Holy Iowa! Fear of a Huck Planet . . .

4 01 2008

New on The Revealer, a review of religion and the press published at NYU’s Center for Religion and Media:

“Holy Iowa!” — If tonight’s Iowa results prove anything, it’s that religion isn’t leaving politics when W. rides back to Texas.

Also don’t miss “Fear of a Huck Planet” which suggests it’s class warfare, not holy war, this candidate brings to the party — I thought we were done with trailer park stereotypes for southern-bred presidents but I guess not! Finally, if like me, you worry the Iowa winners portend crazy religion governing us all no matter which wing rules the executive branch next time around, see if the Revealer’s interview with Jon Stewart offers any comfort:

So you don’t think [Ann Coulter’s] brand of extremism represents the future of politics?

What you generally get from politicians is “Vote for me or we shall all perish!” In a puff of smoke, or rising waters. . . There’s no way to fool-proof the world. You cannot out-engineer crazy.

[JJ flashes on good girl Meg Ryan in “French Kiss” having a Dorothy in Oz-like moment of truth about the lesson she’s learned from her adventure: “and you just can’t do it — there’s no home safe enough . . .”]

. . .The majority of the world is not savage. Yeah, you put us in a certain situation of depravity and everyone will revert to some sort of Lord of the Flies format. But for the most part, it’s an incredibly civil society.

I’m not saying that we’re not an economic disaster away from being demagogues. Or that the line between acts of madness and acts of goodness isn’t tenuous. But people’s general tendency is to not want trouble. If you were to give Iraq a choice right now between the freedom to assemble and the ability to shop without shrapnel going through your skull, my guess is they’d give up freedom of assembly. Freedom is overrated. I’m a law-and-order guy. I’m not anti-authority. There’s a big difference between not trusting institutions blindly and just being against authority. . .

There’s a lot of talk now that we are becoming a fascist state. But what Bush has basically done is reinstitute everything we used to do to people in the Fifties and Sixties. I mean, it’s not even the worst of what we used to do. It seems like as civilization moves forward, the pitches and swings moderate.
. . . It’s only through nostalgia that every decade is better in hindsight than it was.

People feel like the world’s gotten out of control. The world has never been more in control. . .
The defining issue is the power of the individual. For good and for bad. The individual is more empowered in this day and age than ever in the history of the world. You’re more connected, it’s easier to generate ideas and movements, and it’s easier to create havoc.

. . .The reason I don’t worry about society is, nineteen people knocked down two buildings and killed thousands. Hundreds of people ran into those buildings to save them.
I’ll take those odds. . .

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