Thursday, December 08, 2011
Next, we are restoring science to its rightful place. On March 9th, I signed an executive memorandum with a clear message: Under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over. (Applause.) Our progress as a nation –- and our values as a nation –- are rooted in free and open inquiry. To undermine scientific integrity is to undermine our democracy. It is contrary to our way of life. (Applause.)
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
So lemme um get this str8 girlz who r undr 17 r 2 fkin REtardid 2 terminator there pregnunCs and shd hav babeez? GIRLS AS YOUNG AS 11 CAN BEAR CHILDRENZ; ergo, THEY MUST CARRY THEM TO TERM! Anything else would be unduly supportive of teen pregnancy!
a bluster, neither hurricane nor breeze;
a minor courtier, but not a queen;
a highway lavatory: not quite clean
enough to read the paper while you ease
your burden, though it seems free of disease;
or else, a long-familiar movie scene
whose dialogue you know by heart by now,
a little funny, though a little sad,
characters overcoming some affliction,
the plot resolved, the out-of-league girl wowed,
the children reuniting mom and dad,
all based on real events, though clearly fiction.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Although there is a long history of bomb attacks on Shia Muslims in neighbouring Pakistan, there has never been such a large-scale attack in Afghanistan, raising fears that radical outside groups are being drawn into the already complex and fragmented Afghan insurgency.Well it is certainly fortunate that we liberated these poor people from the Taliban.
It is worth recalling, as we all wring our hands over the depredations of Wall Street and the inability of some twenty-five-year-old Americans to repay hastily accrued "student" debt, that the American empire is still in full-on bone-crusher mode. These things can't readily be divorced, the one from the other; nevertheless, as a matter of emphasis, it's good to remember that there's extraction, and there's extraction; the machinery of profit exports its more sordid forms of violence just as it exports its most exploitative forms of labor; pepper spray is to the cluster bomb as the service sector is to the sweat shop. This is another reason why when folks say that OWS and like minds are naive in their disengagement from electoral politics and their belief that their civilization is irrevocably broken and unrecoverable, I spit on the sidewalk. OWS is insufficiently cynical. America is quite willing and able to destroy whole societies, yet you believe it is somehow morally indefinsible to avoid the ballot box; you think it anti-democratic? Democracy has delivered the greatest military juggernaut in the history of mankind. You will of course say, oh, no, America is an ersatz empire; it can barely control a restive province or two full of primitives. I say you've got the spyglass backwards. We can smash whole countries in heedless, half-cocked campaigns barely funded by fraudulent national accountancy. And your response to this monstrosity is to say that we ought organize within the existing channels?
Monday, December 05, 2011
What are we gonna do? you asked; I said
we'll smoke a J and drink some Burgundy ,
make out, make love, live relatively free,
grow old, forget ourselves, and end up dead;
I mean, you said, about society!
Who will build the roads? Dole out the bread?
Represent my interests in my stead?
Police the streets? Ensure tranquility?
I haven’t got a clue; I have this breath
engendered by evolutionary luck,
which lasts just long enough to know the rare
brief pleasures life permits to us; if death
be unavoidable, then ima fuck,
get drunk, play ball, sing loud, jack off, and swear.
This is a shift to argument (a), that our democracy is too broken to bother with. If true, (a) really does overthrow my argument. But really? There's no point in running for city council? For county recorder? For the state senate? I don't believe it and I don't think [Shawn] Gude believes it either. I bet he voted in November, and I bet he's prepared to do it again.It's either a telling trick or a willful blindness that causes Will to use voting and running for office interchangeably in his general praise of democracy; it's like asking the wrongfully imprisoned man if he wouldn't have liked to be the judge in his own case. But really, between this little excerpt and elsewhere, where Will accuses "the people"--whomever on earth they are--of passing local statutes and ordinances, what this reveals is a mind that would benefit immensely from spending a couple years on the city hall and zoning board beat. One of the precious libertarian myths that I abandoned when personal experience disabused me of its philosophical attraction is the idea that democracy, if sufficiently local, is somehow better or purer or at least more practical and efficacious than the morass of Washington. This is decidedly not true, as anyone who's ever tried to get a special exemption for the setback requirements for new construction abutting an existing structure on a light commercial zoned property in which the new construction is in a separate zoning district . . . ahem, knows. It suggests a certain, um, abstract understanding of the nature of government, which is often even more spectacularly corrupt locally than in the halls of the congrefs. The idea that the Occupy protesters are undermining some sort of echt popular will by violating city code chapter 470: public places and permitting is so totally unhinged from the actual nature and process of municipal governance that it represents either shameful ignorance or deliberate dishonesty. The popularity of Occupy as measured by opinion polls may rise or fall, but it has precious little to do with its legality.
Meanwhile the persistent invocation of a healthy civic sphere, even with the ironical quotation marks, implies a literalism about the body politic that leaves me slightly aghast.
From time to time the empirical lights of the real reality shine through the scrim of received opinion, or as the Times interlocutor calls it, "a zeitgeist," and we get an accidental glimpse of the stagehands grappling with the foy rig; ladies and gentlemen, if you will proceed calmly toward the exits; refunds and vouchers will be issued. Ahem. It appears in a recent study that America's endangered youth are not, in fact, a universal pact (pack?) of pornographers. Indeed it appears that the youths are quite depressingly ordinary in this regard; their perversions quotidian; their fleshy imaginations, on the average, mundane. You can hear the collective mental apparatus of the official media sighing with relief in every sentence of the story. The kids is alright. A notion shared by both the fundamentally Luddite mind of the traditional media and by the various evangelicals of technological rapture is the idea that technology fundamentally alters the nature of the human animal, that the soul itself is somehow changed by cell phone radiation, or whathaveyou. It turns out that even with their minds plugged directly into Skynet, teenagers exhibit the same charmingly skillless sexual appetites that they always have, fucking more often than their parents would prefer but less often than they themselves would have you, or each other believe.