Now, as a matter of fact, I have some stake in Glassman’s career. I was his secretary, once. This was way back when I was a freshman at Tulane. Glassman edited a weekly, then, the Figaro. He was young, he was nice, and he was never particularly bright. That the pup I knew, who was fighting for ad revenue from the booming porno theater scene, went to Reagan’s D.C. and became a mover and a shaker was, well, a big sign for me that the moronic inferno has a great sense of humor. I like the question, But you don't feel the need to apologize to someone that read your book, went in and got creamed? And the answer: Absolutely not. Surely a good interviewer would have probed this marvelous moral insensitivity. Has Glassman ever had thoughts of hurting people? How did these thoughts make him feel? Is he on meds? But no, they go on to another topic in which Glassman, knowing nothing about the field, has made himself a mover and a shaker: Iraq! For a man who, when I knew him, barely knew that King Tut came from Egypt, he has set himself up as quite the whiz. Of course, he was appointed by Bush – one of those small but symbolic appointments, for if anybody is channeling the same country club avatars as Bush, it is James Glassman. Here moral numbness and a subdeb’s ability to manipulate Heritage Foundation boilerplate has put him in good stead. Luckily, the three page article cuts off just about where he is asked about Al Qaeda. I could ask the shoes in my closet about Al Qaeda and get a more informed response.
A paper that wasn’t up the asshole of the establishment – an anti-Post – would surely have asked some questions about Glassman’s credentials. Does he know anything about anything? Does he speak Arabic? How much of the history of the Middle East can he spout in one setting? Does he know, for instance, about the treaties separating Kuwait from Iraq, and how they were put in place by the British? Can he name three Iraqi rulers before Saddam Hussein? What is a popular Iraqi dessert? But, just as Glassman’s financial knowhow was on par with that of your average mortgage salesman at Washington Mutual, his ability in foreign policy is unquestioned by the ever asskissing Post, the newspaper that periodically shills for global warming denialism (as well as the Iraq war and bombing Iran – it is a regular circus).
To understand the elite – their gated community smugness, their vulgarity, their incompetence, their backscratching, their pseudo-meritocracy, their confusion, their vanity, their pent up acids and mineral salts, their cancerous talons, their Skeletor evil, their chatter, their poshlost, their pimpleness on the hindquarters of history, their wear and tear on my neck and bones, you have to understand such as Glassman. A Great Moderation careerist. An ignoramus. A moral numbnut. An accessory to mass murder. All grown out of the country club puppy he once was. And to think, he could have gone into something useful, like cocaine smuggling or something.
MANY YEARS LATER as he faced the firing squad, Roger Gathman was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover
ice. Or rather, to discover the profit making potential of selling bags of ice to picnicking Atlantans, the most glorious of the old man's Get Rich schemes, the one that devoured the most energy, the one that seemed so rational for a time, the one that, like all the others - the farm, the housebuilding business, the plastic sign business, chimney cleaning, well drilling, candy machine renting - was drawn by an inexorable black hole that opened up between skill and lack of business sense, imagination and macro-economics, to blow a huge hole in the family savings account. But before discovering the ice machine at 12, Roger had discovered many other things - for instance, he had a distinct memory of learning how to tie his shoes. It was in the big colonial, a house in the Syracuse metro area that had been built to sell and that stubbornly wouldn't - hence, the family had moved into it. He remembered bending over the shoes, he remembered that clumsy feeling in his hands - clumsiness, for the first time, had a habitation, it was made up of this obscure machine, the shoe, and it presaged a lifetime of struggle with machine after machine.