Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Short Items

When you look at the number of days Bush has spent traveling and on vacation, and all the useless speeches he's given over the years, you realize that Cheney didn't choose himself for vice president---he chose George W. Bush.

Cindy McCain tries to distinguish herself versus the elite Obamas by dressing down. Interesting idea, but she's still a thief (of pills and husbands) with impulse control problems.

Republicans who like the idea of Bush as Batman should read what James Howard Kunstler has to say about the movie.

The most striking thing about the new Batman movie, now smashing the
all-time box office records, is its emphasis on sado-masochism as the animating
element in American culture these days. It must appeal to the many angry people
in our land who want to hurt others, even while they themselves feel deserving
of the grossest punishments. In other words, the picture reflects the extreme
depravity of the current American sensibility. Seeing it all laid out there must
be very validating to the emotionally confused audience, and hence pleasurable,
in all its painfulness.

The rich symbolism in this spectacle represents the tenor of contemporary
America as something a few notches worse than whatever the Nazis were heading
toward around 1933. We like nothing better than to see people suffer and watch
things get broken. The more slowly people are tortured (including the movie
audience) the more exquisite the pleasure derived from the act. Civilization
offers no consolation. In fact, its a mug's game. Thus, civilization is composed
only of torturers and their mug victims.

Gotham City, the setting for all these sadomasochistic vignettes, is a
place devoid of comfort. (The suburbs are missing completely.) Even the personal
haunts of "the Batman," a.k.a. zillionaire Bruce Wayne, are hard-edged
non-spaces. His workplace (cleverly accessed via a dumpster) is an underground
bunker the size of about three football fields with a claustrophobic drop
ceiling and a single furnishing: the megalomaniacal computer console that is
supposed to afford him "control" of the city, but which appears to be, in fact,
a completely impotent sham piece of techno-junk, since it can't even outperform
a $300 GPS unit in locating things. By the way, Hitler had a brighter sense of
decor in the final days of the bunker. Bruce Wayne's personal apartment is one
of those horrid glass-walled tower condos beloved of the starchitects, which, in
its florid exposure to everything external practically screams "no shelter

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