“acuity, based on People
An online friend’s published political commentary two weeks ago in knot.magazine had me evaluating my own political knowledge. She opened her Canadian vs. U.S. comparisons with a midnight confession, brought on by insomnia and boredom, trying to name all the U.S. presidents, coming up with the usual present-day names and JFK.
I know about Washington, Lincoln, Adams, Jefferson, Roosevelt (Teddy and the guy in the wheelchair), Coolidge and Johnson. The order by year?
I’d have better luck remembering my savings account PIN.
When it comes to politics, I’m usually in the corner poring through “Us” or “People,” piping up and joining in only when relevant to my personal life and my pedantic cultural interests. Big Brother plotting another overthrow of everyday citizens’ privacy issues? abortion rights? affirmative action? actors up in arms over nuclear testing of ciabbatta in the Napa Valley? Clinton not have sexual relations with another brunette?
Yes, Jen & Ben over Bush’s military strategies in the Middle East.
Nothing puts me to sleep more than the one-two combo punch of a presidential speech about anything happening over there with the military. It’s a wonder I received As in all my poli-sci courses at the University of Hawaii, much less minored in the subject. (Hmm... as I recall, I only remember going to an associate professor’s house up in the mountains, with the rest of my class, to make pasta and sauce from scratch while he talked up the benefits of communal living.)
I used to listen to talk radio, all those conservative former lawyer types provoking fights with liberals, talking smack against the four-eyed what’s-his-face writer from “Saturday Night Live” who did a Snerdly imitation of a priss New Age-er, Al Franken, yeah, that’s his name, stirring the flames of relevancy to keep boring, buttoned-up politics sexy, with enough gravitas to mean something.
But I never paid attention to the substance, if any, of their rabid ranting. I was too busy getting enraged at their personality ticks: Rush, self-righteous, hypocritical blowhard... Michael Savage, sensationalistic, self-aggrandizing ignoramus... Michael Medved, prissy, passive-aggressive, patronizing jerk, does he know his own sexuality?... Laura Ingraham, that arrogant nasal tone, gawd, laughing at her own white-girl-attempts-blues jokes...
They might as well be in show business or soaps, or on MTV for all the political relevance I ignored in lieu of their larger-than-life personalities.
The past three days I thumbed through a newly purchased “People” magazine, dated May 31, the one with Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin on the cover with their newborn Apple, Tony Randall and “the Bachelor” with his chosen Jessica. After I was done – I could’ve read the thing front to back in 20 minutes while taking a morning dump – I realized I pulled a “New York Times,” revealing my priorities in order of least important, most T&A fluff to, there’s nothing else to read in here, might as well finish up the rest.
I first went to the letters section to see if anybody wrote anything scathing about Jennifer Aniston being named one of the magazine’s 50 most beautiful, then went to the back and continued backwards, flipping, flipping until I stopped at pictures of boobies, butts and familiar names of the most common entertainers around, easily identified famous people almost everybody of any age group knows, neither too old or too young, Kate Beckinsale’s “Mrs. Wiseman” bikini bottom, then straight to the cover story about Hollywood’s baby boom, looking for more erect nipples, then a quick glance at “Under Siege” about that weird-looking military chick Lynndie England who posed with her military buddies in Iraq looking all sorts of S&M Nazi-esque, a quick shudder, quickly, to Tony Randall’s death, and, if I must, an article about President George Bush’s twin daughters Jenna and Barbara, after their college graduations, as homework.
The only information I retained from the Bush article came from a bartender who met Barbara and hit on her, repeatedly fixating on her prettiness. That and, I stared at the two young women and wondered if maybe their parents should’ve named the shorter, prettier one Jenna instead.
Oh, I can fake a good game. I’ve the letters-to-the-editor (one which won some yearly award from the “Seattle Post-Intelligencer”) to prove it. But really, I’d rather look up half-naked butt shots of Beckinsale on her honeymoon, or a quickie fashion spread on Britney’s latest Vegas adventure.
So I have nobody to blame but my shallow self when I change the channel in a hurry, in en masse disgust at E!’s slobbering over the rich and famous, “It’s Good To Be...”
Besides, everybody knows the real government operators remain behind the scenes, in business suits for multi-national corporations, rotating between Demo and Repub every other election term.
And no, I have absolutely zero idea what I just wrote. It sounded impressive from the conversations I’d overheard here, there, time and again, in between the catcalls about Ricky Martin’s failed career and his manager or other suing him for money owed.
... James Polk.
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