The Multiple AmericasAs I mention in my previous post, there's was a big stink between John Aravosis and his readers and it's my opinion that both John and some of this complainers are off base as hell. Who is more offbase, in my opinion, is John Aravosis. He wonders:
I've noticed over the years a decided fear of money, hatred of money, or at least discomfort of money by some people on the left.
Whether it's concern over the heads of liberal non-profits or big corporations making too much money, or snarky comments I get whenever I try to raise money off the site or, God forbid, actually take a vacation, there's a certain disdain amongst a certain segment of the left for having or spending money in any way beyond bare subsistence, and I'm trying to figure out why.
I recall back when the WaPo suspended comments on their blog, John and a score of other A-list liberal bloggers went ballistic over Howell and Brady's intellectual dishonesty. When Howell and Brady, in the MSM's own patented and predictable method of pure sactimony, dared to ask why they were getting attacked by bloggers, the bloggers justifiably responded by pointing out the very answer to that very question laid beneath Howell and Brady's own beak. Isn't it now ironic that for John Aravosis -- being one of the largest read, most successful, A-list bloggers among the left -- has to ask such a question when the answer is right under his own beak:
John has a joint law degree and masters in foreign service from Georgetown, where he studied under former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. He is an avid writer, and in addition to writing THE LIST, he has worked as a stringer for the Economist magazine, and for years was the US Politics Guide at About.com.
John's policy experience includes stints in the US Senate, the World Bank, and the Children's Defense Fund. John is also an occasional TV pundit, having appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews, ABCNews World News Tonight, CNN, Court TV, and more. John speaks five languages and has visited or worked in 28 countries.
When some members of John's audience reads the bold part, the gears in their head start turning. And who can blame them? Let's face it - a person with a joint law degree and a masters degree along with experiance in the U.S. Senate, The World Bank, and the CDF is a person that probably got paid very handsomely for those gigs (that person would HAVE to be paid handsomely to afford living in the overpriced hell-hole of Washington D.C. for 20 years), isn't going to be standing in a welfare and emergency food commodities line anytime soon, and could easily score gainful employment damn near anywhere in the world at the drop of an orchid petal or a Floridian chad.
As a result, those readers might think, "This guy sure as hell doesn't really need to fuckin' blog for a living" whenever John beats the fundraising drum. From there, they might ask, "Why in the hell is he?!?" Hmmm. Good question and I don't think activism alone will suffice as a decent enough answer as I suspect a growing majority of the American people are about as fed up with rightwing "pretender class" Americans as they are of leftwing "pretender class" Americans ...
Those wheels really start rotating like Scotty McClellan on a Sit-and-Spin when they read the following paragraph from John's first rant:
I was raised a good capitalist boy in a good immigrant home in Chicago, my family worked hard to put us in a nice suburban home with nice suburban schools, and the occasional family vacation out east or out west, and you know, I liked it. I liked it when I got to do my junior year abroad. I liked it when I saved up enough money to visit Europe on my own. And when I did well enough in school to get summer jobs in Paris and Buenos Aires, both in the same summer, I liked that too. This isn't stuff I'm ashamed of, it's stuff I've earned and I'm proud of accomplishing. And it's all stuff that money helped me do.
Right here it all is, cleary under his beak and yet he has to ask why?!?
The very reason why there's a growing animosity towards money among the Left is directly linked to the Lefts own lockstep to the right over the past 10-15 years under the auspices of the DLC's pro-capitalist, pro-business cretin agenda -- an agenda that got personified by Bill Clinton's 8 year reign as President. Clinton was nothing more than a moderate Conservative Republican wrapped in Democratic Party rhetoric. As a result, Democrats also began to believe and adopt some of insensitive right-wing jargon that castigated and alienated their own base -- poor people, the elderly, the uneducated, whole or broken families on welfare, etc. as if thier lot in life was of their own fault for not going along with the status-quo's rightward march, prostating themselves at the feet of Capitalism in much the same way Muslims prostate themselves before Allah.
As Dr. Gerry Lower explains:
Under capitalism's dominion ... liberalism has had to accommodate so much greed-inspired nonsense [that] liberalism is as dead-lost as conservatism is dead-wrong.
Such greed-inspired nonsense always appears in the rantings and ravings of not only corruptive and belligerent Republican conservative capitalist shills but also amongst the politically-correct bourgeois Liberal Democratic capitalist shills. Thus, since John confesses to be a capitalist, it's no surprise he sees himself as deserving of everything he has made, or acquired, or did. Those who dare dissent with him? John channels Neil Boortz:
But I can imagine some people on the left thinking that if you don't live like Ralph Nader, on a cot in your dingy old office ...
For those who aren't participating in this, yet again, as usual, bitch-fest about how all liberals are supposed to live like cappuchin monks, this comment isn't for you.
And as I've said many times, I don't plan on living like a monk to fulfill some weird cumbaya dream some of you have of all Democrats being poor and sad and stuck at home all day whining about how bad the world is.
Again, Dr. Gerry Lower goes all surgical:
Like wealthy conservatives, wealthy liberals see themselves as deserving of everything they have managed to acquire under capitalism. Their children deserve the very best educations in private schools, often times spending more money per year to educate one child than millions of working parents can earn in a year. For that matter, a good SUV can cost more than two working parents can make in a year. Then, of course, there is the vacation home, the sail boat, etc.
In other words, both conservative and liberal capitalism survives at the expense of poor working people, a fact of capitalism that has stifled meaningful human progress in America for half a century. Liberal capitalism is still capitalism. It abides the ludicrous right wing notion that sharing and socialism are on the path to hell on earth. It implicitly champions the ludicrous notion that competition and capitalism's corruption are not on the path to hell on earth.
The problem here is self-evident -- whether it's was Reaganomics or Clintonomics, only a small handfull of hard-working people saw their lot in life improve -- improvements that came only at the expense of those at the very bottom. Same can be said with Bush's cheap imitation of Reaganomics today. Now with a totally compromised Republican "Culture of Corruption" playing footsie with a knowingly complicit and therefore equally compromised Democratic "Culture of Complacency", a growing number of the Democratic base that marched rightward along with the capitalist, pro-business DLC status-quo are alienated and pissed off.
The targets of their ire? Money. Mammon. They see it has having way too much influence, way too much power, and even Molly Ivins agrees with them. Like her, they've had it with capitalism's over-indulgence about as much as they had it with fundamentalist Christianity's belligerence. Of course, their animosity is going to bleed over into the blogosphere. Hence it really shouldn't be a surprize to John Aravosis that when he - a self-professed capitalist - flaunts his adventures right out in the open, it's going to get attacked. John's answer to the problem? He borrows the GOPs "Slime And Defend" with a side order to Filet Au Troll Almondaine:
Peter, you have no idea what you're talking about. I'll put my experience as an agent of change up against yours any day. What have you done lately? Tell me about your spine, then let's talk.
First off, if you think I'm a Washington outsider you really haven't read my resume. I went to Gtown, have been here 20 years, worked for a Senator, worked at the World Bank, worked at the children's defense fund, did an internship with Zbigniew Brzezinksi, the state department, and on and on and on. I've traveled to 28 countries, speak 5 languages, have met heads of state and more.
I am not some regular guy from Topeka, sorry to disappoint you, and have never claimed to be. In fact, it's all of my experience that makes me who I am today. That makes me effective at what I do today. You have got to be kidding if you think I'm good at what I do because I'm not tainted by seeing and touching and feeling day to day life in Washington. Gimme a break, I live here and have for 20 years. I'm good at what I do because of the 20 years experience I've had living in this town.
You might be wondering who is the troll. I'll give you a hint: trolls have a tendency to drag you down to their level and then beat you over the head repeatedly with their "experiance".
Am I saying John is trolling is own blog?
You bet your ass, I am.
However, only a complete and utter fool would be touting their political experiance in this age as a means of defending themselves. Newsflash John: All the political experiance in the world shouldn't help one single Republican or Democrat in Washington D.C. right this second score an election win later this year since I suspect that the majority of Americans are convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that the experianced fuckers are the problem -- Left or Right!
When you've got mass corruption with one party (Rethugs) followed by a paralyzed and complacent opposition (Democrats), you can just toss experiance out the window with the Constitution because an inexperianced bastard can come along, framing the incumbent's strength (e.g. experiance) as part and parcel of the morass thus turning it into a weakness, and ultimately ending up sending the experianced politician on the first packiderm or jackass out of town.
It's ironic considering that, in order to combat the rising tide of animosity (and to avoid rightwing talking points sticking to the wall), the A-list liberal bloggers such as John, Markos, and a myriad of others are trying their damned to evangelize the pissed off masses into party unity all the while cashing in on capitalism themselves with their very own respective blogs, hoping the dickens that their readers will ignore the utter self-righteousness of it. Some of them have. But when Billmon addressed that very issue a while back in an L.A. Times op-ed pulling back the ol' curtain, it even earned him a few rakes over the coals:
Even as it collectively achieves celebrity status for its anti-establishment views, blogging is already being domesticated by its success. What began as a spontaneous eruption of populist creativity is on the verge of being absorbed by the media-industrial complex it claims to despise ... and having seen blogs I admired mutate into glorified billboards, and having witnessed the emergence of the "sponsored" blog (in which the blogger is literally an employee of, or contractor to, a corporate owner), I can see who's likely to have the last laugh.
Although Billmon today calls much of that op-ed "unadulterated myopia", I believe he's unfairly short-changing himself, especially when it comes to my second reason -- a reason that has me pissed off to no abandon at just about every A-list liberal blog out there: Why in the hell is it that with John Aravosis's vast experiance in political matters along with the combined power of partisan activist A-list blogs such as DailyKos, MyDD, Firedoglake, Glenn Greenwald -- some of which are loaded to the gils with blogads, getting scores of visitors every day and cashing in on them via contributions and what not, and recieving exposure in the MSM or on C-SPAN -- can get shown up and schooled totally out of the blue by two spanish DJs responsible for getting the feet of 500,000 people beating the pavement?!?
Markos gave the answer to that shit last September:
We are a media-saturated world, bombarded on all angles by information. A bunch of people marching in the street no longer have any serious emotional effect on media consumers.
Heh, I wonder if he's plucking that crow yet ...
In all of John Aravosis's childish thrashings, he only managed to hit the nail a few times on the head. First, the picture Katherine "Tits" Harris. Although I agree with the nay-sayers wholeheartedly that she's an absolute, worthless, evil, inhumane twat whose actions are greatly responsible for the blighted, over-privileged assholes in the White House right now, they are really offbase about being totally pissed at John for having his picture taken with her.
John is correct about those nay-sayers not being open to nuance and too blinded by partisan rage. Forgetting all about how "camp" the picture is (and it is indeed very "camp"), the implications of that picture could literally destroy the political future of Katherine Harris at a later time. Imagine that picture of Harris schmoozing with John Aravosis -- an openly and reknowned gay activist -- suddenly showing up within moments of Harris engergizing the wingnut, gay-bashing, Fundy Fristian base?!? When those Fundy Fristians see that, they're gonna want an explaination from Harris. Considering that the wingnut Christians of the GOP are too militant and partisan for their own good, she won't have an explaination that'll appease them.
So, yes - had I been John, I'd done the same thing. I'd have swallowed my bile and had my picture taken with Harris and posted it here on TBT. But, right below that picture would also be a series of censored photos detailing the long shower of gasoline, mineral spirits, and brake clean I baptized myself with in order to cleanse the filth of being within her presence. Contingency keeps the audience happy.
The second nail he hit on the head is the interesting fact that Conservative Republicans such as Harris and Newt Gingrich turn out to be charming people one-on-one. Although it's a shock to John's naysayers, I beleive it. Why? First off, nobody buys snake oil from a brooding stiff. Secondly, I've got a lot of Conservative Republican friends -- some of the most kindest, happy-go-lucky motherfuckers around. My liberal friends are just like me -- cold, brooding, gruff on the outside but once they trust you, they're just as decent. Also, Newt Gingrich to me is a lot of things, all of them rather negative save for one: Newt is not to be underestimated at all. Newt will not compliment anyone on how well they handled themselves on TV unless it was true. If you did good, Newt will be happy to tell you. If you sucked, Newt will happy to tell you. Had I appeared on TV and whether or not I rocked or if I bombed, I would grudingly listen to anything Newt may have to say to me afterwards. Doesn't mean I'd accept it or not. But I certainly would listen. Why? Because he's doing the same thing I should be doing -- keep thy friends close and thy enemies even closer.
Nevertheless, I can't help but feel the same degree of alienation towards John Aravosis that some readers felt after watching both rants unfold on his blog over the past year and I get a sense that these rants are nothing more than ways for John to drive a wedge between his readers and therefore weed out the non-capitalistic liberals from the capitalistic liberals, the latter being more company to his personal liking (or perhaps he assumes since they're capitalistic liberals, they got money!) In that regard, I no longer blame anyone that demands refunds for their contributions and/or stops reading John's blog.
That leads me to another contention of mine in all of this -- John has stated numerous times thoughout his donation drives that he doesn't want people too poor to donate. He's adamant about that and I commend him for it but here's the problem: what if someone too poor to donate to John's blog gave to him anyway?
That question needs to be asked because of common sense. Sometimes, people don't listen to admonishments. My own 5 year old could admirably demonstrate that shit. Adults are good for it, too. See a big sign that says "NO RIGHT TURN ON RED" and what do they do? Attempt their fuckin' turn anyway only to slam on the brakes over a pedestrian that just djinned into existance out of nowhere and then have the gall to blame them for it. One double-axe handle to the hood later and there's a big fistfight right in the middle of the goddamn the road (I root for the pedestrian, even when I'm not the pedestrian).
Anyway, what if by reading John's work over a length of time, a poor liberal gets a wrong impression about John and thus has a deep convinction of some kind to donate to John's blog anyway (regardless of his admonishments for such people not to do so) and now, because of John's antics with these two rants, is totally alienated and let down?!? Afterall, John made this argument to his alienated former audience:
You have no idea with who and what I talked about last night, and you won't ever. But don't for a minute assume it didn't happen simply because you don't know about it.
Likewise, John shouldn't make the assumption that a liberal reader that was too poor to donate to him wouldn't despite his own admonishments against it. How would he know this doesn't happen? Just because John might assume that a poor liberal would listen to those admonishments doesn't mean they actually did. How does he know? Better yet, how he's gonna find out?!? There seems to be no real genteel way for John or any liberal blogger to go about asking, either.
RANDOM LIBERAL BLOGGER: "Aight! All welfare mooches?!? Off my blog -- Now! Out of my public library, too, unless you're on break!"
Yeah, that'll go over real well ...
Unless they confess to him in his e-mail or HaloScan, he won't ever know anymore so than his readers will ever know about the "who and what" he talked about at the Gala. See? That's the inherit problem in all assumptions -- could be accurate; could be false. It's also an inherit problem in general activism -- words are just as powerful as money is and it's not uncommon for an activist to unknowingly touch people in such a way that people would be willing to part with the last goddamned buck to their name.
Personally, I'm too poor to give to any blog and TBT will be going dark anyway within the next few weeks. If there was a way for me to pull in $800-1,200 a month with this blog for a little while, not only could I stick around but the bills could be kept up and still leave me with enough cash to line Bush's pockets for the gas required to look for a full-time job, perferably one that pays $9 or more an hour (can't live on anything less). I believe in full disclosure but the finacial situation of my life is too much for me to get into and the last thing I intended for TBT is to, unlike John Aravosis, make my own sorry ass THE story. It's been my experiance that the people who, like John himself, claim to want to be judged by their work but spared the judgment of how they live often end up being the first to dish out to me ration upon ration of the latter before I recieve a drop of the former (and that's not counting the rightwing Boortz-loving Freepers).
With all that said, there's been times where I would've given to John or any of the other A-list blogs if I had the cash to do because, although they won't really impress until they can pull off an actual physical, 1 million strong, protest against either Bush, the war, the shredding of the Constitution, the MSM's continued penchant for propaganda, etc. (and actually be in the sonofbitch instead of at home or at a net-cafe blogging about it), I do admire the work they do.
Alas, had I done so only to see another one of these self-righteous rants from John, the last thing I'd do is demand a refund from him because it would then be obvious to me that he needed the money worse than I did and I'd be more apt to hope that perhaps he'd use the money to buy himself a clue or an ounce of humility while I relish in the fact that it'd be the last dime he ever scored from me. In other words, when confronted by being used and minipulated, I find it more constructive in the long run to just shut up, wash my hands of the crook, and go back to work (if I've got work to even go to). Bitching about being used and manipulated doesn't turn back the clock; just turns up the blood pressure.
In closing, these last two morsels from John doesn't sit well with me:
I have a good friend in liberal politics who always worked too much. We're talking until midnight every evening. He was working on AIDS policy, civil rights, education, poverty, all the good stuff. But he refused to ever take time to smell the roses, let alone sleep. I remember telling him once "what's the point in fighting for a world you never plan to live in?"
Strange. As a independent moderate that identifies with the human rights values of socialism along with the liberty of libertarianism, I often find that middle to upper-middle class (how Orwellian is that horseshit?) liberals and democrats see me as nothing more than a convenient means to a political end. In other words, they'll all pretend to be fighting for me and hound at me for a little unity as long as we're in agreement but the moment I dissent, I'm too-far to the left, tearing the party apart, and must be regaled back the the basement with the rest of the fucking quakers for not being "a team player"; for not licking the asses of the bourgeois status-quo soon after my vote is filched. I ask myself a slightly different question that the one you posed your friend: "What's the point in living in a world surrounded by fools and hypocrites that are awfully selective on whom they're willing to fight for and the criteria they're willing to do it?!?"
If you love this country and this world so much, why do you so hate anyone who tries to enjoy it?
Because it makes me wonder at whose expense are they enjoying it at and that's something neither the corruptive Republicans, the complacent Democrats, nor their respective capitalistic supporters will never find out. In order to do so, they would have to do something they're not willing to do anytime soon: To think outside the box. To take a needle to their own myopic cul-de-sacs they've carved out for themselves under the dominion of big business and capitalism, shake their minds and thoughts free from being permeated by commerce and dung, and then choose to see an unglossed, un-retouched, and un-airbrushed picture of America they've not seen in a long, long time -- warts and all.
Notice I said "choose" as a qualifier -- most of them would rather choose not to. Hurricane Katrina took that choice from them. While John and his remaining supporters may relish at the idea that the rising tide of liberals that loathe and dispise money and capitalism hasn't taken hold on the majority of the Democratic party just yet, that is the keyword: Yet. When our soldiers come home from Iraq, the choice could be swept from the board again.
Fuel the fire for war
It's man against mankind
Bruises that they bear
Been beaten down with time
Innocent people suffer the loss
Your broken hope so close to the cross
Sometimes, you just don't know
How low ...
How low you can go...
So low it's sickening
Low ... Low
Show some mercy ...