Nov 7, 2012

The real real America --- reblogged

Paul Krugman writes on his blog:

So, for a while there during the campaign it seemed very iffy. But in the end, discipline and being on the right side of the issues prevailed. Yes, Elizabeth Warren won! Oh, and that guy Obama too. Tomorrow — or I guess today — comes the cleanup; when thousands, perhaps millions, of right-wing heads explode, it makes quite a mess. Also, notice that the polls were right. I wonder if I can get invited when Nate Silver is sworn in as president? OK, somewhat more seriously: one big thing that just happened was that the real America trumped the “real America”. And it’s also the election that lets us ask, finally, “Who cares what’s the matter with Kansas?” For a long time, right-wingers — and some pundits — have peddled the notion that the “real America”, all that really counted, was the land of non-urban white people, to which both parties must abase themselves. Meanwhile, the actual electorate was getting racially and ethnically diverse, and increasingly tolerant too. The 2008 Obama coalition wasn’t a fluke; it was the country we are becoming. And sure enough that more diverse and, if you ask me, better nation just won big. Notice too that to the extent that social issues played in this election, they played in favor of Democrats. Gods, guns, and gays didn’t swing voters into supporting corporate interests; instead, human dignity for women swung votes the other way. A huge night for truth, justice, and the real American way.

And while we are at it, here are a few lines from Chapter 38 of our Green Eyes, helpfully titled "What's Paul Krugman's penis size":

I see two tables cleared next to the central window on the street side, these would be very good tables indeed, when I realize two people to my left, having replaced the fat guy in the meantime, I've seen the face of the man somewhere, on my blog, actually. We're famous in Georgia Beach, serious, folks. Will I tell Trevor? You think Trevor would be interested  in politics, or the New York Times, or economics, or Nobel prices? Possibly not --- you have other problems when you're a confirmed bachelor without a future. Trevor, in any case, who must be looking right into the eyes of Paul Krugman behind me, Trevor shows no signs of recognition what-so-ever, it's crystal-clear, he's not attracted to the fifty-nine year old Nobel laureate.

In the distant past, when penises had average size, there was some talk in some quarters that IQs could be sexy, but we have proof now that Krugman either does not look his IQ or that IQs are out. What's Krugman's penis size? Krugman, I realize, is drinking sparkling water, which is actually penis-enhancing, at least in the sense that alcohol induces impotence. That's what I should do, drink sparkling water, do they award Nobel prices for French? Should I raise my voice a bit so that Krugman could hear me and admire what I have to say about the Normans and their conquest of the Anglo-Saxon tongue? Where am I now, 0.13 BAC? Did you know that French has more words for booze than English? Or vice versa?

Our tables are ready, Trevor and me at one of them, Krugman and his wife (happy marriage, I guess) at the other one, Krugman and I seated back to back. Krugman has his tweed jacket draped over his shaker seat, whereas I have not since it's not my seat and I don't own a tweed jacket.  It's clear, I'm going to blow this unless I change tack, so I am making a major effort, think of Alice, succeed, and order sparkling water. I have taken the tab with me, but Trevor doesn't know what's on it, it'll blow his expense account, he'll get fired, and Charles will get killed.

Paul Krugman

"Did you have a chance to think about Hercule Poirot?" I ask.
"Yes," he says.
"What do you think?"
"I think nothing," he answers as he is being handed the menu, which requests his full attention for  the obvious reasons (too large, too wordy, printed in RSVP font). We're both going to have lupo di mare, the waiter casts a benevolent look. "May I remind you of Sherlock Holmes' dictum," Trevor continues post-menu, "and avoid theory-forming prior to fact gathering?" I start to like Trevor more (although Krugman, at the other table, would inform you that theory-less fact-gathering will drown you in trivia, but never mind).
"Why did you block us this morning?" I ask.
"Did I," he answers.
"It was fairly clear."
"I think I was fairly clear, too," he answers.
"I don't understand."
"You should be intelligent enough to understand my position," he answers, "how many hints did I drop? Did you listen to my introduction, did you listen to my extroduction? I almost could get fired for this."

'Extroduction,' I think, great, he's one of us (I later realize that the Urban Dictionary had the scoop in 2009), but am eager not interrupt the flow of conversation, say instead: "I took them at face value."
"We take the side of the victims, which means you should never take us at face value."
"Bodies are piling up," I say, lowering my voice, although I possibly should raise it if I want to force the DA's hand.
"Charles is still alive," he says.
"Listen," I say, "where have we seen this before, a hospital patient is practically murdered with his own pillow by a police officer on a rampage and nothing happens."
"But the patient had sex in a public space before."
"That has nothing to do with it."
"What do you think Peach State voters care more about, Charles' death, or his lewd behavior?"

I'm fairly speechless, I thought I've seen it all. "You want to know what I think, " he says, "I think a lot of murders go undetected. My personal theory, five percent of the bodies in the morgue, they are there for extraneous reasons, pillows, weedkillers in a broth fed to an Alzheimer patient, electrocutions, what not. Don't think your case is special. One percent of the American population is already in prison. You want to add another five percent?"
"So you're actually not pursuing Dick Benson because you want to save America?"
"Look at it any which way yo want."
"Could you make an exception for us?" I ask --- the way Charles would have asked this himself.
"Depends," he answers --- that's what I wanted to hear, us escorts are always ready, and I really don't want to split the bill --- but then he continues: "depends, but not only on me. Indictment decisions at homicide level, they are made by the DA, who answers to the voters, not to me."
"Does Hunsbruck actually know about this?"
"You think he wants to know?"
"He's in charge."
"Exactly, so why should he. Credible deniability, or whatever it's called. You think I'm going to risk my non-career by telling him about this? I would force him to say 'I don't want to know,' or 'let's move on,' and he hates to say 'I don't want to know,' he really hates it, although he actually likes to say 'let's move on.' Don't you see he's the recipient of the Trumpet Award? The youngest DA in the history of the world? The youngest governor in the future of the world? You want to get into the way of a rising star? Be my guest."

I shouldn't be speechless, I know. Anyhow,  the catfish is being served, we have a break. It's Howard who's drinking now, the first bottle of Chablis is already empty, a second has been ordered, and it doesn't help at all that I've become abstinent under the influence of my hero at the next table who drinks Perrier and knows nothing of me. Should I make a pass at Krugman? Ask his wife whether there is some space in their marriage --- 'there are three of us in this marriage,' she could say unexpectedly from table to table and point to the empty chair between her and her husband as if this were a play by Pinocchio, no, not Pinocchio, what was the name, Ionesco, right. Must tell Lady Dy.

The food looks great and the catfish (how did this beast jump from "wolf" to "cat" when it crossed the Channel?) is soft and juicy and goes extremely well with the sparkling water. I'm already considering a new career as fish-eating, temperist, although I would have better done helping Trevor with his second bottle (and third), we'll soon see why.

"What can we do then..." I ask, one of my better lines tonight (and only the washed-up scriptwriter would have dared to let him answer: '...go to bed now,' but doesn't do so at this juncture since we're really not yet done because Trevor first has to say:)
"I can't promise anything." He'll place a phone call to Dick Benson tomorrow, and will try to get a message across, although he doesn't know yet what the message will be. So that's it, sex for a horse, a phone call for a country.

I'm getting more sober, Trevor is getting more drunk. A third bottle has already arrived. Robin, Krugman's wife, takes note and whispers to her husband. Krugman, who always thinks nobody recognizes him anyway, Krugman turns around discreetly and wipes his loosely hanging jackets off the shaker seat (in the process). The tweed thing falls on the ground, one sleeve drapes over my sneakers. I pick it up, hand it to the grateful NYT columnist, and say "I know you, I know you, you are, wait, you are writing for the New York Times..." --- Krugman patiently waiting --- "you are the guy who wrote 'The world is flat,' you are Thomas Friedman."

Krugman, to whom this has happened on numerous occasions, if we can believe his blog, Krugman is not amused at all. He grabs his jacket, turns around, and ignores me forthwith. Fail, John, fail.

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