Thursday, January 26, 2017

Is leftism a cult?

"Saturday Night Live," a TV show devoted ostensibly to humor, parody and satire, devoted about two and a half minutes to a bizarre, cringe-inducing "thank you" to Barack Obama (presumably for being so venal and incompetent that he left the Democrat party in worse shape than ever and got Donald Trump elected as his successor) consisting of two cast members warbling through the classic Lulu song "To Sir, With Love."*

It is painful.

This isn't satire or humor, although there is a halfhearted attempt at a "joke" toward the end, with the mug thing. This is pure unadulterated worship. This isn't the kind of thing that you do for an elected official, even someone who actually had meaningful accomplishments and wasn't a warmongering neocon bankster who'd spent every day of his term in office at war, sent flying robots to drop bombs on women and children attending funerals, claimed the authority to execute anyone he likes without a trial based on secret information that only he and a few unknown advisors have access to, presided over the massive expansion of the surveillance state and repeatedly lied about the reasoning behind and the damaging effects of his "signature" domestic (Affordable Care Act) and foreign (Iran nuclear deal) "achievements."

This is the kind of thing that "Saturday Night Live" should be making fun of. Instead, the show is devoted to perpetuating the #FakeSatire of the likes of "The Daily Show," Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, et. al.

Look at the lyrics to this song:

Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone
But in my mind I know they will still live on and on
But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn't easy, but I'll try
If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters
That would soar a thousand feet high 'To Sir, With Love'
The time has come for closing books and long last looks must end
And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend
A friend who taught me right from wrong and weak from strong
That's a lot to learn, but what can I give you in return?
If you wanted the moon I would try to make a star
But I would rather you let me give my heart 'To Sir, With Love'
"Right from wrong"? Really? The person who gave us endless and deliberate lies about the Affordable Care Act and the Iran nuclear deal taught you right from wrong? A politician is your "best friend"?

You're comparing this person to a teacher, and in this scenario you are a child. (In fairness, Michelle Obama did compare her husband's fans to children who have bumped their head. So, uhm.)

It says a lot-- none of it good-- about "Saturday Night Live" and its viewers that this pathetic, simpering, mentally stunted idea wasn't laughed off as soon as it was suggested. Presumably this represents the feelings of those who work on the show and its fans. That they are children, and their dear leader is their best friend. This is cultish behavior. Unfortunately over the course of the previous presidential campaign and now the first week of the Donald Trump administration, it's becoming more and more pronounced.

I would think that the people who hold Donald Trump in such contempt would perhaps be able to joke about the person whose disdain for average working class Americans did so much to get him elected. They might do some looking inward to see how their own slavish devotion to "Sir" caused them to completely miss what was happening in flyover country-- the rumbling bloodless revolution that was hurtling toward them. Instead, they sang him a song. Showing they've learned nothing. I'm starting to think that it's true that the Obama presidency was nothing more than a feel-good exercise in therapy for a few anointed elites:

No, the extraordinariness of Obama’s presidency lay in its replacement of politics with therapy. Its turning of the commander-in-chief into therapist-in-chief. Its confirmation that political leaders no longer concern themselves with such earthly matters as wealth and liberty and really improving people’s lives, but rather see it as their role to boost self-esteem, soothe historical wounds, be a ‘catalyst for psychological change’, as one appraisal of Obama puts it, as if American adults were patients not citizens. The Obama era was striking for its decommissioning of the political citizen, and of politics itself, and its building of an empire of emotion in which leaders emote and the citizenry is expected merely to feel and not do much else. There were no jackboots or watchtowers but this is a species of tyranny nonetheless.

On the one hand, it's heartening to see media outlets and comedians not working as mouthpieces for the Executive Branch of the government. On the other hand they are motivated not by a desire to hold those in power accountable, but to ensure that their own "Sir" rises to power.

This is dangerous. The opposition party must present a viable alternative to the party in power. If all they've got is pathetic propaganda, they're going to get Trump re-elected with even more ease than I thought. And when Trump gets re-elected, they're going to really become unhinged.

*When I first typed the title of the song I spelled "Sir" as "Sire." An unfortunately appropriate typo.

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