The Life of the Liar

Category: Blog, Commentaries
  1. Contention

“The Life of the Liar” by Cotton Mather

1.
What is it that so energizes us about the enemy? My sister recently recalled how positively giddy my parents became during the Watergate hearings. How they couldn’t wait to turn on the television after lunch to watch Sam Irving, Howard Baker, and the rest slow-roast Nixon’s criminal entourage on the spit. And when suddenly it was all over, how a kind of pall settled over the house, as if our collective identity had become temporarily shapeless.

I remember picking up my son after his very first day of First Grade, and when I asked him how it was, he hopped into the car and chirped, “Awesome, daddy….Guess what? I already have an arch enemy!” This was good news? As if creating and choosing to see one’s photo-negative in the other somehow validates and empowers our imagined sense of who we are?

I’m truly at a place in my life where I’d like to be done with that. Sure, there are plenty of people I’d love to place aboard the 37th President’s last chopper ride into oblivion, but I’d take no joy in escorting them across the tarmac. And now that his direct political descendants have managed to spawn something far more grotesque, hideous, and dangerous than any of them could have imagined, a season of contention is upon us all I fear. God Bless America – quick!

2.

Statue of Liberty Play

Suddenly I love Richard Nixon and need him more than ever

Crouched in the corner of the oval office

Like a rhesus monkey picking at peanut shells

Or passing out towels at the convention

While the Democrats’ balloons burst blood

He ran on law and order – and won!

How deliciously wicked, rotten to the core, and evil to the bone

Was our great green grinch of Pennsylvania Avenue

A mail-order arch villain who came fully loaded

And once called in the old statue of liberty play

On the Cold War hotline for a ten-yard loss

I want him back because I have nobody to blame for anything

I miss those nights he used to sneak into our house

Sabotage the thermostat

Throw an extra blanket over me

Scoop all the loose change into his pockets

And disappear

*Hexagram 6- Contention or Conflict, instructs on how to bear with the contentious situations which are inevitable in the course of life. The third moving line refers to a scenario in which the only solution is to wait patiently and rely upon the virtues of one’s ancestors for strength. The fifth counsels that dealing with matters in fairness and impartially will bring good fortune in the end. And the sixth warns of contention’s insidious appeal. All three lines applicable here.

“Life of the Liar” performed by Robert Harrison, George Reiff, Whit Williams, Darin Murphy, Kullen Fuchs, and Hollie Thomas. Recorded by RH at The Star Apple Kingdom. Additional recording with Lars Goransson at Sounds Outrageous. Mixed by George Reiff and RH at The Finishing School. Mastered by Bob Ohlsson

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