So much for compassionate conservatism. (Yes, I know that went out the window a long time ago, like yesterday’s campaign promise.)

Lisa Dupler, a 33-year-old from Columbus, held up a rainbow-striped John Kerry sign outside the Nationwide Arena on Friday, as Republicans streamed out after being rallied by George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger. A thickset woman with very short, dark hair, Dupler was silent and barely flinched as people passing her hissed ‘faggot’ into her ear. An old lady looked at her and said, ‘You people are sick!’ A kid who looked to be about 10 or 11 affected a limp wrist and mincing voice and said, ‘Oh, I’m gay.’ Rather than restraining him, his squat mother guffawed and then turned to Dupler and sneered, ‘Why don’t you go marry your girlfriend?’ Encouraged, her son yelled, ‘We don’t want faggots in the White House!’

The throngs of Republicans were pumped after seeing the president and the action hero. But there was an angry edge to their elation. They shrieked at the dozen or so protesters standing on the concrete plaza outside the auditorium. ‘Kerry’s a terrorist!’ yelled a stocky kid in baggy jeans and braces. ‘Communists for Kerry! Go back to Russia,’ someone else screamed. Many of them took up the chant ‘Kerry sucks’; old women and teenage boys shouting with equal ferocity.

When the crowd came pouring out of the arena, the vitriol only increased. One clean-cut man, holding his son by the hand, yelled ‘coward!’ at one of the protesters. I asked him what made him say that, and he said, ‘Because he’s demeaning our troops by saying they are fighting a lost cause.’

‘Jesus! Jesus!’ screamed 26-year-old Joe Robles, pointing to his Bush-Cheney sign. ‘The man stands for God,’ he said of the president. ‘We want somebody who stands for Jesus. I always vote my Christian morals.’ Robles, a student at Ohio State University, told me that Kerry’s daughter is a lesbian. I said I thought that was Dick Cheney’s daughter, but he shook his head no with confidence.

Robles said that Kerry would make it illegal for preachers to say that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. In California, he informed me gravely, such preaching has been deemed a hate crime, and pastors who indulge in it are fined $25,000, which ‘goes to lesbians.’

A few of the protesters, meanwhile, were red-faced from yelling at their antagonists about homophobia and budget deficits and a senseless war. Republicans were incensed. A blond woman dragged her young redheaded son toward the protesters, pointed to them, and said, ‘These are the Democrats,’ speaking as if she was revealing an awful reality that he was finally old enough to face. As she walked away with a group of other mothers and children, she was so angry she could barely speak. A friend consoled her by promising her that Bush would win. After all, she pointed out, ‘Look how many more Bush supporters there were on the street!’

That calmed the angry blond woman down a little. But she was still mad. ‘We,’ she said, stammering and gesturing contemptuously at the demonstrators, “we are the way it should be!”


Random Pulp Lyrics

This song just came on my iTunes. It’s odd. Thought I would share. More like a poem with musical accompaniment. It’s all spoken. Gotta love Pulp.

Inside Susan

Susan catches the bus into town at ten-thirty a.m.

She sits on the back seat.

She looks at the man in front’s head and thinks

how his fat wrinkled neck is like a large carrot sticking out from the collar of his shirt.

She adds up the numbers on her bus ticket to see if they make twenty-one, but they don’t.

Maybe she shouldn’t bother going to school at all, then.

Her friends will be in the yard with their arms folded on their chests, shielding their breasts to try and make them look bigger, whilst the boys will be too busy playing football to notice.

The bus is waiting on the High Street when suddenly it begins to rain torrentially and it sounds like someone has emptied about a million packets of dried peas on top of the roof of the bus.

“What if it just keeps raining,” she thinks to herself, “and it was just like being in an aquarium except it was all the shoppers and office-workers that were floating passed the window instead of fish?”

She’s still thinking about this when the bus goes passed Caroline Lee’s house where there was a party last week.

There were some German exchange students there who were very mature; they all ended up jumping out of the bedroom window.

One of them tried to get her to kiss him on the stairs, so she kicked him.

Later she was sick because she drunk too much cider.

Caroline was drunk as well; she was pretending she was married to a tall boy in glasses, and she had to wear a polo-neck for three days afterwards to cover up the love-bite on her neck.

By now the bus is going passed the market.

Outside is a man who spends all day forcing felt-tip pens into people’s hands and then trying to make them pay for them.

She used to work in the pet shop, but she got sacked for talking to boys when she was supposed to be working.

She wasn’t too bothered though, she hated the smell of the rabbits anyway.

“Maybe this bus won’t stop,” she thinks, “and I’ll stay on it until I’m old enough to go into pubs on my own.

Or it could drive me to a town where people with black hair drink Special Brew and I can make lots of money by charging fat old men five pounds a time to look up my skirt.

Oh, they’ll be queuing up to take me out to dinner.”

I suppose you think she’s just a silly girl with stupid ideas, but I remember her in those days.

They talk about people with a fire within and all that stuff, well, she had that alright.

It’s just that no-one dared to jump into her fire; they would have been consumed.

Instead, they put her in a corner and let her heat up the room, warming their hands and backsides in front of her, and then slagging her off around town.

No-one ever really got inside Susan, and, and, she always ended up getting off the bus at the terminus and then walking home.

In other news…

…someone keeps phoning me from Toronto. I ran the number through a reverse look-up, but it’s not listed. I figured the first time it showed up it was a wrong number, because they didn’t leave me a message. They’ve been calling a few times a day every day for the past few days. It’s gotten to the point where I just wan to answer and say, ‘Who the fuck are you and why do you keep calling me? If it’s not a wrong number, why don’t you leave a fucking message?!’ But they have a tendency to phone either when I’m in class or when I’m somewhere other than where my phone is. Like just now, when I was in the kitchen and my phone was in my bedroom.

Reading Parliamentary Debates

I am saddened by the fact that back in the early days, Hansard’s didn’t record the ‘sound effects’ during the debates as they do now. I.e., the jeering and the yelling in favour, etc. It’s also kind of annoying that they report it as indirect discourse: ‘Lord Althorp said…. He further stated that….’

Ah well. You know me: I always need to complain about something!