By The Stupid And Appalling
And Praises Chris Dodd
As Free Speech Fades, My Piles Grow
September 23, 2007
Last week I happened to watch - for professional purposes - a DVD of "Shooter," a fine motion picture starring Mark Wahlberg, who used to be a faintly ridiculous person named Marky Mark with a band called the Funky Bunch.
Today, Marky Mark is a truly fine actor and appears in important movies, which proves you can never give up on anybody. We may be only 20 years away from accolades for Britney Spears' insightful portrayal of Nora Helmer in Ibsen's "A Doll's House." I hope to be napping for most of the day at that point, with a blanket thrown over my knees on a porch that overlooks Penobscot Bay, but maybe somebody could gently shake my shoulder and wake me up and tell me I was right, if all that happens.
In "Shooter," Marky Mark plays a gunnery sergeant, a skilled sniper who eventually concludes he does not trust anyone and retires to a remote cabin in Wyoming with a dog and a laptop and a copy of "The 9/11 Commission Report." The report is prominently displayed with its familiar (to me) rust, white and blue cover. I chortled. My copy was sitting about 5 yards away from where I was watching the DVD.
You can tell that Marky Mark's character is new to this sort of thing, because he does not have little piles of other stuff around, which you need - even though everything is theoretically available on computers - because there's a certain process you have to go through when you stop trusting the government.
I will illustrate.
Today I'm in a weird state for which there is probably a complicated German word - anger and glee and resentment over having been correct about something that is nothing to be happy about. Come to think of it, I'm in that state about 80 percent of the time.
Last week's column concerned Avery Doninger, the Burlington high school student who used an unfortunate term (douche bag) about school administrators on her (essentially private) social networking page.
My argument was that Doninger's case was a douche bag in a coal mine or a canary in a douche bag. Even though it's insignificant, it's a placeholder for the larger question of what are we allowed to say in this country. We're not able to stop our government from doing stupid and appalling things, so all we've got left is the right to say how stupid and appalling they are.