The Moment of Truth — February 13, 1999
Hi, I’m mejeffdorchen and welcome to the moment of truth. The one moment in the broadcast week when the truth bursts out of its straitjacket and claws the faces of its capitalist asylum guards bloody.
Hey, did you hear the news? The impeachment thingy is over. And I just want to say that I, mejeffdorchen, mentioned it only twice during the course of the whole thingy. I, mejeffdorchen, a political satirist – perhaps the only true political satirist living in the USA – I only mentioned the whole Monica thingy twice, and neither time was it the central topic of my piece. I think I vaguely alluded to it once in a paragraph cataloguing the various crimes against humanity committed by the presidents of the past three and a half decades, including the present president, just to compare real crimes with the one under investigation.
And the second time was when I came up with the classic line that summed up all of what had been passing for political satire in the mainstream media since this whole thing began: "Hey, did you hear they finally found the smoking gun? Yep. They found a piece of Clinton’s penis in Monica Lewinsky’s teeth." I came up with that line just to have something to put in the mouths of so-called political satirists Bill Maher and Dennis Miller in order to demonstrate their crappy styles of delivery without having to actually borrow any of their crappy material. But in doing so I summed up the last two years of mainstream political discourse. And I just want a little credit for that.
Anyhow, now that this whole impeachment thingy is over, I just want to cap it off by asking, "Was it worth it?" I mean, I know a lot of people really enjoyed this whole thing. I know a lot of people felt it was worth fifty million dollars to take 5 years to tell a story in which the most interesting thing was some dried up cum on a dress. That’s ten million dollars a year to tell a 5 year story about a little glob of dried up cum. Man, I heard a guy sing a song about 96 whole tears in only 3 minutes flat. 96 tears!
Fifty million dollars for sperm on a dress. Blood on the Tracks only cost me 3.99 at Tower Records.
I don’t know. I’ve said many times, "Government gets the people it deserves." But I really don’t think the so-called American People are ever gonna be as cruddy as this government deserves them to be. And I’m not just talking about the impeachment thingy. I’m talking about everything. Y’know, I’ve travelled around the world, and there are no rulers of any other rich, industrialized country I know of that treats its people like our corporate and state rulers do.
The attitude of the rulers here in the US towards their subjects, and nowhere more than here in Chicago, is basically: the most important thing is to make the people do what you want them to do while providing the minimum of services with the lowest overhead at the highest price the market will bear. For example, The Chicago Transit Authority, a private monopoly, switched to a transit card system. In doing so they could’ve gotten card machines that made change. Instead they have one change machine that often doesn’t work per three or four card machines so that riders during rush hour must either have exact change or put the excess money on a card that they may lose. There is no question that this system has been a big moneymaker for the CTA, as it has helped it downsize employee hours, nickel-and-dimed it some extra bucks through rider overpayment, and even given it a new place to sell advertising: there was one time I thought the CTA’d changed its name to Old Navy.
When they built the Orange Line to Midway Airport, they could have built a quiet train. In Germany and Spain and France you can barely hear the trains, and they carry just as many people and go just as fast. Whoosh. I don’t even know if the CTA was too cheap to do it. I just think they didn’t even give a crap. It’s not the kind of thing that enters into the heads of the board of a company like the CTA. Why should they give a crap if a train makes noise or not? They’re not gonna ride the train, and they sure aren’t gonna live near it. The comfort of others? How much comfort do the people of Chicago really expect in a public space? If the CTA board even thought to ask themselves this question the answer had to be, "Not much."
People who ride on the CTA look at the homeless people around them and say, "I guess I’m pretty lucky not to be homeless." It’s normal for our society to treat people like garbage. When you see others get treated like garbage, and when you yourself are treated with a similar kind of disregard – only to a lesser degree because you have just enough money to buy or rather rent your way out of the bottom-most dumpster – your expectations begin to resemble those of a walking sack of garbage that must work for diddly, and pay extortion to keep from being dumped in the landfill.
It’s this whole extreme capitalism I’ve been talking about. There have been two competing trends since the end of the 60s: one has been the growing global discourse on human rights, the growing global agreement on the individual’s right to demand that his or her life and dignity be recognized and respected. The other has been the flood of resources away from communities and into the hands of a wealthy, powerful, removed few.
There have been a lot of horrid people working in this second, nasty direction. Clinton is definitely one of them. But the most sickening and stupid bunch of ay-holes who have been laboring as a force on the side of badness has been the Republican Congress. No other group with as much public exposure can be held more responsible for the level at which the so-called American People feel like garbage.
Now remember, garbage has low expectations. And after Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush, the expectation has been that a president will do just about anything. And so the puny sex peccadilloes of Clinton, regardless of what kind of crimes they may have been contiguous with, simply didn’t even come close to shocking us sacks of garbage out of our slovenly monotonous hum of everyday pessimism, the white noise of our disgust, a disgust we hardly even notice anymore.
The Republican Congress wanted us to feel outraged at the story of dried cum it took fifty million dollars and five years to tell. But thanks to the Republican Congress itself, we didn’t give a crap. In fact, we flaunted not giving a crap. We paid the media to tell us stuff just so we could remind ourselves and the Republican Congress how little of a crap we gave. We answered polls just to make sure the world knew we didn’t give a crap.
And so, whaddya know? We are in fact the kind of people the Republican Congress deserved. With a little luck, the Republican Congress will cease to exist thanks to its having nurtured such a constituency.
And the best thing is, now that it’s over, it’s great to see that not giving a crap really made a difference.
I’m mejeffdorchen and this has been the Moment of Truth.