Evo turns out to be not the East Village Other as I’d thought nor the king of Prussia as I’d alleged in my article but the el presidente of Ecuador. Who knew? I’m always the last one to get the memo. The moral of this is, well, I guess there are several morales, one of which is the one underscored by a leftist named Cliff (I’ve changed his name very, very slightly) who has written to correct me on a number of points, particularly about Evo.
Cliff is an important leftist, I gather from his having said sternly to me “do you know who I am?” in the midst of the Evo reproof, which he directed at me in no uncertain terms. “It really is a rather grievous error,” he admonished, taking me under his distant arm.
I think I was supposed to consult the googley function to discover how important he is, but I typically reserve that ethically suspect activity for times of desperate need or public welfare, like discovering how my own rankings are doing.
I do, however, take the time right now to consult his grave missive to me, which I had previously only skimmed briefly before deciding to have a strong opinion on it. Turns out that Cliff writes for Counterpunch. Says write here in his email. Oh-oh. And damn, Evo turns out to be the el presidente of Bolivia, according to Cliff. How do people keep track of all this stuff?
Cliff notes—and I’m sure he must be right—Cliff notes, “I think there are reasons to question Evo, but not nearly as many as there are to question Rafael Correa, the real president of Ecuador. So who were you talking about and in regards to what?”
To which I can only respond in the wise words of Homer, shrugging my shoulders as I say it, “Beats me. I dunno how the economy works.” In fact, I get all my political information from The Simpsons, so I don’t know why anyone blames me when there are factual problems in my articles.
I gather that it takes a real leftist to know what a real president is, and to keep the protocols of submission alive. Yessuh, massah presidente, you’s the real massah.
Apparently the chief rule of being a leftist journalist is to follow Cliff’s dictum that the more questionable a president is, the more real he is. El presidente Correa is more questionable than Evo, so he must be more real. Okay, I’ll try to remember the basic principle.
I recall once my dad scolding a girlfriend of mine who was inadvisedly trying to engage the old John Bircher in a discussion about Stalin. “Goodness woman,” my dad said, amazed. “Where do you get your information from—comic books?”
Which was the first I’d heard that that’s not the place to get our information. I kept mum at the time but hit the road shortly after, and found the street to be at least as reliable as comic books as a source of information.
In fact, I’ve been reporting from the street ever since. I really don’t have a head for the activities of my betters, el presidente this and el presidente that. In fact, I can’t even see my betters. I have trouble believing they’re even there.
I do my best to understand things like newspapers and that glossy Economist that explain to us how we’re supposed to address our betters. But it’s not much use. I stopped reading The New Yorker years ago when I realized there were blocks of text beside the cartoons.
If I want to find out what the man in the street thinks of violence I punch him in the head. Better yet, I cut to the chase and punch myself in the head, which might account for that tinnitus in my left ear. Genuine street tested, that’s what my information is.
DAVID Ker THOMSON is a leftist who emancipated all world leaders on May 9, 2008. He has never voted. He taught at Princeton in the same century as Einstein, and is the first person in more than two centuries to have lived year-round in the Institute Woods at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey. dave dot thomson at utoronto dot ca