26 thoughts on “Is Outrage Extinct?

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Outrage is a growth industry that proves Mencken’s contention that no one every lost any money overestimating the American intelligence/taste; it’s a base genre of theatre practiced on talk radio, cable TV, daytime broadcast TV, Sunday morning gas bag shows; the crack of a cynical political movement built on neither the minds nor the hearts of its disparate and vaguely outraged followers but, rather, their acrid spleens; it’s a shtick, a pose, a spittle take; like porn, it’s always on the verge of losing the power to shock and titillate its slack-jawed devotes.

      It’s become an overexposed, empty bore.

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        What? So you think this content presented this way is ineffective because we’re so inured to it? Speaking personally, like certain sweaty pornography, it got my attention.

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        I’d have been happily unaware of it if not for its presentation here. But, yes, of course it’s outrageous…by design. But it’s such, slick, calculated, cynical outrageousness targeted to the same weak minds that I’ve lost most of my capacity to be outraged by it. I feel like a sap who’s just taking the bait.

        The far right is all about outrageousness, contention, demonization, the melodrama…I get it. It’s all they do. It’s all they have. It’s expedient and a lot easier than Aristotelian forensics. And times like these, when people fear for the semblance of a life they’ve managed to cobble together on ever decreasing couple of take-home pay checks and shrining or vanishing benefits, are ripe for this sort of rank fear mongering, exploitation and scapegoating. It follows deep recession as sure as deficit spending. But we’re supposed to be shocked, shocked at the utterly predictable appearance of both.

        I’ve been through this sort of crazy so many times before. I remember interviewing an anti-abortion activist whose organization had printed up “WANTED” posters with the names, photos, addresses and phone numbers of local abortion providers. She serenely explained to me that she didn’t have a problem with a recent shooting of doctor who provided abortion services. But when I asked her why she hadn’t shot one herself yet, she didn’t have a good answer. Maybe because you actually think it’s murder and wrong, I asked? She stuck to her cant about everyone serving their own role in the movement.

        I was in Atlanta for the Olympics when a pro-lifer set off a bomb in a back pack full of nails and screws and murdered an innocent woman, and injured others. Another innocent got his life trashed by the FBI and the media in the explosion’s wake and the need for a cathartic narrative. These nuts will always be with us. And cynics will seek to exploit this sort of pious insanity for short political ends. I’m weary of it. I’m running out of outrage.

        What still outrages me are the people who ought to know better, people who are actually doing just fine, who have many blessings for which the could just as easily feel gratitude rather than their haughty outrage directed at those with less, who lap this poison up like it was ambrosia.

        That’s their cue, here it comes…

      3. Joe Loveland says:

        Many of us vacillate between being outraged by indifference and being indifferent about outrageousness.

        As Elvis Costello crooned, “I used to be disgusted. Now I try to be amused.”

        I try too, Elvis, but I’m not always successful. And I’m not sure I should be.

  1. Mike Kennedy says:

    It is way over the top, ala the nuclear explosion ad that Johnson ran against Goldwater in the mid 1960s.

    I just shake my head and move on. Ads like these only appeal to the predisposed and really are used to get them to turn out.

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        As Theodore White noted in The Making of the President, 1964, “The campaign of 1964 was that rare thing in American political history, a campaign based on issues.” And Goldwater’s nuclear policies topped the list.

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        The commercial had nothing to do with dropping a bomb on an enemy. It showed a girl picking daisies getting blown up by a bomb — a cheap shot, even by Johnson’s standards, and he wasn’t exactly well liked for his tactics, on either side.

        That’s a whole separate issue from using a bomb in war. Truman did it, and thank God he did.

        By the way, obviously, nuts exist in the anti-abortion crowd, just as they do in the Muslim religion and in most other groups. You liberals can be such hypocrites it’s almost entertaining……..no IS entertaining.

        Keep thinking the average American is too stupid for you and the “intellectuals” that head your party.

        I’ve seen very little collective brain power so far from Obama, Reid or Pelosi.

      3. Joe Loveland says:

        Re: “The commercial had nothing to with dropping a bomb on an enemy.”

        Johnson says in the ad:

        “These are the stakes: To make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.”

      4. PM says:

        I knew the guy who made that ad…and his son did “An inconvenient truth”.

        Interesting how these things go on and on…

  2. Steve Conway says:

    Campaign invective was even more feral in the early years of our republic. Sadly, the Rove-Gingrich-Palin playbook is a dusty volume. As much as the crypto-racism of the Tea Party and its fellow travelers makes me want to blow my lunch, I’m confident our nation will survive it and swing back to semi-decent dialogue when the public tires of today’s unformed anger.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      Oh God, you are going to quote Johnson, who escalated the war in Vietnam — yep. That sounds like God’s children, love………yada, yada, yada.

      Look, the ad was over the top, period. By liberal logic the Obama ad has a grain of truth to it. So it’s fair. He does support abortion. No?

      Let’s stop with the phony outrage. Apply the same standards or you look like hypocrites.

  3. Mike Kennedy says:

    Racism………..blah……….blah………..blah. If someone doesn’t agree with your point, it’s racism.

    What shred of evidence of that is there? And if you cite the recent NAACP report………………………..I’m going to blow MY lunch — correct that. Since I haven’t eaten yet today, it will be last night’s dinner.

    1. Steve Conway says:

      Give me a break. When Newt Gingrich called Obama a “Luo tiribesman,” that was the N-word of 2010. Same as when people used to call blacks “spearchuckers.” I’m an independent, not a Dem, and these Tea Party folks are racist, pure and simple. Ain’t no two ways about it. They just don’t like the idea of a black man in the White House.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        Some data on Tea Party and racial attitudes:

        A new survey by the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality offers fresh insight into the racial attitudes of Tea Party sympathizers. “The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability”—25 percent, to be exact—”of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters,” says Christopher Parker, who directed the study. “The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race.”

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        Well aren’t you just leaping right out of the far left playbook.

        What an idiotic statement to make.

        “They don’t like the idea of black man in the White House.”

        Yeah, if he were just white, they would support all his policies. What an incredibly ignorant, ill-informed and childish statement. Try using some actual facts. Otherwise, you just appear unhinged.

    2. Brian says:

      If I were to respond to this I would probably mention the bigotry of stereotyping all Muslims because of the actions of a handful of extremists, the scapegoating and race-baiting occurring around the country in the immigration debate, or possibly that, just recently, the Tea Party Nation founder called for the electoral defeat of Keith Ellison explicitly due to his religion. I might also ask you to explain why a sizable percentage of Americans believe the Barack Obama is a foreign born Muslim. This does not happen to white presidents. I do not think that this can be accounted for without some sort of racial component. This is how I would respond to you. But you probably don’t actually identify these things as problems or accept my account of them. Such is the state of American politics.

  4. Dennis Lang says:

    Wow! Horrific but undeniably emotionally riveting. Would any of us think of producing this piece. God, I hope not, but purely as propaganda its rythmic, visceral, non-intellectual impact would likely appeal to far too many these days. Frightening stuff. (For cinemaphiles out there see the indoctrination film within-a-film in “Parallax View”, by Pakula–with Warren Beatty– I believe 1974.)

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Here, similar approach as I recall, the way the juxtapositions build on each other to a climax. If I know how to do this….

  5. Dennis Lang says:

    I’m still having a hard time with this, trying to picture whatever creative meeting took place that led to this monster. It’s slick, well thought-out–and insane. Who are these people? What do they talk about? And how can they morally justify it?

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Ah, Bertram Jr.–Good of you to mention D’Souza. I’m no experrt by a long, long shot, but I’m wondering if you have engaged in a conscious effort to suspend what remains of the functional part of your brain, or might this be an undiagnosed neurological deficit. This is lunacy!

    2. PM says:

      Yeah, that book by D’nesh is so full of crap……reading that you would think that ALL of the anti-Obama stuff is motivated by racism.

  6. Brian says:

    Outrage is gone and it’s not coming back. This was very apparent in a conversation I had with my Dad last week (a very politically astute man). He was not bothered by the bigotry of the Mosque controversy or the race-baiting which is occurring in countless races across the country (see: Sharron Angle), but he was upset that the MNGOP would release a web ad comparing Tim Brewster to Obama. He thought it was insensitive to Tim Brewster.

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