Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the October 2012 issue


An arcane communiqué written in the autobiographical mode, pursuant to some esoteric aspiration, by an obvious idiot:

Today, I am one week sober.

Visiting family in Kentucky recently, I consumed my last meal at Chick-Fil-A: one chicken sandwich, no pickle; eight nuggets of tender white meat; and an order of salt-crusted waffle fries that were so perfectly crisp, no dipping sauce was needed.

It was a private moment. I ate the sandwich first, knowing that if I was truly full, the logical thing to sacrifice would be the fries. As the salty-sweet crunch melted on my taste buds, I thought about all the calories I had consumed over the years. There was last Christmas in Austin, where my parents reside, when I drove through the pick-up window for five consecutive meals. I felt sick after the third. The next morning I waited 15 minutes for the doors to open and then ordered two flaky, buttery chicken biscuits. There were the frequent visits during middle school, a 30-minute drive to the edge of town, where dinners were topped off with brownies à la mode. It’s only clear now, 14 years wiser and 30 pounds lighter, the pact I had made with myself: to eat the gay away.

Somewhere between the last nugget and my inaugural fry, I started to fill up but pushed through—some weird, masochistic homage to my former self. When I was finished, a polite woman with bluntly chopped blond hair approached my table. She pulled her red and white visor straight and reached for my tray. “Can I get you anything else, darlin’?” she asked with a thick, Southern drawl and smiled.

And my answer was simply, regretlessly, finally: No.

(August 3, 2012)

The Nation

A mob descends on Obama head-quarters:

On July 18, 111 days before the November election, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx arrived at Obama head-quarters for a special announcement. Flanked by a dozen campaign volunteers, Foxx explained how the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, the first in the state’s history, would boost the president’s organizing efforts in this crucial battleground state. 

“From the day North Carolina was selected,” Foxx said, “it was clear that the Obama campaign was committed to delivering the Tarheel State for President Obama once again.”

(August 27/September 3, 2012)

New York Review of Books

One-worlder Russell Baker spots one of Our Country’s most alarming distinguishing characteristics en route to traducing the sainted Woodrow:

Fear of the evil foreigner seems to be an ever-present poison in American politics, and it was running higher than usual in 1917 when young J. Edgar Hoover took his first job at the Justice Department. It is a fear that flourishes most dangerously when whooped up by politicians too highly reputed as statesmen to be dismissed as demagogues, and the man whooping loudest in 1917 was President Woodrow Wilson, the most pious statesman of the day. 

(August 16, 2012)

Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Miss Sylvia Flores responds with equable stupidity to Mr. Sam A. Westergren’s stirring call for Obamacare on the Correspondence page of a great American gazette and delicatessen: 

Sam A. Westergren, you made my day! I agree with your letter 100 percent (“Benefits of health care act,” May 30).

Why can’t people understand the good in the affordable care act? Imagine, they are turning down a health plan that lets their child stay on their insurance plan until they are 26 years old and they can’t be denied coverage if they have a pre-existing condition.

Empty minds make bad decisions! They are like sheep that follow the other sheep into oblivion. Our president needs four more years to undo the debacle he stepped into three-and-a-half years ago.

Sylvia Flores

(June 3, 2012)

The Progressive

The abuse of a young boy by columnist Kate Clinton, as her “galpal” stands by and apparently does nothing:

In a breather from an epic good monster v.  bad monster tickle fight with my four-year-old across-the-hall neighbor, he looked at me and asked, “Are you a boy?” I said, “No, Will. I’m a girl.” My dear partner overheard our exchange, leaned in, and explained, “She’s not a boy. She’s gender nonconforming.”

My galpal then went on to explain that people expect girls and boys to wear certain clothes, play certain sports, and act certain ways. When they don’t, it sometimes confuses people. She concluded, “But Kate is definitely a girl.” Will seemed perplexed…

(June 2012)

Rolling Stone

A middle-aged guitarist from some moronic band called Rage Against the Machine takes umbrage at one of Congressman Paul Ryan’s sunny pleasantries and runs up his blood pressure in an op-ed excursus of pishposh for a famous children’s magazine. Tsk, tsk: 

…Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.

Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.

I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “F—k the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!

Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta “rage” in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions. You see, the super rich must rationalize having more than they could ever spend while millions of children in the U.S. go to bed….”

(August 16, 2012)

New York Times

And that which AmSpec perceives as absurdity, the columnist Miss Maureen Dowd envisions as a polemical thrust of genius:

Tom Morello, the Grammy-winning, Harvard-educated guitarist for the metal rap band Rage Against the Machine, punctured Paul Ryan’s pretensions to cool in a Rolling Stone essay rejecting R&R (Romney ’n’ Ryan) as R&R (rock ’n’ roll).

“He is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades,” Morello writes, adding: “I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta ‘rage’ in him: A rage against women….” 

(August 19, 2012)

And there is more! The delusional Miss Dowd sees an army of pregnant women threatening American national security from Nicaragua:

Just as Cheney was always willing to cough up money to guerrillas in Nicaragua and Angola but not to poor women whose lives were endangered by their pregnancies, so Ryan helped pay for W.’s endless wars….

(August 19, 2012)

NY Times Magazine

The threat of war swirls around the Middle East, the act of war continues in Afghanistan, recession afflicts the Western world, and neither the Mets nor the Yankees are doing very well. So what does the inimitable Times feature in its Sunday magazine? This: 

The night before Susan and Rob allowed their son to go to preschool in a dress, they sent an e-mail to parents of his classmates. Alex, they wrote, “has been gender-fluid for as long as we can remember, and at the moment he is equally passionate about and identified with soccer players and princesses, superheroes and ballerinas (not to mention lava and unicorns, dinosaurs and glitter rainbows).” They explained that Alex had recently become inconsolable about his parents’ ban on wearing dresses beyond dress-up time. After consulting their pediatrician, a psychologist and parents of other gender-nonconforming children, they concluded that “the important thing was to teach him not to be ashamed of who he feels he is.” Thus, the purple-pink-and-yellow-striped dress he would be wearing that next morning. For good measure, their e-mail included a link to information on gender-variant children.

(August 12, 2012)

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