Sunday, May 16, 2004

Dead Man Shake 

So --

Coming home has very nearly halted my online political fulminating. Assorted reasons, too boring to get into right now.

I'm trying out the Blogger comments, we'll see if they're any good.

If you're a regular reader, you're probably not anymore. But if you are and want to know if I'm still worth reading, there will probably be a flurry of activity every other weekend or so, with spotty coverage of minor annoyances during the weeks.

Like this:

Prep School Peers Found Kerry Talented, Ambitious and Apart
Many of the qualities that propel John Kerry — and daunt him — are the same ones that buoyed and bedeviled him when he was 16.

First off, when the hell did personability and warmth become something we look for in a fucking President? Haven't our "best" presidents always been cold, driven bastards? You think Abe fucking Lincoln was aloof? Fuck yeah, he was.

Having read Harper's this month, I'm half convinced that the Senate, as an undemocratic institution, should go. But then we'd be left with the House, which is no House of Commons in terms of intelligence or respectability. The fuckups and nutjobs are all in the house.

A better idea would probably be to strip the executive branch of its all-too-easily-abused powers and make it a glorified Prime Minister.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Leaning on the Everlasting Arm 

My last day in New York for a couple months. Finishing some papers in a school computer lab. I always get distracted and start reading other people's papers saved on the computer. Jesus, College kids are fucking illiterate.

For as long as the function of society has been inflicted upon human interaction, individuals have cohered to create standards of acceptance. While it is somewhat legitimate to say that these standards have been based on modes of survival, there is no question that since the beginning of the Industrial age, the criteria for determining what values are acceptable and what values are not, has digressed further away from what is necessary to survive. The emergence of capitalism in the 17th and 18th Centuries has transformed the reality of survival by fabricating what human beings need to survive. While this shift has influenced the social character of each society, there is a striking similarity between two major forces; one from an ancient culture and one from the modern state.

This from an essay comparing The Illiad to television. This moron goes to one of the most competitive schools in the fucking nation. So the 75% of you who don't get accepted must not know how to fucking read.

One thing I will not miss about New York is stupid rich kids.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves 

Finals. Very light posting for a little while, as you have probably figured out.

I go home Sunday. It remains to be seen what my blogging habits will be once I have friends again.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Someone Give Me a Fucking Book Deal 

Recently, google has been sending me people looking for summaries of David Brooks' "Our Sprawling, Supersize Utopia," his last big hacking consumptive retch all over the pages of the Times Magazine.

If you are a sorta dumb (or lazy) high school (or college) student looking for someone to give you the gist of some article you don't care about, and you can't make it to the library to get back issues of the Times, allow me to help.

First off: I commend you. Laziness and dumbness are not only an important part of David Brooks' own reporting style, they are his primary weapon! Here's how to use those tools in your favor: remember those old Jeff Foxworthy routines where he'd explain how one "might be a redneck"? Let's find an example (c/o our good friend Google!):
You Might Be A Redneck if...Your daughter's bridal registry is at Ace Hardware.

That one's especially good because it mentions a brand or chain-store, loyalty to which can replace class-consciousness in our Sprawling, Supersize Utopia (by David Brooks).

Now, find the worst New Yorker cartoon you can. Not one of the cryptic, weird ones. Not even one of the animal-on-psychiatrist's-couch ones. No, find one of the unfunny ones that lightly mock the vacuity of rich Manhattanite snobs. Ones involving nannies, well-meaning liberals, and the guilt of having privilage and wealth are great. Oh, here's a good one:

You have your examples of "rednecks" and "New Yorkers." Now you use these cliches to affirm predetermined notions of the essential differences between the "elite" (your liberal upper-middle-class audience) and those oh-so-mysterious and exotic Bush-voters of that vast expanse known as "Middle America." Use the terms "Blue States" and "Red States" to differentiate between the vast swaths of people you haven't bothered to do any actual research on. Now, write about them in a psuedo-academic tone. It's that easy!

The car of the Blue Stater is the hybrid, but in an ideal world, it would switch to battery power only when it sensed guilt from its granola-munching driver on his way to deliver an early-afternoon lecture. For the Red resident, gas-guzzling is a badge of honor, not a negative, and cars are driven everywhere -- for example, to pick up some gasoline-fueled power tools for a daughter's husband-to-be (they are registered, of course, at Ace Hardware).

See! Now you've made a grand sociological statement! And you didn't even have to leave your desk!

My hypothetical lazy student friend, tell your instructor to go fuck himself if he's assigning this shit. And then tell him to go read some Thomas Frank.

Monday, May 03, 2004

First, The Muppets Take Manhattan 

Well, I took a bit of a break from blogging there to focus on my other hobby -- the theater thing mentioned below. It was fun, sort of. And extremely exhausting. Theatre-people are tiring. Lotsa singing.

Anyway, if you're not reading billmon, go read billmon. He's all over the torture story with more indignation and damning evidence than anyone outside of Sy Hersh.

If you're not listening to Leonard Cohen, go listen to Leonard Cohen.

In domestic news, the New York Times blames Democrats in the headline for a story about the congressional shut-down orchestrated by cat-fancier Bill Frist.

I'm going home to MPLS (the place that I like best, to quote the Poet Laureate of the City of Lakes and Noble Losers) next week. I plan on spending all summer drinking wine on porches. And apparently, gay people across the nation are making the trek to the Twin Cities metro area, where "tolerance" quite literally means "tolerating," in sort of a condescending tone.
"We have our biracial couple, we have our newlyweds, we have our Jewish couple, we have our Golden Valley cop, and -- " with a cheerful wave toward her buddies Jacqueline and Carol, standing beside her on the driveway -- "we have our lesbian couple."

In other Minnesota news, big-government liberals want to take away our knombs.

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