We got the empire, now as then...
If nothing else, this election has taught me that I suck as a cynic. As a cynic, I'm a hypocrite. As a romantic, I make a naive fool. I'm wandering somewhere in between the two, but doing neither justice. Just like Matthew Arnold said.
I was probably the last person in the world to read Ron Suskind's "Without a Doubt" (NY Times Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004). Well, not the last person, but I'm trying to make a point. I'm not a political nerd. I'm many flavours of nerd, but none of them are particularly political. So, many people, including the political nerds, read this article before me. Anyway, there are a lot of frightening things about the Bush Administration revealed in this article, a lot of disturbing things, but the bit that really struck me (and a lot of other people, it would seem), is the following:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
And the first thing that came to mind, to my mind, is that here I am feeling like such a rebel challenging consensual reality, and here's the frelling Bush Admin spouting the basics of chaos magic like they'd frelling invented the stuff. A shame the fundamentalist/dominionist crowd hasn't made the connection. I began to picture Dick Cheney involved in complex scrying rituals, John Ashcroft instructing his underlings in the use of sigils, and G. W. himself engaged in all sorts of masturbatory rites to insure his re-election. No, it's not a pretty picture. I almost blinded my mind's eye with the thought.
I saw someone online, on LJ, talking about "liberal islands," which fits rather nicely with what I said yesterday about the regionalism revealed (not suprisingly) by the red-and-blue electoral map. I live on a liberal island. Hell, down here, we've been thinking that way for years. In the days leading up to our invasion of Iraq, front lawns for miles around sprouted "War is Not the Answer" signs. As the election approached, it seemed most lawns in this area of Atlanta (and I'm talking a large area) were decorated with signs supporting Kerry. We saw only a measley handful of Bush-Cheney signs. Of course, Georgia went to Bush. There are many other liberal islands scattered across the crimson sea of America, little dots peering cautiously from the gulf dividing those three disolute regions — the West Coast, the upper Mid-West, and New England. Here on our island, we try not to leave the "perimeter" (Atlanta-speak for the concrete and asphalt belt of I-285), because it gets scary outside the perimeter. The rednecked scuttlefish hold almost all that territory, and we know Charlie don't surf, right? Just like Chef said (that's Chef in Apocalypse Now, not Chef on South Park), never get off the fucking boat. No, it's okay. I'm not making very much sense at all.
I'm still a little annoyed that I had to vote at a local Baptist church. I'm not a Christian, know that the majority of Christians would find me and my beliefs and my "lifestyle" appalling, and, in light of those facts and issues of the seperation of Church and State, do not think that I should have to enter a Baptist church to frelling vote.
Life goes on...
At least for the moment.
I had a very good meeting with Marvel Comics yesterday. That's the big news. I'll be doing something with them soon. Details TBA. I think I'm finally ready to go back to comics. Also, I spent part of the last two days finalizing plans for two short-fiction collections with Subterranean Press. At this point, it looks as though To Charles Fort, With Love will be a Spring 2005 release. It will include fourteen stories. The Dancy Flammarion collection is being planned as a Fall 2005 release and will include five or six stories. Details TBA.
And now I have to go scrub my brain with Drano, because I can't seem to banish the image of G. W. masturbating over a map of the United States from my mind.