Saturday, October 13, 2012

Don't Cry For Joe Biden, America

When you're on your game and pounds-the-best the class of any contest, you know it.  Never once do you look at the scoreboard, during or after the event; it is but small ornamentation.   You not only own the victory, you are the victory. 

When you've turned back and laid waste every strategy of the opponent, when you've dominated in every way, when you've borne high the standard of accomplishment and truth, when you've frustrated the misdirection and trampled the lies of frauds and fakers, the ultimate deed is done.  Yet again, the real has been shown to exist and matter in the world.

When the engagement has ended, the real people are lifted up, united in purpose, and positioned to meet whatever challenges life may offer; to not merely persevere, but overcome.  When you've fulfilled a vital assignment in such an event, no one can help you feel it more, or steal it away.   And if you've delivered all this with honest gusto, style and savoir-fare, remember Joe Biden and smile your Sunday best.

It is a sweeping and grand human accomplishment.  And it is not despite the fact that the con men and connivers will return for another run against the real, but precisely because we know they will.  Then will it be well to look to Biden's example.  Then on that day, and we should hope many days to come, perhaps Obama will be inspired to give us Henry V, not Hamlet.   

For those battles, come they will; relentlessly.  Here's why: we live not in an age of miracles and wonders, as Paul Simon once sang, but in a very dark day of cynicism, characterized by a virtual doctrinal pointlessness embraced by many of the young, and a consciously willful dishonesty abroad within the organs of communication and institutions of community that once were reliably sincere, even when mistaken or misguided.  In concert, they attempt a sort of genetic decoding of the truth and reality, not to better understand the world, but to disdain the notion that there is actually anything out there to understand.  It amounts to nothing less than a denial of the value and dignity and meaningfulness of human life; a death wish.

Indeed, among the most vital component of this generation, it seems like everything serious is to be ridiculed.  Nothing gets past being some kind of existential satire, a parody of  virtue and integrity.  I give you Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert - Beavis and Butthead come to life.

Meanwhile, formerly reputable social entities and institutions, especially among news reporting organizations - but certainly not excluding many others like businesses, universities, religions, etc., appear to have no higher purpose (let alone purpose at all), beyond expanding a hold on the popular imagination or the people's pocketbook.  Hence, we find ourselves presented with a shallow, spoiled, childishly ignorant ideologue, Paul Ryan, propped-up by false media proclamations of substance and courage, draped in bogus bona-fides, and sent out with a straight face to stand for the second highest office in the land. Of course, Biden laughed him off the stage.

What is in no way funny, however, is that the same dishonest media which invented the Ryan myth, continues to push the lie.  It invested so much of its reputation in misrepresenting a weirdly narcissistic, emotionally arrested, overage adolescent, whose guiding light in life and "intellectual" North Star was an equally warped personality of no real accomplishment, Ayn Rand, that it cannot now afford to allow even an obvious truth to interrupt its corrupt narrative.  It just can't bring itself to fully comprehend or admit Biden's total triumph. 

But don't cry for Joe Biden, America.  Joe knows, and he knows you know.  He laughed the whole way through it, and he's still laughing.  Save your tears.  They could still be needed, should we ultimately let him and ourselves down.


  1. I could say more about this but for now allow me to recommend this Orwell essay which is a favorite of mine.

    A thing is funny when — in some way that is not actually offensive or frightening — it upsets the established order. Every joke is a tiny revolution. If you had to define humour in a single phrase, you might define it as dignity sitting on a tin-tack. Whatever destroys dignity, and brings down the mighty from their seats, preferably with a bump, is funny. And the bigger they fall, the bigger the joke. It would be better fun to throw a custard pie at a bishop than at a curate.

    Humor (and particularly satire) is a powerful subversive art because it is rooted in what Orwell calls "the debunking of humanity" or the exploding of the very pretenses and hypocrisies which give oppression license.

    It's one thing to spend all day engaging false arguments on their intellectual face value. But the danger in that is ceding too much in the way of assuming those who advance them are acting in good faith. Far better to simply demonstrate the underlying absurdity of the lie. That's what humor is for.

    When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.

    --John Lennon

  2. Thanks for the comment. Sorry, not enough time to respond properly, but herewith a few thoughts, anyway.

    I enjoy Orwell, too. I happen, however, not to be a member of any Orwell cult following, which I find includes a lamentably large proportion of his readers. I often think of the irony therein. Oh, well. More to the point, I prefer reads like "The Road To Wigan Pier", "Homage To Catalonia", and "A Clergyman's Daughter" to the more celebrated "1984" and "Animal Farm". By which citations, I mean to make a shorthand argument for the idea that, for all of his well founded disillusionment with and rebellion against the extreme leftist political apparatus or establishment of his time, Orwell was always an activist by nature and in deed; quite an aggressive one, at that.

    While I think his "Every joke is a tiny revolution" rendering is well-crafted and clever, I also suspect that you are employing it inappropriately. For, whereas every joke may be a "revolution" in the limited way Orwell meant it here (that is to say, an inside/out or upside/down or unexpected sideways glance at a common or settled concept), revolution itself is no joke.

    For expample: This morning the Mrs. and I were reading the newspaper (Advocate New Orleans edition home delivery) on the porch with our coffee. We divided up the sections by our preferences, and somewhere along the way she asked, "Wouldn't you hate to be going to Houston today? The I-10 is closed between Baton Rouge and Krotz Springs." I hadn't yet read that section of the paper, but given my general outlook on the very idea of having to go to Houston, I responded, "Well, it might be the best day to go as it would take a lot longer before I would actually have to be there." A quip perhaps made a tad tangier by the fact that my bride of some 42 years came from Texas. I thought it was a pretty good jest, and she did, too.

    By contrast, ridiculing, belittling, dismissing out of hand, or otherwise skewering the very concept of idealism and the belief that it is worth our time and effort, as well as the risk of our present circumstances, to strive for social progress, especially when such "vulgar" and haughty condescension is taken up many millions most in need of change, is not only no laughing matter, it is flat-out nihilism. In a word, masochism. An expamle: I've read accounts lauding Jon Stewart for pressing Obama on the emabassy attack explanation. Now that is truly breathtaking. Gee, whatever happened to the claim that Stewart's show is fundamentally all about the idea that none of this shit matters, or at least not in any conventional sense, anyway? Hence, when he goes there, you have quite a spectacle of a self-proclaimed satirist satirizing and parodying himself. Now, is that funny or what? Not really, just tragic and absurd for being so well received.

    On we go to the Lennon quote. Really, dunno how this fits in this comment, or has any bearing on the original post, or anything I have ever said, written, or advocated for that matter. Anyway, this is what I can say.

    Yeah, I'm a Lennon fan, too. But, again I think we have a similar problem with the utility of his quote in this context as we had with the Orwell business. In the first place, the post in no way contemplates an irritation as slight as someone having their hair pulled or cheek tweaked. No, the current social/political situation is better characterized as the disembowelment of the middle-class and a virtual holocaust on the poor. Moreover, I have never suggested resorting to violence as an answer. Happily, we remain a somewhat "democratic" civil polity, and so the exercise of democratic processes must be the means of action. However, the lack of action now could well lead to the loss of democratic avenues available as roads to justice.

    Let, me end with an ironical tiny take on the larger revolutionary principle of nonviolence, imagine John Lennon today.