Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blasphemy.

I'm going to come out and say that the Conservative Bible Project is both blasphemous and idolatrous. Infact, there's a passage in Revelation that deals with this (Rev 22:18-19):

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
Which seems to me to be exactly what the CBP is doing. Let's take a look at Philemon, one of the books they've translated.

The KJV Philemon Chapter 1, verse 1:
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
And the same in the CBP translation:
Paul, in prison for Jesus Christ, and our brother Timothy, say to our friend and fellow volunteer Philemon,
The reason? ""fellowlabourer" is misleading today, and falsely connotes socialism."

Yes, fellowlaborer, laborers in the vineyard, all of that is to be replaced by "volunteer." Now, I have a serious problem with this. Paul, the author of Philemon, was concerned with nothing less than the complete transformation of the human being through the power of Jesus Christ. "Volunteers" doesn't do justice to Paul's vision.

And then there's the politics. This tremendous act of arrogance is all about politics, after all. "The Greek language may have been inadequate to convey the immoral overtones" goes the analysis for one verse. This is along the lines of "we had to destroy the village in order to save it," in terms of mind-boggling double think. Attempting a translation of the Bible, apparently from the original Greek, and deciding that the original is inadequate? Quite a feat. And that's not even the most nakedly political part. the CBP translation of Mark 3:2 is:
The Liberals watched Jesus to see if they might catch and accuse him of healing on the Sabbath.
Yes, the CBP uses Liberals for Pharisees. The note on that verse reads:
Tentatively using "Elite" rather than "Pharisees" or skeptical "teachers" for more modern accessability. See talk. - "Self proclaimed elite" = "liberals", fits modern terminology, see talk.
Words. Mean. Things. Words mean things even when they're in dead languages referring to events long past. You cannot change the wording, blatantly or insidiously, because 4 writers in the ancient Near East were more concerned with the good news of salvation than the invisible hand. From the Parable of the Sower:
KJV: And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred
CBP:"But some seed fell upon good soil and produced a great deal of fruit, thirty, sixty, even one-hundred times the original investment."
This is inappropriate. It is simply an excuse to get the word "investment" in there, to make it seem like Jesus was a free-marketer. It is blasphemous, there's no way around it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mentorship

According to my boss, modern philosophy is "something they did to Hume and Hobbes and now I have to learn it."

Just a thought.

On whatever Deutsche Welle radio show our NPR station carries, they were talking this morning about Italy's free speech problem, and had an Italian journalist talking about how free American speech is.

I think, in some respects, he's right. There's no way American's would elect someone president who owned his own network of TV stations; I think we'd wince at it the same way we'd wince at electing a preacher (and, no, Huckabee's success in Arkansas and the generally high religious sentiment in this country notwithstanding, I don't think we would). And, yes, we have more robust legal freedom of speech protections than most people.

What we have are massive barriers to entry. Of course, the Founders couldn't have seen that coming, but the result of over a century of media consolidation is a very high price to enter the marketplace of ideas in any meaningful way, and it's co-option by elites.

Now, the irony of this is that I am writing in a blog - a medium, I have been informed, that is the most powerful force for free speech ever, as citizen journalists raze the ivory tower, etc. And blogging is all well and good - I read at least 5-10 regularly, and about 3 religiously. But it hasn't surpassed the barrier to entry problem. "Citizen Journalists" have descended into self-parody. Ideologically driven, irresponsible with the truth and, high-minded claims notwithstanding, essentially useless as journalists in any responsible sense of the word.

Why? Lack of time, for one thing. Lack of the infrastructure to report on anything not strictly local, lack of access to many important databases, lack of legal protection, inability to publicize one's ideas and reporting, inability to bundle one's content with similar ideas and reporting, isolation from the types of channels that assure access to the dominant media and ghettoization of the blogging world.

There have been some attempts to vault these barriers. Current TV produces some content (including the hilarious Target Women and That's So Gay), but leans heavily on links to the ideologically-similar Guardian. Talking Points Memo produces rather good content, but tends towards commentary. Overall, the role of new media seems to be as an adjunct to traditional media, rather than a replacement.

So, what will happen? Will traditional and new media reach a modus vivendi? Will traditional media collapse under the weight of its own contradictions, or will it rally and crush the usurpers?

I'm not sure of anything at this point.

Gore Vidal, and why do we still have aristocrats, anyway?

The obvious answer being, of course, "because we live in a society structured such that the rich and privileged tend to pass that on to their children, allowing them to take the time to be Olympic decathletes, friends with presidents, and famous men of letters."

I'm not at all surprised about the recent interview in the Times of London with Gore Vidal, where he predicts a dictatorship in the US and says that Americans "don’t have any thoughts, they have emotional responses."

This is, basically, the flip-side of the nuts on the Texas school board who want textbooks talking about creationism and southern pride. America is caught between our native aristocrats on the one hand and a vast anti-intellectual tradition on the other. It was reflected in the original design of the House and Senate with the House being elected directly by the fickle people for 2-year terms and the Senate being chosen by the state legislatures. And, to some extent, this is still the case. Political dynasties tend to be in the Senate, after all. But Vidal's contempt for, say, every American not fortunate enough to go to Phillips Exeter Academy is toxic. It's the kind of thinking that leads to, among other things, fascism.

When the elites take the contemptuous view of the rest of the country, we end up with demagogues wielding massive influence over factions of the population, and the "well, they deserve what they get" attitude from Vidal doesn't help. Fascism doesn't just spring fully-formed, it grows out of the cracks in public trust, which Vidal is helping to expand.

Friday, October 2, 2009

In my infirmity...

I've been watching a lot of West Wing. The cool fall weather and and the annual, cruddy fall cold means that I've been watching my favorite political drama. And recently, I saw the episode on PBS.

It is, and I say this with no exaggeration, a crime how little we fund and promote our public broadcasting.

I grew up on PBS and NPR. I have bright and clear memories of watching the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour with my dad everyday when he came home from work. I learned my letters and numbers from Sesame Street and my geography from the campy, live-action Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. My parents once, from somewhere, scraped up 100$ to sponsor an hour of the boring but classic Prairie Home Companion. I am conversant in classical music and was on the classic blues trip long before my friends, entirely due to public radio. Both my parents still send me clips and stories from NPR. Public Broadcasting is a good thing.

We don't value public broadcasting because we are, rightly, suspicious of government, and because we are, wrongly, suspicious of learning. If I were a genius, I'd invent a way to reconcile those. I always liked the NEA's slogan "A Great Nation Deserves Great Art," because I think it's true. Our greatness isn't international heft or economic clout, it's our spirit. I think, then, that a great nation deserves great public broadcasting.

Sweet, light crazy.

Anti-masonry has a long and distinguished history in the United States, and I am glad to see someone carrying that torch.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A slight issue with Politico.

From their piece on Tim Pawlenty:
Pawlenty, under the radar of D.C.’s political community, has locked up some of the key operatives who engineered then-President George W. Bush’s reelection campaign — a significant feat for a little-known Midwestern politician.
Emphasis added. If you believe the narrative that GWB was a dim-but-vaguely presidential cipher, this isn't a significant feat at all. Pawlenty has all the benefits of a first term Bush (with, I suppose, the exception of a famous name, but all of those seem pretty tapped out at this point). If you're looking for a nice, neutral conservative so you can continue your war on Americans making less than a cool million, I think Pawlenty's a good choice.

Of course, given how this year has been going for conservatives, I'm waiting for the inevitable revelations that he likes some sort of deviant sex.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God damned retrograde

John Derbyshire, British stick-up-the-ass conservative, has come out against the 19th Amendment. Really, it takes some balls to deny a basic right to half the population, so I would have to give him credit if it weren't such a self-evidently terrible idea, for a few reasons.

First, I'm just going to quote Amanda Marcotte, because she put it too well:
If you think you can just repeal half the population’s right to vote because you don’t like the outcome, then why even bother with democracy in the first place?
Second, it's a tactical mistake. Generally, politicians don't get elected on the basis of denying rights to the people who are voting for them. Given that women vote at a higher rate than men, any politician associating with Derbyshire or NRO should be toast after this.

Really, this should serve as a meditation on the fact that conservatism in this country isn't about returning to the mom and apple pie 1950s of legend, it's about returning us to the Gilded Age of horror stories.

Rally in Belleville.

By Nazis, quite literally, for white civil rights after a beating that the police apparently decided was not racially motivated.

The worst part is, 55% of people on the poll at the bottom said that the rally was a good thing.

Were I a paranoid sort

If I were the type to jump at shadows, I'd see a conspiracy here. First, Newsmax pulls an article (by a long-serving columnist) promoting a military coup, next Thomas Sowell at NRO compares the president to a "Latin American charismatic despot" and asks "do we want to become the world's largest banana republic?"

It's almost like they're laying bare their deepest desires.

Ok, still.

Maybe not, per this congressman, a holocaust, but 45,000 extra deaths a year is pretty substantial in a country that's supposed to be the greatest on earth.

Juggalos.

I was going to make fun of these, but I wish my subculture had a carnival like this every year. (Neither GenCon nor political conventions count).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To my liberal friends.

There are people out there who hate this country. There are people out there who are, literally, discussing the possibility of a military coup against a duly elected president as though it were a desirable outcome:
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont.
Let's open that statement up. We are a mostly civilized republic with a set of democratic methods in place to choose our government. We do this every other year. We have changes in our legislative branch more frequently than any other civilized nation (British gov'ts are required to call elections every 5 years, The French are also on a 5 year cycle). And yet, there is talk that "patriotic general and flag officers [will] sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility." Let that sink in.

Has it? John L. Perry is advocating treason. There's no way around it. Despite his pro forma claim that "Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it," he is putting it on the table as a legitimate option. Newsmax speaks for a portion of the conservative base, one that's become more and more active of late. And why does he want a coup?
Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.
Officers who failed to stage a coup after the Patriot Act, a far more destructive and unconstitutional measure than anything Obama has done or, really, is likely to do, was passed.
They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.
Deficits run up by Geo. W. Bush, due mostly to his expansion of the class war against working Americans.
They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.
Because we recently reaffirmed what we thought we could take for granted, and said that torture is something that Americans don't fucking do.
They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.
Due, in no small part, to the gutting of the diplomatic corps and the waging of a war of choice which seemed to provoke no proto-treason from these alleged patriots.
They can see the nation’s safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.
That last bit, by the way, makes this notional coup a sectional rebellion, which the founders were sure would end in tyranny. So, while I hope, and am fairly certain that Mr. Perry is just shooting his mouth off (as he has every right to do), I just want to point out that this is now on the table. Someone writing in a publication aimed at the conservative base has put out the idea that a military coup is a legitimate option.

Let's count all the successful democracies that have had military coups. Spain had one that ended in a bloody civil war followed by decades of fascism. England had its last one in 1688. Greece had one in 1967, and is still recovering. What in the fuck does me mean by "If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized?" What fantasy world is he living in?

Now, imagine for a second that the Nation published a piece like this in, say, February 2003. Can you imagine the condemnation and possibly criminal charges that would have covered them? Now, listen for the crickets about this piece.

I may be disappointed in my side sometimes, but I take comfort in knowing the "advocating treason" is not on our list of "things to do when we lose and election."

edit: Newsmax apparently scrubbed the column. Full text here.

hurr I'm a durr

You're probably not holding this kind of conference, for one thing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Census Paranoia.



"I'm not saying that ..." seems to mean "I'm heavily implying but maintaining plausible deniability."
The batshittery over what is, after all, one of the few tasks explicitly given to the federal government weirds me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Blog?!

Let's see how long I can keep this one up. An outlet for my nerdy side.

In a Written Age

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

IOKIYAR

Isn't there a law against this? Or is it just in poor taste?
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has announced to National Review that he will be personally leading a "truth squad" to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, where he will make it clear to international leaders not to believe that the United States will pass legislation to deal with the issue.

It's nice to see how seriously foreign policy is taken these days -- when a member of the political minority will send his own delegation to an international conference, in order to undermine the government and tell other countries that they can't work with the United States.
Politics stops at the water's edge, indeed.

Update: According to the WSJ, from a column when someone they didn't like did this:
The Logan Act makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, "without authority of the United States," to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government's behavior on any "disputes or controversies with the United States."

Goldfish-like Memory.

From The Nation:
In fact, the very idea that Chicago could be the setting for the Olympics could have been hatched by Jon Stewart for a four-year supply of comedic fodder. To greater or lesser degrees, the Olympics bring gentrification, graft and police violence wherever they nest. Even without the Olympic Games, Chicago has been ground zero in the past decade for the destruction of public housing (gentrification), political corruption (it ain't just Blagojevich; I can't remember the last Illinois governor who didn't end up behind bars) and police violence (the death row torture scandals).
It was Jim Edgar, who immediately preceded Ryan. Can I write for the nation now?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Something Different.

My friend Becky and I will sometimes bemoan the current state of western intellectual life, and it's things like this that cause it. I get in this elitist snit because, fuck, 2 million copies of an airport novel about the Freemasons and I can't get a motherfucker to read some Orwell to save his life, but then I think, 2 million people putting words in their heads via their eyes. That's pretty massive. I mean, just on a sort of "fuck yeah, humanity!" level. We not only invented a way of taking thoughts out of our brains and sharing them with other people, we let enough people in on that magic that some jackass with a talent for exciting plots and minor puzzles can make a damn good living at it.

That's pretty cool.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Best. Labored metaphor. Ever.

From some RW site, via Sadly, No:
The political left in America is like a deranged passenger on a jetliner who repeatedly attempts to storm the flight deck and crash the plane, but who the crew and other travelers are limited in their ability to restrain due to obscure regulations (whose full implications were unforeseen when they were implemented) which give the unhinged would-be saboteur the right to move about the cabin freely.
"Liberalism is a mental disorder" mixed with a delightful dash of "look at how clever I am." Charming.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A quote, in the chilly morning.

From Margaret and Helen:
Let’s be clear about something: if you show up to a town hall meeting with a gun strapped to your leg, the point you are trying to make isn’t a good one. Fear never produced anything worthwhile.

Look at this toolbox!

There really are no words. It takes a special kind of entitled jackass to do what this guy does. The pimp video guy is, apparently, not just your average citizen outraged by the nefarious dealings of this fascist monstrosity, but a carefully groomed right-wing activist. Vide:
But despite these personal agonies, O’Keefe bravely moved forward and rightward. He was part of a discussion group at the 2008 CPAC titled “Conservative victories with the new media.” In the audience was famous conservative gay male prostitute Jeff Gannon, who, coincidentally, was a graduate of the “The Leadership Institute” which O’Keefe was representing. The Leadership Institute “recruits, trains and finds jobs for right-wing activists in the public policy field” and among its famous graduates is Karl Rove. Like Fox News, it seeks to make colleges more conservative. Obviously we can’t know for sure if this is the Leadership Institue, but O’Keefe, on his website “Feathers of Steel,” gives “Special thanks to the 4000 dollar 60 inch HDTV monitor LI bought me to produce and edit movies.” (Hmm, do we have a “sugar daddy?”)
It's really amazing the extent to which the right has a better activist training and placement apparatus than the left. It's almost as if there were some sort of vast conspiracy.

She ought to know.

Via, as usual, TPM:
"I never mentioned Hitler's name other than when the reporter came up to me afterwards," she said. "And I said, look, I am not making a direct comparison Obama and Hitler. I'm making a comparison between policies in countries, and that history has a way of repeating itself."

So does she believe that Obama and his administration are fascists, as cited above? "I don't believe -- no, I'm not saying that they are fascists," she said. "I'm saying, if you said ideals -- yes I do believe, when you look at the definition of fascism. Fascism is not government ownership of business, it is government control of business."

"I'm not saying he's a fascist, I'm saying he's the leader of a dangerous personality cult out to destroy our sacred liberties with his fascist ideals. Why won't you in the liberal media stop misquoting us?" And this isn't just any nutbag, this is a former Assistant Secretary of State from the Bush admin (proof, if additional proof were needed, of the extreme politicization during the last 8 years, and the dangers thereof).

I think that's the key difference between the extreme criticisms of Bush and the extreme criticisms of Obama. Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan and the other "Bush = Hitler" people never got near the reins of power in the Dem party. Now, we have elected officials and former administration appointees joining the mob. This is bad fucking medicine. This is why our institutions are breaking down. I hope these fucks are happy.

lolarius!

From MrChris, in this pandagon thread, a classic Sadly, No bit on the father of the young woman who played a prostitute in the latest conservative "exposé" of Acorn. There's probably a witty comment on the right's tendency to treat women like propety, but I'm not feeling up to it.

The de-laboring of American liberalism.

I've been reading a bit about the popular front in recent weeks, so this caught my eye (h/t LGM's twitter). The relevant quote:
Finally, it's somewhat disheartening that these events have received virtually no coverage in the progressive blogosphere, outside of labor blogs. Nothing from leading individual bloggers like Yglesias and Klein, nothing from TPM, nothing on Kos, nothing on Huffington Post, nothing at Think Progress. If I've missed something, let me know, but these key events in liberal politics are receiving absolutely zero coverage from people that should care deeply.
When did labor stop being important? I can haz popular front nao?

Balance.

I tweeted earlier about Glenn Greenwald's piece on false balance in the news. This, folks, is what he was talking about.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just the facts.

Called the Belleville PD about Rush Limbaugh's disgustingly racist comments. Will be pleased as punch if anyone gets back to me.

Reminiscing.

Just a random thought, but on election night, my buddy Marcus and I wrote "Yes we did!" on our white tshirts in sharpie when we went to the rally/party at the Alma Mater.

Just popped into my head for some reason. That was a good night.

Teabaggers, redux.

  • I look at the pictures of the march last weekend and think "sure are a lot of white people here." They see it and think "looks like America."
  • Can anyone identify this flag? It looks like a confederate design, but I can't find anything that matches?
  • Speaking of flags, ironic that the "don't tread on me" flag, originally designed to promote unity in the colonies, is being carried by secessionists.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Because TPM doesn't get enough links.

I am officially supporting this man's reelection campaign. Granted, my response would have been along the lines of "I wouldn't piss in your mouth if your teeth were on fire."

Excessive Douchebaggery, and cause for concern.

First, via TPM, Rush Limbaugh is either an idiot or an asshole.
"In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on," Limbaugh said.
As opposed to the old days, when black people were hanged with the white kids cheering "Yay, right on, right on, right on?" Do you think Limbaugh really believes that Obama caused this? Is he really convinced that Obama, just by being black and president, caused this otherwise articulate and well behaved young colored gentlemen to beat up a white kid? Or is it a case of teenage boys being their typical jackassy selves plus a complicated and troubled history of race in this country?
The Belleville News-Democrat is reporting that police are no longer thinking it's racially motivated, just bullying.
The video also shows students standing to cheer for the fight and using a cell phone to take photos of the bleeding victim.
Which should come as no surprise to anyone who was in high school recently.

Will we get the apology from Rush and the Right that they asked for after the Duke Lacrosse incident?

Second, also via TPM, man brings two guns to Obama event, denies being a copycat. Apparently just got out of jail for assault. I will pay for a round of drinks if anyone can find me one news story (not blog post, FOX news ok) about anyone bringing a gun to a George W. Bush event. I will post it here, and then buy you a round of drinks at the bar of your choosing..

I am pretty sure I will be drinking alone.

That fucker, again.

I'd like to take another look at the article I looked at earlier. It seems to me that there are a few assumptions being made that are just not correct.

First, basically, is that they're right. Now, this is sine qua non for any armed revolt, but it deserves saying. What's truly scary is what they believe they're right about. There's a commenter in the thread who, honest to God, believes that the swine flu vaccine is a plot to wipe out the majority of the world's population. That's over and above the classic RW belief that Obama is some kind of secret Muslim communist dictator who is stripping them of their vital liberties. The claim is there that Obama (and the other bogeymen for the Right - Speaker Pelosi, Barney Frank, and, for some reason, Van Jones) are "making a mockery of our Constitution" and must be stopped by any means necessary.

The stunning thing about this is that none of the actual reasons to rebel are supported by facts. This is a movement will and eager to kill fellow citizens over urban legends.

The second erroneous assumption is that, in the event of the prophesied rebellion, the army will face mass desertions as the patriotic young men of the armed forces will remember that their oath includes enemies foreign...and domestic.* And, should the devoutly-wished consummation occur, I have no doubt that they will. Because, frankly, a marauding fascist movement shooting people in the street for voting the wrong way in the last election and eliminating "undesirable" elements fits the definition of a "domestic enemy" better than anything I could have come up with on my own.

Third, the related assumption that in the event of the rebellion and the mass desertions that will follow it, the government will call in the UN and send foreign troops to kill Americans. I would, of course, remind the murder-fantasists that the last time we had a civil war, it was handled domestically, with federal and state forces augmented by a draft. Granted, given that this assumption a.) comes from the previous flawed beliefs and b.) is a rehashing of that 90s favorite New World Order conspiracy theory, it's pretty much dead in the water.

All these problems, basically, stem from the first wrong assumption. They assume that they are the rightful owners of this land, and that they will be able to strike down the usurpers. Their theory does not bear any resemblance to reality.

*The "and domestic" language has become a RW shibboleth. There's a group called "Oath Keepers" who seem to be dreaming of some kind of military coup, and it appears on teabagger signs frequently. It's up there with the McVeigh "Tree of Liberty" quote as a warning sign.

Monday, September 14, 2009

He's really that bad?


This is what Teabaggers actually believe. This is why they think it's ok to call for rivers of blood. They are either completely ignorant of the realities of living under a totalitarian regime, or they are so frightened that they honestly believe the Barack Obama, a man who is personally and politically moderate and pragmatic, is worse than Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Castro combined.

Really, take a nice browse through that photostream.


They've deified Joe Wilson, a man with troubling ties to the radicalized SCV and a history of racist foot-in-mouth disease.There are constant claims to legitimacy and majority (when, really, Obama was elected by a fairly wide margin, given how other recent races turned out), including some outright threats. Maybe this one is a step up?The Birthers, too, were out in force - one sign showed the forged birth certificate that Orly Taitz was flogging a few weeks back.
There was also, of course, some racist fuckbaggery...... and some charming displays of paranoia.Any claims that this was about health care or taxes got blown out of the water by the unrelated signs. This was an antigovernment protest. I think we're going to see more of them.The point is to get any conceivable allies together. The Right in this country is coalescing into an organized political movment.My favorite sign didn't make any damn sense. What's this "we" are John Galt?I didn't even bother to post any of the traitor flags, or the signs about the "tree of liberty" (which, may I remind you, is a quote most associated in recent years with mass murdering terrorist Timothy McVeigh). This is, again, the kind of rhetoric they're rocking. This is how they're talking openly about killing their fellow citizens.

Edit: Had to add this one. They're now proud of being terrorists?
(photos from NineTwelvePhotos on flickr.)

These fuckers.

There are few things more horrible to see than someone imagining widespread death and destruction and practically rubbing his hands in glee. This fucker, however, is doing just that. Hiding behind a false sense of patriotism, he plots an American version of the killing fields. In the first weeks, he imagines that "numerous politicians, Obama hacks, federal judges, and media members would be killed" and "this period would be remembered as the time of purging." "Obama supporters would be summarily executed in their homes and on the streets," he continues, probably imagining himself holding a gun to the head of his neighbor, who had the gall to put an Obama sticker on his car. Political structures break down, as
"local law enforcement and the state’s National Guards would be providing humanitarian assistance only, and their orders would include not firing on armed Americans and using their own firearms only to defend women and children, having already experienced losses themselves for interfering with summary executions of male Obama supporters."
What he's describing is Yugoslavia in the Heartland.

It gets worse. As his blood gets pumping, he begins to imaging a grand new world order. University professors, he assures us, would be "targeted for killing," and California would be sealed off, and anyone attempting to flee eastward would be shot on sight. "At the local level, those bureaucrats who had exceeded their authority would also be targeted," he writes, which I can only assume means a settling of petty, parochial grudges - the teacher who taught evolution, or perhaps the building inspector or social worker.

While never calling for a race war (perhaps realizing that, being a convert from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity, he himself would be a target if one broke out)
, he cannot stop himself from enjoying fantasies of seeing the untermenschen purged.
"Obama could empty the prisons and attempt to arm any inmate who would support him. The upside to this move is that America would rid itself of a large portion of its prison population as these individuals were gunned-down mercilessly."
and
"Despite the unfortunate sub-war that broke out along racial lines during the revolution, racial tensions are at the lowest they have ever been, because the race-baiters and welfare-pimps are all dead or awaiting execution."
He also rhapsodizes about anyone crossing the border being met with deadly force, and proposes what is essentially slavery.
"inner-city youth would be working on public projects for food and shelter, with misbehavior or criminal activity met with summary execution."
He also discusses, at length, the fact that execution by firing squad will be common for everyone from petty criminals to enemies of the state.

This fucker's dream world is a toxic mess, a revolution allegedly fought for freedom that, before the first shot is fired, turns into a vicious nightmare. Our most sacrosanct rights, including freedom of religion, are trampled. "Churches would also be released from their current constraint on addressing political issues, but radical America-haters like Jeremiah Wright would be tried for treason." and "As a further amendment to Freedom of Religion, those religious entities that refuse to abide by the Constitution and foment sub-cultures and lobby for “religious law” are banned, their assets seized, and said assets distributed to Americans for the “general welfare” — regardless of the recipient’s religious beliefs or lack thereof." He flatly admits that "free speech would be curtailed," and seems to relish the idea of prisions sitting empty, except for those awaiting trial and their inevitable execution.

The most shocking thing? The death toll. This fucker figures on at least a sixth of the country (50,000,000-70,000,000) dying during these uprisings.

It's easy, on the left, to dismiss the teabaggers as whiny babies upset because they lost an election, or uneducated hicks, but it's more dangerous than that. Our society is so fractured, so unable to trust in its basic political institutions, that there's fertile ground for extremism to flourish. I doubt that this blogger has enough followers to form up even a decent fire team, but the danger he represents is all too real.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

To the teabaggers and seccessionists.

A message from General W. T. Sherman.
You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail

It's been a while.

So, DI published "An open letter to our ignorant student body" this Friday, and begat a comment shitstorm. Most of the comments, predictably, were of the "nuh-uh" and "who do you think you are" variety. One, however, stood out:
Students don't care because their voice doesn't matter. It won't bring back the chief or the things that made the university great. Who cares anymore if the university becomes a ****hole. More likely than not, the reason why my best friend didn’t get in here with his perfect ACT score is because of the high percentage of international students. Hey I have got an idea, let's raise tuition again and again!
Yes, the Chief is why no one cares anymore. Since he left, the world is grey and nasty, Lincoln Hall that much more crumbly, the international students that much more . . . international. Since the Chief is no more, we have all felt the leaden hand of the school administration, keeping instate students down, taking more and more of our money to give to the perfidious "international." Woe, woe is us!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

[citation needed]


I've long since given up on assuming that stupid people on the internet are performance artists. There is a rich stockpile of stupid out there, and we are mining it like fucking gnomes on crack.

(via latfh)

And one more thing!

From R.S. McCain's article quoted below:
If Messrs. Podhorhetz, et al., wish to promote conservatism among American Jews, let them find some way to encourage Jewish families to move to small towns in the Heartland, where their kids can grow up hunting, fishing and hot-rodding the backroads. A guy with a gun rack in the back window of his four-wheel drive truck may occasionally vote Democrat, but he's extremely unlikely to be an out-and-out liberal.
I wonder if Mr. McCain knows that hunted meat is generally not kosher. Or has given any thought to the value and persistence of urban Jewish communities. Or if he's just the same sort of "philo-Semite" who loves the Jews as a means to an ends.

This is real, pt 303

I wonder if Michael Medved is an idiot, or just loves him some anti-semitism.
"For most American Jews, the core of their Jewish identity isn't solidarity with Israel; it's rejection of Christianity."
He might as well have written, given the conservative audience he's writing for "Man, we Jews are still all jazzed about killing Christ." I mean, it can't be that Jewish tradition tends to lend itself to progressive causes, or the unique place that civic duty and good citizenship holds with Jews as a result of their unique history in the United States, the only reason for a Jew to be liberal is either as a substitute for real Judaism or antipathy towards Christians.

When I read RW and fascist publications, one of their favorite tactics is to call someone a "sabbath goy," a gentile who works for the Jews. I wonder if one might not apply a mirror term to Jews who work with the far right.

As an aside, I'd also like to take issue with McCain's statement that "evangelical Christians are overwhelmingly pro-Israel and philo-Semitic." This is only true to an extent. The types of evangelicals who really love Israel and the Jewish people are not in it for the best interests of the Jews, or because they respect the most stable of the Middle East's few secular democracies, but because Israel has a role to play in bringing about the end of the world. I think philo-Semitic might be a stretch, there.

Just a nibble.

No, Iraq is a place where people live, not a place for us to project our fears and fantasies (that goes for the both of you).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This is real, pt 301.

Human Events may become my favorite place to look for installments to this series, as they published this gem. Aside from some delightfully stereotypical dreck about the difference between the sexes, and a charming bit of gay-bashing, Marsden reveals how disconnected she is from the real world with this:
When men see $45 underwear on a male model in a Hugo Boss ad, what he’s likely thinking (besides “he looks gay”) is that the guy’s wearing the fiscal equivalent of his next beer keg. This is why the underwear purchase loses out.
I have never known anyone to measure beer in kegs. I have never known anyone to buy a keg for himself (except, once, to supply a free-beer-for-all birthday party). The correct conversion between Hugo Boss briefs and alcohol is 3 handles of bottom-shelf liquor, two fifths of decent liquor, 3 cases of Pabst or similar, or 5 sixers of good beer (my numbers may be a bit off because of the recent tax hike here in IL - I'm still adjusting). Marsden's column is full of that phony, sour-tasting populism that conservatives like to trot out alongside their policy pronouncements - when I skimmed Marsden's it seemed to be a standard "I don't want to be a Delta, khaki is such a filthy colour" column of the sort that Human Events and WSJ put out on a regular basis. With a friendly nudge to make you feel like part of the club.

Anti-Jihadists.

Of all the fringe political entities out there, I think the one that most burns me is the soi-disant "anti-jihadist movement." They are a loose group of people dedicated to the idea that a vast, implacable Muslim conspiracy exists, bent on destroying once and for all Judeo-Christian culture and replacing it with a universal Caliphate. If you've ever seen Daniel Pipes or Robert Spencer on the news, or blundered across Bat Ye'or's Eurabia in a bookstore, you've seen them.

Frankly, they frighten me, and I'm a white, Midwestern Lutheran. I am not in their crosshairs. When I read their writings, or see them on TV, I can't help but shudder, though. Something about their wild-eyed insistence that they are fighting a thousand-year struggle against the hordes of Islam bothers me. Something about their insistence that a racial and religious war is coming chills my bones. It chills me, not because I am a dhimmi with my head in the sand (as the anti-jihadists love to call anyone who disagrees with them), but because those who warn most loudly of racial strife are those who do their best to cause it.

They also frighten me because of their deep contempt for what they claim to love. They claim to love the West, in all its glory as the font of science, art, religion, music and technology. Their West, though, is the insular, inward-looking world of the Middle Ages, aware of the outside world only as a threat. The reject the Enlightenment, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions (except as an example of the superiority of the West), the political and cultural changes that gave us universal suffrage, birthright citizenship, and popular elections. They hate, and I do not think hate is too strong a word, the idea of republican government. One needs only look at their self-chosen titles and iconography - baron this or that, crusaders' crosses, references to Holgar the Dane and Brigid of Sweden - to see their contempt for everything the West has built since, say, the reign of Barbarossa.

This contempt spills over into the political parties the support. Their anti-modernism and longing for a mythical golden age make them natural allies for reactionaries and fascists. The fracas within the movement over the decision of some members to support the Vleems Belang party of Belgium, a party that glorifies Belgians who served in the SS, shows this fault line. The glowing mentions of the BNP and right-wing German groups on the movement's blogs show them for the fascists they are.

Most disturbing, though, is the behavior of Jewish anti-jihadists. Jews, of all people, ought to be able to see through the "anti-jihadists." A look at the rhetorical tricks used by the anti-jihadists shows them to be eerily similar to those used, both in ages past and today, by anti-semites. Accusations, for instance, of collusion between the banks and Muslims ought to sound familiar, as should accusations of a great Leftist-Muslim conspiracy. The innuendos about improper relations between Muslim men and non-Muslim women common in the movement also should send warning shivers down the spine of anyone who remembers history. The accusation that Muslims are "parasites," and the officially-disavowed but still-common label of "subhumans" should sicken listeners. While I have not yet seen any accusations that Muslims murder Christian or Jewish babies for Eid, I would not be surprised, as accusations that Muslims fabricate wholesale any violence against them are common in the anti-jihadist sphere.

I know that this seems an odd thing to harp on, since we have our own troubles here, but I believe they are connected. The forces of reaction where many hats, but are united by a hatred for everything we have built over the past few hundred years.

Re: Nixonland.

Speaking as a liberal, when are we going to grow some balls and stop running scared? The right - both the cultural right and the corporate right - has been defining the terms of the game so well for so long that we're scared of our own shadows.

We also love the circular firing squad. I've seen people threaten to vote third party in 2012 on the left because of [insert failure of the Obama campaign/admin here] since the end of the primaries. I've seen people threaten to withhold time and money from the national party because we left Max Baucus stay in, or didn't fight hard enough for Franken, or didn't immediately push for single-payer, or didn't let Kucinich win the primary. Our House Speaker, supposedly our party's leader in Congress, is being challenged in a primary. We love to make things easy for our opponents.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where to start, where to begin.

I'm not even going to comment on the politics here. I'm just going to look at one statement.
Chris Stigall, a Kansas City talk show host, said, “I wouldn’t let my next-door neighbor talk to my kid alone; I’m sure as hell not letting Barack Obama talk to him alone.” (from NYT).
This is fucking sad. When I was 6(ish, 1993-Matty says "6 and a Half!") my next door neighbor took care of me for a few days when my mom was in the hospital giving birth to my baby sister (Incidentally, also in Kansas City). My first winter living alone, my next door neighbor loaned me and Mike a snow shovel because we were idiots and forgot to buy one. When I first moved in to my apartment, about a week after moving in, I dropped a glass and cut my foot kind of badly. My "next door" (across the hall, I guess, but closest to me), gave me a handfull of band-aids, even thought he didn't know me from Adam. What kind of sad, paranoid Hell is Chris Stigall living in where he distrusts his next door neighbor that much.*

Edit: We took class time out to watch John Glen's return to space when I was in grade school, we watched Colin Powell's speech to the UN in chemistry class sophomore year. I didn't get a damn thing done in health class because I was arguing about the Iraq war with my teacher (who referred to me as his "liberal buddy, Matt"). The idea of interrupting class for a big speech is nothing new.



*the freaking out because the POTUS wants to say "hey, let's not drop out of High School is a different issue.**
** I lied, sorry. I did talk about the politics.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rights Troll

I'm taking the kindest possible view of this situation, which is not easy given my gnawing fear of sectarian political violence in my country. Even is this guy wasn't actually calling for violence, he was being what we on the civil libertarian side of things call a rights troll - someone who exercises a real, legitimate* right in a stupid, shitty way. Yes, you apparently have a right to open-carry in New Hampshire. You apparently even have the right to do so at a public gathering where it could be considered behavior likely to cause a disturbance and, oh indeed, where the president is appearing. You are allowed to do so while carrying a sign reading "It's time to water the Tree of Liberty," a reference to a Thomas Jefferson quote that goes roughly "the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time by the blood of patriots and the blood of tyrants" - a quote which last showed up in our public discourse when a young man named Tim McVeigh was arrested wearing a shirt with that phrase printed on it.

So, yes, as I said, I'm taking this in the best possible light, but it's still creepy and shitty. I get the feeling that, at best, this guy was hoping to be hassled by police/Secret Service so that he could talk about how his rights had been violated and Obama's a fascist and what not. Which is what makes him a troll.


*Actually, I've been reading about Second Amendment history this summer, and the idea that the 2nd guarantees you a personal(and basically unrestricted) right to carry weapons is a fairly recent one (codified into case law by the [questionable] Heller case). You could still make a case for a personal right to gun ownership under the 9th Amendment. More on this later.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Regarding trust-fund socialists

From an otherwise slightly carping Esquire article.
And it's unlikely that all the pseudo-hipsters who buy their Che T-shirts at Urban Outfitters will stop wearing them. No. These T-shirts send a message, which effectively boils down to this: I have vague left-wing sympathies but don't read history. I am educated enough to want nonconformity but not intelligent enough to avoid conformity. I believe in supporting the wretched of the earth but happily purchase products from multinational corporations.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Before it disappears

From Wikipedia's article on Paxton, IL (where at least one bored young person has internet access):
Paxton, as well as several other communities in East Central Illinois, is home to a Semi-Professional Baseball Team called the Paxton Swedes. The Swedes got their name from the town's Swedish Heritage. The Swedes are part of the Eastern Illinois Baseball League which has eight teams. The Swedes were league champions in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007. The Swedes play their home games at beautiful Memorial Field in Paxton. Memorial Field is also home to the PBL Panthers High School Baseball Team. Memorial Field stands out as one of the top baseball fields in East Central Illinois. Paxton is home to many rednecks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This is real, pt 300

For fuck's sake, if you work at a place called the John Locke Foundation and invoke the founders, it behooves you to know a wee bit about 18th century British (& colonial) politics. This Sanders fellow, callously using Independence Day to score political points*, claims that:
"the Declaration of Independence does mention Obama's kind of government. Consider especially this part about King George III: "He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.""
Not quite. See, under the Hanoverians, political appointments were mostly hacks and placemen, plums used to reward the politically (and/or financially) loyal.

Someone's kind of government, for sure.

*ooh, using false outrage is fun.

Monday, June 29, 2009

This is real, pt 299

Via LGM, from a piece on the John Birch Society:

With Mr. Nowak were Ray Tisch, 37, an electrical engineer, and Matthew Yamakaitis, 49, a warehouse worker, who said they had joined the John Birch Society within the last two years because they shared its concerns about the North American Union, the mainstream media and the conspiracy of elite insiders.

“At the highest levels there are controls in place,” Mr. Tisch said. Mr. Yamakaitis agreed, saying that if the insiders succeed in creating a new world order, “It basically means less power for us.”z

“And more for the elite,” said Mr. Tisch.

“The Rockefellers, the Morgans, the Rothschilds,” said Mr. Nowak.

“Ssssssssss,” said the sausage cooking on a nearby grill.
It seems as if it went from a story on paranoid conspiracy-mongers to a children's book at food in the blink of an eye.

Edit: Story from the NYT

This is real, pt 298

Apparently, having the military remove a sitting president is "defending democracy." To be fair, it's a messy fucking situation, but I think one of the commenters over at Sadly, No said it best "Looks like a non-victory for democracy when unconstitutional acts are foiled unconstitutionally."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On personality cults.

Saying that they are purely a thing of the left ignores this and this:

This young man is absolutely right!

Lonewolf Diaries is a true hero of our modern age. It takes a strong man and able comedian to bring forth such truths as "Europe sucks" and "everything I need to know about international diplomacy I learned on the playground."

His most recent column fires a broadside against humorless liberalism and their fascist attempts to control Hollywood and oppress straight, white males. Apparently, we can't make fun of queers anymore (I would not have known this if not for Mr. Crowder's brave reporting). I mean come on - fags are hilarious! I'm serious, mincing around, flapping their limp wrists - what could be better? Humor not hatred , you know?

And along those lines, when was the last time you say a good minstrel show? I miss seeing fate white guys dancing and eating watermelon - and apparently we're not even supposed to make jokes about black people and watermelon. We're supposed to act like those people are real human beings! It's all in good fun! Humor not hatred, remember?

And seriously, are there even any Indians around anymore? Why do people get in such a tizzy over me painting stripes on my face and going "How!" or making war-whoops? No harm, no foul, right? Humor, not hatred.

Why do stuffy, humorless libs always have to ruin my fun!



*and we've finally gone over a week without an incident. Go USA!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh, for fuck's sake.

I'm not completely blind to the ability of the Democratic Party to be a noxious den of weasels at times, but has this guy been in a coma for the past 8 years?
Past presidents have understood the importance of keeping special interests out of the White House. They may have given up the agencies, but most ensured that the White House staff worked for the president, not for his constituencies. President Obama has no grasp of this. To stick with the climate change issue, to choose global warming fundamentalists as personal advisers on this issue is absurd; there is no chance that the skeptics’ case will receive representation.

I seem to remember appointees from the previous administration who were philosophically opposed to the existence of the departments they were heading. Or perhaps he's mistaking plain incompetence for lack of political motive?

Also, NB, doing this:
As a free market man, I see the Democrat Party as consisting of a collection of parasites on the productive economy that has lost any capacity to understand that they all depend on a healthy host.
marks you as either a complete illiterate or a conservative hack. Democrat is a noun, democratic is an adjective. One just happens to sound contemptuous, and has seen a rise in use over the past 10 or so years in conservative publications. It's roughly equivalent to the left-blogosphere's use of "Pubs" to refer to republicans, only it's been used in large-scale media as well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Utah - like Saudi Arabia, but with less oil.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah Senate committee has approved a bill that would hide the preparation of alcoholic drinks behind 10-foot-high walls in restaurants and make it illegal to appear drunk.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hipsters

This article and another in Adbusters got me thinking about hipsters.

First, every other youth counterculture movement has had to defend its existence. There are books and scholarly articles and what not defining what it means/meant to he a beatnik, a hippie, a punk - what have you. Hipsters have 1.) never embraced the term or acknowledged it as legitimate or 2.) tried to defend it. While the constant argument about "what is punk" has had bad outcomes, it at least shows some awareness that there is something called punk and that it's a meaningful category. Hipsters never had to do that. There are such things as beatnik literature (Kerouac, Ginsburg, Ferlighetti [who probably embraced the idea of the beatnik more than anyone else associated with the movement]) Punk literature (see: the zine movement, Less than Zero, Yes We Have No, and attempts to explain punk like Please Kill Me and Kiss This: Punk in the Present Tense), Hippie lit (Ken Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson [although he doesn't fit as well as some think]), even Jazz Age/Lost Generation lit. It might be a function of time (hipsters have only been around for a few years, at least in their present incarnation), but there's a certain lack of self-awareness among the hipsters.

The second problem is the homogenous nature of the hipster subculture. Among my Rockforder friends, the word subbie* is often used as a compound adjective with hipster - that is, describing a person as a subbie-hipster bitch or subbie-hipster douchebag indicates a somone with a toxic combination of self-importance and self-involvment. Beatniks included both William S. Burroughs (the scion of a good industrial family) and Jack Kerouac (the son of French-Canadian millworkers). Punks included the diplomat's son Joe Strummer, the promoter and impresario Malcolm MacLaren and the thousands of gobbing, safety-pinned youth who made the public's image of the movment. Hipsters though, tend to be undeniably subbie. They are the leading cause of gentrification, bullshittery and tweeness in the country.

Finally, hipsters' love of cynicism (in some cases a welcome tonic) and irony (again, at times a worthy response to the fuckuppedness of the world) has become toxic. Their's have lead to hedonism. There's no bottom there. Hipsters may have gotten behind Obama, and may have been anti-Bush, but hipsterism wasn't a response to the lock-step mindset of the Bush administration (as the Now Toronto article claims), but the product of the 80's "me generation" and the fracturing and re-homogenizing of the scene in the 90's. It wasn't that hipsters retreated to irony and hedonism in the Aughts because that was the only response to the post 9/11 mindset, that was the only toolset they had. Hipsters don't do satire. Satire requires awareness and a certain level of care. The greatest Roman satirist, Juvenal (here I reveal that I'm a dead-language-speaking jackass) began his satires with the line "Rome, such a corrupt and wonderful city - it would be unholy not to write!" Hipsters wouldn't recognize corrupt or unholy if it jumped up and bit them in the ass. Their lack of context makes it impossible to take a stand. Hipsters wear the keffiyeh, and may have a sort of reflexive anti-colonialism, but at the end of the day, they're rich white kids, playing at bohemianism. They're blinkered and self-absorbed, and I wonder what it says about our generation that this is the dominant subcultre we've produced.

*Subbie is a classist slur used against rich, white suburbanites, indicating a certain amount of money, entitlement and disconnection from the real world. "Daddy's money" - both as an attitude and actual financial resource - is the operative term here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Proust in his first book wrote about

Apparently, personality surveys have been a fixture in western social circles for longer than I thought. I'd stumbled across one in Eric Fromm's Marx's Concept of Man, but I'd pegged that as a one-off. I'd thought they'd blossomed with the birth of online journals, myspace and the like. Not so, as this webpage illustrates. I've decided to take a crack at the Proust questionnaires.
  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    Failure. More accurately, the crippling fear of failure.
  • Where would you like to live?
    The Midwest. A city.
  • What is your idea of earthly happiness?
    Surrounded by books, free to read and think and the like.
  • To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
    Indecision.
  • Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
    Daniel Waterhouse, Odysseus, John Proctor, Creon.
  • Who are your favorite characters in history?
    Cicero, Cromwell, Lincoln, Grant, FDR.
  • Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
    Barbara Jordan, Rachel Maddow
  • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
    Antigone, Cassandra, the Furies.
  • Your favorite painter?
    Hopper
  • Your favorite musician?
    I'll answer the classical one. Fuare
  • The quality you most admire in a man?
    Loyalty
  • The quality you most admire in a woman?
    Loyalty
  • Your favorite virtue?
    Pietas
  • Your favorite occupation?
    Reading.
  • Who would you have liked to be?
    Charles Stuart's lawyer - John Cooke
That was asked to Proust at 13. This was given to Proust at 20.
  • Your most marked characteristic?
    Pragmatism
  • The quality you most like in a man?
    Quality again? Loyalty.
  • The quality you most like in a woman?
      Proust's answer was too good; "frankness in friendship."
  • What do you most value in your friends?
    Their honesty
  • What is your principle defect?
    Arrogance coupled with fear.
  • What is your favorite occupation?
    Anything involving an alcoholic drink and a stack of books.
  • What is your dream of happiness?
    To love and to be loved.
  • What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
    To have been raised by different parents.
  • What would you like to be?
    Smarter and less fearful
  • In what country would you like to live?
    A Midwest that's proud of itself.
  • What is your favorite color?
    Blue
  • What is your favorite flower?
    The peony. (Proust's answers for this and the above were unbearably fin de siecle).
  • What is your favorite bird?
    The Corbie.
  • Who are your favorite prose writers?
    George Orwell, W.E.B. Dubois and Neal Stephenson.
  • Who are your favoite poets?
    Hugh MacDiarmid, John Donne, Petrarch.
  • Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    MacBeth, Odysseus, Daniel Waterhouse (I didn't look at my other answer for this)
  • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
    Antigone, Cassandra.
  • Who are your favorite composers?
    Fuare, Wagner, Britten, Hayden
  • Who are your favorite painters?
    Hopper, Holbien.
  • Who are your heroes in real life?
    The Longhenries.
  • Who are your favorite heroines of history?
    Elenore Roosevelt, Admiral Hopper, Rachel Maddow
  • What is it you most dislike?
    Preying on fear
  • What historical figures do you most despise?
    The Stuart Kings, Jefferson Davis, the Demagogues of the 30's-40's
  • What event in military history do you most admire?
    The Anglo-Irish War (how to fight an insurgency) and the Malayan Emergency (how to defeat one)
  • What reform do you most admire?
    The 1965 Civil Rights Act
  • What natural gift would you most like to possess?
    Optimism.
  • How would you like to die?
    Old age, extremely advanced. Or hypothermia.
  • What is your present state of mind?
    Sickness. An irritation at being pretentious enough to do this survey.
  • To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
    Indecision.
  • What is your motto?
      Dum Spiro, Spero.