Sunday, July 22, 2007
MUTANT VS. STATUS QUO EXCHANGE
[An email exchange between Paul, a status quo representative, and a marginalized cultural mutant, Jack (me); based on the AntiSickoArticle that he had sent me (“Sicko” being Michael Moore’s latest effort - his assault on the US health care industry)].
Dear Cultural Mutant,
You will soon receive a newspaper article that contradicts at least one aspect of your corporation - America - Occidental - Homo sapiens culture trance crusade. Please read before mocking the source. Please reflect before ridicule and rejection. No "echhhing". You just can't be dismissive of this.
Jack, your monograph (The Plight of the Cultural Mutant) and the accompanying poem, contain the expected provocation yet are somewhat alarming. Your conclusion in the last paragraph is certainly true, and many examples of this insight are used by Hitchens as an argument to support atheism. But it is more correct, as you say, that it is religion and not necessarily the existence of God that has caused centuries of human trauma. His latest book is on this very subject.
You ended the poem in the past tense. Not good. Is this social agitation or a depression of sorts? If it is the latter, then I am sure it will pass.
Dear Unrepentant WhiteMan,
As for the article, this is typical reactionary stuff, albeit from an educated mind. I say "typical" for a number of reasons:
1. in true mental-rational form, Offit first sets up his dualism (Michael Moore's negative depiction of pharmaceutical companies vs. "the truth" or "the facts" about pharmaceutical companies); by slamming the movie depiction, then presenting his heroic depiction, the readers are left with an "either/or choice," which is a false dichotomy
2. Offit then tries to mask his deficient mental tracks by posing "issue questions" designed to give the impression that there is a "third way"; and yet the real effect of these questions is to eliminate from readers' minds - in case there is any remaining doubt - that Moore is biased and unreasonable while Offit is the sensible, logical person truly interested in making things better for people
3. he is loaded with premises: that we are all-accepting of allopathic medicine; that medicines/vaccines are "good"; that saving children is so noble a cause that it is not necessary to ask such things as - should we consider what quality of life these saved kids will need to endure while being kept alive and who are the players who contribute to their poor quality of life? how much do these miracle vaccines cost, exactly who pays for them, and who decides who gets them? should we be concerned about side-effects from vaccines?
Next, he peppers his article with sympathy devices: saving children, a woman doctor reduced to tears, another researcher who might never have created nine vaccines if not for the free market, profit-driven pharmaceutical company that could provide what no one else could. The result: whoever is against saving children and pioneering scientists and the companies that fund them must be some sort of perverted Luddite sadist. (This is the same false dichotomy that scuttles any debate about the underlying causes of that blowback called "9-11.")
Also note: in that old chauvinist/paternalistic sleight of hand, Offit mentions the "developing world" and rattles off a list of third world countries - WE of course are the DEVELOPED (viz., "civilized") world. It is of course our holy grail mission to cure the maladies that our psychotic Western culture has helped to create after colonizing and destroying the lifeways of many indigenous societies worldwide and the environments upon which they had depended for countless generations, infecting them with our own peculiar vices and lusts, not the least of which is its science-that-is-ecologically-unsound more-often-than-not (e.g., burning fossil or nuclear fuels to produce electricity in order to energize its many gadgets). Note: In his ideological rush, Offit completely ignores the whole body of literature out there on the dangerous side effects of vaccines - autism, Gulf War Syndrome, et al.
Finally, Offit's credentials (which obviously impressed you when you Googled him) set him up on that white-coated pedestal. He is of course some brilliant do-gooder doctor - "How could someone of his accomplishments and learning be wrong or have the wrong idea about Moore?" readers are left pondering. In fact, he's a company man - a man produced by the medical establishment, financed and made comfortable by the entire consensual reality/culture trance model that he so brazenly buys into. And he's a hero to all of the pharmaceutical interests for writing this piece, not to mention the investors that line up like lemmings to buy the corporate media newspaper in which it appears.
In short, this authority figure assures the status quo that they can rest easy in what it is that they hold dear and that what they believe is "true." And yet they read only for confirmation of their "truth," selectively screening out all that does not fit that out-dated, failed consciousness; assiduously avoiding critical analysis and inquiry - grasping for other ideologues who can feed them via mammon media.
Cultural Mutant and Proud To Be
No. Non capisco. Actually I meant for you to Google Hillman (see article) not Offit. I of course do not agree with your response, but I do thank you for giving it the due diligence I had hoped for. By the way, I may be a White man, but I am not "unrepentant" because I have nothing, in regard to the present topic anyway, to be penitent about. If it's White guilt that animates you, join the racial castrati club.
I am at a complete loss as to how you are able to dismember every aspect of that article. This is not your usual rodomontade. The quality and quantity of your contempt for all things American lies so far outside the curve that it damages your credibility. Was there nothing mentioned in the Offit piece that you could be proud of? American capitalism and principles have helped more people than any other society in the history of the world. That is a truism.
Hillman, Offit, et al.
"WhiteMan" as in R. Crumb's version.
Glad to know you are sin-free!
...And so counter-gelding!
As for the rest,
I guess a Reagan Republican
Could never "get it"
All this to say -
As you can barely tolerate my ideas
I too have trouble recognizing
Who you are
And once again
A strong critique
Means I trash all
That you hold so dear
I don't walk away from strong critique. I respect, and at times, agree with your point of view. But what kind of an "idea" is this?: "...should we consider what quality of life these saved kids will need to endure while being kept alive..." These kids are not on life support, we are talking about a vaccine.
Your guy - "Ich bin ein Berliner."
My guy - "Tear down this wall." And they did.
I'm sorry you always take things so personally. This correspondence got a bit corrosive. It was not my intention. Let's get back to a more convivial exchange.
I didn't say you "walk away" from strong critique. I said that your reaction is always to put me on the opposite end of the dualist spectrum - you interpret my strong critique of a piece of newspaper propaganda as trashing all of "capitalism and [American] principles." And here, you do it again - if your "guy" is Reagan, then my guy must be "Kennedy." My "guy" is the underdog - whomever that might be.
You have never been to a third world country. You have no experience of that or an inkling of all of the insidious workings of the USA abroad over the past 50+ years in particular. You could research and investigate it but you choose not to. Instead, you prefer the comfort of your American myths and living in this upper middle class psychic mirror world. Vaccines for so-called under-developed or developing countries are like keeping kids alive so they can live like American Indians on global reservations; let's pay them shit wages too to live miserable lives working in sweat shops so we can have cheap clothes back home. Certainly there is a place for allopathic medical intervention - but please look at the bigger picture!
You can put your faith in techno-science and the status quo. I'd rather believe in human dignity and true democracy for all. That piece of shit editorial from the Wall Street Journal represents everything I detest about this trance dance we do every day... (See, Howl Reborn http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16055.htm )
Basta. I surrender.
Let the author surrender - his reasoning is sacrificed to the context in which he deploys it.
Thanks for engaging my thoughts on this,
The circle is complete. What you have lusted for is now oppressing you. You have become the elitist you hate.
What have I lusted for? - the ability to see through the false consciousness of others? If that's an elitist, and I'm being oppressed by my own folly, then the supposed purity of your own insight is your own undoing.