Monday, January 29, 2007

Almost Burned Out

Reading the NYT Week in Review from Sunday there was a quote from a young Shiite in Sadr City. “This just has to burn itself out.” In those areas where the fire has gone through and ethnically cleansed the locality of offending religious heretics, it’s gone back to men sitting in teahouses sipping tea amongst streets dotted with fruit stands. Nearby can be found the desolate neighborhoods where the waves of hatred have washed away the vast majority of human targets. In Iraq, according to our Vice President, there has “been a lot of success.” Not only is our VP a glass half-full kind of guy, he’s drinking something that would sell well at an all night rave. He’s raving, and he’s holds the rest of us in complete contempt.

When I think just how separated our leaders are from our people, our people are from other peoples, our personal knowledge is from our history, I can’t help but think it all seems pretty hopeless. Delusion is a necessary ingredient for sanity. Mythical thinking is the bedrock of our nation. Consumerism is the balm for tragedy. And tragedy is necessary for Americans to justify their exalted position as God’s chosen people. For those American who have suffered a real national tragedy, say maybe a collapsed levee or suicidal Boeing, your gift to us does not go unnoticed. You personally, sure, fuck if we care that much about you regardless of our tears, but the talisman your suffering and loss gives the rest of us as we blunder on down the cow path of banality is invaluable. We couldn’t stay blind without it.

I find that my demeanor oscillates between being a Pollyanna and an imp of the apocalypse. Some have warned me that I’m just not that important of an entity to worry about the larger states of our national mental health. Better I should take a trip to Mexico, or enjoy the beauty of my children that to contemplate such dark fjords of our imperiled coastline. I fear my Job-like wife has begun some of the processes of disconnecting from my desultory navel gazing. Either that or neo-menopause hormone fluctuations are spacing her out. Win-win I guess.

In a week I begin teaching my 16 week version of American History. I’ve been reading a book by David Hackett Fisher about the iconography and changing definitions of liberty and freedom in American history. His is a Whiggish history, one that basically and positively traces the changing and broadening definitions of what these terms have come to mean to Americans. In the last 26 years, which both encompass my political reckoning and my marriage; I would say that I have been subjected to a powerful example of the American way of liberty. What my personal life has given my political life has diminished. The irrelevance of my citizenship and my intellectual cosmology has not negated the meaning I attach to my existence, but it sure hasn’t been a boon to my worldly engagement. I can tell funny stories though. And I can make my friends wince. My students are privy to a life of raw hilarity and self-immolation. My classes are full. All I have to do is keep the fire in my belly, and keep it out of my head.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bad start, bad ending

The San Diego Chargers started their year of by having one of their linebackers shot by and off-duty cop. They ended it by losing in the first round of the playoffs, again, to the New England Patriots. The lost because they played dumb. After the game, some dumb Patriot players mocked the Chargers by doing Shawn Merriman's "Lights Out" dance on the Chargers symbol in the center of the field. LaDainian Tomlinson suggested that the responsibility for this rude behavior was their coach's. This is an interesting comment given that it is so obvious by now that Marty Schottenheimer is a loser because he is not real smart about certain psychological aspects of playoff football or even close games for that matter (5-13 in the playoffs, 7-16 in games decided by 4 points or less) and perhaps it is time to hold him culpable for this rottenness. That the majority of San Diegans want him to stay is pretty strong evidence that we are a town that supports losers. Like we have supported Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Roger "felony" Hedgecock, and George W. Bush. Fuck.

Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Is this all there is?

I watched a replay of the Frontline episode entitled “The Dark Side,” so named by the comment delivered in the days after 911 by our VP, who suggested that the war would require doing things “that the American people won’t know about.” If you are inclined you can watch it as well on the internet, and join into a discussion about its merits. Those comments may piss you off as much as our vice-president Dick “Son-of-a-Bitch” Cheney. The truth of the matter is that Iraq was and is a clusterfuck of the highest order and our engineering of our foreign policy toward invasion was based on a willful campaign of deceit that goes to the highest levels of our government. The only thing going for the present regime is that this is not a new thing. We have always played the American public for suckers. Father knows motherfucking best.

When George Tenet received the presidential “Medal of Freedom” along with that shitbrain Paul Bremer and Tommy “I guess I support Bush’s reelection” Franks all you need to remember is the press conference where Robert McNamara resigned and LBJ’s shiteating grin to know that these sob’s know when to fall on their swords. The most telling quote in the whole show was where president Bush said to Tenet something to the effect of “is this all there is?” when presented with the National Intelligence Estimate that Colin Powell presented to the UN that bought Bush (along with the artfully inserted 16 words about yellowcake which were totally bogus and not Tenet’s doing but Cheney’s) the political space to order the illegal invasion of Iraq. Even Bush knew it was all bullshit, and his crappy National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice didn’t do her job to make Tenet do his. Of course, she has no backbone anyway. Rumsfield and Cheney have been running this country, along with Rove and Bush can’t be bothered to do the right thing because he never really gave a shit about the rest of us anyway. But he knew what the right thing was. Remember this is all you need to know about our dear President.