Monday, September 1, 2008
Betty Boop and the Michelin Man
And what a week it's been! I spent the better part of it shuttling back and forth between the TV and the computer, studying the blog commentaries as the Democratic convention proceeded. Each day my spirits would soar ever higher as the growing chorus of REAL MEN did serious battle to take back our country from the villains, thugs, slime balls, and little Hitlers who have been holding it captive for so long. Watching this happen was not only awesome, it was downright voluptuous! I haven't seen such authentic and beautiful masculinity on display like that since, well, maybe ever! You go, guys!
Much has been touted about how history is being made this election cycle, from the first successful African-American candidate ever for president, to how far women have come, thanks to Hillary, in breaking through the glass ceiling in politics. These are both important landmark events, to be sure. For me, however, the real history being made at the Democratic convention was something more subtle but no less significant, and it seemingly went unnoticed and unrecognized: the transformation of patriarchal consciousness into a genuinely mature and empowered masculinity. How thrilling to watch and listen to Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson Jr., Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Joe Biden, and (notably) John Kerry, as they stepped up, one after the other, to the podium with fire in their bellies, and committed themselves (and their party) to renewing the promise and hope of America. Then there was the amazing finale: Obama himself, whose composure and unflinching gravitas on the stage in Denver in front of 82 thousand people (plus the unseen 38 million others who were watching at home) seemed to mark an end to the reign of the Lord of the Flies, replacing its infantile grandiosity and tyrannical abusiveness with real stewardship at last. Incredible, bracing integrity was everywhere, like a strong blast of sea air.
While all this was happening and "good King" energy infused Invesco Stadium, a different group of swinish men from the Republican War Room (set up a mile away) were dancing around the giant amphitheater dressed up in Roman togas--caricature Herods and Caligulas, whose degradation of others knows no bounds. They were doing their best to ridicule and demean the talented men within. This was for me the defining moment of the convention, signifying the real meaning of all that is at stake in this election. If it is indeed important what thoughts and images we are invoking in our lives, then this surely is the image that says it all. "It seems," write the authors of "King Warrior Magician Lover," "that we as a species live under the curse of infantilism...patriarchy is really "puerarchy" (ie, the rule of boys)." But, as Barack said, finally, and with all the force he could conceivably muster: "ENOUGH!"
Oh God yes, let it be so.
No time lost, however, before McSmear (newly minted by me as the Michelin Man), not to be outdone for a single minute, did what he always does best: refocus attention away from Obama and onto himself so that he can win the next news cycle. Out of the magician's hat comes Sarah Barracuda, his stunning but outlandish choice for VP candidate. A Miss Alaska runner-up, former mayor and hockey mom from Wasilla, she hunts, wears fur, and if (by her own admission) she doesn't quite understand what a VP does, at least she does know how to shoot an M-16 and cook a mean caribou burger. All told, she gave John McCain a good day. Sarah Palin may not know much about foreign policy yet, but she has now owned a passport for at least six months, and anyway, as she says herself, "I have a chance to learn about foreign policy at the foot of the master."
People everywhere across the country and in the media have been electrified by the news, so from McSmear's point of view, Mission Accomplished! A few folks, such as Maureen Dowd, wondered exactly what would happen to the country "when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander-in-chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one." Hopefully, though, this will never happen. Hopefully John McCain will not become President. "The P.T.A.," she further quipped,"is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B."
But not everyone feels like Dowd. Mark Steyn states in the National Review that Palin is not just "'all-American', but hyper-American. What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew?... Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of 'community organizer' and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy." I hope he was wearing his toga when he wrote this.
Not to be outdone in the response department, I did my own consultation with the Thesaurus. Sarah Palin and John McCain, I asked, what's the deal here? Is this an inspired or a lunatic choice?
You may not believe this, but my finger landed directly on the word "DEMENTED." It was under the larger heading of "insanity" and some of the other words in the vicinity were: "moonstruck, not in one's right mind, personality disorder, monomania, mentally handicapped, idiotic, cretinous, unhinged, bonkers, capricious, gaga, nuts." I think I'll let these words pass, unadulterated, as my own personal comment on the situation. Nothing else is needed. It is possible that John McCain is not only crazy to win this election, but also that he is just plain crazy. Out of I don't know how many text messagers who wrote to CNN that day after the choice was announced, 33% said it will help, 67% said it will hurt. Either way, the new development is sure to add another level of convulsion to an already convulsed electorate.