Dé Sathairn, Aibreán 25, 2009

R.I.P. Tracy Chips

Tracy and I had been friends since middle school. He was always a good one for getting me into trouble. His favorite drink was Sailor Jerry. I'll never forget that.

Tracy and I were playing beer pong one day when he asked me if I was getting bored with it. I told him that I was, and that in fact I never really liked this game at all.

"Me neither man." He said. "Every drinking game I can think of is a bunch of dumb bullshit. We ought to come up with something new."

"What would you suggest Tracy?"

Ideas were batted around and rejected for awhile until finally Tracy said, "You know Al Gore man?" I said that I had heard of him.

"Well check this out, how about you and I carry a bottle of Sailor Jerry everywhere we go and take a shot every time somebody cites their personal dislike for Al Gore as proof that global warming doesn't exist."

"I don't know Tracy. Sounds like a bridge too far to me."

"A bridge too far? Shit man that's the only way to ride!"

"Well, We really shouldn't. But all right."

The first night was great. We put the radio on Neal Boortz and the two of us went through a liter of Jerry in twenty minutes. Before I knew it we had the swingingist place in town. Our midweek Fox News parties became legendary. Local bars started copying our style. A popular favorite at Brother's was the "Al Gore drives a car bomb" which consisted of having half a bottle of rum poured down ones' throat while watching random Glenn Beck clips.

But it was only a matter of time before things got out of control, just as I had worried. I lost my job at the bank after making the mistake of reading the letters to the editor over breakfast and having to down ten shots. No need to describe the fool I made of myself when I stumbled into work. "Al Gore drives a car bombs" inspired so many downtown street fights that the city council had them banned, and after somebody invited a couple truck drivers to one of the ragers that Tracy and I threw the game spread among their colleagues and drunk driving deaths soared nationwide.

But it was Tracy who really fell hard. At started to let himself go, not showering for days at a time and letting his side of the house turn into a pigstye. Than came the incidents. Tracy Chips had never done a violent thing in his life until his girlfriend found him passed out on the bathroom floor one day and tried to switch the radio to the FM. The poor girl was in intensive care for a week. To this very day, whenever her little boy asks her who his daddy is or where his headaches come from, all she can do is send him to his room and weep bitterly.

The police got to know Tracy very well. He would get arrested for things like stealing back copies of "National Review" from the library, or driving to a small-town bar and grill, striking up a conversation with the chain-smoking eighty-year-old in the corner, and then running off without paying for the fifty dollars worth of Sailor Jerry's he had drank. Then came the day he told me I would have to find a new roommate.

"I gotta get out of here man. My life is out of control. I mean don't even recognize myself. I mean every time Hannity starts railing about Bill Ayers or Rosie O'Donall for five minutes it feels like these hot little bugs are crawling all over my body, and eventually I'll just start shaking and sweating all over until I start screaming at him to go back to demonizing Al Gore. I can't take it anymore man. I gotta get out of this scene before it kills me."

So far so good. But the words he said next gave me the sort of chill that you pray never comes again.

" I'm moving to Oklahoma man. I'm going to work for an uncle I got who runs an oil rig down there."

I knew then that this was the last time I would see my friend alive.

Things went back to routine. Over the next few months we all got used to Tracy's absence. Every now and again I would get a three a.m. voicemail from a strange area code consisting of incoherent weeping, and I had a pretty good idea who it was. But eventually these stopped coming and the only remaining trace of the was his learning-disabled bastard child. Everything I know about Tracy's last days is what I've been told by his mother Vicki. Vicki and I have grown very close since our mutual loss, she's a warm and lithe brunette of fifty five who doesn't look a day over forty and whose breasts have maintained a perfect round shape and firm texture without artificial enhancement. She tells me that I'm like her son now and it excites me in ways that can't be described.

Tracy came to his parents house in Council Bluffs three years after leaving Oklahoma looking tired and gaunt. He told his mother that he had stage 3 cirrhosis and was unlikely to live long enough to make it to the top of a transplant list. The noble and immaculate Vicki Chips was heartbroken but accepted her boy back into her bosom all the same. They settled into a sort of routine and for awhile it was like being a young family again. But of course the treatment regimen was severe and medical bills were sky-high.

Vicki could see how much Tracy hated being a burden on the family every time she looked into his eyes. It was clear that he wanted to let go, and the day she came home to hear "Rush Limbaugh" emenating from his room was no surprise. That Tracy was dead when the medics opened his door was a foregone conclusion. The doctors had told him, over and over again, that his next drink would be his last. He knew exactly what he was doing. He simply couldn't tolerate being twenty nine with an old man's body anymore.

In order to make sure that no experienced, exquisitely smelling mother ever again has to suffer what Vicki Chips did, she and I founded the Tracy Chips memorial foundation in June of 2008. Since then we have toured the country together, speaking at junior high assemblies and developing lesson plans warning children about the dangers of building drinking games around right-wing sloganeering. It is my fervent hope that tragic story might inspire some parent somewhere to teach their children that it might be all fun and games at first, but right-wing parrots have no shame, and they are never going to shut the hell up or embrace alternative boogeymen.

If you would like to know more about the Tracy Chips memorial foundation, or even make a small contribution, please call 1-800-la-la-la-I'm-not-listening. Again that's 1-800-la-la-la-I'm-not-listening. Be sure to hug your children tonight, and thank you for your support.

Dé Céadaoin, Aibreán 22, 2009

Top 10 F.C.'s (as of Right Now)

1. Man U.
2. Barcelona
3. Inter
4. Chelsea
5. Liverpool
6. Real Madrid
7. Sao Paulo
8. Arsenal
9. Juventus
10. Porto

Spring Reminds me of This one Time

It was a couple years back. I was pulling out of the Super Saver parking lot when a bearded man lost control of his shopping cart and let it crash into my car. He said he was sorry and I told him it was nothing. He offered to pay to have the dents and scratches fixed and I said no need. "Are you sure?" he said, "Oh I'm sure I'm sure" I said.

Later that day I had my people trail his youngest child home from school. When he reached a stand of tall trees that one couldn't see through my people pounced upon the boy and raped him to death, recording the incident on a small digital camera. That night we broke into the home of the man who had hit my car. He and his wife were worriedly eating dinner when we seized them at gunpoint. We blindfolded them, threw them into the back of my van, and drove them to a place that you must pray to your God you never see. Man and wife were each strapped to chairs in seperate movie theaters with their eyes forced open, and I'm sure you can guess what the feature presentation was.

It was about three weeks before the wife starved to death, the bearded man needed a month. In the meantime all they had for company was the footage of their beloved child being torn to ribbons by savage pedophiles being played in a never ending loop.
When it became clear that the bearded man was finally fading away, I made had the volume in the theater cranked up to its highest possible level, so that his son's screams for mercy would fill his entire being as he entered oblivion. The incoherent sobbing of his beloved would be the moment of his eternal return. This is my bliss.

Dé Luain, Aibreán 20, 2009

The Terrorist Squirrel Scenario

The power of backwards or 'deductive' logic is something that is truly frightening to behold. Whenever a perfectly smart person has a self-evidently stupid or insane idea, it is usually because she is clinging to a predetermined 'truth' that she feels she must believe in order to legitimize herself as a person. Facts and logic are subservient to this supposed truth and exist only to reinforce it. Those facts that fail to do so must be written off as inventions of the liberal media, Jews, Freemasons, Hollywood, or all the above. This is why we live in a world where Antonin Scalia, associate Justice of the Supreme Court magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law, indisputably brilliant; cited a television character in defense of state-sanctioned torture. This is why we can't have nice things.

It was unsleeping '24' ubermensch Jack Bauer that Scalia cited at a Canadian gathering of major Western jurists back in 2007. The major pretext of '24' is, or course, the 'ticking time bomb scenario' in which some major American city is on the verge of being nuked by a hidden bomb; year after year, over and over again. Bauer will frequently torture fictional subjects in order to find the bomb, and as if guided by the hand of a benevolent and all-powerful screenwriter the most visceral and telegenic means of extracting information always seems to work.

Another remarkable element of '24' is how often close friends and old flames of Jack Bauer manage to get themselves tangled up with radical Muslims. Yet Justice Scalia has not called for the forced detention of everyone who knows Keefer Sutherland.

The Obama administration's release of Bush era 'torture memos' brought to mind this lovable old nonsense statement from Scalia, because it illustrates perfectly my original point about backwards logic. Jack Bauer manfully provided evidence of what Scalia wanted to be true. The fact that the evidence itself was untrue was inconvenient to his predetermined conclusion, and therefore immaterial.

With the exception of Andrew Sullivan's passionate wailing on his 'Daily Dish' blog the reaction to the torture memos release has been surprisingly muted. Or perhaps not so surprising. I mean we knew after all didn't we? The information on waterboarding, sleep deprivation and the like has been available for some time. Extraordinary rendition, Camp X-Ray, the semantic fellatio that Bush legal adviser John Yoo gladly performed for his employer; the news of all this has been available for some time. It is up to the individual to stare at him or herself in the mirror and gather the strength to say that I Knew.

<span style="font-weight:bold;">The 'I Was Not A Nazi Polka

--As you travel through Der Schöne Deutschland,
--A melody will greet your ears.
--It's a melody that's been around in Deutschland
--For fifteen to twenty years.

Each and ev'ry German dances to the strain
Of the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.
All without exception join in the refrain
Of the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.

Göring was a crazy we wanted to deport.
Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.
We all thought that Dachau was just a nice resort.
Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.

The German is so cultured, he does not like to fight.
The peaceful life is what he most enjoys.
For years, the German people were utterly convinced
I. G. Farben manufactured children's toys.

I never shot a Luger or goosed a single step.
Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.

Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.

Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.

--Was you not an SS guard? --I was not an SS guard.
I Was Not a Nazi Polka.
--Did you not love Ilsa Koch? --I did not love Ilsa Koch.
I Was Not a Nazi Polka.
--Did you not despise the Jews? --I did not; some were my best friends...
I Was Not a Nazi Polka.
--Did you not think Adolf great? --I did not. Adolf who?
--Adolf who! --Ja, Adolf who?
--Fritz, you're putting me on. --Was bedeuten dieses, "Putting me on"?
--Are you kidding me or something? --Nein, I'm not kidding you. Adolf who?
--Adolf Hitler. --Should I know him? Is he a folksinger?
--You don't remember. --Nein, I don't remember him. Who was he?

A little man, very mean, very loud and brash. --Mm-mm.
Not too tall, he never smiled, wore a black mustache. --Nein; I never heard...
He had a girl, Eva Braun, hair as red as flame. --Ah, ja, ja.
He papered walls for many years till his moment came. --Of course!

He's the one who clapped his hands, went into a dance. --Ja!
When the news came to him that we had conquered France. --That's him!
He once said, when our flag proudly was unfurled,
"Today, Germany, tomorrow, the world!"
...tomorrow, the world! ...tomorrow, the world! ...tomorrow, the world!
--I never heard of him. --Neither did I.

To our Israeli allies let us raise a toast.
Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.
Sure there were some Nazis, two or three at most.
Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.

We tried to throw out Hitler right from the very start.
That's what ev'ry hist'ry book should tell.
We hated Heinrich Himmler, Martin Bormann, too.
We believe as Sherman did that war is hell...hell...hell...hell...
...heil!...heil!...Seig heil!...Sieg heil!...Sieg heil!

Germans are as gentle as flowers in the spring.
Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.
Germans are a people who love to dance and sing.
Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.

--Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You there, you are not singing. Did you not like to sing? Tell me, you still have a family in Germany, nicht wahr? Sing.

Sing the I Was Not a Nazi Polka.
Sieg heil!

An especially forgiving person could easily emphasize with the general public's early acquiescence. There's no denying that 9/11 was a terrible blow, and it's long been known that everyone becomes more authoritarian and obedient when frightened. Of course we wanted to believe that our leaders knew what was best, and that furthermore what was best was best because they were the ones who said so.

But then there were those who gave the Bush administration another four years, just long enough to bring the republic to its current moribund state. These are the thuggish. The ones who reduce the whole of human existence to nothing but unending tests of masculinity and struggle against The Other because they are too stupid to appreciate anything else. These are the ones who overtly supported abusing terrorism suspects, the ones who profanely mocked the fortitude of those who objected to this obscene treatment.

And let there never again be any confusion that it is the treatment and only the treatment that is the issue here. It was utterly predictable that the patriotic thugs among us would cite the innocent blood on the hands of those being abused, actual or suspected, and claim that they deserved it, childishly claim that the only way one could possibly object to simulated rape or smearing a helpless and confined human being in his own shit was out of misguided personal sympathy for the suspected terrorist, or even approval of terrorism.

The concept of deserve is a funny thing. What courageous act of pure nobility have you or I done to deserve to be here? Not a thing. Daddy fucked Mommy and that was that. Now here we are as creatures with the strange ability to notice the way that the girl down the hall keeps staring at us, and we are neither deserving or undeserving of food, water, oxygen, the ability to trust that we will not be harmed by those around us, aspiration, or love. these are things that we simply need. Needs that come from nothing and are neither justified or unjustified by anything. Deserve does nothing but clutter up the mind and the dictionary.

The morality of an action is wholly independent of the person being acted upon. This is not to say that it is wrong to use force to defend oneself from attack, for the state to defend itself with its military, or for civil society to defend itself with its prisons. It is to say that anything that is not direct self-defense, anything that is punitive for the sake of being punitive, is savagery, and that savagery justified by your God or your flag is savage hypocrisy.

After dealing with those who are fooled some of the time and those who are fooled all of the time we turn finally to why Justice Scalia, and many others whose talent and intelligence should rightfully make them members of the leadership class, believe and abide so much patent nonsense. As I wrote before, it is chiefly because of deductive logic; Self-delusion, false consciousness, mauvaise foi, call it what you will.

In the judicial realm backwards thinking is officially known as "strict constructionism" This is the doctrine that calls for necromancing the 'original intent' of the writers of the Constitution,(which the historical record makes clear they themselves were in profound disagreement about) when deciding how the document applies to a case. If you know history, you might think that this would completely negate the role that Chief Justice John Marshall defined for the court in the first half of the nineteenth century: that of deciding how the Constitution's static ink on paper applies to different situations, new technologies, and evolving social mores.

That would be true. In fact it's the entire point of strict constructionism. At it's core democracy is nothing but a reversal of the traditional justification for social hierarchy. Those who have the power are responsible to those who do not. There are those who cannot accept this. For those who spend a lifetime accruing legal knowledge so that they may one day be able to say "I am on the Supreme Court and you are not" constructionalism serves as a stern-sounding rationale for refusing to acknowledge the civil rights of a filthy commoner who has dared to challenge his betters. It is a doctrine that lends itself very well to Jack Bauer citations.

And so I'll end this screed with a reflection on the "ticking time bomb" scenario that Jack Bauer specializes in defusing . The 'ticking time bomb' is the hypothetical situation cited by respectable, mullet forgoing think-tank conservatives such as Charles Krauthammer or Cal Thomas. If the authorities are aware that a nuclear bomb is set to go off at any time,(so the thinking goes), and they have reason to believe that a detained suspect knows where the bomb is, then it would be to not extract the vital information by any means possible.

The key premise of the argument is that there is some mystical power to torture that will make the victim spout pure truth. Torquemada believed he could justify his bloody hands before God by willing those he suspected of being secretly Jewish into being loudly Jewish, one spiked anal pear at a time. It doesn't work that way of course. The biggest motivation for torture throughout history has not been to extract accurate information but persuading false witness against the torturers enemies. Running a close second is the humanity-negating ecstasy of dominating another.

The truth is that there is nothing about torture that gives the human word any more or any less accuracy than it generally has, which is very little.

Go ahead and see for yourself. Have your best friend bash the shit out of both your knees with a sledgehammer and see if you magically confess your lust for his wife. My guess is that nothing but pleas for mercy would come out of you.

And there's the logical problem with the ticking time bomb scenario. It is of course an extremely unlikely situation, though I suppose that if civilization keeps chugging long enough something like it will eventually occur. What's unlikely to the point of impossibility is a situation where authorities would know enough about a terrorist plot to know precisely who was involved, what they planned to do, and where they planned to do it, without knowing 'where the bomb was' long before hand. I would think that would-be terrorists would be very careful to keep their baby close at hand, instead of burying it in some random spot and scampering away. Losing the bomb would hardly be any better than getting caught.

There are consequences to diction. The way that pundits and politicians phrase themselves is highly strategic. Everyone knows this. Republican stratigest Frank,Luntz, among others, was famous for manipulating language in a way that seemed to legitimize selfishness and social animosity among the public, leading to big gains for the GOP. On the other side we have no one less than President Obama, who replaced the technocratic language of Kerry and Gore with emotive appeals to mutual goodwill and common purpose, and of course it caught fire after a decade of grim survivalism. The revivalist nature of his language also had the happy effect of illuminating the conservative counterattack for the petulant barbarism it was.

So in the much the same way that conservative talking heads refuse to add the suffix to "Democratic Party" I propose that liberals never argue against the 'ticking time bomb' scenario but rather the 'terrorist squirrel' scenario. This would be a far more productive means of countering arguments for torture than eight more years of long-winded moralizing. Right wingers get angry when they get laughed at, this causes them to make even dumber arguments than usual, and so they get laughed at some more, and the cycle continues until whenever they figure out the game for themselves.

Do you see what I'm getting at here?

Dé Luain, Aibreán 13, 2009

Monday Observation

I saw a church sign earlier advertising a spaghetti feed tomorrow, five dollars for adults and three for children. I've had church spaghetti before. It is composed of noodles, water, and Ragu. The church dupes a few poor people into thinking that it's doing them a favor by feeding them their normal diet for twice the price.

I make this point to ease you into the idea that Karl Marx had a few good points. I'm fully aware of the trouble here (Marxism, boogadah) and I'm certainly no Communist myself. I'm fully aware of communism's tendency to empower psychopaths who think exterminating the literate is the way to utopia, and that life under Marxist regimes that aren't quite genocidal is still boring as hell. I'm not asking you to be a Marxist. You and I are both independent minds free to judge any individual point of a supposedly all-encompassing philosophy on its merit. There are people who think public schools are a bad idea just because Karl Marx thought it was a good idea. Surely you're not one of those silly bastards. You're a 'Mr. Heartland' reader, the very cream of intellectual froth.

Karl Marx thought that public schools are a good idea, and they are. Another good idea he had was that religion was a shell game for delusional optimists. So I told a little church spaghetti story to illustrate that point.

I'm sure that you, intellectual froth that you are, have heard the phrase "false consciousness" before. To put it simply, the instillation of "false consciousness" (through media, bad faith education, and especially religion) is the means by which the ruling class (No need to be a Marxist to admit that there is one) convinces the common people that their interests are one and the same. It's been noticed that one of the most effective means of leading common people to support the current power structure is to convince some large segment of the common population that they themselves are privileged members of that power structure because of something inherent about themselves. This is where we meet our old friends race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender roles, and oh yes don't forget religion. I love how religion always shows up at the party.

So who are the members of our own society that have been suckered in this manner? White male Christians of course! Who the hell else? You knew where I was leading you on this all along didn't you you frothy son of a bitch?

This is well-worn territory I know. I mean I do feel rather lazy for being yet another person covering this ground yet again. Yet the fact is that, just that there are a few silly bastards who think public schools are communist just because Karl Marx liked them, so must anyone who recognizes a false consciousness in society necessarily be Communist. I mean it does betray a certain lack of faith in society doesn't it. A lack of faith in this Godly/God fatherly/father that was put here just for you because holy father Amerigod loves you so much Joshua and he just wants you to follow the rules so someday you can be on TV and have a really big car and eat at Denny's anytime you want. Why do you like making daddy cry Joshua? Are you a faggot? Is being a real man too much for you?

Let us be reminded again that we or free to take or leave individual points of grand ideologies as we please. It is nothing but simple observation and common sense to recognize that false consciousness is real. Many of my fellow Nebraskans loudly boast the praises of Midwestern work ethic and frugality. There are even those among us who sincerely believe that we are the ones propping up the state of California instead of vice-versa. Isn't that funny? Right now you might be asking yourself if everyone but you and me is a moron . I know that's something I ask myself obsessively, except I don't ask about you. The answer to the question is yes and no. Our neighbors aren't morons per se. What they are is chemically altered, high on the idea of a mirror-image God and delusions of holding semi-autonomous fiefs in a mighty scrubland empire.

If all that was a little too purple for you, than just consider the above photo of Uncle Teddy. Ted Nugent is a sixty year-old man who thinks dressing in a sleeveless Confederate shirt, Old Glory guitar, and a motherfucking camo hat is a perfectly normal and dignified way of expressing his innermost beliefs. Draw your own conclusions.

Dé hAoine, Aibreán 10, 2009

Brent Bozell III Still Thinks You're Stupid

"The Family Guy's" Seth McFarlane was the subject of a human interest piece on "Nightline" the other day. When interviewed he took some potshots at the professionally offended and those who lobby for them, AKA Brent Bozell, so here's his response.

"Our cosmopolitan elites have embraced the smutty Fox cartoon Family Guy."

No, we haven't. I myself have delusions of being a cosmopolitan elitist, and I consider the show to be annoying and intellectually insulting. (Though I confess to giggling at a joke here and there.) As for those with undeniable 'cosmopolitan elite' bona fides, I seriously doubt that 'The Family Guy' is all that popular with Adorno scholars or post-Marxist theater critics.

A month ago, oh-so-sophisticated National Public Radio used their parody song "Everybody Poops" to report on Julius Genachowski (FCC), the incoming chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

NPR? Mildly upper-middle brow. Pacifica Radio is where you want to go for the 'cosmopolitan elites.' But whatever, go on and pimp those 1970's stereotypes you ol g.

"Now it's ABC's 'Nightline' paying homage to 'Family Guy,' and in the process telling us a lot more about 'Nightline' than about this stupid show".

O.k. I'm going to invoke my tenuous authority as a quasi-elitist here to state something that I'm sure you, dear reader, will readily agree with. If your idea of "oh-so-sophisticated" "cosmopolitan elitism" is network television news and Garrison Keillor, you are a fucking hick. You are the sort of fucking hick who will call an old school chum "faggot" for wanting to eat at Olive Garden instead of Applebee's. You are the fucking hick who your extended family reviles for screaming about 'Wetbacks' and describing your bowel movements in front of Grandma.

Is Brent Bozell the sort of fucking hick who is still dumbfounded by those newfangled news talkers wearing fancy suits on the teevee? Of course not. He is an educated man born to a wealthy family and has spent most of his life as a member of the East Coast upper class. Brent Bozell III knows full well that fucking 'Nightline' of all things is nothing approaching the domain of the 'sophisticated elite.' This mental abortion of an article he wrote is simply a naked attempt to appeal to the morons that do. He longs for the return of a Republican government that would restore a virgin majority at the FCC so that he can take his gynophobic complaints before the body and receive something more than derisive laughter in return. But the days of riding a wave of snake-dancing morons to electoral triumph are gone. Brent Bozell, among others, is either unwilling or unable to accept this. And this is the impetus behind my 'so-an-so thinks you're stupid' series.

"The reporter for this segment, titled "Seriously Funny," was ABC's Bill Weir, last seen goofily hailing Barack Obama's inauguration as a day when 'even the seagulls must have been awed.'Weir didn't come to this interview like it was time for a '60 Minutes' interrogation of an oil company CEO. Apparently, the more MacFarlane pollutes the airwaves, the more reporters like Weir will merely bow and scrape."

You mean he held a cartoonist to a lower level of scrutiny than the head of a strategically vital multi-billion dollar industry? The hell you say?! I surrender Mr. Bozell, you have conclusively proved liberal bias beyond all shadow of a doubt.

This is where ABC tossed aside any semblance of fairness in favor of a one-sided puff piece. Weir chose not to interview a single religious spokesman or parental watchdog. The only man given a voice was MacFarlane. Weir also went too easy when it came to chronicling how low 'Family Guy' can go.

There are many people who find 'Family Guy' to be vulgar and witless. I'm one of them. That's my personal taste, and despite the fact that you are in the business of pretending otherwise Mr. Bozell, personal taste in regards to low-brow humor is not a matter of public policy debate. Should 'Good Morning America' interview a 'Grey's Anatomy' hater every time Sandra Oh shows up, just to provide balance? Your imaginary culture war doesn't change the fact that this would be precisely the same thing you demand in regards to 'Family Guy', and every bit as asinine.

He (McFarlane) smiled as he said, 'I just started jotting some of the topics covered and some of the jokes made at the expense of paraplegics, the deaf, pedophilia, bestiality, AIDS. You've got an opera version of the Nicole Simpson murders. The JFK Pez dispenser, where candy comes out of his wounds. Where is the line for you? Is there a line, or is that the point?"
MacFarlane said he regretted the JFK Pez dispenser. Apparently, there is a line, at least when you're interviewed by ABC News: Don't insult the Kennedys.

Jesus fucking Christ you shamelessly pathetic bastard. First of all, 'Don't insult the Kennedys'? How strategically general. You know full well that MacFarlane wasn't talking about anyone from the drunk driving or sexually assaulting sides of the extended Kennedy clan. MacFarlane was,without any pressure or prompting from the liberal media interviewer, referring specifically to the regret he felt for mocking the violent death of THE Kennedy who was the popular President of the United States at the moment his head was vaporized in full public view. I'm afraid that it's been a very long time since a godly Republican president was blown away in public view. Though I guess it's possible that "Family Guy" did do a Bill McKinley joke that I didn't happen to see, and that the 'Nightline' reporter failed to objectively call him out on it. But I really don't think so, and at any rate, grow the fuck up.

<span style="font-weight:bold;">"Take the March 8 episode that featured the baby eating horse semen; that suggested Ronald Reagan had sex with Mikhail Gorbachev; that showed the 11-way gay orgy scene; and played it for laughs when a horse trampled a class of deaf second-graders at the race track. Weir left those trampled 'taboos' out of the discussion."

I saw that episode. Nothing described is anywhere near as funny as it sounds. I suppose Bozell is offended. Well that's what he does.

Fed these softballs, MacFarlane swung for the bleachers. "It's not like television is a God-given right. You hear the Parents Television Council raving about 'Family Guy' did this. Nobody is forcing you to watch this show. They say 'Is this taste?' No, it's not. It's terrible taste. That's what's funny."
Weir laughed and replied: "They make the argument ... with an animated show, a kid's going to stop the remote." MacFarlane insisted, "you can't hold a whole medium hostage" because animation appeals to children.
Instead, ABC allowed MacFarlane to make an unrebutted argument that the censors are arbitrary and ridiculous.

As a recently disenfranchised professional censor, Brent Bozell has also done nothing to rebut this argument. In fact this article of proving MacFarane's point than old 'fart joke and an 80's reference' could ever hope to do himself.

"Weir wrapped up the interview by warmly noting how "Family Guy" was a show Coca-Cola used to avoid with its advertising, but now "Baby Stewie stars in Coke ads alongside Charlie Brown and Underdog." Just like Coke, ABC is defining MacFarlane's deviancy down, welcoming his radioactive TV waste into the 'mainstream.'

And welcome to being stripped of any delusion that you were ever in the mainstream, Mr. Bozell. Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go home to watch some mainstream black-on-white lesbian pornography. Happy weekend to you all.


Dé Domhnaigh, Aibreán 05, 2009

Why Are There Still Creationists?

I was flipping through one of Dr. Matt Moore's books the other day, it was called something like "Biologists Tackle Evolution" I'm not sure exactly and I'm afraid I can't adequately cite it. One of the essays dealt with the motivation for creationist belief, why evolution denial has been more tenacious than, say, belief in Prestor John or anal menstruation in Jewish males.

The writer, who again I forget, examines the state of British and American society at the time that Darwin made his observations public. Darwin himself was very careful not to stir up any larger moral or philosophical crisis. He kept his own personal religious skepticism to himself and used his considerable political skill to eventually make evolution acceptable and even fashionable within the Anglican Church and other organs of the educated middle class.

But there's no stopping people from making symbols out of things, from using random bits of information to give tangibility to larger and more abstract concerns. Both Britain and the United States were undergoing industrialization and gradual democratization in the days that Darwin was alive. British aristocrats still had their titles, but the source of their supposedly eternal power, dominion over land, was losing it's vitality. Members of the vulgar middle class could now enter elite if they had the verve and wit to do so, and control of the urban industrial machinery could produce more wealth than inherited landholders could ever dream of.

Modern social mobility was born, and new money capitalists were glad to embrace evolutions emphasis on adaptation and luck. But members of the old order had lost what had undeniably been a hell of a good deal for them; a power hierarchy in which place was inherited and eternal. First-born sons destined to become their fathers, to rule over the peasants as God the father ruled over the universe, while priests under their payroll assured the masses that challenging earthly authority was tantamount to challenging the immutable Lord of an unchanging universe.

These were the people who first hated Darwin. In fact the history of evolution denial is filled with groups of people who were losing or are losing some old automatic social privilege. Who are the people in America who resist evolution today? White, Protestant rural or suburban, raised to believe that they are the eternal standard for normality in America while the absurdity of this belief grows more apparent each day.

And anti-evolutionism is no longer exists in the shadow world of the uneducated and the impoverished, as it was in the days between Scopes and Falwell. A generation of progressively more arrogant right-wing government emboldened creationists, prompting them to form echo chamber think tanks, flood local school boards with loyal candidates, and reap confusion with disingenuous notions of "teaching the controversy". The 28-year reign of the Reagan coalition was in some ways a reaction to the political successes of liberalism from the thirties to the sixties. More than that though it was a reaction against social liberalization, the same sort of democratization and breakdown of inherited privilege that was occurring in the mid-nineteenth century, and although the American ideal of progress is often exaggerated, it is safe to say that this democratization has been quite steady from the Jazz Age up until the present day. It is to the right wing's immeasurable rage that the long political ascendancy of the GOP, and all the idiotic grandstanding that it passed off as governance, has done nothing to stop this expansion of power and prerogative.

It is often said that the past twenty years have produced an economic revolution on par with the industrial revolution, that we are now in a "post-industrial" economy.
Nobody has much more than a vague notion of what this means, and some notions are vaguer than others. But it is clear that the economic restructuring (That is, over the long term and not necessarily relating to the current flame out)is causing the same sort of cracks to the power structure that the industrial revolution did.

America has, for the most part, always been capitalist in outlook, at least in the north, and so adapted to industrialization much more smoothly than Europe. (The obvious exception being the Civil War, brought on by old-fashioned aristocrats hell-bent on maintaining a feudal society.) So the old notions of physical property in general and land in particular conveying status remained proudly intact here. The suburbanization/ghettoization trends of the twentieth century was a means of maintaining this ideal of physical property conveying status. White flight to Timber Elk Water Estates was a means both of rewarding capitalistic achievement and maintaining traditional race-based inherited prerogatives.

Then along came this so-called new economy; the rise of a tragically hip new professional class that preferred the noise and ethnic complexity of the city, that had no use for giant back yards and, even worse, often no use for patriarchal religion. It is no coincidence that the rise of the new collar directly coincides with creationisms' spread to the megachurch, the suburban white upper-middle class and political respectability. Perfectly modern and educated people now needed assurance that the fathers in place were forever.

In North Platte there was this was this chiropractor who would often write crank letters to the editor. His favorite subjects were the evils of the United Nations, taxation, and Darwinism. When rural Nebraskans fret over why their brightest young people are leaving a common conclusion is that it must be because property taxes are too high. Some of these bright youngsters were kind enough to write home to inform the old folks that, no, this wasn't the case. They left because they craved the excitement and social variety of the city. They could buy a palace on the edge of their home towns for the same price with which they are now renting their studio apartments but have no desire to do so, thank you very much. The old folks back home read these letters, and continue to blame taxation. I don't think it's a case of not believing so much as being unable to comprehend.

So much of conservatism's Bonsai resistance to taxation is based on the idea that physical property is the means of judging ones worth to society and gaining access to the elite. Now there are many white-collar workers who have rejected "The American Dream" out of economic self-interest. Owning a home would only tie them down, much better to rent a place a cheaply as comfort allows so as to be available to whoever will pay them the most in any region the work happens to be. Many who could afford a new car have none at all, sometimes for political reasons, though those who peddle out of principle have always been among us, and have always been few. More threatening to the traditional ideal of success are those who ride the bus out of pure indifference, and their numbers are growing.

And what of the suburbs, the domain of the twentieth century ruling class? Crumbling and receding. The most ostentatious subdivisions empty and moribund even while Detroit still gives the occasional gasp, sheltering only coyotes and the occasional impromptu teenage kegger.

Whatever truth there may be in this "New Economy" idea, it is clear that the traditional means of gaining and conveying power have been thoroughly discredited. There will of course always be a power structure of some sort or another, and the rise of Barrack Obama would seem to suggest that the new-collars are firmly in charge now and will be the ones who will determine what the new power structure will be.
A structure that, with luck, will emphasize the best values of the post Apple 1 generation; creativity, openness, variety of interests, the ability to be fascinated by all and awed by none. Inherited privilege and social patriarchs dead once and for all. The old American pipe dream of true meritocracy finally and miraculously realized.

But I don't mean to gush. What I'm trying to do is warn of the harsh reaction to the threatened end of inherited hierarchy will surely bring. Denial of reality will be the glue that ties those cast into the heap by the new reality together. closely related to creationism are the crackpot tales of global warming being a socialist conspiracy, involving the entire field of climatology and all of academia; espoused from those who will never accept that uncontrolled industrialization can possibly lead to any ill effects, that there could possibly be anything wrong with buying the largest possible private vehicle to convey virility and power.

And of course that old time religion of anti-"Darwinism" will still be there for quite sometime, and is likely to get a renewed push in the remaining red states. Always there to remind those newly disinherited from undeserved power that the changes happening around them are not actually real. God is the eternal father of the universe. And the eternal fathers of this world are those whom he has chosen to rule over the non-white, the non-male, the unmonied and the unpropertied, the unchurched, the arrogant skeptics, those who reject or ignore the old customs. The hierarchy of the universe is forever, so long as we just teach the controversy that this is so.

Dé hAoine, Aibreán 03, 2009

A Little Ditty

Oh camo Budweiser hat
Stop Looking at that girl's ass (Hey)
Fifteen years younger than you
What the hell she gonna do
with your camo Budweiser hat. (Hey)

Déardaoin, Aibreán 02, 2009

A Little Note on a Tweaker

I once met a man who stole a garage door opener.

He punched out the drivers window of a fairly new $30,000 van, stole a garage door opener, took nothing else, and left.

He said he could get some "street money" out of it.

I was telling this story to a few fellows last night. It had become just another thing in my list of experiences to me. I had forgotten how funny it was.

And there's really no denying that it is. I wonder if this incident could be stretched out into a movie?