Yesterday I finished reading Gary Indiana’s The Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt. And began Karla Jay’s Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation
The Indiana book is bilious and excellent – I’ll be quoting a couple of things from it in future posts. While it is an examination of AS’s gubenatorial campaign, it is also about the current calamatous state of Americal political culture, news reporting and corporate strong arming. all of which played a part in both the Gray Davis recall and Arnold’s ascension.
Fans of dispassionate argument will not be happy with this book: hyperbole abounds, which is in part the point, since much of what passes for “balanced discussion” these days is really an elaborate shell game to keep people from noticing the real issue at stake: how soul-sucking our society has become. I’m very happy that Indiana was willing to go all Sex Pistols on the crap-meisters in power. He’s never going to be offered any sort of typical pundit job, so he has nothing to lose by really attacking those custodians of access and exposure.
I turned to the Jay as a way of filling in some history that I’m a little shakey on, and also to remind myself that there have been times when people were able to take action against a social system that attacked the validity of their lives. I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but the image of the members of WITCH (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell) dressing as sorceresses and hexing the New York Stock Exchange on Halloween in 1968 is already doing my heart good.