Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In hoc signo vinces

Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
 It's time we stop. . .

What did anyone expect?  In America the signs say justice but they mean blood.  We counter prejudice with prejudice, hate with hate, lies with lies while the truth lies trampled and bleeding.

A detailed, meticulous, scientific and lengthy investigation is a "travesty" and the prosecutor "passed the buck" and  "shirked his responsibility" which we are told is to simply indict the cop on hearsay, prejudice and rumor -- without due process or examination, to inquire like Pilatus of the mob instead of letting a jury decide on the basis of  the evidence. Why a jury after all, of one's peers when we can have men in masks, costumed dancers in the street, professional heralds of hyperbole, sellers of  certainties, posters on blogs and walls and Facebook pages and all those who "just know" out of prejudice, just know that accusations that feel good, fictions that validate our mission are true. 

Or so say the people who a short while ago seemed like rational human beings, who considered themselves reasonable: people who go to work in the morning and come home at night, who call themselves informed, able to see things as they are.  Last night I watched them, strutting in silly mustache masks, standing in front of the police with hands up saying "don't shoot." Kangaroos, holding court on the streets of St Louis.  And to those champions of justice, the accused, being white,  must be guilty, otherwise we would be as foolish as the people who went through the same performance as they did when Tawana Brawly was not-raped. Accusation and race are evidence enow. Otherwise our doctrines would not be pure!

Who is able to admit, after all this theater and passion and tears, that at heart they are simply self-righteous racists out dancing with long-since made-up minds, with blood lust and hooded faces in the streets at night?  With so much invested in protest, who can accept that they've been lied to and made fools and have been lying to themselves.  Hands up! Don't shoot!

 Michael Brown was not a "child."  Michael Brown, according to black witnesses and all the physical evidence did assault a police officer in his police car and was wounded in the process and ran away.  He was shot according to black witnesses while "charging" the officer.  He was not shot in the back according to three independent autopsies.  He was not on his knees with his hands up or on the ground with the cop standing over him.  He was not shot from the car window.  The witnesses who testified otherwise recanted or admitted they were either not there or didn't see what they claimed they saw. 

But no, he'll always be the "child" in scholar's robes and mortarboard, like a carved and gilded figure with a halo and fist full of cigars in a church representing some ancient martyrdom in wood, and of course we, out there in the cold and dark are fighting for justice.  We will make a symbol of  raised hands, we will bind it on our foreheads and hang it from our necks. We will chant hands up as we go into battle and as we persecute the heretics and burn the witches -- and in this sign we shall burn and plunder the innocent. In this sign we shall conquer.

Sunday, November 23, 2014



She's "the most accomplished woman in e-sports" and "is known for her macro mutalisk style and kick-ass creep spread." according to New Yorker. I don't need to ask Dorothy if we're still in Kansas any more or if they still speak English there. If this were a 'tweet' or a 'text,' or if I were 14, I'd say WTF?  It's not your fathers English any more, it's your granddaughter's and Madison Avenue's.  And yes, sometimes Madison is still an avenue and back in 1957, for a short while, a dance that made you hip.

Being willing to bet that a mutalisk isn't the gastropod it might appear to any speaker of Old English (last Thursday's) to be, I looked it up.  Apparently there's a Heart of the Swarm and a Wings of Liberty version of this beast, for beast it is or would be if virtual reality were more real than virtual.

I suppose that knowing I'm dealing with Video game dialect and that indeed it is a dialect separated by several degrees from the language formerly known as English, relieves me of the need to look up e-sports.  This being the age that it is, the universal and sole metaphor for defeat is the kicking of ass. Movies today can be based on video games which are based on Comic books which are based on life as people fantasize it with the aid of movies.  As I said, the hip world is removed by several degrees as is the language they speak there.

A cartoon in the same issue carries the punch line: "@FBarnes12 favorited a prophecy you were mentioned in"  WTF?  

Language has to change, rufft uns die Stimme. And of course, like it or not, it does change. LHTC is not just a dispassionate observation I fear, as much as a phrase usually used to stop all conversation about the nature, extent, causation or direction of that change or the question of whether the change is inevitable as much as it is profitable, a thing of politics, a thing of choice --  of proclamation, hortatory or compulsory or sought after.  I often think that the inevitability of that reaction, the peremptory attitude and conclusive pose of that retort smells strongly of  one of those social, cultural or academic cults that proliferate and evolve, expand and contract like planes in a Multiverse, and like universes, resist the transit between or access to each other. Things all that are for me like reading Kierkegaard -- things of nausea and sickness unto death.  It doesn't matter whether I walk, or march or ride or crawl as much as it matters -- where.

While cultures world wide seem to be agglutinating and homogenizing and Americanizing, there is a level at which it is fragmenting and racing apart at an accelerating rate.  Gamer-speak or Business school babble of  last week is harder for me than Chaucer and the number and compartmentalizing of dialects  follows suit.  The question for me however is whether this change is a "must-be" or an attempt to make the fool seem intelligent, the nerd hip and the outsider belong. Do we accept clumsy, indecipherable English because the English Department bullies insist we do, or because we are so afraid that if we can't understand it, it's because we are inadequate?  Did the Sokal hoax succeed because people who needed to seem smart thought it was over their heads, because we thought that academics talked like this?  I hate the Imperial nudity fallacy, a form of the argument from ignorance, but sometimes -- hey!

It's been suggested that the main attraction of being able to quote Derrida or Foucault is that it sounds impenetrable and thus immune from contradiction because it puts the opposition on the indefensible defensive and at the point of aporia.  I have to ask whether this is the kind of change that has to happen or is this, like so many changes we see: simply marketing.  Do changes in nomenclature reflect diversity of objects as much as the desire to create false choices, make things more attractive or less undesirable -- to cover the emperor's ass?  We used to laugh 50 years ago at the insistence that we call the garbage collector a 'solid waste transfer technician' while we don't seem to be amused any more at ordering some tongue twister at Starbucks instead of  a cup of coffee. Marketing of marketing, all is marketing.

Is the LHTC, Language Has To Change catechism here mostly to support this sort of thing?  Is the teaching of English now no more than rigid spelling exercises?  Do we indulge and feel good about ourselves because video game lovers want to be seen as athletes, participants in "e-sports" instead of nerds, because 'homes' are more attractive than houses or apartments, pre-owned sounds less sordid than used.  Are we suddenly "gifting" presents at Christmas instead of giving them because it sounds more technically knowledgeable to the easily confused?  Do things "negatively impact on" rather than hurt, damage, harm, degrade, retard or a dozen other nuanced words because we think it elevates our speech or because it reduces the need for vocabulary?  Are we seeing change for change's sake, for business sake, for political reasons, for the furtherance of  a cause -- for social climbing, for social equality, for identifying with criminals or saints or intellectuals or food faddists?  When we talk about gluts or abs are we trying to seem athletic and fit in with those who are?  Again, it doesn't matter that change is inevitable, but where it inevitably takes us.

Orwell had a grand old time showing us the benefits of change in 1984, where language had to change because you had to change.  Whether you call it Obamacare, the ACA or Swiss style or Socialized medicine has everything to do with who you're trying to keep on track for your station as well as which track you've been put on. Control the language, control the thought, control the purchasing and call it lifestyle.

Yes, jargon has a use. Acronyms and abbreviations have a use although we so often use them to ridiculous extremes  SOS or QRM make life easier for the telegrapher, ALS is easier to say than Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but so much is simply marketing or euphemy or other ways to hide fraud, fallacy and fakery:  FFF if you will. There does seem to be an expansion in that universe, but contrary to the message of the LHTC, all change isn't the same, doesn't serve the same purpose and may or may not be deleterious (may negatively impact on) to your health, well being, freedom of thought or solvency.

We have to have new words -- sometimes.  We don't necessarily have to learn to talk like people who  are 12 years old or are illiterate, confused or dialect infused, although we might buy more or more foolishly if we do.  We don't have to think we're sophisticated multilingual sophisticates by ordering an Americano in Fargo like a phony.  We don't have to assume Liberal means Fascist or Conservative means Anarchist or that calling Asia the Orient means you're a racist any more than you are just being current, hip or up to date by thinking your uncomfortable chair might discomfit you.

How much of LHTC is really "follow orders" posing as "do as thou wilt?"

The question is not whether language has to change, but whether lack of  education is to be the driving force or whether the need to deceive, persuade or to sell should never be interfered with, that any idea must be allowed to masquerade as something else and most of all the self esteem of the unread should never be risked.  Telling us it has to change is more than a way of  giving up, it's a way of facilitating deception, interfering with cognitive function and increasing the difficulty of  communicating.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Poor old uncle Boner.  He's really past it, sitting in his rocker mumbling about how Obama is defying the "will of the American people" even though immigration and health care reform is one of the reasons he was elected twice by a greater than usual majority. As though the minority party and it's massively discredited dogmas were "the American People." 

He's forgotten some of his own party's attempts at reform under Reagan, and both Bush's. He has no recollection of the Supreme Court having said, no, it's not unconstitutional. (and hopes you don't either.)  Perhaps he can't remember who is a Republican and who is "the American people."  Perhaps he can't remember what the Constitution allows a President to do or what presidents have always done. 

I do of course, still remember how his party tried tying up Clinton with lawsuits and laughing at his attempts to go after Al Qaeda.  Remember how not one of the torrent of dire predictions ever came true?  I do, every time I listen to the same recycled grunts and snorts from the same old swine.

But Aunt Sarah?   Maybe we can't  write it off to age related dementia.  Did she ever know where Mexico is? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sweet land of Hypocrisy

'Tis because of thee I want to puke.  There I said it. I think I can ask whether it's the most ill-informed, intransigently opinionated, superstitious, assholier than thou country on Earth and yes I'm talking about every part of the political spectrum -- I think I can damned well ask that rhetorical question, and if you don't know the answer, maybe you prove my point. 

Rant Warning.  

One of the reasons that I watch The Walking Dead, and I suspect it's true of many others, is that the fantasy of  being alone, or almost alone in a world full of vicious, mindless Zombies destroying everything is  so close to a true picture of life in a country like ours, except that it's easier to dispose of a rotting Zombie than of a political party or parties hell bent on destruction -- easier to cut off the head of the undead than to change the minds of  all those nice people who think Democrats like to tax and spend, that Taxes are higher than ever, that the economy is tanking, that Obama is a tyrant but afraid to act while he's arrogantly and "megalomaniacally"   taking over the government from its rightful owners while giving your money to the willfully indigent "takers."  Perhaps easier than to change the minds of those who insist there has never been any progress in their pet Crusade or Jihad and so they can set your car on fire or hang you without trial.

Yes, he went over there and apologized to them -- sure he did -- even if he didn't, and he's a  Muslim who hates white people even if he's not,  and he's not a real American and all the other horseshit we've been fed by the Evil Empire (you're damned right I'm talking about the GOP) and he certainly did lie to trick us into the Affordable Care Act which is Communism even if it's administered by private insurance companies who profit from it, developed by the Republicans and keeping millions from being a burden on the state and a danger to public health -- just like those notorious Communists, the Swiss

I'm warning you, this is a rant.

America makes me sick.

We're so damned stupid we don't remember that this is round two, it's the sequel to "Revenge of the Nixonians"  the real life drama of  getting back at law and order for the crimes of the law and order president who took money from the mafia and said he wasn't a crook.  It's plan A in the rulebook for handling any Democratic presidency, Accuse, sabotage, impeach, repeat.

They did all this to Clinton, tried to impeach him on trumped up charges.  Rush insulted his wife, told us his daughter was ugly. They told us he made up Al Qaeda to distract from his "crimes." Did any of the horrifying predictions the damned GOP blowhards gave us come true?  Did the economy collapse from the "biggest tax increase in history" or did we have unprecedented prosperity?  Did Al Qaeda actually exist?  Do Americans shit on the truth?

Remember the posters of the First Lady and her little girls with Gorilla heads?  I do.  Remember who thought it was funny?  Remember who called him a tyrant for appointing advisers as all presidents do?  Remember who blocked virtually every appointment and then told us he was negligent (but tyrannical) for not doing it?  

They've been talking about impeaching him since before he walked in the front door of the White house  and having found no cause, ridiculous or otherwise, they're going to do it anyway.  Boehner keeps talking about a lawsuit he hasn't filed for lack of anything to sue about and the best excuse they've found to date is that he just might, but hasn't do what virtually any other chief executive has done.  He's suggested that he might use the power invested in him by the voters to shield some immigrants from less than completely white  nations from deportation.  You know, he just might do what St. Ronald the Reagan did and St. Bush the Elder did.  What even W supported. And that's why they need to impeach him, tie him up in the courts like they did to Clinton for the high crime of not being Republican, crooked and incompetent. Yes, that's a tautology and yes, America you can't remember what you ate for breakfast or your congressman's name but you know all about those football scores.

Damn right it's a rant

And it ain't over yet.  And I'm not letting you off the hook, you self-declared Liberals preaching authoritarianism while your enemies laugh.  You're not liberals because they couldn't get away with this if you didn't hand the arguments to the Tea Traitors, didn't hand the elections to the Tea Traitors, didn't make fools and enemies of people who used to support you -- if you weren't willing to let it all go to hell because the president didn't solve your problems, because he's only the president, not a Czar --  and because your problems aren't quite as important as the real crises that threaten us. Can't accept criticism, you see science as heresy and put doctrine above evidence? You won't vote because Obama didn't make your problem go away?  Why then, you made yourself a second class citizen.  First Class citizens vote and they can tell up from down, increase from decrease and they don't follow leaders who lie.  You're happy to play Sons of Anarchy when you don't get you way and Sons of Apathy when it requires more than signs and chants and rhyming slogans and corybantic street dancing

OK so that's enough

But not because I couldn't go on for days Captain America, or that you don't deserve it, but because I'm sick of and disgusted with you and your smug self-righteousness, your Beliefs and Values and Principles and Loyalties and straw men you use to evade responsibility and dignify self importance and you'll never change.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Rapture of the road

"Well, Harleys aren't really up to international standards you know.  My BMW has active handling and antilock . . ."

"Cup holders, GPS and cruise control. . ."  I interjected.

He's a typical "aspirational" vehicle owner, the kind of person that will wait outside of Best Buy all night to be the first person with the latest iThis or iThat and will be quick to let you know he owns the latest and greatest mysterious black box technology.

Frankly when I bought my Harley last year, moving up from a 1957 vintage machine, I felt embarrassed by the superfluous accessories like turn signals and electric start.  My concept of  "ultimate driving machine" is just that:  wheels, an engine, the road and me.  It doesn't have WiFi or Bluetooth or stereo or even a windshield, it doesn't read my text messages to me and will kill me in a moment if I don't pay attention. My heart sings every time I look at it, resplendent and gleaming in machine age glory, a pearl blue and chrome angel, slouching on it's side stand in a fish-camp or tavern parking lot out by Okeechobee or by a secluded Atlantic beach on the barrier island, it's like the flag of  a lost America that still had and perhaps deserved it's self respect; exuberant, confident, looking both forward and back at endless roads, saying YES as though some voice had called it forth, saying  "This road is yours, go now and ride"

To each his own.  So many bikers today build their own, Bobbers, stripped of everything but what is needed, saying "hang on for dear life," choppers looking back at the 60's with longing for long roads.  Rat bikes look like they're put together in the junkyard, saying "death, where is thy sting?" Vintage bikes carry huge price tags but all of them say something about the love of  classic mechanical engineering and rider skill. 

To each his own and to me, in boots and goggles, letting in the clutch on all that torque, time stops, and while there is no e-mail and Skype and social media, no play list; and while there is neither cup nor holder, still those lost days and lost dreams are with me in the beat of the pistons, the rumble of the road.  Be quiet and listen.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Back in the USA

Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller are back in the USA, and perhaps a bit of surprise is in order.  James Clapper, Director of  National Intelligence flew in secret to Pyongyang to bring them home, but of course you'll have a hard time finding mention of that fact on Fox News, who gives sole credit to Dennis Rodman, who claims he begged Kim to release the American Prisoners.  I'm sure he did,  but I'm sure there was a bit more involved in getting them home.  Bae made a public statement thanking all who helped and worked so hard to get him out of  the north Korean prison farm including 

" President Obama and all the people at the State Departments; they working tirelessly hard to get me released as well. "

Fox Sports  mentions only that Clapper, who "reportedly" traveled with the president's "approval" as though he might have done so on his own or at the direction of Dennis Rodman.  That's about as likely as the possibility that any arm of Newscorp would acknowledge anything productive having come out of the executive branch. Better to imply that it was all about Rodman and a presidential adviser acting on his own initiative.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

That's the way we like it

I used to bridle at the title Flori-duh. Now I don't think it's adequate to describe the stupidity, delusion, ignorance, bigotry, tribalism and dishonesty that permeates the atmosphere and saturates the ground of Florida.  Yes, we have, amongst other acts of  self-destructive idiocy re-elected one of the biggest crooks in American history, albeit by a small margin.  Rick Scott's "debate" with his opponent Charley Christ was the most resounding defeat since Lincoln and Douglas but of course few watched it and many heard only the edited snippets that had former Governor Christ to blame not only for the credit crunch that torpedoed the real estate market that is the backbone of Florida's economy, but indeed he caused the global recession that followed the 8 years of no job growth and soaring debt the Republicans gave us.  Did one Floridian pick up on Scott's declaration that government cannot create jobs which came immediately before his declaration that he had created 600 thousand of them? 

A feeble presentation, stumbled through without answering one single direct question, yet today's paper insists the negativity was on the Democratic side.  One frequently aired ad had a voice simply sneering Charlie Christ. The most negative, dirties, sleaziest and most scurrilous campaign I remember in my long  lifetime.  Did I mention that Scott claimed he'd do everything all over again when asked how he'd got away with stealing a billion dollars from Medicare without going to jail?  It wasn't his fault - he didn't know - which, if true, says much about his "leadership" and executive ability.

Florida's medical Marijuana bill failed as well, largely on the offensively fallacious argument that it would offer protection to drug dealers (by making it legal to be one) and would increase crime although the evidence is otherwise, but we're talking about Florida -- we're talking about Republicans, we're talking about stupid, delusional, self-destructive, ignorant, superstitious, neurotic, insular, dishonest and prejudiced: the idiot state, the dumbass state, the backward state where the vultures of big sugar and Disney drool over the festering corpse of our former beauty. 

And we like it that way.