Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Hyper-sensitive Beefcake - and Other Children's Moral Tales

I've never really liked Governor Jesse Ventura. Which is odd, because there are several things about him - at least the Cliff's notes version of him - that I should have liked. We are both veterans - he is a former Navy SEAL and I am a former Marine. We are both small-government guys. We both like underdog political candidates because we think they are, in theory, good for the system. Then I heard him on Fox News this morning on the way to work, and it all became a little more clear for me.

"Fox and Friends" is sort of a goofy show. I know that. And the blogosphere is all lit up with complaints about them. But that is just their shtick - they are silly. I can appreciate that. If Iran shot all their nukes at us, I probably wouldn't turn to Steve, Gretchen, and Brian for their reportage. But if I'm looking for something kind of light in the morning on the way to work, and still want to know the headlines, they are a good choice for me. So it is in that context that I heard the wrestler this morning.

I had always assumed that Minnesotans voted for Jesse out of a sense of their own masculine inadequacy - sort of a Stockholm syndrome thing. But it turns out from listening to him this morning that he was actually a good choice, because he may be the biggest liberal, conspiracy-theorist clown in the whole state. I was stunned to hear him suggesting 9-11-01 as an "inside job" wouldn't surprise him, and using his past as an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) member as some sort of credential for this conclusion. His statement was that his government had lied to him so many times in the past that they'd lost all credibility.

The thing that really gave me a clue into his personality, however, was what he did next. I preface this with a little story. In the Marines, we were all brothers of a sort. And although we were supposed to refer to each other as Rank and Name (example: PFC Smith), in privacy, we would "break the rules" and call each other by our nick names. There were those, however, like a certain Sergeant I remember, who were so empty inside and so dependent on their rank for their self-worth that they required everybody to call them by their rank and name.

He (Jesse) stopped the interview to ask them, in his characteristic "'-roid voice",

"Do you call all former Governors by their first name, or is it just me?"

Are you kidding me??? Ummmm. Aren't you that jack-ass that used to dress up in a fur stole and tights and prance around before your wrestling matches? I'm sure that he would play it off as a joke, but I heard something a little too familiar in that. You might be able to fool a lot of people, JESSE, but you can't fool a fellow Vet. At least not all of us. I know where you were coming from. You are just a scared little boy in that beefy, steroid-laced body. Take away your little titles and you fall apart, don't you?

The morals of this story are (1) that you can't trust your government, no matter what, (2) that former SEALs are experts on how 100-story skyscrapers are supposed to fall, on architecture, on physics, on aerodynamics, on meteorology, and on rules of etiquette, (3) don't ever criticize a main-streamer. Not so much a free-thinker as much as just one more authoritarian schoolmarm who knows what others are supposed to do because he is a know-it-all.

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