The depths of despair

February 19, 2008 by barbara

barbara writes

Greetings from the cancer zone. This is a quickly written post because we're leaving shortly to get results from David's CT-scan, which basically shows whether the toxic chemo is doing its job. Then, probably, more toxic drip into David's besieged body. Likely all of that is part of what has put me in a mode of major funk and snark and impatience. More, even, than usual.

Perhansa, it's great to hear from you. Yeah, I really mean it. Seems you've waded deep into the slough of despond. Crowded there, isn't it? I wander in and out of it myself, constantly. More in than out. 'Out' is due largely to the fact that I don't watch television. With rare and carefully chosen exceptions, that's been going on for, oh, 15 years or so.

We desperately need relief from the "American Idol" crap that is being perpetrated by the increasingly shallow MSM on the increasingly shallow public. It is a throwback to the Coliseum (though I was very young in those days, so memory has faded). Gladiators and lions. Blood and guts. Violence and posturing and thrust home! sudden death. The crowd roars its approval! More here.

In my most despairing moments, I, too, look at the fubar'd wasteland and wonder if it's possible to fix it. Sort of like the cancer in David's body. It can't be cured, but the hope is to bring it to remission. Even that means it could flare again. But it’s a better thing than what’s currently in play. We have to get to remission to even consider more and better approaches.

The Bush era is a cancer of sorts. Works in the dark. Undermines the healthy parts of the system. Compromises the body as a whole. The post-Bush era is going to be painful beyond the telling of it. The acrimony and constant, vile crap-slinging provides a lousy environment for success, doesn't it? But shifting to the garden metaphor, sh*t helps good stuff grow.

So periodically, I pick my way through the crap to a more hopeful place. Mostly because I don't want to forget what that looks like, feels like. Always I can see it. More and more rarely can I feel it.

Perhansa says that "the terrorists have already done their job. We're a nation of fear, mistrust, torture, spying, cronyism, screaming-smash-mouth shock jocks, and a new mode of argumentation--the BLOG."

You're right about most of that. BushCo has been totally complicit in forwarding the terrorist agenda, rendering our country one of fearful and faux-fearful, equivocating, egocentric, spineless, largely ambivalent sheep. Take two teaspoons of that metaphor mix and call me in the morning.

As for the BLOG, I would submit that this is a venue that is still finding its way. And it is incumbent (urgh!) on individuals to pick and choose their blog sources with care. There is some real garbage out there. Heck, as DK pointed out recently, CLB in general and barbara in particular dish up garbage sometimes. Blogs are a product of the instant gratification phenom. Read it, hear it, write about it. Kapow! An odd venue for this woman whose principal definition pre-blogging, was procrastinator extraordinaire.

For the most part, I think bloggers blog not so much to see our deathless prose on the page, to revel in our magnificence, to proclaim we have the One True Insight, but rather to stimulate thought, conversation and yes, criticism. Your comments keep me honest (as noted previously), humble and informed in ways I could never otherwise be, because y’all have so much knowledge and such deeply felt opinions.

This particular post is a crappy piece of “journalism.” It’s all over the place. The thesis is murky. The metaphors collide like bumper cars. There will be not neat, tidy wrap-up.

Perhansa, I hope you stay engaged here. DK, you, too. Because at heart, we all want much of the same thing, candidate differences notwithstanding. And among the three of us, it seems we represent backers of Obama, Clinton and absolutely no one. We need to keep talking to each other. We do. I really believe that. And I offer an open invitation to others to join us.

We’re struggling with something enormous here. The soul of our nation, really. And with that, our individual souls as well. Hyperbole? I wish.

Posted in


perhansa (not verified) | February 19, 2008 - 12:44pm

I'm sure I won't wander away totally...or too wishes to you and David. I have a close friend with terminal cancer and it sucks. No possible spin--it just sucks.

Frankly, I'd be happy with either of the Dems and, as you said, no one else. Even more important is we need enough gains in Congress to get past the stalemating that has bogged us for the past, what, twelve to sixteen years now?

I like your art selection today--the Munchkin Scream...


barbara says (not verified) | February 20, 2008 - 8:54am

I keep forgetting that you're an artist, Perhansa. Do you "paint" your way to/toward sanity sometimes? I'd love to see how you'd capture the now times visually.

Cruel irony: I'm a visual person, i.e., that's how I learn best. But I absolutely cannot DO visual. So I write. When time and muse allow, I've even been known to write bad poetry.

About gains in Congress? Seats filled with real progressives? I think that's at least as important as the pres pick. Bullet-proof House and Senate are essential. Okay, bullet-proof House and Senate with leaders other than Reid and Pelosi. Yeah, I know they're dealing with insufficient majorities and fractious Dems. But I'm fed up and rising with elected officials who steadfastly refuse to trust and listen to the people who elected them. And we have a passel of those right now.

Blah, blah, blah. Welcome back, P.


Peggy (not verified) | February 19, 2008 - 1:05pm

Reading your blog reminded me of Garrison Keillor's words....

"What keeps our faith. Cheerful is the extreme persistence of gentleness and humor. Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things; through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, sharing,love, fishing, tending animals, flowers, through sports, music, books, raising kids.....all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see campfires of gentle people. If we had no other purpose in life, it would be good enough to simply take care of them and goose them once in awhile" Thank you for your wonderful blog, for your wit and wisdom and the daily goosing!


barbara says (not verified) | February 20, 2008 - 9:00am

Hey, Peggy! Great Keillor piece. Thanks for posting it.

" . . . all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through."
" . . . elaphantine vanity and greed . . ."
" . . . campfires of gentle people . . ."

Yes and yes and yes.

Welcome and thanks for your kind words!


paul miller (not verified) | February 20, 2008 - 5:28pm

PM checking in with this update:

Bush is at 19% approval rate:

that is the same amount of Americans that are reported to believe in spells or witchcraft - think there might be some overlap in those two groups?


barbara says (not verified) | February 20, 2008 - 9:08pm

Okay. This means that roughly one in every five people approves of George W. Bush. I think it's best we not dwell on this when we're out in public, and under no circumstances order people to number off by fives. Unscientific, though in truth, probably as accurate as most of the polls, eh?

Welcome back, Paul!


Paul miller (not verified) | February 22, 2008 - 11:30am


barbara says (not verified) | February 22, 2008 - 7:42pm

Good one, Paul!! Thanks.

Battling chemo-tanking time here, so taking a breather for a few days. Back soon as I can!!