"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Friday, August 12, 2016

OK, I Admit It

I am completely burned out on Donald Trump. And I'm completely fed up with the massive press coverage of every stupid thing he says. My own take is that the press is so completely focused on Trump because they created him. I mean, come on: he was a flamboyant real estate developer from New York who used to show up in the gossip columns, when he showed up at all. Now suddenly he's the Republican nominee for President -- because he knows how to work the press. That's the only reason: he has no more in the way of policy proposals than the rest of the clown car, and mostly hasn't even bothered to pretend that he does. Mistermix at Balloon Juice has an interesting observation on the effect of this incestuous relationship:

I’m guessing you all would agree that if the Republican nominee was a little more presentable numbskull, we’d be treated to weekly nontroversies centered around some Clinton email, some minor DNC staffing move, or something Bill said. That’s not happening this year because Trump is feeding information into the election communication system with a goddam firehose. He occupies the entire bandwidth of that system, and then some. And, like any well-engineered communication system, this one is scaling to handle the load by ignoring the fainter signals (namely, everything about the Clinton campaign.) He’s even drowning out the Olympics.

It's all Trump, all the time -- which I think probably suits Trump just fine, thank you.

And about those "Second Amendment people" remarks: Somebody brought up this article from Rolling Stone in the comments somewhere, I think Joe.My.God., and it's very instructive:

But it's really irrelevant what Trump actually meant, because enough people will hear Trump's comments and think he's calling for people to take up arms against Clinton, her judges or both. Though most of the people hearing that call may claim he was joking, given what we know about people taking up arms in this country, there will undoubtedly be some people who think he was serious and consider the possibility.

In other words, what Trump just did is engage in so-called stochastic terrorism. This is an obscure and non-legal term that has been occasionally discussed in the academic world for the past decade and a half, and it applies with precision here. Stochastic terrorism, as described by a blogger who summarized the concept several years back, means using language and other forms of communication "to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable."

Remember Sarah Palin's map with targets over selected congressional districts? And Gabby Giffords got shot; she, fortunately, survived -- others around her did not. Think about that. Think about Tony Perkins' whole career, and the windrows of dead queer kids that have resulted. (I think Dan Savage was way too easy on Perkins.) Think about the teabaggers, the Bundys, and mass murderers who shoot up schoolrooms.

They've all been given permission by people like Donald Trump.

There. I've gotten that off my chest. Now I'm going to pray for rain to cool things down a bit -- it's been brutal here the past few days.

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