LI has been a little flabbergasted, flummoxed, depressed, ironed out, shaken up, titrated and itchified by the publicity surrounding the bribes raised by the current crop of presidential candidates. It seems to us, oh, slightly demented that our politically savvy writers are comparing the swag, like some ancient folly Gibbon would record, with marmoreal poise, about the screwier Cesaers in an imperial trough period. Except it is Hilary to Romney to Obama – whose price is right? Famously, the silver age of arty cinema in the U.S. – the seventies – was swept away by the packaged blockbuster, one of the symptoms of which was the sudden popular interest in grosses. The grosses are now part of the roll out package. And LI, crowlike, can only dirge and caw at these signs of the hypno-apocalypse.
Since the landsmarks separating the mad from the sane have been so swept away, LI turns, desperately, to those who can truly be considered barking mad for some extreme onto which we can throw an anchor and say: here, at least, is clear insanity. Which is why we like Ralph Peters, the man who toured Iraq last year and pronounced it safe and sound and ready for business – a triumph of an occupation, all things considered, and to only to be compared with some copious bowel movement by Winston Churchill; the man who published a joke map of the middle east showing it all cut up into the bits the Cheney-ites dream of; and the man who has a nice little column in the NY Post, yesterday, attacking the British navy. The style is the man:
“THE greatest shock from the Middle East this year hasn't been terrorist ruthlessness or the latest Iranian tantrum. It's that members of Britain's Royal Marines wimped out in a matter of days and acquiesced in propaganda broadcasts for their captors.
Jingoism aside, I can't imagine any squad of U.S. Marines behaving in such a shabby, cowardly fashion. Our Marines would have fought to begin with. Taken captive by force, they would've resisted collaboration. To the last man and woman.
You could put a U.S. Marine in a dungeon and knock out his teeth, but you wouldn't knock out his pride in his country and the Corps. "Semper fi" means something.
And our Aussie allies would be just as tough.”
At one point, after the glorious end of the Vietnam war, American militarism experienced a brief period of illegitimacy and ridicule. Ah, those were the days! A demoralized America – I’m doing my best to bring that back! The idea of an officer with his eyes popping out, his face red, yelling like a Tourette’s victim, was actually considered quite funny, instead of an idolon of emulation for today’s gamers and libertarians. Now, of course, such types are immediately slapped with a contract by one reactionary media company or another.
LI wonders why the true predecessor for the rightwing style of high cholesterol bollocks is never given his due. I’m talking, of course, of Ed Anger, the long respected columnist for the World Weekly News, who died in 2004. WWN, you will remember, is the only newspaper to focus on the alien and his presidential endorsements. It was due to Ed that the paper discovered that marvel that scientists are still wondering about: the bat boy. Anger was the author of “Let's Pave the Stupid Rainforests & Give School Teachers Stun Guns”, which I hope all of my readers have profitably perused.
This is a typical Ed Anger opening graf:
“I'm madder than Judge Judy with her mouth wired shut over a couple of stories I just read in my hometown paper. One was about a judge declaring a mistrial in a murder case just because a juror kept catching some Z's during the trial. Another high-and-mighty judge sentenced a courtroom spectator to two days in jail because she dozed off while waiting for a friend's traffic case to get over with. I've been on jury duty several times before, because I feel it's my civic duty, just like owning 37 firearms, for when I need to defend my home against an assault by Cuban, North Korean, Iraqi, Russian or U.N. paratroopers! I know how boring sitting in a court can be, because I had trouble staying awake there, too.”
The difference is that Ralph Peters seems much more unhinged. The idea of Crocodile Dundee laughing at those sand monkeys, though – that is straight up Ed Anger.
Poor Ed! He kept having to move the stakes, as his message, his ersatz anger, his insane political viewpoint, was mainstreamed. There is a nice scene in Robert Stone’s Dog Soldiers set in a tabloid like WWN in the early 1970s. The place is run, of course, by old communists from the days of the blacklist and such. The protagonist, or one of them, a writer on a downer, went to Vietnam as a freelance stringers, and – making a truly disastrous decision – has come back as a heroin entrepreneur, but of course a corrupt DEA man – if that isn’t a redundant phrase – is after his horse. As a former writer for the tabloid, and the son in law of the owner, he goes there for advice and is caught up in a discussion about the front page story. What should it be? A headline is needed – then the story will be fabricated for it. And he comes up with a stroke of genius: Skydiver Rapes, Kills Bride. The story would have everything - a marriage out in a field, a skydiver whose parachute won't open, a fatal fall into the bride, coinciding with a final sexual act, making it a murder/rape/fatal accident in one. Stone, in his recent biography, admits that he took swathes of the tabloid scene from his own life, for he worked for a couple of tabloids. His greatest headline, though, was: Skydiver devoured by starving birds, although Mad Dentist yanks Girl’s Tongue came in second.
Life has always been more tabloid than NYT. Ralph Peters proves it – surely he is the Batboy’s cousin once removed.