Freaking Out Squares

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

But Seriously, Folks

So I'm working on this article, which is due Wednesday (of course!), and yesterday I'm scanning the TV for some background noise. Turn on CNN and watch a few minutes of the Israeli/Hezbollah coverage,when the reporter shows a Lebanese woman forced out of her small farming village just one day after missiles killed most of her family. As I watched her gathering her few remaining belongings and sobbing (she still, as she told CNN, believes that what Hezbollah is doing is "right"), I thought, My god, how the hell can she stand moving just one day after her family is killed? I wondered, too, when the enormity of this would hit her, if it hadn't already, and my stomach literally turned. Of course, I'm incredibly lucky--all I have to do is turn on VH1 and watch Peter Brady get married to a woman half his age, and in a half-hour or so I'm okay again. And that's what I did.

Fast forward to evening. I'm curled up in bed with Stephen Colbert (metaphorically speaking), and he's got a fellow named Ned whose last name I insist on remembering as Rorem, even though I know it's not, who's running against Joe Liebermann in the Connecticut senatorial primary. Rock on, Ned! It's such a relief when someone from my party displays a pair the size of brass symbols and portrays Bush as the dick splint he is. And contrary to Mr. Colbert's penchant for "truthiness," Ned busted out the fact, most of which I can't remember, except for "We're nine trillion dollars in debt." Nine fucking trillion.

I am not a political blogger. I don't pretend to be. In fact, I deliberately portray myself on here as a rather irresponsible, artsy-fartsy, self-absorbed smartass, mainly because that's what I am, but also because it spares me the responsibility of having to fact-check, which is not easy to do when one has dial-up and one's blog post might well disappear into the ether if one breathes wrong. My political education began in 1980, absorbing my parents smack-talking Reagan. I don't remember it, but both parents have assured me that I used to prance around in my Wonder Woman Underoos, declaiming, "When Ronald Reagan comes here, I'm gonna tell him he's a jerk." The '84 election, when I was 8, was a watershed for me, because that was when I realized there was Something Wrong with my mother's parents. Republicans! How could this be? I mean, I would have expected such aberrancy from my grandmother, who was always telling me to sit up straight and act like a little lady, but my grandpa? The same guy who let me chase him around the pool table? Oh, man, how devastating. Seriously, it was. I love my grandpa dearly--remember, he was the guy who got fired from teaching Sunday School--but I've never been able to look at him the same again. Yes, I know that's a normal part of growing up, but how painful to love someone so much and to exist on the other side of a wall constructed from platitudes gleaned from a 1930s civic textbook. (My other grandparents, thank god, were and are yellow-dog Democrats. Those damn unions!) Anyway, that's pretty much the reasoning I've used most of my life. Republicans bad, Democrats good. That's what Old Tyme Religion does to you--which, by the way, more on that this weekend. I've since amended that to Democrats, a bunch of panty-waisted twerps trying to become like their abusers, Republicans, unspeakably godawful. Of course, there are exceptions, but you know, if you're looking for in-depth analysis, click here.

So I'm a member of the Neo-Know-Nothing party, it seems. But nine trillion dollars. Nine fucking trillion.

I couldn't credit what I was hearing. Oh, I mean I know we're nine trillion dollars in debt, just as I know about the my-god's-better-than-your-god bullshit that's been seeping into my brain space since I was a wee tad. But having spent most of my life stuck in my head, largely under the victim's credo of "What's in it for me?", these things were just facts, things I could use to prove that I, unlike my brain-dead counterparts, watched the news. This is what two years of group therapy has wrought, at last--a gut reaction to seeing a Lebanese woman bury her dead and flee her home, and to hearing the words "nine trillion dollars in debt" spoken in conjunction with the waste of space that presides over our country. Seriously.

Spoke to my dad briefly this morning, and I told him about the nine fucking trillion, and I said I wished there was a word that could do justice to the damage that one puppet and his puppeteers have done, aching for the halcyon days of a government surplus and a president who could speak in complete sentences. ("Come on and marry me, Bill...I got the--" Oh, never mind.) The best description I could come up with was likening it to a MAD magazine cartoon, albeit a really, really dark one. And my dad agreed that this administration is so bad, it's a satire of itself. Or at least that's the way our brains have made sense of it, anyway. It kind of reminds me of when I was on the staff of my college literary magazine and we'd be reading some poem that some poor person had obviously put his or her heart and soul into, but was just so abysmal that all we could do was laugh at it. At some point, we would end up taking the position of what-the-hell-it's-so-bad-it's-good, much like two of my cinematic faves, Bachelor Party and Midnight Madness. Of course, I'm not saying anything new here--I believe Jon Stewart himself has said that they really don't have to work hard to satirize the news. But I'm a gut person, and when that bit of knowledge moves you where you live, well...what's left to say?

Oh, yes, except nine fucking trillion. And fuck you, Bush. Seriously.

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