24 February 2012

Has Matt Taibbi been reading Slacktivist?

Via Eric Black: Matt Taibbi sees the current state of the GOP presidential primary as the final stages of addiction to outrage:

Oh, sure, your average conservative will insist his belief system is based upon a passion for the free market and limited government, but that's mostly a cover story. Instead, the vast team-building exercise that has driven the broadcasts of people like Rush and Hannity and the talking heads on Fox for decades now has really been a kind of ongoing Quest for Orthodoxy, in which the team members congregate in front of the TV and the radio and share in the warm feeling of pointing the finger at people who aren't as American as they are, who lack their family values, who don’t share their All-American work ethic.

The finger-pointing game is a fun one to play, but it’s a little like drugs – you have to keep taking bigger and bigger doses in order to get the same high.

Where have I heard that metaphor before? Oh, right: Fred Clark.

He took offense.

It started out in college. You know, just experimenting with it. But he liked it. He liked how it made him feel.

For a while it was just recreational — weekends and parties and rallies and that kind of thing. But soon he was hanging out with some pretty hard-core users, with the kind of people who took offense all the time. They didn’t need a reason or an excuse, it was just what they did. It was who they were. Soon he found he couldn’t get through the day without it.

In the GOP race, Taibbi's seeing the logical outcome of the impulse Slacktivist has been calling self-destructive for years. ◼

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