Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Culture of Make-Believe; Time-Warps for the Damned

"America's one of the finest countries anyone ever stole."
- Bobcat Goldthwaite

Due to events beyond my immediate control, I would have normally refused to discuss the ongoing ratcheting-up of the "Carpet-Bombing Social Security" debate-slash-crisis until another time, but it's all part of the same twisted script - invent a problem and make it catastrophic, then blow it up into pieces in the name of security. On Monday, January 3rd, I got out bed and avoided talk radio and talking heads television shows and conspiracy central blogsites to get down to work on some new ventures and clear the head of all the white noise. Afterwards, I drove for hours in the parking lot that is the Los Angeles freeway system with a handful of clean CDs, locked the doors, turned off the wireless handset, and really got into the groove for the first time in months. It took about two days to detoxify from the filth, but The Angst never lifted - but whenever I recognized the pangs of regret, for having not spent at least thirty straight minutes on something intellectual, I would find my mind retreating back into the need to write the mean, cold-blooded diatribes that I was quite not ready for - until today. At many times, during the battle with traffic and torrential rain, I would think of Karl Rove and his pathetic gnome, known as the preznut by the major news outlets, playing Liar's Poker with our tax dollars and how it was becoming easier to deceive now that the malignant election was out of the way. In any other year, and with any other administration, I could be tempted to embellish my happiness with the Death Mask that has become our government. But not in 2005. Or 2006, 2007 or 2008 for that matter.

At least not until the sullen bewilderment of those final hours before Dubya goes down after the harsh provocations of a special prosecutor with some real teeth - because words are no longer important at this point in the American experiment; all the best speeches and vision things were said a very long time ago, and all the right ideas used to bounce around in public and we discussed them like civil beings trying to define a new common destiny, and we used to actually give a shit about something bigger than Jerry Springer or who was boinking who on Desperate Housewives - something beyond the nightmare of dark-skinned people burying their dead in the sands of South Asia and its unfortunate survivors receiving care packages from U.S. troops.

Even Herr Doktor Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader and defacto GOP front runner for 2008, has jumped into the act of making the photo-op seem drenched with Dr. Phil-like fake sincerity, which is nothing more than a self-serving videodrome for the stylish commerical that will preceed his intention to run for preznut from an oak podium in Tennessee. Frist is one of those creepy and disturbing prototypes - a quasi-metrosexual with perfect hair and sharp features and a personal biography so squeaky clean that it forces you to imagine all kinds of filth when the cameras are put down. Not because he can't be without vices or rumors or skeletons, but because Frist recites his personal biography with an almost pathological precision - as a world-renowned heart lung surgeon, a multi-engine instrument rated pilot, the author of several books, an avid runner, and the father of perfect children - rather than explain it in the flow of real human conversation. He is like Buckaroo Banzai without the Institute and a great interdimensional breakthrough.

Just before his helicopter lifted off from the Sri Lankan city of Galle, the senator and his aides took snapshots of each other near a pile of tsunami debris, once the refugees were cleared out of the way. "Get some devastation in the back," Frist told a photographer.

Another compassionate conservative putting your tax dollars to work, Sparky. We all know it was worth it now, don't we?

* * *

The one grim truth learned in the aftermath of this election cycle has been the absence of any political discourse: If it was a work of fiction, it would land in the basement of Random House with the rest of the professional skimmers one bad recommendation from a return to the mailroom; and hence, the idea is tossed aside like a Neo-Nazi comic book for being much too stupid and hateful to wade through.

Indeed, we are in serious trouble now. The bad novelists are creeping around Washington, devising grand tales through the maze of suspension-of-disbelief columns by right-wing Op-Ed writers with a palm that needs green, many of them in the form of actual journalists like Armstrong Williams, a petty thief on the take at the tune of $240,000.00 (US), looking to make enough loot to cover the house note in Georgetown. But the rest of us are enjoying this wonderful economic rebound, just like Armstrong the Payee, with 157,000 new jobs in December - until you read the fine print: At the end of December 2000, the number of U.S. jobs was 132,441,000; it now stands at 132,266,000 (via Atrios) - so Dubya is still in the hole about 175,000, which really isn't much, unless you're one of them. Meanwhile, every legislative effort has been exaggerated into a life and death struggle, just for the dramatic effect it has on a barely interested public. It's easy to have faith as long as it goes along with what you already know, the old Tom Wolfe saying goes, but this is getting down to the Culture of Make-Believe - whose entire objective is to keep us all up in arms and highly agitated so that we can be led onward to safety by fraternity pranks, by beating up every living truth with an endless series of exaggerated threats, with words like "Defense" and "Homeland" and "Security" all thrown in for good measure, all of it imaginary.

There are a lot of great minds in this country - editors, writers, congressmen and theorists, among others - who will become vindicated once this grand blackness leaves our temporary and collective being, by simply remaining on the buzzing third rail, also known as speaking truth to the gutter ball provocateurs of this counterfeit age.

There will also be a lot of people who will get sucked down by the vengeful whirlpool of Dubyaville forever - which is easily the better alternative for the rest of us - because many of these zombies will get exposed as either walking hazards, cut-throat freaks or heinous monsters. But there will still be others - most of them are fringe players involved in one aspect of the deception or another, but fortunate or crafty enough to avoid the blade - who will be haunted by a nervous tick for a few hard months, but in a short while will reappear unharmed once the shadows become shadows again. This group, in most every way, is the most dangerous batch of all, even more dangerous than the ones who will spend some time in Club Fed for fraud and conspiracy because these are the good fascists - the good germans among us - the ones who opened the gates to the ideological stormtroopers and let it happen.

The other night I pulled down my copy of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich from the bookshelf and lasted until The Advent of Adoph Hitler when the rage crept in; "When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already...What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.'"

But the world today moves even faster and it's even more giddy on hate, and Adolph Hitler is not something to review late at night when you have a terrible conference call in the morning - not even in the land of milk and honey that is Los Angeles, wading knee-deep through streets that are more like gushers where you better have a rope tied about your waist before strutting off to the local 7-Eleven for a fresh cup of lava-temperature coffee and a swarthy clerk with an attitude so frightening that even the cockroaches and shoplifters hide in the corners.

At one point, I had actually tried to be friendly with one of these people near the rampage that is Hollywood amongst the homeless and the street-bound deranged - thinking that many of these guys come from places like Turkey or Syria or Afghanistan or Bangladesh and who have no attachment to anything beyond surviving to the next day, having escaped from a culture that has stood for longer than a thousand years, and where a relative disappearing in the night is not so foreign a concept, even accepted as a way of life. The socio-political experience that can be discovered in an American convenience store these days puts a place called "America" or "The Third Reich" in complete perspective, and how the concepts of freedom and democracy are really an elitist game played by aristocrats who want to trick the rest of us into feeling like we actually have choice in anything. Democrats and Republicans would seem like a collection of queer punks next to the tyrants who ruled the ancient world, never mind the National Socialist movement born in Germany and remains with us today. Take any true-blooded Roman or Greek or Mayan or Aztec or Zulu or Moor and they'd beat down your average redneck with their bare hands in a hot and ruthless second - the master race is often the one that is the most barbaric and comfortable with terror, which Dubya has clearly enlisted with a bizzare constituency of radical clerics and angry misfits gone mad on fear, whether he really wants to admit it, even to himself.

According to most historians, Adolph Hitler jumped the shark about mid-summer in 1942. By the time Stalingrad had arrived on the scene, his Reich was stretched to the breaking point in every way, shape and form: the military, the financial system, German industry, the National Socialist infrastructure and even the people themselves. The party's best and brightest minds - among them the erstwhile Albert Speer, Hitler's personal architect and general think-tank onto himself, which would amount to the American Enterprise Institute in America today - had the strategy and tried to make the pieces all work together while Hitler stomped stark-raving insane through the halls of the Reich Ministry changing his mind on a daily basis, having consulted with astrologers and other devious minds hellbent on total annihilation. Even with direct access to The Fuhrer, Speer later revealed, the worm had already turned by the end of 1942 and the bitter epilogue was approaching in the form of Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill.

But it took another three years and about four million more dead before Hitler finally realized what men like Speer, among his closest allies and trusted advisors knew all along - that the Reich had been hoisted up on the crutches of its delusional leader while the inner circle worked anxiously twenty-four-seven on meaningless plans built on an eroding base of slave labor and frenetic schemes to unleash super weapons and a new master breed of soldier who could turn the tide in the name of a once glorious Fatherland, neither of which occurred, possessed with the concept of a thousand-year empire.

Not a bit of this terminal craziness really matters now, and as his reward, Albert Speer spent another twenty years of his life locked up in a prison cell at Spandau for nothing less than blind and stupid loyalty, for which he was charged and convicted as a war criminal. Hitler was too mad to consider the concept of international tribunals and crimes against humanity - unless he was conducting them - so right about the time that the Soviets entered the suburbs of Berlin, he escaped the final humiliation by stepping down into the infamous bunker with his faithful bride, Eva Braun, and sucked on a round from a ceremonial Walther machine pistol after killing her as bogus consolation to the end.

At least that's what history says happened. Nobody really knows for sure. There were no pictures or suicide notes and there were only fragments of bone in the charred foxhole where the bodies were found burned beyond recognition - and the one alleged witness to Hitler's final demise was another personal adviser named Martin Bormann, who was rumored to have died alongside his Fuhrer, but also had this curious habit of showing up in places like Argentina and Paraguay and Brazil and Chile many years later, leaving Nazi hunters like Simon Wiesenthal and Serge Klarsfeld with many sleepless nights in South America.

By the end of 1942 Bormann was virtually Hitler's deputy and his closest collaborator, having an uncanny ability to exploit his weaknesses and personal peculiarities in order to increase his own power. Always in attendance on the Fuhrer, taking care of tiresome administrative detail and skilfully steering Hitler into approval of his own plans, Bormann acquired an inside track for displacing dangerous rivals like Goering, Goebbels, Speer and even Himmler, whose access to the Fuhrer was controlled by him. Bormann exploited his position of trust to build a stell curtain against reality, in which Hitler could indulge his fantasies and in which more sensible, conciliatory proposals from other members of the Party were screened from him. Bormann reduced everything to simple, administrative formulae that freed Hitler from the burdens of actual work. He drew up his calendar and decided whom he should see and whom he should not. Hitler rewarded these and other services by the trust he placed in Bormann, whom he once called "my most loyal Party comrade".

Bormann was the Karl Rove of his era, and his perverted relationship with Hitler seems collectively similar to the paranoid-frantic symbiosis of the Dubya-Rove fraternity that surfaced in the aftermath of September 11. We are drifting into some entirely creepy parallels here, and if I worked in this theme before the latest Gulf War dimension I would have expected some right wing bimbocon-in-training about a moment later posting comments about how I should live in France if I didn't like the outcome, and then worked over by some of Rove's dedicated freak-jobs from the bowels of the IRS for speaking - and any day now I have come to expect another "Enemies List" from the desk of Chief of Staff Andy Card, yet another of the gutless greed addicts drinking from the rethug Kool-Aid fountain.

But like Frank Zappa once said, "Government is the Entertainment Division of the military industrial complex." Onward, Christian Soldiers ... One deception, under God, indispensable, with liberty and justice for none ... Lord Almighty. Hittem where it hurts. Lithium is no longer available on credit. Amen.


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