Settling in with a drink and interesting talk a few years ago — it would be the last session we had, unhappily — with Ed Seidenstecker, the best of the WWII American Japan scholars, the conversation took a serious turn. As we dissolved in that witlessness that overtakes one in Hawaii, Ed said suddenly with ultimate exasperation, “You know, when I look around, everything seems to me to be bizarre! Bizarre! BIZARRE!” Looking around, that episode has come flooding back.
But before you write this all off as the Old “F” Syndrome, take a look:
- Sen. Diane Feinstein, before she turned state’s evidence [and then walked it back].a few months back eased off a big intelligence booboo: she allowed as how Pakistan military bases were being used for U.S. drones. It was one more nail in the coffin of U.S.-Pak relations since Islamabad publicly denounces the unpopular flights. Now the senior senator from California has hit the sawdust trail of heightened security. Bizarre!
- There’s the big hoo-ha about Mitt Romney’s still locked up tax reports. President Barack Obama’s fuzzy birth certificate, Indonesian school, prep school, Occidental College, Columbia University, Harvard Law School, travels to Pakistan records, are all under lock and key. Bizarre!
- Young friends — old enough to know better — waged missionary efforts to get me on Facebook. When I suggested I was already more than enough affiche as the French say, they couldn’t understand it. But after putting all their “facts” on the web including details of their underwear, many are complaining of invasion of privacy. Bizarre!
- The White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies quite rightly were proud the pursuit of Osama bin Laden had been kept secret. Fair dinkum! as the Ozzies say. But then is it not illogical to assume dangerous leaks came from any place but White House staff? By the way, the operations room photo of all those VIPs could not have been luminaries watching the raid real time since the leakers have revealed there was no direct on-line surveillance. So what were they watching? Nickelodeon reruns? Bizarre!
- In the prehistoric past, we were taught at Missouri J-School truth was the ultimate pursuit of journalism, a defense even in libel if “malicious intent” could not be proved. How come ABC TV could make three gross factual errors in their Aurora “Massacre” reporting and no one get fired? True, the chief honcho did do a mea culpa but he didn’t quit. Obviously “taking responsibility” has new meaning. Bizarre!
- Then there was that group of Spanish scientists examining more than 400,000 Western popular tunes since 1955 surprisingly have discovered a growing sameness, chordal illiteracy, electrification wiping out instrumental differentiation, fewer harmonic and timbre complexities,. etc., etc. And, of course, a growing unforgivable volume assault on the eardrums. But PC critics — led by pop-music goddess NPR’s Terry Gross and her hot air, bang our china closet with endless pseudo-intellectual attempts to mask this backward motion. Bizarre!
- Fox’ Bill O’Reilly always gives “the last word” to his usually badgered interviewee. But there is no recorded history he has ever interrupted those last few mangled thoughts in the shouting sessions. Bizarre!
- The Obama administration and the Congress have put billions, if not trillions, into subsidies in “green” energy. But the several million dollars it might take to put the nation’s fleets on to natural gas, wiping out a larger part of our imports, is not even being considered. Bizarre!
- Germany, the diminishing if still relatively fat cat among the Euros, has depended on exports — highly leveraged sales of its good manufactures, 60 percent going to other Euro markets. But those spendthrift Greeks can’t pay for the Mercedeses any more. They are crying in their cups. And the Krauts are giving Lutheran lectures on saving and proper conduct. Bizarre!
- Feminine wiles are as old as Samson and Delilah, at least. But picture this rather fading, middle-aged Chinese lady, Gu Kailai, wife of a once up and coming Chinese “princeling” [offspring of an historic Communist hero or martyr] now said to have stood around nude, pushed a cyanide capsule into the mouth of her British lover and business partner, while he was held down by a “butler” She had to reinsert it, according to the blogs, because he was reluctant. The British embassy never questioned his sudden demise. Bizarre!
Ed, wherever you are, nothing has changed!
Sol W. Sanders, (firstname.lastname@example.org), writes the ‘Follow the Money’ column for The Washington Times on the convergence of international politics, business and economics. He is also a contributing editor for WorldTribune.com and East-Asia-Intel.com.