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chieftain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 10:35 AM
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Bush as a Mythical Character
Those of us in the reality based world are continually surprised by the perseverance and vehemence that the otherwise smart Republicans we know continue to support the boy president.I think the key to understanding this is in the concept of myth and the work of myth makers.
One of Websters' definitions for myth is an "imaginary or fictitious person" Is there a more apt description of the Bush that his stalwarts support? When I hear my conservative friends talk about W, they ascribe heroic qualities to him that are invisible to the informed eye. They see W with a bullhorn on the WTC rubble but his gutless meandering around the country while we were actually under attack does not register. His landing an airplane on a carrier deck seems to erase in their minds his shirking of cushy stateside duty during the Vietnam War.His bonhomie with carefully screened crowds is cited as evidence of what a "good guy" he is, while his repeated acts of boorishness like his cleaning of his glasses on the blouse of a TV assistant are ignored.
How in the world did this state of affairs come to be? I think it is a confluence of three elements that have very little to do with the intrinsic qualities of George W. Bush. The three elements that have come together to create the Myth of W are; (i) the myhtmakers, (ii) the corporate media and (iii) the true believers.
The mythmakers of the right include: Republican party operatives like Ken Mehlman who have no compunction of lying to the American people on matters both large and small; the think tanks which afford a patina of legitimacy to destructive ideas; and RW commentators and bloggers who manage a propaganda machine that effectively uses brainwashing techniques to accomplish their goals. I believe that the positive side of mythmaking had its genesis in the creation of the larger than life hero of Ronald Reagan. Their successful efforts in lionizing a mediocre,at best, president helped them hone their craft of molding heroic personas from men with feet of clay.
Democracy's antidote to mythmakers has been a vigilant and critical press. Sadly the Corporate Media has been as AWOL in its duties to the American People as W was to the National Guard. The national press has acted as a cheerleader for an incompetent and thereby provided confirmatory support to the mythmakers.
Finally, we have the W cultists who are satisfied with listening to Rush and watching Faux to be sure that their beliefs are not threatened by the intrusion of reality. The survival of Democracy depends on an informed and involved electorate and Republicans who refuse to take notice of what is really going on around them fail in their responsibilities as citizens.
Believers in particular myhs have the faith of religious zealots. They would rather be burned at the stake than part with their precious beliefs.Clearly, W's mythmakers have been successful in creating a cult for W. We will never convince these folks that they are brainwashed by appealing to reason and facts. They are too far gone.
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waiting for hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 10:38 AM
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1. It's amazing that Bush's
Edited on Tue Aug-15-06 11:15 AM by waiting for hope
pre Governor days showed nothing but absolute failure - another reason to believe he is a puppet and Rove/Cheney/Rumsfeld and the like pull the strings.
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Ezlivin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 10:43 AM
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2. The perfect confluence of religion and politics
The Religious Right is important to Republicans because it supplies a never-ending stream of credulous, impressionable people. The cult of fundamentalism strips people of their rationality and replaces it with blind faith. The subjects do not possess any conscious cognitive-dissonance because they are no longer thinking for themselves.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 10:53 AM
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3. Politics is all about making and un-making myths. Oedipus Bush
Edited on Tue Aug-15-06 10:55 AM by leveymg
Another Classical Tragedy: Oedipus Bush
http://www.democrats.com/node/1788

Submitted by leveymg on December 7, 2004 - 10:56am.
OEDIPUS BUSH: The Myth of the Idiot King and the Secret Rites of American Self-Destruction

The Cast:

Oedipus Tyrannus Deformed outsider becomes Tyrant King. West Texas everyman, slow-talker, cedar cutting rancher in the Ronald Reagan mold. Half-remembered past as nere-do-well first-born scion of an East Coast family of Wall Street financiers with powerful Nazi sympathies and clients. After the Fourth Reich fell, the family of Hitlers Bankers found vast new fortunes as Republican politicians and intelligence community chiefs. During the Cold War, all was forgotten and forgiven among the rich and powerful in America.

Oedipus, The One Who Destroys the Temple of Democracy. At first dismissed as the least gifted of the dynastic clan of the Fascist Fellow Travelers, Oedipus goes on to fulfill his fated role as the avenging slayer of Demos.

Oedipus, The Unlikely Hero. Son of a powerful former Director of Central Intelligence, was raised to fulfill a dynastic destiny in the mold of an All-American hero. The chosen heroic archetype: The Lone Ranger; in reality, Oedipus struggled with limited intellectual gifts and even more restricted moral sense. Started and ended at the bottom of his class at Andover, Yale and Harvard. Too challenged to be accepted by any Ivy League law school, was instead offered a dunces seat at Business School. Wandered without achieving any satisfying goals as an early adult, a recovering alcoholic, washed out pilot, failed oilman turned born-again Christian. An unlikely hero. But, as Hannah Arendt observed, true evil is truly banal and most war criminals are obedient bores.

Oedipus Saved. Granted numerous favours by the Gods, he is saved from financial disasters and imprisonment. Eventually, guided out of the wilderness by friends of the Old King, welcomed back to the Court of Secrets after a period of aimless wandering, numerous arrests, insider stock-trading, stuporific drinking and cocaine addiction.

Oedipus Reborn. Reborn as heir apparent to the piratical wing of the Right-wing foreign policy establishment. A perfect innocent.

Oedipus the Gullible. Incoherent mouthpiece for Dark Prince Rove, Crusader Cheney, and a foreign cabal with designs on the Kingdom.

Oedipus' political persona: heroic rise of defective inferior to leadership now familiar Republican Presidential role based on an ancient script by Sophocles as first performed on the American stage by Richard Nixon.

Hidden past son of the King of Secrets .

Telltale deformity stumbles over his own words , utterly transparent and contemptuous of others ; mildly dyslexic or brain-damaged .

Regicide Secret fear and hatred of his father. Destroys CIA and Pentagon credibility in Iraq symbolicly kills his fathers legacy of statesman-like prowess as DCI and CIC gained in Desert Storm

Incest - Marries Jocasta, his mother, election campaign as courtship, consumation of the dirty deed during the second term.

Hatred of the father and Oedipal drive to disgrace the mother GOP, brings death and dishonor to his own house and collective ruin to the kingdom.

Tragic fate of Oedipus Bush amnesia, denial of guilt, self-incrimination, wreckless inattention, self-blinding, the suicide of his ill-begotten children, the tyrant king is doomed to wander alone in darkness for eternity.

__________________________________
2004. Mark G. Levey

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chieftain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Impressive post. I am especially struck by the aptness
of the banality of evil reference. Could there be many people more banal than doofus? And can the destructive credo of Bush and his henchmen has loosed an evil spirit on the worls.
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Nay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 04:37 PM
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5. A more specific media problem is TV's 40 years of storylines in
Edited on Tue Aug-15-06 04:39 PM by Nay
its fiction works -- movies, series shows, made-for-TV movies. Large numbers of these stories have a certain story and character arc -- who does not recognize the story of the bumbling idiot/wayward person/child who,when confronted with danger/opportunity/a chance at heroism, becomes the hero in the end? There are endless variations on the theme. The near-criminal misfit who is drafted in WWII and becomes the squad hero. The kid who saves his parents from certain death by aliens. The stupid person who, through perseverance, triumphs over regular or intelligent people. And then there are the opposite stories that display the same theme -- the smart scientist who crumbles under pressure, and the D student who saves the day; the grade school teachers who are evil aliens, and the pupils fight them and save the world, etc. etc.

This theme, although seemingly uplifting and moral, has also seemed to have made people unable to pass judgement (or even to notice) other people's gross errors or their incompetence. I truly think a lot of these people are waiting for the 3rd act, when their hero Bush pulls the rabbit out of the hat, saves the world, ends up the hero, etc.
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Cocoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. true, but don't ignore his decline in the polls
remember, he was near or at 80% at one time.

Everything you say is true, but it's also possible to exaggerate the power of myths. They can in fact be dispelled.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 06:47 PM
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7. excellent points, everyone!
Like Reagan's imagemakers, the group that surrounds Bush has a particular talent (and plenty of resources) for conflating some of the heroic/inspiring myths brought out in this thread, with Bush's life story. Arguably they are even better at it than Reagan's people had to be (considering what they've got to work with!).

Rather revealing story about Bush's aircraft carrier appearance:
http://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/05/16/nyt.bumiller /
"Media strategists noted afterward that Mr. Sforza and his aides had choreographed every aspect of the event, even down to the members of the Lincoln crew arrayed in coordinated shirt colors over Mr. Bush's right shoulder and the "Mission Accomplished" banner placed to perfectly capture the president and the celebratory two words in a single shot. The speech was specifically timed for what image makers call "magic hour light," which cast a golden glow on Mr. Bush."
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