It has now been ten years since President George W. Bush committed the United States of America to military action in Iraq. That war was a mess in a lot of ways. But so is every other war, pretty much. Like remember these?
The first of many half-assed US incursions into Libyan territory.
War of 1812
Do you even know what happened in this war? There were some trade things and lingering bad feelings from the Revolutionary War, but what was solved? Nothing. Nothing changed. Nothing ever changes.
This week former professional basketball player Dennis Rodman went to North Korea. Why? It’s kind of unclear. He went along with a few of the Harlem Globetrotters and a video crew from Vice magazine for a feature to be shown on HBO later this year. So that’s part of the reason. Also because Kim Jong-un, the baby faced autocrat who has been ruling the country since his father died in late 2011, really loves basketball.
Last week President Obama made full use of the 21st Century by chatting with supporters and political pundits through a Google+ Hangout, a sort of video extension of FDR’s fireside chats that brought attention to a company whose employees and affiliated entities had donated over $800,000 to his reelection campaign. He was asked about his proposal to raise the minimum wage, the limits of executive authority to order targeted killings and immigration reform.
He was also asked about the penny, a coin that costs twice as much to be produced as it is worth. Obama was open to ending the penny. “Anytime we’re spending more money on something that people don’t actually use, that’s an example of something that we should probably change,” he said. “We’re constantly trying to reduce these inefficiencies.” He noted, however, that eliminating the penny would take legislation from Congress, and that was not likely to be coming anytime soon.
Change you can believe in, indeed.
Similarly, this weekend I put a ten dollar bill in a vending machine and got dollar coins for my change. I, like most, hate dollar coins. They don’t fit in my wallet, but are too precious to be lumped in with the hoi palloi change in my pocket. I forget them, I lose them, and money is wasted. Mass transit in the D.C. region used to host an ad campaign advocating for the use of dollar coins (they last longer and, supporters claim, would save the government money in the long run), but they have fortunately never caught on. The coins sit on my desk now, waiting for the moment I can pawn them off on some unsuspecting shopkeeper.
The Grammy’s are coming up, our favorite opportunity to feel out of touch with the zeitgeist/more in touch with what’s cool than our parents. LL Cool J’s hosting this year, which pretty much sums up the Grammy’s: maybe great in the past, now just a CBS procedural star in a bad hat. Who will win a shiny thing? Let’s see:
Record Of The Year
- “Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys
- “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson
- “We Are Young” – Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe
- “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye Featuring Kimbra
- “Thinkin Bout You” – Frank Ocean
- “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Taylor Swift
Funny how Frank Ocean made it into the mainstream here. I don’t mean the sexuality thing, though I guess that’s notable, but a guy who got his start with Odd Future is now a Grammy performer. Also a famous person. I wonder how he thinks of Tyler et. al., if he still finds the rape jokes funny or if he’s too Jay-Z for that now.
I’ll admit I was kind of meh about Nostalgia, Ultra, when it first came, and deleted it from my iTunes fairly quickly. As such, it took me a while to get around to Channel Orange, but it should win a whole bunch of awards.
Last Sunday was the Super Bowl, an event so big it gets its own trademark. Next Sunday is the Grammy’s, hosted delightfully by person-who-will-knock-you-out LL Cool JJ. Then two Sundays from then, February 24th, is the Oscars, America’s only real awards show with any semblance of critical legitimacy.
But in between, on February 17th, Sunday will be dark. There will be no football, for the first time in months. No pageants, no glamour. Just Sunday. As empty as any other. On television there will be Downtown Abbey, and Girls, if you get HBO. The next day is President’s Day, a holiday some get off, but not enough people for a full-blown three-day-weekend with the pals. You don’t even know if you get off that day, and neither does anyone else in the office. You won’t ask, because you wouldn’t want to get your hopes up. Probably you will be at the office, thinking of ways to allay the persistent boredom and anxiety of futility that greats you at the start of a day in which nothing is produced and nothing is accomplished. You will work, but not really. The day is just an excuse for the post office to close, while you rue your employer and weigh your options for lunch on another cold, grey Monday in February. Soon, maybe, it will be March, and eventually May and spring and temperatures glorious, the season of love and beach holidays and barbeques outside in tank tops with boom boxes. But not this Sunday. The Sunday two weeks from now nothing will happen.
Again we wait. We wait for four years, for policies, for wars and peaces. A country celebrates things staying the same.
It’s not the same the second time, of course. It could never be. Nothing ever is. The magic is gone, replaced by reality of politics and economics and the existence of violence both interpersonal and international. Things are hard. The luster has been gone for a long time.
- “Spread your legs you’re going to be frisked.”
- “You’ve got beautiful eyes. I bet no one lies often to those eyes.”
- “How old are you? Remember, no serious guys til you’re 30.”
- “Liz, your smile lights up the room.”
- “Hey mom! How are you? Good to see you. I’m Joe Biden.”
- “Holy Mackerel!”
- “In my house there’s not a single woman older than any man. It’s a rule.”
- “C’mon mom. Take a chance, ruin your reputation here.”
- “If you need any help on you pecs let me know.”