Wednesday, April 08, 2015

10 Years After: 2011 -- The Big Jobs Fuck

The 10th blogiversary fundraiser continues with 2011:  Trench Warfare.

In 2011, the absurd, ubiquitous, mind-numbing ritual of blaming "some in Washington" every time Republicans bring the government to near collapse made everyone on the Left want to scream.

It still does.

The Big Jobs Fuck

When language speaks louder than words.

As the economy shudders to a full stop again, world markets freak out again, and we wait expectantly for the President of the United States to politely invite the ambassadors from Jesusland to join hands with him in the spirit of comity and civic obligation to save the nation...

...politely receive their counteroffer to instead, say, cut his nads off with a band-saw...

...politely counter-counteroffer to instead let Eric Cantor throw seven million poor or sick Americans into the active volcano of his choice...

...politely watch as the GOP storms off in a brand new 2011 GM Huff, swearing to "terminate this democracy with extreme prejudice" to the cheers of their Teabagger Base...

...and then politely withdraw to a safe distance with his advisors to ponder the question "Why is "The Professional Left" (We're famous!) such shrill assholes?"...

...I shall relax and enjoy my memories of another (fictional) Presidential Address on the subject of another, all-out effort to save the day initiative, as it was penned by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in 1972.

Here is a snip:
The Big Space Fuck.

In 1989, America staged the Big Space Fuck, which was a serious effort to make sure that human life would continue to exist somewhere in the Universe, since it certainly couldn’t continue much longer on Earth. Everything had turned to shit and beer cans and old automobiles and Clorox bottles. An interesting thing happened in the Hawaiian Islands, where they had been throwing trash down extinct volcanoes for years: a couple of the volcanoes all of a sudden spit it all back up. And so on.

This was a period of great permissiveness in matters of language, so even the President was saying shit and fuck and so on, without anybody’s feeling threatened or taking offense. It was perfectly OK. He called the Space Fuck a Space Fuck and so did everybody else. It was a rocket ship with eight-hundred pounds of freeze dried jizzum in its nose. It was going to fired at the Andromeda Galazy, two-million light years away. The ship was named the Arthur C. Clarke, in honor of a famous space pioneer.

It was to be fired at midnight on the Fourth of July. At ten o’clock that night, Dwayne Hooblere and his wife Grace were watching the countdown on television in the living room of their modest home in Elk Harbor, Ohio, on the shore of what used to be Lake Erie. Lake Erie was almost solid sewage now. there were man-eating lampreys in there thirty-eight feet long. Dwayne was a guard in the Ohio Adult Correctional Institution, which was two miles away. His hobby was making birdhouses out of Clorox bottles. He went on making them and hanging them around his yard, even though there weren’t any birds any more.

Dwayne and Grace marveled at a film demonstration of how jizzum had been freeze-dried for the trip. A small beaker of the stuff, which had been contributed by the head of the Mathematics Department at the University of Chicago, was flash-frozen. Then it was placed under a bell jar and the air was exhausted from the jar. The air evanesced, leaving a fine white powder. The powder certainly didn’t look like much, and Dwayne Hoobler said so– but there were several hundred million sperm cells in there, in suspended animation. The original contribution, an average contribution, had been two cubic centimeters. There was enough powder, Dwayne estimated out loud, to clog the eye of a needle. And eight hundred pounds of the stuff would soon be on its way to Andromeda.

“Fuck you, Andromeda,” said Dwayne, and he wasn’t being coarse. He was echoing billboards and stickers all over town. Other signs said, “Andromeda, We Love You,” and “Earth has the Hots for Andromeda,” and so on.

There was a knock on the door, and an old friend of the family, the County Sheriff, simultaneously let himself in. “How are you, you old motherfucker?” said Dwayne.

“Can’t complain, shitface,” said the Sheriff, and they joshed back and forth like that for a while. Grace chuckled, enjoying their wit. She wouldn’t have chuckled so richly, however, if she had been a little more observant. She might have noticed that the sheriff’s jocularity was very much on the surface. Underneath, he had something troubling on his mind. She might have noticed, too, that he had legal papers in his hand.

“Sit down, you silly old fart,” said Dwayne, ” and watch Andromeda get the surprise of her life.”

“The way I understand it,” the sheriff replied, “I’d have to sit there for more than two-million years. My old lady might wonder what’s become of me.” He was a lot smarter than Dwayne. He had jizzum on the Arthur C. Clarke, and Dwayne didn’t. You had to have an I.Q. of over 115 to have your jizzum accepted. there were certain exceptions to this: if you were a good athlete or could play a musical instrument or paint pictures, but Dwayne didn’t qualify in any of those ways, either. He had hoped that birdhouse-makers might be entitled to special consideration, but this turned out not to be the case. The Director of the New York Philharmonic, on the other hand, was entitled to contribute a whole quart, if he wanted to. he was sixty-eight years old. Dwayne was forty-two.

There was an old astronaut on the television now. He was saying that he sure wished he could go where his jizzum was going. But he would sit at home instead, with his memories and a glass of Tang. Tang used to be the official drink of the astronauts. It was a freeze-dried orangeade.

“Maybe you haven’t got two million years,” said Dwayne, ” but you’ve got at least five minutes. Sit thee doon.”

... And he couldn’t look his wretched old friends in the eye, so he looked at the television instead. A scientist there was explaining why Andromeda had been selected as a target. There were at least eighty-seven chrono-synclastic infundibulae, time warps, between Earth and the Andromeda Galaxy. If the Arthur C. Clarke passed through any one of them, the ship and its load would be multiplied a trillion times, and would appear everywhere throughout space and time.

“If there’s any fecundity anywhere in the Universe, ” the scientist promised, “our seed will find it and bloom.” One of the most depressing things about the space program so far, of course, was that it had demonstrated that fecundity was one hell of a long way off, if anywhere.

Dumb people like Dwayne and Grace, and even fairly smart people like the sheriff, had been encouraged to believe that there was hospitality out there, and that Earth was just a piece of shit to use as a launching platform.

Now Earth really was a piece of shit, and it was beginning to dawn on even dumb people that it might be the only inhabitable planet human beings would ever find.

Meanwhile, Senator Flem Snopes of Mississippi, Chair-man of the Senate Space Committee, had appeared on the television screen. He was very happy about the Big Space Fuck, and he said it had been what the American space program had been aiming toward all along. He was proud, he said, that the United States had seen fit to locate the biggest jizzum-freezing plant in his “l’il ol’ home town,” which was Mayhew.

The word “jizzum” had an interesting history, by the way. It was as old as “fuck” and “shit” and so on, but it continued to be excluded from dictionaries, long after the others were let in. This was because so many people wanted it to remain a truly magic word—the only one left.

And when the United States announced that it was going to do a truly magical thing, was going to fire sperm at the Andromeda Galaxy, the populace corrected its government. Their collective unconscious announced that it was time for the last magic word to come into the open. They insisted that sperm was nothing to fire at another galaxy. Only jizzum would do. So the Government began using that word, and it did something that had never been done before, either: it standardized the way the word was spelled.

The man who was interviewing Senator Snopes asked him to stand up so everybody could get a good look at his cod-piece, which the Senator did. Codpieces were very much in fashion, and many men were wearing codpieces in the shape of rocket ships, in honor of the Big Space Fuck. These cus-tomarily had the letters “ U.S.A.” embroidered on the shaft. Senator Snopes’ shaft, however, bore the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy.

This led the conversation into the area of heraldry in general, and the interviewer reminded the Senator of his campaign to eliminate the bald eagle as the national bird. The Senator explained that he didn’t like to have his country represented by a creature that obviously hadn’t been able to cut the mustard in modern times.

Asked to name a creature that had been able to cut the mustard, the Senator did better than that: he named two—the lamprey and the bloodworm. And, unbeknownst to him or to anybody, lampreys were finding the Great Lakes too vile and noxious even for them. While all the human beings were in their houses, watching the Big Space Fuck, lam-preys were squirming out of the ooze and onto land. Some of them were nearly as long and thick as the Arthur C. Clarke.
I would, of course, very much like it if the President of the United States would break into the Strategic Motherfucking Pejorative Reserve to call these motherfucking jackals on the Right out.

Why do I think that is unlikely?

Because of "some in Washington" ...

We pause now for a brief history lesson from the Year of Our Lord 2004, which we shrill assholes of "The Professional Left" had spent screaming for candidate John Kerry to stand up and for fuck's sake fight the Hell back.

He didn't and he lost, and we thought just maybe, in the rubble of his failed Presidential bid, the Democratic Party leadership might have finally learned down to its bones the following Very Valuable Political: unless you are a saint or a famous non-violent civil rights leader, you absolutely cannot afford to stand there with a grin on your face and talk about bipartisanship and brotherhood while your enemies empty entire outhouses full of lies and slander on your head.

From Al Franken's "The Truth with Jokes" (excerpted here with eye-catching emphasis added by me):
The point is, every good candidate should have a positive agenda. But you also have to fight back.... And that's where Kerry came up short. In politics, you can never turn the other cheek. Especially when you're fighting the Christian right.

Nothing demonstrates the "viciousness gap" between the Bush and the Kerry campaigns better than their respective national conventions.

In Boston, the Democrats made the horrible mistake of responding to a very ironic attack from the Bush team, the claim that Democrats had nothing to offer but "partisan anger." Instead of hitting back with the obvious countercharge that, no, it's Republicans who were the party of partisan anger, the Democrats decided to internalize the message of their abuser and try to be nicer.

The Republicans, on the other hand, ran a convention so partisan and angry that its fundamental dishonesty passed nearly unremarked.

Even though Democrats almost to a man believed that President Bush was an unrivaled horror show who was driving the nation off a cliff, it was easy to watch the Democratic Convention and conclude that the Democrats thought everything was hunky-dory in America, and that their only motivation was the sunny belief that their nominee could do an even better job than the incumbent.

This was no accident. In fact, it was the result of uncharacteristic message discipline on the part of the Democrats. Below the stage at Boston's Fleet Center, an elite team of wordsmiths had the thankless job of "cleansing" the speeches before they reached the teleprompter. Here's how someone who worked in the speechwriting office described it to me, on the condition that I not reveal his or her name:
One of our primary responsibilities was to take out negative comments. We were very concerned about casting the party in a positive light. If there was a line like "Bush has overseen a cataclysmic downturn in the economy and is running the country into the ground," we would have to change it to something like "Kerry will strengthen our economy and put the country on the right track." We'd flip all of the attacks into positive messages. Specifically, we didn't mention George Bush by name. I'd be surprised if there were a single speech that went into the teleprompter that had the President's name in it. Some speakers said it, but they were going off-message. We weren't even allowed to say "White House." I remember somebody asking about that, and being told to write "some in Washington."
I asked him or her (okay, it's a "him") how he felt when he saw the unflaggingly venomous Republican Convention.
Boy, I hope we didn't fuck up. That was my reaction.
But fuck up they had. After the Democratic Convention, Kerry's standing in the polls went up by 4 percent, the smallest post-convention bounce in the history of the Newsweek poll. Compare that to Bush's bounce of 13 percent.
Over in the Better Universe, that would be filed under "Got it. Lesson learned".

But seven years later, over in this Universe...
Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Washington, DC

Now, I know that in this tough fiscal environment, it’s tempting for some in Washington to want to cut our investments in clean energy.
And again...
August 11, 2011

The White House Blog

President Obama: There’s Something Wrong with our Politics that We Need to Fix

"There are some in Congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win — and that has to stop.”
And again...
WEEKLY ADDRESS: Putting the American People First
Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Washington, DC

That’s what’s holding us back – the fact that some in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.
No, Mr. President. not "some in Washington" or "Some in Congress". The words you are looking for are "those fucking Republicans who are trying to fuck me by fucking you the fuck up".

Or, what Markos said:
Bottom line, if Obama's approach to governing was proving popular, then there'd be little fault. If triangulating against liberals bolstered his numbers with independents, then that'd be cool! Heck, if slapping my first-born in the face bumped his numbers up with independents, I'd tolerate it. But it's not. His current approach isn't working. Capitulating to the GOP on matters big (and small) only reinforce the notion that he's weak. No one cares that he's the "grownup" in the room. No one cares that he's "reasonable" or "compromising" or "serious."
Because of the gutless unwillingness of anyone but shrill assholes of "The Professional Left" to name the true name of the monsters who are killing this country, we see once again how very much language speaks louder than words.

And so it goes.

1 comment:

Neo Tuxedo said...

"Infernokrusher fiction explodes stagnant genre conventions, e.g., that it's not okay to have all your characters run over by a monster truck in what would seem to be the middle of the story."

I thought of that because of the ending of "The Big Space Fuck". I had to, because otherwise I'd have to think about whether its world is better or worse than ours, overall, and I'm honestly not sure.

Courtesy of Brother Charles' comments, I stumbled across a blogger who opined, on December 8, 2013, that 33 years earlier, it became clear to him that the hog went into the tunnel a month before. In the interim, it had become clear to him that we will not escape in the lifetime of anyone who was alive then.

"The good Earth -- we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy."