Like you've got better things to do...

Welcome to Distress Signals. These troubled missives are inspired by my daily encounters with the Obscene and the Absurd: Black Republicans, NASCAR fathers, televised competitive surgical body modification, Nicolas Cage's career after Raising Arizona. Considered individually, these are disturbing but innocuous bits of cultural detritus, and nothing more. Taken together, however, they signify a more pervasive rot, a systemic necrosis of the body politic. Sometimes the stench of decay is overwhelming. Or maybe the dogs just need a bath. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I'm not afraid to hazard a guess. In this case, I don't think it's the dogs.

It's hard not to be overwhelmed by the enormity of this collective madness. I've yet to fully wrap my mind around the brutal fact of Bush's re-election, much less the longer-term prospect that this Republican juggernaut could pave the way for Arnold's Presidential run as early as 2008. Something deep inside me knots up when I think about Scalia's imminent promotion to Chief Justice, and it's hard to drag myself out of bed knowing that every day of the next four years will be filled with the self-congratulatory prattle of conservative pundits, drunk on the delusion of righteousness. These are tough times for liberal malcontents, even those of us armed with enough vitriol to keep us warm through several more winters. Hopefully, it will be enough to sustain us through the four lean years ahead.

But if it's as bleak as all this, why write at all? "Fiddling while Rome burns," the activists hiss. Pissing and moaning, my dad would call it. Sure, it's cathartic, but is this going to amount to anything more than a collection of random rants and ramblings? Probably not. But never underestimate the value of catharsis. It's what keeps us going, in spite of it all. If nothing else, consider this an archive of the iniquitous goings on in this modern asylum of a country.


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