August 09, 2008

Shameless Revisionism: Soapblox Rants #2 (2008)

...and we're back again with a second helping of political blog rant highlight reel mediocrity. For Shameless Revisionism #9 we at last enter the Present, sloshing through the fetid bog of the 2008 Presidential election and all its attendant fallout. Like last week, this entry will be a harrowing endurance test of Keir's Gonzo Rip-Offs, a cringeworthy tour of how I amuse myself by wasting other peoples' time in the Soapblox-powered "progressive" political blogosphere. I described it all much better in the previous post, but basically the stuff we're touching on today is simply a way to get my HST/Taibbi-type fix, while maintaining the fiction of not taking current events too personally or appearing knowledgeable about the sordid realities of our time. Some may, and have, called it cowardly detachment, and they'd be right. Others have derided it as lame ignorance, when not ignoring it outright, but those wankers just have axes to grind.

Yeah, Iike I don't. For whatever reason, though- be it John Edwards or the Fascist Olympics or Bernie Mac or the past week of Network IP Address Treachery, I'm in a dumb bitchy mood, and am not interested in elaborating any more self-aggrandizing introductions for stuff that will only really send me further down the spiral of terminal narcissism. So let's just get to it and get it out of the way, cause there will be Fiction next week, which is much more fun, right? Sure it is. Click on an essay title link to see the whole post.

The Last Binge of SupaDupaPhat Tuesday (Feb. 4, 2008)
In which I tried, for the umpteenth time, to wean myself away from the excesses of Campaign '08, specifically the protracted Democractic Primary between Senators Clinton and Obama. It was a little frightening, a little more disappointing, but not really surprising, to see everything fall into what essentially became an overblown Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, only with the White House at stake instead of the American League pennant.

So, tomorrow evening after work, against my better judgment, and because all the other young- and wish-they-were-young peeps will be doing so, I shall take my useless Permanent Absentee Ballot over to the incongruous trailer park across the way and cast my California Primary vote for Barack Obama, instead of a silly protest vote for Johnny Sunshine or Dennis the Menace or Mike or Ralph or Ronnie Paul or any of those crazed, rabid badgers running as Republicans. I will buy the entire Manilow and Celine Dion catalogues before defiling myself to that degree. I will vote for Barack Obama knowing that if he wins, now and again in November, he will waltz in like JFK and stagger out, after only one term, as Jimmy the Carter, Mark II. The Stagflation Economy Beast will have its way with ol' Barry, even and especially if he's able to bury all those chickenshit bigots across This Greedy Land Of Ours.
Ripping Fiction from the Facts (Apr. 10, 2008)
This was my first Writing in the Raw column at Docudharma (my second one is Five Vulgar Pictures, the intro to all this revisionism) and all I did was run my mouth about the novel in uncool and incoherent ways. Some people dug it, though, so go figure. It's actually a pretty good example of how much I can write flat-out in one burst of manic production, complete with ham-fisted stylization and goofy wordplay.
It's all about having something to do, really. About how you keep your creative brain churning when it's already spent the entire workday creating for other people. About how you can make music by yourself when the guys in the band have all moved away so gigs & rehearsals are rare and special. About being selfish. About lying your fucking head off. About writing what you know, with deliberate mistakes. About lots of things that won't be crammed into a riffy list. Abou...yeah, well, you know. The backstory is not important. It will only get in the way and make readers guess at motivation when they should just enjoy the story. Because hey, even amateurs and dilettantes never let the truth get in the way of a good story, right? That's right, buddy. The rules are likewise less than important. Oh really? Fuck yes. Maybe not made to be broken, but made to be bent. Bent to your will. Bent to what suits the story.
Beware the Terror of Campaign Bloat (May 15, 2008)
Yet another half-baked treatise on the Democratic primary, but by this time Barack Obama had decisively averted the return of Clintonism. Nevertheless, many Hillary supporters dug in for the duration, prepared to go to the mat for their chosen corporate candidate (though of course Barry's basically that as well). It was a display of depseration and denial and utter insanity, and it was compounded by the inability of the Obama faithful to exert patience and good judgement. But whatever- it's over now, just more bad blood under the bridge, right?
Your candidate is not an extension of yourself, so don't project your hopes, dreams, hang-ups, prejudices, and fears onto their carefully constructed personalities. Your candidate does not, deep down, care about you or about accurately representing you. They probably do not like you. In fact they fear you—when they do not hold you in arrogant contempt—but that is only because you have the nominal ability to fire them if you ever get the stones to tear yourselves away from GTA4 and Dancing with the Stars and actually care. Your candidate's gargantuan ego has already impressed upon their psyche the horrible inclination to run for federal office, and as everyone knows, one has to be three kinds of crazy to even run for state office in this country, so remember to keep said brain flukes under consideration before making personal and emotional investments in your candidate and their campaign.
When the Banshee Screamed for Thatcher 2.0 (Jun. 4, 2008)
By the time Clinton actually did concede, of course, the primary was basically over, and though it was interesting to see so many states still in play and actively campaigned for by both senators, fatigue had long since set in among self-important bloviators and armchair pundits alike. So imagine everyone's relief when the DLC's favorite poster-girl finally went down to defeat.
I didn't notice it at first. I was under the all-consuming headphones, demolishing my remaining hearing with an album called Diamond Hoo Ha, deep within the selfish recesses of my own warped and spoiled suburban mind. It was the night of yet another dipshit, two-bit primary in some states, and an even skimpier night of civic duty here on the Central Coast, so the low whine was indistinguishable from Gaz Coombs and Measure G and Proposition 99 and the rest of existence's dull roar. Then I recognized it, processed the foul frequency in my debilitating cerebrum, and promptly dismissed it. Popular vote Florida Michigan in to win why'd he back when I was president blah blah fucking blah. Another primary is lost and yet won. Another goal post is moved and yet there are still points scored and funds raised and egos stroked and babies kissed and blood sucked and brains fried in this stupefying death march of a Democratic primary. The ciphers croaked on. The mirrors kept reflecting. The desperate projection couldn't stop thinking about tomorrow.
I Will Speak Ill of the Dead (Jun. 15, 2008)
Yeah, and then Tim Russert died a week later, the poor bastard—setting off a firestorm of hyperventilation and righteous anger from everyone who remembered how much of a war-enabler and White House patsy he'd been for the whole of Bush's term in office. And yet it still felt strange to trash someone who'd just died. I'd have had no qualms at all doing this for someone like Rove, or Cheney, or Delay, or even Jesse Helms (who kicked it not long after), but the anti-Russert stuff wasn't really about Russert, so instead I decided to pick on some safe, slow-moving targets:
Adolf Hitler was a mass-murdering fuckhead, a one-balled, stunted, sexually-frustrated revenge junkie who had the gall to manipulate his entire nation's feelings of post-WWI inadequacy only to completely wreck it all in a king-hell, epic case of death-by-cop. Oh, and fuck him for killing all those innocent people in such horrible ways. Josef Stalin was an illiterate pigfucker who clawed his way to the top of the Soviet pyramid by killing a bunch of pansy academics who'd never been in a real fight in their lives. As icing on the cake, he took their pretty little redistributive theories and deployed them with all the subtleties available to his tiny back-country brain. Fuck him sideways for killing all those innocent people, too.
It went on like that, through Alexander and Napoleon and Mao and more. Oh yes, it sucked. Big time.

Sneers and Gloating at the FISA Hearings (Jul. 9, 2008)
The capitulation of the nominally in-power Democratic Congress, including Senator Obama, to a spy-enabling Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment approved by the lame-duck, redundantly useless President Bush, was certainly predictable, but it was still a chickenshit, vile betrayal of everything Pelosi, Reid et all claimed to stand for. Naturally, some so-called liberals and progressives didn't see it this way, writing it off as a tactical compromise, and wondered "where was the big FISA protest, then?" I wondered that too, so I wrote one.
I was there, and it was AWESOME. 100,000 bloggers stormed the Capitol, dressed in preppie business suits, carrying pocket Constitutions, and wielding their laptops like deadly maces. People trampled each other to kick Harry Reid in the balls. The old coot put up a hell of a fight, but in the end the numbers were against him, and he submitted meekly, like we knew he would. We even asked Feingold and Dodd if they wanted a go, but Chris demurred and Russell said it would be Wrong. They'd used up all their spinal fluid on the floor of the Senate, and they needed a refill. Fat chance. That precious liquid is now trading at like $230 a gallon, and even on a Congressional salary, that's only a week's supply. The Republicans thought it was hilarious until we turned on them. Let's just say that the hallowed halls of Washington ran thick with blue-blooded muck and leave it at that. I know, I know- you'll never get the real story from the Liberal Media either, but hey, in this case that's because we stripped their credentials and herded them all into the Tidal Basin for ritual cleansing at the hands of Helen Thomas.
Yeah, What Winston Wolfe Said (Jul. 24, 2008)
Senator Obama's rockstar-like reception in Berlin during his Super-Awesome Summer Tour of Awesomeness was nice to see—even if he did subject the audience to platitudes and vague generalities—because for once, Brand America wasn't hated with the heat of a nova somewhere in the world. Or so it seemed, especially to fervent Obama supporters who seem to think that November is now in the bag. Naivete is so cute, but it's not very effective, so I sought to remind everyone how full of shit they were, with the help of a handy quote from Pulp Fiction fixer Mr. Wolfe: "Let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet."
Indeed, Wins-ton. Oh sure, the news from Berlin is fantastic (how often do you get to type that one?), but if my calculations are correct, it's still July 24, 2008—not January 20, 2009—and the junior Senator from the great state of Illinois is still a long, long way from his desired November election result. None of that "thirty minutes in ten," "three months in one" shit. Not only that, but we're all still an eternity away from the much-vaunted "realignment" election result we all desperately, maniacally crave. Today, the Germans merely saw us get our hands wet, not wash them. Yeah. When Vincent accidentally (or maybe on purpose, who knows?) blew poor Marvin's skull apart back in 2001, we knew we'd be in for some major, major janitorial work. No one doubted that we were in big fuckin' trouble. When we ended up at Jimmy's banana-slug bungalow in Toluca Lake to wait for Mr. Wolfe, we knew that Winston'd make us his bitches while laughing along with Julia and ripping us about life in the sticks. We ended up characters with no character, but that was acceptable, so we would deal with it.
Yeah, and if you thought that was bad, be thankful I didn't include this week's Trainspotting pastiche. Anyway, next week we'll go back in time again, back to 2002 when I thought I might be able to write short fiction, before summary grad school rejection banished that impulse for a few years. Only two shots of Revisionism left, gang, so get it while it's hot.

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