Like most of you, I imagine, my facebook account is amassing more "friends" by the day. Not long ago, someone from my high school friended me, and I took that now-familiar pause over the "accept as friend" button. This was a person who was the closest thing I had to an enemy when I was in high school. She hated me so much that she vandalized my pink airbrushed front license plate that said "Debbie 52" and had a basketball going through a hoop. Okay, maybe that license plate was asking for it, but still. In the spirit of bygones, I clicked accept.
So the two of us were diametric opposites. My typical approach was to just ignore her. I have zero recollection about what prompted the enmity between us, but now that I have accepted her request for friendship on facebook, I'm starting to see that our opposite tracks have continued. It started the day this friend posted a status update opposing the current health care reform and then ended with a quote from Hitler about propaganda. I marveled about this all day, and tales of it prompted a couple good comments from JM, comments along the lines of "yeah, because insuring the uninsured is how the Holocaust began."
Now, my normal course of action in a case like this is to do what I did with this person in high school: ignore them. Facebook has that convenient "hide" feature. Or there's also the unfriending option. But something makes me want to keep her updates in the mix, for now anyway. I like to compose comments to her updates in my head. Like a couple days ago, when she posted a status update directly to her "democratic friends" wondering why when she opposes Obama's policies she gets "profiled" as a white supremicist, I wanted to gently say "maybe it's not the opposition per se, but the Hitler quotes?" Or when she wondered--maybe in the same update--why we democrats can't see that we're just buying into propaganda, I wanted to say "That's hard to believe since I already tend to think that health care reform, of the kind that helps out the poor, especially women and children, is LONG overdue." But instead I just clicked along to photos of babies and vacations, posting my own updates about cereal and syllabi.
Maybe it's a mistake not to engage. But there is no changing this person's mind, no quelling her vitriol, and it's hard to imagine an engaged exchange that wouldn't end in the online version of a destroyed airbrushed license plate. And that's the part, like the widespread town hall zaniness, that makes me a little sad.
When Sarah Palin resigned yesterday, she helpfully framed her resignation from her long-ago position as point guard. Here's what she said:
Let me go back quickly to a comfortable analogy for
me, and that’s sports. Basketball. And I use it because you are naïve if you
don’t see a full court press from the national level picking away right now. A
good point guard, here’s what she does. She drives through a full court press,
protecting the ball, keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket and she knows exactly when
to pass the ball so that the team can win. And that is what I’m doing. Keeping our
eye on the ball.
This jumbled analogy tells it all. The first confusing point is the language of a full-court defense "picking away." Now maybe she's using "picking" in a non-technical way, but any basketball player knows that a pick is an offensive move. It's what a teammate would do to help create room for the point guard under pressure (say); it's what Todd does for Sarah on occasion.
But the best part is the mixed message (nay, mixed metaphor) about where a point guard ought to keep her eyes. She's right of course in saying that the point guard needs to keep her head up, but in a full court press, she would be wrong to keep her eye on the basket, especially if (as Palin says in the next phrase) she's looking to pass the ball. When one is on the extreme other end of the court, one ought not care where the basket is, unless time is running out (which, hey, that could be significant for Palin's situation). But then, awesomely, she switches from keeping her head up to keeping her eye on the ball, which is exactly what she shouldn't be doing unless she is suddenly playing baseball.
This former point guard's eyes are on one thing, and one thing only: the door. She is fleeing, afraid, and what follows is not going to be pretty.
Your story is the closest thing this era has to an ancient tragedy, with the important exception that tragic heroes usually had some redeeming quality, something that made what happened to them seem, you know, tragic. Hubris, though: yeah, you have more than your share of that. And arrogance, yowza.
Also, as a person of Illinois, I do not like how you keep invoking the "people of Illinois" who have elected you twice as the people who are getting cheated with this impeachment. We really don't give a flying fuck about you, although we take some comfort in having the rest of the country get a taste of what we have gone through with you as our governor.
I personally find Jon Stewart's "scumbag million hairs" section on the Daily Show to be hilarious every time he introduces it. The joke does not get old. Neither do I blame the legislators for viewing this as their long-awaited chance to finally get rid of you, after all the crap you put them through. You abused your power in so many more ways than plotting to sell that senate seat, and we all know it, because we could hear it between the lines on our local news stations. It takes a prit-tee egomaniacal leader to get to the point where no legislators will agree to even come to the bargaining table with him. That's some achievement.
I wonder what you will do with yourself, with all this time? How will you earn that money you and your wife need so badly? I think you probably will go the way of Jerry Springer or Geraldo, your newest and biggest fan, if you can convince some television network to let you host a show. Or maybe you will try to qualify for the boston marathon and claim that all the timekeepers cheated or that the clocks were defective. Or perhaps you will rip out your tongue or write a memoir, as the ancient and modern tragic figures (respectively) tend to do. Or maybe you will just recede into oblivion where you belong. What ever you do, go on, get out of here. And take your big fat hairbrush with you.
That sure was something on the D.C. mall today, huh? I don't know how anyone on or
near that stage held it together--I sure didn't. I'll leave the expert analysis to the more expertamongus, saying only that I very much admire the way Obama kind of cut
through the momentousness of the day by simply getting down to business. And: the music really couldn't have been better. Yo yo ma and those other guys tore up some strings, and the spirit and weight of the day was only matched by the lovely and massive bow on Aretha Franklin's hat.
1. Our new president gets inaugurated! 2. My page proofs are slated to arrive 3. Andrew Bird's new album, Noble Beast, will be released. (We saw him perform a song or two from this last spring. Awesome. Plus it's about animals.) 4. Speaking of animals, Animal Collective's new album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, will be released. Pitchfork gave it a 9.6, which is the highest score JM or I have ever seen them give. (As a point of reference, they gave Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut a 9.0, and it received their album of the year award.)
Just a few excerpts from the 78-page affidavit I decided to spend some time with this evening. I'm particularly intrigued by the escalating awareness of possible surveillance interspersed with his highly illegal utterances. As awful and of course corrupt as the senate-seat trading is, I find the attempted quashing of the Tribune writers to be the most stomach-turning. Oh, and by way of OA, here is a terrific little one-act play drawn from an earlier part of the affidavit, and starring Patti Blagojevich as Lady MacBeth, er, Patti Blagojevich.
76. [On the Chicago Tribune] ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that “our recommendation is fire all those fucking people, get ‘em the fuck out of there and get us some editorial support.”
84. On December 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with Spokesman. On December 4, 2008, the Chicago Tribune announced it was reducing the size of its workforce by 11 members. During the phone conversation, Spokesman informed ROD BLAGOJEVICH that the Tribune had its “cuts” but that Spokesman did not think the “person we mentioned” was cut. ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked “McCormick?” Spokesman responded “right.”
91. On November 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with Deputy Governor A. This was the same day as the United States Presidential election. With respect to the Senate seat, Deputy Governor A suggested putting together a list of things that ROD BLAGOJEVICH would accept in exchange for the Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH responded that the list “can’t be in writing.”
92. On November 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with JOHN HARRIS regarding the potential vacant Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that the “trick . . . is how do you conduct indirectly . . . a negotiation” for the Senate seat. Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH analogized his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to various teams, stating “how much are you offering, [President-elect]? What are you offering, [Senate Candidate 2]? . . . Can always go to. . . [Senate Candidate 3].” Later ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he will make a decision on the Senate seat “in good faith . . . but it is not coming for free. . . .It’s got to be good stuff for the people of Illinois and good for me.”
101. On November 10, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH, his wife, JOHN HARRIS, Governor General Counsel, and various Washington-D.C. based advisors, including Advisor B, discussed the open Senate seat during a conference call. (The Washington D.C.-based advisors to ROD BLAGOJEVICH are believed to have participated on this call from Washington D.C.). Various individuals participated at different times during the call. The call lasted for approximately two hours, and what follows are simply summaries of various portions of the two-hour call. [ . . . ] c. ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.” (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois).
111. Later on November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with JOHN HARRIS. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that his decision about the open Senate seat will be based on three criteria in the following order of importance: “our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation. This decision, like every other one, needs to be based upon on that. Legal. Personal. Political.” HARRIS said, “legal is the hardest one to satisfy.”
ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Fundraiser A that “you gotta be careful how you express that and assume everybody’s listening, the whole world is listening. You hear me?” ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Fundraiser A to tell Individual D if there is “tangible political support (campaign contributions) like you’ve said, start showing us now.” Fundraiser A stated he will call Individual D on the phone to communicate ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s message. ROD BLAGOJEVICH responded that “I would do it in person. I would not do it on the phone.”
Here's something. Yesterday when JM and I were walking to the gym, we saw on the sidewalk ahead of us the remnants of someone's Saturday night heave. Knowing I have a queasy countenance, JM told me not to look, but I did anyway. About when I saw what I think were pieces of lucky charms, I started gagging and finally looked away.
And then this morning I did it again, only this time, I let myself look at general reader comments at an online news site. My problem began, innocently enough, with IHE, where the readers are often judgmental and outrageously cruel. Noticing that my blood pressure went up when I scrolled through the comments, I decided to stop reading them. During the election, I let myself peek at some comments over at CBS news. (Fox news comments are just entertaining.) And this morning, to fill the election-watch void, I clicked on a post or story or some trash called "the note" over at ABC news.com that had rotated up on my news feed. It mentioned that Obama and McCain are going to meet.
And then, scrolling down to the sidewalk puke, I read the first comment. And the second. And all of them. The first one, posted by "theologicalones," (that first "o" makes all the difference) claimed that Obama was elected by "nitwits and druggies." Hm, I wonder, which one of those am I? The next one calls Obama an "empty icon," and others allude to the impending dictatorship and Obama's selfishness.
Incredulous, nearly gagging, I wonder why can't I not look?