Monday, December 09, 2002

What Would Mohamad Do?

The river of insane “reality” shows continues. Starting next week, a show in which ex-minor celebrities go on blind dates. First up: the guy who played Eddie Munster. Next, on Fox, will be one of those shows in which 20 gold-diggers compete to marry a millionaire. The twist this time: he’s not really a millionaire, he’s a ditch digger, but the women are told he just inherited $50 million. Hilarity ensues.

Speaking of signs of the impending apocalypse, Elliott Abrams is now in charge of Middle East policy. I had really hoped that Iran-Contra would have finished his career in public service forever. But in those days I underestimated the willful amnesia of the American people, and now the government is full of Bush the Elder’s co-conspirators. That willful amnesia means not only that nobody remembers who that smug little prick was and what he did (and you can look it up if you don’t either), but that it didn’t even bother the Bushies that putting people like him, Negroponte, Reich, Poindexter etc into these positions would bring up all those never-answered questions about Bush Senior’s role in Iran-Contra and the sleazy pardons after he had been defeated for reelection. It’s also an insult to Congress that all those people convicted of lying to it in the past should be given any sort of job. Still, Congressional undersight is such these days that none of these people have actually been called on to testify about anything, even Poindexter over his plan to spy on every American.

The Americans who don’t have amnesia are Southerners, who remember a rosy past which never actually existed. Like Trent Lott, who astonishingly has not been hounded out of public life for his rhapsodizing last week over the joys of segregation and how we’d all have been better off if we’d let Strom Thurmond sort out the nigras, or words to that effect. Slate’s Today’s Papers says the major papers have devoted only one story to it, in the Post. Joe Conason at Salon says the NY Times hasn’t even reported the words, which I did last Friday.

What if they held a presidential election and no one came? Well, in Serbia they just held their third attempt at one, and once again failed to make the 50% turnout required for an election to be valid. It was raining. Some democracies fail due to economic collapse, some during wars, and then there are those which can’t handle a bit of water, like suede. Well, to be fair I understand it was raining really quite hard. Maybe next time they should trick the Serbs into voting, you know, tell them there’ll be a good old-fashioned ethnic cleansing at the town hall, then when they come, tell them it’s been cancelled but as long as they’re here...

Do you think if I submitted that idea to the Carter Center they’d offer me a job?

Saw a book of I guess you could call it British social history in the new books section at Doe Library yesterday — “Mud, Sweat and Beers: A Cultural History of Sport and Alcohol.”

Iraq’s report was not supposed to go to UN Security Council states without being vetted first by the inspectors (what that means is that Syria is currently on the Sec Council, and they didn’t want it knowing how to make weapons of mass destruction), but somehow the US is already receiving a copy--it promised to do all the xeroxing--under some sort of deal under which only the 5 permanent members get it.

Well, I don’t know if Mohamad really would have married one of the Miss World contestants, as that journalist suggested, but the King of Swaziland, already in some trouble for having kidnapped a 17-year old girl to be one of his wives, has plans to do the same for his country’s entrant when she returns home.

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