There were Hobbits. Jesus. And they hunted dragons. Somehow I always knew.
I've actually managed to do some stuff with the Obama campaign lately, notably going to another posh fundraiser and getting some face time with Barack, the first time I've seen him, or rather he's seen me since before the primary many months ago...and he totally recognized me. He doesn't know my name or anything but he totally knows my face. Ah, basking in the warm glow of greatness...I was also warmly greeted by more staff members who remembered me (and my name) then I expected, so that was really nice.
Then I dropped by the campaign HQ to watch the debate with Keyes and eat obscene amounts of free pizza last night. It was fun, way more fun than their first debate which was only on the radio. Keyes brought the crazy, and it made me happy. Next weekend I'm heading to Wisconsin to work for Kerry. I'm honestly going to miss this election, but I can say that part of me will be pleased either way. As a citizen I'll be very dismayed by a Bush victory but as a satirist I'll be very happy.
New script is coming along swimmingly, as I finally finished the monologue I've been writing for three months. So much adventure ahead...
Saturday morning I shaved off my goatee as I try to do with semi-regularity, and whimsically decided to give myself a Hitler mustache. I never left my apartment with it but it would have been an intriguing experiment. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it, you know Hitler wasn't the only one who had it, there was also Charlie Chaplin. And as my friend Pat put it when I told him about it "Enough time has passed."
Speaking of bloody tyrants, it occurs to me that there were many reasons to oppose the invasion of Iraq, ranging from the humanitarian to the pragmatic to those obvious to anyone remotely capable of rational thought, but one of them was surely that by deposing and jailing Saddam Hussein, we've robbed ourselves of the best long term villain this country ever got going (Bin Laden doesn't count, he's hardly proved his mettle as long term, most people never heard of him before 2001 and hardly anyone had before 1998) Now we've got like, Castro. Ooh Castro...scary...
If you're roughly my age (26) and have never found yourself in a conversation about how the lyrics of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" aren't really ironic, please e-mail me, as I have serious doubts about your existence.
Frequent correspondent Theresa Winters writes:
All I'm saying is, I think Kerry--and everyone else, including the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth/Against Kerry/what have you--has played up the Vietnam thing waaaaaaay too much. Clinton never served in the armed forces, and aside from a few snide draft-dodging remarks, no one seemed to have a problem about it. More people seemed concerned with the fact he "didn't inhale".
Who *really* gives a care whether or not someone served abroad, or at home, or didn't at all, 30 years ago? With less and less people serving in the Armed Forces, I hope that someday we'll have multiple candidates (of more than the two major parties) who have never served in any kind of military unit. While I'm proud of my grandfathers, great-uncles, cousins and friends in the armed forces (one currently in Iraq for six months after he should've gotten out of the Army), I really don't think in the arena of politics it matters if someone went through boot camp.
And I write this:
I'll address your latter paragraph first, because it's true that the issue will have relevance in the future, and that's because future politicians will be of the post-Baby Boom generation. See, this isn't about military service in general. This is about Vietnam. You can't have this discussion without being hyper-aware of the profound cultural impact of that conflict. It was the first war America fought at a time when a humungous middle class existed, the most priveledged, best educated young middle class in its history, and a significant portion of that young, middle class, upon grasping the full implications of what they were being asked to do collectively said "Fuck this." But they said it in different ways. You ask me there's a big difference between what Bill Clinton did, which was to protest the injustice of the war, and what Bush, who was on record as thinking the war was just dandy, but still wanted to avoided the flying bullets. And "served at home"? Please. Ask anybody old enough to remember what the National Guard meant back then, and they'll tell you. It meant ducking. It meant bravely turning your tail and fleeing ala Brave Sir Robin. Of the three men, what Kerry did was obviously the most honorable, he didn't believe in the war but he didn't want someone else to have to go in his place, nonetheless, if you're not willing to pick up a gun the least you can do is pick up a placard. And I beg to differ that Clinton's draft dodging didn't affect him politically, it was red meat for his right wing opponents for years. In fact, it was part of the crux of their batshit insane hatred of the man. To them, he represented the spirit of the "sixties" when everything, in their opinion went wrong (e.g. people being unashamed of sex, foreign policy being subject to public scrutiny, black people being able to vote) It also meant a lot of the Pentagon leadership just plain didn't respect him, which significantly undermined him as commander in chief. But anyway, Bush's crime, to me, is not that he dodged combat, it's that he dodged combat while supporting the war. This whole "draft" rumor thing that's flying around annoys me right now because, first of all, Kerry and Bush are both well aware a draft would be political poision, though if anything I think Kerry would be more likely to institute one (by one millionth of a percent) because he has a passing acquaintance with reality and he understands how overstretched our forces are right now. But anyway, it saddens me that people are only motivated to stop an unneccessary war because they or their kids might have to participate in it.
I think war records are relevant because Bush has made them so, not Kerry. Bush is the man who goes around declaring "I'm a war president." It's hard to imagine Abraham Lincoln or Franklin D. Roosevelt saying that at every opportunity and saying that the Democrats are weak on defense. Kerry's certainly not the first politician to make reference to his own combat record, but Bush is certainly the first president to land on an aircraft carrier wearing a U.S. Air Force flight suit. That was one of the most stomach turning things ever, and I lost a lot of respect for the man. Yes, I did indeed have some respect for him before that, and I still have a tiny bit, but it's less now. No American president has ever pranced around in a combat uniform in public, including Dwight Freaking Eisenhower who, one might recall, won World War II. Courage under fire is not the only characteristic required of a President, but it certainly is one of them. I agree Kerry's put way too much emphasis on Vietnam in his campaign, but he's learned from George McGovern, among many others, who was a genuine war hero that got slimed as an unpatriotic wuss because of his belief that we needed to get the hell out of there. Kerry sure as hell wasn't going to let that happen to him and good for him that he hasn't. I'd like to see him talk more about his Senate record, specifically as one of the lead investigators into Iran-Contra, which is sadly being revised into a heroic narrative about how our Strong and Tough President defeated Communism by Being Strong and Tough and wouldn't it be nice if we had another Strong and Tough President to defeat terrorism, why by golly we already do!, rather than the illegal conspiracy to subvert the Constitution and support mass murderers that it was. But hey, if he can't talk about that, the silver star thing will do.
"Who are you?"
-Lois Lane and Superman
It's no exaggeration to say that my life would be very different if not for Christopher Reeve. If nothing else I could save the few dollars that comes out of my pocket for my weekly tithe to DC Comics, but there's really nothing else I'd rather be spending that money on. My friend Tom Schorsch watched an airplane piloted by maniacs crash into a building full of people on live television a few years ago. I was asleep at the time myself, for which I've always felt guilty. He tells me that he dropped to his knees and, like the President did in Superman II and cried out "Superman, Superman where are you?" He never came of course, but others did. That's the point. A lot of people don't get Superman, they think he's an outdated, boring archetype. They think the message of the character is that might makes right, but that's not it, the message is that no matter how strong you are, no matter what gifts you've been given, it's all secondary to your obligation to serve humanity, to put others above yourself. He had the power to take anything he wanted, but he chose to give instead. Superman's not motivated by revenge like Batman, or guilt, like Spider-Man, he does the right thing because it's the right thing and it's that simple. Christopher Reeve was the incarnation of that message, onstage and off.
Mike Royko wrote a great column after John Wayne died, even though he disagreed a lot with Wayne's politics, he loved the Duke because he thought that everyone who ever jumped into the lake to save a drowning person, everyone who ever ran into a burning building to help those inside, everyone who ever pursued justice in their everyday lives regardless of the personal costs was a John Wayne fan. I think they're Superman fans too.
Kurt is apparently okay.
I'm going to Champaign this weekend for the final battle with the Latin Beast. It was supposed to be done weeks ago but my teacher seems to think I over relied on a published English translation of the work and made me re-do some of it. I had a different view of things, but there wasn't much I can do. At any rate, hopefully this weekend will live up to last weekend, which was very good. I got to see several old friends I hadn't seen in a long time, and I learned that there's a kind of beer called "Kwak" that can make you ramble on about bi-curiosity far more than you're actually interested in the subject.
It is fall in Chicago and it's wonderful. As my friend Sam once brilliantly said "I love the changing of the seasons. I just don't like the seasons themselves." That first hint of crisp, cold air makes me unbearably nostalgic, which I always am anyway but it makes me feel young and alive and it's great.
The big news: My long dormant theatrical career is about to be revived with a role in Hamlet. I'm the Gravedigger. Bloody brilliant! Goodman Tom Schorsch will be Hamlet's ghost and my friend Bobby Zaman will be Hamlet and some other people I know will also be in the show and it's basically an all star team. And it's directed by Frank Merle, the hottest young director in Chicago, if, well, my friends are the sample pool. Best play in the world + hilarious part + hot director + cast full of my friends...Well I'm pretty pleased with this turn of events. Now if only I can start writin' some more of my own we'll be in good shape.
This story about Obama made me smile out loud. It's completely consistent with the man I've come to know.
Well there are fun things to post here and completely non-fun things, and I'm focused on the latter. Kurt Touhy, the person who maintains this website, is officially a missing person. His co-workers and his family do not know where he is and have not for the past few days, the police are looking for him. If you are Kurt, for the love of Bob, say where you are.