The Postmodern Election and the Sociology of Crimes Against Me

Two disconnected thoughts, because it’s late and I feel like blogging. The first is that earlier today, the Misanthropologist and I were discussing how postmodern this election feels. In particular, the blatant disregard for truth, and self-aware truthiness, of the McCain campaign is a striking embrace of post-modernism. I am reminded, as always, of the Bush campaign official quoted as saying, “We’re an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality.” A Republican strategist said something similar, about Sarah Palin:

“The more the New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there’s a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she’s new, she’s popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent,” Feehery said. “As long as those are out there, these little facts don’t really matter.”

Narratives matter. Truthiness matters. “Facts” aren’t so consequential. When asked about the absurd sex education ad (wherein Obama is accused of wanting to teach kindergartens about safe sex even though the bill he supported would have included education for young kids about sexual predators and how to avoid them), Rudy Giuliani defended the ad by saying that the only thing wrong with it was that it claimed the bill as an accomplishment of Obama’s when in fact the bill did not pass. What a tool. But a postmodern tool. It really makes you miss modernity, or at least, the part where everyone was grasping for truth even as they vaguely admitted their quest would be in vain.

Second, and unrelated, my car was broken into this evening and a case of CDs stolen*, though apparently nothing else. One part of me is, of course, very frustrated (but that part vents on a different blog). The other part reverts to an analytical mode. The event happened while I was in Detroit, but something similar could have happened in Ann Arbor (for example, my roommate’s windshield was broken by vandals while sitting in our parking lot). And yet, the theft happening in Detroit confirms so many stereotypes about the city. It’s almost a stereotypical event (but one that has never previously happened to me), such that it comes equipped with an automatic explanation – “That’s what happens when you go to Detroit.” It makes me also think about privilege – for example, I forgot to put my cd cases in the trunk, or otherwise conceal them, because in Ann Arbor thefts are (relatively speaking) rarer. I also feel odd because, in a moment of worry, I decided to take my GPS with me and not leave it in the car (ignoring, of course, the GPS unit’s box which may have instigated the break-in, I don’t know). As I was leaving, I felt paranoid – my car was in a lit parking lot next to a fairly busy (though not bustling on a Sunday night) bar, frequented by cops**. And yet, the break-in occurred. It’s very strange and more than a little surreal. But yet, also just plain old real.

Bah, now I’m going to go read the German Ideology and try to get some sleep.

* CDs which I thankfully have backups for on two different hard drives and my ipod.
** And the security camera footage showed that a cop car was parked next to mine for about the half the time it was sitting there.

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1 Comment

  1. CDs — how retro!
    I know a guy who has a sign he leaves in his car when he parks in urban neighborhoods: “Live snake in car. Do not disturb.” His car hasn’t been broken into. Small sample, I know. OTOH, a hand-lettered sign on a piece of notebook paper doesn’t cost a lot.