April 21st, 2004

flavored with age

Why you holdin' that blunt so long, politickin'?

Man, infinitely depressed today about the state of the world. Israel: more assassinations, which lead to more outrage, which will lead to more killing, which will lead to more assassinations. They’re continuing to follow this suicidal notion that the best way to end terrorism is to keep punching the shit out of the Palestinian people, in hopes that if you hit someone hard enough long enough he’ll give up and do what you say. Well, guess what? It doesn’t work. It’s never worked. And it’s not working now. All that will happen is that he will hate you more and more every time you hit him, and he’ll take it out on somebody else, even if it’s a busload of innocent kids. The idea that maybe granting them equal rights would make them less angry still appears not to have occurred to anyone in a position to do anything about it; or maybe it’s just that the government considers any kind of concession, even one regarding basic civil decencies, to be capitulation, cowardice, “weakness”. So the idea that the world should be governed according to a worldview best suited to macho teenagers in gym class is alive and well. Meanwhile, a prisoner of conscience whose greatest crime was to tell the world that the most dangerous nuclear power in the middle east was Israel finally gets released, after nearly 20 years of imprisonment and (if you believe him) torture, and has already received hundreds of death threats by people who think him a traitor.

See also Iraq: America seems determined to turn it into Viet Nam II, or, failing that, Israel II. Not the best role models, I’m afraid, but heaven forfend the President admit that he made a mistake. We’ll pursue this idiotic tough-guy foreign policy to the end, no matter how bitter the end is. Think about that: our leadership is willing to sacrifice hundreds more American lives, and who knows how many more Iraqi lives, rather than own up to the fact that he made a mistake. That much was clear in his joke of a ‘press conference’, when the question that stymied him the most was what his biggest mistake as president had been. Meanwhile, the ‘coalition of the willing’ is falling to pieces; even the pathetic horde of greedy and ambitious Second-World powers we bribed into acting as our Janissaries doesn’t much care for the ugly reality of postmodern colonialism. Pretty soon all that will be left is the U.K. and the U.S. – the old imperialists and the new – each one insisting they were right all along as the flag-draped coffins continue to fill up cargo planes. And beyond that: the Bush campaign tries desperately to impugn the military record of John Kerry, a twice-decorated, thrice-wounded war hero who risked his ass (literally) in Viet Nam while his opponent couldn’t even be bothered to show up for the dodge that was his National Guard service; revelations about an arguably treasonous deal with the Saudi government to back the war in Iraq barely seem to be causing a stir; and the Beria-like Condoleezza Rice, who no doubt watched the bombings in Spain with particularly keen interest, has been trotted out to warn the American people about terror attacks just prior to the elections.

Now, I have never been conspiratorially-minded. I’ve never bought into the idea that the Bush team knew 9.11 would happen ahead of time, or that they staged this or that terror attack, or any of that nonsense. But I’ll tell you this: I keep finding myself thinking of certain things, certain little nagging doubts, certain little bits of uncertainty and inconsistency. And I keep thinking about how history is riddled with governments engaging in fraud and deception in order to steer public opinion, from the Spanish-American War to the ‘attack’ on a German radio station by Poles that triggered the invasion of Poland by the Nazis, to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to the bullshit story about Iraqis unplugging babies’ incubators in Kuwait, to the Anzar government swearing up and down that the Basques were responsible for 3/11. I think of all the lies and crimes that have been committed to drive a country to war or to turn public sentiment for or against this or that political figure. And I think about the 2000 election, and how it was de jure stolen by a GOP-friendly Supreme Court, and how ever since then we’ve been lectured to ‘get over it’, as if it was losing a sack race instead of seeing our country’s commitment to democracy completely subverted. And I think about how the Republican Party seems less and less interested in the whole notion of free and fair elections and the principles of democracy, either at home (see Florida, Texas and California) or abroad (see Iraq, Israel and Pakistan). And I think about how George W. Bush went out of his way to excoriate the Spanish electorate for daring to vote for the candidate they wanted and the policy he endorsed. And I think about these allegations – refuted in the least convincing way imaginable by the Bush team – that our leaders made a sweetheart deal with the Saudis to ensure that gas prices would be low just before the election. And I think about the chill that went down my spine when I heard Rice say in her measured, certain-as-death tones that we should all be prepared for the possibility of a major terrorist attack right before the elections. I think about all this stuff, and I wonder: how far is this government willing to go to make sure they win in November?
flavored with age

The omni bus is coming

In happier news:

- Kirby is doing pretty well. After a nervous couple of days hiding behind the toilet, he’s become very open and friendly; he doesn’t hide when we come in the room any more, he’s playful and jumps up on things, and he’s become super-affectionate, rubbing up against us and purring like crazy and even sitting in our laps. We’ve moved him into thaitea’s bedroom, where he’s got more space to stretch and snoop, and he seems to like it. I think he’s gonna socialize just fine with Gus once they meet; they have very similar personalities.

- I will be doing a reading sometime between 1:00 and 2:00PM this Saturday (April 24th) at the WLUW Record & ‘Zine Fair, in rooms #200 & 207 of the Pulaski Park Field House at 1419 W. Blackhawk (corner of Blackhawk & Noble). You can read more about it here, and anyone who stops by is welcome to come have a beer with me afterwards.

- On a similar tip, I’ll be a guest 10:00AM Tuesday morning (April 27th) on Under Surveillance, a show on WLUW about politics and popular culture, about the way film has shaped public opinion. It’s a pre-taped show, and I’m not sure if I’ll be worth listening to, but feel free to give it a shot. WLUW is at 88.7FM on your dial, Chicagoans, and it’s a station you should support, ‘cause they have lots of thoughtful shows and plenty of good music.

- Anyone have any good ideas for a photoblog entry? My digital camera is dying to be exercised, but I got nothin’. NOTHIN’!

- God my hair looks horrendous. God. I look like a dirty piece of steel wool. What is the point of all this vanity? I ask you. Why do I listen to women? I further ask you. What have women ever done for me? “Your hair looks cute,” they say. “You don’t look quite so much like a prison trusty,” they say. “Hey, haven’t you ever heard of gel? No? How about a goddamn comb, fat boy?” they say. And yet here I am, overcome with inertia, unable to shave it again. I am actually gazing thoughtfully at SuperCuts commercials, a hand on my chin, ruminating. God help us, every one.