Sunday, October 31, 2010

Opting Out of the Noise Machine

Oh, we had a grand time Restoring Sanity yesterday in Washington, D.C.!

Even if we couldn't see the main stage or hear very well from our perch on the sun-drenched steps of the National Gallery of Art....

It was swell simply to be in the crowd of so many people who apparently agree with Jon Stewart's concern that our political discourse has gotten way out of hand. Actually, what Stewart said at the end of the Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear is that Americans might want to turn off the Noise Machines (that would be your cable TV political programs, and by extension, the blogs and talk radio programming too), as the invective and whatnot in these venues tends to poison your soul.

Or, as Stewart put it, the Conflictinator is not our friend.

Well, that is not exactly a revolutionary idea (although I do relish Stewart's new word, "Conflictinator:" it perfectly encapsulates the endless stream of hot air and manufactured conflict that swirls around us at a stronger and faster pace by the second.) Yet, frankly, I detected skosh of hypocropiety in Stewart's closing speech, if I may say so.

I mean, think of it: Stewart, Colbert and the rest of the merry band of Comedy Central Political Satirists create as much heat as any political pundit currently befouling our TV machines nationwide. Same time, though, Stewart and Colbert deserve props for at least attempting to bring a measure of LIGHT along with the heat. And that is valuable indeed during these tense, dark times.

All in all, it was a good day; I am glad that I was there.

Now, how long will this warm glow last?

Photos: Amy Alexander

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On Ginni-Gate: How Did The Call Happen?

My, my, my, so many questions around this Virginia Thomas Calls Anita Hill situation.

First, the most obvious -- How did Virginia Lamp Thomas decide to call Anita Hill and ask for an apology? Why was October 9, 2010 -- a Saturday morning, at approximately one hour past sunrise -- the right moment to place the call?

More disturbingly, What did Clarence (the Wronged Husband, in Ginni's mind) know, and when did he know it?

Ah, the mind reels.

Over at The Black Snob, Danielle Belton asks questions in a context that is even more pertinent -- the daily give and take between Clarence and Ginni, and what peculiar aspects of their.....relationship might have led up to the moment when Ginny grabbed that phone in her daintly "little" hand, and dialed Professor Anita Hill's line at Brandeis.

The Snob asked:

What brought this up? Do [Clarence and Ginni] just re-enact the hearings once a week to get...all riled up all over again? Does he give the high tech lynching speech before blessing dinner?

This line of questioning creates Domestic Scenarios that are too terrible to contemplate.

But contemplate them we must.

I surmise that it went a little something like this:

The night before The Call, Clarence and Ginni return from their usual Friday night Spot, the "VIP" dining room at Bennigan's in McLean, Virginia. As usual, a rip-roaring time was had by all -- they'd dined with Dick and Lynne
Cheney. They enjoy these Friday get-togethers at this Spot because that is Cattleman's Buffet Night.

So the Menfolk polished off a rack o' Southern Smoked Ribs, four pitchers of Miller (Lite), a half-dozen baked potatoes. (Dick passed on the butter and sour cream owing to that heart situation -- Danged arteries just won't stay unclogged!) The Wimminfolk had enjoyed their Endless Shrimp Special and broccoli, washed down with the best of AmRhein Wineries new Chardonneys -- none of that sissified California wines for Ginni and Lynne, oh no oh-oh! They drank only labels from Virginia wineries, the more Teutonic-sounding the better.

Lynne had cut herself off after that second bottle but Ginni -- ah Ginni was on a roll! Regaling them with stories from her recent whiste-stop tour on the Tea Party trail, and before anyone knew it, there were FOUR empty bottles of AmRhein on the table!

They parted company just after the Witching Hour: the Bennigan's manager usually let them stay as long as they wanted, but Dick was lookin' a bit peaked, and Ginni had wobbled a bit when she made her last trip to the Ladies' room. As Dick and Lynne ducked into the backseat of their stealth-sedan (driven by Twin Towering SS men in dark shades and ear-pieces. Yes, the shades stayed on, even at night) Ginni hugged Lynne and whispered sloshily, "Next time I visit the Tea Parties up in New England, you should come with me! They really do it up over there in Massa-SHOOT-ches.... though you'd never guess from how the Lamestream media fawns all over that prissy little Governor Patrick."

The two women cackled, and bid each other adieu.

In their Ford Expedition on the way home, Clarence asked what she and Lynne had been giggling about there at the Cheney's invisible car.

Ginni: "Oh, I was just trying to entice her to come with me next time I visit the Tea Partiers in New England. I swan, everytime I go up there, I feel like I have to watch my back....all those Eggheads and over-entitled bloggers running around, it can be exhausting....."

Clarence: "Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck, now there there Sugarfoot. No one in their right mind would try to roll on you....not anyone with any sense, I should say. I mean, I can think of ONE person in New England who probably would give you face full of buckshot, if she got the chance....."

Ginni, slumping against the passenger-side door: "Oh crap, not again with this....!"

Clarence: "Hey, you know what I'm saying, and you know its true! Bitch set me up! And you always act like it was 'OK," her lying like that on me. Gettin up in front of the Confirmation Committee and LYING ON ME."

Ginni: "Whoa, keep your eyes on the road, you nearly took out the Ridge's mailbox again!"

Clarence: "Well, all I'm saying is -- if you really, really, truly and one hundred thousand percent LOVED ME, you would not stand for it. You would not let her continue to exist in comfort and security, minding her own business as if she had not nearly torpedoed my DREAM JOB....the job I WORKED MY WHOLE LIFE FOR! The job I EARNED, the best job EVER IN THE WHOLE WORLD, WHICH NOBODY BETTA NOT EVER TRY TO TAKE FROM ME, EVER AGAIN!"

The Expedition veered dangerously toward the center line on the dark, back-road leading up to their sequestered estate, and Ginni grabbed the wheel just in the nick of time.

Together, they steered the lumbering vehicle into their own mile-long "driveway." Clarence's hands gripped the wheel tightly, but his breathing was returning to normal.

Ginni: "Clarence...I'm so sorry. Its okay, I got it. Baby, it is OK. Don't you worry, my Big Man. You are right. I get it I get it I get it....."

Clarence: "Not the first time I've heard that, Ginni......"

Ginni: "Well then hear this -- I GET IT, Clarence. And you best believe me when I say this right now: Mama's GOT THIS."

The next morning, Ginni tip-toed out of their bedroom at sunrise.

She had cotton mouth -- effing Chardonnay did it every time! -- but it was nothing a big tumbler of water and even bigger cup of bitter black coffee couldn't fix.

She padded downstairs, paSSED the portraits of John Birch and Strom Thurman hanging in the foyer.

She went to her office next to the kitchen, fired up the Carly Fiorina Type-and-Search-Machine, and got busy.........

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Populations, New Challenges = A Call for New Language

Did I mention that I admire The Nation?

Not just because I am affiliated with it, but also because Cooler Heads tend to prevail at the Nation, a venerable publication. Yes, Cooler Heads, even within the context of partisan political coverage. And when I say "venerable," I mean an American mass-market journal of political news and information that has published continually since 1864...all the while on the side of the angels.

I have never met Isabel Macdonald, the Nation Institute-funded writer who delivered the story that unmasks our most recent high profile Hypocrite -- oh, there have been so many in recent years, on the left and right of the political spectrum -- but she has captured an important thread that has been floating around in the zeitgeist lately, just beyond reach: The human failings that can exist in anyone, and which too many alleged "leaders" try to hide, even as they condemn in public anyone else who shows the same failings.

And so, given Isabel's trenchant story in the current issue of the weekly Nation, and considering other related developments during the past few weeks in the realm of American cultural politics, I have been inspired to come up with a new word:


Noun, describes one who vociferously invokes religion or national affiliation to criticize in public a movement, idea, or development while privately engaging in the behavior being criticized.

Pronunciation: Hy-poc-ro-pah-i-ety.

Origin: Me, October 7, 2010.

Related Forms:

Hyp·o·crit·i·cal, (adj.), from Greek, hypocrisis, "one who acts on the stage, pretense."

hyp·o·crit·i·cal·ly, (adv.)

su·per·hyp·o·crite, (n.)

un·hyp·o·crit·i·cal, (adj.)


Pious: from Latin, pietas, one who respected his responsibilities to other people, gods and entities (such as the state), and understood his place in society with respect to others. In the Roman, "the love a son should have for the father."

Hypocropiety, related definitions:

1) Reverence for God or nation, devout fulfillment of religious or nativastic obligations: a prayer, admonishment or pledge full of piety, masking deceit.

2) The quality or state of being pious: saintly or patriotic piety as facade.

3) Dutiful respect or regard for parents, homeland, etc., stated: filial, terrestrial, religious piety as facade.

4) A pious act, remark, belief, action, or the like, furthering the external perception of the devotion and sacrifices of an austere life.


"Former CNN news anchor Lou Dobbs hired undocumented immigrant workers at his multi-million dollar estates, even as he regularly appeared on a national television program denouncing as 'unpatriotic" undocumented illegal workers and those who employed them."

Synonym, n., Bishop Eddie Long.