Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Random Thoughts, IV

Don't Free Willie
Read in my local paper last weekend about how nudity, particularly male nudity, is becoming common in stage productions (or has been common for a while). This apparently tends to cluster in plays with gay characters in them. As can be expected, there is a portion of the audience - the larger portion according to the article - that doesn't really like having to endure penises thrust in their face just because the playwright thinks they're "shaking people up" or because they wanna fill seats with gratuitous nudity. And, of course, one playwright came back and said these people were just homophobic.

Before I go on, I'd like to point out that the article also mentioned how even female nudity will prevent many groups - children and senior citizens - from seeing a play, as well.

What's worst than a charlatan who thinks that naked people on stage is a bold artistic statement unto itself? The asshole who accuses folks of being homophobic merely because they don't wanna see 27 guys with their dicks hanging out, live, on stage.

Here's Your Fogey Sign
Tried Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and grudgingly abandoned it after about 50 pages. This is a book I would have absolutely loved in my 20s, but in my 40s, it's just too centered on juvenile hipness. The hero (named Hiro, har har) is a pizza delivery guy because in the future the only things America does better than any other country are music, movies, computer programming, and pizza delivery. Getting a pizza to a customer on time is more important than wrecked cars, houses, and lives. Only someone in the blessed netherlands between childhood their first soul-crushing job would be able to suspend enough disbelief to enjoy that story.

I'm completely into old fogeyness here, for sure.

However, I loved Cryptonomicon, a later work by Stephenson. A much more fulfilling and - dare I say it? - adult read.

Saw The Hunting of the President which details the vast right wing conspiracy that tried to oust Clinton out of office. Clinton himself has a point that it wasn't a conspiracy because they pretty much did it out in the open.

It is a nice historical document about how rich guys who think they should run everything can affect and influence the government to the very top levels. It's pretty freakin' scary, but a good lesson in how fragile democracy really is.

The most outrageous story that I didn't know about was what happened to Susan McDougal in prison when she refused to lie about Clinton's involvement in Whitewater. The powerboys actually had the prison dress her in the garb that denoted she was a child molester (red or orange - the movie and web site contradict each other), which in prison society marks you as the lowest of the low and the target for the worst they can dish out. For instance, when they were being transported on the bus, she and the other red-suited inmates were placed in a cage in the center, and during the trip, male inmates would masturbate and throw their jism on them. (And that was just one of the many injustices visited upon her.) When a judge (who was not part of the get-Clinton network) got wind of this, he demanded they move her to another prison and to stop dressing her like a child molester. She went back and got ready for the transfer, but the guard came around and told her to unpack because she wasn't going anywhere, informing her that Starr's "Independent Counsel" called the shots around here, not some judge.

Now, I know a lot of evil stuff goes on in our world, but the fact that this shit happens in America just makes me sick. Cruel and unusual punishment anyone? And for bullshit good-ole-boy politics no less. I spit on the graves of everyone who was party to this travesty.

The New Propaganda

And speaking of travesties, did you see the national TV news the other night? Seems we as a nation are awash with METH! Even moms in Illinois are doing it! It helps them stay up for those late night diaper changes and it puts all those extra binkies to use. The report I watched at least telegraphed the fact that this warning came from "The White House" after it did the main report, which was pretty cool, I thought. I mean they can't come right out and say "Look, the Pres. and his boys want a new thing for ya'll to be scared about so ya just leave Turd Blossom alone."

Fade up on the scene:
"Meth! My God! It's everywhere!" screams the nut staggering through the dashing cars on the highway. Meanwhile, up in the nearest highrise, Rove looks on, almost hoping his lackey on the highway gets hit by a car so he'll have some more mental fodder for his next round of self-abuse in the Oval Office bathroom.

Oh, that may seem like the sick imaginings of a liberal mind, but I betcha it's closer to the truth than any of us would like it to be.


The best thing about the DVD of The Hunting of the President is in the "extras," there's a lengthy speech by Clinton that he did after the premiere of the film. It is wonderful, because he puts the events into a perspective that is largely missing elsewhere. He points out that he brought most of this on himself, because he formed the "Independent Counsel" not because he had to, or the law provided for it, but because the press (and guess which part of the press) was calling for it. He knew he hadn't done anything wrong and naively thought would be proven innocent, not knowing they would use the opening to do anything they could to discredit him. Then, of course, there's the blowjob, which cinched things.

Beyond that though, he then says that we should be optimistic about the future. He's quite the historian and walks us through all the times in history like we find ourselves in now where the bad guys appear to be winning, and he even says we shouldn't categorize them as bad guys at all on the premise that they have a viewpoint they consider is the best for the nation. We need to talk on the level of the issues and policy, and to not vilify those we disagree with (as I did directly above), because then we're owned by them. When these times have occurred in the past, as long as the issues of liberty, civil rights, and a social safety net have been kept in the forefront, the American public has eventually landed on the side of the same.

Of course, being Clinton, he says it much better. Check it out, by all means.


Anonymous said...

The story about McDougal was appalling. I never understood why she didn't offer to testify, get on the stand, and tell whatever the truth was.

You don't get disbarred and convicted for perjury, just because you couldn't resist a blowjob, and wanted to avoid the breath of the dragon afterward. The point was the perjury, to avoid liability in a civil court case for sexual harassment while governor. You can certainly argue that this was not a high crime and misdemeanor - at the time, and still, I don't think it was, and believe that he should have been acquitted. If anything, it was a low crime and misdemeanor, and one of many indications of how vast were the gifts he squandered. But it's an arguable point, and really ought not to be trivialized by pretending the sex (or non-sex) was the issue. If you apply a basic Kantian test, ought we all to be able to perjure our way out of liability, if it's colorable that the lie is to save our spouses from embarassment?

sharon d. said...

Your comment on Snow Crash inspired me to set down some long-percolating thoughts on another Stephenson book on my blog. And to take the opportunity to plug your blog over at mine.