Politics & Policy

Carpocalypse Pow!

Count me in with Alfred E. Neuman: What, me worry?

You’ve probably been worrying yourself sick about me, wondering if I’ve survived the nightmare, Weekend-style apocalypse known as Carmageddon here in L.A. Well, let me hasten to assure you that I’m absolutely fine. Everything is fine. So, I guess we’re both fine, then. It’s great to be fine, Dmitri.

And fine I am. Sitting here in my palatial pad in Echo Park, where we plaster icons of Che Guevara (after whom my dad, the sainted “Che” Kahane, named himself) all over the taco stands on Sunset to show our solidarity with la Revolución, I was entirely unaffected by the colossal crisis unfolding in and around West Los Angeles with the weekend shutdown of the San Diego Freeway.

You see, West L.A.’s a place where I absolutely, positively never go because, after all, there are no studios west of the 405, not even Sony. Okay, maybe once in a while I’ll venture over to the People’s Republic of Santa Monica or visit friends on the canals, or pick up a new tattoo at Venice Beach, or go to the airport, but that’s about it. Everything I need, I have right here in my Elysian Park paradise, including Communist bookstores, good cheap eats, and Dodger Stadium right across the street. Life couldn’t be better.

As you probably heard, it turns out there wasn’t much of a crisis after all: Everybody just stayed home, flew kites, walked the dog, fund-raised for Obama, that sort of thing. In other words, it was our ultra-green version of the Christianist superstition called “Heaven,” a shining, golden world of limitless wind and solar power — an entire civilization run on hot air. I swear the L.A. girls got sexier over the weekend, if such a thing is possible, but it may have just been the sweat.

Even our mayor, the legendary Latin lover Antonio Villaraigosa, pronounced himself thrilled with the way we all came through this stupefying hardship with flying colors, mostly red and green. We actually got out of our cars for less than 48 hours and survived! For a couple of brief, shining moments, our lefty vision of a carless society took root, right in here in L.A. on a summer weekend, thus giving us a chance to claim that this could be the new normal of a fundamentally transformed country to come. After all, if we can fake it here, we can fake it anywhere.

Even better, we can apply it to all facets of our everyday lives. Gas prices going up to Euro-levels? Tant pis! Services being cut back to keep the public-employee union members from being canned? Comme ci, comme ça! Social Security and Medicare going broke? Achtung, baby! Along with our illustrious forebear, Alfred E. Neuman, we sing out in one multilingual, I’d-like-to-buy-the-world-a-Coke voice: What, me worry?

So I’m here to say that this is the laid-back attitude you wingnut worrywarts ought to adopt as well. Sure, we all hopped back into our cars once the all-clear was sounded and even the greenest among us realized that to walk from Brentwood to the Music Center would take a mighty long time and you’d miss the concert completely, what with the Red Car long gone and all. In other words, there might be a limit to benign greenery after all, at least until we can get that new high-speed rail line built between the Third Street Promenade and downtown Beverly Hills, which will keep a lot of teenagers in their daddy’s Mercedes off San Vicente, let me tell you.

But sitting here atop Sunset Heights, I can sense you out there, beyond Nevada or Colorado or somewhere flyover-y, working yourselves into a fine froth over the so-called “debt ceiling” and such phantoms and bugbears as our “national debt” and our “unsustainable” levels of public spending.

Stop it. You’re making yourselves crazy.

I mean, here His Serene Majesty the Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Hoops, Master of the Greens, Bringer of Kinetic Military Action, Vacationer-in-Chief, Slayer of Osama, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Honolulu and Chicago, is simply proposing to spend every last nickel in the United States Treasury, then borrow and print even more money to keep his subjects in the style to which he would like them to become accustomed — and then reward him commensurately at the ballot box next November — and you lot have the unmitigated gall to complain about it.

So what if the trustees of the entitlement programs says they’re heading for the last roundup? That’s just more of the same-old, same-old Faux News bunk you’ve been force-fed for years, and probably derived from Rupert Murdoch himself hacking into David Cameron’s iPad right there in No. 10 Downing Street, or whatever.

You’re also all wee-wee’d up over the debt “ceiling” (one of our little inside-Washington jokes, since the “ceiling” is infinite) heading north of $16 trillion, which is a number so large that not even Rachel Maddow can wrap her formidable mind around it, even using all her fingers and toes.  Besides, we’re just going to raise it again in a year or so anyway, so why are you fretting about it now?

Since the primary function of the federal government is to bribe a majority of the population with the money of a minority, we’re never going to stop paying Social Security, stop paying unemployment, stop paying Medicare and Medicaid, even with a death panel or two to cull the herd and weed out the stragglers. This is a deadly serious game of beggar-thy-neighbor we’re playing here, and guess who’s starring in the role of The Neighbor?

So if I were you, and I thank Gaia every night that I am not, I’d get with the program, the way we just did.  Get out of those cars and corporate jets, turn off those air conditioners, throw out those Edison light bulbs before we throw them out for you, and let the downsizing begin. Think of the money you’ll save, how much healthier you’ll be — why, you’ll even be able to snarf down a 1,700-calorie meal at the Shake Shack once in a blue moon or two without feeling guilty, just like the First Lady!

Carmageddon, Schmarmageddon — we’re always worried about apocalypse now, and yet it’s always just over the blue horizon. We’re so peace-loving that we don’t even fight in the War Room anymore, so why worry? Carpe diem, as Mrs. Diem said to Mr. Diem back in the day.

I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

— David Kahane is always in a good mood, which is why his nickname is Sunny Jim. He would be happy to entertain your optimistic thoughts at kahanenro@gmail.com. Just be sure you’re fully briefed by Rules for Radical Conservatives first.

Since February 2007, Michael Walsh has written for National Review both under his own name and the name of David Kahane, a fictional persona described as “a Hollywood liberal who ...


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