[This was written when the “pope” was visiting the “president.” I wasn’t sure how to finish it. Now I’m just going to post it, because, as a famous philosopher once said, “Oh, what the hell.”]
Can any news possibly be less interesting than one evil old man visiting another and lying to us about what the whole thing means? The event would become news only if news-people reported it factually rather than as a clueless and relentless spiel of rote clichés. That would be news. But they do not know how, or they do not want to, or they do not dare. Such is the unspoken, unnoticed, insidious power behind this throroughly fake event. You will speak of this meeting, they are told–no, they know without being told, in the manner that such meetings are allowed to be described, and no other. You will treat us and our doings with unconditional respect, deference, and obedience. For an air of extra authenticity, speak as if you are personally awed by both our Presences, and bravely choose to moderate your adoration to the tones proper to a true journalist. Oh you can be a devout believer and tell the public the truth also. This is the truth–these feelings you have. It’s truer than the regular, newspaper kind of truth, deeper and healthier and longer-lasting and more beautiful. We could–you could do without newspapers, but not without faith. Without faith–without us, you are nothing. We hold the entire key to the sense of your life, to the drama without which it has no meaning, the salt without which it has no savor.
For the “pope” to visit with the “president” means nothing. No, it means less than nothing; it erodes meaning rather than deepening it.
Who is this “pope” who is visiting? A figurehead travels around the world from his palace to visit other figureheads. It makes sense that a man with so much misery to answer for would cross the Atlantic to make a show of solidarity with another man just as evil–that makes sense in a social way, in a “the enemy of my friend is my friend” kind of way. Again, this does not qualify as news. When gangs meet to decide which other gangs to murder next, that is not news. That’s the same as every day, nothing has changed, evil people are still evil. Fuck them. I don’t want to hear about them and their despicable games. That shit sticks to you and affects your mind. When they are picked up and put in jail so that we ordinary people don’t have to be afraid of them anymore, that will be news. Don’t tell me about murderers continuing to murder unless you’re also going to do something about it. I don’t want them to be an the news. They don’t deserve to be famous. They deserve to be utterly unknown and impotent. Don’t let them get a “name,” that’s all they have. Without their notoriety they are nothing, they are slime we can step over so we don’t ruin our Vans. They are nothing. If people could see how small and shriveled and sick they are inside, their best friends would puke.
Oh, yes, I’m talking about you, Mr. “President,” Mr. “Vice-President,” and Ms. “Secretary of State.” May you burn in hell.
And you too, Joseph Alois Ratzinger. Of course, you’re familiar with the “scripture.” You would know just how certain and terrible is your fiery fate, if you believed any of it for a second.
I have to stop ranting and get back to the present point. Who or what is this “pope” who visited the “president”? When the Times reports on the activities of the “pope,” what does this noun refer to?
It’s not the guy–Joe Ratzinger. We don’t know anything about him–what makes him laugh, his family ties and troubles, whether he’d rather look at Cosmo or Playguy. He has been long since erased from the public eye. But that is who is riding in the “pope-mobile.” That’s him: Joe Ratzinger. You can change the name and the clothes and the job description, but you can’t change a person very much.
That’s not who the Times covers. They do not cover Ratso. They are complicit in the Ratso cover-up. To them Ratso is not interesting, Ratso is not news; and I agree with them on this. But at least Ratso exists. This “Benedict” thing is a construct, a figurehead, a cover, a lie from beginning to end. “Benedict” is no more real, or newsworthy, than Aunt Jemima.
There is someone, or something, the press is not covering. There is a man, who lives in a place, who has a job. It’s an important job, in the sense that it seriously affects many other human beings. The guy has a lot of power, and he uses it to benefit his organization, his buddies and colleagues, as opposed to the billions of members who faithfully pay their salaries. This is not even controversial. This is a matter of pure fact to anyone who won’t play the game of Don’t Dare Think That. This man is as evil as they come. And he is real. But he does not appear in the New York Times, just as the real President of the United States does not. The two proud papier-mâché figures appear, who do nothing, mean nothing, and are nothing. They are much safer to write about. You can’t get in much trouble with the real pope or president if you stick to writing about the fake pope and president.