Sunday, October 15, 2006

War Hawks Anonymous (Parody)

Who would have thunk it, even two years ago, that the War Hawks would need a support group?

But across the land, where ever Beltway Babies gather, War Hawks Anonymous groups have sprung up -- which basically breaks down as two huge groups in DC and NYC and a smaller, auxillary meet up in LA because Beltway Babies breath a rareified air and spend the bulk of their lives not unlike the caged veal. In fact, one Beltway Baby who identified himself only as "Robert Novak" states he's considering titling an upcoming book I Know Why The Caged Veal Moos.

Occassionaly, in need of local "color" for their books, they venture out to exotic locales like "Red Lobster" or "Home Depot" which they pronounce in stilted syllables like a college freshman taking conversational French.

However, the bulk of the Beltway Babies (no, that wasn't a crack about Tim Russert's weight) lead their lives within the matrix-like sub-strata.

Up Close with a War Hawk Anonymous

This requires an array of excuses for those trying to self-portray as "one of the people." Before a DC meeting on Thursday, "Cokie," who was sampling the Thai see-through noodles and carping that the chopsticks were plastic and the Merlot tasted "watered down domestic," explained that when a natural disaster ravaged her for-publication-only hometown, she covered for her disinterest and lack of compassion by pretending her mother was sick.

Did the public buy that? Did no one question her?

"None that mattered," chortled "Cokie."

The Meeting Begins

As people began leaving the crafts table, the meeting was called to order. A man stood at the front room of the room, cleared his throat and began, "I'm Thomas --"

"Hello, Thomas!" the crowd cried back.

"Let me finish. I'm Thomas Friedman author of The World Is Flat, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Longitudes and Attitudes, From Beruit to Jerusalem, a three-time Pulitzer winner for my high brow columns in The New York Times, and the online author of several erotic stories at in the authoritarian section."

The room was silent except for the noise coming from "Britt" slurping madly on the straw in his frozen margarita.

"Thank you, thank you," "Thomas Friedman" repeated excessively. "Now if you will all rise, I'll lead the infinity prayer."

The crowd rose except for "Cokie" who'd already slipped off her shoes and was busy cracking her toes.

Publisher, Broadcaster, grant me the infity to jaw bone about things I do not know; the courage to bold face lie in all media, and the conventional wisdom to escape any actual thought.
Living one talking point at a time; Contradicting one moment at a time; Accepting accolades I have not earned; Taking, as Joe McCarthy did, a good name and besmirching it; Trusting that I will make all things right if I wallow in the sewer of cable news; That I may be hugely famous and ungodly rich. Forever and ever. A million.

As the infinity prayer came to a close, those present returned to their seats and a man, "Hannity," moved to the front of room carrying a large print version of From This Day Forward or, as he called it, "The Big Book."

"Hannity" admitted that he had been trying too hard on his book and confessed that, as a high school drop-out, he may have been concerned about what others might think of him.

This brought loud boos and hisses and "Cokie" screeched "None that mattered! None that mattered!" over and over like an angry parrot. As the commotion died down, "Hannity" explained that reading "The Big Book" had cleared it up, "I don't need to try for insight or deep thoughts. I just need to jot down me. I am my own best resource and all the world's answers lie within me."

As the applause died down, "Hannity" began explaining that he had "slipped" a bit recently and was now reworking Step-One of the War Hawks Anonymous Program.

Step One: Admit that you are faultess

"Hannity" explained that this was a hard thing for him to do because, at work, he's around a guy named "Alan" and "Alan" is apparently so all powerful that a mere look can send "Hannity" into days of panic and doubt.

"I asked my boss if we could get someone weaker for me to work with," Hannity continued, "but he told me that there wasn't any weaker than 'Alan.' Some nights, I see his face in my dreams, wake up screaming so I turn on all the lights in the house and lock myself in the bathroom until daybreak."

The next to speak to the group, "Michael," admitted he'd never felt at ease ("except on the set of The Birdcage") and that the difficulty he was having with Step One was how so many "commoners" refused to "let go of the past" and hound the "commentariat." As "Michael" became more and more hypnotized by his own voice, the gathered grew restless and a few cat calls of whether he'd supported the war or not led to him finally pouting that "No one ever understands what I'm saying" as he slinked away.

A lackadaisical discussion then ebbed and flowed, over frappuccinos, espressos and Jack Daniels ('Cokie' brought her flask). It was ho-hum agreed upon that you had several avenues to pursue.

1) You maintain now that you always opposed the war and "give a good glaring" to anyone who suggest otherwise.

2) You just ignore the war. If it comes up, change the conversation.

3) You try to switch the talk to strategy and decry the way the war has been waged and not the fact that it was illegally waged.

"Truth" explained she was for option two because she doesn't really like to "write about war. Even when I'm badly cribbing from Ellen Goodman, I always avoid her columns on the war. I like happy thoughts, don't you? Like singing along to 'Mandy' while driving in my mini-van."

I saw a woman and she looked like your mother but she was your daddy's bitch

That's how the Co-Dependent/War Hawk Enablers group started each meeting -- first circling up, holding hands, deep breath, then singing slowly: "I saw a woman and she looked like your mother but she was your daddy's bitch."

After the meeting concluded we asked about the origins of the song and whether some might find it offensive?

"You mean sexist?" asked "Mrs. Friedman". "I don't see how. Children thought it up. Children. And 'the woman' wasn't even a woman. Kids sang it on the playground to taunt the offspring of 'Mary' and 'James'. See, 'bitch' can be a male."

"Mrs. Friedman" then excused herself to rush off in search of her husband who needed both a pep-talk and an enabler.

"It's a busy night for me!" she hollered.

Looking around the room, we saw more women than men. One woman, who refused to offer even an alias, sobbed about how powerful she was in the print industry and how her son was in a band.

"People were interested in him, interested in signing him," she said dabbing her eyes. "Then I found out that a real pain in the ass put a hit out on my son. I was told, over the phone, quote: 'The children of the poor shouldn't be the only ones who suffer in this war. You were in a position to make a difference and you refused to. Some kids are coming home with lost limbs, your little brat just lost the chance to sign with a label. Get over it.' Can you believe that? Can you believe anyone would be so cruel to me or my pampered little child. He's heartbroken and says he's thinking about becoming an accountant."

When asked where her spouse was, she explained, "He's elsewhere but it really doesn't matter. I'm married to my job."

As her body stopped shaking from sobbing, we tried another question, where were all the men we'd heard were in the group?

The woman explained that tonight "Ifell" was giving a talk on Smiling While Pitching Soft Balls and that most of the men, thinking it was a sports lecture, had bailed to check that out.

What we discovered

The War Hawks, male or female, generally had a better self-image of themselves -- some might even feel their attachment to their own egos bordered on molestation. They felt they'd ridden out the initial crisis and were now sure they'd ride out this one as well. They seemed to believe, possibly due to their co-dependent spouses, that the world awaited their every word and jowl thrust.

The co-dependents were a different group. We think they were best exemplified by the lone male we were able to speak with. "Steve" explained that he was married to a borderline sociopath who "accecessorizes well" and that he had long ago learned the trick was never to disagree.

"In my disease, I've switched religions, given her a bikini wax, and offered to step out in the hall whenever I got left out of what was billed as a threesome."

When asked to picture life without his spouse, "Steve" grew strangely quiet.

"it would be like," he said before pausing. "It would be like, you know how some people say the music stoppped? It would be a lot like that. Only more like a high pitched, loud annoying siren. Like an ambulance siren. Leaving her would be like the sound of a siren stopping."

"Steve" then slid down the wall, curled into a fetal position and began sucking his thumb. No one in War Hawks anonymous exhibited such behavior.

They were more likely to joke and speak dreamily about how, "in the next war," they would run their gas baggery differently. "Smarter gas bagging" was a phrase that popped up often. They also tended to end the conversation not due to crying but as a result of needing to log on to and check their latest book's sales ranking. They were more energetic and far less likely to have a flat affect. In fact one, "Alan," was very excited and even dancing until "Juan" pointed out that he wasn't looking at his own book, he was looking at the sales of the Talking Heads' CD Stop Making Sense.
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