An Adequate Mask

Mr. A is quite clear on the instructions for my funeral. No church, no hymns, no speeches about eternal life. It’s what I did in this one that mattered, so have a big party, make me sound nicer than I was, and keep doing the stuff that I cared about doing because that’s how you honor someone’s memory. I get that funerals are for the living, but all the ones I’ve been to lately, wasn’t a single person there comforted more by the droning sermons than by the party afterward, so throw the party and forget the sermons. Play the loudest music in the place and drink the good scotch. You know, like our wedding reception.

For God’s sake, talk about my work. There were years it was 90 percent of my waking hours, years it was 100 percent. It was important to me. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. It was the fundamental reason for my existence. Sure, you can talk about what I served at that one dinner party five years ago, I mean, if you want to, or about the way my hair frizzes when it rains. That might be fun. But you want to talk about me? Talk about my work. Talk about what I did, not about how much TV I watched or something. Jesus.

Let’s have at this for a moment. I fully understand why wingnuts raised the drumbeat over Wellstone’s funeral, over Coretta Scott King, even as Reagan’s remembrances shut down Washington for days. I fully understand their desire to not every have a single second of a single day in which they’re not dominating the conversation with their topic of choice. I fully understand the desire to wrench a moment of national mourning away and turn it into a bludgeon. That is, after all, where they eat.

What I don’t understand is going along with it on the Sunday shows and accepting their premise that politics is bad, politics is icky, politics is unseemly, politics should be somewhere else, other than around the funeral of the consummate politician of our age. I’d like someone to ask Chuck Todd who’s a master of this sort of crap, and David Gregory who eagerly deep-throats every Republican wonder-weasel that crosses his path, and Tweety who surely will be shaking with anticipation at finding a new faux-scandal to which he can beat his meat, I’d like someone to ask them why they as political pundits don’t want to see people engaging in politics. What exactly are people supposed to talk about at Ted Kennedy’s funeral? Muffin recipies?

It has somehow become repulsive to most of America’s political
reporters that someone be engaged in politics, be remembered for
engaging in politics, be talked about for their impact on politics. I
don’t know when “political” became code for “you don’t have to care
about this, it’s all just theater anyway, fuck it, gimme another
donut,” but somehow it has. Chuck Todd talks about prosecutions of
torturers as becoming “political trials” as if that’s enough to
disqualify the idea. Politicians can’t have their beliefs or adhere to
them passionately, that “just all politics.” And politics has no place at a funeral.

If one of you doesn’t show up at mine and quote from my endorsement of Chris Dodd for president, I will haunt you all, I swear.



12 thoughts on “An Adequate Mask

  1. I get the impression that Athenae, if she doesn’t get the right answer to the question “Do those asshole rightwingers really speak for you, J-Man?”, will kick him in the nuts.
    But, then again, I could be wrong…

  2. I’d promise you that the second line will be a thing of wonder but I am the old fart amongst us so get Scout to organize it. Start at the comnpound – the boys with do the boil

  3. I once though about writing the program for my funeral, and it would consist almost entirely of listening to my favorite classical music. But, then it occurred to me that I don’t hate people, so why make them suffer just because I used to enjoy some piece of music. Now, I’m at the point where I want something like my dad’s “viewing” turned out to be – a raucous party! Everyone was laughing and joking, telling stories about the past, renewing acquaintances with people not seen for ages, etc., and I would swear my dad was following every word, chuckling the whole time.
    So, that’s what I want instead of a funeral, and I most certainly will attend and laugh at all of the jokes. It’s not like there will be other parties for me later on.

  4. And I’m joining in, v-tex.
    I once thought I’d have Mr. BuggyQ show some bad pictures of me at my funeral, but there are just too damned many.
    As for Teddy, I believe that politics can be an extremely noble thing. When a politician makes it possible for more people of color to immigrate to the U.S., for example. Why wouldn’t we celebrate that as a part of that person’s life?
    If more people thought of politics as a possibly noble profession, maybe we could get some good shit done in Congress now and then.

  5. Hi A. WhatGene said:

    what’s really driving these jokers up the wall is economic and intellectual competition from the Internet: people with first-class minds and a passion for truth that some of them can barely remember.

    I’ll keep saying it: The writing here, at FDL, Hullabaloo, C&L, etc. is better than the writing on the Op Ed pages of NYT or (especially) WaPo. Better analysis, better choice of subject, less groupthink, less catering to the powerful, you name it.

  6. Okay, A., but only if the ferrets get to come to the party, too. We’ve been teased with pics and videos for too long not to get to enjoy them in person.

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