Washington: Theatre of the Absurd

Tying in with Troy’s asteroid-cam post and John Yoo’s comments on “national humiliation” just below, I unleashed some snark about the platinum coin on Forbes today. I apologize for evaporating from Ricochet over the holidays, but the election and its fallout tried my patience, as you may see in my less-than-thrilled response to yet another fantastical bedtime story dreamed up by America’s boldest innovators:

I love that Washington has an appreciation for my favorite form of comedy—the absurd—and I am fully prepared to laugh at the nonsense it grafts onto otherwise logical thoughts. Our politicians and pundits should be applauded for their commitment to the act. Of course their original intention was not to entertain, but you can’t film these clowns in high-definition and not expect them to start thinking they’re stars. We are openly demanding a show and they are only too happy to oblige.

Naturally they are! These are people with a pathological need to be known. Yet we are trusting them to be the kind of large-hearted benefactors that lay personal ambitions aside for a greater good? Spare me this aggressively dim whimsy. Our imaginations are a beautiful gift. It would be better not to abuse them.

We tell children to dream, yes, but we also tell them to have common sense. If someone is able to advocate publicly for a trillion-dollar platinum coin, their parents and teachers only did half their job. Who can type the words “platinum coin” and “solve problem” and not wonder if maybe that would be a good idea for a screenplay? Fiction is not the statesman’s milieu, though, so our legislators (and sideline commentators) can stop posing.

Perhaps you will argue that this plot of the next James Bond film is a legitimate way of averting our horrifically inevitable doom. Well, the front page of theWashington Post this morning featured three pictures of apocalyptic weather events with the headline that things are getting hotter and drier, so please don’t ask me to worry about multiple disaster scenarios in one day.