Monday, October 18, 2004

Our duty as an ally

I will not run for president in 2008. I know this is a question no one has asked, but I’m sure the groundswell for me to run is no smaller than that for Jeb Bush, and he felt compelled to announce yesterday that he wouldn’t be running either. Of course, now that he knows he won’t have to compete against me, he might change his mind.

A fun article on neologisms in the Guardian. I love these things. There are always words that appeared astonishingly late (sex, 1929, ceasefire 1918, racism 1935), and those that appeared astonishingly early (celeb, 1913, hip 1904, awesome 1961) (I once saw the 1938 movie Bringing Up Baby in a theater in the Castro district, and when Cary Grant explains his appearance in a women’s bathrobe with the line, “I just went gay, all of a sudden,” the cheering drowned out the next five minutes of dialogue), and those you just never thought about: bagels 1932, egghead 1907, dumb down 1933, pissed off 1943, hippy 1953, F-word 1973).

Speaking of linguistic usage, when did the abbreviation USA--to say nothing of the creepily aggressive/militaristic chant USA! USA!--become the property of the jingoistic right-wing?

In Parliament, British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon defended his accession to American requests that he redeploy British troops in Iraq in the most lap-doggy terms he could think of, saying that to refuse would mean “we will have failed in our duty as an ally.” Most MPs believe that British soldiers will now pay the price for the incompetent policies of the Americans in the areas they will be moving into, as well as for whatever barbarities will be inflicted on Fallujah. They know that this is entirely about sharing the blame and the bleeding in advance of the US elections, since there is no operational reason for 650 British soldiers being added to the 130,000 American soldiers already in northern Iraq. Hoon had no real support in the House, and one MP said that Hoon reminded him of the song in “Oklahoma,” “I’m just a girl who can’t say no.”

In Florida, people are being called up and being registered to vote right over the phone. Except, of course, they aren’t being registered, just tricked into thinking they have been. Others are getting automated phone calls telling them that they can actually vote over the phone right now, press 1 for George Bush, 2 for Patrick Buchanan etc. Except, of course, they aren’t. It’s gonna be a dirty, dirty election.

Speaking of dirty elections, Tsar Vladimir I of Russia has endorsed Bush. Bush once claimed to have looked into Putin’s soul. We know this is false because everyone else who has looked into Putin’s soul spends the next hour huddled in a corner, saying over and over, “So cold, so cold...”

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