Monday, September 05, 2005

American Mythology

Maria Farrell over at Crooked Timber offers an angry, pointed post about how this last week's images from New Orleans have exposed the idiocy of the U.S.'s self-image as an egalitarian, meritocratic society. She might have pointed out that it is precisely this unmasking of the myth which makes it such a political crisis for the arch-stokers of that mythology, i.e. the poobahs of the GOP. The only question now is whether the Rove spin-machine can once again work its magic, to turn off the burgeoning discourse about structural socio-political failure, and instead replace it with a discussion of which small-time Democrats are to blame for the Katrina debacle.

But let me ask you: if the American people have to choose between, on the one hand, affirming their cherished mythologies, as packaged by Rove, and, on the other hand, facing hard nasty truths about themselves and their country -- do you have any real doubt as to which way the majority of the country will choose? And this may indeed be the secret of the GOP's success: it's willingness to affirm and rearticulate the governing myths of our country at every turn, even in the face of massive debunking evidence. Cue "reality-based community" quote.

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