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Is there Something Happening Here? Does Mr. Jones Know What it is?

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“Well Brain, what are we going to do tomorrow?”

“What do we do every day, Pinky? Try to take over the world.”

Already back in May, Jay Leno was letting Bright Eyes sing his “protest song,” “When the President Speaks to God,” in America’s living room. Contrary to Leno’s generous introduction, Bright Eyes isn’t the new Dylan; but his appearance on the show signals an interesting moment in mainstream de-legitimization. Letterman spent about 10 minutes skewering Bush last night too, and rudely—using a lot of pictures of the grinning Chimpident with startlingly nasty voice-overs.

Now that Fitzgerald has Cheney's underlings tuning up for the Rat-out Choir, I am also reminded of how, when the powers-that-be decided Nixon had to go, they deftly performed the necessary Spiro-ectomy as pre-op prep. But even as the Leno-Letterman coming out recalls the night Walter Cronkite passed the word down from Sinai that the Vietnam War was officially furblundget, our present moment is also markedly different.

Hating Nixon was all so rational. Nixon was an almost sympathetic nutcase, and Agnew was just a straightforward thief, not at all like the hapless President and the megalomaniacal Ubergonif von Halliburton--who call to mind nothing so much as Pinky and the Brain, the wonderful Saturday morning cartoon show, which chronicles the adventures of two seriously modified lab rats bent on world domination.

There was, back in Nixonian times, the unfortunately fallacious but widespread belief that once Nixon's Bebe Repubobozos were thrown out, we would create a brave new world in which Tom Hayden would find a suitable cabinet post for Abbie Hoffman (ah, it's all in the quality of the cronies). But now that we've already actually had the deluge, what can we expect après Bush? The darkness at the end of the tunnel inspires a weird edginess that even Leno and Letterman can articulate loathing without mellowing hints of subversive wit or sympathetic identification with the loathsome. What we have instead is perhaps unsympathetic identification. When loathing is this mixed with self-loathing (how did we let this happen?) and abjection (now what happens?) can self-destruction be far behind?

But then I look on the bright-side: Turd Blossom is going down; Libby has fallen off his scooter; Frist, the video doctor, has to explain a little financial malpractice; the good cockroaches of Texas may soon be hauling the Exterminator before the truth commission; and serious pundits openly speculate that the Brain himself may be headed toward the drain.

I see Pinky and Condi and Harry hunkered down under the Oval Office desk, and Condi and Harry aren't getting along in those tight quarters. Laura is hiding the corkscrews and the church-key can openers as fast as she can, but, hey, they got pop-tops now.

Under a table at the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Baton Rouge lies an abandoned Blackberry, a text message is blinking on the screen:

—Well, what are we going to do tomorrow, Brain?
...Brain? ...Brain?