Archive - Jan 2009

January 21st

Deranged On Account Of Being Deprived

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Memo to the audience: THIS IS LATE.

This is the post most people would have put up on Monday, the last day of the Bush administration. But that was MLK Day, and I have a regular MLK Day column. And yesterday, I felt compelled to make my futile, short-lived gesture toward the audacity of hope.

So today, when everyone else is looking forward at our brave new future, I'll be taking a look back at the recent past, issuing the first and probably only You Are Dumb Dot Net Lifetime Achievement Award In Stupidity to everyone, everywhere, who have ever used the phrase "Bush Derangement Syndrome" without irony.

If ever a term deserved striking from the lexicon, it's this one. If ever the users of a term deserved to be struck, repeatedly, with a lexicon, it is again this one. The idea behind BDS is that liberals, angry at having lost the election in 2000, would baselessly criticize Dubya no matter what he did, just because he was the hated George Bush.

It came as a surprise to nobody when BDS was subsequently applied to any and all criticism of Dipshit W. Bumblefuck, and anyone uttering such criticism was immediately tarred as both a liberal and the latest vector in the Derangement Syndrome epidemic. Which got old faster than The Polaroid of Dorian Grey.

It is a phrase and a usage that truly encapsulates the horror of the last eight years. Sane people, making accusations that for the most part would prove accurate were described as "deranged". We were right about Bush being dangerous, about his hard-on for bombing Iraq, about his sucky Social Security plan, and about his overall mental capacity. We weren't the deranged ones.

And by the end, guess who everyone ended up on board with? There's a reason Bush left office with a 22% approval rating. Fuck the mythical future historians. Four out of five Americans can't agree on anything except gum, but they managed to agree that George W. Bush was a shitty president. When three million people swamp the Mall in Washington D.C. to cheer your replacement, it's because you suck. Part of change is what you're changing away from, and the sheer glee with which a portion of that crowd broke into "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye" proves that they weren't just there to revel in the historic moment.

That glee is natural. It's not the product of a syndrome, and it's not the result of derangement. It's the feeling of relief when you finally lance a boil. It's wiping your ass after the longest, most painful dump we, as a nation, have ever taken. George W. Bush was an awful president and remains an awful, awful human being. He caused a great deal of suffering directly, and an order of magnitude more as the representative and enabler of an ideology that thrives on suffering.

And it's not our fault that 22% of the population are sociopaths incapable of recognizing the suffering of others. Although it does sound a lot like some kind of psychological syndrome that should perhaps be studied intensely over the next four to eight years.