The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.” — Frank Zappa

SAVE US, RICK

Gotta say it: I miss Rick Santorum.

The political debate has pretty much petered out now that the wackiest altar boy in the nation has quit the presidential race.

We Miss You, Man

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are involved in a staring contest over who loves women more. Romney said recently, “93 percent of the job losses during the Obama years have been women who lost those jobs.” Obama, in turn, has dispatched his wife, not to correct Romney’s awkward sentence construction, but to say her man is the greatest thing to happen to women since the invention of chocolate.

Michelle Obama actually said this about the her husband’s deeds for women: “We have an amazing story to tell. This president has brought us out of the dark and into the light.”

Oy.

Suffragette Introducing Featured Speaker Barack Obama

And in some weird, Twilight Zone-ish turn of events, Ann Romney, a woman who has struggled valiantly to assemble a staff of nannies and maids, has become an icon for all the hard-toiling homemakers of this holy land.

Oy, oy.

I don’t suppose this debate-for-the-ages will rank with the Lincoln-Douglas wrestling matches of 1858.

Sigh. Oh, for the madness of Rick Santorum.

MAN ON THE THRONE

And, yes, I’m a political geek.

See, I’m pumped about the release in two weeks of the fourth volume in Robert Caro‘s brilliant series of books on the life of Lyndon Baines Johnson. It deals with the 1960 presidential election, Johnson’s ascendency to the presidency following the Kennedy assassination, and his electoral coronation in 1964.

Johnson Drives His Beloved Amphi-car

LBJ was one fascinating man. He stole elections, bullied opponents, battled for civil rights legislation, loathed John F. Kennedy and then served under him as vice president, allowed the nation to slip into a senseless war in Vietnam and found himself mourning that course of events. He issued orders to members of his staff while perched upon the porcelain princess with the door wide open.

Caro won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Power Broker,” his look into the life of New York City strongman Robert Moses. (BTW, Oliver Stone is working on an HBO biopic based on Caro’s book.) He copped another Pulitzer for the third volume in the Years of Lyndon Johnson series, “Master of the Senate.” For my dough, Caro has to win a third Pulitzer for “The Passage of Power” if it’s even half as good as the previous three tomes on the man.

Robert Caro

Pick up any of the aforementioned Caro books; you’ll understand a lot more about how America works if you do.

BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING

Dig this observation by social ecologist Peter Drucker:

“Like the forces of war, depression shows man as a senseless cog in a senselessly whirling machine which is beyond human understanding and has ceased to serve any purpose but its own.”

Peter Drucker

The quote, written in 1939, has been interpreted as a description of the madness that was the Great Depression. It sounds to me more like an indictment of unfettered capitalism itself.

MONEY

“Don’t give me that do-goody, good bullshit.”

2 thoughts on “The Pencil Today:

  1. John Bergman says:

    Really! Been waiting for Caro’s fourth book for what seems like forever.

  2. Peter Drucker’s comment on “depression” could also describe the psycho-emotional state: senseless, no point, no escape, feeding on itself and only producing itself. Oh, yes, like war.

    Thanks for the light on Caro, Mikey.

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