It’s Not the Heat… – 5/30/2000

Lately I feel the way The New York Times looks on those days when the boys down in the print room don’t get the colors aligned exactly right. Fuzzy, out of focus, no crisp edges. Like I need some three D wraparounds to get things back in focus. The locus of my mocus is us, i.e., the US

I think I’m embarrassed.

It really hit me one Thursday after one Tuesday Science Times article chronicled astrologers’ discovery of a new galaxy, similar to ours, sun-centric with lazy circling planets. At first they had thought it was just a star, but in space objects in mirrors are closer than they appear, and it came up a full-blown, self-contained cosmos. The article was coolly objective, low-key, scientific for such terrific news. Not that I had been obsessively making mashed potato dioramas of it or anything, but I was quite cheered by the discovery of the presence of a sister solar system, something other than us.

Two days later on Thursday, there was an editorial column concerning the galactic discovery. It couldn’t even wait until the next Science Tuesday rolled around. The writer sniffed that despite the existence of another, ours is the best galaxy. He said we have a bigger sun, more and cooler planets. We’re 60% galactier! I was stunned. I thought maybe it was section creep and that some of the insufferable dot. smugness of Thursday’s “Circuit” section had seeped into the editorial page.

I swung my metal detectors back and forth several times over the editorial, looking, hoping for traces of the element of irony. No beeps went off in my earphones. No arrows moved on my dials. The writer had meant it. Here was another embarrassing symptom of our boundless imperialism, another manifest of our destiny — this time galacto-intolerance.

The intolerance is not always on such a large scale. Sometimes there are shocking micro-manifestations. As I was entering Riverside Park, in New York City, one afternoon, I saw a thirty something man notice the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt at the entrance way to the park. He stopped, looked more closely and then read the plaque at her feet. He glanced back up at her and as he continued on, he flipped her the bird.

Again, I was stunned. Perhaps Hillary Clinton should rename her New York listening tour “Ears Wide Shut.”

They say — and we all know who they are — that if you meet six idiots in one day that, chances are, it’s not them. It’s you. I’ll cop to my own intolerance. I have an excuse though. I’m a quart low on estrogen, and I don’t have time to flirt.

I’m sick of hearing about our incredible market, the wow of the Dow. I can’t imagine what other countries feel about our boom boom economy. The 49ers of the Gold Rush are now the 99ers of the I dot Rush and the new formula for energy is e = more crap squared. As soon as, or if, we get past the Y2K, Wall Street traders are going to be able to trade round the clock just like all the yahooing e-traders who are into Alan Greenspan worship. They’ll be running ticker tape out their butts. “Going postal” has been replaced by “going day trader”.

And not for nothing is it called a boom boom economy. Nothing like a good cleansing war to make the world safer for our products. We’re more interested in emerging markets than emerging democracies. Thanks to us, and our NATO pals, Kosovo needs everything from bridge spans to spatulas. And we need some more missiles and the planes to carry them. The Crisis in Kosovo brought to you by K-Mart and Lockheed/Boeing. We couldn’t be bigger bullies.

We are so dot.imperialist. Gentlemen, start your search engines, there was WW I, and WW II, and now there’s WWW III and the good old digital doughboys of the US Think Yanks are hooking up everybody to our machines. The shadow presidency in DC is nothing compared to the real power in Seattle. And did I miss something? Like a primary? It might be that Clinton Fatigue Syndrome or PMS [post-Monica stress] syndrome has flattened any outcry against the media’s pre-convention coronation of presidential candidates, but click here for more information about how domains have changed. I’m putting in a bid for separation of entertainment and state.

And while I was thrilled by the win of the Women’s World Cup, the gloss of nationalism’s face paint worried me. No up close and personals on any of our Chinese foes. Overreacting? Moi? Maybe, but nationalism’s handy tool of racism was all over the complete non-coverage of our African American goalie, Brianna Scurry, the only woman of color on the team, as she got her medal or, dare I say it? Won the final shoot-out. I suppose it was a mark of our national maturity, that after Brandi Chastain whipped off her jersey to show her black Nike sports bra and its world recognized swoosh, that the cameras did not immediately go to President Clinton chomping away in his skybox. What was he eating? It wasn’t crispy crow chips.

Kate “It’s not the heat; it’s the vapidity” Clinton is a humorist.