About That Hair
One of the greater insults to human intelligence is that amazing idea known as TimesSelect, wherein hapless readers are annually fleeced for fifty bucks so the New York Times subscriber can try to mentally ingest some of the most offensive “journalists” on the planet. The amazing arrogance that anyone would demand payment for TimesSelect was put on full display yet again last week when Maureen Dowd blathered endlessly about the hair of John Edwards.
The best description I’ve ever heard of Maureen came from the incomparable James Wolcott in the great work Attack Poodles: after the vapid pack of American corporate “journalist” whores beat a Democratic candidate to a lifeless corpse in their columns, Maureen is the kind of writer to saunter along and paint a clown face on the pulped body.
Unfortunately after this typical degrading of profession and dignity from Maureen I found that description no longer apt. For most of her career her sophomoric sneering occurred in an environment of ordinary peaceful American politics, the analogy of political corpses like Al Gore and John Kerry was a good one in the rough tumble of American politics where there always has to be a loser, but there’s always a next time.
The last four years of our political realm, as any sane normal American knows, has greatly changed from the usual arc of human activity that Maureen Dowd is used to. Now the corpses aren’t metaphorical at all, hundreds of thousands have crumpled in Iraq, thousands more arrive home so squared away in their clean flags, hundreds more floated in a horrifying spectacle of American racist neglect in New Orleans.
The National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation spy on Americans in total flagrance of the law and any decency. It can be incredibly hard to make it and mature properly as a young male in this country, so we have the greatest prison system and population on the planet. America has lost its honesty, institutions like the US Army and Presidency think nothing of blatantly lying on a routine basis. The list goes on in our American political morgue, more corpses to be produced this very day from our failures.
In the heavily blinkered American corporate world I perceive the true reality of those American political failures sometimes slip in, video from Iraq or Israel or Lebanon, video of a street where yet another huge bomb has gone off, vehicles aflame, buildings collapsed and dazed bleeding humans wandering around with dead brother and sister citizens so horribly slain to the pavement.
If Maureen Dowd where to be somehow magically transported to that smashed and bleeding scene one knows she’d just happily skip through, totally oblivious to the mayhem as she delightedly noticed a pretty color, an interesting flag or the way shattered glass can dazzle and sparkle so when sunlight shafts through the smoke. My my, some of the men grow their hair very long in Iraq, but then they wrap it and hide it in those amazing turbans!
The psychosis of triviality of Maureen Dowd and the editors who enable her in these deadly times of lies and corpses is alarming, but that’s their business, it’s a free country and if they choose to be sick weirdos in it that’s their choice.
I do think, however, that the incredibly callous insult to the suffering in our times with columns about hair has one very, very dangerous element: it assumes insensitivity and indifference to the very worst of human behavior is normal and accepted, it’s sanctioned right there in the New York Times. Kill around two hundred thousand Iraqis in four long years of mayhem, write about hair, that’s apple pie American politics, kiddo.
That is a horrifying reality for us as a country to wander so unthinkingly into, and it’s inexcusable for any American to demonstrate it with such callous, evil indifference. The twisted brains that laughably demand fifty dollars (!) to keep doing it perform a greatly harmful and dangerous act upon the country when they sanction such behavior, and their horrifying indifference to the true reality of our times will not be allowed to become commonplace among all of us.