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)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Phoniness and how to achieve it...

I must admit to a certain amount of befuddlement as I watched the former junior senator from Illinois first tell the body politic that he found out about the IRS scandal in the newspapers the same way everyone else did, which is strange when you think about it, given that the newspapers have been bending and twisting like a Mobius loop on LSD to avoid mentioning the story at all, and then only a week or so later, tell us all that the story was phony.  His personal sock puppet confirmed shortly thereafter that not only was the IRS story phony, so was any interest in the events that took place in Benghazi, Libya, on 11 September 2012. There was, in what has become the mantra of our erstwhile Illinois Incitatus’ administration, nothing to see here, please move on.  Now, I am as willing to move on as the next fellow, especially if the moving on will send me to Paris for a week, but at the moment I am still befuddled and no one in this administration seems interested in fuddling me. The Benghazi story involves the death of four people, including an American ambassador, which is not something that happens every day, and the IRS story involves a humongous government bureaucracy that no one likes using its power to go after people whose political ideology differs from that of Senator Whilom.  But I guess He knows better than the rest of us and so we must all go along with what He says.  If He says these are phony scandals then they must be phony scandals.  These matters are too complex for us ordinary folks to wrap our minds around. And all of God's children said, Amen.

Of course, the dimmest of dim bulbs can probably figure out from themselves that the violent death of an American ambassador qualifies as news everywhere in the world except in the United States, where any story that does not sing the hosannas of The One is published on page 43 next to the religion page, and that having the IRS call you in for an audit is an unpleasant experience akin to having root canal work done without the Novocain.  And then there is the spectacle of Ms. Lerner, the presidential myrmidon who did the Chicago Gang’s hatchet work at the IRS, invoking her Fifth Amendment rights before Congress. Now, I realize that as an American citizen that Ms. Lerner has the same right to invoke the Fifth Amendment’s provision against self-incrimination in front of a congressional committee or a court of law that anyone else has to invoke the Fifth Amendment in front of a Congressional inquiry or a court of law.  I, however, am not a congressional committee nor am I a court of law, which is good news for a lot of people in this neck of the woods, and so I get to say terrible things like the only reason a high government official invokes her Fifth Amendment rights in front of a Congressional inquiry is that she has something she really wants to hide from that Congressional inquiry.  That’s where the former junior senator from Illinois’ attempt to befuddle the American public goes a bit astray, I think.  Benghazi involves the sort of murky intrigue that you might find in a John Le Carre novel; this is the sort of deep wheels within wheels stuff that might take the average reader months to figure out. On the other hand, there’s no way to make the IRS thing look good.  Spin, you see, can only accomplish so much, and smoke and mirrors don't work very well if you've left the fan on and the windows open. The magic show only works if the audience can't work out for themselves what's going on, and in this case, they can. No one needs The One’s intervention and ever-wise counsel to know that He and His minions were doing something very fishy with the IRS. Simplicity can be very annoying, especially for the more flackish among us; simplicity, after all, doesn't allow for much wiggle room and these days the current maladministration needs wiggle room the size of the Louisiana Purchase just to get by. In any case, everyone is clamming up down along the Potomac, which is a small mercy, I think, given that you usually can't get these people to shut up, and you know that when these clowns all clam up at the same time or start yelling racism at the same time or start wriggling like worms trying to get off the hook at the same time things are starting to go south in a big way.  I am hoping for one gynormously humongous stink to start coming from this, but then again, I am easily entertained. Your opinion may differ.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dumbasses, or just my opinion...

I’ve heard that Presidentialmania (not the President but an incredible imitation, and if you remember this bit of Broadway puffery then you are older than you say you are) opened in Los Angeles the other night with a performance on the Tonight Show, said performance coming with all the smoke and mirrors that the low information voters have come to expect from the star of the show.  This, in turn, brings up an interesting question, or at least I think it’s interesting; you may take an entirely different view of the matter, which is only right, I think, it being a free country and all.  The question is this: when did dumbasses become so significant a voting bloc here in this our Great Republic that the non-somnambulatory portion of the body politic must endure the former junior senator from Illinois’ constant televised catering to their ignorance?  

That the dumbasses have been with us always is a fact of American political life; one need only remember the turn of the last century philosopher George Ade’s comment that “…the Plain People are worth dying for until you bunch them and give them the cold Once-Over, and then they impress the impartial Observer as being slightly Bovine, with a large Percentage of Vegetable Tissue. “  It seems that not much has changed since then. The only difference between then and now, as far as I can see, is that then almost everyone was a low information voter—they had no choice in the matter. Radio hadn’t gotten much beyond the Morse Code stage of broadcasting, the big city newspapers didn’t make much of a splash outside their own municipal ponds, and the small town papers were largely pastiches of wire service reports, the farm report, the church page, and the news that the town’s last surviving Civil War veteran had just died, the passage of time succeeding where Robert E. Lee had failed. People knew what was going on in their local little burgs, but getting the big picture was much harder to do.  Today, of course, there is no excuse for not getting the big picture.  We have gone from suffering from a dearth of information to being able to gorge ourselves on a surfeit of the stuff.  Given that, you have to wonder how and why there are still low information voters in this country. 

Actually, you don’t have to wonder too much.  The fact is that democracy, as a form of government, requires the citizenry to pay attention to what is going on around them and most people don’t want to bother.  Why bother keeping yourself informed when you can while away the hours chatting with friends on the social media sites or playing Angry Birds or getting the scoop on which Hollywood starlet is checking herself into rehab this month?  Thinking is hard, dammit, and a good many people would just as soon avoid it if they possibly can.  So why not get your news from late night comedy shows?  They’re on television, just like the news is, and they don’t make you think too hard, the way the news does, or rather, the way the news used to, because that might hurt your brain, which is not a good thing, no two ways about it, and they’re a lot funnier than the news ever was, no two ways about that, either. And that’s the way the Republic ends, folks, not with a bang but with a chuckle.

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