Thursday, March 03, 2005

3 March 2005

The Paramount
My sympathies - obvious from the post below - apart, I was thrilled to see on the C-SPAN feed scans of the great hall that used to be the Paramount, the favorite movie palace of my youth. It was the biggest theater in town (I think - the Orpheum must have been close; it had a gargantuan balcony). The Paramount combined a mirror-and-marble foyer, at least 3 floors of dim, overstuffed lounges, grand and obscure paintings in huge gilded frames, and the adult stink of smoke and perfume in every fiber of horsehair and velvet. The hall itself was deep and dark and huge, all indirect lighting and an illusion ceiling, encrusted and lumenescent. Gigantic pendant lamps hung from it, to the side, unlit monsters (what if they dropped on you?). It was fucking great.

I'm glad it hasn't been torn down, like the Orpheum, or the Fox, but all that luxe has been dumped and the mystery replaced by a coat of nougat - hard, beige, unforgiving. I would likely have grown up to find it worn and dowdy and in need of fumigation, but I miss it.

Find Me a Primitive Man
Reviewing the Dean/Perle debate in Portland two weeks ago, so far still available on C-SPAN stream, I find the blow-by-blow (and even that comical interruption from the saboteur in the audience, which pretty much everyone seemed to have found amusing) less interesting than the rhetorical strategies of the principals. Perle is as unctuous and repellent as always (he recalls Mailer's description of Nixon as "oil on a scallion"), and it matters not at all that he admits that the facts on the ground in Iraq aren't what he had hoped for or predicted - there is always another threat, here tailored to his Pacific Northwest audience, of North Korean nukes pointed at their heads. Terrorists, still, must always have state support, and therefore states in which there are terrorists are supported by those states and those states are our enemies and need to be taken out, taught a lesson, kicked in the teeth, none of which actions Democrats, since my days with Scoop Jackson, may he RIP, have had the balls to back. All very smooth and compelling, until you recognize that it's built on pure assertion, and mendacity
Dean, in his introductory statement, lacks that practiced smoothness, but he punches back. Dems have not neglected defense in any ideological way, and Bush policy, on manifold levels, has weakened US influence - militarily, economically, politically, morally - but we are where we are. It is
"[f}oolish for those of us who opposed the war to somehow spitefully hope that things go wrong" in Iraq, in response to the recent elections. There are wobbles and corrections, but Dean hammers his best points, and he shines in the subsequent Q&A. Dean is not an orator, he's a battler, and he does best when he has an opponent - the combat keeps his responses crisp, and against an oily bastard like Perle he can punch through the practiced song.

Perle just cannot give up his fear-mongering in these settings - not only is that missle pointed at your head, but your Democratic (thanks god he doesn't use "Democrat") Party reps have helped to target it. While he will admit miscalculations in the Iraq War, he still expects Bush to be honored in some future Iraq, in which everyone will have come to their senses. Would the world desired to be members of the Rational Club on whose board Richard Perle sits.

Therefore, I say:

Find me a primitive man,
Built on a primitive plan.
Someone with vigor and vim.
I don't mean a kind that belongs to a club,
But the kind that has a club that belongs to him.

And that's The Doctor....

No comments: