Sunday, August 17, 2008

There's a part of me who wants to see gas prices up at six dollars a gallon, especially when I'm at a corner in my Saturn trying to turn right and there's some sport-utility jerk next to me, sticking out into the intersection, unaware that his monster truck isn't transparent. Now, that particular problem could also be solved by lowering overpasses to, say, five-foot eight, but I also enjoy living in a world where owning a Prius or a Civic Hybrid makes you a smart consumer instead of a terrorist-loving fag sissy.

In the middle of the pricey red-blue cultural shift, I love the juxtaposition of progressive Barack Obama giving his supporters gas-saving advice and reactionary McCain pushing his phallic offshore drilling dream to a crowd of Harley-riders pissed about four dollar gas but not so pissed that they don't waste it throttling their idle engines. I'm a bit sick of Obama, in fact – not his useful energy conservation tips but his tiresome campaign of happiness and love that refuses to call McCain's ignoramus-pandering out.

Where I stand, the issue revolves around critical thinking, because I am naive and don't see what the hell the problem is. Offshore drilling won't produce a drop of oil for at least seven years, and keeping your tires inflated increases your car's fuel efficiency, so... duh. I bet even Republicans — not necessarily the neocon think tank ninnies but the white trash that gets a boner from their motorcycle sound — are keeping their cars tuned up. I believe Friedman wrote an opinion piece in the Times, weeks ago, by the time I got around to posting this, accusing the Republicans of nurturing ignorance — "the party of stupid:" Saddam's so-called involvement in 9/11, rumors that Obama is a Muslim, the idea that offshore drilling will remedy the gas crisis (or that there even is a gas crisis in the first place).

And that's where I end. It's a broken psyche thing — my TV's not getting a signal, and I lost my credit card, and the price of lunch just went up fifty cents, and no one's answering my okcupid love notes, and nothing I do makes a difference! I get it, I can deconstruct it, I just can't fix it, so instead I sit on the couch, blog, and mock people at a motorcycle convention because, honestly, if Blockbuster doesn't have the movie I want right now, then they fucking deserve it.

What scares me about the McCain philosophy is the way he coddles that attitude on a big old macroscopic scale. I'd love to see Obama preach from the podium the empirical differences between his and his opponent's energy plans: "My plan works. His plan doesn't. Your choice," but I also feel like that's a losing strategy, leaving the masses with that decision. Your choice, dumbasses. I'm afraid it won't happen in time, but maybe Obama's just the sort of Kennedy to do it — a massive post post-9/11 shift in the way Americans view their own agency.

Yes we can. That's a brilliant... slogan. It encapsulates the campaign's view of Americans' role towards their community, but it's not enough. Coming off the Bush-Cheney still-presidency that's left a huge debt with China and the Middle East so they could be like the cool step-parent who never asked us to sacrifice anything (tangible), I don't see us taking Step Two. You actually need to get off your ass, under your car, and inflate the tires — and you won't do that unless you believe one trivial five-minute action will actually matter — and you won't do that unless you believe you, alone or in concert with your neighbors, actually have the ability to change the culture.

That's the dichotomy of this election: Barack's platform of community self-reliance versus McCain's insistence that only the government and corporations can matter and we better placate Exxon-Mobil and Wal-Mart and Halliburton lest they leave stranded without fuel or cheap Chinese consumer goods or whatever it is Halliburton makes. It's brilliant: you get to lie in a useless zombified lump while somebody else (immigrants, maybe?) builds these offshore drilling platforms. The candidate tells you that you're impotent and you vote that way, then the government you put in office kills off your equity, your culture, your rights, leaving you even worse off and reinforcing the original idea. The problem isn't complacency; it's diffidence.

I'm a realist, and doubt that Obama, if he's elected, will actually make the individual matter again. But even if I don't believe a word of it, it's really nice to hear someone tell us that we're significant.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Irksome thing I overheard from some lady on the train this morning: "We're still behind in the medal count."

No. We are not behind in the medal count. We're not even in the running. The U.S. Olympic Team has a medal tally, but we don't. The difference is that people actually on the team are competing in the Olympics, while we are sitting on our fat asses, drinking Coke (an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team) and buying crap online with our Visa cards (also an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team).