Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nice Beaver!

    I find Erica Jong's latest Huffington Post contribution hilarious to such an extreme, it may not be healthy. It's normal for ones stomach to contract a bit after a fit of laughter, but should ones entire duodenum actually ache? I always thought "side-splitting" was just a metaphor.

    We have two great candidates--one a hard working, never give up eager beaver, and one an inspiring, heart-leapingly brilliant stallion. Both have their merits.


    Okay, this is the beginning of the metaphor, and though it's kind of weird, it's not altogether inappropriate just yet. The phrase "eager beaver" does, in fact, exist in the American argot, and I suppose it could be used to describe Hillary Clinton. Though, for personal reasons, I tend to avoid thinking about Hillary Clinton and beavers at the same time.

    Then Jong sort of blathers for a while in a somewhat meaningless fashion, mentioning some of the GOP's most infamous crimes of the past few years. A sample:

    It's a rule of history that when an empire gorges on guns and forgets butter, that empire winds up on the scrap heap of history. Dubya could have learned this at Yale had he not been drunk or stoned all the time and figuring out ways to avoid going to 'Nam.

    Oooooh, snap! If this was 1999, that would totally have been in Bush's face!

    Back to beavers and stallions:

    The stallion makes heart-stopping speeches. And the beaver just beavers along. remembering how she won over upstate New York when everyone called that impossible. And called her a carpetbagger. And the stallion is drunk on his own rhetoric. Why not? It's great rhetoric.

    Okay, so...let's ignore the rather baseless charge made by this metahpor...That Obama (our stallion) is "drunk on his own rhetoric." Rather than slinging around an accusation like that, I think Jong should have to spell out what exactly this statement means. She's falling back on trite cliches (eager beavers, orators "drunk on their own rhetoric") to avoid specifics. It's poor writing and, to my mind, signals a mushy, shallow, inconsequential and largely uninformed opinion on the entire presidential campaign.

    But let's put that aside. How can a novelist not be able to discern the growing creepiness (and mounting absurdity) of her central metaphor? Metaphors are her m├ętier! Who ever heard of a drunk stallion? Can the word "beaver" be used as a verb to describe the activity of beavers? (Apparently it can, but I still say it sounds stupid.)

    We need beavers and we need stallions. Beavers get the work done. Stallions inspire us. And they both have limitations. Stallions have fragile legs (think Barbaro). And beavers are nothing without their teeth.

    What the fuck is she talking about? This metaphor no longer makes any sense at all. At first, it seems like she's abandoned all pretense of actually talking about animals, just using the terms "Beavers" and "Stallions" to stand in for "Clinton" and "Obama," and then she goes and makes a fucking obscure Barbaro reference. And what does the "beavers are nothing without their teeth" thing mean? That it's okay for Clinton to be ruthless because it's her nature, and that Obama is required to fold under pressure because it's his nature?

    It's not a matter of choosing between inspiration and hard work. We need both. We need to be inspired and then we need those who will never give up till they execute the inspiration. Any fool knows that. The Democratic Party ought to know it too. And the sooner they bring the beaver and the stallion together, the better off we'll all be.

    Again, what the fuck is she talking about? She seems to be demanding that Clinton and Obama run for president together (because Erica Jong, our spokeswoman, said so!) She doesn't deign to say who would be president in such a scenario, but based on the whole problem-solving industriousness vs. alcoholic frailty metahpor, it's not too difficult to guess.

    Americans are neither black nor white. We are all as mixed as Brazilians. We are a honey-colored race--with Africans, Europeans, Asians and Native Americans intermingled in our DNA. That's the glory of America...So let's stop talking about race and gender and let the beaver and the stallion both serve our country--in their own inimitable ways.

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

    Regardless of any intermingled DNA, race is still a very important, divisive and consuming issue in America. To dismiss it with a wave of the hand like this - "oh, we're all the same race anyway these days" - is offensive. And is it just me, or is it strange that the author of Fear of Flying is now telling us to "stop talking about gender"?

    [Hat tip: Walcott]

                      1 comment:

                      Cory said...

                      Thank you for bringing this idiocy to my attention. Speaking of idiocy - it's about time for another Worst Person Alive contest, is it not?