Forget all the trends you thought defined the last year—hope, resentment of the federal government, economic insecurity, reactionary populism, the baffling and continued popularity of Uggs. Put them out of your mind. All of those are as raindrops against the windowpane, noisome in announcing their impact but evaporating with any light. No, there’s only one trend that defines the current American moment, and that’s nostalgia. In a single 5-4 stroke yesterday, the Supreme Court returned us to the age of the Robber Baron, declaring that the government cannot legally restrict spending by private corporations on political elections. It was a victory for any American who feels that large corporations don’t exercise enough influence over US politics, by which I mean direct descendants of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The rest of us had best wax up our mustaches and roll up our sleeves, because the next hundred congressional and presidential candidates who imply that there should be some sort of law limiting how long we must work or how little we can be paid are going to have the sum GNP of our great nation directed against them. But a longing for the good old days of outright corporatocracy isn’t the only nostalgia sweeping the country. All week, people have been judging, arguing, organizing and reasoning using the tools available to us in the nineteenth century, by which I mean primarily racism, religion and old-fashioned stupidity. Won’t you join me in criticizing them, before the Supreme Court rules that publicly doing so constitutes an unlawful restraint of trade?
Now that Scott Brown has been elected to the Senate and brought an end to both health care reform and the Obama administration as we know it, we might as well start to figure out what kind of man he is. The answer to that question turns out to be “incredibly old-timey,” because here’s a video of him speculating on television that the President is a bastard. Sadly, I have been unable to determine what line of argument he was pursuing when he made this remark, but seeing as how it evidently centers on the age of Obama’s mother when she gave birth to him, I’m going to say it was ad hominem. There is, for the record, no evidence to indicate that the President of the United States was born out of wedlock, but that doesn’t mean that a Senator shouldn’t run around talking about. First of all—and I cannot overemphasize the importance of this principle in contemporary politics—you can’t prove it’s not true. Second of all, this sort of soap opera accusation enjoys a long tradition in the American presidency.
I think we can all agree that, if it is revealed that Barack Obama’s mother was not married when he was born, he should resign immediately. Having a child out of wedlock is a sin, after all, and the United States is a Christian nation, bound by the same rules as any theocracy. That’s why the whole Bible-verses-on-guns-in-the-military uproar is poppycock. Other religious dictatorships and para-national actors do that kind of thing all the time, as Steve Doocy at Fox News points out. Props to likely Muslim Ben al-Fowlkes for the ink. My favorite part of this video is the moment went Doocy seems to have a brief, possibly precognitive-level realization of what an utter fool he is in the middle of making his point. After reminding us that suicide bombers say “Allahu akbar” before blowing themselves up, he delivers the rhetorical masterstroke, “So if anybody’s making this a religious thing [full realization of a life devoted to obfuscating the truth for financial gain, glance right] they started it.” As long as the holy war isn’t our fault, Steve.
The word “they” is pretty much all you need to score points on Fox News, since 95% of their viewership is white. In this way, they’re an ideal corporate sponsor for the All-American Basketball Alliance, a startup pro basketball league that’s hit on a genius idea for giving America what it obviously wants. “Only players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league,” says the AABA charter, which was presumably written by the guy at the end of the bar in the Detroit Red Wings jersey. The AABA promises to bring America back to the golden age of pro basketball, before the sport fell into the sloppy play of Wilt Chamberlain, Doctor J, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Predictably, the commissioner of the league denies that his organization is racist. “There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” says Don “Moose” Lewis. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.” Moose was about to achieve the coveted but rarely attained four-sentence statement in which all four sentences are lies, but at the last second he described what his racist basketball league does and will have to settle for the trifecta. Shockingly, AABA is headquartered in Atlanta.
Fans of the NBA needn’t worry too much about the AABA taking over pro basketball, since soon their pool of players will all be dead or crippled anyway. The Times reports that incidents of cell phone-related pedestrian accidents are on the rise, as an increasing number of Blackberry zombies and victims of iPhone hypnotism blunder into posts and traffic. Anyone who has tried to walk down Lexington Avenue at rush hour is aware that the pernicious influence of cell phones is by no means limited to motor traffic. Still, it’s depressing to find that the phenomenon has generated sufficient injuries to be documented in studies. Emergency room visits related to cell phone use are up 400% since 2006, which means that A) wireless technology has gotten 400% more awesome and B) even in the throes of our greatest technological achievements, we as a species may be too dumb to live.
Fortunately, once most of us are bedridden by Bejeweled, some of us are barred from holding office or playing professional sports because our dad was Kenyan, and the rest are buried under an onslaught of election-year propaganda from AOL-Time Warner-New Life Minsitries, we will still have the internet to console us. We will strike back against the all-white corporatist non-bastard theocracy the only way we can, using the words our fathers taught us. Behold:
There’s hope for us yet.