Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You like these? aren't they nice? Nothin will cheer you up faster than lookin at your own gaily painted toes.

Caption: Evil Empire Magnates and Bloviators

Isn't that guy on the left The Emperor from Star Wars? I thought so.... He looked better in his dark hoody. Clearly all the money in the universe can't do squat for a bad complexion. So there's some kharma comin round on him there... Plus Luke Skywalker must be lurkin around here somewhere..

Okay so it's Wednesday. So much to do and no will to do anything but immerse myself in the novels of Kent Haruf. One of the reasons I don't keep up with book reviews and new releases is so I can wander through someone's library and find an author I hadn't known existed, just when I figured I'd run through all the good ones. You really can't condone that kind of thinking now can you? It's a brand of defeatism that I find unconscionable given that there are always jillions of good writers out there to "befriend" by reading their books, hanging around and falling in love with their "people".

"Friend", a once revered noun and recent victim of the persistent and mindless wave of verbification that has swept the country since the 80s, has become a loose, deliberately vague, and fairly meaningless term. Recent experiences have confirmed this: people have no idea anymore what a friend really is, or what it means to be one.

My notion of friendship always included respect, loyalty, trust. I don't believe I've known more than a handful of people in the entire world I could truly call a friend. So all this stupid INTERNET (why yes, I'll gladly hand over my most personal information to the international human marketing database; I'm a good citizen!) "friending" makes me want to crawl in the nearest cave and never come out. And that's where I am, metaphorically speaking, today.. in my cave.. just like a man when he doesn't want to deal, according to some bestselling book anyway. Few women have the cave luxury; there's always someone tuggin on our clothing or our heart, needing something, be they small or grownup, and we, being who we are, feel duty bound to respond, to be 'on call' all the time. For that reason we tend to want to confront a problem now, clear it up, and get on to the next thing. No time for cave sitting. But I'm just gettin used to not being on call, and it's strange, to say the least. Maybe I should do what my pal Glo did, just sail off, literally, into the sunset, check out of 'on call' status for good. I guess I'm workin on it but the idea is hard to get used to. Devotion to duty is a hard habit to break, whether you're a mom, a hooker, or a nun.

Again, recommending the novels of Mr. Haruf, who publishes infrequently, but the quality of the writing... ahhh... savor that... rare indeed. Plainsong ... Eventide, both wonderful stories, wonderful people to be around. Models of human behavior and feeling we would do well to seek in ourselves now and again. I read somewhere the New York Times reviewer mocked Eventide as having characters that were too nice. Clearly that reviewer had never lived in the West of ranchers and desolate places or stark beauty. that reviewer is likely the kind of person who's incapable of meandering treasure hunts as well. No imagination. No heart. I was deeply moved by these novels' characters, and if you're reading this, so will you be.

And who credits what the Times says these days anyway? Look at that trash article they devoted ten pages or so to in the magazine comin up. (I added my two bits to the comments section.) About that gossip columnist Mike Allen –The Louella Parsons of DC. I could see one page, but front page and then some, about gossip? Pullleese. Better you should read what the guy's really about at the respectable website Media Matters, a great resource for bullsheet identification. (No mention of any of these faux pas by the author of the Times piece, a pal of his.) As my hero Lewis Lapham said recently: The recycling of gossip is easier than the assembling of facts.

My Friends, this is the kind of stuff we must pay attention to – de boolsheet that passes for journalism, both in print media and on cable, especially on fact-challenged FOX. I know FOX fans, good people of whom I am fond, and I often wonder if these well meaning FOX fans are even capable of discerning the line between fact and opinion. Opinion that is delivered with such wild conviction, viewers assume it's fact, when it's not.

Of course with so many of our mediocre schools downsizing by firing teachers (as many as 300,000 next year they say) and a few administrators (who earn far more than teachers and do little for it) and going to a 4 day schoolweek to save a few bucks – plenty of money for wars though! Have no fear, you can always join the army! – I guess such ignorance is to be expected. Even an American college degree doesn't guarantee you know how to think for yourself. Cause it's become "inflated". About the same as having graduated high school back in the day, they say, quality wise. Now nearly every state is flat broke, and, no we don't need no more gubmint hep! So maybe you cain't even finish high school.. well... Whut's wrong witchoo? Stand on your own two feet and be a man, git a f*%king job. Such is the cry of the new "conservative" movement, who, surprisingly, seem to have, many of them, been born sucking on silver spoons; others graduated from public schools, drive the nation's highways wearing seatbelts that have saved lives, some are living on pensions, government or otherwise, carrying Medicare cards in their wallets, glad to call on police when a burglar threatens their property, or the National Guard when there's a flood. Gubmint, people. That's Gubmint.

Sometimes I wonder if, where and how often these Teabag folks attended school. I believe they'd argue with anyone claiming to produce real facts refuting their fanaticism. Flat Earthers, every one of 'em.

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