Friday, July 29, 2005

Jesus Christ.

In twilight they eat, still naked, salami sandwiches she makes, and drink whisky. Their house stays dark, though the others around them, that mirror it, turn on their lights. These neighboring lights, and the cars that pass along Vista Crescent, throw sliding soft witnesses into their room: the open shelves lunge like parallel swords, the driftwood lamp throws a rhinoceros-shadow, the school portrait of Nelson, in its cardboard frame on the mantel, from beneath the embalming tints of its color wash, smiles. To help them see when darkness comes, Janice turns on the television set without sound, and by the blush flicker of module models pantomiming flight, of riot troops standing before smashed supermarkets, of a rowboat landing in Florida having crossed the Atlantic, of situation comedies and western melodramas, of great gray momentary faces unstable as quicksilver, they make love again, her body a stretch of powdery sand, her mouth a loose black hole, her eyes holes with sparks in them, his own body a barren landscape lit by bombardment, silently exploding images no gentler than Janice's playful ghostly touches, that pass through him and do no harm. She inverts herself and pours out upon him the months of her new knowledge; her appetite frightens him, knowing he cannot fill it, any more than Earth's appetite for death can be satisfied. Her guilt became love; her love becomes rage. The first time was too quick but the second was sweet, with work and sweat in it, and the third time strainingly sweet, a work of the spirit almost purely, and the fourth time, because there was no fourth time, sad; straddling his thighs, her cunt revealed by the flickering touch of the television to be lopsidedly agape, she bows her head, her hair tickling his belly, and drops cold tears, starpricks, upon the slack flesh that has failed her.

"Jesus," he says, "I forgot. We were supposed to go over to Mom's tonight!"
Yeah.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Some hope.

I've been away, helping out with a high school debate institute, but that's now over. We put out respectable Human Rights and Foucault criticisms and put together the bare bones of a Bioregionalism position. I worked on a Civil Asset Forfeiture affirmative too, but there's no way in hell that it's topical. Now I'm catching up on reading for leisure and some classes I'm taking in the Fall (Updike, Dawkins, Heidegger, and probability theory) before the debate lock-in starts next week.

In the mean time, there's some good news coming out of a
US District Court. While delivering a sentence in a terrorism case, a Reagan appointed judge called out Bush, pointing out that we can use due process and the US court system to deal with violent extremists, rather than the human rights joke going on down at Gitmo.

I can't wait for the substace-free attack on his character. I can smell it coming.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Idolatry.

Joshua, however, was admitted with his leader to the very presence of the Lord, while Aaron and Hur remained below to look after the people (Ex. xxiv. 9-14). It was during the prolonged absence of Moses that Aaron yielded to the clamors of the people, and made a golden calf as a visible image of the divinity who had delivered them from Egypt (Ex. xxxii. 1-6). At the intercession of Moses, Aaron was saved from the plague which smote the people (Deut. ix. 20; Ex. xxxii. 35), although it was to Aaron's tribe of Levi that the work of punitive vengeance was committed (Ex. xxxii. 26 et seq.).
Aaron

Whew.

Music: Trip Hop to match the rain and thunder storm outside.

Working at a debate camp is like a two week bender. I don't know when to stop, stay up for days on end, eat horrible food, quit the meds, and become an irrational asshole to everyone around me.

Now I'm in the hangover stage and need to get my life back in order. Clean, do laundry, start cooking again, do the dishes, return sixty library books, restart my leisure reading, and get some sleep.

Monday, July 18, 2005

22

Twenty-two fucking years. That's creepy. You live your whole life waiting to get to certain ages and now I'm on the other side.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Weekend of slaughter.

Weekend of slaughter propels Iraq towards civil war.

Duyodhana wiped the blood from his eyes and said, "I will tell you the story of Death, and how no god has control over her."

Friday, July 15, 2005

God damn the sun...

When I've been up for 24+ hours, I can't stomach a lot of music.

But as I was driving back from an absurdly long research session I realized that I was listening to the same thing that I always listen do when I've been up that long: Swans.

It's probably because of how humorless it sounds. And it just exudes the feeling of being tired, but awake because fire is scalding the insides of your veins and your brain is slowly boiling inside your skull.

Ick.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A bunch of slimeballs.

Anyone who hasn't figured out what the RNC's strategy towards any perceived threat to their power should see it by now.

Smear! Smear! Smear!

It kind of reminds me of the Scientology tactic for hostile interviews. "Don't defend, attack!"

What a bunch of transparent fuckwads.

The best part is this one:
Joe Wilson endorse, advised, and donated to John Kerry's campaign for President.
I, for one, am shocked and chagrined that Wilson didn't endorse the administration that outed his wife's status in the CIA as political retaliation for something that damaged their shoddy case for the Iraq war.

If you haven't seen yesterday's questioning of McLellan, you should. It was painful.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Void.

The world makes great blood, but gin and tonic are wonderful. Fuck theology. Fuck humanism. Fuck the anthropic principle.

::void::

Fuck everything.

What a shitty morning.

First, I had a dream that I was caught in a terrorist attack in Britain and was about to be shot by someone (probably because my alarm radio went off and was giving me ideas).

Then, I wake up only to find out that something like that really happened.

I have nothing to add to this, but I need to listen to some French pop music.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Pat Robertson actually working to help the world?

No, this isn't a joke.

Check it out.
"I just don't think we can close our eyes to human nature," he continued, adding that with regard to teaching proper condom use, "you have to do that, given the magnitude." I could have hugged him.

Experimental chana masala.

Indian food is the shit.

I was going through some withdrawal, having moved from a city with lots of great Indian restaurants (Pittsburgh) to Laramie. There's supposed to be a pretty good one in Fort Collins, but I rarely have much money in that city after going by the place I buy Hip Hop records, so I've been up the creek.

So now I'm trying to learn how to cook my own Indian dishes. Tonight I made a Chana Masala that was passable. It needs to be hotter and to have a more complicated flavor, but it's definitely the best tasting attempt at Indian cuisine that I've ever made. Maybe I should make my own Garam Masala or something. The other problem is that I don't know where to get Mango powder around here, so I only had a slight approximation of how it's supposed to be done.

Here's a pretty good website with some tasty recipes.

This will be sweet, though. I'd like to be able to make naan and samosas for my family. Maybe that would convince them to be less skeptical. The first time that I ate Indian food was at a lunch buffet in Berkeley. My upbringing in the midwest didn't prepare me for it, so I thought it would taste like American Chinese food. As a result, I hated it because it wasn't sweet and sour.

Within a week, though, I started craving it. Everyone who had eaten there with me thought I was insane, but I was hooked.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Return to Oz

Just finished watching Return to Oz and it's a really bizarre movie. Very different from the first movie in that it's a lot darker and deals with themes related to this world. It's definitely one of the stranger movies created by Disney or available in the family section. You could put it up there with other odd family films like Babe: Pig in the City and The Straight Story. Starring roles include Fairuza Bank (American History X) and Piper Laurie (Twin Peaks).

In an early scene, Dorothy finds that no one believes her about her visit to Oz and ends up being sent off to a psychiatric hospital where she's supposed to undergo experimental electroconvulsive therapy and can hear other people screaming in the building:
There are patients who have been damaged... locked in the cellar.
Returning to Oz, she finds that the place hasn't turned into the Utopia that we would have imagined would occur following her return to Kansas. It functions as a pretty good examination of the failure of such phantasmic visions. New forms of antagonism have emerged to show cracks in the pretty picture of harmonious munchkin liberation. The Yellow Brick Road has been destroyed, Emerald City has been decimated and its inhabitants turned to stone, and strange apparitions appear in the rocks that surround them. Return to Oz exposes the dark flipside of quests for ontological completion. Things were left out of the original harmonious picture and returned in more horrific forms. When Dorothy failed to return due to the unexpected possibility that her radically new perspective would have no way of being assimilated in a meaningful way into the symbolic order of her family in Kansas (the only way they can rationalize her stories is by assuming that she's gone mad), things get even worse than they were during the reign of the Witch of the West.

In much the same manner as the Stalinist terror revealed the superego component of desire for totalitarianism that underlied the October revolution's quest to resolve class antagonisms, the decay of Oz is a glimpse at the horrifying real that underlies attempts to repress the violence of primordial desire. Whereas this component was sublimated at the end of the first film, it breaks through in a horrifying manner in the second, showing the impossibility of totally fulfilling one's desire, due to its chaotic and shifting nature. To fetishize a single gesture as constituting political liberation, in and of itself, creates the threat of recreating the same evils that we fought to destroy. Rather than assuming that the defeat of the Witch of the West will liberate Oz, we need to be eternally vigilant about new forms of oppression.

Now that I think about it, the original Wizard of Oz also had some creepy parts in it. That stuff just gets covered up by the film's ossified status in the canon of family movie cliches. We choose to remember "There's no place like home" and to not think about how strange the lady riding away with the dog, the flying house, the monkeys, or the desert that turns people to sand are because we're so used to them. Oz was always fucked up, and to assume that there was some point in which it experienced completion is a bullshit before the fall fantasy.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

On the artistic merits of the comic book

Music: Miko Mission - How Old Are You?

I don't get the intellectual stigma regarding comic books. Visual art and literature are both fine, but when you put them together, it grows more difficult to view the combination as being capable of any artistic merit. I've never been a big comics person, having only read Archie comics as a kid, but I'm starting to wonder why it's so difficult to view comic books as a legitimate means of artistic expression.

Part of it is because of the bad reputation given to comics by the traditional super hero comics targeted at teenagers. The notion of being someone who avidly follows comics raises to mind images of pimpled teenagers living out their fantasies though the latest issue of Batman or of the comic snob character from The Simpsons. But dismissing the entirety of the comic book world due to the popular titles that make the biggest sales is as silly as dismissing the entirety of Hip Hop music because of the latest Ying Yang Twins track or fictional novels because of the number of horrible pulp fiction titles on the New York Times bestseller list. Like any other art form, comics are capable of brilliant insights, as well as the same old recycled cliches for which the genre is best known.

Another problem faced by comic books is the assumption that they are only capable of somewhat superficial plot lines and character development. This is largely because of the difference in how much narration can be conveyed through speech bubbles, as opposed to in an actual novel. But this limitation is absurd. The cinema has similar limitations and that has not stopped it from becoming a serious art form. If you read a film script, you'll find far less of the explication that you'd expect from a book. That's because much of the art of a film comes from how it is shot and the visual imagery that is able to convey. An Antonioni film isn't brilliant just because of the dialogue, but because of how it interacts with the mise-en-scène created by his shots, timing, etc. Comics are similar in that a lot of the expression relies on how scenes are drawn and how the story is expressed though the juxtaposition of those images. At the very least, no one who views film as a sophisticated art form can deny the same potential to comic books.

Academia's recent series of assaults on the distinction between high and low culture has done a lot to change the derogatory light in which comics are viewed. Now you can take classes that study them at Universities and liberal arts colleges. There are even longer graphic novels that take themselves a little more seriously than past productions (which is not to say that comics must take themselves seriously to be of worth... in fact, that's probably the biggest problem with stupidly pretentious high culture). However, there's still a lot of literary segregation going on. There's still a lingering perception that comics are incapable of becoming great literature and audiences remain rather limited. Such courses are often viewed as novelties of the absurdity of academic culture by people who stand on the outside of academia or by literary traditionalists. The avid followers of Lyotard and Barthes probably aren't the ones who need to be convinced of the worth of comic books; but rather, our larger intellectual and popular culture, who still view them as media intrinsically designed for youths.

I'm not an expert on comics, but any remaining suspicion that they're intrinsically incapable of higher levels of artistic expression is pretty indefensible.

This nomination is critical.

Today's Washington Post explains how pivotal the battle over Sanda Day O'Connor's replacement will be.

This is why the compromise over the nuclear option was such a good idea. The Dems still have the filibuster if Bush attempts to ram through a heavily ideological candidate.

Now, any attempt to do so will risk a knock down, drag out political fight, which will put him in the position of either damaging his mainstream popularity or alienating his base, either of which will put his agenda at risk. At the very least, it'll sap the political capital that's supposed to be dedicated to things like maintaining his mysterious Iraq schedule and pushing through social security reform. Hopefully, these pressures will force him to nominate someone moderate so as to salvage both his agenda and the highly important midterm elections that are coming up.

Here's an excellent blog covering the nomination process. Required reading if you care about the judiciary.

And the Plame leaker was...

A break from the ridiculous tinfoil of this morning for a real plot:

Guess who leaked Plame's status as a CIA agent?

No! Not Rove!

Never would have guessed it.

What a sack of shit. We've had a pretty good feeling about how scummy this guy has been since the debacle over McCain's fictitious black baby. Now it's out in the open and no amount of snaky manipulation can make it go away. From the McLaughlin Group:
Lawrence O'Donell: What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's emails-within Time Magazine, uh, are handed over to the grand jury is the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is. And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of-for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time Magazine's going to do with the grand jury.
Seriously. Fuck this guy.

edit: Actually, it looks like they probably can manipulate themselves out of this. A combination of the public and media's apathy towards this and Rove's ability to say that he didn't know that he was disclosing classified information, creating a certain amount of plausible deniability, will probably make this go away. I get way too optimistic when I drink whisky at night.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Conspiracy of Silence

I'm reading about the Conspiracy of Silence and it's, to put it lightly, a little strange.

It's an allegedly covered up story about a child sex ring put on by high ranking officials in Washington. Supposedly, child prostitutes (who may have been abducted) were provided to orgies involving congresspeople, foreign dignitaries, and other public officers and most attempts to publicize it in the media were subsequently quashed. Some accusations even connect the ring to Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and other high ranking people in the federal government.

Sen. Decamp (R-NE Nebraska state Senate) has a book about the thing titled The Franklin Coverup.

Oddly enough, a lot of the research about this story comes from two source at which you'd normally roll your eyes: Free Republic and the Washington Times. It's only interesting because these scandals implicate people who would normally be seen as the ideological allies of these publications. But then again, it's not unheard of for freepers to be so paranoid of the government that they even distrust conservative politicians.

Part of this seems a little too well documented to be entirely false. But part of it also reeks of really bad conspiracy theories, like the Vince Foster nonsense propagated by Moral Majority and NWO wackos with little to no real world substantiation. If you read a little bit into the Franklin Coverup literature, you're bound to find some really absurd conspiranoia crap, such as connections to Jeff Gannon and accusations of a connection to Satanic Ritual Abuse, which have a really bad reputation for being pure bullshit.

Edit: It looks like there's a Hunter connection too. Some people are claiming that Thompson was working on an expose of child sex rings in D.C. before he died. Some even think he got "suicided." It's too bad there isn't a better examination of this by credible media, because this is a little hard to swallow. I really hope people aren't misrepresenting about Hunter Thompson for this because that would be really fucked up.