Saturday, June 10, 2017

Heavy Petting

One of the better one-liners from the 2016 campaign came from P.J. O'Rourke, who explained that he would be voting for Hillary Clinton because even though Clinton was "wrong about absolutely everything, she's wrong within normal parameters." It was useful not because it was particularly side-splitting, but because it concisely explained the dynamic at work, between a careerist pol who, while competent was widely despised, and a shameless, inept grifter.

It was also useful because it served as an illustration, however rare, of a conservative taking an opportunity to demonstrate the concept of intellectual honesty. Unlike many of his peers in the wake of the election, O'Rourke has been consistent in his opposition to the incompetent clown.

The characterization is also useful because it applies quite well to some conservative politicians. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse would be a good example, as would Mike Pence. Pence is a hack among hacks, a talk-radio weasel who latched on to the political grift, and was on his way to getting unceremoniously booted out of Indiana before the angry clown rescued him.

So Pence's cat Oreo died today, at the age of thirteen, and the linked article provides several photos of Pence and his wife holding their pets (they have another cat named Pickle, and a rabbit named Marlon Bundo). It seems pretty clear that Pence genuinely loves his animals. And while we may find it weird that Pence calls his wife Karen "Mother," and refuses as a matter of principle to dine alone with any other woman, they clearly love and care for each other.

We can say that Mike Pence has (to be charitable) a rather antediluvian view on the rights and roles of women in our society; it's probably not far-fetched at all to assert that Pence views The Handmaid's Tale as an instructional manual. But he is "normal" in the sense that he loves his wife, his children, his pets. He probably even cares genuinely to a certain extent about his community in general.

Our furry friends can add much to our lives, when we let them in. Their affection spans a bit of a spectrum from the wholly unconditional (dogs) to the transactional (cats). But it is a spectrum; I've had many cats over the years that were as affectionate and needy as the average dog, without any ulterior motive, and dogs who were constantly trying to grind food and treats out of you. It's all part of the package, as it is with kids and spouses. The exchange is mutual.

It would be wrong to make blanket assumptions about people who don't own pets. There can be any number of reasons why people might choose not to have them. Correlation is not causation.

But it is correlation, and in the case of HRH Princess Snowflake, dba Fuckface von Clownstick LLC, there seem to be quite a few of these "little things" that add up, the absence of a pet being one of those things. Everything about him seems transactional, conditional; his current wife clearly despises him, and his ex-wives keep quiet because they depend on him for their lifestyle (such as it is).

The closest thing Snowflake has to a truly unconditional love is with oldest daughter Joanie Clownstick, she of the eternal branding and product flogging. It would not be unreasonable to speculate that this is entirely (or at least mostly) due to the fact that Joanie has been groomed and bred to follow in her old man's path, and if anything she has become a much more skilled brander and marketer, with her constant vacant smiles and anodyne phrases. Unlike Daddy Dearest, Joanie understands intuitively the trick of being everything to everyone simply by being nothing to anybody. If she feels strongly about anything other than getting paid, she hides it remarkably well.

These little intangible, subjective things like "love" and "music" and even "sports" might seem peripheral or useless in plumbing the depths of a stranger's perceived inner life, but those things all have one common thread -- passion. In forty years and counting of this asshole humping everyone's leg, it is clear that he is passionate about only one thing -- himself. If his kids decided they wanted to join the Peace Corps or teach or anything other than be in the family "business" and endlessly pimp the brand, they'd be persona non grata.

That's why he's never had a pet, or talked about a song or book he enjoyed, or displayed any knowledge about sports (aside from the mutual suckfest with the Patriots). Not only do they not make him any money, but they're not about him, and that is simply unacceptable.

There really is no inner life to this person, no introspection. That's not only sad, and a consummate waste of a life of immense privilege and opportunity, but it's also dangerous. Putting someone with no abiding context or knowledge of the world, or interest in anything but themselves, in charge of anything larger than a country store is a recipe for disaster.

It explains why we consistently hear that he makes decisions based on the last person to speak with him, because he really doesn't know any better, he really doesn't know anything about anything other than liberating morons from their money. He's a lying failure, as a businessman and as a human being, and one retains the glimmer of hope that, deep down inside, underneath all the bullshit and bluster, he at least knows that.

That doesn't mean that Mike Pence would be a better person to have in charge; if anything he'd be worse, because he actually knows how to get shit done and has an interest beyond the tip of his own nose. He has an abiding context, a decisional framework from which to operate strategically and consistently. And yet, because Pence at least understands the concepts of cause and effect, he at least is not an addled, dyspeptic dolt who wasted his life itching for a chance to show Dad just how tough he really is.


Brian M said...

Why do you not have a spot on the New York Times editorial page, Heywood? Or at least a regulate gig at one of the more anodyne lefty magazines like Mother Jones or heck, The Atlantic?

These are extremely interesting questions.

Kudos, again!

Heywood J. said...

Ha! I ask myself that at least once a week. Lemmy once said in an interview that it was sort of a backhanded blessing that Motorhead never achieved Metallica-like status, that popularity can push people into areas they never wanted to go. So after all these years of slogging along in anonymity, I've chosen to look at it like that.

But I'd be happy to take The Atlantic's money, were it offered.