Monday, April 11, 2005


Captain Burnout Answers The Question. Sort Of.

Which question? We’ll get to that in a second. You may recall that Captain Burnout is a somewhat blissed out sixties holdover. Which is sort of funny in itself. But he was also in the Navy. And he also was an iron worker up on the “high steel” as he calls it. You know, like those guys in those old 1930’s photos, riveting I-beams thirty stories up. Not exactly what you think of when you think of liberal loonies.

You may also recall that my opinion of him fluctuates, usually somewhere between rather negative and just barely positive. I should also admit that if Captain Burnout never discussed anything political, I would like him a whole lot more. Which maybe shows how shallow I am. And if it doesn’t, you might as well know that I’m pretty shallow anyway. But in my defense, if you hear CB’s voice, you’re almost certainly hearing something political.

So on to the question. In just one more second. See, on blogs that supported Bush, some of them anyway, there was a sincere hope expressed that some of the more extreme liberals, heck even some of the fairly mainstream liberals, whose rhetoric was so anti-Bush that they seemed to be hoping for our side (coalition troops in Iraq) to lose (be killed in such numbers that we finally left Iraq), were just caught up in overheated feelings in a very partisan election year.

How heated was it? I actually gave in to my baser instincts and actually talked politics with Captain Burnout, I think three times in the last three or four months. Which is about three times more than I discussed politics with him in the prior nine years I’ve been with the company. At lunch the other day, somehow Iraq came up in the context of how things are going that seemed to relate to the concerns noted above.

Me: But Captain Burnout, you do at least hope that things work out positively, don’t you? You would prefer that things become more and more peaceful, with less and less loss of life, rather than become a disaster? You don’t want things to spiral out of control with millions dying (See how heated? Where did I come up with millions? I felt kind of ashamed later at this exaggeration of a worst case scenario.) do you? You aren’t hoping for failure simply because of who implemented the plan?

Captain Burnout: Well no, I don’t want more death, but I’ll tell you if things do work out well it will just encourage the blah blah blah . . .

And I sort of tuned out the rest. He pretty much said good results would make Bush want more wars and make Bush look good and make it seem like Bush was right, and that was Captain Burnout’s worst case scenario. I had to leave for a meeting and couldn’t continue. Later, Miss Tori, who has an office right next door to CB, told me he asked her if I was angry or upset by what he had said. She told him she didn’t think I was, which worked out ok because I wasn’t.

It’s not scientific, but my poll of Captain Burnout, while unsurprising, was disappointing. I can only hope he is representative of a very small minority of those on the left.
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