The Remora Cycle

So we got another round yesterday of Palin rumors, and as always it was nicely mixed in with loads of bile targeted at Alaska’s former Governor and anyone who would dare to see anything positive about anything she has done:

Earlier this week one of my best sources claimed to have explosive new information for me.

It took all week for us to finally get together, but last night we finally sat down for an amazing conversation. And what I heard made my jaw drop.

According to my source Sarah is finished with Todd and has decided to end their marriage.

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She has purchased land in Montana (I wonder whose donations paid for that?), and may be considering moving herself and the children as far away from Alaska as she can get.

Do you remember all of that talk about her missing wedding ring during the three part going away picnics? Well it turns out that ring now sleeps with the fishes. Apparently in a fit of anger Sarah stripped the ring from her finger and tossed it into a lake. (No I did not think to ask WHICH lake so I cannot confirm if it is Lake Lucille, on which her house is located, or some other lake. I apologize for not getting clarification, but I was a little tired last night and so was my source.)

So it appears that the reason Palin has been so quiet, and has given her tweeting fingers a rest, is NOT because of any master plan, or carefully orchestrated new direction, but simply the result of the emotional stress that prevents her from communicating with her fan base or making any public appearances.

I would assume that this stress is also the reason that Sarah has suffered such a dramatic drop in weight and would also explain the hair loss that Jessica Steele referred to in the New York Times (and which she quickly tried to take back after she received a scolding from the Palin camp.)

On this point I must spend a few words deviating from this latest national tragedy to toss some of my attention briefly toward another one: Men who use parentheses like women. Parentheses are to be used to designate those portions of your prose which are disposable. They are for garnish. Too many of you are using them to put together a sort of a “salad,” not a garnish…an overwhelming hodgepodge of items that are on equal footing with one another. In this case, it’s a list of scintillating tidbits to be carried forward into the next heated cocktail party pro-Palin anti-Palin melee. Twenty-eight insults for the Caribou Barbie is a lot better than twenty-seven, right? That’s not disposable. That’s “buckshot.” And when you use parentheses to separate them, it gives people headaches (but only for the people who aren’t sharing in your Palin bashing vision (so not that you care too much about that)).

Also, it makes you look like a complete p*ssy. Not that “Gryphen” is restored to his guy-card credentials should he choose to cease and desist. “It took all week for us to finally get together, but last night we finally sat down for an amazing conversation. And what I heard made my jaw drop.” A guy wrote that? An Alaska guy? This guttersniping about weight loss…that came from a tough Sourdough fella? Between hits of moonshine to keep his ticker tickin’ at 75 degrees below zero, and mouthfuls of raw polar bear intestine? He’s managed to put something together that could have been torn from the pages of the National Enquirer.

Okay enough of that rant. Back to the subject at hand…
Yes, it’s bullsh*t.

Sorry, my left-wing friends, but today isn’t Christmas, the Palin’s aren’t getting a divorce, and you can’t have a pony. I know that your favorite blogs are running with the unsubstantiated rumor that the Palins are splitsville like Darryl Grant with an errant Gary Hogeboom pass in the 1982 NFC Championship Game, but it’s not victory they’re running toward, just another credibility-demolishing embarassment.

The rumor, which you will surely hear on some Sunday talk show tomorrow is being spread by someone with a history for spreading stuff that not even the Weekly World News would put on its front page.

The Palin family has discounted the fantasy without equivocation in a statement on Sarah Palin’s facebook page, posted by Meg Stapleton.

Yet again, some so-called journalists have decided to make up a story. There is no truth to the recent “story” (and story is the correct term for this type of fiction) that the Palins are divorcing. The Palins remain married, committed to each other and their family, and have not purchased land in Montana (last week it was reported to be Long Island).

Less than one week ago, Governor Palin asked the media to “quit making things up.” We appreciate that the more professional journalists decided to question this story before repeating it.

Palin herself chimed in with a definitive quote first published by Stacy McCain and Dan Riehl.

“Divorce Todd? Have you seen Todd? I may be just a renegade hockey mom, but I’m not blind!”

You can’t debunk a rumor any harder than that. Well, I suppose you could use a baseball bat or a lead pipe but, if words are your only weapon, that nasty little piece of borderline slander is as debunked as debunked can get.

In the fitful moments between REM sleep and giving some thought to climbing out of bed to start my day, I was thinking about this thing people do. I was thinking about the way people behave — at a very, very high level, staying out of this whole Republican-democrat thing. The idea that Palin earns all this scorn because she’s some kind of a dimwit, is laughably silly. The idea that she earns it because she enjoys imminent potential to become our next President, or to be launched into some other high office with real decision-making power…this contradicts, directly, the things said by those who carry around that scorn. They are not motivated by her stupidity, and they are not motivated by her power, or the power she will be wielding next year or the year after that. But they are motivated by something; can anyone anywhere deny that?

And they are not in an exclusive club. They are recruiting each other, and having a rather easy time doing it. They must be making contact with something deep in the prospective recruit’s soul, something that has been there since long, long before anyone outside of Wasilla ever heard of Sarah Palin. And it must be something present in all of us, or most of us…so let us finish the rest of this little essay without using her name again. We’ve already looked into, in great detail, why so many people hate Sarah Palin so much. But we’ll not be guilty of redundancy here…not too much. There is more that is worthy of inspection here. This really isn’t about her. This is something far, far bigger than her.

I was tossing and turning in bed, not thinking quite so much about this latest gossip-burp from yesterday, as about other things going on — wondering where I’d seen it before. In those moments before the dawn when man’s mind is left alone, enjoying complete peace and quiet, and occasionally finding greater chaos in its own repressed thoughts than it will ever find throughout the day, the truth suddenly hit me like a Mack truck: Everywhere. At work. At school. In the women I’ve loved, and, in my younger days, in the girls.

It takes me by surprise, time after time, because it possess the stealth of an enemy who isn’t always there. In fact, so many years pass before I see it. It’s something deep inside us, but something we cannot support constantly. It has to pulsate. And no single individual can make the decision that the time is right for it to erupt again. It is a purely social thing. People get together, in larger and larger numbers, and then if the time is right the collective will make the call that belongs to no one single member who is a part of it. And then the members practice this thing, that knows no name and no description.

I cannot name it but I do know how to describe it now:

It has to do with that star/solar-system configuration so familiar to anyone who’s watched girls in high school hang out together. There’s the ringleader, and then all the hangers-on riding her coattails.

It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship in its own way. They are nothing without the club; the club is nothing without the ringleader; the ringleader would be nothing without the rest of them.

One quarter of the time, it seems, all the rest of us are in that constellation. Or we want to be.

This thing that wells up within people every so-many years, has to do with seeking this out. The Head B*tch of that little clique, does not offer herself to be the leader of it, nor has she built the clique. That’s the dirty little secret nobody seems ready to admit. They come looking for her. We come looking for her. Every few years we seem to get it in our heads, that life is all about seeking out some champion. But not the sort of champion who inspires us to be the best we possibly can be. A Head B*tch champion. Someone with truckloads of charisma but with very little character.

And so the way I would describe this thirst we all seem to have, or that most of us seem to have, but only occasionally — this Pon Farr of social idiocy, if you will — is: We make friends with those who lack character, and we direct our enthusiastically destructive energies toward anyone who might possess an abundance of it.

You see someone cannot really be trusted, some observed person shows all the scruples of an alley cat. And as the fever hits you, instead of thinking “Okay I know pretty well what he/she is all about, I’ll keep my distance” — like a red-blooded earthling would think — instead, you say “This person knows how to get what s/he wants, and maybe s/he’ll do me some good if I hang out with him/her.”

In other words, we admire each other for our most destructive, antisocial qualities.

And we start to labor under the delusion that by turning things upside-down this way, we have defined what life is all about. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Survival of the fittest. You have to be looking out for Number One. It’s you or him, so it’s gotta be him! And if it’s you or me, then say your prayers pal because it’s gonna be you.

Well, there is some truth to all that; life isn’t all sweet and comfy, it does have competition, and sometimes the competition has consequences. And occasionally you can come out ahead by making all the “wrong” friends. But if that’s such a reliable lodestar, rather than just a load, then why the Pon Farr of stupid? Why is there this cyclical pattern to it; how come we come to this understanding just one-quarter of the time? How come we have to let all these years zip on by, stupidly putting our trust in, y’know, people who are actually worthy of it…being nice to people who have been nice to us…building a real community of people who depend on each other? How come for years and years we catch ourselves doing things that boring old-fashioned way, before a snake presents us with an apple and we’re suddenly endowed with all this “wisdom” that we have to start screwing each other over?

If life is just a Lord of the Flies re-enactment, and we can only show a useful strength by deceiving those who have been fairly kind and decent toward us, then how come we only manage to catch on to this truth for a year or two, out of five-to-ten? The Golden Rule deals not nearly so devastating a blow to this doctrine, as any decent observation of our own pattern of behavior, coupled with an understanding of time.

As I said, I’ve seen it in love, I’ve seen it in school, I’ve seen it in business. What do we call this? “You’re too nice, you’ll have to go”? No, it’s not quite so much niceness. Character. Trustworthiness. The impulse is to make friends with human sharks, who just swim through life grabbing at what they can. The reward to be offered is the reward of Remoras, who just cling on and scavenge the bits of stray meat that drift on by during a frenzy. Ostracism for those who have not succumbed. Those who live their lives according to defined principles. Jealousy toward those who’ve managed to arrest the drama involved in living day-to-day, and divert their energies toward where they want them diverted…rather than fighting on the phone with collection agencies, or divorce lawyers.

It isn’t all jealousy. Some of it is selection. They…we…want, at the apex of this cycle, to be friends with those who we know betray everybody…who will eventually betray us. Somehow, our cycles stay in sync. And so when a few people show greater fidelity to those they know are not capable of returning it, the society-at-large seems to do exactly the same thing. For a little while.

Something else I’ve noticed about this…in love, at work, at school. As we come off this high apex of one-way-fidelity and stupid-socializing with those we know are going to betray us, it all seems to fall apart like a pyramid scheme. Last in, first out. The latest newcomers, those least devoted, figure out they’ll always be called-upon to put more into this thing than they’ll ever get out of it. Kind of like Butters, on South Park. Those in the middle, who never had a shot at leading the pack but still had some kind of “cred,” are next. They fall away in layers, dejectedly, very much like losers at a casino, all out of chips, taking up that walk of shame to the pawn shop.

Those ultimately choosing to remain a part of it, as the phenomenon reaches its lowest ebb, are the hardcore types…those who’ve never left it and never will. The ones who really, absolutely truly, do see life this way. Life…is nothing but a series of surprises, hopefully pleasant ones. And you make your own surprises pleasant ones by screwing the other guy. Usually, this is the one who was the shark for the remoras. The Head B*tch cheerleader ringleader type. But not always. Some of these sad souls are not destined to take charge of anything, ever. They’re just good-for-nothing cowards, incapable of living in any kind of community, any kind of society of give-and-take, or mutual cooperation. They aren’t capable of living in such an arrangement because they don’t believe in the concept.

To the discredit and everlasting shame of the rest of us, or most of the rest of us, it seems for about 25% of the time — we allow them to define for us all what a community is, and should be.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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