|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
New Light from the East
Avedon wonders if Mark Ames is 'that lefty I've been hearing so much about', and praises with just a hint of bemusement his savage insight into 'The Spite Vote'.
Mark Ames, steeled by his years over there in the glorious post-Soviet future-and-it-works, is an original and offensive left gonzo journalist. Here's his unforgettable takedown of the response to 9/11 of the pseudo-anarchist liberal Chomsky :
The lack of dynamism or discovery is why, in spite of appearing so "radical" to more dull-witted crackers, Chomsky comes off as flat, fake, ineffectual, especially now, when something new and interesting is required.It's the Nizan ref that's the clincher, for anyone who's read The Watchdogs, a book that did for philosophy what a dead cat through a closed window does for a church.
Or take this incisive analysis of the condition of the working class in the imperialist heartlands:
I'd moved to Louisville with not even a fork or a spoon. Wal-Mart sells all that -- hamper, dishes, utensils, dish rack, sheets, telephones, you name it -- for prices so incredibly low that I was genuinely grateful. I thought about Wal-Mart's union busting, its abused work staff of geriatrics and economically desperate wage slaves, its stocks of Third World products which in turn further destroyed America's manufacturing, it's aesthetic Sovietization of America... and then I thought about my own shitty fiscal situation. Conclusion: "Fuck 'em."Ames goes on to give a cogent analysis of the vicious circles of globalization, stuffed to the gills with quotable quotes ('The rightwing oligarchy and its mandarins explain away globalization's savage effects on the lower classes as all part of prophet Adam Smith's wonderful plan for humanity'), glances at the role of the Russian intelligentsia (the only class to have destroyed the same state twice, and itself twice with it) and concludes with the intriguing hypothesis that the American hard left fails to connect not because it's elitist, but because it's not elitist enough. (Dress like somebody whose lifestyle people might aspire to, not like somebody they would cross the road to avoid.) And there's plenty more where that came from. Not all of it is by Ames, and not all of it can be recommended to those of a sensitive disposition. Nevertheless, the eXile holds out a glorious vision of a future liberated America:
The task facing UN forces now is "De-Bushification" of the occupied US. UN Courts will soon convene to try several thousand Yankee suspects held for Crimes against Humanity that claimed as many as 60 million victims from Kuala Lumpur to Oslo. Some of the most influential "chickenhawks," including Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney, have agreed to testify in exchange for immunity. A British military lawyer preparing the UN's case says, "This lot have turned on each other like rats in a trap, squealing at full pitch."Nice to see that even in these troubled times the eXile doesn't get all bitter and twisted. Read it regularly, if it survives its latest outrage. If it doesn't, and even if it does, you can always browse its archive.
(Update: slightly edited to remove excess irony.)