BDS, OR "BUSH DERANGEMENT SYNDROME," has been an identifiable mental disease of the out-of-power political classes for quite some time. Like some heartbreaking psoriasis of the soul, BDS kills and cripples thousands of our fellow Americans' minds daily. Lately, however, the Tinfoil Hat set has added another style of dementia to its inventory-- PABS, or "Paranoia About Bush Syndrome."
Exhibit A is the woeful tale of "Emma" (Not her real name for reasons that will become clear). Emma's tale is the kicker for a popular story out of this weekend's Guardian, The Tickle Inside. The ostensible purpose of this article is that the writer sets out with a photographer to find out why people smile to themselves spontaneously on the street. In short, the writer sets out to find the source of those little moment's of private joy.
Fair enough and fitting the season and all that. Of course, under the Guardian's iron editorial axiom of "All our writers must find new and unexpected ways of slamming George Bush at least once a day." it doesn't take long for the joy seeking writer to drop in a steaming hunk of Bushosis that breaks new ground in intellectual insanity. The method to the story is to catch somebody smiling, snap their photograph, and then interview them. Here's the kicker, oozing textbook paranoia from every pore:
She's American. I'll call her Emma. Today's the day, the papers are reporting, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is to be arrested for his part in disclosing the identity of the CIA agent Valerie Plame.Emma emotionally extorts a promise not to use her photograph and to have her name changed. All for naught since I have it on good authority from a highly placed source deep within the top secret Karl Rove Concentration Camp Commandos that last night black helicopters lowered a strike team onto the roof of the Guardian. After disabling the Guardian's Guard by reading them a 2500 word Lewis Lapham Harper's Editorial, they obtained the photographer's full prints from the session and are , at this moment, hauling Emma off to a torture cell equipped with the woodchipper from "Fargo," and hidden deep beneath the Lincoln Memorial. Posted by Vanderleun at December 15, 2005 5:57 PM
Emma is laughing to herself because she's no fan of the Bush administration. I compliment her on laughing about politics rather than something more solipsistic. She thanks me and says goodbye.
Half an hour later, Emma has a panic attack. She rushes frantically around Liverpool Street trying to find us. Finally she gets hold of us on the phone via the Guardian.
"You can't use my photograph!" she yells.
"Why not?" I ask.
"Because if the White House reads what I've said to you, they might punish me with an IRS [the US tax agency] audit."
There is a silence.
"Are you connected to the White House or politics?" I ask.
"No," she says, "I'm involved in the film business."
"Then you'll be fine," I say.
"I'm serious," she says. "They're vicious. I heard they audited Sean Penn as a punishment after he went on a peace mission to Iraq before the war."
"But surely," I say, "they aren't going to go to all that effort of tracking you down to punish you just because you laughed to yourself about Lewis Libby?"
"They might," she says.
"We'll give you a false name," I say.
"They'll see my photograph," she says.