Friday, October 01, 2004

Why Sex Radicals, Sci Fi Novelists, and Roman Emperors are telling the Subjects of Bush to stay away from Lawn Mowers

The Hedonist Agenda

I admit, while I pride myself on being unflappable, even I was surprised by the UK Guardian's article, from the "Is that a gavel of justice in your pocket or are you happy to see me" files, exposing the true hedonist agenda of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
He is the conservative bastion of the US supreme court, a favourite of President Bush, and a hunting partner of the vice-president. He has argued vociferously against abortion rights, and in favour of anti-sodomy laws.

But it turns out that there is another side to Justice Antonin Scalia: he thinks Americans ought to be having more orgies.Challenged about his views on sexual morality, Justice Scalia surprised his audience at Harvard University, telling them: "I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged."

It seems unlikely that this is what President Bush meant when he promised to appoint more judges like Scalia to the court, should the opportunity arise. Crucially, Justice Scalia is one of the judges in favour of overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark judgment protecting abortion as a constitutional right.
Oh Antonin, you cheeky monkey.

I say the Guardian got it all wrong, and this is indeed what Bush meant when holding Scalia up as a role model SCOTUS judge. After all, these remarks seem consistent compared to Bush's own I-want-a-pony style of policy-making.

Expensive wars are good, taxes are bad.

Tax cuts are good, fiscal restraint is bad.

Aggressive invasions of other countries are good, advance planning and adequate troops and exit strategies are bad.

Neo-con fantasies are good, reality is bad.

infant boy modelling a Peter Pan halloween costume.jpgSomehow, in that context, the notion that fundamentalism and orgies can skip merrily hand-in-hand into the sunset, while sex ed, contraception, abortion, gay marriage, and AIDS education are all bad...well, it's straight out of the pro-fantasy, anti-consequence policy arm of the Peter Pan Presidency, isn't it?

Our message mandate is clear: let us all stand up and shout out to the world that Justice Scalia is a sex radical, so that when Bush promises his fundamentalist base to "to appoint more judges like Scalia to the court," they'll understand his coded commitment to promoting The Hedonist Agenda to teach orgy techniques in schools (hey! it's hard to figure out where all those knees and elbows go--try it yourself if you don't believe me), attack the sanctity of marriage, tear down the family unit, and destroy the very fabric of America.

group of naked men and women, discretely posed, in riverIt's called a flank attack. It's called fracturing Bush's base. It's called taking off the gloves. It's called playing to win. Karl Rove calls it a whisper campaign, and he's a master at it.

I'm serious here, people. Go tell your grandmother that Antonin Scalia is a sex radical (or email her, or google bomb him or blog on the story), and get the meme going that Bush and Scalia are promoting The Hedonist Agenda.

The Playbook Theory

The Guardian article points out that Scalia himself offered "no clue to the logic behind his claim that orgies eliminate social tensions." However, the concept is straight out of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

This little off message slip-of-the-tongue on Scalia's part (and we can only imagine he fancies himself quite the tongue-slipper) supports one of my long held theories:
'Big Brother is watching you' poster
The Bush administration and their jump-in-a-heap-Friday-night-friends read dystopias, not as negative examples, but as playbooks, blueprints, instructions on how to seize power and wield total, fascist, authoritarian control.
Do these common traits of dystopian fiction strike anyone as vaguely familiar?
  • a nation-state ruled by an upper class with few democratic ideals
  • state propaganda programs and educational systems that coerce most citizens into worshipping the state and its government, in an attempt to convince them into thinking that life under the regime is good and just
  • strict conformity among citizens and the general assumption that dissent and individuality are bad
  • a fictional state figurehead that people worship fanatically through a vast personality cult, such as 1984's Big Brother or We‘'s The Benefactor
  • a fear of the world outside the state
  • a penal system that lacks due process laws and often employs psychological or physical torture
  • constant surveillance by state police agencies
  • the banishment of the natural world from daily life (substitute "aggressive assaults on the environment" for "banishment of the natural world" and this one fits tidily)
  • a back story of a natural disaster, war, revolution, uprising, spike in overpopulation or some other climactic event which resulted in dramatic changes to society
  • Er George? Were you AWOL coked up not paying attention in Grade 9 English? You're missing the point here. These books are about how you're *not* supposed to do it. *sigh*

    On the positive side, of course, this means that we, too, have access to the secret strategies of the Bush Campaignistration: all one needs to do is read the same books they're reading.

    Anyone who isn't clear on what 4 more years of a Bush administration would mean for this country, or wants to learn more about the way they do the things they do, is well-advised to pick up any of the following books:

    1984 by George Orwell
    Animal Farm by George Orwell
    The Aquitaine Progression by Robert Ludlum
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
    It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    The Running Man by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman
    We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

    Perhaps before Karl Rove lets Scalia off the leash again...
    legs of woman in heels next to bulldog on leash
    ...they should all put down the sci fi and read some Rick Moody or watch some Ang Lee.

    An Old Cowhand (from the Rio Grande Gulf of Baiae)

    If dystopias can offer us insight on the inner machinations of the Bush Campaignistration, then history should as well.

    poster for 'Caligula' movieNow, when you read the word "orgy" above, what was the first name that sprang to mind? Why, Caligula, of course: the Roman Emperor and prince of perversion whose life of excess is celebrated in the 1979 eponymous film by Tinto Brass and Bob Guccione, loosely based on a Gore Vidal screenplay and financed by Penthouse. (The film contained so many scenes of sexually and violently explicit content, including orgies, masturbation, fellatio, anal fisting, beheading prisoners using a lawn-mower-type device, and slamming an infant onto stone steps like a rag doll, that censors cut the original Cannes release of 210 minutes to a 102 minute version for the US release. Just good clean American fun--invite Antonin over to rent it some time.)

    If sex radical Antonin Scalia's predilection for orgies is an accurate taste of things to come, let us explore other parallels between Caligula's colorful reign as Roman Emperor and the Bush Campaignistration.

    Gaius Caesar Germanicus (August 31, AD 12 - January 24, AD 41), also known as Gaius Caesar, liked to dress up as a soldier and play with his father's troops as their mascot. He was soon given given his nickname "Caligula" (or Caligulae), meaning "Little Boots" in Latin, after the small boots he wore as part of his costume.

    Likewise, George Bush enjoys playing dress up and in a similar bit of synecdoche is affectionately known as the "All Hat, No Cattle" President.

    George Bush in flight suit on deck of aircraft carrier in 2003

    During Calligula's education under Emperor Tiberius on the island of Capri, he would would inflict torture on slaves and watch bloody gladiatorial games with glee.

    Young George was also known for his school-day hijinks, such as branding frat house pledges with a hot iron. Later, as Governor of Texas, he exhibited a similar appreciation for blood sports.

    Young George Bush viciously attacking opposing rugby player during match

    The young Caligula rose to power by efficiently dispatching all potential threats.
    On March 16, 37 AD [Emperor] Tiberius died and on March 18 the Roman Senate annulled Tiberius' will and proclaimed Caligula emperor. Suetonius writes how Caligula's guard Macro smothered him with a pillow, but in reality Tiberius probably died a natural death. Caligula was not Tiberius's only successor. The Emperor had made his young grandson, Tiberius Gemellus, joint heir. Because of his young age, Gemellus was hardly an obstacle, and Caligula had him killed soon after becoming Emperor. Caligula's grandmother Antonia committed suicide around this time as well. (There is a passage in Suetonius's "Life of Gaius" that mentions how Caligula may have given her poison himself.)
    While Young Bush's family relations seemed somewhat more stable, he has proved just as deft at disposing of political opponents, most notably John McCain (aka the crazy-ex POW with the black bastard daughter and the dope-fiend wife) and Texas Governor Anne "girl-on-girl action" Richards...not to mention, of course, Scott Plays-VERY-Well-With-Other-Children Ritter, Ambassador James "Oops! My wife Valerie Plame is a Secret Agent" Wilson, and Hans "Leather Boy" Blix.

    Both Caligula and Bush are noted for their dramatic flair.
    On becoming Emperor, Caligula performed a spectacular stunt. He ordered a temporary floating bridge to be built using ships as pontoons, stretching for over two miles from the resort of Baiae to the neighboring port of Puteoli. He then proceeded to ride his horse across, wearing the breastplate of Alexander the Great. This act was in defiance of an astrologer's prediction that he had "no more chance of becoming Emperor than of riding a horse across the Gulf of Baiae".
    Bush, a similar victim of low expectations, is also known for his stagecraft.

    Bush on aircraft carrier in front of 'Mission Accomplished' banner

    Both leaders have been the subject of speculation by subjects solicitous about their health.

    Recent sources say that Caligula probably had encephalitis. Ancient sources, like Suetonius and Cassius Dio, describe Caligula having a "brain fever". Philo reports it was nothing more than a nervous breakdown, as Caligula wasn't used to the pressures of constant attention after being out of the public eye for most of his life. Rome waited in horror, praying that their beloved Emperor would recover. He became better, but his reign took a sharp turn. The death of Gemellus and of Silanus, Caligula's father-in-law, took place right after Caligula recovered.
    Americans have likewise expressed affectionate concern about what Bush doesn't drink, what Bush does drink, his strong aversion to certain snack foods, his little stumbles here and there, his state of mind and the prescriptions substances that get him there, the mysterious appearance of scars on his face and white powder around his nose.

    Bush's face sporting scraped nose and ugly red bruise after the infamous 'pretzel incident'

    Both Caligula and Bush were men of vision tragically misunderstood (or even misunderestimated) by the people of their day. Caligula took heat for trying to make his beloved stallion, Incitatus, a senator.

    Bush has also been criticized for many of his appointments, such as:

  • Porter"I couldn't get a job with the CIA today. I am not qualified."Goss to head the CIA;
  • W. David "Pray Your PMS Away" Hager to chair the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee;
  • and Daniel "Let's nuke the Muslims" Pipes to the board of the The U.S. Institute of Peace.

  • Both rulers have suffered PR issues over war mementos. Caligula was mocked when his campaign in Britain ended with his soldiers collecting seashells as "spoils of the sea" in his battle with the sea god Neptune. Under Bush, Iraq souvenirs have also become surprisingly popular (some more infamous than others) .

    Caligula and Bush both exhibit great ambitions in the Middle East. Caligula wanted to erect a statue of himself in Jerusalem (his good friend Herod Agrippa stopped it), and label himself a "God." Bush also has big plans for Mesopotamia, trouble with statues, and unusual theistic aspirations.

    US soldier draping US flag over face of statue of Saddam Hussein

    Cast in the broken mold of Rome's most outrageous emperor, Bush is surely a Caligula for our times.

    Oracles, Entrails, and Elections

    Extrapolating from the similarities between the two leaders, can the fall of Caligula predict how the Bush Administration will end?

    Caligula only ruled for three years and ten months. On January 24, 41 a conspiracy among the Praetorian Guard managed to end his life. While Caligula was in a corridor alone he was struck down by one Cassius Chaera, a man who had been with Germanicus' army long ago, and had become fed up with Caligula for personal reasons (Caligula liked to make fun of Cassius' voice). They also killed Caligula's wife Caesonia and their infant daughter, Julia Drusilla by smashing her head against a wall.
    [Author's Note: I would like to point out explicitly for the benefit of whoever is currently managing my file at the DOJ that in drawing this comparison I am not advocating the assassination of George Bush. I'm Canadian. We don't shoot people (we really don't) or sue people or assassinate politicians. We're too busy running our universal health care system. If you don't believe me, ask my mom.]

    Cassius Chaera's modern-day parallel may well be John Kerry, who also has a military background. In other words, a Kerry victory in November.

    Or, Cassuius Chaera's role may be represented by Senator John McCain, who is not only a military man but has had...some bad blood...with Bush in the past. Could this mean that disgruntled Republicans will replace Bush on the ticket with McCain? Since absentee ballots have already been mailed out overseas, it is too late for that. However, this may mean that McCain finally stops drinking the kool-aid, abandons his careerist ways, and stands up for fellow Vietnam Vet John Kerry and explicitly against Bush. A long shot, but it would certainly stir up the election, and Cassuius Chaera would be proud.

    Or, could Cassuius be played by...Karl Rove? Bush, like Caligula, has a reputation as a vicious jokester: arrogant, aloof, and a bit cruel. Does it chafe Rove that his Frankenstein's monster gets the spotlight while he is forced to lurk in the shadows? Is he irritated that Bush has changed his nickname from "Boy Genius" to "Turd Blossom"? If Rove, for any reason, decides Bush's career is over...does anyone have a doubt about the winner?

    At any rate, rooting about in history seems as reliable a prognosticator as examining goat entrails, and the message is clear:

    Little Cowboy Boots is on his way out, John Kerry is the new caesar ... and in the meantime, dissenters are well-advised to stay away from lawn mowers.

    [And I'll offer a reward to anyone who can provide pictures of what *really* happens on Scalia's and Cheney's "hunting trips."]

    Cross-posted to BOP News.


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