Slacktivism or Activism? What Was The Rally To Restore Sanity?

SHARE THIS: Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to MySpaceAdd to NewsvineAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

The Rally to Restore Sanity and or Fear was a collection of educated, self-consciously ironic, snarky left of center or politically apathetic individuals most of whom I would learn had never been to a rally or protest of any kind.

So what was this?

A reaction against reactionaries? A protest against protests? Was this the largest collection of Slacktivists ever assembled in one place?

Or was it possible that Stewart and Colbert had succeeded in creating a kind of gateway drug a slippery slope into a deeper engagement with politics?

Full of Irony and Wit and Signifying nothing?

Creative Commons License
This work by Davis Fleetwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

find Davis Fleetwood on facebook, AlterNet, twitter, & youtube

click for most recent episode

A freelance writer, Davis Fleetwood has worked as a writer/ media consultant for Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign and served as a contributing editorial commentator for The Uptake. His videos have been seen by over 18 million viewers. He has been called (among many other things) “one of the most prominent voices in YouTube politics.” (-You Tube News & Politics chief, Steve Grove) He was a “Best of YouTube, 2007” nomination. His book DROPPIN’ KNOWLEDGE LIKE A CLUMSY LIBRARIAN, is now available from No Cure For That Press, and his first full length feature documentary, MANIFEST DESTINY’S CHILD, is due out on DVD this January.

THE HERMIT WITH DAVIS FLEETWOOD is a sometimes serious, sometimes satiric look at the top headlines, current events, and political trends. The show is Independently produced by a staff of one & runs on the fuel of your individual donations. Click here to Donate.

 

Rand Paul Headstomper Just the Latest Violent Right-Winger

SHARE: Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

by Davis Fleetwood

Tim Proffitt, an angry white guy with back problems, who until a few days ago would have been hard to pick out at any Ayn Randian Regressive Racist, tea bagging event seeing as how he is indistinguishable from the multitudinous middle aged macho Archie Bunkers that populate these events, can now enjoy his fifteen minutes of fame. Congratulations, Tim, when you die people will remember you as that guy who stepped not once, but twice on the back of a 23 year old woman after she was tackled to the ground in a violent attack that left the woman, Lauren Valle, with a concussion and other medical problems.

But Mr. Proffitt was not done.
Continue reading

Dear Jon Stewart, What is a peace loving pinko commie fag to do?

SHARE: Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter
originally published October 4th

Dear Mr. Stewart:

I am one of the growing legion who plan on attending the Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30th, and my hopes are high. Why? Because I am going insane and I would like very much thank you to have my sanity restored.

And because the world we live in, the unfolding 21st century with America behind the wheel is currently in a slow motion suicide; a tragedy fit for Shakespeare, or at the very least-a new Showtime series. And in Shakespeare, it is often the court jesters who exhibit the most wisdom. On Showtime it dope dealing single Mom’s. As appealing as Mary Louise Parker is on weeds, I doubt future generations will be gleaning life lessons from the “Tao of Nancy Botwin.”

So, I’m hoping, Mr.Stewart, that you are onto something as wise – and as funny, as a Shakespearean fool.

Even though my political leanings and yours tilt the same direction, Mr. Stewart, I am going insane. Why? Even just reading the news on a regular basis, and skipping the hyperbolic commentary from the talking head performance artists employed by the FUX news network is enough to make one insane.

For example-take the recent story about US Soldiers in Afghanistan who allegedly keep the fingers from Afghan civilians they had killed as war trophies.

Now, many people will say, you know, that war is ugly. These things happen in war. Don’t criticize the soldiers you pinko commie fag or the next time I see you on the street I will rip your trachea out, put it on a kabob, BBQ it and feed it to your mom! Soldiers fight and die to preserve our way of life-if they want a few fingers then hell, let them take fingers, toes,let them have all the Temporomandibular joints they want!

To which I respond, have you ever had BBQ’d TRACHEA? And, oh, bye the bye, the idea that soldiers fight and die to preserve our way of life has about as much veracity as the combined myths of the tooth fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, and of since the end of WW2, war-covert, overt or otherwise, is the default setting for the US.

Making us a society living in denial. A homicidal denial that has made us – according to your arguments, a very rich people unbothered by the blood on our hands. Is that who really are? A nation of MacBeth’s married to Martha Stewart, with enough products at our disposal to wash all the blood from our hands. “Out Out damn spot?” No problem! Guilt free world domination and a living room ready for a pictorial spread in next months’ Architectural Digest.

So, what is a peace loving pinko commie fag to do? Take to the streets, like they did in the 60s? What did the 60s teach us? After they killed Kennedy Malcolm Martin and Kennedy again, what happened? All those baby boomer hippies put their tails between their legs, got hair cuts, went to work for Wall Street or pharmaceutical firms, getting rich off of creative complex derivative markets and Viagra.

And all of this time US foreign policy has been much the same. Whether it be Jimmy Carter or George Bush in the White House, since Fat Man paid a visit to Hiroshima the underlying assumptions that govern the US role in the world (i.e., – the world is a bad place that needs a cop, and that the US – not the UN or some other coalition-is the only force with the will and moral authority to act as this cop) has not been challenged by many elected officials and by exactly zero Presidents.

And it is this foreign policy-not the fact that Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton walk the red carpet panty-less, that has made radical Islam our enemy. And that is why some of us here on the left have lost our sanity. As distasteful and insane as Rev. Wright can sound, the chickens are indeed coming home to roost.

It has been suggested to me that your call, Mr. Stewart, for a restoration of sanity (equally calling out the extreme elements on the left and the right) is a truly subversive gesture. That reality and sanity, as you have said, have a liberal bias. That the true moderates, the people you affectionately refer to as the “busy majority” want calm dialogue, will become progressives, if given the opportunity to actually have that dialogue.

Or are you just doing this for the ratings?

I suppose to have any kind of effect at all you’ll need both the former and the latter.

- Davis Fleetwood.
October 4, 2010

Will Sanity Be Restored and Fear Be Kept Alive?

By David Swanson. this article originally appeared on Let’s try Democracy
SHARE: Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

“It’s not meant to ridicule activism,” Jon Stewart tells NPR, speaking of his planned rally on the National Mall. But you can see where someone might have gotten that impression. In the video of Stewart’s announcement of the event, he rejects crazy right wing ideas and the idea that Bush allowed 9-11 to happen; he condemns right wing lunacy and the idea that Republicans oppose providing healthcare; he denounces lies and fascism plus daring to accuse war criminals of being war criminals. Stewart opposes activist messages and their messengers.

The problem seems to be, not so much accuracy as inappropriateness and volume. You should not shout anything or say “war criminal,” but you especially should not shout “war criminal!”

Yet such a position cannot avoid the substance of the matter. Assuming that the United States, as is well documented, has been fighting illegal wars, imprisoning, torturing, and murdering, how “sane” can it be to reject any discussion of war criminals — or, for that matter, to allow Tony Blair to come on your program and tell you the United Nations authorized the invasion of Iraq?

If our government is, uniquely among wealthy countries, denying people healthcare, shouldn’t we talk about that? How “sane” can it be to always seek out the middle ground and believe whatever propositions lie halfway between advocacy for peace and justice and advocacy for glorified racist ignorance and corporatism?

Stewart rejects as insane the idea that Bush allowed 9-11 to happen, whether that idea is whispered or shouted. Yet Bush was warned of the possible attack and did nothing, after having refused to prioritize the matter and after having rejected opportunities to bring bin Laden to trial, which would not have pleased the Saudis.
Continue reading

Will Sanity Be Restored and Fear Be Kept Alive?

By David Swanson. this article originally appeared on Let’s try Democracy
SHARE: Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

“It’s not meant to ridicule activism,” Jon Stewart tells NPR, speaking of his planned rally on the National Mall. But you can see where someone might have gotten that impression. In the video of Stewart’s announcement of the event, he rejects crazy right wing ideas and the idea that Bush allowed 9-11 to happen; he condemns right wing lunacy and the idea that Republicans oppose providing healthcare; he denounces lies and fascism plus daring to accuse war criminals of being war criminals. Stewart opposes activist messages and their messengers.

The problem seems to be, not so much accuracy as inappropriateness and volume. You should not shout anything or say “war criminal,” but you especially should not shout “war criminal!”

Yet such a position cannot avoid the substance of the matter. Assuming that the United States, as is well documented, has been fighting illegal wars, imprisoning, torturing, and murdering, how “sane” can it be to reject any discussion of war criminals — or, for that matter, to allow Tony Blair to come on your program and tell you the United Nations authorized the invasion of Iraq?

If our government is, uniquely among wealthy countries, denying people healthcare, shouldn’t we talk about that? How “sane” can it be to always seek out the middle ground and believe whatever propositions lie halfway between advocacy for peace and justice and advocacy for glorified racist ignorance and corporatism?

Stewart rejects as insane the idea that Bush allowed 9-11 to happen, whether that idea is whispered or shouted. Yet Bush was warned of the possible attack and did nothing, after having refused to prioritize the matter and after having rejected opportunities to bring bin Laden to trial, which would not have pleased the Saudis.
Continue reading

An Open Letter to Jon Stewart

Dear Mr. Stewart:

I am one of the growing legion who plan on attending the Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30th, and my hopes are high. Why? Because I am going insane and I would like very much thank you to have my sanity restored.

And because the world we live in, the unfolding 21st century with America behind the wheel is currently in a slow motion suicide; a tragedy fit for Shakespeare, or at the very least-a new Showtime series. And in Shakespeare, it is often the court jesters who exhibit the most wisdom. On Showtime it dope dealing single Mom’s. As appealing as  Mary Louise Parker is on weeds, I doubt future generations will be gleaning life lessons from the “Tao of Nancy Botwin.”

So, I’m hoping, Mr.Stewart, that you are onto something as wise – and as funny, as a Shakespearean fool.

Even though my political leanings and yours tilt the same direction, Mr. Stewart, I am going insane.  Why? Even just reading the news on a regular basis, and skipping the hyperbolic commentary from the talking head performance artists employed by the FUX news network is enough to make one insane.

For example-take the recent story about US Soldiers in Afghanistan who allegedly keep the fingers from Afghan civilians they had killed as war trophies.

Now, many people will say, you know, that war is ugly. These things happen in war. Don’t criticize the soldiers you pinko commie fag or the next time I see you on the street I will rip your trachea out, put it on a kabob,  BBQ it and feed it to your mom! Soldiers fight and die to preserve our way of life-if they want a few fingers then hell, let them take fingers, toes,let them have all the Temporomandibular joints they want!

To which I respond, have you ever had BBQ’d TRACHEA? And, oh, bye the bye, the idea that soldiers fight and die to preserve our way of life has about as much veracity as the combined myths of the tooth fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, and of since the end of WW2, war-covert, overt or otherwise, is the default setting for the US.

Making us a society living in denial. A homicidal denial that has made us – according to your arguments, a very rich people unbothered by the blood on our hands. Is that who really are? A nation of MacBeth’s married to Martha Stewart, with enough products at our disposal to wash all the blood from our hands. “Out Out damn spot?” No problem! Guilt free world domination and a living room ready for a pictorial spread in next months’ Architectural Digest.

So, what is a peace loving pinko commie fag to do? Take to the streets, like they did in the 60s? What did the 60s teach us? After they killed Kennedy Malcolm Martin and Kennedy again, what happened? All those baby boomer hippies put their tails between their legs, got hair cuts, went to work for Wall Street or pharmaceutical firms, getting rich off of creative complex derivative markets and Viagra.

And all of this time US foreign policy has been much the same. Whether it be Jimmy Carter or George Bush in the White House,  since Fat Man paid a visit to Hiroshima the underlying assumptions that govern the US role in the world (i.e., – the world is a bad place that needs a cop, and that the US – not the UN or some other coalition-is the only force with the will and moral authority to act as this cop) has not been challenged by many elected officials and by exactly zero Presidents.

And it is this foreign policy-not the fact that Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton walk the red carpet panty-less, that has made radical Islam our enemy. And that is why some of us here on the left have lost our sanity. As distasteful and insane as Rev. Wright can sound, the chickens are indeed coming home to roost.

It has been suggested to me that your call, Mr. Stewart, for a restoration of sanity  (equally calling out the extreme elements on the left and the right) is a truly subversive gesture. That reality and sanity, as you have said, have a liberal bias. That the true moderates, the people you affectionately refer to as the “busy majority” want calm dialogue, will become progressives, if given the opportunity to actually have that dialogue.

Or are you just doing this for the ratings?

I suppose to have any kind of effect at all you’ll need both the former and the latter.

- Davis Fleetwood.
October 4, 2010