To hear it told every night on the Fox News channel as though it were the urban legend of Cropsy whispered menacingly around a campfire to make the skin of its wide-eyed listeners break out in goose flesh, America is mere moments away from a democracy destroying apocalyptic brawl. The scrupulously cast family archetypes (Papa O'Reilly, Brother Glenn, hot cousin Megyn, et al) tell us with wide "I told you so" eyes that the fix is in, the jig is up and the storm troopers are coming: so, horde your gold, hide your daughters and prepare for Stalinpalooza.
Of course, they are totally full of the stuff that makes moist, dark clumps in boxes of kitty litter.
Denied the time to reintegrate their god-given sensory apparatus for more than the millisecond unfilled by blaring ads for prostate medication, cars and Red Lobster, the audience these murmurers of mayhem corral don't know that. But once again, the simple act of stepping outside the noxious cacophony yields one a saner perspective.
If we as a nation had the strength to detach from the glittering, flickering baubles beamed into our cerebral cortexes and mute the bleating klaxons, we'd realize that the "news" spouted from many a sneering, slanted mouth is pure carnival barking, and we'd see what America has allowed itself to become.
Under the trickle-down tutelage of greed-engorged magnates, whose intoxication seems to rise exponentially with the dismantling of every pertinent regulatory mechanism, the American character once known for its optimism and can-do spirit has been steadily conditioned to become twitchy, utterly consumed with consuming and scared shitless (or oil-less or ihone-less or Beck-less). And disaster capitalism is now the main bolt in the capitalist's quiver. Raising hackles and blood pressure is big money.
Take my buddy, Andrew Breitbart.
To the right, he is a take-no-prisoners provocateur who seems to have little fear or patience for things and people he feels are responsible for the degrading of democracy. He has an itchy trigger finger and is a potent avatar for those looking to "git some".
To the left, he is a blue-eyed blustering bully and pathological prevaricator who runs his own tea-bagging town square, complete with stocks and gallows.
His ascending profile and in-your-face approach to partisan journalism is something the left and the right are both frantically trying to adjust to, as most of their high profile spokespersons rarely go face to face and toe to toe with detractors the way Breitbart does; the left struggles to publicize his discredited attacks to a wide enough audience in order to squelch his swelling presence (which you'd think would be easy given the "Liberal Media". Strange, that!) and the right is once again trying to crowbar some space underneath its carelessly indiscriminate umbrella (and by indiscriminate I mean every nut crawling around with a ka-bar between his teeth and Don't Tread On Me underpants) to utilize his talent and add to their party's imperative: assemble potential customers.
Because as inflammatory and hurtful as he and his brand of journalism may be, the guy is, given the state of the art, just making a living.
This might be a simplistic reduction of the episodes which have riled individuals, smeared reputations and cost innocent people their livelihoods, nor is it me condoning what he does in any way (like he could give a shit). The list of incidents which have come to define his presence on the scene reads like a rap sheet of a cultural commando, part nipple-tweaking imp, part vein-bursting brute.
But really, he is only the latest incarnation in a line of right wing Barnumesque self-promoters. Or more precisely, he may in fact be the embodiment of the product that guys like Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch have produced, exploited and relied so heavily upon -- that of the enraged white guy who has rights too, you know.
The problem with their toxic spiel is that it's bad business. Not in the short term, obviously (to listen to Daddy O'Reilly tell it, they're the biggest things since white bread and US Steel).
But soon, once the seeds of mayhem have borne their inevitably bloody fruit, that consumer base will be rendered either unmanageable by conventional means or utterly obliterated. Which, given the current paradigm, is perfectly fine.
Disaster is a state of mind; making hay from horror is what finally elevated tabloid journalism from the smeared ink headlines "Boy Locked in Freezer Eats Own Feet" to the flashing chyrons "Obamacare Death Panels". While people's fealty to authoritative institutions is culturally---genetically ingrained, those institutions have themselves morphed from trusted and dispassionate dispensers of fact to roiling, raging profit monsters.
Or perhaps all this thinking is just the balm required for one to stay sane in a world where Mexican drug cartels and illegal immigrants are beheading Arizonans, all Muslims hate all Americans, Christmas is being canceled, black people will certainly kill white people, the Rapture will pull the devout out of cockpits and clothing, whatever is on the media's lazy Susan of lethal memes.
The fact that profit has trumped principles as America's prime directive is the real indication that a cultural cancer has set in for good and the real end times (as opposed to the ones concocted to keep people scared and spending) might just be the setting of the sun on the American era, the slow fade of its pride and potential, with only the loud, the opportunistic and the media savvy motivated enough to rake in and profit from the dregs.
So next time one of these right wing loud mouths asks you to step outside, think of it as giving the economy a much needed boost. Or just kick him in the balls and run.