17 July 2007

Tightnessgate: The Nixon Library Says Good-bye to Magical Thinking, Gets With System

Richard Nixon made me miss a music lesson one afternoon when I was in 5th grade. How? He up and died and then had to get himself buried at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, where I lived with my parents until 2001ish. The faithful GOP droid army (i.e. my neighbors) came out to say their goodbyes in such weeping, teeming multitudes that my mom couldn't drive along Yorba Linda Boulevard due to the funeral traffic heading for the Library.

Ah, the Library. A precious jewel in the magnificent Orange County crown o' cultural noteworthiness. The Nixon Library and Birthplace was such a vortex of rosy historical revisionism that I refused to apply for the scholarship they gave out to local high school seniors. When former House Speaker Hastert came to the Library in 2000, I nervously sneaked in just in time to hear the audience hiss, literally, at the TIME magazine cover that Hastert was holding up to them with a picture of the Kennedys on it. I got spooked and ran for it.

I'm happy (and shocked, frankly) to note that the Library has recently been undergoing some pretty serious tightening. The release of 78,000 documents and 11 1/2 hours of secret White House tape recordings to an institution that would shoo out the door anyone who dared breathe the name "Watergate" is a pretty kicky development. Secondly, putting the whole thing under the auspices of the National Archives is a big step toward tightness, not to mention how much it will piss off the philistine majority of Yorba Linda, especially those stiff old "docents" that used to troll the First Lady Fashions display case. I couldn't be more excited if I'd actually gotten off my high-school AP history student high horse and done something about it 8 years ago!!

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