An American’s view of America.

Personally, I think this is an important video.

Let me say straight away that I am an atheist. Apart from a couple of wobbles in my life I have always been that way. I believe in the sanctity of the truth and wherever possible that is a scientific truth. Jean also is a non-theist. That’s why we enjoy so much the meetings of our local Rogue Valley Humanists & Freethinkers Group. Indeed, this video was first shown to the group at the last meeting.

Now Kurt Andersen, born August 1954, is an American writer and he has his own website as well as a long entry on Wikipedia.

In January, 2020 Kurt made a video. It is nearly 50 minutes long and it is on YouTube. I have inserted this video below. If you can, please watch it and, even better, give me your thoughts.

How can we make sense of America’s current “post-factual,” “post-truth,” “fake news” moment? By looking to America’s past. All the way back. To the wishful dreams and make-believe fears of the country’s first settlers, the madness of the Salem witch trials, the fantasies of Hollywood, the anything-goes 1960s, the gatekeeper-free internet, the profusion of reality TV….all the way up to and most especially including President Donald Trump. In this fascinating and lively talk, Kurt Andersen brings to life the deep research behind and profound implications of his groundbreaking, critically acclaimed and bestselling latest work. Connecting the dots in a fresh way to define America’s character—from the religious fanatics and New Age charlatans to talk-radio rabble-rousers and online conspiracy theorists—Andersen explains our national susceptibility to fantasy and how our journey has brought us to where we are today. Kurt Andersen is a brilliant analyst and synthesizer of historical and cultural trends, a bestselling novelist, a groundbreaking media entrepreneur, and the host of public radio’s Studio 360. Join CFI and find out how we are protecting critical thought and science by visiting: https://centerforinquiry.org This talk took place at the CSICon 2019 in Las Vegas on October 19, 2019

12 thoughts on “An American’s view of America.

  1. Hi Paul… you’ve invited ‘thoughts’ on this. I reblogged your post here yesterday on the Multiphasic Phlyarological University, and added mine to accompany it (see below). I’m a bit puzzled, though; I expected to see the normal ‘reblog’ notice appear here, with those thoughts, yet I don’t see it here. Maybe the ‘reblog’ function is playing up (again); or maybe you didn’t get the notification (perhaps something to do with that site being a private one?), or maybe your site has allocated it to your ‘spam’ folder. Such questions are, in The Grand Scheme of Things, trivial, but my mind has a tendency to gnaw at them (as a dog might on a bone).

    Paul Handover ophphers some phabulous phood phor thought phor the trainee phlyarologist in the phorm of this phascinating video presentation by Kurt Anderson. I highly recommend watching it in phull (though I did phind the poor lip-synch on the distant view it ophten employs highly distracting in parts).

    I’m phorced to wonder:
    How can democracy survive when so many are phooled by phantasy?
    With such a long gestation period, is it possible for rationality to eventually prevail?

    It’s somewhat encouraging that the video, on YouTube, currently has 2.6k ‘likes’, and yet, incredibly, zero ‘dislikes’; though does that perhaps simply mean that the conspiracy phruit-and-nutcases haven’t yet discovered it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe it’s not so deep at all. Maybe it’s just a bunch of blowhards who never achieved much and *want* life to be more interesting… and some good ol’ excuses for their own failures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting perspective, John. But the proportions are wrong; it’s not just a ‘bunch’, it seems to be a majority who are deluded, in one way or another.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. From my understanding (which may be way off), it’s about ~30% who’re behaving like idiots. Of that lot, I’d say only a small percentage are really, truly deluded. Like complete nutcases. The rest are people like Insanitybytes who have slipped into this position because it’s where her fellow evangelical/Republicans are… and they’re there because they see that people like Insanitybytes are there. They’re in a bubble, and they’re just taking on whatever flavour of madness is being fed to them on any particular day.

        Like

      2. John, thanks for that. We live in a very right wing area of America and a small percentage of those people are religious fanatics (a personal assessment) including a friend who is a Christian ‘fundamentalist’ (again, my term). I guess it goes with a rural, ranching community. The religious background of America is extensive and that goes with the founding history of the country. Also a small but significant group don’t believe in vaccines including my friend who says if she is taken it is god’s way! Thank goodness for a thriving local Freethinkers group, as in Freethinkers and Humanists, where it is my turn this Saturday to give a talk on climate sustainability.
        But don’t get me wrong. We live in a wonderful part of the world where nature in its wild presses right up against us and as long as I can stand up and make sense of myself I want Jean and me to live here. When I can’t anymore make sense of myself then Oregon has a Right to Die Act on the statute books!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They do have a fundamentalist history (undercurrent?), and it seems Murdoch discovered how to exploit it 20 or so years ago.

        Like

      4. John… the configuration of ‘Learning from Dogs’ is such that I’m unable to respond directly to your reply to Paul’s comment regarding Murdoch, so I offer this here:

        You said ‘Rupert’. But I believe that the correct spelling is ‘effing scumbucket who epitomises absolutely everything that is wrong with our current society’.

        Liked by 1 person

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