Faint on Your Own Damn Couch

We came across a plea for “civil discourse” this week. We don’t remember the source, honestly, because it made us fucking pissed.

People who plead for civil discourse don’t know what they’re fucking talking about. They think America’s political ills stem from the fact that we’re not nice to each other, that only if we’d talk and listen, listen respectfully, we’d discover our common ground and shared humanity, and like an After-School Special we’d all learn something and rejoin our productive lives, already in progress.

Fuck that. You know who used to teach us about learning from our respectful disagreements?

Bill Fucking Cosby.

This was a major problem with 90s-era Star Trek, that all disputes were just dreadful misunderstandings among rational beings, easily resolved by a few wise words from a handsome bald captain. (The ship’s counselor seemed to lack professional competence, although her mother was definitely fun at parties.) At the time it was merely bad drama; now, in retrospect, it’s easy to see it for what it was:

A liberal fantasy.

Trust us, we’d love to live in a universe where you could talk shit out and get shit done. We love full-throated debates where the goal is not winning, but understanding. We have a master’s degree in arguing the shit out of everything. Getting to the heart of an issue — the truth of the matter — is sheer fucking fun.

But that’s not the American politics of our adulthood. Whatever civil discourse is, we’ve seen no evidence of it in national public life.

Quite the opposite. And especially now.

The civil discourse of the Star Trek universe requires more than rational beings respectfully understanding each other’s perspectives. It requires, at heart, good faith. You’re free to be wrong, as long as you’re capable of acknowledging your errors when the truth emerges. You’re also free to make an honest argument from a position we disagree with — we may discover an unbridgeable philosophical difference at the core of it, but finding that core is the adventure of argument.

Honest disagreement is fun. It really is. We once argued with an astrologer all fucking night. A friend listening in thought we were at each other’s throats. But we both knew better. We were both having a total fucking blast. Because, as we finally discovered, we were both addressing ethical questions — how to live in the world — from completely different starting points. That’s what a good argument does. It enlightens.

And that’s civil discourse.

You don’t get civil discourse by politely lying. You don’t get civil discourse by politely arguing in bad faith, by politely deliberately misrepresenting your opponent, by politely being thoroughly cynical about your motives, by politely insisting we Respect Your Authoritah when you’ve done nothing to earn it.

You don’t get civil discourse with any of that. You only get bullshit.

All of which is to say, John Kelly is a fucking liar, and to hell with any respect he thinks he’s owed. You pull that shit on a grieving widow, don’t fucking expect us to be polite about it.

21 comments:

5:15 am • Saturday • October 21, 2017

With so many rotten generals so far up the POS’ ass, we are living in a fucking Garcia Marquez novel.

9:57 am • Saturday • October 21, 2017

General Kelly’s blatantly dishonest trip down the Tdumbp Sleaze Slide using his own dead son as a flotation device was the perfect end for Character Counts week!

FFS, you cannot make this shit up.

12:39 pm • Saturday • October 21, 2017

@Beggars Biscuit: Magical realism without the magic really sucks.

The requirement for rational beings on both sides of the argument fucks us completely, even before we get to good faith.

It’s becoming pretty clear that they seek to demonize antifa because that’s the only part of the left that scares them. The rest of us good little liberals will take the trains to the camps while peacefully carrying protest signs or trying to engage in meaningful dialogue.

And in case you had any doubt that they were going to go full Handmaid’s Tale, check out HHS’s plan to cut all family planning except abstinence education and the rhythm method: https://medium.com/@RVAwonk/leaked-white-house-memo-outlines-plans-for-all-out-war-on-womens-health-531cc14f2623

1:54 pm • Saturday • October 21, 2017

@Mistress Cynica: Thanks for that. I was going to detour into Aggressive Ignorance, but one fucking thing at a time.

But that’s also part of it. Imagine what Enlightened Civil Discourse might really be. Nice Liberals, bless the goodness in their hearts, think conservatives are just misinformed, they’re just like us but with bad facts, and good facts will solve our problems so we can all live happily ever after.

But no, it’s not that at all. A significant number of Our Fellow Americans really are, you know, morons, and power-hungry cynical conservatives have no problem manipulating every formal and informal system we have to take advantage of that. Civil Discourse is just one more thing they can game.

3:24 pm • Saturday • October 21, 2017

High-school friend on FB is reminded of Colin Powell at the UN. I’m reminded that I had good high-school friends.

7:09 pm • Sunday • October 22, 2017

Ah, the sensible “centrist,” how we should all be more modest. David Brooks, you have blood on your hands for doing nothing, saying nothing, and making excuses for all of it. One day I hope a hippie punches YOU.

10:39 pm • Sunday • October 22, 2017

@blogenfreude: Speaking of which, publishing polite bad-faith liars on your op-ed pages also does nothing to further civil discourse.

6:09 am • Monday • October 23, 2017

Nojo, you hit it on the head why I disliked a lot of The Next Generation episodes. It was the sensible rational intellectual equivalent of a left’s (read Gene’s) Red Dawn. Dreadful and dangerous fantasy.

Sure it would be grand if all problems were that simple to solve, but nah.

A lot of times they end in Game of Thrones fire.

9:57 am • Monday • October 23, 2017

@ManchuCandidate: And the complaint about “bad drama” is cribbed from the writers themselves, who struggled to find conflict within the constraints of Gene’s New Age edicts. It’s hard to find villains in a villain-free universe.

10:49 am • Monday • October 23, 2017

@ManchuCandidate: It’s telling that the villain they finally came up with has no use for that bullshit and will just assimilate your ass anyway.

7:18 pm • Monday • October 23, 2017

Apparently the Senate only has 33 more working/nation-ruining days left in 2017. I know I’m relieved.

9:07 pm • Monday • October 23, 2017

/Blade Runner 2 update/

Vox has an absolutely fascinating review that’s totally worth reading in order to unpack the many themes and messages of the film. SPOILER ALERT!

I sorta enjoyed the movie. I was thoroughly baked, which cranked up the “oh, WOW” factor of the special FX by like 1,000. However, I just couldn’t connect with any of the dead-inside characters, so the film had no sense of urgency and left many unanswered questions despite its long running time (#1: Why did Luv, the replicant assassin, enjoy killing people so much? Sure, she had a job to do, but that made no sense).

The stale plot didn’t do the flick any favors, either. That said, the directing, acting, and cinematography are amazing, and the FX are the best I’ve ever seen (though that could also be the Maui Wowie talking).

I’ve never been a huge fan of The Goz, but I did go home and download his killer workout. It was frustrating as hell to see him so jacked up under all those damn dreary clothes. They could’ve at least thrown us a shirtless shot!

11:22 am • Tuesday • October 24, 2017

@¡Andrew!: Shirtless Goz (lol – never heard that one before) is the best Goz, though he’s a pretty dapper dresser offscreen.

1:05 pm • Tuesday • October 24, 2017

@mellbell: The Goz’s soooo handsome with a full beard; I wish he’d grow one for more roles. It also takes my mind off the fact that he always looks like he just farted.

5:36 pm • Tuesday • October 24, 2017

Flake flaked, and now Arizona is up for grabs in 2018. WaPo has his entire speech denouncing Tdumbp and rebuking his craven GOP colleagues. It’s worth reading!

No clue how Twitler is gonna deflect and distract from this history-making slam, since all the men in his junta have already been discredited and humiliated. Time for Elaine Chao to sext some hawt Pu$$y Pix to the failing New York Times.

7:40 pm • Thursday • October 26, 2017

This made my day. @¡Andrew!, I believe she’s your Congress-critter?

9:10 pm • Thursday • October 26, 2017

@SanFranLefty: Yep, and she’s amazing! I’m so proud to have her represent Seattle in Congress.

10:12 am • Friday • October 27, 2017

Pramila Jayapal has an uplifting and inspiring personal story independent of her political career that’s well worth reading.

10:45 pm • Friday • October 27, 2017

The Insanity Before The Storm.

Shit just got very real. Mueller to lay charges in Trump Russia Pee Hooker Dossier investigation.

11:12 pm • Friday • October 27, 2017

Guess that nixes the Failed State post again. Now I have to think of something clever to say about news that says almost nothing.

12:18 am • Saturday • October 28, 2017

Speculative bullshit complete. It’s probably Manafort, but that’s not where I’m taking it.

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