Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why do people say stupid bullshit? Why am I asking? Why am I repeating that bullshit here, giving it publicity?

I don't know, but this guy Curtis Faville, whoever that is, said this in a comment stream on Silliman's blog:

Abortion and Gay Marriage and gun ownership don't have much to do with the
actual lives of most voters, but when they let these fake issues dominate
their attention, they're being manipulated.

What. The. Fuck.

Fake issues??? This is so mindnumbingly idiotic I don't even know what to say.

Most voters, huh? Sure, all those voters who aren't women having to face the possibility of being stripped of their right to decide what to do with their own bodies, all those voters who aren't treated like second-class citizens just because they want to marry someone of the same gender, all those voters who haven't lost loved ones due to gun violence.... Yeah, who cares about those other voters, them and their "fake issues"?


I'm so sick of this shit. I'm going into hibernation. Somebody wake me up on election day.


  1. Matt, Silliman works in computers. When he created his blog, he also created the Curtis entity to complement his blog.

    The original name for Curtis was "Blogbot XII-beta."

    This is why you see "Curtis" posting continuously.

    These issues he discounts would have no meaning to a blogbot, hence his response is natural and just (apres his programming).

    I believe he refers to us as the "carbon-based beings" and sometimes, "infestation."

    He refers to Ron as "V'ger."

  2. Let me guess, Kirby is Blogbot XII-alpha...

    I can't believe how many years it's been since I've seen ST:TMP. I hear the remastered cut is impressive.

  3. These are obviously issues of import, but I think the problem Curtis has (and I have, to some extent, as well) is that these issues dominate everything else, and that it is these very issues which divide everybody, make them dig in their heels, and cause these 50-50 situations every 4 years where hanging chads and accusations of illegal voter disenfranchisement determine the electoral outcome.

    In my view, if you really care about these issues, it makes more sense to vote for the party which will tend to uphold your values on these issues. Instead of threatening to withhold a vote pending the litmus test of whether a candidate supports abortion rights or gay marriage, how about we just vote for left-leaning people who will tend to support socially liberal values? Because unless these issues cease to be at the core of our support for political candidates, unless our support ceases to be absolutely contingent on these values, the left will lose again and again. The republicans beat us on "values" issues every time, because quite honestly there is nothing like a war of values to mobilize the right. That's pretty much all they will mobilize over. But if you make it about the economy, education, healthcare, or hell, even about the war in Iraq (as Bush's 30% approval rating testifies), the argument for voting democrat becomes a lot more compelling (and we get the nice side benefit of abortion rights not slipping away bit by bit, and perhaps some actual headway on gay rights issues, etc).

    But if these issues continue to polarize the debate, we're essentially dooming ourselves to failure on them. The republicans are just better at digging in their heels, apparently.

  4. I did see the larger point, but he takes it to a ridiculous extreme by calling them "fake issues". (I also resent being told that I'm being manipulated, as if he knows what my thought process is. Such condescension, such arrogance.)

    I'm glad to hear you're in favor of voting, at any rate. I unwisely got into a fight with Jasper Bernes and Joshua Clover about this (I'm a lousy debater)...I thought my head was going to explode. At one point Jasper called Obama a murderer, so I just inwardly said fuck off and I stopped reading the thread, and I've spent the past few days resisting the very strong urge to trash Jasper's book on Goodreads. (I haven't read it.) Then I reflect on how pathetic a response that would be, and then I get depressed and look at porn or tv, or both simultaneously.

    Sigh. Welcome to my life.

  5. Honestly, I think calling them "fake issues" is just shorthand for saying that, in large part, when politicians evoke these issues, most of the time they are putting up a smokescreen. They are essentially presenting the false choice of "vote for me or your abortion rights go away" or "vote for me or more babies will die and it will be your fault" (depending on which party we're talking about).

    I think a lot of people have a false idea of exactly how the political process works, and the politicians openly exploit this misunderstanding. It should be proof enough that the president isn't an unstoppable force on these issues that Bush has lived in the White House for nearly 8 years and yet Roe v. Wade still stands, and there has not been a national law put into effect defining marriage as between a man and a woman, etc, etc, etc. Furthermore, I don't think we can argue that rural voters cling to guns and religion without contemplating for just one moment that perhaps we cling to abortion and gay marriage, and any number of other linchpin issues that often quite irrationally determine our support for political candidates, above any other issues.

    I think it's easy to become outraged and take offense when somebody dares to question the relative importance of these issues and how much they should weigh into our voting decisions. In fact, the level of outrage is a testimony of the very problem with holding these issues up so highly in the public debate. They create very intense emotions, and I think regardless of how smart or independent one feels he/she is in making the decision to lobby on these issues passionately, politicians are very good (on both sides of the aisle) at exploiting this passion, making it seem like everything rests on one or a few issues, that we are on the edge of oblivion and must dig in our heels and persevere against the enemy. But again, Bush has been in office a few months shy of 8 years and look where we stand. We're pretty much at the same place re: abortion, gay marriage, guns, etc. But look at the damage he has done! To the economy, to our international reputation, to the environment! Yet for some odd reason, we'll breathe a sigh of relief that Roe v. Wade is still intact and that homosexuals haven't all been rounded up and penned behind electric fences in San Francisco. As if these things could be done at a president's whim in the first place.

    All I'm arguing for is a little perspective. A little bit of chilling out. I think Curtis perhaps didn't put it into the right words, but he seemed to be saying essentially the same thing (though I disagreed with him on plenty of other stuff in that thread).

  6. It's true that the president doesn't singlehandedly control everything on social issues, but the same goes for boring economic issues too. But it's not just voting for a president, it's voting for a whole administration, choosing what kind of basic worldview acorn you want to plant to grow the oak tree. Blah blah blah, anyway, this isn't a political blog. I'm not a debater.

  7. True. But what I'm saying is that, for all the harping politicians do about "hot button" issues, very little about those issues actually changes. Where we see the most dramatic changes are on the issues that one side or the other wants to gloss over, or set in the background. This is why Curtis refers to the hot button issues as "fake" and why I call them a "smokescreen," because that is quite literally what they appear to be: issues that remain virtually unchanged from one election cycle to the next, but that will distract from all of the very real changes going on in other areas. While I'm not usually prone to such cynicism, I'm almost of the mind that the republicans, for example, don't even want to overturn Roe v. Wade, because if they did, they would no longer be able to gather their outraged family values army every four years.

    But anyway, yeah. I don't mean to lead you into a hardcore debate or anything. I'm just trying to articulate my position. I think we all want the level of debate to be a tad less combative.