Friday, March 24, 2006

Krum, shotguns and hotel rooms

Krum, ninth-century Khan of Bulgaria. After defeating and killing the Byzantine emperor Nicephoros I at the Battle of Pliska in 811, he had his rival's skull made into a drinking cup. All in all, a more pleasant person than Dick Cheney.

Although I do comment on political affairs on this blog and have very strong opinions about them, I try to stay away from the character assassination that ones sees so often in blogs, right or left. My one exception is Dick Cheney, who has no character to assassinate. Disagreeable, secretive, corrupt, vulgar (remember his remark to Patrick Leahy on the senate floor), Cheney is positively Nixonian.

So I will turn to one of those curious bits of news that serve as fodder for late-night comedians and have little transcendence, but at the same time can be revealing. The hunting accident was like this. Perhaps Cheney was reckless, perhaps not. Perhaps it was an accident that could happen to anyone. The humor in the matter suggested itself: Dick Cheney "shot an old man in the face." If this had happened to other vice-presidents, there would also have been merriment. Al Gore would have explained the fault in an awkwardly wooden matter. Dan Qualye would be the butt of jokes focusing on both his intelligence and the many puns his last name would offer.

That it was Cheney, however, who "shot an old man in the face" was more suggestive and even metaphorically appropriate. It fits the mean smirk he carries on his face. The fact that he was hunting "wingless quailtards,"-- i.e., helpless birds raised for hunting and then released directly in front of fat old men armed to the teeth so that they can kill without any of the difficulty or discomfort that makes real hunting a noble sport -- is an excellent allegory for both his privilege and his attitude towards the use of armed force. His reaction to the accident was typical of the Bush administration: he did not tell the media, the secret service prevented an investigation, and there was no admission of responsibility until it was absolutely necessary. There was an attempt at a some kind of spin and cover-up, the attempt was incompetent.

Yes, I should have blogged about this when it happened. Sorry, grad school, different time-space continuum, you know. I did come across this item in the Times today. It seems that Cheney, like any good rock star, has his list of things he must have in his hotel:
All televisions sets in Mr. Cheney's hotel suite should be tuned to Fox News, all lights should be on, and the thermostat set at 68 degrees. Mr. Cheney should have a queen- or king-size bed, a desk with a chair, a private bathroom, a container for ice, a microwave oven and a coffee pot, with decaf brewed before arrival.

The vice president should also have four cans of caffeine-free Diet Sprite and four to six bottles of water. He must have the hotel restaurant menu, with a copy faxed ahead to his advance office. If his wife is with him, she should have two bottles of sparkling water, either Calistoga or Perrier.

For his reading material, Mr. Cheney should have The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and the local newspaper.

Pretty tame. No specialty M&Ms or anything like that. Jokes could be made about what should be on the list: cup of goat blood, pentagram on the floor, etc. What fascinates me most is the requirement that "all television sets... should be tuned to Fox News." God forbid he should be forced to watch anything else, even for the five seconds it takes to find the remote. He might actually find out how different the world is than that vision which is fabricated in the White House and then vomited up again on their TV channel. How telling these details can be.

I wonder what he uses the Times for.


Sandalstraps said...

I suspect he uses the Times to wipe his ass. (Comment meant to reflect his opinion, not my own!)

crystal said...

He is Nixonian ... When the (insert "vice") President does it, that means that it's not illegal. :-)