Must not see TV

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about the NPR and NY Times reviews that raved about a new sitcom called Aliens in America, in which a Muslim Pakistani exchange student comes to an “All American” home and community.  I hadn’t yet seen the show, so I blogged, instead, about the fact that the reviewers seemed delighted about the fact that the show poked fun at the enemy:  and the enemy was us.  I found that incredibly disheartening.  Now, having seen the show, I’m even more disheartened.

Every American character is portrayed with a viciousness that is surprising.  The parents are paranoid ignoramuses; the teenager daughter is a self-obsessed mean girl; the American teenage boy is an incompetent, lying slacker; the black principal is a sleazy womanizer; the golden blond lead cheerleader is a direct descendant of Rommel, with a temperament to match; the cafeteria lady is rudely ignorant of Muslim dietary habits; the cops are jackbooted thugs who steal hard drives without warrants; teachers are stupid and disinterested; and on and on.  The only spot of intelligent virtue in the whole show is the Muslim exchange student.  He’s polite, he’s honest, he respects women, rather than treating them like objects, he’s an academic star, etc, etc.  It was creepy — dhimmitude made TV flesh.

Aside from the loathsome characters — and they are loathsome — the episode I saw was also a show case for Progressive paranoia about the evil government.  It’s been 12 hours, and the details are fading from my mind, but let me see if I can reconstruct it.

Mom has become paranoid that teenage boy is into drugs, so she begins spying on him.  The one activity he does that she thinks is virtuous is the “Rocket Club,” which she believes is an academic group that makes model rockets.  In fact, the Rocket Club is a sham, with teenage boy and his nerdy friends gathering to watch vaguely dirty movies and ogle women’s breasts.  She insists teenage boy take Muslim exchange student with him.  Muslim exchange student professes boredom, and chastises the other boys for disrespecting women.  He then expresses doubt about his ability to lie regarding the club’s real purpose.

When they return home, Muslim exchange student, lying for the first time in his life, goes overboard and describes a glorious club dedicated to rocket knowledge, right down to its space uniforms.  Teenage boy discovers that he now has to make those fantasies a reality.  He and his friends try to make costumes and create permission slips.  Meanwhile, Muslim exchange student goes to the store to build a real rocket — with a shopping list that mimics the list for a bomb.  He is arrested.

The arresting cop wants to see Muslim exchange student’s computer.  The latter is perfect agreeable, knowing he is innocent.  However, teenage boy has been using that computer to look at girlie sites, so he doesn’t want the cops to see it.  Searching through his memory, he resurrects the the vaguely taught notion of civil rights, and gives a stirring speech about the fact that, even though Muslim exchange student is a guest in the country, he has civil rights and cannot be searched and should not be made a suspect.  Parents cheer him on.  Cops decide not to search.

Meanwhile, however, word gets round and Muslim exchange student is viewed with suspicion by students and teachers.  Substitute teacher looks at him and says, “I have a wife and family.  Please don’t hurt me.”  Teenage daughter is refused admission on the cheer leading team because she’s soft on terrorism.  Muslim exchange student says to teenager that he’s okay giving up his civil rights, because this freedom stuff is really difficult and he doesn’t want to deal with it.  Teenager boy confesses to what he did with Muslim exchange student’s computer.  Muslim exchange student dutifully calls cops.  Cops arrive and take that computer and then, without a warrant, rip the family computer out of the wall, as wife weeps about “family photographs.”

Everybody then decides to create a real rocket club, with real rockets.  Even the principal tears himself away from the unseen woman waiting in his car to see the rocket launching.  The rocket ascends, then goes sideways, and appears to kill the cheerleader who is Rommel’s granddaughter.  With the exception of the Muslim exchange student, everyone at the launch — teenagers, parents, and principal — runs away.  Show ends.

I did not find the show funny but, then again, I’ve never been a fan of mean-spirited humor — that is, unless I’ve really disliked the person or group on the receiving end of the joke (e.g., Hitler).  As it is, I happen to like Americans as a whole, and found unpleasant, and unfunny, this wholesale attack on them, especially when the sole virtuous role was assigned to someone representative of a group that does not, through its spokespeople show Americans much good will.  (And here comes the usual disclaimer, and I do mean it, that there are millions of good, law-abiding, pro-American Muslims in our country, and even around the world.  Nevertheless, many of their religion have distinguished themselves lately by the fervor with which they state their desire to destroy us.  The New York Times has a good rundown on some of these homegrown terrorists and their computers.)

I opened this post with my opinion of the show.  Having read my pretty accurate summary, I’d like to know what you think.

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Comments

  1. Ymarsakar says

    There are many millions of good and professional people that believe in free and pre-paid healthcare as well, Book, but they aren’t the ones making policy usually.

  2. Ymarsakar says

    Now, having seen the show, I’m even more disheartened.

    I was watching Heroes on netflix, and it was a relatively good take on multiple cultures or situations.

  3. Trimegistus says

    Americans are the enemy, if you’re a modern liberal. They hate us with the same fanatical intensity that the jihadis do, and that’s why they sympathize so strongly.

    Why do they hate us? The liberals, I mean. I’m not sure. Unhappy childhoods? The desire to seem smart and better than the herd? I don’t really know, but it’s there. Occasionally it slips out in conversation — some absolutely contemptuous remark about American stupidity or lack of culture, or a startlingly wrongheaded remark about how we exploit the rest of the world.

    I honestly believe it’s pathological. Seriously. I think there’s some kind of organic brain defect which makes liberals unable to relate to their own culture, or unable to be happy in the society which produced them.

  4. expat says

    I meant the “why do they hate us?” facetiously, although I agree that the libs have some sort of pathology. My point was that people in other countries are going to take this as a realistic picture of America, especially as it confirms what they’ve been told all their lives.

  5. Mike Devx says

    It’s getting more and more difficult to watch the “entertainment” I’m receiving from my TV. Things were bad enough when the idiot box was filled with harmless fluff. These days the anti-tradition, anti-values, multi-culti, hate-America message is being pounded at us ceaselessly.

    If you’re lucky, the worst effect is a steady stream of ennui and meaninglessness directed at you. Then there are programs like this one that Book is discussing, which are actively hateful towards the majority of Americans and the values they hold.

    My only question is, how much of vitriol is conscious and deliberate? The writers are in the cadre of true believers in their new society. Are they simply mindlessly broadcasting their message, or is much of this deliberate?

    Once you recognize the nature of this programming that is inundating you, you can resist it. But the children, the young adults, and even our less-than-perceptive college student bodies receive this programming without questioning much or any of it.

    As they move into adulthood, hopefully their suspicions will be raised and they’ll start resisting the message. But after all these years of programming – which most of us NEVER received in front of our version of the idiot tube, years ago – after all that programming, will they end up resisting the nihilistic, anti-American vision that has been streaming into their heads their whole lives?

  6. says

    Having seen the commercials for this “comedy” I knew right off that I wouldn’t watch. You’ve cemented that choice for me. LOL

    Hollywood against the USA. Not very original of them, but nothing new there.

  7. says

    My only question is, how much of vitriol is conscious and deliberate? The writers are in the cadre of true believers in their new society. Are they simply mindlessly broadcasting their message, or is much of this deliberate?

    That’s sort of like asking “are human shields deliberately trying to save Saddam and kill more civilians”. Maybe, maybe not.

    You never know what is going on up in that compartamentalized landscape the Left calls a mind, Mike. What you or I might see as logical, would seem completely disjointed in such a landscape.

    My only question is, how much of vitriol is conscious and deliberate?

    I still haven’t figured out how many Leftists are self-aware and conscious. Once I figure that out, maybe I’ll work on the vitriol part.

    Zombietime, just to remind people of the theme.

  8. says

    I opened this post with my opinion of the show. Having read my pretty accurate summary, I’d like to know what you think.

    I think you should stop watching poison, Book. It is not good for your aura, after all.

    Teenage daughter is refused admission on the cheer leading team because she’s soft on terrorism.

    This kind of stuff does sound hilarious, but only if you, like me, like mayhem and pure destruction. It just seems the more that a project, propaganda or not, seeks to undermine my morale, the more I tend to smile at the futility of such. You know the tricks they are using on you, or you should, yet they are still doing it because there are fools born every second. Sometimes they are born more than once.

    In a way, it is a supreme sort of irony. Human beings operate as a group cooperative with a hierarchical system of command, rather than a hive mentality or a delocalized consciousness. Such traits propelled humanity to the heights of power and mastery, yet it is those same traits that produce our most devastating weaknesses. Weaknesses that humans exploit, for humans know their own weaknesses the best, at least for certain special individuals given that the bell curve still applies even to cooperative groups under a hierarchical chain of command.

    Propaganda, the human sort, would not work very well without human limitations and behaviors to work from, or work at as the case may be.

    After all, if humanity consisted of a hive, then why would anyone bother trying to brainwash the mindless drones? You could, I suppose, do so, but what would be the benefit of trying to fight both evolution and your corporeal foe at the same time? Why not have evolution do its work for your side rather than against it.

    The Left’s weakness is not that they understand humanity so well that they can exploit all our weaknesses. No, rather, the Left’s weakness is that they only understand the negative and subtractive side of human nature. This provides them advantages such as cutting edge, or almost cutting edge, propaganda and illusion production abilities. They can create a fantasy and act as if it is their reality, such is the prowess of the Left’s illusionary capabilities. Greater than any fantasy wizard’s, for even wizard’s must operate within the bounds of reason of one kind or another. The Left has no such boundaries in their mental mindscape.

    As for propaganda, you already know of that which I speak.

    There is a downside to having mastery over only the negative aspects of human nature. The Left doesn’t understand what makes humanity great, what makes cooperation better than parasitism or mutual destruction. How can they? Does a career criminal believe in law and order, or does he believe in chaos and narcissism? Too long living the life of destruction makes you incompatible with creation. The Founding Fathers had to deal with this problem in the form of large standing armies.

    This is the Left’s weakness because true power only comes from mastering both destruction and creation. The ability to kill is always balanced by the ability to protect an entity from death. A human individual’s power is determined by the extent to which he or she can hold mastery over people’s life and their deaths. Some, such as Saddam, can form the illusion that he controls your life, simply by ensuring that your death is his to command. Judicious use of such in collaboration with human weaknesses (family bonds, fear of death, susceptibility to intimidation) and social structures (tribes) can very well lead to the illusion that his power is both balanced and endless. However, regardless of how much a person like Saddam may appear to be powerful, his power is little more than a shadow compared to another individual, the President of the United States.

    The President of the US not only has a balanced set of powers that harness both America’s ability to destroy as well as create, but the President has such powers filtered and cleaned through the balance of power constructed by the US Constitution and its writers. Power is always easiest to use and maintain when it is balanced. After all, Mugabe can kill as many people as he wants, but does that make the economy better just because? No. You cannot convert destruction into creation and vice a versa, you are no god. Not even a minor one. Mugabe and Annan might disagree though.

    When I said before that my primary problem with Bush is that he isn’t killing enough people, it is a simple thing to explain. Having an imbalance in your powers towards either creation or destruction, are both sub-optimal consequences to the misuse of power. Just as government is out of balance when it abuses and misuses the power they are given, individuals are out of balance when they can no longer balance their powers of creation against their powers of destruction. Mugabe and Saddam and Arafat could only kill and destroy, they could not create a better life for their people or create wealth to feed the hungry. They could only steal and destroy what others had. We see them as bad leaders, even as evil individuals. Creation is not the Good and destruction is not the Evil. That is something the Left disagrees with.

    The Left sees both Good and Evil as the same thing, for every servant of entropy knows that both works of good and works of evil will eventually succumb to ultimate decay and dissolution. Whether you are good or evil, does not matter in their eyes, for only their cause justifies the use of their destructive powers. Since good people fight to construct a better life against the ravages of destruction, whether from nature or man, the Left sees good people, Americans for example, as the primary threat to their power structure. Evil people will blow themselves up in time, but good people need a helping hand, you know. That is where the servants of entropy come in, in other words the Left.

    Concerning Bush, his problem is chiefly that he has decided to primarily use the creative side of the President’s power. Such a thing is very imbalanced and is not the balance of powers that the office of the President was optimally designed to run under. This can be expressed in different ways, such as his refusal to destroy Valerie and Wilson Plame, his refusal to destroy his political enemies such as Dan Rather and most of the people at the White House Press Room, and various other things Bush has done in order to take the “high road” as people may describe it.

    Whether you take the high road or the low road, somebody is going to put an IED along the road and try to blow you up. Guaranteed. And if you can’t repair the damage, then you are going to be stuck. And if you can’t kill the people putting those IEDs along your path, then you will have to continuously repair yourself to the point where most of your energies are wasted stuck in one spot more or less. Repair the damage you have taken and then kill the people in your way. Such is the effective solution. Such is the civilized solution. Otherwise your “high road” will become a war pock marked road of death, where civilians fear to tread. Thus cutting off commerce and the transfer of such vital necessities such as medical goods to those that need them.

    A person that wields both sides of the equation, is not guaranteed to be a good person. Hitler after all, derived his powers from both creation (Germany’s civilization and all that that meant) and destruction. When he started to slide into the path of self-destruction, through the purging of Wehrmacht officiers and generals, he started to lose it. This is only to describe how a person wielding the powers of destruction and creation is simply powerful, it is not guaranteed that he will use such powers for the good of others.

    Bush is not a bad person for being imbalanced, he is simply a less effective person. For Arafat, less effectiveness is a good thing, since he can’t kill as many Jews if he is ineffective. Hitler was effective and look what he did.

    People say Bush is Hitler or Bush is like Hitler. That is not really true. Bush simply hasn’t killed enough people to reach the balance Hitler had once achieved.

    On a topic I wrote about before, the Left’s weakness is a blind spot in their strategies. Regardless of how powerful you are in the arts of destruction, character assassination, actual assassination, or terrorism, you are still nowhere near as powerful as those that can wield both the power to create and the power to destroy. Even if they can’t destroy in the numbers and manner that terrorists can destroy, they make up for it in other ways.

    To use the tactic that Sparta used to defeat Athens in the Peloponessian War, the Left can be defeated by beating them at their game. Because destruction and hurting people is the only tools in their arsenal, then if you strip them of such then they are weaponless and therefore useless. Not even their loyal adherents will stay loyal to an ineffective and toothless organization. Even Leftists have their pride and their families to think of.

    To elaborate, Sparta was a land power with their elite hoplite armies while Athens was a sea (imperial) power with a strong navy. Sparta defeated Athens by copying Athenian warship designs and building a Spartan fleet, which then defeated Athens’ fleet. Athens then surrendered. This is how deadlocks are broken in military strategy.

    The reason why Athens and Sparta sat around staring each other in the face for decades is because Athens knew Sparta was strong on land therefore Athens avoided a direct confrontation on land. Sound familiar? Asymmetrical warfare wasn’t first developed by the Soviets and Vietnamese, after all. The Democrats and their Leftist allies know that they are weak in creation, in that they can’t really back their promises on anything except their promise to destroy their enemies and destroy everything around their enemy, including maybe you and the global economy. So, they know their weakness and therefore avoids it. They set themselves up so that people can’t tell that they failed. Now, you can try to tell the truth and try to educate folks, but the Left will continue to avoid and dodge and evade much as Athens avoided the Spartan army for years and years. There will not be a decisive battle between the Left and Right, that then resolves things and everyone lives happily ever after.

    You need a decisive defeat of one side or the other. Or maybe a string of decisive defeats for the Left, given how politics work. Decisive victories are like Fallujah 2. Indecisive engagements are like Fallujah 1. You see, a decisive victory is one that eliminates the vast majority of your enemy’s forces. By destroying your enemy’s ability to fight, you destroy his will to fight. It is both a material victory and a psychological victory all in one. This is compared to Tet, where the US won materially but lost psychologically. Funny how that works.

    Guerrilla forces, terrorist forces, and Leftist revolutionaries will avoid a decisive conflict in order to protect their known weaknesses. Their known ability to only be able to undermine and destroy, rather than being able to create something stronger and better. This is not (just) because they are bad people, but rather because of how they are set up. Civilizations can’t be run on a cell based system, you know.

    An applicable example of the Left receiving a resounding defeat was the January 1 Purple Episode. The media and the Left believed their predictions of violence, they believed that this was true and would happen, therefore they believed it to be one of their strong points. Then when reality happened that their strong point was defeated, they retreated and went to lick their wounds. They were routed, essentially. Because this was not planned, or rather it was not planned as an action to destroy the US media aka domestic insurgents, the routed fighters were allowed to regroup and heal. Usually in the ancient days, soldiers that rout drop their weapons and armor in order to run faster than the enemy’s soldiers. This is why good commanders often had light cavalry ready to chase down the enemy’s routed soldiers in order to achieve a decisive victory. A victory where you don’t just “defeat” the enemy, but rather you “destroy” the enemy.

    Soldiers in Iraq often conduct counter-ambushes, because Al Qaeda will always run away in other situations. Counter-ambushes are essentially where you walk into an ambush knowing in advance that there is an ambush in that specific time/place. You walk into that ambush and then pin down the ambushers, then you activate the units you prepared beforehand to encircle and destroy the ambushers. The hunter now have become the hunted, and soon to be the deaded.

    This is all to address the timeless dirge that the Left often uses, where they say “you can’t defeat terrorists by using terrorism”. Actually, you can. Just as Sparta defeated a power, that was based on the sea, by becoming a sea power themselves. It is a truism of war that the longer you fight an enemy, the more like that enemy you will become. This is just how it is. Something else that the Left doesn’t understand, for no matter how long they fight people that wish to make a better world, the Left will never become a force for a better world. Not even close.

    Terrorism is a tactic, is that not what they say. You can’t fight a tactic, they say. The War on Terrorism is a meaningless name, they say. Well, of course it is, for terrorism is simply the targeting of civilians in order to instill terror on the power that the civilians wield over the military and the foreign policy of their country. Terrorists use such tactics because they are weak everywhere else, they cannot invade and do conventonal warfare because they suck at conventional warfare. This is their weakness much as it is the Left’s weakness that the Left cannot take something and make it better. But the Left and the terrorists “know” that it istheir weakness, thus they spend a lot of fortifying it against attack. Just as Saddam knew where he was weak and took the time Bush spent at the UN, in preparing the arms and the money to kill Americans with an insurgency. AQ didn’t just happen to link up with Sunni Baathists, after all. This has to do with what Sun Tzu advised, in that when an enemy knows he has a weakness and takes the time to fortify it against attack, then his weakness becomes a strength. This also means his strength becomes his weakness, because now where he is strong, he is weak, whereas where he was weak, he was now strong against attacks. War is mercurial in this sense, or the fog of war likes to play tricks on our eyes.

    Attack the weakness, but sometimes where an enemy is weak, it is where he is strong or where he thinks he is strong. The media thought they were strong and confident when reporting that the January first elections in Iraq would be a downright disaster and embarassment for the United States military, the media’s undying foes. (look at California, just in case you doubt) Saddam thought he was strong when he invaded Kuwaitt. Osama thought he was making a show of strength when he attacked on 9/11.

    Over-confidence at the edge of victory, can turn victory into defeat. The opposite can also happen, ironically, as you all know with Tet.

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