"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It's all about the narrative

Random thoughts.

Yes, had the attacker been Muslim, the story would have been told very differently.  Why can't Muslims be mentally ill?  Perhaps the same reason white people with guns or hoodies are not inherently dangerous, but black people are?

If Mexican drug cartels were videotaping their beheadings and using them to promote their ideology (free market rules!  Especially a wholly unregulated market!), they would be ISIS and we'd be afraid of them, especially since they are separated from us by a shallow body of water that really isn't very wide.

And if Ted Cruz were not elegant and intelligent, maybe people would have noticed how bored the students at Liberty University were, rather than describing them as enthralled, because the narrative is that Cruz is an eloquent speaker.

Frankly, I spend an hour a day talking extemporaneously.  I never use notes, and I seldom prepare my remarks.  This doesn't make me eloquent or brilliant; it just means I'm doing my job.  Martin Luther King was a powerful speaker.  Barack Obama is a powerful speaker.  Both men could sway a nation, could persuade people to listen to them.  Ted Cruz can't even hold the interest of students required to be in attendance at his speech, or a group of firefighters; but still the narrative has it that he's a powerful speaker.

He's also really smart; although I've yet to see where that has gotten him, that arrogance and overwhelming self-confidence haven't.  Indeed, if you changed the narrative to describing Ted Cruz as Marjoe, I think that story would fit better and make more sense of his actions.  Cruz clearly loves attention, and he craves the money that, I mean running....for President will bring him.  Nothing to keep him from raising campaign funds (one estimate was that he'd have to raise $50 million just to have a chance against Jeb Bush.  Anybody think Cruz can seriously raise that kind of cash?) and keeping the difference when it all goes south, as it inevitably will.

And yet that isn't the narrative, despite a history of such grift as outlined by Ron Perlstein.  That isn't the narrative, so it doesn't happen that way.  The same way ISIS is an "existential threat" to America because of social media, and the Mexican drug cartels are invisible and harmless.

Ted Cruz has no more interest in governing from the White House than he does in legislating from the Senate.  He doesn't even want to "enshrine" his ideas into law.  Like his evangelical preacher father, Cruz just wants people to pay attention to him.  He just wants to talk to adoring crowds and rouse them to some inchoate passion that he won't be around to be responsible for.  Rafael Cruz has never pastored a church, never stayed around to get involved in the messy politics of a local congregation, never lingered long enough to put anything into practice beyond his exhortations on morality and salvation.  He deals in vague and glittering generalities, as does his son.  Neither of them wants to get their hands dirty actually trying to help people in their everyday lives, of dealing with the consequences of what they preach.  Sen. Cruz doesn't even want to help corporations all that much.

He just wants people to pay attention to him, and reward him with their applause.  He's always looking for the next crowd to preach to, the next group to grift.  That's his true narrative; but since that one makes politics a most unseemly business, especially the holy pursuit of the highest office in the land; and since politics is now our secular religion, with the POTUS our supreme religious leader who is supposed to have the powers of Green Lantern, if he would but use the Presidential power ring; we must all take Ted Cruz seriously.

Even though he is no more serious than Mike Huckabee or Sara Palin

P.S.  This is really kinda funny.


Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

I heard on NPR this morning, one of the places where I learned in 2008 that the state of Hawaii was "exotic" and someone born there under suspicion of not really being an American that it's OK that Cruz was born in Canada. Thus showing that a right-wing Republican gets the rules bent for him even by the "liberal" media.

The Daily Show clip is great. I don't know what effect it will have but I wouldn't put my bets on Cruz getting far with the Bush Crime Family fielding a candidate. I suspect his run is to promote himself and he made his announcement so early because he knows he'll get knocked out fairly early in the real primary season, he's trying to go for maximum attention before that happens.

It's entertaining how many liberals are shocked when they find out the putrid product of our most elite universities include members of the far-right ruling class. That they expect anything different, with, literally, centuries of counter-indications proves their susceptibility to propaganda and PR.

I expect Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and, who knows, she might make a good president, but I'm kind of tired with the Ivy League stranglehold on our politics and justice system.

10:36 AM  
Blogger trex said...

"Like his evangelical preacher father, Cruz just wants people to pay attention to him. He just wants to talk to adoring crowds and rouse them to some inchoate passion that he won't be around to be responsible for. Rafael Cruz has never pastored a church...never lingered long enough to put anything into practice beyond his exhortations on morality and salvation...."

Whited sepulchres with greased hair and expensive suits, full of dead men's bones....

4:25 PM  
Blogger ntodd said...

Great, now I'm singing Godspell again...

6:17 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...


Alas, alas for you!

8:00 PM  
Blogger ntodd said...


9:48 PM  

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