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20110531

You're like a sheep, my brother




You're like a scorpion, my brother,
you live in cowardly darkness
like a scorpion.
You're like a sparrow, my brother,
always in a sparrow's flutter.
You're like a clam, my brother,
closed like a clam, content,
And you're frightening, my brother,
like the mouth of an extinct volcano.

Not one,
not five--
unfortunately, you number millions.
You're like a sheep, my brother:
when the cloaked drover raises his stick,
you quickly join the flock
and run, almost proudly, to the slaughterhouse.
I mean you're the strangest creature on earth--
even stranger than the fish
that couldn't see the ocean for the water.
And the oppression in this world
is thanks to you.
And if we're hungry, tired, covered with blood,
and still being crushed like grapes for our wine,
the fault is yours--
I can hardly bring myself to say it,
but most of the fault, my dear brother, is yours.

— Nâzım Hikmet, The Strangest Creature on Earth
(Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk, 1993)
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20110526

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean


I was busy watching this, last night:



So . . .



. . . don't ask me about that:



I wouldn't know anything about it.
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20110516

Facebook and Twitter are just so passé




Q:



A:

You know what your problem is, Don? You just need to grow up.

You remind me of Armand. You two are just so afraid you're going to be left behind and fall off the "bridge" to the next century.

You're clinging to youth as if your lives depended on it, but do you know what youth is?

Do you remember when you were five?

Of course, you don't. Not to worry, most people don't.

What about thirteen, then?

Remember what it felt like when you were thirteen, Don? The other kids, older than you, on the playground? Two feet taller and looking down at you?



You and Armand, you're just like Will, aren't you? All grown-up, and yet still so scared you're going to be ditched.

You realize how Adlerian all of this is, don't you? Über den nervösen Charakters!

I mean, look at Armand. Armand is 400 years old. Remember when you were thirteen and how you looked up back then to the kids three or five years older than you were? Now, imagine facing a kid much older than you are. A kid twice your age. Three, four, five...ten times your age, or more.

No wonder, Oedipus killed his father. Who wants to live in the shadow of another, your elder forever?

Biologists call it SAS (Shade Avoidance Syndrome).

It's a pretty universal theme, really.



Modern moms nowadays, they are trying so hard to stay fit and trim; like some of your colleagues, Don, they've become so intent mimicking what the next generation is doing.

This is the reason why they follow the same fashion their daughters do, and wear the same things—or try to. And vice-versa—don't ask—clothing fashion can be so elusive (way more transient than any technological trend).



And this is the reason why their daughters are trying so hard to create their own style and eventually end-up wearing clothes that would look utterly ridiculous on their moms—it's the whole point.



I don't blame them. I mean, Madonna is great and everything, but who wants to live forever in the shadow of anyone, regardless of how great they are?

This is the reason why these kids aren't exchanging emails with you anymore, Don. This is your thing—that's what your generation did. Kids, they don't want to just catch up and follow in your footsteps, they don't want to play by your rules, Don, you know that! Not if there is another way around. Not when they can change the rules and have it "their way."

As for Facebook and Twitter, they are so passé, already. Do you know how I know that, Don? Your generation has just begun getting into it... Time to move on to the next thing. I wonder what it will be, next year.
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20110513

The Heretic


Who would have thought?



Until then, I had always thought of the man as a jaded and scornful cynic, through and through; a man with no illusions about human nature, skeptical of the motives of others, distrusting of human sincerity or integrity---you know, essentially, the kind of cynicism on which is founded the gospel of capitalism à la Milton Friedman, rooted in the fundamentalist belief that people can only be motivated by base or selfish concerns, and the dogma that profiteering is the only possible engine to any viable society.

Which brings us to organized religion. Because, this is what we are talking about, here, aren't we? And, like all the high priests of any organized religions, the hierophants of the invisible hand of the market do not tolerate any shade of gray; there can be no middle ground where the faith is concerned. It's either Milton (Friedman)'s paradise, or Hell (think Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao with pitchforks). It's Paul the Apostle all over again: the original sin. Man is lazy (especially colored people, don't ya know) and selfish and no good can come of them. Only in blind obedience to the holy trinity, Profit (the father), Corporate Capitalism (the son), and the invisible hand of the market (the holy spirit), can society ever hope to be redeemed. And, of course, all must be converted to the faith—no room for dissent, here—there is no other way. Any form of deviance from the established dogma is heresy and the work of the devil. You are either with us or you are against us. Are you saved, brother? Are you a born again Venture Capitalist, yet, sister? Have you worshiped on the altar of Wall Street? Are you...a shareholder?



This once, here is hoping that Christopher is right about this (the part about human solidarity). The man is a humanist—an affirmation of some positive notion of "human nature" by contrast with the anti-humanism of people like Milton Friedman and his ilk. There's got to be more to the world than that.

Or is there?


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Softly, softly, treads the Mungle




Clearly Assad ought to be commanded, here, for his non-lethal methods of crowd control. I mean this is the way it is done in Europe and the US and the rest of the "civilized" world, isn't it so?



Iran, you say?

Ah, that would explain it, then.

Cause', you know, I was going to say:

"What? No water cannons?"



Ah, Assad, Assad, Assad...you've still got so much to learn. (And so little time?)

If crowd control is your game, forget Ahmadinejad, the man is just an amateur. Like you, he's still got so much to learn in the ways of the free word.

Take your cue form the pros:



Don't pay the Mullahs of Iran any heed — you know better than that. Do your own research.

Keep up to date:


Canadian police show off another “less lethal” crowd control toy deployed at the coinciding G8 and G20 in Canada, last year.


Pop goes the Greek police Tactical Baton® over the head of one of the "aganaktismenoi" (the "outraged," of the Indignant Citizens Movement) who have been demonstrating since May in Athens and in many cities across Greece to protest "the pauperizing of working Greeks, the loss of sovereignty that has turned the country into a neocolonial fiefdom of bankers, and the destruction of democracy."

And if all fails, do yourself a favor and hire yourself some real pros, true and tested.

'works for us:



All for the good of your people, of course.

Welcome to the free world, Assad, you lucky bastard!.

2012 is approaching rapidly, and there is an election coming on. Pay close attention, now, and you may learn a thing or two.

Our Mungle speaks tonife at eight
He tell us wop to doo



What, with a little luck, soon, your people, too, shall learn to love Vogon poetry.

Some will tell you that listening to it is an experience similar to torture. But don't you believe them, now: "America doesn't torture."
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Strangers in a Strange Land




Come to think of it, there is something that strikes me as oddly familiar about Palobi and Mudeya.

Especially Palobi...



I think he reminds me of Jazzolog.

Anyway, it's just so nice to see that really true gem of a documentary aired on TV again.

I just so happened to catch it on TV5 Monde last Wednesday:



And the National Geographic will be airing it again next week, on Monday:



The central importance of entering into worlds other than our own—and hence of anthropology itself—lies in the fact that the experience leads us to understand that our own world is also a cultural construct.
~Walter Goldschmidt
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20110510

Is that all there is?






And...uh...?



Er...

Thanks, but no thanks?
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20110509

20110508

SECURITY CLEARANCE

INFRARED—
CLEARED FOR ALL CITIZENS



TRUST GOOGLE! GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND!

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20110503

Collective intelligence? Or...





Only the names and faces have been blurred to protect the innocent.

Speaking of which...




And it keeps getting smaller, every day.
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