Thursday, January 21, 2010

House Wine Buzz

"Both Parties Seek Ways to Channel Populist Ire."

This "news" headline comes courtesy of the New York Times, enlightening I don't-know-who. "Channel" is too passive a verb: control, corral, exploit are more accurate. "Populist ire" is hyperbole, conjuring images of angry commoners banging on palace gates. All the motherfuckers did was vote in Scott Brown, another corporate hack who out-posed Martha Coakley in Massachusetts. Ho hum. The wheels on the bus and all that.

Still, our narrators pretend that we live in a vibrant democracy where The People's voice reigns supreme, and voting is the noblest gesture of civic action. Countless consumers like this scenario. It's easy to understand and requires very little effort. Yet savage reality tends to cloud the sunshine, leaving reactionaries ranting about Islamocommie plots, and liberals sobbing about spineless Dems who need to take off the gloves and save this nation from the Palins and Becks. What a sight this must be from the imperial suites. It clearly reinforces the need for us to be controlled, for how can you run a fading empire with so much madness and confusion below?

I wish I could take the same glee from this bullshit as does anarcho-pal IOZ. But laughing in the face of American insanity is more a young person's game, and IOZ is many years my junior. He celebrated Scott Brown's victory in several posts, gleaning bits from liberal wonks concerned with the future of the Dems, the US, policy discussion panels and weekend tribal gatherings. Reading IOZ's links made me consider that perhaps I'm the nut, incapable of grasping basic political facts. Either that, or the Ezra Kleins and Josh Marshalls are partisan hucksters casting rube bait in their blasts, and doing quite well. Consumers need reassurance that their fantasies about representative democracy have meaning, regardless of actual conditions. What carny ignores such willing dupes?

Haiti remains a mass grave teetering on a crumbling foundation. Current estimates suggest that some 200,000 Haitians have perished while 2 million are homeless. These people weren't living in the lap of luxury to begin with. Imagine what they now face, if you can. In the larger culture, saying the word Haiti solemnly is proof of one's humanity. It has quickly become a rhythm word, its meaning more to do with the person saying it rather than the corpse-choked hellhole itself. Rwanda and Burma are similar examples. It's why celebrities feel safe embracing "causes" that don't alienate target demographics or sponsors.

As murderous as Mother Nature has been in Haiti, she still has miles to go to match human killing sprees. In this region alone, the US has slaughtered and starved far more undeserving primitives than any earthquake or hurricane. Over in Gaza, American tax dollars have helped create a Palestinian Haiti without much domestic concern, celeb or civilian. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, US drones also shake the earth, but in a good lethal way. Polls say Americans are increasingly against this, but there's no real action to support such numbers. More solemn talk is all. We are decidedly a Rhythm Word Nation.