The Pied Piper

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Why wouldn’t we follow this guy anywhere?

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Clearly he’s thought the politics of the thing all the way through.  Plus, he’s never dirtied his hands by actually voting. He’s pure!

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The guy on the left put a wrinkle into the narrative for about five minutes, bringing psychic relief and patriotic gratitude to the nation. Then he re-emerged in the morning to issue a POW video, er, correction…denouncing himself for embarrassing his teammates, who hid in the locker room while paying fans stood for the anthem.

Sports was our last redoubt. The de-militarized zone in 0ur increasingly militarized culture war beyond the grasping, poopy fingers of politics, the one place where everyone could put the feuding to the side for a couple hours.

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At least the kneeling is for a good cause.  Nothing bad happens after you torch the cop cars in your town.

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Pay no attention to these faces.  Really.   These are people who know nobody and nobody knows.  Besides, they’re not pretty like the Pied Piper.

 

What Happened?

Clinging to the dream, Mt. Washington

Clinging to the dream, Mt. Washington

The election made Miss Havishams of so many of us.  We keep the sign to stop the clocks in permanent November, so the leaves may never fall.

We rake our stairs in spinster land, eating spider cake.   We curse Vladimir.  He hid the state of Wisconsin inside a maytroshka doll, where she couldn’t find it.  We pre-order her memoir on Amazon.

It may be therapeutic, I’m not sure it is healthy.

Let Us Now Yell at the Uber Driver

Yes, we're listening...

Yes, we’re listening…

My Uber is now an analyst’s couch.

He’s taking away people’s rights based on skin color and gender he won’t let scientists speak the truth he’s pushing Indians off their land and spoiling their drinking water China wants to blow us up because he’s so cra-a-a-z-ee. 

Well, said I, striking a therapeutic note…we’re stuck with him for four years…

No we’re not!

How are we not stuck with him?

We’re going to get rid of him! 

How are we doing that?

He’ll be forced out he’ll be impeached or someone will kill him before the end of the year. 

Nothing in her tone suggested she would not be rooting for the killers.

Trump had been in office six days.

I’d like to think people have calmed down over the past month, but I would be wrong.   There are now living among us a critical mass of citizens grasping for an amplifier knob which goes to 11.

People really want to talk back to their television set, even when they agree with it.  People really want to go back in a time machine to Nov. 7.  In lieu of that, they have me.

Which is worse for democracy, having an election in which no one goes to the polls, or having an election in which half the country refuses to accept the result?  Civility is the sum of sacrifices we make to live together.  But what if we inhabit the same geography but live in entirely different mental spaces, with little shared cultural language, to the point we begin to ‘un-see’ those who cross our path in the same city?  What if technology does not liberate us but enclose each of us in his own seedpod? Or as a rider I picked up in Beverly Glen grandly put it:  “America is the golden triangle, New York, LA and Miami. The rest of the country is Topeka, Kansas, enough said.”

When the Twitter Meme Narrative in our head:  Tyrant! #Resist! Don’t Normalize! displaces facts, facts have no meaning.  I am a noble person, say the Resisters, the proof of this is I oppose Trump.  Therefore Trump must be the perfect villain. If people are angry now, how angry will people be when he fails to be the tyrant they need?

Hating all things Trump is a full-time job.  How can one keep up?  Will the media exhaust everyone, including the Trump haters? Who will fold their hand first?  The liberals or the leftists? Will it infiltrate everything, including beer?

America, we got our ear buds in.

Keep Voting, sez MSNBC

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Mrs. UpintheValley, who did not vote for Godzilla, has been obliged to avoid Facebook, the vitriol and emotive accusation has been so intense.

Now, in the name of tolerance, the call has gone out for the assassination of the non-President, the week after the election.

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Bullet in the forehead, bleeding from his, wherever….

And I thought my apolitical blog was going to go back to being apolitical.

He hasn’t even taken the oath, people.  Tell me how this movie ends.

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Banksy has his own view.   He of course has made millions doing something which is technically illegal, but clearly changes how things are perceived. Or tries to. Otherwise what would be the point?

What begins in wish fulfillment,  ends as all Pygmalion-like creation myths do. Carve a woman from marble and your feverish longing, and you will fall in love with her. You will leave a bloody handprint.

A Night of Wet Pillows

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In a long election year of Uber driving, I heard many things. On occasion, I was asked pointed political questions.

Guess who people wanted to talk about?

Some were eager to let me know how wonderful or terrible Trump was. Others, very furtively, wanted to suss out my views.  It was phrased in terms of gee, what are other people saying? 

Quietly, they were seeking my consent to vote for him.

Lotsa Bernie People in my Uber, too, and they were a very agreeable bunch.  Free college for everybody may not be sound fiscal policy but it galvanized people and you have to give a measure of respect for the enthusiasm of your fellow Angelenos.   Bernie put meat on the table. So did Godzilla.

No one asked about Hillary.  Her name went unmentioned in Hillary-ville, across a span of 1,436 Uber rides.   Jill Stein was mentioned once.

A month ago, I watched her motorcade roll down San Vicente on her way to a fundraiser…black, silent, funereal, an ambulance bringing up the rear.    In Brentwood, no one waved.  In the break room, my Latino co-workers ignored the TV when election coverage was on, which surprised me.

The gulf between moments like these and the smug triumphalism in the media could not have been broader.

Eight years ago, Barack Obama was presented to the world as Jesus Christ in political form.  Once in office, he had nowhere to go but down.  Even competent governance would play as anti-climax.

The Trump election has been presented to us as an extinction-level event for democracy.  If he manages to not burn down the White House while chasing Melania through the East Wing with a cigar in his mouth, he will surprise to the upside.  Imagine all the wet pillows then.

Choose Your Monster

Confident in victory

Confident in victory

The Nostradami of cable news have abandoned predictive analysis in favor of absurdist performance art.

Monday Conventional Wisdom: Trump has no chance of winning New Hampshire. He’s too extreme for any state outside of the Confederacy.  

Tuesday MSNBC:  Maaaaaybe he could, but we’ve spoken to the Clinton camp and they are confident they are up by nine points. 

Wednesday: Too many ballots have already been cast in early voting for him to catch her.  

Thursday, Trump leading by 3: New Hampshire has too many old white people. 

Friday, CNN: “I’m not worried about New Hampshire. All she has to do is win Pennsylvania, Colorado, Virginia. That’s 269 electoral votes right there. Game, set, match.”  

Saturday, NPR: She’s looking to stabilize Colorado. Just in case. Also, Michigan.

Sunday:  The basic worry in a democracy is you have ignorant voters. They vote their gene pool.

The great and good American people are going to affirm our nations highest ideals by voting Bill Clinton’s wife into office.  And women shall rise and lead them!

Unless crucial counties in the battlegrounds confound pollsters and go the other way, in which case, our destiny was thwarted by a KGB/FBI plot! 

Everyone Who Knows These Things knows she’s safe behind her Blue Wall, it’s all but finished. Somehow Godzilla has managed to slip past the wall, with a subway car of screaming journalists between his jaws,   waving a rally towel.   Oh no, there goes Tokyo….

For 48 more hours, they can both be right.  Then we have to live with the aftermath.

Choose your monster. You’ll regret it either way.

Liar’s Poker

Nabokov, one of the great poker faces

Nabokov, a great poker face

Our private self is most amused and our public self is most circumspect.   We pass each other in the store and reveal nothing. The carnival of snark beckons from every screen and we don’t tip our hand.  We are more ears than feet.

Across the city and to the Eastern shore, half of us are not speaking truth aloud.  We listen to the prognostications on cable TV, and enjoy others guessing at our motivation.  We study the faces of strangers like runes. Is she one? Will he be joining her?

The loudest voices doth protest too much.  They have bad poker faces. The quiet ones are putting the affairs of state into order, or carelessly toppling them into disorder, depending on your view. The Never People can no longer take refuge in never.  Certitude is a masquerade. They lie to themselves as much as to their friends.

The elites would rather burn down their institutions than allow Godzilla to breach the perimeter. All lies are permissible in her service.  Ring the klaxon bell.   All hands on deck. Unless secretly, some of them really wouldn’t mind watching her lose. But they’re not telling.

The peasants are inclined to view “Godzilla” as something altogether different. He speaks their banished language.   He carries their pitchfork over his head like Poseidon’s staff.   Perhaps secretly, they are more admiring of the idea of the man than the man himself.  Oh, the satisfaction of watching him pull it off! Then you’re stuck with the guy, and no one is quite sure what that’s going to mean.   There are private bluffs within public bluffs.

Spouses extract declarations of agreement from one another then part company into separate voting booths, clutching secret ballots and hugging doubts.

Friends and neighbors avoid talking about this Thing That Shall Not Be Named. The firecracker sits in the middle of the dinner table, the fuse slowly burning down, while we seek reassurance in our sense of how things should be. Surely there are more of us than there are of them. Right? Right? I know my country. I’ve lived here my whole life.

Nobody really knows, and most of us aren’t telling. We have dice underneath our leather cup and you can’t see.

Ecce Homo

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What vessel is this, into which half of America has poured so much hope and expectation?

Are you putting them on? Will you be dancing with Hillary at her inauguration?  Was that the plan all along?

What demons are you grappling with?  What windmill spins before you? Are you the man at the card table determined to lose?

You are staging a public psychodrama well beyond Nixonian self-pity.  The course of the nation is now hostage to your tweets.

Behold the man.  Beyond intervention.