Roger Ebert’s post on the Park 51 project is a must-read, but this bit about Sarah Palin was especially good:
6. Somewhere on the Right is an anonymous genius at creating memes. Sarah Palin floats a suspicious number of them: Death Panels, Ground Zero Mosque, 9/11 Mosque, Terror Babies. Her tweets are mine fields of coded words; for her, “patriot” is defined as, “those who agree with me.” When she says “Americans,” it is not inclusive. These two must have been carefully composed in advance to be tweeted within 60 seconds of each other:
By using the evocative word “shackles” she associates Dr. Laura’s use of the N-word with the suffering of slaves. By implying Dr. Laura was silenced by “Constitutional obstructionists,” she employs the methodology of the Big Lie, defined in Mein Kampf as an untruth so colossal that “no one would believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” She uses the trigger word “reload” to evoke her support of Second Amendment activists while attacking “activists” for evoking the First.
She really does represent everything that is wrong with conservatism in this country. Nationalistic, hawkish, vapid, and above all dishonest. Quite the avatar for a dying movement. (Well, perhaps not quite dead yet…we’ll see what the upcoming elections hold. Still – any gains will be short-lived. There is no long-term sustainability to this movement. Obstructionism does not lead to good governance.)
Ebert also notes that on a 55,000 square foot retail mall is going to be built on Ground Zero – like some grotesque monument to the gods of consumerism, an epilogue to the infamous “don’t let the terrorists keep you from shopping” plea from George W. Bush. His (Ebert’s) alternative is much better (from a piece he wrote on September 12 2001):
If there is to be a memorial, let it not be of stone and steel. Fly no flag above it, for it is not the possession of a nation but a sorrow shared with the world.Let it be a green field, with trees and flowers. Let there be paths that wind through the shade. Put out park benches where old people can sun in the springtime, and a pond where children can skate in the winter.
Beneath this field will lie entombed forever some of the victims of September 11. It is not where they thought to end their lives. Like the sailors of the battleship Arizona, they rest where they fell.
Let this field stretch from one end of the destruction to the other. Let this open space among the towers mark the emptiness in our hearts. But do not make it a sad place. Give it no name. Let people think of it as the green field. Every living thing that is planted here will show faith in the future.
Let students from all lands take a sunny corner of the field and plant a crop there. Perhaps corn, our native grain. Let the harvest be shared all over the world, with friends and enemies, because that is the teaching of our religions. Let the harvest show that life prevails over death, and let the sharing show that we love our neighbors.
Do not build again on this place. No building can stand here. No building, no statue, no column, no arch, no symbol, no name, no date, no statement. Just the comfort of the earth, to remind us that we share it.
Amen to that.
P.S. – I almost forgot. This Julian Sanchez post is really also quite good as well:
David Roberts tweets:
Every ‘winger-driven faux story now has two phases. First headline: “Faux story!” Second: “Faux story becomes huge story!” Pathetic.
This is actually a bit truncated. The steps are:
- Faux Story
- Why is the Em-Ess-Em ignoring this huge Faux Story?
- After days or weeks of flood-the-zone coverage across multiple conservative media outlets, some significant portion of the base is convinced that the faux story is true and/or significant.
- Mainstream press takes note of (3) and speculates about the political and electoral consequences
- Panicked Democrats react as though the faux story is true and/or significant
- See, we told you it was a huge story!
Lather, rinse, repeat.
I think there needs to be a bit about blaming the victim in there somewhere also, but otherwise this is just about right…