"Student debts... are hostile to the common good and inimical to human development."

The Rude Pundit's Almanack 2012 Edition

Lee Papa

UPDATED, INFALLIBLE, AND CHEAP

“A tornado of a writer….a child of Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and Hunter S. Thompson.”
—Margo Jefferson, The New York Times

The Rude Pundit’s Almanack is a delicious collection of profane, insightful observations, with some graphs and charts for the stats fans in the audience. He recalls his life in ‘the swamps’ of Louisiana, and juxtaposes these very funny tales with heartbreaking vignettes about the devastation wrought upon his beloved New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and human WMD, George Bush. Interspersed throughout are scathing and laugh-out-loud funny analyses of the current group of Republican rodeo clowns hoping to smear the walls of the Oval Office with elephant dung in 2012.” —Firedoglake.com

Buy This Book

Paperback: $18/£11
E-book: $10/£7
Print + E-book: $22/£14

About the Book

NOW FEATURING PSAs FROM LIZZ WINSTEAD AND JEFF KREISLER AND AN EPIC LIMERICK BY HERMAN CAIN!!!

Lee Papa, the Rude Pundit, wants you to come roaring into the 2012 elections with a new edition of The Rude Pundit’s Almanack. What’s new? “The Life and Death of Herman Cain’s Campaign: A Tale in Dirty Limericks,” Ten Dances You Can Do on the Grave of Newt Gingrich’s Career, Mitt Romney’s Concession Speech, the Bill of Rights Follies, and more stuff that’s never been and never will be on the Rude Pundit’s blog.

Publication September 2012 • 238 pages
paperback ISBN 978-1-935928-69-0 • ebook ISBN 978-1-935928-70-6

About the Author

Photo credit: Mark Manne (www.markmanne.com)

Lee Papa is the fearless political blogger known as “the Rude Pundit” (rudepundit.blogspot.com); his tens of thousands of weekly readers make him one of the most widely-read left-wing bloggers out there, which, as he says, “is like living in an air-conditioned room in Hell.” When not proudly lowering political discourse, he is a regular guest on the nationally-syndicated radio program The Stephanie Miller Show. His one-man shows have sold out to audiences in New York and Canada because filthy stories are big in both places.

Read an excerpt

Introduction

Lee Papa

INTRODUCTION

This book is unfair, and I am imbalanced. Of course, I have drugs that take care of the latter, the pole for the delicate tightrope walk of chemicals in my brain, although tequila is probably flicking the cable a bit. As for the unfairness? Well, at least I’m honest. I’m not presenting this as the truth (even if it is) or a cor¬rective to a mostly conservative media. No, this almanac is a chronicle of our accelerating descent into madness in this America, and it’s an attempt to toss out an anchor, put on some brakes, or at least claw the earth with our finger¬nails to try to stop our plunge off the cliff.

The results of the congressional elections of 2010 were a warning sign: if you dance with the capitalist devil, you are going to get burned. The Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and the GOP gains in the Senate, as well as in gubernatorial and state legislative races were the next act in a passion play for our democracy that is being scripted to near-perfection by corporations. This occurred in the wake of the Citizens United decision in the Supreme Court, which said, in essence, corporations can anonymously pour cash into elections because they have the same speech rights as real people.

And the Tea Party and all their teabaggage? That was merely playing the buffoons and yokels for everything they’re worth. For what is the end result of their “ideology”? A modified anarchy? A Frito-Lay-sponsored oligarchy? It is that each of us should have the right to squat in our shitpiles of ignorance, isolated from one another, coveting our precious money, fellating our guns and fucking ourselves against our 50-inch LED screens in our multi-mortgaged, soon-to-be foreclosed on hovels, and if the world outside our caves goes to hell, well, that’s because people don’t understand how wonderful it is to engorge your faces with poisoned food and asthmatically heave your chest through polluted air and travel on shattered roads and bridges while picking your un¬medicated scabs in order to get to work at Wal-Mart for shit wages. If that’s the America you want, then give it another couple of years.

But it ain’t mine. No. It’s not America as I learned it to be. They want a confederacy of loosely-affiliated states who only come together in order to have a military defend them from the big, bad outside world. I want a more perfect union, united states, if you will.

I was born in Rego Park, Queens. When I was just barely out of toddler pants, my first girlfriend was the daughter of a member of the Argentinean ambassador’s staff. When we left in a hurry one day, on the run from the law (or so my grandfather said when he was in dying delirium), she stood on the sidewalk and waved goodbye as we pulled our Chrysler away from the curb and headed down to Florida, where we ended up living in a mobile home, on welfare, while my father worked as a bartender at some Coconut Grove-type place and then as a semi driver for Eckerd Drugs. We didn’t think of ourselves as rednecks, even though we lived in a trailer park and my mom paid for groceries with food stamps. No, we thought the Gieselman family next door from Ohio (truly, King’s Manor was a refugee camp for Union exiles), whose patriarch sat on the porch of his double-wide and chewed tobacco and who we called “the Spitters,” were the rednecks. I had been to a movie premiere at Radio City Music Hall. My brother had been photographed with various Yankees and Mets. It takes years to accept that one’s been downgraded from solidly middle class to working class. It takes years to get back to solidly middle class. And that was when you actually had a good shot at doing it.

I tell you all of this not as some way of getting across my man-o’-the-people street cred or to give you some bullshit Christmas Sweater sob story. You don’t really know anything about me.1 I’m not gonna sit here and go into the various jobs I had in warehouses or weep about my dad dying when I was 13. No, fuck that. I’m telling you this because I want you to understand that when I write this shit, I’m writing from a dual position: I have a PhD and I know how to catch crabs with chicken necks.2 I’m not some Northeastern-raised, Ivy League liberal for whom the day-to-day existence of the masses is theoretical or transient (like a summer job in the Ozarks or some such shit). I don’t have access to people in power any more than any other American. I’ve met a few, but Al Franken ain’t gonna return my calls. I’m just a guy who’s been at it for a long time, over 25 years, staying engaged and watching the raft go over the falls. More than anything, I’m probably someone whose funhouse mirror image is something like the Tea Party. But with longer hair.

So this book is a bit of a journey, of how one gets to be a raging, unapologetic liberal after coming out of the trailer and into the light. All it takes is a little bit of attention to the people, to the news, and to the world you walk though every day.
Let’s set a few ground rules. As far as I’m concerned, there’s a few things that we need to believe without question, things that aren’t even up for debate and won’t be debated or justified here:

– Abortion should be safe and legal. The only regulations should be those that keep it safe and legal, like other legal medical procedures.

– Global warming is real and happening because of human beings.

– Gay people should be allowed to get married because, really, nothing is going to stop it from happening. In fact, whatever the country deems legal for straight people to do, that’s gotta be legal for the GLBT community.

– Barack Obama was born in the United States.

– The presidency of George W. Bush (with the aid of Congress) is the reason why the nation is in its current dire straits. The greatest success of the right has been to pin the failures of the Bush admin- istration on Barack Obama.

– Fox “news” is biased in a way that the New York Times or CNN or even MSNBC could never hope to be.

But even if you take a few things off the table, even if you think some issues are just obvious, you need to know what the left is up against. Here’s an actual Facebook wall “conversation” I had with an old friend in August 2010 over the immigration policies of the Obama administration, especially as it regards a memo that discussed the possibility of the President issuing an executive order of amnesty for illegals:

ME: Are you aware that the Obama administration is deporting ille¬gals at a higher rate than any other administration? And that, in fact, the number of people crossing the border has gone down because of the actions of Barack Obama? Or do facts just not matter?

JASPER3: You’ve been reading the Daily Kos again, haven’t you?

ME: Nope. (Followed by a citation of a Washington Post article that gave exactly how many people were deported.)

JASPER: Those articles are a JOKE. That’s why Fox “news” and Newsmax aren’t running them!!

ME: Hey, wow, look at this AP story I found on the Fox “news” website (or do they just republish liberal lies now?). (Followed by a link to said article.) Jasper, numbers are numbers. These are facts. Facts are indisputable. It’s why they’re facts. You can use them to prove your point, but the actual facts don’t change.

JASPER: The FACTS, Lee, are that Obama and his minions are attacking businesses that DO NOT EMPLOY ILLEGALS because they either can’t speak English and/or they don’t have the skills to work in the industries being targeted now. The mainstream media publishes factually inaccurate stories all the time because they automatically accept this regime’s statements at face-value without verifying anything they say.

ME: Where are you getting your info? I mean, I don’t quote Daily Kos to you. Are you quoting Newsmax or WND to me? Because those are as biased as any left wing blog. Show me how every news organization is lying. Prove it to me.

JASPER: The only people lying here are Obama and his regime. The problem is that people like the ones who work for the New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, et al, take EVERYTHING these assholes say as gospel and refuse to vet and or verify ANYTHING.4

Jasper and I went for a while until I got sad and gave up.

This is what the left is up against. Here’s how many layers of bullshit and denial that we have to plow through. It’s the kind of delusion that led to the Republican resurgence. But even if this book ends up just preaching to the converted, that’s okay. The converted go to church. They deserve some preaching so they can go out and transform themselves and the world around them. So come on in to the chapel. Maybe bring a friend. The wine’s good. And when we get down to flesh eating, well, let’s just say that some metaphors are a whole lot more fun than others.

1 I don’t mean you, Mom.
2 Full disclosure: My degree is in English, not history or political science. My dissertation was an examination of American drama and the history of unions and workers in the early twentieth century. Majoring in English in the late twentieth century meant you learned how to interpret a text and how to “read” the world around, say, a poem or novel. When you apply those skills to the speeches of Sarah Palin, the cognitive dissonance would make a robot go on a city-burning rampage.
3 Not his name. But calling him “Jasper” will just annoy him. That makes me laugh.
4 The sad part is that I don’t completely disagree with Jasper. The media helped create the Iraq war. And during the Bush administration, I complained about how the media

POEM TWO: ODE TO IMMORALITY *

Lee Papa

I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.
I am a deceiver and a liar.
There is a part of my life that is so
Repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring
Against it all of my adult life.
Different therapists have said different things
To me. My first therapist said, “You are
A heterosexual with homo-
Sexual attachments.” And I wasn’t
Sure what that meant. Now that we’ve processed this
Through, my current counselor says, “You’re a
Heterosexual with complications.”
And—and so I don’t think the boxes work
For me. I think I have—I have some thoughts
In my life and some processes that just
Don’t fit neatly into the boxes, which
I think is true for a lot of people.
The human race is such a mess. We have
Hatred and we have judgment and we have
Bitterness and we have high-mindedness
And arrogance and all types of sexual things.
We’re all a mess. I’m a mess. I’m a disaster.
Jesus completed the work that he began in me,
Because I was praying about this the whole time.

*From former minister Ted Haggard’s “confession” to the congregation of the New Life Church on November 3, 2006, and an interview with Larry King on CNN on January 29, 2009. The evangelical Haggard was accused by a male prostitute of solicitation and smoking methamphetamine. Haggard was apparently a bottom. During the King interview, Haggard also confessed to masturbating in front of a young male church worker in a hotel room.

View Sample Illustrations

Original illustrations for The Rude Pundit’s Almanack

by Jennifer Kimball

In the Media

The Ed Show (video), May 5th 2011

The Ed Show (video), April 27th 2011

Firedoglake Book Salon, April 9th 2011

Prick of the Spindle, December 2010

The Best of New Orleans, June 1st, 2010

Videos