AND "Wieldy" Is Not Goldberg's Choice On A Title.
It's raining here for something like the sixteenth straight day, capping what had previous been merely a remarkably wet Spring. I emptied two inches of water from the rain gauge last night for the third time in a week. The whole town smells like fish emulsion.
And I am, I think, remarkably unaffected by weather (or it may just be that I live in Indiana, where our pioneer stock has been obliterated, in just two generations, by air conditioning. It is possible, if one goes out in public frequently enough, to overhear the same Hoosier complain about the Heat, the Cold, the Breeze, and back to the Heat again in the course of 48 hours). I admit to a certain reluctance to squeegee out the garage yet again, and wet-vaccing enough water in the basement so that it will dry out if the out of doors ever does is always an unwelcome chore, but I think the reasons for my current malaise must lie elsewhere. There are a couple of threads in the weave. Last night my Poor Wife and I watched a Biography Channel piece on Animal House, a thing so delightful it makes John Landis appear tolerable, but which reminds us--sometimes pointedly--that Harold Ramis got the opportunity to write Groundhog Day while Doug Kenney got to write Caddyshack and fall off a cliff. It reminded us of the beauty of John Belushi and the legacy of Jim Belushi. It kept telling us that Animal House was some sort of godfather to the mucktide of teenage gross-out jerkoff exercises that followed, and that The National Lampoon was a sort of footnote to all this. Which is like saying the legacy of Kandinsky is that he inspired that painting elephant. It reminded us that somebody, somewhere, gainfully employed in the movie industry of the late 1970s, and so presumably aware of the Golden Era of '67-'76 just then turning to dust and hair-covered half-melted Milk Duds, wanted Chevy Chase to play Otter.
There's more. The long-delayed first pass (full albums only) at digitizing my vinyl collection reached the Ps, meaning I spent a week listening to Pere Ubu, being constantly reminded that certified genius was yet no guarantee your band would ever get a fair hearing, and which caused me, this morning, to consider whether Jonah Goldberg has ever confronted anything in the broadest definition of the arts which wasn't already pre-digested for him. Has the man ever expressed an attachment to anything the cheeseball culture rejects? (I was also reminded that David Letterman had given the Ubus a national stage, which by itself trumps everything the entire Palin clan has ever done, unless you imagine "single-handedly overpopulating pristine tundra" is an accomplishment of some sort.)
You may have already decided that it's Cold War IV which is givin' me the blues (do we all remember the "conservative" fad for naming--and debating--which World War they were currently leading? Let's join in. Do North Korea and Iran constitute one Cold War Revival, or Two?). "Obama Pressured To Strike Firmer Tone With Iran" says Helene Cooper today, referring to...wait for it...the reported positions of Iraq War Resolution signatories Joe Biden and Hilary Clinton. Can't anybody here play this game? Th' fuck do you people think just happened in Iraq? Do you think we stumbled around for five years before Finding The Key and making everything all right? No. We blew in there because a couple of psychopaths usurped the ultimate power of the World's Ultimate Power, and with it they transformed arrested sexuality, Daddy issues, and a hubris the size of Macedonia into an ill-timed, ill-planned disaster. The World's Most Overpriced Military did not simply lose to a country with no air power and a tenth-rate military reduced by two large-scale wars and fifteen years of international sanctions. No, it managed to lose to a country that didn't have a military at all, and which wasn't actually a country, churning our manpower and materiel into corn meal in the process. Whom are we supposed to be threatening? And with what? We figured out a way to buy ourselves out of trouble (largely) and present it as a victorious new understanding for domestic consumption. We aren't successfully out of Iraq yet, if that's still our intention, and that could yet prove to be tricky. The reason we didn't just pay everybody off and leave in April 2003 is that we would have seen clearly then what is willfully obscured today: it meant admitting defeat. It was a defeat, by the way, which came with the wise counsel of Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
We can no longer talk our way out of this; the more we talk the deeper we sink. We were formerly sinking because of the neocons revulsion with the truth. We continue sinking because the Democrats are equally afraid of it. So we find ourselves these comforting fictions, and shout 'em at the top of our lungs. But they aren't even the comforting fictions of religion; they're the same sorry excuses we used the last time, and the time before that. Why does our foreign policy sound like Jonah Goldberg makes sense, and Noam Chomsky is a sterno bum?
Declare yourself and your nation on the side of hope and change where it is more than a slogan and better than a rationalization for ever-bigger government. Stop measuring the success of your diplomacy with Iran by the degree to which the grinning, hate-filled stooge of a clerical junta will “temper” his rhetoric about the pressing need to destroy Israel and slow his ineluctable pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Instead, choose a higher standard. Look to history. Look to the aspirations of the students risking their lives and livelihoods to protest a sham election. Stop fawning over the mythological Muslim street only when it hates America, and look to the real Iranian street at the moment of its greatest need, when its heart may be open to loving America.
Really, if eight years of disaster is not enough of an answer to the perpetual campaign for hollow insincerity, then someone kindly remind this fuck just how much it accomplished when his side was in control. Weren't we all Georgians just last August? Weren't we Orange Revolutionaries and Cedar Revolutionaries before that? Is is at all peculiar that We weren't all Kurds as well, back when that would have been inconvenient for a Republican administration? Isn't it bad enough that a large chunk of American foreign policy is dedicated to the proposition that we can control the rest of the planet with our high-powered brain emanations? Does it have to be Jonah's brain?