THE ABSURD TIMES
Illustration: Swift, from Wikipedia.
I was preparing a series on the economy when an interesting and quite funny exchange developed and it reminded me of my own observation: If you take yourself seriously as a professional, never attack a satirist. Even a mediocre satirist has the advantage as one of his [I use this grammatically as the first person singular and anyone who thinks it makes me a mysoginist has the problem in his brain, not mine, and I am too old now to care if it is politically incorrect] characteristics is that he does not pretend to take himself seriously. I'll start with a famous example.
Jonathin Swift, illustration, once became fed up with a contemporary astrologer named Partridge. The Partridge took himself very seriously and had a number of gullible followers. Here is a short description of him: "Partridge undertook to himself the task of reforming astrology. His program for reform involved eliminating the elements derived for the medieval Arabic tradition in favor of a return to Ptolemy."
Swift finally became too irritated when Partridge attacked the church with which he was affiliated or at least respected. At this point, Swift published a few articles, all talking about the impending death of Partridge and then finally Partidges' obituary.
People crowded around Partridges' house day and night offering condolences, weeping, even as Partridge himself was trying to sleep or was telling them to go home. Finally, in complete anger, Partridge published a short article attacking Swift and laudly proclaiming that he, Partirdge, was still alive.
Swift countered by publishing an article lamenting the passing of the late Partridge and expressing indignation that someone is now pretending to be the late, great, Partridge, spoiling his name and reputation. After that, Partridge was history.
Now for the present: recently a "personality" on CNBC, Jim Cramer, who can be described as a madman giving hypercaffinated stock tips or analysis, had a modest by loyal following. He went on a blithering rant recently attacking Obama for the bailout of the failing banks, ignoring the fact that all of our economic problems result from greed and deregulation, starting from the Reagen Presidency, and going wild buring the last Bush Presidency. At any rate, the rant was so wierd that Jon Stewart featured it and made fun of it.
So far, so good. But Cramer was not content to let it rest at that. He turned around and attacked Stewart, defending himself. Stewart then started to play other clips from Cramer, such as advising that investing in Bear Sterns was a good idea -- a week before it collapsed. All of these clips and such are available on youtube so there is no point in going into more detail. The point is, this Cramer should be washed up -- unless the publicity he got by being humiliated generates curiosity. He then appeared on Stewart's show and Stewart did the best serious interview I've seen since the days of Terkel. It is on comedychannel.com and worth watching. Cramer was glad to leave with his life.
For the most part, politicians tend to make themselves ridiculous. Ari Fleisher recently defended the Bush administration by saying the threat from Saddam Hussein to the United States was real. In a follow-up, Gaffney, another Republican, said that Saddam was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombings! Since he was with serious broadcasters and not satirists, he managed to escape without much ridicule, but these are such obvious straight lines and openings they are hardly worthy of satire. The guy who threw the shoes at Bush was sentenced to three years in prison by Iraqi operatives. No sense of gratitude whatsoever. If he worked for the Bush administration and done that to anybody Spanish Speaking, he would have received a medal of honor as did Paul Bremer who turned Iraq into an enen greater disaster than in was.
And then, even blaming anyone other than God for the 9/11 attacks is absurd. The WTC was constructed to be a taller building that the Sears Tower in Chicago and that's why God destroyed it. Now, some British insurance company bought it and intends to rename it the Willis Tower. Either people will ignore the name change or something horrible is going to happen. You heard it here, folks.
Bernie Madoff (pronounced made off, who would give their money to a guy with a name like that?) stated he was "ashamed." Awwww. I heard one individual complain that he lost Millions to Madoff. Awwww, and what an ASS! If money meant brains, it would not have happened.
We have also learned that there were Bush/Cheney Assassination squads that reported directly to them and that operated overseas. And we thought Nixon's "Plumbers" squad was corrupt?
I'm waiting for prosecution of most of the people in the Bush administration. There is enough evidence, both internal and overseas, to put all of them away for a long time. I wonder if it will happen.
Steele, the Chair of the Republican National Committee gave me much to wonder about. Why pick him? I'm trying to imagine the Republican thought processes (I know, bad idea). "Hip Hop" Republicans? The lines write themselves. I can imagine it went something like this "We gotta appeal to more stupid people. I know, let's get ourselves a black guy -- it worked for the Democrats. And they know how to be republican. Look at Clarance Thomas! Yeah." Just recently he said that abortion should be a woman's choice. Oops! "Lets give him a little more time. If he keeps screwing up, we'll find another black guy, yeah."
Anyway, now I'm going to turn my attention to a coupel Nobel Prize winners in Economics -- you should have the information.