Saturday, March 25, 2017

Meep-meep

   
 
     I came to awareness in a particularly mediocre time for children's cartoons, the mid-1960s. Huckleberry Hound. Beanie and Cecil. Magilla Gorilla. Not exactly art for the ages. Not exactly "Krazy Kat." The Flintstones wasn't bad—we didn't know it was a bald rip-off of "The Honeymooners." But it was on at night; intended for adults. People forget that.
     Luckily, there was relief, in the form of Warner Brothers cartoons. They had begun their lives in the 1940s in theaters, part of the elaborate set piece that was going to the movies, along with newsreels and travelogues and such, intended to pad the intervals between features. They had ended their useful cinematic purpose, and were now pressed into endless duty in the saw-dust floor vaudeville of Saturday morning VHF television. There they stood out like a Fabrege Easter egg set among plastic ones: funny, well-produced, fast-paced, artistic, mini-movies. They easily withstood being watched over and over and we did.
     Of course I was a Bugs Bunny fan, appreciating his mordant wit and detached style that at the time I didn't realize was lifted from Groucho Marx. The Road Runner tended to bore me, with its constant chases and desert dry locale and hardly any witty dialogue at all. The occasional boast or "ulp" from the inevitable loser, the sputtering mockery of "meep-meep" from the inevitable winner.
     But the cartoons did give us a classic trope, a metaphor, a stock character in the form of Wile E. Coyote or, as he would put it, in an arch, thespian voice completely at odds with his mangy, underfed demeanor, "Wile E. Coyote"—pronouncing it "Kie-oh-tay"— Genius." It was on his business card.
    He came to mind Friday afternoon, frozen in that eternal moment after he has grabbed at the Road Runner and plunged over a cliff, that instant where he looks at the viewer, his pupils dilating, before hurtling to earth with a twanging "Ptooooo," and then the Doppler effect whistle of a falling bomb.
    How very like the Republicans,  fulminating against ObamaCare for years, pinning their hopes on the liar, bully and fraud Donald Trump, grabbing at the prize, too crazed and egomaniacal for caution, then tumbling to earth at their own hand, with only each other to blame. The whole quest, a fervid revenge fantasy straight out of "Moby-Dick"—maybe Ahab would be a better motif for today, but let's dance with who brung us.
     The Republican replacement of ObamaCare was certainly a Rube Goldberg device on par with the elaborate Acme contraptions that our unfortunate canis latrans would uncrate and attempt to use to snare our his swift nemesis, inevitably with disastrous results.
    Wile E. was the definition of pride, going before a quite literal fall. As are Paul Ryan, et al. Swelled with the wealth of their business masters, and the power they wield, or could, if they could only agree, they view those who think otherwise, who, oh for instance, see the value of helping people get health insurance with such utter contempt, they are so certain, they failed to notice the American people tiptoeing out of their tent. Only 17 percent supported their American Health Care Act. They elected Trump to repeal and replace ObamaCare, not spike it and replace it with a thinly-disguised jackpot for the rich. The Republicans always insisted it would be replaced with something better, or at least similar. Not gutting the health care of 24 million Americans to put more money into the pockets of the wealthy, all for the chimera of "access" and choice, an obvious dodge that operatively was like a tyrannical father throwing his children in the street, explaining that he doesn't want them limited to the narrow range of choices in his poor larder, but is encouraging them to sample the cornucopia the world has to offer.
     Being geniuses, they just assumed the gullible public would just fall for whatever has they served and, I suppose, given the election of Donald Trump, they had good reason to think they might pull it off.
     Though if there is any moral here, the failure of the Republican efforts to pass their sham health insurance plan is a reminder that believing you're a genius and actually being a genius are two very different things.
     I don't want to treat lightly the national tragedy that is the Trump administration, nor the disastrous Republican Congress ripping up the planks of civil, decent, intelligent society. But this latest, biggest, most risible failure of a string of failures has to be encouraging to those of us in the fact-based world. To see Trump chortling, still, about the potential collapse of ObamaCare—something that could still happen, given the country is in their hands—you'd think he doesn't realize there are millions of American lives involved. And of course he doesn't.

 

17 comments:

  1. Of course Trumpcare failed.
    He bought from the Acme Corporation catalog!

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  2. LOVE the Wiley Coyite analogy! So vividly accurate.

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  3. I'm ashamed to have taken pleasure in the ineptitude of our governments bungling of this issue. the affordable care act is not functioning as intended. it needs to be tweaked and with the congress and presidency held by the same party this was an excellent opportunity to move in that direction. it seems to me whats needed is to push more young healthy people into the program by strengthening the mandate, so the premiums would go down for others. sorry to say but trump is right and insurance costs too much under the obama plan and the deductibles are so high theres very little coverage. i wish he would have went to the congress with a proposal to accomplish fixing that. but alas we are faced with people who are more concerned with solidifying their power than addressing the health care needs of the citizens. being stuck with obama care in its present form is better than losing it. i just wish it were better. as a self employed person with 3 children its a burden and not a benefit to have to buy it or pay the penalty.

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    1. "the deductibles are so high there's very little coverage." They are probably higher than desirable, but it sounds like you haven't spent a week in a hospital lately.

      Quite a good article in the last New Yorker explaining the economics of health care delivery, which Mr. Trump found recently to be more complicated than he had thought. The bottom line is that there is no "free market" (i.e. no government involvement) way to provide universal coverage.

      TE

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  4. You're so elitist Neil. The reason folks voted for Trump was they wanted an outsider, someone not controlled, beholden to and afraid of the media establishment. Trump talks straight to the American people. You know the ones that suffer from unchecked illegal immigration. Neil you are so out of touch and elitist. You are literally going INSANE because for the first time a president in this country doesn't have to govern within the parameters that the liberal elite has long established. Donald took all you on, with your dirty tricks and Global initiatives he told you right to your faces that you're controlling haters! Take a good look at yourself in the mirror and what you write your becoming an ALT Left radical. Everyone on this blog Look up a "Rain Man movie airport scene", that's Neil tapping his own head.

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    1. Good job, Michael. You've caught the Trump aura all right. Gross meaningless overstatements, braggadocio, nonsensical insults, even to the point of making fun of the disabled. You've got it all down pat. Great fun -- you were kidding, right?

      john

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    2. Don't waste your time, John. " No refutation necessary, this guy refutes himself. To view a politician whose central behavior is lying, and conclude, "Trump talks straight to the American people," well really, what weight could such a person's opinion carry? Of course he would view clear thinking as insanity. Sigh sadly and move on.

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  5. MF perhaps you also mean politicians not afraid of the Koch brothers not donating to them in the next election.

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  6. Had to chuckle at this morning's news that ads ran last night congratulating the Republicans on passing the new health care law. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/commercials-during-march-madness-mistakenly-thank-republicans-for-repealing-obamacare-040248664.html

    Patting themselves on the back a bit prematurely.

    Have to say, Michael Franklin sounds a lot more like the unhinged partisan that he accuses Neil of being than Neil does.

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  7. Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Franklin that a majority of Americans did not, in fact, vote for Trump.

    Tom

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  8. That guy's name cannot be Franklin! Limbaugh or Levin, maybe; he's just too ashamed to admit reality just reached down and slapped him in the face.

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  9. I thought the smug gloating by members of the far right, believing they actually would succeed in trashing Obamacare in favor of a thinly disguised bill to benefit the wealthy was pre-mature and evidence of their gross greed and misunderstanding of what the American people really want. Will they learn anything from this debacle?

    No. Like Wile E. Coyote, they'll continue to stand in front of exploding cannons, mowed over by speeding trucks, jumping off the cliff for their elusive utopian dream. I think Trump was relieved it failed. He can continue to trash Obamacare and the Democrats after conveniently escaping the far worse Trumpcare if Congress had succeeded in dumping millions from health care coverage.

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  10. A great new rules. https://twitter.com/billmaher/status/845509075924279296

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  11. Wile E. Coyote was chasing Road Runner because he was hungry, not for something silly like plumage for a hat or whatnot. I think the GOP is acting more like Marvin the Martian wanting to blow up the planet because it blocks his view of Venus.

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  12. "Wile E. Coyote was chasing Road Runner because he was hungry..."

    I never quite understood that though. The Road Runner looked like he wouldn't have a thimbleful of meat on him. I guess out in the desert, you take whatever sources of protein you can get.

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    1. I have to admit, I read that remark and thought it perhaps contains a bit too much liberal zeal. The coyote wasn't real. He was chasing the road runner because it was funny. In a cartoon.

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    2. Nah, no liberal zeal, just someone who's watched WAY too many cartoons, but I'm ok w that now ;).

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