Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Sunday, December 01, 2019


"Broke" culture

by Tom Sullivan

The blizzard of news, opinion and data that tears the eyes and cuts the cheeks each day leaves little cognitive space for considering the swirling chaos behind it. Everything is a crisis. Urgent demands pour from every digital device. It was a simpler time when advertisers manufactured paltry concerns like dandruff, bad breath, and "iron-poor, tired blood."

Behind the cacophony of newsworthy concerns, 40 years after Koyaanisqatsi the sense that things are terminally out of balance has moved from art houses to our own houses. One wonders Hollywood still manages to sell dystopian futures to people living in a dystopian present. Not even Margaret Atwood can be shocked anymore.

So it is that Yoni Appelbaum asks in The Atlantic whether this is how America ends. The U.S. is undergoing a demographic shift perhaps no other rich, stable democracy has seen: "Its historically dominant group is on its way to becoming a political minority—and its minority groups are asserting their co-equal rights and interests."

Echoing David Frum's warning nearly two years ago, Applebaum wonders if Trumpism persists beyond Donald Trump whether a Republican party defined by white identity will abandon democracy altogether, opting for ethno-nationalism upheld by voter suppression and only the veneer of popular suffrage. With its push for minority rule, the party is on the verge of that now. "All political parties maneuver for advantage," Applebaum writes, "but only a party that has concluded it cannot win the votes of large swaths of the public will seek to deter them from casting those votes at all."

Without a strong center-right to counter the radicals, conservatives will soon have nowhere else to go.

Thus, Fareed Zakaria's optimism about America's prospects is wearing thin. We survived the First Red Scare, McCarthyism, Vietnam and Watergate, he writes. But atop other disturbing trends, the Trump administration represents a presidency moving towards becoming "an elected dictatorship" powered by right-wing vilification of opponents (I'd add, though Zakaria doesn't) that echoes Rwanda in 1994.

But behind that political soul-rot is corruption the Financial Times' Edward Luce complains needs more disinfecting sunlight than it is receiving, to wit: the legal and illegal graft "that has seeped into all corners of US politics — and society beyond." Loosened regulation advertised as setting free entrepreneurs has opened the door to $300 billion in annual money laundering in the U.S. by one conservative estimate. Because the country lacks a corporate central registry, the government does not know who controls the companies that make it possible for "autocrats in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere" to thrive with "the connivance of America’s suite of service providers."

Luce looks to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the only 2020 candidate who might tackle the problem, as if she does not already have enough plans in her portfolio. Her prospects for enacting her plans are far from certain.

Readers finding themselves stranded in airports this Thanksgiving weekend may find solace if their experience is not as wretched as Richard Morgan's. He writes in the Washington Post of "an ordeal spanning 53 hours, six gates, three airports and two airlines." He could have driven from New York to San Francisco in less time.

Morgan offers this jaundiced, yet accurate, description of our present-day dystopia:

What is most galling about this economy is that we are supposed to proffer compliance and complicity as companies profit amorally off of us. Facebook unveils supposedly robust privacy protections on the same day it launches a service to connect you with your “secret crush.” You’re supposed to pay whatever rent landlords want, whatever bills hospitals charge, whatever price surge the car-share makes up. From Apple to John Deere, digital-rights-management technology has made us “tenants on our own devices.” The terms of service turn us into the servants. And what recourse do we have? We ask to speak with the manager, vent to Yelp, endure the hold muzak and hack our way to rival bargains. But let’s be honest: We don’t have power.
Essentially, the power real persons have ceded to "artificial persons" over time — plus the power corporations have usurped from the living — means humans serve them, not the other way around. Humans should be holding our creations' leash. As Morgan found, it feels as if we're the ones wearing the collar.

Most mornings, I peruse the Web looking for broader themes behind the news the way New York Times book reviewers often weave together common threads in new releases to tie together separate works. Amid critiques and defenses of woke culture, what one finds lately is dread verging on, if not toppling over into, the existential. Broke culture is more like it.

A friend actually did shoot his television once, long ago in cathode-ray tube days. What keeps one from reaching that point is engaging in the fight rather than helplessly watching it. You feel less like a victim that way. Even when I get run over, I never feel like political roadkill.