Wednesday, November 24, 2004

How Do You Know You're In Hooterville?

Some people have been asking me, "What do you mean, Hooterville?" Are you wondering just where this 'Hooterville' is? Hooterville is a place where, just when you think you understand how to play the game, you find that the rules have been changed. It's a place of double-whammies, double-speak, and double standards. So, without further ado, let me present "A Tourist's Guide To Hooterville, or How to Support a Family of Four on $6.00 An Hour". And, please feel free to contribute your own 'Hooterville' ideas!

You Know You're In Hooterville When...

  • can impeach one president for lying about sexual favors, but another president, whose lies kill thousands of our own troops, gets a free pass.

  • ...the worse the economy gets and the higher the deficit climbs, the louder our 'leaders' crow about how much better off we are.

  • ...the people in charge of 'regulating' our industries are the same people who are supposed to be 'regulated' - i.e. the Energy Commission (see Chapter 4 - "The Foxes Are Guarding The Henhouse")

  • ...when the party that prides itself on being 'morally superior' to its opposing party reverses its own rule about members of Congressional leadership (which stated that they must resign when they are indicted for criminal behavior) when there is a possibility of it applying to one of their own members (House Majority Leader Tom DeLay)

Okay, that's a start...any others?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Gimme That Countryside!

I used to have a better sense of humor before the election.

I am always astonished at the way conservatives love to insist that their ideas are based on logic, while liberals are guided by uninformed, soft-headed emotions. It seems to me to be the exact opposite. Scratch a conservative hard enough, and you'll find the emotional trigger that makes them fear women, freedom (real freedom, not 'freedom'), gays, the poor, those of alternate skin persuasions, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, intellectuals (how they managed to demonize knowledge is quite a trick, but they done done it!), etc., and makes them sitting ducks for those truly unscrupulous power-whores who use them to advance their real goals - personal power and wealth.

Conservative? Not a chance, friends. Not this bunch. Real conservatives...conserve! Not recklessly spend money they don't have to steal things they have no right to. These guys LOVE welfare and affirmative action, as long it's for their corporate pals and their progeny. Fiscal responsibility is for suckers, and so is civic responsibility and duty to country - you can bet none of their kids' butts are on the front lines in Falloujah; they'll be partying - I mean studying - at the Ivy League college of their parents' legacies.

While they blather on about 'life is precious', they're happy to needlessly and callously expend the lives of our servicemen and women like so many wadded-up tissues in pursuit of their own ends, while destroying any shred of moral authority that the United States was once proud to claim. The vast, yawning chasm between what they say and what they do is tantamount to the Orwellian slogan "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH". (In searching for the exact quote, I found this: )

I Get Allergic Smelling Hay

I got motivated to do this blog by another blog called "Left of Center" and in an entry entitled "Elitist" he posted a link (with excellent commentary) to a stunningly bad, almost Shatner-esque 'poem' by right-wing bloviator Sean Hannity.

It can be viewed here:

I was so amazed at its puerile platitudinousness that I had to comment, which I'll copy here (slightly edited) as well...

Eat your heart out, Rod McKuen.

Boy, it just burns me up to hear these guys trying to appropriate "moral values" for themselves, as if they hold the patent on them (although I wouldn't put it past them to try!)

Really, there's so much to work with here...

"shop at Wal-Mart", do ya? yeah, you're really concerned about the small businesses that Wal-Mart obliterates in every community it steam-rollers into due to its total world-wide domination of bulk buying, which no small-town store can possibly compete with, and the baby-sitting wages it pays its workers...

"we raise our children as best we can"

Good for you, Sean - personally, I loathe mine and send 'em out to play in traffic on a regular basis.

"we fly business class"... now just what the h-e-double hockey sticks is THAT supposed to mean? Too good for coach, or too cheap for first class? That one's a puzzler, Sean.

"we'll help anyone who really needs it" ...and, let me'll be the one deciding who really needs it, won't you? Notice how quickly the catch-phrase (or oxymoron) 'compassionate conservative' was tossed aside after the 2000 election? Sounds a lot like the noises from W that were his feeble approximation of conciliation: "With the campaign over, Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results. I will reach out to everyone who shares our goals" (emphasis mine)...don't say he didn't warn us.

"We expect to be able to watch a football game with our kids and not have to worry about the content of the half-time show"

No sir, no breasts for your kids, eh, Sean? Just plenty of good ol' fashioned beer ads to encourage the budding alcoholics in all of us. Kids LOVE beer ads - the funnier and more engaging and entertaining, the better! That's the American Way!

"farms, ranches, small businesses"? - not for long if Big Business continues to merge and consolidate... How's your little farm going to compete with ConAgra? It's not - not if Big Business' best li'l buddy has anything to say about it!

Well, I could go on and on, but I won't - the hardest thing about it was actually going to that site and having to look at that smug, self-satisfied so-and-so. There was quite a bit of time when I forced myself to listen to guys like Hannity and O'Reilly (although I couln't quite manage Limbaugh), because I truly wanted to know how they see things, how they can take the same basic set of facts and come up with a completely different worldview, but I just had to stop. It's too awful. It's too illogical.

I'm not sure I have it in me to read an actual book by Hannity (or Coulter, O'Reilly, and their ilk). I'd like to try, just for the moral exercise, but I'm afraid I'd get all junkyard-dog during the first chapter, and a perfectly good $20 book would be on the floor in shreds, covered with little flecks of foam.

Welcome To Hooterville

Like a lot of people I know, I'm a little dazed and disoriented. I didn't expect to be hit quite so hard by the outcome of the election, although I knew I was invested in 2004 like never before. Never before did it seem to me so imperative to change the direction of the country. Never before was it so clear to me that we had not only an incompetent President, but a cruel one, propped up by a vicious and greedy Administration. In the months leading up to the election, I made phone calls, wrote letters, talked to anyone who would listen, supported my candidate. I was heartened to find that there were many others that felt the way I did. Surely, after the Travesty of 2000, things would be different this time around.

Alas, it was not to be.

On the morning of Nov. 4, I woke up in Hooterville.

Hooterville, for those of you who don't remember the '60s TV sitcom "Green Acres", was a small rural town filled with crazy people. Let me take this opportunity to fervently stress that it is not the 'ruralness' (for lack of a better word) that I am referring to here. These same types of characters can be found in virtually any sitcom setting - big city, suburbs, rich, poor - so don't go thinking I'm bashing the 'Heartland' like some over-educated, no-values-having, Cosmopolitan-swilling liberal elitist. It just happened to be the setting for this show. For those still unclear on the concept, think "The Simple Life" meets Franz Kafka. Anyhow, the story is about a New York City lawyer who longs to lead a simpler, more uncomplicated life - to buy a real farm and really farm it; to get 'back to the land'. His ditsy-but-sexy Hungarian wife loves the big city and has no interest in leaving New York. The husband puts his foot down, however, and off they go.

Once they get to bucolic Hooterville, though, nothing is as it seems. Bets are taken by the locals as to how long the greenhorns will last. Right away poor Oliver Douglas has to start dealing with the resident Con-Man-In-Chief, Mr. Haney, who, having begun the show with a swindle, makes it his mission in life to fleece Mr. Douglas at every opportunity while ladling on the country charm.

Everyone on that show, including his wife, was just nuttier than a fruitcake, and yet Mr. Douglas was the one who was unable to prevail. A reasonably sensible man, he stood no chance of success, because he was trying to deal with his neighbors in a rational, logical way. In return, he was constantly lied to, important information that everyone else knew was routinely kept from him, he was tricked into paying for things that already belonged to him. And, of course, always served up with a heapin' helping of hot, steaming corn-pone.

I didn't watch the show all that much growing up because it made me vaguely uncomfortable. It seemed wrong, somehow, that this basically decent guy couldn't get a break, ever. He didn't try to come in to the town and change things; he just wanted to learn how to fit in. He tried to play by the rules, but they kept changing the rules on him. His only fault was not being as crazy as the rest of them.

This is how I've been feeling lately - as if I have somehow wandered onto the set of "Green Acres". The inmates are in charge of the asylum. I've put up this blog in order to try and sort out what the hell happened, what the hell's going on now, and what the hell to do next!