Hey, Rove! Divide This!

Karl Rove’s departure from the White House has renewed media interest in the word “divisive,” which is typically hurled about by pundit types as some sort of epithet. The action line reads as follows: “Rove was a scumbag! A weenie! A living turd, animated by his own hellspawn bile! And why? Because he was divisive! DIVISIVE! DIVISIVE, I tells ya!”

I honestly don’t understand this.

Politics, by its very nature, is – and ought to be – divisive. If you believe in one thing and your opponent believes in something else, that principle divides you – hence, division: a product of divisiveness. Show me a politician who is not divisive, and I’ll show you somebody who doesn’t stand for much of anything. THAT’S the guy we want back in Washington – the guy who’s everyone’s buddy. So on the day when he’s asked to cast a vote on, say, whether or not we go to war, he takes a long lunch and, when the tally is counted, he makes excuses for his absence and gives all the other senators hugs. This would inspire complete unity among those who knew the guy – 100% of them would think the dude was a total boob.

So am I a jerk or what? What’s wrong with me? Can’t we all just get along?

Actually, we can, which gets to the root of what I think the “divisiveness” weenies are really whining about. They want us to keep our divisions in perspective and be pals. And it’s true that some divisions are relatively unimportant. Actually, most divisions are relatively unimportant. Coke and Pepsi drinkers can set aside their differences and make out with each other, provided the lust that unites them is more important than their divisive taste in carbonated drinks. And how many folks refuse to speak to the people who think John Lennon was more talented than Paul McCartney? I mean, besides me?

I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the Internet being divisive, mainly because I’m pure evil. It makes me chuckle to see how upset I can make people when I tell them that the new “Battlestar Galactica” (i.e. Galactica In Name Only) sucks. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that there’s a loonbat who thinks I’m on the payroll of Universal Studios. The truth is that I’d be happy to go to dinner with a GINOid or a Universal hack. I’m not willing to spurn a human being who likes different TV shows than I do. (I would likely spurn Languatron if I met him in person, but I’m betting I could justify that on hygienic grounds.)

We overlook tiny divisions and manage to work, live, and even have children with people with whom we have disagreements. Most of us can muddle through the whole squeeze-the-toothpaste-tube-from-the-bottom-or-the-top dilemma without coming to blows. But bigger disagreements have to be settled in inherently divisive ways. And that’s probably as good a definition of politics as anything.

I remember back during the election of 1996, Stephen R. Covey was on “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Matthews asked him what advice he had for the two candidates, and Covey, who was on Seven-Habits-autopilot, said that the first thing that Dole and Clinton had to do was to “think win-win.” When Matthews noted the obvious, which was that elections are “win-lose” by their very nature, Covey scoffed at what he considered to be Matthews’ “outdated” thinking. (He didn’t offer much in the way of what thinking was up to date at the time.)

As near as I can tell, divisive elections are the only ones that work. Dictators are pretty good at getting unanimous vote totals, but they also kill people who vote against them. I like divisiveness better than death squads.

By Covey’s reasoning, every football game would end in a tie, which would mean a lot fewer people would be interested in football, which would be fine by me, because the football season usually pushes the start of the new season of “The Simpsons” almost into December. But I divisively digress.

Rove is divisive? For heaven’s sake, life is divisive. Politics is probably a better solution to this than bloodshed, but sometimes even going to war is necessary if the division is deep enough. And, yes, I recognize the divisiveness of that position. But if you want to kill me, I’m not interested in finding middle ground. That’s why I scoff at the folks who self-righteously stand on platitudes like “war is not the answer” or “there’s got to be a better way.” There’s got to be a better way? Well, what is it? Because I’d love to hear it, but I’m not going to let someone drop a bomb on my family while you’re trying to figure it out.

I’m just divisive that way.

So was Karl Rove divisive during his tenure in the White House? Sure. And good for him. Abraham Lincoln was pretty divisive, too. Then again, so was Adolf Hitler. Being divisive isn’t inherently a good thing. It’s just the nature of the beast. What really matters is which side of the divide you’re on.

Languatron ought to bathe more often.

On Being Stallion Cornell

The name “Stallion Cornell” requires some explanation as I launch my own eponymous blog.

It’s not my real name. It’s also not my “porn star” name, a la George Costanza’s “Buck Naked.” It’s just a name that I thought sounded funny, but it’s taken on a life of its own.

It all began in the mid-eighties, when I was in a weird little show in LA the summer before my senior year in high school. I was the narrator for said show, and my written script was fairly fluid. I therefore introduced myself with a different stage name every evening, and “Stallion Cornell” was the one that got the biggest laugh.

After graduating from high school, I took a creative writing class during my freshman year at the University of Southern California. The conceit of the class was that each of us would fulfill a weekly assignment, and the teacher would “publish” the best entries in a packet she would distribute to all the students for discussion. One week, I wrote an assigned poem under my own name and then, on a whim, wrote a second poem and attributed it to “Stallion Cornell.” It was a love poem to a sheep. It got a much better response than my other poem did. Since then, Stallion has been my alter ego of choice.

I was a theatre major at USC, and, as such, it was my duty to dig up a string of monologues for class assignments, and, invariably, the same monologues kept being recycled, and I can only take so much Christopher Durang. So I started writing my own and, to be sure that I was being judged on my acting and not my writing, I attributed them to a fictional author, the good Mr. Cornell. (I sometimes changed the first name to “Sam,” just to be safe. But Stallion would not be denied. Sam’s day is done, and I mourn him not. )

These monologues got goofier and goofier, and they usually involved bizarre situations with really loud people. The first of these, which included all manner of shrieking punctuated by the phrase “I’d offer you a biscuit first, but I don’t like you very much,” still remains my favorite, although the one where a guy rips out his own heart and smothers it in mustard remains a close second.

Perhaps the highlight of my university education came when a classmate and I wrote and assembled several of these monologues for a one-night-only performance of “An Evening with Stallion Cornell” at USC’s Bing Theatre. Great actors performing truly stupid monologues is a joy forever. And this guy’s performance, which involved ripping out a heart/KFC chicken sandwich from his chest and proceeded to pour ketchup all over it and eat it, still makes me laugh every time I think about it. (He was supposed to use mustard, but I freely forgave the departure from the script.)

Stallion followed me through my checkered theatrical career, as I went on to manage a small theatre in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I always got Stallion’s name somewhere in to the program – once he was billed as “psychic nutritionist,” a title I stole from “Superman III.” But Stallion got his big break at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Southern Utah, where I was commissioned to rewrite the musical extravaganza “Utah!” to make sure that it didn’t offend anybody. The end result proved to be less than spectacular, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing thousands of playbills printed with the credit “Revised book by Stallion Cornell” printed on the cover.

Stallion is also my online presence at several Battlestar Galactica discussion boards, including my own, Stallion Cornell’s Moist Board, hosted at this very site. Again, many have asked what “Moist” means, and some have inferred a prurient sensibility thereto, but it’s just a word I think is funny. (And, deep in your heart of hearts, you think it’s funny, too.) Online Stallion also has an arch-enemy – Languatron, a lunatic who thinks all who disagree with him are being bought off by Universal Studios executives. It seems that the Internet is a silly place, indeed, but you already know that, seeing as how you’re still reading this dreck.

Stallion lives on. I’ve written an unproduced screenplay titled “Stallion Cornell,” an Oxford-was-Shakespeare historical play, and many other stories plays and ditties attributed to Mr. Cornell, including “The Ballad of Stallion Cornell,” which I seldom perform unaltered in public since it callously mocks fat people and has the word “slut” in it. I’ve written many songs since, but that was the first song I ever wrote on the guitar.

(I can soften the fat references and replace “slut” with “nut,” but it’s just not the same.)

Spewing stuff since 2007