Like Carol Anne Freeling, the adorable blond girl from 1982’s Poltergeist, I have had my hands spread across the television screen lately, trying to make sense of the white noise, trying to endure the voices from the dead and undead, struggling with all the fear, uttering ever so terrifyingly: “they’re b a c k.”
It started last week, during the State of Delusion address. Chimpy couldn’t help himself; can he ever? He dealt the ol’ terrorist line better than a drug dealer at the Haight at the height of ‘68. Half way into his speech, a trip down a rabbit hole, Chimpy kept on repeating the words “terrorist,” “attack,” “enemy” as if he really did have a bad acid trip—if only. Foolish me: I thought that “fear factoring” was something of the past; after all, Fear Factor had been cancelled—thank goodness—in September 2006.
But didn’t Chimpy realize that Keith Olberman delivered a special comment on this very topic? Hadn’t he figured out that we now know the parallel between “terrorist” warnings and, let’s say, the effort to suppress real news? Did he not know that the bad “candy-land” inspired terrorist color chart was now comic relief? No. Because like the poltergeist that reached out from Carol Anne’s family’s television to blast a whole in her parent’s bedroom wall, fear factor has been infectiously resurrected this week: version 2007, with a vengeance.
Back and better than ever is Captain Lieberman—a scary monster indeed. Since we must deal with Joe and his shit for 6 more years, dropping acid seems ever more appealing. On Fox News Sunday, interviewed by Bill-Clinton-bitch-slapped Chris Wallace, Captain Lieberman not only threatened to vote for a Republican in the next election, he went on to fear factor by saying, “…the Islamist terrorists who we are fighting don’t distinguish between Americans based on party affiliation. They hate us. They want to kill us.” That-a-boy, Joe; terrify us with your “embolden” the terrorist scary rhetoric. Too bad you haven’t closely looked at the other side: (multiple choice option--pick one) A. the American casualties, B. the record number of Iraqi casualties, C. the millions wasted in Iraq reconstruction, or D. ALL OF THE ABOVE. When it comes to truth checking ol’ fearful, Captain Joe, go with all of the above. They’re back.
Getting jiggy for 2008—a scary image indeed that would make anyone do acid, Chris Matthews and his “vagina dentata” fear of Hillary also hit critical mass this week. We’ve witnessed Matthews’ interest in a Hillary run quickly develop into an OCD fascination, a psychic collage of male frustration, wishful fantasies of being spanked hard by a dominatrix, and an obvious displaced fear of women smarter than he. On Tuesday’s edition of Fearball, Chris dedicated practically an entire show, get this, to Hillary’s joke about evil men and her “pitchy” rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, which would make Paula Abdul sober. Fear of Hillary? Fear of women in…positions of power? Who knows? But check out the Hillary segment, the Hillary analysis, the Hillary update on the hour, the Hillary minute—courtesy of the very fearful Mr. Matthews. They’re back.
The 2007 fear factor resurrection washed ashore other scary matters this week, including spirits from American Foreign policy past: Henry “secret-plan-for-exit” Kissinger. Obviously, he still hasn’t recovered from the acid tabs that Grace Slick snuck into the White House a long time ago. Could it have been that Kissinger’s reemergence from the undead was prompted by the real terrorist threat in Britain and the faux terrorist threat in Boston this week—a single shot of semi-real and fake fear? Or maybe the Kissinger crossover was summoned by what many of us feared most: Joe Biden’s big mouth, which, once again hosted his foot along with a racially insensitive remark? THEY ARE BACK!
While I longed to channel Carol Anne Freeling, spreading my hands across the TV screen to combat this terrifying, recurring poltergeist we Americans must confront, courtesy of the Bush administration and a media without a backbone (except Keith Olberman, of course), I wondered about what was unfolding on the other side of reality this week: our soldiers, their heroic efforts, the ground game in Iraq, what the hell is going on with Iran, the Libby trial, the passing of the great Molly Ivins, and much more. Could the other side be what triggered the redux of the fear-inducing poltergeist? Is the other side the reality we Americans must embrace more? How do we Americans break on through? Let’s take a cue from Carol Anne and run to other side where the light is.