Diary of a Mad County
Wednesday, Aug. 23
Finally get a look at the OC Post, the new daily tabloid "newspaper" from The Orange County Register. No Post story is longer than a few paragraphs, the Register having concluded (via focus groups) that OC residents are too busy to read the Register's eight-inch, color-coded examinations of Orange County ("Experts Agree: Everything Great!"). The Post makes clear its mission with its motto: "News Cut to Fit Your Life." So, basically, the Register is saying that the Post is for people whose lives are brimming with family, friends and activity, while the Register is for losers and angry loners; having read the Register's letters page, you'll know they're right on the mark. Short as the stories are, there's an emphasis on news you can use, you know, helpful stories about demons appearing on pennies in Canada along with other stories about Sudoku puzzles printed on toilet paper (only use this latter news once, please, and be sure to wash your hands). Who knows how the Post will do—frankly, I'm too busy to think about it—but the whole concept is based on a lie. The Register got its information from focus groups, and people in focus groups are notorious liars. See, when they say they're too busy to read, what they actually mean is they hate to read and would rather watch their news on TV. And when they say they'd rather watch their news on TV, what they actually mean is they would rather watch Cheaters, and when they say they would rather watch Cheaters, what they actually mean is they're addicted to Internet porn. And why would anyone want to read when Internet porn exists? Have you ever tried to read? It's awful and leads to bad thoughts. Hitler was a reader. So was Ayn Rand. So good luck, OC Post! I'm too busy for any more well-wishing. Gotta watch me some "TV." Maybe twice.
Thursday, Aug. 24
I'm on vacation but somehow find the time to read Dave Wielenga's version of "Diary of a Mad County" in today's OC Weekly. I don't think Dave did a bad job, no matter what those people said. I mean, "dreadful" is a strong word. And all this business of "He'll never be as good as you, Steve" and "You're so big and strong, Steve" and "You're the cutest, bossest, neatest guy around, Steve. Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me." Which reminds me: I really should file that sexual harassment complaint against Weekly editor Will Swaim soon.
Friday, Aug. 25
My daughter returned safely from Scotland's Fringe Fest, despite terrorists and George W. Bush. Thanks to reader John Sperish for asking!
Saturday, Aug. 26
Watch the new season of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, which comes with a twist: it's about good-looking teenagers talking about stuff. Someone tells me it's a whole new cast of idiots, but it's hard for me to distinguish this Algonquin Round Table from the previous Mensai. It's easy to say the show is about a bunch of vacuous kids raised by vacuous parents in vacuous, though beautiful, Laguna Beach. But there's some heavy subtext, a fact not lost on viewers. On iVillage, Molly from Tennessee argues that capitalism will ultimately eat itself, something she believes capital letters have already done: "i think the new Kristen will probably either be kyndra or tessa!!!so far I cant stand kyndra a cami….," she writes, discounting the classic Keynesian model. "I definitely dont have a clue why all the girls like cameron … ttyl." Kara of Atlanta offers a counter argument rooted in a narrow reading of Marx: "Kyndra wouldn't be so ugly if she wasn't so insecure and mean. She would however be fat. Cami is fat and ugly and not at all funny." This was, needless to say, hailed by fellow travelers, who chimed in that "is it me or did the girls in the new season of laguna beach get fatter less intelligent … cami and kyndra those are some gross bitches." But perhaps most perceptive was SA.M. of San Antonio, who correctly observed: "What the hell people?!? ! Does anyone actually know how to spell? Does anyone read what they have written before they post? Most of you sound like morons."
Sunday, Aug. 27
People are amazed to find out that George W. Bush is reading The Stranger, surprised Bush would find anything interesting in Albert Camus' existential tome that so famously begins: "Mother died today, or maybe it was yesterday, but she was fat and ugly and not at all funny . . . ttyl." I am not the least bit surprised that Bush would enjoy reading a story about a guy who gets his kicks killing nameless Arabs.
Monday, Aug. 28
Now here's a story from today's Register: "DANA POINT—A naked man asking for Jesus broke into a home here early Sunday and was quickly subdued by a baseball-bat-wielding resident." Yes! Police say they suspect the man was using narcotics. Really? What was their first clue? The fact that he was naked? Or looking for Jesus? Or that he said his life was so filled with family, friends and activity that he couldn't find the time to wear clothes while looking for Jesus? Or that he would go looking for Jesus in Dana Point?
Tuesday, Aug. 29
Perhaps after he finishes The Stranger, George W. Bush could add the Florida Baptist Witness to his reading list. The Witness quotes Bush gal pal Katherine Harris as saying, "If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin." Harris was apparently fully clothed when making the comments—thank you, Jesus! She is presently running for the U.S. Senate in Florida and doing such a bang-up job that the state GOP has asked her to get out of the race. Harris goes on to say that separation of church and state is "a lie we have been told" and that "God is the one who chooses our rulers." Now, if Harris, who looks increasingly like Leona Helmsley, knows anything, she knows lies. You know, like the one she hears every morning from her staff when they say, "No, you don't look completely out of your mind." Now, this is all fun, but consider this: If Harris really does believe this stuff—if she really does believe God wants born-again Christians as our "rulers"—then certifying an election you know to be rigged isn't lying, is it? It's following a higher truth. Well, as Camus observes in the last line of The Stranger, "Thank God everything worked out for the best." I think we can all agree on that.
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