Culturally Discombobulated

Tag: America

Iowa (not be be mistaken for Idaho)


It’s the young staffer in charge of organizing O’Malley’s caucus night party that I feel the most for. They probably began this journey with the optimism that maybe, just maybe, their guy could do something special that they were getting in on the ground floor, and, the truth is, it ends on a cold night in Iowa with them putting out for their colleagues in campaign headquarters a pitiable dinner spread of cold Little Caesar pizzas and a Cookie Puss.

As it is, the “O” in Martin O’Malley will now be pronounced as a wistfully sad, drawn-out diphthong, as in “ohhhhhhhh, that didn’t go well, did it?”

Some other thoughts on tonight. In the mid-90s, British band KLF burnt a million pounds as an act of performance art. Twenty years later they may be interested to discover that their work has plagiarized by donators to the Jeb! campaign.

It’s also unclear as to whether the Iowans saw their shadows or not, which kind of sucks as I’m ready for winter to be over.

I also don’t know if I can take ten more months of “feel the Bern” or “Cruz Control” placards and chants.

Oh, and I hope that young staffer is doing okay and is having a good time in this late hour getting disgracefully wasted in downtown Des Moines.

Iowa Caustic


Do we need Iowa? I mean, if a 200-mile-wide sinkhole were to swallow it whole, how long would it be before the rest of us noticed? And, more crassly, would we even care? Sure, in one stroke we’d have lost 20% of the nation’s corn production, but, then again, wheezing, lardy America could probably do with eating a bit less corn.

And yet, tomorrow sees the Iowa caucuses; electoral events that allow Iowa to exert a far greater influence on the American democratic process than its size or demographics merit. It is as if the rest of the country has reneged on their civic obligations and said to Iowa, “if you can vet these candidates for us – that’d be super.” In effect, we are asking Iowa to act as the nation’s HR rep; whittling down the list of candidates until, at a later date, we do our final round interview with them. But, like most HR professionals, they just cannot be trusted – dinging decent candidates with requisite experience while putting forward some moron that they thought might be “a good fit” but, in truth, they like because he attends the same church as them.  It’s really far too much responsibility to give to people that put ranch dressing on their pizza.

And if they play their part in Trump 2016… well, if a sinkhole were to swallow the country, would anyone else even care?

Chutzpah with a comb over

A curiously-coiffed shadow hung over proceedings; like an episode of Two and a Half Men post Charlie Sheen, the GOP debate without Trump lacked the very trickster figure whose chaotic presence had previously made this election cycle so compelling. If American politics is entertainment, then perhaps this was the night the GOP debates jumped the shark.

On my twitter feed the consensus was that a Trump-less event was a good thing; that it allowed for a debate that was more substantive, but, from what I saw, that gives the remaining candidates far too much credit. Over-coached by their advisers they awkwardly parroted their talking points – or in Ben Carson’s case the most passionless reciting of the preamble to the constitution you could ever hope to hear.

There’s Cruz, I guess, a man who looks and sounds like Hollywood’s idea of a stock Republican villain, and while he adeptly stepped into the role of heel (to use a wrestling term) he really is no replacement for Trump. Cruz is just another politician (being a not entirely unskilled politician he would claim that he’s not like other politicians – which, of course, is the most politician-y thing a politician could ever say) and can be understood in those terms. Trump, however, is different– he’s America’s fever dream.

While the debate was taking place, attendees of a Trump rally across town got to watch as he emasculated Santorum and Huckabee live; the two candidates willingly appearing on a stage emblazoned with his name, but hey, it can’t harm book sales, can it? After all, that must be why so many of these no-hopers are still in the race. Boehner when he resigned as Speaker referenced the Roman statesmen Cincinnatus. Cincinnatus was a favorite of the Founding Fathers because he put the civic good before his own personal ambition, but I rather think, looking at the more no-hoper candidates on the GOP side, as if Cinna, torn for his bad verses, would be the better Roman to compare these candidates to.

Pardon me

There is something grossly presumptuous and unjust in the Presidential pardon of a solitary turkey each Thanksgiving. What, for instance, is the henious crime that this turkey has committed that merits the President to pardon it? If it is the case that each year a true miscreant of a turkey is absolved of past sins, is it not shocking we forgive this poultry Barabas when so many law abiding turkeys are slaughtered for our table? And if it is merely for show, a sham display of Presidential munificence over a perfectly innocent bird, then would this turkey even want to live a moment longer when EVERYONE he holds dear or has ever loved has been chopped, trussed, and bagged? Like a metaphorical wattle, the knowledge that he is the sole survivor hangs heavy on him.

American Notes: Grumpy Cat (candidate for office)

GRUMPY CAT: On numerous occasions, Obama has shown himself to be surprisingly savvy when it comes to memes and how to effectively deploy them. The latest example has been his comparison of the Republican Presidential candidates with the web’s most celebrated feline dwarf.

“They are gloomy. They are like Grumpy Cat,” the President said.

And yet here is where Obama is wrong, because the (bizarre) success of Grumpy Cat is not due to grumpiness or gloominess, but due to vulnerable adorableness – something, even the most partisan of supporter would admit, is hard to spot in a Jeb! Bush, Rand Paul or Marco Rubio. Watching the third debate it was quite clear none of the candidates would sell well in plush toy form.