One of my long-held personal beliefs — that no experience, however unpleasant, is ever truly wasted — was put to a severe test this week when, motivated by morbid curiosity and blog buzz, I poked around the Internet for information about the new horror film The Human Centipede. Having learned far more than I needed to about this sick-making epic, I can tell you that as much as I enjoy horror movies, nothing on Earth short of a credible death threat or a substantial cash payment — in advance — could induce me to watch The Human Centipede all the way through. If you know nothing about this thing, cherish your ignorance.
Which left me to mourn the minutes and brain cells lost to the search.
Meanwhile, I’ve been greatly entertained by the blog-spanning discussion of the intellectual flatlining of the conservative movement, hastened by the rise of all-wingnut-all-the-time radio, television, and Internet media. This insularity, which allows patently ridiculous ideas to go unchallenged or even questioned within the ranks of the faithful, has been labeled “epistemic closure.” To watch a serious conservative intellectual — to the extent that such wraiths actually exist — try to debate this topic with an intellectual veal calf like Jonah Goldberg is to wish Samuel Beckett were still with us to use such material.
Indeed, “epistemic closure” hardly does credit to the case-hardened resistance to reality that now typifies movement conservatives on such matters as climate change and the alleged Marxist tendencies of President Barack Obama. If anything, the way conservative talking points are passed from pundit to pundit brings to mind the appalling digestive situation created by The Human Centipede. If one can imagine Rupert Murdoch as Dr. Heiter, and the test subjects eager to take part, then it becomes clear that auteur Tom Six has provided us with the perfect metaphor for life as a wingnut pundit. Especially if the human centipede’s head is connected to its tail, which for all I know will happen in the planned sequel.
Well now. That experience wasn’t wasted after all.