Monday, February 11

Memory Lane and Blind Alleys

SO it was my week to fill my mom's pillbox. (It takes about three minutes, and it's $35 a week if the staff does it, which must break down like some Thomas Alva Edison deal: $1 for filling the pillbox, $34 for bothering to do it correctly.) My sister and I alternate, and we both time it so we get there a little before Church, as that gives her something to talk about besides demanding she be given her checkbooks and driven immediately to Central Florida. She was sound asleep, so I tiptoed in an' filled the thing and left.

She was sound asleep with both the teevee and her bedside radio on, although we've asked them to keep an eye out for this sort of behavior. Those voices become real to her all too easily. And, Lord knows, it's tough enough listening to her go on about how her dead husband had kidnapped two young girls and now is demanding money (which is why she needs the checkbooks); if she starts channelling Tim Russert I'm through going out there.

(By the way, the dawn brought news from her assisted living center that DirecTV was there to hook up her satellite service, which had them a bit discombobulated since they know as well as anyone that operating a device consisting of a large, solitary, ON/OFF toggle, black on a white background, is beyond her often as not, let alone the sort of remote-control possibilities that presently challenge my Poor fully-cognitively-functional Wife, not to mention that the assortment of voices available to get trapped inside her head which emanate from her basic cable set-up are already sufficient to her needs. The installer, said to be an amiable sort, and not without human-feeling, explained to Susan At The Desk that the service was sold over the phone by Third Parties. I told my sister [who has her Power of Attorney] to be sure to mention that as part of the lawsuit.)

It was Mr. Potato Head himself on the tube, talking to Mike Huckabee, and in getting down to the real nitty gritty of Beltway insider hardball stuff, Timmy played Huck a clip of the Romney campaign suspension speech. You know, the one that ran:
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

That's the part NBC chose to excerpt, and you can imagine my utter shock when Russert's real nitty gritty Beltway insider hardball stuff turned out to be asking Huckabee why he didn't quit under the same terror-fightin' formula. Gee, and here I thought he was gonna ask the former Arkansas governor who, I am given to understand, is running for President of the United States of America, emphasis mine,  to maybe distance himself from the Democrats-as-Traitors meme, not to explain to an eager nation, or that portion of it sufficiently demented to leave Tim Russert on, why his own continuing campaign was risking aid to the Surrender Above All Else faction when the saintly, moderate, maverick standard bearer of the party had already been chosen, and probably owes Timmy into the bargain.

I mean, Get Ready for It, Murrica! If there's been little reliance on the "You Obama people better expect your man to be slimed next if Hillary goes down" argument in these parts it's because I'm not sure that's the case, certainly not to the extent that Hillary's taken heavy artillery from the likes of MSNBC. And once we reach the general election the overwhelming disgust with the Bush administration and Republican rule may temper the coverage somewhat. We shall see. But the Democrat=Weak on Defense meme is going to be with us throughout the campaign, regardless, because whether the Republican-accomodating Librul Media does it out of cupidity or stupidity, or both, this sort of thing gets presented as An Issue, which means they either truly believe it, imagine it's a fair parse, or they think it matches their background coloration and they don't have to worry about it.

I got home. My Poor Wife had an exhausting week and went upstairs "to read", which is our code for Take a Nap, and I went nosing around the internets like a Sunday driver. I knew this was a mistake given that I'd heard, however briefly, a portion of Sunday morning blather; generally whenever I do so I either sit down and write or begin drinking early, or both.   Finding evidence of people out there as shallow or perfidious as Tim Russert is, but doing it for free, is contraindicated at my age.  

Campaign season is remarkably like the Holiday season, in that otherwise normal people suddenly feel the urge to drink something they wouldn't touch at any other time. I caught at least three specimens of "Hillary Clinton should be used to being slimed and that's far from the worst she's ever heard so give David Shuster a break because the poor fella inadvertently slipped and said something I'd have liked to", a position so devoid of anything approaching a commonly-accepted definition of "sense" that one imagines the author smacking his head just after hitting Send, and vowing to remember to add that stuff about Vince Foster next time. Then Drum points me to Chris Bowers, who seconds Donna Brazile:
This is not a negotiable position. If the Democratic Party does not nominate the candidate for POTUS that the majority (or plurality) of its participants in primaries and caucuses want it to nominate, then I will quit the Democratic Party.

I swear...Cancel my subscription! And if my segregated country club ever refuses to admit a Negro I'm actually acquainted with, I'm outta there, too!

It's just bizarre: if the sacred trust of universal suffrage in our primary system, except where superceded by straw ballot, caucus, closed primary, or pie eating contest, is violated seven months from now these two are gonna walk. And these are no free-range, pie-in-the-sky fed Spring chickens. Bowers voted for Jimmy Carter in '76; Brazile is just a bit younger. You're both old enough to understand how the Democratic primary system came to its present state, and to have heard tell of slating fights if not witnessed any the teevee of your youth, back when such things were covered.   Please.  Just lie down with a cool cloth.  I live in Indiana, people.  Yes, it's self-inflicted, but we still qualify as a state, and I cannot vote in a primary election unless I declare myself a Republican or a Democrat, which I refuse to do.  Until a few years ago I couldn't even vote in any municiple elections which were held at the same time.  The urge to wrap oneself in bunting, except as part of some mutually-acceptable sexual charade, is always to be resisted.  

At least this was enough to keep me from reading Frank Rich, for once. 

It wasn't enough to keep me from bumping into the dual Clinton/Obama interviews on 60 Minutes. Which I watched, on the grounds that a) one ought to perform some unspeakable service for one's country on a regular basis, although b) I didn't realize just how unspeakable until I found out Katie Couric was interviewing Hillary, and c) I swear, I was somewhat stunned to realize all these people were still alive and on the air. I'm old enough to remember when Steve Kroft and Meredith Viera,  once  the Tiffany network's answer to "What if Jerry 'Geraldo Rivera' Rivers came across as vaguely human?" were added to the 60 Minutes cast as part of a Youth Movement. We may discuss last night's program tomorrow, or we may use it as our excuse to start drinking early again today. In the meantime, two questions:

1. Has Steve Kroft ever done anything since he got that gig? [Okay, let no one say this blog doesn't Google with the best of 'em. Kroft has won three Peabodys and nine Emmys, including a Lifetime Emmy. Great. They're for "excellence in broadcasting". So we repeat the question.]

2. Meredith Viera?


joel hanes said...

part of some mutually-acceptable sexual charade
Like this one ?

Humans are even funnier than birds. Mark Kleiman has been considering the socio-sexual signalling that drives the high-end wristwatch market -- male peacocks have nothing on H. not-so-sapiens

James Stripes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Stripes said...

Thanks for reminding me once again that there are good reasons not to turn on
the television unless the DVD player is running too. Ever since they took Edward
R. Murrow off the air, TV news has seemed more gossip than reporting.

Speaking of Google:
“I am so over myself.”
 Meredith Vieira

I believe that. Being over oneself is certainly the route to success in news broadcasting.

Ferrari said...

I am going back through many long neglected longs on what used to be my must read list before I tuned out the world for a few months. I'd forgotten how much I love reading your stuff.

"The urge to wrap oneself in bunting, except as part of some mutually-acceptable sexual charade, is always to be resisted."

That, sir, is golden. Thanks again.