Monday, May 27, 2013

A dying hound with a streak of Rin Tin Tin

There's still a pile of scandals on the front steps of the White House. From Benghazi, to the IRS, to the First Amendment, none of them have been resolved, at least not to the satisfaction of President Obama's political foes and critics (and people engaged in rational thought). To his supporters and panegyrists in the media? For most of them--though not all--there never were any scandals to speak of. Benghazi for instance is much ado about nothing, an unfortunate situation that was ultimately unavoidable. All the Administration and the nation can do--in the agile minds of such people--is pick up the pieces and move on. The IRS targeting stuff? Even for those on the left that see problems with what went down, those problems begin and end with a handful of people at the IRS, proper. There's nothing--again, in their minds--to indicate the Administration had any role, direct or indirect, with the targeting and nothing to indicate it knew about what happening earlier than the general population. Ditto for the assault on the First Amendment, via subpoenas for phone records and the like from FoxNews and the AP. Holder--the head of Justice--was blissfully unaware of what was going on in his own agency (kinda like with Fast and Furious) so the Administration can hardly be expected to have known, either.

Thus, the essential response to all of these scandals from the President and his people is encapsulated in one word: ignorance.

The Administration was ignorant of the changing dynamics and growing dangers in Libya prior to September 11th, 2012 (despite the reports of Chris Stevens detailing such changes). It was ignorant of goings on at the IRS and at the Justice Department, despite the fact that both agencies answer directly to the executive branch, despite the fact that Holder is an Obama appointee who has been under heavy scrutiny for years and that the former head of the IRS--Doug Shulman--made more trips to the Obama White House (over one hundred) than any other IRS chief in recent history.

By the way, as a side note take care not to buy into the spin out there on Shulman. It is true he was appointed by George W. Bush in 2008, but his name was put forward by Democrat Max Baucus, who basically left Bush with a choice: Shulman or no one (Baucus has been chair of the Sentate Finance Committee since 2007).

But back to the ignorance of the current Administration.

Here's the thing about ignorance as a defense: there's no counter, other than noting it. If someone admits to ignorance, what can be done in reply, absent some sort of "smoking gun"? Such arguments play themselves out on messageboards and the like on a near-constant basis, both with regard to those who defend the ignorant and those who use their own ignorance as a defense (and occasionally both at the same time).

Perhaps you've engaged in one or two of these back and forths with friends or near-friends recently. You point out--for instance--that the whole YouTube video angle in the Benghazi story was a fabrication, top to bottom, that such an obvious attempt to create a false narrative by the Administration demonstrates a willful disregard for truth and a lack of control over what was going on at the very least. The response from your educated and supposedly intelligent friends on the left? "Well, it was the best intelligence available at the time" or the dismissive "So what? What does it matter now?" The first is completely untrue; anyone saying it is obviously not paying attention. The second, the Clintonian excuse, is just a facepalm moment. What can be done or said in response, really? Nothing.

Both responses are products of ignorance. But not just everyday ignorance; those offering such counters at this late date are proudly professing their ignorance, wearing it on their sleeve as it were, in solidarity with the ignorance of the President and his administration.

Pushing back against these displays of ignorance again and again and again is hard work. My hat is off to those who are able to keep at it. But how much longer can it go on before ignorance finally triumphs and the truth is lost in the shrouds of history? It's a life-sucking exercise, countering such ignorance. It's tilting at windmills, back-breaking work with little hope of success.

But there is nobility here, if nothing else. There is doing what's right for its own sake. There is telling the truth and--more importantly--being true. And it's this bit that keeps people going, even as they feel they are pounding their head against a brick wall.

The title of this piece is a part of the lyrics of a song, Who Are You by The Who, circa 1978. The full line:
I felt a little like a dying hound
With a streak of Rin Tin Tin
The word "hound" is often wrongly transcribed as "clown," an error that robs the lines of their sense. For Towshend is relaying a story about his experiences in the music business. The above bit refers to how he feels--like a dying hound, a dead dog, dog-tired--after a day of dealing with the publishers, managers, agents, and other music execs. The idea is that the band has been working like a dog, but is constantly forced to prove its worth again and again to those within the industry. And in doing so, the band begins to "sell out" so to speak, slowly losing its integrity as the process repeats itself over and over. The "streak of Rin Tin Tin" refers to Rin Tin Tin, that noblest of dogs who cannot be bought.

The chorus of the song--"Well, who are you? Who are you? Who the fuck are you?"--is Townsend screaming at those he's forced to deal with, the clueless, the dishonest, the ignorant.

One need only picture the scene with all of this in mind and the entire song brings Townshend's world--the music business--into sharp focus, with it's underhanded dealings, backstabbing, and control over the artists by the non-artists. The latter cannot be told they are wrong about anything. They are steadfast and immovable, even when deeply, deeply uninformed. Who the fuck are they?

And you want to scream those same words now, at those who cannot allow truth to interfere with their politics, who cannot face reality if it conflicts with their hero-worshiping. Because no matter how many times you smack them in the face with the facts, with logical analysis, they will not listen. They cannot. Too much is at stake.

Cheers, all.

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent article. Certainly explains my frustration with stating the facts, only to hear the incomprehensible attitudes of the left.