The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Friday, July 15, 2005

MORE DAMN WHINING: Whining is seldom very attractive, of course, which is something almost everyone can agree on despite their philosophical differences. The only major exceptions to this rule are the political leadership of minority parties. Here the whining, an unpleasant enough experience as it is, given that these people should know better, mixes with an easily detectable exasperation with the electorate for voting the majority party into power in the first place. This gives their whining a truly unpleasant edge that lingers in your average listener’s mind like a bad aftertaste in the back of one’s mouth and contributes to the minority party losing the next election by a landslide and staying in the minority.

This is truly upsetting for the political leadership of the minority party, since such people want to do stuff and the only thing the political leadership of the minority party can do is get on television and shake their heads in sorrow and tell the television audience who voted the majority party into power what a lousy job the majority party is doing and, by implication, what dolts the television audience were for voting for the majority party, thereby costing the minority party the next election and keeping them in the minority for a little bit longer. It’s no fun being in the minority, you see; the television people want drama, action, suspense, anything that’ll drive up the ratings sky-high or at least keep the viewer from changing the channel to the Food Network; and the majority party can keep the television audience interested by raising taxes or outlawing light beer commercials or nuking a small and hitherto uninteresting small island in the Indian Ocean off the face of the earth. The minority party can do none of these interesting things and so the television people only go to them to get interesting quotes, the same way sportswriters eighty years ago used to ask Two-Ton Tony Galento how he was going to do in his next fight (I’ll moider da bum!) against Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom and what he thought of the fight he just lost (We wuz robbed!).

Of course, political leaders are seldom as interesting as Two-Tony Galento, so they usually give a dry and listless answer accompanied by pursed lips and concerned looks about how the majority party is driving the Republic into the ground before the minority can re-establish itself as the majority and do the same thing in an even shorter period of time, since they’ve had all those years in the minority to think of new and interesting ways of driving the Republic into the ground. It is the duty of all minority political leaders to cultivate worried looks of concern, which is not all that hard to do since they are perennials; plant it once and they’ll keep coming up year after year like my mother’s meat loaf; and if your minority leader is not cultivating such a look you might want to drop them a line and ask them why the hell not. A minority leader who enjoys minority status and won’t look concerned while the majority makes a hash of everything that this country holds dear should just resign and apply for welfare; if you’re not going to do anything while taking government money then you should be honest about what you’re doing, and welfare recipients have to do work for their benefits these days—it’s an honest dollar, as opposed to a minority leader who won’t look worried for the money he’s making.

Which is all well and good, I guess, but this whine, like most of my others, is not about that. As you may have gathered, I am on what is laughably called a vacation, although a vacation where I spend most of my available time at the egregious mold pit where I work and not in, let’s say, on the beach in Brazil hardly counts as a vacation at all. One of the problems of vacationing, even this sort of pathetic non-vacation vacation that I am doing now, is that it takes your mind off the ball, as it were, and you start losing the insight that permits you to see the funny side of life here in the first decade of the third millennium. In short, I don’t have a lot to write about these days.

I think this current funk is just a reaction to a perfectly good idea falling flat on its face. A few days ago, before I went on this alleged vacation, I had an idea about a secret government program set up by the Drug Enforcement Agency designed to genetically modify marijuana in such a way that the next generation of marijuana seeds would produce a hopefully non-psychotropic philodendron instead. The program succeeds beyond the wildest dreams of law enforcement; Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant from which we get Panama Red, Maui Wowie, and Tijuana Tea, goes the way of the dinosaur, the dodo, and the liberal Republican, and vanishes from the face of the earth.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men, being what they are, gang agley, and nowhere do they go more agley than here. The potheads of the world, deprived of their beloved weed, try smoking the philodendrons instead, which does not give your average stoner a nice buzz like grass does. What it does do is make them paranoid, since the philodendron is not at all happy by all the attention his wife, Rhoda, is giving to that flashy young amaryllis from down the street who made a fortune in tech stocks before the bubble burst. Made paranoid by the philodendron, the potheads march on Washington, D.C., specifically on the National Archives building where the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are stored. They want to slice up the documents, not as any sort of symbolic protest about the government finally and at long last depriving the documents of their last shred of meaning, but because the Founding Fathers wrote them on hemp paper, and for the potheads even a two hundred year old buzz is better than no buzz at all.

As I said, it’s not such a great idea in the first place and it kept falling apart on me every time I tried to do something with it. Now I’m sure you people are tired of me whining like this whenever I don’t have anything to write about so I’m just going to stop now and see if I can’t think of anything more worthwhile. Until then I’ll just sit here and not enjoy my vacation.


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