Sunday, October 16, 2005

shocked out of my socks

Is there anything capable of truly shocking us anymore? Consider the headline news report from the Post today: How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck -- whose title metaphor should more appropriately be, How Abramoff Played the United States Congress like a Jewharp.

You know you're in for a good ride when a five-page article begins with, not a dry summary of events, but a line like "Lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his team were beginning to panic." Oh good, you think: this is going to be a STORY. You settle in, preparing yourself for congressional manipulation, right-wing hypocricy, conveniently blank memories, forgery and fornication, performed by the starlets of the GOP, including Grover Norquist, Tom DeLay, James Dobson, and featuring an appearance by the First Brother Jeb Bush himself. You expect a pageant; you are not disappointed.

But my point isn't "Gee, isn't this fun?" Of course it's fun. What's amazing is that IT ISN'T SHOCKING. This is all breaking news and it reads like it's obvious. Well, except for bits like this:
According to the e-mails, Reed provided the name and address where Norquist was supposed to send the money: to Robin Vanderwall at a location in Virginia Beach.

Vanderwall was director of the Faith and Family Alliance, a political advocacy group that was founded by two of Reed's colleagues and then turned over to Vanderwall, Vanderwall said and records show.

Vanderwall, a former Regent University Law School student and Republican operative, was later convicted of soliciting sex with minors via the Internet and is serving a seven-year term in Virginia state prison.
That's got to be a humiliating guy for Norquist's name to be linked to. I'd almost feel sorry for him, if he weren't the asshole of the universe. Did you get catch the subtle irony, too? Soliciting sex with minors VIA THE INTERNET after helping to launder money for INTERNET GAMBLING? Okay, maybe it's not that subtle, especially when spelled out in caps.

In fact, the whole cast of characters, who should be exiled posthaste to Nairobi or the (melting) polar ice caps -- their choice --, seem blessedly unaware of their puppetmaster. Witness: "'This is all tied to Jack?" Sheldon said. "I'm shocked out of my socks.'" These losers have made me tired. Exile for the lot of them!

And don't even get me started on Judy Miller's pathetic defence of herself in the NYT. Even the paper of record itself doesn't seem to buy it. A separate "objective" report on the subject, by three people who will not be invited for martinis and manicures by Bill Keller anytime soon, does an excellent job of seeming respectful while actually dragging Judy through the mud like a ragdoll tied to a pickup truck. My favorite section:
On Oct. 3, four days after Ms. Miller left jail, she returned to the headquarters of The New York Times on West 43rd Street.

Before entering the building, she called her friend Ms. Payne and asked her to come downstairs and escort her in. "She very felt frightened," Ms. Payne said. "She felt very vulnerable."

At a gathering in the newsroom, she made a speech claiming victories for press freedom. Her colleagues responded with restrained applause, seemingly as mystified by the outcome of her case as the public.
BWAH! Still, in its own hilarious way, predictable.

What, friends, are we going to do with our jaded, unshockable selves? In the meantime, while we mull that over, exile for Judy too. We don't do enough banishing anymore.

No comments: