IN DEFENSE OF THE GUT

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The fact proves the intellectual.

But in most circles, we graciously don’t press the intellectual to see how factual the fact proving the intellectual’s intellectualism is.

Intellectualism implies civility. It would be rude to ask, “How many actual facts do you have, and how many facts, and what kinds of facts, reside behind your facts?”

It is enough to be confidently in favor of facts, and say with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” Yes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan! To be an intellectual is to never question this wisdom.

Here’s what intellectuals like to ask these days. “When did America become untethered from reality?” So begins an essay, How America Lost Its Mind, by Kurt Andersen in September’s Atlantic. It’s long. You can just read this one, instead. Anderson starts his piece by quoting talk show host Stephen Colbert satirizing right wingers (the bad guys):

Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books—they’re all fact, no heart… Face it, folks, we are a divided nation… divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart… Because that’s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen—the gut.

Brilliant satire, this. Thanks, Stephen Colbert!

Colbert, and Andersen—who runs with this glib anti-gut philosophy in his article—surely knows, however, that truth is never a pile of facts. Facts are a given. Facts are so numerous that to say one is in favor of facts is to assert nothing. The “gut” (as anyone knows) is simply a metaphor for what selects facts, interprets facts, combines facts, and decides on an action in the face of too many facts for any of us to comprehend.

This is the important fact: facts are never enough, and sometimes too much, in themselves. There is no “division.” We need 1. facts (actually they are everywhere—we don’t need them, but we do need to weed them out) and 2. a gut to make sense of them.

Before we get too comfortable with Colbert’s easy “division” between head and gut, we should understand that not all facts are created equal.

The eye (that is, the gut) of da Vinci, the artist, who created the Mona Lisa, has nothing to do with the Panama Canal, or when it was finished. The fact that the Panama Canal was finished in 1914 is not a particularly useful fact, unless you are an historian looking at a certain era, or you are playing a Trivia game. If you asked a thousand readers of The Atlantic when the Panama Canal was finished, 999 would be ignorant of this particular fact. The fact-lover would need to go into a book—and perhaps never come out.

Kepler, the scientist, was the first to observe the fact of elliptical orbits—and…(wait for it) discover the significance of the fact—the universal law of gravity. Kepler’s “gut” found out the fact, the fact which solved what—to everyone else in the universe, awash in facts—was a puzzle.

Before Kepler, the fact of elliptical orbits was a mystery.  A fact. But a mystery. They can be the same.

All facts are mysteries until the gut comes along.

“Division” is the last thing we want here, despite Colbert’s point. This fake “division” distorts what facts are, and what scientists do.

To fancy oneself superior to the heart, or the gut, is the last refuge of the intellectual-who-is-never-befuddled.

The crucial understandings are those which help airplanes and missiles to navigate the atmosphere, automobiles to navigate roads, farms to produce, electronics to project images and sound, humans to live and create.

The correct divide is not the one created by intellectuals to feel superior to those governed by the “heart;” if we really want to call attention to a divide, it would be between important understandings and trivial facts—a divide not usually pointed out by the fanciful, divisive intellectual.

Different kinds of facts merge in a manner which recommends gut as more important than fact.

There is the fact of a quickly moving baseball, and the fact of the baseball player who, armed with no facts whatsoever, hits that baseball.

I saw the baseball. But I couldn’t hit it.

I saw in the Encyclopedia Britannica that the Panama Canal was completed in 1914.

Hurray!

I’m an intellectual who writes for The Atlantic!

As we might expect, Andersen’s piece in the distinguished but fussy old magazine which first published Henry James is nothing more than a small, glittering pile of facts. There is no philosophy, no gut, no heart. It is a mere recounting of opinions which “they,” or sometimes “we Americans,” or, “one-third of all Americans,” once upon a time (ah, history!) held. The reader is made to assume, meanwhile, (on pure faith,) that Kurt Andersen and his friends live in a “reality-based community.” Buzz words—pro-abortion, climate change, Monica Lewinsky, Lee Harvey Oswald, 9/11, UFOs, God—are dangled in proximity to the wonderful notion that “facts”—which are assumed to belong, as we read the essay, solely to Kurt Andersen—are a good thing.

Andersen’s topic is credulity (how ironic!) and he informs us this—universal—phenomenon resides only in a certain time and place.

Credulity began, according to Andersen, in America, in the 1960s, coinciding with Andersen’s childhood—a coincidence, perhaps. Seances were all the rage in the early 19th century, and credulity abounds in all nations and eras, but Andersen mentions no other time and place. (Except, very briefly, P.T. Barnum is alluded to, associated with Trump.) The small scope of Andersen’s essay is stunning.

Andersen’s narrow view serves his thesis well, however; he blames the phenomenal growth of American credulity on the Internet, Rush Limbaugh, and the fall of the Fairness Doctrine, which would have helped to suppress ideas Andersen dislikes. Freedom of speech, exchange of information, and democracy are great, Andersen admits, but freedom shouldn’t go “overboard.” (!!)

And in the 1990s, as the Right gained ascendancy, it did!

Andersen has a soft spot for Nixon, whom his parents, level-headed in every way, supported, and perhaps this is why, in his essay, he makes more than a passing mention of Cuckoo’s Nest, Esalen Institute nuttiness, and general conspiratorial paranoia, on the Left. A small window of time, existed, he tells us, once in the mid 60s, and then once again in the late 70s, when the Left was crazier than the Right.

When he reaches our present day, the only pro-Trump credulity he can come up with is the one about the popular vote.

Very disappointing.

Wasn’t Andersen going to show us how, since that awful day in November 2016, America was more “untethered from reality” than ever?

He fails.

There is no point to his essay.

He obviously needed more facts.

Has anyone seen the Encyclopedia Britannica?

 

WHAT IS FAKE NEWS?

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The mainstream corporate media is losing its Big Brother authority.

The internet is making news more democratic.

The mainstream corporate media will, of course, try to fight back, and their chief strategy, at the moment, is calling non-corporate news “fake news.”  And, further, saying that conservatives are more likely to report “fake news.” And further, implying that most “conservatives” are “white nationalists.”

But the genie is out of the bottle.

The latest federal election, and democratic conversation/sharing on the internet (because news is more than facts—it is also which facts one chooses to share) has exposed corporate media as the most dangerous purveyors of fake news.

There’s democracy.

There’s crazy.

And then there’s the truly crazy: the mainstream corporate media.

Here’s a radical idea. We don’t need anything resembling a mainstream media.

There’s only two things that matter: 1. The people and 2. the government. These two are sacred. Human happiness on one hand; keepers of the contract, on the other.

The media is merely an extension of how these two sacred entities talk to each other. And, if “the media” can’t agree, if “the media” is full of “fake news” agencies, and is a chorus of warring opinions, this is good for democracy.

A ‘one voice’ media is the greatest enemy of democracy.

So if president-elect Trump talks to Taiwan, he does so as our elected official.  The media should not 1. Talk in any official capacity to Taiwan. 2. Be privy to exactly what is spoken between our elected official and Taiwan. 3. Tell the elected official whether or not he can talk to Taiwan. 4. Tell the elected official what to say to Taiwan.  The “media” is nothing but a meddling interloper if it assumes it can do any of these things. The corporate media in the United States, until very recently, has been such a powerful influence in every person’s life, that this may come as a surprise to some. But soon it will not be a surprise, since the corporate media is being replaced by the democratic internet, and the truth is now apparent: all along, the media was simply a physical entity to help government and people communicate with each other—it was not meant to replace the government’s role, nor the people’s role to interpret all actions of government for themselves.

There is nothing sacred about CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post or CBS. Or even PBS. These organizations belong to a physical entity—which serves not government, not the people, but the widest possible interpretation of the government’s actions and the people’s responses to those actions. The media’s job is not to be the final word, or fact, on anything. This is absolutely not what the media is for, and, in fact, anyone who believes this is the media’s role, believes in tyranny, not democracy.

We can argue about “fake news” forever as we wander into that accusatory hall of mirrors, in which various media outlets claim a sacred legitimacy—but this would be to miss a much larger, and much more important point.  Warring opinions mean less war. Freedom of speech means disagreement, never agreement; for if agreement were ever reached, freedom of speech would then be irrelevant.

The greatest enemy of civilization is slander.  We should not fear “fake news,” per se; what we truly need to guard against, beyond simple errors of fact (a mundane topic), is slander.

In a recent Washington Post piece, “How The War Against Fake News Backfired,” which attempts to be the ‘voice of reason’ on “fake news,” the term “white nationalist” is affixed to “conservative” in a (fake casual) manner that implies these terms mean the same thing.  This Washington Post rhetoric is dangerously fake and injurious—as bad as anything a “fake news” outlet might serve up.

The media belongs to the realm of opinion, not governance.  The media impacts government in the same way the opinion of a jury impacts the law—the opinion of the media is not, in itself, important; only the freedom of opinion presented in the media is important.

The only way to keep this great wrong—slander—in check, is to seek facts, and how they are being interpreted, in many quarters—to listen, not sometimes, but always, to every side.

Long live democracy.

Long live fake news.

I READ THE NEWS TODAY OH BOY.

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The top ten reasons Trump defeated Hillary Clinton for the U.S. Presidency:

10. The Rising Cost of Obamacare

9. Hillary Is A Crook, Gets Away With It, And No One In Washington Cares

8. Hillary Failed To Articulate, In Person, What She Was Going To Do When Elected

7. White Guys Are Tired Of Being Called Racists And People In General Are Sick Of Anti-People Identity Politics

6. Hillary’s Entire Message Was: “Trump’s Gross, Vote For Me.”  Really? With Your Marriage? And Your Corruption?

5. Town Versus Gown.  Liberal Arts Colleges Produce Pointy-Headed Liberals—And Little Else.  The Real World Bit Hillary

4. Taxes, Regulations, and Trade.  Trump Offered Hope For A Sluggish U.S. Economy With A Staggering Debt (Rust Belt, Especially)

3. Hillary’s Open Border/Globalist/Destruction Of The Middle East/Pro-ISIS/Pro-NATO/Make Russia The “Aggressor”/Policy.

2. Some Read Wikileaks, Got Outside the Liberal Echo Chamber, And Lost Trust In The Mainstream, Corporate Media

1. Hollywood Is Boring And SNL Isn’t Funny

THE VOTE FOR NOTHING

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“In Fum-Fudge great is a Lion with a proboscis, but greater by far is a Lion with no proboscis at all.” Lionizing, Edgar Poe

There is a vote for nothing.

We can desire nothing. We can think of nothing. We can move towards nothing.

We can choose nothing.

It is a very pleasant thing.  I think I will do nothing today.

We love and need and want nothing, like nothing else.

When love speaks to us—and what is more desired than love?—it whispers “sweet nothings.”

When we are in pain, we always feel something: whatever is hurting us, we feel.

The opposite of pain is simply to feel—nothing.

To feel nothing is bliss.

When we are truly comfortable with a friend, we can be at ease with them—doing nothing. That’s the test of friendship.

In friendship, in love, we find it meaningful and reassuring and pleasant to be next to someone we care about, doing absolutely nothing.

Nothing is the elixir of those voting for Hillary.

Voters for Trump want lower taxes and less regulations to stimulate business and grow the economy and create jobs and wealth.  They want borders against illegal immigrants for the safety and success of all Americans. Things like that. Agree with it, or not, to vote for Trump is to vote for something.

Likewise, with Jill Stein.  One votes for her to help protect the environment.

The libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.  We know what that means. You are voting for the philosophy of less government and more individual freedom regarding issues that don’t harm others.

Ah, but none of these votes reach the profound bliss of nothing.

These voting choices preach good, but good with conditions: goods which are good, but which must be worked for.

But a vote for Hillary.

What is a vote for Hillary?

It is a vote for nothing.

Many people are voting for Hillary just… because… she is… a woman.

Just as strong friendships exist when two friends can hang out together doing nothing, so it is with the unconditional love of one woman for another.

You are a woman.  She is a woman. That’s it. That’s enough. It is nice just knowing there is another one similar to you in your presence. And of course this can work with any group with which you identify.

Just wanna be with my peeps. Nothing more.

It is the utterly simple companionship based on nothing—just two people occupying the same space together, in the simplest kind of empathy.  Nothing else is required.  Nothing.

What did Hillary do when she was a senator?  Everyone agrees.  Nothing.

In any manner that can be measured, in terms of speech, or policy, or legislation—what has she contributed?  Nothing.

What is her legacy?  Nothing.

Hillary is most famous for the nothing of erased emails, the nothing of vanished documents, the nothing of unnamed villains conspiring to make it seem she has done something wrong.

In Hillary’s case, we look in vain for something.  Does she have a personality?  Is there anything, when we look at her?

No. There is nothing.

A vote for Hillary says: let the future be the same as the present.  No change, please.  Nothing.

It is her secret appeal, if she has one.  No, there isn’t any appeal.

But of course, it is a greater appeal than any other.

The appeal of, and for, nothing.

And to argue with the Hillary Clinton status quo of blissful, unthinking nothing?  Is there anything we can say?

No. There is nothing.

We argue for—something—in vain.

 

 

 

 

ZOMBIES

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In the third debate, Hillary Clinton promised she would not increase America’s national debt by “one penny.”

Under Obama, the national debt increased from 10 to 20 trillion dollars.

Hillary has promised not to raise taxes on the middle class.

Where’s her tax revenue coming from, then, to pay down the debt?

We know she’s in with Wall Street, so she certainly won’t add taxes to the rich.  She won’t bite the hand that feeds her.  That’s not her style.  She certainly never bit the husband who fed her.

With America’s growth rate currently at 1%, there is no way the debt does not go up astronomically under Hillary.

So her claim that she will not increase the national debt by “one penny” is a complete lie.   Fact-check, please!

So what is she going to do?  She will “invest” in “jobs…” or something.  She says she will invest in women and green jobs (though Stein and Bernie supporters doubt this) and even so, this has little to do with the hard economics upon which everything else rests. Hillary will spend a lot, and continue the current U.S. policy of crushing and destabilizing the Middle East, and the debt will increase.

Maybe one question everyone should be asking: If the debt increases to 40 trillion, does it matter?

But no one talks about that.  Because that would involve thinking.  And Zombies don’t think.  “I-will-not-increase-the-debt-by-one-penny.”  That’s better. That’s how you talk to zombies.

The elimination of Glass/Steagall (which separated investment from retail banking) by Bill Clinton and the support by congressman Barney Frank (D) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led to the housing crash; yet somehow Hillary manages to blame the debt of 20 trillion on Bush, because he happens to be a Republican.  This is what the Democrat Zombies do: just the blame Republicans.  The zombie army will follow, to the ends of the earth.

Trump says he will cut taxes, and Hillary’s canned response is: you’re cutting taxes on the rich! This is what the Democrats always say, ever since Reagan cut taxes, and increased tax revenues.  Zombies go berserk when they hear this. A couple of sentences can explain why tax cuts are good: but the stupid Republicans, who are also zombies, stare into space, and let the retort, “you hate the poor, and love the rich!” go unanswered.

It’s not about Republicans and Democrats.

It’s about how vile and stupid the United States has become.

The Republicans should explain it this way: it’s not tax cuts for the rich; it’s tax cuts for job creation and growth.

If you have two modestly successful corporations taxed at 50%, this will bring in far less tax revenue than if you have 10 very successful corporations taxed at 25%.  Yet, for Democrats, strangling business in the cradle by over-taxing and over-regulating (enriching the lawyer class) is good.  Because it hurts “the rich.”  So the zombies march to the unemployment lines, happy, because at least the Democrats are punishing “the rich.”

My local ABC news affiliate, after the debate, had two “experts” weigh in, so that the zombies watching the telly could quickly grasp the significance of what they just viewed, and both the Democrat and the Republican talking heads said the same thing: “Hillary won the debate. Trump said stupid things. Hillary will win the election.”  Both of them.  Like zombies.  Especially bad for Trump—said the Democrat media zombie—was Trump’s statement that he wouldn’t accept the results of the election.  But as Trump said in a speech the next day, why should he agree to accept the results of the election when there is precedence for candidates having the right to question the election results: think Gore in 2000.  It’s done all the time. The media zombie was only talking like a—zombie.

Hillary has promised to not add “one penny” to the debt.  Yes, and maybe she won’t add any CO2 to the atmosphere, either.

The winner of this election will be the one who hides their creepiness the best.

Sex not only sells, it distracts. “Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” shouted at a Democrat in 1967,  has been replaced, in 2016, by “Bill Clinton is a rapist!”

I think we should just sing ’60s songs.

“In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass. And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen He likes to keep his fire engine clean. It’s a clean machine”

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NIXON’S COMING. IT’S HILLARY

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a community forum on healthcare, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, at Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa. Clinton broke her longstanding silence over the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, telling voters at a campaign stop in Iowa on Tuesday that she opposes the project assailed by environmentalists. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Something is happening to the American electorate.

It’s getting very old.

The American progressive is now an old person, no longer excitable, but quietly pleased by issues that excite: All races and all sexual preferences having sex freely and openly! And fuck those bitter, uptight racist, religious people who oppose it! Yeaaaaaa!

Well, they’re old now. They’ve survived. They collect. They move slowly. So they don’t say, “yeaaaaaa!” They say, “yea.”

These progressives don’t mind that Bill Clinton was “unfaithful.” Only uptight prudes—not super cool progressives—care about that.

So much are old boomers willing to make a stand against prudes, the fact that Bill may have preyed upon women as a rapacious, privileged, white male is quickly dismissed—even by feminist progressives.

Just as Obama bailing out the banks, and doubling the gigantic debt, merits hardly a whisper.

Find fault with Obama?

Not cool!

The American two party system requires you make a choice. You can’t be in the middle. You can’t be reasonable. You are either cool. Or you are not.

Kennedy was 43 when he assumed the presidency, the first Catholic president of the United States. His youthful charisma was too much for “old” homely Nixon (4 years older than Kennedy) the VP of war hero Dwight Eisenhower.

Here in 1960 the template was established: Democrats young, progressive, and cool.

Republicans old and prudish. “Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!”

But communists were not cool. Kennedy attacked communist Cuba. Kennedy/Johnson attacked communist Vietnam.

Communists were the enemy because America’s greatness existed for one simple reason:

They made and built things on a grand scale.

For America, the condition of the workers (communist issue) was not as important as the fact that Americans built things quickly for a world market. Workers need to sacrifice! After all, there’s a war on!

A war against communism. A war against Islam. A war against dictators. A war against greedy taxpayers.

The key word is sacrifice.

Conservatives want to be comfortable.

Progressives, like the old Christians, sacrifice.

As cool as Kennedy was, there’s always a war the cool people have to fight. Wealth is measured, for cool people, not in good wages and property (middle class Republican issue) but by a war that needs to be fought: freeing up all people to be cool in ways that the cool people continually define, depending on who is trying to define them at any given moment. This mission attracts adaptable, intelligent, people—willing to make great sacrifices: and this is always a recipe for uncanny success.

Abstract painting was subsidized by the CIA as a weapon against the art of  Soviet Realism. Cool is literally a geo-political weapon for the intelligent, adaptable, boundary-pushing, progressive. Playboy magazine ridiculed homely Russian women “pinups” posing on Soviet tractors, while interviewing president Jimmy Carter about his sex fantasies.

Old progressive boomers probably have trouble recalling that the coolness of Kennedy once meant opposing communism.

The Democrats (the cool people) constantly adapt, but stick to their mission of making sacrifices and fighting for ideals. So the Carter democrats who emerged when Carter won the presidency in 1976, post-Vietnam and post-Watergate, the template-era of Kennedy/Nixon drawing to a close, were not Kennedy democrats—but yes, they were still the same: they were just on a different mission.

Unfortunately for the Carter democrats, the middle class Republican issue of wages and living standards rose up as the Carter economy tanked, and Reagan, representing the greedy taxpayers who wanted lower taxes, swept into office. But homely Jimmy Carter was still cool. Because the enemy, in this case, greedy taxpayers (family-oriented conservatives who were brutally and simplistically materialistic), still existed for progressives to hate. And with the Iran hostage crisis, radical Islam merged with communism as a mission to be solved by cool US idealism.

The Soviet Empire fell in an orgy of good feeling (the Soviets were horribly uncool so that U.S. Republicans and Democrats actually saw eye to eye for a shining instant) but now the globalist era of Bushes and Clintons began, and sex, race, and climate emerged in a progressive explosion that said goodbye to the America of manufacturing might and hello to the America of college loan debt, off shore banks, and environmental lawyers.

So here we have Hillary: as the old new Nixon.

How can this be?

Because old age has trumped progressivism.

Progressives who were 18 when Kennedy was shot (and listening to 1963 Lesley Gore’s hit “You Don’t Own Me,” produced by Quincy Jones) and, at 21, protested LBJ’s war, are now old, and still progressive, but in ways that obey party, not conscience.

LBJ was a Democrat, but that didn’t stop progressives from going after him because of Vietnam.

Today, Democrats do anything they want, and progressives hardly make a peep. Just look at cowed Bernie Sanders.

Establishment Democrats make greater and more exaggerated shows of hyperbolic progressivism to cover up the fact that their globalist, corporate mission of New World Order thievery and robbery is the sacrificing idealism which they live by: invade Cuba, bomb Vietnam, ruin the economy, destabilize the Middle East—but keep being cool re: blacks and women.

Hillary lost to the charismatic Obama just as Nixon lost to the charismatic JFK.

Nixon defeated Humphrey, the VP of Lyndon Johnson, Vietnam war villain.

Hillary now seeks to win over Trump, a Republican, who because of this party label, is associated with Bush, Iraq war villain.

And just as Nixon represented Cold War globalism, Hillary is a sworn enemy of Putin and Russia and is also a globalist. Hillary favors an aggressive NATO. She’s more hawkish than Trump.

Nixon was once on a mission (kitchen debate with Kruschev) to prove U.S. cooler than villainous Soviet Russia.

The Silent Majorty who supported Nixon are the now elderly Hillary supporters—who don’t like “rude tweets” and demand “silence” before the documented corruption of Bill and Hillary.

Hillary has tons of “experience,” just as Nixon had tons of “experience” when he triumphed in 1969, starting with his election to the House of Representatives in 1946.

Obama, during the DNC, claimed Hillary had more experience than even he did, which was Barack’s way of saying he was still young, like JFK, and she was old, like Nixon. Nixon won in 1969, promising to end the War, a legacy of the Democrats—and JFK’s ghost was probably rooting for Nixon, since Kennedy’s war in Vietnam had been turned into a napalm debacle by LBJ, his VP. Obama, the charismatic JFK of the Dems, is officially rooting for Hillary.

Some defenders of Hillary admit that Bill and Hillary, as persons, are repulsive, but they are voting for things like women’s rights and the EPA.

Nixon founded the EPA.

Hillary strongly supports Israel.

So did Nixon, in the Yom Kippur war in 1973, which led to the Middle East oil embargo, the Oil Crisis of 1973 which shocked the US economy—and some say the US economy has never been the same, and the Middle East has been punished in various ways ever since—an important role Hillary, learning from Henry Kissinger, played as Secretary of State.

But the destruction of the Middle East is selective: Hillary’s Clinton Foundation gets money from anti-gay, anti-women’s rights Saudis. She follows the money.

No rude tweets about Bill and Hillary, please.

This is Silent Majority politics as usual.

The last gasp of old boomers in a nostalgic, progressive-yet-not, haze.

No longer progressive.

But very smart.

Self-sacrificing.

On a mission.

And still cool? Sort of?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CREEP FACTOR

Good comes out of evil and evil comes out of good.

The American people are faced with the following—we see it coming and cannot avoid it:

Either Donald Trump or Bill Clinton will live in the White House by early next year.

The creep factor has never been so high, or so visible, in the American republic.

And yet, if good does come out of evil, the 2016 presidential election will give us all a powerful, unavoidable lesson—things associated with ambition and leadership have a very high creep factor.

This useful understanding will hit us hard: those who live and work in a modest, humble, manner for themselves and their loved ones are the true owners of themselves.

A great, unspoken backlash against creepiness will occur.  Millions of Americans who quietly view the horrid spectacle unfolding in front of them will feel that the greatest virtue and the greatest happiness is honesty, hard work, good taste, intelligence, modesty, ingenuity, and kindness.

This is not to say that one cannot feel a certain pride—for whatever reason—for a particular candidate: this is not a lecture against whomever you might favor; this is not the point of this essay, and as much as democracy always seems troubling, this is okay—what we are merely trying to point out is that the general feeling of creepiness and revulsion and disgust Americans feel right now, in the summer of this election year, in reaching a fever pitch of mass recognition, will trigger a healthy purging, a new and radical appreciation among the American populus of real virtue—and this virtue will naturally and quietly grow tremendously in value.

The creep factor is a safety measure which protects us against wrong; it cannot be intellectualized away; we know it the way we know the smell of sour milk.

The creepy does not have to rise to the level of crime to be noticed—and this is what makes it such an important warning device, and also why it belongs so powerfully to both social relations and aesthetics; it is not ignored, because it can’t be, even though it is often pushed under the rug of public discourse.

Now, the creep factor does interact with libel and slander, and, if there is a question of facts—and we are falsely suspecting creepiness based on hearsay—this obviously is an issue.

But this is something which cannot be denied by the individual who feels it.  It doesn’t have to smell (alluding to our earlier “sour milk” analogy)—it can be known without a doubt even as “the creep” in question denies it, has supporters in high places, has respectability, is liked by many, and even has certain admirable qualities.  The creep factor is something we feel in our bones, even as it flies under legal or public detection.  It can be sensed, even if there is no “smell” at all.  The “creep” can play victim; “the creep” can play all sorts of games, and these games, even when they gain “the creep” public support, only increase the creep factor in our eyes.

It is safe to say that because of the choice we have for president this year, one does not have to get into the pros and cons of either one of the candidates to simply and factually state that, in total, the creep factor of public life in America has never been so high.  We can bemoan this fact, or we can see the good in it: it will lead to a healthy backlash against creepiness in nearly every corner of America.

Some will argue that when creepiness reaches a tipping point in our leaders, a tipping point in public, followers and private individuals will feel the urge to be more creepy, as well.

This may be true up to a point, but the creep factor, thanks to the current election, is so pervasive now, and is felt so significantly in the body politic, that shame and disgust will set in to such an extent that great numbers of citizens, without thinking, will turn in the other direction.

And, as we said, the creep factor affects us—who are not making judgments in a court of criminal law—rather in a social or aesthetic manner; this is the luxury we have as citizens free of the creep factor ourselves: we judge with our more gentle feelings (acute—but gentle) and not in full-blown rage, or malice.  Creepiness is not the same as crime—as when, for instance, a tyrant murders citizens in full view of all and the cowed citizenry’s inaction becomes a license for more terror.

The real and harmful violence of nations (including those of the United States) is certainly a factor that may overlap with a leader’s or a country’s creep factor—but it’s the very nature of the creep factor to belong to the aesthetic realm, occupying that crucial area between warning and harm; the greatest pain and ultimate doom has not yet occurred, and there is still hope.  Without the creep factor as a warning, the human race may have been wiped out long ago.

The creep factor is not conscience or morality; it works at a far more sensitive level, the place where flowers cast forth their delicate perfumes; the place where very small children shyly cling to the necks of their mothers and hide their faces; the place where a secret heart beats loudly, almost in spite itself, for the deepest, sweetest, and purest love, in the throes of the kindest and sweetest ecstasy; and in the place where the superior edge of the musical or poetic genius is felt, and understood, and known.

The creep factor can manifest itself in countless situations, and those who desperately cry, “Creep!” may very well be full of creepiness themselves.

Just as we are not “taking sides” on the election, neither are we “taking sides” when it comes to men versus women—or any of those other divides which divide.

The creep factor can go either way.

The creep factor moves, as delicately as any poem, in the invisible air.

 

 

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