Calhoun’s Cannons for Nov 16, 11
I watched as many of the Republican debates as I could stand without having to arrest myself for cruel and inhumane punishment, something candidate Michelle Bachman is four-square in favor of. So it’s clear to me its paper-bag-over-the-head time because nobody has any sense of shame any more since most of the candidates are suffering from The Sarah Palin Syndrome: no real-world assessment of self except some glowing, aggrandized version of, “ Of course I’m qualified to be President! I’m Wonderful Me!”
Even worse, I don’t think the public has any sense of shame either, which likely comes from too many people watching too many Mean-Girl, Gong-Show “reality” programs. In that world, talent-bereft, unqualified, humiliation-proof narcissists are the norm. And when those shameless characters show up on the political/public stage, the voters clearly don’t hear alarm bells going off in their heads. I mean, in a sane world, most of the Republican candidates wouldn’t have any poll numbers higher than zero.
So, it’s paper bag time for cowboy Rick Perry. He can’t even remember what he’s supposed to be adamantly opposed to. This is a guy whose brain can barely manage to operate on bumper-sticker slogans. Paper bag over the head for him.
And Newt? Really? Newt? He’s a hack who truly knows no shame. His overweening sense of his own wonderfulness has allowed him to shamelessly spend years turning up like a bad penny to haul his tired old failed ideas out of his portmanteau for all who will listen, blissfully unaware that the sane people in his audience are rictus-smiling and nervously edging out of their seats. Shhh, don’t make any sudden moves. Keep smiling. The door’s that way. That guy has so much shameful baggage, he doesn’t need a paper bag. He needs a Luis Vuitton suitcase the size of New Jersey, all charged to his $500,000 revolving Tiffany account. Paper bag him.
Ditto for Herman Cain. He needs a whole lot of paper bags to carry the lists of names of all the ladies who are coming out of the woodwork to complain of his improper canoodling. Plus, during a sit-down with newspaper editors from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he apparently had trouble understanding which Lybia was under discussion. Oh, Gaddafi, right, you mean that Lybia? In a reasonable world, his polling numbers would be minus-zero
As for More Water-boarding Michelle? Please. Paper bag.
And it doesn’t stop with presidential candidates. Jack Abramoff has hired some big PR flaks and will soon be staging a comeback. You remember Casino Jack, corrupt and corrupting lobbyist who would sell his grandmother to his mother then sell them both down the river? Major player in Bush’s Washington who has been spending time in jail for his efforts? Well, he’s coming baaaaccckkkk. And, unlike Nixon’s hatchet-man, Charles Colson, who found God while in prison, while Jack is claming a similar enlightenment, he isn’t planning to return to a quiet life of private penance for his sins. Oh, no. Jack’s back. Shameless. No paper bags for him. But will the public care? Will they boo and hiss and demand he go away? Not likely. Not in “Jersey Shore America.”
Not in Penn State America, either. Before the growing list of victims has even been identified, the alleged molester, Jerry Sandusky, appears on TV brazenly soft-soaping and justifying his behavior as “horseplay,” while the first reaction to all this by some Penn State students was to riot to protest the firing of their legendary Coach who did “as little as possible” to protect the boys, thereby doing “as much as possible” to protect the man who was preying on them. And now everyone is changing their stories, scrambling to cover their bare behinds with gym towels that are now suddenly the size of a micron.
Have we really come to this? Has our common sense, our basic sense of decency, our critical sense of what’s real versus what’s fake been so corrupted that we no longer know the difference? Or care? If so, then it’s time to bring back the paper bag.
In the Nov. 24 Rolling Stone magazine article, Matt Taibbi observes that the Occupy Wall Street movement “was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance. It’s about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street, but everything. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become. If there is such a thing as going on strike from one’s own culture, this is it.”
Gold star for Matt. He’s got it just about right.