It has been a truly remarkable couple of days when it comes to clouds.
After like fucking months of not doing anything about it for no apparent reason, I got a little kit and fixed my sunglasses.
I got a shirt from American Giant. It’s amazing.
I did not end up buying this hat. Perhaps this was a mistake.
So I got up really early (for me) this morning, and decided to head straight to the Albino Press. Here’s what I saw as I left the house.
And here’s the lovely reservoir.
Between these two sights, there was this which is pretty hilarious. I mean, I sort of sympathize with the tragedy of a lost pet, but maybe you shouldn’t have brought your fucking chicken to the park, genius.
I am not generally one to endorse collections and “greatest hits” record, but “Countdown” is really pretty wonderful. If you, like me, love the three albums of Pulp’s haute-pop phase the best, this stuff is great but you only very rarely want to do something like listening to one of those records in its entirety. My internal pedagogue says that’s lazy, but his taste in music isn’t as good as mine, so whatever.
Here is a picture about isolation and man’s inhumanity to man.
Here’s a picture about the ephemeral nature of progress and man’s inhumanity to man.
So in a sort of strange mood, I accidentally walked about 6 miles on Sunday. For most of it, things were just the right amount of dismal.
I fortified myself at La Bonita where I got this receipt which places way too much faith in the deductive powers of restaurant customers.
So people are casting madly about for some hidden reason behind Patraeus’ resignation over an affair. I’m fairly certain that things are a lot simpler than all these speculations are making them out to be. Look, lady wasn’t getting the feedback from law enforcement that she wanted, so she went directly to a guy who’d been sending her shirtless pictures of himself. That guy kept badgering people involved in the actual investigation, so they told him to shut up and go away. Rather than realize it was because he’s annoying, this guy suspects a massive coverup. Because he’s a total wingnut, he assumes that the coverup is to protect Obama. He goes (who knows how) directly to the Speaker of the Fucking House! Because the Speaker of the Fucking House is also a batshit crazy maniac, he decides to steamroll forward without telling any salient committees, because he too is clearly convinced that he’s going to nail Obama this time.
Then they find a long-term affair undertaken by their all-time hero, four-star shill David Patraeus
The resignation was taking one for the team. He quit so that would occupy the news cycle, rather than the more important story that the Republican Party, right up to its key leadership, are a bunch of lunatic conspiracy-theorists with no respect whatsoever for the rule of law.
So there was an earlier version of this, but the fact of the matter is, it didn’t reflect my feelings for very long. I was pretty pleased the night of, and then I felt kind of grim and now. . . well, it’s hard to say. Things have been pretty strange, and it’s clear that nobody is taking either their victories or defeats in a way that’s going to change anybody’s overarching narrative. I know it probably seems to a lot of people as if that is a strange thing to be concerned with under the circumstances, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually the key issue.
One of the things this last week has been absolutely packed with is either hand-wringing or schadenfreude over the degree to which Romney was oversold to the news-consuming public, and to himself. All that disingenuous garbage he puked out as a concession had to be made up on the spot, as he hadn’t considered the risk of losing sufficient to think about it in advance. Of course, you’d expect a guy who says he likes to fire people to be more prepared for awkward situations, but I guess the problem is that he was suddenly on an even footing with the mass of his interlocutors, and that’s something spoiled sociopaths hate.
At any rate, yeah, people are saying that the celebratory tone of media coverage of Romney allowed people to ignore the obvious fact that plenty of people saw through him. In particular, it seems as if people are beginning to say that Fox News, and Figures like Limbaugh are bad for Republican politics. Their overcommitment on message and refusal to see when their attitudes alienate more of the public than it inspires will prevent Republicans from making gains in government unless there is more openness within the party, and less shouting and viciously-policed ideological consistency.
This is. . . kind of true, although how it’s going to play out in the immediate future is up in the air. If you pay attention to responses to the result, for example Paul Ryan’s, you can see pretty clearly that there will continue to be an effort to disenfranchise non-white voters. This has been a fast-paced issue this year, with a lot of back and forth, but if Democrats focus elsewhere, it’s easy to see how Republicans could gain ground by continuing to work at it. Racism is basically all they have left in terms of broad appeal.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. Republicans only need a skeleton crew of elected officials to keep things moving to a point where rich people no longer have to contribute to the society from which they derive the most benefit of any class of people. All they have to do is control key aspects of the tone of discourse. Even the most ardent pessimist (me) knew that the 2010 “Tea Party” congressional brat-pack weren’t going to do much in terms of their promises, but even as self-aggrandizing figureheads they were effective at keeping us talking in the terms their backers wanted. People still think that cutting costs and eliminating “burdens” on “job creators” is the way towards prosperity rather than, you know, people in general having jobs so they can buy things and avoid relying on external assistance in order to not starve to death.
So maybe Fox, Rush and the like are bad for the Republican Party qua people who want to maintain the illusion of governance as they steel us back to feudalism, but really we’re headed in the direction those people want without their having to sully their hands with the government whose benefits to them they are too selfish to see, let alone acknowledge.
So in the NYT today, Mayor Mike endorses Barrack Obama in a way that shows him to be a self-aggrandizing jerk who, despite some relatively sensible ideas, doesn’t really have much good to contribute to the political tone of this country.
For starters, look at his complaint about Obama failing to find a non-ideological coalition aimed at resolving Mayor Mike’s (quite reasonable, to be honest) pet issues. Look at that list of issues. Those are not issues that will be resolved by forming a non-ideological coalition. Those are issues about which Republicans love to freak the fuck out. Despite the fact that there has been no gun-control legislation of any kind introduced during his term, the Republican punditry has gone crazy with accusations that he’s about to come for you guns at any second. For Mayor Mike to complain about this issue on a national level with any frame other than dismantling the insane discourse of the Republican Party, then he’s being deeply disingenuous.
Naturally (har), the same thing is true regarding the key issue of the endorsement: the threat of climate change. The Republican record on climate change is utterly non-ambiguous. Commentators have moved to the meta “it has been proved to be a hoax” mode of argumentation, divorcing themselves completely from any sort of engagement with facts or information. Again, the idea that someone should be looking for a bipartisan solution to a problem whose existence is denied by a whole swath of people involved in legislation shows an unwillingness to address where the problem really lies.
In short, in Mike wants progress on the things that he purports to be most concerned about, he should be working on changing the fact that the Republican Party in America 1) has been overrun by its most maniacal elements and 2) completely controls our public discourse. Without changing those facts, gun control and legislation that acknowledges the realities of climate change simply aren’t possible.
In times as desperate as these, I’m reluctant to dabble in their-all-the-same-ism, or otherwise make the perfect the enemy of the good, but the fact is the phantasmal centrism that gets cast about these days is deeply destructive, and has as its object the elimination from the popular political imagination of a real spectrum of ideologies.
I know, right? So what has been happening? Well, as mentioned elsewhere, it was my birthday recently and C and I travelled to San Francisco to celebrate it. While the most obvious addition to my life upon returning to the Northwest was an infected cat bite, there have also been some subtler changes.
Living in Portland and spending time with C, who is an inveterate cocktailer has dulled my palate for wine considerably. For a long time I was more or less okay with this (note that this is at least in part because said palate is still remarkably sophisticated), but after dinner at Absinthe, I’m reversing my course on this one. Cocktails are fine, but I am totally over drinking them with dinner. That shit is for savages.
We also spent a fair amount of time at SFMOMA one day, and The Palace of the Legion of Honor the next. Portland has a very nice art museum, of course, but it doesn’t have a lot of the high-modern stuff, the supremacy (Suprematy?) of which, unlike wine, is something C and I agree about vehemently. It’s nice that I always end up at SFMOMA with artists.
On the plane home I finally finished Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and returned to The Line of Beauty, which I had laid aside while ago, having not found myself particularly engaged. I think that something about the trip put me in the mood for the high Hollinghurst style, and I have been enjoying it immensely. Now that Amis has retired to xenophobic avuncularity, it may be the case that Hollinghurst is England’s best practicing author. Obviously that’s not the best novel of the second half of the century of the novel, but it’s not nothing either.
The upshot of all of this is that I think it’s time for me to return to snobbery. I am planning on going out less but bringing much more decadent things into the house. Time to get my damn culture back.