"Whose address is heaven above..." so sang Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, the classic grand guignol film by Robert Aldrich that re-launched the sagging careers of both Davis and Joan Crawford, with a story so over the top it has to be seen to be believed. If you haven't seen it yet (and it came out in 1962!) I'll just refer to you to the IMDB link above, as it's not really the subject of this post.... It's just what got me going to put down these thoughts. And it's all Digby's fault that this song just sprang into my head .....
I just watched my brand new DVD of Network tonight, and as always, it set me to thinking about how media perceptions are cemented into the public's mind ... and all the manipulation that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the public is thoroughly distracted from the real issues at hand. And of course I thought of Digby and decided to see what she had posted most recently, given that Howard Beale is the iconic presence inspiring her work ....
In her most recent post Frederick of Hollywood and the Tiny Silicone Penis, she dissects the Republican cult of the Daddy Figure, and how it amounts to an infantilic obsession with going back to some (probably imaginary) time when curling up into Dad's arms managed to make it all feel better. She focuses on Fred Thompson as the 'next best hope for Reagan' for many of the wingnuts out there, no surprise for those of us who follow current political events, but one of her quotes (from Stephen J. Doucat) got me to thinking, and here it is:
By far the most compelling confirmation of the phallic meaning of the president's aircraft-carrier cakewalk was found on the hot-selling "George W. Bush Top Gun action figure" manufactured by Talking Presidents. I originally ordered one to use as part of the cover design for this book. The studly twelve-inch flyboy not only comes with a helmet and visor, goggles and oxygen mask, but underneath his flight suit is a full "basket" --- a genuine fake penis, apparently constructed with lifelike silicone.
Now, I just had to follow this up a bit and do a bit of Google sleuthing. I had heard that there were Shrub action figures out there, but I had no idea there was anything like this for sale. Apparently this company makes a whole line of "conservative" action figures (yes, there's even an Ann Coulter doll!), and their descriptions of them reveal a lot about the so-called "conservative" mindset ... nothing new for us, but nonetheless frightening for us "reality-based" folks out there.
There's even a Bill Clinton doll who spouts the usual reich wing classics they love to hate. And for all the attention paid to Clinton's penis over the years (can one penis merit that much attention?), I have to wonder about a couple of things with these dolls.
If the Bush figure has a silicone penis, where does it go? Does it actually get hard thinking about women or just raw power? (I'll leave it to you to decide that point.)
Does the Ann Coulter doll have a factitious vagina or another penis? (Again, I'll let you decide, but I'm betting on the latter.)
And finally, for Clinton? I'm betting they left it out, despite all the focus given to it during the impeachment process, because there's no better way to emasculate Democrats than cutting off the Daddy organ. I fully expect they'll be coming out with a Hillary doll soon .. complete with the requisite missing organ.. It's all so perverse that even this jaded observer thinks that the perversity meter has totally pegged out at this point. (I should say, however, that I'm not going to spend $29.99 to find out!)
By painting the Democrats as the party of the "Mommy figure," the Republicans have ensured their dominance in national politics for years ... but what do they have to offer in exchange? A 12" action figure with a floppy little silicone penis, obdurate, obstreperous, and contemptuous of the rule of law and fucking goddamn veracity itself. If that's what Daddy is all about, I'll take mommy any day. But better yet, let's break out of this falsely constructed dualism and move forward. Put this bullshit aside and let's address the real problems that face this nation.... No more Bushes. No more Clintons. NO more political dynasties.
So, as a dedicated Iowa Caucus goer who will get the one of the first chances to weigh in on this cycle's candidates, I'm throwing in my lot with John Edwards. There, I got it out there for all to see, and hope that others will give him serious consideration when it comes time to caucus/primary. Since the MSM has decided to ignore him or ridicule him (haircuts anyone?), they must be scared of what he represents, and that's good enough for me. And I'm gonna do my best to make sure he wins the caucuses here so he can break out of the annointed "front runners" put out there as our best hopes. Hillary is a trainwreck in the making. Obama is the cypher I'm not yet convinced will live up to his vague rhetoric, no matter how attractive it may be. Edwards is the real deal. Listen to him, and hope for the best.
But then ... if Al Gore throws his hat into the ring (which I don't see happening, alas), I'm 1000% behind him, just like I was in 2000 when he became our true President-in-Exile.
Back to flowers and bugs in my next post. I just had to get this off of my chest. And if you've never seen Network, get out of your chair and get it now! We're all mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore!