Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fricked In The Head

Most comedians and comedy writers know dick about politics, to the degree they bother thinking about the topic. (There are exceptions, of course, my dear pal Barry Crimmins being the most prominent.) When funny boys and girls try to talk policy, they tend to stay well within mainstream constructs, acting as if we live in a participatory democracy, however compromised or corrupted.

A few get really worked up. A friend who'll stay nameless told me of his time on Janeane Garofalo's old Air America show. After each political pronouncement, usually shouted into the mike, Garofalo would pump her fist in the air, even though her listeners couldn't see it. She dramatically affirmed her opinions to herself, which were the standard Dem apologetics spewed on that awful "progressive" network. My friend thought she looked crazy. Who -- Janeane?

I thought of this while reading Adam McKay's five-alarm warning to his fellow mules at Huffington Post. McKay, as some of you know, was once the head writer at SNL and writes and directs Will Ferrell's popular screen comedies. Funny guy. One of the better minds to work on that desiccated sketch-fest in recent memory. And true to form, McKay squanders his talent by attempting political analysis.

McKay is worried that Obama's blowing the election, which at the moment appears true. There's plenty of time left, "debates" (aka shared press conferences) to watch, televised assaults and softly-worded promises to endure, but don't be surprised if Senator Change and his corporate-war whore sidekick eventually lose this thing. Obama's taking the traditional centrist Dem path to certain defeat, just like Gore and Kerry before him. Sure, there will doubtless be vote suppression and theft, but that only works when the election is close and comes down to the wire. Obama/Biden should be pasting McCain/Palin, wiping them from their shoes after every campaign stop. But it's not happening. Not yet. And before long, it may be too late.

Like a lot of online libs, McKay sees this slow-motion train wreck already in progress, and tries to keep the Dem ticket on the right tracks. But as with those who refuse to or cannot make a structural critique of the system that makes such spectacles inevitable, McKay blames the media for much of this sorry state.

"This isn't a game of Monopoly or 'Survivor'. There are real truths that exist outside of the spin they are given and have an effect on lives. 250,000 Iraqi civilians are dead because we let our reality be distorted by the most effective propaganda machine in fifty years, the corporate American press. Money and jobs are flying out of this country as our currency becomes worthless and we're talking about the fact that McCain is a veteran. If someone busted into your house and robbed you would you then forgive them if you found out they were a veteran? Of course not. So why are we forgiving McCain for selling out his country by supporting the Bush agenda?"

I dunno. You could start by asking all those liberals now appalled by McCain's politics why they gave him a free pass and enthusiastic praise for so many years. Like Joe Lieberman, McCain hasn't changed all that much. He's simply become inconvenient. Back in the '90s, when liberal McCain love was strong, libs yelled at me for not showing this war hero the proper respect. Couldn't I see that McCain wasn't like the other Repubs? The man not only slaughtered Vietnamese so we could enjoy faster drive-through service at Wendy's, he had conviction, morals, and personified patriotism. Well, that's all down the memory hole; now it's the media's fault for pushing this war-crazy old man and his gun-toting MILF on the rest of us.

This is a tired but reliable tactic, readily employed by both political wings. Recall the GOP reactionaries booing that Islamocommie outlet NBC at their recent gathering. How unfair the Peacock was to Sarah Palin, to God, to guns, to moose meat and the flag. To them, the corporate media are America-bashing leftists. To liberals, the corporate media swallows conservative lies and shits out Dem-hating talking points. Only in an apolitical culture could either of these complaints be taken seriously. Our owners must be laughing their fat asses off. They have us squabbling over phantoms. As I keep telling those who write to me about this, the system isn't broken -- it's fixed.

As for McKay's concern about Iraqi dead (no mention of Afghans blasted by US missiles -- a little preview of what to expect should Obama win), he can thank his friends in the Democratic Party for assisting in those war crimes. The global Terror Wars are a bipartisan project. If you're going to assail the Repubs, honesty dictates that you hit the Dems as well, assuming that you're at all serious. But why do that when you can simply play Blame the Media? Everyone knows those lyrics. Karaoke fun for all.

What's really amusing is how McKay advises Obama/Biden to turn against the very corporate system they represent and serve. It's like expecting a rising Mafia don to denounce the blood oath, or a tiger shark to settle for salads. Funnier still, McKay presumes that his fellow Dems are somehow wired for anti-corporate activism and agitation. That they not only support a corporate party, but actually give it money, either doesn't concern him or flies right over his head. Hell, these are people who not long ago were defending CIA "patriots." You expect them to suddenly become Nader's Raiders? They had their chance to flex such muscles back in 2000. They preferred (and retroactively defend) the corporate Gore/Lieberman ticket. It's a little late in the day to turn that frigate around. Not happening.

But funniest of all is McKay's close:

"This is it folks. If McCain takes power we fade and become Australia in the seventies: a backwoods country with occasional flashes of relevance. Except we've got a way bigger military and we're angrier. People will get hurt and we'll pay the bill for the bullets. I'm telling you, unless we wake up, we're gonna lose this frickin' thing."

G'day mate, and throw some ragheads on the barbie. We're already living in a land Down Under.