Thursday, June 09, 2005

Need a Two by Four

The Farmer over at Corrente has posted some extracts from a monograph by W.J. Cash originally published in The American Mercury in 1929. It is titled The Mind of the South. This is in response to a post by Tom questioning the dogged determination of apparently a majority of Americans to refuse to accept, at least publicly, that the American ideal is rapidly turning to shit and the pigs are eating it. I won’t post the whole thing here since you can click on the link and read it over there but I really was struck by one paragraph.

It is not without a certain aptness, then, that the Southerner’s chosen drink is called moonshine. Everywhere he turns away from reality to a gaudy world of his own making. He declines to conceive of himself as the mad king’s "poor, bare, forked animal"; in his own eyes, he is eternally a noble and heroic fellow. He has always displayed a passion for going to war. He pants after Causes and ravening monsters— witness his perpetual sweat about the nigger. (No matter whether the black boy is or is not a menace, he serves admirably as a dragon for the Southerner to belabor with all the showiness of a paladin out of a novel by Dr. Thomas Dixon. The lyncher, in his own sight, is a Roland or an Oliver, magnificently hurling down the glove in behalf of embattled Chastity.)

That paragraph pretty well sums up the state of affairs. For years I have been struggling with trying to understand why it appears the American people are so hell bent on ignoring the realities of the world. How they can convince themselves that driving an SUV is OK? How they can convince themselves to buy all this artificial, chemically modified, poisonous food and turn right around at feed it to their babies? How they can elect and then re-elect such an obviously venal, morally bankrupt, and weak minded man like George W. Bush to the Presidency of the United States? It staggers the mind. This monograph has finally opened the door a little.

It is not that they are stupid. They see and just flat refuse to accept it as reality…and it is cultural. It has been bred and indoctrinated into them from their first consciousness. Their Christian Church teaches them and their peers teach them and parents teach them and TV teaches them to ignore what they see and accept what we say. Ignore the man behind the curtain. How else can you explain the U.S. being the only country in the world to reject the Kyoto protocol and it is just dandy with the majority of the population? They are mentally incapable of accepting the fact that millions of their fellow Americans are without medical care and that millions of American children are going to bed hungry every night and are chronically undernourished. This is the greatest country on earth. That can’t happen here! This explains why it has taken so long for the majority to realize that we are in a no win situation in Iraq and that instead of actually making us more secure it is making us less so. It is not a large majority but at least it is beginning to be such a big elephant in the room that it is sinking in.

So I guess the answer is that we on the “reality based side” are just going to have to keep repeating the reality over and over until it begins to register. It’s kind of like the old saw about the getting the mule’s attention with a two by four. We need to scratch our fingers on the blackboard, bang the gong, shoot off fireworks, and stand in their faces and shout the truth before it will catch. There is hope but we are going to have to overcome years of programming.

Evidently The Mind of the South is still available from places like Amazon.
More on WJ Cash (including the original TMS 1929 American Mercury manuscript) here: WJ

No comments: