Upon the half decayed veranda of a small frame house that stood near the edge of a ravine near the town of Winesburg, Ohio, a fat little old man walked nervously up and down. Across a long field that had been seeded for clover but that had produced only a dense crop of yellow mustard weeds, he could see the public highway along which went a wagon filled with berry pickers returning from the fields. The berry pickers, youths and maidens, laughed and shouted boisterously. A boy clad in a blue shirt leaped from the wagon and attempted to drag after him one of the maidens, who screamed and protested shrilly. The feet of the boy in the road kicked up a cloud of dust that floated across the face of the departing sun. Over the long field came a thin girlish voice. “Oh, you Wing Biddlebaum, comb your hair, it’s falling into your eyes,” commanded the voice to the man, who was bald and whose nervous little hands fiddled about the bare white forehead as though arranging a mass of tangled locks.
Wing Biddlebaum, forever frightened and beset by a ghostly band of doubts, did not think of himself as in any way a part of the life of the town where he had lived for twenty years. Among all the people of Winesburg but one had come close to him. With George Willard, son of Tom Willard, the proprietor of the New Willard House, he had formed something like a friendship. George Willard was the reporter on the Winesburg Eagle and sometimes in the evenings he walked out along the highway to Wing Biddlebaum’s house. Now as the old man walked up and down on the veranda, his hands moving nervously about, he was hoping that George Willard would come and spend the evening with him. After the wagon containing the berry pickers had passed, he went across the field through the tall mustard weeds and climbing a rail fence peered anxiously along the road to the town. For a moment he stood thus, rubbing his hands together and looking up and down the road, and then, fear overcoming him, ran back to walk again upon the porch on his own house. Continue reading ““Hands” — Sherwood Anderson”→
Joseph Wurzelbacher, as manipulated by the McCain campaign, somehow came to stand for the “common man,” the “everyday” American (from real America, of course) who would just totally get dicked-over by a pinko like Obama. If Joe the Plumber does represent the average, everyday common American, that basically means the average, everyday common American is kinda dimwitted, slovenly, and prone to saying stupid stuff. And around Biblioklept Headquarters in Real America, we’re too patriotic to suggest such a thing. Olbermann takes down Joe:
9. Michael Phelps
Okay. We get it. You can swim fast. But please. Please. Don’t be such a smug dick–you’re not charming, as your awkward, unfunny appearances on SNL and The Colbert Report attest. Also, your skanky new girlfriend hardly lends you class. Thank god the Olympics only happen every four years.
8. Elisabeth Hasselback
Hasselback’s yapping maw jibber-jabbered at such a consistently shrill pitch for most of 2008, that even those of us who avoid The View like the special little plague it is were subject to take some notice. Someone has thoughtfully distilled Hasselback’s 25 most annoying moments into one dandy poisonous clip:
7. FOX News
6. Voters who voted for anti-gay ballot measures in California, Florida, Arkansas, and Arizona this year.
Evangelical leaders–many who claim to “love” everyone–consistently attempt to turn this fight into a matter of semiotics, into the meaning of the word “marriage.” Hogwash. Years from now–hopefully not too many–we, as a country, will look back on these anti-gay measures with the same sense of shame that now surrounds opposition to the Civil Rights movement. Anyone who claims that the issue is simply about what the word “marriage” means is being dishonest with themselves and everyone else. At least the loonies who follow Fred Phelps are openly and honestly bigoted.
5. John McCain
Dear Maverick McCain,
We used to like you, a little bit, way back in 2000, but yeah, we really did see you as an outsider for awhile, and sure, you’re a war hero (if getting shot down and surviving as a prisoner-of-war makes one a hero)–But–
Don’t you think the campaign you ran against Obama was kinda sorta most definitely shameful? I mean, like, aren’t you literally ashamed of the tacit and not-so-implicit and sometimes downright violent xenophobia and (yes) racism that you guys incited in your mobs? Aren’t you worried that any goodwill capital you built over you last 25 years in politics has been more or less spent? And Palin? Jesus! Seriously? Palin? Don’t get me wrong, your choice was truly a delight to watch, but come on, man. Show some sense.
4. Wall Street Investment Bankers
You oily pricks get what you deserve. Never have so many done so little for so much money. Also: Anyone who still believes that unregulated laissez-faire capitalism just “works.” Look around you.
3. The Bush Gang
Let’s lump them all together and let God sort them out. Or, better yet, let’s prosecute them. Or, better yet, tar-and-feather them, and run them out of town on a pole.
2. Sarah Palin
This year, Biblioklept is doling out a first: a special “Cunt of the Year” award, just for Palin. Aw, that’s kind of mean. Actually, it was really entertaining to watch Palin fumble through interviews (she reads “everything”!), wink and consistently drop the word-final “g” sound from her every utterance, and destroy any hopes that the GOP had of winning the ’08 election. And for every time she infuriated us (insinuating that there is a “real America,” one we are not a part of), she always made up for it with some comic gold. (The infamous turkey-pardoning-while-turkeys-get-slaughtered-in-the-background-video is a particular gem from 2008; (How, oh how, can Palin not see the irony here?)):
Of course, had McCain-Palin won–which is to say, if Americans had yet again made a bad, poor, ignorant, stupid, willfully stupid decision about who should lead them–we would not make light of Palin’s idiocy. But they lost. They lost! Ha ha, they lost! So, it’s perfectly fine and dandy to recall all of Palin’s flubs (Remember when that morning shock jock pranked her? Remember the debate?!) With a little luck, the Republican leadership will continue to stand behind Palin (literally!) and ruin any chances the party has to ascend to power again in 2010 or 2012.
1. George Bush
As of this writing, there are only 25 days left in the Bush presidency (keep track here if you want), yet it seems probable that he’ll manage to fuck something else up for the incoming administration. I say the decade officially ends this January. Let’s move on.
Conservative Republicans seem to be having an awfully tough time with their vocabulary lately. They keep misusing words, poor old dears. In particular, these confused politicos keep using words that have traditionally had a positive connotation in a pejorative sense. Therefore, we present a little gloss that might help them with their sorry diction.
“c.1375, from O.Fr. liberal “befitting free men, noble, generous,” from L. liberalis “noble, generous,” lit. “pertaining to a free man,” from liber “free,” from PIE base *leudheros (cf. Gk. eleutheros “free”), probably originally ‘belonging to the people'” (Online Etymological Dictionary)
From the Indo-European root “leudh,” meaning “grow, rise,” as in progressive (Joseph T. Shipley, The Origins of English Words)
“1823, from Fr. élite “selection, choice,” from O.Fr. fem. pp. of elire, elisre “pick out, choose,” from L. eligere “choose” (see election). Borrowed in M.E. as “chosen person,” esp. a bishop-elect, died out c.1450, re-introduced by Byron’s “Don Juan.” (Online Etymological Dictionary)
“1a singular or plural in construction:the choice part. 1b singular or plural in construction:the best of a class” (Merriam-Webster)
“1867, “calf or yearling found without an owner’s brand,” in allusion to Samuel A. Maverick (1803-70), Texas cattle owner who was negligent in branding his calves. Sense of “individualist, unconventional person” is first recorded 1886, via notion of ‘masterless.'” (Online Etymological Dictionary)
Samuel A. Maverick refused to brand his cattle, ostensibly claiming that the practice was cruel. However, by not branding his cattle, he was able to claim any stray cows as his own property. What a devious genius! How’s that for laissez-fair?
Clearly, a maverick would never let himself be branded with someone else’s label. He’d cut his own path, forge his own trail, create his own hackneyed metaphor, and not, f’r’instance, vote with the President 95% of the time.
“Conservative,n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.” ( Ambrose Bierce, Devil’s Dictionary)
“From the Indo-European root “(s)kamb: bend, change; exchange, barter . . . Fr, change, exchange. Gc, change, changeable, unchanging, etc. . . . This root is related to camp, campus, campaign, etc.” (Joseph T. Shipley, The Origins of English Words)
Synonyms for “change” include: modification, variation, transformation, revolution, conversion, adjustment, amendment, difference, and alteration.
When used in politics, the word connotes a dramatic shift in ideology from the previous regime to its successors (e.g. “The idea that a new set of Republicans would be a change from the old set was both a paradox and a misuse of language”)