5.2.2003 8:58:02 AM
On a silent television that will not turn off, an extremely crude cartoon alternates with sophisticated animated commercials. Then the cartoon ends and is replaced by an infomercial of indefinite duration, featuring endless shots of breasts and pectoral muscles of superbly proportioned models, with the implication that these exercise tapes will render the daytime television viewer as lasciviously stunning as the vacuous mannequins onscreen. A few before and after photos don't directly address the fact that all the people depicted have beautiful faces, which no amount of wriggling on the floor before videotapes can provide. The walls are white burlap. The vent spews cold air. A rack of pamphlets enumerate the hazards of oral piercing, bruxism, and smokeless tobacco. Ranks of maroon and grey chairs sit emptily watching the inanities on tv. One other person waits with a pensive attitude of forced patience. How reassuring are artificial plants? A stack of awful glossy magazines lie to my side including one called ePregnancy. The themes are money, celebrity, pregnancy, and sports. There is one framed photograph of a bleached beachscape. Somewhere beyond the receptionists' window, unseen employees discuss routers. The vents rattle as if filled with ice. "I feel bad for the patient" is overheard from the employees. A distant flute melody is barely detectable beneath the tones of some kind of intercom. The last other waiter is summoned leaving me alone with the disembodied chatter of unseen hospital workers discussing trouble with payments. I'm like... is a construction used to convey ones personal impressions. Mounted on the wall, unlit floodlamps await an emergency. Above my head is another framed bleached beachscape, a Kanfer print numbered 5/100. An empty coatrack. There is the distant wailing of a child expressing what everybody feels. Whatever is on television is unspeakably offensive and directly responsible for the asphyxiation of critical thinking in America. More patients have arrived and the mood is that of suppressed individuality combined (paradoxically?) with heightened alienation. Strangers sit in parallel ranks ignoring one another, each submerged in invisible concerns. A buxom hospital orderly wears a festive, wintery, childish pyjama-like V-neck smock. I gaze at the silent commercials and my brain cells die in waves. I have been handed a clipboard bearing a sheet of paper I am expected to sign, which I have not signed, and nobody has noticed. Fluorescent lights in the white ceiling panels glare through hexagonal honeycomb grids.
What the hell is
Some fucker just turned up the volume. A couple of rednecks who haven't even sat down yet grabbed the remote control from the desk. The fat bald one with the moustache sat down, the one with glasses and the red-and-blue parka remains at the desk, not even checked in yet, fiddling with the remote. Now he has tuned to static and is adjusting every nuance of the sound and picture. They are good natured ignorant midwesterners and I despise their intrusion on my meditations. Of course I am snottily out of line, and they are in the right, turning up the volume on a waiting room now full of reading people, because television is compulsory. There's a war on, moron. Now the sad bastard has sat down with the remote and they are pawing through the various channels. Oh fuck: IRAQ: THE WEAPONS HUNT is the snazzy mark for the new CNN war. Colin Powell is about to address the UN. A German accent is speaking. Today is some kind of deadline. Now I am hooked, let's hear what Colin Powell has to say.
Colin Powell occupies about 25% of the screen, at the bottom is a scrolling line of propaganda. A headline flashes SATELLITES SHOW IRAQ HAS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION and disappears without a trace of explication or justification. Wow. Powell just played a tape of a conversation between two Iraqi officials. An English transcription accompanied the audio. The conversation is vague and refers to some kind of modified vehicle. In short this recording (the legality of broadcasting intercepted private communications aside), especially given its undisclosed context and unknown veracity, means and proves nothing, except, perhaps, that, if the US can monitor secret Iraqi military communication, and can't come up with anything more incriminating than that, then the threat that serves to justify war is the farce everybody already knows it is.
Help us Germany, help us France, for those we have decided we need as enemy have vehicles.
Newspoetry at Spineless Books