Monday, June 07, 2004


A much more artful (but no less oppositional) rememberance of our movie star president than Palast's comes from Tom Carson. He's written extensively on rock and TV. His comment that the Ramones were "the sort of people who were such hopeless losers that they couldn't even be convincing as outlaws;far from romanticizing that status, the Ramones glorified their own inadequacy" is typical of his wit and insight.

His recent novel Gilligan's Wake reads like he was strapped Clockwork Orange like to a chair with his eyes glued to the cathode ray tube and forced to write a history of America in the 20th century. Using the characters from Gilligan's Island. No, really, it's great, as is the essay below which views Unca Ronnie through the prism of the pop culture from which he came (I love that he starts the piece with a line from The Man Who Sold The World).

Death of a Salesman by Tom Carson

He should have died alone—a long, long time ago. But oh, no, not him: outliving his century by four years, his presidency by 16, and his own mind by a decade, Hollywood legend Ronald Reagan was 93 when he went to rejoin his makers—Thomas Jefferson, Louis B. Mayer, Lew Wasserman, and Barry Goldwater, in that order—on Saturday. A noted fantasist, Reagan is perhaps best remembered for the eight years he spent believing he ruled an entirely fictional United States. To the old trouper's delight, this was a delusion shared by most of his compatriots, which is why his imaginary nation still subsumes ours to this day.

At his funeral, there will no doubt be buckets of false poetry, grievously misrepresenting the man—yes, even if Peggy Noonan shows up, doing her best to be Walt Whitman to his Abe: "When Star Wars Last in Gorbachev's Dooryard Bloom'd." Real poetry is something else again, and you'd be horribly mistaken to think the following suggestion is sarcastic. Please understand I love the place; my proposal is made in a sincere spirit of tribute to an enemy. I think that Reagan, like no other American, deserves the honor of being the first person ever embalmed at Disneyland.

and more...