Bottle Up and Explode, Over and Over

Because everyone is a fucking pro, and they all have answers for questions, you know?
—Elliott Smith

I used to hate the sound of screaming children. I mean really abhor it—the whining, the melodrama, the horrendous sense of entitled malediction—so much so that the slightest hint of temper bursting forth from an exploding id would make my soul pucker with vitriol. These days however, I’m finding more and more that I can tune it out—and let me tell you all, that’s a glorious feeling. I can only assume that I’ve ascended to some wondrous alternate plane of nirvana, where nothing but the blissfully innocuous sounds of vapid contentment drift past at a pleasant volume. You know, kind of how VH-1 used to be when Sting was king. Yeah, some people get the big chills—but not me, dude. I bathe daily in a warm mist of numb muck so nutritious, so womb-like, that I’ve begun to hear everything as if it’s pumped through a primo reverb tank.

Now, I don’t have children—I don’t intend to anytime in the near future either—and I’ve never really understood the psychology of temper tantrums anyway. I mean, I get the whole thing of releasing your anger so that it doesn’t fester and eat you from the inside, but such a titanic waste of energy is anathema to me. My power animal is the sloth, you see, so this attitude has long been ingrained in my psyche. I never even learned how to throw a temper tantrum as a child. It’s true—that was one of my mom’s favorite stories to tell any girl I dated—apparently I’d get all pouty, flop down on the ground, and…nothing. It never occurred to me to even kick and scream. Too much effort, you know?

And yet I’m not envious at all of people who’ve mastered skills I’ve never known—be they tea-bagging right-wingers or Code-Pinky lefties. It’s been both amusing and dismaying to watch the country continue to lurch from outrage to outrage in the last eight months, like Wimbledon on mescaline or something. Not to mention the condescending, Lakoffian tut-tuts from people who claim to know better. I absorbed more of that shit than I cared to remember after Bill Clinton wiped the floor with a Netroots Nation “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” protester, telling him to join up with the town-hall brigades. Everyone piled on. Ho ho ho, the Big Dog sure showed that cheap punk, didn’t he? Oh, the hilarity. My my.

Of course, I’m not afraid of such puritanical killjoy tribunals, but as to the Screamer Question, there really isn’t much in the way of solutions either—especially not the same one that should have been applied to the Taliban: shock and awe of mass consumerism and casual immorality. We Americans are immune to that, though—hell, we perfected it, and woe fucking betide anyone who threatens to take that away from us. Oh sure, every once in a while some fringey extremists will make pathetic attempts at depriving us of our rightful porn films or fur coats or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but their projectionary jihads always fail.

And why? America’s right to exercise gratuitous hubris is non-negotiable, that’s why—especially when we’ve finally succeeded in liberating this country from its wretched and humorless beginnings. I mean come on, Jamestown and Plymouth were boring. No wonder people got out of there as soon as they could and began owning slaves and murdering natives—if they’d simply been allowed to frolic and romp like rutting hogs we would be living in a different nation entirely. Something like Brazil crossed with Australia, maybe. Instead, we became us—and unless I missed something, this is still America, right? The shining city on a hill? The land of milk and honey populated by naked virgins dancing a thousand Icky Shuffles? The ravenous egomaniacal monster that must keep moving to stay alive, like some oversized cartilagenous predator?

Verily I say unto thee that it is. Indeed, in dark end-times like these, the small victories are worth shouting to the fucking heavens, dude. I mean, really—have the last twenty years taught us nothing? As I’m sure everyone knows, this November will be the two-decade anniversary of George Herbert Herbert Bush’s accidental victory over the decrepit and impotent forces of Soviet communism. Don’t we remember how Poppy just sort of backed into that hilarious outcome? Well, we do, of course, but the Stage Of History and the Universe At Large remembers something quite different, because of the goofy chicken dance that pencil-necked geek performed in the Rose Garden. Not to mention the follow-up Panamanian Shuffle and the deft maneuver of fellating Kuwait while stabbing Kurdistan in the back with Saddam’s butcher knife. Those were some fucking skills, people—and how were they rewarded? Eight years of Clintonism. Karma sure is funny.

And yet Bush #1 is not forgotten. Oh sure, he jumps out of a plane every year, but you don’t have to look far to see his cubicle-savant school of thought still honored in the highest places: stadiums, churches, academia, and yes—even the White House, where President Obama and his confederation of Goldmanites are apparently fucking up their administration’s supposed legacy cornerstone. Hey, sixty votes are hard to swindle, okay? Thinking eleven-dimensionally simply won’t do these days. You have to be serious about this—or at least make it look that way. Set up a dunk tank on Capitol Hill or something, fill it with urine, and stick some malleable shyster like Baucus or Nelson or Conrad in it. Let Rahm chew on the guy’s ear for a while. Learn to love your work—or else you’ll never get that uniquely American sense of fulfillment from it, Mr. President. Trust me on this. No campaign contribution is ever worth relinquishing your right to celebrate.

Because declaring victory and going home is the goddamn American Way, okay? No amount of hope and change will ever take that away from us. It’s been a long, long time since God’s Children had to slink around in Tehranian back alleys to topple insufficiently capitalism-friendly leftists—and even then, did Kermit Roosevelt celebrate his victory over the sneaky socialists? Did he recline with his fellows in the American embassy, and bask in Providence’s reflected glory? “Pass the hookah and bring me another comfort girl, Farshid. America! Yes indeed!” Because he fucking should have (and no, I can’t picture the ’50s CIA saying “fuck yeah” or even “hell yes”). The reason the spooks aren’t trusted by even their own countrymen is their utter lack of egomania. I mean, are they Americans or aren’t they? What the fuck?

And when the hell did this stop being about red-faced, gun-toting Obamacare protesters? This whole thing was supposed to be better and more coherent, but I guess they’re not as much fun to write about as I’d thought—I am a squishy liberal, after all, and kicking someone when they’re down is against my programming. Well, unless it’s Gingrich or Delay—I would haul off and field-goal those assholes at the first opportunity. That never gets old, does it? No, because it’s punishing the only thing that’s a true, bona-fide sin in these United States: the sin of losing. Don’t ever get caught losing anything in America. Nobody here likes a loser, least of all themselves.