Saturday, August 17, 2013

All-in Late Summer Wrapup

1. Shocking

Rodeo is supposed to be about abusing and torturing animals.  When did it become entertainment for ignorant yahoos?

2.  Sleazy

Maybe I'm being simplistic, but why did no one take the phone away from Anthony Weiner?  There are plenty of people who can pass him messages and order pizza for him.  Giving this man a phone is like giving a loaded gun to a four-year-old (which happens about once a week in this country, but that's another conversation).  Thanks to my garbage-can mind, I keep flashing back to the Beyond the Fringe sketch where Alan Bennett portrayed a starchy Brit trying to send a saucy telegram to his girlfriend, which required an excruciating conversation with the post office:  "Bless your little bottie-boos...bottie-boos...well, I've never been called upon to spell it before..."  Thanks to technology, it's so much easier to make an idiot of yourself now.

Politicians and their libidos have a long, absurd history.  I guess believing you should lead others is mashed up with believing you are infinitely shaggable, even if you look like Bob Filner (if Jerry Orbach had played the Joker...).  By coincidence, I just read a book about the Teapot Dome scandal.  Connection ?  Warren Harding used the US mails as recklessly as Weiner uses the Internet.  After he was nominated to run for president in 1920, the Republican National Committee spent thousands of dollars buying up his love letters and paying off his former lovers, and in some cases their husbands (one Ohio couple was sent on a world cruise to get them out of the country).  Private detectives were hired to watch over his current gal, Nan Britton, who moved to Washington with their daughter and visited him in the White House; she had to be kept away from the press and the Duchess (the formidable Florence Harding).  By the time the election was over, the RNC was over a million dollars in debt, serious money in 1920.  They began to solicit contributions and "loans" from rich businessmen, mostly oilmen who had their eyes on oil reserves in the West set aside for the Navy.  One of Harding's first acts was to transfer control of these
"domes" to the Department of the Interior, where the spectacularly corrupt Secretary Albert Fall leased them out for private exploitation.  Many a president has had a riveting love life, but as far as I can tell, only Harding's led to the swindling of the nation.

3.  Trayvon Martin/Emmett Till

What is left to say about this terrible story?  Two murders decades apart, two young boys who didn't understand the circumstances of their lives.  Emmett Till was born and raised in Chicago; no doubt he experienced racism, but he couldn't know that when he stepped off the train in Mississippi, he had no rights which a white man was obligated to recognize, as some Chief Justice (John Roberts?  Roger Taney?) phrased it.  Sixty years later, with a black family occupying the White House, Trayvon Martin apparently thought he had the right to walk on a public street at any time of day, dressed as he pleased.  Maybe some day.

4.  Workers of the world

Alex Rodriguez gets to play baseball while his union, the Players Association, appeals his lengthy suspension.  He gets to collect his Sultan of Brunei-scale salary so he can continue to make generous contributions to anti-union causes.  Meanwhile, thousands of fast-food workers walked off the job this summer to demand a raise in their poverty-level wages.  They don't aspire to buy a ticket to Yankee Stadium, they just want to be able to pay rent and buy groceries.  The lickspittles of capitalism have responded to this demand with the kind of affronted outrage usually found in novels by Dickens.  ("They want turtle soup...with a gold spoon!" exclaimed Josiah Bounderby on Fox News.)  They even have a elaborate theory to explain why people who work fourteen hours a day don't deserve a living wage:  the system is designed to make them get out, wash the grease from their hair and seek better-paid jobs, say, whoring for Rupert Murdoch.  And quit applying for food stamps, you lazy, fat moochers.

5.  Doghouse Riley

This legendary blogger died on July 31, and all of Blogenheim should have dimmed its lights.  His official name was Douglas Case, and he was a dedicated daily writer who left nearly all of us in the shade and wore himself out at age 59.  Go back and read his rolling Augustan sentences and remember a mind that was never too outraged to bring the wit.  Condolences to the woman he always identified as his Poor Wife.



Post a Comment

<< Home