As I am wont to do, I fired off a barrage of emails and comments to various news programs and websites this past week. On Tuesday I watched the Frontline documentary on PBS, "News War
." It was an odd juxtaposition of experiences, since I had just come home from seeing "Borat
" at the local cheapie theater. It wasn't the movie I wanted to see, but it was the one I could squeeze in. I didn't like "Borat" much, but it had its moments, like the scene at the evangelical mega-church. Priceless, certainly worth the three dollars I spent.
But I digress. Seeing "Frontline" immediately after "Borat" put some aspects of the show in relief. If you read some of the comments
to the show, you might get the idea that the interviewer, Lowell Bergman, wasn't tough enough. What would be easy to miss, though, was that Bergman, in his relaxed style, got people talking, and they revealed more of their tone and attitude than they would have liked to. We can always expect people in Washington to spin, posture, mislead, and manipulate. As a Reggae
artist once told me, it's what is in between the lines (he actually said it's what you don't play) that matters. Below is my comment to the show, which didn't make the final cut. It's OK. When you refer to the President of the United States as a criminal you can expect to be ignored. Also, my rendition of speaking in tongues could have been trimmed down a bit. It's kind of hard when you're speaking in tongues to edit. Bombababombabombabombombababom bababombabadangadangdang babadingadongdingbluemoon.
Anyway, part two of "News War." is on this Tuesday. It will be worth the watch. If there is a cheapie theater near you, "Borat" might still be playing. See it first, and you will be primed.
Date: February 14, 2007
Subject: The stupid capital of the universe
It took a while for my intuition about this show to gel, but the beauty of it finally became clear. Seemingly about the protection of the rights of "journalists," what the program actually depicted was the near-complete amorality and ethical vacuum that is Washington, D.C., and the "players" therein.
Though it would be easy to pick Judith Miller as the poster-child of this amorality, it is Bob Woodward who stands out the most. To him, the revelation of a CIA agent's identity is insignificant, as is the wrongness of his affirmation of the Bush regime's lies about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. Now, thousands of lives destroyed and utter chaos in Iraq later, there is no repentence among the media celebrities. They were just wrong. Tomorrow's another day.
What matters to these people is their relative positions in the chessboard (or really checkerboard) that is Washington, D.C. More specifically, what matters to them is their own egos. They are under the delusion that they are bigger than the stories they cover, bigger than the people affected by their pretensions, and bigger than Planet Earth. Ahh, the glory of it all!
Frontline scored a coup. It's kind of like "Borat," letting people be themselves, and watching them show themselves for what they really are. When Bob Woodward is speaking in tongues, speak tongues along with him, and you get more than you bargained for. Hullabaloo baladoodlidoo - integrity - igidiwaddledoopdedoopdedoop - ethics -
rammalammalammalammadingdong ooheeooahahtingtangwallawallabingbang - sources - dipdipdipdipdipdipmmmmm getajobsonnananasonnananana.
We have a criminal for a president, and these people have enabled him. Therefore, they are criminals. No amount of placement on the chessboard of Washington, D.C., stupid capital of the universe, can change that.
Here are a few other screeds sent to various online newspapers and websites:
To: The Washington Post
Date: February 17, 2007
Subject: Standards of honor and decency
I was reading a bit of Glenn Greenwald
, and it made me wonder what the editorial staff at the Washington Post
is planning in response. I have found David Broder
pretty odious for years, partly from reading his column in syndication, and partly from seeing him on TV shows like Washington Week
. He is one of those practiced "wise men" who have all the wisdom of a Paul Shanley
, and even has the manner of a priest.
As long as the Washington Post has people like David Broder in its employ it will serve in the role of propaganda organ for the Bush criminal regime. It will be harder for the paper to maintain its readership in such a circumstance, and it will be harder to retain its real journalists. The remaining few will be the likes of Broder, Bob Woodward, and ______ (fill in the blank).
This era will end. The collaborators with the Bush criminal regime may or may not be held accountable for their enabling, but the relatively few pieces of silver and honor among thieves they have gleaned will not be much comfort. It will not be much fun being in the company of David Broder, Bob Woodward, and ______ (fill in the blank).
To: The SMU Daily Campus
Subject: The George W. Bush memorial library
Date: February 1, 2007
I spent a couple of summers of my youth in Dallas (read about it here
), staying with relatives in Highland Park, not far from SMU. I liked Dallas, and was impressed with the university, its buildings, and its traditions. Of course then SMU was a national football power too, and their star running back Billy Gannon
(I think) was a lifeguard at the nearby pool.
A few years later President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, giving the city a distinction that few would want. Now SMU is considering the indignity of being the home of the George W. Bush presidential library. It is one thing to go willingly into being a national laughingstock, but the legacy of George W. Bush will be one of criminality, incompetence, negligence and deception. A library in his name will be an irony that Shakespeare would envy. George Bush would appreciate the irony, having read "three Shakespeares" while on vacation. For SMU, the irony may not be such an honor.
To: The Daily Australian
Date: Thursday, February 15, 2007
Subject: Time's a wastin'
I found this site on a simple Google search, using the names Barack Obama and John Howard. I wanted to see how the little dustup
between the two public servants is playing out in Australia. As here, it's predictable, along "ideological" lines. I put "ideological" in quotes because the "ideology" is always
secondary to the psychology. Like "conservatives," I don't particularly like "liberals." Unlike "conservatives," I don't like "conservatives" either. To a man and woman, they are frauds. I have known many. Underlying the "belief system" is a core of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, greed, and insecurity.
John Howard fits perfectly into this personality disorder, and his bluff was easily called by Barack Obama. I don't necessarily support Obama for president, but it is refreshing how easily he distpatches "conservative" blowhards.
As far as the threatened manhood of war zealots is concerned, put your "manhood" where your mouths are. Instead of repeating the vicarious war thrill that resulted in Gallipoli
, go to Iraq yourselves. There are plenty of opportunities for the masculine and courageous to prove yourselves worthy of honor and reproductive gratification. And who better to lead you than John Howard, man among men? How about it? You could call your contingent the John Howard Brigade, volunteers for the fatherland. History could be made! Time's a wastin'.
Posted on: Smirking Chimp
Feb 18 2007Thinking outside the box
All the old methods of stopping the two occupations and the next war are still useful, but we need a few new ones. One I would like to recommend is what I call the corporate project. Key corporate leaders or boards of directors can be approached and enlightened on the dangers to their bottom lines should George W. Bush start another war.
The first corporation to be approached should be Microsoft. It's a major player and profit-maker. Apple of course is an obvious other.
Since a disruption in the oil supply will likely send the economy into a depression, large financial corporations like Goldman-Sachs, Citigroup, Bank One, Chase, American Express, and others can be shown the way, the truth, and the light.
In the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement there were different dynamics than there are today. They involved large sectors of the society against each other. Now we have a criminal regime that has seized control of the Federal government, and is hyping up another war in order to escape responsibility for the previous one(s). The dwindling support for this criminal regime is now confined to other criminals and religious fanatics. These are not constituencies that would tend to be sensitive to protest or civil disobedience.
"Leftists" are unable to see the world in any other terms than "left" and "right," and are thus limited to actions that are within that perspective. "Left" and "right" are metaphors
. They are not physical reality. They are models
of reality, and outdated ones at that. If we are unable to see beyond "left" and "right," then we will fail to stop this war. I have been writing about this consistently for the last 7+ years, and the usual response is no response, which fits perfectly with our national pattern of passive aggression as a means of human interaction.
In other words, the problem we face is holistic. It is not merely George W. Bush. He is just the front man, the face of our national personality. It should be easy to overcome the Bush criminal regime. If we get another chance, we could get someone smarter, more devious, more charismatic, and more ruthless. He will come from us, as did George W. Bush.
Posted on: Smirking Chimp
Date: Feb 17 2007Broadening the perspective
Just for a little perspective, the corporation is an ad hoc phenomenon, specific to mass culture. Everything that has a beginning has an end. The day of the corporation will end.
One thing that should be understood about corporations is that they are collections of individuals, each trying to "succeed" within the context of the organization. The corporation does not have an existence independent of the individuals that make it up, but depends on their compiance and advancement of the goals of the organization, which are decided by the emergence of individual initiatives within the corporate culture.
External to the corporation is the natural environment, the ecological life support for mankind, the human capital of corporations. As we are seeing with Global Warming, the natural environment does not depend on corporations in order to support life, but the corporations depend on the natural environment. As a time variable, the degradation of the environment will outweigh the progressive domination by corporations.
So the future will be different, something that should be obvious. Everything exists within its cultural and historical context. Twenty five years ago Wal-Mart was an unknown. Before 1975 Microsoft did not exist. Twenty five years from now many things will be very different from what exists now. There will be less oil. The melting of the Polar ice caps and glaciers, among other things, will have wrought great changes.
We can plan for these changes, and plan for the demise of corporations. They are not all-powerful. They are not God. With a bit of genius, something mankind has had throughout its history, ways can be found to put an end to the corporate state. The first step is confidence. Just knowing about what corporations do is pretty meaningless.
Posted on: Smirking Chimp
Date: February 9, 2007Idiot wind
"Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." - Shakespeare, Hamlet. The current idiot who will be heard no more is Bill Donohue
. Like the doomesday clock, he is at about 2 minutes to midnight.
I grew up "Catholic," even graduated from a "Catholic" college. It was a good preparation for critical thinking, independence, and freedom from "Catholicism." It should be kept in mind that "Catholicism" was started by men, and that it will have an end. The end will come as it becomes increasingly irrelevant to people's lives. It depends for its existence on the control it has over the psyches of its followers, exercised through fear, manipulation, intimidation, and threat of "excommunication." The decline began long before the sex abuse scandals. For just one example, in my senior year in high school a priest attacked a student in class, and got himself slammed against a blackboard, to universal delight. It was 1963.
Another thing to keep in mind, something "leftists" have a really hard time with, is that blowhard grandstanders of any stripe are just blowhard grandstanders. It isn't the belief that matters, it's the attention. It's easier to be a blowhard grandstander in the "Irish" "Catholic" tradition because of its history of authoritarianism, alcoholism, and violence.
If there is one thing the human race will have learned when this era is over it will be that we don't have the option of being such louts. Bill Donahue wouldn't even merit a listen in an intelligent society. The way things are going, the lesson is going to be a very, very hard one.