Seditionist Creeps

This is one of the scariest things I’ve read in quite some time.

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

“It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” the source told us in an in-person conversation.

Scary enough, but not the part that really sends chills up my spine. Read the comments, an alarming percentage of which cheer the administration on in its efforts to silence the media. The media, which is at least in theory trying to report on the administration’s illegal activity. It’s positively Orwellian: the problem is not the right’s violations of the Constitution but the attempts by a Constitutionally protected free press to report on those violations.

There’s a fair bit of discussion on Unfogged today about resistance — both the historical Resistance in Vichy France and its implications for life in the U.S. today. It’s these kinds of attempts on the part of the right to control the nation’s discourse — and worse, the level of success they’ve had in the last six years, regardless of what the approval ratings seem to suggest — that make me despair. Is resistance even possible?


  1. Dear KF,

    How odd to read the question about the possibility of resistence afteer the entry on commencement exercises. I know there is some revolutionary appeal to frame the question in terms of resistence. Contestation is so sexy. Yet if one were to carry over the thoughts about graduating students into the future gaze, would one be able to focus upon civic behaviour? I mean is there a way of not only phrasing but thinking through the question of what is to be done in terms not only oppositional but also counter cultural. Yes this an appeal to the DIY ethic that was evident in ecological and other movements that flowered in the 70s (with roots in way back). I think of that classic text by Audre Lorde, “The Uses of the Erotic” and the passage about the master’s tools…

    Did a search of “despair” on the PlanOb blog. Came up with a mention in a comment to

    Surely there must be an alternative timeline of the last six years of the current administration that mark off the occasions where the “right” did not succeed in imposing its might. There’s got to be at least two such moments, non?

  2. There has actually been much discussion today in the political blogosphere (yeah, I totally get paid to read about this stuff…rock) re: that ABC blog entry and the ensuing Bush-supportive comments. The current theory, which I once would have dismissed as paranoid garbage but now accept as a matter of course, is that the administration is paying people to post comments such as those. If you look at the language, it does look like some of those commenters are the same people, or at least posting from the same talking points.

  3. Wait, what? The administration has talking points? Talking points that it repeats? And encourages others to repeat? Regardless of context? Instead of saying anything substantial? Can’t be.

    We’ve got to stay the course! He’s the right man at this critical moment in our nation’s history! If the media continues speaking freely, the terrorists win!

    Why do you hate America, liz?

    (Francois, I’m still pondering your point. Part of me wants to say yes, of course, you’re right, but part of me wants to say that if we all decamp for the counterculture, we wind up ceding the dominant culture to the Right — and end up where we are now, with a silenced majority being told that it’s out of step with the mainstream…)

  4. Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest an en masse decamping for counter-culture isolation. I did mean to suggest that certain fashion markers make it easy to spot like minded souls. And thereby enjoy a feeling of being bouyed by the power of numbers. Of course fashion is cooptable (e.g. earings and men). There were/are aspects of the counter culture that were not just about dropping out. Tuning in and turning on, too!

    I thought more about moments where the admin failed to control the discourse. As an outsider, I have two in mind: (1) the aftermath of Katrina (2)the May Day Marches and the power of the power of ‘locutores’.

    In short, the long view is supported by a memory of a long past.

    Just wanted to suggest that seeing the resistence reflected by the media is not the same as seeing the resistence. And furthermore the resistence may just look like civic duty.

    Plus we worry about one of our favourite bloggers getting into a deep deep funk. As they say in French: “Courage, mon amie, courage!”

  5. In rereading How Like A Leaf (an interview of Donna J. Haraway with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve) came across this reply to a question of cyborg ethics. It sounds preachy decontextualized. But what doesn’t? *smile* “[…] but not in a simplistic ‘I’m for it or against.’ You can’t have some simpleminded political heroics about resistance versus complicity. What has to happen is that literacies have to be encouraged, as well as many kinds of agency. Both literacy and agency aren’t things you have, but things you do.”

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