Friday, September 05, 2008

Political Congestion and Ear Flaps

Bad sore throat. Is it because my voice box wants to yell out "enough already"? What a clogfest of cliches and bowdlerized biography and choreographed theater. I'm relieved it's over, but I couldn't stop watching -- the carnivals of both conventions hooked me. Neither one did much for the quality of national rhetoric, but of course, that's not what they were for. Nevermind -- they were irresistible and vintage American entertainment.

Sarah Palin a phenomenon as big as, say, the last King of Tonga, RIP. The extravagant lovefest that met her is completely predictable and IMHO depressing. When somebody in Sterling Heights just said on NPR, "Michigan is gonna love her," I believe him. Last night some GOP woman in St. Paul told the Daily Show's Samantha Bee, "She makes it seem like anybody could be president." Yeah. Great.

Palin's arrival on the scene actually DOES remind me of one night long long ago at the Dateline Hotel in Nuku'alofa. I was there with a bunch of my Tongan family and work colleagues to see some Balinese dancers making a rare swing through the Kingdom on some kind of cultural exchange. I couldn't wait to see them: I wanted something, anything different from my intense immersion in Polynesia's love of the noisy and gargantuan. When the dancers came out, tiny and androgynous, tinkling delicate finger cymbals and flying rainbow costumes, the Tongans got a giggle fit. They thought the dancers were the oddest and weirdest thing they'd ever seen. In the midst of this madness, the King himself, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, made a dramatic entrance. He weighed close to 400 pounds and marched in wearing a huge Russian fur hat with ear flaps and enormous knee-high black boots, along with his Tongan wrap around skirt and a pandanas mat tied around his girth. The Tongans hardly regarded it as worthy of commentary that his majesty was wearing a fur hat with ear slaps in a humid courtyard overgrown with tropical palms and banana plants.

"He's wearing a Russian hat with earflaps," I incredulously commented to my companions.

But they were too busy ridiculing the beautiful Balinese dancers.

Man, I've got political congestion. Wonder if I have more Alka Selzer. Or is it Lava Soap I need? Wily populist Huckabee said his family was so poor the only soap they could afford was Lava. He said he was in college before he realized "showering didn’t have to hurt."

Of course, as more than one blogger pointed out, Lava costs more than regular bath soap. So, the vigilant researchers speculate, maybe Huckabee's family couldn't afford TWO bars of soap.

Whatever -- at this point I could use some grease-cutting soap for the political season. And it's just beginning.

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