Voluntary immersion in contradictions of all kinds
It is the solemn responsibility of intelligent people to wrestle with contradiction. The month of May has served up a heaping load of contradiction while the Reasonable Reporter was busy with other things, not the least of which was exploring the inherent contradictions in police work and motherhood, for a news series on female cops with kids.
Contradiction #1: As that work was being done, a woman who operated quite outside the law chose to end her life, rather than go to prison. The suicide of D.C. Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey should have served to spotlight the nation’s schizophrenic public attitude toward the oldest profession. But it didn’t. Since we began to glorify ourselves by identifying and taunting hypocrites, news organizations are no longer occupied with analysis of victimless crimes.
A notable feature of Palfrey’s legal battle was the publication of phone records which were presumed to contain the identities of many high-profile Beltway customers. (While it yielded few that were considered “newsworthy” it caused some johns to scramble to the phone and order their attorneys to negotiate ways to keep their names quiet.)
Meanwhile, there are American cities where powerless, ordinary-citizen-johns are publicly humiliated through a program that publishes their names in newspapers, and forces them to pay money to attend federally subsidized “john school.” In john school, the customers are educated about the dangers of buying sex on the street. In some of the cities — the Planet San Francisco for instance, where political enlightenment dictates the designation “sex worker” rather than prostitute — the johns are chastised by former sex workers for the psychological harm their patronage causes the women. Sounds almost sexy, doesn’t it?
Did any of the late Deborah Jean Palfrey’s johns advocate, administer, or vote for the federal funding that pays for john schools? This contradiction has not been explored, and Palfrey’s suicide went rather unnoticed, as sex-and-politics stories go.
Contradiction #2: Hillary Clinton is offering up some finely-crafted contradiction, promising simultaneously that she will never give up the fight, and that she will support the nominee, implicit in which is that she will not be the nominee.
This seems to sum up a longstanding Hillary Clinton dilemma. She is the alpha dog who isn’t free to fully express her alpha-ness.
Recall the soft entry, with the chatty living room video and the pink suits. At Nevada caucus appearances, everyone who introduced Hillary or who spoke on her behalf reliably followed this three-part formula: Didn’t know her and I had no opinion of her. Then I met her, and was surprised by her intelligence. Oh, and I was really taken with how nice she is. She’s really nice. Really, she is.
The focus on nice was necessary, since Hillary was not considered likeable, and was generally not known for being nice.
Why didn’t they know what the rest of us smart girls know? It is not possible to be both the smartest girl in the class, and the most popular girl in the class. There are plenty of smart girls who can testify that nobody has ever pulled it off. The smart girls inside the campaign should have figured this out much sooner.
Hillary has gone from nicer-than-we-could-have-imagined, back to tougher- than-everyone-else. She broke down and cried in New Hampshire. Four months later she was touted in Indiana for having testicles. (The testicle talk was quickly put on ice, you should pardon the expression. It was just too amusing to be of any help.)
Contradiction #3: Apropos of nothing, except for voluntary immersion in contradictions of all kinds. iTunes has made it possible to spend a dollar and own a single song by an artist whose broader repertoire is not of any interest.
The Reasonable Reporter is not and has never been a fan of Bruce Springsteen. But as a student of audio production, she is prepared to credit him with one of the most perfect pieces of music ever produced, recently rediscovered through the miracle of iTunes.
For anyone who’s forgotten, and for anyone who’s never heard it, Tunnel of Love is a study in contradiction, swirling and bubbly on top, suggesting the ecstatic giddiness of being swept into love. Beneath the top tracks, there’s a strength and consistency that supports the song’s lyrics, which lay out the maturity and commitment required to stay in love once you’re up to your neck in it.
All the while, every sting and strain and guitar strum on every track is clear, and the song is subtly punctuated with the sounds of carnival rides. Subtly punctuated, she repeated.
In two decades since the song was produced, multi-track production technology has become so simple, anyone can do it. But nobody is engaging in this kind of artistry. Check it out, you can’t beat it for a buck.Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized