You’ll excuse me, I hope, being a bit behind the news cycle. The Philtration process has been slow of late, but things are beginning to fall into place again.

These sure are interesting times we’re living in right now, with Obamamerica and RealAmericaTM in an increasingly nasty scuffle — nominally over the issue of health care, but really over the whole future direction of the country. It may be oversimplifying to say that some of us would like start moving toward the future while others seem determined to drag us as far back into the past as possible, but I don’t think it’s too far off the mark.

Well, as Uncle Bill once said, “evolutionarily speaking, the one way you can’t go is back — it’s the law.” However much they scream and cry and whine, the future is coming. So in the meantime I’m trying to enjoy the right-wing windbagosphere for its entertainment value.

Glenn Beck, for one, absolutely fascinates me. There’s something just so compelling in those crazy googly eyes of his, like Charlie Manson with a suit and a haircut. When he’s on the TV I hate to turn the channel, because you really never know what might come out of his mouth next, but I’m afraid if I watch for more than 30 seconds I’ll get all hyp-no-tized and end up in some teabagging cult.

And then we have the engrossingly repulsive Dick Morris, a grotesque little sausage of a man so overstuffed with corruption and foulness that he looks like he could explode at any moment. I would love to be watching when that happens, but I keep getting nauseous and turning away.

But the most entertaining, of course, is the queen of them all, Sarah “Death Panel” Palin. I have a theory that Sarah is not really a politician at all, but a gifted and committed performance artist who is pulling off a hoax that would have made Andy Kaufman proud.1 Certainly you have to admire the way she’s turned the phrase “death panel” — which she pulled out of her ass, based on nothing — into a national catchphrase. You’ve seen this a hundred times already, I’m sure:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

But what’s especially interesting to me here is her use of quotes. Sarah is not quoting anything, except herself. She made up the death panels, she made up the bit about your level of productivity in society, but the quotes would lead you to believe she got it from somewhere — like, say, a piece of legislation.

Whether she’s secretly smart or just lucky, the success of this meme (to which this site has now contributed) has to be good for her side. It doesn’t bode well for health care reform that when people think of it, they will immediately subliminally think of death. On the other hand, “Death Panel” is going to make a great name for somebody’s heavy metal band.


1. Andy would have loved to wrestle Sarah Palin, I’m sure. It would have been a good match.