One standing cliche of horror movies is the old trope of the menaced babysitter being scared out of her most-beautiful wits by a killer via telephone calls, which as turns out, are being made “from inside the house.”
The just concluded debt ceiling slasher/torture porn production in DC conjures up that same bromide as the killers are not from some far land, or calling from a telephone booth miles away, but instead are deeply-breathing with big, scary knifes right inside the house — except in this case, they’re not hidden away or in closets, but right smack in our most-beautiful collective faces.
Screaming hysterically, though, won’t help at all.
(Illustration found here).
Years ago, I was endowed with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times — back in her W days — and even kind of hot a decade ago.
Lately, however, she’s been through too much fluff.
In her column yesterday, though, she compared the debt ceiling fiasco with slasher/horror movies and has some decent/humorous words on the subject.
A couple of snips:
Most of the audience staggered away from this slasher flick still shuddering.
We continue to be paranoid, gripped by fear of the unknown, shocked by our own helplessness, stunned by how swiftly one world can turn into a darker one where everything can seem familiar yet foreign.
â€œRosemaryâ€™s Tea Party,â€ an online commenter called it.
If the scariest thing in the world is something you canâ€™t understand, then Americans are scared out of their minds about what is happening in America.
Tea Party budget-slashers didnâ€™t sport the black capes with blood-red lining beloved by the campy Vincent Price or wield the tinglers deployed by William Castle.
But in their feral attack on Washington, in their talent for raising goose bumps from Wall Street to Westminster, this strange, compelling and uncompromising new force epitomized â€œInvasion of the Body Snatchersâ€ and evoked comparisons to our most mythic creatures of the night.
They were like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive.
They were like vampires, draining the countryâ€™s reputation, credit rating and compassion.
They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims, Boehner and President Obama.
They were like the metallic beasts in â€œAlienâ€ flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth, bursting out of Boehnerâ€™s stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones.
(Conjuring that last image on Monday, Vladimir Putin described America as â€œa parasite.â€)
The Tea Party peoples really have no understanding beyond touch, taste, feel and then kill.
And one must also remember the Tea Party is made up of CWM — Conservative White Men (and Women).
Not another color among them — all white.
And these guys/gals are not only destroying a country’s government, but also are intent on allowing the entire planet to be destroyed.
CWM are the prime climate change deniers.
From DeSmogBlog and a new study of this repugnant phenomenon.
First, the stats:
— 14 percent of the general public doesnâ€™t worry about climate change at all, but among CWMs the percentage jumps to 39 percent.
— 32 percent of adults deny there is a scientific consensus on climate change, but 59 percent of CWMs deny what the overwhelming majority of the worldâ€™s scientists have said.
— 3 adults in 10 donâ€™t believe recent global temperature increases are primarily caused by human activity. Twice that many — 6 CWMs out of every ten â€“ feel that way.
Motivated reasoning suggests that men who have â€œhierarchicalâ€ valuesâ€”resisting reforms to increase economic or social equality, believing that some people should be running things and some should be taking orders, or that itâ€™s perfectly okay and normal that some will succeed and some will failâ€”will be more inclined defend a social system thatâ€™s structured in this way.
Such a tendency has been used in the past to explain the â€œwhite male effectâ€: White men tend to downplay all manner of risks, especially environmental ones, but also risks posed by things like the vast proliferation of guns in America.
This, presumably, is both because theyâ€™re less harmed by such risks overall (the burden often falls more on the disadvantaged), but also because they have trouble personally conceiving of the reality of these risks (they donâ€™t see the current state of things as being very bad or objectionable).
But why do men downplay climate risks in particular? Hereâ€™s where â€œsystem justificationâ€ theory comes in: If climate change is real and human caused, it potentially threatens the whole economic order and those who have built it and benefited from it.
It is the most inconvenient of truths.
So the idea is that the men who benefit from the fossil-fuel based energy system will rationalize and defend that system from challengeâ€”and the science of climate change is, in some ways, the ultimate challenge. (More on this here.)
Honestly, while weâ€™re cranking out all these theories, I am surprised the authors didnâ€™t bring up what may be the most biologically grounded of them: â€œsocial dominance orientation,â€ or SDO.
This refers to a particular personality typeâ€” — usually male and right wing — who wants to dominate others, who sees the world as a harsh place (metaphorically, a â€œjungleâ€) where itâ€™s either eat or be eaten, and who tends to really believe in a Machiavellian way of things.
Fundamentally, this identity is all about testosterone firing and being an alpha male.
SDOs are fine with inequality and in favor of hierarchy because frankly, they think some people (e.g., them) are just better than others, and therefore destined to get ahead.
So here we are trapped in a big, rambling house with a crazed CWM toting a huge, ugly axe, seeking to slash our beautiful collective throats, and then rolling us up into a giant loose-leaf tea bag.
And hollering like a wounded banshee won’t help — In the dark no one can hear you scream.