Or, a putz by any other name is a putz.
Or, a putz by any other name is a putz.
In noting what information is available through a review, I made the point that the focus of the book on the Argus Leader as a medium of partiality seems to obscure the fact that all of the news media in
He states, “Of course, it is unlikely that Newquist would approve of any review that didn't trash the book and discuss the degradation to American civilization caused by the scurrilousness of Lauck's Orwellian fascism.” While I admit there is a crude likeness in this image, it is still a very crude straw man which represents Prof. Schaff’s thinking, and certainly not mine.
I have a reverence for books and expectations for essays which presume to review them. Jon Lauck’s book has not yet received a substantial review that gives readers a descriptive overview of the book and examines its premise and its achievement. That was my point.
I don’t know how the book treats Lauck’s role in the Daschle/Thune campaign, but I know that he was a paid blogger while a professor at SDSU and much of his blogging was devoted to character assassination and appeals to the ignorance, prejudice, and mean resentments of a very provincial culture. People like blogger and commenter Jer Bear have saved examples of his work.
Scurrilous? I don’t know of a better word to describe the example. Or the comment thread at
Fascist? Fascism is undergoing a renaissance in the 21st century. It has pervaded American politics. Our current regime is fascist in many aspects. It espouses a belligerent nationalism. It is militaristic. It is moving toward totalitarianism with its warrantless wiretaps, its advocacy of torture, its systematic defamations of its opponents and its repressive policies and actions, its control by a corporate hierarchy that is allowed to set policy and rig the economy to only its advantage, It fits the descriptive taxonomy that defines fascism. Anyone who supports the ideologies and political machinations that define fascism might be said to be a fascist as a legitimate denotative term, not as a gratuitous epithet. I don’t know just how far Lauck’s conservatism accommodates fascism, and I wouldn’t call him fascist, although he seems to embrace fascist principles and totalitarian propaganda techniques. And I don’t think his boss is cerebral enough to be self-consciously fascist. He is just obedient to those who give him his marching orders.
Orwellian? Jon Lauck was part of a campaign based upon misdirection, defamations, and misinformation designed to appeal to the fears, peevish resentments, and small-mindedness of an exceptionally provincial electorate. When college freshmen from small communities in South Dakota return home for vacations, they find that their former classmates and friends, except for those who also went off to college, regard them with suspicion and resentment, as leaving the community for college is a snobbish affront. If they succeed and make their way in the outside world, it is regarded as an unforgivable sin. When a political leader goes to
Daschle supporters are often told that the election is over and to get over it. It was not Daschle’s loss that is the issue. The issue is that the campaign n that won adopted the propaganda philosophy and perfidious techniques of the worst and most repressive political regimes of the last century or so. It has left the stain of malice on the state and nation.
There is no doubt that, from hindsight, the Daschle campaign made some mistakes. I was involved in the campaign and participated in the canvassing of the eastern part of
A cursory look at Daschle vs. Thune did not reveal that much is said about the thinking and strategy on which the campaign operated. Rather, it seems to focus on the alleged partialities of the Argus Leader and its portrayal of Tom Daschle as a dissembler. No reviews have so far ventured to deal with those claims.
Words and books exist in semantic and historic contexts. For example, as we are in the holiday seasons, we can examine how those contexts work by looking at our most familiar carols:
“Hark, the herald putzes sing”
“Joy to the putz”
“O, little putz of
“Deck the halls with boughs of putzes”
Most people can recognize the semiotic nonsense in those titles, but they are not as adept as recognizing it in political discourse and books.
Daschle vs. Thune exists in a context of semantic intent and historical fact. It has not been examined in those terms to date. It will be, if it is taken seriously as a contribution to history.
In the meantime, we’ll keep our putz dry.