Uncle Frank's Diary
Number 22 / Oct 29, 2004
Creating Their Own Reality
The Bush Gang, however, consists of true believers who will never accept objective reality that does not correspond to their preconceptions or their fantasies.
I had a less than delightful telephone conversation with a professor while I was working the reference desk yesterday. It reminded me of the remark journalist Ron Suskind recently attributed to a Bush Gang functionary critical of the way Suskind and his reportorial ilk see the world. “We’re an empire now,” the funk said, “and when we act, we create our own reality.”
The prof at our branch campus had discovered that she could not obtain online access to a number of journals available to faculty through the main library’s electronic roster at our mother campus. There is a simple explanation for this fact: The two libraries are essentially separate in their administrations and budgets. What one buys or subscribes to, the other does not own. The central campus has far greater financial resources than the branch, and can offer reams of resources that the branch cannot.
I attempted to explain this routine economic reality to the prof. I said that vendor contracts sometimes make it impossible for the central campus to offer the resources in question to the branch without the branch coughing up prohibitive compensation. Vendors can be funny that way: They tend to insist that they get paid for what they offer.
The prof was not moved. She insisted that it was illogical for her not to have access to all the resources offered to central campus library users. Again, I tried to tell her—I did, in fact, tell her—that sometimes, in spite of the central campus library’s best efforts on our behalf to bring us in on its coat-tails, the vendor nixes our access.
This line of explanation went nowhere with her. I may as well have recited Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky” (which, by the way, I can do, if anyone cares to hear it). Or, I could have related the starting line-up of the 1968 Detroit Tigers. Or nonsense syllables. It would have all been the same to her, because she knew what she wanted, and at that moment no information that ran counter to her desires could dent her firm view of the situation.
She was busy creating her own reality, a reality in which she had equal rights with her faculty colleagues on another campus, regardless of objective fact. I was simply an obstructionist annoyance seeking to deny her these rights.
All Mimsy Are the Borogroves
Those who follow the create-your-own-reality school carry an impenetrable shield around their heads. No fact that does not correspond to their wishes and their preconceptions can filter through to sully the pure fantasy that composes their view of the world. We have seen this phenomenon demonstrated time and again by the Bush Gangsters, their media shills, and by ordinary citizens who ought to know better.
Last night I briefly watched a shouting-heads debate on CNN among several characteristically loud-mouthed participants, right and left. During the generally moronic exchange, some radio talk show host of whom I had never heard—and I can’t remember his name—asserted that the 380 tons of high explosives this week reported stolen from an Iraqi munitions dump were, in fact, “weapons of mass destruction.”
Say what? WMDs are nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. They are not conventional explosives, whether the convention is black powder, dynamite, or plastic. No matter: It suited radio talkguy’s forensic purposes to characterize the stolen munitions as WMDs. See? Saddam really did have WMDs, so the U.S. invasion of Iraq took place on sound principles.
There is no fact-based argument that can contend with the reasoning advanced by those who create their own reality. Facts are irrelevant to them. What is, is what they imagine. If objective reality does not conform to their vision, no problem: They insist that the reality is something else, and proceed as if it were.
That’s Nuts. N-u-t-z, Nuts.
Ladies and gentlemen, these people are crazy. I mean that literally. They are absolutely, stark, raving insane. They are also far more dangerous than a university professor honked off over being denied a privilege she believes (nay, knows) is her right, mere fact notwithstanding.
I am confident that the distressed prof will eventually accept the objective reality of her condition and find ways to work through it. I do not think that she is crazy. Under pressure to research and publish, she has simply given herself up to a temporary indulgence in the product of wishful thinking compounded with a dose of self-righteousness. She’ll get over it.
The Bush Gang, however, consists of true believers who will never accept objective reality that does not correspond to their preconceptions or their fantasies. As with the lunatics of fanatical Islam, or any other pathological worldview, the world they see is one that they manufacture between their own ears. There is no arguing or reasoning with those who create their own reality. There is only hope that one can either get out of their demented path, or deny them the power to follow it.
This coming Tuesday, Uncle Frank is going to cast his vote hoping to achieve the second option. He hopes that you will join him, and help drive the madmen from the White House.