The view from my chair: my very first thought was that this was a scam. How convenient. Any pictures? No. Video? No. Body? No, that was dumped in the sea. Sea? What sea? Pakistan has a sea?
The more I watched the various news anchors gloat about Obama and the Special Forces and "the turning point in the war" the more I became convinced I was being lied to. I've seen Fog Of War, Network, Three Days Of The Condor and Independence Day and I know a long con when I see it. Unless I could see the imprint of the bullets, and put my finger into the wounds, I wasn't going to believe it.
But something nagged at me. Why was I so suspicious? Why did I need to see the body for myself? What was it that made me think there was something deeply wrong with the story I was being told?
And then the answer hit me: I drink too much. Rum. And I don't sleep. I'm also not a very good person.
Did I really need to see the body to believe he was dead? It was information bias supercharged with arrogance: I'm going to be able to tell it's him? Me? Really? Forget about CGI and make up and look alikes-- they could show me a picture of a female puma and say it was bin Laden and my only contribution would be, "damn, dialysis is hard on a mofo."
The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. Ok, I have a problem, but it's not all my fault.
It's impossible to hear the news about his death and not feel some sense of payback; but it's also impossible not to hear the news reporting and not want to punch something electronic.
None of them reported the story. I don't just mean how much they got wrong, I mean every one of them used it as an opportunity to explain how awesome they were.
Some examples, not too many, you need your strength:
Start with the media outlets and politicians that were fooled by the fake bin Laden death photo. I'm not concerned that they were duped, fine, female puma, but I am very concerned that they didn't google the photo to see if it was a fake?
Congressman Scott Brown said, "Let me assure you that he is dead, that bin Laden is dead -- I have seen the photos."
Ok, so he was fooled, fine, the guy doesn't work for Adobe. But why did he then say about the photos, "If it's to sell newspapers or just have a news cycle story, no, I don't think they should be released." What? How did he see them, remote viewing? He saw the photo on the internet just like everyone else-- or does he think he has a secret internet? Actually, yes: he saw them on his Blackberry, which is totally different.
What this shows you is that there's an airhead gap between politicians and journalists and the rest of humanity. They have not yet connected the world of the internet with their own world; yes, they're aware their internet is the same as ours, but they think they're seeing something we can't see by virtue of who they are. They're privileged. And they're going to remind you of that special privilege every chance they get, which is why you see so many news reports about news reporters.
I'm exaggerating? This is what Scott Brown then said, out loud, to people with microphones:
[President Obama] made the ultimate decision and he made a bold decision. I have a handwritten note to him to that effect.
That's where his head is at. Bin Laden is dead, and he is bragging to the press about a note that he wrote.
The myopia isn't exclusively self-aggrandizing; sometimes it's just ignorant. This morning, Senator Schumer was interviewed on CNBC "live at the WTC site." As he's crowing about "yes, we have increased electronic surveillance but there hasn't been another attack," he adds, "remember, right after the attack we were all worried this area would become a ghost town. Now look at it... young people are moving into high rises." Do you see? He thinks the young people are finally over their fear. But those young people were in high school when 9/11 happened. They're don't remember it as "yesterday," it was two lifetimes ago, and right or wrong they're not afraid of "another attack" in the way a 40 year old is. Do you expect a person who has no intuition about "young people" to be able to think long term, for the benefit of three generations out? If you show him the digits "2097" he gets vertigo and falls down.
Over at basic cable the Mayan Calendar was coming to an end. CNN jumped at the chance to offer breaking news-- about which they had no actual information, much like its reporting on 9/11. But you have to fill the time; so they ran a seven page story, only three sentences of which had anything to do with bin Laden's death. CNN did, however, make up for it by running a poll:
Do you think bin Laden is in Hell, or don't you think so?
a) in Hell
b) not in Hell
c) don't believe in Hell
d) not sure
It's been a long time since I infiltrated IVCF to penetrate a girl, but isn't publicly answering this question in the affirmative 1 Cor 4:5 proof that you lack God's grace? I'll save you the look up: yes.
Fox News was in a full blown existential crisis: "yay he's dead! Whoa-- son of a bitch, Obama gets the credit?" It was as like a man thrilled that he finally got his hot wife to have an orgasm, but unfortunately it was by letting a black man have sex with her. That's right, Fox News is a cuckold. They dutifully gave Obama credit for "giving the order" but reminded everyone that it was Bush era policies (and later waterboarding) that gave us the intel. See how I said intel? That makes me sound smart.
Jon Stewart isn't a news guy. I know this because he keeps telling me he's not a news guy, yet 1.6M people get their news from him and there's is no detectable difference between him and Keith Obamaman. Here's what Jon Stewart said:
Last night was a good night, for me, and not just for New York or D.C. or America, but for human people. The--
Stop the tape. Nobody move, stop, have a drink, I insist you really meditate on the enormity of this man's monologue. Why is it such a good night? It has to be duh, right?
The face of the Arab world in America's eyes for too long has been bin Laden, and now it is not. Now the face is only the young people in Egypt and Tunisia and all the Middle Eastern countries around the world where freedom rises up. Al Qaeda's opportunity is gone.
Ad hominem is not my style, but here it can't be helped: this man is an idiot. This is what he wants us to believe he believes? Right before he closes his eyes at night he says to no God, "phew, now Americans can look at Arabs more realistically?" Never mind that who he thinks "the young people in Egypt and Tunisia" are bears no resemblance to actual young people in Egypt or Tunisia or anywhere on the planet except his audience, none of whom are in Tunisia, and none of whom will every rise in revolution to fight for freedom, ever. Not unless Steve Jobs tells them to.
The whole thing, from the politics to the news reporting, is set up not for the conveyance of information or truth but of image and feeling.
In this content vacuum, in this total avoidance of substance in order to project personal image, how can anyone be faulted for not reflexively distrusting everything they hear?
It doesn't help that the government and media want me to believe it's not staged, that they wouldn't stage it, even as they stage stupid things that don't need to be staged. When you watch the President give a speech, you're watching him give a speech. When you see a photo of him giving a speech, you are seeing a photo of him re-enacting the speech he gave-- just for the still cameras.
"No, you're misunderstanding. It's not a great system, but the cameras are too loud to use during the actual speech. There's no other way to get the photo." No, you're misunderstanding: no one cares about the photo. Do you really believe we want a fake photo of an event you couldn't attend? Oh.
And then there were the slips of the tongue:
"Obama has been killed in Pakistan."
"President Obama is dead."
It happened enough times for it to be significant, and, as usual, significant in a way that the media missed.
What everyone wanted it to be was evidence of a Freudian slip: an unconscious desire pushing itself into verbal expression.
But that's not what a Freudian slip is, really. A Freudian slip serves the purpose of discharging energy, either anxiety or desire, whose origin is unconscious. If Blake Lively is nude and says, "would you mind helping me get dressed?" and the guy responds, "oh, sure, I would love to bone you!" that's not an unconscious desire, that's a perfectly conscious desire that he accidentally said out loud. If he says it, the unconscious slip isn't that he wants to bone her, but that he wants to tell her he wants to bone her. In other words, he's scared of her; the slip discharges that anxiety.
Substituting "Obama" for "Osama bin Laden" is straight up cognitive psych, yo. Substituting a less common word for a more common one is a Freudian slip; a more common word for a less common one is a problem choosing what word to choose for a linguistic unit. Not
In the Mad Lib that is his brain, "Obama" is more accessible for "bad guy" than "bin Laden." I'll let you work out the implications.
What's going on that people are so suspicious-- or so sure-- just because it happened during Obama's Presidency? Grant me that you stick Bush in there, and everyone switches sides.
"People have good reason to be suspicious, the government has a track record of lying to us." Agreed. And I don't need to be reminded that Afghanistan has a trillion dollars worth of precious resources like lithium and adamantium that we'll need for future facebook phones. They can't tell us they want that, so they pretend it's for something else. Right?
But the practical problem is that when we are forced to divine the "real" motivations for politics that changes the behavior of the politicians in unexpected ways: it doesn't make them less likely to wage war for oil and say it's for democracy; it makes them more likely to do it in secret. Hence your new CIA Director, supporting mercantilism one special op at a time.
This is the pattern of abuse. Your father is manifest superego, if he tricks you or hurts you enough and you don't trust him anymore, then you can't trust anything. So you either find a proxy for a superego-- a boyfriend, a religion, political ideology, Dianetics-- or you recede into the comfort of narcissism. You surround yourself with image and images, you create narratives that pretend to explain reality but really protect your individuality ("I see what they're up to, man!") And you rot from the inside out, which is exactly the state of affairs in America. No outside force can touch us, but they don't need to. They just need to wait it out.
"Then they should just release the photos so we can trust they're telling us the truth!" Slow down, Thomas, that won't help your faith, which is the real problem here. "It's a start." You're not listening. Not releasing the photos is getting you in the habit of not expecting photos to be released. Having terrible information mangled by the news media is getting you used to having terrible information mangled by the media.
Of course I think bin Laden's dead, because I haven't yet lost all faith in "the system," though a lot of people can be excused for being suspicious of a government that cries wolf.
But when you repeatedly elect a government that cries wolf, the problem isn't the government, the problem is you.