Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the February 2012 issue

The Nation
Marxist-Leninist poet William Greider beholds the shantytowns inhabited by the stalwarts of Masturbate Now and the activists of Defecate for the World, and he envisions a new generation of Flower Power with Hippies being replaced by the casual rapists and muggers. Oh beauty and sweetness, midst feculence and hot air:

Out in the streets, meanwhile, the contrast with the brain-dead politics is exhilarating. In Occupy Wall Street, we are witnessing a rare event—the birth of a social movement. Ordinary people are engaging in sustained grassroots protest against the political order and against citizens' exclusion from the decision-making that governs their lives. They seek to rearrange the distribution of power, and they are doing so by injecting a creative, often playful vitality that has been missing in our decayed democracy. The protesters have slipped around the soul-deadening, high-gloss marketing of mass-communication culture. Instead, they insist that politics starts with citizens talking to one another and listening—agreeing and disagreeing with mutual respect. [We all have seen how much mutual respect the Occupiers have for disagreement—Ed.] The open-door, nonhierarchical membership commits people to engage in what historian Lawrence Goodwyn calls "democratic conversation."

The Occupy protesters are acting like citizens, believing they have the power to change things. Their ambition reflects a core mystery of American democracy—the fact that humble people can acquire power when they convince themselves they can. Warmhearted and broadminded, these citizens audaciously claim to speak for the 99 percent.…
(December 12, 2011)

New York Review of Books
The sad state into which the Hon. George McGovern has fallen, as witnessed by forty cranks at Zuccotti Park:

Both the weather and the living conditions of Zuccotti Park have grown harsher. On October 29, the occupiers endured their first snowstorm. There was much anxiety—heating generators had been deemed a fire hazard and confiscated by the fire department the day before—and the park had the look of an arctic encampment…. The General Assembly, usually a sprawling affair, had no more than forty shivering participants shouting into the freezing rain. A bedraggled man who had arrived that day from Hawaii announced his candidacy for president and asked for the movement's blessing.
(November 10, 2011)

The Progressive
Some deranged editorialist at The Prog looks out on the capital of a country that in 2010 turned a Democratic majority at the House of Representatives for a Republican majority of 242 and sees Pyongyang, North Korea. Imagine his derangement when the 2012 elections come round:

If you live in Washington, D.C., for any time at all, the rigged nature of our system becomes blatantly obvious. So dominant is the power of money, so subservient are politicians to the corporations and the wealthy that finance them, so unresponsive is the supposedly democratic system to the needs of the people that there can be no denying the class bias of our government.
(November 2011)

The New Republic
An excitable reporter for TNR begins a frightening exposé of Mitt Romney's volcanic temper that ends with the tacit question hanging in the chill air: "Can we trust this madman near the nuclear trigger?"

It was an odd and unexpected moment when, on October 18 at the CNN debate in Las Vegas, the normally even-keeled Mitt Romney suddenly lost his cool. Challenged by Rick Perry about once having employed illegal immigrants as lawn workers, Romney initially answered with a chuckle and strained smile; but, when Perry kept interrupting his attempt at a reply, Romney's temperature shot skyward. "Anderson?" he called to the moderator, and, when no help arrived, he turned on Perry, his voice rising to a shout and his eyes flashing with anger. "Would you please wait?" he barked at Perry…[Yes, barked—Ed.]
(December 15, 2011)

Huffington Post
A profoundly disappointed Miss Julianne Moore tenders another cri de coeur, regarding the pulchritudinous Sarah Palin:

Actress Julianne Moore does her due diligence in researching the characters she portrays on screen—and when it come to playing Sarah Palin, there was no exception.

At an event last week, the 51-year-old actress told the New York Daily News she "read every single thing" she could about the former Alaska governor and "watched every interview" in order to prepare for her role as Palin in next year's HBO mini-series, "Game Change."

All that information must have been eye-opening for Moore, right? Not so much.

When asked if she had developed a newfound respect for Palin after all her research, the actress raised an eyebrow and sighed deeply. "No," she told the paper quietly.
(December 13, 2011)

In These Times
Thus begins another soporific editorial meeting at In These Times, a leading magazine of the left's New Emptiness movement:

I am sitting in a peace pipe circle of about a dozen people led by a half-Seminole, half-white medicine man named James Mooney. Another man, Jeffrey Bronfman, is shaking black pipe ash into my cupped hands and praying over it as others sit contemplatively, staring at a painted bull skull in the middle of the circle. Mooney blows smoke into the air, and it hovers for a few seconds before floating into the New Mexico desert.
(January 2012)

New York Times
After several months' absence from appearing in this illustrious department, Miss Maureen Dowd is back from institutional confinement yet she remains her girlish self:

I was intrigued to learn that the president and I have the same favorite new TV series: Showtime's spectacular "Homeland," set right here in the capital.

The season finale is tonight, and finales of addictive shows can be tricky and disappointing. However it ends, though, they should dispense with the Best-Actors-in-a-Drama contest and just ship the Emmys to Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.

"Homeland" is about an American Marine coming back from Iraq to a welter of problems, a subject with special resonance for the president and America this past week. A bipolar C.I.A. agent warns her skeptical bosses that the Marine, held in Iraq as a P.O.W. for eight years and now returning as a hero, could be a terrorist.
(December 18, 2011)

From the Archives

Timeless Tosh from Current Wisdoms Past
(February 1992)

From the distinguished James Michener, the case for slavery:

The best money I have spent in my life was not that used to make me either happier or more comfortable, but the taxes I have paid to the various governments under which I have lived. In general, governments have spent their share of my money more wisely and with better results than I have spent my own funds, and one aspect of my life about which I am most ashamed is that I spent most of a decade living in three states that had no state income tax—Texas, Florida, and Alaska—and the deficiencies that the first two suffered because of that lack were evident daily. I like states like New York, Massachusetts, and California, which do tax and spend their income wisely.
(November 24, 1991)

Newhall Signal & Saugus Enterprise
Still more evidence for the end of history:

Public Notice

…The application of Deborah Anne Ziegler for change of name(s) having been filed in Court, and it appearing from said application that Deborah Anne Ziegler has filed an application proposing that the name(s) be changed to Euphrasia Lavette Alzena Guri Scientia Ventura Ikuru Alvera Ganbatte Gelasia Curvilinearjky….
(August 9, 1991)

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