Nothing’s clean Howard. But we do our best, right?
– Ava Gardner to Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004)
This is all I could think of during and after the latest Democratic presidential debate this week.
That in speaking this one truth, the fictionalized Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale) managed to coax a fictionalized and very seriously obsessive-compulsive Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) out of the prison of his own room and his own twisted thoughts and virtually back to real life in the superb Hughes/Hollywood biopic The Aviator.
Would that we had our own Ava Gardner-like figure – living or dead – to shock us all, the American electorate, back into the filth and messiness of our present reality in time to face the upcoming 2020 election cycle.
Someone who could remind us that because this world is so dirty to some degree we, every last one of us, also are unclean.
But someone who might simultaneously assure us that true cleanliness, i.e. purity, is merely an intellectual construct, one especially ill-advised when our very world is about to be engulfed and devoured by a snarling, larger than life orange Cookie Monster of our own creation.
Yes, I’m talking about Trump and which mud-stained gladiator on that stage will lead us through the mess of human blood and excrement he’s gonna spew everywhere as we try and pry his cold, wet hands off the levels of OUR power.
And sure, this is all a tad too purple prose metaphorical.
Yet what are we to make of all that supposedly serious talk on that debate stage. All that posturing about wine caves, no big money donors, grit to stay the course, I’m safe because you know me, I’m a revolutionary because I’ve always been (Note: Just what year WAS that revolution, other than 1776?) and I’m a billionaire/millionaire who’s an innovator simply because I got rich?
Or the I’m gay, female, a person of color or am/have actively always supported the struggles of ALL of the former (and any of those not mentioned), many of whom are also my friends?
Not much when I drive around town and see Orangetheory Fitness Centers spreading like wildfire in my neighborhood, and not merely in a non-metaphorical way. If this doesn’t stop we might all soon be turning orange, and not in a good or fit way.
Again, too many metaphors, I know. But desperate times call for…well, you know… anything that could possibly convince you.
It is worth noting that all the above bold-faced phrases on that debate stage were uttered by our much-ballyhooed gladiators the day after our Orange One was finally impeached by OUR U.S. House of Representatives.
As the always fictional Elliot Ness was advised in the 1987 film, The Untouchables:
You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
Yeah, another movie reference can’t hurt. Unless it’s one where I get to confess I’m so exhausted from listening to our gladiators get so stuck in the fly paper of fine print that I may have to hate watch Cats (2019) simply as a palette cleanser.
On second thought no, not even on a screener – which, by the way, has not yet come in the mail.
All of this is to proclaim that even though yes, we need to fix health care, end global warming, get out of endless wars, address racism and the lack of opportunities for minority and poor populations, get money out of politics and………. nothing is more urgent than getting a quite literally unhinged, corrupt, crazy person out of OUR White House.
His mental state is not metaphorical but pretty much accepted fact, even among many of his congressional supporters privately. What is metaphorical but no less true is that the 2019 color of that House he lives in is no longer White but….well, take a guess. (Hint: The first letter rhymes with NO).
Talk about unclean, filthy and unsafe.
So here’s the deal. You and I have each have our favorites, my fellow gladiator followers. But let’s try to get beyond the Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Yang, Klobuchar, Yang, Booker, Castro, et. al of it all.
The future of the country and democracy is at stake and we don’t live in a perfect one, and certainly not a perfect world. So rally behind those you feel the most passionate about but do not, repeat, DO NOT spend 2020 in your own personal dreamland when YOUR House is being engulfed by non-metaphorical orange flames.
If Biden is not your first choice but he gets the nom, find a way to get REALLY PASSIONATE about him. Like you did about the guy or gal you dated when the dysfunctional choice you really wanted didn’t show up or merely screwed you over.
Ditto Elizabeth Warren
Ditto Mayor Pete
And in the so far less-likely second tier:
Ditto Amy Klobuchar
Ditto Andrew Yang
Ditto the billionaires Bloomberg and Steyer
Ditto Julian Castro
Ditto Corey Booker
This also goes for all of the above or unmentioned as possible vice-presidential candidates.
You and I and anyone else we can find on our dirtiest or, well, very less than unclean street corners, need to do this because if we don’t we will be losing A LOT more than the election.
Which is a lot LESS than has been lost already.