Friday, October 31, 2008

Dashing Associations

Well, at last. Pretty Lady has been struggling, lo these many weeks, to articulate her exasperation with persons who continually harp on 'terrorist associations,' as though this were something to be leery of. Now, Iowahawk has put things into context:
As for his so-called radical ties, who among us hasn't sent dinner party invitations to Gore Vidal and a leftwing terrorist or two to enliven the postprandial conversation? Leonard Bernstein loved hosting all manner of Weathermen and Black Panthers and Symbionese Liberation Army celebrities at his Park Avenue pied a terre, but it didn't mean the Maestro wasn't in favor of low taxes. On the contrary; I know for a fact he itemized every cent of the catering bills for his famous terrorist cocktail parties.
Those of you petty bourgeois who shy away from associating with persons with radical viewpoints, obviously know nothing about persons with radical viewpoints. The fact is, most radicals: 1) make fascinating party conversation, and 2) couldn't organize their way to the Beer Barn and back without help from a more grounded associate. To know a radical is to understand the nature of the Radical Threat. Most of the time, this threat consists more of Bumbling Incompetence than Dastardly Conspiracy.

Furthermore, imagine this scenario: We find, somewhere in the suburbs of Kansas, a good Christian citizen with an IQ of exactly 100, who has, all his life, only associated with other good Christians of the same stripe. He has forcefully repudiated all persons who drink, swear, leave work at ten till five on Friday, or let their lawns go scraggly. We cry, "Eureka! At last!" and summarily elect this paragon of purity to the highest executive office in the land. Then we send him out to negotiate with Putin.

How well do you think that is going to work out?

The fact is, a person who understands nothing of the Seedy Element, by virtue of having avoided all contact with such, is by far the most likely of all persons to cause an International Catastrophe, by virtue of both rigid intolerance and total cluelessness. In order to effectively lead people, one has to understand how people think. A true leader must have both a thorough understanding of the mentality of lizard-brained despots, and the ability to transcend his own lizard brain. Someone who has never acknowledged the existence of his own shadow self is bound to be hopeless at grappling with that shadow in others.


George Pal said...

Pretty Lady

Reading this post suggested what it must be like to experience a parallel universe while living in this one. The psychic vertigo is appalling. So Obama has a twenty year long association with Ayers, Dohrn, and Wright and all the time he was under a deep cover fact finding mission. Pity David Duke hadn’t thought of this – brilliant!

Ayers and Dohrn were not Bumbling Incompetents and Dastardly Conspirators. They were terrorist bombers and they remain unrepentant terrorist bombers. They are, and I quote Ayers himself, ‘guilty as sin and free as a bird”. Then there’s Wright, pastor to Obama and a nonpareil hater. Obama is, at best, a bad judge of whom he should be associating with or, at worst, an ass who’s stepped into a pile of crap and doesn’t know any better then to step back out. That Leonard Bernstein played footsie under his dinner table with like-minded sociopaths suggests he also had a greater talent for being an ass than for music.

It is odd that you mention the midwest and exclaim Eureka for your imaginary scenario. There was someone real who emerged from the great Midwest, from Eureka, Il as a matter of fact. I can’t imagine Ronald Reagan ever coming across anything seedier than a drunken lecherous actor or an occasional “pinko” agitating in the actor’s union. We sent him out to Iceland to negotiate with Gorbachev and it was Gorbachev, who’d rubbed shoulders and dirtied his hands with evil itself, who went home, crying, like a little girl.

Anonymous said...

This is the stupidest post. Pretty lady, your iginorance is showing.

Pretty Lady said...

Gentlemen, if this post is stupid, please apply your intelligence to refuting the points propounded.

The points:

1) Ignorance of the psychology of destructive people is dangerous in a leader.

2) Rigid intolerance without experience fosters ignorance, and thus extreme vulnerability.

3) An effective leader must understand his own shadow self in order to transcend it.

I realize these points were made in a puckish and facile manner, but they are none the less serious points, which neither of you has even acknowledged.

And if you think Ronald Reagan was rigidly intolerant, or that life as an actor does not expose a person to a great deal of flamboyantly negative psychology, you have obviously never even auditioned for a college production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' much less lived in Hollywood for decades.

Pretty Lady said...

Plus, George, it is appalling that you actually take this Ayers garbage seriously. By your logic, the entire United States Congress ought to be resigning in high dudgeon, because they are forced to interact with Dick Cheney in the course of fulfilling their duties.

Come to think, that's probably what you DO think. I think they should just impeach him already.

George Pal said...

Pretty Lady

Your points are well taken so long as they are not taken past a certain point, beyond which lies the destructive instead of the instructive.

Imagine coming across a similar but relative list of such well thought out points, let’s say, in pursuit of a business management degree at Harvard. One then, in making good use of those points, becomes head of Enron. Those very same points, when extended, stretched, tweaked, lead to a company being run into the ground and investor wealth being flushed down the toilet.

You can go too far and I believe Sen. Obama has gone too far.

I know nothing of college, college productions, and the pathologies of actors, so I’ll take your word on all that.

Yes I do take the Ayers garbage seriously. That such a vile person, so guilty and yet so free, could be walking around now, receiving civic awards from the mayor of Chicago, counseling school districts on “education”, launching political careers in his own home, having a say in or access to numerous foundations and grants money, writing and financially benefiting from his memoirs, is beyond the limits of sanity. What makes it so is his remorse - not at having done the indefensible, but at not having managed more carnage than he did during his ‘days of rage”.

Finally, please don’t put me in a position of having to defend one or the other, Congress or Dick Cheney. And please don’t put yourself in the untenable position of equating the required contact of the Congress with Cheney with the free will contact of Obama with Ayers.

Pretty Lady said...

Thank you for conceding that my points do have SOME validity. I am thoroughly exasperated by the hypocritical, mealy-mouthed attitude of the public discourse on this subject.

One may have 'free will' associations with people for many, many reasons; the vast majority of those reasons have NOTHING to do with supporting that person's actions or opinions. I have discussed the empathic personality before; being one myself, I very much understand why someone would choose to associate with all kinds of extreme personality types, without in the least condoning their opinions.

Very often, radical opinions and actions arise out of deep personal pain and damage. An empathic personality perceives the damage and discards the opinion, preferring to address the root cause of the damage. I believe this explains a whole lot about Obama, though this of course could turn out to be projection on my part.

My POINT about required contact with Cheney is that elected officials necessarily have to deal with scoundrels. Businesspeople, not so much. You can run a business by only interacting with other persons of integrity, as long as you don't live where the Mafia operates. If you run for public office, however, sooner or later you're going to have to get along with other politicians, and with leaders of other countries, who are frequently vicious thugs. In my view it is good to be familiar with the signals and habits of thuggery before an entire nation's interests depend upon your getting it right.

And honestly, Obama served on a board with Ayers, along with a number of other upstanding members of the community. They're not good friends, and Ayers is not a campaign or policy advisor to the Obama campaign. This whole business is ridiculously overblown, given the severity of the problems facing our nation and the despicable actions of both the current executive branch and the McCain campaign. Anyone who keeps harping on Ayers seems to me to be one of those people David Sedaris talks about:

"To be undecided in this election is like being on a plane where the flight attendant asks, 'Would you like the chicken, or the platter of shit with broken glass in it?' And the undecided voter cocks his head and asks how the chicken is cooked."

George Pal said...

Very well, PL, you are an empathic personality and Obama may be likewise. Upstanding citizens sit on foundation boards seated next to Ayers. Chicago's mayor and city council give Ayers some civic medal. Obama passes a few lines of conversation Ayers way and a few more lines for a book blurb. You and others say no big deal. I say very big deal.

Imagine for a moment Ayers was not a seditious terrorist of the Weather Underground but the Grand High Exalted Dragon (or whatever the hell he calls himself these days) of the KKK. Would he be on those boards, would he be getting civic awards, would he et al? An unrepentant Klansman?

I have more than a little experience with your third point - facing one's own shadows. I understand how one can become more understanding of others, more forgiving, more charitable, and more tolerant but even this has its limits. It must, otherwise virtue ceases to have value or meaning.

Chris Rywalt said...

David Duke was doing pretty well last I checked -- admittedly not recently. Certainly he was a fine upstanding member of his community and involved in politics and whatnot despite his past associations with the KKK.

Ayers' terrorist acts, if that's what you want to call them, are from 40 years ago. He has not been a terrorist since.

So, yes, an unrepentant Klansman can apparently do okay, and so can an unrepentant Weatherman. Hell, Kissinger is still out and working, and he's a goddamned war criminal in all but name. At some point Obama will probably meet Kissinger and he'll have to shake his hand. These things happen.

Anonymous said...

A bit too vague Mr. Rywalt. Which boards does he (Duke) sit on, how much foundation money has he access to. Civic medals and awards?

If you are going to excuse Ayers based on your forty year statute of limitations why bring up Kissinger?

Anonymous said...

I am delighted and at the same time appalled that you seem to have missed the High Satire that is Iowahawk.

Pretty Lady said...

And I, Anon, am merely bored by the fact that you have obviously missed the mundane satire that is Pretty Lady.

Pretty Lady said...

George, there is a very big difference between understanding and excusing. That's something that people with rigid moral reasoning paradigms tend to completely miss. I can understand why my rage-addicted ex-boyfriend treated me so badly, but I don't excuse his behavior, and I don't have any contact with him. My experience has given me the ability to recognize the symptoms of rage addiction and codependent abusiveness, however, and I can thus maintain nodding acquaintances with other such persons, with whom I do not (and never will) have such a history.

Simply, it is not anyone's personal business to right all the past wrongs of everyone they meet. It's not possible, and it makes for extremely tedious Public Scenes. It IS everyone's business to maintain as productive a connection with people they're forced to deal with as possible, without surrendering their core values. Occasionally this means slapping them on the cheek with one's glove in the town square, but most often it means remaining tactfully silent on certain subjects, and seeking common ground in other areas.

k said...

We cry, "Eureka! At last!" and summarily elect this paragon of purity to the highest executive office in the land. Then we send him out to negotiate with Putin.


There are very few sites where I periodically literally LOL. This is one.

I think Pretty Lady's exquisite and delicate sense of humor, like her art, is seriously underrated.

I very much understand why someone would choose to associate with all kinds of extreme personality types, without in the least condoning their opinions.

Among the reasons? Life is far more interesting that way.

If we respect that which gave us life, we have no business turning our backs on much of the other life that was created. Most especially, we've no business doing so in the name of the creator of that life.

(As a caveat, some personality types can be damaged by associating with the more extreme among us. I wouldn't recommend they bite off more than they can safely chew.)

Chris, I had the singular experience of leaving Louisiana (for Florida) just before an election for Governor of that great state. The Governor's race was between an unconvicted felon, Edwin Edwards, and a Nazi and unconvicted felon, David Duke. Felon #1 won.

As for the other felon? See In December 2002, Duke pleaded guilty to felony counts of mail fraud and filing a false tax return. He's a gambler, and blew through huge amounts of money sent to him as donations he'd solicited under the pretense of being foreclosed out of his house, etc.

A fine and fitting chapter in his life.

Edwin Edwards, of the infamous "no Lousiana jury will ever convict me" quote, is now a convicted felon his ownself. Another fine and fitting chapter in a colorful life.