“This is a circus!” cried Brett Kavanaugh, demonstrating judicial accuracy in a non-judicial manner.
I’m writing this the day after that outburst. I wonder if the judicial committee will take the advice of the American Bar Association and the Jesuit Review and hold up Kavanaugh’s confirmation process until there’s a full investigation of all the charges. I think probably not, since “judicial committee” has turned out to be an oxymoron.
I hate circuses. I hate clowns. I hate dancing bear acts, dancing elephant acts, dancing poodle acts, monkeys and squirrels riding cats and congressional committees.
He’s right. It was a circus, and Lindsey Graham was the ringmaster, and he, Brett Kavanaugh, was the clown with the painted tears.
Woe is him. His life is being ruined. He may not get to be one of nine powerful people in the country. The privileges he’s had all his life may be derailed, in that he may have to live the rest of his life without having the power to ruin our lives. What a horrible fate that would be, to have to return to being one of the roughly 325 million pathetic loser peon Americans who won’t ever be Supreme Court justices.
When I started college, back during the Neolithic era, in order to understand campus politics and what people had to say about it, I had to learn what BMOC meant. It turned out to mean Big Man On Campus, and it described the general character of too many of the young men who dominated student affairs. They were all Brett Kavanaughs, convinced of their superiority and privilege and right to rule over the rest of us.
Which reminds me that the week started with Trump speaking to the United Nations and being laughed at for bragging that his presidency has accomplished more than any other in history.
Humility is getting really hard to find. Trump actually had the gall to say later that the diplomats were laughing with him, presumably taking delight in his brusque put-down of past presidents. If only all those dips like Washington, Adams and Jefferson, Lincoln and those two Roosevelt dudes had been more like him, they might have amounted to something.
Trump and Kavanaugh together remind me of all the overly confident people I’ve been unfortunate enough to know. I’ve decided to share a memory of one. One that popped into my head this week as I was waiting for the Kavanaugh hearing to commence.
I was 10 years old when Walter was my friend. He was also 10. I will attempt to describe Walter to you: He had dark hair and blue eyes and pasty white skin. He was a little wide but not fat. He was not athletic. He raised salamanders in a terrarium in his basement. It was the one interesting thing he did. The salamanders were very colorful.
When he wasn’t raising salamanders, he spent his time being actively boring. He told jokes that didn’t make sense except as insults and then laughed as if they were funny. His hands were always clammy. He never read a book, but that didn’t stop him from having goofy opinions about everything. He thought reading books was a waste of time, only suitable for idiots.
In Walter’s view, smart people were born knowing what they needed to know. He got straight D’s in school, not because he was too cool to care but because he was genuinely incompetent at everything. He had no other friends at that time except me. I was in it for access to the salamanders.
Late one Saturday afternoon, we went to a double-feature horror show at a local movie theater. I was too young for the kind of movies they were showing, so in the middle of the second show I gave up and told Walter I was leaving. He decided to follow me out even though the movies weren’t bothering him.
On the walk back to our street and homes, it was foggy. Thickest fog I’d ever seen, and I’ve never seen fog that thick since. We could only see a few feet in front of us as we walked.
Walter took advantage of the gloom to scare me more. He made a creepy face and talked in a creepy voice. When I said “Knock it off, Walter,” he said the most frightening thing to me I ever could have imagined.
He said, “You know what your problem is? You need to be more like me.”
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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