Mixing politics with pleasure

Katy.StClair@sfweekly.com 21st AMENDMENT. 563 Second St. 369-0900.

Our country is in a constitutional crisis. The executive branch is running the judiciary. As a result, Democrats are throwing Busby Berkeley-esque “Show Trials” that make a mockery of good old American perjury, something we all hold dear.

Have you noticed that the only times the president has appeared visibly angry (as opposed to flustered, defensive, or stubborn) were when Gore refused to concede in the 2000 election, or when Karl Rove and Harriet Miers were asked to go on the record? In his arrogance, Bush is saying, How dare you? But, like any skilled yet transparent liar, he is also protesting too much. He is too angry. He is too forceful. He is scared shitless.

Well, I'll drink to that.

This week I headed to the closest thing to the U.S. Constitution that I could dredge up in this Godless den of sodomy and liberalism, the 21st Amendment on Second in SOMA. The place has also heretofore eluded me on more than three occasions. The first time I tried to go there, I got pulled over before I could even get in the door and I had to head back home. The next two times I merely used the john and then continued on my rounds elsewhere. A few weeks ago I was supposed to meet some friends there, but that fell through, too.

But last week I found myself actually sitting in a chair at the bar. I even had a great Belgian brew in front of me. It was time to finally celebrate the overturning of Prohibition. I knew then that I could accomplish anything in life if I just put my mind to it. This country was built on fortitude and ingenuity. Not on governmental interference, abortion, and Tinky Winky.

OK, so yeah, I have been listening to talk radio host Sean Hannity every day, the Bush apologist and arch neocon who in my mind would secretly like to be serving at the president's pleasure, if you know what I mean. His show is addictive. I am fascinated with the Right. I also listen to Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh … basically the whole roster on KSFO. Granted, I must also listen to my favorite guy in the world, Ed Schultz, on 960 The Quake. Once I hear levelheaded Ed I can deal with the other idiots. But return to the idiots I do, like a battered wife who keeps believing that this time the guy will change. But I also think that something else is going on here, something that conservatives say about liberals all the time. Yes, I listen to Sean Hannity for the same reason that other people drink: so that I can feel superior.

At 21st Amendment, I pulled out my Walkman to listen to Hannity. Was it just me, or were people staring at me like I had just landed in a time machine? I might as well have skated in on quad-roller skates with a boom box on my shoulder, green athletic short-shorts with matching kneesocks, and a T-shirt that read “Up your nose wid a rubber hose!” Hey, I like my lil' Walkman radio. And not in a hipster anachronism throwback kind of way, but in a no-I-can't-afford-an-iPod kind of way. So nyah.

The 21st Amendment describes itself as a “comfortable loft-life setting,” and that sounds about right. It's sleekish but woodsy, not unlike the finish on the palate after one of their brews. Most of the microbreweries I've been to have ranged from pretty sucky to eh. But I like the beer here — and might even be persuaded to say that it's worth the trip.

I couldn't hear anyone talking with my headphones on, so I had to watch everyone and supplant Hannity's voice into their conversations. Two women who looked like they had been working together all day — their clothes were nice but not “I hope I meet a man” nice — were sharing food and most likely dissing a co-worker. Hannity was carrying on about the Democratic Party's show trial. “Sean, you're a great American,” said the caller. That is what they all say when they call him (just like Limbaugh's catchphrase, with his callers all saying “Major dittos” when they get the druggie on the line). The caller was flummoxed that Rove et al. may end up perjuring themselves if the Democrats had their way, but when Valerie Plame testified the previous week and “lied” about her covert status, no one said boo. You see, that is what the Right has said about Plame, that she had a desk job and was not undercover. The listeners of Hannity et al. are so brainwashed that when Plame testified under oath and said the complete opposite, their only refuge was that she must be lying. Sigh.

I turned my gaze to a lone guy in construction clothes. He looked like a heavy smoker and he had that 50-yard stare that people who are used to going to bars alone get. (Don't ask me how I know this.) I have always been interested in how you can judge a person's politics by what they look like. Let me rephrase that … I am interested in the people whom you look at and can't tell their politics. That's why I love Ed Schultz, because he gets callers with thick Carolina accents and jobs in factories who are liberal Democrats. On the other hand, when you hear an accent like that on Hannity, the person is always a conservative. In fact, the only liberals that Hannity puts on the air are people who can't string two words together, or whose flaky whine makes Cindy Sheehan sound like Kathleen Turner.

I went up to the bar and ordered another beer. “Wow,” said the bartender, referring to my Walkman. “I haven't seen one of those in a long time.” The construction worker chuckled.

“Ha ha, yep,” I replied, my brain completely empty of witty repartee. Basically, like any addict, I didn't have time for small talk. I wanted to pay and get back to my Hannity. It was the Final Hour Free-for-all, when everyone gets like 30 seconds to tell him what a great American he is. Hannity was talking about how Bush never wavers, has a backbone of steel, and has the integrity to stand by his principles. I took a big gulp and adjusted my bra strap. Ah, yes. Finally. The feeling was creeping in, infecting every tissue in my body. I was finally drunk on my own superiority. I crossed my legs and settled into my 50-yard stare.

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