Giving Up

30 May

On the heels of Cindy Sheehan’s announcement that she has renounced the fight and well-publicized protest against the war in Iraq, I took my forty-five minutes for lunch yesterday, headed to a lesser-known watering hole on the campus of this major university for which I work (minimizing the chances of running into vice-minded colleagues), and ordered a double Manhattan and a side of onion rings. I’ve worked within and around the system in Washington long enough to know no one person can really make a difference (unless your name is Abramof). No army of persons, either. Anything Army isn’t well connected (“an army of one”). And war is lucrative business. And business is all about networking. There are myriad seminars and motivational conferences about this nonsense. “Get excited, get, get excited!” Remember Requiem for a Dream?

Hit Oskar Schindler on The Google for starters. Hit Halliburton for seconds. Hit David J. Lesar. KBR. Dresser Industries. Brown & Root. And so on, and so on. They’re all subsidiaries of one another. They’re all cousins in a perverse, incestuous dance for fattening up the bottom line. The Sheehan news was worthy of reporting on the front pages of CNN, MSN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times yesterday morning. Only it was book ended by Miss USA taking a fall during Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant two nights ago, and Lindsay Lohan found slumped in the passenger seat of her cocaine-carrying Benz. Guess which stories got the most hits?

Cindy Sheehan’s narrative is nothing new. Her conviction brought her to financial and personal ruin. She lost a son. And then she lost her money. And then her husband. And finally her faith in the political party which promised to help her, but left her behind in favor of other, more profitable interests. There is an election machine revving up. There are hundreds of millions to be raised. It’s not surprising. Whether it’s Obama or Hilary or McCain, in essence they’re one and the same. In essence. Big Business pulls the reins in Washington. Everything inside the Beltway is insular and self-contained. We are not and will never really be privy to the Ben Bradlee/Sally Quinn-hosted Cocktail Circuit, no matter how good we feel donning those “I Voted” stickers on our lapels. I hear and read and live this time and time again, come election season, and it drives me to the bottle. To the blade. You ought to see how effectively a Santoku knife works on the flesh: the periodic culmination of a mix of frustration and personal pain and hurt and a sense of futility regarding socio-political issues, all mixed in with a weird desire for fortitude, and hope.

During moments like this, I go back to Albert’s “Myth of Sisyphus” and try to find a sliver of clarity. Mahler helps. Bukowski helps. Hemingway helps. One more helps, but we’d be getting too personal. And this isn’t a Dear Diary moment. I don’t know what the answers are. The longer I go on, the more questions arise, and I feel like a disoriented old man lost in my own front yard. If you see me wandering around, point me toward the sun. I’ll start walking. I promise.


11 Responses to “Giving Up”

  1. Anonymous 30/05/2007 at 2:12 PM #

    Mmmm…nice lunch, my friend! Hahaha! I have to give you shite now and then.


    P.S. I don’t know why this saying came to mind… “Going to hell in a handbasket.” I guess it just feels that way sometimes.

  2. slyboots2 30/05/2007 at 2:44 PM #

    But dude, seriously, did you SEE the pics of Lohan?

    Christ. I know, though. And I am in the thick of it. The woods, I mean. And there isn’t a crumb trail to be found.

  3. Lx 30/05/2007 at 3:04 PM #

    Eh, does my gastronomic choice really come as a surprise to you? Ha.

    Sly, I no longer keep up with Bubbles-like material, but I couldn’t help seeing our girl in that fabulously altered state. Her photo was plastered all over. Plastered. Nice. And I don’t even try for these things.

  4. Tisha! 30/05/2007 at 4:25 PM #

    I’m lurking and catching up :)

  5. adjunct whore 31/05/2007 at 1:57 AM #

    you are the first person i’ve read who basically mimics my nightly conversations…it is beyond words how disturbing our historical moment seems to be. you did a fine job of conveying the despair. i have to ask–how does hemingway help here? i mean, i agree, obama, clinton, ?, none of it matters, but i’m not sure if hemingway would make me feel better. i should say that he was my first love, the first author after shakespeare and tolstoy i fell in love with. and yet, how oh how does he solve (salve) the current political crisis wound?

    sorry for the longish post. you inspired me.

  6. Lx 31/05/2007 at 2:04 AM #

    thanks adjunct.
    hemingway and all those others work for me in different ways, throughout different times.
    it’s hard to pin it down and tell you how.
    but there are times when i go back
    to hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” or “In Another Country” or “Out of Season” or “Cat in the Rain” (early stories), and they smooth over the holes a bit.
    it happens with art: monet, van gogh, pollock, frida kahlo, lucien freud, basquiat, steadman, etc. etc. etc.
    it’s hard for me to explain, but i take solace in many things as proper refuge.
    thanks much for reading.

  7. adjunct whore 31/05/2007 at 2:35 AM #

    yes, i can see that, when you put it in the context of all of these artists….i thought maybe there was just a hemingway fetish that had answers i couldn’t access.

    art does help. which is how i find you.

  8. dr. zombieswan 31/05/2007 at 1:13 PM #

    LX: missing ya! I’ve been avoiding reading blogs since the big news… but now I’m back and I see you’ve moved away from the story a little bit. I miss your personal interjections. Maybe you could have a personal blog plus your fiction one.

    I was writing yesterday about Sheehan, but it mostly turned into a weird rant that didn’t say much. But it was along the lines of yours. I just felt bad for her cause I think she thought she could make a difference, when all I ever saw was a tool for the various parties to use.

    And I do care more for getting out of Iraq than I do about American Idol, but American Idol is just easier.

  9. Lx 31/05/2007 at 1:20 PM #

    Hey good Dr. I assume the Big News has decimated you. Condoleances. I’m mixing things here now. There’s a new short story up above. The “other story” is filed away and I’ll probably start work on it as soon as things in my life settle down a bit. Probably end of summer. So this’ll be a mix of comment and short fiction. Thanks for swinging by, despite all that has happened.

  10. Erin O'Brien 16/04/2008 at 5:45 PM #

    Stunning this, I went to call up an old post and leave a message indicating that I was impressed that your sitemeter account seems to have the name “bukowski” in it (I’ve never read a word of his so sorry and effing kill me already) and I picked one that even references him.


  11. (S)wine 16/04/2008 at 5:50 PM #

    it’s all right…i am equally guilty with overlooking many writers.

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