Friday, October 27, 2006

The Ponce of Tides

n : someone who procures customers for whores (in England they
call a pimp a ponce) [syn: pimp, procurer, panderer,
pander, pandar, fancy man]

Yeah, that’s about right.

And once upon a time, during the age of Conservativism Ascendant, he strutted and fretted his pimply passions upon the world stage.

But now that all he has dreamed of has come to pass -- and all that he was warned would come to pass once his dream came true is crashing down around him -- now Bobo has now forcibly mutated himself from the wingnut’s own paunchy, Wonder Woman

-- staunchly deflecting all legitimate criticism of in a flurry of scurrying and yipping and gaggingly self-congratulatory creative typing -- into a kind of petulant accountant.

A bored grump, noting the collapse of his political House of Games and the slow unmasking of the horrifying parade of catastrophes that six years of Republican rule have wrought with the suddenly flatly-affected, extraterrestrial detachment of an alien discussing a hurricane ripping the guts out of the Gulf Coast from High Earth Orbit.

It is, of course, another coward’s retreat further into mysticism’s cave.

The excuse practically every Conservative with whom I have ever had a beer finally barricades himself behind when he runs out of excuses for voting Straight Traitor Party Ticket for the last 12 years.

That I shouldn’t worry.

That eventually “the pendulum” would swing back towards me.

As if what has happened has something to do with tectonic plates.

Or the Coriolis effect.

Or maybe the tides?

Something comfortingly vast and sweeping. Something quite beyond their control or blame that certainly has nothing to do with the cruel and deliberate choices of millions of our hateful, dimwitted fellow citizens, and the terrible consequences of those choices.

And, yes, these are the people who still have the fucking nerve to call themselves the "Party of Personal Responsibility".

Cold comfort to half a million dead Iraqis. That all this time David Brooks and all the Bobos in the land were banking that eventually some bastard child of Karma and Causality would clean up the debris their treachery left behind and set things right again without them having to man-up, pay-up or take any responsibility whatsoever for the mess they made.

So shut the fuck up willya!

Cold comfort 3,000 dead American soldiers, the former residents of the former city of New Orleans, and on and on and on.

The bill of particulars is long, but then again, these Pendulous Conservatives are actually proud of the fact that never in their lives have they given a shit or a second though about anyone but themselves and their immediate circle of blood relatives and fellow travelers. And since the creatures who still remain loyal to the Dear Leader have nothing resembling a conscience anyway, it’s not like one corpse or one billion is going to budge them one inch.

But at bottom, their world is world of lies, and as the man said “Truth crushed to Earth shall rise again.”

And when it does, and dick-slaps them in the face until blood gouts from their ears, their peevish acknowledgment that something might just be a leeetle bit awry sounds something like Bobo’s Thursday column – “The Era of What’s Next” – fragments of which have been transcribed here from my copy of the NYT:

“Sometimes liberalism is dominant and sometimes conservatism is dominant, but sometimes there is no dominant ideology.

Between 1932 and 1968, liberalism dominated American politics. The big accomplishments were liberal accomplishments — Social Security, Medicare, the civil rights movement. Even if Republicans sometimes held the White House, the general drift of things was still to the left.

Between 1980 and 2006, conservatism was dominant. The big accomplishments were conservative accomplishments — the defeat of communism, the reinvigoration of the economy through deregulation, tax reform and monetarism, the rebalancing of the culture to emphasize family, work and individual responsibility. Even if Democrats sometimes held the White House, the general drift of things was to the right.

But in some eras there is no dominant political tendency. The 1970’s were such a period. That decade was marked not by a change in political winds so much as by disillusionment and a scrambling of political categories.

No, it was an era marked by Watergate, Vietnam, the highest of crimes in the highest offices, and the most blatant Republican attempt to rape and strangle the Constitution in history.

Until now that is…

We’re about to enter another of those periods without a dominant ideology. It’s clear that this election will mark the end of conservative dominance. This election is a period, not a comma in political history.

If you look at the political landscape, identification with the Republican Party is falling but identification with the Democratic Party is not rising. Instead, there is a spike in the number of people who do not identify with either. People correctly perceive that neither party has a coherent agenda this year.

In the near term, the candidates who thrive will be those who offer a new way of politics. This might be the maverick independence of McCain, or the ostentatiously deliberative style of Obama, or it could be the manner of somebody whom none of us are even thinking about. Candidates who seem conventional will have a tough time. This includes Hillary Clinton.

FYI, “Maverick independence” is wingnut code for “Jeez, I hope my lipstick didn’t smudge Jerry Falwell’s Tighty Whities too badly”

The center of political gravity will shift. In the liberal era, the urban Northeast dominated the landscape. In the conservative era, it was in the South and in bedroom communities like those in Southern California. In the coming era, the center of gravity will move to the West and the Midwestern plains, and to the pragmatic, untethered office park suburbs sprouting up there.

Hey dumbass. Unplug Liberal, contentious, diverse, corrupt, magnificent Chicago from “the Midwest” and watch how fast that wonderland of sensible, melanin-poor office parks turn into ghost towns.

Bump gas prices up to a post-election $4.00/gal or let the fresh water supply be taxed just a bit more and watch your fantasy exurbs dry up and blow away.

The second big problem is entitlement spending and the stultification of government.

The third challenge is the emergence of China and India ...

The fourth is the growing importance of cognitive skills and cultural capital...

One party will become distracted by passing squalls, but the other will focus on those issues. Then, a new period of dominance will begin.

Not surprisingly, Bobo is wrong.

Not about China or India, but at the meta-level he is, as usual and of course, wrong. At that level, Bobo continues his seething contempt for “government” and “spending”, while diagnosing national problems that will only be solved by the intelligent and war-footing-aggressive use of both.

But here we also find the framework of a deeper, philosophical dishonesty. Because the days ahead are not going to be ones which dawn without rationale or direction. Instead they'll break with altogether too much at stake. Too much in peril. Too much that can bust the strongest man’s heart.

We are coming up on an era in which will be positively saturated with purpose, because ahead comes the Great Cleanup.

For a quarter of a century – roughly since the start of the Reagan Coma of Good Feelings through the end of the Bush Catastrophe – we have been a nation aggressively asleep.

Somnolent, with a bellyful of post-war prosperity earned partly by our own ferocious inventiveness, partly by plunder, and half by our unique position after WWII of having the only industrial society left in the Solar System that was not in ruins.

This allowed us to get good ‘n drunk and play at all kinds of decadent weirdness -- from crappy art to Randite cults to deeply psychotic perversions of Christianity.

Because whatever ridiculous God we chose to fool around with -- Ra El, Jor-El, Fall W’El or Falaf ‘El -- we had the whole of America's seemingly limitless wealth and power from sea to shining sea to backstop us.

We could fail and fail and fail and still have enough tucked away in the cultural bank to keep our kids from starving.

But no more.

Our army is crippled, our Treasury broke, our good name debased. Our majestic purple mountains have been decapitated for their coal, and to keep our plains industrially fruited we have polluted our shining seas.

Somewhere in my deepest and more proudly paranoid recesses I envision a Liberal Master Cylinder -- like Commander Kos but oh so much higher up the food chain -- studying the morally-flatlining pod people the Right has been breeding for the last 30 years and deciding to go Full Metal John Galt on their granite, Christalopithecan skulls.

“Let them have it all,” the Progressive John Galt of my imagination sayeth. “Just step out of their way. Let them win and then let them wallow in the Hell their winning will create.”

Because perhaps in the end there was no way to break the Moderates of their lethal delusions but to play Clarence the Angel and let them see what the world would be like if Conservatives were actually forced to step up, shut the fuck up and govern.

To stop bitching and whining and Rushing and Gingriching about how glorious things would be if we had no Federal government.

If we ran the country as a White Christian fiefdom.

If we unilaterally voided the social contract.

If we deregulated corporations wholesale.

If we elevated torture to national policy, spied on our own citizens without warrants, and fed habeas corpus into the wood chipper.

If we and openly used our military as the meat-axe of Empire to eviscerate anyone who made us nervous and conquer anyone who sat on any natural resources our Ruling Clique wanted to exploit.

In other words, if we let the Christopaths actually run the joint and live with the fallout.

Because the blight and fear and debt and death all around us in the Year of Our Lord 2006 are not what happens in spite of Conservativism, but the apotheosis of Conservativism.

And what this bitter lesson has taught us is simply this: We cannot allow thuggish children whose vision of our future is grounded in a truculent and superstitious pseudo-religion and a proudly imbecilic ignorance of science, history, economics, world affairs and basic English to run the country.

Ever again.

And that, Bobo, is “What’s Next.”


Anonymous said...

"This essay is brilliant; truly disturbing. Herr Driftglass may touch my monkey."

I repeat myself: the Elephascists are highly intelligent at four AND ONLY FOUR things:

(1) Creating propaganda.
(2) "Catapulting" that propaganda, as the Dear Leader himself put it.
(3) Stealing the elections when the propaganda just isn't doing the job.
(4) Looting the public treasury once the first three have put them or kept them in power.

At everything else they are morons. The cynical side of my nature--the one that believes that death is THE END, no ifs, ands, buts, afterlives, resurrections, or reincarnations, and so those sibling concepts, morality and honor, are the two stupidest ideas our species of apes-with-attitudes ever had--let's call that me by my old handle of the Monster from the Id--could tolerate their being evil if they just weren't so damn stupid; if their evil actually made our country stronger instead of weaker, perhaps terminally so.

#3 worries me most. I expect the Elephascists to try stealing it again. We must turn out in such numbers as to make theft too obvious.

cieran said...

Drifty, this is clearly one of your best! Great work! Wow!

The Windy City is fast becoming the center-of-gravitas of American punditry.

Anonymous said...

I disagree only with your timeline, and at that a minor quibble. Without question Reagan ushered us into the Double Jeopardy round (Quadruple?) but the game was rigged.

LBJ was no LIBERAL. He was Ox-yoked into the Great Society when JFK was taken. A conservative, racist Dixiecrat, more DeLay than de Molay. There was a buck to be made and a second term would have been very, very good to his peeps.

Stumble and fall, golden parachute intact.

Nixon was tasked with MOST of the implementation which meant reproblicans were first up at the trough. The didn't like the programs, but the money was sweet.
Best of both worlds, they could loot the funding with overhead AND blame Liberals for the programs.

Reagan's promise to get rid of the fat and waste was forgotten when things were `splained to him. He opted to put the pedal to the metal and spend our way to prosperity. Let the good times roll.

Anonymous said...

You're getting better and better at your Bobo demolition, driftglass.

One small quibble...I really like the pictures where Bobo is compared to a mealworm eating hamster.

Anonymous said...

Ostentatiously deliberative? Thanks one more time for your brilliance.

Angel Of Mercy said...

Back with a vengeance!! Thanks, DG, I've been missing your eviscerating adjectives and your sucker-punch nouns.

Next time, don't stay away so long...

Anonymous said...


...ahh the CHICAGO way..

...someone should tell BOBO to STOP
bringing KNIVES to a GUNFIGHT...

....HERE endeth the LESSON indeed...

nice work DRIFTY..

Anonymous said...

I see that beating the Nazis and Fascists and Shintoists was a liberal accomplishment, although Bobo is loath to admit it.

And WTF is "cultural capital"?

Anonymous said...

EB: Guns, shmuns. Drifty brings the SHARKS with FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS!

Anonymous said...


...or you know the HOUNDS with the BEES in their MOUTHS so when the BARK bees come OUT... know, with EVERY passing photo, GW looks more like MONTY BURNS as the DAYS go BY...


Anonymous said...

I find it interetsing that the peiod of conservative ascendance, 1980-2006, also coincides with the period of Shitty Music. Even if the era of cleanup faces us with unprecedented challenges, do you think at least we'll get better music out of the deal?

driftglass said...

KC & eddie blake,


Angel Of Mercy,
Whenever I can get the Muse and my absurd schedule lined up for a three-way, I'll be around...

Bobo's secret Santa gave him a Thesaurus last year.

Thanks. And yikes.

No arguement.

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