About the Name of this blog

This blog's title refers to a Dani fable recounted by Robert Gardner. The Dani live in the highlands of New Guinea, and at the the time he studied them, they lived in one of the only remaining areas in the world un-colonized by Europeans.

The Dani, who Gardner identifies only as a "Mountain People," in the film "The Dead Birds," have a myth that states there was once a great race between a bird and a snake to determine the lives of human beings. The question that would be decided in this race was, "Should men shed their skins and live forever like snakes, or die like birds?" According to the mythology, the bird won the race, and therefore man must die.

In the spirit of ethnographic analysis, this blog will examine myth, society, culture and architecture, and hopefully examine issues that make us human. As with any ethnography, some of the analysis may be uncomfortable to read, some of it may challenge your preconceptions about the world, but hopefully, all of it will enlighten and inform.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

Double Standards

There is a serious case of hypocrisy running round the right wing at the moment.  Not that that isn't a perpetual illness, but there are two egregious instances in the news at the moment.  Case number one: Hank Williams Jr., case two: Occupy Wall Street.

First Hank Williams Jr.  Why is it that when Natalie Mains of the Dixie Chicks made a joke to a London audience that she was ashamed the both she and George Bush came from Texas, the right erupted.  There were CD crushing parties, most particularly, a Texas radio station rented a steamroller to crush a giant pile of Dixie Chick merchandise.  Natalie Mains was literally subjected to death threats.  It is no exaggeration to say she had to go into hiding.

At the time, the talking heads on Fox (and even CNN) said that she was out of line with that comment.  People said that you are not allowed to criticize the President of the United States, period.  Even if you disagree with his actions, you MUST respect the office.  She was told to "Shut up and sing."  People said that artists and musicians should not comment on politics, as if the entire purpose of the arts was not to comment on the world.  They basically tried to reenact the Sedition Laws.

The result of this was that the career of the Dixie Chicks, for all intents and purposes was ended.  They released one album after the incident, that no country music station would play.  The video for "Not Ready to Make Nice," did get a lot of airplay on VH1, but since their fan base tends to tune into CMT, the video didn't spur a lot of record sales.

Hank Williams Jr. made a much worse comment, comparing Obama to Hitler and calling him the "Enemy."  Very vicious stuff, far worse that expressing shame in sharing a birth state with someone.  The result, Hank Williams' record sales have gone through the roof.  He is being praised by such luminaries as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.  He has been ordained as the high priest of the Right.  

Admittedly, he did lose his gig at ESPN, but even that is being spun on the right as evidence of their suppression in the media.  The right is outraged that anyone would criticize Hank Williams Jr. for making a comment that was protected by the first amendment.  (By the way, the First Amendment only protects you from the government stopping your speech, it doesn't protect you from a private employer firing you over it.  That is not protected.)

Can you say hypocrisy?  The left cannot criticize a Republican president, but the right can.  


On to the other issue du jour.  Why is it that Occupy Wall Street protesters are "un-American and a danger to Democracy," as Peter King stated, when the Tea Party protesters are true patriots?  The right is begging the media not to cover them.  Literally.  They have called and asked news stations to please stop reporting on the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  They have said that giving airtime to these "criminals" is validating their movement.  

And as proof of their success on this request, even the MSNBC website currently (Monday morning) has nothing on their main page about the protests. 

These are the same people who stage media events to celebrate the "Grass Roots, spontaneous movement" that is the Tea Party.  the Tea Party is a spontaneous movement only if it arose as a reaction to the Koch brothers having dysentery on the Constitution.  (Sorry for the poop reference.)

The right would create manufactured events, and get press coverage, and somehow get them to shoot those events so that it looked like the crowds were huge, even if there were only a handful of people in attendance.  Independent crowd counters always came up with far smaller numbers for the events that the Tea Party people did.   The Occupy Wall Street protests are undercounted, and the spread of the movement is being minimized, to make it seem like a fringe event.

So the actual fringe movement is lauded and stated to represent the vast majority of America, and the movement that ACTUALLY has vast support nationwide is minimized and disenfrachised.

Join with me now, HYPOCRISY, what a beautiful thing.

Never underestimate the ability of the human mind to hold two diametrically opposed ideas simultaneously.

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