Monday, January 10, 2005

I'm developing Political Tourettes, and I don't know what to do about it.

Twice this weekend, I found myself bursting out into profane rants in public about irritating media-leftist-bullshit, once while eating breakfast Saturday at the Diamond Deli over the world's most worthless city newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, once again after lunch at the Mike's Video extension on the corner of Bishop and Allegheny, while browsing the new-releases racks.

I apologized at the Diamond Deli as I paid at the counter, and since they're good folk, and the outburst really had nothing to do with the help or anything in their place, things ended amicably. It was just me ranting about a Knight-Ritter syndicated account of the tsunami relief effort that dedicated paragraph after paragraph to the "UN efforts" while giving only a half-paragraph to the US and Singapore, while managing to not mention Australia *at all*. That sort of fiction passing for news coverage just enraged me beyond all control. Not a big deal - half the blogsphere consists of such media-frustration-fueled rage. But the blogsphere isn't the homey diner on the ground floor of the Crider Exchange on Allegheny; it isn't public. Luckily, the only people in the place was the proprietor and a fellow coot who was also reading the CDT, and might be expected to have some idea what I was raving like a madman about. I got a pass.

The second outburst was not so negligible. I don't go into the Mike's on Bishop all that often - I don' t know why, maybe because I tend to go out to movies more often than rent for viewing in my cramped little place. That's going to be declining as well, since the owners of the Garman Opera Theatre on High Street have recently begun playing politics heavily with their property. Last week, while going to see the Lemony Snicket kid's movie on a Sunday matinee, I discovered the big shaggy mess on the far wall of the foyer which I had thought was some kind of grade-school kids' project was actually an enormous piece of anti-war propaganda, intelligible only at a distance of four to three feet. This went only half-way towards ruining my enjoyment of a Series of Unfortunate Events, as the movie was good enough to survive my morbid sensitivity to political nuance, thus irritated and aroused by the theatre-owners' apparent need to express themselves. But now they're proudly housing an art-film hagiography of the Death-Camp Mass-Murderer as a Young Beatnik, usually identified as "the Motorcycle Diaries" in the trades. Nothing pisses me off more these days than icons of St. Che, patron saint of humorless leftism.

Which brings me to Mike's, and my early-Sunday-afternoon flameout. They had a copy of Margaret Cho's latest video, complete with Cho in drag as a Che clone on the front cover. Margaret-proud-bisexual-Cho especially pisses me off with this Che-worship. Che's third-largest set of murder-victims, after political opponents and intellectuals, was the homosexual population of Cuba. He was the ur-homophobe of the new Left. What exactly is a fag-hag, bisexual flower-of-the-Haight activist like Margaret Cho *saying* by doing cosplay as a concentration-camp commandant? It doesn't seem like a tongue-in-cheek sort of thing, a gay Mel-Brooks-in-the Producers kind of thing.

But I degress: not having really examined the new-releases closely in a while, I found that a good sixth or eighth of the titles were leftist propaganda of some stripe or the other. Copy after copy of bad "documentary", thinly-veiled agitprop fiction, and Fahrenheit 911 clones. The local Democrat I poll-watched with on Election Day was firm in her conviction that Bellefonte was a conservative town, an unenlightened town, her classes full of Neanderthal brutes and lock-step Young Republicans. If this is such a conservative town, why is the only video-shop in town full of hardcore leftist documentaries and video-rants? I had myself under control until I came to the multiple copies of Bush's Brain, after having looked at a Bush-the-coke-fiend piece called Hooves and Horns or something like that, and I snapped. Started swearing my head off, in an outside voice - I believe I said something about locking my front door and not coming out for the next ten years or so, except with a few more "fuckings" and "goddamns" garnishing the sentiment here and there. The two clerks and one young man all turned to stare, and the clerk at the desk started to inform me that this was a "family shop", and that I couldn't talk like that here. I profanely informed her that if this particular Mike's was in any way a "family" rental place, I wouldn't have known from what I routinely encounter on the shelves, and quickly left before I became any more abusive.

I'm not prepared for this politicization of my neighborhood space. It's three months after the elections, and people are still leaving their yard-signs out; I had just passed someone's set of two Kerry signs a block up Bishop, walking towards town on the way to the incident at Mikes. As I have said, I tend to be somewhat morbidly sensitive to this sort of thing; I have difficulty putting political matters out of my head once they've gotten in. One of my best methods for forgetting about politics has been film/video escapism - available locally, solely from the very places which are putting on the Che, and driving me to distraction.

Sigh. I may look into Netflix.

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