Calhoun's Cannons for Nov 1, 2013
It's getting difficult to walk through the living room now because of the dizziness caused by the eye rolling. When I turn on the TV or radio or open a newspaper, it begins to flood the brain like fuzzy snow as the cascade of idiocy pours out. In an instant, they're everywhere. Makes it hard to move.
I refer, of course, to "air quotes." You know, when you're referencing something that's so blatantly phony you put your hands up in front of your face and make little quotation marks in the air with your fingers? Then roll your eyes?
When I'm alone I don't make the physical gesture to myself, except for the eye roll. I can't seem to stop that, but there they are inside my head like an annoying tic, all those little hands and little fingers twitching out little punctuation marks. Pick, up a paper, read anything to do with Congress or politics, or almost anything at all where somebody is weaseling, and suddenly it's one big flickering blur of air quotes.
The Select Committee to air quote Investigate air quote Benghazi? Or air quote investigate the Affordable Care Act's roll out? Investigate? Really? These Committees aren't interested in air quote investigating anything. Folks on those committees are only interested in bloviating and preening, and playing political gotcha during their three minute tap dances upon the national stage. Except Darrell (I'm-ready-for-my-close-up-Mr. DeMille) Issa. If he gets less than three minutes face time with the TV cameras rolling, he'll form another pointless committee to air quote investigate something else.
And what's so astonishing about all these airquote investigations is what they reveal: What a collection of dunces are running this country. I heard one technical expert commenting on the computer bungles of the ACA roll-out express astonishment at how technologically ignorant the air quote investigating Committee members were about how computer networks actually work. Indeed, he considered them to be dangerous fools. An apt judgment since these are the people responsible for crafting laws and policies about which they know less than nothing. After which they form committees to air quote investigate why the policies and programs they know nothing about went kerflooey?
Where in God's name did we get these people? I mean, Louie Gomert? Really? Is that the best Texas can do? And Darrell Issa? California should put The Paper Bag of Shame on its head. Or people like the air quote right honorable Congressman who personally raked in $3.5 million in taxpayer financed air quote farm subsidies, then voted to cut food stamp programs that keep hungry children fed, all in the name of air quote saving taxpayers money? Same guy who quotes scripture and runs on a platform of air quote family values?
It's endless. You can't turn around without bumping into air quotes. Name any issue facing this country: Air quote National Security. Air quote National Debt. Air quote Reforming Medicare. Air quote Saving Social Security. Air quote Climate Change. Air quote Income Disparity. Air quote Child Poverty. Roll eyes.
None of these serious issues mean anything any more. Not really. Thanks to the corruption of our political speech (Pace, Frank Luntz, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Faux Noise, et al) everything has become "so-called," the alternative version of the air quote. And it's all slipped down the rabbit hole into Alice in WonderlandVille where Humpty Dumpty rules: "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less."
And in a country where science, technology, facts, honesty, clarity, even practical, grown-up common sense is ignored in favor of hypocritical morality, dishonest ideology, scientific illiteracy and technological Ludditism, a country where everything is transformed into a so-called, air quote fake, how can serious people govern themselves?
Yes. I know. Roll eyes. Then head for cover.