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Sunday, April 01, 2007
Where are we?
I don't know why this topic popped into my head today, but I am not being influenced by the date, and that is all I can say for certain.
I guess I was thinking about 9/11 a little bit today, which I don't do very often, like most Americans, I suspect. I was watching television, and I saw Ari Fleischer from some old White House press briefing, and it took me back to just how much he used to irritate me. It was still kind of early in Bush's presidency, and I wasn't yet used to the fact that the administration would just say things that were either incomprehensibly stupid, or patently false.
Oh, sure, by the time Scott McClellan took the job, I was almost immune to the lies, and was hardly ever throwing things at my TV anymore. Hell, by the time McClellan left the job, I actually felt bad for him a lot of the time, having to stand there, defending the hypocrisy and immorality of the Bush White House. Ugh, it was cringeworthy.
But Fleischer seemed to really enjoy making things up, and spouting talking points, particularly just after 9/11, when the entire administration was puffed up and fake brave. It was a strange time for a lot of people, and I remember a lot of people were actually in a state of mind, asking themselves, "when will it be okay to laugh again?" Everyone was watching what they said, except Bill Maher, and you recall what happened to him.
It sounds ridiculous, but it was hard to find anything funny and topical on TV or the radio right after 9/11. There was a lot of speculation that "irony was dead" and it was time for America, and especially smug prick Gen Xers like myself to start taking things seriously. This was our Pearl Harbor, our JFK assassination, it was like the time I could have met Mr. T at the mall. The entire day I kept saying, "I'll go a little later. I'll go a little later." And then when I got there, they told me he'd just left. And when I asked the mall guy if he would ever come back again, he said he didn't know.
It was pretty terrible, is what I'm saying.
But these many years later, irony isn't dead, which is good for the most part. Irony is a bit overused, and I think most people should leave it alone, but in the right hands, it can still do a lot of good, like a scalpel in the hands of a skilled plastic surgeon.
On the down side, any national sense of purpose that we had (or pretended to have) after 9/11 is long gone, we are mired in an insurgent war in Asia, the administration has been exposed in nearly all areas as criminal, malicious and incompetent, and like on September 11th. 2001, I am without health insurance.
I don't need nostalgia. I live in George W. Bush's America, where things don't change, and when they do, it is only to somehow become markedly worse.
So irony is not dead. Roger Rosenblatt, writing in Time magazine just after 9/11, was completely wrong. Baby Boomers all think that they are the center of the universe, and I suppose Rosenblatt is no different. I've gone on and on about this giant demographic, in numbers and in weight, often enough that I need not rehash it here. Boomers like Rosenblatt crave the good old days, when men were men, America was #1, and people knew their place. You know who I mean...
Well, it's the 21st Century, the Boomers are starting to hit their Viagra years, and the United States, in many measurable ways, is in as bad of a condition as it's been in many decades. I don't care to listen to the opinions of the people who have been fucking up my country for the past couple of decades. Your choices and actions from adolescence up to now have been consistently and tragically wrong, and you can't be placed in substandard retirement housing quickly enough to suit me.
To be fair, I can't imagine any of my generation being able to run this country at any point in the future. We have been raised with diminished expectations, and even I can admit that people like that should not be put in charge of too many things. Although certainly Bush and the rest of us would have been better served had he not been told as a child that anyone can grow up to be president some day.
So irony isn't dead after 9/11. The only thing that has truly expired is the credibility of people like Rosenblatt to say that the younger generations are soft, and don't know anything about hardship.
Stay skeptical. These people know nothing.
posted at 12:25 AM
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