Wednesday, February 6

Tomorrow On Doghouse Riley's Dog-Gone Funtastic Recipe Blog

WHY do I pay any attention to politics? Because I'm not very bright, for one, but that's not the sense I mean. Because the politics of the US of A betrayed what it told me were its principles when I was but a lad, leading me to nose around and realize that was pretty much Situation Normal for It, or Them, or Us. I was an earnest student; in hindsight I think earnestness should always be discouraged in the young, a proposition which is probably far easier to effect now that religion is scammed around so loudly but practiced mostly as just another form of social networking.

(Which reminds me--I don't want to give away the ending here, but I'm peeved about something involving Our Elections--I'm upset about the whole Huckabee business, and in the spirit of the cosseting, Just Out Of The Dryer Warm post-partisanship that's convincing people all around the country, most of whom seem to have spent the last decade or so trying to find something interesting on the television that would drown out all the nasty things better informed people were saying about each other, conveniently exempting them from any responsibility for noticing that the place was filling up with Shit, that a country in which any product which continues to sell for four years without a label makeover is deemed a Classic can Come Together long enough to do something significant, or more significant than boosting a stock's quarter or trampling a celebrity career, without that involving Bombing the Shit Out of Somebody Smaller--I'd like to welcome supporters of Governor Huckabee to the wonderful world of being wholly marginalized. Most of you probably don't remember it, but that was your permanent condition until a generation ago, when a series of licensed beggars and television hucksters sold you into slavery to the Republican party. That, of course, was nothing compared to the genuine slavery your forebears fought for the right of rich people to practice, but poetic justice isn't justice, and it's rarely poetic, and this is not one of my half-assed history lectures.

(Anyway, kind of amazing, last night, to watch as a group of people ["The Media"] chastened as recently as last month for their boorish rooting for and against candidates, not to mention Getting Every Fucking Last Thing Wrong over the past year, blithely continued their McCain vs Romney: Tuesday at the OK Corral routine as your man won five states across the South. It's interesting to me that the Republican South, which even the New York Times had been a'wooin' in its clumsy, never-seen-a-cow-outside-a-Deli fashion in recent years, is suddenly back to being Gomerland, while the Democratic South is, well, the New South, at least for a day. Expect that love affair to last as long as the one The Gray Lady had with Jimmy Carter. So now, really--and best of luck this time, still, like Huckabee had a chance once those people were forced to notice him--y'all've got nowhere to go, and that condition is self-inflicted and well-earned, but that's not to say The Media hasn't done its best to push you off the stage along with everyone else who doesn't meet its standards of telegenicableness. On second thought, fuck it. If I were you I'd secede again.)

Okay, as I was saying, I'm fifty-four, and last month I blew out a knee by standing up. Trying to watch the social/political scene in this country (Classic or Nacho Cheese!) is threatening to do far worse. Whiplash, for one, from the Thing With Two Heads intertubes-connected supporters of Senator Obama.  I'm sorry to keep bringing him up, really, but it's weak shit in my wheelhouse and I'm not here for typing practice. You've got the Negative: one month ago the Hillary hatred was on full boil, then it got smacked full in the face in New Hampshire, causing people who Should Know Better to suddenly if quietly notice they sounded just like Chris Matthews, around which time it was replaced by She's Running A Racist Whispering Campaign, which was a big improvement, followed by No, Look, Her Husband Really Is A Racist. Then, when the delegate count proved itself unamenable to schoolyard taunts it turned to arguing about virtual matchups with Honest John McCain. In the meantime, the Positive head has gone--in a month--from spouting nonsense about The Candidate being a Progressive in Centrist mufti to saying, Well, yeah, there's not much difference between the two but he's a nicer package, and Hey, have you seen the video?

(It's a great video. Moving, even. Nearly persuasive.  However, like many a great but ultimately disappointing music video over the years it failed to solve all my problems, while curiously adding one more: why didn't fucking Duran Duran help defeat Reagan in '84?  Thanks to that I've only slept six hours the past two nights.

(And it's apparently no long available, or I'd link to it, honest.)

Okay, so the average American on the day his house burns to the ground, taking with it his Mom's precious album of memories, his Mickey Mantle rookie card, and Rihanna's private number is still twice as optimistic as I'll ever be. I can't say that's always worked well for me, but still, isn't it obvious where Enthusiasm Now, Details Later generally takes you? I'm fifty-four, yet I do not now, nor have I ever owned a copy of Frampton Comes Alive. That has to count for something.

WHY do I pay attention to politics when it's like owning forty years of Peter Frampton albums which are all endless loops of him doing that voice-a-tron shit? (It's a talk box. God, I love Wikipedia. Someone out there wrote "Due to the success of the album, and particularly the hit singles 'Do You Feel Like We Do' and 'Show Me the Way', Frampton has become somewhat synonymous with the talk box.") Well, the other day, when I was typing, for the forty-seventh time, that David Brooks and his ilk are remarkably stuck in the 80s without having yet paid for it in snooty dismissals from puff-brained teevee home makeover "talent", I sorta began wondering if I wasn't mired in the 60s, a decade I claim only an early raging hormonal, love of British rock-and-roll, pass that number this way sort of allegiance to, and before I knew it there was a mosquito buzzing around my head, and then I noticed it had Barack Obama's face, and then it was dancing clumsily with Ellen DeGeneres, and they pushed me down the stairs in my wheelchair.

Then last night I watched (dumbfounded) as ABC preempted its entire evening of quality prime-time programming to "cover" (read: blather endlessly about) Super Duper Tuesday Times A Very Large Number, and at one point I heard George Eff Will say something to the effect that attracting older voters was important because older voters actually turned out on Election Day, and that this was because they had a vested interest in the government, since it operated as a giant wealth-transfer program from the Young to the Old. And I wondered, first, whether anyone has ever mentioned to George Eff Will that the only people who might possibly listen to him are over sixty five, and second, how anyone that smugly disingenuous could still be preferable to listening to Cokie Roberts. And then I spent the rest of the night flipping around, and every other minute was dedicated to giving me some racial/gender defined breakdown of the vote somewhere.

(Oh, I almost forgot that my night began with turning in MSNBC just in time to hear Gene Robinson discussing Senator Obama's win in Georgia. This would be the same Gene Robinson who was the first to shout Closet Racists! when Obama lost New Hampshire.  The Bradley Effect is the New New Coke.)

All night long it was Connecticut Hispanics for Hillary and Alaskan African-American women for Obama, and I'm listening to some meta-analysis of these trends by the CBS multi-cultural trans-generational events panel of Jeff Greenfield, Bob Schieffer, and Katie Couric, and I'm thinking, Hey, when you go to the polls, do you imagine you're voting in furtherance of Your Demos, or do you fantasize that you've made up your own mind after considering the issues? Overpaid Hacks For Landon!  I have no doubt these matters play a role, maybe substantial, maybe even determinant, but does that mean they have to be covered that way? African Americans who voted for Obama voted for Obama. Same with evangelicals for Huckabee. Can't we fucking give them a little respect? Maybe you guys might be less wrong 100% of the time if you did.

Sorry. Why do I pay attention to politics? I guess at the end of the day it's Love, another matter where abrasive sourpussitude did not always serve me well, but where I at least made out better than I did politically, and where, Good Lord willing, my Poor Wife and I may soon actually outlive campaigns that refer lovingly to Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile, Politics, it's been a fun past six years; I thought we might have had a real connection, but it was only a pipe dream. Je Ne Regrette Rien.   I can't compete with exotic good looks, and even clumsy dancing is beyond me these days. There's toast and coffee if you'd like, before you go.

UPDATE: Digby posts reader Joe's counter-analysis to the whole race/gender/hat size demographic crapfest: that the Post-Partisan argument plays well in Republican-controlled states. This would be free, and smart, whereas the blathering on CBS last night must cost them at least $15 mil a year, costs which are ultimately passed on to you, and it was stupid. This reminds me how astonished I am, after all this time, when I consider that the internet still exists. It also permits me to remind you how ringingly successful a strategy it's been for Democrats to remove the boot from Repubican necks without prior decapitation, as in refusing to pursue Watergate beyond the resignation, or Iran/Contra beyond waking Reagan, or the 2000 elections.


billy pilgrim said...

I am not far behind you in age demographic, and I am SO stealing that Frampton Comes Alive line

Harry Cheddar said...


Not a word about the passing of Indianer legend Earl Butz? Here's a post on my brush with with Mr. B.

Also I'm looking for a place to offload some Bob Knight anecdotes. Can you help a brother out?

Harry Cheddar said...

Well that link was screwy. I guess try this:

R. Porrofatto said...

I'm your age and once gave myself whiplash by sitting down on the couch, so I commiserate. Lately, I've found that politics becomes tolerable only to the degree that I stop watching teevee gasbags blather on about it. Otherwise it all becomes a tsunami of deja vu, and I just know at some point I'll find myself sitting there watching some unctuous swine like Charlie Rose ask Ed Rollins for his expert opinion about the "notion" of exhuming Reagan to reanimate his corpse or something without ever asking him who Huckabee's walking around money was going to buy off this time.

wufnik said...

And while we're on the music thing, putting up Fearless, one of Family's best albums (well, they're all good, especially Bandstand) is a nice touch, sitting right next to this post. Burning our Bridges indeed...

Poicephalus said...

Thompsonesque! Psychedelic.
Other than that, what r porrofatto

doghouse riley said...

I prefer Fearless to Bandstand, just for the marching band.

punkinsmom said...

I'm not sure if this is a complaint or a compliment, so take it as written, no strings:

I read you daily and every morning you make me smile and shake my head and nod in virtual commisseration. I get hopeful that the voters of this cobble of States might get it this time. That they might "see beyond" the media blather and the veiled inuendoes and the hope-without-details thing. They might actually get it.
Then reality hits. People in this country (as a whole) really are as stupid as the media thinks they are. They really are buying the whole videoed image-making scam that candidates spin and the networks gobble up to regurgitate back to the gapingly ignorant public who robotically nod and earnestly believe they are becoming "agents of change."

James Stripes said...

When the people do get it, who is left to vote for? They're at least twelve months too late at this stage of the game.

I'm just a kid compared to you, but my Freshman year of college was still a long time ago. Despite early senility, I remember a lecture I was required to attend for my English composition class. The speaker (name long forgotten) explained how daily newspapers developed because folks wanted the ball scores. I've often thought about that notion in looking at how the print and audiovisual media treat weightier stuff.

Economic news is reduced to ball scores--Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 43.41 points.

Political news is all about sports, too--Super Tuesday delivered a split decision for Clinton, rival Sen. Barack Obama.

Real issues are too complex for the news media and its consumers.

heydave said...

Boy, you people are perkin' up the hell right outta me.

wufnik said...

OK, I agree with the marching band thing. I'm going to have that song played at my funeral. Roger Chapman is still around, btw, churning out albums from time to time here in the UK, and he still tours regularly. One of the things that makes life still worth living.