Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Callus & Them

Two years ago, I tapped this out at Red State Son:

"Maoism holds no appeal for me, as it's another form of idol worship and enforced subservience, however 'radically' packaged. When you deify human beings, especially at the state level, it's only a matter of time before people start disappearing for not showing the proper deference to or enthusiasm for the great leader's program. It's an old recipe that is not confined to a single ideology. But I've always found Maoism, specifically the Khmer Rouge's version, stranger and in its bizarre way more brutal than most other forms of worship.

"Yet despite my distaste for this mindset, there is one element of Maoism that's always intrigued me, namely, forcing white-collar or elite types to perform grubby, grimy labor, just so they get a taste of what it's like at the bottom. Now, I wouldn't go so far as to make these people wear dunce caps and march them down a public street to be ridiculed and spat on. Nor would I force them to dig their own graves and then shoot them in the back of the head. I'm much gentler than were the Red Guards. And besides, what lesson are you teaching if the ultimate goal is elimination? Either transcendence and redemption are part of the program, or else we should just kill each other off and get it over with."

This was in reaction to Naomi Campbell being forced to clean toilets as penance for her violent diva ways. It came to mind again yesterday as I read about the two American journalists sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea. Not that I condone such state behavior, nor pretend to know the intimate details of this case. The general consensus is that Laura Ling and Euna Lee are being used as bargaining chips, and will not actually break rocks under towering portraits of Kim Jong-il. Who knows. The righteous hullaballoo about respecting press freedom and the lives of journalists is typically rich coming from US mouthpieces, however. But that's an old broken tune, endlessly blasted from the national loudspeakers. White noise for the faithful.

I think what really frightens and offends stateside journos is the idea that their media class be subjected to manual labor. Those who make a sweet living spewing patriotic bullshit know deep down just how fragile their status is. And I'm certain that more than a few understand, at a cognitive level, that what they do is largely harmful, hypocritical, and beneficial to a wealthy minority. In order to avoid guilt, their arrogance must be refreshed, and the North Korean situation is a golden opportunity to do just that.

Still, I'd like to see cable media celebs break some kind of sweat, and devised a work chart for them to follow.

Sean Hannity -- killing and cleaning free-range chickens for Amish farmers

Keith Olbermann -- draining Porta Johns at NASCAR events

Gretchen Carlson -- mowing lawns in South Central, L.A.

Wolf Blitzer -- repainting inner-city mosques

Chris Matthews -- biohazard waste disposal

Rachel Maddow -- hauling asphalt for rural contractors

Bill O'Reilly -- custodian for low-income women's health clinics

Not a complete list, but a start. Your assignment of chores may vary.