Friday, July 13, 2012

"You Don't Need To Fool Anyone," By Abraham Lincoln

There's been some speculation about whether I really said the famous "You can fool some of the people all the time..." quote. To tell you the truth, I don't remember myself. I was president. There was a war on. I said a lot of things, you know?

But the other day I started thinking about it - noodling around on the web - and I realized the quote is completely moot. You don't need to fool all the people all the time. You don't even need to fool some of the people all the time. You don't need to be very good at fooling anyone. You just need the big brass ones to keep trying. American society is ready to reward your shameless ass.

Watch this Frontline episode about the economic meltdown. It talks about how our financial leaders invented such creative ways to sell debt they ultimately destroyed their companies and threatened to take the whole system down with them. And if you watch the follow-up Frontline episode you discover that their punishment was to get a huge wad of cash from the government, with no strings attached.

Or you could just go out and buy Stephen Glass's book from Simon & Schuster about how he spent his entire journalistic career making facts up - and it helped him sell his first novel. Or you could read Jayson Blair's book - he did the same thing, and he got a six-figure advance. The books didn't do well, but that's the publishers' problem. Or you could go see the upcoming Mike Daisey show... if you can afford it, of course - I mean, after he got caught lying in an NPR episode, his ticket prices became more expensive than ever. Or you could buy a book from a Bush administration official who got a publishing deal in order to tell you how they got this country into a war for those WMDs that never materialized. And here's an article about the godawful amount of money Sarah Palin's PAC has raised. Running on a failed presidential ticket and revealing that you have no qualifications whatsoever for public office is absolutely no impediment to being a political player.

Let's be clear: None of these jackasses are fooling anyone - not all of the time, not some of the time, not in a box, not on Fox. They've screwed up publicly. They've been exposed, fired, disgraced, and/or hounded by the press. And then afterwards, after it should have been clear that no one should take them seriously ever again... that's when they each got piles of cash and TV time to tell us about it.

I can't believe I took a bullet in the head for this country.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm Glad You Think Marriage Is Important, Kirk Cameron

Dear Kirk Cameron:

You're a lunatic, but I kind of like you. I do. I've decided not to change that. And I have to admit, I really respect that you think marriage is important, and that you're a Hollywood actor who's been with the same woman for more than 20 years. Good for you! I mean it. I'm not being facetious. When you say that the one thing you personally don't want to fail at is your family, I know exactly what you mean.

My wife and I have been married since 1999. We have three young boys who are smart, cute, and utterly determined to kill us all and destroy our house. After we had our last baby, I quit my job so I could become a 1950s housewife with a five o'clock shadow. My wife works at a high-pressure career track job, and when she comes home she's usually desperate to see her kids, and I'm usually desperate to get rid of them. We're both tired and worn-out, hyper-scheduled and now we're getting over colds, the kids have just gotten over a wicked bout of pinkeye, and there is a cage-trap in my kitchen, because yesterday a goddamn squirrel got down the chimney, and crawled into a gap in my wall. Plus, I can't get my hound Daisy to stop urinating on my deck. The weeks fly by, but some days take forever. And last night, while we were wheezing and coughing and the dog was whining nervously, as we sat in our dining room, listening for sounds of scratching from behind the cabinets... I told her that there was no one on the earth I'd rather do any of this with. She agreed.

She believes in God. I do not. She dresses the boys in their jackets and ties, and they go to church, where she says a prayer for me, while I enjoy the silence in the house, pour brandy in my coffee and watch old Christopher Hitchens clips on Youtube. They come home, and I cook for them. We drive each other crazy - she can't leave one message for me when 12 will do, and I try to not let a day go by without telling her the most soul-crushingly offensive joke I can think of. When I'm five minutes late, she always assumes I'm dead, and she hugs me when she sees me like I just got out of a war zone. And as cynical about religion as I am, I found myself saying an Our Father and a Hail Mary each time she gave birth to our children.

We have a unique marriage. Everybody has a unique marriage. Sometimes the woman has the job, and the man stays at home, and sometimes both people work, and sometimes couples don't have kids, or they have a huge number of kids, and sometimes they're even both the same gender.

I am really happy you want to help marriage in America, Kirk. Here's what I know, and what you probably know too, somewhere down deep... There is exactly one marriage you can do anything about. There's really only one marriage about which you're the expert. And it's not mine, okay? It's not the gay couple's down the street. You go ahead and use the wisdom from the Bible to work on Kirk Cameron's marriage. I don't believe in it, but that's not really the point. The point is that you can't care for people in general. You can only care about them one at a time. I know there are many Christians out there who understand this. My best friend sure does.
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