The Scars To Prove It

Just where he wants him. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty)

I know that not many of you play video games, much less RPGs, but Square-Enix has had a greater influence on my educational and emotional development than all of my authors, filmmakers and teachers combined. (As in my childhood, I still prefer ‘the great indoors.’) So you’ll have to indulge my dubiously relevant analogy and allow it as a segue into some scattered thoughts on the election and its coverage.

One of the standard RPG set pieces (you can see an exhaustive list of them here) occurs after your party has defeated (or just confronted) a bad guy, usually a corrupt chancellor or outwardly effete old witch. The battle will appear over, he’ll compliment your ability (‘You’re stronger than you look…’) or even disappear. But then you’ll hear a cackle, or the room will slightly darken, and your foe will transform before your eyes into a much larger, more hideous, demonic incarnation of himself. Then the ‘real’ battle will ensue. (Actually this happens in almost every game that involves bosses; see it in action here; this guy’s using codes, FYI.)

I’ve hardly said anything about it on here, but I’ve been following the election very intently; really, at this point I think the court would award the blogosphere a restraining order. Since my return from New York a week ago, I’ve been genuinely nocturnal: I sleep from 10 AM to 7 PM, then steal downstairs to my Indian tea guy, venture a stroll around the block, gravely disquieting my middle-aged roommate by cooking eggs at the devil’s hour and holding the single bowl we share captive until sunset.

Shut away in my chamber, I have a bottle of something potent on my desk and my Gide book open on my lap, which I glance down at after setting the my characters in my Super Nintendo emulator game du jour (depending on the foe) to automatic battle mode. Maximized behind them, a stash of political blogs that I refresh after an arbitrary interval (a page, a paragraph). The perfectly partial stylings of MSNBC’s triumvirate (Matthews, Maddow, Olbermann) stream through the dreadphones. (When the cat’s away, the mice will dance, no? I can’t wait to explain to my kids what I did in my twenties.)

My main squeeze is Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic. I suspect we have some deep-seated ideological differences (I think he supports overturning Roe v. Wade), but I can be sure that whatever curveballs he throws are the result of many years of deliberate reflection. He also seems to update almost as fast as I can refresh, so I blame him most of all for enabling my temporary internet addiction. After Sullivan: The Huffington Post (although I very rarely read the articles), Drudge (to get a glimpse of the delusional fairy netherworld where McCain is still one step behind Obama and Sarah Palin is merely a benign cancer on the Republican party), and Obsidian Wings (thanks, Sebastian), although I’m not really sure what they’re all about yet.

I’ve even taken to reading the absurdly conservative Michelle Malkin and Red State, just to giggle at their hourly outrages. (I won’t link to either. Blech.) The latter, for whom someone who might as well be my step-brother occasionally writes (although he seems to have stopped; did he side with his ‘Georgetown cocktail conservatives’ and abandon ship with the advent of Palin?) is pretty much the lowest of the low. As utterly horrible as Malkin can be, at least she has the independence of mind to write, for instance, a detailed, damning critique of McCain’s most recent economic plan.

Listening to the indignant death rattles of the Red State guys and their legion of commenters, however, has been downright pitiful of late: they’re always certain that some unearthed, insignificant Acorn-Ayers-Arab contradiction is going to suddenly swing the whole thing redwards: ‘Not so fast, Nobama!‘ It would be great if they literally got their hands on Barack, Reid and Pelosi’s Bed, Bath & Beyond receipt for custom-made White House curtains. Every waning day, after every ‘fatal point’ that McCain scores, they prophesy with glee the tumbling numbers, or bemoan in advance the media and starstruck public for not paying more attention to the things that really matter! (Last night, by the way, McCain ‘mopped the floor’ with Obama.)

I simply cannot understand how an educated person could hold some of the opinions that the Red State bloggers appear to hold. I understand and appreciate disagreement, but despite the pure relativist doctrine I try to espouse, some of what I read there convinces me that there must be two truly opposing sides, one objectively right and good and the other wrong and evil, and I am surely in the former, right? How could you feel righteous being a member of a party that makes efforts to, that will benefit from, prohibiting potential voters from voting? It’s a tragedy of Hegelian proportions.

I like to think of our democracy in pragmatist terms: the party with the ‘best ideas’ (the ones that will most benefit the most people in charge of the selection, i.e., the voters) will be victorious in the same way that the most camouflage lizard in Darwin’s forest will be victorious. I thought that was how our country was intended to work. I can’t tell if it’s our modern political process polluting that ideal (political pundits: enough with the sports metaphors!), or some inexorable, atavistic mammalian chauvinism. (‘Ugh. He tall, he handsome: he strong!‘)

In any case, we’ll get the leader we deserve. As the Sith keep reminding us, three weeks is indeed a long time in politics. Still, I’d still like to dedicate one of my favorite Smiths tracks to them:

And I know it’s over – still I cling [guns, religion]
I don’t know where else I can go [Oklahoma]
Over and over and over and over
Over and over, la …
I know it’s over
And it never really began
But in my heart it was so real
And you even spoke to me, and said :
‘If you’re so funny
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
And if you’re so clever
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you’re so very entertaining
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you’re so very good-looking
Why do you sleep alone tonight ?’

Actually, I shouldn’t say things like that. In fact, I’ll start boiling the water now. Tell me when to add my shoe.

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~ by ohkrapp on October 16, 2008.

One Response to “The Scars To Prove It”

  1. oh.. sorry i didn’t talk about the debate. i originally just wanted to giggle about the picture, but i got kind of carried away and then added that intro..

    also i might have exaggerated in my introduction. i might be most morally guided, at least consciously, by kant. and at one point i just sort of became, unwittingly, epictetus.

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