I was going to write a 9/11 piece and I haven't really thought of what I wanted to say. But now I see in my periphery a host of productions now starting to pile up. It's almost as if, having done one dastardly deed, Osama has created a new American holiday. Walk it off America, walk it off.
Dennis Miller is the smartest conservative on the radio because he reads people very well. He is one of those rare individuals who can talk with the ordinary Joes and understand how they're twisting themselves up to be something they aren't in the presence of celebrity. It's a sense that I think all stars get, but few handle well. His lesson to me is to go home. When you start getting emotionally involved in something over which you have absolutely no control, go home.
There is something about American democracy that has been tweaked a little too much - given too much attention in the abstract and not enough direct focus. We all feel that we have some right or duty or function in standing up on our hind legs and barking at the moon of America. There's always some pundit that nobody in any American highschool has ever heard of who can, in his market segement of the long tail, go on about 'the problem with American x'. It brings to mind a conversation I had with a psychologist who said that people overuse their strengths in a crisis. When the crapstorm begins, singers will sing, bloggers will blog, complainers will complain, presidents will preside. Except for those at ground zero whose lives are directly affected, we knit up the metathreads into some narrative tapestry whose patterns need to be familiar. Something about our history keeps reminding us that we the people are supposed to be involved in our little part of history.
I don't think so.
I don't want to be harsh, but I think we are bearing burdens our shoulders weren't meant to carry. It has to do with our judgment in the details of things - details we don't care to know and wouldn't make sense of if we were presented with them. And I think we believe a bit too strongly that our positioning is all that significant. It's easy for me to say that we are all peasants and nothing peasants say matters, although what it is we do is the basis of the entire economy. That should be, in it's own way, self-evident.
But what is not self-evident is the extent to which we are actually not getting added value from adding our voices to the democratic end of our national governance. Mind you I see this in more and more things these days. Are newspapers really improving because they have comment sections? Is there really something to be appreciably gained by reading through all that? I'm tending to think not. Rather I think we're all a bit neurotic about describing what's going wrong in America.
The worst part is that all of this is a function of who we are, that is to say, Americans love America but hate the other-Americans polluting this place. What's emerging is all of that literate discontent in e-text.
En Passant: Gloria Molina, as tenured a pol as can possibly exist, is proposing creating a second Hispanic majority minority district.