May 18th, 2005

flavored with age

The irony's so black, I become a shade

Well, this is fun.

Of course the right-wing talking heads are having a field day with the story that Newsweek published an apparently false report that American interrogators threw copies of the Q'uran in the toilet as part of a psy-ops program. Any opportunity to bash the liberal media is a good one for the parrot parade, and the fact that the story was both plausible (after all, these are the same American forces who have been unquestionably proven to have beaten, tortured, murdered, and sexually abused Islamic prisoners) and credible (though one might think from the hysteria it was made up out of whole cloth, it in fact came from a previously reliable source, and no less a personage than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave it credence before it started to deteriorate). That said, it's a terrible situation, one Newsweek certainly should have apologized for, and a brutal reminder that actions can have real-world consequences.

But, the irony! I can barely stand up under its weight.

While the battle of the body-counts goes on (the ruling government of Uzbekistan claims no civilians were killed and that all the fatalities were those of rebels and insurgents; the opposition puts forth civilian casualty counts in the high hundreds), the White House, who are certainly no strangers to pandering, continue to flog this issue for all it's worth. The apology was a "good start", say all the President's men, but it's not enough. What would be enough has not yet been made explicit -- Newsweek suspending publication? Paying reparations to the families of the dead? Handing the editorial reins over to FOX staffers? -- but, damn it, sorry is just not enough.

Whether or not the magazine knowingly had false information, they went ahead with their plan, and it turned out to be based on a lie. The result? Many innocent people died, and the image of the United States suffered irreparable damage.

Boy, sounds familiar, doesn't it? Sounds a bit like the U.S. going to war based on false information about weapons of mass destruction, with the two major differences being that the government knew their information was bogus and the casualty count (and the damage to our reputation) has been roughly a thousand times greater. Oh, and also, no one has been forced to apologize for the Iraq war.

Anyway, the defense will be made against this comparison that in our new, ret-conned history, we didn't go to war against Iraq because of WMDs at all (as if that excuses telling constant lies about them); we went to war to free the people of Iraq from tyranny, as we have vowed to end tyranny in all countries of the world. Nothing ironic or massively hypocritical about that, certainly, unless it arised during a conversation about Uzbekistan, a U.S. ally and, er, well, a brutal dictatorship.

In the end, leave it to shameless White House spokesdroid Scott McClellan to come right out and say things in hopes that everyone in America simply isn't paying attention:

"One of the concerns is that some media organizations have used anonymous sources that are hiding behind that anonymity in order to generate negative attacks," McClellan said Tuesday.

Boy, media organizations using anonymous sources to generate negative attacks! What a scandal. And, naturally, one with which the Republican Party is entirely unfamiliar! FOX News? Jeff Gannon? Never heard of them, sorry, who are they?

But Scott's not done yet! He can't just be shameless, he has to be completely hypocritical as well:

But he said the administration's own use of anonymous sources was not a major problem. The administration frequently conducts news briefings and insists that its briefers be identified only as administration officials rather than by name. McClellan said the administration was trying to move away from such briefings, but he rejected suggestions that they contribute to credibility problems.

When we do it, you see, it's cute! God bless us every one.

(EDITED TO ADD: General Richard Myers and his staff seem to believe that the rioting in Uzbekistan has very little to do with the Newsweek article in the first place, and very much to do with the political conflict between the Muslim opposition and the U.S.-backed party that rules the country (undemocratically). But hey, who knows better, some crazy Army guy or bastion of honesty Scott McClellan?
flavored with age


Tony Hawk's American Wastebasket: Superstar skateboarder and American hero Tony Hawk must struggle with his game design crew to come up with another sequel to his "Pro Skater" franchise that doesn't suck. Each missed merchandising opportunity means another page in the circular file...and another step closer to disaster!

Gun Lobbyist: In this exciting combination of first-person shooter and hot 'n' nasty roleplaying action, you take on the persona of a National Rifle Association spokesman whose job is to convince Congress that a ban on shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missile launchers is an infringement of the Second Amendment. Look out for Mothersgroop, the killer boss on level six!

Need for Seed: Uterus' Most Wanted: EA Games gives the gamer what he wants with this exciting new title. Playing a virile but unsociable nerd, you must infiltrate your local fertility clinic and convince them you are a Nobel prizewinner in order to get access to their top-drawer collection of smut. The money you'll make off donating your frankly astonishing backlog of juice will be more than enough to buy you that badly needed copy of Madden 2006!

Dance Dance Counterrevolution: After seeing your small town reduced to shirtless, sweaty ruins following a tour stopover by Michael Flately's "Lord of the Dance" troupe, you must forever outlaw dancing lest the horrors be visited on you again. Do this with the aid of a special dance pad and an awesome soundtrack of hits by Lawrence Welk, Lester Lanin and a wide selection of mulleted guys in cowboy hats; you earn points for every misstep, jerky arm motion, and arrhythmic drunken-frat-boy move you perform. Voices include Julia Louis-Dreyfus and John Litghow.

Medal of Honor: Dereliction of Duty: The latest installment of this popular team combat shooter features some of the proudest moments in U.S. military history. Players have the option of fighting alongside the National Guard at Kent State University, serving under the command of Lt. William Calley at My Lai, helping secure the royal family of Kuwait's solid gold finger bowl collection during the first Gulf War, or liberating medical students during the harrowing defense of Grenada. Side missions include helping suppress terrorist insurgents in the Phillipines, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and the University of Mississippi, and Little Big Horn.

Which of these titles will take home the coveted Best in Show? Or will it go to a surprise black sheep winner like Grand Theft Auto: Wal-Mart Parking Lot in Lima, OH, Super Mario Paralegal, or Final Fantasy XXVII: Party Naked? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!
flavored with age

my mind is a teal strap

- Man, this story is headlined, on the Yahoo! front pages, "Mt. St. Helens families demand apology", and is it just too depressing a statement of my level of faith in my fellow man that I immediately assumed that they were demanding an apology from the volcano? Okay.

- A thing I am not really into even though there's no reason I shouldn't be: science fiction.

- A famous person whose name I always forget even though I have actually met her: Gwyneth Paltrow.

- What's your principle on ratting people out? Generally, I'm against it. However, there are times when I'd make an exception. For example, I'll happily call the pigs against a noisy neighbor who's keeping me awake, provided I've asked him nicely to keep it down and he's refused. I'll call the cops if I think is someone is abusing a kid or a woman, but not on a fistfight between two guys (which makes me feel kinda hypocritical, especially if one guy is clearly getting his ass beat); however, even with women or kids, I'm really reluctant to call the cops unless I KNOW they're doing it. I'll never call the cops on someone for drugs, even if he's pissed me off in some other way and that would be an easy way to get even. The other day, I saw a guy who was obviously drunk out of his mind get in a car, in the middle of the afternoon; but it never occured to me to call the cops, even though he was probably endangering peoples' lives. Who would you call the cops on? Who wouldn't you?

- I have found that something that works even better than "in bed" for fortune cookies is "up in that ass". Like:

Now is the time to try something new up in that ass.

The weather is wonderful up in that ass.

You are the center of every group's attention up in that ass.