I must admit I have some admiration for the fat ass. He went from a
student Republican wonk to the architect of the most transparent coup
America has ever witnessed. A direct-mail operative with no life to a
presidential adviser responsible for the death of hundreds of
thousands of lives. Say what you want about the guy, but please stop
calling him stupid. Same goes for his obsessive love interest, George
W. Bush. These monsters are not stupid. They are brilliant. They've
played and mastered the game that could drown us all.
I know I have been crowing about hyperreality a lot lately, and I apologize to those who are getting tired of the term. But when Karl Rove goes on Charlie Rose to mind-wipe America by insisting that Congress led the march to occupy Iraq and secure its oil reserves, I'm pulled back into hyperreality's vertiginous vortex without resistance. It is everywhere, kind of like The Force, or Jesus. It's the webwork we're caught in, all of us. There is no escaping it, especially if you live in the reality-based community.
After all, it was most likely Karl Rove himself
target="blank">who told Ron Suskind the following:
"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the
reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that
solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I
nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and
empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works
anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we
create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality --
judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new
realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort
out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to
just study what we do."
Creating reality? I thought reality created all of us -- before I read
Jean Baudrillard or Aldous Huxley or Karl Rove or any number of
hyperrealists who understand that perception is reality, as marketers
and advertisers have been telling us for decades. And while Suskind
was right to dredge up the ghost of the Enlightenment and empiricism,
he forgot to mention that the former is just a word that fell apart
under the weight of class and resource wars, while the latter is
incomplete for our purposes. Empiricism, after all, can only get you
so far, because you can't see or experience everything. And if you're
relying on those who can experience more than you, in the end, you're
merely relying on their word.
And we know how that usually turns out.
From the Declaration of Independence establishing equal rights for
everyone except women, slaves or the Native Americans we nearly
exterminated to control North America to the Constitution and Bill of
Rights which still to this day cannot establish our total access to
habeus corpus, free speech or any other rights, we are at the
mercy of language and those who manipulate it for our lives. And Karl
Rove? The dude knows how to manipulate with force.
He understands that, decades down the line, the party line on the Bush
administration will blur, as Americans, who have a hard enough time
remembering what happened to them yesterday, forget the intricacies
and details of geopolitical dilemmas past. This is, of course, why
America could get behind an invasion and occupation of Iraq, or the
political assassination of Saddam Hussein, a man we placed in power
for the specific purpose of controlling the country's oil reserves and
murderously pacifying its populace, who themselves are drunk on
thousands of years of tribal differences that amount to nothing. It is
why they could forget, barely two years after 9/11, that Saddam had
nothing to do with it at all. Or why they could forget that the
Saudis, who bankrolled and mostly comprised the terrorist group that
attacked us, were our real enemies.
It is also why Rove's Office of Special Counsel spent much time
target="blank">erasing every incriminating piece of email he could
with the help of a group called, hilariously enough, Geeks On Call.
The nerds gave his hard drive a level-seven mind wipe, I kid you not,
which is what Rove and his pals have spent the last two decades giving
an all-too-willing American populace, who woke up too late in the
procedure to stop it. By the time their polled dissatisfaction caught
up to "reality," Rove's hyperreality had already replaced it.
And it will again, if Charlie Rose is any indication. The media, to
mangle McLuhan, is the message, Rove understands, and it doesn't
matter how large the lie is. All that matters is that the media
repeats it, over and over again. Eventually, through the powers of
language, apathy and consumption, the lie will become truth.
So yes, hyperreality is here to stay for the reality-based community.
The exponentially increasing ubiquity of the internet and media in
American life mandates it. We unplugged from the real world and jacked
into MTV's Real World a long, long time ago. Revisionists like Karl
Rove and Rupert Murdoch may not be anything new -- the Germans had
Goebbels, the Romans had Nero, the Catholics have the Pope -- but in
the information age, their reliance on erasure and drive-wiping is
more than manipulative. It is inevitable.