Quondam Dreams

Monday, November 13, 2006

Borat: Cultural Learnings Of The San Fernando Valley

Warning: This post contains spoilers. They're probably nothing you haven't already read or heard, but if you're super-sensitive... well, if you're super-sensitive, you probably won't be seeing this movie. But anyway: Spoilers.

This weekend, I caught a late-afternoon showing of Borat in Northridge. At one point, several people walked out.

This did not happen when Borat said anything racist, sexist, antisemitic, or anything-phobic. Of course not: Everyone knew that was coming. That's kind of the point of Borat -- that he's putting it out there to see how people react. For all his commitment to the character of Borat, we know Sacha Baron Cohen doesn't actually believe what Borat says. We're all too self-congratulatingly smart for that.

No, the thing that prompted people to walk out? Naked men wrestling.

If they'd hung around for another couple of minutes, I might have understood their disgust. I might not have shared it, but I could have seen where some people might be offended by the latter part of the scene. But, no: fellow audience members people walked out after about twenty seconds of good, clean, can't-even-see-any-naughty-bits naked wrestling between two none-too-attractive guys. They didn't even stick around for the really homoerotic parts. The fact that there were a couple of naked guys, like, touching each other was enough to send them running.

I guess it's one thing to laugh at other people's prejudices, but it's entirely another to come face-to-butt with your own.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Predictions: Some Scenarios

With the current run of Bush Twins Party Hour shows over -- and, by the way, thanks to everyone who turned out for them -- it's time to get back to the real business at hand: Half-assed predictions. And just in time for the midterm elections, too! What are the odds?
So: Some possible outcomes.

Scenario 1:

Both houses of Congress end up in virtual ties. Since an even Senate split goes to the party of the Vice President, Republicans remain in control. The Democratic party focuses its efforts on wooing Joe Lieberman back to the fold so they can retake the majority. The Republican party tries to woo back Jim Jeffords, but he glares at the advance team and slowly reaches for a large red button on his desk. The advance team backs away, frantically trying to think how they're going to explain this failure to Dick Cheney.

The House retains a one-seat Republican majority and decides that this is a sweeping mandate to do whatever the hell they want.

The usual Republican voters who found themselves voting for Democrats look at the results, then dimly remember something about how easy it is to screw with the results of the most popular voting machines. The voters demand an inquiry, and the Republican-controlled Congress complies for exactly as long as it takes the electorate to forget about it.

Nothing changes. George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld continue to be the only three people in the world who truly think that things are going well in Iraq. They also continue to be the only three people in the world who think that Don Rumsfeld should still have his job.

After about six months, a bipartisan group led by John Murtha and representing two-thirds of the House of Representatives politely informs the President that if he doesn't turn over the Iraq campaign to people who actually know what they're doing, he's facing impeachment. (Most of this group will support a call for Bush to shut up about tax cuts -- but, you know, one thing at a time.)

Bush stays the course until the last possible moment. The night before he's facing impeachment, Don Rumsfeld steps down to become a "private security consultant" -- to the federal government, natch. Dick Cheney covertly assumes oversight of Iraq and Afghanistan.

All hell breaks loose. Again. Only more so than you ever thought possible.

And would you look at that? It's Presidential election time again! So long, suckers!

Scenario 2:

Absolutely nothing fishy happens on Election Night. Senate is evenly split. House goes Democratic by about five seats.

Fearing impeachment, Bush privately threatens to fire Rumsfeld if he doesn't let the people who actually know what's going have some say. Flush with confidence, Bush starts to say the same thing to Dick Cheney, but Cheney's eyes glow a strange shade of green.

Scenario 3:

Senate power is evenly split. (Sensing a trend here?)

About 20 key House seats are in legal limbo, due to irregularities so blatant that full investigations can't be avoided.

These investigations will take about six months apiece... which is kind of a problem, given that the next Congress has to convene in two months. And the number of disputed seats is just large enough that no party can realistically claim a majority, though this won't stop anyone from trying.

After seven weeks of jockeying for position, party leaders sigh heavily and agree to divide committee chairs evenly. The question of who, exactly, the Speaker of the House is, is pointedly not addressed. Come State of the Union time, the President speaks against a neutral backdrop, with Dick Cheney sulking just off-camera.

Nothing changes.

Eventually, the courts start to rule on the House seats. At this point, no one but political theory wonks and talk show hosts care, because, hey, it's Superbowl time! Or American Idol time, or tv season finale time.

Pretty much the usual, then.

Scenario 4:

Just as the crucial results start to come in, the power behind the curtain finally reveals itself.

It's not the military-industrial complex.

It's not Big Oil.

It's not the liberal media. It's not the vast right-wing conspiracy. It's not Xenu.

It's a fluffy little kitten.

Or so it wants you to think.

Because it's always the innocent-looking ones you've got to watch out for.


Enjoy the show!