There’s an important new post by Amanda Marcotte about the increase in child poverty in the U.S. and the concomitant justificatory rhetoric of rightward types. Digby reports on the perfervid Heritage Foundation response, namely that an increase in some 500,000 homeless children is just propaganda from lefties for more government spending. Quick! Get William Blake on the phone! Is this a holy thing to see? Wasn’t this a Christian nation at least five minutes ago? Please, can’t we have the dunking stool for such pronouncers? Oy! A half a million new homeless kids. Maybe they’ll dance a fairy jig by the light of the moon and the wee people will take care of them? Get the leprechauns on the line!
Meanwhile they’re moving apace in New Jersey to get rid of the library for the blind. Governor Chirtie imagines that the elimination of books for the blind (meaning the elderly, children, veterans, people with physical disabilities, etc.) will save the state the cost of two and a half librarians and a lightbulb. Now that’s a bargain!
There was a moment when the film maker Woody Allen understood that he was not going to be sufficiently funny anymore. There’s a scene in his film “Stardust Memories” in which a UFO appears and extra-terrestrials tell Allen that he ought to give up on serious film making and return to his earlier funny movies. The joke is of course all about the Id, that base of consciousness and drive that animates western people. The humor is that we can know precisely what’s wrong with us and still somehow be helpless in the face of it. Knowing this won’t set you free no matter what Oprah Winfrey might say. Irony won’t save you either. If you know you’re failing and you proceed to fail anyway and somehow you know the reason why this was inevitable you are a tragic figure according to Aristotle. If you choose to find this funny you are dabbling in high comedy and the difference between this and tragedy is simply a matter of degree.
I choose a third way. I believe in the social compact. Really I do.