Thursday, November 15, 2007


From the Archives

(January 2006) Rachel Neumann, in an end-of-the-year AlterNet story, laments the fact that conservatives won the 2005 war on frames—"how we talk about the big news and big ideas in the culturesphere"—by using effective catch phrases such as War on Terrorism and Intelligent Design and the ever-popular War on Christmas, and suggests a few phrases that progressives can adopt tbefore the next elections: Debacle in the Desert, the Great Mistake, the Iraqi Quagmire, and Plamegate.

(They don’t exactly turn my head but I do hope that Christianism catches on.)

Meanwhile I've been thinking about how pathetic it is that US citizens require a clever phrase to recognize what’s going on (a song that Marvin Gaye really needs to update for 2006).

I mean, think about it. Gaye could begin start the chorus with illegal, illegal and see if anyone looks up from the football finals to notice that the CIA played a role in an Abu Ghraib killing and created secret Eastern European prisons.

What’s going on when doctors and psychologists participate in Guantánamo Bay tortures and the Pentagon pays the Iraqi press to publish pro-USA stories?

(And it infuriates me no end to know that the New York Times waited till after the elections to inform its readers that the boy emperor authorized the NSA to spy on ordinary American citizens—Quakers, people!—without warrants.)

We sound like a third-world country with a greedy despot who makes people disappear, and not like the cradle of democracy, and, if I were teaching this semester, I would make Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians and Forché's Against Forgetting and Ariel Dorfman’s poetry required reading.

I am not teaching right now though (but I am listening intently).

So here’s what I’m thinking: If we must rely on clever little soundbites to get people to stand up and take notice, then let’s pepper our conversations in 2006 with this Jesse Jackson-inspired phrase that I just created: Lost Your Home? Just Live in the Dome.

Or let’s just play the word-association game: Faith-Based Giving. Holy Mission. Christian Taliban. Body Armor. Escalating Gas Prices. Mass Destruction. Cindy Sheehan. Broken Levees. Brownie. Abu Ghraib. Illegal Wire-tapping. Sanctioned Torture. Corruption. Recessed Appointments. Abramoff. Cronyism. Boy Dictator. Brownie. Brownie. Brownie.

Makes you think of Neumann's Destruction of Democracy, huh?

I read today that at least four groups comprised of military families are actively opposing our self-proclaimed emperor’s Great Mistake.

Amadee Braxton, a member Veterans Against The War, says
Veterans of the Iraq war and those still serving are the ones most capable of explaining the differences between the war the Bush administration portrays and the reality of the war on the ground. Most ... veterans realize, when they're over there, that they're viewed as an occupying force; not as liberators but as target practice. Americans were lied to, and Iraqi veterans are uniquely qualified to describe the disastrous consequences of that lie.

Her group emphasizes the connections between spending billions on the Debacle in the Desert and domestic cuts at home.

A good message indeed but the working-class voters hurt most by domestic cuts still support Shrub, despite his torture and disregard of poor people and the recent New Orleans apartheid, because he has somehow convinced them that he is a moral man.

(Why isn't helping the poor and seeking peace and justice considered moral?)

I just don't understand but suspect that, if we find a way to get beyond soundbites and speak heart-to-heart with people, most people will recognize the difference.

But how to do that when the headlines are focused on Brad and Angelina adopting a baby or Ted Kennedy having a secret love child or Eminem and Kim tying the knot (again)?

(Well, he did clearly still had strong feelings for her.)

And now I know that those two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders who were making out in that bathroom got fired for embarrassing the team after one planted a kiss on another (which, obviously, ranks right up there with murdering your pregnant wife or drag-racing down Charlotte highways in your Masurati ... or Porsche or Spyder or whatever luxury vehicle it was that those players were driving when one of them ate the gravel biscuit.

So yeah. Here it is 2 AM already and I am on yet another political rampage and still wide awake (goddamnit to Hell and Stillwater Texas).

I cannot sleep this week and have resorted to a glass of wine in an attempt to exhaust myself into slumber.

Why? Well I’ll sound like a ho hum broken record if I list the obvious reasons here, but here goes:

First, I read that a musician who plays here a lot was murdered with his wife and two children in a home robbery invasion and I cannot block the visuals.

(Please please tell me that they killed the parents first. And please please tell me that they killled the husband first so he didn’t have to die knowing that he failed to protect his family because I know men well enough to know that, otherwise, his father’s voice was chastising him for failing to protect his family as he died.)

And please please tell me that the stupid-ass teenagers who killed four people for a few lousy bucks at least used silencers so that the last one to die didn’t have to listen to the first three executions.

And please please please help me quit envisioning their teeth chattering in terror as the kids screaming Daddy.....

So yeah. I’m a visual AND aural person and know I’ll have nightmares if I go to sleep and so am resisting it.

Other reasons? Well, I have definitely entered the hot-flash zone and feel as if I'm roasting alive right now even though I dropped the heater down to 62 degrees.

But I am whining again and it’s after 3 AM already and I really ought to go to bed now since I have to get at 7 so I will at least go lie in the bed now and try to tell myself that I can sleep.


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