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Posts Tagged ‘satire’

A line from Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3, and a longer passage from Mr. Rosewater.

The Senator swept Eliot’s picture from the mantelpiece. “Who can blame her? One more roll in the hay with that drunk gypsy I call son?” He apologized for the coarseness of this last image. “Old men without hope have a tendency to be both crude and accurate. I beg your pardon.”

Sylvia put her lovely head down, raised it again. “I don’t think of him as that — as a drunk gypsy.”

“I do, by God. Every time I’m forced to look at him I think to myself, ‘What a staging area for a typhoid epidemic!’ Don’t try to spare my feelings, Sylvia. My son doesn’t deserve a decent woman. He deserves what he’s got, the sniveling camaraderie of whores, malingerers, pimps, and thieves.”

“They’re not that bad, Father Rosewater.”

“As I understand it, that’s their chief appeal to Eliot, that there’s absolutely nothing good about them.”

Sylvia, with two nervous breakdowns behind her, and with no well-formed dreams before her, said quietly, just as her doctor would have wanted her to, “I don’t want to argue.”

“You still could argue on Eliot’s behalf?”

“Yes. If I don’t make anything else clear tonight, at least let me make that clear: Eliot is right to do what he’s doing. It’s beautiful what he’s doing. I’m simply not strong enough or good enough to be by his side any more. The fault is mine.”

Pained mystification, and then helplessness, suffused the Senator’s face. “Tell me one good thing about those people Eliot helps.”

“I can’t.”

“I thought not.”

“It’s a secret thing,” she said, forced to argue, pleading for the argument to stop right there.

Without any notion of how merciless he was being, the Senator pressed on. “You’re among friends now — suppose you tell us what this great secret is.”

“The secret is that they’re human,” said Sylvia. She looked from face to face for some flicker of understanding. There was none. The last face into which she peered was Norman Mushari’s. Mushari gave her a hideously inappropriate smile of greed and fornication.

Sylvia excused herself abruptly, went into the bathroom and wept.

I’ve been thinking of this passage during the two most recent Republican debates. Looking for an understanding of the notion Sylvia is inartfully trying to convey as the hopefuls talk about this or that group, the “those people” of American politics, the undocumented, those without health insurance, the unemployed, anyone vulnerable. In place of Mushari’s smile of greed and fornication, I’ve found power lust and demagoguery.

America’s two-party system could use two sensible parties offering constructive critiques of one another. The Democrats can’t possibly have all the answers and they do not. The pathologies of bureaucracies and wielding of power taint any organization. But unfortunately we have this Republican field, partial to playing to the most right wing instincts of the party. Meaning only the most impractical answers, only the most inhumane policies, only the most ridiculous options are on display. Whether calling the Chairman of the Fed almost treasonous or prompting an intervention by the American Academy of Pediatrics as to the safety of the HPV vaccine, the Republican presidential hopefuls have already done a disservice to American politics.

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(Via Fancis Stokes Dot Com)

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Wikileaks knows exactly what you’re getting for Christmas (Dan and Dan).

Weihnachtsoratorium

Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf, preiset die Tage,
Rühmet, was heute der Höchste getan!
Lasset das Zagen, verbannet die Klage,
Stimmet voll Jauchzen und Fröhlichkeit an!
Dienet dem Höchsten mit herrlichen Chören,
Laßt uns den Namen des Herrschers verehren!

Celebrate, rejoice, rise up and praise the time,
glorify what the Highest has done today!
Abandon despair, banish laments,
sound forth full of delight and happiness!
Serve the Highest with glorious choruses,
let us honor the name of the Supreme Ruler!

Another Baroque palace for Christmas. Happy holidays.

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