Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Feeling distracted watching politicians crow in Tampa
“But when the planets In evil mixture to disorder wander, What plagues and what portents, what mutiny, What raging of the sea, shaking of earth, Commotion in the winds! Frights, changes, horrors, Divert and crack, rend and deracinate, The unity and married calm of states Quite from their fixture! O, when degree is shak'd, Which is the ladder of all high designs, The enterprise is sick!”—Ulysses in Troilus and Cressida
by Larry Geller
Democracy Now! is covering the Republican National Convention with two broadcast hours each day. Both the Daily Show and Colbert shifted their normal Monday through Thursday schedule to Tuesday through Friday this week to better cover the sessions.
I’m going to watch all of that coverage. I know I will.
Why? I plan to vote for Obama, and I know that Romney will be anointed his opponent on Thursday. It’s been a done deal for some time. So why am I glued to the screen?
Why? Maybe because of the fear that Romney might get elected in November, and then the planets will be displaced from their orbits in heaven, and so forth.
While listening to a speech, the quote from Troilus and Cressida came to me. Really. Well, not with all the words all organized like that. I couldn’t actually remember in which play Ulysses said this, but Google quickly makes up for my ignorance of what goes where in Shakespeare. The truth is, the cartoon panel in which Ulysses warned of these consequences must have been well drawn in the Classics Illustrated comic that I read in college. It must have left a lasting impression on me.
Better than the Bard is this snip from Ghostbusters:
Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!
Yeah, if Romney gets into the White House, forty years of darkness and earthquakes sounds plausible.
Look, this is a gut feeling. It will pass. I’m an optimist at heart and I always try to look for ways to improve a bad situation. So if Romney does get in, it will merely be a question of how to duck the fire and brimstone on my way to Sans Souci beach, that’s all. I’ll just have to live with it, and will probably cope far better than Ulysses would, what with stuff being deracinated all around him (that actually passed spell check). As to human sacrifice, we’ve already institutionalized that in Honolulu in our crosswalks.
Also, I know I’m not the only one glued to the screen as the Republican circus plays out.
This is so antiseptic. … This is an audience that's raised on television, their standards have been systematically lowered over the years. These guys sit in front of their sets and the gamma rays eat the white cells of their brains out! (from Woody Allen’s Manhattan.
It is antiseptic and empty, but scary just the same.