20 December 2006: Graeber’s Latest Rant

Logic missing from Graeber’s latest rant

“Your Majesty!”

Sipping a 12-year-old Scotch at a local pub, I was wonderfully surprised to see my old friend, Joe Soccer Dad.

“Joe, how have you been?”

“Very good,” he replied. “Took some time out from writing. Cruised the back roads to New Mexico in my ’68 Cougar, trying to re-connect with the essence of my being.”

“Good for you,” I responded. “Guess it’s been a bit of a tough road with Suzy moving on.”

“Au contraire. Suzy Six Pack and I have been good of late. But I hear you’ve become quite the celebrity in Clear Creek.”

“So, the reason for the ‘Your Majesty’ greeting?”

“Of course,” he smiled with warmth. I could see he was enjoying the moment and the tease.

“Sooz and I read Steven Graeber’s column last week. We were quite pleased with your coronation. Richly deserved, by the way. I’ve studied Plato’s ideal of a philosopher king. Naturally, it’s fraught with danger, but then, considering all, who better to be king than a level-headed, impassionate, compassionate, fair-minded individual who doesn’t look at issues from a what’s-in-it-for-me perspective? But, King Fabyanic is too cumbersome. It’s sort of like calling Queen Elizabeth, ‘Queen Windsor.’ King Gerald has a more regal ring to it, don’t you think?” he winked.

“I’m flattered,” I rejoined. “But no royalty in my blood. As you know, I’m one of 13 kids. When Dad died, I was three, and what we had, we scraped for. Mum was a no-nonsense, knock-you-upside-the head type, as she had to be. We grew up appreciating life’s little pleasures though, like home-baked blackberry pie Mum made from the berries we kids picked crawling through the briars.

“Steven calls me a master wordsmith and accuses me, nevertheless, of being an elitist. I don’t get it.”

“It just means you can not only read and develop your intellectual positions independently, but you also have the ability to string a line of words together to convey a coherent thought—it’s called, I believe, a sentence,” he chuckled. “Conservative writers like George Will that do a good job with the turn of the pen are becoming an endangered species. So, it’s not surprising that righties respect your writing despite disagreeing with your positions. They read so little well written stuff from their side.”

Just then we heard four loud v-rooms, and within a minute, in strode Suzy Six Pack, head to toe in leather.

“Bud draw!” she barked and turned to me. “My Liege,” she curtsied and then swept me from my stool in a gigantic bear-hug.

“Sooz, you can stop with the sarcasm,” I pleaded.

“Oh, it’s not sarcasm. Hey,” she went on, “this Graeber is off his rocker. I mean, ever since November 7, the whole rightwing has been going ape doo-doo. They can’t believe they got their butts kicked. The whole peck of them is becoming unhinged more and more like Ann Coulter.”

“But Steven,” I tried to point out, “is a good guy. OK, he gets a bit carried away with his folksy, down-to-earth schtick, but…”

“Folksy, bullcaca!” she belched after draining her mug. “Do you remember how he called for hanging for treason anyone opposed to Bush’s Iraq stupidity? By my count, that would be now about 225,000,000 Americans with 75 percent of us against Bush according to the latest polls. And, remember how he suggested laying landmines along the border and using helicopter gun ships to shoot unarmed peasants crossing the desert? That’s even outdoing Tom Tancredo!”

“Ooo, I forgot about that,” I said.

“Jeb Bush called Tancredo a nut,” Joe reminded us while sipping his Merlot.

“Nut, hell,” said Suzy. “These right-wingers give nuts a bad name. Walnuts, peanuts, pistachios—they’re good for your health, but these ‘nuts’ are downright psycho. Graeber insists on protecting junk under the guise of the Fourth Amendment. Look, even a ninny can understand the fourth is about unreasonable search and seizure, not about accumulating junk. It reads, ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’ I don’t think Madison had someone’s rusting scrap heap in mind when framing that line.”

“What bother me,” added Joe, “are the inconsistencies and non-sequiturs in the article. His leaps in logic are astounding—like how he tries to argue your support for the Domestic Partnership initiative and your desire for people to clean up their trash as contradictory.

“But speaking of junk,” he went on, “recall how he wrote Trans fats are good for you. There’s the key to his argument: junk—junk food and junk science add up to junk thinking. So junk in peoples’ yards makes perfect sense. In its own way it makes sense.”

“Really?” I asked trying to fathom the logic of that matrix.

“One more thing,” said Sooz, “Graeber says he voted for both Libertarians and Greens. Those two groups can’t agree from which side of the earth the sun pops up. Sounds like someone who’s a bit confused,” she said as she lifted her eye while rolling her finger around her ear.

“Never one to mince words, Sooz” I confessed.

The three of us got lost in our thoughts for a moment.

“Have a warm Solstice, Your Highness, and wish your readers that and Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah for me in your next piece,” she smiled downing a second mug. “At my limit when on my hog. Gotta run anyway. Over-the-Road Dan will be pulling in in a few.”

“Peace,” I said as we hugged, looking curiously over her shoulder at Joe Soccer Dad who, with pen in hand, had found a copy of the NY Times Sunday crossword.

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