YAHGHA...He's been a superstar in waiting for months, but as of last night, he's not in waiting anymore. My man stood up and delivered, and now millions of people can pronounce his name. It's all been a little surreal for me, since I started volunteering for him over a year ago when he was polling 5th in a 7 person race. And now it's like..."I know that guy up there! He's hugged me!" It's just glorious. My aunt is said to have told her 14 year old son to remember where he was last night, because this is history. Now everyone's talking about the first black president. Slow down, people. Being one of a hundred people in the upper house of the Congress is pretty cool. Let the man craft some bills and cast some votes. Lots of people called me last night and I told them that the live show is actually better, they found it hard to believe. I haven't really done much for him but it's been a privilege to serve in the small ways I have. I just want to say once again that I told y'all.
That last post got a little long, I don't think I got to the point of the actual revelation. Once I got off that train I went to see the free improv set at the Second City mainstage with my friends Theresa and Sam and a couple of other people, including an adorable Frenchman. It was the first time I had seen a mainstage cast since the departure of my beloved mid to late '90's pantheon. I can now proclaim Maribeth Monroe as the new shining star/brilliant chick I'd like to make out with.
Speaking of the old pantheon, the great Adam McKay's screenwriting/directorial debut, "Anchorman" is quite good. Its absurdity is such that its amazing it got mainstream release as it's the sort of thing that usually makes dumb people say things like "What the fuck?" in exasperated tones.
Enough of that, tonight is Barack's big night, as he delivers a speech to the convened Democratic Party that will cause my soul to soar (though again, if certain dumb people were watching it, they would probably say "What the fuck?" for different reasons)
I watched a bit of the convention coverage last night. I saw Jimmy Carter give a speech that was okay, but fell asleep before I could see Clinton, who usually gives speeches that are awesome, but not as awesome as Barack.
Speaking of big moments, one of my bestest friends ever, the indomitable Fritz Wilson has reached the end of a lifelong quest and is taking the Bar Exam this week. Drunkenness and loud singing of Les Mis is sure to follow...
I think one of the reasons I find politics interesting is that people are so relentlessly stupid about it, and that includes people on the Left nearly as much as the Right. I was on the L last night when I observed an exchange between an old hippie and a couple of retro-punks that was just mind boggling in its dumbness. The old hippie is a guy who lives in Evanston and I've seen him around lots of times. I saw Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky speak one time, and she talked about how antiwar folk needed to support the Democratic candidate for President, even if it was someone like Kerry or Edwards who voted for the war resolution. And she made the damn good point that even if those guys *did* make a craven political decision to support the war, they sure as hell wouldn't have *initiated* the war if they were in the driver's seat. And this guy and his other grey haired friends were booing and heckling her. You know, if Jan Schakowsky isn't left wing enough for you, it's time to move to Cuba.
Anyway, this guy, with his various anti-Bush buttons or whatever is on the L with the two retro punks. Now these kids are easily five years my junior and they've got huge mohawks and the word "Ramones" sprawled in various means across their bodies, and they've both got the anarchy symbol tatooed on their arms. And the one punk asks the old hippie "Are you anti-Bush?" the hippie replies "I'm not for him." And the question and answer repeats twice. And the punk asks, "So are you like a Democrat?" "Hell no, Green Party." The punk seems to respect that. Then says that Bush can suck his cock.
Now, putting aside what I consider the obvious question of whether the 43rd President of the United States would have any inclination to suck this young man's cock, I've got to say I find this sort of knee jerk "The other guy sucks" stuff pretty tiring after a while. I disagree strongly with almost all of Mr. Bush's core beliefs and I think he's been a bad president and I want to defeat him. But for some reason I don't think this kid, or a lot of knee jerk leftists really *knows* why he doesn't like Bush, other than some simplistic "war is bad" formula. The punk asks the hippie if he supports democracy and the hippie says yes. The punk looks a little disappointed at that, he was probably hoping he'd agree that democracy is a bourgeois lie that should be smashed, along with the corporate whatever. The punks both say that America has never been a democracy, the hippie sort of agrees. The hippie says we used to have town hall meetings and such and that was democratic. Then the main punk says he'd never be accepted at a townhall meeting. The hippie agrees, then says that's his choice to look the way he does, and he's getting the reaction he wants. Only later does he acknowledge that he's the exact same way with his bushy, raggedy hippie beard. This is the moment the punk has been waiting for, his chance to say "Fuck them! I don't care, I'm gonna be who I am no matter what..." etc. The hippie was getting off the L at this point, but not before the punk finished his little oh so nonconformist rant with his intention to resist the coming draft by fighting until he dies (kind of ironic really) and that he would also "keep pissing on society and the government".
To everyone in "society and the government": Do you guys even KNOW you're being pissed on? Because you're all acting remarkably nonchalant about it.
Now here's the thing, at least the old hippie was roughly the right age to look the ridiculous way he looks, but I don't get these retro punks. I mean, isn't the culture creating anything *new* anymore? Isn't there anything else for the teen rebels to adopt, or is it all just too commodified and therefore compromised? As a leading creator of culture I have to admit I feel somewhat responsible.
But *come on* there are forty five year olds who used to dress and act the way you are. When I was a little kid in the early '80s they were always at my house macking on my teenage sisters. You probably weren't born then. At least be grunge or something.
And by the way, kid, you're not being "who you are". You're being who Sid Vicious was. Nothing about you is the least bit original. I don't know, I guess I've just never felt a need to fit into some mold to express how outside the mold I am and I'm just puzzled by those who do.
On the bright side of anarchy, I finally read the graphic novel V for Vendetta by the brilliant Alan Moore last week, which I've wanted to do since I was ten and just got around to, there are a lot of books like that. It was written in the early '80s, and was about a costumed rebel named V fighting a fascist government in post World War III Britain. It's kind of muddled in parts, it's not Moore's best work but it does include this brilliant speech that V makes to the British statue of Lady Justice:
"Hello, dear lady. A lovely evening, is it not?
Forgive me for intruding. Perhaps you were intending to take a stroll.
Perhaps you were merely enjoying the view.
No matter. I thought that it was time we had a little chat, you and I.
Ahh... I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V.
"Madam Justice... This is V."
"V... This is Madam Justice."
"Hello Madam Justice."
"Good evening, V"
There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...
"The poor boy has a crush on me... An adolescent infatuation."
I beg your pardon, madam. It isn't like that at all.
I've long admired you... Albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say, to my father, "Who is that lady?". And he'd say "That's madam Justice." and I'd say, "Isn't she pretty."
Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal. That was a long time ago. I'm afraid there's someone else now...
"What? V! For shame you have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!"
I madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!
Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.
"Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one..."
Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his arm-bands and jack-boots!.
Well? Cat got your tongue? I thought as much.
Very well, so you stand revealed at last. You are no longer my Justice. You are his Justice now. You have bedded another. Well, two can play at that game.
"Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?"
Her name is Anarchy. And she taught me more as a mistress than you ever did!. She has taught me that Justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know.
So goodbye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman that once I loved."
Now that's writing is what that is.
I was going to write some important things about Evanston, IL today but I've been at work too long and am too tired to do that, so I will simply report the awesome news that Barack Obama is going to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. He hasn't even been elected yet! If his deputy campaign manager Nate Tamarin happens to be reading this, can I please have a ticket?
Sigh...I'm 48 hours from my paycheck and am now down to some very meager resources. Including a single Thomas English Muffin and bit of Skippy peanut butter. (I trust the checks from the makers of those products will be arriving promptly now that I've plugged them here)
Coincidentally, while on the L this morning I saw a Thomas English Muffin truck driving by, followed moments later by an Oberweiss dairy truck! Immediately I had visions of the glory I could attain by hijacking those trucks and making off with the bountiful goods contained therein. I have some experience in criminal masterminding from my reckless youth, and I think I would make a damn good highwayman.
So my man Barack has been running unopposed for a couple of weeks now. Now the big, hillarious rumor is that the Republicans are going to get Mike Ditka to run. I'd consider this awesome if I wasn't genuinely fearful that enough Chicagoans would say to themselves "I was gonna vote for the guy with the weird name but the '85 Bears ROCKED!" The Arnold/Jesse Ventura precedents are scary. But those guys actually speak English much better than Ditka.
A friend forwarded me the text of a brilliant anti-John Edwards ad: John Edwards Has “Never Done Any Serious Farming.”
"John Edwards Doesn’t Follow Weekly NASCAR Races, Adds He “Doesn’t Follow Anything Except Politicking.” "John Edwards Hasn’t Hunted Or Fished “In Years.” "John Edwards Has “In The Past Been A Country Music Fan.” (Tim Funk, “Q&A With John Edwards,” The Charlotte Observer, 5/26/03) "John Edwards Can’t Even Remember Make Or Model Of His Own Truck..."
Will they play the theme from Dukes of Hazzard in the background. As my friend said, "I don't think he reads Kurt Vonnegut or listens to indie rock either, but I'm still voting for him to be Vice-President."
I'll tell ya one thing, Big Dick CHENEY sure as hell follows NASCAR.
Edwards is a lot of fun but part of me wishes John Kerry had chosen Bob Kerrey as his running mate. What lovely symmetry. Kerry's a liberal Democratic Senator who fought in Vietnam...And so's Kerrey!
Okay so it's just me then.
I was sitting down to dine last night, whimisically having picked up the Chicago Sun-Times, and found
this story about my friend Reina (the irritatingly talented young playwright who is better than me) and the theater camp for ten to sixteen year old girls that she's starting with Ellie, who was also in L3K. Reina comes off quite well, as is to be expected, although as a former thirteen year old boy I didn't appreciate her dig at them. When I was a thirteen year old boy I was delightful to be around.
Okay, I won't vouch for most of them.
The columnist herself annoyed me a bit with the "Gosh, there really are young people who actually like Shakespeare! Isn't that laudable and surprising?" tone, but I guess that's standard procedure. Mighty exciting to see friends getting major ink like that, although I was outraged that I wasn't mentioned anywhere. The article describes Reina and Ellie as "pals" but of course they only met because I cast them both in Lysistrata 3000. It's like writing about the Beatles without mentioning Pete Best. It's simply not done by anyone.
"The individual doesn't matter! The important thing is the team! And I was the one who came up with the whole team idea! Me!"-Homer Simpson
That was supposed to be funny but now it looks horribly whiny. I can do better than that if only I can muster my...
No, never mind.
Returning to the cubicle after several days of doing blissfully nothing, and occasionally things here and there, has been a difficult experience. I am back into my typical white collar drone lifestyle, which on weekdays is all too often: commute, work, return home, scrounge for food, summon up all wordly and extraworldly strength to do some Latin homework, stare at astonishingly unwritten new script on laptop, move on to staring at unringing cell phone, maturbate, cry, listen to The Bends Fall asleep before 9pm, wake up before 4.
Not every day, just too many days.