Monday, September 2, 2019

Bemused Bullshitting Colorful Characters Are Not the Enemy (though shouldn't be president)

For previous efforts to explain seemingly inexplicable right-wing behavior (a centrist can explain much better than partisans can!), see postings labeled "right whispering", including this one drawing an interesting connection between left and right hypocrisy on guns and abortions.

Check out this 45 second video:

I know this guy. Not this specific guy, but guys like him. I myself am a guy like him. He makes me feel comfortable.

What he's saying is utter bullshit, obviously. But notice his sardonic grin and deliberately doofy body english. He knows he's riffing colorfully. I mean, he's leaning into it, making himself believe it, but he's 75% grinning and bullshitting....while the rest of Twitter judges and scolds like craggy schoolmarms. Bunch of tight-assed colorless killjoys.

He's being "a character", and thank goodness for characters. I don't want to live in a society composed entirely of smoothed-out corp-bots. Guys like him add color to this giant collaborative art work we're all engaged in here on this planet. More power to him.

That said, I don't want him to be president.

Not because he's dumb (I don't think he's dumb), and not because he's full of shit (I do think he's full of shit), but because he's not qualified. Thing is, I'm positive he's deadly rational and pragmatic and even superior when it comes to inventorying warehouses or installing dry wall or running a small business, or whatever he did in Beantown before moving to Florida. There's stuff he's super good at, but with other stuff, he's a bit loopy. Just like you and me! Reader, would you care to riff on-camera about pork belly futures or geosynchronous orbits or the history of talcum powder production? And try to be entertaining and provocative? Give me 45 secs on those topics, and let's see how you do! You'll sound like him.

Predictably, Twitter is calling him a dimwit, a fool, and much worse. They don't recognize that he is just like them - competent in his area of competency, but a bemused riffer on all else. He knows stuff you and I don't. He just has a different bundle of know-how. The world works because we're all specialists in our bundle. It's a feature, not a bug.

But if he were to feel the brunt of the Twitter tsunami of harsh condescension, he'd surely brew up some reciprocal loathing. Bemused bullshit would condense into seething ire. And condescension-fueled seething ire is at the route of our current socio-political predicament. I hang out in rural Texas a lot. I like it there. And the question I'm most often asked is "do people in New York really hate country people like us?" (I recount one such recent conversation here). If you're a liberal urbanite who feels disliked and disrespected by your red state counterparts, consider how you think/talk about them!

Much as I like this guy, and am this guy, I don't want him to be president, because it's not his key competency. But in 2016 a bemused bullshit character snuck into that office as a fluke; a performative protest against an unlikeable seemingly inevitable victor. Horrible for the country, for sure, but, hey, that's how democracy works; all elements get a shot. And the bemused bullshitting characters who bemusedly voted for one of their own (I'm not talking about the rabid cultists) have since developed seething ire at our merciless condescension re: them and their choice - their sacred franchise to do as they wish with, even flippantly.

Thus bemusement condenses and eyes blind to the calamitous results of a bemused electoral choice. "Hey let's shake the dice" curdles into "Seriously, fuck y'all" after a couple years of being screeched at and deemed racist monsters. Folks unsurprisingly don't enjoy that. It makes them stick more tenaciously with their bemused bullshitting choice. They make themselves really believe in it. Loopy colorful bemusement easily hardens into "fuck y'all" dead seriousness.

This, I believe, describes and explains the lifecycle of this predicament. Or at least reframes it (and the more we reframe, the more clearly we see and understand, so I make it my task to endlessly seek out and try on alternate perspectives).

BTW, If you could read through that without concluding that I assume him to be a Trump voter (fwiw I have no idea), that places you in the top 99th percentile of reading comprehension. Humanity has seemingly lost the ability to parse parallel comparisons.

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