Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Go West Old Man

You won't recognize me. For one thing, I'm on borrowed computer, which has one of those updated curvy keyboards, which techies like me hate simply becuase we are trained to move from keyboard to keyboard and therefore different slows us down. (which also means, if you are a careful reader, that I am really quite indifferent to and about styles of device. I raise the level of generality to "pointing device" and could almost care less about mouse or trackpad or touchpad or ball, although keyboard is a bit more personal).

For another, I'm in Seattle, which I really shouldn't say, since my identity is all over the Internet now, and therefore like someone at a family funeral, I might be preyed upon by watchers of the press, who know an absentee resident when they see one. You know, those predators who read the obits and schedule their burglary during the bereavement making a double whammy for the sufferers.

Speaking of which, I have to resurrect this ancient VW, "Bob", which my duaghter out here has been driving, and which is way beyond her (sorry) last legs, just so's I have some wheels. I was going to drive out, but even I'm not quite that crazy, especially what with excess clotting factors, although for the moment I remain artificially blue-blooded. Speaking of [last] legs.

I've been meaning for a while now to blog about this Chinese heartthrob adverted on the front page of the New York Times. A blogger and novelist and racecar driver, who is likely the most widely read author of all times, simply becuase he has three hundred million (!!!!) daily readers of his blog, nevermind his novels, which might get read for the same reason Angelina Jolie gets watched, regardless of her acting abilities, which, I am certain, are prodigious.

It seems this fellow has become a little cheeky with his commentary about the Chinese government, and he takes it in stride when they remove his more edgy blog postings without so much as a nevermind (we all know who "they" are). But there's a long tradition in China of writers outwitting censors, which, oddly, places this fellow right in the mainstream literary traditions of China and not quite off in some pulpy ghetto where you'd think he belonged (I'm actually enjoying enhanced speed now on this curvy keyboard, only ever having tried them while troubleshooting computers - which is only a pain - and never actually to write with).

Government censors, rather like IRS agents or the FBI agents who did Senator McCarthy's bidding back in the days of HUAC, are known to be rather humorless, which must mean literal, in the discharge of their duties. And so, there's an almost implied invitation to toy with their sensibilities.

Plus, the government now is between a rock star and a hard place, don't you think? As with Google's practice of alerting readers to the fact of redaction, folks - Chinese folks - are thereby alerted to what their government is doing on their behalf. For the moment they seem a little bit more peeved with Google for being American and un-Chinese, and are therefore offended in their patriotism, but be patient and they will come around.

Now this Chinese blogger probably has a habit, much as I do, of writing each and every day. So any lacunae (to make a veiled reference to this truly excellent novel I am now reading on my Kindle (tm)) would be obvious to his loyal readers, which just gives him that much more opportunity to toy in and with the stuff they won't delete because they will be witless to do so. Literalists are always looking to protect their own asses, which generally means to jump all over you when you deviate from the norm. Maybe you get the joke here?

I've already had a few check-up calls about my absense, so I know I'm cared for. We'll see what the burglar literalists think, although I can assure them that I own nothing of value, having given away all the good stuff (which I simply no longer fit into). My electronics are positvely primitive, so don't bother. (actually, I do intensely dislike this wireless mouse, because the pointer is simply too jumpy)

My doctor just called to tweak my rat poison dosage, feeling embarrassed that it was as early as it is here on the Left Coast, although I assured him I've already been up for hours, but see, I am actually well cared for, no matter what I say about the Military-industrial health care/insurance complex.

So, here are a couple of things about which I intensely disagree with our fearless leader. And, honest, I absolutely adore the guy, especially because he has a tendancy not to use fear as a tool for manipulation of the public. But sometimes he skates close, as in the case of healthcare and education.

He is dead wrong about education, but as of today, it does seem as though he might actually have a plan to co-opt Republicans at their own game. He's taking some of the negative momentum among educators toward No Child Left Behind, and using it to gain Republican support for real and meaningful reform. The guy just mgiht be a jiu-jitsu master.

On the healthcare front, I tend to be a bit more dubious. I just don't buy the idea that the insurance companies are precisely evil. After all, if life is "priceless" and you deserve the same extraordinary measures toward the end of your life that you do at its early stages, even someone as clueless as me about economics can see that there is a genuinely insoluble problem. Lots of people will be worth more to the medical complex near death, just in terms of transfers of wealth out of the insurance industry coffers and into the healtcare industry coffers, than they were ever worth over the course of their entire working lives. The math for this simply can't work.

We can throw up examples of dishonest doctors and profiteering insurers, but really they're just the same as the rest of us, afraid to lose their jobs. Doing the bidding therefore of The Man (whoever the hell the man is, although I think he might be anybody really really high up and therefore, by definition, detached from the reality of the rest of us). Doesn't anybody else see that these two forces are aligned against not only each other, but against the masses of us, harnessing as they can and must, our fear of death and dying?

That very same thing used against us so effectively by true believers in some Allah or other. Since they have none - no fear of dying.

I, for my part, intend to take reasonable precautions, so long as they don't feed The Beast (whoever the hell the Beast is, although I think he might have something to do with literalist thinking which is therefore detached from reality, by definition). I'm a little bit sketchy when it comes to the conflict between drugs which insult the liver, and alcohol, which does so also. Take Lipitor, for instance. No, you take Lipitor.

But I might be an actual and genuine case for it. Or I might not be. It's really hard to know. OK, gotta go back to reading that other great novel. This one, Melville's The Confidence Man I've managed to "download" onto my phone for free. I'm so freaking ethereal it's not even funny. Not to mention all the lacunae in my understandings . . .

1 comment:

David said...

Vanessa (my significant other) is reading the Kingsolver book too, I got it for her for her birthday. thanks for keeping on keeping on.