Posted August 31, 2016on:
Good morning Widdershinners. It’s a good day for the clamoring Yam to go to Mexico and share Trump Tower’s recipe for original taco bowls. What could go wrong with today’s little field trip?
What I find fascinating is the Yam’s 4% favorability among Mexicans is 3% higher than his favorability among African Americans in THIS country. Heavy is the head of the King Birther when birth certificates come to roost; or something like that.
In any event, all of that mishegas is for another day. Today my friends, I want to geek out.
A sociological construct has been niggling at my “brains”. The construct, “normalization of deviance,” is primarily aimed at organizational and industrial cultures, but I believe it has a great deal of utility in this psychotic election season. First, the definition of “normalization of deviance”:
The gradual process through which unacceptable practice or standards become acceptable. As the deviant behavior is repeated without catastrophic results, it becomes the social norm for the organization.
This theorem was promulgated after the Challenger disaster to explain how NASA and Morton-Thiokol ignored the danger that was repeatedly presented in the O-ring design data. There are other interesting examples such as a museum heist of $500 million, the sinking of the Costa Concordia, and countless errors in health care decisions. Only after the resultant catastrophe does the causal deviance become apparent.
My thesis is this: For the last thirty years we have been exposed to a series of increasingly unacceptable practices. These practices are culminating in this catastrophic election. Without sounding too “Chicken Little’ish”, we can ill-afford to sit idly by until the inevitable catastrophe shocks us into ostracizing those who exceed the bounds of political propriety.
It’s not that I doubt Hillary’s success in November. I do not. It is the unmitigated assault upon what used to be normal and acceptable political behavior that has seemed to disappear during this silly season. We can’t afford to allow this normalized deviance to paralyze another presidential term.
For instance, when has a major party nominated a candidate who has been fact-checked as failing to tell the truth over 90% of the time without paying a political price for it?
When has it ever been acceptable for a presidential candidate to refuse to release tax returns?
When has an “A” rated charity providing life-saving drugs to 11.5 million humans been a greater potential for conflict of interest than a six-time bankrupt businessperson who is in hock to foreign banks and Russian oligarchs? If you watched Face the Nation last Sunday you would be convinced that time is now since Hillary’s emails were mentioned 27 times and Trump’s tax returns were mentioned once.
When was it tolerable for a campaign surrogate to explain away the candidate’s mocking of a disabled reporter by saying, “He was only imitating a standard retard?”
When was it ethical for a news service to put out a knowingly false tweet promoting an upcoming story, acknowledge the falsehood, and then refuse to take down the lie declaring, “No regrets!”
When was it reasonable for a lousy third-rate writer who has made a career out of dogging the Clintons to publish an article with two negative paragraphs about Hillary and twenty-one paragraphs excoriating the clamorous Yam and conclude that Trump can’t be president, but there are eligible third parties for whom to vote?
When was it all right to name a hate-mongering, bigoted, conspiracy theorist from a fever swamp of lewdness as a campaign CEO and suffer no consequence for it?
And to manage the campaign, at the same time bring in the dragoness Komodo Kellyanne Conway, who is accepted by the press as the “normal” one. This same Komodo Kellyanne is the very same person who criticized Hillary for not standing up to a “cheating husband,” advised her client “legitimate rape Todd Akin” to just stop talking about rape, who compared sexual preference to being a slut, and advised women that revulsion towards men in your life is “part and parcel of the feminist movement. If women want to be taken seriously in the workforce, looking feminine is a good place to start.”
This type of normalized deviance is being perpetrated upon the country by the media’s simple-minded, lazy affinity to the Holy Grail of false equivalency, the Manifesto of “both siderism”, and the New Testament of “fair and balanced”. For what is now laughably passing as political dialogue there is no comparison to what has been the norm.
Now all the cable channels are competing for the eyes of the news addicted. The meth heads of news junkies. The twenty-four hour, never change the channel, leave it on all day, typical Fox news demographic. To compete, the anonymous backroom bean-counting executives have proclaimed dumbed-down political analysis to include vacuous stooges who mouth pithy slogans heretofore only scribbled on restroom walls.
It is now passable for bold-faced wing nuts who are little more than amoral talking point Dictaphones to act as political analysts? For example, there’s Fire Marshall Bill look-alike Hugh Hewitt or my new favorite claymation bobblehead, Scottie Nell Hughes. Ms. Hughes, a self-proclaimed journalist/patriot, is the new go-to for CNN after that unfortunate “words is confusing” incident with Katrina Pierson. To understand the depth of Ms. Hughes’ political insight you need go no further than her official C.V. listing as commendable honors:
At the young age of 12 her first reporting job was a Kids to Kids Reporter for WKRN-ABC Nashville. She went on to win the top High School Broadcaster Award for the state of Tennessee and the Broadcaster of the year for her college class 3 years in a row. She won the 2012 Blog Video of the Year by the National Bloggers Club at CPAC.
This lack of critical thinking and this slavish devotion to “both siderism” is moving us toward normalizing the deviance of three decades of baseless, fact-free media where delegitimizing the opposition was the only goal. These tactics are not a two-way street. Only one side plays by these rules. And it is the side claiming to be swathed in the purity of patriotism and a Constitution none of us would recognize.
If only we could go back to the good old days where Republicans limited their deviance to the bedroom and the boardroom, we could indeed make American great, as well as normal, again.
What’s on your mind today?
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