Friday, December 21, 2012

Voiceless in Virginia

I feel as though I've been playing hookey from school. 

For anyone checking to see who or what I have deplored this month, I apologize.

It is the season for  bonhomie and I have to admit that I am feeling some of it and can't seem to summon up much fury and bombast. 

I will leave it to the paid pundits to fulminate for me.

If love and joy are not in your basket of goodies, I hope peace of mind is.

Since we seem to have safely passed the dawning of the dreaded December 21, 2012, I will look forward to seeing you next year.




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Roll Me Over in the Clover

I found myself in an inexplicable funk this morning and it wasn't until those who know me better than I know myself explained my mood. No more politically inspired adrenaline to fill my veins and set my heart and head on fire.

Would that it were as easy to rid the country of the scourge of religion as it appears to have been to shed ourselves of Romney & Co.

Yes, there were days when it looked like the "supreme" combination of money, media and mendacity was conspiring to frustrate us by working their black magic, but now that the thing is done, it's apparent there was little real doubt about the outcome. Even if Nate Silver and we, his adherents, were the only ones who knew it. 

Sigh. It's true that many of us liberals who normally like to read and dream have finally heeded the warning that a deadly, creeping  oligarchy cum theocracy could take over our lives and our planet. The effect of this realization was to turn us into militants. We took up the banner and entered the fray.

Now, flushed with success, where do we take the sound and fury we became accustomed to brandishing?

Perhaps we should address what  is probably the source of the fuel of the Tea Party and its cousins. Not oolong, lapsang or even Earl Grey, but the self-righteous, authoritarian, theocratic drek the evangelicals and other religion-driven in our society have tried to foist onto the rest of us.

You think they will accept defeat by ballot? Not on your life. And they are like bedbugs. They are everywhere, hard to kill and determined to survive.

I suppose this could be my next fixation. Working toward ripping the masks off the various phony faces of what passes for pious in an effort to enlighten the ignorant among us. 

The inkling for this came this morning when I heard that the underdone adolescent who is the "half" in the comedy  "Two and a Half Men"  is badmouthing the show (which has made him millions even before he becomes a man) because it offends his "Christian values." 

Now there is an oxymoron difficult to fight because it is   amorphous and proven by the religious right that it is totally without meaning.

A friend posted a short video showing another "values" actor,  Kirk Cameron, from "Growing Pains" who is presently bathing in "good news" and the joys of Jesus. 

To illustrate how god is the giver of all good things on earth, he rhapsodizes, on tape, about the heavenly qualities of a banana. "Look how perfectly it fits in the hand," says he. And he tells you how smooth and good it is to hold. It's so easy to peel and it's encased in a biodegradable wrapping that parts with a slight tug.

Only the sheer munificence and intelligence of god  could  have conceived and produced such perfection for all god's children.

OK, Kirk-o. I'll buy that....if you wax similarly enthusiastically about  a pomegranate, a prickly pear and a pineapple.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Nosetwist in the Offing?

I just read that Grover Norquist may be getting the wim-wams for fear his bought-and-paid-for lawmakers may welch on their pledge  not to raise taxes, NO MATTER WHAT.

His reported access to all that heavy duty dirty lucre that he has promised to use to obliterate the candidacies of any apostates could be losing its terror effect.

Actually, the pledge couldn't amount to a hill of hiccups if his pipeline to all those cash backed threats is seen to be less than formidable. And there is a stench around even heavily financed failing schemes that cannot be denied. My guess is that Grover's day in the sun is coming to a cloudy close.

Look at the money that poured into the Romney rumble, and it failed to finance any kind of sizzle for that plucky little fellow.

Indeed, it would seem Romney's pluck has run out and his fun is done, too.

Poor Ann. For one wild moment she must have thought she was going to have a new house to redecorate.

Maybe it is time for the inmates to take back the asylum and throw all the bums out. At least that seems to be the view of some of the wiser little Billy Kristol.

Whatever will Grover do without his Wednesday Meetings?

My guess is that anyone who finds the term "poopy head" appropriate for use on national television  is likely to go suck his thumb. 




Friday, November 16, 2012

Cat Gut and Dandruff

We all remember Judy Garland skipping down the Yellow Brick Road where she met the Cowardly Lion, searching for courage, the Tin Man looking for a heart, and the Scarecrow, who wanted a brain. 

These poor needy creatures bear a remarkable resemblance to the last 20 years' worth of GOP candidates for public office.

If one didn't have a firm grip on reality, one could feel that the U.S.A. was taking on some intoxicatingly familiar aspects of the make-believe kingdom of  Oz during this last election cycle. 

There are long lists of understudies for those three starring parts, but the part of the Wizard may have attracted the most aspirants and, possibly, the raunchiest.

To whom do we assign that part?  Rove? Limbaugh? Hannity? Beck? Cheney? Trump?  

And who gets the job of prompter? Ailes? Coulter? Drudge? Murdoch, himself? 

Press agent? Newtie swung into action in fine fettle, a little late but in predictably full throat. Sununu would be a good bet, too. He seems born to sleazy promotion.

The money guys are easy. Adelson and the Kochs led the big parade. Hard to call them "angels" considering the source of their wealth, but cash, no matter the source, does grease all the squeaky wheels.

Probably the easiest parts to cast were those of the Munchkins. The Tea Party gave it their all and were able to supply hundreds of the little - the VERY little - people.

And the whole production was in service of ?

A candidate who not only did not appear to have a heart, a brain or very much courage, but instead seemed to be comprised mostly of a very big sense of entitlement that was and is held together by nothing more than cat gut and dandruff.

Let's hope the not-so-grand old party spends the next few years looking for a new vehicle in which to launch a come-back.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No Thanks Necessary

Thanksgiving is almost upon us and every November my mind seems to zero in like a laser on two silly memories that seem to be engraved on my brain. 

The first is of my husband, whose turkey ritual always consisted of getting out my old Fanny Farmer cookbook and reading the directions that told him How to Carve a Turkey as he honed his carving knife.

It always amused least it started to sometime around our 20th Thanksgiving together.

The second unbidden wisp I clasp of the past is, oddly, about the British Royals.

I was stuffing a turkey Thanksgiving morning in 1984 and listening to a chatty radio broadcast announcing the two-month-old prince had little tufts of red hair.

This benign observation was fast followed by a list of justifications for this apparently innocent phenomenon. The assurances that red hair has, over the years, surfaced on the royal pates of family members on both sides had a salacious undertone in view of the unneedfulness of an explanation. Who needed to be assured that it was all right?

Not I. I didn't care. I still don't.

Ever since marriage was invented there have been those who have an eye for discerning any lack of paternal influence on the looks of the newborn. Mama's baby; daddy's maybe?

In these sophisticated times, combing and brushing one's pedigree can be a chancy, if not an iffy, thing in all quarters since DNA has reared its spoilsport head.

And, speaking of sophisticated times,  here we are, Thanksgiving 2012, and while the royals haven't had a scandal in months,  sex on this side of the ocean is still driving the bus.....and for two important generals, it may be going over the cliff.

Poor guys. They apparently have not learned the truth that great philosopher, Jon Bon Jovi has given us:  

"Women rule the world. It's not really worth fighting because they know what they're doing. Ask Napoleon. Ask Adam. Ask Richard Burton or Richie Sambora. Many a man has crumbled."

Even Fanny Farmer must have known this. 


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tacky, Tacky, Tacky

I suppose an old lady mourning the loss of gentility and good manners sounds like a chorus from the Flower Drum Song, but reading the stories written since the election, it's difficult to believe they describe people and events born of a supposed polite society.

Perhaps the coarsening of the vernacular of today has added to the reek of the miasma that stands over the political scene in this country. WTF and it's lengthier versions are almost protocol for expression of nearly any sentiment....their use starting in kindergarten and spreading throughout every aspect of our society.

I am not a prude. And I don't like euphemisms when straight talk is the clearest path to understanding. However, the lack of respect for one another, and the lack of even a modicum of delicacy in our daily discourse is debasing

The Conservative view in this country considers it unpatriotic to care what the rest of the world thinks of us. But we do care and we should care. And the fact that the opprobrium heaped on our country and its leaders is well-deserved, is for those of us who are of even minimal intelligence and sensitivity, an embarrassment hard to bear.

And it isn't just the offensively colorful language that has become the currency of our communication that diminishes us; it is the offensively parochial religious dogma  that a terrifyingly large segment  of our population seems to feel  is right and proper to jam down the throats of every living being in the country. 

Unquestionably the GOP has produced - not just this year but since the Clinton years - political hacks of the worst caliber. Twenty years ago they were just mean, conniving and insulting; now they are practically brain dead.

How could a man like Dick Lugar have lost his party's support to a candidate like Mourdock? How could a candidate like Todd Akin ever have been elected to the House, much less given a go-ahead to the Senate?

How could a baby-faced governor like McDonnell think he has the right to order a vaginal probe on any woman, including his wife?

How can we give credence to the hysteria of the Bachmanns and the Palins and the Coulters and the Becks, and the Limbaughs and all the rest of the crazies that take up space in our media?" 

Finally, it is for that Southern Gentleman from Mississippi who can't seem to get his own tongue around his Mother Tongue, to verbalize his assessment of the loss the GOP suffered, using the same fulsome rhetoric that characterizes this era:

"We had shitty candidates," he said.

He's right, and it's good old Anglo-Saxon terminology. But maybe it would be a good idea if we start to muzzle some of it and let the South try to rise again. At least the elegant parts of it. 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Geopolitics on a Small Scale

Running errands on Friday I had occasion to drive through several parts of my Virginia county - Albemarle.

When I landed on the shores of Virginia in 1986, Albemarle was described to me as a county of primarily middle to upper class residents, with an interesting share of the fabulously wealthy and famous.

I wasn't surprised to discover that many of these were active in Republican politics. 

Since the county's largest town, Charlottesville, is home to the University of Virginia, and supposedly crammed with intellectuals, it is assumed to be more liberal....and it is.

And there are a number of artistic types - both successful and aspiring - who make the county their home and who generally are  considered to be liberal. Some, such as John Grisham and Dave Matthews, have given voice to their support of Democratic candidates. 

Despite this, much of the county has eluded the fulsome labels of wealthy, educated and artistic as testified to by the a number of Republican yard signs.

This does not necessarily signify that if you are a Conservative you are poor, ignorant or both, but it does seem to work out that way.

The odd thing is that while many of the large estates will display their preference for the GOP candidates - in line with their economic interests - the vast number of those proclaiming allegiance to Romney/Ryan/Allen/Hurt live in modest homes....some of them even little better than shacks.

Parked in front of these are trucks with pro-gun decals and the yard is littered with plastic toys and dead cars.

Or, sometimes, it's a modest but buttoned-up residence that will fly an American flag and possibly display a Christian symbol of Christ's love on the family car, right next to an anti-gay statement of some kind. 

There is some satisfying variety in this still essentially bucolic environment. But, even though I am aware of this, I am still bemused by the  devotion of the massive numbers of the least successful among us to a concept that is utterly antithetical to their own best interests.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Music for a Milksop

Mitt sounds like a mechanical parrot with a supply of recordings taped for special occasions.

Last night was "Highlights of Obama's Greatest Hits"  and "Music to Pander by".

Has this man no shame? He is now on at least the tenth iteration of his theme, "I Can Be President Because I Have a Square Jaw".

It is painful to watch him because he seems to have no moral compass at all. Usually, a politician, without deep convictions can fake it. But poor Mitt has a face and constitution that cannot hide his fear that people will find out what a quivering mass of equivocation he is.

That story of his dressing up to impersonate a Highway Patrolman to accost drivers in order put them down and  to assert a phony dominance, is so revealing of this man's abiding fear that he is, at heart, a nonentity.

His role as a bishop in his church also allows him to wear a mask and attempt to effect a future-altering change in someone's life; someone who doesn't recognize that the bishop is nothing but a cardboard cutout of someone to be revered...even feared. A role he can't pull off in his own skin. 

And Ann, his wife, knows it; and he knows she knows it. That wooden embrace after the second debate was so illustrative of what their relationship probably is. I had a vision of him in a diaper and Ann spanking him. Mommy was not happy with him.

And yet, the pundits are saying he has a real shot at inheriting Dubya's role as another blot on America's copybook. 

"Skim milk masquerading as cream."

His is a life Gilbert and Sullivan could have set to music, and probably did.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Side Order of Reason

I accidentally ran into Voltaire this week. 

He said (among thousands of other things):  "Love is a canvas supplied by Nature and embroidered by imagination."

Pretty damned smart for someone born just at the dawn of the Age of Reason. 

Anyone ever disillusioned by love certainly cannot deny the wisdom of this, as well as a few other thoughty contributions he made to our compendium of understanding the nature of mankind.

Further, this clear-eyed cynicism can be applied to all kinds of human emotions and endeavors.

Take "faith," for instance - and I surely wish someone would.  

Faith requires that you suspend everything that life - unbound and unfettered - can teach us of our world. Why?  Because every instinct at our disposal - supposedly provided by an all-seeing god - would instruct us to believe that that which we cannot see, feel, smell, taste, hear or instinctively or intellectually comprehend, simply does not exist.

So, if it requires "faith" for you to believe that someone "up there" is managing your affairs, and the individual affairs of 7 billion people - including zygotes in training - and has mapped out a course for your life where everything happens for god's purpose and unreasoning reason, you might be deluded.

And if your "faith" requires you to love your fellow man, and you find yourself denigrating, fearing, generally loathing some varieties of your fellow man and wishing him dead and gone - you might need a frequent refill of god's love.

Take a tip from Voltaire and try a side order of reason. You might find it more durable.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sex A-peel

Watching the debate last night and viewing the commentary ensuing from it this morning, I had one of those "aha!" moments that suddenly clear the fog, open your eyes, see behind the curtain, clarify and reveal a truth that may have been around since the beginning of time, but only reaches the shores of your consciousness by dint of someone hammering it home.

That is this: Sex - meaning appeal and attraction and desire - is a player in every damned thing that human beings do. And maybe even more prominently in elections. (Look how just one letter separates it from a word synonymous with sex). Surely proof enough!

One of the funnies making the rounds this morning is a photo of Bill Clinton with an expression that could be described as "devilish" as he thinks he'd like to know more about Romney's "binder of women."

Our Bill has already established that he is an alpha male. And it's this that surely got him elected, hated, loved, scorned, resurrected, loved (still) and now, revered.

President Obama is not so randy as our Bill, but he is unquestionably a take-charge guy who doesn't ask permission. His charms are a little less blatant and more translatable to likeable.

Both these males have a great sense of humor and an ability to reach out and touch people. Very appealing. Very attracting.

Now, look at poor Mitt. He is a fakir and he has a prissy walk. 

To the non-discerning, he appears manly in that he has taken his father's millions and, through what his wife calls "stinginess" and through a lot of fancy tap dancing....(allowed because he used his father's sex appeal)....he has achieved a stature that would never have come to him had he begun life as most of us obscurity.

The phoniness of his walk and talk became so evident last night just by watching his expressions and the look of defeat in his eyes every time one of his rehearsed moments was stifled by the real alpha dog.

The story of Romney dressing up as a highway patrolman when he was a young man and stopping motorists to instill superiority is  irrefutable and sickly evidence of his need to look like a man, but his absolute impotence in achieving it without props.

Americans are not fond of impotence, and I am sure it is not in  Mitty's stars to have a Viagra moment.




Monday, October 15, 2012

Pretty Dirty Things

A couple of interesting things arrived on my Face Book page this week. One was a notification by a Lutheran Church that it has opened its doors and its mind to what the religious right considers to be flotsam,  jetsam and no-account trash.

These former church rejects, whom the holy rollers of yore, today and tomorrow consider worthy only of extinction, exclusion and punishment, are different from those bigots who judge them in that they don't always act, think, believe, look or behave the way they should. 

"Should" meaning the acceptable way the people who are filled with god's love and compassion do - and insist everyone in the world do under penalty of ostracism or much, much worse.

Any social or religious non-conformity fills those with crocodile  brains with terror and causes them to dance about, shoot off things like their mouths, as well as their guns, and try to pound the offenders into the dirt in every way possible - including literally.

These godless creatures who have so offended the pure in heart and soul are worthless and even if  they have a central nervous system, breathe oxygen, sleep, weep, bleed, feel, love, hate and hunger , they must not be allowed to exist.
When they are the wrong color, it's difficult to differentiate the "right thinking and behaving" people from the reviled "others" and it is therefore necessary for the "good" to keep close watch for any "bad" behavior, which is behavior that is not approved by church and god and, particularly, by parishioners.

And even more particularly, parishioners who are running for public office. 

But which god is on deck?

The other interesting item that arrived on my Face Book wall was an image of a small block with 3,500 teeny, tiny black dots. The legend on the graphic explains that each one of the dots represents one of the 3,500 known gods in recorded history. 

It goes on to explain that "your" god is represented, and colored red amongst the black. It even tells you it is smack dab in the middle. Even so, it takes a while before you can absolutely identify it.

The few gods worshiped today - two or three of which have caused centuries of pain and bloodshed - are simply the newest. 

Not the best, not the mightiest, not the only.....just the newest. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Treachery of Teabaggers

In the tradition of the game of venery introduced by James Lipton in his book, "An Exaltation of Larks", where some usual  interpretive collective nouns - such as  a gaggle of geese and pride of lions - are listed, as well as some more colorful ones, I have joined the game.

I offer here a selection of collective appellations to apply to some of the pols campaigning throughout the bible belt:

A treachery of teabaggers seems apt.  But so does a sounder of swine. Or, how about a glut of goons? A larder of loonies? A kneeling of know-nothings?  Taken all together....a plague of religious fundamentalist politicians.

Inspiration is infinite.

Seem over the top? Not as over the top as these nutsos. We have an array of candidates swinging their way into the hearts of the hideously religious inhabitants of the least well educationally endowed states in our Union. They are totally bereft of brains if they are taken  in by the likes of Paul Broun.

Rep. Paul Broun from Georgia, a medical doctor and a member of the House Science Committee! publicly and vocally has stated that he does not agree with the most basic tenets of scientific process and critical thought.

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell... And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

The other specimen of abject mindlessness is Republican legislator Charlie Fuqua, running again for legislature with financial support from the Arkansas Republican Party and U.S. Reps. Tim Griffin and Steve Womack, among others.

Here is an inspiring example of Arkansas at its finest. It is giving serious consideration to electing this prince of a fellow even after, or - since it is Arkansas - maybe because he has announced his support for executing, offing or otherwise legally murdering recalcitrant children.

Citing this most excellent solution to bad behavior as God's will, he explains it, apparently seriously,  in his book, "God's Law, the Only Political Solution". 

Bad kids have to die. Vote for him and the law of the land in ancient Israel comes alive.

Religion has flipped it's marbles and the inmates have taken over the asylum.



Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Small Sunday Service

I think it's generally conceded by people who think about things like this, that nature is careful of the species, but careless of the individual.

This of course flies in the face of the liberal point of view that everyone is  important, or, as our President likes to say, "Everyone is entitled to a fair shot."

It's a complicated issue and made even more complex by the dichotomy presented by our  religious/right and atheistic/left  factions.

The religious adopt what could seem to be the egalitarian point of view: Every human being, including zygotes, should be equal and enjoy life - at least until they die a natural, if painful, death, or require execution.

They don't care how they live...sick, poor or starving....just so they are not allowed to slip the surly bonds of earth before appropriate suffering.

Whereas we atheists are generally in favor of allowing the old and ill to check out early, and permit the elimination of any inconvenient or unhealthy zygotes that pop up in our wombs.

But we want to feed and offer succor to the world.

It's a puzzle, isn't it?


Friday, October 5, 2012

People From Porlock

When Samuel Taylor Coleridge was living near Porlock, a British  coastal town, he wrote the glorious poem, Kubla Khan:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree: / Where Alph, the sacred river, ran / Through caverns measureless to man......

This famously unfinished poem is purported to have been conceived in an opium-induced dream. 

The dream was interrupted by an unexpected visitor - possibly a politician looking for Coleridge's support.

Puff! The dream was gone and the poem is unfinished.

Since the literati agree this is a tragedy of some size, it demonstrates on what slender threads hang the important things in life. 

People from Porlock turn up every day in every way....and we can't guard against them and remain in society.

They take our attention, bleed us of our creativity and our time and generally upset the equilibrium of our lives.

But now they can be managed. If you live your life entirely on the Internet and Face Book, nothing can disturb your dreams unless you let it.  Or you don't have to dream. You can spend hours reading, researching and learning. You can interact with people all day and all night. Or, you can sleep all day or all night.

Some of us have found the Internet to be the "pied a terre" we have dreamed of. Free rent and it makes no demands of our time that we don't allow. Also, it is filled with an infinite variety of people and information. Friends come and stay, or they our whim or theirs. No fuss, no muss. 

And you can share a meal without having to cook or wash dishes. 

You can find someone to talk to a 3 a.m., or you can disappear for days on end and not inconvenience anyone....if you leave a note. 

I suspect the danger in all this enhancing of - or submitting to - such a purely cerebral life is that we may lose our ability to move.

That being the case, our needs would be spare....and so would the regulations that rule our lives. Maybe we could even avoid all the political haggling since people wouldn't need to care about much of anything that wasn't right in front of them. Everything in life could be virtual.

I suppose that it is worth considering that Coleridge had a better way to deal with life as an opium eater. He just immobilized his brain and tuned out of the world instead of on or in to it.

But then he had to get up and answer the door.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Wanted: A Class Act

Following this election, I suspect we are going to see a gentrification of the Republican party.  Particularly if the wingnuts in the House and Senate turn out to be losers.

Way back, when I was a girl from New York, the boys I dated mostly went to Ivy League schools and belonged to the Young Republicans Club where we went to cocktail parties, not political rallies.

To me, it was a social thing, not political. Nice boys from nice families with enough cash to do dinner and a movie - or take me dancing at the yacht club. 

Today, Republicans seem to be mobs carrying signs that generally contain misspelled epithets, or pictures of bloody fetuses or insults to Muslims.

Or middle-aged, fat-bellied white men wearing cowboy hats, toting guns and threatening the overturn of the government.

Or sharp-tongued old women with sneering expressions and teabags dangling from their hats.

Or young women wearing big crosses on their breasts - all claiming to be filled with God's love but spewing enough hate to fill the bathtub Grover Nosetwist wants to drown our government in.

The funniest thing about these lower and middle class Neanderthal types is they are agitating for the election of the upper class snob of the century.

All the whores and whore hounds on Fox News - and I don't ascribe these references to their sexual mores (necessarily) - are following along the well worn path of denigrating and insulting the "democrat" party and jeering at what they call its failures.

But in the background, steadily but quietly coming forward, there are less fevered views emanating from some of the deeper thinkers of the party.

Lincoln, unaware of how much he sold himself short, said at Gettysburg:  "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here but it can never forget what they did here."

It's a reference that I am misapplying here because I think the same can be said for the vulgar conversation this country is having with itself.

I hope when Obama wins, when education once again gains stature, when the dust settles and what was once the "Party of Lincoln" can retrieve its reputation and its sanity with a re-gentrification of its principles. 


Friday, September 21, 2012

Southern Fried Stupid

A friend of mine, not known for dealing in smut, just posted a link on Face Book. He was recording his amusement after having seen a pair of outsize testicles hanging from the bumper of a truck plying the highways of Arkansas.
He, as I, was ignorant of the popularity of these phenomena, but we were both thoroughly disabused of our innocence - he in the flesh - which, hopefully, was not a literal description  - and I after viewing this site:
Judging from the comments to his revelation, these cuties are very popular in certain parts of the country. Namely, those states that are colored red and pink on the maps that daily mark the political poll results.
Sure, those who dwell in those states will say I am making an unfair generalization but, unfortunately, statistics are clear.
There is a class of people who seem to favor all the same things. NASCAR, fundamental religion, fervent and frequent  displays of the flag, the Tea Party, the Republican Party, scouring voter registrations of Dems, overturning laws favorable to gays and abortion and "truck nutz." And they all live in what is called the bible belt and its extensions.
And the odd thing is that they, the so-called "conservatives" of the country, appear to be residents of the states with the lowest educational scores and the highest numbers of welfare recipients.
A few (very few)  of my friends are from the South and have an accent to  prove  it...but they are among the few who don't fit the mold. It pains me to criticize their origins (but not much). 
My view is to live and let live, but it is maddening that these kinds of people seem always to have so much of the entire country by its testicles.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Wordy Gurdy Plays On

I have always been fond of words. They were my best friends when I was a latchkey kid with a library next door.

My hearing is acute when one of my "friends" gains currency - particularly in the world of politics, which also interests me.

What brought this to mind was realizing that the phrase "writ large" has been springing to the lips of many commentators with unusual frequency. It's a colorful term only in that it wears the hoary coat of time long gone. Isn't this the vocabulary of the 18th century, at the latest?  What brings it back into modish use? Apparently, someone  resurrected it or simply adopted it from lawyerly language and it caught on.

I first noticed this coattail effect in the 80's. I was working for a weekly newspaper and became aware that no one I quoted or interviewed had conversations anymore. They were all having "dialogues." Nothing wrong with that except it became so universal as to be risible.

Now "risible" is a good word that, in the misty dim past, I  found used frequently in Taylor Caldwell's early works, and rarely anywhere else. But it, too, is making a comeback and I am reluctant to credit her since her books are dusty with time.

Who then?

"Redound" is a perfectly fine word but not one that rushes to everyone's mouth. It's one I have always liked and was pleased to hear Rachel Maddow use it. It is now circulating with a degree of enthusiasm.

Was it Rachel?

Probably the word that seemed to gain its highest degree of popularity among the goppers around the time of George the Better's single term was "demagogue."  When I first noticed it I have to admit I had to look up the definition. Naively, I thought that is what  people do when they don't know the meaning of something. However, I was mistaken.

In an interview just after her husband's defeat, Barbara Bush kept referring to the "bad effects" of all the "demagoguery" being the cause of his loss. She spoke with disarmingly candid certainty.

Amazingly, the interviewer (a newsman whose identity is lost to me) asked Barbara what "demagoguery" meant. I credit her with honesty but I am still blown away by her answer. "Well, I don't know," she admitted.

There is a lesson here but I don't have a word for it.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Sunday Missile

Can the American electorate recognize ersatz anything? Or have entities like Monsanto and Fox News and Citizens United   succeeded in supplanting not only Mother Nature, but every other thing we consume,  including information? 

You have to be comatose not to recognize the insincerity of these slugs who want to manage your soul, your reproductive organs, your diet, your vote and all your household goods, and then agitate for the defeat of a man whose main concern is our access to good health.

I just turned on MSNBC's "Up" and am watching a clip of Paul Ryan, the goppers' VP candidate who sounds like a sophomore running for class president. Please deliver us from these opportunists who likely got an  "A"  in high school public speaking and acquired their morals from an unholy and archaic priesthood.

It may be overly-optimistic to think that we have had the good fortune to see Romney and Ryan slip and slide and that voters will recognize their brand could be bad for the country.

There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip, but I am going to pin my hopes on a measure of perspicacity summoning from and to the general public.