October 18, 2005
Shrub and Britney, Sittin’ In a Tree

It’s looking increasingly likely that Patrick Fitzgerald will indict Dick Cheney’s Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby. My guess is that he’ll name Dick Cheney himself as an unindicted co-conspirator. He won’t be able to prove Cheney’s complicity in the conspiracy, because the front men and women will refuse to rat on Cheney. But there doesn’t seem to be much question that the outing of a CIA NOC was orchestrated by the Veep, in part to cover his own behind for his pre-war lies, and in part because he despised the CIA for not being sufficiently pliable and war-like (read, “interested in Halliburton’s profit margin”).

The whole conspiracy, in other words, is unraveling. As emptywheel says,

I’m going to hazard a guess — that Judy Miller was involved in the conspiracy to cover-up the crime of outing Plame.

I suppose that means my speculation isn’t too far out in front of the CW. My claim is that Judy was involved in a much bigger conspiracy, to convince the American public to send their children to war on what the conspirators knew were false pretenses.

Which brings me to my current topic: what’s the difference between Britney Spears and George W. Bush? Britney knows she’s a tool.

Both are creations of ruthless, mindless, profit-oriented organizations. Both are living lies. Both put human faces on inhuman machines. Both are used by those behind them to steal. Both are essentially without talent other than that face they supply to their owners and manipulators.

Britney, like many popular musicians these days, has only one talent: her looks. (If you consider that a talent.) What does that have to do with music? Well, it relates to music in the same way Bart Simpson does when he joins the Party Posse. Namely, through the machines. You’ll recall, if you’ve seen the episode in question, that the Party Posse appears to be musically talented because the US military has supplied them with technology to cover for their inability to hold a tune.

This is an excellent metaphor for the phenomenon of boy bands and the conceptually similar girl groups. In search of stars-to-be, the record companies intentionally look for untalented performers because they’re easier to control. A person or group with talent — my current favorite example is Tool — is likely to turn on their no-talent promoters, who can’t make money without them. The power relationship is entirely otherwise with people like Britney and Justin: the promoters can pick anyone off the street, give them an Xtreme Makeover, hook up the machines, and have a hit, if you call the Backstreet Boys a hit. These days, you can have a gold album without even a decent voice, let alone song-writing capacity or the ability to play an instrument.

I claim this is also a good metaphor for two of the last three Republican Presidencies. You can make a case that 41, George H.W. Bush, was not an idiot. A scumbag, a thief, a traitor, Ronald Reagan’s Dick Cheney; but not an idiot.

But Reagan and Shrub? These guys are clearly without qualifications for a job that involves discriminating judgement, historical understanding, diplomatic finesse, or, let’s face it, intelligence of any sort.

So how did they reach the Oval Office? The same way Britney got her job: lack of any discernable talent. They could be controlled by the powers behind the throne. There was no chance of them asserting independent judgement.

One of Rome’s greatest inventions was concrete. Not only did this allow them to build amazing structures in locations far from useful quarries; it also allowed them to erect non-descript façades on palatial, even grotesquely grandiose, residences. On the street, the house looked like no big deal, certainly not worth the effort of plundering. Only after negotiating a maze of twisty little passages did one arrive at its treasures.

Two centuries, more or less, of internecine strife, resulting in the complete demise of all the great families of Rome, taught their successors the value of this lesson in the context of politics. This lesson was one of the few items of value that survived the fall of Rome. You can see its influence throughout the Middle Ages, and even in recent American history. Nixon? We can dump him; everyone hates him anyway. Reagan? He didn’t know about Iran-Contra. Realistically, would you have asked his advice? On any topic whatsoever? He thought he’d fought in World War II. Shrub? An obvious fake conservative. When was the last time he was either successful or accountable? He’s a face, a strut, not a leader or decision-maker. When Rove is indicted, who’ll lead the Boy Emperor to the bathroom?

So why is Traitorgate important? Says Kagro X:

Your right to call bullshit on this “administration” is worthless if Joe Wilson’s is.
Posted by Chuck Dupree at October 18, 2005 03:21 AM
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