If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Dear A. Tights
The ability to view the present after changing one specific event from the past. For instance, what would our country look like if the supreme court had not bestowed the 2000 election upon George Bush, and Al Gore had been president instead during 9/11? Would we be better or worse off? Would we have pursued all out war at Tora Bora instead of the holding pattern that preceded the invasion of Iraq? And if so, would Afghanistan actually be nation-built now instead of barely pacified? What would that have meant for the Middle East as a whole? Would Al have have been so busy meeting the needs of the wanton sex bomblet that is/was Tipper that he too would have ignored the dangers of derivatives deregulation? Would our economy still have collapsed nine years later? Or would things, amazingly–but not so improbably–be almost exactly the same regardless of which random berk held office?
Even more to the point, if I’d left a certain cocktail party early as I had planned, instead of lingering by the canapes and then being introduced to a late arriving group of women–one that included my future wife– where would I be right now? And with whom? Would I still have a son? And if so, in what myriad and unfathomable ways would that son be different?
Now that you’re going to read in public and no longer be anonymous, my wife wants to ask you over for dinner. Do you want to come? Do you drink wine? Do you have any food allergies? Are there any topics that are off the table for discussion?
Thank you for your kind invitation. I will forward it to Fabian, who is very protective of my schedule, and may in fact require a cumshaw–usually a bauble or trinket of some kind–in order to pencil me in. Nevertheless, it should be made clear well in advance to all prospective attendees that somewhere between the forth and fifth carafe of wine my usual Panglossian demeanor may begin to slightly erode. Therefore, it is unwise to bring the following matters up for general discussion: Steve Doocey, cattle raising, Patricia Neal, Patricia Clarkson, Patricia Arquette, baseball cap wearing/sideways orientation, Gregorian Chants, poor city street planning, substances one might remove from one’s ear with any given implement but most especially the finger, eBay, knights templar, Renny Harlin, the collection of any item that needs to remain in its original packaging to increase resale value, the word “poultice,” things besides bacon that are bacon flavored, Kenny Gorelick, cars with spoilers, Northanger Abbey, embellishing any point by quoting Mark Twain, Germany, publishing’s demise, shows on HBO and how much you like them, Mel Gibson after 1986, ways in which Alan Greenspan really wasn’t that bad, Brooke Shields, your dislike of Merlot, your collection of first edition Lawrence Durrells, the many insights to be found within the charts and scopes of astrology, the phrase “You go, girl,” descriptions of wine as either “buttery” or “minerally,” various Pharaohs (see Fabian for specifics), how much better everything would be if we had only listened to Edward Abbey, mayonnaise, calling Raymond Carver “Ray Carver,” Florida, spelling “ketchup” as “catsup,” and descriptions of the pleasure/pain dynamic inherent in tattooing.
Finally, and most importantly, I refuse to sit at a table with anyone over the age of twenty-two who deems it brazen and/or clever to attempt to adduce that anarchy is a feasible form of governance–citing as they almost certainly will an incomprehensible santorum of Ayn Rand and Lysander Spooner, the self-satisfaction of which will remind me uncomfortably of my own once fervently held belief that a religion could be made combining meditation and the music of Ornette Coleman–regardless of how menacing they appear leaning over their syndicalist peach sorbet wearing a silver thumb ring and a stained black hoodie.
A while back I thoroughly enjoyed your tongue-in-cheek pillorying of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, but given the latest revelations, what do you think of the DSK situation now?
Dear Christ B.
In the same way that the first rush of public opinion was to humorlessly condemn him without calculating the ironic dissonance required for his exoneration, the second is to exonerate him without the consideration that shoddy headlines from sources who are mostly his lawyer are hardly persuasive evidence. The fact that DSK’s investigators were able to produce incriminating statements supposedly made by his accuser does not mean he did not rape her. It seems that both sides agree, legally and biblically, that the two parties did indeed have sex. But what kind of sex? Mounted and endured with grudging consent, or mounted and endured with later blackmail at heart and a presumption of colonial redress? We may never know. If I were to wager, (two grand on red 17) it would be that Mr. SK will not be declared “innocent,” but that he will get off entirely without punishment. However, if he really is innocent-ish, in the way that only fat imperialist maid-fuckers can be, Mr. Gallic Hyphenate does deserve some sort of apology (although one certainly won’t be issued from the media arm of Chateau Dust.) For instance, it would seem fair that the Unconvicted SK be allowed to spend all the money he grubbed through IMF contacts on a vineyard/mansion in Bordeaux (instead of having it forcibly removed from him and then redistributed to the poor children of Marseilles via blimp-drop) where he can then sit beneath walnut trees and rest his bare feet on the cool terroir while contemplating meaning or meaning’s lack–until he’s long past the age of squeezing (but not thinking about squeezing) his wet nurse’s wet ass.
At any rate, in answer to your question, I reserve the right to no longer give a shit.
Totally dig your vocab, dude! And I bet you hate the word “vocab”! Either way, it makes me want to know what your all-time favorite word is.
At least it is today. Tomorrow it’ll probably be uxorial. Or, possibly, fugleman.
I hate cats. Please tell me you hate cats too.
I have no particular feeling about cats.
But you know what I do hate? The Special Olympics.
Forget all the Iowa candidates saying what everyone wants to hear on every single goddamn issue. I’m so sick of the pandering and double-talk. It’s like, let’s deal with one thing, right? One thing first, fix it, and then move on, instead of whining about nineteen things that never change. So Dust, what’s first on the list? Straight up, what do the single greatest problem in America right now?
Clearly, it is wealth disparity. Here are seven short observations to wit:
1. The combined wealth of all the millionaires in the US is $38.6 trillion dollars. Yes, almost triple our deficit. One sixth of this money is hidden in tax-free offshore accounts.
2. Due to current tax structure, this number is expected to double in the next ten years.
3. The top 1 percent of the US controls more than 40 percent of the country’s wealth, a figure that now exceeds even the pre-Depression Carnegie baronet/industrialist era.
4. The top tier is not simply obscenely wealthy. Their unprecedented level of wealth and leverage goes beyond the ability to influence legislation. It dictates legislation. Anyone wondering why the Republican party risked defaulting on the nation’s loans in order to protect the 15% tax bracket for the super rich must now come to terms with the fact that it has nothing to do with policy of any kind, “conservative” or otherwise, and everything to do with being wholly owned by the financial services and banking industries. Which should terrify you no matter where you stand on stem cells or teacher’s unions. The American economy has become increasingly dependent since the administration of Ronald Reagan on the success and support of these industries. But as opposed to our withered and neglected manufacturing base, banking and financial services actually produce nothing tangible. Therefore, we have no real economy except for the continued accrual of wealth at the very top, the “job creating” trickle-down class who, even as I type this, no doubt has my welfare in mind.
5. The economic collapse of 2009 was ENTIRELY created by the actions of that top 1%, and, instead of being dragged through the streets in chains because of it, they actually benefited greatly. Not only because of trillions of dollars in government/taxpayer bailouts, but in new and even lower tax rates. Justice is not possible when justice can no longer even be defined. We escaped the Hanoverian dynasty by leaving England and sailing to America to foment a revolution–the only revolution, incidentally, in the history of man that still retains the ability to inspire and boasts a remnant of its goals in action–and yet two hundred years later we have allowed a monarchy to return. We are indeed ruled by kings in this country once more, except that it is a royal class of cash money, and their continued succession is ensured by the inexplicable belief amongst the plebes and serfs that with the right luck, either the lottery or writing a killer app, they too can one day join the empurpled rich. It is a fantasy with no basis, the melody of stasis, the song of our doom.
6. Corporations are people, my friend.
7. The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.
Reading all these Six Question Sex Interviews, I find myself wondering about you. Frankly, you seem like the type that’s into some seriously kinky shit.
The Marquessa de Dust
I am strictly missionary in thought, stroke, heathen reclamation, and posture.
Further, my amatory motto is as follows: Those That Believe, Receive.
Thank God the lockout is over and we can get back to football! Go Cowboys!
Enjoy it now. Within twenty years the NFL will no longer exist. When the massive cache of medical information about the last generation of players finally comes to light, and it is revealed that as many as 60% of those players have debilitating degenerative brain disease, the notion of helmeted men running full speed into one another all day every Sunday will begin to seem as anachronistic as leeching. At that point, there will be a media outcry much in line with the belated steroid usage “investigations,” and the NFL will be forced to continually tweak the rules, gradually lessening contact, until there is no contact at all. Somewhere around 2026 fans will finally lose their last vestige of interest in a game essentially reduced to three hours of taking a knee, punting on first down, and dueling fair catches. Then the half-android and stem cell bloated head of Jerry Jones will finally sell the Dallas Cowboys to a Pepe’s Intravenous Taco franchise for nine dollars. Within a year, blood sport will cease to exist entirely, and then it won’t just be the sons of the wealthy who play tennis any more.
Do you really hate the Special Olympics?
It’s Me, Bastet Again
Dear Bastet II
No, I don’t. I just thought it would be interesting to track how far my Q rating plummeted during the interregnum between that statement and its clarification. My problem is actually with the current state of charity fundraising in general. And I suppose “hate” may be a touch strong. More like “increasingly depressed by.” You see, for a variety of personal and professional reasons I have long volunteered with The Special Olympics. This January–because of a highly lucrative development in my favor generated within the “dying” publishing industry–I was able to send them, as well as a number of other organizations, what I thought were generous donations. A month later I was deluged with new letters, stating that addition help was desperately needed. So I sent a second, albeit smaller, round of checks. Since then, every single day I receive another letter asking for more money. Fundraisers also regularly call my home, even though I have asked specifically not to be contacted by phone–as I loathe both the idea of talking into the disembodied composite, as well as the insipid noise it makes–regardless of the caller. Additionally, there has been a marked increase in solicitations from groups I either disagree with or cannot afford to donate to, who have apparently been sold my contact information. I do not require any thanks from the organizations I am happy to support, but I suppose I feel that my reward for having already donated is that they cease asking for money for a full calendar year. I realize that with the current economic climate all charities are struggling, but isn’t that an even better reason to treat regular donors with greater delicacy? But even more importantly, it bothers me to throw away the enormous stack of mailings I receive every day, each envelope of which seems like such a waste of time, money, and resources that could have been spent better on the actual missions. The mailers are invariably slick and glossy. No doubt they had to pay the graphics people, the copywriters, the printers, the postage. It’s heartbreaking to think of all the people just like me, who have given what they can, and with the repeated inquiries now simply toss what are essentially past donation dollars back into the recycling bin.
Yes, I realize I am fantastically fortunate if this is the most I have to complain about.
But I do not like the feelings of guilt that I have been saddled with as an extension of one of the few remaining gestures I thought I could unreservedly feel good about.
So Rick Perry has thrown his (Stetson) hat in to the (circus) ring. WTF? We wouldn’t really elect another dim-witted, incurious, Born Again governor from the great state of Texas, would we?
The Original Nader Raider
I believe I said in this forum months ago that Rick Perry was the only truly dangerous Republican candidate. In fact, I believe I advised that we should all Fear Him. My opinion has not changed. But your allusion to his similarity to George W. Bush is a false one. He is much, much worse. And it is exactly the fact that he is so preposterously unqualified to be president–as measured by temperament, intellect, ethics, past performance, debilitating self-satisfaction, and religious zealotry–that makes him so likely to actually win.
The mood for delirium, as they say, is ripe.
No obloquy is strong enough for the end-of-days madman that is Gov. Rick Perry, and yet, at day’s end it probably won’t matter. Might as well start getting used to our next president now. Or start pricing sunny 2-bedrooms in Rangoon.
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