"Total absence of humor renders life impossible."
—Colette (1873-1954)"I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here."
—George W. Bush, August 13, 2002, in Waco, Texas 2002
(Swans - January 1, 2007) In his 1807 Memoirs, Samuel Johnson asked, "What provokes your risibility, Sir? Have I said anything that you understand?" "Then," he concluded, "I ask pardon of the rest of the company." The company, mind you, has been dwindling for years under the repeated assaults of the pousse-à-jouir bien pensants, whose politics, Talleyrand once noted, "has always been and always will be a means to agitate the people before using them." No wonder François Cavanna pondered in Les Russkoffs (1979), "Why are we so dry, so cold, so sniggering, so shrunk, so aloof, so afraid of being ridiculed? Why do we have no warmth, no odor?" Colorless, odorless, and without flavor, hidden behind the comfort of iPods, LCDs, and mobile phones, among myriad other gadgets, people advocate spiritual love but shy away from any physical contact. And, oh gawd, let us not rock the boat; it would be detrimental to our perceived well being. And gawd knows we do not want our self-indulgence to be disturbed. Porn sites, get-rich schemes, war video games and actual wars are our quotidian diet, here in the heart of the very civilized world, from ever-expanding spam to the ad-loaded nightly news, and the projection of our deadly power, in a never-ending circle.
As Lewis Mumford (1895 - 1990) once said, "Humor is our way of defending ourselves from life's absurdities by thinking absurdly about them." So here we go again: Welcome to our Infamous Predictions, courtesy of a bevy of Swans.
It will turn out that Iraq in particular, and the world in general, is neither better off nor safer without Saddam Hussein.
It will also turn out that the New Congress behaves just the same as the Old Congress.
The 110th Congress will not only continue the Iraq war but increase the numbers of troops engaged in the operation. Because of the strong public opposition to the war conscription will not be considered. Accordingly, the Armed Services Committees of both houses will propose legislation to boost recruitment. The house will expand the age range for military recruitment to 12 to 59. The youngest and the oldest -- those below 14 and above 55 -- will not serve in a combat zone, but will replace troops in Germany, Japan or other bases around the world.
The Senate will tap a superabundant source of cannon fodder -- the penitentiaries! The 2.2 million potential recruits include such made-to-order troops for the front lines as murderers, rapists, vandals, etc., all guaranteed to fight with reckless abandon. Prison recruits will receive, in addition to all the other benefits, pardons of all crimes on their records. (Who would turn down such a delicious offer?)
Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Scooter Libby, Mark Foley, and Ted Haggard form a men's club called the Gang of Downfallen, which starts off innocently with prayer meetings, golf trips, and poker games. By year-end it will have grown in membership, money, and power, positioning GOD to retake control of the government in 2008. George W. Bush joins GOD at the end of his term to continue his mercenary mission to spread his word (W's, that is) around the globe.
The DLC decides that Barak Obama is not black enough nor Hillary Clinton woman enough to be positioned for a potentially historic presidency, so they opt for the tried-and-true all white-male ticket of Edwards-Kerry, Kerry-Gore, Gore-Edwards, Edwards-Gore, Gore-Kerry, or, well, whoever.
To bring lightness of being to her hopeless campaign, Hillary Clinton will try to hire Jon Stewart as her campaign spokesperson. Jon will demur and recommend Steven Colbert as a valued replacement. Competition out, laughter in.
In fact, Jon Stewart reveals that he has accepted a five-year, $75,000,000 contract to replace Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News. "At least Mr. Stewart has already proven that people take him seriously when it comes to news. Ms. Couric was simply too bubbly for our more sophisticated evening audience," says CBS News president Sean McManus. Katie will slink back to her easier, higher-paying morning job in temporary disgrace.
Due to confusion in the selection of the embryo, Mary Cheney will give birth to a beautiful milk chocolate baby. Mary and her long-time companion will make the Guinness Book of World Records as the first American white lesbian couple to give birth to a mulatto. His grandparents pray that he'll at least grow up to be heterosexual.
Having in more joyous times asked the terrorists to bring it on and declared the mission accomplished -- the terrorists were brought to justice or whatever deserved fate, hee, hee, hee -- the decider reassures the nation that since we are not losing in Iraq, it means that we are winning. The cavalry is only about mopping up the operation before boarding their flying carpets on their Persian journey where victory is also assured. Hillary concurs.
Iranians, like Iraqis, will welcome our freedom freight train. Trust the New York Times to tell it as it is -- years later, of course.
The Bush twins, having been photographed without underwear in a Miami nightclub, will be sent along with Britney Spears to Afghanistan and Iraq, where women are once again liberated by covering themselves from head to toe and being sequestered from public view, for a refresher course on family values. Laura Bush chaperones the girls, donning the sequined red Gucci burka she commissioned to ensure avoiding another holiday party faux pas.
O.J. Simpson turns to Judith Miller to ghostwrite his exposé, Who Dunnit?, disclosing once and for all absolutely nothing about what he did or did not do. The book opens at number one on the New York Times best seller list and Miller, now sporting long blond locks, is spotted on the Florida golf circuit with The Juice.
Julie MacDonald, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, will meet an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The supposedly extinct bird comes at all hours of the day, tapping on her door until Julie can't stand it any longer. She opens the door. The Ivory-bill perches on her desk or hangs on the drapes and cocks its head and looks at her. Julie sees deep holes in her door, but doesn't dare ask any of her colleagues to take a look, because no one else in the FWS precincts has mentioned being terrified by a huge bird swooping in long undulations down corridors and in and out of offices. Only Julie.
She will begin to imagine the Ivory-bill as the Ghost of Forests Past, challenging her to contemplate the very long list of species she has denied entrance into the Endangered List where actual action must be taken. Her edicts, often defying "the best available science," form the Bushites' hard bar against having to deal with reality: organic habitats that cross private property lines in a totally irresponsible and disrespectful manner. Julie will break down and consult her shrink. "It's plain, unadorned guilt," the shrink will say.
The Bush administration finally takes a position on global warming, stating that it is a "positive development that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
Immaculate conceptions will increase in frequency, which the Office of Faith Based Initiatives attributes to the replacement of sex education with abstinence education. The Vatican will sue the US Government and Mary Cheney for copyright infringement and ask for punitive damages for the now cheapened legacy of the realVirgin Mary.
Canada builds a Great Wall along the US border to stop the influx of English-only speaking, job-seeking, draft-dodging, resource-draining, drug-buying Americans. Hugo Chávez offers a safe haven for Americans seeking a better way of life, but requires that they learn Spanish before entering the country. The UK and Australia begin their own wall construction projects just in case.
On the initiative of Fausto Bertinotti, the iconic symbol of the Refoundation Communist Party will change once more. In 1991 it added European Left to its Hammer, Sickle, and Red Star. Now it will add a Crucifix dripping with blood. Bertinotti experienced a religious conversion before the April elections when the Catholic vote looked critical. Lately he's been promoting the placing of Christmas Cribs in mosques.
Foreigners will stop buying up Treasury securities and instead convert their unspent billions of dollars into tangible assets. The U.S., in a panic, will put everything up for sale. The Brooklyn Bridge will actually be sold. The purchaser? The Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez. A ten-dollar toll will entitle the motorist to an eleven-dollar credit coupon exchangeable at any Citgo gas station. Traffic over the bridge will become heavy day and night.
A wealthy Chinese businessman will buy the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. He will rename the former the Mao-Tse Tung Monument and replace the Lincoln Memorial with the Chou En Lai Memorial. An irate Taiwanese businessman will then buy the Jefferson Memorial and replace it with the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial.
The new pope, a walking cadaver in search of a loving enemy, preferably of Muslim quality, re-hires "saint" John Paul II's choirboy in order to learn the tricks of the trade. Bush regrets the departure of a valuable aide that so often soothed his steadfast decision-making process with much anointment. Mary Cheney rejoices that it all stays within the family.
Popey Benedictum elixir-un-muslim-uber-alles will open his mindly legs to the Bushite's former choirboy. John Paul the second, from his saintly repose, will warm to the proposition. God will concur.
An amendment to the US Constitution will pass the threshold in Congress. God is our savior and from now our gawd will rule supreme.
Gays, lesbians, blacks, and Latinos won't deserve gawd's magnitude. They will all be transshipped to Iraq where they'll join the Palestinians -- non-existing peoples unite!
Israel, the most important of 190+ nations, will be granted her wish. Palestinians do not exist. Jordan does not exist. Iraq does not exist. Iran does not exist. Egypt does not exist. Syria does not exist. Lebanon does not exist, and on and on. Only Israel exists and should/will be recognized as such; as only the USA are worthy of Middle East oil. God's with us, anyway.
In a grand experiment the worldwide Muslim population will convert to Christianity and the worldwide Christian population will convert to Islam, making an end to the terrorist threat to America.