Monday, November 19, 2007

mr. president, you are such a man

fran townsend, who just resigned as white house homeland security adviser, sounds like a lovesick high-school valedictorian when she writes in her farewell letter to george w. bush:

'in 1937, the playwright maxwell anderson wrote of president george washington: there are some men who lift the age they inhabit, til all men walk on higher ground in their lifetime.

'mr. president, you are such man.'

two points i want to make:

(1) i tend to side with novelist e.m. forster in thinking that the concept of heroes + hero worship promotes authoritarianism, especially outside the context of the ancient world, most especially following that great ubermensch adolf hitler. the idea that 'great men' deserve our obeisance + obedience is simply a mental trick of people suffering under a dictatorship, by which they comfort themselves that the giant stepping on their throats is some wonderful, halfway divine being.

(2) the tone of townshend's handwritten note indicates the kind of unironic flattery this administration apparently expects of its close staff. no wonder it becomes so outraged at the notion that even lesser beings, such as ourselves, or, say, perhaps, the pre-sarkozy french, do not kiss the bushes' collective asses, given that they like to tout their british royal ancestry, as could have george washington, who was somewhat more modest + democratic about his lineage (the bushes are descended from edward i, henry i, + henry ii; washington, whom barbara bush strikingly resembles without a family connection, could claim edward iii as an ancestor).

but unlike townshend + the other toadies bush + cheney like to collect, some people do not take kindly to having their privacy invaded + natural rights annulled in the interests of an imperial presidency.

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