'Kamikaze Party'

Upscale Southern Scheme

Extortion Politics

Pride goeth before    >more<

Saudi Mystery UN Withdrawal

France: phone hacks "unnacceptable"

NSA hacks Mexican President's Email

Targeting Tor

Raw Intel Shared with Israel

Guardian: The NSA Files

Aid Resumed to Pakistan

Renewed Optimism

Sharif urged end to drones

Musharraf arrested in Pakistan

Tripartite Syria

Refugees Flood Kurdistan

Free Syrian Splinters

Prophecy Propels Shia

Hezbollah's Gamble in Syria

No time for 'Flat Earth Society' for Obama on Climate

Venezuela 'Snowden's last chance' to avoid extradition

Bolivia offers asylum

Claims NSA/German link

Elon Musk's Mission to Mars

Tesla hitting arcane road blocks

Force Feeding Policy Revealed

Guantanamo Hunger Strike Spreads

Despair at Guantanamo

West Texas: Chemical Deregulation Explained

Plea to stop killer robots

China nudging US out of Iraqi oil

Escalating Violence in Iraq

al-Maliki fingers Turkey and Syrian Rebels

Nostalgia for Sunni Rule

New Party in South Africa

Ramphele vs ANC corruption

Bush Deaf to 9/11 Warnings


New Antibiotic Kills Anthrax, MRSA

Mysterious Malware Stumps Experts

3-D Printing at 33rpm

Sri Lankan meteorite reveals 'evidence of panspermia'

Child 'cured' of HIV

Higgs Boson Data Strong

Bee venom loaded nanoparticals kill HIV

Dark Phlogiston?

3-D Printing 'Megatrend'

Lunar Area Manned Missions Anticipated

Life Deep in Ancient Reservoir

Nanophotonic Steam Advance

Neural Interface Products

Fiendish 'ABC proof' heralds new mathematical universe

Dark matter filaments connect galactic clusters

Every black hole contains a new universe?

Baby Quantum Internet

Darknet Rising

Uncensored Space Internet

'No universal grammar'

Accidental universe: Science's crisis of faith

Epic Fish Collapse

SpaceX to go for Mars

Gobsmacked by Vanishing Glaciers

New Malaria Vaccine

Historic Brain Visual Translation

HIV enzyme riddle cracked by video gamers

New Drug Targets Any Viral Infection

Just need a fuse
XHerakleitos - 6/21/11

"And the decor on the ceiling
Has planned out their future day"

"We tell the other side of the story", says Chris Wallace at least three times in his interview with Jon Stewart on Fox News Sunday. There is "no single marching order, not some kind of command", he says again later. But it's already shown itself - at least three times.

Stewart's got his game on enough to deflect Wallace's absurd suggestion that he's a partisan hack with an agenda, that there is no comedic/artistic impulse not already totally manipulated by the fingers of ideology, and that the New York Times is just as much of a "propaganda delivery system" as Fox News. But when it comes to the deeper problem, he seemed slightly off and stumbling for purchase. And it's so right in front of our faces we can't see it any more.

It's right there. It's everywhere. It's the idea that there are two sides of the story, literally and only two sides. It's not just Fox News marching to this order. The conjuring trick elevates cliché and anecdote to an unassailable mindwrap, a suffocating transparency where the dubious refracts into the obvious, and we buy into this fate by reflex. Locked in the punch of an absurd spacing, we've bought this meta frame where there's only two sides, Fox exuding the conceit, all pumped with an heroic harrumph, of a tenacity in representing half of what is.

Maybe, early in the interview, there was something in that cup. You want to think a properly caffeinated Stewart would have lanced this boil. And in doing so, he'd have shown the difference between artist and hack in one gesture.

We need art to somehow pinch the scene and make this frame flutter evanescently, perhaps bringing it into view even if by analogy with the simple, dorky irreverence of lighting a fart.

Even just imagining such a moment, it doesn't last long. Soon habits threaten to occlude the opening. But hopefully we can ask in the echo: is there a more apt way of characterizing the political landscape? Is everything opposed to Fox News and its demographic "Leftist" and "Liberal"? I'm not trying to covertly suggest the store be opened to a comic book rack of Libertarian fetishism. Far from it.

I don't have a ready answer. I only have the sense that the realities we face are begging us to ask, and that our condition justifies groping for something, anything beyond a scene where, as I wanted once to say, "parody is the propaedeutic".

Notable in the interview was a moment where Wallace asserted that Fox viewers "are not disappointed" in the product, to which Stewart leaped into the established point that "Fox viewers are the most consistently misinformed." Maybe there's a clue here, since both can be true at the same time. Perhaps, then - if to limit ourselves to two sides, recast the bivalent framework in a different way, i.e., the happily misinformed versus an amorphous constellation of those who defer gratification for the sake of being informed. Maybe Hedges has a point in recasting it in terms of a print based, literate culture at home in complexity up against a throng absorbed in imagery, retreating from a reality-based world into magic and illusion. Could be something to this, though it doesn't sound as catchy and simple as the frozen pantomime of Right versus Left.

All I'm left with at the moment is an old faith that, as Plato traces in the 7th letter, holds out the potency of rubbing names and definitions together - whereby, a flash may supervene and illuminate the matter at hand. Nowadays as we're caught in the boiling upshots of ideologies past, in a simultaneity of wreckage and success propelling Benjamin's Angel of History, can we summon a spark that breaks the spell of Liberal and Conservative, Left and Right - and put ourselves in front?

"It's the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging
All ready to use
It's the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging
I just need a fuse"

Update: Turns out it didn't take Stewart too long to find that bic lighter.

comment & analysis

Greenwald, Future of News?

To Have is to Owe

How the Snowden Saga Will End

Attack of the MOOC's

Anarchists of the House

Political Islamic Mosaic

North Korea's Powerful Weakness

The Charade of Darrell Issa

Decades of Displacing Palestinians

Guardian: The NSA Files

Talks with the Taliban

The Core of the Palestinian Crisis

Insider Dope on FOX News

Why Obama is not Nixon

Who Lied to ABC on Benghazi?

Phasing out 'totalitarian consumerism'

Austerity & Moral Hazard

Taibbi: "Everything is Rigged"

Grad Student Shocks Austerity Movement

Was Wittgenstein Right?

Contagious Vigilante Feminism

Secret Funding for Climate Denial

Aljazeera Focus of Scrutiny

From Arab Spring to global revolution

What Zero Dark Thirty Really Leaves Out

Interview with Israel's 'most hated man'

Divided States of America

Revolt of the Rich

"Was the Arab Spring Really Worth It?"

The GOP's diminishing demographic

Assad's 'Plan B'

Marxism's renaissance

Let's just say it: The Republicans are the problem

Republican questions GOP abdication of reality

Data Mining You

We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran

Protest Planet

Juan Cole | Paul Krugman
The Lede | Matt Taibbi
Glenn Greenwald | Edge
Project Syndicate
Andrew Sulivan | FiveThirtyEight
Esquire Politics

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