Churchill, His Arms Wide

I very much enjoyed this essay entitled The Power of (Right Wing) Myth, and its analogy between the episode of Star Trek involving a race of aliens that speak only in metaphor and the tendency of many (I won’t limit it to the right wing as the author does) to fall back to a defined set of references to 20th century history to explain, even justify, a lot of things our government has done more recently. You can see it in Bush’s bizarrely ironic comparison of the Iraq and Vietnam wars, and all the way down through the ranks of officials and commentators throwing Churchill and Imperial Japan and Hitler around, seemingly without considering them anything more than archetypes of “good” or “evil”.

I was one of the generation the author mentions, who grew up in a republican household, imprinted with the mythos of the triumphant Reagan throwing out the unmanly peanut farmer; I had a “Reagan ’84” bumper sticker next to pictures of the Transformers on my bedroom door in grade school. But why haven’t more people like me given up childish caricatures and tried to learn the real lessons of history? I mean I wouldn’t use an episode of Star Trek to justify a war…

2 Responses to “Churchill, His Arms Wide”

  1. jbc Says:

    Nice item. _And_ a nifty title. Cool.

    ymatt: raising the bar. Yet again.

  2. enkidu Says:

    a great STNG episode

    go read the linked story and the comments (see #5 for insightful comparison to compressing information using metaphor)

    the first poster also had it down
    “the alien captain ends up dead, killed by the monster because Picard didn’t know the metaphorical way to shout “Look out behind you!!””

    Hey America! Look out behind you!

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