Monday, October 24, 2016

Participation Is Complicity

Choose The Form Of The Destructor

Bloom County; October, 1988 (© Berke Breathed)
HC: So I bet you're wasting your vote on Jill Stein.
DOG: [Affectless Stare]
HC: Seriously; are you gonna vote Stein?
DOG: I'm not voting.
HC: You're kidding.
DOG: No. My vote doesn't count, and I refuse to give the current electoral system and this election in particular any legitimacy. And even if this were an election between two different candidates, it wouldn't matter. I would've voted for Bernie, but even that would be misplaced nostalgia for Old Days that really never were.
HC: [Pause] But it's a historic election. The first woman President.
DOG: I'll manage to live with myself.
HC: Fuck you.
[I should mention: These conversations, between a True Believer Of The Cult Of She (HC), and myself (Dog), have actually happened in the depths of corporate America where I dwell, and are not entirely a parody of encounters between a Hillaryite Colleague and The Pjoepf at his Place O' Labor, as occasionally chronicled over at The Soul Of America.]

In the long-ago land of 1988, an impossible time before many of you were ever born, there was another Pestidential contest, between Blue-Blood Owner "Poppy" Bush (father of Greasy George, the Peevish Dullard; son of Prescott Bush, who reportedly supported an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government under that socialist, FDR), Vice-Pestident under Saint Ronald The Dim -- and Michael Dukakis, the much shorter and also stiff, less animated Governor of Massachusetts in the era before 'Der Mittster', Romney.

America's economy had been stuttering in that 1988.  There had been an actual double-dip Recession in 1981-83 under Saint Ronald (as the early waves of globalization began eliminating the steel industry, and moving manufacturing offshore). But Ronaldo El Magnifico, conqueror of Jamaica, performed that famous Voodoo Economics and made it all better.

Then, in 1987, the Iran-Contra Affair became public knowledge -- something Poppy had direct involvement in -- and later that year, the largest single drop in the U.S. stock market on October 19, 1987.  Saint Ronald could not run for a third term, and was tired. There were disquieting stories that he seemed... uh, different... distracted, and that Nancy was being kept closely in the loop on whatever Ronnie needed to do as Our Leader.

The 1988 election was a spirited contest, which resulted in Poppy rousing himself enough to say, "Read My Lips: No New Taxes", and Mike saying in response to a question that Americans want "Good Jobs At Good Wages".  Poppy was known as "The Wimp".  Mikey, much shorter, was known as "The Shrimp".

Except for the fact that the economy seemed to be tanking again, enthusiasm for the election seemed lackluster, manufactured. Many Americans were understandably confused at having to choose, for leadership of the American Ship O' State, between an old-money, ex-DCI at CIA, Skull-n-Boneser with some involvement in drugs-for-arms and Latin right-wing death squads, or a Governor whose greatest achievement appeared to be taking a short joy ride in a tank for the benefit of the press.

Berke Breathed, observer of the American scene, beloved humorist in the vein of Mark Twain and Will Rogers, but wielding a pen and brush (and way better than that patrician Yaleboy, Trudeau), was the author of a daily comic strip, Bloom County, which had a color Sunday supplement (you'll have to look up "daily comic strip" and "color Sunday supplement"; this was before graphic novels and Beyonce and Game Of Tones on DVR teevee).

In October, 1988, before the election, Breathed submitted (in one Dog's opinion) one of the classic humorous commentaries on voting in a Republic where we face Hobson's Choice ("[an allegedly] free choice in which only one thing is offered. Because a person may refuse to accept what is offered, the two options are taking it, or taking nothing"). I shouldn't have to explain how this relates to America's politics, if not Western politics in general.

(If I do, you are not paying attention and so will be surprised when someone suggests perhaps it's time to get rid of the Twenty-Second Amendment, and so enter, by stage Right, President Erwin Rexall. And I get to pee on your leg.)

Opus the Penguin goes to vote, and the result is -- well, obvious, as are all the connections you can see, and many we can't.  The result of participation in this mutant circus freakshow election cycle will be exactly the same -- and for myself, I can't go walking around with The Sign Of The Beast (my head covered in a wad of used green chewing gum) for all to see.

This was originally issued as a color Sunday comic, but no color version exists on the Intertubes that I could find; the amateurish attempt to add a bit of color is the best you can expect for a Dog who has to pick up crayons with his soft mouth parts, and all while at the Place O' Labor™.

(Clicky = Bigger, Happier. © 1988, 2014 Berke Breathed; Washington Post Co.)

MEHR, Mit Wir Vermissen Opus:
(Clicky = In Einem Augenblick, Ein Grosser Cartoon)


  1. Yes, used to love Opus & Bloom County.
    Question: I've been toying with the (tin foil hat) theory that the insane hatred for all things Clinton (H + B) goes back to the Ur-story of Clinton Conspiracy theories but in a way that never made it to the surface: Mena. Did Bill somehow hang the Contra drug-running/arms-supply network out to dry? It feels like that was when the so-called secret gov't run out of the WH basement by Ollie & Secord(?) began to fall apart & they've never forgotten much less forgiven. (/tin-foil hat)


    1. Dunno where the Ur-Conspiracy started; once you begin trying to unravel *that*, it's like Jack Nicholson running around in Kubrick's hedge-maze: You'll never see daylight again. There was a link at Jeff's yesterday ("Double Government" -- though it's the BostGlobe and they'll make you work for it) which essentially says the Gov't we think is in charge, isn't. The enduring Gov't is bureaucracy. I'd suggest in addition that the "secret gov'ts" come and go with administrations -- unless they create a new bureaucracy (like the Patriot Act created the New Surveillance State).

    2. < hat >
      Rabbit is a sex offender!
      < /hat >

  2. But the tin foil hat variety is in so many instances rooted in reality and functions to delegitimize, in my opinion, criticism from others inclined to criticize. I still think (surprise, surprise) that Clinton was complicit with that Mena plot. Otherwise, why would Poppy and he be so conveniently tight with their post prez activities, particularly with their overlap in financial interest lying as it does in Princes of the East. That, and the fact that as presidents Bill completed so much of what HW had started - NAFTA, sanctions on Saddam - and the son completed much of what he baton'd off to him.

    I mean, isn't all the extremist theater really just a mask to the quite real continuity of governmental activity, shadow and otherwise?

    1. I keep a box of Alcoa on hand for just that reason. And, lots of baton-passing action with each "change" of POTUS -- our current Leader a fine example.

      I don't know who said this (Bernie Madoff, probably), but "There are two theories of history -- conspiracy, or fuck-up." When the world at the level these Boyz 'n Girlz play at is generally stable, I think extremist theater is *allowed* to serve its purpose as distraction and excuse and, uh, theater -- unless the world isn't so stable, and then you get some version of The Bolshiveki -- in 1917, the Germans didn't see Lenin and Co. as remakers of the world when they shipped them off to Finland Station; we didn't see Ismalists and Salafists as a threat in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, either.

  3. I voted for Stein and got a lot of eye rolling from people who asked me who I voted for. I shouldn't feel bad, right? I mean, I can vote for whomever I want to vote for, right? This is still America, right?

    1. I'll allow I.Rabschinsky to respond: Hahahaha. What you think you are being, bubchik? You believe Amerika is place you learned in the school; where all is the good and we are driving the Buik Roadmaster and everyone is eating the Pone of corn and live in the House of Beaver and The Wally? No way is it being like this.

      Remember, as Great-Uncle Yehudi is saying, "Be Guy -- don't be That Guy."


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