Friday, October 31, 2008

High-Stakes Buffoonery. Defining Heroism Down. The Plumber vs. The Carpenter.

"Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends."
- Woody Allen

Four days.

I am trying today to spiritually and consciously detach from the thunderous crush of giant forces colliding. As the irresistible force of right-wing desperation bears down on the immovable object of Obama's likely victory, I am choosing to focus my limited time and attention on what really matters to the GTL: the laughs, the stupidity, the moments of high farce.

What choice do I have? Give myself an ulcer?

The morning coffee n' news shows are playing clips today of angry old John McCain, before a sea of pale, angry, white Ohioans, shouting and waving his arms and spewing such nonsense about Barack Obama that Saturday Night Live will have a hell of a time parodying him without accidentally making him seem more rational and less unhinged. A few pitchforks and torches, some sepia tones, and it could be right out of Young Frankenstein:

"A riot iss an ugly sing, und I sink it's about time that ve had vun!"

McCain grew serious - or tried to: "There's a real hero here today, one that I have dedicated my campaign to and that keeps me strong" - this is a paraphrase, so I may be getting the wording a bit wrong - "Joe the Plumber! He's here today! Where is he? Joe the Plumber!"

Now, I'm confused. A hero? Joe? The humble but surly "I-ain't-paying-my-taxes" Joe Wurtzelburger, not actually a plumber, but "a guy who does plumbing" (only a licensed plumber may call himself one)? A hero? Our angry Joe?

I remember this book from my childhood, "A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich." Turns out they were wrong. A hero ain't nothin' but a guy who works on pipes, owes back taxes, and likes to call people socialists without troubling to find out what a socialist actually is.

Or maybe a hero is a real American who thinks all Muslims are terrorists and all blacks are on welfare. He's at the rally, too, why isn't he also a hero? Or a governor who abuses power? Or a Senator who is convicted of seven felonies and arrives home to a hero's welcome and triumphantly resumes campaigning for high office? Hell, with these low standards, even George w. Bush might wind up a hero. Or maybe even yours truly.

Reader! Hey you! You might be a hero too!

I don't know which is funnier, the endless shouting of this bizarre mantra, "Joe the plumber, Joe the plumber, Joe the plumber!, or the fact that Wurtzelbacher wasn't even present at the rally.

This freaky scene is a bathetic redux of the evangelical movement as a whole, always yelling about Armageddon and the second coming and the end times and the lake of fire and all that other happy crap they want to happen to the rest of us while they're eating Chick-Fil-A with the Lord of Hosts.

Today it isn't Jesus they're in a lather about, which is nice for a change. Leave that nice Jewish boy alone, for his sake!

No, they're not yelling for Jesus. He's so second-millennium. Passe, even.

Today's Savior wears a tool belt and shows his coin slot as he prostrates himself before the gleaming altar of the Frigidaire.

Will Joe the plumber die for our sins?

Or is it the other way around?

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