The track opens with a great sound of an old rotary phone. When the music comes it, it’s completely loungey: strings and easy music propel this song to the heights of Cool.
The delivery style is gentle but fast and the lyrics are funny “I’m gonna tell you some reasons that you wanna date me.”
Darling I would like you so much more if you loved me back…
[READ: December 31, 2011 and January 24, 2012] “Wolves at the Door” and “Comment”
This is a blog post from Barry that deals with politics. Although it was written in 2004 it is completely relevant to the current state of affairs in American politics. I suppose it was ever thus, but it sure seems worse now.
He opens, “Stop me if I ‘m getting too cynical, but I think elections are won by the guy with the stupidest policies.” He explains that it’s not because people are dumb; rather, it’s because when you are marketing to an entire country, “your best strategy is to scramble straight to the bottom of the barrel and start groping around in the muck there for the lowest common denominator.” This is very true.
But I think the perfect summary for politics is (as Barry writes): “smart is complicated, but dumb is catchy.”
He reiterates that people aren’t dumb, they are just swayed by dumb arguments. His example (again, from 2004) is the War on Terrorism (I actually think the War on Terror is a more egregious phrase). You can’t defeat an “ism.” The best we can do is mitigate its damage.
But he quotes from George W. Bush in August 2004 saying, “I don’t think you can win [a war on terrorism]. But I think you can create conditions so that… those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world”
This incredibly bright and well-reasoned argument (from a politician, and especially that politician) was ripped apart by Democrats. Candidate John Edwards was even quoted, “the War on Terrorism is absolutely winnable.”
Which made Bush dig deeper into the muck: “In this different kind of war, we may never sit down at a peace table, but make no mistake about it, we are winning and we will win.”
And people applaud, despite the absurdity.
Although Barry hoped that Kerry would win, he acknowledges, “Bush is ahead of Kerry on national security because Kerry has a kind of stupid, nuanced position and Bush has a really stupid but really simple position.”
Barry’s final word: “Electing a national leader is a lot like buying a…car: it’s too complicated to consider on the merits, so we end up basing out decision on something simple and stupid, like how it looks.”
Sad but true. And politicians really just want to get elected, regardless of what they say.
In the January 23 2012, Comment of the New Yorker, Jeffrey Frank talks about the dismal state of the Republican party. And you know things are crazy when you read something that Richard Nixon said and think, man, I wish other politicians thought like that. It’s as if Nixon predicted the state of politics in 2012:
In 1959, Vice-President Nixon, speaking to members of California’s Commonwealth Club, was asked if he’d like to see the parties undergo an ideological realignment—the sort that has since taken place—and he replied, “I think it would be a great tragedy . . . if we had our two major political parties divide on what we would call a conservative-liberal line.” He continued, “I think one of the attributes of our political system has been that we have avoided generally violent swings in Administrations from one extreme to the other. And the reason we have avoided that is that in both parties there has been room for a broad spectrum of opinion.” Therefore, “when your Administrations come to power, they will represent the whole people rather than just one segment of the people.”
We know what has happened since then. Nixon’s own party has brought that tragedy to light.
Ten months before the general election, the increasingly angry, suspicious, and divided party of Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry seems ever more immersed in its current orthodoxies. None of the candidates, though, seem the least bit interested in even addressing how they, or their party, might actually govern the “whole people” of a fractious nation. ♦
In all this time, I knew that the Republican hopefuls had been moving more and more rightward, I knew that they were appealing to a more and more fringe base. But I never really considered how they never talk about how they will help all of the people. They talk about undoing things that they don’t like, but they never talk about all of us. And yet somehow, the stupider they sound, the more popular they get.
I could go on, but there are people who say it better than I.