I couldn’t sleep last night, haunted by a world gone crazy.
I dreamt that a purported Israeli, with the support of one hundred rich American Jews, pretended to make a feature length film aggressively mocking the Prophet Mohammed and Muslims in general – Islamophobia and anti-Semitism combined!
The faux film producer uploaded a mock trailer to YouTube. Along with thousands of other clips, it was ignored. But then when the film was dubbed into Arabic, the demagogues of the world all played their roles – the clash of civilizations as mediated performance art.
Radical Islamic clerics worked as film distributors (monstrous monstrators as my Daniel Dayan might put it), bringing the clip to the attention of the mass media and the masses. Islamist and anti-Islamist ideologues worked up their followers, happily supporting each other in their parts. Feckless diplomats in embassies tried to assure the public that hate-speech isn’t official American policy. Analysts identified root causes.
The clash of civilizations was confirmed. All the players needed each other, supported each other, depended on each other. A marvelous demonstration of social construction: W.I. Thomas would be proud of the power of his insight. Social actors defined the clash of civilizations as real, and it is real in its consequences.
A reality confirmed with a jolt when I awoke, knowing full well about the global attacks on American embassies and symbols, and the tragic death of a man who was determined to go beyond clashing clichés, the heroic American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. The American right, including the marvelous Mitt Romney and Fox News talking heads, denounced President Obama’s purported support of the attacks and failure to stand up for American values, including the freedom of speech — this from people who worry about the war on Christmas. It’s a surreal reality this morning.
And this morning, wide-awake, I am savoring Marvelous Mitt’s recent video performance: right-wing newspeak de-constructed. At last, class warfare in America has been given a full public airing. In pitching his candidacy with his fellow fat-cats, Romney revealed his definition of job producers, the nature of dependency and the work ethic. He also showed himself to be a true student of Ayn Rand. Really, all who depend on government vote for Obama and the Democrats? No wonder he selected Paul Ryan. Identifying those who don’t pay federal income taxes with votes for Democrats is amazingly poor sociology, bordering on comedy, a point made beautifully in a letter to the editor in today’s New York Times.
To the Editor:
I woke up early this morning and drove my daughter several miles on a government-built road, all the way to a government-operated school.
I came back to my home — for which I receive a government-sanctioned mortgage-interest deduction — and called my parents, who both receive Social Security and Medicare from the government. Then I signed on to the Internet, which was developed by government-sponsored researchers.
So Mitt Romney is right, on two counts. I am “dependent upon government.” And I’m not voting for him.
New York, Sept. 18, 2012