Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Overton Window: Chapter Fourteen

In Overton related news:

Way back at the beginning of this series I noted that Beck dedicated Overton to David Barton, founder of dominionist group WallBuilders. Barton is back in the news today, going on record with the decidedly un-Libertarian position that teh buttsex among queers should be regulated by the federal government. No word on how Barton feels about hetero assplay. Specifics on how regulation might work were not available.




Noah finally strolls out of jail, along with all his patriot buddies. √úberslick lawyer Charlie really earns his pay.

According to Charlie, a group of cops had eventually come forward to corroborate Noah's version of the evening's events: they'd apparently wanted to play no part in the railroading of this harmless group of like-minded citizens. Just as a minor rebellion was threatening to break out between the actual uniformed officers and the contract security forces who'd been working the scene, a phone call had come in from some high echelon, and right away everything was abruptly and quietly settled.

Phew! I just knew all the cop-hating would not stand. The good, hardworking, honest (white) cops were under the thumb of those Blackwater goons, or whoever the "contract security forces" are. That the cops went along with this scheme, up to and after the fact, until a nosey lawyer got involved, doesn't exactly paint them in the kindest of light. But, just so you know, the cops are not the bad guys. Cops are never the bad guys.

Noah watches his new teabagging friends leave and notes how "the sky was clearing with the soft lights of the predawn metropolis outshining all but the brightest stars." Barf.

Hollis thanks Noah and says he's in his debt. They can call it even if Hollis can just tell him the time.

The big man looked up and seemed to take a bearing on a number of celestial bodies before ciphering a moment. "I'd say she's nigh onto half-past four in the morning, give or take some."

Barf. Again. I'll leave it to you to unpack Beck's boner for the Everyman™.

A silver Mercedes S600 Pullman, waits for Noah, and fortuitously, as he's about to be whisked away, Molly and Beverly appear. Noah, gentleman that he is, offers them a ride home.

The author goes on about how nice the limo is, wanking over the "hand-worked leather and rare polished wood." It's a nice car. "The entire vehicle was a rolling monument to the comforts of First World business royalty."

"I don't always get to travel like this," Noah apologized as the car got under way. "But just for perspective, my dad wouldn't be caught dead in a Mercedes. He rides in an armored Maybach 62, or he walks."

Yeah, for perspective. What? I don't even know what this means. Nevermind. Noah has a fancy limo. Darthur has a fancier limo. It gets more ridiculous:

Noah opened a center compartment by his side. Behind the sliding door was a neat pyramid of Turkish hand towels, kept constantly warm and moist like fresh dinner rolls. With a set of tongs he passed one to each of them, and then unrolled his own and pressed the steaming cloth to his face, rubbed in the heat, leaned back, and breathed in the faint scents of citrus and therapeutic herbs. His riding companions did the same, and soon there were long sighs from across the compartment, the sounds of unrepentant indulgence, comfort, and relief.

Nice limo, nicer towels.

Beverly asks Noah about his work as a lying PR stooge. Noah gleefully details how he "wrote some talking points for a man, a U.S. senator from out west who's about to become the subject of an ethics investigation."

"You've heard it before—there's been no wrongdoing, the charges are baseless, a pledge of full cooperation, faith in the process, a little slam at the motivations of his accusers—short and sweet, because he's so eager to get back to serving the needs of his constituents. Believe me, this sort of thing is routine. It'll be in the papers tomorrow night; that's why I can tell you about it."

Just one question: Why would anyone pay for that service? Because if you're a veteran politician who has managed to make it through the gauntlet of campaigns and debates and elections and closed-door backroom negotiations and committee meetings and filibusters and blah blah blah and then get caught, figuratively or literally, with your pants down, and you haven't the wherewithal to come up with "the charges are baseless" on your own, then it doesn't seem at all likely that you'd end up in office to begin with.

Just saying.

Anyway, Beverly asks him if it bothers him doing that for a living. (Lying, I think; not ripping off dildobrains by charging them for talking points they could have thought up themselves.) Yes, it bothers Noah if he thinks about it, so he doesn't think about it.

The limo drops Beverly off at the Chelsea, which seems a little boho for such a conservative woman, if you ask me. I may have mentioned this before, but I am pretty sure the writer has never been to New York. It's like his only reference for the city was a Rough Guide. It reads with such inauthenticity, as if someone whose never been to a big city is imagining what New York might be like.

It reminds me of an anecdote I once read about Truman Capote. He was living in New York at the time and he had a friend in from back home in Monroeville. One morning he asked his guest where they'd like to go for breakfast. "Tiffany's!" they blurted out. That was the only business the guest new by name in New York. Nevermind that they don't actually serve food at Tiffany.

I just imagine the ghostwriter thinking to himself, "The Chelsea is a hotel in New York, right? I can have Beverly can stay there. Yes, authenticity!"

Noah and Molly sit in the limo as it drives aimlessly through the city. Molly first confesses she misjudged Noah then confesses she's hungry.

"Say no more." Noah touched the intercom. "Eddie, could you take us up to Amy Ruth's, on One-hundred-and-sixteenth? And call ahead, would you? I don't think they're open yet. Tell Robert we need some orange juice and two Al Sharptons at the curb." Through the glass divider, he saw the driver nod his head and engage the Bluetooth phone system.

Yay for soul food! Boo for dragging Robert out of bed to cook for Noah!

Backstory alert!:

On the way to the restaurant he learned a little more about her life. Her family had moved around a great deal when she was young, following her father's job as a journeyman engineer for Pratt & Whitney. They'd ended up living near Arnold Air Force Base outside Manchester, Tennessee. When her dad was killed in an accident at the testing facility there, that's where they stayed. Her mother then reclaimed her maiden name and started the patriot group they were both still a part of, the Founders' Keepers, a few years later.

Clenis alert! Changing the subject, Molly asks "Who's the most fascinating person you've ever met?"

He didn't hesitate. "President Clinton. Hands down."

"Really?"

"All politics aside, you've never seen so much charisma stuffed into one human being. And you brought up the subject of lying earlier—this man could keep twenty elaborate, interlocking whoppers in his head at a time, improvising on the fly, and have you believing every word while you're holding a stack of hard evidence to the contrary. His wife might be even smarter than he is, but she doesn't have any of that skill at prevarication, and Gore was pretty helpless if he ever dropped his script. But Clinton? He's like one of those plate spinners at the circus: he makes everything look completely effortless. And obviously, in a related skill, he's a total Svengali with the chicks."

"I never found him all that attractive."

"Oh, but it's a whole different thing when someone like that is right next to you, as opposed to on your TV. If he was sitting here now, where I'm sitting? I promise, you'd be helpless. He wouldn't even have to try. You'd listen to him recite from the phone book for an hour and swear it was written by Oscar Wilde. Clinton could read you a fairy tale and you'd be down to your panties by the time Rapunzel let down her golden hair."

"I'll have to take your word for it."

"That being said, he's also one of the most ruthless sons of bitches who ever walked the earth, and we won't see another one like him for generations."

Back in the author's note, Beck said "the words Republican or Democrat rarely appear in this book, and when they do, it’s in an equally unflattering light." Okay. Sure. When this book gets around to calling W. and Cheney the d-bags that they are, I'll believe Beck is a non-partisan man of the people, and not the right wing hack that he appears to be.

Backstory alert! Darthur edition:

"Rhodes Scholar, that's a little-known fact. He was studying anthropology at Oxford when he met a man named Edward Bernays—Bernays was an admiring nephew of Sigmund Freud, if that explains any part of this messed-up business—and Mr. Bernays needed some new blood, someone with my father's skill set, to give a shot in the arm to the industry he'd invented a few decades before."

"Public relations."

"Right. Bernays got his start in the big leagues helping Woodrow Wilson beat the drums to push the U.S. into World War I. And my father's first project with him was a massive propaganda campaign for Howard Hunt and the CIA, along with the United Fruit Company, when they all got together to overthrow the president of Guatemala in 1954."

Did you get all that? Darthur helped overthrow Guatemala's democratically elected government. So he knows what he's doing when it comes to coups.

Speech alert!

Just kidding.

No, really, Noah gives a speech. But I am not going to tell you anything about it. It's a short one. And he references Joseph Goebbels. So, no. I'm not going into it. I've already said more about it than I wanted.

There's chicken and waffles, Noah's backstory (it's a bore), a ride through Central Park. Then things get weird: Molly sits on Noah's lap and asks him to take her home. To his home.

"I'm not talking about anything sexual," she assures him. "I just don't feel safe yet, after last night."

Well, at least that means there will be no sex scene in chapter fifteen. I'm glad something about this chapter went right.

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