This Blog is Stolen Property

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dick Cheney, ACLU Man of the Year

Dick Cheney gave us back our civil rights today. Thanks, Dick. The Vice President tells us that he does "not believe it is wrong to criticize the war on terror." Golly gee willikers, Sir. You mean that you DO affirm the principles of the Constitution? That's swell.

The noblesse oblige of the statement, the sense that we are being allowed the right to dissent by a belevolent leader, isn't even the most egregious thing about it. It's the continuing assertion that this is a "war on terror." Cheney is allowing us to criticize, but not to question what's really going on. If we do that, then we are cowards who are jeopardizing the morale of the troops.

This is a brilliant execution of the Straussian philosophy of obfuscation and a nice bit of sleight of hand. We watch the left hand giving us our civil liberites back (we were watching something else when these disappeared. Probably CSI Miami) while the right hand creates the illusion of a war on terror.

Cheney does skillfully what the President does clumsily. If you watch Bush closely enough you can see the strings. He doesn't fully understand the act. He's been well-coached by the Straussians, but he doesn't seem to know what he supposed to show the audience and when to use misdirection. He says things in public like: "in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

You can almost hear Karl Rove groaning. "No, George," he pleads. "Don't tell them how the trick is done. They like to think that the lady really got sawed in half."

And when Bush says that "any activity we conduct is within the law," he reveals what Cheney's misdirection is meant to conceal. It is the ultimate Straussian fantasy of kingship through deceit, legitimized by perverted Platonism.

At least when Louis 14 said "l'etat c'est moi," he wasn't trying to pretend differently. Thank god we have the President to reveal (to "slip" I should say) what's really going on in the White House.


I had one last night. A crisis. To tell you about my crisis, I should first tell you that I am horribly afraid of spiders. It is shockingly unmanly how afraid I am of spiders. The unmanliness is made much worse by the fact that my wife, Polly, has no trouble with them at all. On the other hand, she is afraid of mice and my mother, neither of which bother me a bit. So perhaps we are well suited.

But my unmanliness is not the point right now. Ok?

Polly had fallen asleep on the couch. I fell asleep in bed with the light on (I was reading, I'm not afraid of the dark). I was having a rock-'em sock-'em dream, the kind where everything nice seems to be happening at once. My boss gave me tickets to Die Fledermaus, there were 11 new laudatory comments on my latest blog post, Juliette Binoche was offering me M&Ms. It was just lovely. Then I woke up and saw a great big spider hustling across the ceiling right above my head. It was a light reddish brown and spindly, the kind that's mostly leg. I jumped out of bed (see above, re: crisis of masculinity to be discussed later) and went searching for my glasses so I could get a better look at the bastard. I got my glasses and was all set for some arachnicide, when...

...the spider was gone.

It was horrifying. He 'd been scurrying at a pretty good clip, but I couldn't imagine where he'd gone. It just didn't seem possible that he could have found somewhere to hide so quickly. Then a thought crept into my head. What if I hadn't actually woken up and seen a spider on the ceiling? What if I had dreamed that I saw a spider on the ceiling and had woken up?

I couldn't get back to sleep. The Juliette Binoche dream was long gone, I wasn't sure if there was a huge spider in my room, and my existential crisis was in full swing.

I still don't know if I am a man who is afraid of spiders who dreamed he saw a spider or a man who saw a spider dreaming that he is making too much out of a little uncertainty.