Thursday, 6 November 2008

More genius from Prozacville

And *crash*, back down to earth Prozac brings us with a soft landing.

Though everything changes around us, we will still be the same as before.

Question:

Assuming the theory of evolution is true -- (and, yes, it is, Sarah Palin, I'm sorry) -- why haven't British people developed gills?

Why no webbed feet? A waterproof, retractable flap of skin that extends over the head?

'Like living in tupperware' my wife once said, back in the days she was happy not to live here.

Go on. Have a look. It'll be raining.

Oh it depresses me depresses me. Depresses me.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Now I can go back to sleep.

Well, thank fuck for that.

I stayed up late, to make sure this time. (Last two American elections I went to bed with a Democrat President-elect, to wake up with George Bush. You can imagine...)

Still, I must admit feeling a little underwhelmed by the whole thing, now, at 5am GMT. I don't feel any of the hope or change that I was promised. Just relief.

And I'm more than a little fed up, already, with the renewal of the over-inflated estimation of America the Greatest from the American 'left'. Yeah, I felt bad for a lot of people in the US who had to endure under Bush, but this 'Once again we prove that America is the Greatest country on earth' refrain is puzzling, really. And a little annoying. Amnesia is a terrific thing, eh?

Something has happened, something has changed, so I'm told. But I have a bad feeling that it isn't anything more than the birth of a new symbol. A new idealised container, in Kleinian parlance. Which might be something in itself, and might be worthy of some celebration. And certainly the importance of Obama's election -- as a symbol, as a reality -- for the blacks, and race-relations generally, in America, and beyond, shouldn't be ignored. That, unproblematically, is a Good Thing.

But how much will really 'Change'? In foreign policy? economic policy?

(Is it the comparisons with Kennedy, who's record never really bears up to the romanticised fantasia, that makes me nervous? I've heard at least a half-dozen references to a 'new Camelot' already. Innumerable 'new dawns'. Lazy, lazy, complacent hyperbole. Let's hope for something more... substantial.)

Good luck, though. It would be a really cynical bastard that didn't will Obama to live up to at least some of the hype.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Trickle down is melting?

A brilliant article from Simon Schama in today's Guardian.

I love Simon Schama, even when I disagree with him, which happily doesn't happen that often. He's just that right amount of completely barmy. And he writes 'on the edge', by which I mean in this instance 'very nearly over-the-top'. It's the closest I've ever read a historian emulating Angela Carter, which sums it up nicely, I think.

But there was one passage in particular I liked here:

The Bush presidency is the spectre haunting the feast in more than tactics. Although every conservative administration since Ronald Reagan has promised to deliver, through supply-side stimulation, economic growth without bloated deficits, they have never been vindicated in their blind faith in what Bush senior once rashly called "voodoo economics". Consistently, they have brought the US Wall Street crashes and recessions along with massive deficits; and yet somehow, the stake that history attempts to drive through the heart of their economic theology never puts the ghoul away.

No weight of evidence to the contrary has ever shaken the totemic belief that tax cuts can grow the economy robustly enough to compensate for drastic shortfalls in revenue. George W Bush clung to this belief even as the Clinton budget surplus was converted into a mountainous deficit, and John McCain continues to parrot the same belief with the shining face of a true believer.


And about time, too. I've lost patience, you see, with whatever misguided notions of 'neutrality' stop the press in this country, that country (and mine own, too), from blowing the whistle on this bullshit. For more than thirty years, from Thatcher and Regan and Mulroney to Cameron, McCain and Harper, right-wing politicians have foisted the lie that tax cuts, trickle-down, 'supple-side' economics stand any chance of working for any one but the very richest in our society at the expense of everyone else.

It is a lie. My first day of Economics 101 lectures at U of T they told us this. Well, first week. It can't be that big a secret.

Parliamentary privilege stops MPs from saying so, but why is the media so apparently happy to repeat these lies as legitimate 'policy', I wonder? (Ok, stupid question, I know. Sorry)

Anyway, good on you, Simon. Keep it up and all that.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Monsters in America

I've been too busy to post here for ages, but I found this -- very worthily -- doing the rounds and thought I'd like to bask in some of its ridiculous, but somehow strangely apt, glory:

JibJab - Frankenstein for President!


(Thanks to Magia Posthuma -- an excellent blog on the real history of vampires, by the way -- for posting it on from Frakensteinia, which I've never come across before but also looks curiously worthy of exploration...)

In reality? Obama strikes me as vampire-like, without all the capitalist overtones (the slightly exotic charmer?), McCain a werewolf (it's the eyes), Biden as Frankenstein (again, due to nothing more insightful than remarkable verisimilitude).

And Palin? Pit bull hockey mom?

Did you see Dead Set?

Mr. Romero, I think we've identified your next project.