Monday, August 27, 2007

Goodbye Gonzo

I must apologize to Octavia Butler, who apparently wrote a manifesto on her creative writing process entitled "Furor Scribendi."  When time and creativity intersect at some point in the future, I may retitle my blog.  But in the meantime, I'll just go ahead and use this Latin phrase that I picked up on a list of Latin phrases somewhere.  I can't remember.  I can't recall. 

I do recall meeting Octavia Butler, though.  At the Foolscap writing conference in Tukwila.  Must have been oh, 10 years ago now.  She was gracious, elegant, poised--a wonderful conversationalist.  I and my writers' group had the great good fortune to be present at the kickoff party, which was not very well attended, with GOH Butler.  She spoke about her time at the Clarion Workshop.  She then went on to be a linebacker of science-fiction, winning every prize under the sun (and a McArthur Fellowship).  I asked her advice on whether I should attend Clarion, and she said she would only recommend attending for someone very new.  If you've been writing for a long time, or have had a lot of classes, it might be too difficult to give yourself over completely to the ego-busting and refining that goes on.  Thank you Octavia.  She died in a fall a couple of years ago.  I saw her one other time at the Post Office at 3rd and Union--the downtown branch.  She was busy with business and seemed distracted.  I almost tapped her on the shoulder and said hello.  I wish now that I had.

Alberto Gonzales has resigned.  I watched his resignation speech.  Sorry, my liberal friends, but I feel sorry for the guy.  Not because I feel he got a raw deal.  But because, like his boss, he had risen to the level of his incompentence.  I think he meant well.  He clearly was a quality individual.  But it's sort of like using your family attorney to negotiate a book contract.  Gonzo was GWB's attorney.  He kept being GWB's attorney at the DOJ.  He needed to be strong, independent and wise.  John Ashcroft, for all his faults, was a prince by comparison.  But it just goes to show you that trivial, banal evil can happen, even when one has a pure heart with the finest motives.  All it takes is having unfettered power and unquestioning loyalty.

Ashcroft wasn't going along with the philosophy of the Unitary Executive, if he had ever even heard of it.  With Gonzales, the Bushites found their stooge, their team player, their man.  If you read the description of the Unitary Executive Theory at the Wiki, linked to above, it will curl your hair and give it split ends.  The Bush Administration and its allies have tried to create a 4-8 year dictatorship in the United States (or for however long they choose to claim we're at war).  Gonzales was not the architect of this edifice--that was the neocons, and their brain trust, one of whom is John Yoo.

I don't know about you--but I don't want to live in a dictatorship, even if/when we're at war.  It will be interesting to see who Bush picks for the next AG.  If it's Professor Yoo--run for the hills.

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