Release Date: 1/10
Album: HELLO CLEVELAND
Writer: ADAM MARSLAND
The rules are there are some rules
You fucking moron
Otherwise I'm gonna go shit on your lawn
I gotta live in your world, gotta breathe your air
Fry the planet but you don't care
It's never your fault, is it bro?
Blame us all for what you don't know
With a fat pill popper as your personal saint
Screw anybody that you ain't
You got a bright and shiny box
Telling you where to throw rocks
You're crazy as a glass house, stupid like Fox
Want the rest of the world to come and suck your cock
Yet one more example of the career suicide that is HELLO CLEVELAND, a song sure to endear me to conservatives and libertarians everywhere, who constitute a substantial chunk of my tiny little fan base...or at least did, until the advent of this song.
I believe conservative talk radio (or more broadly speaking, the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and the deregulation of the media) is perhaps the single most destructive thing to occur in our country in my lifetime and may well bring about its demise. You think that's crazy? Take a look at what happened in Rwanda, where you had two tribes living together more or less peacefully until one tribe got on the radio and started whipping everybody up about all the horrible things the other tribe supposedly did. What, 200,000 people died? Now tell me there's anything different about conservatives from coast to coast blaming every evil in society on liberals, and claiming liberals run everything, when real liberal ideas (as opposed to hearing something on TV that conflicts with your beliefs, and then claiming it must be biased against you, because you yourself couldn't possibly be wrong) were rarely heard in the mainstream until recently. We're now told the idea of "fairness" and equal time for opposing views will rob conservatives of their right to free speech.
I'm sorry, what? Hearing both sides of an argument is bad? Since when?
There's nothing wrong with expressing a political argument forcefully, alright? There IS something wrong with saying that, in effect, your side of an argument is the only one that matters, you have no burden of proof, every fact that conflicts with your position is dismissed because it's "biased", and reducing every counterargument to a simplistic strawman because the complexities of an issue don't resonate with you, and then complain that you're a poor victim when people don't respect you or take you seriously.
I'm sorry, but if your ideas can't withstand real criticism or examination, if you have to apply a different standard of truth to those you agree and disagre with, then that tells me you have crappy ideas. When people dismiss every bit of information that doesn't agree with them as "biased", you're essentially saying to the rest of us, "fuck you. We're not interested in your facts, your needs, or your opinions. Ours are the only ones that matter."
And I don't see any difference between that and me going to take a shit on your lawn.
Before the horrible scarlet "L" gets tattooed to my forehead, I was brought up conservative, OK? I know the playbook. Conservativism used to mean more than personal responsibility, and personal responsibility meant more than just keeping your own nose clean and screw everybody else. It used to also mean CIVIC responsibility. Which means you participate in society and win over people over by the force of your ideas, not because you shout louder than anybody else and cry like a baby if everything doesn't run exactly to your personal satisfaction. It also meant seeing the world as it really is and dealing with it realistically, not shielding yourself from any information that might change your mind. And when the consequences of being on the wrong side of an argument are as dire as they are with global warming (it's one thing to question it...it's another to dismiss it outright when there is so much evidence that you have to sweep under the rug, and the consequences are so grave, OK?), and the very real possibility of your being wrong can result in my death, well, I rather resent that!
To me, what I'm describing above is not conservatism. It is nihilism. The idea that your beliefs are so sacrosanct that no one can question them. You're right. The rest of us are wrong, and worse than that dangerous. No objective proof or intellectual exchange required, just brand, and dismiss. Many conservatives would have us believe this is the deal with liberals...and yet the conservative message is blasted on AM radio, in op-eds, all day on Fox, and the bulk of the analysis on all the other cable networks. The rest of us are SWAMPED with these ideas, which hardly ever get rebutted by anyone with any real knowledge or media presence. At best, we get two sets of talking points which are designed to inform no one.
Far-right ideas get into our national discourse whether we like it or not, and whether they're actually true or make any sense or not. Conservatives, on the other hand, have a whole media empire that enables them to shut out the rest of us...and for to get a real honest-to-God far left idea, you'd have to listen to Pacifica Radio. What? Exactly. There's little in the way of counterbalancing liberal message -- only what conservatives perceive as a liberal message, which is "anything that isn't right-wing." That isn't the same thing as having somebody pick apart your arguments and show the weaknesses so we can all judge whether or not you know what the hell you are talking about. That's why I had to grit my teeth with all the nonsense about "socialism" that got bandied about recently. Because nobody in this country has ever been confronted by real socialism. We've confused socialism with any idea that requires us to work together. I thought that was called "civilization", myself.
And so we're clear, my beef isn't with conservatism per se. Notice I haven't criticized a single conservative intellectual idea in this blog. I'm the product of a classic conservative household, I understand the tenets of the philosophy and I agree with many of them. I want conservative ideas heard and considered. I simply don't see why, if conservative ideas are better, they need to exist in this hothouse flower environment where they're shielded from any objective analysis or give and take from the opposing side.
My beef is with this -- to me frankly insane -- idea that's taken hold in this country that you're informed and you have a right to an unchangeable opinion if you're only familiar with one half of an argument and you blithely dismiss the other half without considering that you might -- gasp -- be wrong or ignorant about some of the facts. You don't go into a trial with only one side having a lawyer and expect to arrive at the truth, right? But this is just the kind of reasoning that many people use to rationalize their beliefs, beliefs they vote on and actively support. And then complain that the rest of us -- those of us who like to have some kind of proof and rational debate before we make policy -- are idiots or worse, traitors. Now go ahead and ask me again, "Adam, why are you so angry about this?"
Yes, this kind of closed-minded one-sidedness exists on the left as well. I don't agree with that either....but when you can go through wide swaths of this country and only hear Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann on the radio instead of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, then you give me a call and tell me about how the liberals -- real liberals, not the catch-all phrase for "not a conservative" -- have taken over the media. Because every liberal I know HATES the fucking media, and I hate it too. So thanks very much, conservatives, for telling me that the mainstream media represents me, and you're oppressed by it. It doesn't, and you aren't. I have to hear shit on the media I think -- no, not that I think, that I can objectively PROVE -- is absolute bullshit all the fricking time. I don't see why you get to shut your ears to what the rest of us have to say.
Of course, this is an opinion that resonates with almost nobody, left or right. Having to intellectually justify your beliefs (which requires you to know, and refute, a real counterargument, not a strawman) is so passe. Now, all that's required is to believe really, really hard. But remember what I said about my turn to throw a tantrum? I've had to listen to the same weak rationalizations for years now without anyone ever calling it out and I think you all can deal with my crap just this once. I'm really, really tired of hearing the same old tired shitty political arguments (left or right) on the radio, posted on Facebook, the same stupid urban legends in my inbox that anybody who cared about the truth could debunk with 10 seconds of googling but never does. Who needs truth when I've got my idealogy? We all just stay smug in our beliefs, and point our fingers at liberals, conservatives, politicians, the banks, corporations...anybody but ourselves. It's always anybody but ourselves.
And yet, from my perspective, nothing in this country will ever change unless we, the people, grow the fuck up and start acting like adults and taking responsibility for our little corner of the problems, and realize that we have to work together as a country. That's what's called...what's that word? Oh yeah, patriotism. Patriotism is not wearing a fucking flag on your lapel and having a contest to see who can be more self-satisfied. Patriotism is about realizing you're part of a country, not a fricking political movement or party, and you need to start rowing the fucking boat yourself and stop pointing to other people who aren't rowing the way you want them to. I'm sorry, I know this is offensive to 99% of the people reading this, but remember what I said about telling it like it is? This is how I feel, and my opinion matters just as much as yours, because I'm just as American as you are. I think we're all selfish, near-sighted idiots, and we're all going to go down the tubes pointing fingers at each other and whining, and I'm not very happy about it, myself, because I'd prefer not to go down the tubes with you, thank you very much. But I will, and that makes me just a little angry.
Thanks, everyone. I'm over it. Rant done. Fuck nihilism. HELLO CLEVELAND.
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