You know how you wake having felt as though you slept not a wink? So I greeted the day, my brain bathed in syrup. Good thing it’s a light one – only four columns and a ninety-minute speech to give in St. Paul.
As for the exact text of the speech, I don’t have one.
And won’t, until I get there, I suppose. I’m to talk about my books, and I can do that standing on my head. Given the weather, which is horridly cruel and godforsaken, I think I’ll have an audience in the low single digits, so if I fail to be interesting, it’ll be our little secret.
As of noon, I’ve filed three columns. I sketched them out last night so the morning wouldn’t be difficult, then I watched some of “Superman Returns.” Initial impressions are not favorable. It has a deadly whiff of camp wafting off the Lex Luthor sequences – particularly Parker Posey’s horrible turn as the obligatory Dumb Moll, lifted from Valerie Perrine’s equally annoying character. She’s playing the same character she played in “Waiting for Guffman,” and while it’s nice to think that lass got out of the Dairy Queen in the end, it makes for a wince-worthy performance. I saw the first big action sequence involving the world’s most sturdy jetliner and the unconcussable head of Lois Lane, and as Superman grappled with the twirling airplane, I had to wonder what exactly his powers are. The answer, apparently, is “anything required at the moment.”
Tucker Carlson was a good Jimmy Olsen, though.
I went to bed early, since I had to get up the next day and speechify . . . but I kept waking up, over and over again. No speech dreams - in fact one dream concerned Dean Martin in a tux with a loosened bowtie, on stage, blearily regarding the audience, asking "how'd all these people get in my room?" Well, maybe that was a speech dream. Anyway, I didn't sleep well. So now I’m going to practice the speech to establish my talking points, nap, and practice again – then come home and write another column. So this will be it aside from a note later to indicate whether I did well or seized up and fell on the floor.
Perhaps I should set up something I wanted to write about today. I was going to ignore the Keith Ellison / swearing on the Qu’ran issue, because I think Dennis Prager is wrong. I understand his point and have some sympathy with the points about tradition and culture, but I cannot see how you can force someone to swear on a religious text which represents a faith other than their own. (Note to potential emailers on the subject: I’ve heard the issue debated at great length, and am unlikely to be swayed by a reiteration of the points.) But I did want to note how our papers editorial page characterized the matter: Prager was appealing to “wingnuts,” according to the editorial’s headline – a little jarring in a supposedly sober paper; it’s like seeing “libtards” on the Wall Stret Journal editorial page – and the man himself is a “gasbag.” It’s possible that the editorial writers derived this impression from constant listening, but I doubt it; you can’t get the station very well in the paper’s office, but perhaps they’re in their cars or walking around downtown with headphones, eager to hear what right-wingnut radio is screaming about today. But I doubt it. In any case, Prager is generally calm and reasonable; he’s not given to blasts of intemperate ranting, and the discussions I’ve heard with liberal guests have been models of civility and respect. They could have gotten that impression by other means, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Then again, the page described the show’s listeners as wingnuts who fell out of a tree and landed on their empty heads, so I obviously lack the intellectual firepower to parse such deathless insights.