Wednesday, October 14
Man, I Wish "The Bell Jar" Would Change His Life, If You Catch My Drift.
TODAY the cold thing has taken up a sort of multi-floor residence in the lymph glands behind both my ears, meaning that I have no outwards signs of being sick other than an occasional dry cough, and a resultant Sympathy Factor of zero. The pain, fortunately, is excruciating, which means it's probably infection, not the less noticeable incipience of cancer or Republicanism.
Yes! Forget "Conservatism" as mental illness; Republicanism is viral in nature, and if you give me a couple minutes I'm sure I can dig up some biopsychologist, neurocogitator, or molecular paleontologist who agrees with me if you edit him right. It seems like a promising hypothesis, at least, especially considering this item, which I assure you was gonna be a much better post before Tomás de Fucking Torquemada took hold of my sinuses. And my mental processes feel like I'm still straightening them up after a party. But that didn't stop 'em at Valley Forge.
Via Blue Indiana we learn that enormous-craniumed and small in every other respect Indiana Governor Mitch "Come for the Combover, Stay for the Charm" Daniels passed out copies of a Charles "Bell Curve" Murray education tome at a meeting of the Indiana Education Roundtable last month, explaining that the book quote changed the way he thinks about education. (Full story at the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette.)
And y'know, forget the connotations of casual racism; after all, the man is running for the Republican presidential nomination. The book was Real Education, and it's Murray's most recent hardback contribution to the world of ideas. 2008. Which means either that Mitch "The Brain" Daniels first came into contact with his libertoonian academic doppelgänger fourteen years after The Bell Curve and a quarter century after Losing Ground, or that he expects other people to believe he did. Which is more damning, exactly? Kee-rist, even I thought he had to be smarter than that, even if I secretly suspected he wasn't. You're sixty fucking years old, Stretch. The only books which are supposed to change your Life, or your Outlook, at that age are religious tomes, and then it's really only seemly if you're a hopeless alcoholic or imprisoned for three lifetimes. It's a mark of intellectual inferiority approaching We'd Like To Bring You In For Some More Tests Starting Tomorrow territory, and the willingness to admit it to other people, even if you're doing it for cynical political purposes, is goddam near hallucinatory. That Shooting Pack Animals From A Helicopter thing worked for La Palin, too. What're we, twenty-four months from you tearing one of the tame deer at Brown County Park limb from limb with your bare hands while the cameras roll?
And, fuck, it's Indiana. Every college degree comes with two bus tickets out of state. And you think we have too many undesirables applying to college? We're at risk of lowering the quality of our native pool boy, landscaper, and night watchman stock? And it took you till your early Golden Years to to tumble onto this?
My earliest recollections include a television in the house. Black and white, sure, and a screen the size of your mid-range iPod's, but still: my youth has more in common with twittering, rainbow parties, Jonas Brothers mousepads, and all the rest of the detritus of mass-market lobotomizing than it does transcendentalism, sonnets, and Malmsey Madeira, and I'd still like to know how th' fuck we got here. Mitch Daniels is considered not just a leader, but a friggin' paragon of temperate reflection in a major political party. This cannot be accompanied by anything remotely definable as reasoned consideration; one likes to imagine, at least, that even the denizens of some of the 19th century's most extensive swamplands would have sussed him out within ten minutes of his opening spiel and given him the option of leaving the county the way he came in, or riding a rail. If my next-door neighbor handed me a portion of Murray's oeuvre, with or without a tale of personal epiphany, I'd think less of him, as much for the admitting of it as the actual belief, and he went to a state school. If someone turned up peddling them door-to-door I'd grab the shotgun. And neither of them would have already spent half a taxpayer-funded career explaining to me how much smarter they are than everyone else.
And "society needs elites"? Mitch Daniels. I rest my case.