Things That Ought To Be Surprising But Sadly Aren't:
Straight guys, you know how it goes. If it's not you, it's your friends, although at least part of the way, c'mon, it's you. When you're a kid, you can get off on a particularly sassy-looking underwear model in a Macy's ad. But pretty soon that's not enough. And you sneak a look at your first online naked woman, starting with the gracefully airbrushed artificial breasts and delicately photoshopped crotches of Playboy or something. Pretty soon that's not enough. So you make the leap to wide open legs, staring at pussy lips and glory holes as you yank it. You need more. You start heading over to the video sites, downloading fuck films, and there's an ascending order of intensity, each step of which you begin to need in order to even get hard, moving from straight-on fucking to blow jobs to anal to double and triple penetrations to gang bangs. Each time you move up a step, the previous ones are just worthless. You look at some pictures of the Girls of Wal-Mart or some such layout, and you think, "Gimme a break. I just watched a video of two chicks 69ing each other while getting fucked in the ass by a goat as twenty other dudes jack off and cover them with jizz." It's sad, how one can no longer appreciate the complex beauty of the curves and lines of the female body, how the thrill is, indeed, gone.

If we apply this analogy to America, today, in mid-2008, we've become a bloated twenty-five year old in a dark room who can't even masturbate to a snuff film of kidnapped adolescent Latino girls forced to fight naked to the death with machetes, cheered on by the local cops, and the winner gets chained up and raped repeatedly until she bleeds out and horribly expires. Nah, we think when someone shows us what they think is truly hardcore shit. What else ya got?

From Reagan to Bush to Bush, our political order of pornographic intensity, our capacity for shock has been lost. And, as the Rude Pundit has said before, mostly we're just surprised when something awful doesn't happen. Wait, you mean they're gonna let the girl go? Well, that's unexpected.

We have been hit again and again in the past couple of weeks with shit that oughta make the nation shut down until it's fixed. But that ain't gonna happen. To wit:
1. The verdict in the Gitmo "trial" (if by "trial," you mean "a process so rigged that it'd make Henry Gondorff wonder why he didn't think of it") that will, in all likelihood, send Salim Ahmed Hamdan to jail for life for driving Osama Bin Laden to his dialysis appointments, his beard salon, and his terror plot planning meetings. What oughta be surprising is that, even with information obtained from torture and secret meetings, he wasn't convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorism. Which means that, even with all the pieces, the Bush administration can't win a game.

2. The allegations in Ron Suskind's latest book that the White House ordered the CIA to fake a letter connecting Iraq and al-Qaeda and that Bush and Cheney knew that Iraq had no WMDs from information from Tony Blair, thus showing, once more, that we're at war for no discernible reason. Remember the days when, if a member of the Clinton administration was accused of farting in a church, it triggered ten congressional investigations, an independent counsel, and non-stop news coverage filled with witnesses attesting to how loud and noxious a fart it was and how Jesus cried tears of blood because of it? Good times.

3. The Iraqi government will have tens of billions of dollars in surplus funds by the end of the year. Now, this ain't about Iraq, which is only abiding by the rules set out by the United States. It's about those rules. Hey, here's an idea that's helpful, fun, and ironic: why doesn't Iraq start funding reconstruction projects in New Orleans, Minnesota, etc., etc., using only Iraqi contractors for the jobs.

And on and on, the constant thrum, the white noise, all drowned out by the presidential campaign because, despite the months of this administration left, nothing can break through the haze of depravity anymore.