Saturday, December 18, 2010

As I immerse myself in The Rich Man’s Table, his imagining of the life of Bob Dylan, I find myself wondering ever more implacably if Scott Spencer is the best living writer in the English language. He lacks E. E. Doctorow's moral ferocity, and his technique, paragraph by paragraph, doesn't compare to Martin Amis's, but for sheer originality of perception and beauty of expression, he stands alone, as witness: "We shook hands. Maya’s grip was slight, her hand little more than cool shadow in mine. She was full of solicitude toward me. 'I know…' — she stretched the word out, discovered rivers of complicity in the globe of the vowel…"

[Here yhe book’s narrator, Billy — the grown son for whose paternity the Dylan character, Luke Fairchild, refuses to accept responsibility — describes his fervently Marxist grandfather’s slide into dementia:] The books of philosophy, history, and literature he had so vigorously cross-referenced in his table talk by now faded from memory. His mind was a burned library — the spines and their titles still facing out from the shelves but the pages within turned to ash.

[At Esther’s bedside, Luke encounters a blues man who’d earlier sued Luke for plagiarism.] Now Joe was standing again, but this time he threw his arms around Luke and pulled him close, the way people will when death makes our squabbles so small, when it suddenly seems that our grievances and competition make as much sense as cattle vying for position in the slaughterhouse.

Many passages in which Billy talks about his father are as startling and revelatory as the best of the real Dylan’s songs:

He was the virtual prototype of the boy parents warned their daughters against. When Luke was young, fucking him was like running away from home, or maybe even joining the circus. He was vile, he was strange, the smell of freedom was all over him, that mixture of smoke and wind and cheap wine, as redolent as peanuts, sawdust, and elephants.


Mom used to say (though never to me) that Luke was an innocent, a child, beneath it all. Well, that innocence was long gone, swallowed by the muck of ego, entitlement, and drugs, revelation, conversion, and tantrum, blow jobs, anal sex, private showings, his pick of the litter, and a thousand and one rarefied pleasures and perversions I could barely imagine. He was paying the price for his life, organ by organ. And somewhere within him was the terrible sad panic of a once-holy man starting to realize that, despite everything, his body might outlive his soul.


Luke’s voice was startlingly low, a honey croon, so unlike his usual nasal, wise-ass, reedy kazoo of a voice that it caused me to wonder if he had just become a different person, or if his soul was like one of those flashlights that can shine red, white, green, yellow, or blue, mediated by a simple plastic dial over the face of it. But then I realized: this was his Nashville timbre, the almost comically resonant style he affected after he had repudiated the paisleyed psychedelia of the sixties, and began to boyishly idolize the cowboy singers, beer-bellied, eagle-eyed middle-aged men in string ties, the Nashville old guard, terse tough guys with barroom scars on their knuckles, or a bitten-off ear, a shattered knee, guys who spent more money on drugs than the Grateful Dead and Blue Cheer and the Stones combined.


He had a number of people on his beck-and-call brigade, people who tended to his menagerie of needs and whims. Needless to say, he did very little of the labor of his own life. It had been at least thirty years since he’d changed the sheets on a bed, or changed a light bulb, or stood impatiently in line for popcorn, worried the movie would start without him. Yet despite his twenty-four-hour coddling, he still maintained his angry, alienated sneer. He still wrote at if he were somehow an outlaw.


Luke was our tiny, holy kernel of hunger for heaven, sealed in a package with hundred layers of gaudy paper. He was wrapped in money, and he was wrapped in fame, in sex, drugs, politics, nostalgia, privilege; but when all of that was torn away, what was left? A soul, just a soul, a tiny, frail human soul, racing blindly and in terror through the dark woods.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sara(h) Smiles, Part 49: Disembowelment and Self-Expression

The lamestreamers are always up in arms about one thing or another, and lately it’s that Pfc Bradley Manning, who apparently describes himself as a whistleblower (for having leaked classified US army intelligence to WikiLeaks), but whom all right-thinking Americans regard as a traitor for whom no punishment could be too severe, is being kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day in advance of his trial. The lamestreamers point out that the European Court of Human Rights has in the past ruled that such detentions violate the rights they’re in the business of protecting.

Well, boo-hoo! Such American patriots as Mike Huckabee and Sarah have called for Manning to be publicly disemboweled for treason, and then fed to rabid dogs, and common sense tells us they’re right. And here the lamestreamers are whining about Brad not having enough company, or about his having been denied a pillow and sheets! Will I ever cease to be amazed at the gall of these people?

It gets worse. Council members in the People’s Republic of Berkeley, the notorious college town across the bay from San Francisco, are apparently on the verge of issuing an official resolution praising Manning, leading me to wonder if it isn’t the Berkeley City Council that needs disembowelment. When I lived in the Bay Area, and ventured from time and time into Berkeley for Thai food, I was appalled by the bohemians, opium fiends, sexual deviates, and Satanists I saw shuffling in sandals up and down Telegraph Avenue, many seemingly trying to resemble Jesus, or at least the classic western European conception of Jesus, except not nearly as clean. Others were perpetually engaged in animated shouting matches with adversaries whose presence they alone could detect.

As I have said here many times before, self-expression is all well and good when it doesn’t turn the stomachs of God-fearing average Americans, but in Berkeley it does. If Arnold Schwarzenegger is half the superhero he claims to be, he’ll figure out a way to drown everyone in the city, except the righteous, before he leaves office in January.

The appalling news from Berkeley makes all the more welcome that about Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin having been martyred Tuesday by the military jury trying him for his refusal — on the grounds that orders from Commander-in-Chief ObaMao are illegitimate because he was born in some Third World hellhole, rather than in Hawaii, as anyone with half a brain recognizes as implausible given his being an obvious Muslim and Marxist — to deploy to Afghanistan. The brave doctor now faces three years in prison for his beliefs, but you won’t see the Berkeley City Council planning to honor him.

A member of the British Parliament who previously served as a drugs minister in the Home Office (kind of the State Department) claimed yesterday that the war on drugs has been "nothing short of a disaster," and said it was time to study other options, including decriminalizing possession of drugs and legally regulating their production and supply.

His Home Office experience, Bob Ainsworth said, made clear that prohibition failed to reduce the harm that drugs cause in the UK, while his experience as a defense secretary focused on Afghanistan, "showed that the war on drugs creates the very conditions that perpetuate the illegal trade, while undermining international development and security". The only surprise is that President ObaMao didn’t immediately call a press conference to declare, “Me too!”

We in America have been hearing such nonsense for years now. Sometimes those from whom we hear it have so-called scientific data. At other times they invoke the success of liberalized drug policies in the Netherlands and Portugal. What few ever mention is that an enormous percentage of American convicts were incarcerated for drug offenses, and that the prison industry has been growing faster than nearly any other the past few decades, providing employment for countless thousands. We’re supposed to put all the correction officers and infirmary workers and wardens and what-have-you out in the streets, where they’re likely to be run over by drug addicts speeding away from condominiums they’ve just burglarized in cars they've just hot-wired?

America's is the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and our remaining No. 1 is very much dependent on our maintaining the war on drugs. Prisons: Build, baby, build!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sara(h) Smiles, Part 46: The Heartstrings of Americans and Others

The transcript of footage shot in Haiti this past weekend for Greta Van Sussteren’s Fox-TV program On the Record puts to rest forever the lamestream media-fomented misperception that Governor Palin is something other than an acutely perceptive observer of international affairs.

Hardly has their helicopter set down than Sarah has coolly — and perceptively — assessed the Haitians' plight. “These people,” she observes, “have had natural disasters now. The cholera outbreak, it really lets us see opportunity to help and send a message back to those who are more privileged materially to have opportunity here to share with these who are hurting."

When Van Susteren — whose husband is on Sarah’s payroll, but who is unimpeachably objective nonetheless, in keeping with Fox News’ commitment to impartiality — notes that a lot of promised aid hasn’t yet materialized, Sarah laments that “a lot of aid that was planned ended up not where it should be on the frontlines where helping people, unfortunately. And I think they need the word out there that they are still in dire need here in Haiti, and they want that assistance — via materials, people, resources — to help them complete the mission here, and that's restoration of really this most beautiful area of the globe.” So much for those who continue to accuse Sarah of parochialism, who suggest that her adoration of Alaska and Iowa has made her blind to other regions’ woes and wonders!

Van Susteren advises Sarah that President Obama asked his two immediate predecessors, He-Whose-Name-I-Refuse-to-Type — the rhymes-with-which Hilary’s husband — and George W. Bush, to come tell the locals how sad their situation makes him, but that the Secret Service nixed the idea because of Haiti’s post-election rioting and lawlessness. Sarah sagely observes, “That is unfortunate of course that someone of his stature can be here to send that message to the world that there's still help needed. As we are driving around and seeing the armed guards out of the corner of our eye as we pass by, Greta, that's an illustration of the turmoil, the political unrest that is here.” In much the same way, we infer, that America’s armed policepersons illustrate our own growing political unrest under Obamarxism!

When Van Susteren points out that Haiti reminds her of Kabul, of which Sarah probably has indeed heard, Sarah is quick to explain, “That's natural disaster and the political unrest combined. There's elements that have combined to create this perfect storm of a lot of, again, resulting in dire need in Haiti. A lot of people who are more privileged and have more, that are able to share, if they can see this, hear the stories, certainly, I think that the heartstrings of Americans and others can be tugged and assistance can be provided here.”

Where others, lacking faith (the sort she shares with George W. Bush), might see only rubble, cholera, and despair, Sarah sees “beautiful, happy children who seem to be content and joyful and, look around, Greta, they don't have much. The babies don't have diapers. The kids don't have much. Yet they have smiles and they're looking around for, I think, for some little bit of compassion that the rest of us can provide.” It takes a mom like Sarah to remind us that infants don’t need diapers to be the joyful little creatures Jesus intended. Their having diapers might well make those caring for them more joyful, as even the most adoring parent or guardian is apt to have serious reservations about being, well, pooped all over, but leave it to Sarah to put the children first, where of course they belong.

In other news, many lamestreamers, not content to torment Sarah, have been going ever more vengefully after daughter Bristol, pointing out that the voice of the young abstinence enthusiast in her official pronouncements is very different from that in her Facebook messages, and suggesting that the former must be ghostwritten.

Can you tell which is which? “[Olbermann] accusing me of hypocrisy is by now an old canard. What Mr. Olbermann lacks in originality he makes up for with insincere incredulity.” Or: “That doesn’t even make sense you dumbass. And I’m successful because I’m a hard ass worker. Keep talking s--- though . . .”

Are the lamestreamers really unable to understand that the prose Bris composes painstakingly late at night in (Sarah’s) husband Todd’s book-lined library is apt to be very different from that which she types with one finger on her smartphone while changing the diaper of son Tripp, who does have diapers? That the lamestreamers have no conception of how much attention a child requires is probably explainable in terms of so many of them being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. And there's no room in Sarah's America for any of 'em.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sara(h) Smiles, Part 45: The Nerve of the Haters

In her daily press conference yesterday, Sarah bravely became the first American politician to express outrage at the number of Muslim immigrants who have been pouring over the Canadian border into Washington state the past few months. Islamophobes suggest that such sneaking may actually be the latest form of jihad, the idea being to cripple America by overloading its social services, as the Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, and what have you have been overloading those of Texas and California. Indeed, there are those who believe that the royal families of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Yemen have been bankrolling the human flooding of our southern border in order to divert attention from what’s happening up in the Northwest.

The Muslims, of course, pose a far greater threat than the Latinos, as they’re too busy being called to prayer to take the sorts of demeaning minimum-wage jobs at which swarthy Spanish speakers excel. And not only are Latinos eager to remove asbestos for whatever the guy who hires them for the day in front of Home Depot is wiling to pay, but theirs is also a far more enjoyable cuisine. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, pork fajitas, and the like have all become integral in the American culinary landscape, whereas the various lamb dishes and hummus the towelheads seem to enjoy so much have barely gained a toehold. That Sarah herself is known to enjoy several Taco Bell dishes is really all you need know.

I suspect that Latino cuisine’s greater deliciousness owes in large part to the prominent role cheese, or queso, plays in it. I read recently that over the 4000 years mankind has existed, our DNA has not yet got through its head that we — or at least we Americans — don’t need to store fat as our ancestors did back at a time when they might not encounter an edible dinosaur for days; we are genetically inclined to crave fatty food, and thus to find pleasurable the sensation of molten cheese in our mouths. Islamic food denies us this pleasure, just as its music denies us that of actual singing rather than ululating.

To hear the lamestream media tell it, Sarah was disgruntled about how she was depicted — along with Julian Assange, Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson, Malia Obama, LeBron James, Courtney Love, Gen. David Petraeus, Federal Reserve Bank kingpin Ben Bernanke, and gay rights activist Michelangelo Signorile — on Barbara Walters’ Ten Most Fascinating People of 2010 special. None of the others, we’re to understand, expressed anything other than delight with his or her depiction. But the truth is that Sarah had no problems at all with the way she was presented, and in fact has gone on record as being grateful to Walters and ABC for bringing out that she in fact reads voraciously, and often in a particular text’s original language; she is presently enjoying Peter Schlemihl by Adelbert von Chamisso in the original German.

What she was actually disturbed about was that Walters selected Malia Obama, but not elder sister Sasha. It’s a testament to her ability to set partisanship aside when it comes to such matters as parenting, as she is as outraged by how Malia’s selection may have jeopardized Sasha’s self-esteem — just as she’s about to enter adolescence! — as she would be if one of Mitt Romney’s eerily indistinguishable sons had been chosen, but not the other nine.

Sig Rogich, viewed as a key Republican tactician since helping to re-elect Ronald Reagan in 1984, yesterday declared Sarah unelectable. Well, let’s hear, buster, what you’ve got to say when you haven’t been former US ambassador to Iceland — your native Iceland, mind you — and the PR whiz to whom Mike Tyson turned for brand restoration after biting Evander Holyfield’s ear. The nerve of the haters!

In my view only two good things have ever come out of Iceland — Sigur Ros and Bjork, whose infamous swan dress from the 2001 Oscars was indisputably the garment of the decade, regardless of what those in the business of ridiculing stars' attire might tell you. Our having an embassy there makes about as much sense as our having one at Knott’s Berry Farm. A typical waste of taxpayer dollars.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sara(h) Smiles, Part 44: Fareed It and Weep

The lamestream media were sploodging all over themselves yesterday about how cruelly Sarah treated her fellow Learning Channel star Kate Gosselin on Sunday evening’s edition of Sarah Palin’s Iowa, leaving the blonde mom and her eight little ones in the middle of a cornfield and virtually daring them to try to find their way back to civilization. For these lamestreamers — most of whom, unashamed hypocrites, are no doubt fervently into Darwin — I have only three words: Survival of the fittest. America in 2010 isn’t for the effete, homosexual, or namby-pamby, but for the rugged outdoorsperson who can skin a caribou even while changing the diaper of an infant with special needs and pointing out the folly of Ben Bernanke’s stewardship of the Federal Reserve Bank. If Kate Gosselin doesn’t like that, she can take her brats and her blonde highlights to any number of socialist nanny states, and STFU.

We now learn that on the Samaritan’s Purse helicopter home from Haiti this past weekend, Sarah was reading Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (known earlier as Remembrance of Things Past) — in the original French. So much for those who regard her as an intellectual lightweight who never reads anything more challenging than text messages and People Weekly, one of the two periodicals (with Us) to have been delivered every week to her office when she was the governor of Alaska, before she realized she could better serve God in other ways.

In other news, that slimy little British kissup Piers Morgan, who’s going, inexplicably, to take over for Larry King on CNN in 2011, has told the British tabloids that he’s “banned” Madonna from his show, even though it doesn’t really exist yet, because she’s not as interesting as the more recent version of herself, Lady Gaga. God, I love when the Satanists and perverts and liberal elitists bite one another’s backs in public. If CNN had any decency — as they haven’t since the appropriately xenophobic Lou Dobbs left them — they’d have offered the job to someone like Billy Graham, of whose son Sarah is now Best Friend Forever. At 92, the great evangelist might have lost a step or two, but King, whose original surname was recognizably Jewish, wasn’t exactly known for his own nimble wit, and he’s only 87.

Mutt Lange, the producer who broke Shania Twain’s heart, but not before producing her 643-million-selling album Come On Over, has been invited to come on out of retirement to oversee the recording of Sarah’s Sanctimony Records debut single with Haiti’s Sweet Micky, denied the presidency of his little country because he’s merely a celebrity with below-average intelligence, mangled syntax, and virtually no knowledge of anything except how to amplify his own celebrity. Sarah is reportedly pushing for their first recording to be of Phil Collins’ "Against All Odds" because it’s made her cry every time an American Idol winner has sung it, whereas Micky is pushing for a reworking of his 1989 hit "Konpas Foret des Pins."

Speaking of CNN, their resident towelhead (though he takes it off when on camera) Fareed Zakaria (near left) this past Sunday labeled as “total nonsense” Glenn Beck’s observation that one in 10 Muslims is a terrorist. What a surprise! He said that there were 11,000 terrorist attacks around the world in 2009, and that there are 157 million Muslims, meaning that 1427 of them would have had to be involved in the average attack for Glenn’s observation to hold water, and we’re to understand that the typical attack involves three or four guys. So here we have yet another case of needing to use common sense, rather than be bamboozled by liberal elitist-manipulated statistics. Whom are you, as a level-headed, hard-working Christian American going to believe, a guy named Glenn — even if he spells it with two n’s — or one named Fareed?

Sara(h) Smiles, Part 43: The Blinders of Liberal Bias

It should surprise absolutely no one that Sarah’s visit to Haiti over the weekend has been the object of the lamestream media’s fiercest ridicule. They ridiculed the fact that her visit was sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian charitable organization run by Billy Graham’s boy, pointing out that during the 1994 Rwandan refugee crisis, Samaritan's Purse staffers stayed in luxury hotels while tens of thousands died all around them of cholera, and sent stretcher bearers to carry the sick only if a third person was available to run alongside comforting the victim with passages from the Bible. They decried Purse’s having required victims of El Salvador's 2001 earthquake to attend prayer meetings before they could receive aid. They ridiculed even her attire — cargo pants, a T-shirt that read My Daughter Almost Won Dancing With the Stars, and All I Got Was This @#$%&* T-Shirt, and designer sunglasses.

These people just don’t get that which is obvious to Sarah and those of us who love her — that it’s all well and good to administer oral rehydration salts to a cholera victim, or to pull someone out from an earthquake’s rubble, but if you don’t tend to their souls in the process, your effort’s in vain. The world has quite enough non-believers running around, spreading Satan’s and the liberal elitists' lies.
They ridiculed Sarah as well for pronouncing “joyful” those being treated for cholera at Samaritan Purse’s facility in the north Haiti town of Bercy (for security reasons, she steered clear of Port-au-Prince, even though husband Todd was itching to shoot rioters). As though you or I, if we were cholera-ravaged African-Americans, wouldn’t ourselves be pretty joyful to find ourselves being grinned at by a beautiful white lady in designer sunglasses!

They ridiculed her for handing out to the local children gift-wrapped copies of her 2009 bestseller Goin’ Rogue, pointing out that relatively few Haitians read at all, and fewer still read English. Such naysayers! We common sense conservatives would much rather believe that while the populace is largely illiterate now, it might not be in five or 10 or 15 years, provided the earthquakes and hurricanes and cholera leave anybody alive. And English is God’s language. When was the last time any of these lamebrains opened a night table drawer in a Courtyard by Marriott and found a Bible in anything other than English?

Honestly, the lamestreamers are so literal and shortsighted, so blind to the power of metaphor! It may well be, as they so delighted in pointing out, that the good, if severely ill, folks of Bercy hadn’t the faintest idea of who Sarah was. But what she was, and is, is clear to anyone not wearing the blinders of liberal bias — a symbol of inextinguishable hope. In the weeks to come we will surely see that her visit to Bercy did more to stop its inhabitants’ vomiting, diarrhea, and leg cramps than all the oral rehydration salts put together.

If there were few surprises in the lamestream media’s reaction to Sarah’s humanitarian mission, it hardly means that the weekend was devoid of surprises. Hearing, from many of those on whose feverish foreheads she placed her cool white hand without regard for her personal safety, that they were less upset about having cholera than about the exclusion of compas star Michel Martelly (aka Sweet Micky) from the runoff election for president, she phoned the head of Sanctimony Records, the biggest Christian music label in Alaska, to volunteer to record a single with Martelly, and to donate 25 percent of the profits to his next presidential campaign.

But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Inspired by the popularity of Sarah Palin’s Iowa, the reality show all America has been tuning into so eagerly every Sunday night since mid-November, producer Mark Burnett has invited Sarah to make another series, to be re-titled Sarah Palin’s Third World Hellholes. Each week, between cavorting adorably with family and friends, confronting all the vicissitudey things all average American moms must confront, she will visit a part of the world as miserable as Haiti, and, in association with Christian benevolent groups with political clout, make the locals joyous.