AStevieslawSmorgasbord: On Wanting More.
A friend of mine said yesterday that she had never seen a sadder paper. She was talking about our local newspaper, the CDT, and for a minute I thought she might be making a general—and a pretty well correct— statement, but she was referring to the yesterday’s news. Today’s paper is worse.
A bedraggled Smokey Diamond and I sat down this morning to discuss the news. The question before us, which is I’m sure is the question faced by anyone wanting to write or sing or perform a little satire, is what to talk about, when there is so much to talk about. Where do we send Smokey next? I’ll go over a bit of our deliberations here. All of this is from the first section of our crappy little newspaper.
On page 1, we have news that our Tom Corbett and the State legislators have been taking gifts from the gas industry. Tommy and the assortment of republican and democratic legislators are quick to assure us that gifts and campaign contributions are not affecting their decisions—such as not taxing gas extraction or killing environmental protections. I’ll drink to that.
Sure enough, we also learn on page 1 that the State Patty’s Day is set to continue downtown. What can we say? Who wouldn’t think that drinking until you’re sick or out of control or violent is a great idea—-not only once, but every year. How better to prepare for a life of wanting more when you have too much?
On page 1, we also learn that somehow, when we weren’t looking, when we had just turned away for a second or two, our economy became tied to Middle East oil production. If only we had known, we might have spent the last 40 years or so developing alternative energy sources instead of subsidizing oil companies—who clearly do not have enough.
On page 2, we find out the Pakghanistani spy agency is “calling it quits with the CIA.” This is a little off our general theme, but who can resist absurdity. Smokey and I are fairly sure that we will still be paying the Pakghanistani spies even if they are not cooperating. As we speak hundreds of CIA agents are trying to figure out whether no longer getting information from the crazies at the Pakghanistani spy agency is a good thing or a bad thing.
We also have, just in Section 1, violence in the middle east, terrible earthquakes and the slow, depressing death of our space program.
But the kicker—our special favorite— is on page 7, where good old, man-of-the-people, Scotty Walker, of Wisconsin, is recorded taking a fake call from billionaire supporter David Koch. Apparently, David and his brother Charles don’t quite have enough. Fortunately, the Wisconsin voters have let them into the Governor’s mansion and the State House. The image of the corporate billionaire and the Governor chuckling about unions and baseball bats is right out the 1920’s. If bashing union workers heads was funny then—try the film Matewan for a few laughs—it’s got to be 100 times as funny now.
My friend spoke of the CDT before a class on Shakespeare, that we are both sitting in on. As coincidence would have it, we are currently reading MacBeth, which is among many, many things a play about having so much, yet wanting more. One reason Macbeth is endlessly interesting is the conscience and imaginative power of Macbeth’s mind. Scotty Walker and David and Charles Koch have no such arresting subtleties, just privilege and appetite.