Letter from California
12/24//04 0450.46 PST
San Jose, California
Seasonís greetings from California. May your holiday frolics and enforced family gatherings be peaceful, full of fine food and drink, and ultimately festive in their outcome.
Some time ago Lewis Lapham, great editor of Harperís, wrote he was sure the country willingly checked into the political loony bin when the oblivion of denial surrounding Ronald Reagan became a national obsession. The moment was personally crystal clear when Bush stole election 2000, and despite the dead-on confirmation of total political lunacy from the citizens of California wherein they held a do-over election to hoist upon us another dangerous dumbass actor I was sure, just totally positive in my orbit of denial, that the country would check itself out of the pysch ward and vote Kerry in.
We all know what happened and I have been one sorry son of a bitch since, all sobby for a week and then brooding with this fatalistic, semi-frantic text that nobody wants to read and Iím sick of writing. My time as a pure political writer for least 18 months in the pixels here is very, very short. Reformers do the change thing.
Some of my blog buddies are disappointed in me Ďcause I wonít join the Ohio angst. Hey I signed up for the outrage after Florida four years ago, woulda been nice to have yíall around then, no lie. My job was to help get Bush out of office in the screens, and I will not be in permanent political pissed off mode ranting it was stolen for another four years. My wife wouldnít allow it anyway.
Some hotshot named Devilstower at Kosís place put out the call to get off your ass and do something away from the screens. If I write again it will be a kind of reporting of what I do, if itís interesting.
Likely it wonít be, probably something like hauling potatoes for food banks in my gas guzzler truck, which at least would give me some decent rationalization material. Iím not a frame-shop MeetUp kinda guy, I not really sure why but the idea horrifies me. I actually like the semi-radical idea of standing next to an on-ramp with anti-war signs every morning for a year, but my wife would never allow it. Public provocation endangers the career and the family and the marriage and parenthood. Trust me, Iíll be laying low in my foray to the outside world.
As I look over the past year Iím often amused at how easily change slips in, how the inherent good of humans always shimmers around us. My cable operator (sssssssssss) changed my channel lineup 14 months ago and Iím actually watching television again. Modern Marvels is simply a joy on the History Channel, and amazingly one can watch real people doing great work on the Food, Discovery and even the Travel Channel.
That hoser whatshisface actor from Cheers (too nationalistic for me) hosts Made In America where we get to see real humans laboring at the machines and material on the Travel Channel. Of course the capitalist pig theme of the show never brings up labor issues, but at least people doing real work are on television, which is a great step forward.
I especially like American Chopper. I donít watch it every week, but I actually saw a few episodes in the first seasonósomehowóand I remember being incredulous as this father-son team yelled at each other for 20 minutes as they built a motorcycle. I was sure the next season was going to be their journey into therapy, Iím not kidding. [I donít like motorcycles, actually, but itís cool to watch them being built by master craftsmen.]
Only in Americaóthose guys have hit the serious big time. I saw last week in the business page where I think GM signed them up for a promotional bike for their new badass truck. I stumbled on the show Monday night and it was terrific as Paul Sr. got all pissed off that some memorial bike got the paint job hosed and made extra sure the seriously sexy tomboy painter with her new etching method kicked total artisan ass.
Emeril irritates me but watching some of the other chefs and cooks on the Food Channel is fun. I can only hope as I enjoy the shows that maybe, just maybe, people can see the real Americans laboring in the background and the glorification of the obscenely wealthy in this loony bin of a country will finally start to end.
Maybe thatís not a dream, maybe itís my own meander of political neurosis in a crazy world, anything to help blur and router the edge off another 40 years of human political life. I donít know.
Iím not going out to the Wild Side for my tangible adventure of liberal activism (my idea of a perfect holiday is to help drive 40,000 senior citizens with pitchforks to that Social Security traitor Harold Ford's place so they can ultimately play badminton with his testicles, but I never get asked to do stuff like that) but it will do some good and if itís interesting Iíll check in.
Peace be with you.