I want to point to this note by Josh Marshall not so much because of the (valid & insightful) analysis of current politics, but because of his use of the word fantasy to describe George W. Bush's view of the world. It's interesting, in a Freudian sense, that Bush's father was known as a political realist, but I'm not even so interested in the psychology of the son's relationship to his father as I am in the danger of fantasy. Not fantasy as such -- I teach Alice in Wonder Land in Freshman English -- but fantasy literalized. Fantasy, understood as metaphor, can illuminate the world & lend subtlety to thought; but fantasy taken as an image of reality is dangerous. It is maladaptive. Even pre-scientific societies make distinctions between dreams & waking, between the sacred & the profane, between fantasy & reality. Without these distinctions, human consciousness & the human species would have blinked out long ago & we wouldn't be here writing & reading blogs. It is only in the ideologies of post-industrial fundamentalists that we see an effort to collapse the distinction between these realms of being. It is easy to laugh at the twelve-year-old boy who has trouble separating the reality of Star Wars or Tolkien from everyday reality, so why is it so difficult for us -- & especially the adolescents of the press -- to see that there is a twelve-year-old with shaky reality testing abilities (to say nothing of intellectual mediocrity & lack of curiosity) sitting in the White House directing US foreign policy? Imagination -- the ability to see ourselves as other than we are & the world as other than it is -- is our species' most salient intellectual ability; unrooted in the facts of the world, imagination is what we call insanity. The great visionary poet William Blake wrote of the imagination as a kind of hot air balloon ( a new scientific invention in the 18th century), but Blake also wrote of the need for ballast in the form of bags of earth: imagination floating free from reality is a balloon without ballast. President George W. Bush is certainly floating free from reality; what is more troubling is that American cultural & political institutions, once known for pragmatism & realism, have for the most part joined the president on his untethered ride.