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Archive for June, 2010

Happier Thoughts

This is beautiful. Via The Agonist.

I mean, that’s a picture. Of our universe. That’s about all I can say.

Now for something a little less wondrous, but also pretty inspiring:

It’s a plan to save us all! Usually I’m the last person to buy any sort of “technology will save us all” approach to our enormous problems, but this is rather inspiring. Via Gerry Canavan.

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I’ve finally realized there is really only one person who can help us now.

I should have realized this a long time ago. To preface, these are all very sad things. Everything these days, it’s a very sad thing! Earthquakes. Devastated economies. Oil swarming over the Gulf of Mexico. Perpetual unemployment exacerbating our growing perpetual underclass. Worldwide poverty. War in the Middle East, possible war in the Koreas. Human life threatening levels of Carbon Dioxide PPM in our atmosphere. Sinkholes! Black holes! Asteroids! Glenn Beck!

And the word sinkhole unfortunately brought to mind one persona.

We’re being sorta assaulted on all sides. Shady transnational corporations (shady is my kind adjective). Pollution. Oil spills. Trigger happy tyrants. I mean, thank you Mr. President for taking responsibility for the oil spill, but that doesn’t make me feel like I’m not living right in Rome, 472 A.D. I feel nervous, I feel wary, I want Buffy. Or really, I want Buffy to stroll into our Senate and say “Hey! Shut the fuck up! Campaign finance reform now! Let’s break up some monopolies! Let’s get off oil! Let’s reform public education so people aren’t reading Twilight and shit! Let’s close the Hellmouth, let’s get out our stakes and slay some fucking un-dead vampires/economic theories!!!”

This would be some inspiration. This would get me motivated. This would hopefully get other people motivated. It’s far better than Glee, or whatever t.v. show people are watching which involves fantasies of the vanishing middle-class singing their way to success.

Let’s get serious about our problems. Then maybe we can all chill out and talk about Buffy and Spike.

That would be a happy time.

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…and then they must resign.

Yikes.

President Horst Köhler made some remarks last week in Afghanistan. These remarks were * remarkably * honest:

A country of our size, with its focus on exports and thus reliance on foreign trade, must be aware that military deployments are necessary in an emergency to protect our interests, for example, when it comes to trade routes, for example, when it comes to preventing regional instabilities that could negatively influence our trade, jobs and incomes.”

I mean, to be clear on my part, this statement comes from a worldview which is deeply and profoundly misguided, if not just outright fucked up. The Milton Friedman, growth-at-any-price-regardless-of-reality, neo-colonialism attitude is absolutely everything wrong with our world. And it’s this attitude which we’re all confronted with in life: to choose between our wants and desires to have everything, to live luxuriously, or to live in peace and in harmony with our neighbors, identifying ourselves with them rather than using them as means to our ends.

But at least he was honest about it. Better the bitter truth, so people know the true philosophy they’re up against, then lies and platitudes.

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…besides my heart. Because he is most definitely in charge of that. I love this man.

There’s yesterday’s 0p-ed, for example:

For a nation that can’t stop bragging about how great and powerful it is, we’ve become shockingly helpless in the face of the many challenges confronting us. Our can-do spirit was put on hold many moons ago, and here we are now unable to defeat the Taliban, or rein in the likes of BP and the biggest banks, or stop the oil gushing furiously from the bowels of earth like a warning from Hades about the hubris and ignorance that is threatening to destroy us.”

Then there were his insightful, prescient comments a week earlier:

The response of the Obama administration and the general public to this latest outrage at the hands of a giant, politically connected corporation has been embarrassingly tepid. We take our whippings in stride in this country. We behave as though there is nothing we can do about it.

The fact that 11 human beings were killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion (their bodies never found) has become, at best, an afterthought. BP counts its profits in the billions, and, therefore, it’s important. The 11 men working on the rig were no more important in the current American scheme of things than the oystermen losing their livelihoods along the gulf, or the wildlife doomed to die in an environment fouled by BP’s oil, or the waters that will be left unfit for ordinary families to swim and boat in.

This is the bitter reality of the American present, a period in which big business has cemented an unholy alliance with big government against the interests of ordinary Americans, who, of course, are the great majority of Americans. The great majority of Americans no longer matter.”

Bob Herbert manages, column after column, to beautifully (and sorrowfully) emphasize how the rights and well-being of the American people have been pummeled, mocked, ignored, and slowly crushed by the bloated, enormous, monstrous corporations. They’re not human beings, but they control the health and future of our people and planet infinitely more than any of us do as our democracy fades into a plutocracy. So I swoon a little bit (instead of weeping) as Bob Herbert, week after week, keeps the pressure on.  We all owe him not just our thanks that he points out how in a time of crises in the seas outside Gaza, in North Korea, in the Gulf, in our inner cities and in our air, we remain plagued by ineptitude and inaction. We owe him everything we can do to get out there ourselves, write letters ourselves, and do whatever little we who are not unemployed and broke can do to protest the slow and grim degeneration of the Republic into the Empire.

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Hollywood is stupid. Or maybe they’re not, maybe they just think people are stupid. But this is not true! People may pay to see stupid movies, but they will also pay to see good ones if they are easily accessible. It is not just liberal east-coast elitists like myself who sneer at the Sex and the City ladies flinging themselves all over the Middle East (or, more accurately, sneering at the screenwriter). It’s not just hippie flakes like me who are filled with scorn at a Robin Hood adaptation which flouts the whole “Stole from the rich, gave to the poor” thing. People from all walks of life went to see Precious, Avatar, even Star Trek. So what the fuck, Hollywood? Why do you only have yet another fucking Shrek to offer me? I don’t anticipate your Toy Story 3.  I like children, but your Babies makes me nauseous. The Karate Kid and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice previews gave me a nosebleed. Perhaps Agora or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo look acceptable, but of course they’re only in independent theaters.

So I sneer at you, enormous studio conglomerates. And I turn away from you to swoon at Cary Grant.

Because all of this is just really an excuse to post pictures of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

I will stay away from you enormous theaters, and I will turn off all the terrible, terrible news in the world. As long as there are only monstrosities on television and bloated, mindless, numbing Cyclops in the theaters, I will have to hide out in a technicolor Paris.

Plus, anything with James Coburn automatically trumps anything without James Coburn.

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