“Like its politicians and its war, society has the teenagers it deserves.” — Joseph Priestley
WANTING TO REBEL IN THE WORST WAY
Let’s look at something from the viewpoint of a dopey kid who’s burning up with the desire to piss people off.
It’s an easy task for me because that’s precisely the kind of dopey kid I was. That urge to thumb my nose at grownups and society at large was so overpowering that I got myself busted. It wasn’t until a couple of tough guy detectives pounded on the back door of my family’s home and slapped the cuffs on me when I was 17 that I realized the whole F.U. I was shouting at the world might not be a strategic success.
Believe me, having my belt and shoelaces confiscated, sitting in a cell where the toilet has no seat because inmates can kill themselves with it (I still don’t know how they can do it), and being offered the traditional bologna sandwich and a glass of water for dinner profoundly changes one’s attitude toward senseless rebellion.
Anyway, a couple of Bloomington teenagers presumably faced that same reality check this week. The two high school students, a boy and a girl, were hauled in on suspicion of drawing a swastika and writing the word Hitler on a poster at the Jewish studies program office in Goodbody Hall.
Apparently, the kids were hanging around the IU campus, bored, and decided to liven up the decor. The IU police say crude drawings of female parts were also found around Goodbody, drawn with the same type of black marker that the anti-semitic stuff was scrawled in.
I could have been that boy (if I had a girlfriend at that age). So I ask myself, Why would I have done it?
When I was 15, 16, and 17, the Vietnam War was just winding down, Watergate was just gearing up, and the country was just emerging from the chaos of assassinations and race rioting. I concluded this was a sick nation, that I was one of the select few souls perceptive enough to grasp that elementary fact.
My parents were the two stupidest people to walk the face of this Earth. How they survived the mere act of getting to work in the morning baffled me. My teachers were idiots — all they were concerned about was the length of my hair. The cops were fascists. Politicians were crooked. Corporations were run by greedy pigs who’d sell out their grandmothers for a profit. And even the music on the radio was execrable — I mean, honestly, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree”? And what about “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”?
For pity’s sake, can you blame me for wanting to overthrow the world?
The Last Straw
I was too much of a dope to understand that I could have channeled my rage in some constructive way. I hadn’t the slightest idea what I could have done to, say, force the executives of Ford Motor Company to mend their ways, or convince the Illinois governor not to slurp at the public trough.
The only thing I could think of was to roar.
Yeah, I was dopey, but I didn’t really mean anybody any harm. I wasn’t about to take a gun (which I had access to, thanks to some of my associates in small-time crime) and go out blasting for the lark of it.
Hell, I could hardly muster the bile to punch a guy in the face, although that talent was considered requisite in my neighborhood.
So what was I to do to inform the citizens of this holy land that I considered them consummate boobs?
I fell back on the old reliables: busting windows, splattering paint on walls, petty theft, flashing the finger at passing squad cars (all the while making sure they wouldn’t see me doing it), and other teen boy annoyances.
“Yeah, This’ll Show ‘Em!”
Those two Bloomington kids might well be harboring some of the same grievances I did. Hell, cops are still dousing protesters with pepper spray these days. Corporations are still run by greedy pigs. Pointless wars are still being fought. And Illinois governors are still going to prison.
Work Hard, Study, Mind Your Elders And You, Too, Can Grow Up To Be Governor
The two kids may not know exactly who Otto Kerner was or Rod Blagojevich is, but rest assured they know pols still are adept at digging their hands in our pockets when we aren’t looking. It’s a safe bet to assume, as well, that the two Bloomington teens feel their parents are spectacularly uninformed and incapable of tying their own shoelaces.
And maybe — just maybe — they needed the world to know just how contemptible they think it is.
So, pretend you’re a kid with a half-formed sense of morality. What’s the worst thing you can draw on a wall that illustrates how despicable you think the adult nation is?
A good starting point might be a penis or a vagina, no? That’ll shake ’em up. They’ll realize what idiots they are when they catch sight of that, huh?
Okay, now that we’ve made our point clear on that score, how about politics? Let’s see now, who was the most evil politician of all time?
Duh! Adolf Hitler!
“This Is What I Think Of You.”
Man, nothin’s gonna show these pigs what we think of ’em better than writing the name of history’s most evil man on a poster and drawing a swastika.
You think you’re gonna pull me into your bullshit world, man? Take that! Hitler. Hah!
You may counter that I’m being too forgiving here. Perhaps these two kids have had their brains turned to mush by the rantings of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Perhaps one or both of the kids really hates Jews.
I doubt it. My guess is that neither of the kids knows exactly what a Jew is.
They most likely only know that writing Hitler’s name on a wall pisses people off, big time. And it’s a sure-fire way to make the announcement that we are not you.
I hope the kids had an epiphany when they had their belts and shoelaces taken away.
BIRTHERS NEVER DIE
Can you believe it? Birthers are still around and still making bleating noises.
Jerome Corsi is one of them. You’ve heard of him. Several of his books have made the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list.
Which is ironic because they’re as far from nonfiction as the number one bestseller called “Heaven Is for Real” by that Nebraska preacher named Burpo about his kid’s fever dream fantasy that he died and came back from paradise.
Corsi, of course, is the fabulist who popularized the Swiftboat canard against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, and has since thrown his lot in with the likes of Orly Taitz, who is to sanity what the hot dog station at the Circle K is to gourmet cooking.
Corsi earned a doctorate in political science from Harvard, which proves only that even Ivy League institutions make mistakes.
Taitz, meanwhile, roams the streets freely, always one step ahead of the men with butterfly nets.
Corsi’s latest flight of psychotic fancy is called “Where’s the Birth Certificate: The Case that Barack Obama Is not Eligible to Be President,” published last year even as Barack Obama produced his long-form birth certificate.
Per Corsi’s peculiar logic, that is not the birth certificate.
Whatever the hell ever that means.
Anyway, New Jersey Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, a Republican (duh!) from Morris, has jumped on the Manchurian Candidate bandwagon. The state legislator says Corsi, who gave an SRO speech at the Morristown Masonic Lodge that Bucco attended Tuesday, piques his interest.
Corsi, according to Bucco, raised “interesting points I wasn’t aware of, and it made me believe this thing isn’t going away.”
Bucco, by the way, is an alternate spelling of the Italian word for hole. As in the things in both his and Corsi’s heads. Taitz’s cranium is a sieve.
Osso Bucco — Literally, Bone With A Hole
Bucco is the deputy Republican leader in the New Jersey House. Corsi’s speech was sponsored by a gaggle of Tea Party groups as well the Morris County Republican Party.
So this is fairly mainstream stuff. Within my lifetime, the cranks of this holy land have become respectable — which says absolutely nothing about them but everything about us.
See, there’ve always been those who fixate on marginalia. There were guys I used to see at City Hall, for instance, who rode their rusty three-speed bikes to every single City Council Zoning Committee meeting, convinced they were the average citizen’s bulwark against corruption. You know the type — they loiter in the county building halls and mumble hello to passing county board members and whoever is foolish enough to acknowledge them immediately becomes the object of the loiterer’s mantra-like anecdote for the next few weeks: “I was talking to so-and-so at the county building and she says….”
Or how about the insomniacs who listened to all-night syndicated talk radio shows? They knew that the government was sitting on alien visitation evidence in Roswell.
They reside at the flange of the sanity’s bell curve.
For most of our history, the ramblings of these folks have been the aural equivalent of the croak of a toad in a wetland ten miles from the nearest outpost of civilization.
Now, though, that toad croak must be breathlessly covered by TV, radio, and newspaper reporters across the nation.
How did that happen?
Is it the inevitable result of me-generation huffing and puffing from the 70s?
You know, everybody’s opinion counts? Feelings are paramount? Facts are fascist? If you believe it, it’s true?
Self-help authors made millions pontificating in this manner. Remember Robert Bly and John Bradshaw? Later practitioners included Marianne Williamson and, more recently, Rhonda Byrne, she of “The Secret.”
Believe And It Will Be So
They all preached that you create your own reality.
And no matter how much the Right derides the touchy-feely, post-hippie, 70’s generation, most of them grew up in that era. If they didn’t care for est training and I-am-woman-hear-me-roar, they surely dug the patronizing message that whatever you think or believe is valid.
Well, guess what folks — it ain’t.
No matter how passionately you feel, the world is not flat. The Apollo moon landings were not staged. Alien bodies were not hidden in a hangar at Area 51. And Barack Obama was born in Hawai’i.