If you saw the last post, you know that Absorbing the Genius now has a new car. It's a Porsche Cayman. ATG Readers are eligible for rides around town (in exchange for comments, of course).
With announcements out of the way...
Did they do this in your high school? In the 10th grade, our history and English classes were connected, because in English we studied literature from the period we were studying in history. It was American History: 1865 and on. That all starts with the Emancipation Proclamation, and later on there's the New Deal, and a couple of World Wars, but somewhere in the middle it gets awful "QR" to me, Big Bird. I was in the Honors level, and at some point we started talking about Politics. My fellow smartypants students got it, or they talked like they did. I wanted to get it, but I didn't. My father, who had a history degree from Harvard University, tried to explain it to me. It refused to absorb.
All I know about politics, I learned from Schoolhouse Rock.
(Admit it, weren't you really happy for the animated rolled-up paper?)
I got a few bad marks in history, there in the 10th grade. Fortunately, I had the same teacher for English as history, and I did very well in English, so the teacher didn't think I was an idiot. As a matter of fact, she called me into her office one day to find out if I'd received assistance in writing my (five-paragraph expository) essay on Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt, because she was impressed with it. That was all me, I told her. I get literature! Just not politics.
(This one time? My teacher and I had a disagreement over a point of grammar. I really wish I could remember what we were arguing about, but the cool thing was that she knew I was good at this. So, she sent me off to another English teacher, saying that if that second teacher agreed with me, she'd give me the points. Teacher 2 sided with Teacher 1, but I still love to tell that story.)
(Then there was the time all the guys wore skirts to history class. Ask me about that; it was funny, but way off the topic.)
I've always been embarrassed by my mental block, and I've dealt with it by avoiding discussion. I would nod, smile, and agree. I got away with it for a long time. Then came the 2008 election.
The Obama Opposition
Some of you will gasp in horror when I declare that: I never really liked Barack Obama. I can't tell you exactly why, it's just a feeling that I had. When he spoke it just seemed like he wasn't saying anything (and by contrast, the more I heard Hillary Clinton talk, the smarter and more capable she seemed to me). During the course of the election Mr. O. started to get more and more and more popular, like scary popular, like messiah-worship popular. The day after the election, it seemed that everyone but me had these silly grins on their faces and were acting like Skittles actually had rained down from heaven (taste the rainbow!). We're talking smart, accomplished people acting this way.
(And I have to add that I didn't think Gov. Palin was all that bad either. Stop buggin' yer eyes at me.)
As I have mentioned, I have two small children, so there isn't a whole lot of time for extra reading and research (and I really really like fiction, so if I have a free moment I'm likely to go for that). However, I did make the attempt to understand what was going on here. I did some reading. The mental block was still there.
Some of what I read online was vehemently anti-Obama, very different from what I was seeing all around me. For example, I learned that delegates to the Democratic National Convention were intimidated and harassed, in an attempt to persuade a change of allegiance, and that, as a result, the roll call in Denver was a sham. I said something to the hubs about this and he said, "wouldn't we have heard about this on the news?" That's what I would normally think, but this came from a reliable source. I discovered that there were numerous bloggers saying the same basic things and making Obama appear to be the worst possible choice to lead our country. Worse than GW Bush even. How could this be?
I felt like there was nowhere for me to fit in. My mother's cheering for the senator from Illinois instantly put me on the defensive, and--since I'm not all that good at defensive--a bit dizzy, but reading stuff about Obama being a total douchebag (and every other nasty name there is) made my stomach hurt. It just didn't feel right, none of it. There did not seem to be a right answer. Isn't a democracy designed to get to the right answer? (Ohhh, 12t, wake up, you are sooo naive....)
I tested a couple of my very smart friends at work, Hank Azaria and George Clooney, by mentioning a point or two made by those trying very hard to publicize the Truth about Barack Obama. They shook their heads and said, oh no, you don't have to listen to this. I felt better immediately! Until the next time I happened to be online....
By now, if you know me, you're all amazed and thinking "she fooled me! I had no idea how ignorant she was!" Or maybe you are thinking that you don't completely understand all this either. Maybe you, like me, could use some stripped-down reasoning, a 10th grade (or 6th grade) lesson in the workings of government and election campaigns in the Present Day. A refresher. Sound boring? I promise it won't be. You waste your time here, let me know and I'll make it up to you somehow. Maybe I'll let you drive the Porsche...
I plan to get the lowdown from a variety of sources (including everyone reading this now), but on a Schoolhouse Rock level. I'll ask everyone to turn off their emotion and think slower so I can carefully absorb all of their genius, gently combine (wearing safety googles and gloves of course) and use my mutant superhero zapping powers to smear it all over YOUR computer screen.
Government and Politics 100 Remedial will appear here on ATG like the Smoking Man from the X-Files continuing storyline. I also hope to provide lots of other fun stuff that gets resolved at the end of the hour, so to speak.
SYLLABUS. This post reveals a deep dark secret to the Internet; namely that I have a total mental block regarding all things political. I figure that I'm not the only one with at least some degree of this blurred vision, and so I'm trying to help others by collecting data from political bloggers and others with great minds, after which I will try to explain the differing viewpoints in this blog, treating my audience as if they are as
dumb confused as I am. It's a tall order. Encourage me!
Don't go yet....
In 1989 Alphaville released a video album based on their Breathtaking Blue record, which is more accurately described as a collection of short films. The collection reflected a variety of styles and there are a few famous names involved. One of the shorts even won an Oscar. To my knowledge, it was never available in a viewable format this side of the pond, but thanks to YouTube a few of the vids can now be enjoyed.
The following is Summer Rain, starring one Mikael Bertelsen, a Danish TV anchor. This flavor of Danish is always welcome here at ATG. And, this is film-festival-worthy stuff. The lesson to be learned from this film is that the right pair of glasses can really...well, see for yourself.