30 October 2008

Can I stop now?

Last weekend of the Long Campaign. And the word this week speaks already about 2012 and the candidacy of Sarah Palin. Of course, they say, if McCain wins (my deepest nightmare) then Palin is next up to run in 2012 because McCain will certainly be too old to campaign again. If the two lose (my sweetest dreams) then Palin is the frontrunner for 2012. What are they thinking? Is anybody thinking? How much money will they spend on clothes, hair and makeup when she runs for the Big Office?

I think she’s better enroll herself in school first. Maybe she should learn to imitate Tina Fey.

I hold my breath until Tuesday. The Republican candidates have stooped to new lows; they are not nice people, and for that reason alone they should not be elected to office. They glory in half-truths and in no truths; they revel in innuendo and deception, and the traffic in fear and loathing: playing on the fears of an American electorate and a loathing of that very electorate. Both McCain and Palin should crawl right back down into their holes and wallow in their own mud.
I hope beyond hope (I have faith but I seem to lack hope, or is that vice versa?) that the American people will elect Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and begin to prepare a world in which my children can live.
Dylan is playing the Northrup Auditorium Election night. Of course. Who better to make comment on this election that Bob Dylan? Whose words would be more prescient than his? I intend to be there in my hopes, and then to go home following the show and glory (I hope) in the election returns. And drink to the hard working people.

12 October 2008


It’s not that I don’t know that I’m neurotic. Neuroses is an inevitable result of human existence. Most of the time, I can keep them (yes, there is always more than one!) in some kind of check; they are, so to speak, respectably controlled. Oh, they are evident, but unobtrusive, merely amusing peccadilloes to be chuckled over with a sympathetic, tolerant and dismissive smile. They are the bumps on the road which disturb the smooth ride in the car, the wind gusts which jolt the plane (and cramp my tensed toes); my neuroses are the acne on the model’s clear skin.

Of late I have refrained from carefully hiding or disguising my neuroses: I hypothesized that the energies it would take to hold myself together would be better employed engaging with my neuroses in a relatively honest life. I leaked, and sought out those who would tolerate my leaking and be comfortable leaking right back at me. It has been a tolerable strategy.

But sometimes my neuroses become unbearably oppressive to myself. Oh, I could call a friend and leak, but I am not even comfortable doing that to my friend or myself. I don’t want to look at the blemishes; I’m tired of tensing my toes and hobbling about on cramped feet; I’m getting car sick.

And so I get rid of the weight, the oppression, the burden, by transforming all of the neuroses into strengths (itself a neurotic response to neuroses), and I assume that these idiosyncratic characterological (sic?) manifestations are appropriate responses to a neurotic world. I am not neurotic, I assert, but everybody else is. I am not wrong, I respond, but everyone else is.

And that is my state this evening. It was a difficult week, sitting at meetings where people declared me a fool, only to be told by a participant, albeit, sotto voce, that my position was, indeed, the honest one. Sitting at meetings where participants denied the serious intellectual developments of the last fifty years, developments on which I have built my life and my work, and where they pretended that the works and words of say, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gayatri Spivak, Clifford Geertz, Hayden White, Evelyn Fox Keller, John Dewey never existed. I got up from the meetings a bit unsteady and very dizzy and thought, Where am I? Am I on this planet still?

Oh, there is more, but then this post would become complaint, and I have already written about that in the new book. So, I’m going back to the third season of Weeds. They couldn’t sustain it: it isn’t even good farce anymore. I need to find another series.

07 October 2008


I’ve been losing not a few battles these days, and I don’t even know what war I’m fighting. I suppose as interesting as is the losing is the bare fact of engagement in the first place. Home and school, mothers and daughters, shopkeepers and storeowners, I’ve met and lost to all. My territory has not been invaded, my livelihood unthreatened; nevertheless, I remain combative, as I’m trying to prove something to myself.

Maybe it’s the election season. I watched the Vice-Presidential debate last week. Those whose voices resonate declared it a draw: both succeeded each in her/his own way. Biden showed himself sure and knowledgeable, stately and statesmanlike. Palin didn’t collapse or make a fool of herself, and for that she earned accolades. What does it mean that a Vice-Presidential candidate becomes praiseworthy when she doesn’t humiliate herself or her Party with her remarkably frightening lack of knowledge. Her whole sense of foreign policy derives from having Russia West of Alaska’s water border! And her performance is considered by those who seem to matter to behave been a complete success. That her answers were scripted, that they lacked substance, and that whatever wasn’t written down was left unspoken and assumedly, unknown, doesn't seem to bother anyone. Doggone, what are we thinking when we blithely accept that this person could easily become the President of the United States because she didn’t fall apart in a not-even-rigorous debate format. Of course, Bush never falls apart either, but then, he either doesn’t have a clue (not a bad possibility) or doesn’t give a damn (an equally acceptable explanation).

I am appalled at the possibility that McCain-Palin might become elected. No, I am thoroughly terrified at the prospect. I turn combative, and I am losing not a few battles these days. I just want to get out of here alive.