Cornel West, who would never succumb to affectation
The Cure sent me a link to this interview between Cornel West and Thomas Frank, in which they agree that everyone is extremely disappointed with President Obama’s failure to be more progressive. They seem to mean everyone they know, which may be a closed epistemic circle. But I’m less interested in West’s assessment of what everyone thinks than his use of the word “brother.” For example:
[Obama] invoked the American family last week. It’s a lie, brother. You’ve got to be able to tell the truth to the American people. We’re not a family. We’re a people. We’re a nation. And a nation always has divisions.
So if West does not use “brother” to invoke the idea of a human or American family—if he in fact uses it when explicitly refuting that concept—what does he mean? Close reading after the jump.
"You hold the base of its spine in one hand, and then you put the other hand on top of its head so you can get that twisting motion. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to keep a firm grip. It's a baby; it's gonna squirm."
Foolishly, we here at Combat! blog assumed that the political climate of the United States would settle down a little bit after Sunday’s House vote on health care reform. On some level we’d rather not have to consciously acknowledge, we were even a little disappointed. The vicious political rochambeau that had so dominated the past year seemed finally at an end, and as heartening as that was, it also meant we’d have to turn our attention back to Miracle Whip commercials. How wrong we were. Finally freed of the pretense of opposing a specific bill, the anti-health care reform movement has assumed its true form as an unmoored cloud of hateful bullshit. Gone is the obligation to talk about actual health care policy. Gone is the pretense of bipartisan intent, and gone is the salutary need to anchor one’s statements to any element of the real world. What remains is the essence of the Tea Party right, scurrying out from the corpse of town hall democracy like those shadow things in Ghost. Now that it has been released from its host body, the soul of American politics can make statements like this:
If I could start a country with a bunch of people, they’d be the folks who were standing with us the last few days. Let’s hope we don’t have to do that! Let’s beat that other side to a pulp! Let’s take them out. Let’s chase them down. There’s going to be a reckoning!
A congressman said that, which makes the hypothetical at the beginning kind of odd. You already have a country, asshole, and it sucks right now, largely because of you. The asshole in question is Steve King, as usual, but he’s not alone. Now that it no longer has to maintain the illusion that it’s talking about health care reform, reactionary populism has unsheathed the long knives.