“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, January 10, 2011

That Shooter: I Take Down Some Memes

Wow, people are already spinning the shooting of a 9 year old girl and an assassination attempt on a congresswoman and judge (successful on the latter). I'm happy that Graham Harman has been posting on this. Talking about reality is our job.

Meme 1: “It's not the right time to bring politics into this, or point fingers.”
Refutation: No, this is exactly the right time. This is the very definition of the right time to do this.

Meme 2: “He had paranoid schizophrenia. So the right is not to blame.”
Refutation: No, you can be mad and a right winger at the same time. The two don't cancel each other out (he said mildly). Also, most schizophrenics I know—and I know a lot, one of my brothers has it—wouldn't hurt a fly. If they have aggressive impulses it's almost always against themselves. If this guy turns out to be mentally ill I'll bet my bottom dollar that he has borderline personality disorder, the syndrome that spawned Lennon's assassin. You can be pretty delusional with borderline. One major trait is that you blame the other for your mental state. You see the other as a fake or as a threat to your existence (murderous envy).

Meme 3: “That sheriff spoke out of line.”
Refutation: No, he is doing part of his job—mediating and explaining criminal and violent actions.

Meme 4: “This was just one isolated incident.”
Refutation: How many isolated 9/11's did it take—oh, I remember, ONE. Also, read Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect. Psych evaluated grad students turned into Abu Ghraib prison guards in three days because of situational forces. (There's an object-oriented line to run here actually.) If you use cross hairs in your ads and talk about the need for a violent revolution if the right doesn't get its way (to pick just two recent events), you get what Lennon called instant karma.

It's fairly obvious that situational messages of violence will affect the most suggestible people, another blow against Meme 2.

I wonder what Limbaugh will say tomorrow?

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