A Parade Of Horribles . . . And Santa!

Traditionally, a return to blogging requires no more justification than does the absence that preceded it.  In my case, many of the factors are also too banal to report.  Nevertheless, with the solstice approaching, I’m finding myself reflecting on my impatience with the political topics I feel I’m expected to address.  I’m tempted to skirt this by taking refuge in more cultural and academic commentary, but the frustration must find an outlet.  Quite simply, almost nothing on the American political scene has surprised me for the last six years*, and reviewing headlines for blogfodder inevitably results in concluding, in the manner of a mathematician, that they all "reduce to previously-solved equations."  This is beyond outrage fatigue.  This is the malaise that comes from watching thoughtful and observant writers debate who collaborated with the chickenhawks in 2002 or 2004 (or 2006!).  I understand that—in theory—we ought to identify those whose judgment is flawed so that we might properly discount their statements in the future, but when the author of Dow 36,000 is tapped to replace Karen Hughes in charge of the US’s public relations in the Middle East and Alberto Gonzales is named ABA Lawyer of the Year, "Wake me in 2009" loses a lot of its slacker stigma.

The truly depressing effect of the totalizing warmongering by Bush and the right-wing noise machine has been the absolute narrowing of all political discourse, even on subjects unrelated to counter-terrorism and neo-imperialism.  I’m sure net-balkanization has contributed to this, but I often feel like everyone is spending their time and effort pacing off some kilometer-wide Plutonian moon when opportunities for more expansive and useful exploration are neglected.  That these developments have come at a time when I’m struggling with a resolve to become more articulate and engaged is both dismaying and seductive.  To paraphrase Teresa Nielsen Hayden, I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like an apathetic cynical burnout.  I have had impulses toward blogging certain cultural items, but I have let myself be thwarted by the musk of escapism and pretension that inevitably attach to such dilettantism.

So while I can’t pretend that this latest return to productivity isn’t the result of anything more profound than the fitful completion of other personal chores, I have remembered why we started this blog in the autumn of 2002, and it was for more than just personal satisfaction.  2008 promises to be every bit as rancid and disappointing as the preceding six years, but I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart. 

* When pressed by an interlocutor for any significant political development that I couldn’t have straight-forwardly projected from 9/11, the best I could come up with was the election of the Governator (although I did manage a clever gag years before Davis’s recall).

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