Friday, May 1, 2015

Reasons Why This Poli-Sci Major Can't (Won't) Discuss "Politics" with You

Everybody likes list-articles ("listicles"), right? How about one that still qualifies for TL;DR status? No? Special bonus for loyal readers: pick one from the list you either don't get or would like to see elaborated and I'll spoil what little humor there is by expanding it into its own post.
  1. You think political thought comes in exactly two flavors: Red and Blue. Any criticism leveled against a person or idea identified with Team Red reflexively reveals a card-carrying member of Team Blue, and vice versa.
  2. Intractable social problem? "There's an app for that!"
  3. You're a left-leaning voter who's excited about Hillary's candidacy because having a woman [née African-American] president is all the proof you need that America is still on the road toward Progress -- as opposed to, say, an actually progressive agenda, which is just too far-fetched to be a "serious" idea.
  4. You're a right-leaning voter who's not excited about any of the 2016 Republican candidates at all, but you'll vote for one anyway because fuck the Blue Team.
  5. You can't envision a scenario where Bernie Sanders actually pushes Hillary further right: e.g. because "socialism" per se is such a poison pill in U.S. political culture that her optimal strategy will be to get as far away as possible from any intimation of it within the party. (This is what comes of identifying as "progressive" because you've ceded even "liberal" as a dirty word in the popular narrative frame. Great job holding the line there, Chamberlain.)
  6. You haven't the faintest real notion what "liberal" and "conservative" even mean, either historically or in contemporary context. Bonus factoid: Drug and alcohol Prohibition, Nazi eugenics, and cultural prejudice against rail transit all originated in the Progressive movement. You're welcome.
  7. Sanders, God bless him, will never have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the Democratic nomination. This is about the only thing you do know.
  8. You still blame Nader for Gore's "loss" in 2000, not the fact that the latter was so signally uninspiring as a candidate that he lost his home state. And let us not even speak of Kerry -- or Romney, if Team Red's your flavor -- ever again.
  9. You think Rand Paul might have a real shot in 2016 if people would just look at his positions Objectively. (Tangentially related: If I mention that I'm into architecture, you immediately ask if I've ever read The Fountainhead, since it was so inspiring to you that you figure it must be on every young architect's list of inspirations. Sorry, no, I've only read Anthem and Atlas Shrugged, and the latter was more fucking reprehensible than the former in direct proportion to comparative page-count -- which is a terribly wordy way of saying that Ayn Rand has a terribly wordy way of being obtusely wrong about politics and everything that truly matters in life.)
  10. You think reading Marx, for any reason at all, turns readers into Communist Soviet pod people, while having Ayn Rand pulp novels bulk-dumped into public schools will magically generate job-creators. (Seriously everyone, stop pushing Ayn Rand on gullible kids, it's every bit as harmful as marketing tobacco to them.) The last non-fiction work you read yourself was either a thinkpiece read on a device made by Chinese job-havers, or else appeared on a syllabus, years ago.
  11. You think the first step to resolving America's deep-seated racial tensions must be for young black men to pull up their pants and stop being all gosh-darned angry and rock-throw-y over some imagined slight inflicted by society's dominant demographic group; i.e. You.
  12. You sympathize 100% with the Occupy movement (could probably use a little Jubilee yourself on the debt front) but never went to a camp, march, or meeting because you "don't do protests."
  13. You still think non-violent public protests significantly impact policy formation.
  14. You identify as feminist -- when pressed, which is never -- and watch The Bachelor(ette) with your girlfriends because yay, sisterhood!
  15. You diligently "check privilege" on people not in your own identity group who earn a measly five figures, or even less, per year, while oligarchs eat both your and said micro-aggressor's lunches before you even get up in the morning. So you don't understand the difference between "empowerment" and Power -- that is, between lip-service to self-esteem on one hand, and the control and allocation of resources on the other, which is the domain of politics proper.
  16. You've posted a "legal" content/privacy rights reservation declaration as a Facebook status.
  17. You'll readily agree that the most preeminently practical solution to unaccountable police violence is just to deploy better surveillance technology, i.e. body cams. So in other words, surveying the alarming post-9/11 proliferation of state and civil militarization, your choice ameliorative for a fraught street-level condition is to mandate an order for two million wearable cop cameras nation-wide and say, "Take that, military-industrial-security Establishment!"
  18. You often forget, or never realized, that entertainment is not ad-supported media's product -- you are.
  19. You think you're well-informed because you follow The News.
  20. You're far too sophisticated to fall for propaganda and enjoy verbally deconstructing the ads and entertainment aimed at LCD lumpenprole audiences. You love Apple's design aesthetic and shed actual tears over the death of Steve Jobs.
  21. When poor sourcing was exposed in Brokaw's "Bush AWOL" and/or Mike Daisey's "Apple-FoxConn" stories, you leaned back and thought, "Well, that settles that then."
  22. You either don't remember or never knew what Iran-Contra was, but figure since it's not 9/11 it must have been settled just fine too.
  23. You think that current levels of wealth inequality in the U.S. are just fine -- a good thing, really! -- because: a) rule by billionaire hegemons proves the validity of meritocratic, free-market competition; and b) their existence provides exemplary incentive for the poor to become successful.
  24.  You think electric cars and solar panels will save the extant American way of life, with no more negative environmental externalities or uncomfortable sacrifices, ever. Also, self-driving cars are the new flying cars, which are also maybe a still-viable thing in The Future.
  25. You think using mass transit is a great  idea -- for other people.
  26. You vote religiously because your biennial endorsement of Team Coke or Team Pepsi does make a difference, dammit. Your devout reverence for Election Day brooks no cognitive dissonance in the fact that this most sacred of democratic rituals takes place on a workday. You tut-tut about low electoral turnout, every time.
  27. You abhor voting because your vote doesn't make a difference -- and you, along with the rest of the ~60% of other eligible electoral no-shows, make this conclusion a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every time.
  28. You're black (and/or "liberal") and voted for Barack Obama or Rahm Emanuel the second time around. You don't vote at all if there's not a black-identified candidate in the race.
  29. Same goes for all other identity-based electoral segments: you prioritize "visible representation" over actual representation. Elite theory be damned, you'll back the candidate you'd feel most comfortable chatting over drinks with, never mind their policy positions or track record. You're a fan instead of a constituent because you don't know the difference.
  30. Similarly, you don't feel the least bit put off by referrals to the public as "consumers" rather than "citizens".
  31. You have a serious emotional investment in professional sports. Go Team [franchise brand name]!
  32. You can talk for an  hour about why Obamacare is either a socialistic perversion of the American Way or Actually the Best Thing to Happen to the Poor & Uninsured Ever, but you can't name your own Congressional representative. The sausage is full of sawdust and your animus is entirely reserved for the brand pitchman or his heel opponent, not the slaughterhouse or the butcher.
  33. You never attribute to human incompetence that which can be misconstrued as partisan malice. The Other Side is 100% demonically evil bad guys who are out to get you personally and destroy America into the bargain -- not well-meaning and generally decent but bumbling and feckless idiots like yourself.