RIP CRITIQUES BALLOT BOWL
Eugene Narrett, Ph.D
“The colors are awesome” says Rip, hunched forward in his chair, his right side illumined by the fire and his face by the unreal screen into whose shallow depths he’s staring. He’s acquired some new age slang, -- too much TV, probably.
“It’s real exciting when they come thundering down the home stretch, ears laid back, nostrils flaring,” he enthused. “I used to go down to Suffolk Downs…”
‘Rip,’ I whispered, ‘check out the invisible jockeys that lash the nags: whap, here’s another $5 million for a media buy; whoop here’s tomorrow’s talking points, whap, whap, whap, those nags sure take a beating, but the perks must be awesome.’
Alas, the spirit of the Age is contagious.
“Don’t forget to tell them about the Massachusetts State Health Care Plan” he replied after a long slow swallow. “Did you read those charts?”
‘But who made the Kool-Aid’ I retorted, switching metaphors. ‘Just because it’s page one above the fold on Sunday doesn’t make the numbers real. The over/under on the Central Artery and third Harbor Tunnel wasn’t as bad as those charts look.’
“Tell me some more about Tip O’Neil,” he said… “Did he endorse Hillary? She’s a strong woman, you know. I’ll bet the mayors still cranking out votes. Say: what did that portly fellow mean by endorsing O’Barmer?”
‘He said, ‘O’Bomber. In any case, we’ve had too much TV; we’re awash in non-sequiturs.’
“You told me Post-Modernism did away with non-sequiturs” said the ageless scholar.
‘True; lit-crit says that now there’s nothing but non-sequiturs,’ noted the writer. ‘That’s the dogma, nothing is real, every thing is artifice, a ‘social construct,’ a pastiche like The Ballpark in Arlington™ rather than an integral entity or being; there is nothing but the assertion of will or desire: Rip, do you know what ‘dogma’ means spelt backwards?’
“Cider, please,” he said sociably. “Don’t you think these one-on-one snarl fests are a bit overdone? Aren’t they going to kiss and make up in a couple of weeks?”
‘Maybe sooner,’ quoth I, ‘or, instead of kissing they could digitally blend them into one composite person. They’re not real anyway.’ He warmed to the vision: ‘just imagine: Senator Clinton gets to be the suave dark man she’s always wanted to be, someone from an exotic land, according to dogma; and John-Bee, what a ticket-man that would be!’
“Are too real,” he insisted with a stubbornness he never dared show Dame Van Winkle, a real nag; back then he was “the meekest of men.” “They are real,” he insisted against all evidence.
‘Well, they’re not real at the point of virtual interface with the target public; do you remember that classic film we watched?’
“The Beast with Two Heads he guessed. ‘That’s it, with Ray Milland and Rosy Grier the great lineman for the Giants.’
“Didn’t they just win the Super Bowl,” he inquired.
‘Don’t start,’ Rip, I replied. ‘Remember what your initials mean, you’re an acronym.’
That put him into a poetic mode: “There lies my wife, -- so let her lie, She’s at peace and so am I.” ‘That’s what I was getting at,’ said I.
“How come,” he demanded, “we modern types are supposed to be colorblind and they keep talking about race all the time? How come you got to check off all those boxes on the applications and such?”
‘It’s training,’ the writer said. ‘The rules change all the time. Everyone has to learn them but you’re not allowed to describe them simple and straight. That’s called a ‘hate crime’ and besides, when it’s all vague, folks are nervous and that’s part of the plan.’
On the screen, where the smart persons work, they were touching gigantic flat screen maps to making the states turn into numbers, into images of the images of the faces of the nags with more numbers and bar graphs set horizontally in little squares like when a computer function loads; giant portable walls of electronic miracles marshaled into a leaning tower of lies. I thought of a wolf huffing and puffing; I thought of the verses about reason surrendering to will to power, will to appetite and appetite the universal wolf eating up the world and then consuming itself. Everything, even “right and wrong and justice, too will lose their names,” the glory of modern trans-valuations and post-modern denial of any truth arrives and then, “chaos follows the choking.” Politics have turned wholly into sport and the lords of sport huff and puff to return the trick: now talking hairstyles telustrate the “dash for the White House”™.
‘Remember to tell them about the subsidized care plan,’ Rip insisted.
The writer found himself developing a sentimental affection for the faces of the nags; after all, we’ve seen them so often. They’re a part of the very fabric of our lives – like Ray’s transplanted head on Rosie’s massive shoulder – thanks to the infinite iterations of the media.
“Remember the scrambled pronouns in ‘I am the Walrus,’” Rip piped up, tapping some leaf into his pipe. ‘Indeed I do,’ muttered his pal. ‘Sometimes I can’t get it out of my head, probably on account of all those repetitions.’
“Sixty-two thousand repetitions make one truth” said my friendly figure of speech, going classical on me, “History is bunk.” ‘And that’s why we don’t teach it,’ I capped him. ‘Anyway, after the Nine Years’ War and the Suppression of all Books starting in AF (“After Ford”) 141 people were ready to affirm that “everyone belongs to everyone else.”
“Tell ‘em about that subsidized care plan,” Rip said. “It’s a perfect example of what we was just quoting. ‘Massachusetts now requires all legal citizens to purchase health insurance, O happy day.’
“Right; one of the nags always tries out her ideas in Massachusetts. The people there are full of love: they’re pushing for a state where everyone belongs to everyone else, sort of.”
Well the cost of the “subsidized care plan” is expected to rise 900% into 2011, about two and a half times greater than the increase in people signed up. The pie chart on page 3 says that more than a fourth of this year’s (2008’s) costs will be absorbed by “free care.”
“That’s nice,” nodded Rip, agreeably. “What does ‘free’ mean?”
‘Ah, Rip, you subtle old bird,’ said the writer. ‘Did you notice how the headline didn’t match the numbers, graphs or pie chart %s? Different people have different definitions of free.’
“But where does the money come from? Do the Doctors donate it?”
‘Well, the State, everyone donates it, mostly, because of the law. The piece of the pie for Doctors is shrinking; that’s the thing about a pie chart (maybe it’s a pi-chart): it always has 360 degrees. So if it’s free for somebody than somebody else is paying.’
“I get it,” said Rip; “it’s like a Continental. ‘And anyway,’ he went on, ‘everyone belongs to everyone else. So how come the current and former governors and assorted other officials are arguing about whose fault it is that the cost is going about straight up?”
‘No problem; they’re going to put a ‘package’ together: the Federal Gummint is going to pony up about half a billion/year to cover the gap for free care™.’
“But where are they going to get it from? That’s a lot of money. They aren’t just gonna print it and give it out, are they?”
‘Of course not: it’s all done electronically now. Haven’t you been watching those persons on the networks with those revolving digitalized electric doors with the colors, doing their all to grind the “look-say” method of incomprehension into us out here on the rail? Anyway, about 14% of the Continentals will be paid by the people “in Medicaid Rate increases,” it says. It’s complicated; plus, they’re not sure how many uninsured people there are. It kind of depends what you mean by people, illegal, justice, etc.; remember what Humpty Dumpty said: “words mean whatever I want them to mean…the only real question is, ‘Who is the Master,’ that’s all.” Then he fell off the wall so you need to read the story and it will all fall into place.
“Who’s ahead in Las Vegas,” Rip gulped as the words “Rest in Peace” glowed faintly on the screen. ‘The experts said the Patriots would cover by twelve points” I replied.
We stared down into our mugs as if the dregs held the truth buried at the bottom of the well. “I think we need one of those stimulus packages” Rip said quietly. ‘Checked your pockets lately,’ the writer asked.
“How about Sovereign Wealth Funds,” Rip wants to know. “Maybe one of our allies like China or Dubai can invest in subsidized care? Didn’t you tell me poor people used to get care for free?”
‘That was then; this is now,’ I said and changed the subject: ‘tell me Rip, is that fellow with the guitar real, do you think he’s got gumption?’
“Never seen his like,” he answered. “Say,” he went on, trying a post-modern move on me, did you see on page 2 the King of France married a model and the mayor of Paris said the groom didn’t look bad either? Don’t tell me the Dutch and French are the same race!”
‘Rip! too much TV and too much cider...’
“How come our screen doesn’t flip around and show color maps when you touch it,” he retorted. We sprinkled some cider and the stove and everyone steamed together. “Read that one part,” he said: “if the state doesn’t get all of the federal funds it is seeking [hint], policy makers could face difficult choices: spend more state money [sic] or cut back the two programs by reducing enrollment, subsidies and benefits.”
They say the hospitals are making big profits and maybe they are; doctors aren’t earning more and it’s getting more difficult to get care unless you’re impoverished or from some other land. It seems like people are getting too expensive and almost none of them can afford it.
On the screen speeches of victory and resolve were flying like pizza at a pie fight. The Blue man said “we are the future; we are the answer, we are the hope of America and of the world”: wow; bet Arnold could give that speech. The cable networks’ announcers were touting their stable of geniuses and roving reporters were pumping “youth voters” pre-selected for their absorption of sound-byte clichés. Shrieking model-prosecutors had been replaced for Super evening by animated manikins from an outtake of Blade Runner: back to the future... the hi-tech bordello is high on illusion and sterility. It’s not a man’s world.
A guy with a telephone cord curling around his head said that California exit voters who like Schwarzenegger voted massively for McCain. “All those people look wealthy” Rip mentioned. “It makes me feel like that first time I came back, -- ‘I’m not myself, I’m somebody else,’” he quoted. ‘The only thing they changed in King George’s picture on the tavern porch was to make his jacket Blue not Red and switch his hat’; same deal.
‘How many times did you vote today,’ I asked him. “Maybe half a dozen,” he said sadly. “But I know I’ve lived in more states than that.” ‘Did you vote for RP?’ “Yeah, but the only time they mentioned him is when that person there said it’s a three man race, -- or did he say two-man? Can you only get mentioned by being buried?”
It’s an allusion, Rip; and illusions emit allusions, delusion and confusion; it’s all about fusion and convergence; peaceful coexistence; everyone belongs to everyone else... Next night a dude was touting a book on “in dependence” which he called a new centrist party “independents”; think fusion, Rip; remember the troika…
‘I think he said one-man Red race,’ I replied. ‘Watch that one use his finger to draw ovals around counties.’ “Could they seal the southern border like that” Rip asked. “How come they got to complicate the northern border when they’re gonna get rid of it later? What is it with all these licenses?”
‘Rip, you answered your own question,’ I said as we dozed away from the pain; ‘a person must be legal. In the fall, if your name sake doesn’t run, I’m gonna write in your name for XLIII. Maybe meantime you could get one of those Sovereign Wealth Funds to invest in us. They say that everyone’s got his price.’
he mumbled. But who won the Super Bowl, giants or patriots?”
Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.109-126; set speech on traditional,
pre-modern faculties of thought and character
© 2008 Eugene Narrett
- All Rights Reserved
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Eugene Narrett received his BA, MA and PhD from Columbia University in NYC. His writings on American politics and culture and on the Middle East and geopolitics have been widely published. These include four books, the most recent being WW III: the War on the Jews and the Rise of the World Security State (2007) which examines the historical roots and purposes of the war on terror as a late stage in the undoing of the West. His previous book, Israel and the Endtimes (2006) lays the basis for these questions.
Dr. Narrett has appeared on scores of radio programs, both major networks like WABC, Radio America, Eagle Forum Radio and Westwood Communications, as well as regional and local stations. He has been honored for his essays on art and literature and on behalf of the pro-life movement.
Since receiving his doctorate in 1978, Dr. Narrett has been teaching literature and art and creating interdisciplinary courses in the Humanities. He lectures on a variety of topics relating to western civilization, geopolitics and the multi-faceted war on the family that is a striking feature of the postmodern west.
See his web site, www.israelendtimes.com for information on booking a lecture and for contact information.
A man with a telephone cord curling around his head said that California exit voters who like Schwarzenegger voted massively for McCain. “All those people look wealthy” Rip mentioned.