Sunday, June 8, 2008

yeah, it's over (for) now . . .

The Seattle grunge band, Alice in Chains, used to sing a little ditty, presumably about the hard road of addiction and the struggle to clean up, called "Over Now." I can't access Youtube here in Turkey (don't ask' it's political), but I'm sure you can locate the Unplugged version there.

On a related note, bowing to the inevitable, Senator Clinton yesterday "suspended" her presidential bid. This morning, I scrolled through a transcript of her speech, hoping for something worthy of at least riffing on, but paragraphs of Democratic boilerplate don't lend themselves much to riffing, and anyway, what's the point?

Clinton lost because, well, because she's Clinton, and her assets (as is true for most of us) are inseparable from her liabilities. She was the presumptive nominee a year and a half ago. This lent her campaign an air of inevitability, which both helped and hurt her. She's as plugged into the conduits of power as any Democratic politician, particularly a relatively new one, could ever hope to be. This, combined with Clinton's honest sense of herself, led her to run as the knowing, competent insider, but she faced a blank tableau on which the electorate could deny its anxieties and inscribe its dreams. In other words, Clinton's support was a tepid pool, about a mile wide and an inch deep, until finally, it wasn't even that. Of course, she also had Bill to contend with.

The Democrats could still lose in November. They've just passed through a primary contest in which to vote for one of the two contenders was to invite a charge of racism, whereas to vote for the other was to invite a charge of sexism. Welcome to American politics, 21st century style. We're all going to have to live with these rhetorical ploys, and a good bit more. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have self-destructive impulses rooted in their respective constituencies. Come November, I plan to keep my non-voting streak alive. I'll start voting when someone starts representing me.

Hillary Clinton may or may not be angling for the Vice Presidential nomination. But based on past behavior, she probably is. After all, old habits die hard, or not at all. Speaking of which, Layne Staley, Alice in Chains lead singer, composed not one but a string of songs, similar to "Over Now" in their oblique references to the torments of addiction. They make a sometimes strangely pretty, sometimes grim, sometimes doggedly hopeful chronicle of his attempt to wrench himself free from drugs. Then he died. Drugs, of course. Found in his apartment, partially decomposed, he weighed all of 86 pounds. No one had seen him for weeks. Staley contrived to check out on exactly the same day as Kurt Cobain had, eight years before (great career move, as somebody said of Elvis) but arguably he'd been dead for years. "Over Now" ends in the following, allusive refrain:

We pay our debt sometime
Yeah, we pay our debt sometime
We pay our debt sometime
Yeah, we pay our debt sometime

On the personal level, he was apparently right, but on the political level, let's hope he's wrong.

Lyrics to "Over Now" here.


TGGP said...

The J-Man disses Staley (somewhat innacurately) here. I remain a fan.

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