by Leanne Ogasawara
Premise #1: Not since the Beijing Olympics has a media -generated spectacle so thoroughly taken hold of and twisted the liberal imagination as what we are seeing now concerning Syria.
I almost hate to bring it up but does anyone recall the media spectacle when China hosted the olympic games in 2008? At that time, I had not consumed American media in about 15 years, so imagine my shock when I came home to California in the summer of 2008 and turned on the TV during the opening ceremony…
I could not believe my ears.
For me, perhaps the most memorable “story” being trotted around by “intellectuals” was the supposed similarity between the Beijing opening ceremony and that seen in the 1936 Games staged by Nazi Germany. This was repeatedly stated– but never argued– in much the same way as Bush's “Axis of Evil” comparison. And, one wondered whether liberals have dared to “go there” without backing up their claims if they had been talking about France or Austria, for example? Or Russia? It was pretty diminishing –if not patronizing to the Chinese.
Zhang Yimou and Leni Riefenstahl? Really?
I thought the worst days were behind us after that. A few days ago, however, a friend posted on Facebook the following open letter about Syria and the “left-wing” response:
The schizophrenic delusions of the Western anti-war movement: A response to Lindsey German
In the letter, the author describes the discussion on the left in the following way:
It is, rather, an ideologically driven habit of twisting facts so that they conveniently fit into a pre-constructed narrative about 'those people' and how they do things. It is, in other words, Orientalism.
That American journalists pander in narratives-as-consumer-products is somehow understandable given the economic realities, but I have been really taken aback by the equally troublesome response we are seeing by the left-wing elite. As Shiar suggests, to frame non-intervention as some kind of morally-elevated action (ie as “anti-war”) is problematic–for not only does it cease to make any mention of what Syrians want or think but the suffering that we see happening has been absolutely staggering.
There are some very compelling practical arguments for non-action, don't get me wrong. But this feels lost in what is a tidal wave of liberal insouciance —or twitter-talk; whether basing opinions on erroneous comparions to Iraq (really?) or in anti-war slogans and (to quote Shiar again) “obsessing about big politics from a statist perspective: regime change, foreign intervention, regional war, Israel, Iran, blah blah blah.”
Obama, without any support on the left or the right, has displayed a surprising show of honest resolve.
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