THE local CBS affiliate has a nightly news toss to a canned segment generally mouthed by Alexis Christophorus, designed, as far as I can tell, to give the impression that the local folks are tuned in to the national scene as well, beyond the weather map, I mean. Last night came word that a new, somber frugality will be hitting the fashion runways this fall--and, one guesses, hitting Christophorus herself--an artistic and economic response to our horrible times. At one point she said:
You wouldn't think of H&M as conservative.
Which is absolutely uncanny. And not only would I not think of H&M as conservative, I wouldn't think of H&M at all, nor have I ever, nor shall I again. For that matter, I don't think much of a teevee clotheshorse reporting real economic pain as reflected in the enforced drabishness and absence of Kicky she will be forced to endure This Season.
Of course, coming as this does just before the midpoint of two weeks of the NBC-brand mushification the Olympic Games, and one week each of the conventions of my two least favorite major political parties, I had already taken the precaution of locking up the guns and having my Poor Wife hide the shells. But that's just me. Still, if anyone out there is planning on traveling through a wormhole and returning to 1973, I'll be happy to cough up bus fare for a side trip to the Goldbergs' place, provided you'll smash their teevee.
The Republicans are in terrible shape. There hasn’t been a more battered brand name since Bart Simpson swallowed a jagged metal “O” from his box of Krusty-O’s cereal.
Okay, never mind: the teevee's playing in his head all the time, anyway. Just smash that.
Those are, respectively, sentence #2 and sentence #3 from a column soon to grace the pages of a major Los Angeles daily near you. Which more or less forces us to note 1) that The Simpsons is a television entertainment, formerly a comedy, still fictional; 2) that "the Krusty brand-name", an on-going gag which included The Clock That Gets Extremely Hot If You Leave It Plugged In--who wrote that?--is never battered, economically, because its comic immorality grants unconditional marketplace immunity; and 3) that we understand, on more than one level, why Goldberg refuses to get the joke; we just wish he'd get an editor. Preferably one willing to try to explain that English makes a poor cudgel:
The latest Reuters poll has Grandpa Munster up five percentage points over our secular messiah.
You know, I think, that I've got nothing against Obama=Messiah jokes, or McCain=Depends, but that is to say they're based on some reasonably fair, reasonably caricatured critique; it's not to excuse you relieving yourself in public at every opportunity. It's a substitute for thought. If I overheard you using it on the bus I'd pay you no mind. But over and over and over again, in a major metropolitan daily, is beyond comprehension. I have no idea why they put up with this shit from Maureen Dowd over on the other coast, and she's got a Pulitzer, if one worthy of the Best New Artist Grammy given The Starland Vocal Band in 1977.
But let's answer, quick; we're just two paragraphs from Goldberg calling Obama an elitist.
Because we do, in fact, make the same argument: how is it that this race is close? But then we like to imagine we're making it from the opposite end of the Rationalist/Replaying Your One Sermon To The NRO Choir spectrum. We think Obama should be clearly ahead. But we have no idea what a reasonable spread would be. Something short of "Knockout", certainly. We have no problem understanding public reticence about a man with a scant public resumé; we're reticent, too. We have no problem placing much of the blame on the Obama campaign, overdue for a major shake-up at least twice over by now, and now too late. We're uninvested in time, money, or emotion. It would perhaps be gratuitous to insist, now, that the campaign's, and the Democratic party's general, aversion to stomping the GOP back to the Stone Age is to blame, except that we've been saying so throughout the campaign. Yesterday, Salon joined Slate in urging that Those Horrible Hillary Harridans be kept off the dais next week, lest someone watching get the impression that Democrats are of more than one opinion. First the farce, then the tragedy. I used to rail about claims of Democratic party incompetence in national elections that it was largely a creation of the mass market media's script (Fritz Mondale, e.g., "promising to raise taxes", as opposed to what he really did, which was call Ronald Reagan a facile liar, in which he was proved correct, not that that made him The Amazing Kreskin or anything). This was demonstrated beyond doubt in 2000, where the competent candidate was hit with every sort of anti-Democratic slime, as well as a big batch whipped up specially for the occasion. But now, given something approaching as close to preferential treatment as it'll ever get, the party reveals itself as the teenager who stashes her Goth get-up at a friend's house and leaves the house each day in J.C. Penney coordinates, so Mom and Dad won't find out.
Which is depressing, but not unexpected; the thing I find mysterious about those poll numbers is, Who th' fuck is voting for John McCain?