Last week I spent some time at a friend’s apartment as he recovered from back surgery, watching a lot of TV. I myself have a television but no cable, which in New York is needed to watch even network stations. If I had cable I’d never get any homework done. I keep up with the Times website every day but if I had only read about the people trapped at the New Orleans convention center I doubt I would have cried. Which is an odd thing for a writer to admit, but so be it. I have a newfound appreciation for TV. That cameraman better get a Pulitzer. And a raise.
Trailing my outrage was a peculiar, uncomfortable thrill. It’s coursed through me countless times over the past five years; a thrill that perseveres despite all evidence pointing to its eventual extinction.
It began in 2000 when Bush lost the popular vote and resurfaced when everyone realized he had initiated Operation Iraqi Freedom under false pretenses. It surged when the pictures from Abu Ghraib were made public and bubbled when Karl Rove was exposed as the CIA leak.
Last week I felt it again: the tiny thrill, shadowing every horrific blunder of this administration, that this is it, this is finally the one: this is when we finally snap out of our slumber and demand revolution.
Like I said, it’s usually a matter of days before the thrill is gone. This is an administration that has pulled out of the Kyoto Treaty, excused itself from the Geneva Conventions, betrayed the UN and the post-9/11 American unity on a unilateral war, cut taxes for the wealthy, lowered antipollution standards, threatened national parks, and is currently slinging mud and blaming everyone else for its stupid, lazy response to Hurricane Katrina.
Here is Bush reflecting on the devastation: “We got a lot of rebuilding to do…. the good news is and it’s hard for some to see it now but out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic gulf coast… out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — the guy lost his entire house — there’s going to be fantastic house. I look forward to sitting on the porch.”
Gee, Mr. President. I feel safer already.
I can think of only two things he has failed to accomplish (yet): Social Security reform, and an amendment to the constitution banning same-sex marriage. If Watergate were to happen today, Bush would probably keep his job.
I suppose if I were a pessimist I’d pay that little thrill no heed. But I’m not quite that lucky.
In other news, my father and his partner came through town. We went to Kitchenette for brunch, and afterwards they both pulled out those little tourist wallets, the kind you hang around your neck under your clothes, to foil New York muggers. It was so fucking CUTE!
And school began today. This semester I have my thesis workshop, which is all about planning the book. Less reading, more writing. We have to submit seven goddamned times, every other week. When the hell am I going to get my back-to-school shopping done? I gots to look good for the new meat.