Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Politics

I just recently finished reading Politics by Hendrik Hertzberg and now must endorse it so that all my readers (myself, and occasionally Rupert*) have the opportunity to pick that shit up like a bad habit. Most of the book was written over many decades as a reporter covering one of the Three P's (the politics P, obviously, though I wouldn't doubt he was interested in the early Washington DC punk scene either), from the days of Lyndon Johnson to the early years of George W. Bush.

His viewpoint is that of an unrepentant liberal, but he knows his shit, and his prose is witty as well as informative. Throughout this moderately priced handsomely crafted tome are a series of vignettes designed to delight the political geeks, especially those of us who are left of center. His chapter on Ronald Reagan in particular, titled "The Child Monarch" might rub some noses the wrong way. I found myself thinking of Reagan less of a jingoistic cowboy (as all the wits have taken to calling him) and more of a tragic (though decidedly less saintly) Henry VI figure, ruled by emotion and not logic, and to take the Henry VI allusion a step further, complete with his own Margaret of Anjou, the ruthless, cunning Nancy Reagan. In all fairness, she's seemed real swell recently, and to be honest, I was too young to have a "primary source" opinion on her. But really, that is neither here nor there.

What is here and also there is that this is a book worth having on your shelf, it is kind of heavy and is called POLITICS, girls will be either impressed or at least nonplussed, both of which are better than the average response I get from women, which is some strange mix of being repulsed and more repulsed. Even when I show them my complete collection of out of print SST 7 inches (Black Flag, Minutemen, Descendents, Dinosaur Jr, the whole nine yards) they still manage to be at least somewhat reserved, and I have to pull out the big guns. The big guns are of course my shotguns, which I affectionately call Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms. They both can't shoot for shit, by the by.

Hertzberg's memoir-article-retrospective is full of compulsively quotable anecdotes. There are chapters devoted to curious things that apparently seemed possible at the time. Like Dan Quayle one day becoming President. Good God, somebody dropped the ball on that one. There are thick sections devoted to election cycles, some of the more memorable being the Republican and Democrat primaries of 1988 that eventually became the battle between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis in a pitched struggle eerily similar to a certain recent election. It has become clear to me that in battles between Texas politicians and Massachusetts politicians I would always bet on the Lone Star contenders. And according to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's daddy, the aptly named Barr, Lyndon Johnson (Texas) was actually behind the murder of John F. Kennedy (Taxachussets), so hey, that fits the whole pattern of Texas fucking Massachusetts in the ass. Then again, I've made it a personal rule never to read books by people named Barr, for obvious, personal, and religious reasons.

There is a nice little section about the second debate between Michael Dukakis and George Bush that I'll type out with these swollen yet still remarkably beautiful and dainty fingers.

When Bush attacked Dukakis for being "a liberal" who takes positions that are "very liberal," Dukakis shot back. "If it's liberal to feed the hungry and house the homeless George, you can call me a liberal. If it's liberal to make sure a young mother can see a doctor when her baby's sick, call me a liberal"-that whole litany. And when asked to name some heroes of today he hesitated briefly but then warming to the subject, came up with a surprisingly interesting list: Henry Steel Commager, Leach Walsea, Andrei Sakharov, Robert Coles, Marian Wright Edelman, Evert Coop, Oscar Arias, Leonard Bernstein, Cory Aquino, "and two young men named for a county in Ireland, who fought valiantly in Vietnam who today fight for peace and justice at home-John Kerry, who was my lieutenant governor in Massachusetts and who now serves our State in the United States Senate and former Governor Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, who will be joining John in the Senate next year."

Name dropping John Kerry like that, what a starfucker Dukakis is! It's amusing that Kerry would one day be slimed just like his buddy and would also make the same mistakes, proving once again, NO ONE EVER LEARNS ANYTHING. Lee Atwater, who led the slime machine against Dukakis apologized on his deathbed, I somehow doubt Karl Rove will ever find the urge to say sorry for poor John Kerry, who, last I heard, was trying to destroy America and still knows how to speak French.

And then there is the chapter devoted entirely to Bob Dole's wicked sense of humor, a much more serious and compelling study than one would imagine, though he is well renowned for his glibness. Similar character studies on such diverse fellows as Pat Robertson, Bill Clinton, and Bobby Kennedy are all fascinating, but perhaps, and this really was a shock, the most powerful was the chapter tucked away in the middle of the book, "A Moral Ideologue" about former President Jimmy Carter, for whom Hertzberg was the chief speech writer.

Well there goes objectivity. Nay, not so. Hertzberg clearly admires Jimmy Carter, but it is not blind hero worship, he examines his faults, the wrinkles in his record, some of the more embarrassing episodes of his presidency. He also freely admits that he can see why a lot of people despise Jimmy Carter. But he stands by his assessment of Carter as a good and decent man, and more importantly than that, a brave man who knew the difference between right and wrong. The most chilling passage describes Carter's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1976.

On the stage, Carter and his running mate, Senator Walter Mondale, stood arm in arm and side by side with an extraordinary array of friends and former adversaries: Coretta King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., and King's civil rights comrades Ralph W. Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, and Andrew Young; the wheelchair-ridden George Wallace, the one-time racist firebrand; Mayor Richard Daley with former Senator Eugene McCarthy, whose youthful followers had been clubbed by Daley's police in the streets eight years before; Senators Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, and Henry M. Jackson, who had struggled with each other over policy and power for over a decade; and many more. It was a political peaceable kingdom. The anthem of the evening was 'We Shall Overcome.' I had not yet joined the Carter team; I was there as a reporter. But I wept. Everyone in the room wept. Everyone-even the press section-linked arms and swayed and sang. The moment carried tremendous emotional power. It was as if the agonies of slavery and war and racial hatred and the fratricidal bitterness of Vietnam and the lies of Watergate-it was as if all this were being washed away, washed in the blood of the lamb; and at the center of it was this small, slight, soft spoken man from a tiny hamlet in the depths of the Deep South.

I wish I had been in the room. I need some inspiration. But I know it'll come. One day we really shall overcome. Probably not for a long while and even then not forever. But it'll happen. Howard Dean promised me we would be taking this country back back during the primaries. He better not have been lying.

Fuck that shit.

We SHALL overcome.

Monday, December 27, 2004

We Need One Of These

It looks like a whole new election has paid off in the Ukraine.

I hope Putin isn't cross with Bush over this!

Wait, I do!

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Earthquakes

The headlines are obviously dominated by the massive disaster to strike Southeast Asia. On Christmas of all days. The last death toll I saw estimated about 67,000 (and climbing) people lost their lives, numbers smashing those of 9/11. That is not to say I am saying this disaster was worse than 9/11, or vice versa, depending on where you are standing plausible cases for both could be made. But why would you want to make plausible cases for which tragedy was more tragic?

This isn't about comparing cocks, this is about people being alive and people being dead. It's about homes standing and homes obliterated. It's about families being together one night and suddenly every thing is shattered, forever, because of God's whimsies. Or whatever new fangled science-y term the "evolutionists" are calling it these days.

Frankly I'm sorry I even mentioned 9/11, as it had nothing to do at all with all that massive ground shaking. But it is inevitable that people (at least Americans) will from now on compare every massive death list to 9/11. I hear it in the way people now describe Pearl Harbor. "Oh it was bad. But did you know on September 11th, about a thousand more people died?" Good God man, who cares? What was it Stalin told Churchill? "One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic?" Well, Joe Stalin sure was glib when it came to glossing over murder, but people these days are no less willing to blind themselves to what goes on all around the world, every day.

I am not saying massive terrorist attacks on the scale of 9/11.

I am not saying huge earthquake/tsunami/tidal wave monstrosities that destroy sleepy Indian villages and Southeast Asian huts and leave thousands of orphans.

I am talking about the smaller tragedies that pile up and accumulate and become things like the Rwandan Genocide because people who know better do nothing. Or the massive incarceration of petty drug offenders in jail today because we can only talk about being tough on crime for so long before resorting to meaningless arrests. Corporate criminals are given carte blanche nine times out of ten, except in those rare cases were the fiends are so drastically sloppy and inept that the media has no choice to but go for the gullet. But then again, we work for the state right? It doesn't work for us. As much as we want it to.

Politicians, the "grown ups who should know better", are in some way I can't understand, either unwilling or unable to do anything about these fundamental things. And if is the former then they are cowards and if it is the latter they are just not up to the task. I hate to say this in such blanket terms, and so vaguely to boot, but listen.

There is a reason that so many people were in tears the day after the election.

It is because this isn't a FUCKING FOOTBALL GAME.

And I feel like it is. I feel like if George Bush ran the country as well as his reelection campaign was run we would be living in an idyllic lollipop land and I would have eight wives and a moderate to large selection of cattle. But unfortunately the Bush administration (though I'd like to point out they are not the only source of my concern, there is plenty of outrage to be spread around, trust me) has continually proved me wrong regarding how far they could bend the rules without the whole system spiraling out of control.

Alberto Gonzales at the Justice Department? Do a quick google search to see what Alberto has said about torture and see if you can still defend his pudgy ass. But then again, he is Hispanic!

People are quick to point out that a lot of this is needless naysaying, partisan hackery, doomsday-esque ideas, lacking in substance and style. That's fine. They are allowed to doubt every word. It doesn't matter to me. I doubt as well. I doubt almost everything. But the thing that rankles me are these people postulating such inanities as "Oh, it's never happened before, thus it can never happen."

What a wretched line of thinking. That one is right up there with "If astrology is fake how come so many people believe in it?" Whoa whoa Professor, you got me! If a lot of people believe it, it must certainly be true.

What in essence I am saying, is that we, as a people, are beholden, to give a fuck about things. We don't have to all give a fuck to the extent of writing bullshit blogs, or donating money to the ACLU or whatever it is all the politically motivated people do. Give a shit about this world. This is the only one we have. The only one we are ever going to have. And people in Utah and North Dakota should care as much as people in Massachusetts and California. Because Red State or Blue State this is THE ONLY GODDAMN WORLD AVAILABLE until Bush's plan to terra farm Mars comes to fruition. Since I'm not placing bets on how long that will take to even be mentioned again publicly, let alone funded, I will just continue to plead with the world, one person at a time.

Politics is dumb. Maybe it always will be. I don't know, I'm not a prophet.

So this rambling mess really had two points.

The first is to say that death on a large scale (any scale really) is a terribly sad thing, whether instigated by nature (earthquakes) or nurture (terrorism). I hope people recognize this at some point in their short, fleeting lives.

The second is that we need to force the politicians to grow testicles or we need to get rid of them. What is their use if they won't stand up for us? Why aren't there a hundred thousand people in every country around the world trying to figure out how to fix this world? And I don't mean activists, I mean the people in charge, the people who can actually make a goddamn difference. People in ties with big salaries.

And if there are people who's primary duties are to fix shit, who the fuck is cockblocking them? These are the things I want to know. These are the things we must know, so we can ameliorate this problem. Cause the status quo reigns supreme and I haven't liked the status quo of the last 4 years at all. I really haven't ever liked it, but it is becoming intolerable now. In the words of Sage Francis, the most punk rock rapper ever (or perhaps he is more "rapmo" though I hesitate to write that horrible amalgam of words) "It isn't a love it or leave it, it's a change it or lose it."

Amen my tubby MC, amen.

A Note On Gay Marriage/Where has all the outrage gone?

Post Script: I realize the banality and triteness of starting a blog and immediately tackling the gay marriage quandary. I promise to only mention it sparingly from now on, as there is really not a whole lot one can say on either side other than "I like it" or "I don't".

In other news, when are we going to have the Secede From The Union Party?

And what the fuck happened to the outrage after November 2nd? Not a riot to be had. Now, that, my friends, is PUSSY.

I may be a few months late, but perhaps it is time to invest in a molotov cocktail machine.

Or maybe just a sword-uzi. I don't care, I just want to know where the outrage is!!!

I haven't been so angry since Weezer's long awaited follow up to the epic Pinkerton turned out to be inspid girl bullshit with a green cover.

I can't believe we are the minority in this country. And by we I must mean people with EYES. Now I am aware that isn't good for encouraging public discourse but Jesus Christ! Can I just get this out of my system?

ARE YOU 60 MILLION OR SO PEOPLE FUCKING CRAZY, OR JUST STUPID?

I don't know which is worse.

As For Me

As Rupert already mentioned, my name is Alex, and he did indeed make out (or something akin to that at least, probably involving meowing and other such animal noises) with my ex-girlfriend last night. This makes him only the second or third of my friends to make out with my former significant others. Thus, I am not very surprised, or hurt, especially since as least he had the decency (much like the esteemable though curiously Conservative leaning Dsquared) to own up to his shenanigans.

We were all at a party once. Rupert gave her a massage. I should have seen it coming, but clearly my mind was on other things. The upcoming election probably. I would have let Avi make out with every girl I had ever so much as laid eyes on if the American public had been good enough to elect John Kerry to become the 44th President of the United States. Unfortunately, they didn't, and gay marriage is still illegal!

Gay marriage, as we all know, is a social inevitability. I'm not claiming I'll be around when it finally becomes legal in all fifty states (only a measly Forty Nine left!), but when it does people are going to be mightily ashamed of their past affiliation. Even the people who tried to foist Civil Unions on us. This includes Democrats and Republicans alike. Civil Unions for gay couples is a sweet idea, and incrimentally better than having no legal recognition of course, but this is a method to achieving a greater goal, not the end in and of itself. I assure you most folks who championed things like "states rights" in the 60's are now scrambling for cover. African Americans now have equal rights under the law (at least nominally), and it is about time for people to heed John F. Kennedy's carefully scripted words and realize that gay marriage is not a legal issue, it is a moral issue.

To put it simply, all men are not created equal. "Seperate but equal" treatment of gays and lesbians is not going to cut it anymore. And the time will come when the majority of the American public will realize this, will realize that Civil Rights should apply to all Americans, regardless of who they like banging behind closed doors.

Come on. This isn't fucking rocket science. This isn't even fucking algebra. This is simple goddamn arithmetic.

I shouldn't be surprised though. This is the country that is constantly sucking the electoral college's dick and extolling the virtues of heartland America as somehow superior to anyone who happens to live by water (excluding of course Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, and all the rest of those watery "red states" I don't care to type out, they are alright!)

In conclusion, on the day when good finally triumphs over evil (at worst, miseducation at best, brainwashing in the middle), I will smile knowingly, and resume doing whatever it is I am doing, which will probably be doing hella curls at the gym.

This rant was inspired by Rupert, because he is totally a gay-gay.

The P Manifesto

God, politics sure is annoying! The pandering, the slime, the rhetoric that ranges from completely empty to mostly empty, the apologists, the hacks, the needless vitriol, the lack of anything resembling actual debate, the sloppy Machiavellian manuvering, the impassioned pleas of men and women (but mostly men, white men, tall white men) desperately lying and half truthing their way into power.

Likewise, parties are annoying as well. I can't tell you how many ways parties can be lame. There is the rowdy party full of homies and the average gang of sluts who don't know shit about anything, those are annoying. But then there are the snobby intelligenisa parties where people start lecturing me on existentialism and I have to interupt and say, "Excuse me, how old are you? I'm happy you enjoyed your Intro to Philosophy class so well, but I'm trying to drink this bitch beer." And there are countless variety of other lame parties. Frat parties. Halloween parties. Toga parties. Birthday parties. XBOX parties. Magic: The Gathering Parties. Green Parties.

As for pussy. Well don't you hate it when it is all dry and shit? God, at least pretend to be pleased I'm in your proverbial house. God damn!

Regardless of the undue hostility towards the three P's, that is what this blog will be about, for the most part. In other news, I am Dangerous. Dangerous like a fox!

Dead fox.

Get inspired!

This brand new Web-Blog is dedicated to the Three Ps: Politics, Parties, Punk-Rock, and Pussy.

We aim to succeed in all the ways that Washington Monthly, Talking Points Memo, Vice Magazine, Maximum Rock And Roll, and Hustler's "Barely Legal" fail.

If you tell your friends about this blog, they will be impressed, but you won't be able to pass off our ideas as your own. You're probably better off keeping this blog a secret, and impressing your friends on a steady basis by stealing our ideas.

I met Alex a while back, we saw Gorbochov together, and last night I accidentally made out with his ex-girlfriend. I know I may seem really cool, but you really shouldn’t try this or he'll kick your ass. You can make out with my ex girlfriends if you want though as long as you're a nice guy.