Tuesday, January 08, 2008

There Will Be Blood at the Polls

While the pundits are babbling about how New Hampshire and Iowa are deciding the future of, if not the U.S., at least the two reigning parties, only a fraction of airtime and newsprint is pointing out that you could fit all ethnic minorities from those two states into the back of a Prius. Worse case scenarios be what they may, even Huckabee does not speak with that dumb ass cracker accent of the current administration. Although that's my sole recommendation of Huckabee.

How fitting that I picked up Upton Sinclair's Oil at SFO on my way to Red State land. I read it and The Jungle as a teen, having first been turned on to that other Sinclair -- Mr. Lewis -- around the age of 12. Both of them shared a similar critique of capitalism but Mr. Lewis was less didactic and, to my mind, painted more compelling images. But, for all his propaganda, Upton can pump out some terse, muscular prose. Only a few hours on the road, and I've breezed past 25o pages.

Much reference is given to how Paddy Chayefsky's Network was prophetic three decades ago. But try to fathom for a moment, that these words are at 81 years old:


All this summer and fall, Dad and Mr. Roscoe had been carrying a heavy burden -- they were helping to make over the thinking of the American people. A presidential campaign was under way; and the oil men, having made so bold as to select the candidate, now had to finish the job by persuading the voters that he was a great and noble-minded statesman. Also they had to pay a part of the expense, which would come to fifty million dollars, so Bunny learned from the conversations at Paradise and Monastery. This was several times as much as would get recorded, since the money went through local and unofficial agencies. It came from the big protected interest, the corporations, the banks -- everyone that had anything to get out of the government, or could be squeezed by politicians; the process was known as "frying out the fat." The oil men, having grabbed the big prize, were naturally a shining mark for all campaign committees, county, state and national. Dad and Mr. Roscoe received visits from Jake Coffey, and from the bosses of the state machine, and listened to hair raising stories about the dangers and the situation.

It was necessary to persuade the American people that the Democratic administration for the past eight years had been wasteful and corrupt, ignorant and fatuous -- and that was easy enough. But also it was necessary to persuade them that that an administration by _______________ was likely to be better -- and that was not so easy.


The name that I left blank, in this case, was Warren Harding. But I'm sure you can insert more than one contemporary Republican sewer maggot.

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At 1:44 PM, Blogger Scot said...

"contemporary Republican sewer maggot." You have such original and descriptive names for candidates; I will have remember this one.

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Two Write Hands said...

I was gonna make (basically) the same comment that Scot just did. I will be sure to give you credit for the witticism when my friends ask...

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Scot & Emily - I'm watching Larry King Live and Ariana Huffington is about to speak. If she steals that line she'll hear from my intellectual property rights attorney.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Scot said...

Ariana is a hoot. As a fellow KCRW listener you have probably caught her as a regular panal member on "Left, Right, and Center" SHe can often lend a little levity. BTW, I know where she lives in Brentwood- had a friend lived across the street- Priuses come and go regularly

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Scot - Ariana and her Eva Gabor accent are always entertaining. I'd love to see her house in Brentwood.


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