Friday, August 22, 2008

Why the Left in America is so boring

In a nutshell because they haven't renounced '70s peace and love hippy bullshit. Anarchists coming out of the punk culture are better on this score, but the rest of the Left minus the Monthly Review crowd features sugary, irrelevant, out of date, useless, ideas as core parts of their belief system. Of course, you have to qualify this again because not everyone who signs up for the Left through the medium of the Progressive movement fits this bill, but there are enough hardcore members that do to make it a noticeable and somewhat powerful force. The fact of the matter, as I see it, is that chanting cumbaya and putting bumper stickers on your car saying "Visualize Whirled Peas" or even "Visualize World Peace", is irrelevant to today's world. Whatever function things like this may have had in the '60s and '70s is long gone.

People look at this sector of the Left, look at what it offers, and decide that it has no meat, it has no substance, doesn't have anything that you can really sink your teeth into. It's not exciting, it's not interesting, it has no new ideas. All of these things are necessary for people to really get into and get enthusiastic about something. Slogans that are threadbare don't do it, especially when compared to the non-political world, where ideas virtually throb with vibrancy in parts of the counter-culture, artistic and otherwise. Some people might say that that's tough, that politics isn't about being exciting like that and that people should be interested in it because the ideas are important, because the issues are important. True enough, but when I consider children in Iraq getting blown apart my response isn't to put a "Visualize Whirled Peas" sticker on my bumper but to get angry and outraged in a way that, while not over the top, tends to make the cumbaya crowd nervous. I think that anger is a more appropriate response and that the honest expression of anger is a healthy thing; subsuming it or repressing it with a fake smile and soothing slogans of peace is what is unhealthy, and if people are uncomfortable with that then fuck them. I'll be angry and express it anyways. Sorry. My thinking is that if more honest responses and such are present on the left then people will resonate with them, because they stem more from immediate reality than from some movement in the '70s that's no longer present.

That will consist more of meat, as will new fucking analyses, which we shouldn't be afraid of either.

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