Saturday, May 31, 2008

When will we ever learn?

“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.”

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

"The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

"The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." (Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920)

If I could, I would travel to Boston to piss on H.L. Mencken's grave. In his most acerbic moment he could not have possibly foreseen his painful, yet uncanny, prescience. He no doubt hoped his plaintiff warnings would rouse and forearm the populace against his most dire imagined consequence.

I do not piss on his clairvoyance, but rather on his failure to go beyond it. Having witnessed the absurd and roundly marginalized "natural" progression of his darkest fear come to pass, what a comfort it would be to consider what he thought would come after the achievement of man's loftiest ideal.

Are there not thousands of Mencken's in the blogosphere? Sure, but none on the field of play.
Used as a splash of color in an otherwise bland pablum of media. Thrust ever so briefly into the light of the national discourse then extinguished. Ladled over with the effusions of left/right conventional marquee blowholes. How? Does? That? Happen?

My natural predelicitions are to stand aside and observe, once again, as the loftier ideals are dashed upon the rock-headed beachheads of Blowhole Land. I've long been disinvited to the party. Watched countless lesser blowholes attain their stated objective to "make things better".

For who? That's the unasked question. For who SPECIFICALLY? In Little League elections it's easy to see. They make things better for their kid. In the majors, it blurs markedly, but somehow manages to always stops well short of its stated goal.

"Here I am. Stuck in the middle with you"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yer either playin ball, or yer rigging it for yer kid to play.

Yer either on the bus, or off the bus.

Yer either doing something about it, or, yer writing about it.

If you write well, you'll be doing plenty, for now.

Later, we may need yer bat.