Sun Ra - Column for 8/1

Inscrutable Men

So, John Roberts. Could Bush have found a more white-bread individual for his Supreme Court nominee?

(Hint: The answer is "no".)

Not that his massive and stereotypical whiteness counts against him in my book. First off, I'm a Norman Rockwell's America white guy, too. And secondly, because discrimination against someone just because there are a lot of them around is wrong, too. If he's qualified, it really ought not matter whether he meets a quota or not.

Now, as to that qualification. Yeah, probably. Frankly, there are lots and lots of people qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. The only truly outstanding quality Roberts seems to have is his affability, but then the only quality at all Thomas had at all was his blackness. So it's not a high bar.

Yes, he seems to be a typical corporate stooge. My dry reservoirs of disgust at the Bush administration's massive and constant mendacity took another squeeze when Bush introduced Roberts as having been a steel worker, and I subsequently discover that, well, sort of, he did work in a steel plant... that his father ran. But then, Bush and his folks never hold hands with the truth when they could possibly ram it in the ass.

Anyway. So, he's an affable, strongly conservative corporate point man. Frankly, I fail to be aroused. I think the good citizens of the nation can realistically expect nothing better from a reactionary administration than a conservative corporate suit with a nice smile. I was, in truth, expecting much worse. See by way of example John Bolton.

So give the guy his vetting and confirm him and we can all hold our breath for the next colossal screwing by the reactionaries at the helm.

I am a little bothered by the few documents that the StalinBush administration did allow to trickle out of their secrecy-above-all deathgrip; documents which reveal that behind Roberts' smiling public face is... a colossal asshole. I suspect that Fox News and their corporate sisters have devoted precisely no time to the actual contents of said documents, but if you actually read them - precisely what Fox News viewers never do - a picture emerges: of an ascerbic, arrogant jerk.

Which is nothing new in government, really. I am reading an absolutely fascinating book at the moment: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York.

(As an aside, I have to say that this book has finally worn down my knee-jerk avoidance of Pulitzer Prize winning books. First The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, then Guns, Germs, and Steel, and now The Power Broker... all Pulitzer Prize winners, and all excellent, excellent reads. So much for my assumption that anything which took the award had to be dry and boring.)

Anyway, The Power Broker is a fascinating look into the real workings of politics, particularly of New York in the early 20th century. I'd recommend it further, but it's over twelve hundred pages long and we both know what a book pussy you are, so I won't bother. I know getting through Harry Potter and the Secret of Cash Flow pushed your limits almost to the breaking point.

Great book, though, and among other things it really speaks to the difference between the public man and the real personality beneath. And, just as for Robert Moses, the fact that John Roberts may be a massively arrogant prick (although I can't imagine that he is in the class of Robert Moses... I mean, wow,) will be utterly buried by a servile and complicit press. So it hardly matters.

And he may not be an utter cock. Since the documents we've gotten to see have been from the early eighties, who knows? Perhaps he's changed. Perhaps he really is a nice guy with lamentably callous political beliefs. Frankly, I don't know him, and a large swath of the people who do say he's stand-up, not all of whom can be dupes. So I'm perfectly happy to give him the benefit of the doubt.

And in any case, you have to play the cards you're dealt, and Roberts is hardly a bitter pill to swallow.

I only regret that he is the best we could hope for.

- Sun Ra

Columns by Sun Ra