Happily Chugging the Toxic Stew of Dumb

Karl Marx told a rancid lie when he said that thing about history repeating itself first as tragedy and then as farce. If that whiny bastard had any balls he’d have told the truth which, as everyone knows, is that history only repeats itself as farce, because the mere fact of its repetition is obviously always a cruel joke from God. Of course, Marx probably didn’t believe in God, and I don’t really give a shit either way these days, but the goddamn vice-presidential debate had its way with me tonight and you all will just have to deal with it. I know, I know—I’ve always said that “smart people shouldn’t have to take any shit from stupid people,” but we all know that’s as big a farce as any of ’em, don’t we?

Sure we do, but instead of relating the useless and pointless story of how I barely endured fifteen minutes of the awful spectacle via the conduit of NPR (before watching the Cubs get demolished at home by Los Angeles for the second night in a row), I might as well bitch and moan about it, because that’s more fun. So yeah, Joe Biden (D-MBNA) handily dispensed with my silly quote about smart people tonight, merely by engaging in the premise of intellectual equality and showing up to debate Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

Of course, I don’t have to tell most of you how irredeemably asinine Mrs. Palin is. No, really, I don’t—I’ll let Matt Taibbi take the fall for that one:

Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she’s a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power. Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she’s the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV — and this country is going to eat her up, cheering her every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.

Naturally, all of that is pretty much true, but Taibbi only touches upon the harrowing devolution of idiocy represented by the Alaska governor, and this is where Marx’s half-assed quote about farcial history comes back. See, the rise of Sarah Palin was absolutely predictable. Indeed, it’s so obvious that I’m probably wasting my time, but I’ve written this much when I should be sleeping instead, so it’s too late to stop now. Palin’s arrival on the national stage is just as timely as that of George W. Bush, our jabbering dupe of a forty-third president. It’s generally agreed upon by nearly all sentient presidential scholars that Bush is the farcial reincarnation, politically speaking, of Ronald Reagan. Both men were genial twits fronting a den of thieves and pimps who held the government hostage while stoking fear of foreigners and hatred of liberals. Reagan himself represented the political mutant hybrid of John Wayne and Barney Fife, and Bush is basically a diseased Morlock with the brain of Reagan and the heart of Richard Nixon.

Nixon’s spiritual successor is, of course, Bill Clinton (who also shows traces of Warren G. Harding), and if we really wanted to waste time, we could take this presidential if-they-mated bullshit a step further and note that Barack Obama is probably the farcial hybrid of Reagan and JFK (and yes, I’ve already done that), but I was supposed to be exclusively shitting on the Republicans tonight, so let’s just get back to the point, which is that Sarah Palin is the logical next step from the notoriously stupid vice-presidential punchline known as Dan Quayle. For some reason, this makes sense to me because everything I ever needed to know about politics, I learned in the ’80s:

1. 1984, watching the pretty U.S. map go blue (as it did back then) for all of Reagan’s states. I thought it was a nice color, and even at the tender age of 7 I was a geography geek, so it fascinated me, but I could hear my dad swearing in the other room whenever Sam Donaldson (or whoever it was) announced another state for the Gipper. It was ’84, remember, so my dad cussed a lot that night.

Lesson: Politics = geography and curse words.

2. 1988, when my best friend and I were the only 5th graders in our school who paid attention to the presidential campaign thanks to DC Follies, SNL, and the fact that we gambled—for pennies and nickels—on the wide-open primaries in both parties.

Lesson: Politics also = cartoons, bad jokes, and gambling.

“Well duh,” you say, and you’d be right, because in spite of that irrelevant citation, many other people have made the same conclusions (and many more are still reminding us that Quayle was on a winning ticket), but it’s worth repeating in light of Palin’s spastic debating performance in St. Louis tonight, very little of which I actually saw. That’s right—while Palin was desperately winking her way through two hundred cue-card cheat-sheets of Stupid, and Biden was manipulatively weeping over his long-dead family, I was watching Carlos Zambrano get shelled by the Dodgers. That’s how little I really give a shit about Sarah Palin and her lame-ass debate, folks; I’d rather watch the Cubs inch closer to blowing yet another playoff game and add to their hundred-year-drought of World Series Shame than sit through a second Palin coming-out party full of self-loathing and chaotic failure.

And yet here I am writing about the fucking thing at a quarter to one in the morning. Obviously, I’m not ranting from an entirely solid position here; aside from this very post, I myself do many illogical, less-than-intelligent things—I listen to U2, I have irrational faith in the Chicago Cubs, and I willingly vote for spineless liberal Democrats who invariably betray me once their ideals collide with reality. So yeah, I’m a sucker, but even suckers have standards, dude, and my standards will always involve falling back on the ever-reliable position of vituperative condescension whenever the subject of oblivious stupidity arises. If I think something is stupid, it’s pretty fucking stupid, and October of 2008 is only just beginning. I don’t think I can take two more McCain-Obama debates, but somewhere, Michael Dukakis is smiling. Come back to us, Tank-Man. All is forgiven.