Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Fuck This Shit

Man, I am sick of Blogger fucking with me. It's almost enough to make me go back to using MT. Too lazy for that too, though, so I guess is me going away for a while.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Uh, It's Like Art and Life... 'n Stuff. You Know What I'm Talkin' About

Feed me, Steyn, feed me:
The other day, [Kerry] attended a glitzy fundraiser at which Whoopi Goldberg did a little riff comparing the Bush in the White House to her own, ah, pudenda.

The senator, in his own anatomical response, said these celebrities represented the "heart and soul of America".

Afterwards, asked about his apparent enthusiasm for the potty-mouthed has-beens, he replied thus: "When I talked about the heart and soul, I'm talking about the artistic expression. I'm talking about sort of the, I mean, I believe in the arts. I think that there's a great expression in it, and there's always this struggle. You know, does life imitate art or art imitate life? Which comes first? It's a little of both."
I'll be sure and remember that the next time I have a discussion about chickens and eggs.

Now, since I'm such an unnuanced thinker and all, lacking Kerry's ability to see in 16 million technicolor greys, I humbly request some help in distingushing the above incoherent rambling from those Bush quotes that people dutifully whip out as proof positive that the graduate of Harvard business school is a dim-witted simpleton.

No need to rush. I'll just be here waiting.

He Wishes for the 24/7 Teresa Channel

A love poem for Teresa Heinz Kerry, by George W. Bush

Had I my very own media empire,
Bristling forth with its glassy eyes,
The mics, and the cables and swell
Anchors in sharp-looking suits,
I would pitch its gaze on you 24/7;
But I, being president, have only the local news;
I have spread your husband's campaign under your feet;
Tread heavily, for you are an obnoxious cow.

Via Steve H.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

"I'm Gettin' Too Stupid For This Shit"

Danny Glover, A.N.S.W.E.R. mainstay, was caught saying something insipid enough to actually hold Ben Affleck's attention... at least in that "This is me being concerned and engaged" sorta way.

Act (Up) Now Against War

You know how you can tell that angry political organizing has really arrived? When its advertising starts to look like a rave promotion.

But that's where we are, apparently. For a few days now, I've been seeing another iteration of those glossy post-card sized flyers flitting about the halls of the house. If you've ever seen them, you know what I'm talking about. They're usually decorated with brightly colored fractals or other vaguely psychedelic imagery, and breathlessly list the plethora of DJs to be appearing at the revelry in question. Normally the names are of the "SphinX," "Hera-CLY-tis," or "TK-421" variety. You know, like what 14 year-olds call themselves in chat rooms.

Anyway, this most recent flyer is a little different. An ad for this site, it declares "COME STAND UP TO THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION."

EMPIRE is the framework for global control (accelerated, but not begun by the Bush Administration), combining US military dominance, corporate globalization, and domestic policies that promote fear, attacks on immigrants, and racial scapegoating, as well as undermine civil liberties, while transferring the world's wealth from the majority  of the people in the world to big corporations and a rich minority.
Oooh, lemme just pull out my homemade "Smash Capitalism!" t-shirt, and I'll be good to go. This'll sure cheez off all the squares real good.

Overheard Conversations

Hippie: (reading newspaper) Ugh, look at this nanotechnology stuff. That's so evil. They're like... perverting everything in Mother Nature. It's exactly like genetic engineering, you know.

My Girlfriend (molecular bio major): (finally losing patience) What? Exactly how in the hell is naotechnology "exactly like" genetic engineering? Huh? Care to enlighten me?

Hippie: ...
Girlfriend: ...

Hippie: They both use molecules.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Perfect Recipe

What do you get when you add together just about every logical inconsistency, moral absurdity and ethical hypocrisy with regards to the state of Israel and the ever-important notion of "world opinion," and wrap them all up in healthy dose of Swiftian wit and verve?

Why, you get this post.

Friday, July 23, 2004

'Bout Damn Time, Sez-eye

The thing that pisses me off about this is that it is only now happening after all this time, while for so long intellectually empty and visually soporific cartoonists like this guy are allowed to embarrass themselves on the broadsheets as a quotidian annoyance to humanity.

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Blows to the Head

Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards gesures at a rally in New York city, displaying his pants in which he assured the audience there was party and to which he pledged they were all invited.

I Could Kick Glenn Reynolds' Ass

Wanna know how I know that?

He has a cat named "Precious."

I mean, Christ, that's like standing on a street corner with a sign reading "Will work for wedgies."

Paul Simon Explains the Inexorable Fragility of Modern Romantics

You're kind
You're so kind
You rescued me when I was blind
And you put me on your pillow
When I was on the wall
You're kind, so kind, so kind

Why you don't treat me like the other humans do
Is just a mystery to me
It gets me agitated when I think that
You're gonna love me now indefinitely

So goodbye, goodbye
I'm gonna leave you now
And here's the reason why
I like to sleep with the window open
And you keep the window closed
So goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Suitable for IQs 70 and Below

So Dowdy's got herself a new book.

Also sprach Insty: "Dowd's book is, basically, a bunch of her columns sorted by topic. If you like her columns, you'll like the book. If you don't, there's not much value-added."

Translation: If you're of the idiot persuasion, this will be a welcome collection to your menagerie of small shiny objects.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Living In a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

...not attending the Naked Crisco Twister party.*

*I never thought I would have to say that again.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Cynthia McKinney Explains Her Father's Remarks

"Sure, but when he done said I lost the primary because of 'the J - E - W - S,' he was tryin' to say that it was O.J. Simpson's fault. You gotta understand, he's, you know, a little slow and don't spell too good."

Getting Ugly

I suppose the reasonable thing to do is be outraged by this, but God help me, I'm all outraged out.

I've already gone through the motions on this one. Talking about killing the president in serious, apparently earnest tones? I got you beat by four months, at least. That was when I heard someone (a resident of my house) yearn out loud for an opportunity to kill Bush. I admit, she was the only one I actually heard say it (though I don't seek out the conversation of people - I have more constructive and rewarding things to do, like counting toothpicks), but the people listening either agreed or were silent.

It's not like this kinda thing is unprecedented. I wouldn't be surprised if, 35 years ago, this same building I live in housed a good number of people for whom "Off the pigs" was one of their rhetorical standards. The difference today seems to be that back then, the mainstream media and political establishment didn't often tolerate that sort of thing, to say nothing of obsequiously indulging or fetishizing it as some kind of relevant, important voice of discourse.

Late into the night of the 2000 election, when most of media was officially calling it for Bush, several other house members were going around the house excitedly saying that people were assembling for a riot on Telegraph in response to Bush winning. If memory serves, the rage of the Berkeley street failed to materialize as anything more dangerous than a bunch of people standing around in the street occasionally trying to start up chants that quickly degenerated into simple dissonant shouting from a lack of cohesion.

True, they didn't do anything really threatening. And the motivation was likely as much about coming up with an excuse to go out late at night and have a party, if not to fuck shit up and stick it to the Man.

But they were still out there by the hundreds. And this was before they and their ideological bretheren had rallied around the mantra of a STOLEN ELECTION, when Bush was merely a silly chimp, not BUSHITLER, or the man who KNEW ABOUT 9/11, or the meat-grinder of American youth and Iraqi children in a WAR FOR OIL, or the rapist-murderer of ABU GHRAIB, or the filthy puppet of a ZIONIST CONSPIRACY, etc. etc.

Maybe Michele was right. Maybe there're Days of Rage ahead. Maybe if Bush is re-elected, there are going to be burning cars and smashed windows in quite a few places. I'm not convinced that's the case, but I wouldn't be surprised, either.

Living in a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

...the occasional taste of penicillin in your fruit. Them's good eats.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Good On Ya, Mates

Australia, that spineless lapdog, bucks almost the whole fucking world and votes for what's right. Yup, flaccid cowards, they are.

Extreeeeeme John Kerry!

"I didn't fall down. I never fall down. That sonovabitch dolphin knocked me down. Tuna, anyone?"

Monday, July 19, 2004

Madison Avenue Is Toying With Me

What the hell am I supposed to do now?
I just saw a commercial for this drug that's supposed to save my life, in which the cardiologist was the same guy who played the evil tobacco company executive in those Truth.org anti-smoking ads.
So how am I supposed to decide which advertising avatar to place my trust in? Huh? 
There has to be some sort of social compact that's applicable here.  I agree to naively swallow whatever shallow garbage is spewed from the glowing, one-eyed chumbucket, and purveyors of said garbage agree to maintain some modicum of consistency so my lowered IQ doesn't get confused. Is that too much to fucking ask?

Useless Linkage

An exercise in being adrift upon the internet.
This is a completely unremarkable Flash animation and not worth linking to aside from the fact that the main character bears an uncanny and unacknowledged resemblence to Harry Knowles.


"George W. Bush: skankslayer!"

Suggested Comics

Since I recently reformatted after a nasty computer bug (long story short: didn't have to put the old girl down, but I'm afraid she'll never race again), and I'm still in that nice clean glow of new, unsuillied OS, I've been systematically rebuilding my bookmarks in Firefox. One of my folders is reserved for my comic reads. As I was happily bookmarking, I recalled Lileks complaining recently that there aren't any newspaper comics worth your time anymore aside from Get Fuzzy. And you know what he's talking about: that drifting ennui as you open the comics page and realize within a few seconds of scanning that the best you can hope for is a slight smile.
Mostly, he's right. I don't have much to add, since my personal stuffiness about what a good comic leaves meager pickings. However, I can happily offer a couple selections:
1) 9 Chickweed Lane. The only paper I've ever seen this in has been the LA Times (not that I've exhaustively sampled the nation's broadsheets), so I think it might be comparatively unknown.
2) Sheldon. I only found this one a few days ago online. Never seen it in a paper before. Looks promising.
Update: Oh, I forgot to mention Family Circus. Nothing encapsulates the cultural zeitgeist more devastatingly. I mean, "where's Jeffy?" Seriously, where?

A Night With Move On

Last night, my co-op hosted a viewing of the short movie, Outfoxed, the latest tantrum from MoveOn. I only watched a few minutes, as I had other, more intellectually stimulating things to do (there was some paint that needed watching as it dried, for instance). However, I did see enough to notice they recycled one of the lame lies in Fahrenheit 9/11: that FoxNews tricked the country and every other media outlet into believing Bush won in Florida when every other election and news organ had pronounced Gore the winner. Cue heads bobbing fervently and shaking in anger.
George Lakoff was there. Apparently he's an outspoken member of MoveOn. Color me so not surprised. You may remember him as the Berkeley linguistics professor who, shortly after 9/11, wrote that the reason the attack was so traumatic to Americans was becuase we were all distressed by the phallic metaphor of the towers being brought down. He specializes in saying things that only an academic could be dumb enough to believe.
At the end of the movie, they passed around a petition that demanded! the the FCC disallow FoxNews from using the trademark "Fair and Balanced." Not a bad idea, I guess. While we're at it, could we also try to get the government to not let NBC use the phrase "Must see TV"? We have to stop them from insinuating nefariously to the pliant sheeple that they must watch, robbing them of their free will and preventing all those important Bill Moyers PBS documentaries from getting their justly deserved ratings.
In the end, you almost have to admire the MoveOn folks. Their ability to soldier on, foam-mouthed, against the withering onslaught of all common sense or perspective grows on you after a while.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 - A Minimalist Perspective

My review: That Michael Moore guy should really lay off the fatty foods.*
*Oh, also: he's a dishonest fuck.

Cuz You Deserve to Know This Stuff

You know that feeling when you've eaten like twenty pears and then in a little while your lower torso is like, really ready to get moving?
Umm... yeah, me neither.

Objective and Subjective Laws; Equal Protection and Equal Benefit

I apologize for the somber, non-jackass tone of this post. Stupid shit will resume post haste.
Unlike Andrew Sullivan, Den Beste is able to frame the gay marriage debate in logically consistent terms. He articulates the issue as between "objective" and "subjective" laws.  He's right, but I think there's also a simpler and better way of actually naming the dichotomy, especially since so often pro-gay union folks (including Sullivan in the instance Den Beste responds to) invoke principles of equal protection.
Den Beste would say that not allowing gay unions is objectively fair to all, since gays can legally marry a person of the opposite sex with no more legal impediments than exist for a straight. It is subjectively unfair, however, because, for obvious reasons, they simply have no desire to (in most cases). Since our system of laws is based almost entirely on objective fairness, not allowing gays to form a union between themselves and call it a "marriage" is logically consistent.
The way I (and others, though not nearly enough in my opinion) always thought about this can be stated simply as: "Equal protection under the law does not imply equal benefit." 
Den Beste understands this, since he quotes the classic tongue-in-cheek example of this principle: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." 
Often, this kind of formulation strikes people as callous and just plain mean-spirited (which is likely why it's not often used, I think). For instance, after making an equal protection argument that he should be able to get married like everyone else, a gay acquaintance was stunned into exasperated, angry silence when I replied simply with, "You can. You can marry a woman just as easily as every other man." He thought I was just being glib and hurtful. I can't really blame him for that. I think it takes some detatchment to see all of this clearly, and this is a charged debate for most gays.
However, the brutal and unavoidable truth is that, as the quote about paupers and rich men illustrates, often the law varies wildly in the benefit it bestows to different groups. But that's not necessarily an argument for changing it.
Accordingly, the most important thing to realize is that "You can marry a woman as easily as any man" is also not an argument against gay marriage. It is merely a means of framing the actual question that the same sex marriage debate has to answer: whether we want to create a new right that has not previously existed for gays to marry each other.
Regardless of people's particular substantive beliefs about whether same-sex couples should be made legally able to marry, I think it's hard to disagree that both sides need to first address the issue from this angle. It's fallacious and distracting to argue that equal protection means gays already should already have the right, and it is only a matter of official legal recognition of that right (in the courts, for instance). They should be taking their case to the people as a legislative matter, asking for the granting of a new right under a new law, not making the argument that present laws mandate the right being bestowed.
The reason this hasn't happened, of course, is because the public is still overwhelmingly opposed to such a thing (if I'm up on my poll numbers), and such a legislative measure would surely fail. If you're in favor of same-sex marriage, that means you need to convince the electorate to agree with you. It doesn't mean you should make a judicial end-run around them.

With Popular Appeal to a Multitude of Demographics

I'm quite sure that this new fad will be catching on soon across the nation amongst such diverse groups as women, men who are gay, men who are gay but don't know it, men who are gay but are in the closet, men trying to make women think they're gay so they can seem more attractive and then "discover" they're only bi, and men who are just gay (you know, not homosexual, but just like, totally gay, man).

In the Parallel Universe Where I Have Slightly Less Self-Control...

...I'm currently sitting in the county lockup after my booking for the aggravated assault and battery of the most recent gutter punk to ask me for spare change to buy beer.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Cult of Death, Cult of Pup Tents

Over the several years I've been here, I've found that Berkeley is useful for several things. For one, it provides a congregating spot for gutterpunks and bums (especially of the mentally disturbed variety - you know, the kind that tear out their dental fillings to get Joan of Arc's dog to stop telling them to kill), to the benefit of other urban areas. Another is a future testing site to ensure the reliability of America's aging nuclear arsenal.

But most frequently, Berkelely is a good place to be if you want to be reminded on a regular basis of the barking idiocy that seems to pass as wit or cleverness amongst the collegiate Left.

Today for instance, someone posted a series of downloaded and printed pictures, examples of the recent Palestinian trend of dressing little kids or babies in mock-suicide belts for their family photos. Posted nest to that was a page torn out of an American camping gear catalogue which featured young kids wearing overalls, coats, hats, etc. with a camoflauge print.

I challenge anyone wishing to parody the now-stark-raving-mad cult of moral equivalence to create a better example than that.

Babies dressed up in suicide bomber fantasy garb juxtaposed with kids out camping wearing clothes with camo prints. All the same, you see. Death cults, both of them! Except of course, it must be pointed out that the cult of death more commonly known as the killbot factory... oh, excuse me, "the Army"... has killed far more innocent people than any other, as well as raping the natural world, creating untold economic suffering and preventing every person from being given a puppy. [/Noam Chomsky]

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Sixty Minutes 9/11

Richard Carleton is a child molester. He also kills kittens for sport. And only the cutest ones. Owned by orphans. That he's molested.

That might seem a little unfair, but I fully stand by it, because I oppose Carleton's views on the war. So fuck him.

Tigers and Protesters and Me, Oh My!

Via Steve H.

Man, do I ever love shit like this.

In short: Weirdo lets pet tiger escape. Pet tiger tries to maul animal control officer. Officer shoots tiger dead. Weirdo and assortment of people from among the bottom dodecatile of human intelligence make public asses of themselves expressing anger over fact that officer didn't try to first lull tiger to sleep with a violin concerto rather than shooting it.

You know, while the tiger was lunging at him.

State wildlife officials defended themselves against an onslaught of criticism Wednesday for killing Bobo, the nearly 600-pound tiger that made international headlines by escaping from a former Tarzan actor's home.

Since the shooting, which happened a few hundred yards from the 5-acre C Road compound where Steve Sipek lives with five other exotic big cats, local residents have harassed wildlife officers about Bobo's death. The agency has received thousands of irate e-mails and calls from around the globe.

I guess the animal control officer is lucky we never signed on to the ICC. Otherwise, he might be facing charges of crimes against felinity. I'm sure Belgium will still indict him.

As well-wishers visited Sipek Wednesday to offer condolences and express their rage and frustration with state wildlife authorities, he fought back tears while offering
his account of the killing."

They murdered him in cold blood," Sipek said. "They killed a poor, defenseless animal. They killed him deliberately."

Eh. Most people wouldn't consider shooting an animal that is about to eat your face off as being "in cold blood." Also, tigers have done a remarkable job on the natural selection ladder (you know, feared predators, top of the food chain and all) for being poor and defenseless. I always thought tigers were kind of tough or dangerous or something. But I'm sure this guy knows better. He's an animal expert (though his expertise at keeping the things chained up seems to be waning).

"I'll get 50 more tigers. They think Tarzan is crazy, but he's not," he said. "They've been trying to get rid of my animals for 35 years. I'd like to see them do that now. I'll die with my babies."
I don't think Tarzan is crazy. I do think a guy who once played Tarzan and still refers to himself in the third person as such is a fucking nutter, however.

The best part of this story is the gaggle of maroons who have descended around Sipek to denounce the animal control authorities for being big meanies and killing the cute widdle iddums who only wanted to eviscerate that grumpy ol' officer. On the news page linked above, there's a video segment of a woman complaining that the officer didn't try to first use a tranquilizer before resorting to a rifle.

Tranquilizers take 6 minutes to work on a tiger. By which time the tiger would be polishing off his second helping of the guy's entrails, just in time for a post-snack nap. Stupid bitch.

I have nothing but the most generous helpings of contempt for these unthinking simpletons, not least because I encounter similar viewpoints all the time where I live. To them, a tiger is rare and beautiful, pure, innocent and representative of the natural beauty of the Earth Goddess. Humans on the other hand are numerous, boring, fat, ugly, drive mini-vans and eat at McDonalds. They'd side with the tiger any day.

A little over a year ago, I recall there were a series of news stories about a grizzly that was being hunted down because it had killed a human. One of my housemates was upset that the poor dear was going to meet his end. After all, bears are endangered. Humans are fucking everywhere, so really, what's a few people compared to this wonder of Nature?

So I mauled him.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Cease and Desist Order

Ok, Hewitt, I bought your damn book already. Now, per our agreement, kindly stop sending me advertisements in Morse code through my fillings, goddamit.

Enough is enough. Really.
Update: Welcome, visitors from Hugh Hewitt's site. Excuse the mess. Lemme tidy up a bit here...
Hmm. This is gonna be harder than I thought. This place really sucks.
Ah, screw this. I think there's some half eaten pizza in the fridge. Have a party.

Punk 9/11

Via Tim Blair, we get further confirmation that joining the ranks of punk rockers requires a full frontal lobotomy, as the bassist (aka in punk music: the guy who plays the same note for 3 minutes really fast and considers that his "chops") from Blur, a band whose name I've heard at one point or another reviews F-9/11:
The genius of this most American of films is that it has turned politics into a blockbuster subject. It's the first punk rock movie: it must have cost less to make than The Blair Witch Project, and yet he's managed to distil reality and come up with something more powerful.
I am perfectly willing to grant that F-9/11 is a "punk rock movie." That sits quite well with me. In fact, I think that should be its new surname: "Fahrenheit 9/11: A Punk Rock Movie."

This Alex James guy is really on to something here. Punk music is ignorant, angry in an intensely shallow and unthinking way, lacking in any artistic depth or skill and, most importantly, dependent for its success on the stupidity and cluelessness of its fans.

Ultimately, it's not even music. And note: I don't say that primarily as an insult, but rather as a descriptive assessment. "Punk," much more than a musical form, is just an attitude (a childish and reactive one at that), a pose that one takes, and the "music" is just a prop for that pose.

So, F-9/11 is the perfect movie counterpart to punk music. It, likewise, has no argumentative depth, only disconnected, facially contradictory assertions. It's tone is always one of fist-shaking outrage over... whatever you got, man. And only people so stupid that they aren't allowed to use adult scissors could come away hailing it as some kind of artistic or political masterpiece.

So, yeah. Peas in a pod, they are. In the end, they deserve each other.

Kiss My Ass, 16th Amendment

In my Libertarian youth (when I was actually registered as a party member before I realized the party was composed principally of the criminally insane), one of things that I remember becoming very excited about was the idea of a consumption tax as the only form of taxation. At the time, I filed that away in the same folder marked "Masturbatory Pipedreams" in which every other Libertarian fantasy for the Perfect World seemed to permanently reside.

But faith and begorra, I just yesterday heard of what sounds like a serious movement to make such a thing actually happen.

Of course, that organization has been around for a while and introduced several bills for debate over the years, but it seems that the current Fair Tax bill has much stronger legs than any of its predecessors.

Here's hoping.

Dietary Whimsy of the Day

Hmmm, I think today I will eat only... raw oats. Yes. That's a good idea.

Update: For future reference, raw oats expand in your stomach. Like, seriously.


Warning: Long-winded, self-absorbed serious post ahead

Steve H. once asked me how I can stand to live in Berkeley and not simply walk around all day punching every third person I meet.

The answer is that I don't allow myself to get angry very often. I never was one much for seething, and I don't own a rifle or high-powered scope, so the whole clock-tower-afternoon-of-terror was always right out. Also, it's usually more enjoyable to take it as moment for egotistical self-reflection. When you hear someone, for instance, casually remark that the most offensive symbol in the world is the American flag, it can actually be very satisfying. You don't have to respond, but just sit back and think to yourself, "Wow, that person is an unthinking idiot." Keep track long enough and you'll start to find that you're one of the smartest people around.

But the bottom line is because Berkeley stupidity, no matter how ugly, offensive or inhuman it may be, simply isn't worth making yourself miserable over. As Lileks once put it, just letting these people be themselves is punishment enough.

Take tonight for instance. At our weekly house council meeting, we were discussing what newspapers we wanted to buy. Someone who calls himself "Mao" (and insists others call him that as well) wanted to buy a subscription to the Revolutionary Worker. Let me just repeat that so it can sink in: He calls himself "Mao". He further says that he'll be going to Nepal soon because of the Maoist guerilla group fighting there. I'm not sure what that means he'll be doing there.

This is a giy who reveres the person most singularly responsible for the greatest amount of misery visited on the largest number of people in human history. He represents hatred for the freedoms which make this country the greatest on Earth. If he had his way, we would live in a society where I and everyone I cared about would be forced into re-education camps, or simply shot as enemies of the revolution. He stands for the proposition that no amount of brutality or bloodshed is too high as long as you have as your goal some vague sense of social justice (and it's no matter if most people aren't interested in your particular vision of what "social justice" happens to be).

So in his case, I'm willing to suspend my usual rule. I hate the bastard in a conscious, deliberate way. It's separate from things like contempt or disgust (though those are present too). To me, those are involuntary reactions, not an active decision. I actively hate him in a way that runs the gamut from my gut to my brain. I hate him in a way that I reserve for true agents of evil. I sincerely hope, should he actually provide material support to the kinds of people he admires, that he meet an ugly end in the manner that is only too appropriate for the aiders and abetters of murderers.

I don't take a decision like that lightly. Hatred is unpleasant, but deceptively so. It's like a kind of low-level, internal violence. I have only gotten in real physical fights a few times in my life. I was never cornered or forced to fight. It happened because I allowed it to happen, always at least partially due my own antagonizing. Each time, I only let it escalate to fists because the other person had amply demonstrated that they deserved a good beating, and I felt they needed to be stood up to. Twice it was school bullies. Once it was my brother.

In each case, in the moments before the actual fighting began I was always filled with a kind of electric excitement, an intensely physical sensation, like the second before you sneeze. Your whole body is concentrated on an explosion and every tensed muscle wants nothing more than to just do it NOW. I'm sure that if I asked her, Michelle could tell me all about what was going on in my body at the molecular level, about the hormones flooding my system or the neural pathways becoming active or the alteration of the chemisty in the brain, all the mechanistic explanations to describe the how and the why. But knowing that's not really necessary. Anyone who's ever experienced that kind of fear-anticipation-exhiliaration already knows what I'm talking about in a much more fundamental way.

And the thing about it is this: each time, the moments leading up to point when the first fists were thrown were undeniably pleasurable. The excitement, a kind of buzzing intensity, was better than any thrill ride could manufacture.

But then, when it was over, often in less than thirty seconds, the excitement always gave way to a kind of heavy nausea that sat in the pit of my stomach, and a kind of involuntary regret. It wasn't that I felt bad for the other person. It was still just as clear to me after the fight as before that the few lumps they recieved were less than what they deserved. Instead, it was merely the simple fact of my own actions that somehow made me feel sick. I suppose it's possible to also chalk this feeling up to simple automatic physical processes - the coming-down off of a big adrenaline high. But whether it was my conscience or my hormones, the undeniable fact was that this after-period was very real, very strong, and lasted a lot longer.

I think hatred is alot like that, only less intense and more prolonged. The feeling is satisfying at first. It's the deliberate action that quenches or somehow temporarily resolves the emotional dissonance arising out of an involuntary reaction of disgust or anger or outrage. But in a short while, it tends to feel like it's eating away at you, sapping your energy, stealing your focus from other more worthy, constructive things. Most of the time, it's simply not worth the effort. But sometimes it is, just as sometimes it's still worth all the negative effects to get in a fight with someone if they sufficiently deserve it.

This guy, I think, fits the bill well.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Muslims and Sensitivity

Mark Steyn reiterates one of his familiar (and necessary, and oft unheeded) tropes in this article about David Blunkett's ban of "vilification" of Islam. The tale is a familiar one if you read Steyn religiously (as I do): in the West, Islam has wholeheartedly embraced and appropriated the hyper-sensitive multiculturalist attitude that rallies in outrage whenever Islam is disparaged or attacked, but only when muslims or Islamic doctrine is on the recieving end of the criticism, remaining only too eager to enagage in insane militant proseltyzing and fatwa-fying against all other faiths and indeed the West itself.

A typical example:
As for "Our Children Our Future", when it comes to children, the imam certainly has the future all mapped out: as he has said, "Israelis might have nuclear bombs but we have the children bomb and these human bombs must continue until liberation."
And yet the government seems to think the really pressing issue is to make sure no one says anything that might hurt muslims' feelings.

Not long after 9/11, one of my housemates started wearing a green armband wherever he went. When I asked him what it was for, he said it stood for being "against racial scapegoating and demonization of muslims." I had to stop myself from responding with, "Because of all those people demonizing Islam and scapegoating muslims, right?" I couldn't help but find his armbandery a little funny back then, considering this happened not long after Bush (the prototypical Christianfundamentalistcrusader in like-minded Berkeleyans' opinions) had been practically falling over himself emphasizing how Islam was a religion of peace, a tolerant faith, not our enemy, etc etc. And yet his response, after a group of muslims had most emphatically declared by word and devastating deed that they wanted us all dead, was to focus his attention on the urgent problem of muslims being slandered.

I wonder, when kids asked their grandfathers what they did during the war against the Nazis, did any of them say, "Well kiddo, I made sure that no one said anything mean-spirited about the Germans. Anytime someone used the term "Hun" I made sure to report them to the local Office of Racial Sensitivity."?

Ebert and Roeper: Jackasses (again)

It seems like complaining about Ebert and Roeper is becoming a weekly staple, but then, it's not my fault they make jackasses of themselves week after week.

So on last night's iteration of of this developing theme, they reviewed America's Heart and Soul. Ebert gave it thumbs down, because he said the whole thing was like watching a cheesy corporate commercial for America. You couldn't help but note that he didn't have any actual reasons as to why this was the case, aside from the fact that it was unabashedly pro-American, and at one point he plaintively asked, (I'm paraphrasing from memory) "Where are all the people living paycheck to paycheck or the recent immigrants or the ones without healthcare?" I suppose offering the defense that this is a movie that is up-front and honest about its point of view and which makes no claims of objectivity isn't sufficient in this case for some reason I'm probably too stupid to fathom. So, I guess, in Ebert's world, you're not allowed to make a movie that is pro-American unless you also go out of your way to show various reasons why America sucks. OK, I got it (you moron).

Roeper, on the other hand, gave it marginal thumbs up, calling it "shamelessly corny" at the same time, but still liking the interesting stories enough and not being put off too much by the film's patriotism to recommend it. However, he couldn't help but join Ebert's stupidity brigade for the night by declaring that he thought "America's Heart and Soul" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" were, in their own ways, equally patriotic.

As for myself, I haven't seen the movie. It may well be unpalatably saccharine for all I know. I do know a lot of people besides Ebert certainly have been saying as much. You get a steady stream of those kinds of criticisms when reading online reviews, such as at the IMDB comments section. Do give them a gander. They're notable not only for their raging, sputtering bile ("It was pathetic seeing a movie that makes me sick to be an American....The HATE OF America came through LOUD and CLEAR. [Hatred? an over-sanitized "yay America!" commerical? -Ed] It covered a biased cross section of American experiences. It was not worth seeing. You will leave the theater with a terrible ache in your heart. It is the politically correct wannabe of Fahrenheit 9-11. My friends hated it. Another Disney piece of crap. You will want to burn it again and again."), but also chiefly for their complaints of over-sentimentality or corniness that repeatedly don't have any specific examples to point to other than the general crime the movie makes of wholeheartedly praising America. This is strictly verboten, apparently, and the degree of contempt that oozes to the surface in response to such praise will be sure to nauseate.

So I don't know if the movie is good. Medved liked it, and I'm much more inclined to trust his opinion over Ebert, Roeper or a guy who seems to love F-9/11.

Only So Much Kant

SelectSmart.com's new Ethical Philosophy Selector is like most online surveys: it's a somewhat interesting exercise in self-absorbtion, yet yields mildly puzzling results.

My hierarchy of ethical philosophers, for example:

1. Kant (100%)
2. John Stuart Mill (97%)
3. Aquinas (96%)
4. Ayn Rand (85%)
5. Epicureans (83%)
6. Jeremy Bentham (76%)
7. Jean-Paul Sartre (75%)
8. Aristotle (74%)
9. Ockham (74%)
10. Prescriptivism (70%)
11. Spinoza (64%)
12. St. Augustine (64%)
13. David Hume (56%)
14. Plato (47%)
15. Nietzsche (38%)
16. Stoics (38%)
17. Thomas Hobbes (38%)
18. Cynics (22%)
19. Nel Noddings (0%)

Kant? I don't think so. Besides, they didn't even include Popeye, Barney, or John Blutarsky, and I'm pretty sure all of those would be in the top five at least.

Via Gene Expression

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I Suppose a Cow Would've Been Better

Based on the surprisingly strong reaction regarding this, I wonder if it'll affect Bush's plans to adopt a toilet and name it "France?"

Via Tim Blair

Look at Me, Love Me!

I'm postmodern and oh-so-sophisticated!

The whole thing is rather embarrassing throughout, but it's only when the author unironically uses the phrase "European sophisticates" that this article really jumps the shark.
Visitors from Europe have arrived and, after having marvelled at the winter sunshine and extolled the harbour, they ushered me into a cafe, ordered espressos all round, coughed politely, and asked me the question I had been dreading. Would I be so kind as to explain my country's foreign policy?

Being your typical multilingual European sophisticates, they had quickly grasped Australia's sycophantic attachment to the US.
You can almost see the stinklines of cultural self-hatred, insecurity and shame emanating off her words, can't you? To me, she sounds like a freshman sorority sister at the first big kegger of the semester, eager to drop her draws for the first senior fratboy that deigns to offer her some beer and rufies in one of those big plastic cups.

Via Andrea Harris

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Because I Feel Like It

"Mummy, a naked American man stole my balloons."


Friday, July 09, 2004

Look Ma, No Talent!

Ah, excellent.

Yup, all the essential elements are incoherently thrown in at random:
  1. Oil - Check
  2. Signs of American military hegemony - Check
  3. Cowboy reference - Check
  4. Innocent victims of American aggression - Check
  5. Bible - Check
The thing that really annoys most about this kind of silliness is not the idiotic or aimless political argument, but just the sheer laziness of the execution. I've seen 4th grade collages that melded their concepts more deftly than this garbage. I'm frankly a little surprised that the "artist" didn't just go for broke and start glue-sticking words cut out of magazines like "Halliburton," "empire" and "collateral damage." Had he done so, he'd be sure to get the coveted "check plus" and smiley face sticker.

I guess he ran out of time when the recess bell rang.

Update: Oh, memo to Josh Micah Marshall, you left your Batman lunch box in the cafeteria.

Via John Cole

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I Discover My Love For Michael Moore

In an effort to balance out all the gleeful Moore hatred of recent, I've been trying to find something good to say about him and his work. I was coming up empty for a while, but after listening to people in the dining room extol the man and movie's virtues, I figured out something the fat tub of mendacity is good for: he's the ultimate idiot barometer.

All those people calling the movie "awesome"... well, I always suspected they were idiots not worthy of paying attention to, but I didn't want to absolutely conclude as much without more conclusive evidence, and finding out that kind of stuff on my own would've been a bigass hassle. Now I know for sure.

It's like I have a little clipboard with two boxes: "Idiot" and "Not an Idiot." Anyone who thinks Michael Moore is the bees knees of political discourse, or that F-9/11 is a devastating takedown of Bush or the war just proudly made their mark in the idiot box, and I can proceed to completely disregard their opinion on anything even remotely related to politics.

So thank you, Michael Moore, diviner of morons, revealer of dumbasses, all-powerful labeler of shit-for-brainers, you've done your country a great service.


... is to be the moniker for the new Broadway musical version of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Or, as the show will be alternatively titled, "Eric Idle Rapes the Corpse of Monty Python Yet Again."

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Like I Need Another Thing to Have Nightmares Over

Can't sleep, weird young/old man will eat me

Well, let's see. We have clowns, sock puppets, Barbra Streisand, and now this guy:


Oh, thanks a lot Six Flags. Thank you very much. You've officially given me a further addition to my Irrational Yet Crippling Phobias file.


Now if you'll excuse me, there's a closet and a security blanket with my name on them.

Next Kerry Will Start Making Jokes About "the Help"

Man, that Jeff G is just really freaky, man.

I'll Be Seeing This in My Dreams Tonight

I'm not sure why, but I have a vague feeling there is something highly erotic about this picture:

Freaky Little Dwarf or Athletic Ubermensch?

Well of course he did. All the balls that didn't go straight to the green were denounced as counter-revolutionary running-dogs and summarily executed.

Via Ace

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

My Allowed Bigotry of the Week

Wherein I make prejudiced pronouncements regarding subjects of which my personal attributes make me unassailable:

"All lawyers are dirty fucking liars and bloodsuckers, therefore John Edwards is a dirty fucking liar and bloodsucker."

Tune in next week when I call someone a "stupid wop dego," or perhaps a "filthy kilt-wearing sheepfucker."


"Hmmm, now let's see here... got all his fingers and toes... responds to external stimuli normally... Well this just won't do. This kid hasn't got a single birth defect! What the hell am I supposed to tell the jury? That he's retarded? All babies act like they're retarded, for Christ's sake! Babies are fucking stupid. That's why they're just babies!"

"Try the caviar. It's top notch!"

Living in a Co-op Is...

Part of a continuing series

Having to suggest to a housemate that cooking naked is somehow impolite and/or inappropriate.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Things That Confuse and Enrage Me

AKA, the "Hulk" series of posts

Why all stupid NPR-people talk with predictable, nasally cadence? They all like, "Ooh, look at me! Me real reporter who put idiotuselesspauses in sentences!" Why does voice go up then down on last phrase same way every time?! Why!?!

Make Floyd MAD! Floyd SMASH radio!

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