Monday, May 4, 2009

Obamatrons and Bigotry

Chris Winecoff has a great article on Obamatrons and their bigotry--read the whole thing here.
This is the part I found truly inspiring (in fact I used the same comparison some time before the election):
In 1983, best-selling shrink M. Scott Peck published his second book, People of The Lie. In it, he tells the stories of several patients whom he came to believe could be clinically diagnosed as “evil” - a character disorder he describes as “militant ignorance.” According to Peck, an evil person prefers to psychologically destroy others rather than face his (or her) own faults, exhibits zero empathy towards his targeted scapegoat, and enjoys falsely labeling other people as evil.

You know, like spending eight years comparing people you disagree with to Hitler.

Self-deception, Peck states, is the number one risk factor for evil, easier to maintain in groups - like, Al-Qaeda, Queers for Palestine, Rachel Maddow’s Facebook page - than individually. Ironically, Hollywood has long told us this sort of mass bias is wrong. Just watch Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire in Gentleman’s Agreement, Ginger Rogers and Ronald Reagan in Storm Warning, Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thorton in Monster’s Ball, the entire Screen Actors Guild in Crash… the list goes on and on.

So when did groupthink suddenly become cool? When did words start meaning the opposite of what they were intended to mean? When did “progressive” come to mean ”do nothing,” and “conservative” mean “progressive” (i.e. “do something”)? When, as Andrew Klavan has so eloquently pointed out, did the belief system of the angels get reduced to the two-syllable mantra: “Shut up?”

When did dissent become a de facto hate crime?

In Don Siegel’s classic sci-fi flick, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), the citizens of Santa Mira, California, are gradually replaced in their sleep by emotionless impostors - the proverbial “pod people.” The film is often interpreted as an allegory for Communism and McCarthyism (a tactic first reviled, then hijacked, by the Left). But Body Snatchers is more relevant than ever - right here, right now.

You walk the halls, wander the streets, visit the homes of other two-legged beings who appear to resemble you on the surface, yet seem to have no clue you exist as a separate person, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. These seemingly intelligent beings talk about you, in front of you, as if you were in another room, automatically assuming you are of like mind. (Maybe they just never read Miss Manners.)

. . .

At the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter have managed to escape pod-dom by staying awake for days on end. Exhausted, Wynter finally succumbs. When she awakens, changed, she gives McCarthy some icy advice: ”They were right… Stop acting like a fool, and accept us.” If she’d had a rubber stamp, she might have branded him - “DENIED!”

McCarthy flees, desperate for human help, lamenting in voiceover how “a moment’s sleep, and the girl I loved was an inhuman enemy bent on my destruction.” Watching the attractive people I see everyday, working out at the gym, driving their Smart Cars, grabbing a Starbucks, watching CNN, listening to their iPods - and talking about Hope - I know how he feels.

When did they all fall asleep? When are they going to wake up? Perhaps when they learn, the hard way, that freedom is not just another convenience.

Meanwhile, try not to express a dissenting or individual thought - and don’t gasp if one of them lashes out viciously at a friend who steps out of line - because that’ll clue them in that you’re still human.

And then they’ll come after you.

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