Monday, October 6, 2008

Grey and Purple Blues


There is a trending among the lefty op-eders at The New York Times, a kind of energized indignation that, I feel, wasn't always there. Or perhaps it was always there, but many readers had no confidence in believing the rants might bear out in reality. I think that has changed.

Years ago I remember sitting on my couch with a steaming purple and green glass bong full of water the color of shit on my lap, giggling, watching John Stewart, thinking, with the cracked strand of an operational brain I was given, that John Kerry would lose the 2004 election, and the complacence born of "indignation entertainment" would be somewhat, if not largely responsible. We were substituting political humor for activism. This was before Rachel Maddow.

The course change of our collective political heart has made indignation entertainment palatable in a way I never thought possible. Hell, it's downright rejuvenating. You can read Maureen Dowd and feel unashamed of the books (without pictures) you've read. Even Dick Cavett, who is a largely self-sentimentalizing industry at this point--a terrific one, I must add--barbs his work with anti-Bush-McCain observations. Again, was this always the case? I'm sincerely asking.

There is a collective sense that the era of right wing anti-intellectualism is dying. It cannot happen quickly enough.

Roger Cohen preaches to the choir in today's piece, which should come as little surprise. It's a sharp piece nonetheless, and better than any I've read in a good long while. Cohen epitomizes the surge of positive intellectualism, employing refined, if slightly purple, thought, and actual--hold your fucking horses, poetry! Apparently thinking is no longer a disease. Cohen righteously dismantles Sarah Palin's wince-inducing language and the hollow-ringing cliche of being a simple American.

It's not the kind of writing that wins elections, nor should it have to be. But it does restore dignity. I remember now.

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