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.