In a brilliant critique of Sarah Palin this morning, Times columnist Roger Cohen takes the woman to task for using the phrase "never again" during the Biden debate in the context of making sure that the Joe Six Packs and hockey moms of Main Street are never again taken advantage of by those all-knowing, evil international financiers of Wall Street:
I’m sorry, Governor Palin, words matter. Life has its solemn lessons. “Never Again” is a hallowed phrase. It’s applicable not to the loss of a mortgage, but to the Holocaust and genocide..... According verbal equivalency to a $60,000 loan and six million murdered Jews, or 800,000 slaughtered Rwandans, is grotesque. Perhaps Palin didn’t mean it, but that’s no less serious. The world’s gravity escapes her.
Cohen is right. The most annoying thing about Palin is her facile and delusionary optimism. She is an optimistic idiot who has become the official cheerleader of idiotic optimism. The last person to annoy me this much was Jeff Jarvis, the idiotically optimistic Sarah Palin of the "people's Internet". While Jarvis' cheerleading vapidity doesn't quite promote him into the Palin super league of idiocy, he nonetheless continues to write the most delusionary and utopian gibberish about the democratization of authority. Here, for example, is some Palinesque nonsense about what Jarvis calls "Generation Google" from his upcoming utopian fantasy, What Would Google Do:
Whatever causes they take up, Generation G will be able to organize without organizations, as Clay Shirky wrote in Here Comes Everybody. That ability to coalesce will have a profound destabilizing impact on organizations. We can organize bypassing governments, borders, political parties, companies, academic institutions, religious groups, and ethnic groups, inevitably reducing their power and hold on our lives.
The only problem, as even Jarvis acknowledges, is that Generation G (ie: the people) aren't "ready" to take charge. So once you do away with the authority of governments, borders, political parties, companies, academic institutions, religious groups and ethnic groups, what do you have left? In a word: chaos.
Let me go back to wise Roger Cohen's analysis of our current delusionary predicament:
Repeat after me: pigs can’t fly. Repeat after me: if you don’t work you die. Repeat after me: fire will certainly burn..... Perhaps these truths seem self-evident. But let’s face it, the whole Wall Street debacle, with its cost of some $700 billion to generations of Americans, was based on the fathomless human ability to disregard facts and believe in cloud-cuckoo-land.... Risk no longer existed. The penniless could afford a $200,000 house. Real estate prices could only rise. Securities full of toxic loans would prove benign. Debt was desirable, leverage lovely, greed great. Two and two made five. The moon was a balloon and streets were lined with gold.
And, Cohen might have added to this list of cloud-cuckoo-land myths, Generation G will be able to organize without organizations.