American Burlesque

Photograph Source: United States Senate – Public Domain

“They got a big theayter what they call the burleykew, an’ fur fifty cents yuh can see a dandy show.”

Oklahoma! Rogers and Hammerstein.)

“Dandy” is pushing it in this case, but burlesque it surely has been.  The term comes from the Italian, burla, for joke, which best describes this boundlessly stupid, futile, dishonest partisan greased pig chase.

The era when Congress was thought to possess any collective intelligence or integrity is gone, if there was one. Twain called it our only native criminal class, an asylum of idiots, and this impeachment farce bears him out.

To go to the root of the charade is to experience grievous embarrassment at the sheer falsity, the willful dishonesty, the moral vacuity, of the entire apparatus of our appalling government. By that I mean not only Congress: the whole dirty, shameless, corrupted organism.

The House–bagboys for Capitalism, which for decades has done nothing for the people and routinely abrogated or violated solemn, specified duties–with its Democratic majority, brought charges so specious, vacuous, and exiguous in content that the contrast between them and the scroll of blatant crimes Trump has brazenly committed is stunning.  The kicker, the reason for this cowardice, is that Democrats enabled Trump’s flagrant criminality and they dare not accuse him of all the perfidy in which they joined him.

So, a cowardly, deceitful gang of whoring pimps accuse a base, diseased, ethical toad of behaving as the creature he is, when their vile complicity with him to rape and rob the world, eviscerate their own country, sully and degrade all nature and, with dazzling imbecilty, alienate the vast community of nations, is provoking ecological Armaggedon and a world war with states that can tear this floundering, lunatic Empire a haemorrhaging new one.

The greatest appeal of traditional burlesque was slow, lascivious exposure of the nude female body. In this latter version, both Parties took the stage without feathers, with their bare faces hanging out. The only tease that took place was uncertainty whether those two clowns of bathos, Biden and Bolton, might have to bare their ugly old-man asses to a disgusted public.

Now that the goofy, slow motion clogdance is effectively over, what can be usefully said about the causes and effects of presentation to the appalled world of a dunderhead pageant of such humiliating, degrading inanity?

First, as to causes, our Bull Goose tried to persuade a foreign head of state to take a shady action in return for money.  Surely no President of ours had ever done such a thing?  Used dollar muscle on a foreign leader?  Please!

Second, the claim that the 48k in imbecile political ads came from Ukraine outraged Democrats as it challenged their “Russia did it!” fable.  They went all in on it as the alibi for Hillary’s Marie Antoinette faceplant, with the rabid Maddow masticating it nightly only to see it evaporate as purest bullshit.

This Democrat Ukraine fixation is a pathology that derives from the cynical betrayal of America’s promise to the USSR not to take NATO east after German reunification, and because America never got over its shock at the Communist Revolution and a nuclear USSR, the animus against a totally different Russia now is just the continuation of profound US historic angst.

But experience has made it more than that.  That original US fear morphed after WWII into the Cold War when massive US spending fueled Capitalist expansion, funneling the wealth of America into increasingly powerful war industries, proving the threat of war put money-making on steroids.  The specter Ike identified in the MIC used that fear in its cancerous metastasis till the USSR’s collapse, which left the compelling myth of a mortal threat hanging in the air like Wile E. Coyote, for sudden want of an enemy.

Only recovery of Russia from our piratical looting under Yeltsin, put solid ground under the Machine and it wasn’t going to lose it again.  The Russian threat was its guarantee of endless appropriation of the wealth of America.  It used to be said the business of America was business. Its business now is war, Russia fear fires its engine, and Democrats stand on the throttle.

One need not ask why–given that Obama denied all money, period, to a rotten failed state run by brawling gangsters, NeoNazis, and racist nihilists–Dems should embrace that stinking hogsnest, and mourn Trump’s cruel delay of the bucks for guns the Azov Battalion and Right Sector boys need.

So much for the Russia hysteria.  What are the larger implications?  For our own nation this buffoonery has reinforced a near universal conviction that our government, our system, our whole culture, is dysfunctional, derelict, and unredeemable.  Americans have no idea what can be done about it, and can’t face the fact that nothing can.  The cognitive dissonance resulting from maintaining the gospel of exceptionalism as all the evidence screams nonsense has raised stress to intolerable levels where they will remain.

Europe, Asia, and the wider world are mesmerized by the spectacle of a thrashing, blundering monster, lost beyond recall in gross irrationality and solipsistic madness, but capable of working horrors yet unknown in the throes of its devolution.   The raving lunacy of our highest, most powerful officials would be risible if it were not seriously, potentiall fatal for those who must watch the loons goad the supine world toward death and extinction.

This half-assed impeachment failure was a burlesque indeed that stripped the pasties and g-string off the American body poliltic.  What Americans, in their fathomless confusion, will make of it in the Punch an’ Judy show of our election is not knowable but the result won’t matter.  The fact is that though human life on earth, and all that has shared with us our vital home, is in play and at risk in the sick power game, the symbolic figurehead that takes the seat of Presidential power will be as imprisoned as if in an Iron Maiden, as impotent of choice as a bawling steer in the slaughterhouse chute.

The Capitalist System hurtles deterministically as a ballistic missile toward the goal of its own destruction which, unfortunately, includes our own.  Is the end of humanity inevitable?  Soon now..?  Immanently..?  Can we not come to our senses finally, collectively choose to live, and put all possible energy into that?  We can.  We could.  The power is there, if the will were.

Kafka said, “There is infinite hope, but not for us.”  Can there come, somehow, a sudden light of such intolerble brightness in the mind of mankind that our love of darkness can never put it out?  Let it be so.

Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana. He can be reached at: