“Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” — Barbara Ehrenreich
THE LOYAL OPPOSITION
I’m gonna play all nice today.
As you know, I’m the world’s biggest liberal hot air blower. Any given day on this communications colossus, I rant and rage against the madnesses of the Right.
For my money, the Republican Party, which fancies itself the GOP — for Grand Old Party — is more aptly tagged the POG — for Party of God.
And speaking of any of the multitude of deities the vast majority of Homo Sapiens sapiens reveres and donates its hard-earned cash to via his regional sales staff on Earth, I also come down awfully hard on the Big Daddy-o Upstairs.
Ironically, I had a couple of contacts with folks yesterday whose oxen, as it were, likely are gored any time they click on The Pencil.
I was standing bleary-eyed and zombified near the bakery and coffee tents at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market at about 8am. I loitered for long moments in the brilliant morning sunshine, hypnotized by the accordion and voice strains of the Von Volsung Sisters, trying to locate enough brain cells to decide which cup of joe to buy.
The Von Volsungs: Cool, Even Early In The Morning
My gray-matter haze prevented me from seeing a couple of Ellettsville pals, SueEllen and Bob, the premier party-throwers of western Monroe County, waving madly at me. After couple of minutes, I found myself staring at the two as they stared back at me.
We all had a good laugh and caught up on the latest. As we were saying our goodbyes, SueEllen leaned close and said, “I read you every day.”
I was touched. See, SueEllen and Bob are among the most pious people I’ve met in these parts. They’re active in their church. Their faith has gotten them through some tough times. They even invite their parish priest to their storied bashes. Once, they had a visiting priest from Africa as the honored guest at a New Year’s Day party.
Every time I slam the putative creator of the Universe, I wonder how someone like SueEllen might feel about it. This is true. I’m really not a mean guy. I’m not looking to insult the pious and the faithful.
Only their god, whom I’d refuse to have a drink with even if he offered to buy.
C’mon, Man, It’s On Me
Later in the day I caught a new comment here from a guy who calls himself The Lake County Republican. His given name is David. He’s one of those old school republicans. He believes in an inherent goodness in entrepreneurship. He sees rich guys, by and large, as honest, steady, hard-working souls who’ve amassed their fortunes the right way. He wants the federal government to watch its pennies.
None of which I buy — and I shriek as much here regularly. Nevertheless, David the LCR gobbles up the Pencil as religiously as SueEllen does.
That makes me happy.
They are true Pencillistas. We’ve got a big tent here.
WHERE’S THE HATE?
And then I got myself into hot water.
With liberals, no less.
A couple of people were talking about George W. Bush at Soma Coffee. They’re pals, so I elbowed my way into the conversation, the gist of which was How could anybody stand that man?
Whaddya Want From Me?
I understand that sentiment on a political level, natch. Bushy-boy railroaded us into the third ugliest act this holy land has ever committed (that being the Iraq War — the other two, in order, being Slavery and the Indian Holocaust). His regressive policies on the environment, business regulation and reproductive freedom, coupled with his politicization of the Justice Department under his coat-holding attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, make him, IMO, the worst President the voters of this nation did not elect.
But, no, my pals were going further than that. How could Laura Bush sleep in the same bed with him? How could a man like that have any friends? Why would anyone ever have done business with him?
To hear them talk, one would think George W. Bush actually had the unbearable stink of evil emanating from his body.
What’s That Smell?
Now, even though I loathed Bushy-boy’s policies, his philosophy, and even his office management style, I’d always though he was a rather likable chap. He digs baseball. He enjoys a good joke. He invents colorful nicknames for his staff. Too bad, in fact, that he quit drinking because I’d sit down and have a cocktail with him, especially if he was buying.
Even that famous moment when he shocked German Chancellor Angela Merkel by rubbing her shoulders at some meeting or another, an incident which many on my side of the political spectrum virtually equated with rape at knifepoint, seemed to me an endearing kind of gesture. This despite the fact that Merkel’s reaction reveals her to be, at that particular moment, a rubber band pulled way too tight.
A Violent Assault
He reduced, again IMO, a world leader to a simple human being. It was a pal-y, bonhomie thing to do. It showed he actually like the woman, rather than revered her. Leaders, after all, are not gods.
But, in today’s political debate environment, it is taboo to view the opposition as human. They are beasts, demons, agents of Satan, Commies, Nazis, child-molesters, nose-pickers, and any other insult you care to whip their way.
So, when I said, “You know, I’ve always felt George Bush seems to be a likable guy,” my two pals fell silent, their mouths agape.
Another guy, waiting for his bagel to toast nearby, snorted. “Likable, yeah,” he said, “for an inchworm.”
My pals eventually regained their composure. One demanded, “How can you say such a thing?” The other simply said, “He was not likable in any way, shape, or form.”
I even felt compelled to step back from my statement. “Now, don’t get me wrong. I despised everything he did and stood for, but all I was saying was….”
Immediately I felt like, well, a worm. I shouldn’t have had to apologize for saying the Bush Baby seems likable. But I was petrified that people might think I approved of his Patriot Act, his gutting of the EPA, his kowtowing to the Religious Right, and all the rest of his sins.
He is, after all, only a human whom I happen to think is full of shit. I voted against him — that doesn’t mean I think he’s in league with child molesters or that he’s a nose picker.
So I’m going to say it again here and I’ll make no apologies for it: George W. Bush seems a really likable guy.
Albeit full of shit.
Sunday, September 23nd, 2012
Brought to you by The Electron Pencil: Bloomington Arts, Culture, Politics, and Hot Air. Daily.
[Editor's note: I was too lazy to do the events last night and I'm in too much of a hurry to do the complete job this morning, so all you're getting is the Lotus Fest sked and the ongoing museum exhibit lineup. You'll live.]
MUSIC FESTIVAL ◗ Bloomington, various locations — Lotus World Music & Arts Festival; though Sunday, September 23rd, various times, today’s lineups:
❏ Buskirk Chumley Theater:
- Karan Casey & John Doyle; 3pm
- Srinivas Krishnan’s Global Rhythms; 4pm
ART ◗ IU Art Museum — Exhibits:
- “The Bolognese School,” by Annibale & Agostino Carracci, through September 16th
- “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
- “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
- “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
- “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
- Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
- “Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center — Exhibits:
- “What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
- “Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th
ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald Gallery — Exhibit:
- “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works
ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery — Exhibit:
- “Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection;” through September 21st
PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Exhibit:
ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Exhibits:
- “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
- “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
- “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
- “Picturing Archaeology”
- “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
- “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
- “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
- “TOYing with Ideas”
- “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
- “On a Wing and a Prayer”
BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly Library — Exhibit:
- “Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
- “A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection
PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s On — Exhibit:
- Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October
ART ◗ Boxcar Books — Exhibit:
- Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September
PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History Center — Exhibit:
- “Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th
ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History Center — Exhibit:
- “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions“
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