This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Society Can't Handle The Truth

On every street in every city, there's a nobody who
dreams of being a somebody.

I first became aware of this basic fact a few decades ago after watching Taxi Driver. This was during my college days. Here are a few examples of what was going on around that time. Ted Kennedy went to South Africa and was shocked at what was happening there. Wars raged in Central America, while the Reagan Administration broke the Boland Amendment forbidding assistance to the evil Nicaraguan Contras. The dumbass satanic panic was in full blossom.

Anyway, to this day I remember one reaction to the Robert De Niro movie which epitomized the shallowness of many Americans. This other student started grumbling and opined that it was the worst movie she'd ever seen. She said no way was she going to stay for the ending. I asked her why. She said it made no sense, that it was unrealistic, that it painted a distorted view of America. It turned out she was a dumbass Republican. Coincidence? I think not.

Fast forward to July 22nd, 2010. A blogger named Donkeytale suggested I watch Chimes at Midnight with Orson Welles. I swear I tried, but after ten minutes, I realised I needed a different cup of tea. Oh boy, did I ever find something right up my alley.

The 1967 movie's title was Week End directed by Jean-Luc Godard not Picard.

Make it so, Number One

You the good readers must see this flick. I'm not going to dissect it. I'll just say it basically took a huge dump on so-called Western culture. It also had a style which one could mildly describe as unsettling to the viewer. That was the point. One was meant to become aware of how low we had fallen, from the French crimes against Algerians to the US ones against the Vietnamese.

Some numbnut a few years back named Francis Fukuyama claimed that we had reached the end of history. His schtick was that capitalism had won out, and liberal democracy was the final form of government.

Hey, people can keep their heads in the sand and ignore illegal wars, increases in unemployment, and environmental degradation at their own peril. Liberal democracy has taken us to the brink of 1984. If you don't think so, just take a quick looksie at the Washington Post's Top Secret America website. My brand of paranoia (socrates®) has hit the mainstream.

Bourgeoisie society has always deserved a metaphorical smack in the face. Luigi Pirandello got that job done with Six Characters in Search of an Author. There was Malcolm X. Howard Zinn delivered an anchor punch with A People's History of the United States. I'm sure we could brainstorm many more examples of folks who effectively spoke truth to power.

If one goes to the website to check out various reactions to Week End, one will see that there are many who responded precisely like that Republican chick did to Taxi Driver. The point that these people don't get is that one is supposed to end up with their stomach tied in knots. They are meant to have their world views rattled and end up disgusted with crass consumerism and the cultural wasteland which is the West. Too many people just don't get it, and that's why there are some like myself who are forced to become leftier than thou.

In 1969, Roger Ebert gave Week End four stars, or in other words, a thumbs up. I believe the last paragraph from his review says it all. (By the way, Week End is the European title, while Weekend is what it's called in Ameika.)
Godard also gives us an allegorical ending in which various animals and members of the cast are killed and eaten and other things. But by now we are totally lost in this new Godard universe. Everything makes sense, but nothing holds together. Are people talking to each other, or to us? What's going on? It's as bad as life.
Hopefully this movie isn't pulled off of youtube. I advise everyone to watch it. Here is part one followed with the link to get you to the rest of the movie.

link to part 2


socrates said...

America is considered anti-intellectual for a reason. I have confronted this myself on blogs. There's this guy supersoling, and he asked me to spell out what I was on about concerning election integrity fakes such as Brett Kimberlin, Larisa Alexandrovna, Brad Friedman, and others. I supplied him with links and many ideas. He still didn't have a clue.

Many people continue to link to crap websites such as BradBlog and Raw Story, because they are the kind of shallow idiots Godard was making fun of in Week End. He wasn't just pissed off with right wing fascists. Godard had issues with fake lefties too. He pictured them as sentimental and too willing to go along with whoever was in power. He would probably think of Fukuyama and other lefty-liberals as Al Giordano as the ultimate sell-outs.

Maybe some of the people posting negative reviews of Godard are astroturfers. Most of them are probably simply so full of themselves, that instead of admitting they don't understand something, they criticize it, like supersoling who is now known as the supergump of blog meta.

I'm checking out some other Godard movies. I found one called Made in U.S.A.. Again, you're going to want to watch movies at youtube as soon as possible. You never know if they're going to be deleted due to copyright laws.

That's a great movie. It's a piss take on Film Noir. Many assume just because Godard said so, that it was based on The Big Sleep. I don't think so. I think it was based more on a Richard Widmark one called Pickup on South Street. Yes, it had the take that a film like The Big Sleep was almost impossible to figure out. But the theme of spying and the fact that one of the charters was named Richard Widmark leads me to believe that was the film noir he was ridiculing the most. I haven't seen The Big Sleep, so maybe I am a bit off base. I've been looking at some dimestore reviews and have yet to see anyone mention the Widmark movie.

In short, Godard was in that in your face Pirandello mode. He taunted the audience to confront its own selfish, material lives, its conformity, and its need for linear thinking. He was mocking American culture with good reason. Walt Disney, one of his targets, was most certainly a scumbag pig. What I got most from Made in U.S.A. was the idea that film noir is ultimately symbolic of an American public oblivious to the bullshit methodologies by which its government and military operate. Godard was trying to tell us that there's more to life than food, movies, sex, and rock and roll. Most people are too brain-dead to understand much more beyond an eighth grade level. Most people do indeed suck as does Hollywood and the immoral state apparatus which I see as Amerika the ugly.

anonymouse said...

"Socrates Can't Handle Shakespeare?"

Well. You really need a tour guide or a study guide before you venture into the bard. Otherwise you get lost in the poetry without getting the context and meaning. I spent like one quarter at UCLA as a yute in the film school rookie league and was inundated with Will S. And Orson W.

A very bad copy of Chimes was screened in a class about Literature and film.

Also, took Eng. 1 and Henry IV and V were both on the docket. These were overtly political as well as generational plays which resonated with the times. The Prof was excellent and managed to inform as well as entertain with his classroom monologues.
Oddly, 25 years later while flying on SW Airlines and reading their inflight magazine, I stumbled upon a throwaway article by this very same Prof, something about how he met his wife by chance on a SW flight. Immediately, I knew it was the same guy.

He even mentioned how he had been a young slacker asst. Prof in the late 60s early 70s when college Profs still tended to dress professionally and he wore sweatshirts. Yup.

He also introduced me to Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" an essay that completely foretold our currently disgraceful age of the political lie.

Your essay shadows the recent disgraceful kerfluffle regarding the Shirley Sherrod incident where the Obomber Admin reacted w extreme political cowardice.

More than anything, Obomber is a neuter. Unless and until he grows a pair he is toast.

Still, I believe the Tea Party Movement will self destruct by election day with timely assistance from the lamestream media.

If not, and the lying liars of the farright get rewarded and take over the R Party as result, then I'm punching my ticket for another land beyond the horizon.

The Bush tax cuts need to be eliminated on the wealthy and Obomber had better expend all his working capital either getting it done or pinning its defeat on the R Party in the process---and do so before election day 2010.

Failing that, the Bush tax cuts need to expire completely.

If Obomber compromises and let's the Bush tax cuts remain for the rich even on a short term basis then I'm done with him.

He needs not placate the right on this issue. He needs to fight and draw the clear distinction.

socrates said...

Well, there you go again. [/Ronald Reagan]

You've made a post too good to just rattle off a simpleton response. Of course, it's an uncomfortable 90 degrees again. This is the most annoying summer ever. Now I have more of this unpaid work to do, I must say. {:>(

I admit my dislike of Shakespeare is my own problem. He had to have been a genius. I can also see how someone into both him and Welles would be on cloud nine to find Welles' Shakespeare schtickola.

The time period simply goes too far back for me. I don't mind later 19th century into early twentieth, because it's really only a hop, skip, and a jump to get from there into the 60s, 70s, and really to who'd a thunk it could ever be 2010.

I used to like Benny Hill. But whenever he'd start singing, I'd scream at the tv. I like Orson Welles. I like Joseph Cotten and others he worked with. But his doing Falstaff was like Benny Hill singing.

I don't begrudge you or anyone else into it. I'm not going to be a hypocrite like many are with Jean-Luc Godard, just because it's over me noggin.

Alas, it is all about the human condition. We might stumbleth upon pitfalls and quarryblocks, yet dost one shan't despair. Where there is an itch goest the rub.

Now to the politics.

Describing Obama as neuter is fairly clever. My picture is of him as good cop to GW's bad cop.

There aren't many Frank Serpico's, those who transcend old boy networks, which is what I'm getting at.

You're clearly doing a better job than me keeping an eye on current events. Maybe you could do an entry once a month linking to what you believe are the big stories and then add in a comment or two or how many you feel the need to express.

I'm hard-core cynical at this point. I'm like Godard thinking the audience, i.e. the electorate, we the people, are the problem.

It's ironic you mention Shirley Sherrod. I had never heard of her, so I thank you for this. I'll get to the irony in a moment.

So basically an African-American got canned for not even acting on her alleged racism is the gist. Maybe you could spell it out. It looks like she helped Whitey save his farm anyway, so what's the fricken problem, why did she get canned? This wasn't like Don Imus talking 'bout nappy haired ho-hos or whatever he said.

And now the zeitgeist runs with this instead of holding Obama's feet to the fire about tax cuts for the rich? Now you should understand DonkeyMan why I held your feet to the fire. I think we and many others are reaching a lowpoint, one of an utter lack of hope with politics. What is going on here? Third party or "renegade" Dem or Repub numbnuts like Ron Paul and Kucinich are never going to win. In certain states in 2000, especially Florida, a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush. In 2008, only a fake lefty would have rooted against Obama, once he had the nomination. And now what are we left with as President? A fake, fricken sassafrassa lefty. We can't seem to ever win. The two major parties are so worried about the center, they take their core constituents for granted. Thus good cop, bad cop goes on and on.

socrates said...

And now to the irony part. I haven't the time to figure out more on Shirley Sherrod. What I did see is that she was "outed" by some numbnut, wingnut blogger named Andrew Breitbart.

Now here's your irony, your what a small zeitgeist it actually is kind of moment. BradBlog and some Breitbart clone have been going back and forth for the last year throwing mud at each other. It's so boring, I really don't know much more than that. It revolves around ACORN. The irony or maybe coincidence is the better word, is that I mentioned BradBlog above. Then somehow you brought up a story brought about by Brad's target. Perhaps this is your revenge for my forgetting you had recommended Touch of Evil.

Oh yeah, the point I wanted to make. BradBlog versus Breitbart is the poor man's version of Huffington versus Mary Matalin or James Carville versus Ann Coulter.

I agree with you that the TeaNuts aren't going anywhere. I also agree that Obama needs to get progressive well before the elections. He's generating a Jimmy Carter-like image of himself as a malaise fostering Prez. Democrats are going to get bounced out in the mid-term elections like with what happened to Teddy Kennedy's seat. Incumbents are in trouble, and right now there are more Democrats in those seats than Republicans. The same goes for Obama's re-election prospects. He's a fool of epic proportions, if he doesn't understand that it's the econmy stupid. America is stupid, so he can get away with continuing Bush policies with the good cop facade. But if unemployment rates don't fall and the minority rich aren't forced to pay the bill, he will not win a second term.

As for BradBlog, if he's a lefty, I'm a Maoist. He isn't, and I'm not.

On a side note, (Brett) Friedman-Kimberlin finally dumped his neonazi supporting moderator Agent99. Perhaps it was a coincidence that this action was taken after I exposed her and TLNL exposed the people she runs with. I don't think so. Yeah, I'm talking small potatoes. But within this small pond of the zeitgeist, the good guys won. Canadian Bob just left a new post on his Project Monarch thingie. He has done good work exposing some numbnut fraud named Nick Bryant.

In a way, we are all just mini-Godards. We try, and we don't even seem to make a dent in things, but I think we do. I'd hate to go back to arguing with you, and I sent an invite to your email address to return to blogging. I hope I got that right. Look, we are all human. We make mistakes. Yet, we also make great comments a good portion of the time, because we are ultimately sincere. Others are in this ballgame for opposite goals. BradBlog is in this to make money through his various hoaxes. He got exposed, and that's why he stabbed me in the back by providing personal info to a cyberstalker. I'm now getting ideas that would make more sense in response to Bob's new post. Thanks for your time and consideration. Sincerely yours, socrates®

the_last_name_left said...

S: my dislike of Shakespeare


What is there to dilsike? Oh wanton wag, thou elder scavenge of fools breath?

Obama should spend his capital on fucking the right good and proper. It isn't gonna happen. He wouldn't have been elected if so. The public are cowards - and fools.

socrates said...

There are a lot of things I don't like. I'm human like anyone else. I'm not a big fan of poetry. Perhaps that explains my dislike for Shakespeare. I admit it is over my head. I can't relate to what I don't unferstand. It's too much work

This is why standardised tests are so stupid. We have much in common, two eyes and whatever, but I agree with Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. There's no point in flunking out kids who for one reason or another can't pass the English or math tests. I'm not saying don't try to teach them those things. Just don't deny them a diploma, if they work hard but can't figure it out.

There are plenty of things I don't like. It doesn't mean I am unaware this is subjective. I don't like olives, anchovies, or cartoons. But many people do like those things.

Obama is not going to f*ck the right, because he is part and parcel of it. Clinton developed the formula for Democrats winning the White House. It's about ignoring progressives and lefties. Obama reminds me of that Robert Redford movie The Candidate. The guy said what we wanted to hear. He was packaged as Mr. Hope. It worked, but such a cynical approach does not lead to long lasting power. FDR won four terms, because he took the necessary steps to get America out of the Depression.

Obama has no excuses. He is well-educated. He's not an idiot like GW Bush. He's not a so-called Blue Blood, elitist pig. He should know better than to play it safe. Damn, what a disappointment. He's making Bill Clinton look pretty good. I thought Obama would be more like him. Not even close.

Anonymouse said...

Obomber is of the middle. TLNL is wright. Its not so much that Obomber is of the right, its that the Amerikkkan public is either of the wright, or rejects the left, which is different.

The left is shrinking, divided into opposed groups by issues, race and class status. The Left is cowering behind the infoboobtubes, essentially doing nothing.

Obomber is not the fault, neither are the stars.

The Left needs to rally a huge campaign against re-instating the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy, even if the R Party blocks re-instating the Bush tax cuts on the middle class and poor as a result.

Make the R Party show its true colours each and every chance you get, is my take.

Of course, Obomber may take the middle road too here as well and extend the Bush tax cuts for all as a compromise.

He needs to draw a line in the sand here. I'm not holding my breath.

socrates said...

Donkeytale is quite astute concerning one breed of fake lefty. He's talking about specific types he came across through posting at Daily Kos, My Left Wing, Booman, and then Political Flesh Feast and its disgusting replacements. Dave Weintraub was late to the game figuring out it is some form of fakery, but he made up for lost time.

What I'm going to ask donkeytale is to bear with me and this post without his propensity to make things so personal. I'm not looking for a flamefest. Been there, done that. I simply wish to point out that he's missing a whole lot of fake leftiness in his analysis.

For one thing, the American people are not predominantly right wing. There are sections of the country which are. Arizona and Utah quickly come to mind. I believe the frustrating nature of presidential politics is two-fold.

First, the electoral college is a very undemocratic way to decide the top dog. Putting the issue of election fraud to the side, in 2000, Al Gore got 50,999,897 votes. Bush received 50,456,002. GW Bush thus became President with less than a majority. That's preposterous.

Secondly, and again putting aside the question of election fraud via possible black box voting, there is voter suppression. That can be done in many ways. Gerrymandering is the most blatant example of that, where politicians change district boundaries to ensure being elected. Now while that doesn't relate to who wins the Presidency, perhaps the electoral college can be seen as a powerful relative of the gerrymandering family. There is vote caging. In Ohio 2004, many votes were not cast because minority wards were not given enough equipment. I'm sure there are other factors involved. My point is America is not as conservative as it may seem. The minority are becoming the majority, but will their voices be counted through votes?

As for tax reform, it is beyond ridiculous that the rich continue to be given a free ride. The wealthy have shown that all they care about is themselves. There is no trickle down effect, ever. The rich need to be taxed. I believe the first 20,000 anyone makes should not be. Perhaps 30,000 depending on the cost of living and inflation. Minimum wages need to be set at a good wage, and jobs must be available for all willing to work.

Obama should not add any taxes to middle class or lower income people. The rich need to pay the bill. If Obama would do this, he would be close to ensuring a second term.

The funny thing I notice about donkeytale is he never really comes out against illegal wars and the corrupt Military-Industrial Complex. Is calling Obama Obomber meant to imply that stance? It's real easy to out fake lefties like Fairleft who claims Richard Nixon was the last liberal President. It's easy to out a MaryScott O'Connor who wants tax cuts for the rich yet claims to be a lefty. But to describe such people as representative of the real left is way off-base. Nonetheless, I do agree they are a form of fake lefty, and donkeytale has been correct to go after them.

You cut that Military-Industrial Complex, and there will be plenty of money to revitalise America.

I don't see any comment from donkeytale about The Washington Post report on Top Secret America. Now he wants Obama to raise taxes on the Middle Class? He's correct that the Bush tax scheme needs to be rolled back. But if he raises taxes on everyone, he will not win a second term. People tend to be stupid. They'll notice the $200 given to them by Bush, but they'll miss how much money they have lost in many other areas, as say the value of their homes. Obama is treading into Martha Coakley territory, imho.

Anonymouse said...

When I state suppositions of what might occur as a result of the political process, this is not the same as endorsing what might occur.

Your ascribing an advocacy on my part may or may not be flaming but its not conducive to an intelligent, open discussion.

You seem to have great difficulty parsing any complex commentary at all without trying to nitpick in order to pin some kind of nefarious advocacy/label on your correspondent. Why dont you allow first for the likelihood that you are misunderstanding as result of miscommunication or misapprehension or both.

You too often practice a form of ideological close-mindedness not too far removed from the overly simplistic diatribes we are all so used to on the sqwuak box and the infoboobtubez.

If its labeled "left" then its 100% good and if its labeled "right" then its 100% bad. This is a false dichotomy.

My take on the populace of the US is that its rejected leftism, not so much intellectually (most people dont know or care to intellectualize politics) but largely a reaction to leftist intellectuals having culturally rejected the average Amerikkkan. What else would you expect the average American to feel?

See, its not so simple or even as much about issues. People resent pointy headed intellectuals. Its the form of elite which is most not like "them."

This isnt the same as saying the Average Americans are rightwing. I thought I said that. Listen up to some complexity, some grey area.

Most people are in the middle of a vast political apathy. They dont think in terms of "left" or right". They think in terms of "whats for dinner?".

They are too often easily led by the nose and the right wing has tilted them rightward in time. Age has tilted them right. Fear has tilted them right. Its human nature. All aging societies tend tilt right. The tendency is to protect and glorify what you think you have while you watch it leaving.

This is the natural flow of human nature. Study history of civilizations. "The Decline of the West." Spengler was not a lefty intellectual social scientist but that doesnt invalidate his erudition.

Not at all. He was a visionary. A revolutionary, every bit as much as Marx, Freud and donkeytale.

Anonymouse said...

So, no, I'm not "for" increasing taxes on the working and middle class and have consistently been anti-tax cuts for the wealthy ever since Reagan inventd the concept back when you were in grade school.

I believe tax rates should be increased to fully fund social programs and create jobs, jobs, jobs.

I don't believe a bloated public employment sector is the answer either. Which is what we have today.

Here is where we differ. The antagonism towards the blotaed corrupted govt is not 100% without a factual basis. That doesnt make me a tea bagger. But you will say I am one.

Because you are simplistic. There are a multitude of problems. These problems are not zero sum soluble.

There are problems with capitalism and there are problems with socialism.

See if you can follow this: The Bush tax cuts which were across the socioeconomic class board are due to expire in 2011. True, they help the wealthy primarily.

Obomber wants to keep the cuts on those making less than like $200K and raise them on the wealthy.

Of course, he will likely be blocked by his own party and the R's from making this a reality, although I think the Demotards can pass such legislation with reconciliation (ie avoid the filibuster) because the legislation impacts the budget.

In fact, this is how Bush and the R's passed the tax cuts in the first place.

My advocacy is that Obomber should use every once of his being to pass such legislation.

If he fails it will be because he's too afraid to use reconciliation or he uses it and wnuff of his own Demotards vote against it.

In that event, the failure to pass legislation to reinstate higher taxes on the wealthiest, then the next best step IMHO is to let the Bush tax cuts expire on everybody.

Because more revenue is needed by govt. Clearly.

As for my stance vis a vis the MIC we are on the same page: cut it by 80%.

I'm antiwar. Dude. I dodged the draft in Niet nam. You now my stance: the only way to engage the fake left on the war issue is to put some skin back in the game: reinstate the draft!

I find the fake left's antipathy towards the draft inconsistent and also the exact reason why no one cares enough to activate politically to stop the wars of choice, which are bankrupting the country.

socrates said...

I'm not ignoring you. It's late and muggy again and I need some time to respond. I like how you measured your words. Maybe we can get a good dialogue going. By the way, did you get the invite to blog here? I remembered you having a gmail account. I hope I got that right. If you don't want to, no big deal. Thanks for not signing in with the spam words. It was a pet peeve of mine. Anonymouse is cool. Thanks for being consistent with it for when you don't log in.

socrates said...

Too bad this feels like work at times. The weather stinks. It's hard to think straight, when it's this hot and muggy every day.

On second thought, I don't really care what donkeytale wrote. There are better things to do. I kind of don't like him.

Anonymouse said...

Whatever, dude.

This just proves you are not really about discussion or getting at the truth. Its all about "like" and "dislike."

Personalities. Juniour high school.

Maybe you can't respond because I zeroed in on some truths, AFTER you (as usual) misrepresnted my earlier comment into an attack on "donkeytale's" politics.

Sure, it was passive aggressive, sure you stated you didnt want a flame war but you went right after me anyway, using falsehoods and misrepresentations to support your attack. Couldn't help yourself, could you?

Socrates can't handle the truth. The biggest hypocrite of all on the fake left crashes and burns again.

And ---ha ha---- you started it.


Time to reset comment moderation again, isn't it?

I'm done with this forever anti-intellectual circle jerking mode you seem to be stuck in.

Have fun watching old movies.


socrates said...

Yes, please go away and never post here again. That would be appreciated.