Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Hidden Hand, the All-Purpose Excuse

I don't normally think about my fellow blogger lacochran and Iranian demonstrators in the same context, but the connection occurred to me when I read her recent post on paranoia.

Lacochran's story dealt with a suspicious conversation with a credit card company whose employee appeared to want a little too much information to establish lacochran's bona fides, causing our heroine's well-developed sense of 21st century social paranoia to tingle (and rightly so, in my opinion).

On the same day, I read another in a series of articles in the newspaper about the unpleasantness in Iran, and how the leaders of that sorry nation are blaming the United States, Great Britain, and Israel for the anti-government demonstrations.

The standard knee-jerk response for regimes in trouble is to blame someone else - preferably The Great Satan - for everything that goes wrong. It gives incompetent and venal leaders (like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad) a convenient external target against which to divert popular anger that might have unpleasant consequences for them if turned inward. Of course, we aren't completely blameless in the case of Iran, having engineered the 1950's-era coup that overthrew the government of Iranian nationalist prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh and returned the shah to the Peacock Throne, but we've been paying for that one for a long time.

Be patient. I'm getting to the point.

Paranoia is a wonderful thing. It allows you to avoid dealing with your own problems by giving you someone else to blame them on. No one in the Middle East is interested in any explanation for their problems that doesn't involve some sinister conspiracy engineered by the CIA, Israel, the Pope, or some combination of the three. It never occurs to anyone there to blame political incompetence, religious bigotry, social backwardness, or outright stupidity for their miseries.

German singer Juliane Werding has a wonderful song titled Die unsichtbare Macht ("The Invisible Power") that is the paranoid's anthem, containing lyrics (with translation) like:

Wer ist der Schatte, der neben mir geht?
Wer ist der Fremde, der hinter mir steht?
Mir scheint ganz schon: die unsichtbare Macht.

Who is the shadow that walks beside me?
Who's the stranger standing behind me?
I know exactly: the Invisible Power.

Wer ruft mich an und legt gleich wieder auf,
Wer zaehlt mein Geld nach und weiss was ich kauf'?
Oh ich spur' sie: die unsichtbare Macht.

Who calls me up and hangs up immediately?
Who counts my change and knows what I buy?
Oh, I know you're there: the Invisible Power.

Wer registriert jeden Schritt den ich tu',
Wer hoert sogar den Gedanken noch zu?
Keine Frage: die unsichtbare Macht.

Who registers every step I take?
Who listens to my every thought?
No question: the Invisible Power.

Yes, folks, blame the Invisible Power, the Hidden Hand, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the KGB, or your Boogieman of the Month for your problems - it's easier than facing up to them. You may as well be paranoid, since everyone's out to get you anyway.

And I know what lacochran's middle initial is, bwa-hah-haaaaaaaah!

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



John said...

It's okay to be paranoid when everybody;s out to get you.

wv: galests: extreme winds as in winds of the galests force.

Debbie said...

OMG Juliane Werding wasn't singing about her paranoia, she obviously was married to my ex too!

lacochran said...

You do realize that you're making sweeping generalization about people making sweeping generalizations, right?

Mike said...

Now I'm going to be paraniod the rest of the day and it's YOUR fault.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The boogieman is a great person to blame all our problems on. Is he gonna get it!

Bilbo said...

John - words to live by. And you REALLY reached on that verification word...

Debbie - I didn't have anything to do with that...honest.

lacochran - yep. So?

Mike - see John's comment.

Jean-Luc - the only problem is that half the people in this country think the boogieman is a Democrat, and the other half think he's a Republican. I'm split on the issue.

SusieQ said...

"Yes, folks, blame the Invisible Power, the Hidden Hand, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the KGB, or your Boogieman of the Month for your problems."

You forgot to include George Bush in this long list. Or maybe it IS true that everything bad is his fault.