I'll check my copy of Hal Lindsay's The Late Great Planet Earth and the marvelous three-volume (plus companion tome) Encyclopedia of Apocalyptic Religions when I get back home, but as I've written before (here and on the late, lamented Swamp in The Kingdom board), it's pretty obvious as each day passes that our President, George W. Bush hisself, is splendidly fulfilling the role of the AntiChrist exactly as it was projected amid the 1970s spin on various AntiChrist contexts. Now, I don't buy into all that, but if I did, George fits the bill in spades -- most of all for his fomenting the current destabilization of the Middle East and cheering on Israel from the sidelines, with the popular support of his base (a key factor in the whole AntiChrist myth is the unstinting support of the faithful, fooled by the false Messiah).
The endless, hapless TV coverage we're sampling during our occasional hotel room stints to cool off is head-spinning in its idiocy. There's no sense of context, history, or complicity, the 21st Century TV news template just isn't able to offer anything save the cocaine-like schizophrenia of constant stimulation/constant tedium sans coherence; forget any human scale or comprehension of the scope of all this.
Since I'm on vacation, I'm surfing TV a bit (a favorite male pasttime sure to drive Marge bonkers, even in small doses) and am stunned at the simple-minded ineptitude and horrifying paucity of "news" via the medium. I barely watch TV, hence my being thus stunned. No wonder we're such a nation of nincompoops: Fox News templates on all channels now, complete with various pundits and experts shouting over one another, as if Morton Downey Jr. rather than Edward R. Murrow were the highest level of behavior to aspire to. The talking heads are now swapping WWIII predictions and banter without blinking (as the Weather Channel happily posits environmental apocalypses on their venues) amid the dualistic warmongering soup (Romero had it right in Dawn of the Dead, didn't he?), and the stupid ranting about the Mel Gibson arrest triumphs uber all (the latter prompting talking head after talking head to screed, "If this were you or I, we'd get no such preferential treatment!" -- hell, if this were "you or I," it wouldn't be on the news, anywhere, at any time).
Madness, all madness, and all the spawn of the Bush doctrine -- and we, as a country, do nothing but cheer it on from the sidelines. Condi Rice's stabs at diplomacy are an embarrassing maladroit's lurching dance: note the US media didn't report, as the BBC and CBC did, that Rice was characterized by one foreign diplomat as a "political idiot," and rightfully so. We have fomented this war, with our horrific fumbling of every post-9/11 aggressive military policy, including our abandoning our attack on Afghanistan to wage preemptive war upon Iraq (a country with, as Bush and Rice have admitted repeatedly, no involvement with 9/11), and with Bush's refusal to involve himself or his Administration in any effective mediation between Israel and Palestine from the moment he took (and I do mean took) office. Once Bush effectively licensed all to kill with his launching of the Iraq War, we invited the disaster we now see raging in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Whether you take it as the utter bankruptcy of our current President's foreign policies (in which the polar opposition of either military intervention or doing nothing are the only possibilities; forget diplomacy, we've so irrevocably shattered any standing the US once had in the world that John Bolton is indeed the ideal representative of our current Administration in the UN), the fulfillment of his wildest fundamentalist apocalyptic dreams, or the culmination of years upon years of utter indifference to the plight of Palestine and the ongoing humiliation of the Arab states, it simply no longer matters. As soon as Bush's dualistic justification du jour for the Iraq War -- bringing Democracy to the Middle East -- collided with his War on Terror jingoism and complete refusal to speak to those he determines to be evil and/or terrorist states, rendering the democratic election of Hamas grounds for dismissing the functioning of democracy in the Middle East, we've been plunging toward this kind of lunacy.
Shit, if the umpteen-million devoted readers of the Left Behind novels (books I'm seeing selling used in every used bookshop herabouts) had really been paying attention, they'd have recognized Bush for what he was/is -- but, no, their complicity is ironically essential and necessary to the fulfillment of their own war-lusting prophecies. "Bah, Bah, Black Sheep..."
The Maine newspapers offer more sober access, and tidbits we just don't get over in VT. Yes, the local papers are as eagerly flaunting WWIII scenarios as they are on national TV ("...There may be as much hyperbole as prophecy in the forecasts for world war. But it's not hard to conjure ways that today's hot spots could ignite...")
* In Freeport, armed officials of the state and local government descending on a fish tank in the China Rose Restaurant. The armed game wardens seized 10 koi fish owner Cuong Ly had lovingly cared for and publicly exhibited as good luck harbingers in his popular restaurant's lobby for 15 years; relatively new invasive species laws prompted the mobilization of military might, though Ly is quoted sadly noting how his treatment reminds him of that he witnessed in the communist country he left to move to the US and become a US citizen. Local citizens are outraged, and the letters in the papers are showing nothing but empathy and support for Ly and nothing but contempt for this government action (which recalls, for me, the Black Hills Institute's Sue tragedy, in which armed gov't officials seized a fragile T. rex fossil and arrested Peter Larson while visiting school children watched).
* A variation on frisbi-throwing, merged by all reports with golf-like rules and scoring regs, is taking off up here. It's called Frolf and it's happening here in Maine and elsewhere -- there's already reportedly 2,600 professional frolfers competing! 18 holes, 40 acres, and a variety of frisbee-like discs are involved. Cool.
* Over on Matinicus Island, a wee bit northeast of Monhegan Island and south of Vinalhaven, a lobstering war is heating up, complete with death threats, armed fishermen, trap-and-bouy lines being cut, and mounting tensions. It's also tied up with generational rights to fish, the departure and return of one local mogul who has apparently been using "outsiders" to lobster in his stead, and such.
* While Marge and I sampled some of TCM's Marx Brothers marathon yesterday the few times we were in the room, nice to know that over in Gorham the town citizens just set a new (unofficial) world record for the most people to wear Groucho fake-nose-and-glasses-and-moustache in one sitting: 1,489 total, eclipsing the previous world record of 1,437 set in New South Wales in Australia back on June 4, 2005. So as of this past Sunday, Gorham is the Groucho glasses capital of the world!
* My fave article, though, finds Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri outraged by the ongoing Disney Studios abuse of the State Offices for the filming of the live-action Underdog movie. You'd have thought Overcat spraying the rugs or tracking kitty-litter into the Gov's designated restroom might have caused all this, but no. While fingers are pointing and Carcieri is huffily ousting the crew from the Statehouse after they dared to fly the flag of the fictional Underdog city in place of Rhode Island's sacred state flag, I can only wonder what Wally Cox might have had to say about all this.
"There's no need to fear..."
Amid the lunacy, simple-minded Bissette continues to probe musty used book shops and multi-dealer antique and collectible shops, as if it meant something.
Here, the two vhs releases of The Adventures of TinTin (Cigars of the Pharoah and The Secret of the Unicorn) for $12 each, unopened, for the CCS library; there, a hardcover collection of one of my fave cartoonists' (Oliphant) political cartoons from the '70s, along with a $5 copy (with dustjacket!) of Kevin Brownlow's seminal The Parades Gone By (1968, 1st Edition); then, a great Christmas gift acquisition for them Martin and Dobbs fellas.
Ah, enough of my rambling. See ya here tomorrow...