trailer break: ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…

Oh, I wish more people were as obnoxious and aggressive as Michael Moore. He’s just about the only one pushing back (other than Jon Stewart). I love to see how embarrassed those Wall Streeters are when he gets in their faces here. They should be embarrassed. But unfortunately, only Moore is trying to shame them, and Moore will be dismissed — again — as a clown or a joke or someone not to be taken seriously because… well, I don’t know.

I just don’t understand why more people aren’t angry at the real bullshit that’s going on, and yet why so many people can get so angry about the fake bullshit. Where are the people at the town halls screaming about insurance company CEOs and hedge-fund managers and whoever invented subprime mortgages and universal default on credit cards? If people can be tricked into getting so furious about Obama’s supposed lack of American citizenship — which is nonsense — then how come people aren’t getting angry about the stuff that’s actually true, like how Obama golfed with the head of UBS this weekend?

I mean, What the fuck?

But Michael Moore is fat, and American is teh gratest! Suck on that, socialist Nazi types!

Capitalism: A Love Story opens in the U.S. on October 2; no U.K. release date has been announced yet.

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Tom Buckner
Tom Buckner
Sat, Aug 29, 2009 8:38pm

There’s a great book which you can read online, “The Authoritarians,” by Bob Altemeyer, a prof at the U. of Manitoba.

Remember the notorious experiments where ordinary people would administer dangerous electric shocks to another person (not real, but they didn’t know that) on the orders of an experimenter? And how very few had the moral fiber to refuse? Bob Altemeyer’s been expanding on that research since the ’60’s (within ethical limits) and spills the beans in this book on what the research shows. As he says in the intro:
“Don’t think for a minute this doesn’t concern you personally. Let me ask you, as we’re passing the time here, how many ordinary people do you think an evil authority would have to order to kill you before he found someone who would, unjustly, out of sheer obedience, just because the authority said to? What sort of person is most likely to follow such an order? What kind of official is most likely to give that order, if it suited his purposes? Look at what experiments tell us, as I did. (snip) The studies explain so much about these people. Yes, the research shows they are very aggressive, but why are they so hostile? Yes, experiments show they are almost totally uninfluenced by reasoning and evidence, but why are they so dogmatic? Yes, studies show the Religious Right has more than its fair share of hypocrites, from top to bottom; but why are they two-faced, and how come one face never notices the other? Yes, their leaders can give the flimsiest of excuses and even outright lies about things they’ve done wrong, but why do the rank-and-file believe them? What happens when authoritarian followers find the authoritarian leaders they crave and start marching together?”

It’s a very entertaining book, along with being scary; Prof. Altemeyer has a humorous style. In a footnote near the end of the book he exclaims “You’re still reading this?”

I mention all this only because you’ll realize that it answers so much of what you ask in the second paragraph.

Tonio Kruger
Tonio Kruger
Sun, Aug 30, 2009 2:19pm

Just wait,” Wentworth said, “till–oh, say–the threat of the asteroid impact builds in the years ahead. You would see unthinkable sacrifices quickly embraced by the people as we united the planet to establish a massive asteroid-deflection system in deep space.”

“Is there an approaching asteroid?” Linda asked.

“There could be,” Wentworth said.
–Dean Koontz, The Good Guy

Okay, that’s just from a novel, but I can’t help but wonder how well it illustrates the way authorities on both sides use fear to manipulate people.

Want people to give up possession of firearms?

Exploit the hell out of the most recent series of mass murders and use such events to imply that only people who “hate society” would refuse to give up their weapons.

Want to discourage people from demonstrating against the government?

Exploit the hell of a particularly violent demonstration and pretend that the people involved represent the norm for political dissidents when for all most people know, they could be atypical individuals–if not agents provocateurs.

And then use such demonstrations as an excuse to curb political demonstrations in general..

Want to discourage people from employing religious connections to organize against the government?

Exploit the hell out of a few wacky cults and argue that such cults represent the norm for religious people. And argue that only a creepy religious person would argue different.

Want to install microchips in people so that you can keep better track of them?

Make a big deal out of, say, terrorists or illegal aliens–and imply that all people who refuse to have a chip installed obviously sympathize with one or the other.

Or better yet, exploit a series of missing children cases and use such cases to imply that anyone who refuses to have a chip installed in their child obviously “hates” children or doesn’t care if they’re kidnapped.

Okay, I’m obviously a bit imaginative in my examples–but history has shown time and again time that people in authority have a tendency to try almost anything if they can get enough people to go along with it. And that under the right circumstances, such people can get away with anything.

Which is why it’s generally a good idea to prevent the right circumstances from coming about.

Tonio Kruger
Tonio Kruger
Sun, Aug 30, 2009 2:22pm

Oops. Should saved all that for my thesis…

Mea culpa.