by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
January 24, 2002
QUESTIONS I ASK MYSELF
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Whenever I'm driving, taking a shower, cooking, or watching television, little questions bubble up in my mind. For example, right now I'm wondering why, when the American people were so enthusiastic about a war in Afghanistan to "get" Osama bin Laden, they didn't complain one bit about the fact that although we caused buckets of devastation over there, we didn't get him.
Here's another question about all this gung ho war stuff. Why didn't Arnold Schwartzenegger, Chuck Morris, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Segal and Jerry Bruckheimer form a battalion and get themselves dropped into Afghanistan? If they love violence so much, wasn't this a golden opportunity?
Or, on a similar note, why didn't Sen. Dick Armey, George Will, President George W. Bush himself, Vice President Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Phil Gramm and the rest of the war-mongers volunteer to fight?
Or, why hasn't there been an uproar over the fact that the majority of American casualties in Afghanistan were not killed by the Taliban? There were, as best as I can figure out, six or seven American soldiers killed, plus one CIA agent. (Although Pravda, of all places, reported 35 American dead in November alone.) Of these, only two were killed by enemy fire. Yet the media and the American people don't seem to care that we're killing our own. Why?
On the national front, I wonder why the media hasn't ripped the Bush family to shreds over their close ties to Enron, along with most of the other senators and congressmen in Washington who accepted Enron money. We knew years ago that Enron was sitting in the halls of government, writing the bills that would protect its criminal bookkeeping practices from discovery; in the same way and at the same time, the oil industry was rewriting our environmental laws. Yet no one complained. Why?
And, I wonder, will the Enron disaster jump-start the moribundmovement for campaign finance reform? I'm cynical enough to believe that itwon't. But I still wonder, why not?
And why do we need an amendment to protect a piece of printed fabric we buy in a store to represent the United States flag? Why do we conflate the symbol with the real thing -- our true love of this country? Why aren't we worried about desecrating what this country supposedly stands for -- our precious freedom of speech?
Or, if we're so hell-bent on protecting the flag from "desecration," why don't we arrest all the people who put cheap flags on their cars and then drive around with them until they are dirty, tattered rags?
Why do we divide people up into "left wing" and "right wing," anyway? Shouldn't many of the solutions to our national problems just be common sense?
Then again, why do Americans repeatedly vote into office millionaires who have nothing but contempt for ordinary people? You'd think, since there are so many of us and so few of them, we'd be the ones running the country.
In the same vein, why doesn't the Democratic Party have a viable presidential candidate for 2004? Sen. Joseph Lieberman? Give me a break. But also, why do I think Vice President Dick Cheney will find a way -- national security demands it, folks! -- to suspend the elections?
Not all my questions are about politics. On the entertainmentfront, I wonder why there are so many dead bodies on television these days."CSI" and "Crossing Jordan" are built around them. The endless "Law and Order" franchise couldn't exist without them, nor could all the cop shows.
Even HBO has an autopsy series. I ran across something there called "The Best of Autopsy" a few weeks ago. Aren't we getting a little ghoulish?
And why is everyone so concerned about Tina Brown and the demise of Talk Magazine? Didn't they realize that she was never the story? The story was always her effect on the various franchises she ran. Vanity Fair and The New Yorker were the important things. She revitalized one and dumbed down the other, but when she started her own magazine, who cared?
Or, how does it happen that almost every female star in Hollywood suddenly appears with the same haircut? This time, it's a short-ish shaggy cut that looks like a pre-schooler did it with pinking shears. More than half the women at the Golden Globes had their hair cut like that. Can a haircut spread? Is it like a disease? Can you catch it?
And speaking of hair, does anyone really believe that stars like Heather Locklear get their hair color out of a box they buy at the supermarket?
Last, but not least, whatever happened to pubic hair? My stepdad inFlorida has a subscription to Playboy Magazine, and I leafed through a fewissues while I was visiting last week. Not one woman had more than a lineof pubic hair. Was the stuff banned? When? Did I miss it?
Well, those are just a few of the questions that have been running through my head in recent weeks. I'm sure everybody has their own set. I don't have any answers, but if anyone out there does, please get in touch.
Joyce Marcel is a freelance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.