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Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Dispatch / October 30, 2010
By Mark Ames


Maybe what’s happening in America today will seem funny to some other culture in some future time—how it happened that in the depths of America’s decline, Liberals, the great opposition to everything mean and ruthless in this culture, couldn’t muster up a get-together for anything better than a mock-in. Led by a clown.

I confess, I couldn’t hack it. I came to the rally–saw those two pastry chefs from the Mythbusters show get all the Liberal Elites to hold a post-modern human wave, an ironic human wave allowing all the self-conscious Liberal Elites to play like Real America, while salvaging their vanity because it was all ironic and post-modern… And to make sure that everyone knew they were not really human-waving but rather meta-human-waving, the Mythbusters duo deconstructed the human wave. And all the Liberal Elites smiled and laughed knowingly, because all 150,000 were in on the biggest inside-joke wankathon in American history. And that was it for me–I was outta there.

A century-old ideological movement, Liberalism: once devoted to impossible causes like ending racism and inequality, empowering the powerless, fighting against militarism, and all that silly hippie shit—now it’s been reduced to besting the other side at one-liners…and to the Liberals’ credit, they’re clearly on top. Sure there are a lot of problems out there, a lot of pressing needs—but the main thing is, the Liberals don’t look nearly as stupid as the other guys do. And if you don’t know how important that is to this generation, then you won’t understand what’s so wrong and so deeply depressing about the Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity.

That’s what makes this rally so depressing and grotesque: It’s an anti-rally, a kind of mass concession speech without the speech–some kind of sick funeral party  for Liberalism, in which Liberals are led, at last, by a clown. Not a figurative clown, but by a clown–and Liberals are sure that this somehow makes them smarter and less lame–and indeed, they are less lame, because they are not taking themselves too seriously, which is something they’re very, very proud of. All great political struggles and ideological advances, all great human rights achievements were won by clown-led crowds of people who don’t take themselves too seriously, duh! That’s why they’re following a clown like Stewart, whose entire political program comes down to this: not being stupid, the way the other guys are stupid–or when being stupid, only stupid in a self-consciously stupid way, which is to say, not stupid. That’s it, that’s all this is about: Not to protest wars or oligarchical theft or declining health care or crushing debt or a corrupt political system or imperial decay—nope, the only thing that motivates Liberals to gather in the their thousands is the chance to celebrate their own lack of stupidity! Woo-hoo!

AP Photo

It’s the final humiliating undoing of Enlightenment Idealism that made Liberalism possible–imagine if Jefferson, Diderot, Montesquieu, Madison et al reduced the entire Enlightenment’s struggle against the old feudal order to “I’m against the monarchy because the monarchy’s stupid…but then again, Rousseau makes a fool of himself with his Romanticism, and Tom Paine is so serious with his ‘Rights of Man’, the Revolutionaries are just as crazy as the Monarchists, so rather than join either side and risk opening myself to mockery, I’m just going to stand back and laugh at them all and say, ‘Really? Independence? Everyone is created equal and has the right to pursue happiness? Really, TJ? You sure you want to say that about Bluebeard? Really?” [LAUGH TRACK]…

It’s not Stewart’s or Colbert’s fault, let’s be clear on that—they’re the only ones doing their job here. They’re the only ones fighting this battle, and the only way they’re surviving is by elaborately pretending they’re not really fighting anyone’s battle over anything, they’re just having a laugh—it’s the same rationale that jesters used in medieval times, and Stewart and Colbert play the same role as the jesters did then…and we’re also playing our role as powerless peasants reduced to self-mockery and snickering at our Masters behind their backs. It’s not their fault that Liberalism today has as its highest priority not looking stupid—and that its premiere rally is framed in such a way that everyone who came to this rally is somehow indemnified from looking foolish precisely because it’s not really a political rally, it’s more like a mockery of a political rally—in a self-consciously smart sort of way. And the Daily Show Democrats who gathered celebrated themselves for this amazing achievement: that they didn’t make fools of themselves standing for something that some other guys could then use to mock them. That’s the biggest sin of the other side, the Tea Partiers especially, at least as the Daily Show fans see it: they look silly, and worse, they’re not shamed into suicide from looking silly, the way Liberals would be shamed into OD’ing on Ambien if they opened themselves up to that sort of mockery.

It was this same lack of ironic self-awareness (or rather, this absence of any sort of mockery-avoidance technology) that led my generation to pillory the hippies and progressives–that’s why we were South Park Republicans before we were Daily Show Democrats: because back then, standing for liberal values meant something, and that made you look lame. Only now, when Liberal ideals have vanished into mythology and all they stand for is “not as crazy or stupid as Republicans” is it safe to camp out with the Democrats. They put nothing on the line ideologically, which perfectly jibes with this generation’s highest value. And that makes it perfectly safe to go to something like a large political rally like Stewart’s—you side with a hollow movement stripped of ideology or purpose, and then you gather to celebrate your own hollowness at a rally whose one promise is “You won’t open yourself up to mockery if you attend this rally” and whose goal is to show how not-stupid “we” are compared to the mockable activists on both the right and the left–the Beckites and the Code Pinkers.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this has been the Great Dream of my generation: to position ourselves in such a way that we’re beyond mockery. To not look stupid. That’s the biggest crime of all–looking stupid. That’s why they’ve turned Stewart into a demigod, because he knows how to make the other guys look really stupid, and if you’re on the same team as Stewart, you’re on the safe side of the mockery, rather than dangerously vulnerable to mockery.

In fact, I think this is why so many Gen-X/Yers turned against Obama: because he made them look stupid. They made themselves vulnerable to looking stupid by believing in him–and he jilted them. That’s how they see it–not that politics is a long ugly process that has nothing to do with self-esteem and everything to do with money and brawling–it was more like an “indie” consumer choice: They bought into the Obama brand, wore it, and suddenly discovered that the label wasn’t as cool as it seemed at the time, especially after the sentimental high of electing a half-black president wore off to the hard slog of what came after… so they threw the Obama jeans away and went to work trying to salvage their coolness creds for having made that fashion mistake. It’s captured best in this Awl essay by Tom Hanks’ daughter–E. A. Hanks, of all people: “Dear The Left: A Breakup Letter” which begins with her reaction to the special Senate election that Scott Brown won:

Dear The Left,

It’s interesting that you couldn’t keep Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat. I’m taking it for granted that you understand that I don’t mean “interesting” at all, but rather “detestable.”

So little Miss Hanks is not joking in her title for the essay–it really is written like a breakup letter. Leaving aside for now the question of “What the fuck is Tom Hanks’ daughter doing talking as if she and ‘The Left’ ever had a deal?”–or the other issue of “Why does your father make shitty Romantic comedy movies that turn decent people into anti-American suicide bombers?”–because we’ll get nowhere if we try answering those…anyway, leaving that aside…By framing her disillusionment as a breakup letter, she reduces the political struggle to a kind of frivolous private-school irony for 20-something Heathers, indemnifying her against Gen-X/Y reader suspicions that her break with Obama might mean she’s one of those Lefties who “have a cow.” She’s not–she’s cool and ironic and has a “Scott Brown? Really? You lost to Scott Brown? No, Really?” attitude, just like all the people who read her have.


E. A. Hanks (second from left) with Megan McCain and her friends from “The Left”

Keep in mind that this E.A. Hanks “break-up letter” wound up becoming a hugely popular, heavily-e-forwarded article earlier this year among all the Daily Show Democrats, as embarrassment swept across the Liberal egosphere following Scott Brown’s surprise victory in the Senate race. She is the voice of the Rally today.

So now ask–who writes breakup letters? What’s the point of that? If you’re breaking up with a lover whom you just want to get away from, you won’t publish a breakup letter, you just want it to go away. But if you’re breaking up with a lover because s/he humiliated you, or you’re worried somehow how this will affect your reputation among the cool crowd (the obsession of Gen-Xers and –Yers), then you DO write a letter and publish it, so that you make HIM look like the fool, you transfer the mockery and humiliation out of your hurt little feelers and restore your public image as someone who is cool, who is self-aware, who never gets too excited about things but this one time you did and you got burned and that sucks dude….It’s an elaborate Gen-X/Y rhetorical strategy to abandon a movement or a trend that’s in serious danger of making its fans look stupid. And it’s even worse than that—there’s something very 1950s about her peevishness and selfishness, a kind of Ayn Rand cheerleader dumping the QB because he lost the Homecoming game—all the while she waited it out beneath the bleachers to see who’d win, but she’d foolishly placed her bets a bit too early with the new black QB…

What E. A. Hanks didn’t realize–what no one at the Rally today celebrating their coolness realizes– is that this isn’t about cheerleading for the sentimental favorite and getting rewarded for it by some kind of Liberal Hollywood God—she’s supposed to fight a long dreary battle that goes on and on, long after the credits roll. But that’s not what she signed up for: She saw it as Obama escorting her to the Prom after he made all those hard-hearted Randian cheerleaders weep into their pom-poms at how he overcame adversity and realized the American Dream…only it turned out he can’t win the Big Game, he’s got no Red Zone O. I mean, like, where’s my The Blind Side black man? If Christians can have their Blind Side, why can’t we have our Liberal Blind Side too? The idea that Ms Hanks and the Gen-X cheerleaders looking over her shoulder are supposed to help win the game by any means necessary is as far from her petulant thoughts as possible here.

Instead, as the wounded party, what’s first on her mind is making sure she’s the first to dump, the easiest way to restoring her cool credibility:

Which is to say, we’re over. Yep, sorry. We’re through.

It’s not even that I don’t agree with you, because I do, on all the big ones, at least: Teddy Kennedy’s legacy, gays, abortion, endless wars for the profit of private companies, drowning polar bears, the works. I’m not running off to declare nonsense as truth like, “Health Care Will Kill Us All!” or anything like that.

But, you know what? I don’t think you’re good for me. Or for America, for that matter.

Here’s where something much more sinister about what passes for “Liberal” in my generation is revealed: the totally-selfish Ayn Rand activist, the petulant Libertarian protagonist who has a brand manager’s understanding of what it means to be “Liberal” or “Left”. It is this brand manager’s disillusionment with the brand that is fuelling the Jon Stewart rally—by identifying herself so closely with something that turned out to be not nearly as cool as the buzz claimed, she made herself vulnerable, and mockable. Which may seem frivolous to you old folks out there, but for her and for Gen-X/Yers, exposing yourself like that is the equivalent of a decade of marching for Civil Rights and against the war, getting arrested, beaten, jailed, negotiating with authorities, teaching, etc….here is the Gen-X/Y equivalent of “laying it all on the line”:

There was a moment, after the inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th President (the one you take credit for) when there was an in-coming wave of people singing.

As the noise got closer, those words made famous by Bananarama became clear and rang out, golden over the Mall: “Na Na Na / Na Na Na / Hey Hey Hey / Goodbye!”

Countless people were waving up at the sky, and when I craned my neck back I could see Marine One was taking the previous President away, forever. His time was done.

I started to wave and sing too, but before I could really give it my best, I burst into tears, The Left. You would have been proud.

When I looked up to try to chip off the frozen snot and salt water from my face, I noticed something: the 100 people in my immediate vicinity were also crying.

And I don’t mean quiet, private, attractive tears.

People were sobbing, really going for it. There was more choking and heaving than a seventh grade girl’s bathroom.

I caught an evanescent understanding of the meaning of catharsis.

It’s not a pleasant, tidy emotional process, wherein one gets closure by having neat conversations that make you feel okay-it’s the violent purging of the cancer that’s been pulsating wetly in your guts for eight years.

Now you might be thinking here, “Hey wait a minute, this sounds just like something Meg Ryan would say, straight out of Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail!” Except that it’s worse: like so many disillusioned, spurned Daily Show Dems, she’s flustered that it didn’t all turn out the way a movie would—Obama got her all hot ‘n’ wet, and then somehow things got messy and ugly, it didn’t follow a 3-act dramatic plot. It just turned into work, with no credits ever rolling signifying the end, period. Work is supposed to be compressed into a 30-second montage because work is boring and lame—fuck this shit! It’s the purest expression of a profoundly hollow mindset, devoid of ideology, devoid of purpose beyond protecting her brand.

Film Review The Blind Side

Why couldn’t Obama be more like him?

Hanks’ “break-up letter” wouldn’t matter here if it hadn’t been so popular, and such an early expression of the same mentality fueling the Jon Stewart rally. Somehow, far, far poorer Liberal Elites from the coasts identified with the far richer, privileged Hanks girl because everyone’s stuck in the same rhetorical rules and mindset that were formed in a more prosperous era, when being petulant and frivolous and ironic made a bit more sense, economically speaking. Now we’re fucked, and we’re incapable of adapting to our own desperate, declining circumstances with a more serious rhetorical style that matches our desperation and decline—we’re stuck rolling our eyes like we did in the good ol’ days, but rolling our eyes now is just plain bizarre for everyone but a privileged, selfish crypto-Randroid like Hanks. And not only have we learned to talk and act like celebrities, but we have absorbed the stupidity of their stock plots, in which a happy ending like the Obama Rally stays happy after the credits roll—nothing changes or gets complicated or ugly, it’s just over—over, goddamnit, like in the movies! That’s just not fair, you’re not supposed to cut to a new set of struggles after the happy ending—what kind of movie is that?

So even though we’re jobless and on food stamps, we’re afraid of coming off looking stupid complaining about it–whatever dire situation we’re in, the main thing is not to look stupid when complaining about it. the best way not to look stupid is to blame the guy who made you look stupid:

But I standing [sic] on the National Mall, crying in the arms of that stranger from Georgia, I realized that the anger I had for President Bush gave me was nothing in comparison with the rage I felt for The Left.

The Left.

DailyKos and MoveOn and CodePink and yes, that other one, too. Grand-standing Congresspeople, bandana-ed prostesters and pontificating talking heads.

So much talking! So much feeling! And yet… nothing changed!

Yes, where’s that permanent change! It’s not supposed to be an ongoing struggle—change happens, it’s over, you get up and leave the movie theater. It’s not supposed to be like this! Fuck you, Code Pink!

Like Stewart, she hates on CodePink as much or more as the crazies on the right. That’s been misinterpreted by earnest Lefties as false equivalency–“How can you compare the war crimes and the tens of thousands of deaths caused by one side to shrill protests by CodePink on the other side?” they cry. But you see, that’s not what the Daily Show Democrats are talking about when they equate the two–what makes them equally bad is that they’re equally lame. And siding with either side makes you siding with lameness. That’s worse than any alleged war crime, by my generation’s standards.

You focused so much attention on beating Fox! All of your energy was spent on seeing who could win the spin war, and suddenly we were all shouting “You’re wrong! You’re wrong! You’re wrong!” together, to the point where we were just as hysterical and terrified as the other side! Probably even more!

In other words, “you” started to become effective. Not in the way a petulant Gen-Xer wanted it to be though, because one had to look lame to be effective. One had to be like CodePink–and CodePink isn’t cool. Gen-X/Y didn’t sign up for lame, they signed up for Obama, the sentimental favorite!

And then of course comes the requisite Gen-X self-awareness and self-mockery, preventative-mockery, the most popular rhetorical strategy of my Generation:

And yet here I go, changing everything between us. If I’m being honest, our relationship was all about placating my ego. All of it: the marches, the sit-ins, the phone trees, the whole shebang.

It was about glorifying my personal beliefs, and convincing myself that I was more against the war,more for gay rights, more serious about securing abortion rights, than anyone else.

If you think about it, it was pretty nifty thinking: It’ll look like I’m selflessly placing myself in harm’s way to make a point about how fucked up things are! Then everyone will know how serious I am, how serious I take things. Everyone will be super-impressed.

The only word I can think to describe it is masturbatory. My relationship with The Left was masturbatory.

The only purpose this part of the essay–and it’s the most important part of her argument–is that it serves to bolster what rhetoricians call her “ethos”: She’s establishing herself as self-aware and cool enough to mock herself in-advance, because only lame people or people who take things too seriously or weirdos are incapable of self-mockery. It’s a reverse-helix trick that answers the reader’s inevitable question: “Wait, is she just whining because she got dumped first? Because if she got dumped first, then someone’s a-gonna make fun of her…But no, she must be the one doing the dumping, because she’s showing that she can laugh at herself, and that means she’s not in any sort of emotionally-committed state. She’s not very mockable, which is exactly where I see myself.”

Then comes the ending of her essay, in which she winds up making the exact wrong choice that my generation made when it went “libertarian” as the fake-alternative to Democrat liberalism and Republican conservativism: going it alone.

And that’s why I’m taking this post-Kennedy moment to break up with you, The Left. I don’t want to talk about how I want America to change. I want the inevitable changes that mark American’s great march toward freedom for everyone to be manifested by my individual actions-by everyone’s individual actions.

What’s the point in being a voice in a crowd that’s screaming so loudly that no one has any idea what everyone’s saying? (Even if it’s a crowd I agree with!)

Like a petulant whiner, she wants things to happen without getting her ego dirty. Going it alone is the least-dangerous choice for someone whose politics are driven by vanity, but like the fashionable libertarianism of my generation, the most dangerous choice of all when you consider that politics is all about power struggles over how to order a particular civilization, what to prioritize, how to allocate, and so on. If the ruling class has enormous amounts of money and power and collectivizes in a variety of billionaires’ unions and special interests unions, and your answer is, “I’ll go it alone, at least I won’t look stupid” then you’re just fucking stupid.

It all becomes grotesquely clear with her zinger-conclusion, which equates the Left with “That Lame Guy” whom college wits would always make fun of:

Someone who comes to mind, The Left, is Bob Dylan. (See, I told you we’d still agree on things!)

You know what you’re like? You’re like the people who booed him when he went electric. You’re the pouting kid demanding more “protest songs,” when they’re all protest songs,

And who the hell boos Obam-I mean, Bob Dylan-anyway?

At this point, the Gen-X/Gen-Y stance becomes downright depressing. This is how far we’ve declined: a Gen-Y privileged hipster can’t even muster a zinger from her own era, so she reaches back to some barely-talented rat-cunning jerk from the 60s as her idea of a real cultural hero, if only because he’s managed to avoid being savagely mocked—and then she pulls her zinger from that generation’s “moment,” which was mocked by the next generation, and recycled by her generation…Cultural stagnation is the underlying theme of this whole mess, and that’s what leads back to the Rally to Restore Sanity. America and Liberalism have stagnated and decayed so much that they have to pull their zinger references from 40-year-old put downs that predate E. A. Hanks’ birth. And it still works–because  the people who booed Dylan for going electric–their biggest sin is that they “took Dylan too seriously” and made fools of themselves for decades to come. That is her devastating evaluation of how the Obama movie went bad. That’s the lesson–bail out of anything that threatens to make you look lame. The big zinger is borrowed from a hipster put-down so old it predates Ms. Hanks birth—citing an old mockery-favorite like this. But everyone got it. And everyone agreed with her.

You see, this is why so many cool Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers were so jazzed up about going to the Stewart rally–by definition, they were guaranteed not to look stupid by going to it, because it’s not really a rally. They’re not putting anything on the line. They’re just going to chant the equivalent of that annoying Saturday Night Live Update skit “Really?” No generation ever looked so cool so late in their lives as my generation. We did it! We achieved our dream! We don’t look as stupid as the hippies did when they were in their 40s! Woo-hoo! We still mock ourselves and we’re still self-aware, but best of all, we don’t look stupid by devoting ourselves to ideas or movements that other people might one day laugh at. We won! We won the least-stupid-looking-generation competition! Let’s gather together in an ironic, self-aware way, and celebrate how we’re not really rallying or laying anything on the line–not even now, not even when the whole fucking country is collapsing. What’s our prize, Don?

Meanwhile, behind Door Number 1, the country is in two losing wars and the worst economic crisis in 80 years, behind Door Number 2, over 40 million Americans are on fucking food stamps, behind Door Number 3, millions are being land-transfered out of their property like landless peasants in a banana republic–yeah, it’s bad, whatever dude, it’s always been bad, nothing ever changes much, don’t have a cow, deal with it…

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say a few things that might sound stupid, but bear with me:

1. Collective action is the only possible way to change shit. Large numbers of collectivized nobodies rallying to demand what they want–a better cut of the pie, and a better world to live in. It’s the only thing that power-elites fear and the only way to get them to negotiate. There must be thousands of billionaires’ unions—whether the Chamber of Commerce or the gazillions of libertarian networks—and the only thing they hope and dream about and invest their effort into is planting a seed into your vain Gen-X brain that makes you think it’s lame to collectivize. That’s it, that’s the only thing they care about while they’re plundering away. You’ll have to stomach being around people who are lame, and who say lame things, and you’ll feel lame—so you’ll have to decide which is lamer: the fear of being lame, or forming an alliance with people lamer than you in order to struggle against people far meaner, far more greedy and destructive than the lame people you hate—people who have no qualms about being lame when they collectivize, so long as they destroy you and grab everything they want. Tough choice, I know.

2. The problem with the Left wasn’t that they were too fixated on proving they were right, or that they didn’t make enough noise before the war about the lies that led us into that war…the problem is that the Left doesn’t stand for anything Big because it’s not guided by a vision or an Ideal. What does the Left stand for? Let me suggest a few things in people’s own personal interests in these decaying times that the Left should stand for: first, people need money. Then if they have money, they need Life. Then they might be interested in “ideals” set out in the contract that this country is founded on. Ever read the preamble to the Constitution? There’s nothing about private property there and self-interest. Nothing at all about that. It’s a contract whose purpose is clearly spelled out, and it’s a purpose that’s the very opposite of the purpose driving Stewart’s rally, or the purpose driving the libertarian ideology so dominant over the past few generations. This country, by contract, was founded in order to strive for a “more Perfect Union”—that’s “union,” as in the pairing of the words “perfect” and “union”—not sovereign, not states, not local, not selfish, but “union.” And that other purpose at the end of the Constitution’s contractual obligations: promote the “General Welfare.” That means “welfare.” Not “everyone for himself” but “General Welfare.” That’s what it is to be American: to strive to form the most perfect union with each other, and to promote everyone’s general betterment. That’s it. The definition of an American patriot is anyone promoting the General Welfare of every single American, and anyone helping to form the most perfect Union—that’s “union”, repeat, “Union” you dumb fucks. Now, our problem is that there are a lot of people in this country who have dedicated their entire lives to subverting the stated purpose of this country. We must be prepared to identify those who disrupt and sabotage our national purpose of creating this “more perfect union” identifying those who sabotage our national goal of “promoting the General Welfare”—and calling them by their name: traitors. You who strive to form this Perfect Union and promote General Welfare—You are Patriots.

3. Anytime anyone says anything libertarian, spit on them. Libertarians are by definition enemies of the state: they are against promoting American citizens’ general welfare and against policies that create a perfect union. Like Communists before them, they are actively subverting the Constitution and the American Dream, and replacing it with a Kleptocratic Nightmare.

4. A slogan, a line from Blade Runner: “Then we’re stupid, and we’ll die.”

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

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Add your own

  • 1. ariot  |  October 30th, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Spot on. I’m on the older end of Gen-X and I always thought we’d have our day, but we won’t.

  • 2. Pascual Gorostieta  |  October 30th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    EA Hanks is cute in a “hipster chick that you would fuck after listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and splitting a bottle of wine with” way.

    “You’ll have to stomach being around people who are lame, and who say lame things, and you’ll feel lame—so you’ll have to decide which is lamer: the fear of being lame, or forming an alliance with people lamer than you in order to struggle against people far meaner, far more greedy and destructive than the lame people you hate—people who have no qualms about being lame when they collectivize, so long as they destroy you and grab everything they want. Tough choice, I know.”

    Spot on. The left forgets that many of the people that are suffering right now probably don’t give two shits about things like gay rights or rinky dink international things like Palestine and Darfur. Why bother giving a shit about stuff like that when you just lost your house or your job so some rich jack off can stuff more money in his bank account. I tell my leftist friends all the time that you gotta think and act local before the You do anything on the national level. I tell them you gotta get out of that ivory tower and speak in a colloquial way to people. Tell them who is fucking them over in a sharp and sincere way and what your movement and ideals will do for them.

    *A brief aside; as a Mexican I am really irked by the American Leftist view that indigenist movements are the way to go in Latin America and that they are the most representative of the Latin American Left when they are not. This annoys the shit out of me since many of my friends believe that.

  • 3. Leonard Cullen  |  October 30th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Fuck me, that was brilliant. And I mean that in a completely non-postmodern-ironic-self-aware-wanker way. Fuck, Ames, I’m feeling the rage now; gonna do some more illegal shit – steal rich peoples stuff and shit, fuck with them all directly.

  • 4. RanDomino  |  October 30th, 2010 at 1:09 pm


  • 5. D. Guerreiro  |  October 30th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Someone with a voice finally says it. I always felt that Stewart stole the thunder from the Left by trivializing everything and making people feel they did their duty by just laughing (in the privacy of their homes) at those wacky Republicans. Its like the homicidal priest says in The Name of the Rose. He had to destroy Aristotle’s comedies because whenever men laugh they no longer felt fear, they no longer did their duty towards God. Now we have no God but men will laugh and forget their duty to righteousness.

    Well, you can laugh at Bubba in the privacy of your cell all you want, but he will still assrape you tomorrow.

    As for your other point, collectivization, it is such an old lesson that it speaks only to the complete historical ignorance of people today. They all know what a fucking lolcat is but remain blissfully ignorant of the many historical occasions where the united might of the people got tyrants beheaded.

    The world has always been awash in fools but don’t give up Ames. Some of us listen and we believe.

  • 6. Kevin  |  October 30th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    a little rambling and in need of a good edit but AMES IS RIGHT, again.

    Don’t forget kids, class war is cool!

  • 7. King Mob  |  October 30th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Oh well done, Ames. You nailed down what the rally is all about, perfectly. This article deserves to be trimmed down, perhaps sanitized just enough, and published everywhere.

    Oh, and despite all the goofy libertarian baiting (though I completely agree with you about Randroids), this “enemy of the state” still loves you. Carry on!

  • 8. dh  |  October 30th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Well done, Ames.

  • 9. Directm  |  October 30th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Ames…look, you are this generation’s
    the stroke, here’s the slap…you’re no writing enough. Get your ass in gear and
    while your at it pull the taco out of
    the War Nerds mouth and pass him a
    pen.You guys have work to do.

    oh, btw, outstanding article.

  • 10. John Drinkwater  |  October 30th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    This rally never made any sense. Protesting the Right *and* the Left? What Left? Plus, Jon Stewart is simply not funny. Colbert can be funny, but Stewart sucks.

  • 11. John Drinkwater  |  October 30th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Is there anything to distinguish this crowd from the pro-Obama rallies of 2008? Same people, it seems to me. And now they’re getting their asses kicked by the Republicans. Serves them right, I think.

  • 12. Christo  |  October 30th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    “The definition of an American patriot is anyone promoting the General Welfare of every single American, and anyone helping to form the most perfect Union—that’s “union”, repeat, “Union” you dumb fucks.”

    General Welfare + Union sounds awfully Communist, Ames… I approve.

  • 13. Roquentin  |  October 30th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I agree completely. It’s good to see someone calling out the rally on being the sad sham that it is. If you give people the illusion that they’re participating in the political process they’ll go back to their lives shrugging and saying “I did my part” while changing nothing.

    When you compare this with what happened in Paris last week the contrast is clear. One is authentic political participation and the other isn’t.

  • 14. calripson  |  October 30th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    The Left died in this country as soon as the 1973 Yom Kippur War was waged. I vividly remember as a child how the prevailing anti-militaristic mood that permeated the news, media, and culture suddenly changed. Evidently, war and militarism was horrible when associated with Viet Nam, but when U.S. arms were required to save Israel that was a different story. The Left in America (and many other parts of the world) in the last century was intellectually, morally, and organizationally dependent on Jewish support. Now Jews are ambivalent – supporting certain “liberal” social issues, but content with existing economic/military realities seen to benefit them or Israel. There is neither the intellectual, financial, or creative potential in the remaining “leftists” to replace them.It is no accident that former (Jewish) adherents of Leo Trotsky would create neoconservatism and would rescue 1950s era American conservatism from the idealogical dumpster. Their abandonment of “liberalism” presaged the lefts decline.

  • 15. Oscar Zoroaster  |  October 30th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    If we could only convince these hipster assholes that hanging bankers from lamp posts was an ironic joke

  • 16. GhostUnit  |  October 30th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    “*A brief aside; as a Mexican I am really irked by the American Leftist view that indigenist movements are the way to go in Latin America and that they are the most representative of the Latin American Left when they are not. This annoys the shit out of me since many of my friends believe that.”

    Care to elaborate on that? sounds interesting. Also, could you please tell us if you’re you white and/or middle class? There’re a lot of “Mexicos” you know?

  • 17. Peter  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    The ethos you’ve described here is basically a courtier’s ethos, straight out of Renaissance court etiquette manuals like Castiglione’s “Book of the Courtier.” The whole thing is about posturing and living the graceful life and critically examining each others postures and habits, not at all about looking at anything outside of the bubble. But at least back then, you had dudes like Machiavelli in Italy and the rest of Europe as well, encouraging the Republican virtue, independence, civic-mindedness and the willingness to get dirty when the time came. We need some way to shift thought away from the courtier and towards the citizen, but god knows what that will be.

  • 18. platitudes  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Well, my Daily Show Dem roommate couldn’t even be bothered to vote in 2008, so I guess he was ahead of this bullshit apathy curve. He DID once estimate the U.S. population to be 66 million people, we all had a good laugh at that one.

    eXilers should actually be thanking millenials. Many of my friends who were hired in the late boom years of 2006-2007 are “bored” with their jobs and quitting to go to grad school…grab that shit!

  • 19. Eddie  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    We have no choice but being pawns in a larger game. Every percieved victory is only temporary and in the end each one of us looses whatever petty game we where pretending to be playing and dies. Individually we all loose, collectively we win only sofar as we we leave behind knowledge that turns out to be useful for the following generations.

    Looking at things from this distence helps me aliviate some of that red team vs blue team myopia. It also make my judgement on my own generation depressingly certain. Until I see a single act of courage or steadfast adherence to any principle useful to any following generations I will consider mine to be an evolutionaly Cul-de-sac of self important joyless masturbators. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing agains self pleasure if done with the correct mental attitude.

    Oh well, let’s face it, not all generations can be great.

  • 20. S  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    This is really on target. However, speaking as a leftist, it can be equally true that E. A. Hanks and hipster assholes like her are contemptible fair-weather scum AND that the Left is worthy of a deep and abiding hate.

    It’s not the hipster assholes that brought the Left so low, the Left can take most of the credit for that. From 9/11 kookery sweeping through its ranks like a mutation of the Rage virus that merely turns one into a drooling retard, to the universal commitment to a worthless protest subculture that virtually institutionalizes the Left’s irrelevancy when organizing in the real world with people you’re not going to like at all is what’s been needed all along. And recognizing that the only way you’re going to change the Lefty overseas crisis du jour is by changing America to it’s core, which means you need to focus on what’s going on here and not whatever Third World disaster became important ten minutes ago.

  • 21. Arch Stanton  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Keep mediocrity alive. E.A. Hanks for Empress.

  • 22. proletariat  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    The American “left” really died with Eugene Debs. It breathed it’s last gasps with Malcom X, and now it’s stone cold dead.

    None of these people have ever actually been leftists. American Democrats aren’t leftist, not even close, and I’m sure as hell not going to see a bourgeois, millionaire brat of a second rate actor as a leftist.

    The REAL problem of the left is that the little brats marching around now have no balls. Even the pacifist Debs would have personally kicked these bourgeois poseurs to the curb.

  • 23. Derp  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I’d like to fuck E. A. Hanks in the ass although I don’t know why. Derp derp derp.

  • 24. John Strong  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    What we deconstructed is toxic, authoritarian rhetoric.

  • 25. Napolean III  |  October 30th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Large numbers of collectivized nobodies rallying to demand what they want–a better cut of the pie, and a better world to live in. OR A SERIES OF POINTLESS WARS.

  • 26. M E  |  October 30th, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Mark Ames managed to mock unmockable Generation X. Hooray!

    I would not add Generation Y to the mix though – they are way more open and are not as afraid of being mocked as we are.

  • 27. hanjisan  |  October 30th, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Not to say that this doesn’t have merit, but it may be painting with a broad brush. I would have gone to the rally but unfortunately I live on the other side of the country but my sentiment was not the same as you accused all those there of being and I imagine that I’m not the only.
    I wanted to go, not to be in a posh un-rally, but to laugh off the uneasiness I sometimes feel when hearing from news that would want me scared stiff of the people, country and world around me. I don’t buy into that and imagine others don’t as well. Humor is one of the most important things to me. I think that satire is just as conducive to sharing ideas, news, politics than some fear-mongering networks; in my own opinion, an even more intelligent and sobering way.
    And to be with others of that mind set would remind me that I’m not alone.
    The laughter doesn’t disregard the issues or put them further from my mind. Being able to laugh at something that would otherwise loom over my days, like those that would rather me not being able to visit my partner in the hospital were he fallen ill or harmed from accident, keeps anxiety down.

    Is this laughter then an opiate, suppressing my ability to organize? You may have a point with that, though I still vote and get involved. I would much rather keep humor with us to help warm the heart of a sometimes seemingly frighted nation.
    Were others going to the rally for this or just to show that they’re cool, impossible to answer for certain without empirically knowing the hearts and minds of those that were there. I’d like to think that if I feel this way there are others there that do too.

  • 28. Jacob  |  October 30th, 2010 at 5:19 pm


  • 29. dermotmoconnor  |  October 30th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    You hit this, if you’ll forgive the sporting metaphor, out of the fucking park and into orbit.

    The whole Daily Show “Rally for Sanity” has been nauseating.

  • 30. p.8.n  |  October 30th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Seriously, Mark, Thank You for writing this.

  • 31. J.Cormier  |  October 30th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Finally someone else gets it. Very well said.

  • 32. zot23  |  October 30th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Wow, Mark. You need to get laid, have a drink, or something.

    Could it be possible that people thought this rally might be fun so they turned up to be entertained (for free) on a nice day in DC? No, no – they MUST be sniveling little toady that deserve no joy and no respite that our govt has been sold to private interests over the last 60 years or so. How dare anyone enjoy themselves while others, sometime, somewhere, have suffered for their freedoms. If Jefferson was alive today he would be pissed, PISSED about this outrage. Then he’d go home and fuck a black chick ‘cuz that’s how my boy rolled.

    Frankly, I read like 40% of the piece. Once he admitted he didn’t even attend 30 mins of the rally and had to fill with drivel about E.A. Hanks, I started skimming. WTH does she have to do with anything remotely resembling this rally?

    The oddest thing is there are rallys for things like stopping the war, women’s rights, stopping torture, and so on. A lot of the people at the Rally for Sanity today probably attend those rallys too, they were just having some fun.

  • 33. bob the mob  |  October 30th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    The butthurt in this article, it is palpable. Do you have enough tissues for all your tears?

  • 34. Gustavo Arellano  |  October 30th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    As usual: BRAVO. And I don’t mean it in some ironic bullshit way.

  • 35. Respectful Opposition  |  October 30th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    This is a cynical, simplistic, inaccurate and ultimately flawed view of the rally, which wasn’t about Liberals stroking off Liberals but about bringing sensible people (inc. liberals, conservatives, democrats, republicans, independents, greens, Tea Partiers) together to celebrate rationality.

  • 36. Hipster  |  October 30th, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    All the anger in this article is so lame.

  • 37. Alex  |  October 30th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    All day I’ve had the nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right about this rally. Thanks for putting it into words.

    So many people there and they’re using the the opportunity to say exactly nothing.

    Well, not entirely. At least they’re telling Glenn Beck to stuff it.

  • 38. Mike C  |  October 30th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I agree that the faux-laissez faire/Pareto capitalists are traitors. I also agree that we need visible unity as a mob. A uniform, a symbol, a focused message, a tenacity. I’ve been trying out quick messages to bind ideas into a recognizable thing.

    I’ve been experimenting with imagery and messages, to see if anything will stick. On a small scale, I want to know people’s reactions to the message, whether they’d propagate it, and whether it relates to any practical realities for them.


    I haven’t done much with this one, mainly because of the cost, but I’d make stickers to plant on banks, etc. There is so much asinine paste up and hipster graffiti in LA. All kitsch, all coy and useless like that asshole Banksy.

    It infuriates me to see that noise. I think getting images onto the landscape does create a kind of familiarity to an idea, which might make it more palatable later; assuming people can stop smirking. Liberals want to do anything but SOMETHING, about what’s going on. Maybe soon they’ll recognize what’s at stake.

    A credit card balance saying $30,000 + APR doesn’t deter people from buying junk because they’re still stuck in a consumer mindset that’s long ago lost its relevance. There’s something much more startling about a low bank balance, than a debt that won’t be paid for another forty years. It’s been real for a long time, with our declining wages. We’ve had the illusion that the luxury our parents enjoyed was continuing, that we could choose whether to be a materialist, or pursue spiritual/creative bullshit.

    Unlike them, the era demands pragmatists. The ones that broke up the steel and oil monopolies, and kept FDR in office while he set up his reforms that created a middle class. This country isn’t immutably this shitty. It’s been good, and it can be again. Once liberals wake up to the ugly realities of their cancer bills and foreclosed homes, they’ll need something to latch onto, before they resign themselves to the loudness of the opposing message.

    The idea have to be singular, clear, sound bite-friendly. We have to be clear in our monolithic unity, free ourselves from our conceited individuality for once. There’s no room for irony or free spirits. The party is OVER.

    I’m really trying to plant ideas that are party neutral but serve a common purpose. There’s a deliberate blurriness here to the source of this message.


    I’ve gotten some comments on it. Some ironic laughter, some suggesting a piqued interest in the source.

    Does this help? I have no fucking idea. I just want to do something. If someone’s doing something better, I want to help them. Like I’ve said before, if a dozen people are throwing rocks, I’ll throw one, too. If a Bently is on fire, then that Jag is next. The mob is magnetic. It’s pure “broken windows” theory.

  • 39. Skeeve  |  October 30th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you. That deconstruction of my generation (X) and all the whiny brats spawned in our wake has explained a LOT of things that have been puzzling me. For instance, why watching Stewart and Colbert makes me queasy, when they are ostensibly saying all the right things and attacking all the right targets. Of course! It’s because they don’t really care, because that would be lame. It also explains their gratuitous cruelty towards nerds, who don’t seem like particularly difficult or appropriate targets. It’s because they’re uncool, the biggest sin in the S/C universe. Much, much better to be a predatory capitalist than a guy who goes to Comic Con. After all, the capitalist probably gets laid on a regular basis, which is our generation’s standard for coolness (and reward for conformity).

    It also explains why I found the Twilight movie so revolting, despite it being merely a silly movie about vampires (done so much more entertainingly decades ago in Fright Night). It was the way the young protagonists looked at every single person (and not a few inanimate objects) with pity and/or revulsion, for not being as cool as they were. Their worst disdain was reserved for their elders, who were lame and useless by definition. That movie may be the apotheosis of this generation’s narcissism. In fact, the National Film Registry should probably have it preserved, as an artifact of cultural significance. Future anthropologists will be hungry for clues as to what, exactly, was fucking wrong with us.

    On the bright side, the economic collapse is providing Xers and Ys with some poetic justice. You’d rather be cool than have a functioning and humane political and economic order? Well, welcome to the lamest Circle of Hell, the thing you’d almost rather be dead than have to endure: LIVING WITH YOUR PARENTS. The ultimate penalty for not giving a shit is to have the whole shithouse collapse, and take with it your jobs and security. Now you’re living in their basements, just like that poor guy with Asperger’s who could never get a date. Maybe that will be the new mark of cool going forward, whether or not you can keep a place going with a few friends, as opposed to having to move back in with THEM. That’s right, hipsters, suck it down.

  • 40. AMS  |  October 30th, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I still think civil discourse is important, and promoting it is the only way to expand the attention spans of Gen X/Y enough to make them understand things like “politics is a long ugly process that has nothing to do with self-esteem and everything to do with money and brawling.” Tag lines and yelling from Code Pink/Daily Kos/etc. won’t do that.

    It is a disquieting point though, that the left can find nothing to come together about besides patting each other on the back about how much smarter we are than that Glenn Beck and his friends, the same way agreeing we were all smarter than Bush was the only thing that brought us together in 2004. You’re right, we will be totally steamrolled by people who can actually unite over policies.

  • 41. LJM  |  October 30th, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I’m not a libertarian. I believe in universal healthcare and public education. That said, here are some things you could say that Jonathan Golob thinks would merit someone spitting on you (also, these are things that the Obama administration and the Democratic party disagree with):

    “We shouldn’t be bombing people in Afghanistan.”

    “We need to dramatically decrease military spending.”

    “We shouldn’t be detaining terror suspects without due process.”

    “We shouldn’t be prosecuting government whistle-blowers.”

    “We should let homosexuals get married.”

    “We shouldn’t arrest and jail people for possessing or growing marijuana.”

    So, I think that the statement about spitting on people who say “anything libertarian” is very, very stupid. Glenn Beck stupid.

  • 42. LJM  |  October 30th, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Okay, maybe attributing what Mark Ames said to Jonathan Golob is Glenn Beck stupid. But admitting you say something stupid (or agree with something stupid) is the first step to not being stupid. So I’m one step closer (though perhaps still many steps away) to not being stupid.

  • 43. mijj  |  October 30th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    bring back the punk ethos!

    if you weren’t being laughed at, scorned, spat on, sneered at, or ridiculed you weren’t getting your point across.

    .. and now we avoid those badges of honor because we believe the supreme human quality is dignity.

  • 44. WE  |  October 30th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    There seems to be a certain irony that The Exile, which has dedicated itself to the very ethos of too cool to care we are better than you Gen X narcissism, is now writing an article deriding the very thing which served as your ideological foundation. Weren’t you in many ways a meaner version of John Stewart, lambasting the hackery of Western Journalism while concurrently exploiting the very same white God status that allowed you to treat a dying nation like your playground?

    When you were writing stories about fucking provincial, uneducated prostitutes so overweight, snaggletoothed Brits farting the night away at Silvers could have a chuckle with their mates and compare notes, didn’t you justify this exploitation with that very same what, we don’t actually give a fuck about anything rallying cry of the generation whose only value was never being sentimental enough to give a shit?

    I really used to love The Exile (mockable earnestness and self-conscious parenthetical defense mechanism), but there was always a darkness to it, and not a thematic darkness, but a life degrading sort of darkness. Between some truly brilliant articles like this, you would always make the extra effort to doubly shit on human life as being anything of value for the sake of your we are so above it all sense of credibility. Life might in fact be meaningless shit. We all struggle with that more than likely truth. I just never knew why you wanted to celebrate it. For me it simply hurts. The bastards win every time. There is no justice. We live like slaves. Most of us have already lost most of what matters to us by the time we turn 30. The fumes of nostalgia fuel us with diminishing returns. We are alone. The bastards are still winning. We shake alone on a stained mattress. Movies taught us there was some beauty in this moment. No sustained montage. No montage. Our eyes flutter. Overwhelming terror. A fly buzzes. We die. We evacuate. The end.

    The one thing I’ve noticed since you came back to America is that you now seem to be standing up for that uneducated American lower-class that you once loved to lampoon. Is this sincerity on your part, or just rebranding for the new market? They’re an ugly lot and certainly not your target audience. Do you care about their dignity or rather do you simply hate the elite who took away yours? Either is a good enough reason to fight. But it always helps to know why.

  • 45. Ostap Bender  |  October 30th, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    A very thought provoking, if not long and repetetive article. I’ve been reading the Exile and Exiledonline for about 13 years and basically remember Mr. Ames writing about shagging prostitutes, sometimes trying to get two in ‘stereo’, and disparaging people who write letters to the newspaper.

  • 46. radii  |  October 31st, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I wrote my first critique of Gen-X in 1983 in a letter-to-the-editor in response to the LA Weekly’s cover story “The Ex-Post-Fact-Sub-Neo Generation” – their attempt to define the post-Boomers. I said then, and I was right, that Gen-Xers (which did not yet have that moniker at the time) would amount to nothing – that they were too cool to care – being hip and appearing cool was the end for them.

    In the 90s I had the satire website I Hate Gen-X, which covered much the same territory Mark Ames did in this long and excellent post here at ExiledOnline

    I Hate Gen-X exists now on the archive:

    It goes deeper than Ames says: two entire generations have been emasculated and willingly so … further, they are completely numbed and dumbed-down from the flood of sophisticated electronic entertainments which now are the focus of so much of their lives … they are the perfect compliant consumers for the global corporatocracy

  • 47. dhm  |  October 31st, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Self-righteous pretentious crap trying to sound intelligent and serious. Lol. Notch it down a bit. You’ll get a stroke if you keep on.

  • 48. John Figler  |  October 31st, 2010 at 3:52 am


  • 49. boson  |  October 31st, 2010 at 4:04 am

    great article, hits the nail on the head.

    one question i cannot answer though is abot the “masses”,you know. I mean this vanity culture of non-mockability, that the article describes so well is an élite phenomenon. A more interesting question is, why isn’t there mass demand for an aggressive, populist Left agenda on the part of working (unemployed) people, who are being screwed? Is it just that since the Left doesn’t really exist,the masses cannot even want it to win?
    I doubt it.
    However depressing, my impression is that libertardism has a mass appeal even among proles.

  • 50. lars  |  October 31st, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Beautifully and artfully written Mr. Ames !!!
    I admire your abilities.

    The Lameness of Being Politically Correct ?
    (as an alternative title?)

    “. . behind Door Number 3, millions are being land-transfered out of their property like landless peasants in a banana republic–. . ”

    Yes, I suspect that the true ‘deeply hidden agenda’ of the International Banksters who engineered the Real Estate Mortgage Crisis Bubble, is to have the Government take ‘temporary title’ to all the properties that they can’t figure out who owns them or where the mortgage documents for them are so the banks can foreclose in Court on them, and of course ‘temporary’ will turn into ‘forever’. Thusly the Government will become the ‘real legal title holder’ to a great swath of residential real estate, and any subsequent ‘purchaser’ of those properties will only hold a ‘title in tenency’ on the property. And when the New World Order One World Government takes charge of this planet, a huge number of people will be living on ‘government land’ so ‘privacy’ issues and ‘search and seizure’ issues will be moot, because you’re on government land, not private property and the Bill of Rights won’t apply.
    This ‘mortgage crisis’ is a huge real estate grab by the International Banksters as they prepare for the One World Government take-over.

  • 51. EV  |  October 31st, 2010 at 5:26 am

    i thought the same and i agree about this rally.

    but whenever someone has these ideas about others i think that by detaching himself as an observer and call them stupid for their trying to look non-stupid he will become like them and be a non-stupid wannabe for someone else.

    so its a vicious circle this post modernity.

  • 52. Kyle  |  October 31st, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Even worse, what the sanity ralliers misunderstand about themselves is the same thing they misunderstand about tea party-ism, which is also the result of brand management, of giving people the chance to do something provocative without looking like something they don’t want to look like. It’s not racism against a black president that made tea party-ism possible. It’s the result of Rick Santelli and a bunch of astroturfers hijacking a term used by the only enthusiastic people on the right in the last election — Ron Paul’s supporters — and rebranding it as a way to tell people on the right that they can rally and protest without looking like one of those damn lefties who’s always protesting. So what we end up with is that, for both the right and the left, a rally is just a chance to hang with the cool kids while maintaining plausible deniability against being a lame asshole like those guys on the other side.

  • 53. Johnboy  |  October 31st, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Ames is right about the fear of collective action.

    A few years ago here in Australia I made a public threat to protest at a government provided pop concert for Australia Day about their exclusive use of Australian Idol talent.

    My sole support was my flatmate. Two dudes *considering* waving placards threw an entire government agency into a flat spin which culminated in them booking original local acts as supports.

    But if the Tsar could have found 100 good men in 1917 (and thousands died for him in the civil war that followed) the entire history of the 20th century would have been different.

    In the words of Richard Morgan:

    “The personal, as everyone’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide from under it with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way, you stand a better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes – between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life and that it’s nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.”

  • 54. Alex  |  October 31st, 2010 at 6:17 am

    While this article presents an interesting viewpoint on this generation of the left, I think you’ve rather missed the point by trying to measure the political worth of an event that does not actually have political goals.

    The very point of the march is to demonstrate that the majority of people in the US AREN’T raving lunatics with extremist views a la Tea Party, but rather decent, fun loving middle Americans who basically just want to get along without all the partisan bullshit.

    Personally I think the main agenda behind organising this rally is the next time someone points at the homophobic fox news far right frings(xenophobit, islamaphobic – what aren’t they afraid of?) and calls them populist, someone can calmly remind them that actually, in the scheme of things, a few hundred or thousand people getting together to denounce the separation of church and state or whatever else is on the current agenda, is pretty insigificant.

  • 55. az  |  October 31st, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Bad news, Mark, no one cares about Ayn Rand or libertarians except the welfare oligarchs who use them to get more subsidies and fewer taxes. To quote Boots Riley, they’re just a part, not the start, of a system. If you want to fight the direction they’re taking all of us, you’ll have to fight all of them and the system they hold up. The only notable thing about Liberals is that they don’t want to do that but they don’t want the bad things about the present system to happen either, so they are ironic because that’s the only way they can rationalize their views without being called commies or oligarch shills, except they end up being called both.

  • 56. paul cripps  |  October 31st, 2010 at 6:53 am

    well said pascual. nice article mr ames. firstly as a trade unionist , not a pension rich one ,my brothers and me, have always fuckin hated the hanks type liberal/ left, what an oxymoron, that one is.we are on a picket line for an extra 50 cents an hour getting fucked over by rich pension , so called, trade union brother cops, and these so called left cunts are worried about whether some gay guy can legally suck cock in texas.what, left or right, in this country, their has not been one for years.thank christ , i am single and have savings , and i can move fast , my married with kids friends are fucked.anyway on a side issue i have always loathed guns and years ago i would have voted them away . well thank fuck the founding fathers for all thier faults are a lot smarter then me, and this is one part of the constitution the right and nearly right dems can not fuck with, they would both like to ,the right to bare arms.when things go down as bad as some of us believe, lets see how the wall st boys and girls, the ys and the xers deal with semi literate, drug free , single out of control, enraged motherfuckers like me . i estimate their are about 5 million of us and we hate every fuckin body, espeacially the traiterous phony if your in my neighbour pop in for drink, take care.

  • 57. Czechnik  |  October 31st, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Aren’t Americans just idiots in general? Don’t take offense to this Exile readers as most of you are smart enough to understand and enjoy the cynicism and criticism that is expressed here. But honestly, how many Americans do you meet that are coherent of what is going on at the most fucked up levels of government and the damage its done to society?

    I’ve been living in Europe for five years now, so I have a more positively skewed view of Americans who at least want to see the world a bit, but most of them are pretty ignorant of what’s going on.

    Here in the Godforsaken hipster capital that is Prague I see so many carbon copy young Americans trying to manufacture an original experience and persona while still clinging onto their hamburger and french fry eating, ipod wearing ways that its taught me something. Americans are too fearful to stand up to their inner fears and try to make change, even when they travel thousands of miles to get away. Or in this example, go to a rally to express a desire to make change.

    They walk right up to the precipice, take a look at the unknown void below, and then they turn around and run back to the warm embrace of a paternalistic system which makes their fears go away at the cost of any sort of liberty or justice.

    Its simply not programmed into most Americans to look deeply into a situation and take action. They can always rationalize government and corporate theft by telling themselves that they’ve still got enough to be comfortable. They feign political activism to address that subconscious gnawing inside of them which knows their system is fucked, but they do just enough to quiet it and never silence it.

    And these are the GOOD Americans who are at least halfway intelligent and active. The majority of Americans are obese assholes that live in backwards suburbs amongst strip malls, tract housing, office buildings, and a KFC/Taco Bell.

    Their understanding of the world revolves around whats on TV, how their football team is doing, which microwave meal to zap up for dinner, washing their truck, spending time with their fat family and friends, and listening to hate speech at Church every Sunday.

    To think that these people choose the world’s most important politicians is frightening due to their shocking ignorance. They have no experience with the outside world, so they take what the TV/Pastor tells them as truth. They don’t know any Muslims, they don’t know any gays, they don’t know where Iraq is or care about why we have been fighting an ongoing war there for eight years.

    Its basically a bunch of dumb, ignorant, boring drones that have had so much shit programmed into their head that they don’t know nor care about anything aside from their small cheap pleasures such as Sunday night 2 for $20 at Applebee’s, the new flatscreen coming out at Best Buy, beers with their fat violent friends during the football game, and trying to get ahead at their shitty insignificant job.

    These people are so fucked up and stupid that they’ll do whatever their Church tells them to do. They abhor fags, they love guns, and they hate Muslims– so the Republican Party and Tea Party get their vote, and they’ll stomp heads to make sure that what want is enforced.

    Modern Day America is the story of a sad, wasted existence. On one side you have the people who sort of get it but don’t have the balls to do anything about it and on the other side you have the fat, stupid, ignorant, assholes that have the righteous conviction to fuck shit up for everyone else.

    In the crevices between the wavering masses lie the people that get it: one side that tries to spur others to action, and the other side that says fuck it all and gets the hell out. I’m proud to say that I’m of the second group. Life’s too short to have to wait for ignorant people to combine balls with knowledge and do what needs to be done to make real changes. I’ll be drinking a cheap Czech beer at the corner bar if things ever come together.

  • 58. Concerned  |  October 31st, 2010 at 7:14 am

    “The country’s collapsing…” and that’s all that needs to be said about this stupid diatribe. You don’t like it- go move somewhere else, something your party is proud of saying.

  • 59. Keith  |  October 31st, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Paid congressional campaigner for the Democratic party here; you perfectly describe that disgusting strain of “liberalism” in the modern left – those cowardly sheep who have no way of defending their “values” and immediately drop them for libertardism as not to seem stupid in an argument.

    I unfortunately run in to these moron lemmings everyday at my job. I’ll be happy when this redneck-pandering whore I’m working for loses her re-election and gets a fat contract from Pharma.

  • 60. DarthFurious  |  October 31st, 2010 at 8:00 am

    “EA Hanks is cute in a “hipster chick that you would fuck after listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and splitting a bottle of wine with” way”

    Dude, I don’t want to question your taste in women, but fuck me, she looks like Tom back in the old sitcom days on ABC when he played a drag queen.


  • 61. Fred  |  October 31st, 2010 at 8:43 am

    It’s really good but I think it also has to do with the country become more diversified and every tribe for themselves type of thinking. How can you unite all these different movements under one umbrella?

  • 62. Pop Fop  |  October 31st, 2010 at 9:18 am

    This is one of the best analyses of contemporary liberalism I have read in a long time. You’re absolutely right that liberalism has become a attitudinal movement more than anything else. Simply disgusting.

    Keep up the great work Mark!!!

  • 63. Gandalv  |  October 31st, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Haters gonna hate. Hmmm…lets see bunch of liberals carrying meta signs, doing the wave, laughing and smiling being led by a clown or a bunch of gun-totting, nazi calling, tea bag wearing, paid for by corporations led by a tear shedding Mormon from Fox news. I know which I would rather have, and clearly I am not alone.

  • 64. tartreform  |  October 31st, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Ames, you’re one of my favorite writers, but swapping targets for some blog post by an idiot I’ve never heard of because the rally was too lame for you to stick around for is chintzy as hell.

    Your final four points were all on target, but if you had stuck around for Stewart’s wrapup you would have heard him make a pitch for the collectivism that you’re pushing for. From the shots floating around it looks like the crowd was at least 1/4 boomers, which doesn’t really fit your narrative. This was much more of a Cool Mom Rally – the real leftist hipsters were far too concerned about how lame this rally was to bother going and be seen with people so earnestly sincere and milquetoast.

    I’d also like to posit an alternative theory – that there was an obvious presence by the Code Pink crew and their fellow marginalized “embarrassing” leftists at the rally, and maybe the demographic you’re railing against don’t bother showing up to the serious leftist rallies of the last 20 years because they’re never given any coverage and haven’t accomplished much except further cementing a victim complex that goes hand in hand with taking shit so goddamned seriously. Come on, we’re all complicit in the American Imperialist Nightmare, even while we’re being robbed blind – might as well laugh about it. I’ll take dragging 250,000 people out for a comedy show with a closing message promoting the ideal of not screaming at each other as a non-partisan step forward. We can get to killing libertarians later – in a completely ironic fashion, of course.

  • 65. fondrak  |  October 31st, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Laurel wreaths and triumphant marches to Mark Ames – indeed!

  • 66. solfish  |  October 31st, 2010 at 10:46 am

    What is this left=liberal=democrat=Obama newspeak?

  • 67. Diablo  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I ended up getting dragged to the thing by a fellow student. Maybe its my age (I started college at 28) but I just was left with a complete bewilderment that people got anything from this mess. I kept hearing from the kid I was with that this was “Our Woodstock”…and I guess he is unintentionally correct. It will end up being completely overblown in importance or significance and ultimately achieve nothing.

  • 68. Simon Girty  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Damn… Best not post any reservations, disappointment or embarrassment to any number of other GenX/Y sites (go look at Wonkette or HuffPost) I absolutely LOVE about 30% of Jon’s show; watched it as my sole TV news source (OK, aside from Amy and the foreign press agencies) throughout the Bush nightmare. But, this was kind of a drag to think ~200K folks went down there, millions more were tuned in (at first) and a LOT of non-liburl, non-lefty and non-sane fellow citizens DO watch and appreciate his wry and acerbic slant… and this was just kinda, er, nothing a WEEK before some pretty important & scary elections?

  • 69. unger  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Union! Ein volk! Ein Reich! Ein Fuhrer!

  • 70. J Hill  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:22 am

    This is a really great and insightful critique of the absolute impotence of the left. Thank you. The shallowness of GenXYers is directly proportionate to their relative affluence. If anything, Obama did prevent those on the bottom tier from taking to the streets (just yet). But remember, there is a reason why the left is so shallow: they still want to be able, at some point, to have a chance to reach oligarch status, however unreasonable that may seem. Anyone who buys a lottery ticket should understand this.

  • 71. Yousif  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:27 am

    brings tears to my eyes

  • 72. Superfly  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:37 am

    A very refreshing article, thank you.

    I’ve experienced first hand the type of two-faced mockery that “liberal” hipsters unleash on those that side with the “stinky hippies” and actively protest the war.

    “Stinky hippies”, I know very few hippies that actually stink yet I’ve heard that phrase thrown around with every rationalization I’ve ever heard for being against the wars and being against protesting the wars as well. Fucking assholes, I actively protest these fucks as well, with patchouli. Nothing makes a do-nothing hipster unhip quicker than a few drops of patchouli. One small vile of patchouli can send an entire hipster bar straight off the nearest cliff like the lemmings they are and it works on right wing pricks as well. Pick some up, use it like a weapon.

    I could really go off on a rant about this, but why bother, I can sum up my generation, generation “x”, with one word, “spineless”. Spineless fucking pricks.

  • 73. T.B.  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:37 am

    After reading this article, I’m buying the Ames brand; even if I do look lame wearing it.

  • 74. d  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

  • 75. jojo  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:59 am


  • 76. LJM  |  October 31st, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I’m a spineless troll serving the billionaires, and some of my co-servants trolled at another site in Seattle to try to make it seem like we weren’t bothered by Ames’ article. I was about to post some of our best lines that our PR firm came up with to defend our billionaire masters against Ames, but then I thought, “What sort of worthless piece of shit sellout am I?” So instead, I’m going to do the right thing and just say, “Ames, you have more balls than I could ever dream of. I’m a spineless fag, always was, always will be. Thanks for being you. I worship the ground you walk on.” Now, time to get drunk and forget who I am and what I am.

  • 77. John Walters  |  October 31st, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    ‘Collective action is the only possible way to change shit.’

    The Wright brothers did not see a need for collective action when they changed the world.

    Leaders like Ted Kaczynski, perhaps, would be stronger with collective action. Leaders like Samuel Colt have no need of it.

  • 78. r  |  October 31st, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Best thing I’ve read in a long long time. Invigorating.

  • 79. Pascual Gorostieta  |  October 31st, 2010 at 1:23 pm


    I am Mexican immigrant born to a dad who was one of many children of migrant worker parents under the Bracero program, because of that my dad was born in south Texas and spent his youth on both sides of the border. My mother born in rural northern Mexico. I myself was born in Mexico since my family had more ties in Mexico at the time; this was the 80s mind you back then you couldn’t even get tortillas in regular grocery stores.

    I myself am a college student and I will be graduating next May. I am a leftist make no qualms about, I am a self-made because of my working class roots not because it is some passe fashion or trendy thing to do.

    Now on to your other question: My main answer will be that Mexico is too urbanized and that Indigenous people make up too small of a population to be the heads of a dramatic nationwide movement. Another thing is American leftists tend to look at rural living as something that is very idealized, that a back to nature approach is something that is feasible for many. As a person with rural roots farming and ranching isn’t exactly something easy or idealic as many urban intellectuals like to think. Also while I think that Mexico’s law of “usos y costumbres” is a good idea and that the preservation of language, religion and customs are important. I agree with the increasing trend amongst many Mexicans that the “usos y costumbres” is fine as long as human rights are respected; there are still some of indigenous groups in Mexico still practice piss poor treatment.

    That is not to say that indigenous movements don’t have a say or power in Mexico or in Latin America. In country’s like Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala with significant populations they are indeed a force; more so than Mexico. However, to be honest indigenous movements will likely not be a huge hugely representative in the future politics of Mexico, they will impact it but they won’t be a driving force and they won’t have as significant of an impact like in the three countries I named earlier.


  • 80. lcl  |  October 31st, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for this great article. I HATE the “Really?” so much, glad I’m not alone.

    It’s all Lisa Simpson politics these days… people in a huff about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and “creationism”… meanwhile, $10 trillion military spending decade, majority of the world living on less than $2 a day, we the lucky first world middle class supposed to feel “passionate” about jobs in pharmaceutical marketing or whatever and resource apocalypse just around the corner.

    As far as this “look how smart I am” nonsense, reminds me of drunk 30ish chubby girls in some big city club celebrating “girls night out” and dancing to songs about how hot they are though…
    if you have to go through so much trouble to celebrate some personal characteristic
    you probably don’t have it. (no offense to chubby girls with nice personalities.)

    Wish you’d left out the EA Hanks stuff, I don’t care about her and I’m really bummed out to know that anyone does.

    Also, about the “turning on obama because he makes people feel stupid”… never heard of that or noticed it, maybe we just run in different circles.

    The people I know regularly expose themselves to Obama/Stewart to have their smugness reinforced, especially probably after conversations with me!

  • 81. Narcoleptic  |  October 31st, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I was expecting this to be an article about Ames bitching about Colbert and Stewart being too pansy-assed to offer political leadership without the crutch of satire. But, Jesus, that E.A. Hanks letter is awful. The most offensive thing about it is the utter lack of realization that political power has actual, real-world consequences for real, physical people. For her, it’s all about style. Someone needs to force her to work as a social worker in South Central L.A. for a few years to see all the great alternatives to “the left” for helping anyone in this country who wasn’t born into wealth. Fuck you, Ms. Hanks.

  • 82. murfreesboro  |  October 31st, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I went to the rally and liked it but I feel like they didn’t force their point hard enough.
    Okay, not “feel”- it was. It was just too weak.
    The point Jon and Stephen were trying to emphasize was that cable news was fucking everything up. Cable news was a shitty, unreliable resources full of fearmongering and Glenn-Beckians.
    That’s what I thought the rally was about: a giant fuck you to Glenn and his psychopath style of “news”.
    I was all right with the optimism but they went on about how neat we were and how we’re all the same while being different and how we can work together to make the country great instead of screaming at each other and it felt like we were playing softball or something. Instead of being all ‘hey Glenn, fuck your paranoid bullshit’ we kept on harping the whole “we’re great!” stuff.
    The ironic hipster protesting was lame too. I did it, and if I had a second chance I would have been more serious about my poster at the least. Waving around vague protest signs and satirical phrases was more about laughing at the Tea Party but it’s not effective. What really needed to happen was to build a unified message.
    It didn’t help that Steve and Jon were making fun of both sides of the political aisle instead of just taking a side and sticking with it. Everyone knows they’re lefties, so why not just go with it?
    But then it goes back to the fact that we’re afraid to scream to get what we want, unlike the Tea Partiers and the freepers.

  • 83. Nestor  |  October 31st, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Interesting. I’ve noticed aspects of this attitude in the arts and media, never realized it applies to politics too, obvious in hindsight.

    But, from a foreign perspective, the rally seemed fun and a reminder that you’re not all crazed bloodthirsty foaming at the mouth rednecks over there, so it was good PR of a sort….

  • 84. Flatulissimo  |  October 31st, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Good article, and good comments. Great shit coming from all sides.

    Ames makes a lot of great points about the overall weenie-ness of Gen Xer’s, and how the desire not to look stupid in retrospect prevents them from taking any principled stances, and a lot of this aspect of the piece rings true. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more and more liberal leaning, and while it still seems to be acceptable to mock hippies, it seems that hippies had way more balls in many cases than anybody from Gen X. Look at somebody like Pete Seeger. His earnestness would be icky and get him mocked today, but he showed up to get non-ironic rocks thrown at him by racists who would have very non-ironically bashed his fucking head in. Yeah, I’d rather listen to Bob Dylan’s records, but Pete Seeger is way more of a citizen than Bob Dylan ever was. And yeah, I’m trotting out tired cultural icons, but Gen X hasn’t produced any Dylans or Seegers that I can see. Besides, undeserved hippie-bashing is usually a cover for very much deserved boomer-bashing. Few boomers where actually hippies, most boomers were and are Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and their ilk.

    On the minus side, I agree that it was weak to skip out on the rally itself, and instead write about one lame-ass letter from a celebrity hipster kid as a kind of straw-man stand-in for the rally that this piece claims to actually be about. I also agree that it seems Ames in now bashing the very same attitude with which he made a name for both himself and the Exiled. I think the Exiled shared a lot of similarities with Jim Goad’s Answer Me! zine, a similar nihilistic attitude, and both look very dated and “90’s” in retrospect.

    I’m afraid that Gen Xer’s are going realize their own worst fears, and end up dating themselves with this very fear of standing for anything. It is a very 90’s attitude, and younger kids are going to look at people that hold it while the world goes to shit as dinosaurs. I hope.

    The fact that Ames realizes this means that he’s growing up, and that he’s a smart guy. Only a fool retains the same worldview throughout their lives. It has yet to be seen whether or not he is ahead of the curve, and this will be a realization later reached by the rest of Gen X, or if he’s going to be a lone voice in the wilderness, derided for setting himself up for failure by actually proclaiming that he believes in something.

  • 85. anon  |  October 31st, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Ames said:
    “That’s what it is to be American: to strive to form the most perfect union with each other, and to promote everyone’s general betterment.”

    Madison said:
    “A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project…”
    -Federalist #10

    What would Madison think of Ames’s position on foreclosures and squatting? I’d have expected Ames to use Daniel Shays, not some aristocrat whose main goal was to keep the rabble in line.

  • 86. jack kane  |  October 31st, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Living in the US is like living in bizarro world. The French are protesting so hard their petrol stations are out of gas, and meanwhile we have this madness: hundreds of thousands of Americans farting at the Mall… A spectacle that is beyond belief is the 2010 norm.

    Don’t expect anything from the gen-Y, either. My generation doesn’t give a flying fuck. My coterie of friends in Canada and the US is intelligent and reasonably willing to try to avoid fucking other people in the ass, but in the end they don’t care about anything. It is impossible to talk to them about any article of interest. They just don’t give a damn. They play poker, watch imbecilic TV and movies, go hiking, and pursue their ‘careers’.

    We are heading into hell. Ames knows what collapse looks like from his time in Russia. He and the other few American pundits of integrity and intelligence should up the ante. Unleash the vitriol, guys. Hit harder, more often, with as much venom as you can muster (“Gas Middle America” hahahhahahah). Half-assed centrist compromisist rhetoric never worked. Spread the hate! You’ve been doing it for a while, and you are good at it. Thank you and good luck.

  • 87. Mike C  |  October 31st, 2010 at 3:03 pm


    Ah, the Wright brothers, and their two man revolution against gravity. That’s cool, except the article is about political change.

    Colt made more efficient apolitical hole-punchers.

    Kaczynski made bombs and shat in a bucket, while dreaming of a world without telephones and ATMs. I followed the story really closely, read the manifesto. I give him credit for fucking with the FBI for so long, and being the most expensive capture in their history. But his version of the world would look like Afghanistan, so support wouldn’t have helped.

  • 88. zhubajie  |  October 31st, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    If you like “The Courtier”, you might enjoy the parody, “I Courtesani”, or “The Courtesan.” It might be even more appropriate. Not that the USA looks like it’ll have the artistic production of a Sicilian village, let alone republican Florence or Venice.

  • 89. yermomandsister  |  October 31st, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    How can you be exiled when — [edited by moderator simply because moderator given god-like powers to edit on whim]

  • 90. RH  |  October 31st, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Blah, blah, fucking blah. What is this ‘article’ even about? I mean I know what it’s about, but I’m so doggone offended I’m pretending I don’t know what it’s about, if you know what I mean? Maybe the author will read this and believe me that I’m not bothered and I don’t get it? Nah, he won’t even read it, and I’m just making a sad ass of myself here, because the truth is I’m not fooling anyone. Even when I try to pretend that I was with the author for the first few paragraph–you people know trolls like me by now, why even bother?

    Bilious, irrelevant, excessively personal–that’s why this article didn’t interest me at all. Nope, not at all.

    And I was even preparing to zing the author with a “you’re a man approaching middle age” but does that really hurt men? I mean, it hurts women, but does it hurt men? Why do young women sleep with men approaching middle aged, but not the reverse? (Peter Suderman aside).

    My drivel never quite subsides after this. I’m a pathetic waste of an opportunity for serious discussion. And that’s what everyone clearly wants–an opportunity for serious discussion. I bet when Mark Ames reads that he wasted an opportunity for serious discussion with people like me, he’s going to really hang his head and shame and change his ways.

  • 91. Bullshitphilosophy  |  October 31st, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    @paul cripps #56, It’s always interesting to see cops, who belong to the second most powerful union in the country — after the teachers — clubbing trade union guys because they are members of a commie union. This entire fucking country is schizo.

  • 92. ariot  |  October 31st, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I think the only possible thing that could piss off american youth enough to bring about action would be a draft. TARP should have had young and old alike in the streets, but instead, a few old tools are now out there demanding corporations be left alone and that the taxes they hardly pay be lowered.

  • 93. Erin  |  October 31st, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    This rally was for entertainment, and to give a nice big middle finger to right wing media. It should never have been mistaken for an event that would promote change. For real change to occur, people need to act at the local level, making phone calls, writing emails, and door knocking. Rallies in this day and age are self congratulatory spectacles. So to the people who attended and had fun: don’t feel bad about it, because that was the whole point. And to the people who wanted to see more “real” liberal activism: roll up your sleeves and get involved in your own community, because that’s where you’ll make the most difference.

  • 94. arachid  |  October 31st, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    do you really have to critique e.a. hanks on her looks, you chauvinistic, patriarchal, phallocentric dweebs? i mean, really?

  • 95. Half-Breed  |  October 31st, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    “that’s “union”, repeat, “Union” you dumb fucks.”

    Then you went on to call libertarians modern day communists.

    1) This is not Russia, or Monarchist France, people will not unite and our ideals are built on the good of the individual. This is what the outcome of such ideals are built on.

    2) While I love your ideals, you are not the man to promote union in the United States, especially by calling your readers “dumb fucks”. Take a listen to Malcolm X, Rockefeller, Reagan, any very good speaker.

    3) If you want to unionize (almost impossible in a selfish society) you need to accommodate the societies opinion. Stalin’s propaganda-poster was not what Stalin wanted to hear, but how he could persuade thought by accommodating the national opinion. You cannot tell a fish to jump out of water until he wonders what is at the top.

  • 96. Gabriel  |  October 31st, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    It is a good article but a little obtuse and (which is more in this context) deliberately so. How can you criticise the poverty of over-self-concious-ness when you are clearly guilty of the same thing?

    You can sneer at the knowing ‘meta’-ness of the whole affair in heroically postgraduate fashion if you want but really – how else does one hold a rally which essentially seeks to protest the mainstream, 24Hr media and its tendency to make wild, extremist extrapolations from over-analysis of every word and gesture that anyone of any perceptible political consequence makes? The form of the rally, after all, mainly draws its power from creating a spectacle for that very same media.

    What I am saying is give Stewart and Colbert a break – their shows are funny. And Bob Dylan too. ‘Rat-cunning’ and ‘jerk’ fine. But ‘barely-talented’?? Exactly which fucking songwriters are talented if Bob Dylan isn’t?

  • 97. JamesL  |  October 31st, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Is he REALLY trying to make the argument that the whole point of the Rally was to NOT look stupid?? Are you kidding me?? That’s some of the most ridiculous backward logic I’ve ever heard from wannabe 60s hippie liberals like him.

    And, I mean, I understand why he’s mad, because the rally was partly about him and his ilk, and how they’re not really helping the conversation. He still wants to lump people into groups and generalize and stereotype: “Liberals,” “Gen-X/Yers,” “Daily Show Democrats,” “South Park Republicans,” “Beckites,” “Code Pinkers,” “Libertarians,” “Communists,” hell, even “Monarchists.” Always in capital letters, no less! Like the word God in the Holy Bible.

    So then because he’s mad, he goes on to make his point about kids today not believing in his idea of political activism by quoting some stupid “breakup letter” with the “Left” (again in caps) written by Tom Hanks’ daughter, apparently. Wait, what? Wasn’t this about Jon Stewart and the Rally to Restore Sanity? Maybe if he actually paid attention to Stewart’s message…

    So tell me, Mark Ames. Just what should I believe? Which capital letter political movement should I follow? “The definition of an American patriot is anyone promoting the General Welfare of every single American, and anyone helping to form the most perfect Union—that’s ‘union’, repeat, ‘Union’ you dumb fucks.” Well, gee, you really didn’t need to be so condescending, and I heard you the first time. But I guess you kinda have a point there. So how can I be a true American patriot, create a more perfect union, and promote the general welfare, Mr. Ames? “Anytime anyone says anything libertarian, spit on them. Libertarians are by definition enemies of the state: they are against promoting American citizens’ general welfare and against policies that create a perfect union.” Great. Thanks.

    Look, he clearly just doesn’t get irony. If he did, he would see the huge amounts of it dripping all over this article.

    PS, I realize that I kinda made a stereotype by calling him a wannabe 60s hippie liberal, and saying him and his ilk, but I don’t care, cause he’s still a douche.

  • 98. gc  |  October 31st, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    @Mark Ames, Magnificent. A consoling thought: People in the 1920s were obsessed with not looking lame too. Hipsterism can be cured.

    @RH “Why do young women sleep with men approaching middle aged, but not the reverse?”

    Stupidity. As Benjamin Franklin said, middle aged women are more experienced, and grateful.

  • 99. Michael Heizer  |  October 31st, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    For E.A. Hanks and the rest of the hipster assholes at the “Rally to Restore Sanity” it’s just not cool to get upset about minor things like corrupt Wall Street banksters stealing billions, the mass murder of civilians in Iraq or out of control corporate crimes such as the BP Gulf Oil spill. You’re supposed to laugh these things off with a knowing smirk, then make fun of anyone uncool enough to take take poverty, injustice or mass murder seriously. Why can’t they just lighten up and have a good time?

  • 100. Paul  |  October 31st, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    The serious liberal rally took place on the National mall on Oct 2. It was the OneNation rally and official estimates put the attendance at between 60k-100k people. If you haven’t heard of this rally, despite the fact that it was approximately as large as Becks, maybe you consider that interesting fact in your analysis.

  • 101. Stephen  |  October 31st, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    RH… you’re hilarious.

    JamesL- you used the ultimate preppy/hipster insult-‘douchebag’. Well, you’ve never known 10 minutes of real trouble in your entire life and you are a total cocksucker.

  • 102. DopeAddict  |  October 31st, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    A rally involving people who think real change will come from the Democratic Party isn’t worth a bucket of piss. It’s just self-congratulatory bullshit, a waste of time, not worth knowing about, much less attending or paying attention to. Jon Stewart may be funny, but he’s also pointless, implicitly encouraging people to channel their outrage into party politics. It’s a spectacle, a sad spectacle, yet so many fall for it.

  • 103. Tonya  |  October 31st, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Yes, how dare liberals have a good time instead of raging through the streets, their screams lost in a mist of tear gas. But hey, in your list of revolutionaries who took themselves completely seriously and never laughed, you forgot a couple: Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Swift. Oh wait, no you didn’t; you’re probably one of those people who read A Modest Proposal in high school and became outraged.
    Sorry guy, but this whole post just came off as a big, whiny, “But you’re not doing it right. That’s not how they did a rally back in my day.” Well it’s not your day anymore. It’s ours. Yes, we want change, but we don’t foam at the mouth in the way you think a good liberal should.
    I’ll be voting Tuesday. Respectfully. Sanely. Unironically.

  • 104. LJM  |  October 31st, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Wow. So, I really ought to thank the moderator here for making sure dumbfucks like me can’t pollute this excellent site with the post I submitted–what I really meant to post was, “I am one of the dumbfucks, don’t listen to me, I’m the only one who listens to myself and I can’t stand my own retarded thoughts, but they’re all I’ve got.” I wish at the very least I was someone with all the imagination of a devoted Freeper and/or Red State poster, but I will never have enough brains to act just like Mark Ames, in fact I’m even more retarded than a Glenn Beck fan who turns me on. I sometimes at night pray that I could remake myself into a make-believe caricature.

    Whoever is running this blog must be embarrassed that there are lots of idiots like me who consider my opinions to be worthy of their time–see, I’m the type who thinks both left and right are the same. Yeah, it’s really original of me isn’t it. So for example I’ll write things like, “This essay is the left wing equivalent of a freshman young Republican Tea Partier’s rant.” Yeah, I know, it’s flaccid but it’s the best I got.

    Kind of sad. Bye kids. Maybe I’ll see you some day in the world of grown-ups. If the grown-ups ever let me that is.

  • 105. LJM  |  October 31st, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Funny. My “comment is awaiting moderation.” I wonder if it’s going to be “moderated” by the same cowardly asshole who wouldn’t post my last comment.

  • 106. Qwik  |  October 31st, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    I think the ineffectiveness of the left may in part be because mostly people with a certain kind of mindset get attracted to the left in the first place. Any show of aggressiveness by their own side is distasteful to the leftist masses (George Galloway, Alan Grayson et al.) while the rightwingers and centrists are energized by displays of tribalism and bloodthirst.

  • 107. Steve  |  November 1st, 2010 at 12:27 am

    You held my interest until you referred to Bob Dylan as a “barely-talented rat-cunning jerk from the 60s”.

    Your off-hand dismissal of the most brilliant songwriter of the past century reeks of the same juvenile snark of which you’re complaining.

    …which is a shame, because you made some (genuinely) compelling arguments. But your essay is riddled with wise-ass comments like that one, detracting from the topic at hand, and weakening your overall position.

    You can hardly criticize the post-modern ironic sensibilities of the Stewart crowd, and then employ the same type of hollow rhetorical devices.

    “Woo Hoo!”, “[LAUGH TRACK]”, etc. – If you want to be taken seriously, lose all of that nonsense. A good editor could make your article much more effective, and without much effort. You have substance, but you lack subtlety.

    Good editors are an underrated commodity.

  • 108. Drunken Economist  |  November 1st, 2010 at 12:59 am

    JamesL, THANK YOU. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Ames has yet another ‘Death of Outrage’ moment. BFD.

    Typical hippy. Always full of “answers”, yet not even daring to ask the right questions.

    This has nothing to do with ‘cool’. This has everything to do with protesting posturing and “shrill.” Which is what the Boomers have become.


  • 109. RH  |  November 1st, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Hey Moderator/Author.

    The comment I submitted has been improved and now it actually has meaning. You’ve completely changed me for the better, without my permission, and you haven’t asked for anything in return. How can I repay you? Probably by shutting up. But I can’t.

    You know what I think? I think I’m a victim of censorship. I think I’m suffering as badly as Alexander Solzhenitsyn or Juan Williams, only worse. I’m the biggest victim the world has ever known. And whoever reads this here in this comments section will see the real face of oppression, and how I suffer to get my anonymous comments posted for the world to see. Won’t someone sneak my comment out to the world? They have to know the truth! The children…at least for the children…

  • 110. Eric Vigo  |  November 1st, 2010 at 2:28 am


    I read your piece, til the end, and found it interesting for me.

    I love heaping crap on hipsters. As a parent now, I love heaping even more crap on the helicopter parents, who seem to be somewhat of an extension of the hipsters – well, at least of the normal people. But that’s another post.

    But as an ex-activist in environmental and socialist circles, and being this Gen X thingy title, I noticed a few things in your piece I would like to point out:
    • it was very long
    • your main points were repeated over and over again (eg. stupidity)
    • it felt highly condescending
    • your third point for action is, uhm, what exactly?

    Now when I think about it, I don’t know if the piece is about getting people to take action against those who you don’t like, or to take action to do what should happen anyway, or just a hate-on-hipster of an intense kind (Gawker do the lite versions I suppose).

    We’re a strange lot us humans: once we get comfortable, we stagnate. Then we guzzle the fruits of the earth until we fall over. Seems to be happening in China now as well.

    Most hipsters I know (not that many) seem very satisfied with life – the only things that matter are whether the in-group keeps you in their heirarchy, and how everyone communicates with each other (their cellphones or Farcebook), their job and their nightlife. That’s it. Kinda bourgeois for the 21C.

    And you want to move that by applying the old ways? Like Code Pink does?

    Yes, Code Pink are not cool (one big turnoff for the hipsterinsecure) but also…they aren’t hot. That’s a bigger turnoff than cool. I noticed you hadn’t mentioned this in your piece. Very few activists are hot. Nothing to gain by affiliating. Nothing to rub off on.

    What do you want them to help you change? Most activists I know (many more than hipsters) have not sorted out their personal lives whatsoever, and when they do, they leave. The activist community is as heirarchical, and with a set of values that you adhere to.

    When the inner sh*t isn’t sorted out, then the non-personal issue becomes the main focus. When I do see actually functioning democracies in groups, it’s usually older, wiser and more secure people. And it isn’t for this massive mega-meta goal of overturning the financial system.

    What does screaming and getting angry do, other than easily be used by people “at the top” to help manipulate. The scariest people to the system are those who are moderating and using their energies effectively. I know of many of those in political parties who laugh at the ‘really angry’ activists – knowing their fuming is about as far as it goes. The Red Brigades and RAF types are possibly in a different league, but usually around a cult-like figure or 2.

    So, what are you suggesting? They drop their lifestyle, get angry and become activists? I wouldn’t become one. Because they aren’t fun. And I want fun in the world. I would rather talk to hipsters at a party at 3am when they are relaxed and not as focused on being cool or hot, and see where they go, and what they want change in.

    But I’m pretty moderate. Likely coz I’m a father now, and the post modernist world is far more delicious than a universalist one. And maybe that’s where we differ.

  • 111. FD  |  November 1st, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Ames, you are my new hero, for real.

  • 112. Gregg Gordon  |  November 1st, 2010 at 5:04 am

    This all seems so circular — hurling witty put-downs at people who hurl witty put-downs for hurling witty put-downs. Ames is all caught-up in the very coolness trap he claims to despise (a word, BTW, I wish my generation had never coined, but who knew? All we wanted to do was torment our parents). If he really believed what he writes here, he would have left the rally and, instead of obsessing for pages about some movie actor’s never-was daughter (guess I’m not on any cool e-forwarding lists, thank God) as some lame generational archetype, he would have simply said, “I need a story. That’s too trivial to write about.” But as an ex-newspaper reporter, I know how it is to suck. I sucked and sucked and then I finally reached such a low-point that I’m left posting comments on other people’s works of genius. Kill me, please.

  • 113. Dom11  |  November 1st, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Very good article. Original take on the psychology of the american left.

    Only thing that was disappointing was that nasty snipe at Communists at the end. It is Communists that are “uncool”. They are the ones who are militant enough to do something. No posturing, no “reforms” – Just straight wealth re-transfer and subversive/militant mindset. Until enough people in US can identify with that, nothing significant will be gained.

  • 114. Kat  |  November 1st, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Jesus, thanks for this. Thank you. Thank you.

  • 115. Andrew  |  November 1st, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Ames PLEASE do a character assassination article on Gavin McInnes. He is much more important as a neoliberal culture minister than Jon Stewart in my opinion. Some British critical theorist guy once said that your works are like “Vice magazine socialism.” Do a takedown of cocaine Republicanism (ie Gavin McInnes and the cultural stances he has popularized among youth culture/cool kids). Please.

  • 116. Jason  |  November 1st, 2010 at 7:46 am


  • 117. Doug  |  November 1st, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Mark I generally like your stuff, but your article may have changed my mind. While the right is scary, many of the things Stewart had to say were correct. You could never pull off such a thing. Your self- righteousness is getting old.

  • 118. tim  |  November 1st, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Good, fiery writing with highly necessary analysis. Right up until the end. And then it fell apart a little bit where you started to talk about the stated purpose of the “United” States of America.

    Sure, a more perfect union may have been the original intent, but that has hardly been the case in practice. Whether it’s the Civil War or the Great Culture Wars or the simple annual battles between urban and non-urban peoples who have very, very different expectations for what work government should be doing…America has consistently been a highly divisible nation.

    Given the way power was divided by the Founding Fathers…there appears to be a clear intent to prevent that perfect union from occurring. I think we’ve been built to be balkanized.

  • 119. DarthFurious  |  November 1st, 2010 at 8:17 am

    @94. arachid:

    Ah, the answer is, of course, yes we do. Why, you may ask? Well I’ll tell you:

    By framing her open letter to the “Left” (whatever the fuck that actually is in this fading republic) as a break-up letter to some dweeb chem major she’s decided to dump, SHE (not us) introduced every stupid sexist stereotype in existence into the matter.

    Now I may indeed be a phallocentric dweeb, but that doesn’t change the fact that SHE introduced sexual status into political ideology. Nor does it change the fact that she does INDEED look like her old man in drag.

    Now be a good girl and go hose the sand out of your vagina.

  • 120. Rubicon  |  November 1st, 2010 at 9:20 am

    My understanding of the Code Pink thing was that it was mothers protesting Rumsfeld taking their boys for a couple of years, fucking them up mentally, then sending them back home when they got an arm blown off. Later (magically) they were “worried about womens rights” in Afghanistan and were “supporting the troops” to bring equality to greater Burqa-stan (good luck with that).

  • 121. Nihilistic Asshole  |  November 1st, 2010 at 9:28 am

    What’s worse for posterity: the neutered Left or nihilists like myself?

    Just gradated from university, taking one year off before law school, with a single goal in mind: reaching upper middle class status before catastrophe strikes and/or the complete decline of Pax Americana. I’m not kidding myself that I will become a full-fledged Oligarch, but my fiance is in Med School and is the daughter of an executive at a multinational corporation, which should ensure we eventually become upper middle class (aka those who think they’re ruling the world but in reality are just slightly less beholden to the whims of borderless oligarchs than the rest of the plebs)

  • 122. George  |  November 1st, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Looking at the picture of E.A. Hanks and her spoiled brat friends, all I could think of was what if, instead of addressing her pathetic “Dear The Left” message to the NPR yuppie liberals that she imagines the Left to be, what if this ignorant brat had not been born to such wealth and privilege but lived in a different time and a different place. Imagine E.A. Hanks addressing a similar message to Saloth Sar (better known as Pol Pot): “Dear Saloth Sar, my relationship with the Communist Party of Kampuchea has been masturbatory, I ordered a Half-caff half-fat soy latte grande with rose scented syrup and vegan dark-chocolate biscotti, and my order came back all wrong, it’s just not what I wanted, Saloth Sar, therefore I am breaking up with the Communist Party of Kampuchea. Have a nice day….

  • 123. stan  |  November 1st, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Mark, I was going to try to pretend that I wasn’t totally blown away by the intensity of your genius and your writing style, but what’s the point? Even I know I’m a lying fag. Sorry. You win.

  • 124. Josephus P. Franks  |  November 1st, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Right on, Mark. Thank you especially for noting that this rally was deficient for ignoring real problems. Stewart, Colbert and their writing teams are doing an excellent job as individuals, being the sole voices in a media landscape that criticize mainstream political discourse for its vapidity. Particularly spot-on has been their coverage of the economy – no one, to my knowledge, other than Dylan Ratigan, has come anywhere close. The problem is the lack of organization, the willingness of people to come together with strangers they may not like right off the bat to achieve common goals. And the primary problem here is that there is no widely-read/-listened to source that would isolate *the* common goal as being the achievement of an economic system that fairly distributes wealth, and in a manner that doesn’t kill people and destroy our shared environment.

  • 125. Mene Tekel  |  November 1st, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Thanks for making me feel even worse about the imminent doom of America and the inherent apathy of my stupid ME generation. Great essay.

  • 126. twentyeight  |  November 1st, 2010 at 10:31 am

    “Look, he clearly just doesn’t get irony. If he did, he would see the huge amounts of it dripping all over this article.”

    Oh, yeah, that’s right, irony totally ended the war in Iraq, stopped Israeli settlements, broke the Gaza blockade, busted corporate tax cheats, got better health care, etc., etc.

    I’d move to blame in turn the “Post-political Left” in American academia, which in the ’80s and ’90s invented “French Theory”. Never mind that the whole damn thing was predicated on misreading “late” Foucault and combining him with unallied thinkers like Lacan (a Marxist psychoanalyst), Derrida (a centrist speculative linguist), Lyotard (a crypto-Nietzschean) in order to invent a “radical” critique that steered clear of things like money and power. What is the most persistent theory to leave that academic era? “The Clash of Civilizations”. Looks like meta-supra-meta-irony doesn’t really mean all that much. Now you have all these fuckwits fighting for the last four tenure jobs in America, “educating” today’s youth with their backwards-ass conceptions that “resistance” via t-shirts and “everyday life” choices like driving hybrids actually matter.

    I’d like to agree about the 1973 war but there’s some deep-seated antisemitism there, as if a group of socially-liberal Jewish intelletual hawks who inhabited academia are somehow representative of an entire ethnic group, never mind their non-hawkish Jewish academic peers, who despite being vocal have never organized the way that their genocidal confreres did.

    In other words: this is a pretty deep-seated structural matter that shows up on TV every night, in college classes held every day, in the newspapers, at bars in hip neighborhoods, etc., etc.

  • 127. mydick  |  November 1st, 2010 at 10:56 am

    We need a leader.

  • 128. Lavrentij "Anarchy99" Lemko  |  November 1st, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Confucius say US peasantry has Stockholm Syndrome:

  • 129. diegeiro  |  November 1st, 2010 at 11:07 am

    lars, in his comment #50, has it right as to what is behind door #3
    This should be uniting people in collectivism and protest, but for some reason what is happening is not resonating into any movement. Maybe everyone is too busy trying to save themselves. Or they dont really think that this could happen to them; that once our private property rights are diminished, our rights of free speech will be lost as well. There is so much at stake here…where is the discernment and awareness of what is happening to us?
    Ayn Rand idea’s through the Libertarian movement of individualism without a requirement for social justice has permeated both the Left and the Right and has done a great disservice to our country and left her a lonely sad existence unto death.
    Meanwhile the Left is mocking all who believe in a Christian God as fools for Christ. The banksters and the money party certaintly know how to divide, plunder, astro-turf and swarm with disinformation and distraction.

  • 130. aleke  |  November 1st, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Here’s what’s going to happen, you outlined it in your article, you even mentioned it several times (i.e. “imperial decay”): America is going to go fascist. Just like every settler nation has, especially one which is losing its empire very quickly. And fascism is very strong, definitely much stronger than the present liberalism (even if its most recent version is extremely potent in its fantasy). So you shouldn’t be too upset, it’ll definitely promote Union and Life of the Volk.

    However, it will be crushed by communism. Kant Wait for the Kleptocracy 🙂

  • 131. Mike C.  |  November 1st, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    @ 97. JamesL

    I think [5. D. Guerreiro] addressed these points adequately, before you mentioned them.

    I’ve met “South Park Libertarians” — rabid individualists that can’t even identify their own stances on things. I listened to one stammer about economic policy for two minutes without actually expressing an opinion. I know grandiose Randroids with dead end jobs. I know “Daily Show democrats” whose obligations ended with Obama’s election.

    They’re generalizations, but there’s no way to address the topic without them, unless you want to name everyone involved for the distinctions from each other they represent.

    The tragedy here is that for once a lot of liberals were in one place at one time, getting media coverage, and it was a lark. In ballsier countries, people would have been turning over cars by now. Instead, they’re either at a loss regarding what to do, or satisfied that pointed ridicule is enough payback against the outrageous treason of the richest Americans.

    It’s the Society of Spectacle. We’re not participants anymore, we’re an audience. There are real problems here, and they’re going to hit us hard really soon. Yet we can’t pull ourselves away from our diversions.

    The only solution I can see is a spontaneous outrage snowballing in the streets. With any luck, that’d inspire people to organize, realizing the masses have some muscle to flex after all. But who starts the ball rolling? That’s the threshold, unfortunately. People with nothing to lose have to snap, and others on the breaking point need to see this and snap, too. Until a city is a smoking ruin, and politicians travel in bulletproof Popemobiles, we’ll just keep giggling like nothing can touch us.

  • 132. justinslot  |  November 1st, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    If you think the Stewart-Colbert rally involved “liberals” you’ve already gone off the rails. The rally was about the same thing those two comedians’ shows are about: how horrible our media discourse has gotten. No more, no less.

    It’s like Ames not only wants the kids off his lawn, he wants the kids off the lawn of the people two houses down.

  • 133. Matti  |  November 1st, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I was looking forward to this from the other side of the pond because i expected that the american left finally would get it’s shit together.

    And i get a streaming second rate comedy show and a south-park-level false equivalency argument. What the hell?

    Oh well, at least The Roots were rockin.

  • 134. chris  |  November 1st, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    to keep this short (to counter-balance the hernia-provoking girth and length of this article), I’ll simply say – dude please edit this crap first. this is diarrhea. you need some chill pills for that. and a message for evrybody in the world: PLEASE STOP WITH THE BI-PARTISAN PERSPECTIVE… who cares about dems & repubs – say something constructive (like ideas, you know?). otherwise you end up sounding like just another “clown”(see article above…).

  • 135. mungo  |  November 1st, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    the article kicked off sharp and cutting (in a good way), but then it falls back into the very thing that it criticizes– namely, the author is too cool to attend a rally that is made up of people who are already too cool. I think it would be sharper if after piercing through the surface level bankruptcy of post-modern liberal hyperculture, the author exposed some of the real problems that need to be tackled today. While there were shrugs in that direction, the last half of the article ran out of steam and reads a little lazy.

  • 136. Strelnikov  |  November 1st, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    @ 57
    They were saying that sort of thing when H. L. Mencken was alive; the “boobosity” of the average American, their slavishness, stupidity, etc. The only thing that has gotten worse is their arrogance, but that’s usual in crumbling empires. However I would say that the Czechs you hang around with are more and more beginning to resemble a Europeanized version of Americans thanks to the construction of shopping malls everywhere….if you can find it, check out the documentary “Czech Dreams”; two guys make a fake mall and con hundreds of people to come to the opening and nobody grasps that it’s a satire of commercialism!

  • 137. Jumppu  |  November 1st, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    A very good article, I liked especially the latter part of it.

    But maybe it is good for you Americans to be jobless and on foot stamps for a decade or so.

    You will forget all the irony and rolling of the eyes and quips that have been plaguing your culture like a cancer for so many years. It is truly a sad way to live.

    By footstamps, you might overcome this corrosive irony bullshit and become human beings with sense of the important things in life.

  • 138. Mason C  |  November 1st, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    A little wordy, but very strong. Ames scores again. I hadn’t seen the Hanks rant-ette, but her dad believes his own PR so it isn’t surprising.

    I’m with the other posters who rip both the Left and Gen X/Y: the Boomers whose numbers gave the Left its ground game are now useless fucks who can’t get out of their own way, but seeing my fellow Xers (and their younger sibs) become chunked and formed, pseudo-political marketing product is equally repellent.

    Vonnegut had it right, but soon we’ll be a country without a country; this is what social disintegration looks like. When does the pool for breakup borders start?

  • 139. gc  |  November 1st, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    My last post was too short.

    Ames’ concluding points deserve to be their own essay. Pointing out the liberalism of the preamble to the constitution is a brilliant idea. I wish I’d thought of it. (Of course, it encourages the American mistake of confusing our constitution with our country, but that’s a minor problem.)

    And “spit on libertarians” is advice that can’t be repeated too often. Besides being appropriate, it’s good politics. Everybody hates libertarians. Even conservatives hate libertarians.

    @Eric Vigo

    “Most hipsters I know (not that many) seem very satisfied with life…” “And I want fun in the world…” “The post modernist world is far more delicious than a universalist one…”

    ^ There is literally nothing sadder than a person who has succumbed to de

    Side note: Between the casual

  • 140. gc  |  November 1st, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    @Eric Vigo

    “Most hipsters I know (not that many) seem very satisfied with life…” “And I want fun in the world…” “The post modernist world is far more delicious than a universalist one…”

    You may be sincerely unaware of this, so I’ll tell you exactly what the difference is between Mark Ames and you: You’ve succumbed to despair. He hasn’t.

  • 141. gc  |  November 1st, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Side note: Between the casual dismissal of the Beatles, the more-than-casual dismissal of Dylan, and the celebration of Big Star and the Fall, I’m getting the impression that the staff of the eXiled basically don’t like music very much.

    (The Fall are good, of course, but they’re (he’s) also one of the quintessential artists who smart people know they’re supposed to like, even if they don’t particularly enjoy listening to anything.)

  • 142. JohnP  |  November 1st, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    This comment would be even more clueless and masturbatory than the rally was if only someone would let me comment. Guess I should try getting my own fucking blog, but the problem is, no one would give a shit. Sucks to be me.

  • 143. Bear  |  November 1st, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Libertarian Communist?? And he thinks the repub model is promoting general welfare?

  • 144. Mish  |  November 1st, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    a few comments on this article suggest you should add an approval process so you can weed some out for the return of the [sic] section.

    more importantly: you need to write more.

  • 145. Eric Vigo  |  November 1st, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    “You may be sincerely unaware of this, so I’ll tell you exactly what the difference is between Mark Ames and you: You’ve succumbed to despair. He hasn’t.”

    In what way?

  • 146. dave  |  November 1st, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    People are dissolutioned with democrats because they haven’t fought for more substantive ideals. People want to fight for something that matters. They aren’t being given the option. People wanted to fight for single payer/public option/something meaningful. That bill was never put to a vote. President Obama never got on TV and asked people to march in the streets to support it. People wanted real financial reform. That bill was never supported by democrats. I could name half a dozen other issues. If they were asked to fight for something meaningful they would do it, but they were told to go home by the democratic party.

    Don’t tell me its all the filibuster. There are so many holes in that argument its pathetic. Democrats fought themselves for the last two years, they never needed or received any republican help.

    I guess going to another level of meta in this article is supposed to be your trump card. Well it doesn’t work. You want people to fight the good fight, then actually give them a platform of ideas and legislation to fight for.

  • 147. Prentice  |  November 1st, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    This message is in response to Tonya #103, and others, who are still defending the pathetic rally on the mall this weekend in Washington, DC.

    from an article by Chris Hedges at

    “The phantom left took a central role on the mall this weekend in Washington. It had performed admirably for Glenn Beck, who used it in his own rally as a lightning rod to instill anger and fear. And the phantom left proved equally useful for the comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who spoke to the crowd wearing red-white-and-blue costumes. The two comics evoked the phantom left, as the liberal class always does, in defense of moderation, which might better be described as apathy. If the right wing is crazy and if the left wing is crazy, the argument goes, then we moderates will be reasonable. We will be nice. Exxon and Goldman Sachs, along with predatory banks and the arms industry, may be ripping the guts out of the country, our rights—including habeas corpus—may have been revoked, but don’t get mad. Don’t be shrill. Don’t be like the crazies on the left.”


    “Wall Street’s looting of the Treasury, the curtailing of our civil liberties, the millions of fraudulent foreclosures, the long-term unemployment, the bankruptcies from medical bills, the endless wars in the Middle East and the amassing of trillions in debt that can never be repaid are pushing us toward a Hobbesian world of internal collapse. Being nice and moderate will not help. These are corporate forces that are intent on reconfiguring the United States into a system of neofeudalism. These corporate forces will not be halted by funny signs, comics dressed up like Captain America or nice words.”

    ….in the end, for those who serve up this drivel, the game is about money in the form of ratings and advertising. Beck, Colbert and Stewart all serve the same masters. And it is not us.”

  • 148. MrWebster  |  November 1st, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks for article. I found the link in some responses on FireDogLake (older hippy types). A few rambling points.

    Yah, from what I saw got me to itch in places I don’t like. As I thought about it: A protest against cable news???? A protest to demand the equivalent for set of Queensberry rules for public debate?? Say what?

    How is this going to work when majorities of gopers believe Obama is a Muslim, not a citizen, is a socialist, etc.? Is accusing them of unthinking extremism bad form? Is it uncool to pronounce them nuts?

    Jon Stewart is big on hating uncool comparisons of policies to Nazism and Hitler. But when the right wing calls Obama a socialist, they are using one of their code words to imply that yes Obama is a Nazi (the right wing has fully equated Nazism with socialism which the Goldberg book was partly about).

    One of the problems with the so-called liberal Democratic elite and of some liberals is that they have lost touch with a working person’s reality, of as you point out, the hard times millions and millions are now experiencing.

    It seems in this you are right–this rally seemed about capitulation–the beaten spouse accepts her fate. She has learned to speak in proper, accepted tones of the junior partner.

    And the reaction to all of this is to protest cable news??? I wonder if Stewart has in effect marginalized himself even as the court jester.

  • 149. aleke  |  November 1st, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    “The post-modernist world is more delicious than the universalist one”

    hahahah that’s why your fascism is going to be so weak and detestable, the first world is weak and stupid

  • 150. Ben Lanier-Nabors  |  November 1st, 2010 at 6:16 pm


    Thanks so much for that article on what should be called “The Rally to Pick Lint Out of Our Navels.” As an X-er, I have been trying to articulate my impressions of my generation since high school. (Sad to say, but the characteristics you point out have remained pretty much the same since the ’70s and ’80s.) I’ve not been able to properly articulate those impressions, but you have.

    Thanks again!


  • 151. empty  |  November 1st, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    You make allot of really good points. However I cannot shake the feeling that by doing this you are essentially “breaking up” with your generation to save face and cool points. God knows you can’t be associated with those stupid dicks. They are the same age and claim to have the same political views as you do, and you cannot have them making you look stupid. Anybody having fun or being happy is dumb and also a child rapist probably. I guess we hate what we see in ourselves nigga.

  • 152. area51  |  November 1st, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    It is very easy to criticize.

  • 153. Matt Beachey  |  November 1st, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    1. The example of Bob Dylan and his haters is not emblematic of a generation’s lack of originality, culture or substance. It is what every historian commenting on this nation, or any other nation does: compare and contrast the current state of things with the past. (Now, by no means am I calling Hanks a Historian.) It doesn’t mean that she’s calling upon past heros to lead our generation into battle. She’s just making a fucking analogy.

    2.This rally may have been attended many by hapless liberals who really haven’t the slightest grasp of what is going on in our country, but they don’t represent the general thrust of the rally. Yeah, there were a ton of unoriginal, ironic hipsters there because it was cool. There were, however, very likely more people there who understood why they were there than you’d find at a tea party rally.

    3. Jon Stewart was targeting ONLY corporate media outlets. He was not attacking or supporting either political party. And he certainly was not saying that the left shouldn’t voice the ills of our nation such as the two wars we’re pumping money into and the egregious state of the economy. This rally was a direct response to the tea-party persuasion and specifically Glen Beck’s Rally to Restore Honor. Yes, in many ways it was an anti-rally. But it was not intended to be an end-all rally to promote liberal views.

    4. You make wild assumptions that everyone who attended this rally was a self-pacifying, complacent liberal who was seeking to pull the wool over their own eyes by pretending to participate in something cool AND political. When really people went to this to be entertained. And to make jabs at bigots. And, yes, not particularly to do much about it. It didn’t start a riot. It won’t bring any change. But it was the first gathering of its size in Washington in recent memory that wasn’t aggravating citizens of the United States into fighting for the rights of corporations that want nothing else but profits.

    The thing that this country needs is for liberals to get a fucking backbone. It needs them to organize, to focus together on accomplishing tasks one at a time, and to call out every one who wrongs America. I agree with you on this front. But these things are not the fault of hapless hipsters. Republicans are organized because they are run by organized corporations. Leftists are very independent thinkers who rarely like to be told what to do(hapless hipsterbrals not included.) The only thing that will change this country is if liberals learn a thing or two from republicans and trounce them in their own game.

  • 154. JamesL  |  November 1st, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    back @ 131 Mike G

    you say turning over cars like its a good thing…

    evidently some people really seem to think reacting violently and irrationally is the right response to injustice. im sorry, i dont. thats why i attended the rally this weekend with a sign that said “Don’t Panic!” Besides those who commended me for my Douglas Adams reference, some people really seemed to think that we “should” be panicking. It’s not that I don’t think these are frightening times, or that there aren’t serious injustices in the world worthy of serious action. It’s just that I happen to believe in acting rationally rather than irrationally.

    And the fact is, we really don’t face the same issues we did in the 1960s, or the 1860s, or the 1760s. Things really are getting better, and frankly its just inappropriate and irresponsible to act otherwise. Point is, we did what we had to at the time and it helped. we werent perfect, and we’re not now. but we have to keep moving forward, and turning over cars is not the way to do it.

    Of course Jon Stewart said all this much better than I did when he said, “These are hard times, not end times.” Things will get better, but they wont if we act like they havent already. You have to believe in progress to make progress.

  • 155. Ky Cleveland  |  November 1st, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Wow. What a terrible article. I’m sorry I read it, and that I’m now involving myself in this argument, but oh well, here I go:
    Mark Ames completely missed the point of this rally.
    “That’s what makes this rally so depressing and grotesque: I…(tharr be more)t’s an anti-rally, a kind of mass concession speech without the speech–some kind of sick funeral party for Liberalism, in which Liberals are led, at last, by a clown.”
    Okay, first of all, it wasn’t a Liberal rally at all. It was a MODERATE rally. It was a satirical rally against extremism on either side of the political line, Left or Right, Conservative or Liberal. The point is that most Americans are not politically extreme one way or the other, contrary to what the 24-hour news circus (particularly FOX) would lead us to believe. In fact, Mark Ames seems to be exactly the sort of Liberal alarmist that the rally poked fun at, so I can understand why he got his panties in wad over it.
    Also: “a kind of mass concession speech without the speech”? Actually, there WAS a speech, and a very poignant one at that. If Mark had stuck around he would’ve heard it. Though, I really don’t know why he attended in the first place or what he was expecting. The rally obviously wasn’t for him. If he wants a Liberal rally, then by all means, he should go out and organize one. Nobody’s stopping him. I’m just sick of hearing him bitch and complain about Stewart’s (and Colbert’s) rally. I know that the majority of The Daily Show’s (and The Colbert Report’s) viewers are Leftists with a bit of a Liberal bias, but that doesn’t mean Jon Stewart has a Liberal agenda. His show has NEVER claimed to have ANY political agenda. IT’S F*CKING SATIRE! It’s his job to hold a mirror up to the so-called ‘real’ news, and poke fun at its flaws. Sure he picks on FOX a lot, but that’s just because they’re so easy to make fun of. If they presented the news in a calm, rational, fact-driven, non-biased way (you know, the way news is supposed to be), then he wouldn’t have much to say, would he? Of Course He’s a Clown, and Colbert is too. Have they ever claimed to be anything else? And I’m very very grateful to have clowns like them around. What a terrible world this would be without satire. Satire was alive when Chaucer wrote ‘The Canterbury Tales’, when Swift wrote “A Modest Proposal’, when Matt Groening began scribbling weird little animated shorts about a disfunctional family for the Tracy Ullman show, and it’s alive today with shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I can’t tell you how moved I was to see over 200 Thousand people crowd onto the National Mall, not for a POLITICAL purpose, but for a SATIRICAL purpose. For no other reason than to say “Let’s put our petty differences aside, chill the f*ck out, laugh at ourselves, and have a good time!”
    I tell you, it was a f*cking beautiful thing to be a part of, and I don’t regret a single moment of it.

  • 156. sarah louise  |  November 1st, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I updated my facebook status to broadcast my disgust in regards to the premise of the rally and friend a linked me to this article. You didn’t ask for my opinion, but I’m presumptuous and I’m lending you my constructive criticism nonetheless.

    I was excited until it became clear that the flippant [nearest word I can muster atm] attitude behind the text wasn’t going away and I couldn’t really get into the article.. I think you should have taken more time to refine. A spelling error here or there, a couple errors in punctuation, inconsistent grammar patterns that fuck with the flow, and circlestyles(redundancy bothers the shit out of me.)

    I’m sure you are a smartie and you have the capacity to write a stunner. When you write to publish doing less than your best is sort of an insult to your opinion.

    Less is more. Filler words may make an article look longer but word-count and content potency or whatever you’d like to call it aren’t necessarily proportionate. Reading a stuffed-up article is like running through water and will turn off a bunch of readers. Be clear, be concise. Know exactly what you want to say before you start.

    I generally agree with you, though. Thanks for sharing!

    (F+B+T+L) = (P)
    sarah louise

  • 157. AJ  |  November 1st, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    It’s funny that this message had to be conveyed by such a cartoonishly elitist person. But isn’t it always?

  • 158. JustAnotherKeyboard  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 12:10 am

    The amount of bile in this editorial is so out of proportion with reality that the writer clearly falls into the behavior being made fun of at the rally. I’ve been to parties with guys like this writer. The ones who leave talking about what assholes everyone at the party was even though I had a great time. Ultimately it has nothing to do with the people at the party or rally, it has to do with psychological issues the writer is dealing with. You know the writer is out of his depth when he refers to the Left as a monolith that he can then dismiss. Tell us about the better days when things were different, patriarch, and who we should spit upon.

  • 159. Skeeve  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 1:12 am

    It’s interesting that the two generations Ames writes about here have accomplished absolutely nothing of significance yet still have such a high regard for themselves. To be fair, though, they get this conceit from their parents, the most spoiled generation (at least materially) in world history.

    I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been the unwilling audience for some guy in his fifties holding forth on the Greatness that is America. And if you demur, even with evidence to the contrary at hand, you get the treatment: “If you don’t like it, get the hell out! Hey, I’ll even drive you to the airport and buy you a ticket!”

    (Strangely enough, though, they never offer to pay your share of the national debt, or the ten years of income taxes Uncle Sam thinks he’s entitled to even after you renounce your citizenship).

    So it’s not entirely the kiddie’s fault, but they do need to grow up at some point, and face Reality, which is making it clearer by the day that it will no longer be ignored. I think Ames has opened a rich vein of insight here, one I hope that gets followed up by other authors (and you, sir, sound like you have another book inside you).

  • 160. BJ  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 2:21 am

    wow, i honestly thought it was harder to publish a book than that.
    The best part about this article is how the guy complains that “his” generation thinks of politics as a movie narrative, slick and easy with a perpetually happy ending, conveniently forgetting all the slow struggle and hard work. Well, did they ever have the chance to forget something they never experienced except through movies? Even this idiot seems to have forgotten how many people on the “Left” died during the slow-moving drudgery of the struggle, or how many innocent people they themselves blew away? Maybe rather than avoiding mockery, they’re avoiding the possibility of their deaths? of not being able to enjoy the little frills the system offers them, like unlimited hamburgers, condoms and prescription drugs? Because it seems like this guy has forgotten (or only saw in the movies) what cops and the army do to real opposition, not just a bunch of useless teenagers in black and red masks throwing pebbles and rotten fruit, and holding ironic signs with pictures of mass-murderers like Mao on them. Maybe he should ask the PLO, or FARC?
    1. Ask some geriatric Ukrainians what they think about collectivization, dipshit.
    2. And yes, any American not beholden to both your views and your description of the true meaning of an outdated historical document written by a bunch of slave-owning white men are indeed, traitors. So naturally, the “Left” will have to organize some “Patriot squads” to go to their houses “re-educate” them. Maybe with “Union-bullets” and “Welfare-rape”?
    3. Totally agree, Libertarians are self-deluded assholes.
    4. Blade Runner is an awesome movie, but we shouldn’t let it teach us anything, because its movie, not an ideology.

  • 161. kuronin  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 2:51 am

    “we’re stuck rolling our eyes like we did in the good ol’ days”
    This is kinda silly. Nietzsche himself was an invalid.

  • 162. Mad Nomad  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 2:51 am

    It looked to me that the “Rally to Restore…” was somehow trying to deaden the vitriol of the Tea Party in the last week before the election, by portraying the astroturf Conservatives as the bunch of idiots that they are to the “swing voters”. From what I gather of Ames’ non-report here and the first 145 responses to his analysis, the rally probably didn’t work. I suppose in a few hours, we’ll find out for certain when the polls finally close at the end of the day up in North America.

    In this article, Ames seemed to summarize what he has been writing about American politics since coming back to the States, and it seems like the die-hard Stewart-can’t-do-wrong fans miss the point a bit with calls for better editing, etc. This rally was probably not enough. (I hope to hell that this is wrong, but going into the day, it doesn’t look like it.)

    There needed to be some alternative with more substance that carried the day as much as this rally did. There is nothing out there – Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, anything – that is working to preserve what the US is about. Ratigan and Grayson are pretty much all there is. And at the end of today, we’ll likely see that the government will have a more ready-made reason why it can’t right the wrongs that the United States has been foisted with over the period since Inauguration Day 2001.

    Also, Ames tried to explain exactly why there is nothing there, or how Generation X (my generation as well) failed, what values weakened it to the point that they are pretty much an accomplice to the mess that the Baby Boomers created. This is an attempt to define the problem, and I thought it was a pretty good one.

    I think he also provided a pretty good start to a vision of what should be modern patriotism. The words “perfect union” and “providing for the general welfare”, as written as the very start of the US Constitution, should be exactly what Americans keep their eyes upon as they try to fix what’s broken.

    The real problem that we’ll likely be seeing at the end of the day today is that there will be nobody to build a strategy to put anything promoting this vision into action, and eventually results. Prague, South America, etc., may be the safest places to wait out what happens, be it “fascism” or “fall apart.” I pray that this is wrong.

  • 163. danny  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 5:26 am

    One of my coworkers went to the rally and witnessed a gang of black DC 14-year-olds jump this white 30-something lady who was beating on a bass drum. The teens pushed the lady down and one of them punched a hole through the drum. Now that is revolution!

  • 164. Heythere  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Say what you want about the right wing noise machine, but the whole tactic of constantly crying “bias” works. It’s what’s reduced people to falling back on the old discourse-killing “both sides are just as bad!” stance.

  • 165. twentyeight  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Hey, Vigo, I never got laid at a protest rally, either, (hate to break it to you, but if you’re still “at a party at 3 AM” talking politics to “laid back” hipsters, your chances of blowing lines with some chick whose name you can’t remember back at her place are somewhere in the high zeros… oh, wait, you’re “a father now” so you don’t care about that even though you must have brought it up about five times 150 words, i.e., repetitive i.e., “stupid”) so I guess I should resent people who point out the atrocities in our financial system worth changing. Maybe I can move into this “post-modernist” world where jobs are plentiful and food is cheap by just changing my attitude.

  • 166. twentyeight  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Oh, I forgot, having any political concerns is a sign of mental illness. That’s probably right if you were some private school brat. Jeez, just get daddy to calls his friends up to land you a cushy job and forget about this “health care” thing already! God all you kids from working class families who have state school educations you could only pay for with subsidized loans, I’m tired of hearing you bitch about the “perspective” you have on “social” matters. Jeez, man, don’t you want to just listen to Spoon again? It’s so much more “delicious” than getting bent out of shape because your grandmother got kicked off Social Secruity! What’s the matter with you, thinking that human rights standards that apply in every other developed nation and a lot of developing ones should apply in the United States? Can’t you watch the Daily Show? I don’t know, using robot planes to kill people whose anti-colonial insurgency we sponsored with our tax dollars is kinda like just cashing in on an investment! Here, you should read Atlas Shrugged. Etc., etc.

  • 167. franc black  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Alright people, the least we can do is buy a copy of his book ! Or donate to this site.

    Put your money where your fingers are.

  • 168. zot23  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 8:47 am

    OK, a lot of generation bashing and hate duh dumb liburals going on. So I guess I’ll throw the ball back to MR. Ames and crew:

    When are you holding your first rally/protest/riot in DC? If Colbert and Stewart just fucked the pooch so badly you can’t take it (and yet collective action is the only path), what are you organizing to do the job?

    A lot of vitrol, a lot of hate to these people that turned up to be entertained and say (if anything), “I just want a political climate that makes sense.” But they all did something not one of the haters (including Mr. Ames) had the stomach to do:

    1) They showed up.

    2) They stayed for the whole event.

    Kind of hard to have “collective action” if you aren’t willing to show up for an event and stick around. Maybe it wasn’t his cup of tea? Fine, then go home and STFU about it.

    Mark is the high school QB that goes to the band geek party, decides it’s too lame, and leaves an hour into what turns out to be the best party of the year. If that was the end of it, fine. But when he turns around and dogs everyone else for having a good time without his approval or presence, well it’s time to drink a tall, cool glass of STFU.

    If y’all didn’t like the rally, throw your own. Because by my count, Stewart and Colbert got 250,000 off their asses on Halloween weekend to come down and start getting involved with the process. I’d bet if they held another rally they might crack 500,000. Don’t forget this wasn’t sponsored by some billionaire, it is a bottom up event. No one got paid to appear on the stage, they volunteered. If you can’t see the potential value in this sort of event, you really have made yourself irrelevant to “collective activism” you claim to support.

    So, when are you guys holding YOUR event?

  • 169. KLAUS  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 9:30 am

    excellent analysis.

  • 170. Brian Flescher  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I think you’re missing the point here. Stewart and Colbert aren’t the only ones doing their job with this rally, it is the hundreds of thousands of people who showed up as well.

    This is not an issue of ‘dying liberalism’ or what not, it’s a reflection of the failure of the Democratic Party to lead an effective political agenda which even mildly plays to the core members of their party. I’m not saying parties should always cowtow to the most extremist wings of the party, but Politics 101 says that if you don’t get your base excited about your past performance as lawmakers then you can bet your ass turnout will fail.

    Republicans run confidently on shitty ideas based on fairy tale non-truths, and they are damn good at it.

    Like it or not, many big thinking progressive/liberal ideas actually make practical, effective policy for this country. If the Democratic Party can’t see that sans a virtual congressional supermajority this past year, then screw it, why not then ‘rally for sanity’? What else do we have?

  • 171. Joseph Falco  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 10:25 am

    All of us expected a new era after the Denver rally in 2008. 80,000 dems/liberals/anti-whatevers having a giant, jammin’ coming out party in Mile Hi Stadium.

    Then Obama won the election handily. And there was one party government. And the Dems , though saddled with a two-front war, a disintegrating economy and a general bad feeling about things, especially after the spectacular Beijing Olympiad, were waiting for a lion to roar.

    a weak health care bill
    a war surge
    Bush hold-overs in the DoD
    Guantanamo and torture issues unresolved
    Wild eyed Repubs and Tea-Partyers all over the Tee vee
    and all of those great, green, futuristic job ideas suddenly went “poof”

    I voted straight Dem today but 2008-2010 must be the biggest waste of political power ever. The Dems squandered what could have been the beginnings of a dynasty. Its like when your favorite football team wins the Superbowl then promptly falls apart. Disgusting really.

  • 172. MaoMao  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 10:29 am

    “Let’s put our petty differences aside, chill the f*ck out, laugh at ourselves, and have a good time!”

    and i’m thinking you missed the point of this article. While you’re sittin on your couch with your buddies dick in your hand and a bong. These other insane assholes are rallying for a cause they got behind (even if it’s totally wrong headed) and they’re pushing that agenda toward the finish line, while you’re laughing at how stupid they are for believing that nonsense. So good job you got to see some funny men be funny on saturday, what did that do to curb the crazies?

  • 173. Luther Blissette  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 10:59 am

    “…that’s why we were South Park Republicans before we were Daily Show Democrats.”

    Both shows are owned Viacom, so you won’t even have to switch channels!

    How is old Sumner Murray Rothstein doing these days?


  • 174. Kat  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I swear I just don’t get certain segments of the left’s fascination with Bob Dylan.
    It seems to be the equivalent of the fascination with Alger Hiss that some on the right (still) have many years removed from any sort of relevancy.

  • 175. Luther Blissette  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 11:33 am

    No use spitting on ALL libertarians as we quest for a “more Perfect Union.”’s Scott Horton is libertarian, GenX, is to the left of Amy Goodman on most issues, and hosts Mark Ames & John Dolan on his show. This is a good thing.

    But let’s keep hating the cool kids.

    And when they ask why, we’ll say “if you have to ask, you’ll never know.”

  • 176. gc  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 11:58 am

    @Eric Vigo “In what way?”

    You wrote approvingly about people being “satisfied” with their lives. People with hope aren’t “satisfied” with their lives; they might like their lives, but that isn’t the same thing.

    You said you want the world to be “fun.” Not free; not just; the first thing it occurred to you to mention was “fun.” You’ve despaired of ever achieving anything more than that.

    And being consciously “post modernist” (i.e. dabbling in multiple cultures without committing to one, which, by the way, people have been doing for thousands of years) is despairing of ever being right about anything.

    You’ve given up hope of anything beyond spending your life in modest physical comfort.

    While I’m listing things wrong with you: People who really believe in their own despair are cheerful, because impossible to disappoint. But you’re both better and worse than that. You don’t entirely believe in your own despair, but you try to. You have lingering hopes that you try to suppress; hoping (ironically) you’ll eventually be able to totally believe in the despair you preach.

    And the result is that you’re miserable.

    As twentyeight already pointed out, you obviously lie about your social life to make it sound more interesting than it is.

    You’re also a concern troll; you put everything in personal instead of universal terms (“I want”); you qualify every statement you make (“seems”); and instead of using words that people actually use in conversation today, you use archaic words with the same meaning (“far” instead of “much”).

    The combination of diffidence and pretentiousness is significant because it’s indicative of your confused despair: You’re simultaneously trying to adopt the meek, doubtful-of-everything tone that you (wrongly) think truly hopeless people use; and trying to give an impression of the wisdom that you (wrongly) think truly hopeless people have.

  • 177. EJK  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    This is so fucking great. Essay of the year.

  • 178. HIPSTER  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Here’s some facts:

    – If Ames did organise a rally, most of the ‘fun lovers’ who turned up for the hipster parade would not turn up. If people had to hear the truth, they wouldn’t want to get involved.

    – Ames is angry because he sees the terrible mess America is in and wants people to actually make an effort to change it. It’s not enough to know that Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin is stupid: the country is still in turmoil. It’s time for people to start making an effort to change things rather than exchanging smart-ass remarks on an internet forum.

    – The attitude of ‘chill the fuck out’ is the reason America is so fucked. The land is filled with a bunch of lazy hipsters who feel it’s more important to smoke a joint and not take things too seriously while people in their own country are living in abject poverty.

    – By not making an effort to fight the system, you are playing into the hands of the people who control the country. While they make more money off your back, they have no problem letting you amuse yourself with political satire. I have no problem with satire, but more has to be done than simply laughing at stupidity.

    Any self-respecting ‘liberal’ should be ashamed of the rally after witnessing whe French protests of the last few weeks. Surprisingly, they care more about fighting the system than chilling the fuck out.

  • 179. Drunken Economist  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Just a postscript- and to the commenter who brought up Chris Hedges, I just found this on Demonoid:

    Maybe, Ames, if you did less ‘spitting’ you’d be as eloquent as Hedges. Even if you’re on different sides of the fence.

    Soon enough we’re going to need EFFECTIVE action, not what has been tried (and failed) before.

    And if that means throwing every Boomer in a shipping container with an IV and a HamsterWheel because that’s 21st century debtor’s prison, so. be. it.

    -Drunky out

  • 180. Josh  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Good article. Said pretty much everything I was thinking. My only complaint is that it’s really longer than it needs to be. I think the article really could have wrapped up about half-way through the E. A. Hanks part. By then we’ve got all the points already.

  • 181. JT  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    …oh, how tasty the tears of the truly bitter hipsters are. Yum yum.

  • 182. Dick  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Fuck. This was hilarious and depressing.

    “Liberalism” was always a disease, including the enlightenment. Aristotelian “reason” is what killed the creativity and science of the Platonic renaissance. A typical reasonable American has no concept of the future of mankind, their obligations to the species, etc.

    For the left, it’s either hipster bullshit or this “why can’t we all get along” attitude accompanied by a hostility toward rational thinking. For the right, it’s hostility toward weakness or anyone who wants to slow down their material achievements. 99% of people are morons who didn’t pay attention in school and wouldn’t have learned anything if they had.

    Who cares how many people show up for what cause when we’ve all got our heads up our asses? We’re a decadent culture, and are going to “come to Jesus,” literally and figuratively, when the whole thing comes crashing down in about a week.

  • 183. anarchoskin69  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    The Libertarian baiting was retarded. Also, the references to the Constitution and its corruption by Communists had strong hints of fascism or Tea Party-likeness. The first half of the post was good, though.

  • 184. Denise  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Ever seen the movie Deliverance? Yup, that’s me–the one picking the banjo. Know what makes me so fucking retarded? The belief–against all evidence–that rich Scots-English Protestants ever gave or give a flying fuck about the rest of the tribe. They never have, and they never will. But thanks to the fact that they keep me poor and exploited and have absolutely no fucking use for me but every use for wealthy talented Jews, Catholics, Asians, and anyone else who can make these rich Scots-English Protestant fucks even richer and more powerful–thanks to that, I have been put into the strange predicament of either a) recognizing the brutal truth and coming up with an honest reaction to it, or b) hiding my head in the sand, getting fucked in the eyesocket by my daddy, and picking my banjo till I get smart enough to figure out how to rape a downtrodden Scots-English or Scots-Irish kin of my own. Rareump!

  • 185. Skeeve  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    “And if that means throwing every Boomer in a shipping container with an IV and a HamsterWheel because that’s 21st century debtor’s prison, so. be. it.

    -Drunky out”

    It was drunken economists that got us into this mess. Now you’re back with more advice? Thank you very much.

    You don’t have to throw *all* the Boomers into debtor’s prison. Just the bond holders, speculators, mortgage industry fraudsters, investment bank upper-management and CEOs, hedge fund managers and probably most of the rest of the banking industry. Don’t worry about finding them, as the government has a list somewhere (they must, or they wouldn’t have known who to bail out).

    When we get back the money they stole, it will help pay for lots and lots of nice nylon rope and guillotine blades. And the rest we can spend on making sure the rest of us don’t wind up living in shipping containers.

  • 186. Ravenous Wendigo  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    “do you really have to critique e.a. hanks on her looks, you chauvinistic, patriarchal, phallocentric dweebs? i mean, really?”

    I’m sure E.A. Hanks is crying into her bourbon every single night, lamenting her misfortune at having been born the ugly daughter of one of Hollywood’s richest men.

    Of course, that’s after she’s driven home in her BMW from the restaurant where you wait tables, after declining to leave you a tip because of your uppity attitude.

  • 187. svirgula  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 8:00 pm


    Would join Ames in kicking your ass into a cattle car any day of the week.

  • 188. kuronin  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Yep, Stockholm Syndrome. Why else would Americans vote Republican after they did everything in their power to block the legislation Obama put forward? That’s like saying “Okay, we wanted you to do this stuff for us, but since things aren’t going well due to an uncooperative and insane opposition, we’re going to put the very people standing in our way back into power.” Fucking retards.

    If these people were in a cowboy movie, they’d instate the black hat as their emperor. They’d die with a bullet in the head, a smile on the lips and the villain’s dick down their fucking throats.

    #182 Simple assertions without a single argument in sight. How depressingly typical.

  • 189. kuronin  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Of course, I know the real problem is that Americans are fundamentally confused as to their wants. What they want is the quickest, most efficient route to “happiness” and they’re still stumbling around like blind men, trying to find it. In this quest, the majority are being led by even blinder men who think science comes from the devil. Sadly, this doesn’t invalidate my previous post.

  • 190. Gorilla Romero  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 9:13 am

    “rat-cunning jerk” to describe dylan — is this blatant anti-semitism or just bad writing?

  • 191. Allen  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    “They’re the only ones fighting this battle, and the only way they’re surviving is by elaborately pretending they’re not really fighting anyone’s battle over anything, they’re just having a laugh—it’s the same rationale that jesters used in medieval times, and Stewart and Colbert play the same role as the jesters did then…and we’re also playing our role as powerless peasants reduced to self-mockery and snickering at our Masters behind their backs.”

    This bit particularly hit it out of the park; but the piece generally is just a very excellent and necessary polemic.

    I do think that the turn towards ranting against communists and libertarians at the end felt a little unfocused and confused, though I guess I know what you’re saying. I also think the whole thing could use a rewrite to make it tighter, and, oddly for the Exile, it could be a little meaner too.

    These people are more than the merely misguided — victims of fashionable hipster sneer-ism, the aesthetic of “everything sucks but me, caus’ I’m nothing really”. Let’s call them out for being the decadent bourgeois scum they are.(Sorry did I use a Communist word?)

    When things get bad enough, you know when folks are forced to care about shit again, half these assholes will turn into fascists, and the other half will be left to sulk passively in their homes. (I mean if they still have em’ that is.)

  • 192. Drunken Economist  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Hey, let’s talk about Barry, our Liberal posterboy and his big up of the proletariat:

    1/ Barry’s off to India.

    2/ His trip will cost almost a cooool BILLION. With a ‘B’. Why? Well,

    3/ He’s taking 215 US CEOs with him, and keynoting,

    4/ “US-India Business & Entrepreneurship Summit'” courtesy of the USIBC.

    Read moar here:

    So, Ames, you get all pissy about 150K folks gathering to have a good time pretty much on their own nickel, but where’s your outrage over Emperor Barry selling the American worker down the road? With taxpayer funds?

    Spit on Libertarians all you want. You’re aiming the wrong way.

    -Drunken Economist

  • 193. Carolyn  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Such a great article.

  • 194. Allen  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Americans have allowed what should be their revolutionary element to be colonized by its class enemies — popularly noted as being found in Hollywood but also in a number of wealthy coastal states beyond California. (These lifeforms prefer to live near water; this must be their odd notion of “strategic depth” — if all goes wrong they will just crawl back into the ocean.)

    These folks have infected “progressive politics” with their petty lifestyle and cultural obsessions; in fact, they are the other side of the culture war — a war designed never to be won. People like E. A. Hanks flatly do not care about the actual material interests that should unite (at least) 90% of Americans. Actually, they are hostile to any such concerns because they are inimical to their own. Any wonder that they are at the forefront of every destructive tendency the so called “left” has?

    The left should send them a “break up” notice, permenant like.

  • 195. Chest  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I used to kill people like this, which is about all they deserve. Nowadays in the USA they’re just as whiney and distracted as the leftists they attack. It will not get to the point it did in my country until the resources run out. Then the smart-ass comments will stop and the truly tough will emerge.

  • 196. Mike C.  |  November 3rd, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    @154. JamesL

    Thanks for your pop culture reference in sign form, J.

    Now a few tens of thousands of uninsured Americans can die with a smile on their faces. Or is that a grimace?

    I’m not a fan of violence. A revolution would destroy my life, and most others’ I know. But peoples’ lives are being destroyed right now. I’m not saying a revolution would even happen. But something has to happen that goes outside of a system which quarantines protests to meaningless symbolic gestures inside cages, and gives more profound coverage to the bulldog that surfs.

    Aside from what Steven Pinker said about the decline of violence (e.g. the “better” that things have gotten), we also have a decline in class parity, a decline in working and living conditions, in food safety regulations, in government transparency, in parent-child interaction, in morale (antidepressants are a safe investment), in actual wages, in available jobs, in any kind of safety net to prevent peoples’ financial ruin, in government personnel (and for those remaining, their competence and energy). Quantifiable things. Not postmodern bullshit that can be swatted away with a quip.

    You’re fiddling while Rome burns. We all are. We should at least recognize that.

  • 197. Mike C.  |  November 4th, 2010 at 12:31 am

    @ 166. twentyeight

    Well put.

    From where I stand I can’t comprehend trivializing matters. We’re not a bunch of stoners bitching about Tibet. I know several people without health insurance. They don’t get shit checked out, they hope the symptoms will go away. If there’s something serious, they’re fucked. It’ll ruin them, and it might be too late anyway. I have health insurance, and they’ve been arbitrarily raising the rates every year, totally out of proportion with the cost of medical services.

    Our shit wages, and overpriced healthcare come down to the same thing: bargaining power. This is explained in “Economics for the Rest of Us.” If a company can hire someone cheaper for some interchangeable position, you can’t get higher wages. If you could organize, maybe, but unions are rare. If there were a national health plan, it wouldn’t be a choice between arbitrarily priced insurance and nothing at all. The companies would have to offer a quantifiable advantage to buying their coverage. That whore Betsy McCaughey lied in an article called “No Exit,” during the Clinton years, claiming additional coverage wouldn’t be an option.

    Today’s pollyanna was probably yesterday’s anarchist. Neither has anything to lose in their view of the world. The anarchist fancies himself independent, never thinks that other people will organize to brutalize “independent” people, like Somali warlords; and never thinks of people who actually are dependent, and those that look after them. When the anarchist sheds his skin, and becomes the optimistic yuppie, he adopts causes like he’d take up Flamenco guitar, and can drop them with as little consequence.

    A friend of mine died this year. She was way too young to be killed, and she was a relentless activist for the DREAM Act. She had something personal at stake. She advocated for others because it had an impact on her own life. That’s what it takes. These are the people that’ll commit. The rest are just privileged dilettantes.

  • 198. kuronin  |  November 4th, 2010 at 1:07 am

    Contrary to popular belief, ironic, which this article is, is not, by itself, synonymous with meaningless, useless or bad in any way.

  • 199. Michael  |  November 4th, 2010 at 7:19 am

    The latest $900 billion helicopter drop by the Printmaster Bernanke is nothing more than a continuation of the Bank Bailout that began with Paulson. Crash all the big banks now! Hang the Bankster criminals. Fuck Jon Stewart, E.A. Hanks (along with her asshole friends) and anyone else calling for calm, moderation and *irony*. It’s time to stop fucking around with funny signs, time to get out the ropes and start hanging these bastards from lampposts.

  • 200. kuronin  |  November 4th, 2010 at 8:29 am

    I stand for many of the goals of Stewart’s rally. I’m not so concerned about not appearing lame, but real stupidity and bad thinking should be purged from the field of politics. Seeming uncool to non-experts and actually being stupid are two different things.

  • 201. libertarianZ01D123123  |  November 4th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Read till about 3/4 the way down and I still don’t know wtf its talking about. Spit on the libertarians? pffftt! We we are hated by both the facistpublicans and communistcrats. Feels good to be hated by both sides. fuwk you all!#@! The thing is you lefteez really suck at socialism and when you try to shove it down people’s throats you only make things worse and make people wonna vote cuntservative Fagetpublican facists (although there are a few cool Libertarian Republicans but their numbers are dwarfed by the facistpublicans) Democrats are annoying as hell in the short term and make people wonna throw tomatoes at them when they are on stage because of their socialism, anti guns, more regulations. Republicans are annoying in the long term because of their facism, they pick who are the winners and loosers in the economy, and because they’re vision of utopia is living in suburbia with row houses for as long as the eye can see and the shopping mall being the only place for Americans to assemble.

    153. Matt Harvey
    “The only thing that will change this country is if liberals learn a thing or two from republicans and trounce them in their own game.” DING! DING! DING! DING!! after strolling down 194 comments somebody finally gets it. Learn a thing or two from the Republicans. Drop the socialism because every time the left tries socialism they suck at it and make people wonna throw tomatoes at them. Become capitalists. Liberals have the potential to become way better entreprenuers and capitalists then facist publicans because people are tired of same old same old facistpublican economy. 2nd amendment rights is important, not because of hunting; pffft! but to have the right to life, liberty, and property when the sh1t goes down and facistpublicans have their AR-15 pointed at your head and you can’t fight back because there are no gun shops in your liberal neighborhood because your dumb ass elected socialist-crats just zoned out the gun stores. These facists publicans are polishing and greasing their guns as we speak so they can get back at those librulz. LOWER TAXES!!! why? not because we hate those big govt. programs, its to GIVE LESS $$$ to those red states that drain the blue states retard. DURP DURP DURP. Blue state should embrace lower federal taxes so they can keep more of their own $$$ and spend more in their own state instead of giving it to the Federal govt. so they give to other states.

    93. Erin
    “roll up your sleeves and get involved in your own community, because that’s where you’ll make the most difference.” Since most of America is built up like this

    and like this

    trying to get the word out means holding picket sings in the side of the highway while people drive by at 30 miles per hour, or trying to talk to people in front of the supermarket entrance when they want you to get out of their faces so they can just shop and drive back home. Even if you tried to get the word out where people are at the most (like sh8tty plazas and in front of the Wal-Mart entrance) you have to get permission from the owner. Those places are the closest thing we have to public places in America and they’re privately owned. Everything else is parking spaces, subdivisions, and superhighways. If the owner doesn’t like your views then its holding picket sings in a major intersection while everybody drives past you at 30 mph. Nobody walk these days. But hey! you might even get a few honks! I was out one day And I saw a congressional candidate (he was a Libertarian Republican; Ron Paul endoresed, but he lost)holding his sign in a major intersection along with other volenteers. Asked him a few questions and stuff. But in the background of it everybody is in their cars driving, making left turns (or right turns) and driving past at 30 miles an hour. No social interaction occurs and that’s the way most American places are like. (he got my vote so hate my libertarian ass b1thes)

    39 Skeeve.
    “Maybe that will be the new mark of cool going forward, whether or not you can keep a place going with a few friends, as opposed to having to move back in with THEM.” When the economic sh1t hits nobody would care about moving in with THEM because of economic realities. But for now in the good times most young people dont want to move back in with THEM because moving back in with THEM means moving back the the same subdivision where everything is sterile, boring and everything requires a car trip and there aren’t even people your same age (18+) which is why young people flock to college towns (where there’s still traditional township) and liberal utopias like Democrat York City and Portland Oragon, etc… (they have traditional urbanism and townships too) And most people these days grow up in places like these.

    185. Skeeve
    “And the rest we can spend on making sure the rest of us don’t wind up living in shipping containers.” Americans living in apartment shipping containers wouldn’t actually so bad because Americans are too used to living in social spatially isolating ‘burbs. Even taking a car trip every single friggin places is social spatially isolating in itself. This is the reason why Americans don’t have a consensus on anything really except on stupid sh1t like “gay marrige, abortion, terrorism” Bailing out the banks is total bullsh1t because its bailing out the banks so people can stay in those ‘burban homes. That money should be spent on more important sh1t like expanding rail road transportation networks when all the redneck truckers are protesting because of high fuel costs, our aging electrical grid, replacing 100 year old water pipes (The stimulous did some of that but 60% of it was wasted on stupid sh1t)

  • 202. libertarianZ01D123123  |  November 4th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    long live shipping container apartments

  • 203. rmangum  |  November 4th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Geez, Ayn Rand can’t catch a break, can she? She’s even dragged through the muck over liberal neuroses! Look, I’m no Randian (though I am a libertarian anarchist), but I do know that Rand was never cool, and never ever ironic. Her whole philosophy was about a romance of ideas, and Gen X/Y liberalism is sorely lacking in either romance or ideas. And though Objectivists may be annoying, if you ever want to talk to someone who sticks to their principals in the face of the whole rest of the world not thinking they’re cool, go to them first (or maybe an anarchist).

    Cheers and good luck to you, “The Left”!

  • 204. Sean Strange  |  November 4th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I would like to suggest that secular liberals need to reconnect with the deeper spiritual dimension of life if they want to survive as a strong political force. Materialism, whether of the Marxist-Leninist or Randian capitalist variety, is a doomed ideology because it is based on an incomplete understanding of man’s place in the universe. The 20th century was materialism’s high water mark and saw a flourishing of a very shallow brand of “TV liberalism”, but the 21st century is seeing a resurgence of non-materialistic, spiritually based politics, which is really a return to the norm for all but the very aberrant modern era of human civilization.

    As people revisit the first principles of social organization in response to our escalating global crises, they inevitably discover that spiritual unity is the key. Just as Egyptian civilization lasted three thousand years by uniting all citizens under the divine order of the God-Pharoahs, so we in the West will need to discover a deep, inspiring logos if we are to avoid the fate of Rome. Some prefer the secular Enlightenment model, but others are more passionate about establishing Christian dominion over the earth. The Islamic umma also presents a clear and present danger to the modern West with their passionate faith, yet secular modernity seems rather defenseless against this threat. It’s not clear what deep beliefs unite the likes of John Stewart and his fans, or how they expect to withstand the challenge of a new “holy politics”, and without deeply held beliefs I don’t see how modern liberals can survive the coming storms.

  • 205. Lavrentij "Anarchy99" Lemko  |  November 5th, 2010 at 7:18 am

    @203 Mangum: Objectivists, in fact, do not stick with any principles. Like other types of humorless fundies, they selectively apply particular elements of their creed, but only whenever it is convenient for them to do so. Look at Leonard Peikoff’s (the heir to Ms. Rand’s estate) stance on Israel, for example — a state founded upon religious exclusion and the coercive power of the state (and nominally “socialist” to boot).

  • 206. David Pak  |  November 5th, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I believe that this article is exactly the reasons for such a rally; to advocate for more reasonable and less hateful conversations and debates. It would seem to me that your personal derision of John Stewart himself just indicates how unprofessional of a method you chose to argue with. Again, I would say your article falls under the reasons for the sanity rally and obviously it seems you have taken away from it more hate than hope.

  • 207. Mike C.  |  November 5th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    @ 204. Sean Strange

    You didn’t happen to live in the Valley at some point? A couple approached me once talking some applesauce about wizards. I thought they were gonna kill and eat me. Then molest my corpse.

    @ 206. David Pak

    Unless the rally somehow coalesces into something serious, focused, and scary, rather than a big teeheeing circl-jerk, we can look forward to more of the same: foreclosures, corporate rule, subsidies and wealth transfers, an unemployment rate that makes workers desperate enough to labor below a living wage, a country of latchkey kids, exorbitant health insurance costs, a broken media, a corrupt elections system, and slaps on the wrist that can’t even discourage the biggest corporate offenders.

    So, David, ya bloody crypto-hippie, why don’t you stick a daisy in a cop’s rifle barrel and save America from its desolate path? Or better yet you can stick it somewhere else.

  • 208. The Internet  |  November 5th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    U MAD?

  • 209. Zirb  |  November 6th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    “Collective action is the only possible way to change shit.”

    Then how did the U.S. become the largest, richest (for all) country in the world by the end of the 1800s with total government less than 10%? When collective action (government) grew (up to 50% today), then corporations (the rich) took over.

    Oh, and the end of the 1800s was the biggest explosion of non-profits in the U.S. in the history of the world.

    Your article talks about Liberals who have no philosophy, but then you say people should spit on people that think government is the problem.

    That’s just as bad.

  • 210. Mike C.  |  November 7th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    @ 209. Zirb

    What exactly are you advocating?

  • 211. nick  |  November 7th, 2010 at 7:15 pm

  • 212. Skeeve  |  November 8th, 2010 at 5:51 am

    201. libertarianZ01D123123

    ”When the economic sh1t hits nobody would care about moving in with THEM because of economic realities. But for now in the good times most young people dont want to move back in with THEM because moving back in with THEM means moving back the the same subdivision where everything is sterile, boring and everything requires a car trip…”

    Uh, my point was that we’re not in the “good times,” and that what hipsters might want or what would make them feel good is irrelevant (which was a large part of the point of the article). Can you possibly have missed all the news stories of the current state of the job market and the staggering percentage of young college graduates having to head home to THEM because they can’t find work? Or the fact that even when they do find a job most of them are indentured for life because student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy? If that’s your definition of “good times,” I’d really hate to see what “TSHTF” looks like through your eyes.

    (But then we’ve long known that libertarians live in their own parallel universe. Beam me up, Ludwig…)

    The main point of the article, and one that I think the Stewart/Colbert crowd is willfully misunderstanding, is that witty post-modern ironically self-aware hipsterism is worth precisely JACK SHIT when you don’t have a job or a future. It’s even a little repulsive, knowing that a corporate-sponsored and approved clown/whore like John Stewart will be living well after many (most?) his audience have fallen into penury. In that respect, they’re no different from Hannity and Beck, and should perhaps precede them in the line to the guillotine. After all, their very existence helps to perpetuate the lie that there is a media “spectrum” and genuine diversity of opinion, so IMHO they do far more damage that characters like O’Reilley, who are obvious frauds (at least to anyone who owns and operates a live brain).

    I will concede that I was wrong about the shipping containers. I saw a recent article that showed people in China living very well apartments made from them. Although the fact that they have to, nice or not, is likely a sign of ecological overshoot vis-a-vis human species (another concept that libertarians have trouble with, seeing as how the market supposedly fixes *everything*. You know, you guys could be making a fortune right now if you’d just mass-produce those reality-resistant bunkers you live in, and put them on the market. Americans are a HOT market at the moment).

  • 213. Patriot  |  November 8th, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Yes, Zirb, by all means let us return to the way things were before 1865.

  • 214. Frank  |  November 8th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I attended the rally. I drove from New Mexico. On the way I was reading the Unabomber Manifesto, the radio address by John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, and Rand’s The New Left.
    I was also on the mall when Kerry threw his war medals over the capital fence.

    At the beginning of the rally when the asshole on stage asked the crowd to do the wave I turned to the guy next to me and said, “Are you fucking kidding me?” When the nit-wit then asked to have a competition between the men and women my jaw dropped and I was furious. Then the bastard asshole had the gall to ask what faiths were represented in the audience. WTF!

    Two signs that summarized the ‘be cute’ presence of mind in the audience were: “Where’s my flying car?” And, “I want my pony, where is my pony?”

    There is anger everywhere I look. It does not take the form of clenched fists and furrowed brows or even harsh words – it manifests as a gripping attachment to those who vocalize our most primitive fears: fear of losing control of our lives, fear of not being able to feed ourselves and stay sheltered, and fear of what will happen to our children.

    The anger comes from the web of connections that spring from necessities: with no job there is no food, no heat, with no home there is no security, no stability. There is a glass ceiling on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

    The bonds of love and friendship are no longer cherished embellishments upon a life lived to its fullest – rather they are desperate yet unspoken attachments to those who share our fear. Relationships are forged from mutual hatred of an unseen enemy that has crept into the psyche of this country while it has squandered its resources and the energy of its people while they play fantasy football and delight in watching and listening to ill informed idiots who, like bears balancing on top off a circus ball, distract our attention while outside the big top the victims of our foreign policy atrocities and immature preoccupations set fire to the circus tent.

    And because we have become so addicted and transfixed by the rhetoric and tone of the carnival barkers we do not see the fat cats off in their mansions and yachts pouring money into both the entertainers and the arsons.

    These bullet proof mavens who are brilliant in their use of money and manipulation with a gesture uttered from a limousine or private jet send minions of mayhem into motion.

    These small minded minions who have no moral code but to obey their masters are lap dogs infatuated with their clever deceptions and conniving stunts. Each one is a public relations renegade fighting dirty and fighting mean. Their masters decree, “Destroy that man’s reputation,” “Bring that politician to his knees.”

    And like scheming scoundrels these slaves with no mercy take the cherished words from our sacred inception: freedom, equality, and self determination and use them like cattle prods to flame the anger and discontent of those who are no longer grounded in reality, their comfort comes from clinging to those who share their anger and greed.

    This is no time to blather about the source of our anger and rage but rather how to use the raging fire of our discontent to monkey wrench the machinery that has enslaved us.

    Oh cry America our fate is lost. The fire hose we suspect will put out the conflagration is spewing gasoline and the petroleum is supplied by the arsons.

    Oh cry America!

  • 215. sleeping  |  November 9th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Aargh…you don’t really think I read this whole thing, did you? I made it 10 paras in before deciding against more of this narcissistic, pointless drivel. zzz.

  • 216. DavidByron  |  November 9th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    It was good up until the point were it slagged off communism. That made no sense to me considering all the stuff about the common welfare. And then I realised what I was missing; the real reason for slagging off communism.

    Communism is soooo lame.

    Communism is especially super lame because they might actually do something.

  • 217. Gen Y  |  November 9th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Dear Gen X,

    Yawn. Another spitfire “holy crusader” type railing against “liberal passiveness”
    without realizing just how much they’re part of the problem too.

    Blasting decades-old rhetoric without once turning the magnifying glass on themselves. (they don’t have to, see. Because that’s “Gen-X ironic self-awareness” and We hate That.)

    Failing to realize that we are LOSING the arms race because all we’ve known how to do
    is beat at walls with our fists until they come down. Because that is the only “good”
    and “pure” way to do it. Nothing good comes without work, so the harder the work, the
    better the result will be, right?

    Guess what, that’s not going to work any more. Because they’ve learned how to do it
    too. To get as many people together as possible and shout as loud as they can. And they have a lot more people.

    The only way we can win, then, is to learn new tactics.

    We’ve got to learn about things like “movement accessibility,” and “inter-generational cooperation.” Involvement at every level, even the “ironic awareness” one.
    Subversion of the young, but empowering them to make their own choices. Conversion of the enemy, but through cleverness over force.

    Yes, you’ll have to learn Twitter. You’ll have to come up with new speeches. You’ll have to write fictional allegory that doesn’t completely suck (in fact, in a twist that could only be described as “massively unfair” you’ll have to make it BETTER than your rivals because their target audience is less educated). You’ll have to realize that today’s cutting edge radicalism is tomorrow’s tool of the oppressor. Your history will be appropriated. Those who fight tomorrow will never truly understand the struggles of today (and rightfully so, just as you don’t glorify yesterday’s struggles as they have nothing to do with today’s)

    You’ll have to make friends you never thought of even talking to before–not just people who share your ideals, but people who you disagree with 99%. You’ll have to lure people with candy and with irony. You might just have to realize that bankers are people too, and that not all of them who go through its toxic culture become Entitled and Dumb. You might just have to realize that when people don’t act, it’s not always because they don’t care, but because they haven’t realized that they have power.

    And if we don’t learn that, we lose. We dwindle into the margins of history. We are defined as “insane” and locked away.

    And rightly so. Because the individual in modern times is deluged by slogans, propaganda, astroturfers,
    burgeoning movements, political schemers, and problems. People who see them as only another soldier, another voice. And the only solution to that dilemma is to either pick one of those warring sides that all look the same, or to hide from the world as people take all their stuff.

    Learn or die.

    Love, Gen Y

  • 218. Yusuf  |  November 9th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I started following blogs with the Agonist back in, it must have been 2001/2002.

    Then went on to dailykos and the surrounding crow, back when it was just kos all by himself.

    I watched the rise and disapointmet of Howard Dean. The rise and disapointment of Obama. I realised back in about 2008 that it would all come to nothing.

    I have also seen the rise and disappointment of Mark Latham, and now Kevin Rudd in Australia.

    And don’t forget Tony Blair.

    I see alot of myself in that letter by E.A Hanks or whoever they. Which is really sad.

    I don’t think I have any insights to offer except that I realise something new, bigger and better is required for there to real change.

    I just wanted to say that in 8 or 9 years of following blogs/left that what Mark Ames wrote is perhaps the best thing I have ever read.

  • 219. Zacatecas  |  November 9th, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    You had me until you ended the piece by distinguishing yourself from the crazies at either end of the political spectrum, i.e. libertarians and communists. What you did here was to completely undermine your argument by replaying the same rhetoric that you criticize. In other words, when Jon Stewart says that we need to be apolitical moderates by criticizing the crazies to the left and right of us, he means the ‘commies’ and the ‘nazis.’

    This is classic shoot-yourself-in-the-foot liberalism. It might have worked to diffuse the situation in the run-up to WWII, where you could treat left and rightwing extremists as scary foreign elements and then go to war. Today, however, there is no Nazi Germany or Soviet Union for us to project our own social psychosis on. The reality is that a crisis brings the fundamentalists to life because a crisis puts fundamentals on the table. How are we going to live as a society? What are our values? Etc. The crazies are the only sane people in the room because they recognize what the stakes are, and the problem is not (primarily) that the too-cool-for-school middle has its collective head up its ass, but that the Left is shockingly demobilized (organizationally and ideologically) in the face of a rising fascistic, rightwing populism.

    Ultimately, there are two choices: 1) Be cool, keep your head down, and refuse to take sides. 2) Jump in the fight. If you say that you want a society that is about union and general welfare, then your side is with the ‘communists,’ whether they call themselves by that name or not. If you sit on the sidelines and play the ‘sandwich theory’ blame game, then you’re objectively helping out the people opposed to these values by undermining unity in the face of the intense repression that is just over the horizon.

    I would add that the Constitution is not a progressive document in this day and age. It was a paragon of Enlightenment values in its day, well, except for the slavery. But we need a revamped and renewed Enlightenment to deal with today’s world. For example, the 19th century notion of property rights must be fundamentally altered. If we continue to organize ourselves around the current system of production, consumption, and ownership we will deepen the ecological crisis that we are facing, and its consequences. On the other hand, the advent of the internet radically alters the political-economy of ideas; to the extent that intellectual property rights actually hold back innovation and fair use of knowledge. There are massive databases of scientific information, art, and culture that are inaccessible to the vast majority of humanity because they are property owned by large database companies (not the originators).

    One Big idea the Left could stand for would be that knowledge is socially produced, generally belongs to everyone, and that people need to be given access to it both by altering the property structure to allow for more common use, and by teaching our fellow citizens the tools they need to make use of information once accessed, i.e. critical/logical thinking.

  • 220. chugs  |  November 10th, 2010 at 3:00 am

    if ames article is a call to arms then lets take a page out of fight club and destroy physically the secure facilities which house our western financial systems. Most banks have off-site data recovery facilities (in fact entire buildings lay dormant in the event someone manages to blow their primary place of business).

    i’m getting sick of environementalist who fly around the world in business class. I’m sick of fence sitters, conseratives, happy and sad people. I”m sick of idiots and everything in between.

    but above all i’m sick of those who just write shit all day long on the interweb, debating, trolling, arguing and joking. (and yes i get the irony of what I am saying).

    but above all i’m sick of the pointless nature of a violent struggle. They are all doomed to atrophy into a malignant corrupt virus, no matter how pure. Tolkien parable of power is true. The ring (power) corrupts all.

    Ames could you get up lead us tomorrow to a better world or would you (and your cronies) succumb to the same dalliances that the worlds elite swallow and wallow in?

    of course. i figure just in the same way I didn’t ask to be born in this reality that its a train ride that we cannot get off of.

  • 221. v0v  |  November 11th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Liberalism is definately the overall weakest ideology in the United States in my opinion for a couple reasons.

    1) Most who support liberal idealogy other then silver spooned whites and jews would take the knife from the back of your enemies and stick it into you shortly there after. Example, La Raza, and the various black nationalist elements of the democratic party. Do you think they like you because they want to take warm showers with you? No, they like you because you are weak enough to give up any power you have, or your children would have all in the name of guilt, or a sense of some delusional code of honor.

    2) Liberals are actually afraid of some backwoods “rednecks” in the United States and think they are the worst thing since Hitler. The truth is that is pretty far from the truth. Within the scale of the world white republicans are the least of your problems. In the middle east there are something called Muslims that make the conservative ideals of your average Republican look like a naked hippy running around on acid spouting “free the world”. On the other end of the spectrum, the secular communists of China would again take the bayonet from the lame flag waving republicans back they just stabbed and stick it into you all in the name of their racial collective known as the Chinese people. They do not care about puffy white people and Jews.

    In the end if you create a vacuum of power someone will fill it. Liberals have become quite adept at destroying infrastructure and cultures but I think many will agree that they dont quite have the guts to create it. Mr. Stewart and his army of ‘do nothings’ are quite the example.

    There is another word for something that feeds off off a host without benefiting their surroundings in any meaningful way…

    As always the strong tribes will survive and unfortunately for the liberal ideology it has the habit of systematically seeking out the weakest of the weak.

  • 222. rrrrrrrrrrr  |  November 12th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    The world urgently needs more hate, but I worry God gave me all of it, leaving none for the rest of the population.

  • 223. jackson coltrane  |  November 16th, 2010 at 7:54 am

    A friend of mine went to one of the rallies and said it was great to be with people who all stand for the same thing. I asked him, “What is that? What do they stand for?” After all, it’s satire. The rally is a joke. It’s a rally for…nothing. Or maybe less than nothing. It’s a rally against caring too deeply. Glenn Beck may be a blathering idiot, and it may be unclear what he stands for; but he clearly wants to stand for something (even if it’s vaguely racist romanticizing of past incarnations of our country). My friend’s answer was that it was people standing for being against extremism.

    Which just proved my point. It wasn’t a rally FOR anything, except perhaps bourgeois politeness.

    The only thing that makes me more depressed for our country than Beck and all the tea bagger hypocrites is the fact that a bunch of people actually felt that a smug mockery of another rally meant they had mobilized for a cause. We are pathetic.

  • 224. maus  |  November 16th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    @153: “3. Jon Stewart was targeting ONLY corporate media outlets.”

    And by that logic this Rally was an INCREDIBLE masturbatory failure, because while the media covered it fairly, there were no analogies made between the tea partiers, there was no mention of the larger size/attendance of the event, and though numerous, the liberals were/are not treated any better. The media has not been shamed. The media can not feel shame. The media continues plodding along, giving deference to the tea party that it has not earned.

  • 225. maus  |  November 16th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    @163. danny

    “One of my coworkers went to the rally and witnessed a gang of black DC 14-year-olds jump this white 30-something lady who was beating on a bass drum. The teens pushed the lady down and one of them punched a hole through the drum. Now that is revolution!”

    You forgot to post about “baquack obambi” or whatever you teabaggers say in every post. I can’t wait until you racist trash fwd fwd TOTALLY TRUE fwd this to all your racist buddies and I get this from some psycho relative.

  • 226. Joe  |  November 17th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I’m 33 and have seen quite enough. As a kid, I saw first hand the utter dismantling of our manufacturing and railroads here in Ohio. We were told not to complain, for we had cool cartoons (oh, and the cartoons from the 80’s were really STUPID – grow up and leave it behind, like your old teddy bear and blanket!!!), and that we were a “free country” and we must hate the “dirty commies” and not be like them(anything even remotely leftist).

    As my peers lulled away on Saturday morning sugar-cereal-fueled entertainment, I rode my bike on the freshly demolished railroad track beds, thinking that everything being “Made In Taiwan”(at the time) was not a good portent.

    I was ridiculed for being “depressed” and “pessimistic”…heh, I was just a smart kid then. So shoot me. We know NERDS weren’t cool, were they?

    Now, people my age are lucky to find a job that pays more than $8 an hour, yet most people my age care more about looking like celebrities than demanding a better future in oh-so-ugly realityville. Better wages? Not today, we want $200 sunglasses and $500 iPhones. We are SO COOL, it’s killing us. I’m not yet middle aged, and yet I feel SO OLD!

    I am so alone as I see this country turn to shit, I can’t STAND talking to most 20 somethings about ANYTHING. Looking back, and looking forward, I’ve given up totally on my peers. Fuck em.

    It makes no difference that the enemy looks like fools, with a laughable moniker (they’re Teabaggers – huh huh huh huh!!!) and believing stupid lies. They got guns. They are serious. They BELIEVE their own lies. They are VERY well funded, organized and protected. That’s all they need. Fuck us – those oh-so-witty yet self-interested punks!

    The Rethuglicans WILL win, and will KEEP WINNING. Their masters, the corporate oligarchy, will “privatize, consolidate and divest” EVERYTHING! America will become like the former Soviet Union, where most men drink themselves to death on the streets, and most young women are prostitutes servicing foreign sex tourists, aspiring to be international porn starlets. Our interstate highways will be pulled up next. Our taken-for-granted entitlements will disappear. Suburban neighborhoods will soon look like the ghettos in Detroit – a few abandoned hulks dotting a block of vacant, trash strewn lots. The stores, malls and schools will be gutted ruins, squatted by our grandchildren. Our only exports will be raw timber, scrap metal and expatriot workers, sending back meager remittances to their starving families. We will import EVERYTHING of what little we can buy, even our food. Most children will grow up malnourished, dirty and illiterate, cutting up old power lines for copper scrap. We will rely on thousands of foreign professional workers to keep up what BARE BONES infrastructure we have. We will rely of mercenaries and warlords for defense. We will rely on the International Red Cross for ANY and ALL health care, becoming their biggest basket case. Those few rich who still live here will live in gated communities that will more resemble medieval walled towns or the Bagdad “green zone” than sunny Irvine CA.

    My my my…a fitting end for my generation – our children will be porn starlets and prostitutes. No matter how gorgeous you are, no matter what fashion you wear, no matter how tan your skin or how blond your hair, you still take it up the ass from foreigners to survive. Pucker up, future America – you are a STAR!

  • 227. nyehkruta  |  November 21st, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Personally, we’re all fucked. Regardless of who is in charge, human nature rears its ugly head and even the most well-thought out political ideologies end up corrupt caricatures of the previously overthrown regime due to greed. Usually, I point people to Orwell’s “Animal Farm” when making this point. Of course, when there are audio summaries for Harry Potter and Idiot’s Guides for having children, it’s hard to feel anything but fucked. Having spent five years overseas and an additional five years back here, it’s easy to see the movie “Idiocracy” becoming reality in less than 500 years.

    In the end, we get the representation we elect (or don’t elect by choosing not to vote for whatever reason, but I digress.).

    Unfortunately, important facts and issues have been “democratized” or made accessible to everyone. While this sounds good (based on our associated feelings with the word democracy), trust me when I say that this is a very bad thing. The reality is that everything is being dumbed-down to the point where there has been a fact:airtime ratio inversion (the fewer facts/greater amount of hubris, the more exposure, which is the only way I can explain the popularity of certain pols and pol-wannabees). Our nation’s overexposure to “Nuzak”, the fluff that passes for information, leads to a deplorable lack of critical-thought. Among many other things, the inability to think critically results in knee-jerk, closed-minded reactions in the voting booth.

    How did this happen? Perhaps our embracing of the folksy know-nothing and shunning of the calculating intellectual (think 2000’s Bush v. Gore) because we feel we can “relate” with the pol had something to do with it. I chalk this up to the need for vicarious pleasures to fill one’s empty life and delusions of grandeur. Since when does it matter how we relate to politicians or how they relate to us? I could care less because I know I will never meet any of them long enough to have an in-depth, intellectual conversation. There are the pols and then there’s us. Instead of making them afraid to do what they need to do, let’s let them do their job! We should elect based on education, experience and the ability to get things done (cynically-speaking, this amounts to bringing home Government funds for our state/country/city), not because they’re telegenic or a good orator. Instead, we should focus on their ability to keep the very concept of our country as a “shining city on a hill” (quoting Reagan, again) alive and undertake measures that the uneducated reactionary, who wants everything yesterday without having to pay for it, does not agree with in order to serve the greater good. It’s one thing to preach American ideals. It’s another thing to actually model them in a way others will at least try to emulate.

    Our insatiable want for convenience and everything all the time probably has something to do with this trend as well. (It used to be the first 100 days, now it seems like it is the first 100 minutes or hours, thanks to round-the-clock news channels chockablock with PR/propaganda). Instead of ruminating over what one is exposed to, people today tend to accept whatever line of crap they are handed as fact. Fear and/or apathy squelch dissent far better than any censor ever could. If such self-policing of one’s own mind goes on long enough, eventually one forgets how to think for them self. Just because one heard it from a friend, heard it from a talking head on TV, saw it in a chain e-mail or what-have-you, does not mean it is true. But since very few people actually “trust, but verify” (quoting Ronald Reagan there), speculation becomes news and we literally dig our own graves. And it’s not just us folks. When was the last time a mainstream news anchor actually did any real reporting? Gone are the days of Cronkite, Wallace and Rather where content and facts actually mattered. Today, it seems anyone that can model can tell me what they think is going on in the world today. They can’t be too sure, what with foreign bureaus being shut down (because they cost too much to staff/maintain and their programming is not as profitable for advertisers as ultimate fighting or the Super Bowl) as rapidly as the homogenization of our nation’s media by way of concentrated ownership. No wonder people who rely solely on TV are in the dark on even the most pressing issues–even those reporting don’t have a clue, leaving it up to PR firms hand them their pre-packaged news blocks. The result ends up being a population whose opinions are not their own. It’s like a zombie bot-net, only instead of a virus spreading through computers, it’s a rogue namcub spreading through the population faster than the Black Plague. The stricken are rendered apathetic, soft and ready to sponge up whatever idea or product on offer to the population. Fear and the need for safety seem to be the most popular choices, at least today.

    While every outlet has a bias, it’s important for us not to get our information from only one source. It’s just as important to not stay in a comfort zone when getting information. Newspapers were very biased back before the whole media industry became “professional”. People knew how to aggregate news and form their own opinion before RSS, much less computers or the internet. Once you realize that self-interest is the only driver of change and innovation, you have come one step closer to cutting through all of the nonsense and thinking for yourself. Even I have an angle in writing all of this. My lack of friends (or anyone that can actually relate to what I’m writing here) aside, these notes are my way of getting things off my chest and blowing off steam.

    Ignorance, either accidental or purposeful (the latter blurring the line with stupidity since ignorance can always be converted into knowledge if one wishes pursue that route), of the issues does NOT belong in the voting booth, which is why I am a firm believer in making a small test in basic civics and the issues on a given ballot mandatory. If one wishes to drive, they have to be tested and certified by the state that they are at least competent enough to not kill someone right away with a vehicle. The same concept should hold true for voting officials into office who are readily able to enact or negate legislation that affects us all. Voters who toe the party line simply because of a meme or groupthink are a negative externality the size of Jupiter. These out-of-place cranks accomplish nothing, further divide the citizenry and grind progress to a halt (and/or compound the problem by setting the wheels of progress rolling backwards). I’d say the situation is as absurd as putting a disgraced horse judge in charge of our nation’s emergency preparedness, but that’s already been done, so I’m not sure how else to quantify it other than by saying the situation is really, really, really bad, folks. It’s been said that an unarmed man is a subject and an armed man is a citizen. In this day and age, information is the most effective weapon and it’s your mind, not your home that is the castle you must to defend to the bitter end. If we wish to keep from electing people who only block progress out of spite or spew folksy values while being funded by mega corporations or lobbying/PR firms with their own agenda, then we need to start looking at the voters who only exacerbate the problem by going to the polls.

    Sure, this idea might make voting less accessible. I have no doubts that the so-called “disenfranchised” and the ACLU-types will squirm. Someone out there will certainly label me arrogant to say that ignorant people should not be allowed to vote. To that I repeat the call for anyone with brain that still functions to be unabashedly and unapologetically elitist. Take back your country! Fight not for what this country has become but fight for the ideas and values that this country once stood for. Only by doing this will we ever deserve or regain any of the respect we once held with the rest of the world.

  • 228. FuckTHELEFT  |  November 21st, 2010 at 6:22 am

    This article was lame, so was your stupid fucking rally. I hate the left, I hate commies, and I hate environmentalists.

    I laugh when pieces of collectivist shit die of cancer.

    You’re all nothing but a fucking bunch of cocksucking faggots who want to use my tax dollars to pay for your stupid programs.

    I say you can all fuck off and die.

  • 229. Anonymous Coward  |  November 24th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    This country, by contract, was founded in order to strive for a “more Perfect Union”—that’s “union,” as in the pairing of the words “perfect” and “union”—not sovereign, not states, not local, not selfish, but “union.” And that other purpose at the end of the Constitution’s contractual obligations: promote the “General Welfare.” That means “welfare.” Not “everyone for himself” but “General Welfare.” That’s what it is to be American: to strive to form the most perfect union with each other, and to promote everyone’s general betterment. That’s it. The definition of an American patriot is anyone promoting the General Welfare of every single American, and anyone helping to form the most perfect Union—that’s “union”, repeat, “Union” you dumb fucks. Now, our problem is that there are a lot of people in this country who have dedicated their entire lives to subverting the stated purpose of this country. We must be prepared to identify those who disrupt and sabotage our national purpose of creating this “more perfect union” identifying those who sabotage our national goal of “promoting the General Welfare”—and calling them by their name: traitors. You who strive to form this Perfect Union and promote General Welfare—You are Patriots.

    “Although the preamble indicates the general purposes for which the people ordained and established the Constitution, it has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the government of the United States, or on any of its departments.”-Jacobsen v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 22 (1905)

    This means of course that the part of the preamble which says that one of the purposes of the Constitution is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” is completely invalid. Therefore, everyone should shut up and get into the FEMA camps. That’s my big retort. Pretty smart, eh?

    Mark, I wish I could call you. But then, I would be a grave insult to honest, hardworking dumbasses around the world and throughout time.

  • 230. JB  |  November 24th, 2010 at 11:44 am

    WaaaaahhHHhhh!!! Mark Ames accuses those who disagree with his prescriptions for America of, at best, false consciousness and, at worst, of treason. WaaahhhHHhh! I’m a whiny libertard! WaaahhhHHHhh! Unsurprising, coming from a guy who actually fought against state tyranny in Russia, rather than whining about it like a libertard bitch like me.

    WaaaaHHHHHhhhhhhhh!!!! I want my Koch mommy!

  • 231. Mike H.  |  November 24th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Hey, Mark: Go fuck yourself! 🙂

  • 232. DP  |  November 24th, 2010 at 1:28 pm


    As if you pussies ever could.

    Could what?


    Anything at all. Except write FUCK a lot in your comments.

    You’re all talk, every one of you.

    All talk.

  • 233. Nico  |  November 24th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Stopped being a lefty when I realized that the lefty chicks were getting uglier and skankier. Not that chicks interest Ames at all but best bet is to hitch your wagon to the libertarians….freedom and nice tail.

  • 234. dennymack  |  November 24th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Perhaps the happy ending that Hanks is longing for is the one where the hero takes the stage and is just and good and unassailable.
    The disappointment so many feel is that they are realizing that the ones who jump on the stage are generally self aggrandizing elites just like the ones they purport to fight…only without having proved any competence by making it big in the private sector.
    Modern American regulatory liberalism is the idea that if we gather all the many strands of power and wealth in our society, and weave them into one rope in Washington D.C., we will be the ones holding that rope in the end. So far that is not looking realistic.
    So maybe the ideological libertarians deserve some snark, but let’s also test liberal fantasies against reality, which is neither liberal nor libertarian. It is just reality.
    Maybe instead of more ideological purity on either side what we need is more pragmatic policy. Can liberals and libertarians be brought to see when the other side has a point, or are we afraid they will score a point in some imaginary game of “I’m right?”

  • 235. Zirb  |  November 24th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    @210, Mike,

    My point was that Libertarianism/Anarcho-capitalism is an irrational belief, and for this post to ask people to “spit on them,” instead of engaging them in rational, civil debate is completely rational. I wish someone would spit on me, lord knows I deserve it.

  • 236. Zirb  |  November 24th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    @213, Patriot,

    The government allowed slavery. After the civil war, the government that supposedly fought to free the slaves then allowed the Southern state governments to use Jim Crowe laws to continue discrimination.

    Connecting it back to the article, any person or collective without principles is bankrupt. Anarcho-capitalists, and to a limited extent, libertarians, do have some worthy principles, one of which is that every human owns his/her own body and that slavery is wrong.

    Although then again, libertarians have always been strong among the Jim Crow southerners, and free-trade was a staple of the Confederacy, whereas the Big Government North fought against the libertarian Confederacy. So forget what I wrote. I’m a moron.

  • 237. IvanL  |  November 24th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Poor libertarian trolls, they wish they could be as interesting as Mark and get profiled on Vanity Fair too. Personally, as a libertarian, I don’t know how to deal with Mark. Mark is so obsessed with “poverty” that he thinks money comes before life. He is so pre-occupied with how much money others have, he thinks that liberty means “everyone for himself.” Wait a minute, I’m a dumbfuck who doesn’t know how to read because that’s not at all what he wrote. Besides being a dumbfuck, I’m a liberard. Forget it. I’ll shut up now and masturbate in my mothers’ basement.

  • 238. mrr. burns  |  November 24th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    the only excuse for this comment can think of is that i am an undereducated libertard dipshit and the author is a genius.

  • 239. billie  |  November 24th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    My God….things must be bad, when the Nation talks evil of a Communist? Oh wait, this wasn’t published in The nation. I’m a fucking idiot libertard, sorry folks, never mind.

    Whewweee. More aluminum for my retarded brain!!!

  • 240. Charlie  |  November 24th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Since I am a paid libertarian troll and I have to do my job here, this is what I’m going to write in your comments (mind you, this is as lame as I can make it):

    Your thesis is garbage. Your article is unreadable. Did you bother to get an education of some sort?


  • 241. Zirb  |  November 24th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    @210, Mike,

  • 242. elvis  |  November 25th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I truly feel sorry for you, Joe. A little pessimism is a healthy thing, but yours is bordering on suicidal. But you’re smart, so you could go back to the library and dig a little deeper and punch your way out. “Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians.” Some of your foundational premises are just fucking wrong. Polarities are too easy…paradox is wholeness. Stop demonizing others (i.e. the evil corporate oligarchy them). We are our own worst enemy and best friend

  • 243. Sean  |  November 25th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Can’t wait for one of you pacifist pussies to spit in my face. That’ll be fun.

  • 244. da  |  November 25th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    When liberal ideas are implemented than you get a shit hole like Detroit. So what is left to do? Just act superior and have fun.

  • 245. John Seal  |  November 25th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Never heard of you before you wrote your John Tyner hit piece. So let me get this straight:
    “Collective action is the only possible way to change shit”, but if we are bad boys and girls and don’t submit to the government’s every whim, we are evil libertarians and communists? You know, I think that makes YOU a bit of a…what’s the word…FASCIST. You should read Denis Mack Smith’s Mussolini bio. I think you’d discover you have a lot in common with good ol’ Benito, who favoured total subservience to the state and considered individualism and liberalism inherently wicked. Your kinda guy, I think.

    Now I’ll blissfully forget I ever heard about you.

  • 246. M.  |  November 25th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Wow, you really are a god.

  • 247. Gomer  |  November 25th, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    What a joke. This was a sad and tortured rant that in the end lacks clarity and betrays the total confusion and desperation the Left has finally come to. Hanks actually has it right. That might be why it rang true with so many. Live the change you want to see. Stop with the idiotic and childish notion that humans can form a “perfect” union. Large angry mobs can and have brought about change — large, violent, angry changes. The Left calls that progress. They are “Progressives.” Then they take over and become the corrupt, greedy, selfish force they fought so hard to bring down. Ames disagrees. He is horrifyingly optimistic about the causes of the Left and it’s wrong-headed solutions for mankind’s ills. The bus is flying down the hill, brakes out, smoke pouring. What does Ames think the Left should do? Go faster! The fact is there are two competing philosophies for how to order society. In the end, one will win out because it works better, because it is built on a more correct understanding of human nature. The other is doomed to fail because it is fundamentally wrong about the nature of humans and how to solve its problems. And look, I said all that without using the word “fuck” once. Oh shit, I just said “fuck.” I hope the Kochs don’t take away my stipend now.

  • 248. daphne  |  November 25th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Wow. I feel so much better about being a baby boomer. Talk about trying too hard to think about things rather than being a spoiled smug baby boomer who destroyed America’s economy…

  • 249. Anton Sherwood  |  November 25th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Well, Mr Ames’s rant cheered this libertarian up somewhat; I had no idea we were so influential let alone “dominant”. I mean, it’s old news that one wing of the Establishment has learned that libertarian language sells well (so long as no one who counts expects them to deliver), but presumably the smart folks at The Nation aren’t fooled by that.

  • 250. ishgvg7375yt8t  |  November 25th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    “Anytime anyone says anything libertarian, spit on them.”

    I’m all in favor of free speech but incitement to violence is illegal and for good reason.

    Waaahhhhhhh! Master Koch, he said a naught thing, waahhhhahhh!

    If the best you can do to advance your cause is to use intimidation against your enemies then you are not going to get the eutopia you want. You are going to get totaliarian oppression.

    You are the very enemy you think you are fighting. Wahhhhaahhhh. I want my Koch mommy waaahhhhhHHHhh!

  • 251. MarkD  |  November 26th, 2010 at 7:23 am

    We live in a country – make that a world – that could use a helping hand. How many of you whiners are donating blood, or volunteering? How many of you are taking money from the Kochs, like us libertards do?

    Nah, you’re too busy navel gazing and moaning about how tough you’ve got it, and how unfair the world is. You won’t be missed when the Kochs bury you. We shall bury you, everyone who doesn’t love Ayn Rand or the Kochs shall perish! Natural Selection! Mwah-hah-hah!

  • 252. Happy Valley  |  November 26th, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Careful Sean, those kinds of comments will surely get you censored. If only they cared enough about anonymous idiots like you.

  • 253. your worst nightmare  |  November 26th, 2010 at 8:08 am

    i will spit on your face and beat the fucking shit out of you mark ames,if i ever see you in public

  • 254. Sheldon Richman  |  November 26th, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Spit on libertarians? I guess that says all I need to know about you. Just in case, however, spitting is not a counterargument.

  • 255. R. Pointer  |  November 26th, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Th lamest part of this piece, besides the rally, is that Ames can’t really follow the same route he did in Russia.

    Koch-run America won’t kick you out, it will just ignore you. In order for America to do that, you actually have to be a threat to libertarians or the Kochs. I on the other hand serve the Kochs and other billionaires. Does that make me Lame?

  • 256. Sam  |  November 26th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Please spit on my Libertarian ass so I can then stomp yours ya little progressive boot licking socialist piece of sh_t.

    C’mon. Lets start this. Lets stop dicking around and get this fight started ya economic illiterate busy body ass wipe.

    I’m right here and I can smell your fear. Don’t know if I’ll blast, maybe I’ll just throw, maybe I’ll kick something special, but believe me you’re gonna know.

    C’mon progressives. The time for your worthless talk and hollow commands is over.

    It’s libertarian time and you aint stopping it and you’ll get hurt when you try. It’s called self-defense.

  • 257. rick  |  November 26th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I shouldn’t be surprised that you advocate spitting in peoples faces who disagree with you. After all, leftism is ultimately an ideology of violence. One that believes in shaping society according to their beliefs via the state (force). How is that different than conservatism by the way? You think somehow that majority rule makes government not totalitarian, but its nothing more than mob rule on a grand scale. Didn’t the nazis “collectively decide” to murder many of their citizens? NO doubt for what they considered necessary for the “common good” and “general welfare” of their nation.

    Wow, I’m impressed with my own logic here. It’s like, how did I take this to Nazism? I’ve never seen any comment troll idiot do that before, not even in Road to Serfdom by that nazi (I mean Austrian) Friedrich von Hayek. It’s so amazing when you can make that leap of logic like I just did, I hope other people read it and go, “Hey, wait a minute, Ames’ article is all about putting Jews in gas chambers.” If they don’t believe that, then maybe I should ask Master Koch to pay them to believe that, because that always works. Worked on me.

  • 258. Combs  |  November 26th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Any time anyone says anything pro-governemnt, sit on them. They are pro State and anti-Human. Fuck you, you nazi piece of doo doo.

  • 259. Combs  |  November 26th, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    sorry, I meant “sit on them,” not “sit on them.” I’m a libertard who is too fucking stupid to know the difference, but because I’m so fucking stupid, i’m being paid by the Kochs to be the libertard that i am. Ready for some real libertard bile? here goes: “YOu pro government Washington loving pig dog. you son of a motherless goat. How does the president’s jizz taste, fucking nazi pig…”

    Oo, that’s gotta hurt man

  • 260. LibertyVini  |  November 26th, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    As a small-l libertarian, to your charge that I, and others similarly situated are enemies of the state; take a look around at the pestilential murder, torture, spying, groping, irradiating state that the corporatists have fastened upon all of us, in what was never a free country, take a deep breath, hold out your hand for koch money, and yell out a hearty “FUCK YEAH I’m an enemy of the state!” even though i take money from republican party linked shills and billionaires. How could any true, clear-eyed libertard think or feel otherwise?

  • 261. Victor Villain  |  November 27th, 2010 at 3:29 am

    @225, I can’t wait for our pacifist Gulags, salt mines, and firing squads to go into action. That’ll be hella fun. You will long for the days when it was only spit in your face.

  • 262. Liberace  |  November 27th, 2010 at 5:42 am

    @Sean, post #225:

    The writer of this article said to spit in the faces of LIBERTARIANS. As bereft of dignity and sense as the writer of this pathetic article is, your post implies that you don’t realize that LIBERTARIANS are generally paid to pretend that their masters Charles & David Koch are antiwar, because you see, if people believe they’re anti-war, they’ll forget that the Kochs and libertarians are only all about privatization, deregulation, and transfering wealth from the middle- and working-class to the plutocrats like the Kochs.

  • 263. End The Fed  |  November 27th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Libertarianism is the only truly moronic philosophy. So long as no one impedes upon your rights, and all rivers flow with chocolate, and the Kochs’ money grows on trees, then everything will work out perfectly and we will all live in the 19th century happily ever after. That is all libertarianism is. Dumbshits like me who think it’s all simple.

    If you do some reading you will not be a libertard, and you will criticize the philosophy that is the biggest going political philosophy all over FoxNews. Libertards 4ever!

  • 264. Miko  |  November 27th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Libertarians are by definition tools of the plutocracy: they are in favor of ending American citizens’ general welfare and for policies that create a perfect plutocracy by turning the people against their own government, thereby allowing the plutocrats to use the government to help them transfer wealth to the rich while paying hypocritical lip service to these values. Like libertards everywhere, the libertarian tools believe that the U.S. government is actively subverting the Constitution and the American Dream, and replacing it with a Nazi Fascist Nightmare. It would be nice if one single libertard ever could show evidence of how he or she was ever repressed. But we’re talking libertards here, not the smartest (or sanest) people on our planet.

  • 265. WorBlux  |  November 27th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    A really interesting piece, again showing the radical incoherence of authoritarian philosophies.

    Contracts are private law, and as such presuppose private property and self-interest. That the constitution purports to be a contract shows the vitality and respect given to such ideas by the drafters of the constitution and other men of that time.

    The theory “behind the words more perfect union” was that the confederacy lacked several powers necessary to make a strong union of states. Drawing back to the contract format, it is only the States then that could possibly be said to be a party to it. The union being attempted was not everyone in those states to all others, but each of the 13 Political bodies to the others.

    More perfect only really makes sense when considered as “a more perfect union than there was before.” The is no evidence in the document of an intention of a most perfect, or a complete union, as it does not dissolve to political subunits (the states), not does it involve a timetable for doing so. Further the form outlined is a tiered republican form, where the division between states is considered indissoluble. (A congressional district may no be drawn such that it crosses state lines.)

    The term general welfare is also grossly misconstrued, as is the common good often is. General welfare not, or at least never was a mere sum of private welfare. At best it refers to measures that in a general way facilitate welfare of people, not such as it is extended to one person, but rather as it is adopted as the whole.

    There is great evidence of this meaning and intention in the text. Enumerated powers include things like currency and weights and measures, things that have no welfare utility (benifit or increase of well-being) if only one person adopts them, but great value if a community does. Nowhere in the document is any specific welfare or entitlement given, save for the wages of some elected officials and judges.

    Lastly the preamble contains 6 clauses connected by a conjunction, signifying that the whole of the goals were to be pursued together in a compatible manner. One of those clauses is the blessing of liberty. Traditionally the freedom to travel unmolested was considered among these, especiialy for the first 140 years.

  • 266. LibertyVini  |  November 27th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Read between the lines: Glenn Greenwald of the libertarian Cato Institute is most certainly a puerile, childish, censorious, deluded, mentally-masturbating Koch suck-up, he would deface or deliberately mis-characterize what a respectful journalist wrote in response to his never non-illuminating, non-constructive, regular libertarian shilling specimen of non-awful, non-ad-hominem non-attacks of people who aren’t even aware enough of him to even care to defend their equally childish scratchings. Mark Ames should win a Pulitzer Prize.

  • 267. LibertyVini  |  November 28th, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Well, at least we know libertards can read. That’s one thing all the Koch suckups have going for you.

  • 268. LibertyVini  |  November 28th, 2010 at 8:47 am

    The Kochtopus (Sam Konkin’s term) read all of the principled libertarians out of the movement shortly after its inception. Murray Rothbard would not renounce Das Fuhrer Ludwig von Mises, for der Fuhrer von Mises’ trouble he was kicked out of Cato and the LP, both of which he helped found. So please, stick to criticizing the Stato institute if you must, but stop insulting “real” libertarians ad-hominem, but you can insult them. Just not ad hominem. Or any other Latin term. Insult–fine. Insult + Latin = not fine. Unless, of course, the libertard flunkies Koch is supporting deserve it. Oh yeah, I went there.

  • 269. John, the Red  |  November 28th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    FLUSH MY LIBERTARD HEAD DOWN THE FUCKING TOILET, YOU’VE MADE ME ASHAMED. In fact, flush twice for having spent my life believing this Austrian load of stupidity.

  • 270. plier  |  November 29th, 2010 at 4:06 am

    the blind side with sandra bullock huh
    fuck off
    i’ve voted in every election prior that i was allowed to, usually for 3rd party candidates, but i voted for that empty suit piece of fucking garbage, cuz hey, why not, it’s not like it had any more affect than my vote for badnarik

    i don’t even know how to read your article, i’m sure it’s fucking genius. the pictures are all i can read. me enough libertard. me libertard dumbfuck.
    me about as dialed in as a fucking rotary phone. me no like rotary, me libertard.

  • 271. Ralph Swanson  |  November 29th, 2010 at 5:38 am

    For information on world Libertarian efforts, see:

  • 272. rick  |  November 29th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    There’s a giant leap of logic in my comments above. It’s the old reductio ad absurdum. Let’s see if eXiled readers are as dumb and gullible as libertarians, I’ll try this line of reasoning. Ready? Here goes!

    Once you concede to the ridiculous notion that a few politicians (elected or otherwise) can decide what the “will of they people” or the “common good” is for millions of other people and forcefully enforce it through state decree, you’ve accepted the underlying premise of all totalitarian states, including the Nazis. That premise is the idea that the state owns everyone and can decide to control or dispose of individual persons and property at will for what they determine to be a “greater good,” for “society,” or “a more perfect union,” etc.

    Pretty scary stuff, isn’t it kids? This is why everyone calls us “libertards.”

  • 273. Iman Azol  |  November 29th, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Anytime anyone says anything socialist, smash them in the face as hard as you can. Socialists are by definition enemies of the state: they are against promoting American citizens’ welfare and against policies that create liberty. Like Communists alongside them, they are actively subverting the Constitution and the American Dream, and replacing it with a Statist Nightmare.

    Now, if I could think of one single original thought, I probably wouldn’t be a sad libertard posting anonymous comments on someone else’s site. Not gonna happen. So keep reading folks, I have plenty more irrelevant anonymous comments to post. Moderator, I beg you, please edit my retarded syphilitic thoughts, before I hurt someone with my inbred hillbilly Deliverance stupidity!

  • 274. Iman Azol  |  November 29th, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    And yes, I never went out on a limb and I always sound stupid, except to my fellow libertard buddies, who all agree that we’re onto something. Your type will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. Nor will I help you. I will shoot first. I just hope I can figure out a way to stop aiming my macho libertarian gun at my own foot. Ouch!

  • 275. plier  |  November 30th, 2010 at 12:48 am

    give me a paragraph, and someday i will learn to fucking write. tom hanks’ daughters’ positions on my generation generally. specifically those of us who voted for obama and didn’t clock in a few weeks back.

    tom hanks’ daughter is probably pretty rich, yeah? the fuck you think she has any resemblance to those of us with a reason to have principles, which you capitalist cunts clearly aren’t ever going to get a grip on. i’d point out how much they’ve shit in your cereal, but you seem to enjoy it so much, wouldn’t wanna spoil breakfast.

  • 276. IvanL  |  November 30th, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Hey Mark, is that me posting as you, or am I a whiny butt-parrot?

  • 277. TruthTeller  |  November 30th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Navelgazing pablum.

  • 278. LibertyVini  |  December 7th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    “Murray Rothbard would not renounce Das Fuhrer Ludwig von Mises…”
    Um, Mark, von Mises’s fanboys tell everyone nervous about von Mises that von Mises was an Austrian Jew, who fled the Nazis twice, and went on to write “Human Action”. Ahem.

  • 279. Griffin  |  December 25th, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Holy shit. Thank you Raj Patel for linking me here! This takedown is incredibly lucid and spot-on.

  • 280. ThierryEnnui  |  January 2nd, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Spot on. Sad but so true.
    “Politics” and “enthusiasm” are curse-words for most people now. Insular self-interest has never been higher.
    If you think it’s bad now, just wait til a generation of poor cunts who’ve been spunking their every thought and dream all over Facebook – and other such vanity porn – since they were like 8 years old, get going. Or not.

  • 281. LibertyVini  |  January 7th, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Finished being a jerk yet Mark?

  • 282. Sir Eric Blair  |  February 28th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    This country is fucked. Some commenter noted the lack of any deeper spiritual connection in modern America that can unite movements, and that’s true. Liberalism is flimsy because enlightenment reason doesn’t pull heart-strings, it appeals to subjective ideals that are interpreted by people differently. The unifying calls of modern liberalism are weak, they are susceptible to ridicule and irony. We don’t believe.

    I’m moving to Israel and joining the Israeli left. That country still has a hope as counter-intuitive as that may seem. The people there live with a vitality that’s missing from America. While they’re basically on the opposite end of the political spectrum they have unassailable fervor and belief in their country. They haven’t fallen into this post-ironic stupor that many on the Left have in America.

  • 283. Mike  |  April 22nd, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I think it’s critical that the ridiculous continue to be ridiculed. Without this, most of us will never stop to question idiotic ideas like “Intelligent Design Theory”, and we’ll consider them well-based if for no other reason than they “make sense to us”. Further, this entire article is based off of some faulty premise that ridicule and other forms of action are mutually exclusive.

    I won’t deny that there are plenty of lazy liberal activists who couldn’t defend their views rationally to save their lives, but you’re cherry-picking if that’s all you see.

  • 284. Finnegan  |  August 1st, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Quite good until point 2, where it got foolishly romantic for the ramblings of dead white slave-owners, and point 3, were it became openly fascsitic in attacking the “enemies of the state” and “Communists” as the foes of those dead white slave-owners. Such wasted potential.

  • 285. stella  |  August 6th, 2011 at 1:32 am

    So many things come to mind right now, but all I really want to say is, what a dumb and useless comment I almost wrote. “No one cares about my anonymous comment! No one REALLY cares about my comment!” fuck.

  • 286. Nick  |  September 8th, 2011 at 1:10 am

    i have a lame objection to this piece that no one cares about and i made an even lamer graphic to express my frustration like my 6 grade special ed teacher learned me to do:

  • 287. dictateursanguinaire  |  December 11th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Even a year on, I’m still occasionally linking people to this piece — a column for the ages. Sadly seems to get only more relevant…

  • 288. DeeboCools  |  April 29th, 2012 at 8:47 am

    This post is an interesting time capsule. Now that occupy in an ongoing social movement only promising to get stronger, this article is a good reminder of how far the discourse has come in such a short time. And how dead and hollow everything was before people took to the streets.

  • 289. Zach  |  July 29th, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Oh Deebo, you seem to have jumped the gun a bit. Because the occupy movement was too scared to take a real stand on anything it is now dead – to scared of looking stupid. The nation is dead. Been dead for fifty years. No going back now.

  • 290. Che  |  August 10th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Seriously Ames, some of the stuff you say here scares the shit out of me because I’m a libertard drama queen who, like neocons with their “just like Munich/just like Hitler” blather, likes to pretend that he and his fellow libertarians are one step away from winning the “We’re Just as Persecuted As Jews In Auschwitz” award for manufactured victimhood. So, do I wint the award? Because seriously, shilling for the Koch brothers is just as dangerous and frightening as being a Jew was in Auschwitz.

  • 291. s. nachalo  |  August 26th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    A couple things, less on the article than on the comments and the general thread of the Exiled lately.

    We could have a social democracy that honors real freedom for individuals who choose to value things other than consumerism. It could probably be pursued using our current political system. Pursuing such a course wouldn’t be easy, or fast. But we won’t be pursuing anything of the sort, because people either can’t agree on a single thing that they are fighting for except single-issue stuff (gay rights, immigration), are not fighting for anything at all, and are universally clueless about how the world works, how politics works, how people work, how they themselves work, etc. Add to this the mounting hysteria of an impending ecological crisis, and the prospects for getting anyone to agree on something tangible are slim.

    But what else is there to do? Making contingency plans for the coming crash doesn’t take more than an hour, and you are back to feeling useless and depressed. Learn stuff! J.K.Galbraith’s “The New Industrial State” is a lucid depiction of our economy and by extension, society, although it won’t make much sense to people who aren’t already thinking about these things. Do stuff! even writing “capitalism destroyed my life!” with a sharpie in a public place is stuff. Love and respect people! This is a revolutionary act; ideas really are spread best through two or more people conversing. Loving others and enjoying each other is the only way anything good can happen to the human race: even if we give the current residents of America a utopia, they will go back to stabbing each other in the back for a dollar within a day, this is all they know. Plus, without love, life is pretty fucking droll.

  • 292. Asher Black Palm  |  November 4th, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Five years later and nothing has changed.

  • 293. ew  |  March 1st, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Correction, five years later, and the Greats that were the Daily Show and its off-spring, are merely PC, multicultural movements, denigrating Caucasian people because of their amorphous “privilege.” As opposed to, you know, the one percent that controls everything and subverts democracy.

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