On Politics and the Symbolism of Language

America has become a culture of intellectual waifs. I regret that I am not more widely read. But I see very little on the horizon to give cheer. To put it mildly… there is no Renaissance of thinking or literature in America. About the only individual even trying to tell the truth—much less make any sense of it—is American film-maker Michael Moore.

Over the last year or so I have grappled with the parallels between the American Republican Party in the present time compared to the German Nationalist Socialist party in the 1930’s. But the context of history and the conditions of the world manage to obscure a neat reflection between the two. And yet, there is a clear basis for comparison… A once proud people, bankrupt or at least floundering economically, with a deep seated propensity for casting blame based on racial, socioeconomic, and sexual stereotype and nationalistic and religious prejudice.

As I study the Republican discourse I have observed a clear use of public media for the presentation of symbolism intended to sway the individual free citizen (and voter) to a reaction of hate or fear or revulsion. While there is nothing on the Republican agenda that profits the citizen or enhances the survivability of a nation it is as compelling as a the lunar tide; so even individuals of the Republican faith who have in the past showed signs of rational thought, like John McCain and Orin Hatch, have succumbed to the pressure and sold out any values they might have henceforth owned.

The nature of social relations is determined by the forms of communication that a society employs. This is a bit McLuhanesque I suppose. The masters of the new symbolic language are hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh, and just about the entire cast of Fox news. I’d like to think that there is an evil intelligence behind what they are doing. But in fact, it’s just capitalism. Hate and fear and stupidity sell. They are all big money icons and laugh all the way to the bank.

Forget the flu. The only pandemic we need fear in America is our disgust for truth and the obvious. The Republicans represent the only political party in this country that can be effective. They will orchestrate our demise; they will be effective in this. That truly is not the point. Democrats are the target of the assault of the machinery of symbolism and so can only be ineffective no matter how lofty their ambition for any platform issue… like providing health care for all Americans or keeping us out of stupid wars. They must fail.


On the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks

This is not a clash of civilisations or religions, and it reaches far beyond Islam and America, on which efforts are being made to focus the conflict in order to create the delusion of a visible confrontation and a solution based upon force. There is indeed a fundamental antagonism here, but one that points past the spectre of America (which is perhaps the epicentre, but in no sense the sole embodiment, of globalisation) and the spectre of Islam (which is not the embodiment of terrorism either) to triumphant globalisation battling against itself.

– Jean Baudrillard, 1929-2007


I apologize to my weekend readers for my political diatribe. On the weekends my stats drop down to less than a hundred… on weekdays it goes up ten-fold. Mostly nobody will ever read this but a few inspired fans of my dementia.



Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available at www.dogagility.org/store.


4 Responses to “On Politics and the Symbolism of Language”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Tried to see Michael Moore’s ‘Capitalism” and found it playing only in the only liberal minded town in soutern Oregon. Called the local theatre and they said it “unlikely” to play here. Judging by hte bumper stickers I see all over town, Grants Pass is very Fox-like. No wonder I feel like a stranger in a strange land…..


  2. budhouston Says:

    Yah. It’s the proliferation of the pod people. Just like a horror movie. Their minds have been replaced with mush.

    Following Baudrillard’s hypothesis we are thrashing against the reality that globalization means diminishment of affluence. It’s like Newt Gingrich said… the Great Society is over.

    Good to hear from you Michelle.

  3. Pugahontas Says:

    Grok On you guys 🙂
    Why did they not make that book into a movie anyways? 🙂
    See you in a few days!
    Weekend follower.

  4. candice Says:

    “a few inspired fans of my dementia”
    It is so nice to see what good company I am in while reading on the weekends!

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