Peggy sometimes offers subtle criticisms regarding the subjects I write about. For example,
“Why the fuck don’t you ever write about something more interesting than religion?” (Peggy will argue that that she didn’t say the f___ word, but since I am “overly sensitive to criticism,” as my mother put it, I always HEAR the f___ word at the least suggestion that I'm anything less than perfect.)
“Okay, Sweet Lambikins Baby Lovey Dovey Pumpkin Strudel, what do you suggest?” (I ask smilingly).
“Well, how about what you just said?”
What I had just said was that Fox News’ policy of continually assuring its listeners that it’s “fair and balanced,” is not only unforgivably redundant, it also suggests a cynical attempt to appeal to an audience that is too stupid to distinguish between a claim and a reality (“Your president is not a crook;” “I didn’t have sex with that woman;” “I know the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true;” and my own dear father’s favorite, “I’m going to be honest with you”). Furthermore, it reeks of Orwell:
“Political language is designed to…give an appearance of solidity to pure wind;”
of Lenin: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth;”
of Hitler: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it;”
and even of that bumbling little bastard who was our last president: “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again…to kind of catapult the propaganda.”
“But isn’t what I just said rather obvious, Peggy Darling Dearest?”
“Not to some people.”
Which is precisely why I had said it to Peggy. Intelligent though she is, she doesn’t know the difference between a Republican and a Democrat, a Catholic and a Shiite, a Brit Hume and a Jon Stewart, simply because it is all so senseless and depressing that she doesn’t want to know the difference.
Sometimes, I think Peggy is onto something, yet I remain inveterately incapable of “turning on, tuning in, and dropping out,” because if there's safety to be had, surely it lies in at least knowing from which direction danger approaches. Besides, human inanity can be awfully entertaining at times.
Stockholm memories, scattered and smothered - *First things first, or Loose Ends Tied Up While-U-Wait Department: I arrived at Arlanda airport in Stockholm early in February 1969 wit...