Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Friday, September 17, 2004

True Blue  

The latest issue of the New Yorker arrived the day before the latest power outage (22 hours after Ivan, an improvement on Frances' 40+); in the absence of ways to amuse myself without electricity, I did more than leaf through, checking the cartoons, flagging an article or two to read when time permitted. It's been a long time since I read an issue in a single sitting, and the cumulative effect of the casual anti-Republican bias was stunning. I know, I shouldn't be surprised at Seymour Hersh's home base, but still ...

Leading off, David Remnick's Talk of the Town piece on the aftermath of Beslan not so subtly implies Bush = Putin the Autocrat and Iraq = Chechnya the brutalized. Next, Ben McGrath speaks longingly of a Red Sox championship as a metaphor for Kerry's victory. William Finnegan gives a moving elegy for an anti-war rally.

In the featured articles, Patricia Marx ridicules those undecideds who don't yet know enough about Kerry to vote for him. Jeffrey Toobin's article on how the evil Ashcroft is politicizing the Voting Rights enforcement division contains this marvelous line:
In the abstract, no one questions the goal of eliminating voting fraud, but ...
Ken Auletta writes a long piece on Bob Shrum, "Kerry's Brain" -- playing on the Karl Rove epithet -- which the online interviewer tries to spin into even more of a sales piece:
So far in this campaign, John Kerry has not crystallized a simple [negative] message, the way Bush has.

Is there any silver lining to that? Can you say that Kerry has taken the high road and acted more Presidential?

Well, that was the argument for doing it. The argument was that the public would not have patience for that kind of negative personal campaigning. That was Shrum’s argument, and the polls suggest that he was wrong. So far.
Ah, but his heart is in the right place. As is Art Spiegelman's, with a full-color two-page rant on the Republican lizards who befouled New York with their recent convention. Even the movie review throws in an offhand reference to
1996, an epoch so remote that you could mention France in a political speech and not even guarantee a laugh.
Fish never notice the water they swim in.

In the back pages, Joan Acocella's review of Philip Roth's latest has this striking description of a people
as American as they are Jewish. This was Roth’s situation, too. When he was a child, he told an interviewer, he never felt threatened as a Jew; he didn’t even know that he belonged to a minority. Nonetheless, he said, he was “surrounded from birth with a definition of the Jew . . . as sufferer, the Jew as an object of ridicule, disgust, scorn, contempt, derision, of every heinous form of persecution and brutality.” ... [T]he gap between those two experiences—his sense of safety versus the constant warnings that no Jew was safe --
has fueled his writing. To paraphrase Charles Lindbergh (elected President in 1940 in Roth's fable)
Jews, though they might be American citizens, [are] still “other peoples,” foreigners.
And it occurs to me that this could describe many of those on the Left who look uncomprehendingly on the conservative majority. They feel themselves to be both Americans and ... something else: whether cosmopolites, transnationals, citizens of earth, the inchoate first fruits of Lennon's Imagineary future. Proud of being exactly what Jews have traditionally been accused of, an ideologically/evolutionarily Chosen people. (Is the Left's growing anti-Semitism a reaction to Jewish nationalism and rejection of the perpetual outsider role?) Their loyalties are truly dual, and truly felt. They are quick to defend themselves against having their patriotism questioned, even when it hasn't been - because they themselves know it's kinda complicated. And they always - always - see the dark night of fascism about to settle upon them.

posted by Kelly | 8:46 PM link