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Gibson and Sterling on Bush
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From William Gibson's blog:

As I took the zeitgeist's temperature this morning (the hard way, as we professional prescients always insist on doing) I noticed that it was decidedly more difficult to imagine life after a Kerry win than life after a Bush win.

Aside from the fact that, as we professionals know, it's inherently more difficult to imagine things getting relatively unfucked than it is to imagine things getting more fucked but in a familiar direction, I found myself wondering whether that Bush-as-idiot-shaman essay I quoted here recently might not be literally true, in some ghastly Castanedan way? Could it be that the obscenely comforting narrowing of imaginative bandwith (the real payoff in becoming a Bushite believer) was actually changing the world, or threatening to, via its chilling effect on concensus-reality?

Beautiful stuff. Gibson wonders out loud about a magical realism story in which Bush's simple narrow-mindedness actually sculpts reality.

I wonder if I should be insulted by the implication that anyone who supports Bush is a narrow-minded dolt? I find this opinion all too often in the blogs of many writers and editors, the sort of blithe dismissal of anyone who supports Bush as a slope-browed redneck Jesus-loving moron. Conversely, I suppose, all Kerry supporters are refined geniuses, working mathematical proofs while simultaneously composing operatic scores in their heads.

Should I also wonder why otherwise intelligent and articulate people so easily and so often resort to caricature and stereotype?

In this post, Gibson quotes friend and fellow writer Bruce Sterling:

"Bush talks and thinks like Milosevic. He will lose, but the most disheartening thing is the prospect of his religio-nationalist reality-deniers clinging fiercely to the sacred glory of their Lost Cause for the next hundred years. We live under the Confederacy. We're a podunk bunch of swaggering pious hicks."

--Bruce Sterling

Sure, because George W. Bush is just like a fascist genocidal war criminal, isn't he? I guess comparing him to Hitler was just too, you know, cliched.

And of course, his supporters are all "religio-nationalist reality-deniers". Again, no thinking person could support Bush. You pretty much have to be a Jesus-freak brownshirt fucking moron to support George W. Bush, right? I mean, everybody who's anybody knows that.

Again, should I take that personally?

This stuff is bile, folks.

I can certainly see how someone could support Kerry over Bush. Kerry is an experienced statesman (though I wish he would talk about his Senate experience more). I think he would probably, ironically, be more fiscally responsible than Bush, even though I don't believe his pledge about cutting middle class taxes. I don't support him and won't vote for him, but I think in many ways he would do a decent job as President.

So I don't think of those who are planning on voting for Kerry as a bunch of drooling idiots. I think that level of political dialogue is fairly pathetic, and should be beneath intelligent people, especially artists who should, if anything, be more able to empathize with others, since being a writer involves crawling inside others' skins (and minds) and understanding how people very much unlike you tick.

But apparently, when it comes to politics, some writers are either unwilling or unable to employ that sort of understanding, preferring instead to portray the leader they oppose as a caricature and those who support him as a simple-minded mob.

Nice job, guys.

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