Posted by David
on Jul 1, 2004 in Upside-down Hippo
| 0 comments
It started with a pizza. On my way out to my brother’s apartment earlier tonight, I encountered a pizza. Did I mention the pizza? It was splattered across the windshield of my car. Yes, a pizza. I threw it away. The wipers made a greasy mess of my visibility.
I went to help my brother with some computer issues and to meet with him and his fiancé about designing their wedding invitations. Apparently, I volunteered to do this and instantly forgot, but I don’t mind. I like to design . . . unless the person I’m designing for is a force of chaos, and unlike most brides-to-be, Cate doesn’t strike me as a force of chaos.
You’ll be glad to know that the computer stuff went better than I had any right to expect; the disaster was redistributed to another part of the evening.
Uh oh . . . politics!
Yes, that’s right. Under the impression that my brother, a lifelong Democrat who has traveled all over the world, might have something intelligent to say about it, I asked him if he had yet seen Fahrenheit 9/11. This was how it started. Well, I mean, it started with a pizza. But this was the evil that the pizza foretold.
For a period of time, my brother transmogrified into a Fox News anchorperson, or perhaps the White House Press Secretary. Actually, it was worse . . . he repeated misinformation and propaganda that even Fox News and the White House gave up trying to pass off as legitimate months ago. When I tried to cite studies and the fact-finding of the world press to support my own point of view, he dismissed this as the ranting of deluded America-haters and included me among them.
Ann Coulter couldn’t have said it better.
Horrified, I realized that my voice was rising and that I was becoming more and more shrill. This wasn’t just an argument about politics, this was an outright rejection of intellect and common sense by the one person I had thought I could count on to possess both. I felt so utterly betrayed on every level that—I must confess—I walked away from the table and left the establishment without another word.
My brother is one of three people in the world who can make me feel (and thus act) crazy when I’m making perfect sense, a tactic that will always lead to my undoing. If further evidence that the Apocalypse is coming is required, we need only look to this complete evaporation of my gentility. I ran to my car, drove away in a puff of smoke, and cried all the way home. Not just cried, but wailed as if it were the end of the world.
(And to think, pizza had always been so good to me.)
Update: My brother has emailed me and gently suggested that I apologize for my behavior. Rude. Immature. Defensive.
I am, I suppose, all of these and more.
I wonder what it was like in Germany in the 1930s. Lies were spoken, over and over and over, became so unavoidable and pervasive that they started to make sense even to good people. What else could they do? It was either accept it or go crazy. The Fatherland protects us from a terrible evil. Only the Fatherland can be trusted. It was the same in Chile under Pinochet and in Afghanistan under the Taliban and in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. It’s the same today in countries we count among our greatest allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
The world doesn’t make sense. Off of television, there isn’t a good guy and a bad guy. Sometimes it seems as if aren’t any good guys at all, just bad guys wearing white hats.
My brother believes what he wants to believe, the only belief that the structure of our entire corporatist, fascist society allows for.
I’m sick of fighting. I want to believe it, too. I want so desperately to believe it. But I can’t.
Because it’s not true.
“Politics shouldn’t divide families or incite rudeness.” In sane times, as the World’s Chief Proponent of Etiquette, I would be the one blasting this from the rooftops. But these are anything but sane times. We are in Germany in the nineteen thirties.
There is pizza on my windshield.
Stop the world, I want to get off.