Ever get an annoying snippet of song stuck in your brain and there it stays annoying you for days? The same thing happend while I was watching the Nova special on building the 9-11 memorial. The project is huge and impressive, the new WTC skyscraper astoundingly beautiful. Then therei's the memorial footprint pool. Quite amazing with the carefully constructed weir's allowing a soft fall of cascading water that flows down into a reflecting pool and from there the pooled water falls down a square hole in the middle. (I gather people can go under the pool and look up out of the hole as well.) The architect who designed the pool wanted to try to create a presence of absence, to create a kind of rememberence of that which is now gone.
But watching the memorial in action, the water slipping over the weirs and down the walls and heading for the square hole in the middle, I suddenly had one of those awful, unwelcome brain glitches and now here's what I keep seeing everytime I see that memorial pool: Instead of a vast pool the exact footprint of the missing World Trade Towers with the whole vast, unbroken shimmering surface reflecting the sky, reflecting emptiness, reflecting absence, now all I keep seeing is a giant kitchen sink with the ghostly presences all being constantly washed down the square drain.
Which isn't what the architect had in mind and isn't exactly the image you want to present in a memorial. But there it is, stuck in my brain. Kitchen sink. Drain.
At Least Michele Bachman Fixed Her Hair
In the last GOP debate, Bachman was really scary looking. She's got problem eyes. They're deep-set and squinty when they're not looking wild and barking mad, and when you add in a giant helmet of hair surrounding those squinty eyes and the piranah-teeth smile, the whole effect is scary.
Thank goodness, in last night's debate, somebody got hold of Bachman's hair and tamped it down and back, which softened her whole face and made her look much calmer and more pulled together. All of which, when you think about it, is weird. These pols have access to and can afford the best make-up people in the world. (For God's sake, call the folks from "What Not To Wear." The hairdresser on that show would have whipped Bachman's hair into shape months ago.) But too often, I suspect they just don't avail themselves of that expert advice and the result can be disastrous.
It's all about the visual nowadays, body language, clothes, hair, make up, and not just for women pols either. We humans lead with the gut, that instant judgement that often defies explication, but there it is. You could have the greatest ideas in the world, have the most impressive resume, but if you're visually too short, too fat, too frumpy, too old, and too wussy and wonky, you're doomed. It's all about the visual, the gut instinct.
Kabuki theatre, actors hiding behind symbolic costumes and masks posturing on a stage, highly stylized symbols, gesturing. And that's who voters vote for. God help us.
Cap Doff To The Trib
No, honestly. The Tribune's been running "Fact Check" under its reports on the debates. Thank you for that. One of the most frustrating things about these debates is the amount of pure bull crap that gets shoveled out to the audience, none of it corrected or even foot-noted. Since so many voters don't read, aren't policy or political wonks and junkies, about all the information they get is in media selected "sound bites" and misleading campaign stump speech snippets -- Bulls--t, in other words. Vast carloads of it. The perfect environment to create, grow and plant false narratives (see Frank Luntz, the most dangerous man in America) and invent The Big Lies that, if repeated often enough, become received Truth in the minds of the voters. So, more "fact checks," please.
Place Yer Bets, Ladies and Gentlemen
President Obama has sent his jobs plan to the Republican-controlled Congress. It's his "pass this bill, now" bill and it will pay for jobs fixing schools, bridges, etc. by raising taxes by limiting itemized decuctions for charitable contributions for people making over $200,00, close loopholes for those poor oil and gas companies (who everyone knows are really suffering financially), require fund managers pay higher taxes on certain types of their income (Wall Street fund managers are also poor and suffering, Lord knows), and change the taxing on corporate jets.
So, lay your bets: Will Republicans vote to fix schools and bridges (thereby putting regular, non-rich people back to work so they can pay their rent, buy food and perhaps buy a widget or two thereby causing the widget factory owner to hire a few more widget-makers) or will they stand fast with millionaires, corporate jet owners and oil companies?