E.G. (elainegrey) wrote,

Morality play

I continue to read http://www.electoral-vote.com/ , which, until midway through 2016, was a fairly clear summary of polls and the news that affected the political polling. There was a light writing style, and i could tell there were shared values around facts, science, general good citizenship, and balance. I was never sure of the political leanings: they were not partisan hacks.

In 2016, like the rest of the country, there was a shift to the amazed, disbelieving, "if this was a movie i would not believe it." And after the election, instead of quietly slipping into silence to reactivate at midterm elections, they kept up with writing summaries. And the snark slipped in. What i like about their summaries is they're trying to read the tea leaves of the American electorate, which means comparing how stories are framed across the news spectrum. That helps a little in answering my question of how long can this nonsense go on: other frames focus on other things.

What's even more helpful though, was this Wednesday article from the Atlantic, pointing out after the jaw dropping pairing of Manafort and Cohen court outcomes Fox news led with "murder in the heartland." The article presents a narrow slice of moral foundation theory (i wish i had a citation to the first long article i read on the subject; an academic survey of some interest is Graham, Jesse, Jonathan Haidt, and Brian A. Nosek. “Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96, no. 5 (2009): 1029–46. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015141.)

The article includes this quote:

Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley makes an intriguing claim. “Corruption, to the fascist politician,” he suggests, “is really about the corruption of purity rather than of the law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of the traditional order.”

which the author refines into a pithy statement:

What the president’s supporters fear most isn’t the corruption of American law, but the corruption of America’s traditional identity. -- Peter Beinart

Some one of you, i think, referred to the president's Tweets as from someone cosplaying at being president. And... YES ...


My background of stories -- countless X-Files episodes, a dash of Twin Peaks, western tropes that seep into Science Fiction -- all have this idea of a community where there is a powerful person with family members and loyalists "running the town," keeping a hierarchical order, taking what they want, and generally held up as exploitative. "The dark underbelly." And the hero goes in and defends the innocent at the bottom of the hierarchy and convicts the bully at the top.

Is that essentially a liberal story? To me, the current executive branch looks a good deal like an extremely stereotyped cast for such a story.

I suppose the other side are all the criminal procedural where the outsider did it?

--== ∞ ==--

Must move on to work. Quick notes re yesterday. Woke 3 am probably too excited about how soon i will be planting fescue in the orchard, and then i can plant my chestnut and the two mulberries, and i need wood chips and etc etc. Worked 4 am to 5:30 ish finding an email that presented a design issue that worried me, was able to doze back off, and realized a solution. Busy workday with many meetings. Briefest lunch break, ended up talking about design issues until 4:30 pm, and NOT quitting early to nap. Walked with Christine and Carrie around the beautiful grounds at Fearrington reveling in the dry air. Got Subway for dinner, ate, and spent the evening on the deck reading about extrafloral nectaries in Prunus spp aka petiolar glands.

Windows open all night -- how incredibly delightful. I hope we have a very very long autumn. Today is heavenly and i have too many meetings.

Tags: politics

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