*We are pretentious. We are overwrought. We will project our failures on everything and everyone else to preserve our stunted, fragile egos. It does not have to be this way. You don’t have to be like Esquire Magazine’s Charles P. Pierce. *
I’m here to help.
So yesterday a friend and cohort brought this wonderfully vapid work of alarmism to my attention. In it, Esquire Magazine’s Charlie Pierce wants his readers to believe America has entered a new Dark Age of cruelty and barbarism. Oh boy.
Typical of any doomsayer, Pierce bases his conclusion on a series of emotional overreactions to a sometimes harsh reality. Let’s examine the two examples given in this article.
He begins with citing a recent Salon post detailing an infant child being horribly injured in a SWAT raid. While certainly good for invoking immediate emotional responses, this does nothing to support his overall claim.
To begin with, Charlie confuses fiction with nonfiction, because that Salon excerpt clearly has no intention of providing an accurate and objective detailing of the events of the raid. Most glaringly, the excerpt skims over the mention that drugs were involved; maybe we should take the mother’s narrative with a grain of salt, regardless of how well it is written?
I don’t believe Mr. Pierce is quite as stupid as your typical Salon reader, so the only motivation I see for sharing this exploitative work is ideological axe-grinding. This man REALLY wants you to believe that some yellow journalism luridly describing a singed crib and a pool of blood justifies his prognostications, that accidents during SWAT raids simply shouldn’t exist in America.
(Hilariously and I’m sure unintentionally, Charles also wants you to believe that incidences of collateral damage and innocent casualties only happen with savage brown people in Mosul or Jalalabad. This isn’t something that should happen in Atlanta!)
TRS isn’t buying this. On the contrary, people crying “apocalypse” at sensationalist news articles is evidence of the overabundant comfort and security in our society. Show me Nazis marching down an occupied Paris and I’ll feel moved to action; saying I need to join you in wringing hands and feeling upset about the impending end of society because of a poorly-thrown flashbang is profoundly retarded.
Moving on to Pierce’s second example: Detroit.
Apparently, because this shambling zombie of a city is shutting off water to people who aren’t paying their bills, this means rampant human cruelty. The idea of enforcing consequences for poor life choices is apparently proof of Americans achieving a level of cruelty never seen before.
Hilariously, clean water is so taken for granted in this day and age that Charlie actually wants to argue that Detroit is preventing the water fairy from distributing working bathrooms and sinks to Americans who cannot be bothered to pay the requisite fees. That cities have budgets and that budgets require money to operate seems to fly right over poor Chuckie’s head. Apparently, even for a city deeply in debt, over 118 million dollars in IOUs still does not deserve a response.
What, the only reason people pay bills for goods and services now is cultural formality? Do working utilities and numerous maintenance workers supplying services for thousands of people magically materialize when some hysterical old liberal writes about people being big ole’ meanies? Come on, bro.
Thankfully, Pierce believes his diagnosis is reversible, that we can cure our nation of flashbangs and meaniepants municipalities. The panacea? That “like Lincoln, we (enlightened Americans) must do something about it.”
*Hold your horses. *Lincoln’s course of action resulted in the deaths of close to 3% of the US population, not to mention the utter annihilation of a culture and economic system for millions. You would think that for someone so concerned with cruelty, some thirst and burn injuries pale in comparison to a civil war. You would think adults would understand that innocent people get hurt sometimes, that things cost money, and that free riders can’t be perpetually accommodated with unicorn farts and rainbows.
But this is simply not the case. Charles seems to actually rank an injured infant and some thirsty drug addicts and squatters above world wars, great depressions, and social upheaval.
Charlie Pierce’s picture shows a well-fed old white guy with a beard. I wish I was shocked to find that this sort of man never grew out of such a pathetically childish understanding of reality.
I really wish I was shocked to find such an overgrown manchild represents the political thought of Esquire’s audience.