Posted by lex, on September 21, 2005
Severally, in combination.
I’m in the mood for a right good screed tonight, the stars having combined in their splendid variety. And anyways, I’ll share a secret with just the two of you: I like the screeds that Lileks puts out the best, and go there looking every day or so as a guilty pleasure. Not because there’s not enough of that in the world (heaven forbid) but because nobody does it better. If asperity had a copyright, you’d be begging him for permissions.
And it’s not the one thing here or there that has me going, it is the weight of them in combination. Oh! That I had the time to do the topic justice, but time of course is the fire in which we all burn, and anyways I’m back in college, amn’t I? So you’ll have to consider this a footnote for a better day.
What is it then? Well there’s this: I had promised to meet a correspondent with whom I have spent many a happy and thoughtful hour in electronic discourse, but whose personal company I had not yet been favored with. I’d lost the ability to use one of my two email addresses because the Mail app on the Kat’s ancient laptop (the gear I’m using on my travels) went south, forcing me to rely upon my faulty memory and my even more uncertain cognitive skills. In short, Thursday suited me best for our rendezvous, and thus I recommended we meet at half the not-inconsiderable distance between us at 1830 on Thursday the 21st. Which, until today, when I had an epiphany and determined that the otherwise obnoxious MS Entourage app might be hammered eventually into recovering my “neptunuslex.com” emails, I failed to realized was not a Thursday at all, but this selfsame day (a Wednesday) until I sat sweating and panting in my lodgings post-PT at 1930. An hour late for dinner and an hour at least away. And didn’t I feel like the arsehole? My man was gracious to a fault, but I’m having a hard time forgiving myself.
But that’s not all. For one thing, “Lost” is on, and I’ve got this to type. But that’s small beer.
What else? Oh. There was this cartoon in the local crabwrapper today. That kind of got me down. A syndicated guy by the name of Decinzo, someone who hasn’t quite risen (or fallen) to the level of Ted Rall. But he’s every bit as funny.
Well, the cartoon isn’t on line yet, so I’ll have to describe it to you: There’s a holstein cow on fire in the middle of a city street. See how it’s going to be funny? With a cow on fire? But wait – it gets better: All around it are Men in Black – FEMA men. All of them on cell phones, trying to rapidly evacuate the town, get the President on the line, call up the national guard. The caption? (Hint: This is where the humor starts!) “… Upon hearing white people might be in danger in Santa Cruz!”
Wooh! Yeah. That’s good stuff. Maybe you’ve got to see it yourself. Because, the funny part is that government servants don’t care about black people. It’s THE IRONY!
According to this article, union membership among federal employees used to be 62%, but has now declined to about 35% of the federal workforce. Which is, by the way, about seven times the national average. Unions are of course, an important Democratic constituency, so you know, not for nothing.
Now, according to this article, union members in general were more likely to vote for Kerry (or against Bush) at a rate of 65% to 35%. Being generous, let’s say that only 50% of federal government workers who were union members voted for Kerry. Given that the national vote was roughly evenly split (it wasn’t, but never mind), that’s a 17% advantage to Kerry, based only on union membership. Which means in turn that, based only on the numbers, that government workers (including, one presumes, FEMA employees) favored the Democratic party by a margin of 65% as against 35% for their opponents. FEMA is, in other words, predominantly Democratic.
And they hate black people.
Well anyway, that’s what the cartoon would have you believe. It isn’t true of course. But as long as it’s FUNNY!
Then there was this. An S-3 crashes in Jax, and a couple of kids are killed in the service of their country, and it’s a tragedy, innit? Except to this patriot, who only wants to point out that that’s why she doesn’t want the Navy flying over her house.
Yeah, well – we don’t want you building a house or even walking around under our flightpaths either, you insensitive twit.
Oh, and finally: In the exchange today, picking up some dry cleaning and saw the cover of Time magazine: “Iraq: Is it too late to win?” Or something like that. Joel Klein, it was, I think. Don’t know him. Know everything I need. Has it all in there I’m sure, the mistakes along the way, the assumptions that went unfulfilled, the you, know – the all of it. They made MISTAKES! The POLITICIANS! And now we might LOSE!
Lord, it makes me weary, this defeatism. We’ve been on the brink of disaster pretty much since that sandstorm on the 23rd of March, 2003, never mind the Brutal Afghan Winter. Stepping up to the precipice. Ready to fall in. Should happen soon. Any moment now.
Each week’s headlines talks about ever-increasing levels of violence. If this “ever-increasing violence” thing worked like compounding interest does, you’d think by now it would have turned into some sort of George Romero movie over there, with 24,999,985 flesh-eating zombies surrounding the shopping mall where the last 15 healthy Iraqis are holed up.
Except that the numbers are rather more reversed than otherwise. Five to ten thousand people who really ought to be in jail if they can’t be cleanly killed as against over 24million working stiffs who’d a whole lot rather get back to work, if only they had a chance.
But I guess this is how the J-school boys get their revenge upon the B-school grownups. In the real world, taking action means risking error, but if you’re a journalist you merely “report” the facts. Or at least the ones that fit your cognitive lenses. I believe that if you were the kind of reporter who had spent the last four years forecasting doom and gloom, these might be fascinating times. Exciting times. You might finally be right!
And what a relief that would be. Because even a painted clock is right twice a day, and so far it’s been a while for too many members of the fourth estate.
I guess what gripes me here is the fact that these same folks who tut-tut about illegal wars, etc. were strangely silent on legality when the previous administration took the country to war in an extrajudicial process. Perhaps because the previous seat warmer was a more congenial guy, quick with the mot juste, or maybe because we didn’t have any actual national interest in play. Those were the good old days. And maybe we could get back to them.
Get back to the days when people thought like us. When the priorities were different. When the right kinds of people occupied the White House, Senate and House. When we got invited to the cool parties. When our friends got the patronage, instead of theirs. When pols were still corrupt, but they were corrupt in entirely different ways. Or even if they weren’t, then at least their hearts were in the right place. Not like those FEMA folks, who don’t like black people. When we went to war reluctantly, biting our lips and shaking our heads, and making damned sure that we had nothing to gain from it. Because that would be bad, to send young men to fight and die for a national cause worth fighting for. Because if we’d done that, we’d have a hard time pulling back inside our shells the first time we got our noses punched.
Because we got no credit for saving the Muslims of Bosnia and Sarajevo, and we lost a lot of cred bugging out from the starving, rabid hordes in Mogadishu. That was where Usama bin Laden watched the TV screens and decided he had a chance, that maybe he could be a contender.
That’s where we’d go back to. That’s where the defeatists would take you.
It’s all these things.