Nation of know-nothings: “intervention, now” time

by Yule Heibel on August 28, 2010

Sometimes I think it would be great to have just a tumblr, a sort of Walter Benjamin 2.0 version of blogging (see Benjamin’s Arcades Project).

But I can repurpose my blog to the same ends, I guess (quasi-surrealistically), and just post this one paragraph from Timothy Egan’s excellent column, Building a Nation of Know-Nothings:

It would be nice to dismiss the stupid things that Americans believe as harmless, the price of having such a large, messy democracy. Plenty of hate-filled partisans swore that Abraham Lincoln was a Catholic and Franklin Roosevelt was a Jew. So what if one-in-five believe the sun revolves around the earth, or aren’t sure from which country the United States gained its independence? (source)

Yes, that would be nice, “to dismiss the stupid things that Americans believe as harmless,” if only they were harmelss. I’m sick of how Americans’ belief in nonsense continues to wreck the country – and the world. A laconic tumblr post would be just the thing, so I wouldn’t actually have to think about the moronic stupidity of what I’m posting about. Props, Timothy Egan, for doing it for us – here’s hoping that enough people get a clue that laissez-faire has serious drawbacks, especially when it’s manipulated by evil geniuses like Limbaugh and his ilk.

Paul Klee's Angelus Novus, a work Benjamin theorized on: this angel faces the past, he is being blown into the future and he gazes, horror-struck, at the wreckage piling up before him (our past and present). The gusts that propel him, backwards, into the future emanate from history.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ninadrianna August 29, 2010 at 12:25 am

Sweet piece. Is there some hope amid the gusts? What might “intervention, now” look like?

Yule August 29, 2010 at 12:31 am

I don’t know… Doesn’t look too good, really. As for “intervention, now,” I had “Apocalypse Now” in mind, but wanted to keep it upbeat… 😉

melanie August 29, 2010 at 3:16 am

One could, but probably should not, liken these new American “facts” to certain myths that arose in Germany in the 1930s? I dunno, but I think it’s very worrying.

Yule August 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm

@ melanie: yes, it’s tricky to sail into the Godwin’s Law waters, but on the other hand, all the landmarks are lining up in a rather ominous way.

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