"The Lottery" as metaphor for feces-flinging Campaign 2008 / Nostrabobus predicts the next President
you ever read a short story by american author, shirley jackson, called 'the lottery'? you can download an mp3 here or read it in it's glory here.
i highly recommend you read it. it reminds me way too much of these damned elections. won't take you much more than fifteen minutes.
Friday, 25 January, 2008
do let me know what you think of it.
Friday, 25 January, 2008
I don't think they let you out of a half-decent high school in the USA without being required to read "The Lottery."
It has an interesting niche in American literature. It first ran in The New Yorker, a top-tier magazine for liberal (and usually prosperous -- check out the ads) intellectuals, always (since its founding in the 1920s) noted for excellence in new fiction.
But it's just as often reprinted in horror story collections, like the paperback series of stories that bore Alfred Hitchcock's name and ghoulish picture in the 1960s and 1970s.
It's a favorite of high school and undergrad college English courses because there's no sex in it -- only ritual murder. This is a pretty telling indication of American priorities for the way educators believe they should keep our children innocent -- but still demonstrate that fiction can be entertaining and even shocking. And it does indeed have the power to wake snoring students up and generate very animated classroom discussions.
Canada's national politics are far more fluid and changeable than the USA's. Parties that seemed to be powerful forever suddenly vanish overnight, and new upstart parties replace them in Ottawa.
But down here, since around 1876 (when the Democrats had regained power after practically being outlawed after the Civil War), there's a permanent power lock and monopoly on national politics by the Republicans and Democrats.
No presidential candidate outside these two parties has ever had a snowball's chance in hell of winning. It's a Machine you can't beat, no matter what your ideas or your character is. Even federal and state election laws are structured to make things easy for Republicans and Democrats, and almost impossible for any Third Party candidate.
What's unusual about Campaign 2008 is that, unlike every campaign since around 1972, this is still a wide-open race involving (Bob does a quick count of his graphic) nine (I'm still counting Ron Paul) major-party candidates. The primaries so far have shown that almost any of these creatures (except Ron, who I confess I'm rather sweet on 'cause he'll end the War in Iraq and the War on Drugs) stand a good chance of winning their party's nomination this summer.
I've come to feel that, as long as politicians never really DO anything to really help people, the least they can do is put on an entertaining show for our tax dollars. (By that criteria, our greatest president was undoubtedly Nixon -- but this current Freakazoid stands a really good chance of eclipsing Nixon for Most Entertaining President Ever.)
So I have to hand it to Campaign 2008 -- it's the most entertaining campaign I can remember since the Vietnam War era. These guys and 1 lady and the lady's husband are putting on one hell of a show.
I hesitate to call it the dirtiest presidential campaign in history. Because old ugly wounds fade and are quickly forgotten and we tend to see only this week's scandals, but American politics have been nasty and dirty and ugly since George Washington's presidency.
Traditionally, a presidential nominee picks a vice-presidential running mate to be a guy who can say nasty, vicious stuff about the opponent which the presidential candidate can't, because he's too dignified and can't be seen wallowing in mud and pig excrement. That's the VP candidate's job. So we'll get to see two very creepy new faces after the summer nominating conventions. And the final phase of ugly campaign politics.
I am not patriotically boasting, but I guess this job is the most powerful job on Planet Earth. We're the only Superpower at the moment which can project military air and sea power anywhere in the world. And the amounts of money which the White House can influence and distribute, the White House's influence on domestic and world economic matters -- this is just staggering.
So those who play this game for a living are convinced that Everything Is At Stake, and they will try anything or do anything or sink to any level to Win.
Anybody want Nostrabobus' prediction? Very long odds, 10,000 to 1, but you'll be rich if you put $20 down on it in Vegas and Nostrabobus was right.
I think by the summer, the Democratic candidates will have so fouled themselves and attacked and villified and nastified each other, dragging racism and sexism into the public show, that the Convention will ask Saint Al of Gore to please accept the nomination, because he's the only Democrat who won't smell like pig feces and who commands widespread public respect and trust.
And considering how Bush and the "Contract With America" Republican Congress Decade have left the reputation of the Republican Party, I think Gore could handily defeat whomever the Republicans nominate. Romney is All Hair & Teeth and No Ideas. Giuliani is All Fear & Terror & Scare, and that's grown old with American voters, who now find themselves trying to stay afloat in a Recession.
Huckabee is riding a severely dwindling last wave of political power of the evangelical Born-Agains who gave the nation George Bush; standing next to Chuck Norris isn't going to push him over the top in the presidential election.
McCain -- being a war hero from World War II was the Magical Ticket for political success in the 1950s and 1960s. But war heroes from the Vietnam War, which we ignominiously lost -- this has proven to be considerably less magical. Kerry tried to crank it up for all it was worth, and that didn't work, even against a guy who spent the Vietnam War flying jets to guard our border against an invasion from Mexico. And Americans are getting very sick of the Iraq and Afghanistan War, and McCain is the most strident warhawk of the GOP bunch.
The mists are very thick in the crystal, but I see these little sparks of President Al Gore. You can get odds on and bet on these kinds of things in Vegas.
So sayeth Nostrabobus.