I seen patterns in things. Maybe that’s just how my brain is wired, or maybe the course of my education (academic and post-) makes this kind of thing inevitable, but there it is. I was always taught to remain the generalist for as long as possible. To some this might seem like a lack of intellectual commitment, and it is, but there’s work required above the intellectual heavy-lifting, an effort in keeping any one train of thought (inferential, deductive, whatever) from dominating the processs until the time is right.
And when is that “right time”? That, friends, is an art form. I have yet a consistent mechanical or numeric or even emotional model that might predict that moment, but isn’t the beauty (and curse) of a moment that it’s a thing until itself, separate from the otherwise smooth continuity of time?
This overall mental pose has served me quite well over the years. Over the past year, however, I’m either intermittently debilitated or there’s a low-grade pain, muscle twitching and spurious neural events that keep me from fully entering the zone needed to make all of this work. There are also the far-too-infrequent times when I’m functional. When there’s this respite, I either exploit it or just enjoy it. When there’s pain, there are meds, but more effectively, there’s distraction.
Like now, sorta. (sorta less pain, sorta vicodin, sorta muscle relaxant kinda sorta)
So, a Moment. Sure sometimes I jump the gun on the moment and find myself standing within a conclusion waiting for the reasoning to bring up the rear. Embarrassing at the very least when you’re left with your backside exposed. But more of the time, I must admit, I still find myself keeping many possibilities open. As few conclusions as possible. Close no door that holds any amount of future.
To a third party, this may seem like dithering. It is and it isn’t. Being decisive just hasn’t arrived yet when I’m like that. It may seem like I’m afraid to leap and stake my intellectual claim. Yes, I am exactly doing that. Why? Because I’ve seen this pattern too many times before. Someone or something finds a strategy that works. He/she/it made some decisions or lucked into some contexts where they enjoyed significant success. Don’t fix what’s not broken, right? Trouble is, when you cruise along at a pace that others consider successful, you tend to gather mass about you as you accelerate. It makes you insulated. Majestic, maybe, but even a zeppelin takes its own sweet time enacting at turn. It takes you from being a competitor in your own space into being the most dominant feature of your own space.
Look at all the old businesses. The publishing industry: I worked for a company that made the Rocket eBook reading device. Why? Because the publishing industry was paranoid about pirating and wanted an end-point device (the reader) that was a closed piece of hardware. They actually believed that that was a guarantee. Look at the music business. We all see how they’re collapsing. The answers are so easy because most of us live on the side where most of the change happens and most of it is for the better. They try to stand still and hope that the future snaps back to their past and settles itself down.
Microsoft is yet another. Their only tack in anything: Put Windows on it and then see what can be done. PCs, mobile phones, the XBox, XBox 360. They’re all just PCs with Windows on them. Nothing new under the sun for anything there. Why haven’t they developed something new? Zune isn’t new. In fact, it’s a blatant betrayal of its music hardware partners followed by a closing of the ol’ kimono: their stuff doensn’t work with “PlaysForSure”, ironically.
People follow the same pattern. Mostly old, white, politically-straight men, because those are the only ones who generally have a history long enough for them to become ensnared ensconced in and inured insured by.
Well, I just thought of one exception: Leona Helmsley. An entire batallion of walking PR-violators all in one trussed up, lifted, sucked out, death-becomes-her body. A minor example for what I’m talking about, but everyone knows how she considered herself above any law they might throw at her: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”
There are no fewer than three major figure who assume they have the same frictionless inertia moving in whatever direction they please:
Tucker Carlson: He happily spoke on camera to literally hundreds of people (hey, it’s MSNBC), smiling and good-naturedly regaling the other panelists with a cheeky story of how he was hit on by a guy in a restroom, how he waited for 25 minutes for his friend to show up and then the two of them proceeded to bash the guy’s head into a wall. He was smiling, as if talking about a Junior High school sports victory. He had no qualms about admitting what he did because he considered it a noble act. These are the kinds that try so hard to look like they’re not trying very hard. That’s generally a productive way to focus your gaydar and suss out at least a partial story. I’ve chatted to another blogger who claims to have sucked off Carlson and didn’t get bashed. Now, this guy’s a cheeky bastard, so I emailed him to ask if he was just making fun or if it really happened. His response: “I don’t have any DNA to prove it but if you don’t know a mo’ when you see one, you might want to take that gaydar in for a tune up.” Like I said, cheeky bastard. Hearsay? Sure. But I for one do not think it’s a bad thing to be gay. Therefore, I am not insulting him to insinuate it. If challenged, I think I’d want a rather good explanation of why he had such an outsized reaction to being hit on by a man.
Then there’s Mitt Romney. The most photogenic bastard in the race. And yes, they’re all bastards. This is what happens when you put yourself into the “good” company of all those other straight white men who ran for President under the Republican ticket: pile on whatever Entitlement you can. Of course you have to start by ignoring that your own party fucks over poor people by painting them as lazy people who think they’re entitled to assistance. Then you have to assume that whatever qualities you possessed that made you in any way human, can be utterly and without consequence discarded in favor of an alabaster shell: totally white, reflecting everything away from you. You can directly contradict yourself about things like same-sex marriage, being sure to always call it “gay marriage” instead because that makes it seem alien and paints it as a “special right”. You can go further and turn your back on the most profound science humanity has come up with, but here you have to practice in a mirror first. I bet you’re very much at home in front of a mirror, Mitt. You have to make sure that when you speak what you know to be an untruth, that your face betrays no tic of nervousness, no eye movements that would give you away. All that in place, you can move on to more bombastic tactics: find a social phenomenon that’s both harmless and popular, and find a way to gay-bait the whole country. Mitt said, of High School Musical 2. When I first heard this, I couldn’t believe something like this could possibly be true. But it is. High School Musical 2 is a huge hit. Huge among youngsters and teens. Like Harry Potter, it’s clean, bright entertainment. It eschews sex and violence in favor of Musicals. Mitt Romney said of this TV movie:
We must take a stand against Hollywood’s attempt to sissify our nation’s youth through singing, dancing, and other blatant homosexual values.
Like Musical Theater hasn’t been gay as a maypole since the beginning! Does he really think that the War in Iraq is good for teen boys and girls but a movie about musicals is a national threat? What mindset must he inhabit for him to be so literal and blunt about a friggin’ kids movie? You know, on second thought, I’m still not sure this one is real. How can a presidential candidate say something like this? If a Democrat made a tongue-in-cheek joke along these lines, you bet your ass the conservative press would grab the out-of-context soundbite and report it as rude and petty.
Stalwart motherfucker. POW. Before he was a presidential candidate, he had classic libertarian (lower-case ‘L’) views about just about everything. He was as affable to liberals as a Republican could be, because above everything else you just had to respect a strong person offering his/her own strong opinions even if you didn’t agree with them. June 2004, McCain—not yet a candidate—breaks with the Bushies about the federal marriage protection stupidity: “The constitutional amendment we’re debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans. It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them.”
Now? When that judge ruled that the Iowa statute banning same-sex marriages was a violation of human rights, McCain offers: “a loss for the traditional family” and that he supports “the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.”
Well now there then! This is how John McCain “respects” marriage:
McCain was still married and living with his wife in 1979 while, according to The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, “aggressively courting a 25-year-old woman who was as beautiful as she was rich.” McCain divorced his wife, who had raised their three children while he was imprisoned in Vietnam, then launched his political career with his new wife’s family money.
It’s better in video. This is about a state prop in Arizona:
Why shouldn’t this asshat defend traditional marriage? He had two of them, because he realized that marriage could be exploited enjoyed both for procreation and political ascendancy! Way to go, John! And a 43 year old man taking up with a 25 yr old woman.
Jebus, I have to stop. It’s not easy to remain inside someone else’s POV, even when you agree with it. But these folks. No shame. None. They do what they do because they know that once Religion overlaps with Government, you don’t need to address real issues, you merely need to use sin as a tool to instill xenophobia. You don’t address complex problems, you issue strongly-worded bumpersticker messages.
All this will likely end only in a complete crash. And you can thank Jesus and his followers for that.