Per usje, I was chatting with Longtime (why don’t you just come back already???) about this little pickle in Afghanistan. The words “knock it up” and “see it through” and “she’s on a break—SHE NEEDS A BREAK” were used in our conversation when it hit me: Afghanistan, you are Penny. And America, we are Robbie the creep who knocks up Penny.
Oh fiiiine, I know you want a Mathlicious:
What the world needs now is a touch of Swayze. (When doesn’t it?) And a little Baby, too, to be fair. She paid for the “operation” after all… Here’s why we can do our kind of dancing to our kind of music:
For my metaphor to succeed, I must first explain the stakeholders.
First, Penny is clearly in a bad way. Unstable and easily manipulated, she has fulfilled her self-fulfilling prophecy that she’s unworthy of being happy on her own: she’s gone from man to man to man, never able to sustain a meaningful, lasting or healthy relationship. Not even with Johnny, which always reeked of codependency to me. As for Afghanistan, let’s begin with the dawn of time. Easily brutalized and its history messy like morning after eye-liner, you can see the correlation.
Second, America has been the entitled, Ayn Rand-reading, free market-loving Robbie the creep. We hit on anything that intrigues us (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iraq again, Afghanistan). We don’t look good. It doesn’t matter if you, Bleeding Heart, don’t support these wars. The world sees us as Robbie and they would like to pour a pitcher of water down our pants.
If Obama and his team want to stop looking like Robbie the creep—otherwise known as George W. Bush—we need to treat Afghanistan like Johnny Castle would: realize that while we didn’t knock it up in the first place, we’ve got history and we owe it to poor beleaguered Penny to stay and help her. Or at least bring her some scotch (aid and other structural support) and ask our girlfriend Baby (our Allies and the free world…) for help. And then have a mother-f*cking dance-off at Kellerman’s.
Some people think staying in Afghanistan will perpetuate our reputation as imperialist interventionists. It will. Some people just think all wars are wrong. They are. And some will say we should leave because we’ll never win. It’s true: we won’t win, because no one ever wins at these things. But we’ve also already won in a different way: most of our people can eat, read, vote and live their lives without a constant, legitimate fear of assault or assassination. Afghanistan’s people do not have this, especially women. Penny wouldn’t ask for help but she needed it; she would’ve fallen apart without the support of her ex Johnny and his helpful liberal friends the Housemans. Eventually, she was on her way to self-sufficiency, dancing with the old folks in that hideous polka-dot blouse in the final scene.
There are plenty of Pennys out there. But we’ve had a special relationship with this Penny since the 1980’s when we tried to overthrow the invading Soviets by arming Osama Bin Laden’s little gang of crazies and propping up the Taliban. So we owe it to them. More so than Iraq. And yes, Johnny gets around and plays his records in lots of other insanely-coiffed ladies’ record players, but he is Johnny Castle dammit and people want a piece of us whether they admit it or not. We are America and we invented hotness.
Johnny never puts anyone in a corner. Not Baby, not his friends, or the sad, broken, dark-rooted scrawny mess he used to date.
(Clearly, I’m still having a hard time getting over Patrick Swayze’s death.)