The River

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

World's Oldest Curmudgeon Tells All

We’re here with the Oldest Curmudgeon in the World. While he slips under the radar of most busy Americans, we were persistent in our efforts to locate him. Hopefully, you’ll find his cranky perspective as bracing as we did.

So, Mr. Curmudgeon, what do you think about the American administration?

Look, these people are insane. You have to work off of that premise from the start. They are not “Americans,” they have no loyalty to a people and a democracy that was, up until now, still limping along as a hopeful experiment. And the media, my God. People from other countries are just aghast when they see it. They wonder how you people can live here. How do you stand it when you are subject to the most nauseating drumbeat of fear and innuendo, with no real content, no practical, rational voice to speak of. It’s nothing but one big smirk. How do you get up in the morning, when they tell you every second of every day that you either conform to this business-centric, homogenized ideology or there is something wrong with you?

Oh sure, you have a few stalwarts in the media, remnants from a bygone era, but they spend all their time mildly objecting to just a miniscule portion of the bullshit. You can’t bail out a sinking boat with a dixie cup, let alone sail the high seas.

I’m detecting a metaphor here: So is America the Titanic?

Oh yeah. Except you never hit the iceberg. You don’t have a disastrous hole in your ship. You have a manageable breakdown. Your best and brightest could fix it in a heartbeat. But you’ve got this mad captain and he’s willing to let the ship go down rather than share the glory.

Yeah, you people are going down. Do you even realize that most of the rest of the world live their lives without constant threat? You’ve been at War since 1940s – WWII, the Cold War and now the War on Terrorism. And there was one more little one, as a sort of bridge between the Cold War and TWOT – the war on drugs. That worked out pretty well, as they can now use all they learned about demonizing those who differ in that “war” and expand it to protesters, liberals, etc. It’s all the same to them.

Imagine what you could do without these fear and death merchants feeding off of you. Yeah, I’m speaking of the Bush family, the Carlyle Group, the CIA. They are running loose. Their Psyops on you will be one for the history books.

Whoa, Mr. Curmudgeon, you are out there. What do you mean by all this Psyops stuff?

Here’s your first clue: There is no war on terrorism. The phrase should always have “phony” in front of it. Yet everyone in your consensual illusion must pay homage to the “war on terrorism.” Housewife in Toledo: “oh yes, I’m worried about the terrorist threat.” It would be funny if it wasn’t so freaking sad. And even when you oppose something -- and take your pick, you true patriots must be busy as hell -- you mention this bogus war, as in “why are we in Iraq when we should be concentrating on Al Qaeda.” “Why aren’t there more police everywhere keeping us SAFER from the terrorists.” They are laughing. They LOVE that. “Haha, even our opposition is trapped in the maze we devised. They are actually worried about Osama-with-a-cellphone.”

I can’t believe you had a national dialogue on whether you are safer with Saddam gone. Give me a freaking break. He was a scummy, dictatorial president, much like your own. Why the hell would he try to mess with you? Sure, if you made his life hell, which you were. Sheeit, I might strike at a big bully if he wouldn’t leave me the hell alone, but freaking war? Saddam was not that insane. Palaces and posters everywhere, enforced hero worship, sure, but at least the people were better educated than you are. They would have sent him packing eventually, but that would have meant an empowered populace, and that’s where your leaders draw the line.

Look, you are not “safer” since Saddam was captured. You are never “safe.” “Safety” is only guaranteed for the dead. Everyone else, it’s up for grabs. Your chances of dying from a terrorist act are practically non-existent. Now, sure there’s plenty to worry about regarding your health, particularly the gutting of public oversight of harmful and even predatory business practices. Pollution, contamination, industrialization of food – these are the worthwhile “adversaries.”

It’s very simple: Who is making money off of all this? Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney asked that, and she was viciously attacked and demonized. Corporations, the media, they are your Agent Smith. “You have two choices, Mr. Anderson. One of them has a future.” This is what they tell you every day, and their future ain't "free" or democratic.

Ok, ok...So you don’t think we’re going about things the right way?

You’re good with the understatement.

What, complete corruption masked with high-sounding ideals? Saying one thing and doing the opposite? That’s a prescription for disaster, and no one, except maybe Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, and Howard Dean, are saying anything about it. And look at what they did to Howard when he was effective in getting that message to the people. A friend of mine in corporate America said a coworker asked him if he liked Dean, and he said, “yeah.” This was before the Iowa caucus. And she says, “he scares me. He’s so angry. Did you see on TV what he did to that poor old man who was trying to ask him a question?” Who knows what the freaking context was; she sure didn’t. She had no idea that there was an effort across your corporate media to plant that idea in her head. How many other unsuspecting people cast about for someone else in Iowa and New Hampshire because they’d been similarly mislead?

Did you see what Diane Sawyer did to Howard and Judy Dean in that interview? That ain't right.

Look, I saw Dean on TV on the night of the New Hampshire primary. He could really blow a hole in this media straightjacket you people suffer from. I may be a curmudgeon, but he’s a freaking doer, okay? He’s out there doing it. On TV. Taking the hits. It’s a wonder he doesn’t scream more often. But you people aren’t ready for a politician with the talents of a James Brown. Night Train! Yeeaaaagghhh! Nah, you prefer democrats who blow some weak-ass sax, purse their lips and say they feel your pain, while giving ground on every meaningful thing you can think of.

Anything else on your mind? Any final thoughts for our readers?

Terrorism, no matter who does it, is a crime. Killing 20,000 Iraqis on false pretexts? Yeah, that’s terrorism, and it’s a crime. And it’s not even disguised, everybody knows, as Leonard Cohen sang, but that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax – you’re inability to recover anything meaningful from your culture. You’ve got to take back the means of production, the language, make it real. Make it new. I find saying “freaking” a lot helps. But that may just be me.

Anyways, crime – whether spectacular or not -- can be dealt with democratically agreed upon laws. Even Hitler was put on trial. In the State of the Union address, Bush tried to discredit this idea. Not because it’s not true. No, precisely because it IS true. And it is a truth that would stop his rapacious agenda, were it to be allowed, which is why it isn’t.

The U.S. will answer to no one, he said. We freaking hate this guy, and anyone who says you shouldn’t is nuts. He will be remembered as one of the most reviled figures in modern history. You’ve got your work cut out for you this year. Take a vacation next year, because if he is not stopped in 2004, people are going to wonder why. It will be on your heads. Prove you still have a democracy, or prove it’s dead. It’s that stark, and it’s up to you.

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