Saturday, 18 August 2012

Spin Offs

Romney's number one problem? He hasn't hired me as his adviser and speechwriter. And ditto for Obama, who despite his self-proclaimed "gift" has yet to put two words together in an interesting way since taking office. Honestly, this boring quest for the most exciting job in the world suffers from a serious want of wit and riposte, the cut and thrust of two men thinking on their feet, who know what they want and are ready to foil any attack with a counter attack, like the gladiators of language which every good pol should be. When Harry Reid was badgering Romney about tax-free income, how long did it take to come back with a simple but effective "put up or shut up!"? About three weeks! What is he paying those hacks in the back of the bus for, wisdom?  
    Now consider the events of the last few weeks and their implications for a United States still mired in the trough of an intractable downturn. First, victory at the London Olympics, blowing away the putative contender for world leader status, China, and then a miracle in space, the all time highest leap for mankind ever attempted, done with consummate configuration and finesse. And what on earth were these two boobs doing about it? Nothing! If I had the president's ear this is what he'd have been saying in answer to Paul Ryan's maiden speech as VP candidate: "You know, folks, (that's what Democrats call each other when they're feeling bipartisan), y'know, folks, according to Mr. Ryan we're living in a land and in a time faced with what he calls "debt, doubt, and despair." Funny how perspectives vary. To riff off of Robert Kennedy, some people see things as they aren't and ask when's the nightmare going to end? I see things as they are and ask, who's dreaming now? Today America's athletes are just home from Mount Olympus, figuratively speaking, borne on the victorious wings of Nike, just as NASA has stunned the world with a landing on far away Mars that left even the red god of war gaping in disbelief at what peace time endeavor can achieve. Debt, doubt, and despair? More like drive, dedication, and daring. That's the United States that I'm living in. Mr. Ryan, wake up and smell the victory bouquets."

Not that Romney couldn't have turned the same events to his own advantage: "Y'know, folks, [that's how Republicans like to refer to their fellow millionaires] y'know, folks, my detractors like to point out how wealthy I am, having money evidently being a capital offense, if you'll pardon the pun, in some circles of late; they brand me as a part of the one percent, and maybe I am, from some points of view. But I gotta tell you, no matter how much money you have you'll always be humbled by the real one percent, those achievers of the impossible who have made this country the greatest in the world, and who these past weeks have once again demonstrated what  human beings are capable of if given the chance. In London the quest was for a piece of gold, and on Mars for some worthless iron rocks, but the true prize was the same and it was immaterial: the human spirit doing what the good Lord created it for: overcoming the challenges of gravity and mortality. That's why we're here, folks, not for a hand out or a leg up, but to test ourselves against the best and the most difficult the universe has to offer. My friends, that's why a free America has always been the One Percent among nations. Let's keep it that way!" 
       And so on. When you come right down to it the problem is one of metaphor, the ability to say one thing in terms of another. Language is intrinsically metaphorical because all words run into one another like ocean currents, all meaning ambiguous and multivalent and fluid. A good speaker rides the wave of ambiguity like a confident surfer, but a poor speaker, like Biden, gets tossed by the momentum of a meaning he couldn't handle. He ends up choking on his own words, the gaffe as verbal wipe out.  
      TV hates ambiguity and doesn't comprehend metaphor. That's why it's so attractive to stupid people, corporations, - and second rate pols. A picture's worth a thousand words, and every one of them filtered through a network teleprompter.  

 .... I see that Obama was suggesting two years ago that NASA's "foremost" mission should be to remind Islam of all its glorious contributions to science and math. In fact Islam's main contribution was to the art of translation from Greek into Arabic but never mind, (that's what's the matter with Islam, it is never mind!). So in the spirit of NASA's new mandate I offer MASA or  ... 
Muslim Astounding Space Advances
  • emptying countless libraries;
  • vacating unnumbered publishing houses worldwide;
  • rendering Christians all but invisible in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia etc;  
  • clearing thousands of schoolrooms of girls; 
  • eviscerating the press;
  • voiding elections;
  • making the Mid-East, excluding Israel, developmentally barren;
  • making vanish priceless art and artifacts throughout Asia; 
  • turning the city of Dearborn into a wasteland; 
  • desertifying, ie, making deserts of, all economic growth;
  • disappearing millions of innocent people, aka infidels;
  • thoroughly evacuating the mind of every devout sura sucker on earth. 

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