Just time for one Reading today, then some comments about seeing a movie in a movie theater for the first time in nearly 3 years.
Alternet, John Stoehr, 19 Oct 2022: In ‘correcting’ GOP metaphors, liberals reveal their denial
Here’s a curious piece that speaks to the idea I’ve floated recently that many people, including some number of conservatives who are committed to ideology over evidence, truly don’t understand that claims and evidence should have some relationship to each other. This article, rather perversely, accuses liberals of not understanding this, and therefore ‘in denial’ of the way conservatives think.
First three paragraphs. My bold.
Over the summer, there were record numbers of migrants who had attempted to cross the southern border. We know this because border authorities regularly reported the numbers taken into custody. The Republicans often used them to hammer the president. They claimed Joe Biden was ignoring what they call a “border crisis.”
The liberal reaction tended to zero in on what liberals tend to zero in on – external falsifiable reality. Fact is, there was no “border crisis” on account of border authorities doing what they are supposed to do. Seizing migrants who have crossed the southern border did not indicate an emergency. It indicated a system working as it should.
Liberals were right. But being right didn’t matter. Remember this the next time a pundit tells you the Democrats are doing it wrong in the run-up to November’s election. Again, with feeling: being right is not the same thing as being victorious. Being right is just one of many tools available to partisans when participating in democratic politics.
Which is to say, of course, that many voters don’t care what’s “right,” correct, or real; they care about doing whatever they can to make sure their side wins.
Well, sure; that’s realpolitik.
To Republicans, the writer goes on,
The border is a metaphor, a fetish, a symbolic representation of meaning deep and profound as well as impervious virtually to facts, fact-checking and the liberal’s fealty to external falsifiable reality.
More importantly, however, is that reasons – or external falsifiable reality – will not and cannot overcome metaphor. No matter how many times liberals say that there’s no crisis at the southern border, or that those hyping this fake crisis are exploiting anti-immigrant bigotry, it’s not going to change much, because Republican voters tend to operate according to the laws of a separate political physics.
They believe that the border is under siege and hence the country is being invaded on account of their view of the border as a metaphor for “a specific national self rooted in the souls of individuals,” which is to say, a white nation under God for white people thanks to God.
And so on. The writer claims that “liberals remain in denial. They don’t want to believe so many Americans, perhaps more than half the country, tend to operate according to the laws of a separate political physics.”
And that politics isn’t a matter of “fealty to external falsifiable reality,” it’s a war of attrition.
The thing about ignoring reality is that eventually it will catch up with you. I would like to think. Maybe not.
Today we saw a movie in a movie theater for the first time, I think, since early 2020. On a Thursday afternoon, we figured, no one would be there. Almost no one was. The movie was OK (it was Bros) but before the movie even began I experienced the reasons I don’t miss going to movie theaters. First: TWENTY FIVE MINUTES of preview trailers. I’ve gotten used to 10 or 15 minutes, but 25?? Second, before the trailers started, only three other people came into the theater, sitting down in the first row. They pulled out their phones and giggled to each other. Not a good omen, but fortunately they mostly shut up during the movie itself. Finally, part-way through the trailers, one more person came into the theater, a woman who gave off the vibe of being a crazy person (perhaps she’d wandered in from another theater), carrying two plastic cups of ice and big plastic jug of water, and while awkwardly fumbling with this luggage, found a seat… in this huge mostly empty theater… two seats away from me. Here with me hoping I wouldn’t need to wear a mask because the theater would be empty.
I put my mask back on, and we moved several rows away.
I’ve gotten used to waiting until movies stream, so I can watch them at home, and I’m inclined to make that my permanent policy.
Perhaps because of all this irritation, I did not respond kindly to the movie. I thought the main character an unpleasant, loud, obnoxious jerk whom I would have abandoned early on, but especially when he sat at a dinner with his boyfriend’s family and WOULDN’T SHUT UP about teaching gay history to second graders, despite being repeatedly told to do so. And, the movie is a rom-com (with predictable plot points) that makes fun of other rom-com movies, especially from Hallmark, here transparently disguised as “Hallheart,” especially rom-coms about… gays and lesbians and bis and so on. What is this about? Perhaps something perceptible only to devotees of Hallmark rom-com movies.
Fire Island was better.
I was obliged to delete my Fb version of this item, so as not to upset anyone in my family.
Today we saw a movie in a movie theater for the first time, I think, since early 2020. And I was reminded of the things that make me not miss seeing movies in movie theaters. First, the trailers: today a full TWENTY FIVE MINUTES of preview trailers, most for films utterly unlike the one we came to see, and which I don’t intend to see, and which I resent having to watch trailers for. Second, the audience. On a Thursday afternoon, we figured, no one would be there, and almost no one was. Except for three people at the front, flashing phones and giggling; then a lady with crazy person vibes who came in part-way through the trailers, carrying two plastic cups of ice and big plastic jug of water, and fumblingly found a seat, in this huge mostly empty theater… two seats away from me. Here I’d been hoping to not have to wear a mask. I put my mask back on, and we moved several rows away.
I think I will become like the reader who waits for the paperback. I will wait to see movies until I can stream them at home.