Complaining about about right-wing hypocrisy and the pecadilloes of public moralists is like complaining about the heat in July or the snow in winter. I am concerned here with what happens as they fall down the other side of the Wheel of Fortune.
Twenty years ago, a friend of mine had a niece who was just beginning a career in entertainment. My friend was concerned that "the little shit" should be careful whose hands she stepped on as she was climbing the career ladder, because she'd be needing them if she ever slipped and fell down. Despite the odds, her niece has made a living in the arts for the past twenty years; any failures were moderated by other triumphs. I've fallen out of touch, and never heard anything more about the niece's backstage behavior towards housekeeping staff and the spear carriers, but if her career collapses, I'm sure she has a place to sleep.
When I was a janitor, I knew more about the people whose offices and toilets I cleaned than they knew about me. Some I could have embraced as friends; there were others I wouldn't have pissed on if they were on fire.
Now Ann Coulter faces felony charges for voting fraud. There's always been an age discrepancy on her driver's license (unless she voted at the age of 16 in 1980), but now according to a Florida election official's incident report, she tried to vote in a precinct she wasn't registered for and then tried to vote twice in the same race, a no-no loaded with 5 years in prison and a fine. The part of me that feels a little sorry for Malvolio at the end of "Twelfth Night" says this can happen to anyone. I myself have a phobia against filling in forms. If a form requires that I attach other forms, I panic, hide the form under other forms, withdraw into a corner of the room and go into shock like an animal caught in a trap. ("Tharn", the rabbits called it in Watership Down.)
Let her fill in the forms and forget about it, I say. Arthur Anderson, the Palm Beach County elections supervisor, agrees: "We want to give her a chance. She needs to tell us where she really lives." Do as I do-- ask a friend or relative to talk her through the process, promise her a treat when it's done. This is why we pay other people to fill in our tax forms. I assume Miss Coulter became successful not for fame or better restaurants, but so that she could hire a secretary to handle the forms. If it all turns to shit for Miss Coulter, I'm curious to see who her friends turn out to be; she has made a career out of bashing people lower than herself, and they might be the only friends she has left. If she gets tossed into the tank, she might want to rethink her mockery of anti-apartheid activists, her call for a New McCarthyism, and "I think the government should be... engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport... and sending liberals to Guantanamo." All I'm saying is, if I were a Harvard professor or a liberal Supreme Court judge, and Ann Coulter had called for my murder, I'm damned if I'd chip in for her bail.
The president of the National Association of Evangelicals fessed up to buying amphetamines and three years of monthly "massages" from a gay prostitute. The circles I travel in would say "to each his taste" and shrug, except that the fellow is a prominent gay basher with a wife, five children, and a 14,000 member megachurch.
Republican Jim Gibbons in Nevada is having a very bad week including attempted rape, a $300 bar tab (oh, THAT'S only going to get more expensive), and millions in no-bid sweetheart contracts for friends. All of this could just be a wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time story, except this is a guy who screams about illegal immigration but hires an illegal for eleven years, then drinks for two hours with a 12-top, spends $300 and leaves a ten-dollar tip.
Republican Congressman Don Sherwood, a married, "family values" conservative paid $500,000 to his mistress if she would just shut up about the strangling incident until after the election.
When my own life hit a rock, it was instructive to find out which of my friends stayed true, while others dropped me as a bore and an inconvenience. One of my "closest" friends couldn't see me because he didn't want to miss Adrienne Barbeau's nude scene in "Swamp Thing". Ordinarily I would sympathize with this excuse, but damn, man, rent the video.
This was not long after he'd taken a management job and started dropping me for golf dates with new friends he openly described as people important to his career. "Le affaire Barbeau" involved an invitation to watch the film with the movers and shakers. None of them were at his funeral. Another friend-- that I might have judged in our first acquaintance as superficial, overly-concerned with bourgeois social propriety-- lent hundreds of dollars with a bohemian indifference as to when I paid it back. "Thus the whirligig of Time," Feste tells Malvolio, "brings on its revenges." We never learn what Malvolio did to Feste to inspire the feud between them; we do know Malvolio could not call upon his friends when he fell from grace because he had no friends.
I envision a day when Guantanamo Bay is packed with every gay, liberal, homeless, black, lesbian Harvard graduate, Arab, elite intellectual, cock-sucking, muff diving, dope smoking, Communist, Socialist, titty baring, Muslim, French, porn-loving, wine-drinking, Bush-hating, flip-flopping, anti-Semitic, Times reading, rap-singing, terrorist-sympathizing lawyer in the country. In that post-apocalyptic America, Ann Coulter is about to be groped by Jim Gibbons and there's no one left alive to answer her 911 call but Alan Dershowitz. And Dershowitz can't come because he's barricaded himself in the bathroom to escape the zombie of Roy Cohn.
No wonder Jesus hung out with the publicans and sinners; they were more humane than the moralists. Now if we could just get Lloyd Dobson to Shut The Fuck Up Already about everyone else's spiritual growth, and worry about his own...