Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Liars, Reality, and the 21st Century

Richard Roberts told the student body he did not want to resign as president of Oral Roberts University after being shown to be corrupt. Mrs. Roberts (or should it be Robinson?), known as OSU's "first lady" and a member of the board of regents faces charges regarding young boys at the school. She was given a white Lexus SUV and a red Mercedes convertible by "ministry donors."

Mrs. Roberts had $800 cell-phone bills with hundreds of text messages sent between 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. to "underage males who had been provided phones at university expense."

Both Mr. and Mrs. Robert deny the allegations. According to Roberts, God ordered him to resign. How does he know it was God? I have navigated to some extraordinary turf and encountered some pretty crazy stuff, but how do I know what it was? Years ago I heard the voice of something that occurred as top of the top. How am I supposed to know if she was God? What data can a human being process that grants license to say it was "God"?

Our relationship with reality is one of my peeves. People don't speak their minds. They profess knowledge they do not have and worst of all, they deliberately lie. Okay, I acknowledge Blanton's Radical Honesty goes too far. I've been on the other end of "Do you like my hair?" Those situations noted, I fail to grasp clinging to a known lie when the gig is up.

Eight men have now come forward alleging sexual encounters or advances with "I am not gay" Senator Larry Craig. In fact, the same gay prostitute Mike Haggard liked to fondle is one of those Craig has enjoyed. Of course, Haggard has also asserted he is not gay. None of these men are gay. They just like to have sex with each other.

The "I cannot recall" administration recalls just fine. They lie. Far worse than Craig's lie about a matter of minimal consequence, we have the far more malignant deliberate invention of lies with malicious intent. Darth Rove has chosen to fabricate sheer nonsense that the Democrats rushed us into the Iraq War. The Bush Administration wanted go slower and wait for more world consensus. Uh, what?!

Rove declared and then repeated his assertion that Tom Daschle was the hawk with a bee in his bonnet. I thought I would throw up and complained to my good political friend Bob (named Bill in a prior post for anonymity - he has told me to use his real name). Bob said, "Rove is not talking to you."

I flamed my venom towards the outrageous revision of history, and Bob calmly noted that Rove was speaking to an audience that would eat his remarks like spiced rice, the Fox Noise and Rush Limbaugh crowd. Rove knows how to talk to this audience, and they believe everything he says.

Scott McClelland now openly acknowledges he lied to the press about the administration's leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame, an act of treason.

Cheney asserts "I never said that" and within hours we see Jon Stewart on the Daily Show playing the videotape showing the demon saying exactly what he said he never said. It doesn't matter. Only people like me watch Jon Stewart.

Can it be true that in the face of the 21st century's news videos, taped speeches, blogs, YouTube content, and pdf files, that we can keep people clueless by controlling which content they consume? Can the preachers really keep the full attentions of their choirs?

Machiavelli gained an extraordinary place in history by telling the truth and speaking to the reality of the human condition. We may use his name in a negative context for certain behavior, but the astute and well educated respect the man as brilliant.

Rove is entirely clear that he is lying and lies by design. He deliberately injects crafted assertions just like drugs into a body, content calculated to produce a desired result.

I dispute his calculus, having concluded over considerable cigars, espresso, diet coke, and scotch, that Karl, Dick, W, and the rest of the crotchety old liars have outdated methods not in touch with blogs and Web 2.0, kept out of date by arrogance and hubris. W speaks of "the internets" and "the google" because he has no clue.

On many fronts, the Bush administration represents the catastrophic failure of obsolete thinking in a new world. They remain unwilling to listen or learn as a new reality introduces distinctions and concepts they will not consider. Entering Iraq resulted from cold war thinking as does the current rhetoric about Iran. Craig and Haggard fool no one save perhaps themselves. As for Rove, my friend Bob is very sharp and admittedly accurate to a degree.

I stand for a world where that degree changes, and leaders lead by educating people, not fooling them.

4 Comments:

Blogger Sirocco said...

You make an interesting claim, and I think one which is valid ...

Rove (and he's not the only one, just the most famous of the moment) is clearly and deliberately spreading his message (lies) to an audience he knows _wants_ to believe them, because then it means they weren't wrong either. His lies to them help them lie to themselves.

Other audiences, ones which _know_ he is lying and are willing and capable of proving it, he simply doesn't care about.

Even with the choices TV provides this has been an effective approach, demonstrated by Rove's repeated success with it. This approach remains effective amongst the older generations (including ours) who still tend to get their information from a small number of sources.

However, the younger the demographic skews, the less effective the approach is, as the younger generations have adapted to receive their information from the multitude of resources available to them. Rove's successors are going to have to come up with something new.

That's not to say they won't, but it will be harder to get away with ... I hope.

12/04/2007 7:31 PM  
Blogger roger said...

Give up persecuting sex...

As Marv Albert might have said,

sex will bite you in the ass.

12/04/2007 8:50 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

Karl Rove cannot revise history, as much as I am sure he would like to. All he can do is shoot off his big, fat mouth at every opportunity and you can bet he will. There's money in it for him, if nothing else.

People like Rove have to take advantage of the window of opportunity when they can get the major book deals, the TV interviews and the lucrative speaking engagments. In a few years, Rove's version of his role in the Bush Administration will be irrelevant. He will be speaking only to his groupies and they will be a shrinking audience.

And, like Sirocco says, some of the Bushies are already out there trying to do what Rove is doing and there are more to follow. Someone will probably write a book someday on how well they were able to keep their lies straight and where they contradicted each other.

I just hope that this is one instance where America's attention span is very, very short.

12/05/2007 8:50 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Today's New York Times Thomas Friedman comment speculates an Iranian intelligence memo regarding the United States. It includes:

We have to note that obtaining open-source intelligence in America has become more difficult, because traditional news shows have become more comedic and more comedic news shows more authoritative.

For instance, CNN’s nightly business report is hosted by a man named “Dobbs.” Real journalists come on his show and present transparently propagandistic stories about immigration and trade and then he fulminates about them, much the way our ayatollahs used to do about “Satanic Americans” on late-night Iranian TV. So viewers have no real idea what’s happening in the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, at 11 p.m., something called "The Daily Show," which appears on Comedy Central, has fake journalists presenting what turns out to be the real news.

12/05/2007 9:26 PM  

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