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Of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy
Monday, November 28, 2005

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Years back I had an acquaintance I would characterize as a kook. "Kook", as defined by Webster, is "one whose ideas or actions are eccentric, fantastic, or insane". This guy believed that the government was watching us through our television sets, that smallpox shots were injections of radiographic isotopes so that the government could track our movements, and that Roe vs. Wade was a plot to thin the population of African Americans. Kook. At one time it seemed that kooks were few and far between. Maybe they still are, but now that we have the internet we have more exposure to them as interaction with the rest of the world becomes commonplace. While the "right", (which I would probably consider my former acquaintance as such) still seems to have their share, it seems the left's ranks have truly become swollen. I used to think that it was the fringe, but am beginning to question that. Here are some of the fantasies that are accepted as truth (will not use the term "fact" as to these kind of people it is more about a philosophical or religious "truth" than something intellectual):

  • George Bush with the help of Israel was behind 9/11.
  • Karl Rove is Satan's general (Dick Cheney is Satan), and has a massive computer like brain that coordinates any and every move of the Republican Party and its candidates. He also forged documents and gave them to Dan Rather to create the Memogate Scandal.
  • Two elections were "stolen" (still without specifics) but they were stolen.
  • America is the equivalent of Nazi Germany and we torture people on a wholesale basis. All of the ills in the world are because of America and it is incapable of good.
  • Black conservatives are really white
  • The problem is, that all of the above did not come from "internet whackos" or Michael Moore types, but from supposed mainstream Americans like Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Madeleine Albright, Walter Cronkite, Dick Durbin. SUPPOSED.

Such paranoia usually begins to affect actions. Delusions become so real that it colors one's whole existence manifesting itself as anything from anger to irrational violence:

  • A self-made and successful conservative black man is peppered by Oreos during a speech
  • College students fake attacks against themselves to blame on fellow students who are conservative.
  • Internet sites everywhere calling for the assassination of President Bush.
  • College professors calling on soldiers in Iraq to shoot their superiors.
  • Left talk show hosts physically attacking people who disagree with them.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that the left is no longer about peace, pacifism and communality. It has become about anger, aggression and division. A place where the "kook" is no longer be the exception--but the rule.

posted by Jack Mercer @ 11/28/2005 06:00:00 PM  
  • At 11/28/2005 05:21:00 PM, Blogger The Fly said…

    I personally think that it's mostly out of frustration from having no ideas of their own for solving America's problems. Social Security is broken, so the solution, in spite of all economic wisdom, must be to raise taxes and throw more money at the quagmire. We couldn't possibly be right to make an example of Iraq, so the solution must be to unilaterally surrender and retreat for no real reason. Candidates like John Kerry, Howard Dean, and Al Sharpton can't be taken seriously by the vast majority of Americans, so it must be the fault of the dirty tricks of the Republicans.

    You get the idea.

  • At 11/28/2005 07:19:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    Hi Fly!

    Good to hear from you as always.

    I think you have it right!


  • At 11/29/2005 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Smorgasbord said…

    I think you're right, Jack, in that "kooks" are becoming more prevalent, but I think they are still the exception rather than the rule.

    I am routinely shocked by the amount of people I speak to who don't even know what a blog is. I'd have to say, in my experience, at least 50% of America have no idea what a blog is, never read "extremist" internet sites, or simply would never think to take these type of extremist stances.

    Liberalism is floundering, yes. "Left" advocates are desperate, yes. But most people consider themselves centrists and while the polls show they don't think Bush is doing a good job, they aren't calling for his assassination. Most people see that Iraq is an enormous can of worms that we would have been a heck of a lot better off in if we had more support in the form of troops and funds, but they realize we can't just withdraw overnight. Most people don't care what color a conservative or liberal is, in fact, most people don't even know what defines one or the other.

    I guess there's a bit of a dichotomy. The "general public" is both mind-bogglingly stupid (many people think Iraq was responsible for 9/11) and pretty sensible at the same time - that's why so many people describe themselves as just a tad left or right of center. Few describe themselves, or act, as extremists.

  • At 11/29/2005 10:20:00 AM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…


    I wouldn't consider all on the left kooks, especially not not my friends from NL's. It does seem like there are a lot of them out there though...


  • At 12/01/2005 04:46:00 PM, Blogger Smorgasbord said…

    Sometimes, depending on my point of view, I find a lot of a lot of things: a lot of smart people, a lot of stupid people, a lot of hope in the world, a lot of hopelessness...

    It's a big planet with many people who think and do all kinds of things - much of it incomprehensible to me...

  • At 12/01/2005 07:05:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…



  • At 12/02/2005 10:07:00 AM, Blogger overflow said…

    cheney is satan? i'd be a little jealous if i were GWB.

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"Snipet" (pronounced: snipe - it) is not a word.It is a derivative of two words: "Snipe" and "Snippet".

Miriam Webster defines Snipe as: to aim a carping or snide attack, or: to shoot at exposed individuals (as of an enemy's forces) from a usually concealed point of vantage.

Miriam Webster defines Snippet as: : a small part, piece, or thing; especially : a brief quotable passage.

In short, "Snipets" are brief, snide shots at exposed situations from a concealed vantage point.

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