Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And one more thing

I hid an easter egg in my post on George Carlin, but I guess nobody found it so here it is. Rogers, Oklahoma is the town destroyed by a tornado that Al Sleet, your hippie dippie weatherman, failed to predict. The trick to the hippie dippie weatherman routines was that amidst the ridiculous goofiness Carlin would slip incredibly dark material -- you know, stuff like nuclear war, irredeemable existential despair -- and make people laugh at it. I expect most people never even noticed what he had done to them, but those who did were forced to think.

But nowadays, it's not a matter of saying the unsayable. Stephen Colbert and John Stewart can say it all, but it just doesn't matter. Outrage long ago burned out vaporized.

The U.S. embassy in Albania conspired to cover up a scheme to sell $300 million in deteriorated Chinese ammunition to the troops in Afghanistan? Yeah yeah, so there's corruption and war profiteering, tell me something I don't know. The Justice Department systematically barred from internships and entry level employment anybody who had been associated with a liberal cause, a public interest group, or a public defender's office, who had clerked for a judge appointed by a Democrat, or who uttered words like "social justice"? The DoJ was politicized, old news, yawn. The former White House press secretary testifies before Congress that the Vice President and the President's Chief of Staff conspired to blow the cover of a CIA operative as an act of political revenge and then ordered him to lie about it? No fellatio involved, yawn. The Senate Intelligence Committee reports that the whole Weapons of Mass Destruction™ thing was a scam? Yesterday's news, not worth repeating. The Supreme Court issues an order to the EPA to make a ruling, and the White House responds by simply not reading the ruling? Pretty clever on their part, no?

I could, obviously, go on in this vein for several hours but I have work to do, as do you I'm sure. But we have a really, really, serious problem here: satire has become impossible. Transgression and subversion aren't even fun any more. There's nothing anybody could possibly say that would be outrageous. There's noplace left to go. We've crossed over the edge of the universe, sailing off into the fifth dimension.

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