Monday, August 2, 2010

For Richer, For Richer

If only those attending Chelsea Clinton's wedding wore pig masks, not just as a nod to Terry Southern, but to simply show who they truly are. Yes, we're all God's creatures, each loved in our own special way, yet some are more porcine than others, rolling in wealth and grandeur in the midst of imperial destruction and economic need. As a friend on Twitter put it, Chelsea should be happy that her wedding didn't end Afghan-style, where drones explode at "I do." Thankfully, the airspace overhead was closed so that the pigs could cavort free of fear, much of it on the taxpayers' dime. Seeing how much they give to us, it's only fair that we help them party in private.

I wish that this porkfest would extinguish liberal love for the Clintons, but it won't, not on a large scale, anyway. As a breathless subject confessed to the New York Times, the Clintons are liberal royalty, sterling examples for all to honor and follow. Right wing attacks on the Clintons help ensure liberal allegiance, just as reactionary howling about Obama keeps most of the flock in line. A sweet racket for elite Dems, whose hunger for privilege and power place them closer to their antagonists than to their obedient base. That this is open for all to see makes it worse, for acceptance is based on delusion, not ignorance. The ignorant can learn. The deluded keep dreaming regardless of reality. Throw pig slop in their faces and they'll insist it's fine cuisine, or at least tastier than Republican slop. That difference alone keeps them dozing in shit.

A reader mailed a poll showing that 84 percent of assembled liberals at the latest Netroots Nation still supported Obama, despite his continuation and expansion of Bush/Cheney policies. The reader added, "You called this years ago." Um, yeah, I did. What did it accomplish, other than to raise my blood pressure? That others are making the same arguments I made at the height of Obamamania is encouraging, but I suspect fruitless, at least in the short term. Once Campaign '12 begins, we'll be told that if Our President isn't re-elected, yahoo fascism will prevail, ushering in another dark age. Hey, if that's what it takes to get an antiwar movement off its ass . . .

Netroots fealty is no surprise. I shared my experience at Yearly Kos, where Dem worship rocked the Richter scale. Hillary was the main star that year, with Obama coming on strong, and Edwards providing eye candy. I remember feeling bad for the lone person at Bill Richardson's campaign booth, ignored by the Netroots kids. (Richardson is this generation's Mo Udall, or maybe Birch Bayh, minus Great Society trappings.) I don't recall seeing any Kucinich supporters, which would make sense given Kos' mockery of his antiwar views. Indeed, there was little mention of imperialism, apart from my panel with Juan Cole, Manan Ahmed, and John Mearsheimer. We were decidedly the Netroots sideshow, well attended, but not taken very seriously by the conference organizers.

I don't know if there were any dissident panels at this year's Netroots, but if so, they had no effect on the overall gathering. Mainstream American liberalism remains firmly behind the war state and continued corporate plunder -- so long as "smart" people are in charge.

The Times ran a charming piece about American children studying Krav Magda, the Israeli military's fighting system. Kids were quoted celebrating physical damage to opponents, and while their instructor warned against indiscriminate use, the main thrust took glee in Krav Magda's lethal features.

Naturally, Israel was painted as a defensive country, Krav Magda one part of repelling the Arab hordes. It's amazing that this fiction endures, but with the rise of anti-Arab racism and violence in Israel, stateside supporters must toil overtime to keep the preferred narrative intact. I can only imagine what the Times, or any mainstream outlet, would say if American kids were studying Silat Mubai, a Muslim martial art, in order to defend against Zionist attackers. "Jihad Jitsu: Brainwashing Through Fitness." The thing writes itself.

After a stellar fourth season premiere, Mad Men's second episode was all over the place, narrative strands going into what seem like dull areas. But then, Matthew Weiner's baby has been here before, usually righting itself in unexpected ways. The main characters appear lost in time as 1965 approaches, Don Draper most especially, his drinking getting worse, his age starting to show. Don is paying for his many sins, his psyche flailed in The Passion of the Draper. We knew this was coming, but man, the Mad Ave wiz has really let himself go. Perhaps another baptism in ocean waves will help.

Bert Cooper's fear of the Civil Rights Act was funny, and accurate. Granting African-Americans equal status (whatever the reality) was seen by the Coopers of that day as creeping socialism, another extension of the welfare state. Unlike the 1960 election, where Nixon was the agency's choice, neither Cooper nor Roger Sterling mention the '64 campaign, maybe because of LBJ's landslide. What point would there be in mourning Barry Goldwater? Still, given Cooper's bizarro Ayn Rand/libertarian mindset, you'd think that he'd celebrate Goldwater, who was much closer to his thinking than was Nixon.

Cheer up, Bert. History is on your side. You probably won't live to see Reagan elected, the Dems turn rightward, social programs gutted, tax cuts for the wealthy, imperial war expanded, but it's coming. Dream about a future you'd approve of, while we fantasize about a glamorous past that never was.