Thursday, October 13, 2011

The villain always asks, "Who sent you?"

Maybe you saw the Reuters article on the front of Google News titled "Who's Behind the Wall Street Protests?" If you didn't, it's a (mildly skeptical) exploration of who prominent right-wingers like Limbaugh suspect or pretend is causing the protests in urban financial districts.

The theories -- mainly tenuous attempts to blame George Soros -- are worth reading for their informative foolishness.

If Occupy Wall Street was a movie, this would be the part where Darth Vader towers hugely over Frodo and demands to know, "Who sent you? Was it my old enemy the Good Witch Glenda?" It never *ever* occurs to someone like Darth that standing up to power might have been Frodo's own idea.

Abusive, controlling thinkers, whether they're domestic abusers, corporate executives, right-wing senators, or corrupted Jedi knights, have a basic inability to believe that dissent might originate among people who are not in charge. They don't view the little people as capable of agency, so when little people stand up, the villains waste their time searching for "outside agitators" to blame. This is where we get absurdities like those official claims in the 1960s that hippie protesters were acting on orders from Moscow.

Alice Sheldon, AKA James Tiptree, Jr., set out the mentality about as well as anyone has, in a quote that seems to be lately more popular online (e.g. here):
"Incredible how the top dog always announces with such an air of discovery that the underdog is childish, stupid, emotional, irresponsible, ... incapable of learning - but for god's sake don't teach him anything! - and both cowardly and ferocious. The oppressed is also treacherous, incapable of fighting fair, full of dark magics, prone to do nasty things like fighting back when attacked, and contented with his place in life unless stirred up by outside agitators. ... Once I learned the tune I stopped believing the words - about anybody."

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