Bottom? What Bottom? There is no Bottom

Some more bottom.

Belatedly reading the comments on Michael’s piece on Bush’s swell money-saving plan I see that I’m not the only one who experienced genre-confusion. I thought it was all sarcasm, other people thought it was all news. One commenter objected to the mix and to the sarcasm, saying the news is so disgusting that jokes don’t quite play. Michael’s answer is interesting.

OK. I’m sorry to be so expository, but here’s the deal. First: I don’t think this post is funny. It wasn’t meant to be funny, and I honestly didn’t imagine that anyone would laugh at it. I did not laugh while I was writing it, for what that’s worth; I wrote it in a cold gray fury. Second: the reason I embedded real quotes in the second, “satirical” half of this post – George Bush’s, Barbara Bush’s, Tom DeLay’s – is that I think the (obviously) racialized subtext of those remarks is worth calling attention to in precisely this way. Third: the suspension of Davis-Bacon is obscene. And in the context of the Gulf Coast, it goes well beyond the ordinary screw-the-unions policy of the Bush GOP. It verges on a kind of local/national colonialism which, I think, has everything to do with race, poverty, and the question of who gets to sit on Trent Lott’s porch. I hoped that would be clear.

For the record, I don’t think humans have yet invented a prose genre adequate to this moment in US history.

Just so. I certainly went into a hot red fury when I read the real news stories. I would not have thought it possible. Which just shows what a chump I am. I find it hard to believe I could think any worse of the rodent in the White House than I already did, and yet I would not have thought it possible. How wrong can you be.

And he’ll get away with it. A serious tone and some Biblical-sounding language (this city shall rise again – the word ‘shall’ goes a long way, you know) and he’ll get away with further impoverishing people who’ve already been quite impoverished enough, one would have thought. While he and his friends get richer than ever. In full view of everyone. It’s unbelievable – but there it is.

From the CNN Money story Michael linked to.

President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage…The Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay workers at least the prevailing wages in the area where the work is conducted. It applies to federally funded construction projects such as highways and bridges. Bush’s executive order suspends the requirements of the Davis-Bacon law for designated areas hit by the storm…”The administration is using the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to cut the wages of people desperately trying to rebuild their lives and their communities,” [California Rep. George] Miller said. “President Bush should immediately realize the colossal mistake he has made in signing this order and rescind it and ensure that America puts its people back to work in the wake of Katrina at wages that will get them and their families back on their feet,” Miller said.

No, see, because if they were responsible people they would have jumped in the SUV on August 28 and driven like a bat out of hell to Idaho or someplace like that. If they’re still in the area, that means they were irresponsible and shif’less and dependent on the federal gummint and expecting a handout and feeling a sense of entitlement. Some nice healthy outdoor work for substandard wages is just the ticket for people like that – teaches them to quit messing around and get jobs managing federal agencies so they can buy an SUV to get out of town in whenever there’s a big storm. See? It all works out. God planned it that way. And Barbara Bush is pleased for them.

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