Columns » Penny Post by Andrei Codrescu

It Don't Matter How You Feel


I'm chewing my nails like everybody else in the U.S. By the time you read this, I might be chewing off my foot or taking off my clothes in protest. I can't stand to watch TV, I get sick reading the newspaper, I instantly erase the flood of self-righteous emails and forwards that try to "educate" me, and I wish that movie actors would just shut the **** up. Do they want peace? They should stop making violent movies. Neither can I stand to see our smug, inarticulate Commander-in-Chief trying to get out his three one-syllable-word phrases, managing to sound both insincere and mean in the bargain. His whole gang makes me nauseous, too, including the "reasonable" Colin Powell, the chatty Dr. Rumslove, the grim Condolences Rice, the Botox-faced Ridge and the margarine-smooth Fleischer. On the other hand, Bush has nothing, smug-wise, on the French foreign minister who makes me want to pour a vat of Coca-Cola on his head. And none of these irritants even comes close to that germy slime Saddam Hussein who leans back and benefits from my anxiety and everyone else's understandable jitters. The only public faces that look like they belong are the generals, I'm sorry to say. In normal times, they'd scare the bejeezus out of me, but these aren't normal times. I'm no pacifist, I'm just on my side, as my friend Jeff Miller used to say. I wish there was a clear something or somebody to blame for everything, but it ain't that easy. I can't even blame them serially: Monday-Saddam, Tuesday-Bush, Wednesday-the French, Thursday-the media, Friday-Hollywood, and so on. I have to blame them all simultaneously, and that's wrong because no matter how irritating they all seem, it really doesn't matter how I feel. The times have changed and the party's over. After we occupy Iraq, we'll have to take out Iran and then North Korea, maybe not in that order exactly. Once that starts, you better hope that the generals are as professional as they sound. Maybe it's time to start digging the old folks out of the nursing homes and start asking them how to play cards and drink rum while the ship flounders.

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