Thursday, March 25, 2010

Taking a mental health break

I am immersing myself in P. G. Wodehouse for awhile.  Lots of Jeeves, maybe a visit or two to the Drones Club, and who knows what else.  There's a lot of Wodehouse on the bookshelves, and things are sufficiently depressing in the real world that escapism seems like a rational plan at the moment.  I may even start looking for Bertie Wooster dvds at the library and Netflix, both the Hugh Laurie and Ian Carmichael versions. 

Whatever I do, though, for sure I need to avoid books that are as grim as a couple I've read lately.  To call Greg Bear's Quantico dystopian would be like referring to Sarah Palin as merely intellectually challenged, a definite exercise in massive understatement.  It did not help that Quantico takes what feels like our contemporary political and cultural situation -- lots of unfocused paranoia, various fringe groups running around spouting conspiracy theories, government law enforcement agencies like the FBI and ATF (or whatever they're calling themselves these days) more interested in fighting turf wars and accusing each other of treason than they are in cooperating on anything -- and projects just a few years into the future when things are a whole lot worse.  Bear is a great writer, but for sure I'm hoping he's got all the predictive skills of a Jean Dixon.  Other than the Navy naming a frigate after Robert A. Heinlein, there isn't a thing in Quantico a thinking person would actually want to see happen. 

It did not help my mood at all, then, to turn on the television and see asshat Rick Sanchez waxing skeptical over Bart Stupak (former Michigan State Patrol officer [13 years] and an attorney) (the man may be a deluded fanatic on the subject of abortion, but he does know crime when he sees it) characterizing the various threats and vandalism directed towards members of Congress, including himself, as "domestic terrorism."  And I quote Sanchez, "What do you think, Wolf? Is Stupak right? Is it terrorism?"  What part of tossing bricks through windows, issuing threats of bodily harm, or vandalizing property does Sanchez think does not qualify as a terroristic act?  And why on earth is he lobbing rhetorical questions at Wolf Blitzer?  Asking Blitzer what he thinks about anything is a waste of everyone's time.

And then there are the brain dead relatives and acquaintances on Facebook.  The S.O. got so fed up with some of the crap one of his cousins was posting that he unfriended her.  She kept saying she wasn't political, but then would do post after post on Obama-the-evil-socialist and get-government-off-our-backs.  This is a woman who's spent most of her adult life as a Navy wife -- she doesn't want the government involved in healthcare when she's had the benefit of CHAMPUS (aka TriCare) for many, many years.  How does someone end up so mentally challenged that she'll insist on "no government health care!" when that's exactly what she's got and what she's had since the 1970s?  Definitely a classic case of "I've got mine; screw everyone else." 

So for a few days I'm going to just retreat quietly to the bedroom with my Peeps, Jarritos mandarina sodas, and Wodehouse.  Junk food and mind candy.  It's looking good.


  1. I finished reading a funny book when I wuz camping. The Neighbors Are Scaring My Wolf.

  2. 3 of my cousins have started to ignore me on facebook..they won't unfriend me cause their mother is my aunt who is as close to me as one of her kids and she'd raise hell..but they wont talk to me any more..that click your heels together 3 times and go fuck yourself pissed them off...but i was so pissed at one cousin who had obama as hitler and wanted to start an on facebook to have him impeached..sigh*

  3. I'm going to have to look for that book BBC read. Just by the title it sounds funny.

    I know what you mean by needing some escapism. I think that's why I've been reading lighter fiction and watching lavish black and white films from the 1930s and early 40s. And I'm loving the Folye's War dvds we get from the library. We're nearly through the series already.

    It's funny how FB has given us the gift of reconnectedness, but like you I was dismayed to learn that one of my cousins (a prof. at GA Tech) and my aunt are raging right wingers. This shocked me because I assumed that they and my mother's brother (now deceased) were liberals like my mom. Not so. Mom tells me that my uncle (who lived on SSI and disability for most of his adult life) was a huge fan of Rush Limbaugh. His widow and his children continue his love of all things Rush and Right. The irony is, of course, that both cousins teach in the public system (tax funded) and my aunt works for a large nursing home outfit in Florida. You know that nursing home must make at least half of its money from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It's ridiculous!

    I'm sorry for the long comment. No need to publish, if you don't want.

    One more thing - I think that now that we have a political propaganda channel like Fox that is ubiquitous all over the country, we're seeing unprecedented idiocy. Before news was regional. Now? It's a mess.

  4. You know more about my relatives than I do.

  5. I agree - I stopped watching yesterday after Palin said the mainstream media made up all the threats and brick throwing and McCain just stood there nodding. Geez.


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