The temperature rose yesterday to a notch or two above freezing, then fell. A dusting of new snow arrived around nightfall. Fog covered everything until it froze, and that’s where it stands now — silver-plated world. Everything is white, not too cold, and the air is so heavy with moisture it can mean only one thing. One or two more inches coming up from the south; should be here momentarily. I’d like to take a walk in it. Maybe I will.
From Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, No. 1: Never open a book with weather. Well, this isn’t a book. It’s the first draft of personal history. And I’m allowed to talk about the weather.
A job I wish I had: Smashing up the ice on the St. Clair River. Seriously. My favorite thing is when the spring rains come in cloudbursts, and the storm drain in front of my neighbor’s house clogs with spring tree-gunk, and I get to wade through the warm puddles with my rake and clear it. Actually piloting an icebreaker through a troublesome jam to send the backed-up water on its way? Bliss. It would be storm-drain clearance
Nance’s Rules of Writing: Don’t use stupid, dated, not-very-creative-when-they-were-coined, let-alone-now catch phrases like “on steroids.”
OK, then. I don’t want to continue yesterday’s depressing discussion for too much longer — I mean, in a silver world, you want to be optimistic — but I caught part of “Fresh Air” yesterday, and it seemed to pertain, a little. Journalist David Weigel of the Washington Independent was speaking on the new right, the right on steroids, the super-righty right represented by the teabaggers and CPAC. You know CPAC — these are the folks who were making jokes about flying a plane into an IRS building and killing a 68-year-old veteran (two tours, Vietnam). And of course you know the Tea Party.
I was struck by the portion of the interview where Terry Gross asked Weigel about what the teabaggers believe about the financial meltdown that started the cascading economic catastrophes of the past two years. He said they blame the whole thing on Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and the Community Reinvestment Act, which is both not surprising and pretty depressing. I’ve said this before and it didn’t originate with me, but this is what we’re moving toward — a media landscape where not only spin varies from outlet to outlet, but the very facts themselves. Wall Street is not underregulated; Barney Frank is the problem. And vaccines cause autism, of course they do.
Here’s the other thing that struck me: How the sorts of wackos I used to hear on my radio show(s) back in the day — the freakazoids who stayed up all night at the card table under the bare light bulb, writing their single-spaced manifestos or letters to the editor or whatever, who would call and rant about the Bilderbergers and the Federal Reserve and the loss of the gold standard and (my personal favorite) Ezra Pound, that genius — these folks are now being welcomed into the mainstream conservative movement. And they have some new entertaining ideas, about the president’s birth certificate and death panels and so on. And a new spokesgal, who is much prettier than they are.
I ran into one of these guys one day, at Best Buy. I thought it was brave of him to introduce himself, although I probably should have recognized him from his public-access TV show. We chatted a bit. He was pricing camcorders, but dammit, none of them had the feature he needed. Which was?
“Night vision,” he said.
His public-access show was entertaining. This is how he gave web addresses: “H, T, T, P. Colon. Backslash, backslash. T-R-I-P-O-D. Dot — this is a period — C-O-M. Backslash. Tilde. This is the key to the left of the numeral 1, but you have to shift…”
Anyway, they were joking from the CPAC podium about Joseph Stack, the IRS bomber. Had to check to make sure it wasn’t Grover Norquist at the controls, ha ha. Imagine the reaction if– oh, why bother even bringing it up? The liberal media, etc. etc.
I’ll say this: I’m really glad I don’t live in Indiana anymore. I’m sure these folks are all over the place. I see two Don’t Tread on Me flags waving in the neighborhood here, but it’s not a friendly place for the most part, so I don’t feel like I have to smile at them or anything.
Ach. We need to go out with some levity. How about this essay on Rielle Hunter’s “quiet dignity.” Not talking to the media about your stupid life choices qualifies as quiet dignity now? Evidently:
In the early days, Americans came to think of her in the sleaziest terms: the former party girl who used sexual wiles and New Age mumbo jumbo to steal Elizabeth’s husband. Most self-respecting women would feel compelled to say something, anything, in their own defense. And most modern mistresses would do much more than that. A fame-chasing Rielle would have come forward in the first days of her sex scandal, even if it meant defying John’s wishes. She would have talked and talked as the interviews declined in influence, the sad journey from Barbara Walters to Billy Bush. By now she’d have finished her book tour. We’d see her hawking an Internet sex column or sharing Twitpics of Quinn to thousands of followers.
Or maybe, just mayyybeee, she’s holding out for the big payday. Just a thought. Maybe the quiet-dignity meter was recalibrated while I was worrying about the Tea Party, but in my experience, a person who has it doesn’t say things like this:
That same spring, Rielle came to dinner at my home in New York. The Edwardses had just announced that Elizabeth’s cancer was back and was incurable, engendering a national outpouring of support. That didn’t stop Rielle from explaining to the group at dinner, which included journalists from other national publications, that Elizabeth had gotten cancer because she was filled with “bad energy.”
OK, then. Back to the sweatshop! Copy due in two hours!