Crocodile tears

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Layered hypocrisy: Pelosi and the Lama do their thing to wash the empire’s robes.

Bad Faith

I SEE MORE AND MORE PROTESTS regards Tibet … and they seem to go hand and hand with the *save Darfur* crowd.

China being blamed for Darfur is pretty funny, actually. Chinese oil interests compete with US and European oil interests in the region, and so that makes the Chinese uppity and villainous. Never mind US oil interests in, say, Iraq, have contributed to a lot of death and carnage. Looking for logic in any of this is pointless. The point to keep in mind is that the Tibetan protests are largely a product of the US State Dept. And when Nancy Pelosi travels to India to meet with the Dalai Lama (and who paid for that trip, by the by?) one sees the liberal agenda in full swing.Nancy said something about moral authority –but not in regard to the invasion and occupation of Iraq — for which she voted — but in regard to the Chinese wanting to stop a region from splitting off from it. I hear Spielberg even quit his gig with the Olympics (what was he going to do for them, exactly??) as a gesture of moral support due to Darfur….but no doubt he can tack on Tibet as well. The morality police seem not to give a fuck about Iraq, or Gaza, or the US involvement in the Colombia/Venezuela tensions, or in a host of other places. No, but if it’s Tibet or Darfur, creatively packaged by the State Department, then yes, people slobber all over themselves with indignation. The truly cretinous, like Steve Spielberg, love the opportunity for self righteousness, and Tibet is the perfect cause.

The Chinese may well be hated because they seem to be better and more brutal capitalists than even the US. This is political theatre. Along with that theatre we have the Rev. Wright saga in the Democratic contest. What did Wright say that was incorrect? Far worse have been the statements of Billy Graham over the years. Far worse are the fundamentalist Christian supporters of Bush. The race question is revealed most clearly in situations where a cultural misreading takes place. Wright, if white, would not be castigated in this way. Oh, and crazy ol’ Farrakhan …. the perfect whipping boy for closet racists. That none of this is looked at by media in an historical context is typical. The history of slavery and discrimination is ignored. What percentage of prison inmates are black, again? So, we have this brewing stew of bad faith rhetoric ….Darfur, Tibet, Rev. Wright, and of course W A R in general. Intersecting all these topics is race. Yellow and black. And I suppose I could add Chavez and include brown.

The white world is sinking beneath its own intellectual and moral vomit. When the voice of Europe is Gordon Brown and Nick Sarkozy, and the US features the arrogant and simply nasty visage of Dick Cheney and George Bush, then what can be said? But point fingers they will, at those nasty Chinese, or backward Persians or Africans. A billionaire ex-coke head alkie deserter is president. His VP is a Wyoming hick with a mean streak and a one dimensional drive for power. Behind them are the eternal ruling class elites that we can trace back to DuPont and Carnegie…and beyond. No wonder people back away mentally from trying to tweeze it all apart. It’s the age of unreality. Bad faith and unreality.

—John Steppling

Playwright John Steppling is a Senior Editor for all matters cultural with Cyrano’s Journal’s VOXPOP. Steppling lives in Lodz with Norwegian director Gunnhild Skrodal, and teaches at the Polish National Film School.


Well, the root problem is civilization and the sublimated violence on which it is based, not this or that manifestation of civilization. The legions of revolutionaries who spilled their own blood in Russia and China, for example, would have been nauseated by the monolithic state socialism that emerged as a result. Now, in China, this state socialism has become indistinguishable from managed capitalism at its most virulent.

Maoist doctrine remains an effective guide for mobilizing resistance to foreign domination, but not in the name of more fundamental justice or equality.

It’s not that Lenin, Stalin or Mao were wrong in their assessment of how capitalism works or how fucked up it is or how it behaves to protect itself when challenged. They were pretty clear sighted about that and I wouldn’t argue with much of it. But state socialism offers nothing to those interested in social justice. Its view of human evil as primarily a function of economic ground rules and conditioning is superficial on a psychological level.

You could call the above distorted buddhism or distorted Freud or Girard or Lacan or whatever – it’s a real thought and a fairly coherent one.

I have no doubt the State department is furiously stirring the Tibetan pot. I don’t know much about Tibet, really, or the Dalai Lama as a political figure, but it strikes me that Ghandi-esque non-violence would never be as effective against the Chinese as it was against the British Raj.

I also, obviously, don’t disagree about the degree of disinformation in the US or how far gone we are on almost every level. It’s challenging to contemplate the situation with a settled pulse.


Guy Zimmerman, a playwright, is Senior Editor with Cyrano’s Journal for Cultural Matters and co-editor with John Steppling of VOXPOP. Guy is the Artistic Director of Padua Playwrights. Since 2001, he has staged award-winning productions of new plays by numerous contemporary playwrights (including John Steppling’s Dog Mouth) in Los Angeles and New York. On VOXPOP, he trades views with Steppling on the theater and its myriad social ramifications.





The State Dept Spirituality depot

I’ve been up in Norway this week, and in a remote cabin for the last several days, so Im catching up here again in rather hurried fashion.

I did catch some Norwegian TV coverage of Bush’s speech — the one where he speaks of the success of the Iraq invasion and occupation. Such naked lies still seem not to elicit corporate news wanks to speak out clearly about the disinformation machine that the US government has become (ok, it always was, but it exists in a new orwellian hyper-drive since 2001). Watching Bush was an exercise in vertigo control for the viewer — such a litany of pure falsehoods is hard to top. I also caught some of the coverage of the Tibet protests or riots or whatever they are. My immediate reaction was to sense the US state dept. fingerprints all over this.

Here are two links:

Now, I trust Guy will weigh in on this topic, but what is more germane to me right now than distortions of Buddhist teaching, is the timing of these protests, and the US need for more anti-Chinese press just now, as well as a lightening rod topic for liberals of the George Clooney variety (is Dali Steven Seagal making an appearence?). I thought also of Nepal, and western press coverage of the Maoist resistance against the monarchy in that other tiny mountain realm. I recall little coverage and few pictures of crying Nepalese, and when a CNN or whoever did manage a few seconds it was to demonize the Maoists, mostly. Like the opposition in Burma, one gets a creepy state department vibe off of all this…..its the eastern spiritual version of Georgia or Ukraine I suspect. I return over and over to the US track record in foreign relations. Saudi Arabia, autocratic Turkey and Egypt, another monarchy in Kuwait and dictators in Uzbekistan and Pakistan, and earlier the US support for apartheid South Africa, and its installing of The Shah and Mobutu, and its love affair with Pinochet and with Rioss-Mont, and Somoza and Marcos. Today FARC remains a terrorist organization and Uribe (a drug running gangster) our friend. Kosovo is our friend too, as were the KLA. Musaveni is our friend, and the US continues to train militaries in Africa in something like forty countries. I see a pattern here. We could go back to Hitler, and Prescott Bush, and Ford, and DuPoint and IBM… but thats been told often enough. Its the monopoly that news outlets have that is most disturbing — so think back to World Com or Harkin and recall the limited analysis, or the coverage provided for Cheney and Bush on insider trading, or how much cyber and real ink is spilled over Elliot Spitzer and how little real discussion is allowed regards topics like Cuba or Venezuela, or labor relations domestically.Corporate news coverage is simply another waste product. Its in the service of those ruling class ghouls who helped fascism all over the world, because fascism is good for business. Any genuine popular opposition will be crushed, in Nicaragua, in the former Yugoslavia, Peru or even Fiji; not to be tolerated. The Dali Lama eats off the same nice tableware I see in photos from the Vatican. I leave off with a final link.

I am back from the far reaches and will catch up a bit more later.

—John Steppling

add foot note…..this link from the Guardian…..(note last paragraph)

2 comments on “Crocodile tears
  1. The coin of a nation that’s indisputably run on lies has to be hypocrisy. But the fact we find such highly-placed dignitaries willing to play the game is simply revolting, and there’s no place to go. We gotta fix this thing right here.

    Amazing how unwittingly prescient sci fi can be. The Star Wars saga, although hokum on many levels, and far from intended by its creators as political comment of any importance, faithfully recreates what the US has become, a Death Star. Ironically, the heros, somehow armed with the latest technology instead of more rudimentary guerrilla weapons, are the revolutionaries!

    Revolutionaries willing to go about saving feudal princesses of course. This is America after all.

  2. An amazing eyeopener. I am almost embarrassed to admit how much I had bought the Lama package, although I must say that between Pelosi and the Lama, I’ll always take the Lama. Pelosi is just bunko, through and through.

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