Friday, March 11, 2005

WWIV and GWFH as they relate to TWAT 

Every now and then comes along a good solid essay that about sums it up. Tom Englehardt has such a one here. Its the clearest, most accessible and least polemical critique I've seen recently of the collective hallucination that is the TWAT. For those of you that follow these events closely it will probably be a repetition. However, I think its worth passing on to anyone, if there is anyone left, who may be on the fence or may be sympathetic to the liberal critique, but has found that the unending tide of propaganda has muddied the waters of thought.

I will now shamelessly and slothfully re-blog from Steve Clemon's site to provide you with a representative sample:

"World War IV" does many other useful things as well. It moves the goalposts into the future, way off there in an endless generational struggle. In other words, it conveniently excuses much that might otherwise seem baleful or ridiculous in the present. And of course it disarms critics -- for who wants to stand in the path of a necessary global war against your own annihilation? As an image, it (and GWOT) undergird what, in the Cold War, was called the national security state and now has morphed into an even more all-encompassing homeland security state. The two terms make sense of soaring Pentagon budgets, offshore mini-gulags, and so much else. It becomes possible to write, as Earl Tilford, former director of research at the U.S. Army's Strategic Studies Institute, did: "This is World War IV. Forget the sleazy sickness of Abu Ghraib. Stop mouthing meaningless slogans like, ‘Bush lied, soldiers died.' Steel yourselves for a long, bloody fight. This is a war we must not lose."

A thorough critique of the contemporary right's world-historical fantasies has been needed for quite a while and this essay is a good start. One day, hopefully soon, one may hope that when the wingers prattle on about being on the "right side of history" everyone's moronized-German-Philosophy-bullshit-detector goes blinking red.

Vulgar Hegelianism, the Moriarty of the Enlightenment and Liberal Democracies, being the granddaddy of all modern totalitarianisms of the Right, the Left and our current pseudo-fascist American.


No special occasion...just had this photograph on my mind today. (It's Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, walking to school on the day in 1957 when Little Rock Central High School was liberated by the federal U.S. government (Dwight Eisenhower, president).) This is before the troops arrived.

This picture has always haunted me. Mainly because of Eckford's stoic posture and bearing and the concealment of expression on her face. And the expression on the face of the white woman behind her.

Look at that face: look at the mouth. The black hole of hate, of indignance, of outrage, of blind self-loathing that is that mouth, is the black hole that is the heart of the contemporary Republican party. That black hole has birthed James Dobson, Sean Hannity, Grover Norquist, Jesse Helms, Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, Orrin Hatch. It is endlessly fertile.

Imagine what it would have felt like to be part of that mob on that day, the mob marching behind the girl. The Republican party has built itself on the feeling of being part of that mob. They're doomed, and they know it. But they don't care. They're riding high on the opiate of the hate that bonds them. They're the victims. They know they're right. They're completely safe. There must be no feeling like that feeling.

None of the cool kids were sticking up for Elizabeth Eckford that day. Her side was decidedly uncool. Her right to attend school that day was not the will of the people, in Little Rock, in Arkansas, in the country. The Black-Robed Tyrants of the Judiciary flouted the will of the people. They ran roughshod over the democratic feeling of the day.

Dan Rather signed off on his final broadcast yesterday with his former signature invocation: "Courage." But it rang kind of hollow. I didn't really hear him say anything that actually made me think about courage. Moral courage, and physical courage, must be such rare and amazing things.

Hecklers taunt Elizabeth Eckford as she walks to Central High School in 1957; Clinton and Congress honor Eckford Tuesday by awarding her the Congressional Gold Medal for helping to break the color barrier in the nation's schools.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

If only 

To the citizens of the United States of America,

In the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up revocation in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Then look up aluminium. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour', skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix ize will be replaced by the suffix ise. You will learn that the suffix 'burgh is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up vocabulary. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as like and you know is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up interspersed. There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won't have to use bad language as often....

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as Taggart will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is Devon. If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become shires e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire....

6. You should stop playing American football. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American football is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays American football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called rounders which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public....

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers....

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. The substances formerly known as American Beer will henceforth be referred to as Near-Frozen Knat's Urine, with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as Weak Near-Frozen Knat's Urine. This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion....

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun....

16. Last but not the least, and for heaven's sake.....it's Nuclear as in clear NOT Nucular.

Thank you for your co-operation and have a great day

John Cleese

NB -- This was not actually written by John Cleese.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Loose Cukes 

This is getting fun. Now that www.recallmontgomeryschoolboard.com has split off from the more "respectable" Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, and taken their "fight" "underground," they're feeling more free to address the things they really care about, such as this, which they've posted on their homepage:

I wonder what these people's kids are actually doing while their parents are holed up in the computer room, salivating over video stills of pudendiform vegetables and pasting hyperlinks to articles about "fisting." These are the Godly folk?


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