The Rip Post                                                                                              


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 (Aug. 29, 2008)

          Every time I think I should write about Obama and McCain, I wind up thinking of this video from the great Richard Elfman film, “The Forbidden Zone,” especially the part with the fat kid in the mouse ears. Take a look.
          Every time I hear a speech, or a “soundbite” (ow!), or read a statement from one of the Blowhard-Americans currently trying to “shape our future” and “take us into the 21st Century” and “move us forward,” I feel an implosion of the spirit. Really. As if my insides are collapsing.
          And then I see the fat kid with the mouse ears.
          Bim-bam-boom. . .
          I mean, this was the United States of Deceased Cliches decades ago. The Jabbering Land of Political Jabbernows. Don’t these people ever tire of desiccated non-speak? Don’t they ever feel ashamed of opening their mouths and vomiting up marshmallows and dried lizards instead of thoughts and statements? Don’t they feel embarrassed to stand in front of millions of people and drone things like, “The Dream Lives On” and “No how. No way. No McCain?”
          On the other hand, that caliber of slogan would have been perfectly fine in either of the elementary school elections I participated in.
          But I ask you: "On November 4th, we must stand up and say: 'Eight is Enough."
          Are you Dick Van-kidding me?
          The U.S. is in shambles, outsourced and sold out to the brink of economic googly-moogly. Iraq is the foreign policy equivalent of a drug-resistant staph infection. Would-be terrorists are multiplying like Brangelina. Crazy twitchy death fetishists like Cheney and silly high-strung women like Condoleezza are gilding the corporatocracy, splashing in blood and oil. . .
          And Obama comes up with an insipid little cutesy-pie phrase based on an insipid little cutesy-pie TV show?
          Cue that “Forbidden Zone” video. The two pinhead boxers, specifically. Ee-ah-eeee, ee-ah-eee!
          I know, I’m supposed to weigh in with great gravitas about the prospect of an African-American president. I’m supposed to furrow my brow and buy into the big “this is history” show. Well, put my gravitas on the turkey. I don’t care if he’s African-American. And that’s the point, really, isn’t it? You’re not supposed to care about the race of a candidate. It’s supposed to be irrelevant.
          The day that happens will be real progress.
          But instead we have to suffer through Juan Williams crying---crying---during Michelle Obama’s strange speech (it began with her speaking at length about her brother, and how tall he is), and the sight of camera-stoked “I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille” commentators breathlessly constructing foppish run-on sentences about this “historic moment.” Not to mention reporters asking “questions” such as, “Do you feel the history here?” And pundits and Glennbecks and poor columnists writing about how this is the “edgiest” convention since ’88 (makes me edgy, anyhow), and self-promoting little author/professors, such as one Peniel E. Joseph of Brandeis, blabbing suffocatingly about how Obama matured during the “hip-hop generation” or some such mental detritus.
          Ee-ah-eeee, ee-ah-eee!
Can you say, "trivialize?" America watches itself watching itself.
          Yes, I realize that it is “historic” that an African-American is the Democratic nominee for president. It should be ho-hum. Instead it’s bordering on hokum. Well, that’s the tragedy of this country, and the human race: inability get beyond skin-deep conflict and perception, so what do I expect?
          Well, one thing I expect is that in the wake of the Bushcheney paradiselost, a candidate with principle might speak cogently and bluntly. Maybe even (gulp) sarcastically! Oops, guess that’s already happened a few times. They’re called “third party” candidates, which means they are not invited to the big party thrown by the corporations. The one called an “election.” (Okay, there is Kucinich. But why does he have to look and talk like Herve Villechaize? And how does that rate a 7-foot killer redhead?)
          I keep waiting for people to look beyond image, and to look beyond what-they-want-to-see, but this, of course, is like waiting for Madonna to renounce penises. Take away race, and Obama is just another nice Democrap. Really. Sorry to say it, but do minimal research and you’ll see it’s true. He’s a neocon-lite who fully intends to maintain massive military occupation in the Middle East. He does "not rule out" "pre-emptively" murdering milliions of innocent Iranians. Wants to “shift” the Prozac-numbed over-extended U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan---which is essentially the Wild West with turbans. I mean, the guy says that invading a country is not the answer to defeating sundry terrorists spread all over the world---but wants to jack up the occupation of Afghanistan. Huh? And last, but hardly least, he is yet another in a long line of Washingtonian Israel supplicants who seem to put national interests first---Israel’s.
          Translation: when Hillary Clinton made the point that there is not much difference between her and Barackandroll, she was right. Her health care plan is more generous.
          But there I go, taking all this crap seriously again. I’m such a sucker. I watched the speeches, tuned in to the scripted five-day infomercial, as one NPR reporter so aptly described the Democrap convention. I listened to Obama’s slick address and what-passed-for-blunt attacks on McCain, and it brought me right to the very tippi-toe edge of wanting to believe that this guy might just be The Lone Ranger. . .
          Then I realized that he was quoting Aaron Sorkin scripts from “West Wing,” and, well. . .America watches America watching America.
          Ee-ah-eee, ee-ah-eee!
          And it's going to get worse. Next week, my insides will creep and crawl and boil and bubble as I watch the venal, hateful, moronic, and vicious prance about as they nominate a borderline senile son of privilege who is attempting to ride the fact that he was imprisoned by the North Vietnamese to inauguration day. A man who says he "hates war" no more frequently than cancers are removed from his face, yet almost salivates as he jauntily proclaims that the Iraq war could go on for a hundred years. 
          A man who can’t use the internet, does not understand economics, cannot keep his positions or countries straight from day to day, let alone year to year, and who tells jokes about “gooks” and probably “niggers.” A man whose party is putting a "plank" in its platform to outlaw all---all---stem cell research.
          A man who has just chosen as his veep mate a very peculiar woman governor who loves to eat moose stew, cannot pronounce “nuclear” (she says it just like Bush!), and is under investigation for ethics violations that could cost her the governorship she has held for only two years. Not to mention that she favors so-called "creationism" being taught in schools, and wants to drill and mine the muck out of Alaska to get that oil and natural gas booty (yes, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.)
          Speaking of booty, this heart throb away from the presiduncy-to-be is also a former booty---er, beauty queen runner up. And not too former to keep off the cover of Vogue magazine last year.
          Ah, but she’s an Evangelical Christian who opposes abortion! That makes it A-okay, America! Wottagal!
          My only feeble hope in all this is that if Obama manages to win, it turns out that all his hints of humanism, compassion, sanity, grace---all his claims of wanting to unite people in this country---turn out to be more than Aaron Sorkinism. That it wasn't just theatrics during the “Change You Can Believe In” Oprah-thon Big Lie primary campaign---and the subsequent “I am a closet conservative” campaign aimed at people who would never vote for any Democrap anyhow. Let alone a neeeegro.
          Yet it’s hard to blame him for posing. For allowing the press and the public to believe that he was what they perceived him to be: an anti-war, anti-corporate tyranny, pro-environment, pro-Constitution kinda guy. To his credit, he never made those unqualified claims. Not exactly. He just smiled and looked imposing, and spoke articulately, and let Oprah go around the country, yelling, “He’s BRILLLLL-YAAAAAAAANT!”
          Well, he is a bright guy with a remarkable background. Even if he does not know how to use the word, “nonplussed,” properly. But he’s not what people thought he was. He favors war and occupation in the Middle East. He did an about face and supported the FISA bill allowing warrantless surveillance of you and me, saying it will be okay as long as he “monitors” it. (Har.) He bashed Wal-Mart while his wife did big business with the company, turning pickles to $51,000 profit. He will allow for offshore oil drilling (and the prospect of hideous spills), calling it a “stopgap” measure when he---and every credible economist knows---that it will have zero, zero, and did I mention zero effect on the economy, or weaning from foreign oil.
          In the end, folks, it comes down to this:
          McCain stands for corporatocracy, death, war, amputations, gangrene, mud sandwiches, veterans sleeping under bridges, dead trees, extinct animals, lots of money for rich people. And an eye for shapely conservative ladies.
          Obama stands for less corporatocracy and death, less amputation, less gangrene, fewer veterans wandering around jabbering and drooling, more trees, less rich bastards taking $200 million bonuses and having their taxes cut. And he didn't dump his faithful wife for a $100 million beer heiress.
          These are grounds to not only vote for, but to get out and campaign for Barack. And don't you dare vote for Nader, the right man for the job, and run the risk of electing McCain. Never mind that Ralph is anti-corporate, anti-war, pro-environment, pro-alternate energy, pro-animals, pro-American jobs, anti-big oil, anti-foreign oil, pro health care, pro. . .taking care of this country, and letting the rest of the world fend for itself for a while.
          Good idea!
          Damn, there I go yet again, taking all this to heart. What a chump. As long as American citizens are pacified by Super Smash Brothers, e-mail, tabloids, chicanery, adultery, cocktails, crack, super-pot, porn, pit-bull fighting, DirectTV (what is it, wired into their heads?), Netflix, well, the corporatocratic machinery will remain in place. No matter who is pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey. 
          There's that kid with the mouse ears again.

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