out to you both that I just had hardwood flooring put in here, and it is *really* nice. I won't ask you to stop, but I may have to ask you guys to take a step back so we can maintain the spotlessness of the forum.

All of these issues will be dealt with here, in as much depth as I can personally handle. You have my word.

Linda said...

Fair enough, 12T.

To clarify on a point, though, I said that those comments are perpetuating. In other words, the more they are put out there, the more they will be used. When you cause something that you disdain, THAT is hypocritical.

Blind worship I see, yes. Fundamentalists are everywhere.

Shtuey said...

The phrase "The One" originated with Oprah. The fact that Obama has inspired people to become engaged with is the only good thing he's done in my opinion. Media sycophants like Chris Matthews and the tingle up his leg...let's just say that for the most part, the 4th estate was asleep at the switch with this clown. Instead of vetting him, they enabled him.

His associations with Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, and Billy Ayers alone,would have ended the candidacy of anyone else. But the media gave him a pass. He used his state office to funnel money into the pockets of slum lords like Rezko by privatizing public housing. Instead of improvements, people are living in rat infested hell holes, in his former district. A three year old was crushed by a rusted gate that fell on him. That's not hope or change.

Now we're stuck with this TelePrompter Jesus who, out of 600-700 hundred Cabinet linked positions has failed to even get 100 on the job. How many more tax cheats, interest conflicted criminals is this guy going to try and trot out before the Senate for approval?

In a time when we needed leadership above all else, we got a guy on a personal journey of self discovery, with no solutions for the growing threat of a nuclear Iran, who hasn't even released his college transcripts, and who is backed by a Chicago thugocracy that aims to crush dissent in our unions with the ending of secret ballots. And let us not forget that the man who said he would lead the filibuster against the FISA bill ended up voting for it, has continued the policy, and has ordered his Justice Department to keep Bush administration documents on wiretaps sealed. So much for transparency.

And after the way he treated Prime Minister Brown and his family, giving 25 DVDs to a man who is legally blind, and sending the help to the White House gift shop to buy their boys presents because Michelle didn't think's like having Al and Peg Bundy in the White House. Stay classy Obamas.

There is nothing good about this administration other than it's potential ending in four years. It is way beyond sarcasm. The man is a national disgrace.

12tequilas said...

Shtuey, you too have a mutant power: the Exploding Mind. ATG *promises* it will get to you. I'm following an agenda here, and it will take some time. Don't go anywhere...just mind the new floor. And the uber-modern chandeliers...what do you think?

Frank said...

The chandelier is divine, ma chere.

he_who_wanders said...

>For example, I learned that >delegates to the Democratic >National Convention were >intimidated and harassed, in an >attempt to persuade a change of >allegiance,

"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

It is crucial to winning the general election that you come out of the primary with a unified party and a lot of momentum. With both parties there is a lot of pressure to change your vote to the person who won to make it look like one big happy family.

>discovered that there were numerous >bloggers saying the same basic >things and making Obama appear to be >the worst possible choice to lead >our country. Worse than GW Bush >even. How could this be?

Well it is the Internet there are people with all kinds of wacky ideas. Some of them hate Obama. Some of them like of Obama. Some of them think George Bush was a great president.

12tequilas said...

Okay, I must ask you where your quote is from. I know I should know....

But...isn't is possible that HRC had enough delegates, but then someone in power (who shall remain nameless but whose initials are Howard Dean), orchestrated a big ol' plan in which "ve have vays of making you vote"?? It's not impossible, is it? Hmmm?

Linda said...

Here is another salient point - do you believe those kinds of things wouldn't have happened if Hillary got the nomination? If so, isn't that a bit naive?

Also, if Hillary got the nomination, wouldn't there have been a little less focus on the extraneous aspects of Palin and a little more focus on specific political aspects?

12tequilas said...

In this particular case, there was an effort to get Hillary out of the picture even though she had the popular vote. At least, that is the theory. I don't get how all this works--I AM naive (regarding this subject). I already said that. And I don't think it's possible to speculate how treatment of Palin might have differed. It's hard to say.

Linda said...

Yeah, I'm just proposing what if she was in the picture? What if she was nominated? I think those things would have happened. But, I differ from other people here. I wouldn't have minded Hillary. Though I didn't like her stance on a few things, I would have supported her.