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Sunday, June 11. 2006
The dailykos Is The Amway of Bile: The Marketing of Anger and Paranoia
The dailykos is the Amway of Bile.
If you're unfamiliar with the multi level marketing approach, you're lucky. It's exemplified by Amway. Amway's often emulated approach to making money for its primary investors is by selling motivational and instructional marketing materials to an ever increasing pool of participants in a pyramidal formulation. Somewhere down the line someone's supposed to buy something besides marketing materials, but that someone never seems to show up.
For those of you lucky enough not to know what the dailykos is, it's the exemplar of a stripe of endless vitriol masquerading as political action that infests the blogosphere at the far left hand margin of the internet world. What do they think? Democrats are too Republican for them, is the short answer, if there is an answer; their message generally is encapsulated by Brando's dopey answer to "What are you rebelling against?" in The Wild One. "Whaddya got?" asked Brando in return, never answering the question, but nonetheless saying a lot.
Never Answer The Question But Say A Lot should be on the masthead atop lots of websites, dailykos especially. The sentiment's the same, even if the average kos denizen has more of an air of Mr. Limpet than Marlon Brando about them; I bet one real biker could clear the room at the Yearlykos convention they're having this weekend in two minutes flat.
They're throwing this little Multi Level Snark Marketing rah rah get-together in that perfect pyramid scheme hideout: Las Vegas, Nevada. They're getting together to earnestly massage one another's sense of importance and well-being and purpose, while they're milked for donations and fees, and then sold t-shirts and tschotschkes and bumper stickers and myriad other assorted piffle. Then they'll be thoroughly and generally farmed for massive donations of their remaining money and their time, in perpetuity -- like a kind of indulgence or tithe.
Their time is worthless enough, I guess, as it is spent in a kind of 24/7 alternate reality, a mirror image of real activity. They support quixotic candidates as a kind of kabuki political theater. The US military acts; they try to hamstring it, all the while holding their nose and claiming to support it. Their political opponents do things; they say they are against what is being done, or that it doesn't count anyway because their evil opponents did it for the wrong reasons. If unemployment drops from 4.6% to 4.5%, it means that we've all been forced to take crummy jobs that no one would want. If it goes to 4.7%, well, see-- there's no jobs for anyone. If it stays the same-- see? Another quagmire. Every day is 1931, in Vietnam circa 1969, to a koskid.
There is an expression for a force from nowhere that swoops in inexplicably and saves the day: deus ex machina; literally, God from the machine. The cadres of the Amway of Bile rely on the reverse -- the devil will come out of anything, no matter how benign, productive, wholesome, or innocuous, and that devil will allow them to hate that which is objectively good, while simultaneously allowing them to preen morally. Give me Beelzebub from the Machine, they fervently pray; defeat me, and concurrently absolve me of guilt in my defeat.
We don't lose elections, they tell themselves; they are stolen. We argue; you smear. We have facts, our opponents hatch machiavellian plots to misinform. Our opponents are too stupid to understand the TRUTH, and simultaneously so wily and clever they can't be defeated by logic.
The US doesn't win wars; anyone we beat wasn't worth defeating. We were on the wrong side anyway. We're not prosperous; we're slaves to money. Well fed? It's a conspiracy to make us fat. Long lived? Social Security's going broke. Good news? Karl Rove planted it to trick us. I will log on to dailykos, and he will tell me why everything --no matter how good it manifestly might be -- is bad, and tell me how I can blame it on The Other. And we will chant it together.
People who prey on such people -- the people looking for meaning where there is none -- know exactly how to appeal to their desires and manipulate them.
First, there will be lots of "information." There will be brochures and websites and teach-ins and workshops and group motivations and seminars and sign up sheets and stickers and petitions that will live in file cabinets forever like trolls. There will be torrents and cataracts and deluges of words -- cut and paste tsunamis.
Then there will be slogans. And not just slogans, but everything reduced to slogans of the Sukarno or Mugabe or Goldstein variety: simultaneously vapid and wretched, a kind of accusation lodged in a bad pun or non-sequitur; unanswerable because it is essentially meaningless, and yet it encompasses an entire wordlview.
And when all else fails, they'll claim that a cataclysmic end to the world is nigh, like some disheveled disturbed prophet on the streetcorner, simultaneously cadging change. Their opinions are that important and prescient -- the very future of the universe depends on their misspelled keystroked rants. Come to our meeting. We have some literature for you to look at. It's fun to try to guess who at the meeting isn't a plant, after your eyes glaze over from all the motivational brochures.
When someone screams "I'm Somebody," and that person is manifestly nobody, just like we all are, it's not worth the effort to argue with them. When your toddler shows you the first turd he made in the bowl, and tells you he wants to bronze it because it's a faerie house, you flush the bowl and pat them on the head, you don't tell them there are no faeries. What do you tell an adult, whose car is covered in Kucinich for President bumper stickers, wearing a "Bush is Hitler" shirt, when he tells you he's "Against War?" That's nice, you'd say, if you were kind; those mean fellow citizens of yours that absolutely adore war are everywhere, and if not for you and your bumper sticker, we'd be invading Canada for their maple syrup right now, I bet! Then you'd roll your eyes and cast a knowing look towards the other adults.
Or if you were Kos, you'd sign them up, and yoke them to your mission; your mission to have a mission.
Would you like a Bush is Hitler shirt in red? All the Platinum members are wearing them. Black is so 2004. Don't forget to double click the links on my webpage. I get paid for clickthroughs.
I'm somebody, Markos Moulitsas, the head of dailykos crows; you can be somebody too, if you can get enough of your friends to say so. I did.
The appeal of the multi level marketer is the appeal that works with the child: You can have the trappings of the adult life; you can talk adult talk and go to adult places and get adult things. Other adults will talk to you. But only the child could believe that if I have ten dollars, and you have ten dollars, and we give each other our ten dollars ten times, we'll both have one hundred dollars.
The Amway of Bile says: if you say Bush is Hitler, and I say Bush is Hitler, and we say it to each other 50 million times, we'll have 100 million votes and we'll be winners.
You'll be winners. Yes, yes you will. Now run along and play.
Posted by Roger de Hauteville in Our Essays, Politics at 14:39 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
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Hey, Roger. Why not tell us what you really think?
And you can spell tschtsoochsskis? Never seen it spelled before.
Can you respond to things people actually say or do you need to invent everything to which you respond. Strawman city.
I don't know how to do the trackbacks. Great post . . . Here's mine quoting yours and linking:
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am,
But everybody wants you
To be just like them.
They sing while you slave and I just get bored
Ssh,,KOS is lot better than the jibberish on this web page
So far it looks to be true, although I havent read a lot of the kos site yet so maybe I'll find some odd bits.
This one is so awash in propagandized comments it is painful. Kos might be the same, for the other side, so maybe between the two I can get some decent info.
Reelin, I think you make Roger's point: name-calling is not a discussion.
Then I suppose this site isnt really a discussion site :)