Sunday, November 18, 2007

Teasing The Mesomorph

Driving around this morning, looking at the long faces of Michigan fans coping with their team's pitiful performance against Ohio State, I found myself behind a dented, faded black pick-up at a stop light. Stuck to its tailgate was a very long bumper sticker, two lines deep, that read in large letters: "As Hillary, Jennifer, and Nancy Rise In Stature, They Give New Meaning To The Phrase Ho Ho Ho!" As the truck turned, I saw the driver, a grizzled chubby redneck with a goatee and ball cap. Direct from central casting. Too perfect to be real.

But he was. You see plenty of these types in these parts, tooling around in large 4-wheel, sometimes 6-wheel, gas guzzlers, sporting various nativist and paranoid bumper stickers about how the Democrats are commies, their women a bunch of overspending, castrating, ugly ass sluts. Not for them any serious class-based political thinking or expression. To the guy above and numerous others like him, Clinton, Granholm, and Pelosi aren't corporate-militarist whores, a gender-neutral if indelicate description, but simply hos. Should Hillary win the White House, look out for an explosion of similar white male fear products. Ain't no commie dyke gonna tell them what t'do!

Meanwhile, the global wars rage on, geopolitical corporate positioning to control the Earth's dwindling resources, oil and water chief among them. The water wars will eventually speed up, as there'll be less and less drinkable H2O to go around, and those with the power to grab what clean water remains will do so with little ceremony. The Israelis have shown the way for years, diverting water from Palestinian lands to their drinking fountains, swimming pools and water slides. A rational move. After all, what good is a water park in Gaza?

Things are very bad in this part of the country, and it will get worse before it gets better, assuming that "better" has any contemporary meaning. I suppose it's easier to pretend that our economic problems are primarily due to liberal commie fags than to a global economic arrangement that squeezes the powerless until they're tossed on the garbage heap. Besides, painting corporations and their political servants as pussies doesn't make for snappy bumper stickers.

Finally watched "An Unreasonable Man" last night, the documentary about Ralph Nader, which is terrific. It's as balanced as one can get, with plenty of anti-Nader spittle provided by Todd Gitlin and Eric Alterman, the latter of whom blames Nader for pretty much everything bad that has happened since 2001, including tsunamis and hurricanes, if short-term memory serves.

Alterman, echoing William F. Buckley, circa 1968, suggests that Nader leave the country for having the temerity to run for president against Al Gore and George W. Bush, since the Democrats own every left-of-center vote that exists, as any serious liberal will angrily remind you. Gitlin simply comes off as a sad old man, anxious to be an influential liberal conscience, or a reasonable facsimile. I've never physically met Gitlin, but I did have him as a phone-in guest on a New York radio show I hosted, where he defended the Clinton administration at great if boring length. So it's no surprise that he trashes Nader in this film. If only Bernadine Dohrn had fucked him before she went underground. It might've taken the edge off, or perhaps accelerated his New Left resentment. Hard to tell with guys like that.

The film shows, among many things, how Nader did not cost Gore the election, featuring research from a Harvard law student who proclaims his pro-Dem sympathies, including his voting for Gore in '00. Not that this or any other explanation will ever persuade or placate most American liberals. To them, Nader is the devil, and it's practically impossible to sway the religious-minded. More on this and related manias in "Savage Mules," to which I must return.