Friday, July 11, 2008

Retro-Journal: McCain Wins -- in Late 2006

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In late 2006, elections ousted Republicans and put Democrats in control of Congress (since which time Congress’s approval ratings have slipped to single digits for the first time in the history of polling).

That was also the half-year during which I posted my first, experimental blog entry on, recounting my experience of Election Night (though I would not begin blogging on a regular basis for another four months). As it happens, that first blog entry bears a strong resemblance to my first blog entry, posted today (a guest entry, done while Karol Sheinin is on vacation, about how I went from anticipating a Giuliani presidential victory to rooting for Libertarian Bob Barr over the past two exhausting years — and note that the non-embedded link in the middle of it as I write this was not my fault, but whether Karol can fix it from Italy remains to be seen).

•That old TSc entry, fast out of the gate, described how I hoped a candidate Giuliani or candidate McCain might learn from the GOP’s 2006 losses (the latter man sounding admirably chastened and pro-spirit-of-’94 on Election Night ’06).

•The new AN entry, by contrast, describes how, since then, I’ve grown more pessimistic and thus more Libertarian (in a strategic sense, I mean — philosophically, I’ve been my usual right-leaning, anarcho-capitalist self throughout).

Since I’d love it if you read (or reread) both the TSc alpha-entry and the AN omega-entry (so to speak), I’ll keep today’s Retro-Journal entry slightly shorter than usual, though it is the second to last, and I hate to give late 2006 short shrift.

(Don’t feel obligated to read the AN entry if your name is Eric Dondero, though, since that would mean you are a libertarian-Republican activist with a tendency to publicly call people Giuliani supporters even when they never officially were, or weren’t for more than a heartbeat. I wouldn’t want to exaggerate my always-tentative, soon-abandoned, weighing-my-options support for Giuliani, which was really more of a 2006 thing than a primary-season thing for me, despite the admittedly formulaic title of the AN entry. My favorite legacy of the 2008 primaries, really, was and remains the emergence of self-proclaimed young “Ron Paul Republicans,” who I hope will go on to reshape the Republican Party in a profoundly anti-government way, to the great benefit of the entire human race, long after President Obama or, perhaps, President McCain has finished rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic ship of state.)

Next Friday, of course, will be the final Retro-Journal entry, bringing us full circle with a description of early 2007 (the Retro-Journal itself having started in the second half of that year).

But first, a quick, free-associative list of some non-political late-2006 highlights:

•I didn’t know which was more frightening that July: the Scottish horror film The Descent or an ornery karaoke crowd at Winnie’s in Chinatown.

•In a single one-week period that September, I heard (a) one friend read an essay about his ex-fiancee being institutionalized with severe schizophrenia, (b) another friend explain his new 9/11 conspiracy theory newspaper at a party to celebrate its latest issue, and (c) a friend of friends — author Daniel Pinchbeck — seriously explain his belief that the god Quetzalcoatl has spoken to him of the Earth’s impending eco-doom and/or cosmic awakening in 2012, to a rapt, perfectly respectful audience, during his appearance at the McNally Robinson bookstore.

(I heard a much less weird reading there just last night, from the novel All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown, who’ll be one of our speakers at Lolita Bar on September 3, by the way, “confronting” Pagan Kennedy — and Brown’s book title comes from a song by Bauhaus, incidentally, whose lead singer I looked for in vain on a karaoke song list two nights ago, while doing karaoke with Republicans, hoping I could dedicate a song by my favorite Turkey-dwelling Muslim to the victims of that day’s small terrorist attack in that country — but instead, I was forced to do “Rainbow Connection,” “Plush,” and “House of the Rising Sun,” in effect forming a trilogy about a hero who leaves his swamp in pursuit of a dream, is pursued by dogs who begin to smell him, and ends up in a New Orleans brothel.)

•My parents’ cat Menny passed away, about one year after the loss of their beloved dog of sixteen years, Uber, who with Menny formed a living namesake-tribute to Nietzsche’s Ubermensch.

•I was reminded what a small world it is by an October trip to Austin, TX that, as it turned out, coincided with the Texas Book Festival there, meaning a substantial portion of New York City seemed to be there, engaged in book promotion, including my predecessor as editor of the Brown Film Bulletin (mentioned in early Retro-Journal entries), Dave Kamp, who was talking about his book The United States of Arugula, which describes — in an almost Virginia Postrel-like fashion — how increasing prosperity and culture-mixing vastly expanded American culinary options and improved our palates in just the few decades that Gen Xers like us have been on the planet (a much more optimistic take on things than Austin’s own Richard Linklater would offer in his glum food-industry drama Fast Food Nation just a month later, based on the book by the same title that helped popularize the increasingly common pseudo-scientific notion that industrial agriculture is poisoning us all and destroying communal life).

•I saw the Fixx in concert (something I seem to keep doing, along with linking fourteen of their songs to date) with the Knack, Naked Eyes, and Missing Persons — and, from one odd medley the Knack performed, finally got confirmation of something I’d been saying for years, sometimes to mocking responses: that “Tequila” sounds like the Doors’ “Break on Through.”

•I watched Kyle Smith read from his second book, which was also part of the’s second-ever Book Selection entry — little realizing that while Kyle was in the front of that Barnes and Noble, a camera crew was in the back, not to shoot him but to shoot an ugly reality-show confrontation between singer Lisa Loeb and one of her many dates on the show Number 1 Single, writer Allen Salkin (who went on a few more dates with her after that, though you’d never know it from the way the show was edited to make him look completely rejected and somewhat villainous — but it was all for a good cause: answering the vexing and profound question “Can a beautiful, famous, Jewish, female rock singer whose dates stand a good chance of getting some attention on national TV find someone in New York City to go out with her?”).

But Lisa Loeb is not the star of next week’s climactic final Retro-Journal entry: I am — and that final entry may well prove to be both more conservative and more punk than a girly folk singer from Brown University could handle. Be here on 7/18/08 to find out, as we look back at a lost epoch: the crazy, dimly-remembered wackness that was 2007.


Eric Dondero said...

Hey Todd, long time no hear. Just wanted to let you know, I did it again. I’m quoting you verbatim on your recent “endorsement” of Bob Barr, Libertarian for President, over at Libertarian Republican blog. (click link at name).

Didn’t even include any commentary. Just quoted you as is, so as not to give you any political headaches.


W.C. Varones said...

Just came here from a link on alarmingnews. I agree with you entirely on Bob Barr. I’m adding you to my blogroll: