Friday, June 30, 2006

The Agony and the Apostasy: On Pulitzer Prizes and Prize Putz Louses

Sick are they always; they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper. --Nietzsche

Van der Leun has written a a piece about our elite media that is so psychologically and spiritually astute that there’s almost nothing I can add. Maybe I’ll try anyway.

The Times is the very definition of an “elite,” having “self-selected itself as a vehicle worthy of wielding a power we normally reserve for those named by our citizens in elections,” specifically, “the right to say what is and what is not in our public interest” and “to knowingly risk the lives and well-being of the soldiers and citizens of this Republic at will.”

Obviously, nothing could be more illiberal and undemocratic than a couple of wealthy and insulated pinheads lost in the 1960s--Pinch "Me? I'm Dreaming" Sulzberger and Bill Keller--taking it upon themselves to arrogate power that is only properly vested in the people and their elected representatives.

But these men are not just driven by the usual ideological or venal motives, which is what makes them all the more dangerous and all the more able to live in denial of what they do. That is, they are perverts who enjoy the thrill of betrayal and the rush of stripping away the veil--any veil, whether it is the veil of decency or a veil of security. As Van der Leun writes, they “really enjoy how it feels. And they enjoy it, they revel in the pleasure of it, at the level of bodily sensations parallel to that of the orgasm. In common parlance, ‘they get off on it.’” The joy obviously doesn’t come from the journalistic aspect--which is dubious at best--but from the transgressive component. It is the transgression that creates the perverse pseudo-journalistc thrill.

This kind of perversion doesn't qualify for a DSM diagnosis. It's worse than that. The DSM only deals with the mind, but this is a perversion of the soul. All perverts live for their perversion, and soul-perverts are no exception. Although they are enslaved by ther perversion, they rarely feel that way. Rather, they often feel superior to those who do not know the transcendent joys of their particular illicit pleasure. They might even feel sorry for those confined to the licit kind. Part of the purpose of the perversion is to transform shame into pride. But perverts often need the association of other perverts to accomplish this transformation--somewhat like the reverse of a 12 step program, a support group to support what is wrong in them and make them feel right about it. The first step is to acknowledge your helplessness before a power that is lower than yourself, but to elevate it to the Most High.

Thus, journalistic perverts everywhere are coming out of the woodwork to support their fellow perverts at the Times Two. The other day, I saw Tom Brokaw weigh in, assuring us that he didn’t know of a single person who actually thought that the terrorists didn’t know about the the SWIFT program anyway. If that is true, then why did Bill Keller say that he agonized over the decision to reveal the program? Why the agony if it wasn’t a secret anyway? Brokaw strikes me as more pretentiously (because stupid) stupid (because pretentious) than a pervert. In any event, he is denying Keller the very purpose of the story, which was the agony of journalistic longing followed by the ecstatic release of publication.

In truth, the non-pervert cannot understand the motives of the pervert, and the pervert long ago lost any ability to empathize with the lowly, bourgeois non-pervert. They live in two divergent worlds, with entirely different frames of reference. A couple of days ago I canceled my subscription to the L.A. Times, but in truth, I had canceled it long ago. I had only recently re-upped for the Sunday edition, after having not looked at the paper in years. Even before canceling it in the wake of the SWIFT story, I found the entire paper to be suffused with a palpable soul-creepiness--not just the editorial page, but the front page, the entertainment section (obviously), the book review, the business section, even the real estate and sports sections. All of it is colored by a strange world view that I and most normal Americans do not share.

Richard Weaver saw this coming. In his Ideas Have Consequences--which was published in 1948--he discussed the effect of the new journalistic cosmology on the soul. As the medieval peasant might have looked up and seen “a revolving dome of fixed stars,” today we see something similar in looking at the daily newspaper; we see "the events of the day refracted through a medium which colors them as effectively as the cosmology of the medieval scientist determined his view of the starry heavens. The newspaper is a man-made cosmos of the world of events around us in time. For the average reader it is a construct of significances which he no more thinks of examining than did his pious forebears in the thirteenth century...” It presents “a version of life quite as controlled as that taught by medieval religionists, though feeble in moral instruction...”

When you uncritically read a newspaper or passively watch television news, you are participating in someone else’s metaphysical dream, not your own. And it is generally a sick dream with horrifying, infrahuman assumptions about reality.

You can be absolutely certain that Keller and Sulzberger are not only unashamed of their treason against the Good. Rather, they are proud of it. And as Augustine taught, “all the other vices attach themselves to evil, that it may be done; only pride attaches itself to good, that it may perish.” A normal soul loves what is good and therefore despises evil. The abnormal soul does not love what is good, but “the place of a suppressed devotion never remains empty.” Thus, the essence of perversion, on the soul level, involves passion and pride. Passion, in its classical sense, means to flee from God, while pride is to “rise up against Him” (Schuon). The proud man has “the propensity to brook no humiliations while readily inflicting them, upon others,” especially if they are Richeorge Nixbush and their illegal war on Viet Saddam. But don't ever question the Times' pervatriotism. They're better than patriots--they're dissenters!

The two--pride and passion--go together and are generally insatiable, thus the need to repeat the drill again and again. There is a reason why God shuns the proud. Pride is related to smug self-satisfaction, while humility is linked to honest and accurate self-assessment. The self-satisfied soul “is one who is saturated with his own imaginary worth which he projects onto his scanty knowledge and mediocre authority.” This is why they must give Pulitzers every year, so the biggest offenders may honor themselves again and again to keep the illusion alive. They can put this one right next to Walter Duranty's.


Alan said...

As Brokaw's incredible claim shows, the MSM elite are again circling the wagons (remember Rathergate?)

I have yet to hear a rational argument from them that holds water. The two I have heard go along the lines of...

1. This administration has established a pattern of reckless unconstitutional behavior and the American public deserves to know this because it is along those lines (yet - in the article they point out that there are no problems with this one)

2. The American public deserves to know (with no apparent boundaries - if the American public has the right to know this, why didn't they also deserve to know what was going on with Plame and Wilson).

You hit the nail on the head Bob - this has nothing to do with Reason but everything to do with subhuman needs & desires.

Anonymous said...


Mr. Van Der Leun's piece was quite insightful, as was your commentary on it.

For my money, no single member of the media embodies the definition of true spiritual, political and social perversion more fully and disgustingly than the SF Chronicle's Mark Morford. Everything you and Van Der Leun saw in the the phenomenon is amplified to an almost cartoonish level in this character.

Gagdad Bob said...

You are so right. Morford's is a true voice from the abyss, almost pure darkness visible.

Anonymous said...

As William Burroughs recognized long before the rest of America, Power (especially the Power to screw other people over) is more addictive than heroin and operates on the same level. When you need a fix, you'll do anything to get one - you'll lie, you'll steal, you'll spill other people's secrets - anything to know that you still have Power over the rest of the world. As Burroughs says: "Wouldn't you? [...] Of course you would; you would be an addict and in no condition to act in any other fashion."

Anonymous said...

what do you think of fox news ? does it meet your standards of journalistic integrity ?

Although brokaw at this point is a commentator not a reporter, I won't ask your opinion of Oreilly and Hannity et al.

Anonymous said...

Re Morford: I guess I find him particularly offensive because I share a lot of his counterculture sensibilities (Burning Man and other neo-hippie doings), but don't use them as a bludgeon against Middle America as he does. It's the humility thing -- I'm just a flawed, hedonistic person with offbeat tastes, not a Bringer of Transgressive Truth to Red-State AmeriKKKa who's deified his own edge-seeking *frissons*.

Or as I said about another terminally-adolescent alt-kultur-columnist, "Can't these people just appreciate things on their own terms? Does EVERYTHING have to a backdrop for endless repeats of the Big Rebellion against Suburban Dad & Mom?"

gumshoe said...

"Passion, in its classical sense, means to flee from God, while pride is to “rise up against Him” (Schuon)."

Bob,"humility before God",
in the current,fashionable post-60's boomer worldview amounts to
"conformity" or worse...and Passion
is one of the few marks of "authenticity".

i have to count myself among the confused on this one...
i know some passionate people who have a an admirable sense of "purpose".

i'd even count you and your blog amongst those.

can you elaborate on the first half of that reference (to Schoun?):

"Passion, in its classical sense, means to flee from God..."

Gagdad Bob said...

In a nutshell, there is vertical passion and horizontal passion. One's passion should have a vertical source or orientation and then extend horizontally to one's fellow man. This reminds me of the Jewish view of the Ten Commandments: the first five govern man-to-God (vertical) relations, while the second five govern man-to-man (horizontal) relations.

As I mentioned in my book, I draw a distinction between appetite--which is natural--and desire, which is mimetic and insatiable. It's fine to be passionate in both a supernaturally natural and naturally supernatural way, if you catch my drift. But there is a kind of ego-driven passion that simply draqs man outside of himself and away from God--in short, down and out. At the same time, strictly horizontal passion compacts and encloses man within himself. Real passion--like, say, Christ's passion--is a light that draws men toward it, because it is a self-emptying and self-offering.

Or something like that...

Anonymous said...

From an anonymous author, with whom it might be noted I disagree...

"Beliefs allow the mind to take shortcuts instead of actually thinking and pondering; the believer's mind, therefore, does very little actual thinking outside the framework built from those beliefs. The stronger the belief, the less common the individual thought - and the less a human mind thinks, the closer it approaches to intellectual and spiritual death."

Anonymous said...

This is what "passion" looks like, and what Michael means by "belief."

The original sound track is probably scarier.

Anonymous said...

michael a :

Was that a response to my ? about fox news, oreilly, hannity et al ?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Bob.
Your post expands
Mr. Van Der Leuns'
post (and vice versa).
The blood on the hands of those prideful perverts, only gets them off.
Justice will not forget.

Kerry said...

If only they would 'dissenter into to hell, and on the third day' hear: "Your rooms are now ready for permanent occupancy. Just follow the shrieks on the left."

Lisa said...

kerry, didn't you mean sheiks?