The Agenda: November 2000

Decision/Vote/Choice 2000

Esquire, November 2000

And as the nation yawns and rolls over, heedless of the thrumming media harpies and their "Decision/Vote/Choice 2000" business, we realize: Rush was right. Not the talk-radio fattie--the band. People, whom do you think Rush was trying to reach with "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice"? Correct: It was you. So now more than ever: Rush, powered by Neil Peart--chief lyricist, Ayn Rand devotee, bitchin' drummer, and more. Turns out Mr. Peart is an ardent libertarian. (They're the ones who want to abolish taxes and legalize pot, we think.) As such, societal themes permeate the Rush canon, among them freedom, self-reliance, and Thai stick. Peart noted the individualism of Tom Sawyer; he celebrated the worth of philosophers and "ploughmen"; and long before Napster, he gave us his eloquent lamentation on record-company greed: "For the words of the prophets were written on the studio wall / [and] concert hall / And echoes with the sounds of salesmen / oooooffffff salesmen!" Our point? Not sure, but maybe it's that the Libbies deserve another look--if only because their convention will probably not showcase Fleetwood Mac and might even feature a Canadian power trio whose logo involves a naked guy and a pentagram. Whatever: Rock the vote!

Week 1. November 7: Don't look at it as selecting one bozo over another. Instead, look at it as selecting the bozo who will, in turn, probably tap as many as four Supreme Court justices--and those cats can really screw things up. Alternatively: Look at it as the first time someone with the flu attempted to sabotage a candidate by licking the doorknobs of his headquarters.

Week 2. Speaking of Canadian minstrels: Were there ever a perfect day to take in a Gordon Lightfoot concert, it would be November 10, the 25th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, no? (Lightfoot, of course, immortalized the tragedy in a 1976 hit.) Unfortunately, Gord's taking the 10th off. Next best thing: the 9th in Lincoln, Nebraska, or the 11th in Minneapolis.

Week 3. This is in no way a reference to Republicans: November 18, Surin, Thailand, 240 miles outside of Bangkok--the Elephant Roundup. Seriously. There are processions, there are demonstrations, there are hundreds of great beasts at work and at play. Come for the elephant football; stay for the tug-of-war. Also: Say "Great Caesar's ghost!" more often. Thank you.

Week 4. Things for which William S. Burroughs gave thanks in "A Thanksgiving Prayer": "the passenger pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts," "Kill a Queer for Christ" stickers, "the KKK," and, our favorite, "a nation of finks." In closing, Burroughs wrote, "You always were a headache and you always were a bore." Hey, Ma, pass the gravy!