Saturday, October 13, 2012

Separating Out

Before the great realignment of the 60s and 70s, the two worst segments of American society, the Southerners and the plutocrats, were in opposite parties. Now the racism and ignorance of the former has joined with the egotism and relentless greed of the latter to produce today’s GOP.  This bad outcome has been clear for some time, but perhaps it is less obvious that something similar has taken place in the area of religion. In the past, both the Protestant and Catholic denominations were a mixed bag of progressive and retrogressive tendencies, but the current religious scene features two dueling ecumenical groups. The religious split that matters in contemporary America is no longer between denominations but between right wing and liberal religiosity. We were far better off when the Southern Baptists were still denouncing the Jews and the Papists. Now that the authoritarian and obscurantist strains of all faiths have drained into the lowest swamp of the American spiritual landscape, rational believers and unbelievers alike have to confront a monster holy army.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Road Limericks

On a long drive to Los Angeles I got bored enough to compose some limericks in my head. I suppose this exercise in free association reveals something about me; but since it was random things I saw out the windshield that inspired these stinkers, maybe I was actually psychoanalyzing I-5.  Hegel claimed that the sciences and other human institutions constituted what he called Objective Reason. This is my contribution to Objective Nonsense.  

Said an auto mechanic in Texas
As he sexually assaulted a Lexus,
“I don’t mean to hurt her
Catalytic converter;
But, damn! That’s the gadget that checks us.

I confess I’m nonplussed for the nonce.
I’ve forgotten the meaning of sconce.
I believe that “soigné’”
Means “billboard” in L.A.
And guess that a “prelate’s” a ponce.

“My dreams have evolved, “ he said jovially,
“In lieu of evening with Bovary,
I’d bugger Gumby
In the back of a Humvee
While whistling Donna e mobile.

The governing rules are cuckoo
From Peoria down to Peru.
It makes scarcely a ripple
When a man bares a nipple,
But the feminine tit is taboo.

There’s a winsome young lady in Dallas
Who’s the cure for a flexible phallus.
I don’t mean to nag you,
But you won’t need Viagra
If ever you chance to see Alice.

I disdain ordinary disease.
It’s recherché ailments for me:
Or a prurient interest in bees.

“You gals should be grateful,” said Fritz,
Repeating one of his favorite bits,
“As I’ve told you all oft,
Your bras would fall off
If God hadn’t given you tits. “

Though it’s proving a difficult sell,
Reagan’s trying to privatize Hell.
Each bankrupt corporation
Once found in our nation
Is lobbying Satan as well.

No one’s happy about senility
With its various over-the-Hillites,
Yet I find that Alzheimer’s
Much worse for us rhymers
Who are stumped at the end of the verse.