There’s a red cloud hanging over us

1 03 2017

I am once again yelling at the media.

Back in the day—waaaay back in the day—I used to regularly berate journalists, pundits, and politicians who happened across my t.v. screen or radio. I’d slap the newspaper or crunch it between my hands. I’d carry on arguments and yell rebuttals and gesticulate and swear and occasionally throw soft objects at whatever device was relaying the offending message.

I once smeared a butter pat on the t.v. in my dorm floor’s lounge (I cleaned it up).

It got to be a bit of joke among my friends, but it was never schtick to me: I’d honestly get pissed off and let loose. They might have thought it funny or stupid, but I was dead serious.

And then, at some point, I stopped.

I don’t know why. Maybe when I got rid of the t.v. and thus no longer watched the news I fell out of practice. Maybe I figured out that I was not required to listen to bullshit and thus turned off the radio/t.v. rather than get into a fight with the voices coming out of it. Maybe I just gave up.

Well, I’m back, and so is the yelling. Well, not yelling so much as muttering, and I’m not back to full-bore argumentation. No, I’m dropping such bon mots as “motherfucker” and “asshole” as I flick through my Twitter feed and suggesting “go fuck yourself” to whichever Trumpeter is weaseling on the radio.

I’m not proud of this, but I’m not quite chagrined, either. Swearing may not work to hold back the pile of radioactive horseshit Trump and his GOP enablers are shoveling at us, but it does remind me that I haven’t given up, that I shouldn’t give up.

I do think I’ll leave the butter be, however.





Mayan campaign mashup 2012: Keepin’ it cool

13 08 2012

Fist, stick, knife, gun: I’ve been approaching this campaign as if it were gang warfare—and it is, of the metaphorical sort.

Total up the blows, the blood, the chipped teeth and broken bones; politics as smashmouth. It is unfortunate, as I mentioned to someone who recoiled from my cold analysis, but the evidence leaves little room for any other conclusion.

There is another reason for my phlegmatic response to outrageous behavior: I really do find it outrageous, and only by turning off my emotional reaction to the bullshit and the lies that I can get through the day without hurling my computer out the window.

For example: Romney and Ryan argue that they can “save the American dream” and that Obama is “trying to change America … into something we might not recognize.”

Pure boilerplate, nothing out of the ordinary for a presidential campaign, designed both to run down the other guys and fire up your own side. It isn’t and won’t be the worst thing said during this election season.

The analyst observing this cage-match from the catwalk merely takes note of the theme: the country’s going off track and we’re the men to get it back on track—again, nothin’ new, there.

But the citizen, the partisan, reacts to this boilerplate with her own boiling rage. What the fuck are they talking about, save the American dream? The fuck they know about anyone else’s dreams? And Obama trying to change this country into something we don’t recognize? The fuck these motherfucking motherfuckers saying about the goddamned president of the goddamned country? This pomaded pair calling the rest of us traitors? Motherfucking mother. . . .!

You see how it is.

There are some political matters on which I can genuinely modulate my response, allow room for both emotion and reason, but when it comes to the depravity underlying presidential campaigns I have to choose between the fanatic screaming LIES! or the dispassionate amoralist jotting down points for this side or that.

The bloodlessness I bring to this campaign isn’t entirely affected—there is a kind of satisfying. . . calm to the Machiavellian perspective—but it is willed. I cannot see through the turbulence of my partisanship, so I use cynicism to tamp it down and grant me clarity. That, to me, is a reasonable decision.

Yet if I am unbothered by the amorality of the choice itself, I do admit that my willingness to make it marks a kind of resignation on my part. I don’t know how things could get better, don’t know that I could have any role in making them better, so instead of trying to find a way through this, I set myself above it all.

Or below, as the case may be.