Friday, March 14, 2008

Timequake

def.: ten years on automatic pilot.

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Now imagine this: A man creates a hydrogen bomb for a paranoid Soviet Union, makes sure it will work, and then wins a Nobel Peace Prize! This real-life character, worthy of a story by Kilgore Trout, was the late physicist Andrei Sakharov.

He won his Nobel in 1975 for demanding a halt to the testing of nuclear weapons. He, of course, had already tested his. His wife was a pediatrician! What sort of person could perfect a hydrogen bomb while married to a child-care specialist? What sort of physician would stay with a mate that cracked?

“Anything interesting happen at work today, Honeybunch?”
“Yes. My bomb is going to work just great. And how are you doing with that kid with chicken pox?”

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Thus spoke Kurt Vonnegut during the Timequake, ten and twenty years ago. We are quoting him, so that we don’t have to judge and be judged.

In any case: Nobody, even Kurt, ever asked Sakharov’s wife if she was planning to leave her husband. That would be ridiculous.

And when a blue-chip company CEO effectively steals from his employees and drinks their life savings for aperitif, nobody asks his wife if she could bear to stand by him, or if she was planning to leave him.

But when a politician uses his own money (until proven otherwise) to have luxury sex with a consenting, non desperate, and adult set of limbs, don't let the apparent lack of a victim deceive you: things change drastically! To quote our dear friend Biko Azinuth, It's everybody's business now! It's not hard to imagine the faint spark of life inside the mummified bellies and mucus membranes of the Desperately Cruel, upon uncovering the titillating (?) details. Those C- students who have dated themselves to lobotomy, only to end up having instant soup every evening alone in front of the TV, and on the phone, and the computer, finally get the chance to dance their ecstatic dances of boredom-avenging around the “Harvard educated wife” - in a moment of glory they have to ask: Are you going to leave him?

And we were not quick enough to zap away in time.

But things could be worse. At least according to the quintessential Disgusted Person, Phillip Roth. In other words: it's been 10 years since 1998. Below we are giving you a piece of Roth to indulge, dear readers!

And do have a lovely weekend! If you really have to use the TV, phone, computer, etc, at least please try to use one at a time! Otherwise, really, you don't know what you are doing.

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...
Ninety eight in New England was a summer of exquisite warmth and sunshine, in baseball a summer of mythical battle between a home-run god who was white and a home-run god who was brown, and in America the summer of an enormous piety binge, a purity binge, when terrorism – which had replaced communism as the prevailing threat to the country’s national security – was succeeded by cocksucking, and a virile, youthful middle-aged president and a brash, smitten twenty-one-year-old employee carrying on in the Oval Office like two teenage kids in a parking lot revived America’s oldest communal passion, historically perhaps its most treacherous and subversive pleasure: the ecstasy of sanctimony. In the Congress, in the press, and on the networks, the righteous grandstanding creeps, crazy to blame, deplore, and punish, were everywhere out moralizing to beat the band: all of them in a calculated frenzy with what Hawthorne [] identified in the incipient country of long ago as “the persecuting spirit”; all of them eager to enact the astringent rituals of purification that would excise the erection from the executive branch, thereby making things cozy and safe enough for Senator Lieberman’s ten-year-old daughter to watch TV with her embarrassed daddy again. No, if you haven’t lived through 1998, you don’t know what sanctimony is.
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3 comments:

fwidman said...

*giggle* The righteous will always be there to beat the drums! If they were truly that righteous, they would not have a television set to watch nor would they appear in front of a camera. They would sit and home and hide in a closet, too busy praying to notice the world around them :)

Jillian said...

I haven't even bothered to read stories about the Senator. I think the real crime is cheating on your spouse/partner/person you're committed to at the moment, whether it's paid for or not. THAT sucks. :-D

Bimmy the Bookish said...

With such goings-ons, it's of no wonder that you are both perpetually astonished. Maybe Sven would like to point his prickles into some of these righteous ones, to deflate their egos!