We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From guest poster and Maggie's Farm friend Bruce Kesler. We used to link him frequently when he wrote at Democracy Project.
The 2008 presidential contenders bring to mind the “pulp fiction” of the 1920s-1950s.
Not that there was a dearth of serious writing during pulp fiction’s heyday, but the mass audience sought and was more exposed to pulp’s more exciting genre.Similarly, today there’s much well-researched political reporting and commentary, but most Americans seek or are presented with blogposts and sound-bites that more directly connect.
More smartly spoken writing or speeches may just as much contain bias or misdirection. In either major media or blogs, the public usually recognizes the basic truths of motivations, words,actions, and consequences.Pulp blog readers’ views are frequently as well or better informed as their presumed betters.
The pulps were adventures in outsmarting opponents, often ingenious, often far-fetched.The adventure settings were Western or wartime or urban detective, or about threatening extraterrestrials or planted mole aliens with adverse intentions.The primary pulp characters were either quietly heroic types or nefarious foes.Good, or relatively so by key decisions or outcomes, battled evil, or relatively so by dint of bad decisions or goals.
The Internet is largely focused on the play-by-play of outsmarting opponents.It is dominated by opinionated blogs treating their favorites as heroes and their foes as threats to the blogwriter’s preferred social and world order.In major media or blogs, selected facts or supporting opinions are presented to further the theme’s narrative.
The success of pulp fiction’s popular themes was made possible by the inexpensive paper used (pulp stock) for affordable mass-distribution paperbacks that offered a wide range of writers, many of whom came from or attained legitimate fame.The Internet’s low costs of distribution and access also increase the variety of points-of-view presenting themes appealing to partisans.A wide range of writers is available, some from backgrounds of accomplishment and some others attaining name recognition.Meanwhile, the major layoffs and reductions in newsprint have reduced the range of views and depth of newspapers.
Another characteristic of the pulps was their enticing art depicting the valiant defending or the underhanded mishandling the weaker desirable female or the downtrodden.Today’s candidates have heroic or saintly posters, air self-flattering poses in TV ads that show their opponents in embarrassing clips, and creative and humorous blog photoshops.
Still, underlying both pulp fiction or pulp politics, there must be plausibility.Even the fantastic requires a factual basis.
Although his rise from meager beginnings and his eloquence are in Barack Obama’s favor, as is his clear (even when obscured for political gain) liberal ideology for those of that inclination, he has hidden most of the little record he has.In light of seeping revelations from his own mouth and others’ research, his earlier-heralded promise of either hope,bipartisanship, sagacity, or integrity are increasingly exposed as shallow at best.It appears to many implausibly fantastic that someone of such unknown or little background, hyperbolically seeming an adult parachuted alien onto America, can be taken seriously as the presidential candidate of a major political party.
The quieter, and less promoted by major media adulation, repeatedly exhibited real world personal and political character and courage of John McCain stands in stark contrast, and for those who weren’t previously aware is recognized in his climbing polls.That has not remade, nor are observers or conservative bloggers ignoring, his less sterling traits or views. But the understanding is gaining that character, experience and knowledge are overridingly important in being confronted with existential threats, unusual challenges or gathering broad support for initiatives.
Pulp politics may not be elevated discourse, but it is insightful – more so than the supposedly more respectable but thinly veiled major media tilts - into choices faced by ordinary people.
Bruce Kesler, an avid fan of the pulps and blogs, owns a financial planning and employee benefits firm in Encinitas, CA, whose writings have appeared in many MSM op-eds and blogs.