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morford's back, back again

Mark Morford is back from vacation. Oh, how I missed him. Looks like he spent some time in Reno, contemplating how he could use the seedy, desperate throngs of fortune-seekers to vomit up another column about how ugly Bush's America is. Using his special Distorted Vision Glasses, Morford hit triple 7's on his left-slanted slot machine.

He starts off innocently enough, comparing Reno and all of its smoky casinos and its air of despair to Hell itself, rings upon rings of different versions of a netherworld where forlorn people stare fixedly at numbers and fruits waiting for the sound of the jackpot.

And then he digresses, of course.

Here is your metaphor. Here is your ideal and painfully real analogy. The dank and stained bingo room in the Sands, in Reno. This is exactly what is happening in this country. This is what we have become.

We have become a Bingo Hall filled with middle-aged desperados, smoking and lifeless and clinging to hope that our number will come up. I think.

Because it is but a short little spiritual/psychological leap to note how we all have our bingo rooms and we all feel that soft whooshing, that sinister tug from the demons of mass cultural stasis and inertia and noxious television and poisonous junk food and Wal-Mart and BushCo squinting and trying to look all fierce and manly when he can't even pronounce the name of the latest country we're about to massacre.

He's losing me at this point. Is Bush the bingo master and we are the gray-haired, lonely people sitting with bingo markers hoping that Bush calls our number? Wal-Mart! McDonald's! Bingo!

The bingo room is in you, always. It is latent and cancerous and it is like "Everybody Loves Raymond" or born-again Christianity or the Olsen twins, weirdly tantalizing and notoriously toxic and yet part of you wants to succumb to its poisonous charms, its slow-motion heart attack, its river of Lethe.

Ok, so the bingo room is America, right? And we love it like we love the Olsen twins and if we go with the flow of that love we get poisoned and....wait, I'm still lost.

Because in the bingo room, there is no pain. There is no suffering or political bickering or gutted school budgets or taxes or screaming breakups or bad sex or rampant lies about endless wars.

So, the bingo room is crack? No, that can't be it. I don't see what this has to do with Bush's America yet. But I'm sure Morford will get there eventually. Sometimes he just takes a few paragraphs too many to get to his point.

There is only the harmless shifting of numb buttock muscles, the marking of bingo cards, and of time. There are only the tiny but endlessly alluring cash prizes, the haze of menthol smoke, a makeshift community of lostness and decay and happy emphysemic stupor, that sinking feeling that it's all going to be over soon anyway so might as well just plop down and order another white zin and wait for your number to be called. Because it always comes.

Ok, I think I got it. America, you see, is a stinking hellhole of sadness and depression and Bush is, indeed the bingo caller. And we are all just numbly sitting here waiting for Bush to call our number and when he does we commit suicide.

No, that can't be it. Oh, I see it! America sucks and Bush is the reason it does so. And we are all just smoking cigarettes and drinking wine and eating fast food and ogling Mary-Kate and Ashley while we are waiting for Bush's America to kill us because he is responsible for all of our vices, we can just blame him for the fact that we are consumers and we like Big Macs.

All of this deciphering is making me hungry. Hang on while I get some coffee and a big, hearty, greasy breakfast from Burger King.

Ok, now that I've thought about it I realize my mistake in trying to analyze Morford, much in the same way that I realized my mistake about analyzing Ted Rall. See, no matter what Ted Rall writes or draws or spews out of his mouth on Bill Maher's show, it all comes down to the same robotic gesture: Bush stole the election.

With Morford it's the same but a bit different. No matter what he writes, no matter what comes out of that deranged, juvenile mind of his, no matter how many nicknames he comes up with for Bush or how many heavy-handed metaphors he finds to describe America, it all comes down to the same gesture: He does not know how to say "America sucks and it's all your fault, Bush" in less than 500 words.

But herein lies the difference between Rall and Morford; Morford can sometimes be amusing. Where Rall is often hateful, deceitful, arrogant and deliberately mean-spirited, Morford is almost silly. Rall's columns usually leave me with a feeling of digust and reaching for the Tums.

Reading Morford's columns is more akin to standing in the hallway of an elementary school and reading the essays tacked to the wall. You point and laugh slyly at how cute and innocent the children and their grammatical and spelling errors are. You grin at the simplistic views of the worlrd. You chuckle at their artistic renditions of family members.

Rall is the obnoxious high-school kid whose ass you want to kick down the stairs. Morford is the five year old daydreamer whose head you pat while giving a knowing smile to the teacher. He's special, isn't he?

Morford: The internet's version of the kid with the helmet.


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what a waste of a perfectly good helmet.

Both of these boys have no idea of the meaning of the words "personal responsibility". To these yankers, problems are always someone elses fault. Nothing worse than having to deal with underdeveloped, spoiled teenage boys. Perhaps they need to visit Dr. Phil.

I live to succumb to the poisonous charms of Everybody Loves Raymond. Hopefully I do so in a bingo room while BingoMasterBush hollers out for me to go to Walmart and buy a poster of the Olson twins.

Heh. Sounds like Morford writes great nightmare script.

Wow what a depressing worldview. I wonder how this moron can get out of bed in the morning?

I'm not exactly a fan of Bush but... come ON. Too far.

he can't even pronounce the name of the latest country we're about to massacre.


nope. pretty easy.

I don't get it. How exactly do you equate the apparently inevitable death of modern society to a Reno, NV bingo hall ?

This is the Reno strip, that by Morford's own admission hasn't changed one iota in 30 years. Seems to be quite a stretch to make that the equivalent of the end of the world brought on by TV, WalMart and BushCo. I can only deduce that we must now go into a 30 year holding pattern. That is, of course, if the Reno strip is about to implode. If not, then the 30 year holding pattern will continue and the end of society will actually be foretold by the implosion of the Reno strip.

So mark your calenders! Take the time from now until the end of the Reno strip, add 29 years, and you have the number of years before the apocalypse. I think, anyhow.

I like Sherard's nightmare script better :)

OMG, Michele!! I am sitting here in my cubicle cracking up! "The Internet version of the kid with the helmet." I'm sure glad I wasn't drinking coffee just now, I would have been squirting it out my nose!! Thanks for the morning laugh.

I thought it was well established that "Morford" was a program. At least, there's a fellow over at Bill Quick's place who generates Morfordiana with a Perl script. If it's that easy, why should the Chronicle pay a real live human columnist?

His head shot could be any of a number of mental patients I've known.

Damn. Do I need to get out more or what? Who are the Olsen twins? Who is Raymond and why does everbody love him?
Why does Morford worry about Bingo? if I remember my Kindergarten songs he was a pretty good dog.
Maybe I need to turn the TV on. Nah.

Francis - he's real enough. One day last year when I was desperate enough to email him to tell him I'd never in my life seen writing quite like his, and to not puff out his chest because I wasn't exactly paying him a compliment, he wrote me back and informed me that not only could I stick it up my own ass, but that he was a professor of linguistics at Berkeley University.

Certainly, that explains a LOT.

What the hell is Mark "short bus" Momford looking for in Reno? Oh, that's right, Vegas is tooooo disney for him. People like him are never happy anywhere.
Tip: stay in San Fran. You might not like the rest of fly-over america. Thank G-D.

You're really at your best when you take on Morford. You're like Hunter S. Thompson to his Richard Nixon.

Vickie reports:
[Morford] informed me that not only could I stick it up my own ass, but that he was a professor of linguistics at Berkeley University.

Berkeley University?? Where the hell is that? Yahoo's listing didn't have a Berkeley University in the US. A google search on the string "Berkeley University" coughed up a gazillion hits for UC Berkeley, whose linguistics department doesn't seem to know Mr. Morford.

Pardon me while I yawn with surprise.

He's probably a "professor" of "linguistics" at that "activists'" "college" we heard about a while back.

(Actually, forming "Berkeley University" would be fiendishly clever. A lot of morfords would mistake it for UCB. We could take their money!)

God, the media will put out any kind of trash, won't they? Maybe I should start my own column somewhere, I'd be the anti-Morford or something. I think some LOGICAL views ought to get out there in the mainstream sometime. Michele, maybe you should be our guiding light in this endevor (did i spell that right?) anyway, Great commentary Michele. Keep it up. :)

Personally, Moford's wrinting reminds me of a "numb buttock muscles."

Or maybe Moford himself.

Er..so a '70's-style bingo hall represents Bush's America. Never mind that Bush was partyin' down in Connecticut in the '70's; he was apparently a secret Vegas junky. Great bit of trivia, oh helmeted one.

And ol' Short Bus thinks Bush imposed his Bingorific vision upon all 280 million Americans, including the myriad of institutions that make up its fabric, in a mere 932 days. Apparently, Mr. Morford hates and envies GeeDubya's superhuman powers.

Professor of Linguistics? No, Mr. Morford, that's spelled L-I-N-G-U-I-N-I...

I love the snobbery of people who lament "what we've become." "We" this, "we" that... obviously NOT INCLUDING himself, his friends, his family, or anyone else who agrees with him. The passive, lumpen participants in America's ruin must therefore be: "all those other people."

Well, I sent him an e-mail telling him how idiotic that article he just wrote is. When/If he writes back, I'll post it in the comments section, if there is ever another post about this flake.

Angie! You are to cool for words!

Am I the only one that thinks it seems like he uses more words than he really needs? It's like he's trying so hard to be poetic and clever that the point he's trying to make is completely lost.. At least to me..

I wish everybody could just leave the Olsen twins out of all this.

Because I very much enjoy the Olsen twins. Everything they do. You might say I love 'em. Looooove them. Oooh, yeah, the Olsen twins.....

Anyhow, Morford's a dick for mentioning the Olsen twins.

According to Google, Jill P. Morford is a linguistics professor at the University of New Mexico. Sex change?

There's also a classics professor, specializing in mythology, named Mark Morford. He's not at Berkeley.