Smile! It’s Infectious!

Bill Maher

Bill Maher

Greenwald and Maher Clash Over Edward Snowden – Truthdig.

An excerpt from the (conversation in) the above linked-to video follows:

——————)-
Obviously this debate wouldn’t be happening without Edward Snowden. But I was wondering if you would agree with me that every time he opens his mouth he also says something completely nuts. He reminds me a lot of Ron Paul. I agree with what he says, I nod along and then he says something totally batshit… He said these programs were never about terrorism. They’re about social control and diplomatic manipulation. Well that’s crazy. They were about stopping terrorism. They may have gone too far. But everbody in the governmebnt isn’t out to get ya. Uh he said they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. This is nuts, Right?

No Bill. What’s nuts is the fact that you think that’s nuts…
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Clint Eastwood as The Stranger

Clint Eastwood as The Stranger

My online response to the above linked-to video follows. Also, I was responding specifically to another commenter’s post. Wagonjack had posted, between the asterisks: ** “I agree with what he says…and then he says something totally batsh*t.” I often feel the same way about Maher…he can really say some amazing things, and then he says something so idiotic and irrational that it blows me out! ** My response was:

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It’s the way he says it. He’s the stupid person’s idea of smart, to borrow a phrase used by Paul Krugman to describe Newt Gingrich. Rightwing viewers like – no doubt positively thrill over – the way he slides up beside those on the Left, or those who are doing real journalism and whom the people want to hear from, smiles, says ‘How you doing?’, slides a knife into them and, when he’s done disrespecting them, charmingly, says ‘You can use my guest house if you ever need to’. Those viewers are free to fool themselves into thinking that there’s substance to the position Maher takes if they wish to. What they will get, and enjoy, is the viciousness, which isn’t fictional nor ineffective. Being roughed up may be something you can handle, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect you. You lose a bit of energy every time it happens – if you’re normal.

Just as we the people have our champions, so too, the plugged-in-ones (a la The Matrix) have and need their champions. I can see why the major media likes Maher. He’s slightly more pleasant, less affected, than William F. Buckley Jr. and great entertainment for the people. (Here’s a bit on William F. Buckley to get you up to speed if you don’t know who he is: http://bit.ly/1aE2Xg3) What’s our (on the Left) attraction to him? He’s a strange, exotic character. He’s like the suave, capable-looking stranger in High Plains Drifter. When he appears, you think to yourself “Yes. I want him on my side!” And you ‘only’ think that – if you aren’t principled. You don’t know for sure which side he’s on because he employs ambiguity and you yourself aren’t solid. And he plays on that.
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Progressives and thoughtful people are alarmed at antics like this. But really, Only the bovine are being led to the slaughter. It’s not that I lament that. You reap what you sow. But I do lament that people have allowed themselves to become, or stay, bovine.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald

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