Saturday, October 22, 2005

A moderate proposal


Not to be confused with Capital or Wealth of Nations or even Mein Kampf, what I'm proposing didn't grow out of well-researched ideological fervor or, in Hitler's case, masculinity issues. Sometimes, bleakness (combined, in this case, with 22 minutes of animated anarchy) breeds inspiration, or at least provides a window into cold, hard reality (not that reality can be cold or hard. Well, maybe in a romance novel, or a Dr. Phil book).

What we have here is a mandate to complain, not about buying an outdated I-Pod, but about stuff that matters to more people than you. Complain loudly and complain often, though avoid shrillness whenever possible. We have plenty of that already.

Which brings me to "South Park," whose creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have evolved into the premier satirists operating amid the muck of today's popular culture. Granted, the competition is virtually non-existent ("Did you see "Saturday Night Live" sock it to Viagra? They don't care who they piss of!") Granted, that Jimmy Fallon is ruthless ...

Let's establish that good satirists, like journalists, shouldn't take sides, or prisoners. Trust no one, particularly when there's no one to trust.

"South Park's" season premiere, a well-timed spoof of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, ably skewered the Bush administration, environmentalists, the media, Hollywood, the culture of blame, the culture of hysteria and, just for the hell of it, transgendereds who've had plastic surgery. Conservatives have sought to co-opt the cartoon (they must've been getting popcorn during the "America, Fuck Ya" montage during "Team America: World Police") but that's nothing more than a desperate attempt to claim some hipness cred, kind of like their desperate attempt to appear multicultural when they scheduled all those Mariachi bands during the 2000 Republican convention.

The left hails Michael Moore as a satirist; the right, Rush Limbaugh. Effective propogandists, perhaps, but truth is something true believers struggle with. You know, while Oxycontin may be synthetic heroin, one who takes a pill instead of injecting a needle is not a junkie, but a victim of a overzealous prosecutor.

Could it be possible that he's a junkie and a victim of an overzealous prosecutor. Just as it's possible that Tom DeLay can be an oily crook ... and a victim of an overzealous prosecutor. Same goes for Bill Clinton.

Noncommital? Obviously, but where's the valor in committing to farce? Taking the easy route? Sure, but why follow the longer road, littered by all those pesky obstacles comprised of logic and context? Cynical? Damn right.

That's not to defend those who leave the house because a pox has been placed on it. I'm saying, stay in the house and bitch and bitch and bitch until someone removes the damn pox. Don't employ the pox removal company whose solution is limited to blaming the guy who put the pox on the house. No, throw pox on that guy.

But when someone finally arrives (granted, it may be awhile), reviews your pox-ridden house and declares, "I best be getting the pox off this here domicile," give that man, woman, or transgendered individual your loyalty, until, that is, they give you a reason to withdraw it.

So yes, it's possible to think there's merit in the war with Iraq while also believing that Georgie Bush is completely incapable of prosecuting it (or, speaking in complete sentences). It's also possible to think John Kerry wouldnt' be any better. We shouldn't have to choose between incompetence and indescisiveness, let alone make that choice with conviction.

But most people end up siding with, depending on their perspective, Goofus or Gallant (consult your local pediatrician for a copy of Highlights magazine if that reference is foreign). The truth is, Goofus was a thoughtless jackass and Gallant was an insufferable sycophant. I prefer Goofus When Appropriate, and Gallant When Need Be.

When you're an ideological free agent, everything's more clear. I've actually managed to detect liberal bias in The New York Times and a conservative bias on Fox News, all in the same day. Again, I'm reduced to cribbing from a cartoon. As Grampa Simpson once said: "The good Lord lets us grow old for a reason: to find fault in everything he's created." Of course, with my dogma, there's no having to wait for the retirement home.

Do what you can about solutions, but remember, you can't solve the problem until you acknowledge it. At least that's what they tell you in rehab, and isn't our country overdue for an intervention?

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