Friday, October 5, 2012

The Slice of American Cheese on the Drive-Thru-Window Is Also Gold, Bathetically Gold, and I Go Where My Hunger Dictates

Apologies but not full apologies for my spontaneous and surprisingly delighted but obnoxiously snarky burst of joy at Obamabomb. I don't apologize for my delight at one more obamapostasy: even when I was a loyal Democrat I credited Obama's success on his game-player's skills not his progressive credentials: I knew he'd suck in governance but I simply couldn't conceive how much he'd suck at gameplaying. And odds are good Wednesday's debate was a once-off performance of extraordinary circumstances, Obama's autobiography released in 2018 to coordinate with the Obama Presidential Library will reveal Obama's appendectomy only two hours before the debate. Maybe he was rope-a-doping knowing there are two debates still plus countless news cycles, maybe he was afraid that a coordinated Team Republican plan to release crackers Tuesday and a lying-filthy Romney Wednesday was meant to goad him into Angry Black Man, maybe Obama does say fuck this shit, I want to golf in Hawaii, maybe Corporate has decided fuck this Democratic sapper shit, go get the money that doesn't exist now before the money that doesn't exist doesn't exist more than it already doesn't exist, but Obama's game-playing? Sucked unto conspiracies. Well jeebusfuck people, you have an appendectomy two hours before a presidential debate - at altitude! - and you respond sharply, decisively, crisply, definitively, with concision and rapier wit, with a forceful and passionate defense of and advocacy for a visionary progressive argument to righteously counter the cardboard liar's 1% cardboard lies. In any case, I'm still obnoxiously and snarkily happy Team Democrat's political Kommisars are freaking out.


Albert Goldbarth

It's as if every demon from hell with aspirations

toward interior design flew overhead and indiscriminately

spouted gouts of molten gold, that cooled down

into swan-shape spigots, doorknobs, pen-and-inkwell sets.

A chandelier the size of a planetarium dome

is gold, and the commodes. The handrails

heading to the wine cellar and the shelving for the DVDs

and the base for the five stuffed tigers posed in a fighting phalanx:

gold, as is the samovar and the overripe harp

and the framework for the crocodile-hide ottoman and settee.

The full-size cinema theater accommodating an audience

of hundreds for the screening of home (or possibly

high-end fuck flick) videos: starred in gold

from vaulted ceiling to clawfoot legs on the seating.

Of course the scepter is gold, but the horns

on the mounted stag heads: do they need to be gilded?

Yes. And the olive fork and the French maid's row of dainty buttons

and the smokestack on the miniature train

that delivers golden trays of dessert from the kitchen

to a dining hall about the size of a zip code,

and the snooker table's sheathing, and the hat rack,

and those hooziewhatsit things in which you slip your feet

on the water skis, and the secret lever

that opens the door to the secret emergency bunker.

Smug and snarky as we are, in our sophisticated

and subtler, non-tyrannical tastes, it's still

unsettling to realize these photographs are also full

of the childrens' pictures set on a desk,

the wife's diploma proudly on a wall, the common

plastic container of aspirin, and the bassinette

with the scroll of linen shade at the ready

in case the sun is too powerful: reminders of how

a graduated continuum connects these überoperatically

fat interior lives to our own. We all desire

"more" and "better," Melville adds that final "e"

to the family name, and Faulkner adds the "u," in quest

of a signified gentility. My friend Damien

(fake name) won A Certain Literary Award, and

at the stellar after-ceremony party, in the swank hotel's

swank atrium, he found a leggy literary groupie

noshing caviar under a swankily lush mimosa,

and in under an hour his own swank room could boast

the golden statuette, the evening's loveliest woman, and

the silver serving platter of five-star caviar,

and if you think this story's moral lesson is

that satiation is ever attained, you don't understand

the protoknowledge we're born with, coded into our cells:

soon soon soon enough we die. Even before we've seen

the breast, we're crying to the world that we want;

and the world doles out its milkiness in doses. We

want, we want, we want, and if we don't then

that's what we want; abstemiousness is only

hunger translated into another language. Yes

there's pain and heartsore rue and suffering, but

there's no such thing as "anti-pleasure": it's pleasure

that the anchorite takes in his bleak cave

and Thoreau in his bean rows and cabin. For Thoreau,

the Zen is: wanting less is wanting more.

Of less. At 3 a.m. Marlene (fake name) and Damien

drunkenly sauntered into and out of the atrium,

then back to his room: he wanted the mimosa too,

and there it stood until checkout at noon, a treenapped testimony

to the notion that we will if we can, as evidenced in even

my normally modest, self-effacing friend. If we can,

the archeological record tells us, we'll continue wanting

opulently even in the afterlife: the grave goods

of pharaohs are just as gold as the headrests

and quivers and necklace pendants they used every day

on this side of the divide, the food containers

of Chinese emperors are ready for heavenly meals

that the carved obsidian dragons on the great jade lids

will faithfully guard forever. My own

innate definition of "gratification" is right there

in its modifier "immediate," and once or twice

I've hurt somebody in filling my maw. I've walked

—the normally modest, self-effacing me—below a sky

of stars I lusted after as surely as any despot

contemplating his treasury. The slice of American cheese

on the drive-thru-window burger is also gold,

bathetically gold,

and I go where my hunger dictates.


  1. I don't see a single soul freaking out. You have a vivid imagination. And much as don't care for your joy over the pain of others or your single-minded political analysis, my conscience forces me to share Droney with you.

    (See what I did there, being all superior and snotty while pretending that I'm the better person?)

  2. Tomorrow's been pretty freaked on twitter since the debate (and I posted some freak-outs yesterday, see Kevin Baker for instance), but yes, the shock of obamabomb has worn-off a bit (I do think most people, after a day, think it was a one-off bad performance that will be mitigated by a Romney fuck-up soon enough), though I got thoroughly and hysterically screamed at by an Obama supporter last night. My joy is mostly that the next five weeks might (and I mean might, but probably not) be more entertaining than I thought they'd be, though I'd be lying if I said the existential angst of the person who screamed at me doesn't make me smile.

  3. I can look out my work window and see Clevelandia fuzz shepherding Team Democrat's political Kommisars and an endless supply of drones *chortle* onto the field for the speechifying that doesn't start for four or so hours. Glad I'm outta here early 'cause traffic's gonna be a clusterfuck but at least we matter. Too bad the other clown won't be stopping by.

  4. There is a theory about, that I haven't totally discounted, that Something Happened before the debate that left Mr. Obama distracted. Could even have been something personal. Possible since that was so different from his usual performance. Then again I remember the National Press Club thing right after sending folks after Bin Laden.