The Witzelsucht Memorandum

Where Top-Hat, Red-Carpet Service is practically a motto!

    Week of early June '04:  summer will be on us like a knife in the back before we can get out of the way!


FROM NOW ON: Unless you're actually British, you're not allowed to say "shite" instead of shit, and you musn't call anyone a "wanker."

As a lover of all things Godzilla -- except, of course, the awful 1998 American remake -- Wit Memo relished the recent theatrical release of the restored, uncut, undubbed, original, pre-camp Japanese version, lately lauded as a more explicit metaphor for Japan's unique nuclear experience than the edited, stateside version seen forever on TV. And while it was huge fun to finally see the big guy on the big screen, at Silver Spring's universally-adored AFI Silver theater, it's still a Godzilla movie, and Godzilla is still a galoot in a big rubber suit

But to all those "cineastes" suggesting that the flick's alleged ascent to High Art might be due in any way to the excision of veteran actor RAYMOND BURR, who, in footage filmed just for the US release, contributed narration, gravitas, and a familiar star presence as American reporter Steve Martin, Wit Memo says, excuuuse me?!? Raymond Burr didn't make Godzilla campy, and didn't detract from Godzilla one iota. Raymond Burr was a welcome presence in every production he ever appeared in, whether as Perry Mason, Ironsides, or the murderer in "Rear Window." Raymond Burr was truly a "Godzilla" . . . of the thespian world.

And the AFI Silver? Gorgeous, with comfy seats and cupholders where you can park the draft beer for sale at the refreshment stand. It's true: a movie theater that sells beer! Beer that you can take into the movie! What could be more civilized? What are all the other movie theaters waiting for?

But, ultimately, we don't feel comfortable at the AFI Silver. The problem? Too many film buffs. Too many movie nerds. During soundtrack lulls you hear their urgent whispers: now this is the scene where Hitchcock blah blah blah ... for this shot, Truffaut blah blah blah. Even the staff are film nerds. They're all young and fresh and eager and seem to truly enjoy working there, instead of behaving like normal people of that age, who should be trying to do as little work as possible while stealing everything they can from their employer.


Now that Memorial Day is finally past, and the 60th anniversary of D-Day soon to follow, can we PLEASE nix the blather about "the greatest generation?" It's been like visiting a nursing home and counting the seconds until you can leave. Make no bones about it: our parent's generation won that moniker only through an accident of timing. Never mind that the concept of "generations" is a fallacy, a bogus attempt to force a linear continuum into abitrary compartments. If any generation should be called the greatest, it is certainly we, THE WIT MEMO GENERATION. We baby boomers invented civil rights, ended the war in Vietnam, created rock, discovered the environment, and weathered a storm of drugs that's knocked the younger set right on its tattooed, overly pierced ear. And if we've dislocated our shoulders patting ourselves on the back, it's only 'cause we tired of waiting for someone else to say, "Thanks!"


Oh my goodness gracious, is DONALD RUMSFELD ever in hot water again. The stone-cold killer with the Ned Flanders vocabulary took it on the chin after the press published those awful prison photos. He's heard calls for his resignation, and even had to endure the snide interrogations of grandstanding congressmen. (SHOULD he resign? No! He should hang in there and take some more hits!)

Last year, Wit Memo pulled Rumsfeld's chestnuts out of the fire after his "old Europe" remark, and we're here to help pry his foot from his mouth once again. If he listens to Wit Memo , he can turn this whole torture argy-bargy into a public relations bonanza for the United States that will foment a flowering of democracy throughout the Arab world . . . which was, after all, the reason we went to war in the first place.

The recipe for getting out of this jam was first hinted at by Donnie himself - we stopped calling him "Rummy" because we weren't sure how the real rummies felt about it - when he argued that the pictured beatings, dog attacks and sexual humiliations weren't really "torture," but merely abuse . . . presumably, because in no picture could one see any of the medieval implements on display at Amsterdam's Torture Museum. Take a coupla of tablespoons of that bracing attitude, stir in a quarter cup of Senator JAMES INHOFE's outrage at those who professed to be outraged, whisk in a dash of RUSH LIMBAUGH's evocation of fraternity hazings, baste liberally with news reports of plans to release Saddam-era torture videos to make ours seem trivial by comparison, cover tightly and simmer in a tightly-controlled environment, and voila! The whole schmear was carefully calculated to teach those nasty Arab dictatorships a lesson in the beauty of democracy:

Come, come and see the CIVILIZED way a FREE society mistreats its enemies. And when your poor, enslaved subjects see what passes for "torture" in a REAL democracy, they'll no longer abide the oppression by which you've maintained power, and your days will be numbered, as an unslakable thirst for democracy shakes your despotic regimes to their very foundations. 
And the perfect classroom for this lesson in the stark contrast between tyranny and freedom? Why, SADDAM HUSSEIN's own notorious Abu Graib prison! What a stroke of genius! And to think that some people actually wanted to tear the place down! What were they thinking?


"I've never seen this country more polarized" 

-- Senator John McCain, on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

There you have it: The country's cleaved and you're either conservative or liberal, no exceptions. Could anyone be more unhappy over this nation divided than Wit Memo, everybody's apolitical friend, who wants only to be loved by all, blue and red? 

But now, finally, a whiff of hope, the first crack in the icebound political harbor. Wit Memo is delighted to report that, at long last, our conservative pals are abandoning the politics of divisiveness, and behaving like reasonable human beings. When will our liberal chums follow suit?

You're skeptical? Up the receptacle? Then see how conservatives have grown:

-They now accept that the President of the United States is the President of ALL Americans.

One of the most novel conservative ideas over the last decade was that BILL CLINTON had a less-than-legitimate claim to the presidency because he didn't receive a majority of the votes. A minority President, he had no mandate to govern. Thus did former Sen Majority leader DICK ARMEY deride him in remarks to Senate Dems as "your President." 

But now, we've got a President who not only didn't get a majority of the votes, but who got fewer votes than the other guy And the conservatives who peddled that minority-president hokum? They've kept mum. They've seen the error of their ways, and are determined not to repeat them, even at the risk of appearing inconsistent. If that's not a mark of blossoming maturity, we don't know what is.

-They've gotten over their childish obsession with lies.

Everybody lies. As they should. When Wit Memo asks a casual acquaintance "how ya doin?" we don't want to hear about his ulcerative colitis, or the perceived injustice of his divorce proceedings. We expect him to lie. Courtesy demands it. And any parents who teach their kids that all lies are equally bad are, well, lying.

But barely five years ago, conservatives acted like they thought lying was a terrible sin, and no one who told a lie should ever be forgiven . . . not even a President of the United States. They impeached the President for lying, about inconsequential crap like whether he felt up a zaftig young gal, and who-gave-who some crummy gifts. Their fetish for rigid truthfulness achieved apogee during the Senate trial, when House Judiciary Chairman HENRY HYDE read a letter from a third-grader suggesting that POTUS be forced to write a 100-word essay on "why it's wrong to lie," an essay that the youngster was made to write after his Dad caught him in a lie and he'd pleaded "but the President lies!" How, the angry Dad demanded, are we supposed to tell our children not to lie if the President gets away with lying? (That incompetent Dad wasn't even trying. You need a license to drive, but not to have kids!)

Five years later, we've got another President who lies, and the conservatives who last time blew gaskets now speak in far more moderate tones. And in defending our President, they've employed the same sort of verbal gymnastics that we loved hearing from the Horndog-in-Chief's flacks and shills. Close your eyes and listen to the current crowd argue that "Dubuya" and co. never said that Saddam posed an imminent threat or sought yellowcake from Niger, as opposed to some unspecified African country, and you'll swear you're hearing SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL aver that Clinton didn't technically lie, at least not according to the definition of "sexual relationship" inartfully drafted by PAULA JONES's jackleg lawyers. See how much those once-irate right-wingers have mellowed? They've done some growing up and come to see that a little fibbing isn't a fatal character flaw, just another facet of realpolitik. They grasp that the world is a nuanced place, where truth is relative and comes in many shades. At the start of the current administration, thousand-points-of-light speech writer PEGGY NOONAN declared, "the adults are in charge." She was right. Adults lie. 
We could go on, like former con choler over Presidents who maneuvered out of 'Nam duty, but the result is the same.. Somehow, someway, the fiery partisan warriors of the right have cast down their rancorous swords, and begun fondling their reasonableness bones.

We wish we could say the same about our liberal friends . . . they're hopping mad, churning out bilious tomes at a rate that puts Regnery Press to shame. Why can't the children of peace, love, and understanding hitch a ride on the Love Train, too? It is Wit Memo's sincerest wish that before the year is out, something will happen to make that a reality.

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