My Beard Is a Lie

Okay, that’s not entirely true.  I just wanted to get your attention.

My beard is not a lie.  My beard is actually more of a metaphor, which is a useful sort of lie because it carries a resonance of truth inside it.  With any luck, I’ll manage to tease that resonance into some manner of cognitive audibility before all’s said and done here, and the clever idea/minor epiphany that’s been tickling me the last few days will airlift a version of itself into your brain, for you to make of what you will.  But let’s get back to my beard.

My beard is, by all accounts, a pretty freakin’ fantastic example of the species.  Customers in the bar and random passersby on the street compliment me on it.  Women with whom I’m not personally acquainted are, on occasion, unable to stop themselves from touching it.  When my girlfriend nuzzles her face up against it she sighs with such contentment you might think she’d just finished a day at the spa with a bath in warm chocolate while a small team of experts rubs her feet and shoulders and sings Pachelbel’s Canon in D in four-part harmony.

Anyway, you get the idea.  It’s a good beard, the kind of beard that defines a face, and I am grateful that it grows there because without it I would not look like me, nor be half so pretty as I am with it (that was certainly my opinion when last I shaved it clean; thankfully no records survive of that traumatic period).

But here’s the thing: my beard has a weakness Continue reading “My Beard Is a Lie”

My Two Cents on the Shutdown

Many people have said and written some very cogent, passionate words on the subject of today’s commencement of the 17th shutdown of the United States Federal Government, which is going to cause a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering for a staggering number of people and likely derail whatever recovery our national economy has made since the bankers and sociopaths on Wall Street tanked the economy back in 2008.  It is entirely the choice of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that it’s happening.  They are, in effect, shooting the hostage to prove that they’re serious about stopping the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Why would they do that?  It’s an important question to ask, I think, and one with a definite, if complicated, answer.

It begins, I think, with the election of Barack Obama.  For a significant chunk of the population, that was a real shock, something heretofore impossible, and it represented not only a major electoral defeat, it signaled the emergence of demographic trends that meant the end of their way of life.  America was no longer a majority-white, center-right nation.  The son of a black man could ascend to the land’s highest office.  The easy swagger of the Bush years were over, and had left such a bad taste in our mouths that we all tacitly agreed to forget them.  This was not the America they grew up in, the America they loved and believed in with all their hearts, and it freaked them the fuck out.  Think about the Tea Party’s early days, their eruption onto the scene as the result of an offhand comment by a finance pundit on CNBC.  Remember their passion and outrage.  They were (and are) fundamentally incapable of recognizing the election of Barack Obama (or the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) as legitimate, because neither of those things were allowed to happen in the America they believe in.

This was (and remains) an existential crisis for them.  Extreme measures are not only permissible, but necessary.  The United States federal government has become an occupying force, and invasion from otherwhere, and their duty as citizens of the real America is to resist with whatever means are at their disposal. Continue reading “My Two Cents on the Shutdown”