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Posts Tagged ‘Fun’

Who is Christian Lander? He is the the reason for the rant, the hero of American d-baggery in 2008, a beacon to those feeling lost in a sea of Obamamania.

Most commentators in the press incorrectly tag Lander (or as I affectionately call him, Chandler) as a satirist. Satire (as opposed to, say, polemic) seeks to correct people’s vices and follies by getting them to laugh at themselves. You might think that Lander’s send-up of “white people” practices like worrying whether or not a couple is compatible based on shared literary tastes, or gathering socially to play “kids games” is proof that he is writing satires of people who have more money than sense. Making fun of rich people who are socially awkward has a long and venerable tradition reaching back to ancient times. From Mennipius to Juvenal, to Dryden and Swift, to The Onion, making fun of people who confuse their wealth with their personal worth has an honored place in our culture. If he were a satirist it would make him a traditional moral conservative, someone who believes that foudational values like modesty, charity, honesty, justice, temperance, patience, courage and fortitude are being corrupted by selfishness, laziness, smug complacency, and a falsely inflated sense of self-worth (also known as pride).

But is Lander a moral conservative? No. He is a movement conservative. What’s the difference?

Where true social conservatives decry deteriorating morals, movement conservatives in the past half century have reconceptualized values (making them “values”) in an attempt to fuse free-market ideology with more traditional d-bag philosophy. Then they give it ideological cover by claiming their greed, fear, and pride is really thrift, prudence, and pluck. By making greed a virtue and power an end in itself they reject traditional conservatism for a revolutionary critique of traditional morals. Being modest, kind, honest, just and temperate becomes a sign of weakness. Being skeptical is spun as indecision and lack of spine. They gave up dispassionate critical thinking for revolutionary zeal. When moral conservatives became movement conservatives they morphed into the very thing they used to hate.

Lander himself is a paradigm of this kind of d-baggery. Leaving the sangfroid of his native Canada for greener ideological pastures in the United States, Lander found himself in a graduate program in English at Indiana University. There he realized his intellectual gifts were modest at best, and being a movement conservative he considered this someone else’s fault. (Conservatives are big on self-reliance — in others.) Having more sense than some other disaffected d-bags (VA Tech, etc.) he decided not to invest in AKs and Glocks, but rather to invest in a menial, low-paying job in Southern California, one that gave him enough free time to pursue his interests: fantasy football, getting turned down by girls, eating Taco Bell, blogging, and being a complete douche. The anti-intellectualism of his writing is covered with the emotional scars of being too dumb to compete with smart people.

It was easy for Lander to find a voice for his d-baggery: It was developed for him by his spiritual forebears from Irving Kristol to David Brooks. And it didn’t hurt that his sullen, resentful temperament and self-loathing alienation resonate with d-bags all over the English speaking world, who think they are twice as smart as they are and three times smarter than everyone else. Being vicious, voyeuristic and smugly superior to the culture that produced you is de rigueur for d-bags, so Lander only had to speak from the heart to express the Britney/Paris, reality TV, fake-tits-and-porn, post-racial, globalized worldview and its critique of “inauthentic” (i.e. European high) culture.

But the key to his success with Stuff White People Like is the fact that Chandler does not identify as “white” — though his skin tone appears to say otherwise. Being a fan of power for its own sake and worshipping in the Cult of Masculinity (that is, loving anything corporate no matter how bad it is, thinking war is fun, and idolizing sports figures as heroes though they may be the biggest sociopaths on earth) is a trait common to all d-bags from all races and nations. But it’s the hypocrisy of pride endemic to people who believe they come from an ancient and venerable people but who have in fact been colonized and treated as outsiders for so long that they are self-loathing that separates the movement conservative from your average knuckle-dragging jerk. Who are these people? In the United States, these are off-white d-bags: Asians (Chinese especially, but also Filipinos, Koreans), Jews, Indians (from India — not “Native Americans”) — basically anyone who comes from a place where England planted a colony.

Racist discourse (like fascist discourse) relies on myths of purity, authenticity, and priority. “White” Americans are not just rich and foolish, their culture isn’t as old or pure as the cultures of off-white d-bags.  “White” Americans don’t know if they come from a colonizing people (didn’t the Germans rape the Congo?) and therefore they repudiate their past, which makes them posterior and inauthentic. And worst of all in the eyes of a d-bag, they still have the power — the skin privileges — their colonizing forebears worked so hard to bequeath them, but they just don’t seem to appreciate it. And this, in a d-bag’s eyes, is the greatest sin imaginable, because a d-bag wants that power so badly they can taste it, but they still don’t feel like they have it. And so a d-bag like Chandler will do everything in his power to belittle those more powerful than himself, but not from a noble impulse to correct human vices. Chandler is really just a hater.

Why is Chandler’s racism particularly dangerous in 2008? As Charles Blow points out, racism is very much alive in the minds of voters this year. Stuff White People Like tells us if you are non-white you have the right to be as racist, intolerant, and supremacist as any conservative WASP redneck shooting up churches in Tennessee. It’s time to call a shvartser a shvartser. Chandler is telling you it’s OK to hate your enemies based on the color of their skin — especially if they’re “white”.

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Ignore the man behind the curtain!

Developing verbal skills is too much work for a d-bag. If it’s not a no-brainer, I don’t want any part of it! What’s more, critical reasoning and/or skepticism is for pussies. If you can’t chant it, forget it! Most of the time a d-bag can solve his problems the old-fashioned way — with his fists! But on occasion some weak-ass, know-it-all egg-head will use superior logic and a stronger grasp of reality (not to mention citable sources and good grammar) to disarm a d-bag — usually in front of people who might not have the d-bag’s back should a fight break out. (For example, when the d-bag is in a room full of TV cameras. Taking advantage of a d-bag in this way is a sure sign your enemy is a pussy.) For just such an emergency, the Ivy educated d-bags invented “talking points”.

Talking points are easy to remember. They often come in “bullet” form. This is why so many d-bags use Powerpoint to write instead of English. And more importantly, you can get them freshly updated every day from Fox News. No more worries! When someone starts asking embarrassing questions you can’t answer, shout them down with your talking points! Problem solved. It’s a no-brainer!

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Who doesn’t like to be entertained?

D-bags are attracted to many honorable professions: law, the military, project management, real estate, and public service to name just a few. But beneath it all, a d-bag is always an actor.

Some notable instances of d-bag acting today are:

  • CIA spokesman George Little. In a Senate hearing on the Bush administration’s authorization of torture, Mr. Little declined to comment on the remarks attributed to CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman who said in a meeting of top Army interrogators in 2002 that torture is “basically subject to perception.” “The far more important point,” said Little, “is the fact that CIA’s terrorist interrogation program has operated on the basis of measured, detailed legal guidance from the Department of Justice.” Here is where he starts acting! “The agency program, which has been carefully reviewed within our government, has disrupted terrorist plots and saved innocent lives.”
  • Former Navy secretary and 9/11 Commission member John Lehman. Lehman was acting for the benefit of John McCain. He said that saying that submitting the World Trade Center bombers of ’93 to the criminal justice system was “a material cause” of the 9/11/01 attacks. As The Washington Post reports “the report of the 9/11 Commission, which investigated intelligence failures leading to the 2001 strikes, and the prosecutor of the 1993 case disagreed with Lehman’s version of history. The commission’s final report, which Lehman endorsed as a member of the panel, gives no indication that any failure to share information on the bombing with the intelligence community had ‘significance for the story of 9/11.’ … Grand jury secrecy ‘could have operated in these cases as a barrier to information flowing from law enforcement to intelligence,’ former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White, who successfully prosecuted six major terrorism cases including the 1993 bombing, said Tuesday. But, she added, ‘as a matter of fact it did not.'”
  • Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilley. O’Reilley’s carefully scripted and factually perverse “no spin zone” is so thoroughly theater, everything he does is worth an academy award.

For a d-bag acting isn’t just a profession or an amateur hobby — it’s a way of life.

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If you are ever invited to a d-bag’s house, you will probably hear the television in the background playing Fox News or maybe CNN. This is because d-bags live on a twenty-four hour news cycle. News, weather, sports, and commentary are the lifeblood that rushes through a d-bag’s veins. When in the car, the d-bag always has on the radio tuned to Fox if possible or any other A.M. equivalent. D-bags like to be up on current events. When a d-bag gets to work, he gets a cup of coffee, fires up his computer, and opens his web browser. He navigates to Fox News or CNN, or, also likely, to WordPress.com to see what other d-bags are ranting about today. If it’s a slow day for news he might check out some tags — sex, sexo, tits, porn, teen, Britney, Jospeh Fritzl, or “whitey“.

Top stories for d-bags include girls hit by lightning who win the lottery the next day, kid-friendly sex shops in New York City, and female interns planted by Democrats in the White House to seduce Bush into a Lewinsky-esque affair. For a d-bag truth is not nearly as important as plausibility, and for a d-bag plausibility comes not from common sense but from rumor. One curious effect of this phenomenon is the “echo effect” created by many d-bag news outlets. Facilitated by the twenty-four hour news cycle, d-bags will repeat a rumor or an implausible and blatant falsehood over and over again until it becomes true. This was the case for the war in Iraq (WMDs), John Kerry’s service in Vietnam, and most recently Scott McClellan’s early onset of senility.

The best way to influence the thinking of a d-bag is to set up a blog, use an avatar that looks like either a Baptist minister or a Muppet, and email your paranoid delusions every day to Matt Drudge, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Christian Broadcast Network. Pretty soon you will have convinced all other American d-bags that environmentalists hate freedom, political correctness only happens on the Left, and that Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ.

This set-up is beneficial for d-bags in two complimentary ways. First, it allows d-bags to avoid critical thinking, which is not only complicated and frustrating, it may also reveal to a d-bag the contradictions in his belief system leading to “cognitive dissonance”. Second, it allows a d-bag to think that he is, in fact, a critical thinker, when he has merely substituted denial for skepticism.

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