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IV Anno Bush

We got the kingdom, we got the key
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.

Comments

( 33 comments — Have your say! )
sprachlos
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:00 pm (UTC)
2+2=5
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.

that is way too close for my taste to what o'brien said to winston smith in nineteen-eightyfour.
lady_lillith
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:38 pm (UTC)
Re: 2+2=5
that is way too close for my taste to what o'brien said to winston smith in nineteen-eightyfour.

I dare say you are right about that. Now I'm really getting frightened.
Re: 2+2=5 - sprachlos - Nov. 4th, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: 2+2=5 - tornqueen - Nov. 4th, 2004 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
elven_wolf
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:06 pm (UTC)
You might find this interesting: http://www.boingboing.net/2004/11/03/purple_haze.html

I don't know if it makes me feel better or worse. I haven't been capable of processing everything just yet.

Excerpt: "I was thinking today about how the 'red v. blue' states graphic is really misleading considering the slim margins that the candidates won some of those states by, so I sat down and created the map that's attached. In the dozens of hours I've been watching the news I haven't seen one like it, but thought that you and the BoingBoing readers might find it interesting. I think it definitely portrays our fellow states far differently than the extreme way we've been seeing to date."
jack_yoniga
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:09 pm (UTC)
Great map! That rocks.
laserbitch
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:22 pm (UTC)
My husband and I had to go to a church called the Good News Assembly of God. It made my skin crawl. Umm, I'm a pagan. When reading the histories, I didn't find the Good News all that good.

The only thing I can figure out about why there's voting at churches is that there's enough space for people to mill, to sit, to vote, for the registration and check in tables... Because churches are always prepared for churchie gatherings. At least, that's the only way I can reconcile myself to it, and if voting wasn't so damn important, I wouldn't have stepped foot in there at all. As it was, ninevah and I hung around for a bit outside smoking cigarettes and looking delinquent in some kind of petty protest. *shrug*

Anyway, now I need to go scrub my brain with Drano, too. Ewwww.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:24 pm (UTC)
My husband and I had to go to a church called the Good News Assembly of God. It made my skin crawl. Umm, I'm a pagan. When reading the histories, I didn't find the Good News all that good.

I keep waiting for someone to tell me I'm being intolerant, but really. Church/State. I just don't see why I should have to enter a place of worship for a faith that, by and large, despises and fears and persecutes what I am in order to exercise my right to vote. And it's true that I could have used an absentee ballot, I suppose, but that doesn't make it right, I don't think.
nokomis1339
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:22 pm (UTC)
My local reporter friends were passing Without a Doubt around on their live journals and while I had a similar reaction I didn't think of G. W. masturbating. Thank you for the mental scaring. I think I'll spend my afternoon curled in a corner whimpering.

~L~

mellawyrden
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:30 pm (UTC)
"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."

Ew. Now I can't either. Thanks a lot!
greygirlbeast
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:20 pm (UTC)
Ew. Now I can't either. Thanks a lot!

Sorry, guys. Guess that was a little harsh (though, perhaps, not inappropriate).
from_ashes
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:31 pm (UTC)
My polling place was also a Baptist Church, and I was a little surprised about it myself.

Anyway, the statistics show that 41% of Georgia ended up voting for Kerry. To be honest, I was surprised at how high that was. Bush only won by 53%.

I think there is hope. I think people care about the system and changing it now. And I think the next four years are going to be very difficult for the Bush Administration because of that. Young people are no longer apathetic like they once tended to be. They care about their futures and the country.

But again, I'm an optimist.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:18 pm (UTC)
Anyway, the statistics show that 41% of Georgia ended up voting for Kerry. To be honest, I was surprised at how high that was. Bush only won by 53%.

Yes, that was somewhat surprising and, to a degree, reassuring.

Young people are no longer apathetic like they once tended to be.

Has anyone seen any actual figures of how many young people voted? And how are we defining "young"? I'd like to hope it was a high-percentage turnout, but I haven't seen figures. And remember, in many places, young people are more likely to vote Rep. than Dem.
nihilistic_kid
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:31 pm (UTC)
A map of the liberal islands
greygirlbeast
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:24 pm (UTC)
Re: A map of the liberal islands
Cool map. What's the source?
Re: A map of the liberal islands - setsuled - Nov. 4th, 2004 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A map of the liberal islands - _desert_rain_ - Nov. 5th, 2004 12:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: A map of the liberal islands - _desert_rain_ - Nov. 5th, 2004 12:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: A map of the liberal islands - greygirlbeast - Nov. 5th, 2004 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
sclerotic_rings
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:32 pm (UTC)
Considering that Butt-Head is already declaring that the election was a "mandate from the people" to continue his policies, that masturbation analogy is appropriate.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:27 pm (UTC)
May I post the link to this post in a LJ community I belong to?

Yes, you most certainly may.
mr_graig
Nov. 4th, 2004 05:06 pm (UTC)
Things that make you go hmmmmm
the_numinous_1
Nov. 4th, 2004 05:51 pm (UTC)
G. W. masturbating over a map of the United States from my mind.

I think that was his Skull & Bones initiation....
greygirlbeast
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:28 pm (UTC)
I think that was his Skull & Bones initiation....

I was waiting for someone to bring that up...
(no subject) - wishlish - Nov. 4th, 2004 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 4th, 2004 08:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 4th, 2004 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - setsuled - Nov. 4th, 2004 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
from_ashes
Nov. 4th, 2004 06:24 pm (UTC)
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html

There are some good statistics on who voted for what, including by age. Looks like the youth vote was pretty close, too.
wishlish
Nov. 4th, 2004 07:55 pm (UTC)
These stats are based off exit polls, which proved to be horribly inaccurate in Bush states. So who knows? Maybe we've raised Nazi youth parties that think Bush is sexy. (shudder) They're smoking Republidope.
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 4th, 2004 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
brokensymmetry
Nov. 4th, 2004 10:47 pm (UTC)
I can't seem to banish the image of G. W. masturbating over a map of the United States from my mind.

Try replacing it with an image of the faces of those who voted for Bush because he's "more christian than Kerry" as they learn they've just voted in a cabal of left-hand path magicians. They never will learn, but it's amusing image nonetheless.

And on the topic of maps, I found this one of free vs slave states during the civil war interesting. To quote my friend rwx, "I'm not suggesting causation; it is an interesting historical artifact though."
oxygenhigh
Nov. 5th, 2004 01:49 am (UTC)
"Personally, in 2008 Nar'eth gets my vote. I already have the campaign slogan: "No more frelling around! Play like nice little monkeys, or you're all gonna die." Very pragmatic, to the point."

Now, that would be enough to get me to vote for anybody. What this country needs is someone who won't bullshit around -- someone who will admit that Americans are generally a bunch of idiots and act accordingly, rather than someone who constantly panders to the lowest common denominator.
I hope that just made sense.
( 33 comments — Have your say! )