Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The United States of Dementia

As Avedon says, it got into full swing with the Gipper.

...Reagan's success in winning and keeping the office of the presidency owed a great deal to a fawning press that pretended that saying, "There you go again," was some sort of brilliant zinger, and spent eight years dismissing and ignoring the Alzheimer's Reagan plainly evidenced (on camera) in his very first months in office.

And that was an early warning of a process we have come to recognize from, among other things, the Bush/Cheney Iraq Lie campaign, of critics pointing out the obvious and being silenced and derided - until the facts are officially recognized and suddenly that isn't worth discussing, either. Compare and contrast the treatment of the rumors about Reagan's Alzhiemer's and Bill Clinton's "slickness" - the latter of which turned out to be false, though it generated an impeachment hearing - as well as Bill Clinton's sluttiness, which may have been true but was hardly as frightening as the prospect that the president of the United States had symptoms of Alzheimer's that were visible to the public even in his most carefully controlled public appearances.

From the moment Reagan was elected in 1980, all criticism of him, his policies, and especially his mental incompetence were off the table. Everything Reagan did seemed to be wonderful, majestic. And until that moment, most of us who were journalists or had an interest in journalism were unaware of just how much the news-sorting process had turned into a way to protect a specific species of powerful people. But when a respected journalist was attacked and derided for asking Reagan about a report that was on his desk that morning and thereby allowed the nation to see that Reagan couldn't even remember what he'd seen by lunchtime, it was obvious to all of us...

Oh, there you go again. Pretty soon you'll be saying the Laureate's desire to emulate the Gipper is disingenuous. I think it's pretty sincere. It's the desire for a strong Director to give him a better script than what he's working with.

And Poppy, or his scions, are glad to provide one.

No comments: