Monday, March 23, 2009

move along

The end of the AIG bonus saga is nigh, $50 million is being returned, says NY AG Andrew Cuomo.

Congressional outrage has evidently been defused:
In Washington, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said that efforts to recover bonuses like the ones at A.I.G. through punitive taxes would be delayed.
And press outrage, and thus public outrage will be allowed to dwindle into the twilight. Zzzzz...

Glenn Greewald had a post last weekend praising the virtues of public anger, but I fear he fails to realize that such public outrage depends on its being pushed, sanctioned and amplified by the media. Then, when the media decides that the moment for outrage is over, the public anger returns to being the private anger of senile old codgers such as myself. Maybe there are more of us than before, but so what?

The US public remains distant from any display of public anger such as demonstrations, civil disobedience and strikes. Though docile, easily distracted, and intellectually stunted, the public is collectively suffering enough that it is ready to be given another villan to be identifed and attacked, but who that is will be determined by the media and their masters. The public's fear and outrage will be a tool in factional disputes, but useless for its own struggles.

Ultimately, the passage from a passive fascism to an active one will be driven by public anger. Be careful what you wish for, Glenn.


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