How Failure Of Imagination Kills…

When the forensics get done on our Time — and the Big Question gets asked — “How in the world did Americans let such an obvious criminal & traitor 1) get elected & 2) remain in power so long?

The answer will complicated with lots of moving parts (requiring actual calculus to figure out). One of the biggest moving parts will be the Republican Party itself and the monstrosity of its actions here. But the fact that they were complicit — in ways that even predated Trump’s takeover of their party (think Mitch McConnell & his refusal to even talk to Merrick Garland) goes right back to the heart of my premise. We “didn’t see it”.

In real time, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans did something no other Senate had ever done before — held a President’s SCOTUS pick hostage. Mitch’s excuse was so phony it should have physically hurt every ear that heard it. It was Bullshit On Steroids: “The American People should get to decide who the next SCOTUS judge is”. The American People in that equation are the ones who VOTED FOR BARACK OBAMA and made him POTUS — the guy charged with doing that very thing.

Yet here we are. No Merrick Garland. Neil Gorsuch instead. Funny how the rules work when you make em up as you go along — AND GET AWAY WITH IT.

With all this press going at this story like sperms going at an egg — you’d think someone would have gotten through already and “fertilized” that egg. And yet — with a mountain RANGE of evidence staring them in the face, the Press seems blind to it. It’s there — they kinda know it is — and yet they can’t bring themselves to go and report it. It’s like they just can’t “trust” themselves and what they’re thinking. What they “know”.

This is how “FAILURE OF IMAGINATION” works. Under normal circumstances where everything’s normal — failing to think with imagination won’t hurt you (not much anyway). You can always muddle along in your mediocrity enjoying the status quo until you don’t.

But this here ain’t “normal”. Not even remotely. Gawd, I hope that’s not a revelation. Laws weren’t written to deal with our particular situation. This wasn’t “imagined” by the Constitution’s framers — a flat out treasonous POTUS and the flat out treasonous political party supporting him (the framers didn’t even want political parties; they happened because we’re human and tribal by nature). See how our problem is “outside the box”?

The solution to our problem will have to come from “outside the box” too. Part of our problem is — the criminals are using our rules to undermine them — as part of the whole Cyber War they’ve been waging against us as we sleep. We’re miles behind — in large part because we’ve been so damned slow to SEE what was happening.

Not slow to SEE, so much, really, as GRASP. We saw all this happening — but failed to grasp what it meant — and how it was playing out in all its terrible detail RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. That, too, is failure of imagination.

FAILURE OF IMAGINATION is how McConnell got away with circumventing the will of the American People to deliberately remake the judiciary as conservative when the people CLEARLY want it progressive?

HOW has Donald Trump gotten away with HIS shit for as long as he has? How did we ever let him get past “Mexicans are rapists” or “Pussy Grabbing” or every stinking lie he’s told from the moment he became OUR EMPLOYEE? How have we not been able to stop this — or even report this accurately?

I’ll let you fill in the blank — with an “Amen!” chaser.

But it isn’t just OUR failure of imagination — as citizens. We rely on our Press (as per the First Amendment) to be the final check on power. To do that they need to IMAGINE the worst — because you can’t report all the possible reasons things happen if you don’t include that. For one, you’re not being accurate.

But — strangely — watch enough news, and of all the possible answers to The Biggest Question Facing Us — Why Does Donald Trump Act Like Vladimir Putin Owns Him? The American Press STILL refuses to answer the question: “BECAUSE VLADIMIR PUTIN OWNS HIM”.

It seems bizarre that one can’t “imagine” the thing that’s not just “staring you in the face” but stabbing you there, too.

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American News Media’s Biggest Fail: They SUCK As Storytellers…

There’s an art to telling a story. It isn’t just knowing how to line up the beginning, middle and end in the right way so the story makes sense…

Anyone who’s ever listened to someone massacre a joke knows what I mean. A joke, after all, is just a story — sketched out in a handful of words. But it works by the same storytelling principle. A set up and a punchline are the beginning, middle & end of a story.

To correctly and successfully tell a joke or a story, you have to know all the pieces of the story — or suspect enough about where they’re going to at least tap dance through the ending. I just finished a book (looking for a publisher now — “How To Live Bullshit Free (and other Showbiz Tales)” — which basically tells my own story; I knew going in what the story was — but, even so, the ending took me by surprise — and I was the guy writing it. Stories can take on a life of their own.

But, in order to go where the story takes you, you have to be fully invested in it. More than that, you have to be the story’s teller — and not the person to whom the story is being told. There’s a huge difference. A huge philosophical difference.

In order to tell you a story, I have to gain your confidence — that is, I have to convince you to suspend your belief if only for a moment. If I tell you that a dog walks into a bar — and you stop me: “Wait — dogs can’t walk into bars!” — then I’ve failed at the start. You haven’t suspended your belief enough to allow the fantastical element at the heart of my story to take wing. But, if instead, you said: “Cool — so, a dog walks into a bar — tell me more!” then I’ve succeeded — at the start. You will let me take you wherever I want — so long as the story stays interesting and doesn’t violate its own rules.

To put a finer point on that — you become the passive listener while I become the active storyteller.

That’s how storytelling works. OUR problem is our Main Stream News Media doesn’t get that. Every time Donald Trump opens his mouth and lies — and the News Media repeats the lie as if it could be true — they stop being storytellers and start being the guy the story was told to instead — who’s simply repeating what he heard. That is not storytelling.

Yes, yes — part of storytelling is listening to others — so you can tell their stories — but storytellers are tasked with finding deeper Truths inside other peoples’ stories — and then telling them. That’s where storytelling ‘art’ kicks in.

It’s not a hard problem to fix. Actually, it’s shockingly easy. All any journalist ever has to do is remind themselves on which side of the storytelling equation they’re supposed to sit. And if they can’t remember themselves, it’s incumbent on US to remind them — as loudly and persistently as we must.

After all — journalists aren’t merely storytellers — they’re the only job mentioned by name in the Constitution. THEIR stories are the last check on power. If they “tell them wrong”, we’re screwed.

What NBC’s Savannah Guthrie did – interviewing young Nick Sandmann — was the exact opposite of storytelling. She became the person to whom Nick Sandmann told his story — as in SHE suspended all belief in order to accept what he said as truth. That she walked away — having allowed a clearly faulty version of the story to stand shouts at us: Nick Sandmann became the styoryteller & an American news outlet became the passive listener to that story.

Fail.

Fail, fail, fail, FAIL.

From one storyteller to another, NBC News – You SUCK at your job. Find other work more suitable to your skills such as they are.

Perhaps Walmart is looking for greeters. Give em a call. Please.


Our Retail Politics Are Killing Democracy

In theory anyway, Democracy’s simple:  In self-government, the majority of the people get to call the shots.  It’s understood that the majority is made up of a multiplicity of views because it includes so much of the citizenry.

“What do the citizens want?”  That’s the first question.  But it needs to be accompanied by ‘But, what do the citizens KNOW — do they understand what they want in its proper context?’  A citizenry yearning for Unicorns and Jetpacks for all might be a little too hopeful for their own good.  We count on our elected representatives — we expect their perspective to be better than ours,  In order to do their jobs representing us, they simply need to know more of the nuts and bolts details about how we run things.

Can we assume they went into that line of work because they liked it — and thought themselves good at it?

Some people go into politics for genuinely altruistic reasons.  Yeah, sure — everyone wants to ‘make things better’.  The question’s always ‘for whom?’  Guys like Beto O’Rourke — you can hear it in their voices and see it in the way they practice politics: He’s in it because he actually cares — about people, about the commonweal — about the whole notion of what ‘America’ is supposed to be.

Ironically, Beto’s opponent Ted Cruz is the cynical opposite.  Ted thinks he’s smarter than the rest of us — and knows better.  He doesn’t know better what WE need — but he knows damned well what HE needs — and what those giving him money need.  Ted Cruz is ‘clearer’ than an Upper Thetan Scientologist on that.

American Retail Politics isn’t about doing what’s best for anyone.  It isn’t about believing in anything other than getting more votes (however you need to accomplish that end).  It is, by its nature, an exercise in anti-democratic cynicism.  And yet — every two years (on a national level), we demonstrate to the world how little we value actual Democracy and how much we value money.

Our media loves the horse race.  They ADORE it.  They see it through the most narrow Horse Race-y lens.  A zero-sum game where one group of Americans wins while another loses.  Then they wonder — after crowing about winners and losers — whey Americans are perpetually at each others’ throats.  Elections don’t take place in vacuums.  This one certainly isn’t.

Yet the News Media wants to tell THIS story as if it’s happening in a world where the President of the United States — and his political party — aren’t TRAITORS.  When indictments drop — whenever they drop — the News Media will act as if the crime started to be committed AT THAT MOMENT.

No — all the time the News Media behaved as if this was Normal World, a CRIME was being committed — right in front of them.  They even asked some of the perps questions — and got lied to.  The TRUTH didn’t matter, the ‘correct answer’ did.

It’s the ‘correct answer’ that drives Retail Politics.  It ain’t about what anyone believes.  It’s about the getting and keeping of power.

That’s NOT how Democracy works.

We are living inside PROOF that THIS — what we’re living in — is how Democracy dies.