August 17, 2010

The Value of Nothing: Social Conservatives and the Self-Loathing Logic of Xenophobia

Bear with OC as I wax esoteric for a minute.

"Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."
-God, Exodus 3:5

"Ground Zero", Macmillan Dictionary:
1 - the point on the surface of the Earth directly above or below where a nuclear explosion has happened

2 - a place at the centre of changes that are happening fast or violently

The first recorded zero appeared in Mesopotamia around 3 B.C. The Mayans invented it independently circa 4 A.D. It was later devised in India in the mid-fifth century, spread to Cambodia near the end of the seventh century, and into China and the Islamic countries at the end of the eighth. Zero reached western Europe in the 12th century.

"Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground."
-Our Messiah, 8-13-10

The following mutual pleasuring session between fellow crushgirl Greta van Sustern and Twittercuda is basically unwatchable, but it's worthy of a gander as context for the rest of the post. (Link)

When nutjob-style conservatives yap on about "sacred ground" what do they mean? What did the president mean by it? Why are they currently all wee weed up over the fact that it was Him™ that uttered the phrase?

By now, Darryl Lang's little photo essay marking the banal secularity of the supposedly sacred ground has made the rounds.

So, what do the RWNJ, most of whom are deeply threatened by diversity of Manhattan and other US cities think they are talking about?

Where do they get their concept of holy ground? Do they even know?

Don't they know their own concept of the "zero" in "ground zero" comes in part out of algebra (al Jabr, "restoration", [disRefudiation]), itself from Babylon (Iraq)?

Have they forgotten how loudly they STILL shriek unamerican at those of us originally against the rediction of Afghanistan and Iraq to zero, through wars using 9-11 as a pretext?

When will the RWNJ learn: your xenophobia will always come back to bite you in the rear. Tell Mr. Ouroborus about it.

Social conservatives often end up rendering themselves powerless through their own hypocrisy. The louder they holler about Ground Zero, the more they strengthen their opponent's resolve to balance them out. Take it from Ouroborous, one of the key symbols of "zero" to come out of alchemy; we will use their hate to cure them of their hate. We will use their poison as our inoculation. They bring this condition on themselves.

We've gotten pretty good at it over the years.

Just as social conservatives from the mid 19th century onward looked at Blacks to reassure themselves only they are the free ones, their progeny today need to look at someone they deem "illegal" to conceive of themselves as the legal ones. They can't do that without birtherism. They can't do that with teabaggerism. They can't do that without secondclassing samesex marriage. They can't do that without, er, clarifying the 14th Amendment. Or at least talking big about zeroing out birthright citizenship, even if they have no real intent to do so.

"Xenophobia looks like becoming the mass ideology of the 20th-century fin-de-si├Ęcle. What holds humanity together today is the denial of what the human race has in common."

-Eric J. Hobsbawm (b. 1917), Lecture to the American Anthropological Association.

Palin's divide between Real America and what I can only presume at this point she means by Imaginary America is getting starker and shriller by the hour.

Dr. Math explains imaginary numbers in terms even a social conservative can understand.

Imaginary numbers are numbers that can be written as a real number times i.

So what is a real number, and what is i?

Well, the real numbers are all the positive numbers, negative numbers, and zero. These are numbers like

(bonus points if you can tell us
what the next few digits are and why!)

So the real numbers are the numbers that you probably already know: they're the ones on the number line.

What is i? It's the square root of -1 (see footnote below). And it's NOT a real number. i was invented because people wanted to be able to take square roots of negative numbers, and you can't do that if you limit yourself to real numbers.

Hm. Interesting. Without the concept of zero there can be no negative, thus no imaginary numbers. Without the demarcation line of the zero, there can be no Real numbers. Without us, or the spectre of us, whatever they think "us" is, the xenophobes within Real America don't know who they are. Without us, those whom Real America deem outside the realm of legitimacy, Real America has no identity.

I feel bad for the xenophobic set in Real America. For one, it's sad to watch people root their identity in imaginary non-entities like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder. What's worse: when you misconstrue the other and your identity-constitution is predicated on defining yourself based on who you're not, then you are bound to end up with a deeply distorted view of yourself. This is the foundation of xenophobia. They are like the unfortunate snake, hellbent on its own destruction, who eats itself.

This, I believe, is why they run around anxious and confused, and ready to blow things up all day, and eliminate those whose existence threatens their identity, to zero. They bear little difference from the same extremist jehadis they decry. They only decry them because they are the competition.

That's where demagogues like Palin and Prince bin Talal of Fox/Newscorp come in. They make lots of money reminding Real America of what they are, itself a concept grounded in who they are not.

I'll be interested to see in the coming days whether Mrs. Palin hops aboard the 14th Amendment = Loophole bandwagon like she has the anti-mosque bandwagon. So far, she's stayed curiously silent. Her pro-life, pro-fetus, therefore pro-anchor-terrorist-baby credentials just might be getting the best of her.

There's more to come on the heiligen Grundenses and the via negativas of social conservatism, and why it leaves them so perpetually confused when they've exhausted people -- gays, liberals, progressives, muslims, mexicans -- to define themselves against, how/why this results in turning their own concepts of "liberty" and tolerance against us and, inevitably, ultimately, against themselves. Stay tuned.