A few developments in the public world beyond the attempt to shut down a public media available to the powerless, unconnected, and vulnerable.
I watched the Republican "debate" in S.Caroline, part of it anyway and was taken aback with the blatant racism. The lies are the same. Cutting taxes makes jobs! The silence over the reality that the only way to make jobs for a vast majority of people has ever been for the society (govt') to create them through social services and tax redistribution. But what is new is the outrageous insults. Food stamp president. Most people on food stamps are white; food stamps is the only program that is left to people in a depression caused by people like Romney. They actually referred to light v dark skin. Worse or just as bad, the shameless bullying. We have talked here of how horrible bullying is, and we have to stop it as a norm. Well no progress has been made there. That Gingrich could talk to a black man in the way he did brought us back to the 1950s, worse. One cannot dismiss this as the function of vicious attitudes in the tiny electorate that is apparently going to pick the Republican nominee (tea baggers, super-rich people funding); He did it on TV and then made a TV ad showing himself bullying the black man, showing himself doing racist talk and had an addition: "This is Newt Gringich. I approve of this ad.
The stinging slamming hectoring tone and over-the-top insults were in response to a question about Gringich's amoral private life. His second wife has come forward to tell of how he demanded the right to have a mistress and casual encounters when he wanted them. Apparently she got muscular distropy during their marriage and this illness prompted his desire to get rid of her. He did marry her after leaving a wife he had inflicted 5 children and left when she was in hospital getting treatment for cancer. Attitudes towards women by men are equally shameless.
The bullying is the most hideous thing. I've now become aware that the definition of mental disability is being narrowed so as to shut out more people. Aspergers syndrome first entered the DSM as a separate condition of mental disabiilty; then after much controversy it was folded into autism in the hope that Aspergers people could avail themselves of the tiny bits of help autistic people get (with the accent of mentally retarded people, downs syndrome and also conditions that slide into mental ones -- like paraplegic). There has been an attempt to spread understanding and tolerance of difference by making themselves visible through marches, movies, TV programs. Now a new DSM definition may be published which narrows the definition of autism again so as to exclude Aspergers people from any help. Any gain they knew from getting into the DSM is then wiped out.
It seems the response to the increase in visibility is not to have an increase in understanding and help, but a reaction to make sure that the money required to help so many people will not be spent in this way. the narrowing of the definition is not as harmful to people as it could be only because most of the programs are unfunded anyway, and there is no mechanism whereby the nature and function of interviews are ameliorated. Someone did say it was not clear what these changes would mean and like much rhetoric one. Much of the time except for severe mental disability (such as downs syndrome), they are not worked out to favor the vulnerable in our society, far from it.
I relate this to the shameless TV airing of ugly bullying by Gingrich (Mitt Romney does it too) because there we see the values and norms of US society. Despising anyone who cannot be fully aggressive, competitive and manipulative. During the time I was paying intense attention to how Aspergers and autistic (they are different enough conditions or far enough apart on the spectrum that one can talk of them separately) I saw no progress made in accepting people who do not know how to socialize, manipulate a situation -- for much socializing is not from friendship or kindness or sincerity, but as kind of selfishly motivated performance. What I read was continually filled with dislike of anyone not this way and a depiction of them as having to be pressured into conforming. Try harder. One cannot try harder to do something one cannot do. This is not paid attention to, not believed unless you are visibly crippled. Ideally it would be good if there were less prejudice, but that the society refuses to help a group of people who need help does not mean there is less prejudice towards them. has to watch how they are worked out. Watch Newt Gingrich.
And not unrelated is the recent (for the moment) failed attempt to shut down the Internet to most people through the arm of an aggressive use of copyright. To be on the Net regularly in an uncommercial way can stigmatize someone as much as it gains respect for them in the eyes of "in" people, institutions, the establishment. They don't need this; they are inside and if you are not, you are inferior. Some people can monetize their presence on the Net, but my observation has been that it's either they are here as commercial people (selling sequels). Just about everyone whose story made the core of their success face-to-face talk with someone powerful enough to help them, were part of an institution with a respectable position in it. The irony of the attempt to shut down the Net through the private-property arms of copyright is that the vast multitudes of people on the Net make no money whatsoever from their "use" of other people's thoughts or stuff; those bringing the suit are the rich people. Having failed their suit,the next day they acted immediately to shut down two sites which do broadcast so-to-speak music and movies. I noticed one of them fought back saying it was misrepresented.
The problem is again norms and misunderstanding and use of half-truths. Pirate ebay the real site the movie companies spear heading this want to take down is excluded from the suit. It would stay up! It's Norwegian and Norway and Sweden are against the way copyright is used today to make money for huge institutions, corporations and censor a great deal of what we can see and hear this way, and stifle and isolate, and most artists will remain poor. See my earlier blog on this: yesterday's blackout.
It connects to bullying but in daily life bullying is done discreetly, by able neurotypicals I'll call them and it's they who run institutions and get to the top. I came across a comment last week where the person suggested the great socializers and networkers are part sociopaths in their ruthless individuals; society is organized in a partly dysfunctional way so as to give prizes only to the skilfull bullyers, those who know how and when to do it..