February 15, 2012 - February 8, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Where were we?
IS A BLOODSUCKER. Sorry. It's been awhile. I'm not losing interest.
Just had some extraordinary demands on my time in recent days. Normally
I can juggle work with posting, but occasionally there are fire drills
and other emergencies.
This time, reentry will be a potpourri, which I normally don't like to
do because it seems as if you only ever respond to the last item on the
list. Don't do that. Everything here is something I want to know your
First because most in the news: Whitney Houston. I'm already on record
about her. My first Guilty
Pleasures post began with a video (now unavailable, except here) of I Will Always Love You. What I said
at the time:
A saccharine, sentimental, monotonal mess of a
song written and first performed by Dolly Parton,
who also happens to be one of my other Guilty Pleasures, a sweet and
beguiling woman who cheerfully compares her own singing to the
vocalizations of a nanny goat. She's right but I admire her anyway.
She's an incorporated powerhouse with her own theme park, but she's
still sweet. That buys her a pass on her ridiculous hair and chest
balloons in my book. And I will "always" listen to the Whitney Houston
version of Dolly's song when it plays on the radio or in the movie
because there is something pure and wistful and stirring about it. It's
an anthem of women's capacity for love that if you've ever been on the
receiving end of it can bring you to your knees.
My thoughts are scattered and mostly malicious. I'm with Geraldo Rivera
(there's a first time for everything) in wanting Bobby Brown tried for
her murder. There are people whose natural response to something pure
and beautiful is to destroy it. My vengeful celtic soul wants to
destroy him for destroying her. She was from New Jersey. Sinatra would
have known what to do. Something involving the Jersey marshes (excuse
We watched the Grammies because... well, for the same reason a bunch of
other people watched the Grammies. To see crocodile tears and the
handful of genuine moments that redeem the tawdry fakery. Emcee LL Cool
J said a prayer. I said out loud, "I'm offended. I'm an atheist and you
have no right to make me do this." My wife, who was ill with a chest
cold and a fever, said, "I didn't know LL Cool J was an atheist." I had
to explain. "He isn't. I was just speaking for all the militant
atheists in the liberal audience." Yes, we can pray for Whitney, but we
hate like hell when religion rears its ugly head in any other aspect of
Jennifer Hudson stepped up bravely (and I mean that sincerely) to the
challenge of singing I Will Always
Love You to the Grammy audience. The next day, Imus, who needs
to be forcibly retired from his tired repetitive shtick of celebrating
Levon Helm above all other musicians and trashing every Republican
candidate in exactly the same terms every
single day, damned her with faint praise. Jennifer Hudson is
good, he allowed, but she's no Whitney Houston. As if she shouldn't
have sung the song. (Why do I still watch Imus, you ask. Because of Connell
McShane's increasingly open contempt for the
old hag host, who still thinks it's a running gag like Charles
McCord's erstwhile stylized rants; only it isn't. Connell honestly despises Imus. As everyone should.)
He couldn't have been more wrong. Hudson sang the song as a
deliberately eschewing the high sustained notes of
Houston's rendition because they embody a kind of triumphant vitality
that is now, suddenly, gone. Instead, she chose to sing minor-key
harmony with our shared memory of Whitney Houston's recording. It was a
masterful, deeply moving performance, a duet with the ghost of her
idol. She's a magnificent talent, and I'd bet Imus's hairsprayed head
on the likelihood that if she wanted to compete with rather than mourn
Whitney, Jennifer Hudson could belt out a version of the song that
would make the question of who's best a toss-up. She's a class act.
In other grammy news, class acts were in short supply. With Bobby Brown
unavailable, the producers had to make do with Chris Brown, presented
as a superstar notwithstanding his history of beating the bloody hell
out of superstar Rihanna, who was pleased to show up half-dressed in a
gown so skimpy
that Joan Rivers would have carped about the fashion disaster of "side
boob" if there had been boob enough to have a side.
Oh. There was a new superstar. Her name is Adele. Think of her as the
cockney Piaf. All of her songs are about the tragedy of broken affairs
between human males and one distinctly bovine female who can't
enunciate the "th" sound or the end of any English word except in song.
Forget the "Little Sparrow." Think instead of a Big Pigeon baying in the deep.
Speaking of guttersnipes, there was also Nicki Menaj, who showed up
with the Pope and pretended she needed an exorcism in her big
production number. Maybe she should stop pretending.
Change of Subject. Did somebody
mention the Pope or something Catholics might actually get upset about?
No? Well, there's this thing lefties call a women's health and birth
control issue, what Catholics call a crisis of religious conscience,
and what crazy conservatives call a First Amendment, freedom of
religion issue. I'm not going to say a lot about this, but that doesn't
mean you can't. To my mind, there's plenty of fault to go around, and
the current tarantella is hardly surprising. The Obama adminstration's
hatred of all forms of Christianity that aren't African-American
Liberation Theology isn't new. Nor is what Rush Limbaugh has rightly
called the Catholic Church's history of "kissing the Socialist ring
since the 1930s." I'm guessing the Church will cave before conspiring
in the defeat of the social justice president. It's the rest of us I'm
worried about. How many are still capable of perceiving an antiquated
position on birth control as a direct assault on religious freedom? I'm
losing my religion on that.
Another Change of Subject.
There's losing religion and there's getting religion. I managed to see
a fair amount of CPAC. Gingrich got two standing ovations (one for a
good Fed-Ex joke). Romney got a whole bunch of polite applause.
Santorum got to speak sometime before 2 am. And Ron Paul was in Maine!?
Everybody's a winner, right. Until Sarah Palin stepped up to the
microphone. Wall to wall standing ovations, before during, and after.
Well earned If you haven't seen her speech, do so now.
I concede I've been all over the place on the subject of Sarah. My wife
has been, is, and remains adamantly for her. Maybe I should have
listened. She blew the roof off that place. And I found this
essay provocative. A key excerpt:
[V]oter sentiment, as it relates to the
meaning of different candidates and the basis of government, is
And that, I think, is about half the
reason why Sarah Palin didnít throw her hat in the ring for this
campaign cycle.† Her evaluation of political conditions is
remarkably accurate and prescient:† she saw, long before most of
the voters did, that the game of expectations itself needed to change,
and that only we could do it.
What strategic value was there for Palin
in participating in the Cynical Media Slime-fest and All-Out
Kick-em-in-the-Nads, mud-slinging, business-as-usual,
expectations-on-autopilot primary season?
Six or eight months ago, the sea change
in the votersí sentiments and propensities might have been foreseeable,
but it hadnít happened yet. †Those who think Palin could have won
lots of primaries on the basis of pre-primary voter sentiments are
wrong, I think.† After all, the business-as-usual approach Ė Karl
Rove tells everyone how bad a candidate is, the media magnify his or
her every quirk or mistake, the media and some (not all) of the other
candidates pile on with allegations that range from hostile spin to
outright falsehood Ė has so far felled our most conservative candidates.
But in the process, the voters have been
changing.† Thatís what Palin saw before others did.† Do I
think she is counting the days to a brokered convention?†
No.† There is no one who could reasonably adopt that as a
ďplan.Ē† She wonít run this year; thatís my rational assessment as
well as my gut feeling.† (I could of course be wrong, although I
think some big conditions will have to change more for that to be the
But if she does run, it will not be
because she has changed, but
because we have.
The other speaker who got to me was Andrew Breitbart. At base, he's an
old-time print journalist, not a performer. He's rough, fumbles with
his notes, and doesn't have that easy connection with his audience good
politicians do because he's so locked in to the hand-to-hand combat of
the daily working press. What most struck me -- and what was confirmed
by press members of the CPAC Tea Party panel later -- was the barely
containable rage he felt about the mainstream media. Most of the CPAC
speakers and participants seemed to be engaged in a crusade. Breitbart,
in every word and uncontrolled gesture, was clearly at war. It was rage he was trying
to share with his audience, as if he were actually trying to infect them with the horror of the
hell into which the one-time profession of journalism has now fallen.
Notably, this degree of anger can't be seen in the politicians,
pundits, professional bloggers, and other members of the conservative
cause. It is reserved for those who spend huge amounts of time dealing
with the mainstream media as one of their, uh, colleagues.
For the most part, I don't think the audience got it. But I did. Most
of the word-mongers on both sides are corrupted by their desire to seem
objective, even in the teeth of a monstrously rigged game. Breitbart
knows a truth all the new celebrities of the Tea Party right don't.
There is no more politics as usual. Answering lefty talking points
reasonably and rationally is its own kind of complicity, its own kind
of surrender. It's like writing Op-Eds in the Berlin Times refuting the
policy initiatives of the Hitler administration. The devotion to
civility and the bend-over-backward attempt to see the other side is a
stinking corruption of its own.
Breitbart is truly, deeply, and completely pissed off. Until
conservatives figure out why he is right to be so, we will always lose.
So is Palin btw. But as a politician, she transforms her rage into a
form that infuses her audiences with an energy akin to lightning.
I'm left with a sorry contrast I'd rather not make. But I will because
I must. Leftist Hollywood is currently lionizing Whitney Houston, a
millionaire who died of her own inability to survive success. The same
people who admire Whitney Houston and make excuses for her premature
decline and death have absolute contempt for Sarah Palin, who has
survived political defeat and the most relentlessly malevolent personal
assault launched against anyone in the new 24/7 multimedia environment
and rises like a phoenix to inspire people as no one else can. Palin is
a brave and beautiful survivor. Whitney Houston is a pitiable victim.
Who do you love?
liberal Catholics should be asking themselves too.
If you're a lefty, your first impulse is to canonize Whitney and piss
all over Sarah.
If you're a conservative, you're more inclined to grieve for Whitney
and admire Sarah all the more. After all, nobody ever hated Whitney, mocked her publicly,
questioned her very motherhood, ridiculed her intelligence and education, made sport of
her disadvantaged baby (hey, crack happens, right?), and ransacked her emails and underwear drawers for any hint of
scandal. Instead they just loved her, forgave her her for very public
mortal sins, and now claim to be honoring her with their belated,
There's the cultural divide in a nutshell. Lefties hate Sarah because
she cannot be hammered into submission. They love Whitney because she
could be and was, unto death. Makes all the mediocrities feel ever so
I guess I should wish everyone a happy Valentines Day. Here's an idea.
Dress up in red like a Valentine to yourself (you know you want to),
amplify your sacred self-love with a papal accessory, and tell God (or
the government) to see to it that you're happy. The force (i.e., the
Obama administration) be with you.
Odd. She STILL doesn't look happy.
Life's a bitch. Unless it's not life that's the bitch.
And with thy spirit.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
The Vampire Thing
REMINDER. Just taking a quick break from a job of work (why I've
somewhat absent of late). I have a niece with a head injury and a
broken pelvis because a cop slammed into her car going the wrong way on
a one-way street. Was he in pursuit? Who knows. She has two children, a
husband, and an extended family who are all injured and traumatized by
a single act of no doubt unintended violence.
Why does this make me think of vampires? They're only a fantasy, after
all. Their violence occurs in the realm of the imagination, not
Vampires have become a media obsession. Movies and TV series devoted to
romanticizing their undead plight and explaining away their unfortunate
habit of killing others to keep on keeping on. The defense against
their blatant moral turpitudes? Coolness. Pretty faces, fashionable
costumery, superhuman invulnerability and violence, and perverse sexual
innuendo, as if murder were akin to orgasm and eternal life.
Hard not to perceive the metaphor of American youth and its various
isolating pathologies, including drug addiction, homosexuality,
perceptions of racial, gender, and ethnic discrimination, and [sigh]
I'm calling foul. This is a realm where so-called entertainment has
become politics in a big way.
Most vampire movies and TV shows are the exact opposite of a coming of
age story. They're a truncating of age story. A malevolent version of
Peter Pan. You don't ever
have to grow up. What does it mean when you're invulnerable to injury,
immortal, and never have to experience the sunshine of public scrutiny?
You're free to kill the uncool because they are mortal, lesser,
inconsequential. Who, then, are you?
What are vampires? Parasites. They have
to kill others to survive. Do the math. How many people does a vampire
have to kill to perpetuate his adolescent sense of immortality? Right.
It doesn't matter. Because he and she are so cool their victims are
mere cameos in the drama of me.
There are no consequences because time no longer matters. There is only
the eternal NOW of the beautiful ones. And never any sign of
accumulated wisdom. Just repeated expressions of monotonous appetite. A
perfect picture of teenage consciousness.
In the old days, vampires were villains. They were the evil that
continually stalks the good. Now they're the beautiful that consumes
the dull and the fatally frail who can't afford designer boots.
But there are consequences.
To everything we do. Every life casually tossed away, or even put into
danger, affects dozens and dozens of people. Our narcissistic children
may be in a state of denial about that. They may dream of a world in
which they get to do whatever the hell they want because they're young
and invincible, but it isn't true. Being a selfish, self-obsessed pig
isn't romantic. It's just sub-human.
Which we're doing a pretty good job of convincing our kids is the right
way to be. They may fancy themselves undead. But in reality they're just, well, dead.
Screw the whole vampire craze. Time for everyone in its thrall to wake
up and smell the coffee. Two movies that show vampirism as the curse it
would inevitably be: We Are the Night and Midnight Son.
Now I have to get back to work. (GW: I spent one hour on this. Now I'm
back on task.) And my prayers for Sandy and her family.