"One thing's for sure. Pessimism never created a job."
-- From Bush's new anti-Kerry television ad
For my first two months out here, watching the Republican goon-machine retreat into the shadows in shame as their paradigm crumbled around them provided an excellent source of entertainment. But over the past week, the madness has come full circle. The shock of imperial decay has been too much to bear -- and so a strange moratorium has been imposed upon all current events in America.
It started at the end of May, with the longest and most gratuitous celebration of D-Day imaginable. The D-Day celebrations on cable news networks ran every single day for over a week, taking up nearly every minute of every news program. Nothing but long, weepy elegies to the Greatest Generation, a lone trumpet wistfully soundtracking to shots of the flag and steely, wrinkled veterans.
These overwrought D-Day celebrations served one purpose: to make Americans forget about all the depressing news about Iraq and George W. Bush. We've been forced to watch the collapse of the American empire right before our very eyes, the imperial death-agonies twitching in every American family room's home theater system. It's so depressing that even FoxNews can't get it up anymore. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. America is supposed to win, and the drama should unfold in an upward, positive direction. That's what we were promised! So how could the Iraq War start off great and go into a long, downhill spiral from there? How can you smile and be optimistic?
You can't. So now America has decided that if the reality won't fit our expectations, then reality is fired. America abruptly canceled its subscription to current events, and signed up for a heavy dose of the glorious past to replace it. Thus, the two-week circle jerk over D-Day and the Greatest Generation -- an idealized American past when we were the good guys who won wars, rather than today's prisoner-torturing imperialist morons who lost the empire to a bunch of two-bit sand monkeys.
O how the mighty have fallen. Only dead civilizations make a fetish of the glorious past. Isn't this looking-backwards a specialty of the Brits? Or the Arabs? Weren't they always once great, and someday destined to be great again? Has the American rot set in that quickly? Are we already dead?
On MSNBC, the cutting and pasting of the glorious past over the depressing present was taken to such an extreme that they actually replaced current news with simulated news from D-Day, only they used the same newscasters and analysts to "report" the events. They re-enacted D-Day on their regular news broadcasts, issuing up-to-date news accounts of the invasion of Normandy as if it was going on today, while totally ignoring Iraq for almost 10 days. They used their own newscasters and their Iraq War military analyst, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, standing on oversized maps of the English Channel in clear imitation of the graphics used during the invasion of Iraq last year. Both newscaster and McCaffrey played it with a straight face, as if relieved that they didn't have to talk about the depressing failure in Iraq. "This is a brilliant, bold plan, and it's not at all certain to succeed," they'd say of the D-Day invasion. "The German defenses are strong, and Rommel is a military genius. If we lose this, we could lose the war." This is how we like it served up -- fake cliffhangers with the triumphant outcome already telegraphed in-advance. The MSNBC re-enactment served another purpose -- to remind viewers that the press had been just as unquestioning and cheerleading during the glorious D-Day invasion as during Iraq, and since no one made a fuss then, well, gosh, maybe their behavior last year over the Iraq War was just, you know, Greatest Generation patriotism. Right?