Tuesday, July 3

I Don't Believe in Nothin' No More. I'm Goin' to Law School!

I went for the wisecrack Monday morning at Roy's, mostly as a result of serious time pressure, as we say in big league chess, but the comment I wanted to write, a reiteration of my claim that the ascension of Barbara Walters to a million-dollar seat at the ABC news anchor desk officially marked the end of American greatness, came back to me later. It was the end of a day of painting, of general re-organization of the kitchen mess (it needs to be moved into successive types of mess now, lest one pile start to mount an expedition to the top of another). My Poor Wife is under the weather. Leo the 'Lectrician had discovered that the back wall of the kitchen was wired with a freaking piece of lamp cord, an imminent fire hazard hidden from view the past ten years by the island countertop. And here I'd assured him that nothing about the house could surprise me anymore. The discovery led to the complete dismantling of the island, a couple weeks ahead of schedule, whereupon I discovered...

Wait. You know what teevee show I really hate? It doesn't have anything to do with tee-shirted and bed-haired bum models painting someone's bedroom a color not found in nature, nor does it involve Howie Mandell. It's that show on HGTV where people with nothing better to do tell the story of how they researched their home's history and then present a completely boring monograph on someone whose sole claim to historic significance lies in building the house these current morons live in. I'd probably have just let it go--along with the rest of the once-occasionally-interesting HGTV--except that the first show I saw rather breathlessly detailed what the original owners of the stately restored plantation did when they weren't exhausted from whipping any of the human beings they owned who'd proved recalcitrant. I've had a chip on my shoulder about the whole network ever since, not to mention the fact that if I were to research my home's former owners it would be for the soul purpose of hunting them down and killing them for their godawful decorating choices and cheap-ass, code-ignoring repair work.

Anyway, don't ask what I found behind that island, but it was the reason I didn't hear about the Scooter business until Olbermann came on.

And to which my reaction was, I'm sure, much the same as yours: I can't believe it! I simply cannot believe that people are outraged by this! It's like getting upset if you found out that John Gotti had a drawer full of unpaid parking tickets.

Not that I wouldn't have enjoyed the idea of Tiny Irving makin' little ones out of big ones for a couple of years, but it's like glorying in the forty years Rudolph Hess spent at Spandau--the biggest criminals were always going to escape justice. Think about the time frame for a moment. It's remarkable anything got done at all. If the war had gone well, by American lights--and as we all realize by now, that could have been achieved only if the Iraqis had turned out to have no immunity to smallpox, or Coca-Cola--Scooter would be on a fuckin' stamp by now. Go ahead and call for Bush and Cheney to resign, Keith. It would be the honorable solution, by which I mean you already have your answer.

Me, I'm a lot more concerned with the 20-some-percent of Murricans who still support these guys, and who suggest that there is nothing whatsoever any PresiVicePresident identified as "conservative" could possibly do to lose the support of 1 in 5 of your fellow citizens. Not appear wearing the remains of teevee's beloved mongrel Benji as a hat. Not slowly remove it from his head, grinning like Jack Nicholson, and consume it. While wearing one of Goering's old light opera uniforms. 1 in 5. An American is more likely to have given up smoking than to have given up on George W. Bush. This despite the fact that nicotine is physically addicting. And relatively pleasant.

And then, as Roy pointed out, even the "anti-Bush" "conservatives:
...will give them the Nixon treatment. They'll quietly accede to the general negative opinion, while striking up the band for someone exactly like them.

Which brings us back to Barbara Walters, professional drum majorette emeritus. I don't blame her personally, nor am I suggesting she was some sort of harbinger, or Cosmic Jinx, just because the odds of something good happening in American culture since her ascension have been no better than the odds of shooting boxcars. I'm just saying that a culture where a woman with a profound speech impediment, who had evinced no interest in politics in her fifty years, excepting the Office type, being elevated to one of three news anchor desks--a much larger proposition in those days of rabbit ears and a Vice President who was part of the Executive branch--should have been enough to let everyone know we were sledding downhill. Instead the damn thing took hold, and people actually celebrated the itchy scaliness of Ronald Reagan, even after it became a full body rash, followed by the festering lesions of Ken Starr, Henry Hyde, and the Eight Year Impeachment. And now that the body politic's been coughing up blood for several years I think we're beyond lancing a Boil Boy or two and reaching back for a satisfying smoke.


D. Sidhe said...

I'd like to see a lot more outrage, at the risk of sounding like Bill Bennett. There's pretty much nothing they do that surprises me anymore, which in itself should be grounds for widespread outrage.

Vicki said...

I've expressed my outrage--I emailed the White House last night. Surely no act could have been more futile, but I'm still proud I did it. I believe there was a story about the Civil War--no doubt apocryphal--about a woman who, instead of fleeing town as Sherman's troops advanced, snatched up her broom and started down the road toward the enemy army. "What are you doing?" her neighbors asked, as they ran past. "You can't do nothin' with a damn broom!" "Maybe not," the lady said, "but at least they'll know which side I'm on."

So now the White House spam-blocker knows which side I'm on.

kate said...

Barbara Walters' rise to fame is an interesting study on media and social behavior. The Ice Queen everyone hates, diminished and humanized by her glaring fault. People love it. Her shrewd willingness to pump out years of celebrity ooze has made her millions. I always try really, really hard to imagine her as some sly feminist, but I must admit, its all in my imagination as the woman, shrewdly again, has never made any political proclamations of any kind, ever. She was smart enough to understand that the public wants nothing to do with an opinionated woman. Which I think has always been Hillary's hobble, but that's another discussion for another day. Anyway, I can't say how fitting it seems for Babs to get a top position as the MSM has no room for pushy independent thinkers these days.

As a professional remodeler, I appreciate your frustration with your remodel project. A libertarian must have wired the house. Just pray that person didn't frame it as well.

Hattie said...

Hmm. Barbara Walters is a symptom, not the disease. Now Hugh Hefner: there's a disease for you!

jackd said...

Leaving aside the atrocities of the moment, we can top you on the lamp cord.

A long day's search for replacement circuit breakers eventually led my wife to trawl the 'net for the makers of our 20+ year-old fuse panel. This revealed a tale of knavery, cut corners, and faked UL approvals and the news that our breakers have a marked tendency to pop once then never do so again.

We knew we were springing for a bathroom makeover this year, but it looks like Mr. Electrician will get his cut, too.