They So Crazy

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Unlike many on the Paranoid Left, I have never subscribed to Skull and Bones conspiracy theories. The "secret society" Dubya and Frankenkerry were in in college wasn't some world-ruling cabal, it's just a way for rich, repressed white guys to get the hot man-on-man spanking they crave without actually seeming gay.

But now I'm beginning to suspect that, above and beyond the hidden psychosexual issues exhibited by many arch-conservatives, they may be harboring something scarier - LARP tendencies.

Every once in a while, a small story makes the rounds about some group of right-wingers at the kind of elaborate ceremony that would make SCA-types cringe. Sometimes it's the Moonies, and sometimes it's just a swearing-in where Jeb Bush gives a guy a sword.

I must stress, as always, that I am not shitting you. Last week, in Florida, Jeb Bush swore in Marco Rubio as the state's Speaker of the House. So Jeb pulls out this big-ass gold sword, about four feet long, and presents it to Rubio with the following explanation. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society. I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down. I'm going to bestow to you the sword of a great conservative warrior."

Let's all pause for a second. If this is your first time seeing this quote, you may be shocked, horrified, or giggling hysterically at the latest example of the Bush family's apparently genetic insanity. If you HAVE seen this before, you'll still need a moment, because it's THAT FUCKING CREEPY.

But it gets better. A little poking around on the Internet reveals that "Chang", Jeb Bush's spiritual conservative warrior, is actually Chiang Kaishek, who ruled China before the Communists took over, then retreated to Taiwan.

Chiang Kaishek is pretty much your poster boy for Cold War conservatism. He was a bastard. Repressive, bit of a military dictator, but he was Fighting Communism, and since communism is the worstest thing ever, nothing Chiang did could be bad. The guy had an honorary degree from Bob Jones University, for fuck's sake. Though he wouldn't be allowed to date any of the students. The example set by Chiang repeated itself over and over again - the Contras and the Taliban being two primo examples.

"Unleash Chang" was, apparently, a freakish Cold Warrior rallying cry, symbolically referring to rooting out the commies and the leftists. By the time Jeb was growing up, it had morphed into a culturally-insensitive "get medieval on your ass", to the extent that George H.W. Bush would shout it during tennis matches. So Jeb learned about Chang from Daddy.

But here's where it gets a bit confusing, and everything hinges on the answer to one question. Does Jeb Bush ACTUALLY KNOW who "Chang" is? Is this "mystical warrior" Orientalist offensive bullshit a cover story, a wacky in-joke for the Manspanking Club, or is it actually the product of a Bush family bedtime story gone horribly wrong?

I can just picture it now - Jeb asking Daddy who "Chang" was, and Bush the Elder spinning a fanciful yarn about a mystical warrior who settled disputes with only his sword and his conservative principles to guide him. And decades later, as the Governor of Florida, Jeb is handing out swords to colleagues and retelling his sub-Captain-Planet version of 1950's geopolitics.

If I were Jeb's son, I'd spend a lot of time drunk too.