I know they say you can find anything and everything on the internet, but that's not true, and it's not true in a lot of ways, and I was just reminded on one of the ways it isn't true just now, as I searched in vain for a print morsel or even the TV interview clip in question, to no avail. In any event, I'll just have to recollect it and you'll have to take my word for it, unless one of you can actually FIND the citation which would be awesome. In any event, what I was recollecting was a television interview, which perhaps aired on Entertainment Tonight or something like it, depicting the then-25-year-old Demi Moore attending the 1988 Democratic National Convention (the self-same event at which Moore colleague Rob Lowe had that whole sex-tape thing happening) and offering up her views on what was wrong with the system. And her laying out, rather passionately, this complaint about how people should be able to check boxes on their tax returns to specify what they wanted their money, that is, the tax revenues collected by the U.S. Treasury, to be spent on. Because, as Demi astutely pointed out, some people might object to their money being spent on evil things like bombs and stuff, and those people ought to be allowed to SAY NO to that, on account of their consciences and whatnot. This argument clearly was not all that thoroughly thought-out, policy-ramification-wise, and clearly doesn't really "get" the whole concept of "render unto Caesar," which concept one is of course free to mentally reject but which ought to at least be cited as some sort of precedent before advancing any kind of proposition involving taxation.
I thought about Moore's entirely earnest complaint on my way today to the public pool in my neighborhood, which opened on Wednesday and will stay open until Labor Day, and could conceivably stay open later, but won't, because budgets, which are reliant on tax revenues, aren't sufficient to keep it going past then. And the pool, at the Red hook Rec Center, is a honey; huge, clean, and...well, what more do you need besides huge and clean? Yeah, the locker room could use a sprucing up, but whatever. I thought of Moore and I concurrently thought of David Mamet, whose recent book The Secret Knowledge describes a political conversion during which—and here I CAN give the exact words, as the book's been getting a good amount of attention—he made the galvanic personal discovery that...wait for it..." I not only hated every wasted hard-earned cent I spent in taxes, but the trauma and misery they produced..."
Well, let's cut the guy some slack, and allow that he is describing his direct personal experience. It is not the experience of a particularly mature, or wise, or, as it happens, particularly smart person, but there you have it. And still: Has David Mamet never been to a public library, or a municipal pool? I imagine he's likely to have done the former at least once. So when he did, did he think, "my tax dollars at work, and I feel pretty good about it?" Also, has no one told him about tax dollars and the wonderful part they play in U.S. aid to Israel? If not, will doing so cause a matter-meets-anti-matter explosion to take place in what's left of Mamet's brain?
It occurs to me that in my making a mental collage of these two quotes, I was being a little unfair; even without allowing for Moore's naivete and inability to construct a coherent policy plank out of what is after all only a feeling about what is fair and what is right, her dumb proposal comes from an altogether better place than Mamet's petulant complaint does. And if you're wondering why I thought of Demi and David together in the first place, just remember...
...About Last Night.