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percy-l - Re: [percy-l] Percy-L Digest, Vol 59, Issue 2

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Subject: Percy-L: Literary, Religious, Scientific, and Philosophical Discussion of Walker Percy

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  • From: Wade Riddick <wriddick AT>
  • To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" <percy-l AT>
  • Subject: Re: [percy-l] Percy-L Digest, Vol 59, Issue 2
  • Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 01:11:14 -0600

>But one question bothers me: if we can hold
>impeachment hearings for a guy getting a ...well, I don't want to
>offend anyone, but someone providing his lollipop to an intern, why
>can't we have impeachment hearings on an administration that has
>thumbed its nose at the Geneva conventions and our very own
>What's happened to our outrage?

Impeachment is a political process. It isn't a legal proceeding.
Democrats are (in my minds, a bit too) worried about a backlash from
impeaching Bush similar to the one Republicans experienced in '98. If you
think the right wing is crazy and enraged now (or Wednesday morning), they
would really blow a gasket.

Aside from a fear of the fundamentalist street (or basement, as the case
may be) there's a real understanding among elites (that Bush has really
strained) that power comes and goes and there are some rules you don't
violate to get at your adversaries. So there would be little support for
criminal prosecutions among those with power. The area of presidential
power in foreign affairs is even thornier. Most Americans just don't pay
much attention and when they do, the bulk of us tend to defer to the
Commander in Chief.

Bush's real problem is what happens after he's out of office. Presidents
don't enjoy sovereign immunity for their actions in office. It's tradition
that presidents don't go around prosecuting one another but then the scope
of what Bush has done really spills over national borders and plenty of
international elites may not respect that.

I think it's unlikely Obama would prosecute Bush - but then Bush has been
known to push his luck past the breaking point. If a President Obama
really wanted to be vindictive, he could issue Bush a blanket pardon and
then call him to testify about the things that others did in his
administration. Bush would really be over a barrel then. He couldn't fall
back on Fifth Amendment privilege and he could do serious jail time for
perjury or refusing to talk.

It's likely though - barring a war crimes indictment - that everything Bush
did will all be forgotten and when he dies in thirty or forty years, people
will think somewhat better of him as they did unjustifiably with Nixon.
The head of government memory dims and the head of state memory remains for
people. To really understand how Americans see the inside vs. the outside
and political power you should study Louis Hartz's idea of the Tudor
polity. It kind of explains our love of guns too.

I think, on the other hand, the financial fraud *will* trigger some high
profile (and deserved) prosecutions once voters start getting upset at the
amounts of money Congress is shoveling into the giant crater left by the
collapse of the global Ponzi scheme.

>Is the fluoride dumbing us down to the
>point that we are too complacent to respond? I don't understand where
>the outrage has gone? The sometime righteous outrage that sparked the
>civil rights movement or the protests about the Viet Nam war...what

I hate to say this, but knowledge is fragmenting and this can be deadly.
It's taken me years to build a model of how I got sick and why. I'm no
dummy. A computer could probably have done this much more quickly than I
did but there doesn't seem to be anyone in the medical community who
understands the big picture of diagnostics, library research, statistical
model-building and data mining - nobody at least who's got enough will and
power to change the system of practicing medicine. And medical knowledge
is changing at an increasingly rapid pace.

I kind of feel like _Idiocracy_ is our future.

I see similar problems everywhere else. We've got places we go to learn
about accounting for money, seminaries to study narrow theological issues,
places we learn to program computers and build bridges.

Where do we go anymore to be whole people?

Where do we go for community?

Where do we get to talk about the big picture?

Is it all about what you wear on your t-shirts? Is it like Percy's example
of walking through the mall and buying a shirt? Have you got to pick a
tribe and belong? Does it all boil down to branding?

The internet, if anything, has only made our interactions more specialized.

The more it pays to specialize, the more valuable I think it's going to be
if you can see how it all ties together.

>I ask my students (who are big Obama fans), why their generation
>produces mind-numbing songs like "My humps, my humps, my humps, my lady
>lumps." Or something like that. Or the groups who ask such pertinent
>questions as "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me. Don't
>'cha?" Where is today's Bob Dylan? (Sorry, I know I'm sounding like the
>old fart that I knew (30 years ago) that I'd never become. But, in the
>words of another great prophet, "I'm a stranger in a strange land"
>(Leon Russell, for those under forty).

Media and attention spans are far more fragmented than forty years ago.
It's simply the case that no single person can lay claim to being America's
voice or conscience any longer.

That doesn't mean we've completely run out of good music.

Ever heard of Jack Johnson? He's not exactly the new Dylan.

"Rockin the Suburbs" by Ben Fold and William Shatner was pretty funny in
_Over the Hedge_.

"We drive our cars everyday
to and from work both ways
So we make just enough to pay
to drive our cars to work each day
Hey, hey

We're rockin' the suburbs
around the block just one more time
We're rockin' the suburbs
'Cause I can't tell which house is mine

We're rockin' the suburbs
We part the shades and face the facts
They've got better lookin' fescue
right across the cul-de-sac

Hot real-estate - rising stars
'get rich quick' seminars
soap opera magazines
Forty thousand watt nativity scenes

Don't freak about the smoke alarm
Mom left the TV dinner on


We're rockin' the suburbs
Everything we need is here
We're rockin' the suburbs
But it wasn't here last year
We're rockin' the suburbs
You'll never know when we are gone
Because the timer lights the front
and turns the cricket noises on"

- <>

Maybe the kids know more about the Bush years than we give them credit.

There's a lot of brown spots still left on my lawn from the last hurricane
and all the lumber that piled up. I've got to go now and tend my insulted

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