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You remember Mr. James Poulos? 2012 Men's Extreme Superpipe Hipster Hairdevil semi-finalist
and the lad who I have previously described thus?
Well it seems now that professional wingnut flatterer Frank Luntz is hazzing a public sad over finding himself metaphorically wattle-deep in the same self-generated effluent as the Flatterers in Dante's Inferno --Mr. Poulos [Huffington Post's "own Gen-X David Brooks" ], 33, is a Reagan Baby. He has never known a world where Imaginary Reagan was not The Greatest Fucking President Ever. Never known a world where Rush Limbaugh and his myriad imitators were not fixed and immutable points in America's political constellation. Where casually punching Hippies was not perfectly acceptable. Where Republicans did not think heaving political cinder-blocks into traffic was the height of statecraft. Where impeachment was a garment the Right began openly fitting every Democratic president for before his first inaugural speech was over. Mr. Poulos has never known a world where every Republican administration left giant, steaming piles of deficits in its wake, which the Right began screaming must be cleaned up now!now!now!...once that Republican administration was safely out of office. Where the daily -- sometimes hourly -- revision of history to fit today's Conservative party line was not so normal it ceased being noticed.
Thither we came, and thence down in the moat I saw a people smothered in a filth That out of human privies seemed to flow-- Mr. Poulos has been moved to expend several hundred words in The Daily Beast (where he has a job for some reason) bro-hugging Mr. Luntz and sympathizing with him about how vewy, vewy hard everything is now for people who used to make a living pushing the Right's buttons and watching them hop.
And whilst below there with mine eve I search, I saw one with his head so foul with ordure, It was not clear if he were clerk or layman.
He screamed to me:"Wherefore art thou so eager To look at me more than the other foul ones?" And I to him:"Because, if I remember,
I have already seen thee with dry hair, And thou'rt Alessio Interminei of Lucca; Therefore I eye thee more than all the others."
And he thereon, belabouring his pumpkin: "The flatteries have submerged me here below, Wherewith my tongue was never surfeited."
Mr. Poulos' sympathy takes the form of an airy, empty, "Both Sides" ramble about...something. I leave it as a problem for the class to figure out what the hell he is talking about (Spoiler: He is actually talking about nothing. It is 100% zero-nutrient word-foam suitable only for attic insulation or packing peanuts. What he...and David Frum...and Frank Luntz...and Michael Gerson...and all the rest are assiduously not talking about is what is most interesting.)
...So neither polling nor political theory can transfigure the human heart or orient our minds toward the brotherhood of man? So what! We can still talk about the possibilities for the bravery of love that no amount of dysfunction in Washington can deny. All we need to do is start creating and sharing sustained moments when we can realize that we’re always already able to surrender our fears.2013 was a hard year for me. In my personal and professional life, I lost almost all the key relationships that I wanted to define my identity. The most brilliant thing that David Frum ever said—another one of our fellow disenchanted—was that it’s hard to fight for political liberty when your life is spent in court battling a psycho ex. (I paraphrase.) Just so, my grip on politics as the site of hope fell away as my own life seemed to lose its promise.But eventually, I realized these things had happened for the same reason. We can’t force politics to save us in the same way we can’t find our identity in what we do or who we do it with. There’s no cheese down either of those tunnels. There’s no there there.
Here on Earth, our happiness, our sanity, and our humanity can only be found in how we choose to be together. Only then can we start to agree on what being human is all about.You know as well as I do: Right now, the country can’t seem to agree on that. The Republican Party can’t seem to agree on it. And the Democrats are kidding themselves that they’ve put to rest the left’s own anthropological disagreements. Some libertarians talk as if economics explains everything about how we are, but not even they really believe it. We’re all waiting to be guided into an authentic conversation about being human together.
Coincidentally, "be[ing] guided into an authentic conversation about being human together" was my New Years Resolution in 1979. As I recall everyone was about 3/4 baked, I was deeply engaged in trying to negotiate a young lady out of something Rayon and strapless and at that moment that line of bullshit sounded like just the right slim jim for the job.
Funny old world.