Uncle Frank's Diary
Number 20 Aug 6, 2004
Conventional Whizzdom: Fear Itself
“Come on out of there, Uncle Frank! We know you’re in there!”
“You can’t hide any longer!”
“Go away. Just go away.”
“The terror alert’s off the charts!”
“I gave at the office. Go ask the Girl Scouts.”
“You’ve been in hiding too long, Uncle Frank!”
Stumbling into the Light
Sometimes it’s hard for Uncle Frank to stand up and be counted. Nevertheless, he hauls himself to his feet, lurches across the room, opens the door, and stands leaning against the jamb, one hand over his eyes. The room behind him is in disarray, the blinds closed, the curtains drawn. A discarded pizza carton lies on the floor, next to a half-consumed bottle of Rolling Rock. A television plays a test pattern.
“There’s too much light out here,” he says. “I was watching Fox, and right about the time Bill O’Reilly started telling me the spin stops here, something clicked off in my head. So I switched to CNN, but it was the same thing there. Blondes with big lips and tanned thighs laughing with the sports guy. Joking about Kerry. So I switched over to MSNBC, and it was the same thing there, Chris Matthews hollering at someone. I turned on the local radio, and Sean Hannity was complaining about how the liberals run the media. I turned on C-SPAN, and sat there for half an hour watching an empty table with a microphone on it.”
Uncle Frank took his hand away from his eyes and blinked.
“Then Brian Lamb came on and conducted an entire interview without moving his mouth. It was weird. Too weird. I turned back to CNN, and George W. was trying to talk. ‘Listen,’ he said, so I listened, but he didn’t say anything except ‘gonna’ and ‘uh,’ so I went to bed and stayed there. Jesus. I’d rather read Mallard Fillmore* than follow this crap-ola.”
Conventional Spawn of Satan!
Who can blame Uncle Frank for hiding under the covers? He feels dreadful about it, but he’s working hard to bring himself back to a semblance of citizenship. To borrow from the Bushian lexicon of lucidity, he’s, uh, listen, he’s gonna wok the vote.
That’s right: If you donno know how to do it, he’ll show you how to wok the vote.
(That’s fer you old timers out there who remember Rufus Thomas.)
But after all this, nothing gets Uncle Frank up and at ‘em like a purported insult from the ever-hilarious Ann Coulter. You’ve probably seen the news of her brief, fleeting employment by USA Today. USAT hired her to furnish her uniquely partial and imbalanced brand of commentary on the Democratic convention. She wrote one column, and got canned. How’s come? She opened her piece by referring to the gathering in Boston as “the Spawn of Satan convention.” Really. Check it out:
The USAT editors thought that was going a bit far, so they dumped her. Awww, shucks. If Joe McCarthy could see her now.
Frankly, Uncle Frank, a liberal-progressive-godless-socialist Democrat, is flattered to know that he stands lumped with the Spawn of Satan, in AC’s purported worldview. He considers it a badge of honor.
But poor Ann: How can any thinking person take her seriously? Does anyone believe that she believes what she says? Surely no woman in her right mind could subscribe to the assertions Coulter utters. Assuming that neither Fox News nor USA Today hires people not in their right minds, then only one conclusion remains: Ann Coulter says what she says for money. What a fresh concept! She knows the clientele, and bends to meet their tastes, regardless of her own.
There’s a word for such behavior, but we won’t use it here.
A Little Trick with Old Nick
So dear Ann did not enjoy the Democratic convention all that much. Too bad. Uncle Frank found it occasionally agreeable, Spawn o’ Satan type that he is. He’s looking forward to the Republi-cant convention, too, when—to follow through on Ann’s alliterative attack—the Bastards of Beelzebub will bask in the bosom of fear in New York City.
How many times between now and the Repub-fest do you think the Bush Gang will ramp up the terror alert level? (And, of course, Howard Dean is taking heat for suggesting that just maybe the elevated alert has some fuzzy link, maybe, to the Bush Gang’s ambition to deflect attention from Kerry, and to stoke a gullible public’s anxiety about changing commanders in the middle of a war.) Today the malefactors are targeting financial centers; what will it be tomorrow? As one threat segues into another, who will pay attention, even if, for a change, the fear-mongers accidentally tell the truth?
Remember Attorney General Lord o’ the Flies Ashcroft’s excited announcement a month or so ago that the authorities had tracked down a terrorist plot to destroy a major shopping center? The “terrorist” nabbed in this operation is apparently a delusional headcase, with neither tools nor a plan to carry out his “attack.” Haven’t heard much about this guy lately, have we? Or about what a breakthrough in the famous War on Terror his indictment represents. “No specific mall was targeted,” reported CBS News in the following June 16 story. “No explosives were in hand. And it is unclear that the alleged terrorist had the wherewithal to do it.”
Who needs objective evidence when it’s so easy to wave the flag of fear? George W: He da man. He’s out there trying to scare you out of your vote, this clueless, lazy, dimwitted, tongue-tied tool of the Cheney-Wolfowitz-Rumsfeld-Perle neocon cabal, with nothing to sell but fear itself.
Uncle Frank don’t buy it, pardner. Don’t you, either. It’s poison.
*Mallard Fillmore, by Bruce Tinsley, conceivably the unfunniest comic strip in the history of the universe, not excluding Nancy or Family Circus. Uncle Frank reads it daily in hopes of discerning a subtle and revealing intelligence within its ostensibly, and perhaps deliberately, cretinous comedy. You think I’m exaggerating? Look and see: http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/mallard/about.htm