Thursday, June 04, 2015

FIFA, ho-hum

As the great Perelman would say, the FIFA indictment divided the nation into two camps, in the larger and drowsier of which I find myself.  Not since December 6, 1941, have more Americans given less of a toss about the conflict roiling the rest of the planet.  Will the 2022 World Cup really be held in Qatar?  Will it bollocks.   (OK, we've moved on to Myles na gCopaleen.)  I am more riveted by Josh Hamilton's urine tests.

Moving on...I'd like to thank the absurd Duggar family for contributing a verb to our language at precisely the moment it was needed.  "To duggar" will henceforth refer to being sexually abused by a holier-than-thou Rightzi type.  Use it in a sentence?  Glad to:  With more than a million dollars in hush money/blackmail apparently paid out, we're dying to know how many kids were duggared by Denny Hastert.  Urban Dictionary, it's all yours.   

We are also wondering how many more headline-grabbing indictments we can expect from the Justice Department.  Although the investigations have doubtless been going on for months, it looks like Loretta Lynch hit the ground running.  (Who says that?  Paratroopers?)  Is she running for president?  Isn't everyone?  I mean, George Pataki?  If he wins, can we re-name the country Patakistan?  The only announced candidate with a concrete platform appears to be Lincoln Chaffee, who has put his clout behind the metric system.  Yes, but how does he stand on cursive writing?

And now a serious note...the Buttermilk Sky organization has regretfully but indefinitely postponed its Free Speech Freedom Event 2015:  Make Fun of Anne Frank.  Events in Garland, Texas (and Paris, France) have reminded us that free speech is never free, that it had better occur for some reason better than pissing people off, especially people with short fuses and access to automatic weapons.  Like all rights, it demands to be used judiciously and thoughtfully, and not just to mock dead people who can't defend themselves and to enrage their admirers.  Much as we dislike her mawkish diary ("People are basically good," are you shitting me?) which we were forced to read in junior high school, we have decided to give the little Dutch girl a break.  It will give our many readers a chance to polish their incisive parodies.  If Salman  Rushdie thinks that makes us pussies, well, that's his free speech.  He might think about the police who protected him from the ayatollah (at the insistence of Margaret Thatcher, I seem to recall), not to mention the folks in the kosher grocery store in Paris, who probably never saw an issue of Charlie Hebdo but were murdered anyway.  Free speech comes with collateral damage, and no one has a right to expect that.



Blogger john_burke100 said...

Here, by way of thanks for your blog and your tone and your carefully chosen musical and other preferences, is a passage from Westward Ha! that I thought worth transcribing to my hard drive.

Weightless, imponderable, as idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean, the great airliner hung high in the thin air above the Sierra Nevadas, its wolfish snout strained toward the paling horizon. Two hundred miles away, in the broad plain washed by the Pacific, lay its goal, the Athens of the West, the mighty citadel which had given the world the double feature, the duplexburger, the motel, the hamfurter, and the shirt worn outside the pants--the Great Pueblo, the City of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels--Los Angeles. Thirty-five hundred feet below the plane, two turkey vultures clung to a snowy crag and picked idly at some bones.

"This sure was a delicious scenario writer," ruminated the elder, stifling a belch. "You'd have to go all the way to Beverly Hills for one like him."

"Listen," said his companion, "that bad I don't need anything." He turned, peering up at the receding roar of motors. "Well," he observed sourly, "there goes the morning flight to L.A. Same old cargo of hopheads, hustlers, and movie satraps."

"Ah, what the hell," said the first indulgently. "They're just people."

"So was Dillinger people," snapped the other. "So was Charlie Ponzi. I tell you, it's to chill the marrow. I wouldn't eat one of those creeps up there if I was starving. Jeez, I'm not fastidious, but you've got to draw the line somewhere."

And yet, shrewd though his estimate of the flagship's passengers was, the bird was not wholly right. For among that raffish, dissolute crew speeding toward the sea was one who by his very goodness retrieved them all. A simple, unpretentious man of a grave but kindly mien, his gaunt profile blended the best features of Robinson Jeffers, Lou Tellegen, Pericles, and Voltaire. A keen, humorous eye sparkled above a seamed cheek which had been tanned a rich oleomargarine at the Copacabana and the Stork Club. His loosely woven tweeds were worn with all the easy authority of a man accustomed to go into a pawnshop, lay down his watch, and take his four dollars home with him. As he sat there, relaxed and skyborne, it was the type of subject that would have inspired Monet or Whistler to reach for his palette--the humble dignity of the wayfarer, the pearly effulgence of the clouds, the sense of perfect equilibrium between man and nature.

Nonetheless, despite my seemingly placid exterior--for let us not dissemble longer, dear reader, it was indeed myself I have taken the liberty to describe--behind my outwardly cool mask, I say, I was prey to a hundred conflicting sensations. Hypertension, nausea, anticipation of the events in store for me, the dull ache of parting with my creditors...

A fine mist hovered over the City of the Walking Dead as we swung up over the Cahuenga Pass and pointed our radiator emblem toward San Francisco. Hirschfeld leaned out and stared pensively at the myriad twinkling lights of Los Angeles.

"You know," he said at length, "somebody once called this town Bridgeport with palms. But I'll tell you something about it just the same."

"What's that?" I asked, never taking my foot off the throttle.

"I'd rather be embalmed here than any place I know," he said slowly. He turned up the collar of his trench coat and lit a cigarette, and in the flare of the match I saw that his tiny pig eyes were bright with tears.

--S. J. Perelman, Westward Ha! (1947)

10:16 PM  
Blogger Buttermilk Sky said...

Thank you, John, that was a joy. Please don't do it again. The last thing I need is comments that are better than the blog itself.

11:51 AM  

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