Can you let Fabian do more columns? He was awesome.
Fabian Wayne iz da man! No fooling, that was totally hilarious. I want to party with that kid. I want to bite his headset right offa that dimpled chin. And I’m straight!
More Fabian, for real.
Straight is as straight does.
I so, so, so freaking love Fabian! Thanks for letting him finally speak!
It’s true, he’s very loveable.
Maybe you should do one week you, one week Fabian. Or hey, how about letting Candy talk once in a while? What, do you make her wear a burka? Hell, all that matters is that Fabian gets more airtime. You know what I’m saying? I mean, I dig your routine and all, but F-dog is where it’s at. More Fabes!
It seems to be a groundswell. I promise to consider widening his scope of responsibilities.
I have read an article this weekend which says maybe those headsets cause cancer. Cancer! Tell Fabian to take that thing off right now! This moment! What does he need them for anyway, I wonder? Am I to believe every publisher in Manhattan is calling you nineteen times a day? No, I do not think so. You are getting no calls, I would bet. Also, Fabian looks too thin. Like he’s not eating enough. Why isn’t he eating? And why is he smiling all the time? Up to no good, with that look. The canary that ate the rat. And if he is going to wear a headset, he could at least call once in a while! Just not in the morning, please. In the morning I am getting the treatment. On my bunions. Bunion treatments. Fabian needs more soup!
I do not approve.
Dear Mrs. Wayne
I understand completely and will talk to Fabian today. Also, I will take him for an extravagant lunch and insist that he finish everything on his plate. Incidentally, I believe the link between Bluetooth and cancer is overstated, although it bears watching. Otherwise, I trust everything is good with you and Dr. Wayne? Is he still having his spells? I understand the weather in Malta is beautiful this time of year. Well, time to dredge the moat. Do not hesitate to write again if you need anything.
I can’t believe I actually used to believe in Obama. Not even just believe, but for a whole year there, the guy was my hero! But in the end he didn’t deliver shit. So I had to cut his ass loose.
Anybody want to buy a signed CHANGE poster, cheap?
I understand how you feel. But keep in mind that being president is impossible. It was impossible for Thomas Jefferson, it was impossible for George Bush, and there is no way Obama can live up to the expectations you’ve emotionally grafted onto him. By “didn’t deliver” are you referring to the economy? As is evident by the partisan stasis on the debt ceiling, there is a dearth of ideas across the political spectrum. It’s hard to imagine our lot would be any more secure under any of the bouquet of turd-lilies currently vying for the Republican nomination. When the Greek banking system defaults we will all feel it, no matter our stance on immigration reform, for the same reasons that our economy collapsed in 2009. Namely, a barren economic culture that actively encouraged fraudulent investment packages involving derivatives and credit swaps to be cynically sold by the same banks that we then bailed out and allowed to use taxpayer money to recover fully and with bonus largesse, completely free of due recourse or penalty. Let alone mandatory public flogging of the leading CEO’s and most blatantly greed-engorged traders. Yes, I too was displeased with the president’s inaction in this matter. The silence of the fleeced is almost as disquieting as the cowardice of the elected. In a just world, Jacobin Posse 2.0 would have immediately stormed Wall Street and lopped Goldman head from Sachs neck. The Paris Commune should have been reinstated, with Anarchists and Marxists taking posts as axe-wielding regulators and FCC thugs. The financial services industry should have been draped in red silk, while white collar blood ran heavily in gutters and tranches and through the fingers of starving orphans. At the very least. But say Mitt Romney had won the last election. He too would have bailed out Wall Street, and even faster. He too would have passed a stimulus, but for even more money. He too would be struggling with unemployment and two unpaid wars and the fallacy that everything can be fixed without raising taxes while an intractable government wheezes through inspissated partisan maneuvering, regardless of the name of the majority party.
Ultimately, the hysterical criticism of Obama from the right (to be fair, often no less reactionary and ill-informed than the criticism of Bush from the left–although certainly more racist and venally orchestrated), which perhaps has seeped into your purview, isn’t with any specific policy. Especially since in truth the majority of Obama’s policy’s are to the right of Ronald Reagan and it’s our society that has become unrecognizably hidebound–it’s a critique without intellectual teeth, the lapdog yowling of those with a little red hard-on for the return to power in any guise.
The Dust’s America In Action Snapshot Moment: Democrats spout fey nostrums, Republicans spout faux-populist solecisms, and the middle sells its familial artifacts on eBay to pay for milk and heating oil.
I think the real problem is that we all have unrealistic and frankly childish beliefs about what presidents are capable of accomplishing. If a) every lobbyist was kicked out of Washington today, b) congressional rules were permanently altered to disallow filibusters, c) majority rule was re-embraced, d) election cycles were shortened to four months, e) all corporate political donations were immediately ended, f) Fox news was shuttered and burned in an empty field like a burlap sack full of vinegary shit, g) rote obstinacy was de-incentivized through an insistence on congressional representation by people other than jowly constipated white men, and h) real campaign spending limits were firmly established–then and only then could we truly hold our presidents culpable for the major issues that plague us. In the meantime it’s the president with the best press secretary who gets the largest presidential library after he slinks away from the White House like an oleaginous marmot, but all the same problems remain behind, to be skirted and denied in turn, and with even less efficacy, by the next candidate. It’s really only the most minor issues that presidents can actively control, and such shallow victories as are achieved tend to be touted with an array of brass self-congratulation and lockstepped Sousan flatulence. And so too, the epic disappointments are perhaps less epic and more impotently ordained. Thomas Jefferson failed to scuttle the Bill for Indian Removal. George Bush cut brush while the tides of Katrina swelled over Engineering Corps levees. And Barack Obama has perhaps foundered in both Afghanistan and Iraq, or at least been interred in the burgeoning karmic slough left by his unwillingness to acknowledge climate change in any meaningful way. In other words, we can really only criticize the actions of these men within the machinery of inertia that is congress, the media, citizen ignorance, and the glut of money that forever clogs the heart of politics.
The Dust’s Bonus Tuesday Political Epigram: Believers in the fantasy of political redress tend to embrace figures who have yet to be humbled by the limits of power, because believing in the numinous possibilities of Heroic Rule allows them a few golden months before they are deflowered by the ugliness of actual rule.
Or to put it another way: if you make a habit of beating off to your Change poster, in a country that hasn’t contained any genuine change since Civil Rights legislation was dragged kicking and screaming down its fearful, status-quo, White Is Right throat, it’s a bad look to then complain about post-inaugural chafing.
Not happy with Obama, Nate? Sure, that’s an easy stance to take. And warranted on any number of fronts. But you might as well be dismayed that he hasn’t come to your house and rewired the chandelier, then figured out why those shrubs next to the porch keep dying. President Bush didn’t pay off my student loans or write me a script for antibiotics, either. Clinton forgot to turn the bath off, and when the flood ruined the tile, refused to come over and re-caulk it with Hillary’s disdain.
I will never, ever forgive any of them.
But the fact that Obama used to be your hero and failed you is not Obama’s fault. It’s your internal narrative’s fault, a residue of the mercury poisoning from a boyhood of watching and believing in television derring-do, cowboys and dead indians, wised up street-corner gunsels and knights of chivalry and swordplay. It’s the need for heroes at all that is to blame. But you didn’t vote for a hero. Or if you did, you were duped, because there were no heroes on the ballot, and there hasn’t been one since George McGovern. And the way he fucked over Tom Eagleton pretty much auto-crossed his name off that ballot, too. On the other hand, in 2008 there was the choice of a candidate vastly smarter and more capable than George Bush. And you got him! So that’s something. Beyond that? Eh.
This Week’s The Dust’s Unasked For OED Style Definition: “Hero culture.” (noun) e-ero kul-ture: The vaguely religious, certainly fearful, and mostly pathetic vestigial need to coronate those among us who are just as fallible as we are, and to hope that their press release examples of athletic prowess, or unusual kindness, or policy brilliance, or military courage (Ted Sorenson, I’m speaking to you) will somehow erase all their other faults and flaws.
Ever read beyond the usual encomiums about the lives of Caesar Chavez, or Mother Theresa, or George Washington, or Gandhi? All of them were at least half-deluded, made colossal mistakes in judgement, frequently contradicted their stated beliefs, had ugly and unflattering personality quirks, were constantly fetishized by third parties with unseemly agendas, and yet have been swallowed and adopted as veritable saints whose true behaviors cannot be questioned while their names are being affixed to bridges and airports. That’s just the way our minds work. We need our heroes to be beyond pure, beyond critique, truly inhuman.
And they never are.
My feeling is that a hero is merely a person who incrementally and fairly anonymously improves the quality of life for those around them through action or output, without need of acknowledgment or reward. A hero is someone who has contributed something beautiful or original to our generally curt and brutish lives without the least expectation or need for recompense.
A DOZEN DUST HEROES:
Saul Bellow-Wrote multiple novels that defined a generation, a country, a sexuality, a religion, and the absence of that religion.
Stanley Kubrick-Director of vast detachment, icy exactitude, beautiful shot-making, post-anal perfectionism, and platinum stones.
Muhammad Ali-Had no beef with them Vietcong. Also, Manila.
Robert Mitchum-Former stevedore, chin of amazing cleft, deep gaze, and suave line-read. Born to burn down 1953 Tijauana with a bottle of whiskey the fanny of Jane Greer.
Christopher Hitchens-Smarter than any 14 fourteen given intellectuals spot-welded together at the temple.
Bessie Smith-Nobody in town can bake a sweet jelly roll like hers.
Epictetus-Born a slave, became a Stoic.
Alice Munro-short stories you could cut your teeth on. Prose that unflinchingly inhabits the female mind like no other.
Toussaint L’ouverture-Google Haiti. Then send ten dollars.
Bertrand Russell-There’s a reason he wasn’t a Christian, and it’s not, four thousand pages later, the failure of the Principia Mathematica.
Diane Arbus-Rich, dark prints, startling perception. The veil of depression falls, bleeds through, lingers.
Francis Bacon-First to realize that if you stuff a dead chicken with ice, eating it three days later won’t kill you.
CONVERSELY, THE DUST’S DOZEN MOST HATEFUL (extant) AMERICANS, EACH A DANGLING SACK OF PURE ANTI-HEROICS:
Nancy Grace– If there’s a missing pretty white girl whose death can be flogged for maximum ratings, or a grieving family who can be cowed into seamy interviews under the guise of journalism, Nancy and her leering, swinish face can be counted on to report every gruesome detail between these important commercial breaks.
Scott Walker-Thinks teachers make too much, dental plans displease Saint Ayn.
Bruce Jenner-Has had more plastic surgery than La Ciccone, but is 20% less of a fraudulent Kabbalist, desperately trying to hold onto 4-decade old sporting glory through the vehicle of a reality show about his adopted daughter’s colossal tits.
Lloyd Blankfein-A thousand times more debased than Bernie Madoff, but fucked you just as hard, claims his tenure as head of the cinematically avaricious Fresh Organ Vendor that is Goldman Sachs has been all about “doing God’s work.”
Judith Regan-Made a career of giddily demeaning the publishing industry, spread her knocked knees for the unhinged Bernard Kerick, worked closely with American Hero O.J. Simpson (who could at least have stabbed her in the arm a few times) on his cash-conjecture of how he “might have” murdered, published “books” by Robert Bork and Sean Hannity. Greatest triumph was delivering Jose Canseco’s second tome into the waiting arms of American dipshit culture.
Andrew Brietbart-Thinks climate change is a liberal machination, spawned James O’Keefe III, epitomizes the usage of “toxic” in regard to both politics and media, embodies the karma of intentionally spreading syphilis, owes Shirley Sherrod an apology, makes Lee Atwater seem fair and balanced, is a delirious bearded cunt.
Paris Hilton-refuses to Just Please Disappear Already, grins like a ferret, possesses the erotic gravity of grandma’s unshaven calves.
Samuel Alito-would have made a great Cossack, the backbone of the Citizen’s United decision, essentially deciding that Target is as much of a citizen as you are, should have to spend retirement as the minimum wage personal valet of President Exxon.
Michael Musto-the epicenter of pissy gay celebrity-fuck propaganda and general brainlessness.
Richard Mellon Scaife-using his trust fund to bankroll the rights of the bankrolled.
Tyler Perry-Everything not funny about black men in female fat suits, colostomy humor, and dentures-falling-out jokes, all rolled up in a ubiquitous franchise that Oprah likes.
Tommy Hilfiger-sweatshop patriot and parvenu “style” monger, unforgivable innovator of the beyond cynical ghetto-yacht fashion movement of the late nineties.
Joe Lieberman-Unapologetically wrong on almost every issue, not an ounce of style, bald party-whore who is hated by both parties, won’t even support his own bills, a wrinkled condom of convenience.
Deepak Chopra-vacuuming cash by selling the tautological and banal to the gullible and aphasic, will surely burn in the sulphurous fires of another faith’s hell, or at least the tony streets of suburban Sante Fe.
THIS WEEK’S ULTRA-FREE BONUS LOATHING: Henry Kissinger.
But, hey, Nate, forget the assholes.
My point is that a hero is someone who gets even one random person over the hump of a tough midnight.
Some guy (girl) with a guitar. Some guy with a typewriter. Some guy with a camera.
Things seem to get a little better until they get worse.
And then it’s time for another hero.
Anything beyond that is religion.
Ask Me Anything.
Talk Shit. Be Vulnerable.
Go ahead, I know it hurts.
All contact info is entirely confidential.
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