I am scheduled to be a guest on the RT Network show The Big Picture this Friday. I will be discussing how Ferguson is a national problem and other related matters. If time allows, I most certainly will mention how Jonathan Capehart is wrong in his claim that "hands up, don't shoot" is based on a lie.
As I distill down my thoughts to some witty pithy on Ferguson for Friday, I offer a related topic...
Language is one of the ways through which human beings (and other animals) describe reality. Language can also be used for wish fulfillment, to twist the world around oneself to fulfill a fantasy.
Some writers conquer the page. Other writers allow their characters to be channeled through them. There are writers and essayists would have a clear point of view, and do their best to write in a normative fashion about the world as they see and experience it.
Some folks just spin written yarns out of bovine scatology for questionable political ends and as a disservice to the common good.
James Howard Kunstler (hat tip to "Buddy H" for calling this mess out) and the Washington Post's Richard Cohen are engaged in some piss-poor thinking in their respective blog posts and editorial columns "Kicked to the Curb" and "Ferguson and Benghazi's Troubling Parallels".
Cohen and Kunstler have committed first degree murder against metaphor use and clear thinking. Unfortunately, they can only be "executed" once.
In Kicked to the Curb, Kunstler wrote:
I begin to understand why the death of Ferguson, Mo, teen Michael Brown sent such shock waves through America last year. He truly symbolized our country: an overgrown, oafish, wannabe thug making one bad choice after another until his final, suicidal lurch against authority — followed by all the exculpatory lying on his behalf: the “gentle giant,” hands up, don’t shoot! This is exactly how America acts on the world stage these days. We are the Michael Brown among nations, high on exceptionalism, stoned on entitlement, swaggering moronically from one place to another grabbing what we feel like, smashing things up as we go.Richard Cohen, offering click-bait in a desperate act of attention seeking, vomited out:
Ferguson has become the liberal Benghazi. It is more of a cause than a place, more of an ideological statement than an incident. Ferguson was not the racist murder it was thought to be, and Benghazi was not an incident in which the Obama administration’s incompetence or timidity allowed four Americans to die. The facts argue otherwise.
Both events tell us something about the passions of our times. It was quickly apparent what had happened at Ferguson. Michael Brown was not on his knees, hands up, when he was shot. He was rushing at the police officer.
Did he deserve to die? No. But did Darren Wilson shoot him for no reason? Again, no. Did the Justice Department later find that Ferguson’s police force was a cesspool of racism, incompetence and corruption? Yes. But did any of that mean that Wilson killed Brown in cold blood or that Brown was shot because he was black? No and no...
A grand jury studied what happened and did not indict Wilson. Eric Holder’s Justice Department reached the same conclusion. Let me offer another conclusion: If Brown was not criminally shot because he was black, then possibly the cop was accused because he was white. Who was the stereotyped individual here?
Still, Ferguson became a cause — and has remained one. It is a town of only about 21,000 — a bad day at Yankee Stadium — and yet it has repeatedly been the lead story for many news organizations. It was made to represent institutional racism across the nation, but it is, really, a tiny nondescript place where a supposedly racist and unjustifiable killing by the police did not occur. It does, though, conform to the very keen feelings of people who see white racism everywhere.Bad intent, piss-poor thinking and writing, and intellectual dishonesty along the colorline are common afflictions for the pundit classes in America when they discuss matters of justice and human rights for black and brown folks.
If language does political work, how would you "read" and deconstruct Kunstler and Cohen's writing(s) on Ferguson, Michael Brown, justice, and race?