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View Diary: Brad Carson speaks - and pens a brilliant TNR article (348 comments)

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  •  Brilliant (4.00)
    That Brad Carson of Oklahoma can't defeat Tpm Coburn is ridiculous. That Carson didn't defeat an inferior candidate, severly inferior, shows that the party is not doing its job. He would have been an incredible senator. Oklahoma is worse today and it is their fault.

    Carson was a great candidate. He is dead right on the mark here. The probelm is the remedy.

    Who is right? Can you stop progress? What seismic shift in culture and globalization do you want to unchange? Can you unchange it?

    So many questions, so few answers. It seems middle america is struggling with the same problems of culture and globalization that the middle east is suffering with. Ironic.  

    You can't change progress however. The world is a much smaller place, and isolated American towns are dyig, and they are not coming back.

    •  stop progress? (4.00)
      I am not sure that I saw a call to "stop progress" by Carson.  The phrase that seems to stand out the most is:

      "...the failure was of the party to which I swear allegiance, which uncritically embraces a modernity that so many others reject."

      I do not interpret that as a call to stop progress.  People are disturbed by what they see on TV and in video games and internet chat rooms.  Alot of them are offended or frightened by the lyrics of certain songs that encourage sex, hate or violence.  It is all about the media.  And it is true that (for the most part) we have not had any clear attitude towards this other than to defend it as freedom of speech or artistic expression.  

      Frankly, alot of it is distubing.  Especially for those families trying to raise kids.  Those people voted for the party that stood clearly against the media, even if curtailing it does stomp on civil liberties and even if it can't be stopped and even if it can't be stopped.  

      I think Carson was simply saying that we have to decide where we stand.  We are seen (by default) as the party who permits and enables this aspect of our culture and the media to flourish, because we do not criticise it.  Instead we are always caught defending it and Janet Jackson's breast.

      While I am all for defending civil liberties, Carson has a valid point.  And for all the talk about 'values' on dkos, I have yet to see it addressed in this sense.  

      •  I am a true "liberal elitist" (3.80)
        I went to Harvard and so did my husband.  We both have Ph.D.'s and academic positions at Ivy League institutions.  I've spent my adult life in Boston and NY.  Yet I agree with those who worry about the effect of the popular culture on children.

        It's a rare occasion when I find a movie that I can take both of my children to.  Most of the time we rent old movies.  I think TV rots the brain, and most of the programming is garbage.  We watch it only rarely (love the Daily Show) and have gone for years without it.  My older son likes to play video games, and we have constant battles about which ones he is allowed to play.  You would not believe the awful games that are out there (Halo, for example), and being played by most of his friends, most of whom have been seeing R-rated movies since they were 8 or 9.  I was offended years ago when I saw ads for "feminine hygeine" products on TV, and lately when I saw ads for Viagra.

        I have an advantage over many of the people discussed by Carson.  I can keep my sons busy with sports, art lessons, etc., and away from the TV.  I have the time to spend reading books and going to museums with them.  I can understand the frustration of people who are not able to shield their children from the worst of modern culture so easily.

        •  Violent TV and games (3.75)
          Yes but.  The people who are feeding us this crap are also feeding it to the so-called heartland. Where's the concern of the evangelicals over this?  No, its abortion and gays, over and over again. How can they tolerate a culture that is, itself, all but pornographic, and then attack only two of its manifestations?  Is it possible (and I suggest this seriously) that the drug-like effects of TV are being successfully used to affect a broad enough segment of the population that they will only concern themselves wityh what TV and their TV-drenched pastors tell them is important?

          We have a broader discussion to engage in in this country.  I for one am willing to do so, but not at the cost of interfering with the most traumatic and personal of medical decisions and not at the cost of tasking a step back on this country's bumpy, but generally forward progress toward broad tolerance of all aspects of the human race.

          And I'm scared that half the country is too drugged to engage in any dialogue that is not pre-scripted for them by the media.

          •  Now THAT, my friends, (none)
            is brilliant thinking. There is more to this than modernity versus...uh...the opposite. There is a hostile tribalism thing going on that only pretends to be under the Christian faith. We are either for them or against them.

            "A riot is an ugly thing, and I think it's just about time we had one." - Young Frankenstein

            by Doug in SF on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 09:02:51 AM PST

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          •  You've put your finger on (none)
            the crux of the matter:

            How can they tolerate a culture that is, itself, all but pornographic, and then attack only two of its manifestations?

            And I wouldn't argue about the drugging effects of TV.  There are two sides to the TV thing - (1) seeing the garbage and (2) missing out on what you might have done otherwise if you hadn't spent your time watching TV.  An interesting anecdote:  as of a couple of years ago, in our (small) school system there were three students K-12 who had been labeled "highly gifted" (one was my older son).  I was told by the person in charge of services for the "gifted" students that all three children came from homes without TV.  (At the time we didn't have TV at all, and my son had grown up without it.)

            And I couldn't agree more with you here:  

             not at the cost of interfering with the most traumatic and personal of medical decisions and not at the cost of tasking a step back on this country's bumpy, but generally forward progress toward broad tolerance of all aspects of the human race.

        •  Great parenting.. (4.00)
          The way I see it is that yes, the media culture is bombarding us with crap. And as 'liberal elites' I'd venture that it sure isn't US that is watching this crap.

          What the Democrats haven't said is that parents have to have the major responsibility for what their kids see, hear and values they grow up to embrace. Those that bitch about the media are using it as a scapegoat for their own laziness, and they also don't see that the 'media' is also a business...instead of boycotting democrats with their votes they should be boycotting fux for putting this crap on the airwaves.

          Carson lost to a guy that advocated murder of abortion doctors. A certified loon. If he thinks the dems need to become as loonie as the consitutents of Oklahoma, all well and good, but I want no part of that party.

          •  Major responsibility (none)
            Yes, but it is "hard work", even for me, to resist the pressure.  My older son complains that he is left out at school because "everyone" is talking about the latest awful violent movie or video game.  I feel strongly about these issues and am able to stand up to my kids, but this is not true of all parents.  It is very hard to go against the prevailing culture.  
            •  Man if I had a Dollar (none)
              Man o' man if I had a dollar for every time that my old man or my mom told me:

              Yeah.  And if your friends wanted to jump off of a bridge, you would want to do that too?

              Suck it up parents.

              Lets face it.  We as democrats just have a harder sell.  We defend free speech but bear the burden of association and mistaken "endorsement" for that which we defend.

              It is much easier to peddle fear than it is hope.

              •  Unhelpful (none)
                "Suck it up parents."?  "Suck it up parents."?!?  What the heck is that supposed to mean?  Are you looking to build solidarity and a majority coalition with other progressives, or are you looking to build some kind of ideologically pure movement, win or lose?

                I've got three kids and I'm trying to raise them to be grounded in a set of values and traditions that are real and true.  They face a daily onslaught of garbage from the media and the culture and the political system, and try to hold their ground.

                I find it extremely difficult to make common cause  with people who spend more time worrying about the free speech rights of those who made "Halo" than the life and health of my kids.  I'll fight to the death to protect political free speech, but defending commercial speech takes a back seat to defending my kids.

                It's a matter of priorities and standards, people.  That's what Carson is trying to get at.  There are many forms of modernity, and the dominant culture is a particularly unattractive modernity for a lot of us.  If you give us an ultimatum of accepting your version of it all or nothing, or voting against you, you are inviting trouble.

                •  Look, I'm not saying (none)
                  I'm not saying that's the outward face of our party and our campaign.

                  But on principle, I refuse to cow-tow to the hyporicsy that blames ME as a liberal for defending Fox's right to air "Wife Swapping" and then penalizing my candidate becuse he has impliedly somehow endorsed it.

                  I have very little sympathy for the "other kids are doing it" argument.

                  I'm fortunate enough to have had great parents who told me to "get over it" and who "sucked it up."

                  I'm not saying that every family is as fortunate enough as mine in terms of time, etc.

                  BUT STOP FUCKING BLAMING MY CANDIDATE FOR IT!!

                •  By the way (none)
                  I'm 35 and in a committed relationship.  We have decided not to have kids because we cannot commit 100% to being the best parents we can be and still do all the things we like to do: travel, watch shitty TV, etc.

                  That was a choice.

                  If by "garbage from the media" you mean TV - I've got some advice -- stop paying the Cable bill!

                  If that doesn't work, turn the TV off -- that goes for you too, not just the kids!!

                  And if that doesn't fucking work - toss the TV like my folks did for several years.

                  There is virtually NOTHING on TV that is more worthwhile than the same type of thing from a differnt "media."

                  The word "media" is plural.  It is emphatically NOT synonymous with "TV."

                  And if by "media" you mean the internet, get yourself some blocking software.  Most of the companies that peddle the smut that you complain of on TV have it on their networks to prevent their employees from viewing those web pages.  I'd suggest that you look into it.

                  And YES, for cyring out fucking loud -- perhaps not you, personally, but "these people" about whom we are talking and many of us can't understand -- DO NOT ELECT A JACKASS WHO PUTS MICHAEL POWELL IN CHARGE OF THE FCC SO THAT YOU CAN PERPETUATE THE VERY THINGS ABOUT WHICH YOU COMPLAIN!!!!!!!!!!1

                  <MRL's head explodes>

            •  been reading my mail? (none)
              Oh my, Halo looms large in my parenting right now. We will never own it, of course, but what of those visits to friends' houses?  Wish you and I could talk, Scientist Mom.
              •  Visits to friends' houses (none)
                The weak point.  When the friends come here, with their Halo/JamesBond/TomClancy games in tow, I have no problem telling them to put them away.  My son's x-box can only be used for basketball games, auto racing, etc.  When he goes there, what can I do?

                Another problem is movies.  A couple of months ago, there was a birthday party and the kids were taken to an R-rated movie.  This was not the original plan, and I didn't know about it until after the party was over.  The movie was incredibly violent, and my son could not sleep the first night, did not sleep through the night for two weeks, and still wakes up almost every night.

                I wish we could talk, as well.

          •  Agreed, but be sympathetic (none)
            "What the Democrats haven't said is that parents have to have the major responsibility for what their kids see, hear and values they grow up to embrace."

            That is true, but you can understand why the Democratic party is afraid to make that their position.  For one, no one likes to be told they are a bad parent.  Not gonna win any votes that way.  Second, "ScientistMom in NY" has a great point.  Many of these people physically cannot sheild their children from the media.  Many of them are working 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet.  

            Yes, we have to be firm that it is the parents responsibility to sheild their children, but we need to be sympathetic in doing so.  We must re-frame "family values."  What I mean by this is that we have to point to the economy as the scapegoat, not the media.  This will take the blame off of us and put it firmly where it belongs: on the Republican's economic policy.  

            Blame the Republican economic policy and tax cuts for the rich that are destroying home life by forcing parents to spend too much time away from their kids.  We must link our economic policies to "family values."  By doing so, we will be able to get people to vote in their economic interest once again.

            •  Yes, families need support (none)
              desperately, in so many ways.
              •  ScientistMom -- you are so right! (4.00)
                I was just skimming this string -- as someone who grew up and entered politics in Oklahoma, but has since moved to Oak Park, Illinois, which voted 75% for John Kerry, and have two little kids just about to enter the world -- I can echo what SciMom is saying.  We have a hard enough time in Oak Park resisting the media-stoked sex and violence that sets the tone for our consumer culture, but yet we at least have a fighting chance living in a community where at least some parents (many of whom are gay!) are trying to do the same thing, and where we have a variety of other things to do, great schools, museums, all kinds of extra-curricular activities, Chicago nearby, etc.

                I guarentee you that Sallisaw OK is not that kind of a place, because I've been there. In Sallisaw, the main institution of "resistance" to a decadent culture is the evangelical, mostly fundamentalist, churches whose ability to interpret these problems is "fundamentally" limited to Biblical prophecy.

                They do focus on abortion and gays, but most of these folks aren't really single-issue voters; those issues are just two manifestations of their overarching condemnation of our culture.  

                I'm not saying we should back away from our support for choice and for equal rights for everyone or for civil liberties, but we shouldn't back away from criticizing the excesses of consumer culture -- and if we did so, we might find some common ground with enough of the conservative "values" voters so that the next Brad Carson has a shot at winning in Oklahoma, or the next Democratic presidential nominee has a shot at winning a few of the currently Red states.

                Tipper Gore, if you recall, boldly tried to address this very issue back in the 1980s, only to be villified by the left. Maybe she was ahead of ther time.

                •  Tipper Gore (none)
                  I remember that she was vilified.  I didn't pay too much attention, not having children at the time, and not realizing how vile rap music lyrics were.  Then, later, I read a column by Gary Will (is that the right name, a conservative Newsweek columnist?) about rap lyrics in which he quoted some.  I was appalled and astounded.  

                  And you make a very good point about the boonies.  I have relatives in a very small town in the midwest.  Teenagers have two choices:  play sports or take drugs.  Abortion rates are very high - there's not much else to do.  Houses are miles apart.  It's absolutely dreary there.  You can't even go for a walk because there are packs of wild dogs.  

                  We are in a bind about censorship, aren't we?  But I do feel that the public airwaves (TV, radio) are in a different category than books, movies, that can be avoided by those who don't want to see them, or have their kids see them.  

              •  ScientistMom -- you are so right! (none)
                I was just skimming this string -- as someone who grew up and entered politics in Oklahoma, but has since moved to Oak Park, Illinois, which voted 75% for John Kerry, and have two little kids just about to enter the "consumer" world -- I can echo what SciMom is saying.  We have a hard enough time in Oak Park resisting the media-stoked sex and violence that sets the tone for our consumer culture, but yet we at least have a fighting chance living in a community where at least some parents (many of whom are gay!) are trying to do the same thing, and where we have a variety of other things to do, great schools, museums, all kinds of extra-curricular activities, Chicago nearby, etc.

                I guarentee you that Sallisaw OK is not that kind of a place, because I've been there. In Sallisaw, the main institution of "resistance" to a decadent culture is the evangelical, mostly fundamentalist, churches whose ability to interpret these problems is "fundamentally" limited to Biblical prophecy.

                They do focus on abortion and gays, but most of these folks aren't really single-issue voters; those issues are just two manifestations of their overarching condemnation of our culture.  

                I'm not saying we should back away from our support for choice and for equal rights for everyone or for civil liberties, but we shouldn't back away from criticizing the excesses of consumer culture -- and if we did so, we might find some common ground with enough of the conservative "values" voters so that the next Brad Carson has a shot at winning in Oklahoma, or the next Democratic presidential nominee has a shot at winning a few of the currently Red states.

                Tipper Gore, if you recall, boldly tried to address this very issue back in the 1980s, only to be villified by the left. Maybe she was ahead of her time.

        •  Yeah.. but the difference between, (none)
          you and the vast majority of "them" who Carson is making excuses for, is that you will take the time and energy to vet those movies and make the hard decisions to NOT let your children see them... and for that you are branded as a source of the problem.

          I too am worried about pop culture in this country, but similar to you I spend the energy and time to insure that my family isn't impacted by it... if all parents thought like you and I, there would be no Brittany Spears or Grand Theft Auto or South Park because the market wouldn't support it...

          Carson's piece is a hypicritical piece of shit... the reality is that most American's are lasy selfish individuals - claiming faith and morals is an easy out to the difficulty of actually living an ethical life - if I raise my son to do drugs and my daughter gets pregnant at 15 its not my fault - I brought them to church it must be the "culture" of those "blue staters" - not my lack of interest in their well being that is to blame for my failure as a parent - the irony is that the culture that their children emulate doesn't come from elitist sources that you find in Cambridge or NYC, or SF, it comes from the crap you see on Fox TV..

          The sooner we tap that selfishness the sooner we can begin to retake power.. it used to be a chicken in every pot... nowadays we need to aspire to a Jetski in every driveway...

          Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph

          by mlangner on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 02:30:01 PM PST

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