detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Monday, November 18, 2002

: . To the vanquished belong the spoils:

I completely agree with Athena. Conservatives have really mastered the rituals of what they themselves (and their sympathizers) have derisively described as "the culture of complaint." In fact, no other group of people have flaunted their supposed victimization to greater effect. For conservatives there doesn't seem to be any American institution that is not under the clutches of their political adversaries: universities are patrolled by the p.c. police, the mainstream media is the mouthpiece of the liberal intelligentsia, even government is under assault by left wing lobbyists. Everywhere, it seems, free-expression and individual responsibility -- the concepts that made this country great -- are being stifled by groupthink and by the smothering embrace of the welfare state. Indeed, even the critics of so-called "victim mentality" can't help but present themselves as victims. Taking their cue from minority discourses they have presented themselves as victims of the formerly (if ever) "oppressed" thereby adding to the cynicism of those who refuse to enfranchise the "truly disadvantaged." Conservative "victim mentality" reached its greatest level of sophistication with Dubya's "art of the undersell." By masquerading as a hick underdog from Down South the Yankee blue blood preppie was able to become president. And the rest is history -- or at least history repeating itself as farce. It's astonishing how much Americans have bought into all this conservative spin. With the majority of individual Americans thinking that they are victims too, it's unsurprising that real victims remain mired in their wretchedness while their impostors have acquired powers beyond belief.

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