Thursday, August 12, 2010

The 3,000 Mile Wide Bubble

¡Hola! Everybody…
Today… we take a glimpse behind the veil. Just a little.

* * *

-=[ Orphans of the Bubble ]=-

Once as a child my class was taken on a school trip. One morning, we all boarded the yellow school bus and headed to the Aquarium. I was fascinated by the menacing shark with the predatory smile. But even as a child, I understood that the shark lived in a world of its own, with its own reality.

Americans are a lot like that old shark -- they don’t see the people outside the glass. It’s as if America is a gigantic terrarium, and immense biosphere or bubble which has cut it off from the rest of the world. How else can we explain the characterization of a center-right, pro-corporate, pro-war president as a “socialist” a “communist” and a bone-the-nose bootleg video-selling Nigerian fascist? Only in the insular bubble of contemporary America could such a conservative president be deemed “radical” in any sense of the word. And I won’t even get into the whole “Iraq as menace” meme, which everyone else dismissed, but which we swallowed whole.

It seems to me that the only explanation for gap between reality and America’s perception of it comes from the film, The Truman Show. The plot of the movie revolves around the affable but naïve protagonist who goes about his daily activities without being aware that he is, in fact, in a gigantic soap opera. His hometown is actually a set for a TV show and from birth, he has been manipulated and controlled by the producer and the director. The gullibility of the American public would be better understood if we were all living on a stage set in a town called Freedom Fries and threatened by a roving hoard called Evil Brown People.

Not too long ago, it was the “Axis of Evil.” Americans believed, as they often do when instructed by their elected leaders the Television Machine, almost every scary reason cooked up by the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell. The rest of the world laughed. Their amateurish attempts at mass deception contained awkward truths that were surprisingly childish for a group that had access to the most massive propaganda machine the world has ever known. But they only had to utter their latest lie to be cheered by their subjects and disbelieved by non-Americans everywhere.

As a former con man, I can appreciate a good scam. I know how hard it is to pull off the Big Con. Rationalizing a war can’t be easy and takes a lot of skillful finessing and this one was complicated. There was the bait (“terrist”), then the switch (weapons of mass destruction), then another switch (kill the despot, make the world safer), and yet another (regime change).

Whew! That’s a whole stack of lying right there!

But these amateurs failed and they failed miserably. If you going to pull off the Big Con, the lie must be simple and it must repeated -- often. These neocons, already having proven their incompetence in matters economic (and almost everything else), fumbled, and their build up to the Iraqi invasion broke every rule in the con man’s game. Bush and his handlers fell into the trap of elaborating, backtracking, and adding on. Instead of the Big Con, simple and effective, their lies grew more and more elaborate and complicated. The result being that instead of one good reason to go to war, piles of bad reasons were offered, which gave the skeptics in other countries the opportunity to unmask the fables.

The other option for a good con is to refuse to offer evidence (where there is no evidence, there can be no refutation). Bush offered shit piles of it. He asserted that he had proof of warehouses full of evidence. Of course this evidence consisted of tons of soiled toilet paper and used Kleenex. Once exposed, the smoking gun was really a dribbling water gun. Most embarrassingly, there was the spectacle of Colin Powell, who a year earlier had said that Saddam was not a threat and “has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction,” explain to the security council that a photograph of what looked like a trailer park trailers were actually mobile war germ factories. These trailers he told the world (most of whom were probably pissing in their pants from laughter) were making biological weapons of mass destruction.

Adding insult to injury, he pulled out another photograph of what he said was an Iraqi airplane bearing Saddam’s deadly germs and lethal chemicals. To every non-American in his audience the object looked like the balsa wood model airplane boys glue together and fly in the park. After that came the aluminum tubes for non-existent nuclear factories, forged documents out of Africa, and fables of spies meeting in Viennese cafes. The more Bush and his handlers piled it on, the less the world believed them.

Americans, however, deep-throated the whole smear…

You might say this is old news and in our attention-span-challenged society, you are probably correct. But I mention all this because, like bad porn, the construction of American social policy is predictable. Last summer it was that Obama was going to kill granny, and “drill, baby, drill.” This summer Mexican immigrants are the new “terrists.” The weapons of mass destruction this year are brown people who come here to spread their infections and “drop” litters of future cop-killing, sex-crazed, drug-addicted sociopaths. But if one looks past the bubble even a little, you become aware that the hype about immigration is really today’s version of the Iraqi invasion, which, by the way, we’re still borrowing from the Chinese in order to fund it.

Americans can’t see past the bubble and it will be our undoing.

-- Eddie

1 comment:

  1. Bone-in-the-nose KENYAN not a bone-in-the-nose Nigerian !! Obama was born in Mombasa Kenya - please get your facts right.


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