2. I'm finally getting around to reading a Jonathan Franzen novel (The Corrections), and just let me say, why the fuck was he complaining so loudly about postmodernism and 'difficult fiction' in the New Yorker? Physician, heal thyself! Am I right, folks? Good luck with no fuckin' head!*
3. There's this article I'm supposed to be writing for the next issue of the High Hat on the Firesign Theatre. And I'm really stuck for an angle. I hate being stuck for an angle. I wanted to make it a sort of "Beatles-of-comedy"/"why they were important" thing, but it turns out that article has already been written, several times. So I changed my take to an "album guide"/"point-by-point of their seminal albums" thing, but besides containing the overused, depressing word 'seminal', this doesn't seem like it's enough for a whole article. I dunno. I hate being stuck for an angle. I'm usually good at angles. Fuckin' angles!
4. So, Richard Clarke. One of the worst things about the G.O.P. is that, because they're so good at attack politics, they've become largely immune to it themselves. This president, as I've mentioned a tedious number of times, has done an uncountable amount of things that, had it been Clinton who did them, would have resulted in incessant excoriation, double-secret super-impeachment, and, conceivably, public crucifixion by his political enemies. (Sometimes it's exactly the same thing -- when Republicans invented the technique of sitting on Clinton's judicial nominees, they used it non-stop and trumpeted how they were just being cautious, doing the right thing, and acting within the law. But when Democrats have done it with Bush in the White House, the GOP winds up the talking heads to full bellow and screams "obstruction! injustice! unheard of!") Now that it's their boy in the driver's seat, the Republican hate machine just looms in the corner cooling its jets, and nobody says anything; and without a massive propaganda organ to give it momentum, a scandal can just dry up and blow away. (See: military tribunals, Halliburton, Valerie Plame, etc., etc.)
But Clarke isn't going anywhere. He's a Republican, so he can't be accused of simple partisanship -- in fact, on his appearance on Fresh Air, he derailed rumors that he's a Kerry henchman by stating almost indignantly that he'd refuse an appointment in a theoretical Kerry administration. He's a former Bush aide, in fact; and the common response that, well, he was also a CLINTON aide is obviated by the knowledge that he was also an aide to the first President Bush, and was originally brought on by the neo-con's god-man, Ronald Reagan. The propaganda machine is gearing up, but they haven't yet been able to manufacture any mud on Clarke; no bogus child porn a la Scott Ritter, or absurd "stolen" classified documents a la Paul O'Neill. No doubt they're trying, but so far, they haven't really come up with anything that will stick, so they're stuck trotting out Condoleezza Rice to say Clarke is "playing politics", whatever that means. (Hey, Condi, you're in the government. It's all politics.) His accusations are serious, they're documented, they're damaging, and they're not going away.
Best of all, they come at the same time as the 9/11 hearings, which Bush and his cabinet avoided until they were essentially shamed into testifying by victims' families and political pressure (some of it from their own party). While the hearings have not painted a flattering picture of the president, they have focused, perhaps appropriately, on intelligence failures which may or may not have been entirely justifiable. Clarke's claims, though, are far more damning: avoiding nebulous intelligence issues, they portray the attacks, and the pointless war with Iraq that followed, as a political failure -- as the result not of bad intelligence, since intelligence is always a gamble, but of bad policy and blind ideology. They paint a picture of an administration so blinkered by its own rhetoric that days after the worst terror attack in American history, they were already pressuring their own experts and advisors to ignore the truth, disregard the facts, and forsake their duties in favor of propping up an ideologically driven war machine that was already in place before the planes hit.
This one's going to hurt. I hope it hurts bad.
5. I keep having these ideas for making $ writing things, but they're always derailed by the question "Who would pay you to do that?". This is my biggest problem with writing as opposed to some of the other arts (music, photography, visual art, etc.). A lot of my pals -- well, they don't make a living at it, but they can always pick up booze money by offering to take a picture, draw a cartoon, play an instrement, etc. on commission. I have yet to encounter anyone who's willing to be enthused by my offer to write them a story, create a character, do an essay, etc. on commission. You know why? Because people think that not everyone can draw (which is true), but they think that everyone can write (which is, well, it's not untrue, but let's say it's less true). Or perhaps it is because I am not a very good writer. It's one of those things.
Anyway, what this is all leading up to, for no reason and totally unconnectedly, is: who's up for some round-robin serial fiction?
*: That said, it's pretty good so far.