Are We Wrong About Bush?
The eXile is holding an open tender for a new columnist who can persuasively argue the impossible -- THAT GEORGE BUSH HAS BEEN RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING.
We're not going for "balance" here, folks. We're going for the spleen. In this case, our spleen. This is an open challenge. If you can successfully present to us three well-written, suitably infuriating columns of up to 1000 words in length, we will hire you as our new pro-Bush agitator. Send your columns to firstname.lastname@example.org
At the end of last year, the eXile announced that we were looking for a new pro-Bush columnist who would piss off not only readers but us editors as well. This wasn't an attempt to find "balance" in our newspaper. Rather, it was meant to stack another 16-ton weight of hate on the eXile's scale of unbalanced journalism.
It seemed like a cinch. How hard could it possibly be to write a pro-Bush column capable of causing a reader's spleen to burst out of his stomach Alien -style, twisting its little spleen-head up to the sky and crying out, "O the humanity!" Bush is living proof of what Russian proverbs call the worst type of human being: "an idiot with initiative." This shit-for-brains inherited the most powerful empire the world had ever known, an empire so mighty and so sophisticated that most of its subjects didn't even know that they were being ruled and exploited by it... and by the end of his first term, Bush blew the whole thing. Now the New American Century is over, gone forever. Empires don't get second chances.
Which could be funny, right? Think about it: no one had fucked up something so good so fast since the last time Keith Moon was handed the keys to a Ritz Carleton suite. But at least Moon had the decency to OD at age 32. Whereas Bush traded his coke-and-whiskey habit for Jesus just in time to avoid Moon's fate, meaning that the pampered little vampire gets to go on living and blowing through other people's cash -- his family's, the Saudi princes', and worst of all, 300 million American taxpayers'. Thanks to Shithead's idiotic war and mad debts, it won't be long before Bono and Bob Geldof are officially called in to lobby China and Saudi Arabia to forgive America's crushing debt... Which could be funny too, in a dark, Schopenhauerian way.
The humor-factor gets an even bigger boost by Bush's cast of diehard supporters: a mob of bigots and rubes so wildly deluded that they're practically falling off the vine of Ripe Comedy, although some may say that their very existence tests the limits of reader credulity. Any poor fool still supporting Bush this late in the debacle is charac- ter-acting, playing out the role of crazed-moron merely to entertain us. Sort of like those hippie Atlantis islanders in Erik the Viking, the ones whose leader cheerfully announces, as the island sinks into the sea, "Don't worry, we're not sinking. Keep doing what you're doing. This isn't happening, everything's perfectly fine." And the islanders happily go about their business, even as they swallow seaweed into their lungs...
The only thing possibly funnier than that scene would be an island full of Red State rubes snarling to each other from their Ford SUV cabins as their Atlantis sinks in a sea of Sunni Triangle shit: "The liberals want us to believe that we're sinking. But this isn't happening. Go back to listening to Hannity, everyone, were not sinking. The liberals hate Atlantis, that's why they say we're sinking. Wbbbbr nbbbt sbbbkbbbnbgg... bbbbbbb...bbbbbb..." So there you have it. The perfect comic setup. A softball of hate tossed out to you folks in ReaderLand, served up slow and high.
And you whiffed.
Not for lack of trying. We got literally dozens of columns from aspiring pro-Bush polemicists, many of them surprisingly competent (one a World Bank economist), a few of them even showing talent.but none of them convincingly funny (well, one almost was). In fact, the "Bush Was Right" columns you sent in left me feeling...depressed. That was unexpected, even confusing.
And here's where the little twist comes, folks. What I'd never realized until this contest, reading through the entrants, is that Bush isn't funny. Really, he's not funny at all. This whole debate over whether or not Bush is evil or likeable or the kind of guy you'd like a beer with or a petulant snob.it's all missing the point. Bush is a big fucking bummer. And that is unforgivable.
True, he had his comic moments, but those were few and far between. Anyway even most of those were just comedy of the shamefully-depressing variety (I'm thinking of Bush's piss-yellow cowardly-fag act on 9/11, when he abandoned 300 million Americans with a "fuck you, every man for himself!" finger flashed from Air Force One, furtively popping into one Midwestern snakehole after another, while even the likes of Nancy Pelosi stood her ground on Capitol Hill). Indeed the last time Bush showed any hint of a comic touch was about three years ago, when he flew that plane onto the carrier with the "Mission Accomplished" banner. That was a classic, as if Bush did the Icky Shuffle in Islam's endzone, pointing at the rag-heads in the cheap seats, going, "You! You! You!"... It was as crude and populist as anything from "Dice" Clay's routine.
But it was the last funny thing Bush ever did. Overnight, Bush's shtick imploded as quickly Andrew Silver's career. He went from Dirty-Birding for the Fox mob to the line about "bring it on," daring Iraqi insurgents to try knocking the batteries off of America's shoulders. So the insurgents did. They called Bush's bluff. And that's not funny, not for most of this paper's readers.
Losing is not funny for Americans. Getting your ass kicked by a gang of two-dinar dust-monkeys is incredibly, highly, extremely not-funny, especially since Bush entered the Iraq war owning the entire fucking world. Generations of American labor, effort, martial spirit, ingenuity, prudence, and wealth... all blown on a pampered shit-for-brain's divine whim.
The only way this could possibly be funny is if you look at it from the POV of the Iraqis or Al Qaeda or Islam -- then it's gotta be a ten-alarm knee-slapper, watching America get ground into babaganoush on a cheap DVD clip, as the insurgents Dirty Bird their dialogue over the IED explosion next to the Humvee... Personally, I resent Bush for being both a loser and a comedy-killer. Being a Republican dick should be funny. But as Bush shows, you can't just be a Republican columnist if you want to successfully annoy people -- you've also got to make sure the leader of your party isn't the biggest fucking bum this nation has ever produced. There's Republican-Right funny, and then there's Republican-Right bummer. Reagan, for example, was a pretty funny president who scored very high on the Hippie-Annoyance meter. Nixon and Ford, on the other hand, were losers -- those were not funny times, just mean, stupid times, pitting the silly hippies against the vile "Silent Majority."
I consider myself a kind of Old School veteran of annoying Rightwing clowning. Back in 1980s-Berkeley, I was an obnoxious pro-Republican asshole doing the Billy "White Shoes" Johnson Funky Chicken in every hippie's face in November, 1984. They'd whine about "Neeekarrraguarrrra" and picking coffee beans for the Sandinistas, and I'd be like, "You know, while you were picking coffee beans, I was picking defense stocks based on which companies are profiting most from the war to liberate Nicaga-whatevera. And you know what? Every defense stocks rose! A monkey coulda made money! Which is good news for both of us, since I used the profits from my Raytheon stock to buy a few extra bags of coffee beans. I'd've bought the beans you picked, but I can't pronounce the name of that fucking country of yours. Maybe if they like changed their country's name to something like 'Mexico-2' or 'Nachossupreme' we wouldn't have to kill so many of them, you know? I mean, get with the program, campesinos 'n campesinas!" Sorry, hippies of my past. I was a dick. You were just collateral damage as I trained for the real battles that came later, against real villains...
These days I try to justify my 80s idiocy by noting that it was necessary to fight a tyrannical majority -- it was good exercise, battling Berkeley's Leftwing Mafia, mostly alone, with only my vicious friend Ricky Ramirez leading the cavalry. The Lefties had a hard time arguing with Ramirez. He had a Mexican card to play, even a Yaqui Native-American-race card, even though he was blue-eyed and pale. So if they got uppity, he'd yell, "What are you, a fuckin racist, huh ese? Is that what you are? You want me to report you?"
The reason why being a Rightwing Bugs Bunny worked back then was that America felt like it was on the up and up, and in America, you can't argue with success. For all of the horrible things Reagan did -- and I still say his corpse should be exhumed and strung up for his crimes, and his offspring should be hunted down and sterilized to protect mankind from the threat of any future outbreaks of Reagan -- nonetheless, there was a strong sense in the mid-80s that America was becoming more powerful, that there was positive-momentum. It was mostly thanks to the absence of bad things -- America didn't suffer the same kinds of geopolitical humiliations it did under Carter, Ford and Nixon; there were no oil shocks; no more bummer 70s flicks or media investigative stories making us feel shitty about being American; and the Soviet Union was imploding so fast that America's big rival simply disappeared from the field. In other words, America got really lucky.
Reagan talked a big game about military might and war, and most people, especially America's Lefties, as well as the fools across the Atlantic, bought it. After a few years of this bluff-flag-waving and military parades and hardware spending-sprees -- people started to believe that America had arisen from the ashes of 'Nam and was ready to start genociding anyone who resisted our moral obligation to liberate them.
So arguing for Reagan in a world of Lefties was fun, because they couldn't argue against what appeared to be success and growing power.
Bush, on the other hand, is a loser - the Willy Loman of war-mongerers. He is our Nixon, only a far smaller mind than Nixon, yet with far greater power to unleash his little mind's sandbox plans. Those who sided with Nixon, the "silent majority," suffered from the same sense of irrational grievance that motivates Bush's diehards today: the idea that somehow those on the other side of the debate are simply mocking them, rather than trying to save a nation from destruction at the hands of lunatics. There is something desperate and embarrassing about these aggrieved Bush diehards -- their pig-headedness reminds you of a typical Third World petty-bourgeois; they mistake their self-destructiveness for something like noble defiance; like peasants, they see their king as an extension of themselves, and the king's opponents as visceral enemies rather than people trying to save a great empire from doom.
In the end, the hippies got blamed for America's debacle in Vietnam and the bummer aftermath -- in part because the hippies wrongfully took so much credit for ending the war. The real reason why America lost Vietnam had nothing to do with the hippies, and everything to do with these same Red State rubes and swine who zealously cheered on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are crazed, mean, stupid, hateful, spiteful, and above all destructive -- they are a chronic poison running in America's veins, a tangle of tapeworms squeezing America's heart.
So to get back to the point at hand, it's not your fault that your columns didn't work. The task was impossible. You can't make Bush anything other than what he is: this nation's biggest failure ever, the "bum" in our era's evolving bummer.
But it is your fault for being imbeciles so aggressively deluded that you spent hours writing columns defending a loser of the very worst kind. In some ways you're even worse than Bush: by propping him up, you've announced yourselves as a loser's lackey, a failure's footman. You serve the Loser-in-Chief not even for personal gain, which might be excusable, but out of this same self-destructive impulse which destroyed America thirty-five years ago.
For this, I wish you nothing worse than what you have already consigned yourself to -- a bitter struggle to stave off the cognitive dissonance that awaits you when the American troops are forced to retreat from Iraq, back to a nation broke, bitter, and bummed out, all because of you. You fucked the whole thing up, you and shit-for-brains. And you still don't even know it, not yet anyway.
And that, in my eyes, is at least one thing that we here at the eXile can all have a big, hearty laugh over. In fact, I'll start now. Ready? Here goes: Ha-ha-hardy-fucking-ha!