Wednesday, September 5, 2012

- Soft Racism

I think it's hard to find anyone in living memory who lived a life more detached from reality than Michael Jackson. But I don't know that any of it was his fault. He was an amazing talent to be sure, and from childhood he was surrounded by people who thought it in their personal interests to tell him so. For the last 40 years of his life he was surrounded 24-7 by people who told him how wonderful he was and how he could do no wrong. Outwardly it made him one of the famous and celebrated people alive, but inwardly it twisted his perception of reality and sealed him into an untouchable bubble, just him and his ego.

I could recount his eccentricities but what's the point? He didn't do that to himself. And how much better would any of us be if we had spent our entire adult life surrounded by nothing but fawning lick spittle's? Nothing tests a man's character more than giving him everything he's ever wanted. And the stories of Hollywood children destroyed by that demon are everywhere - all in it probably did Michael less harm than River Phoenix, Dana Plato, or Corey Haim. And none of them had half his talent.

Besides, I do have a broader point.

Barak Obama is a firm belief that he's better at everything, than anyone else he meets who performs those tasks for a living. You may think that's me being partisan, but he's been quoted saying that very thing. Is he talented at those jobs? I don't know... maybe. Is he really better at them than the people he's employed to do them? I doubt it.

President Obama is just a little older than I am. And I think one moment that can be pointed to in anyone's life when they can say they've reached maturity is when experience begins to teach them about the things they can't do. Surely a man older tham me must have reached that point.

Barry may not have the 'kind' of experience I do, but he has slightly more of 'some' experience. You can't be alive for that long and not experience something. And fairly, in that last link he points to tasks associated with running for and being elected to office - a task even his opponents would say he is knowledgeable about, and does pretty well.

But it turns out that he also believes he's good at everything else in the world too.

Maybe he is. I don't know. I like to think I'm good at more than one thing. I'm good at my job, I'm a pretty fair wingshooter, and not an awful cook. But I'm very much aware that there are a great many things I'm terrible at. And that's a bit of experience that seems to have totally escaped Barry.

I think he's suffering from the educated version of the Child Star syndrome. His whole life he's had everyone telling him how great he is, and as a result, he suffers from a total lack of humility. He believes he's better and smarter than everyone - not just those around him. And it's shaped not only his personal view of himself, but his entire political philosophy.

Truth is, he really is an affirmative action President. He's suffered the effect of the soft racism of low expectations his entire life, and ended up a bit detached from reality. He probably isn't particularly good at any of the things he thinks he is. But since no one has ever been critical of him out of fear of being called a racist, there is no way for him to have ever learned that.

Like many black American's he really has been a victim of racism, but not from the people he thinks. It's his supporter's racism that has done him the most harm, not the imagined racism of his opponents. And it's turned him into a kind of political child star.


chess said...

Exactly,,Wow. You are on a roll today. Extra Redbull? You have Wings!!!
Most humble people have had the "shit" kicked out of them physically and or mentally and thus get some humbleness.Tom you did by ?Bacon your mentor and I bet lots of other places and times. I did periodically by bigger kids on farms and some animals(keep it clean). I did for 5 years of rugby. You gave some and took some. Then through 2 residiencies I got humbled all the time.
You can ask Keith on this board that we both knew within minutes that someone never had the shit kicked out of em.
BHO never has and he and the country are worse off for it.

Keith said...

We are all humbled by life or should be. And part of maturing is to realize that we are all more fragile and vulnerable than our youth might otherwise tell us. You get it by having a really sick child, on the playground, the loss of someone you love. Absent that hit, self absorption predominates. I think Tom is onto something here...