Inside John McCain's campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. "It would be fantastic," said a McCain insider. "You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week."
NOW are we having fun yet? You bet. A shotgun wedding--it's like a commercial for a breakfast cereal--with real shotguns! Only this time the biggest gun of all will be brandished, not, as is usually the case, by the outraged father of the bride as he drags her, in her knock-ed-up state of blushing pride and soul-baking embarrassment, down what passes for "the aisle," no, this time it'll be handled by the mother. Who is Governor of the sovereign state in which the nuptials are taking place in! And--no, seriously--is also the Republican candidate for Vice-President of the whole U.S. of god-damn A.
It's not that "you can't make this stuff up." You can. But then your head would fall off. Now, however, you don't have to run that risk. The Republican Party, with the straight face of the salesman lending you his pen to sign the purchase order for the world's most horrible vacuum cleaner, has done it for you.
Mencken, thou shouldst be living at this hour. And you too, Twain. And, what the hell, all you guys and gals from ages past (Norman Mailer, Hunter Thompson, P.T. Barnum, Sinclair Lewis, Robert Altman, Sophie Tucker, Nathaniel West, Billy Wilder, John Dos Passos, etc.) who knew that America was (and still is, God damn it) that place of places where nothing is too brazen, nothing is too ludicrous or inane or mendacious or nakedly meretricious, that we can't at least try it.
Deep-fried Twinkies? It's what's for dinner! Polygamous marriages to teenagers in "frontier" dresses? Where are they registered? Possible President who believes humans and dinosaurs existed--living, loving, making it work--at the same time, 4,000 years ago? Join me in welcoming her now. And if nobody told Sarah Palin that The Flintstones was fiction, whose fault is that? (Of course we can tell her now. But it's too late. The damage is done. She's a person of "faith" and her mind, to the extent that she has one, is made up.)
"America is a mistake," Freud told Ernest Jones. "A gigantic mistake, it is true, but none the less a mistake." But who cares? He was Freud! Didn't he know that Freud is like totally over?
Besides, what's wrong with bread and circuses? Everybody loves bread (except certain Jews during Passover--and--may we speak frankly?--if they don't like it, they can go back to Russia). As for circuses, don't be so literal. It's politics; it's "the culture wars;" it's The Will to Power and the survival struggle of memes (you can't spell "meme" without "Me! Me!")...it's what Preston Sturges (with uncharacteristic sentimentality) called "this cockeyed caravan," yes, it's Election Year Two Thousand And Fucking Eight: a Hieronymus Bosch triptych with computers.
Commenters on a blog I read talk about investing in popcorn futures--that's how rollicking this whole election deal has become. John McCain, claiming to "suspend" a campaign which is in no way suspended, threatens to ignore one of only three national debates as he plops himself down at the table in the emergency conference meant to solve the most gigantic financial crisis of our lifetime, and then says nothing, gets up and leaves, attends the debate after all, and takes credit for the financial plan three days later. You say "that's irresponsible"? I say, That's Entertainment.
Meanwhile, what we are all laughingly calling "the Bush legacy" continues metastasizing. Two-front war on terrorism grinding into its sixth year? Check. Entire financial system on life-support because guys raking in 8-figure bonuses made a boo-boo? Check. Record deficits C.O.D. from the party of "prudence"? Gotcha. Stagnant-income-households paying for four-dollar gas? Done and done. Put-them-all-together, they spell: Let's have a wedding!
Although first, let's confirm paternity.
KATIE COURIC: Governor, if there were to be a public outcry for Bristol to take a DNA test, how would you respond?
SARAH PALIN: Like any good mahm, Katie. I would say, "Hey, Briss, let's do this, and I'll stay up all night helping you study if that's what it takes."
Which is to say, how do we know poor Levi Johnston (The Sexiest Chump Alive) is the real dad? Because the mother-to-be says so? Please. We may be idiots, but we weren't born yesterday. Somebody do an amnio, or a papal nuncio, or a hi-def video, or whatever it is House's team of ethnic geniuses and drop-dead gorgeous gals does, and let's be certain. (Fun Fact: Olivia Wilde, who plays "13" or whatever her character's name is on House, is the niece of ALEXANDER COCKBURN. Of Counterpunch! Could you die? I could. I did! I digress.) What if Levi isn't The One?
Or, as someone wisely asked, "If McCain loses the election, can Levi get a divorce?"
(Memo to the lad: DON'T SIGN ANYTHING. Pre-nup schmee-nup. YOU'RE in the driver's seat, d00d. Make 'em pay.)
But ain't that America? Where the clever work for the unscrupulous to deceive the poor in the service of the rich.
And it's not even October.
Cross-posted at What HE Said.
(CORRECTION: An earlier draft of this said that Olivia Wilde is Alexander Cockburn's daughter. That was incorrect. She is his niece. Her father is Alexander Cockburn's brother, Andrew. I regret the error.)