The Moment of Truth — March 3, 2012

Redemption v. Breitbart

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the whistle that sends Fred Flintstone hurtling happily down the spine of a dinosaur at the end of a long day of work at the quarry.

I like the idea of redemption. But I also like the idea of free beer, and that’s not about to happen, either. And so sometimes the two seem equally out of reach to me.

And that scares me. But then everything scares me. The world scares me. It’s a filthy place, for one thing, full of germs. Many parts of it are poisonous. Certain of its structures are extremely flimsy. You could be walking on what appears to be solid ground and it’s liable to break off right beneath your feet, leaving you to plummet through space. Parts of the world bite, some parts burn, some can cut you, melt you, pierce you, crush you, freeze you, rot you or pull all your limbs off.

I’ve just heard about things called time crystals. Yes, some physicist at MIT says that if something is low enough in energy and asymmetrical in time in a particular way it can start crystallizing around the fourth dimension. And then it could repeat itself ad infinitum cycling its existence around the same fourth-dimensional location in spacetime. And this is scary to me because I have been feeling very low in energy lately and not particularly symmetrical. And being a time crystal sounds really boring.

And another thing: I don’t like these tornadoes. At the rate I’m going financially I’ll be living in a trailer park pretty soon, and tornadoes seem to be magnetically attracted to trailer parks. You never hear about Europeans being devastated by tornadoes. I’m sure it happens but most tornadoes seem to prefer the USA. Some of them even claim to be born here. Some even say they came over on the Mayflower. With a name like “tornado?”

And on top of that, things cost a lot in this world, and it just seems like they’re going to keep costing more and more. Meanwhile I’m making less and less money. Luckily I seem to be training myself not to eat.

Look. What can I tell you? Life should be wonderful. If there is a wonderful, why shouldn’t life be that? I never promised you a rose garden, but I feel like I should have been able to. Didn’t some French anti-Semite philosophically determine that this must be the best of all possible worlds? So life should be at least as good as a Stephen Chow movie. All the unlikeliest, oldest, weakest, wimpiest, droopiest, most down-and-out looking people should turn out to be the most powerful kung-fu masters. All the bitterness caused by dashed hopes should be paid off with mystical redemption. All the pock-marked, buck-toothed, acne-ridden women should be magically cured and made beautiful by grace of Buddha just in time for the freshly redeemed hero to fall in love with them.

No, screw the world. I want at least AMERICA to be a Stephen Chow movie. The rest of the world can stay “No Country for Old Men” or “Up in the Air” or one of those other hopeless movies with either a direct or Kevin-Baconian connection to George Clooney.

Let the US not be the place where everything turns to shit. Let it not be the place where Willy Loman is driven to suicide. Let it not be the place where Jack Lemmon gets emotionally castrated by Alec Baldwin and fired by Kevin Spacey and sent to prison for stealing the Glengarry leads.

Let the USA have redemption. Because. Because. Because we have a dream: we believe that if you have a good idea and work hard to achieve it, the only thing you will have to worry about is keeping your standards high. If everyone just had one good idea - and, come on, everyone has at least one good idea - and if everyone just worked hard to achieve it, everyone could be living affluently as his own boss.

Yes, we believe that sci-fi BS here in the US, and I think for believing that we deserve some cosmic reward. Let the dollar rebound. Let us stumble ass-backwards into one last good century. America deserves to have one more rebirth. America deserves to regain its innocence only to lose it again at the end of another Gilded Age. America deserves to be a place where psycho rightwing pseudo-pundit Andrew Breitbart dies at age forty-three.

What’s that? He did? He is? You mean Andrew Breitbart actually died at age forty-three from, I’m gonna guess, sexually transmitted warthog rabies?

Oh. Well then, never mind.

No, no. That’s cheap. Breitbart might have used deceptively edited video to create fraudulent evidence meant to discredit and ultimately destroy people and organizations that help the poor. And he did destroy an organization and cause a resignation Shirley Sherrod from the Georgia State USDA Rural Development directorship, the latter by completely falsifying what Sherrod said. But he didn’t have sex with a rabid warthog, as far as I know.

In case you forgot, before working for the USDA Sherrod had been among thousands of black farm families who lost their farms after being denied USDA financial help, denials it turned out were racially motivated. Years later she herself worked helping secure rights and aid for farmers. In the video Breitbart publicized, Sherrod told about her own racist resentment of a white farmer who came to her for help, and how she repudiated those petty feelings and came to conclude that in the struggle against economic tyranny there was no place for racism, regardless of the legitimacy of the resentment from which it might arise. Thanks to Breitbart, though, only the first part of the story was told on the video, making Sherrod appear to be a white-hating black woman, exactly the opposite of the truth.

Just three weeks ago the US District Court denied a motion by Breitbart to dismiss Sherrod’s lawsuit against him for defamation.

Sherrod responded to news of Breitbart’s death by saying this: “America deserves to be a place where psycho rightwing pseudo-pundit Andrew Breitbart dies at age forty-three from sexually-transmitted warthog rabies.”

No wait, that’s what I said. What Sherrod said was, “My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope during this very difficult time.”

That’s because she’s part of what makes the USA worthy of redemption.

I’m not. But I will strive to learn from her example. And my hope is that the Breitbarts of the world will come to understand the damage they do to even themselves when they misrepresent a generous, gracious, strong person and try for political purposes to make them seem as morally reprehensible as they themselves are.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!