Channeling Our Inner Hulk
By Richard Girard
I always know when I have scored big with one of my articles. It is not by letters of praise, although those are always nice. Nor is it by the number of new fans I acquire here at OpEdNews, although that is both marvelous and deeply appreciated. It is not even when I am given primary (or any other) headline status in the Op Ed section by Rob Kall and the other editors, which happened with "The Communist Takeover of America" (February 28, 2011). This I consider as recognition by my peers of hard work and a job well done.
No, it's when several people insist on misreading or misquoting my article, and then writing comments--often very long comments--about what is wrong with my article.
Sometimes they will make a single good point, a gold or silver nugget in a sea of dross, for which I am grateful. Mitchel Cohen pointed out that my quotation of Karl Marx concerning the Communards of Paris in 1871 was incorrect. However, Mr. Cohen's correction, "If that is Marxism, then I am not a Marxist," is also apparently incorrect, as are the circumstances under which the comment was made. The correct source of the quotation is an interview with an R. Landor of the New York World newspaper (July 18, 1871), where Marx stated, "I, I am not a Marxist."
However, too often their perception of what is wrong with my article involves poor information, anachronisms, or simply the fact that they see the world from a different perspective. This is often a hidebound ideology that limits their world view like blinders on a horse.
Several comments were made about my using President Cleveland's term "communism of combined wealth and capital," saying I was blurring reality by describing it in that manner rather than calling it "fascism."
First, I would point out that the term "fascism" was not coined until thirty years after President Cleveland's Fourth Annual Message to Congress.
Second, I would point out that with the exception of the founding philosophies of these two totalitarian systems--that have never been adhered to in any realistic manner by either system--the only difference between fascism and communism is this: in the fascist state, the corporations control the government for a group of elite plutocratic oligarchs; in the communist state, the government controls the corporations for a group of elite bureaucratic oligarchs.
One of the most difficult things for any writer to accomplish is getting people who have been inundated with a set of ideas over a prolonged period of time, to look beyond their indoctrination and possible misperceptions to examine a different view of the world from the one they have.
When an article goes against our preconceptions of the world, we have a tendency to react against that article in a hostile manner, afraid that if we do not, it will somehow lessen our self-perception (and thusly our self-esteem) by somehow making us less than we are.
Notice two of the words I used in the above description: "hostile" and "afraid." These are essential reactions of the "fight or flight" response of the most primitive parts of the human brain.
The other night I was flipping through the cable channels, and I came upon the movie The Incredible Hulk (2008), the one with Edward Norton in the role of Bruce Banner, and Liv Tyler as Betty Ross. This one's CGI at least had the Hulk the right size (eight or ten feet tall, not fifteen). Both Bruce Banner and his lime green alter ego were at least a little more sympathetically portrayed than in Ang Lee's monstrosity of five years earlier, although I did think Sam Elliot was a much better "Thunderbolt" Ross than William Hurt.