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By Michael J. Smith on Tuesday September 29, 2009 10:56 AM

The New York Times captioned this picture as follows:

Iran showed new defiance Sunday by test-firing three short-range missiles near the city of Qum.
The article to which this image was attached explained how Obie was going to improve on his predecessor by adopting a more aggressive attitude toward Iran. I suppose that counts as change, though it doesn't give me, personally, much hope.

But let's return to this trope of "defiance".

France has missiles. England has missiles. The US and China and Russia and India have missiles, and Israel has more missiles than a beggar has fleas. Having armed forces -- and missiles -- seems to be a privilege of sovereign nations. So how, exactly, is it "defiance" on Iran's part to have what other countries have?

This is what is known as "logic", but just try explaining it to an enlightened liberal American Obamaphile. You'll get a pitying smile, and perhaps your interlocutor will condescend to explain to you that you're being a silly head-in-the-clouds pedant. Everybody knows that Iran can't be compared to France, or England, or China or India because... because... because, well, just because. If you read the New York Times sedulously enough, it will all begin to make sense.

The "crackpot" is an important part of crackpot realism. The propaganda system requires not only adherence to certain beliefs and prejudices, it also requires downright unreason, the renunciation of the syllogism: countries have missiles, Iran is a country, therefore -- no no no, don't go there.

This aspect of the propaganda system is insufficiently appreciated. Social control requires not only that we be misled and misinformed, it requires us to embrace a thought disorder, and congratulate ourselves on having done so.

And of course the great thought-disorderers are our media megalotheria, the Times prominent among them. Daily they serve up a mile-long buffet of bare-faced illogic and unreason -- but they serve it with such bland assurance, such calm gravitas, such marmoreal magisterial confidence, that only a stubborn poorly-socialized person can resist getting sleepier, sleepier....

They are the gatekeepers of reality itself, and if they say that two plus two equals five, you better believe it.

Comments (7)

Spotless minds don't even require eternal sunshine. Most readers of news scan headlines and call it good. Headlines are so easy to manipulate, they can be completely out of synch with facts, even as presented within the bias of corporate media.

Even as a committed SMBIVista, I find myself moderately surprised at how thoroughly awful Zerobama is, and how quickly he's shown himself to be W's full equal in hatefulness.

America's foreign policy is it's domestic policy writ large. Defiance will not be tolerated - on the streets of Pittsburgh or in the Middle East.

Michael Hureaux:

Ain't it the truth, M.D.? As little faith as I had in Obama, I've been shocked at how fast he's dropped the "Yo, bruthah-" persona. As a Portlander, you must be familiar with Seattle's "Stranger", which declared to its readership that Obama would win because he had "street cred". Even so, the playas got played by a master playa. No surprises among that trendy lot which publishes that rag, but sad indeed for those folks who really ought to have known better.

You know you've fallen on sad times when Jimmy Carter, a product of the Jim Crow south, can shed more light on a racist pattern in a national political trend then a man who's walked around for near half a century in black skin. The president is a god damn fool, and a vicious fool at that.

Yep, M.H., I know The Stranger and its twin, Portland's equally fake hipster sheet, The Mercury. Almost certainly owned by the same entity. All "entertainment" and no brains in those rags. Kinda like our two over-hyped "progressive" burgs, no?

TV watching is apparently at record highs now, despite the further degradation of the content by the money-saving "live" shows with their few/no writers or actors.

From talking to people and eavesdropping on the city bus, seems like that's where this dog is buried. The people who voted for Zerobama and might get mad about his hourly betrayals don't know anything but the TV frame-up, of which Z is a sick and slick maestro. Figures, him being Marketer of the Year and all...


Good essay. Iran's perfectly humdrum sub-imperial aims must be vilified anew, so that the Obama Admin's phony insistence that the Eastern European ABM umbrella is all about Iran can be ratcheted up... and so that its transparent concession to Russia on this front can be summarily dropped.


MD and MH, over the months and years I've been absorbing your laments about the lame reflexes of PNW pwog-libs. One of the dubious prizes of hooking up with facebook is reacquainting with college chums, and a few of my hippy-dumb
marginal-salariat college chums have laid down roots in the PNW. They're instinctive Obama apologists all, writhing about the Beckish hordes while Obama's kinsmen award guaranteed markets to the inscos and bomb Pashtun wedding parties. Nice, civil folks too, really... except when it comes to calling them on the pitfalls of lesser (or not so lesser) evilism. But hell, so what else is new... DOG BITES MAN.

PS. MD, not only are they self-medicating with record TV intake, as you imply, they are imbibing the worst TV ever... and calling it manna.

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