I had me a very American 9/11 day. Three vivid changes of mood that brought home a great truth about our country:
1. First thing in the morning I got projectile-vom livid when I heard that George Bush was in NYC talking to firefighters. Wanted to throw up in my mouth because that warmonger was in my city. I’m from the camp that thinks 9/11 was a disaster that Bush/Cheney turned into a catastrophe with their stoopid war in Iraq.
2. Then, after watching some sad-making Ground Zero names-of-the-dead intoning on TV, I took in a movie. It was the classic Jane Russell/Marilyn Monroe vehicle directed by Howard Hawks, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
God, did that change my mood. What a delight: Jane Russell, built like an oversexed battleship, with tattas bigger than brownstones … Marilyn Monroe looking almost petite next to Jane, even though her gazoombas could poke a man’s eyes out at twenty paces … and the razzmatazz pizzazz, the love of living high, the gold-digging, the irony about self, the shrewdness and sexiness and sass of Jane and Marilyn, their gowns clinging to them like lickable icing on sumptuous cake, their brio … such fun and joy and spirited goings-on. I felt like a real American again, my faith in the country totally restored.
3. Then, for a final capper at the end of the day, I saw George Bush address the nation, against the wishes of my companion, who’s had it with Bush and wants to see him as little as possible. I, on the other hand, welcome any opportunity to stoke my disdain for the guy. And nothing does it better than seeing him on TV doing whatever he does, which is usually the most vacuous excuse-making for his inexcusable behavior — usually of the we’ve-all-got-be-as-scared-shitless-as-I-am ilk, so you all can have a reason-to-trust-me, because I’ll protect you. The man hasn’t changed his tune in years.
As I watched Bush, I stopped being angry. After all, my spirits had been lifted sky-high by Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. It occurred to me that this man was so small, so pathetic, he was almost powerless, even though he was the most powerful man on earth. But he was losing his power over me. Then my companion said a great thing. She said that watching him, she felt our once mighty nation shrink sharply down to his small size. He was the incredibly shrinking president, and America had shrunk along with him.
I think she’s absolutely right. Think of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” It’s a large, raucous, expansive, generous movie, big-hearted and great fun all the way. Think of former President Clinton. He was an expansive, living-large president — a man of unbounded energy and sexuality, feeling our pain, generous with his sperm, big-hearted, smiling at the entire world and embracing it in all its variety, the quintessential man of hope.
Then there is the man of fear. George Bush. A small man. Shrinking in the polls, shrinking in stature, regarded by many as an idiot and perhaps our worst president ever. A mini-man. Not even a man, really, more of a chimp suffering a bad case of constipation. He sounded so limited, so wrongheaded, so … tiny. He was doing his thing of conjoining 9/11 with the Iraq War again. A majority of the American people have already decided that the war in Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror, but George Bush doggedly mixed up the two, even though he admits these days that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. He thinks if we “lose” Iraq (how can we ever "win" it? the Iraqis will always detest us anyway,) we “lose” the war on terror.
Here’s the sad part: in so far as America still takes George Bush seriously, we have shrunk along with him. We are The Incredible Shrinking Country if we go along with The Incredible Shrinking President.
There are two Americas. There’s the America of Bush, the scared America, the one propagated by the news media as they buy into his Incredible Shrinking America.
Then there is the other America –- the America of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Bill Clinton — the America that cannot be scared, the America that lives large and is fun and flaunts it, baby.
I hope you, dear reader, decide that you’re larger than George Bush. I hope you decide that you don’t want to live in his shrinking America, but prefer joining the rest of us in the real America: the big-hearted, never-scared-of-anything America. The large-living, fun-loving, sassy, sexy America.
Stop living in Bush’s mini-America. Let’s be like Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, and Bill Clinton. Let’s be big again. It’s who and what we really are.