15 October 2016

Complexity Isn't a Vice

...despite the best efforts of the leadership of both major political parties in this nation to make everyone believe it is. And it's ironic and somewhat shameful that Hollywood can remind everyone of that. Hollywood — the center of an industry that thinks it appropriate and less risky than trying something new, something based on what's happening today (or even in the last decade), to revive 25- and 40-year-old ill-conceived serials for long runs now; that is desperately afraid to confront its own historical and too-often-continuing practices of rampant discrimination, whether on the basis of race or gender or religion or national origin or education or whatever; that is unable to create a poster-type ad for a TV series with more than two central characters that is more than kindergarten-cutout away from every other such ad. It's still more intelligent, more nuanced, and more real than just about anything coming out of the Heffalumps or the Jackasses, let alone out of individual candidates' mouths.

Even at that, the next ten words, and the next ten after that, are nowhere near enough. Don't give me a few words, or even a sentence or two strung disjointedly misspelled on some PowerPoint slide (that will probably bore the hell out of everyone and take their attention away from what is actually being said anyway). Give me a paragraph or three. Per issue. With facts and footnotes and citations to back them up, and the honesty to admit that ideological determinism guarantees that virtually every day includes body counts. Ideology can determine only where we start in answering the questions that reality puts to us. It can't answer those questions; it can't determine what order we answer those questions; it can't even illuminate what the next set of questions is going to be, when we've already committed to answering the first set — or the set before that, or even just trying to answer the questions put to us decades ago that we've never managed to acknowledge, let alone answer.

In the end, we don't have ideological parties in the US: We have almost purely factional parties, defined by the unenlightened self-interest of their leaders and influence-peddlars and eminences gris, virtually none of whom have actually read Adam Smith or the many other progenitors of the modern "market economy." They therefore failed to notice that those works were struggling with not immediately political or economic or financial, but profoundly moral and ethical, problems concerning not just how the great unwashed behave in aggregate, but on how individual members of the nobility are obligated — not merely advised — to conduct themselves. It matters not whether the "nobility" is composed of landowners through inheritance, or captains of commerce and industry, or conquerors of new vistas previously unimagined. So I will, very shortly now, be staring at an absentee ballot trying to choose between the lesser of "Who cares?" yet again.

Screw it. After Cthulhu turned down the Heffalump candidacy for Vice President because he thought the top of the ticket was too extreme and too evil...