Friday, February 16, 2018

Loser liar fake phony, no one cares, everyone is guilty

I don't know if you've noticed this, but I feel like we're reaching the point where right-wingers aren't even trying to pretend that their policies have any sane or not-evil rationale. Take climate change, for instance. It's clearly happening. We see evidence of it all around us. Asian antelope are going to go extinct because of it (do a google search; it's a far too depressing story for me to link). It used to be that your republicans would be actively fighting against the idea that it was a real thing. And sure, you still get the odd "If Global Warming Is Real Why Is It Snowing" riposte, but that feels more like a reflex than anything that's really meant to mean anything. These days, it's more like "whatever: it's not happening or it's not our fault or we can't do anything about it or it's a good thing; choose whatever you want, it really doesn't matter because we're not doing anything about it and you know we're not so fuck you."

Similar thing with taxes. Remember when Paul Ryan tweeted this after the huge tax cuts for billionaires atrocity passed?

He deleted it after being buried in an avalanche of scorn, which suggests that on some level he realized how contemptible it really was as a defense of the indefensible--but it doesn't matter, does it? He certainly didn't apologize or explain or change in any way. It was more like, "here's this laughable defense of our tax cut. What? You don't like it? Well, whatever; we're giving All The Money to our porcine plutocrats anyway, we don't need to justify it, fuck you."

And, of course, let's not forget our passionate love affair with killing machines. Are the NRA blood cult and its acolytes even bothering with the usual bromides about liberty and self-defense? It seems like it's more a matter of "yeah, we're going to continue regularly sacrificing children to Moloch. You know we are, and that it doesn't matter what you say, we're not going to stop, so let's not waste time talking about it, fuck you."

But don't you kind of feel like they've basically always been like this; it's just that in the past, they felt they needed to hide their basic savagery for fear that it would alienate people? And that now they've realized, whoa, our supporters are really just like us; ie, fucking monsters, nothing (other than displaying an ounce of human kindness, so no worries there) can alienate them, so let's go hog wild? It's pretty grim. I don't know what we can do about it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


Hey, remember the Tragic Saga of Ed?  No?  What kind of Inchoatia reader ARE you?  It's a pair of poems I wrote in high school.  Lately, I find myself thinking about them a lot.  They were totally frivolous, off-the-top-of-my-head things, and no moral philosophy or message should be ascribed to them, BUT, for some reason, I can't help wanting to at least acknowledge how grim they would be if you made the mistake of taking them even a tiny bit seriously.  So now: a twenty-years-later third part to the series!  Thrilling!

The Moral Reckoning of Ed

Ed was truly dead it's true,
And all the other people too.
He had committed genocide,
Which is quite bad, before he died.
There were no humans left, you see,
Not Sarah Joe or Bob or me.

Had young Ed felt deep remorse
As he pursued his reckless course?
Or is it, rather, fair to say
His acts were empty on that day?
That signifiers lost their sting,
And it meant naught, that killing thing?

Is Ed, d'ya reckon, down in hell?
And all his victims too, as well?
They drove him to his fateful act,
Should not they too with guilt be wracked?
These answers, truly, I don't know,
And if I did, I'd tell you so.

One thing only I'll assert:
In all the murder, all the hurt,
The human race had run its course.
Its ending was, I think, perforce,
Destined to come, a microcosm,
Of who we are, though not too awesome.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

How can we hang on to a dream?

There's always the temptation, but we all know there's no point in playing the What If Obama Had Done It? game with anything Trump does, certainly not with accusing political opponents of treason for not applauding at his drooling, half-witted speech. This is really just the latest in a long line of things that would've effectively ended Obama's career, but since we now live in Hell, nothing matters.

Still, there's almost a sense in which republicans are right when they defend it as a "joke." Okay, "almost" is probably exaggerating; I'm not sure Trump would be capable of telling a coherent joke, and even if so, that certainly wasn't one. But imagining that anything he says is serious, or has any weight, is a mistake. Nothing means anything or is part of any coherent philosophy or governing strategy; it's just him indulging whatever bit of petty resentment or self-aggrandizement seems most meet at any given moment.  I mean, really, it's obvious he just meant to say "DUR DEMOCRATS SUCK!!!!11"  But, of course, this is a problem because, unfortunately for him, we don't actually live in a fully postmodern world, and words still mean things.  Even if nothing he says should be taken seriously, he's the President, and even if he doesn't understand what that means, it still matters. Tragically.

It's hard not to feel a certain existential helplessness at this moment. Even if Democrats make big wins in 2018 and 20--hell, even if (let's go wild) Trump is indicted and lives out the remainder of his miserable life at the bottom of an oubliette--our problems will not be solved. Even if Trump himself is gone, the GOP's cynical nihilism will live on, and as long as that party so passionately embraces evil, I don't see how it's possible to have anything like a functioning democracy. The only chance is for them to become so utterly marginalized that they have have only regional power if that, but history pretty clear shows that voters never, ever punish the party for anything beyond an election cycle or two, so...I don't know. I really truly can't see how we escape this fucking nightmare.

Monday, February 05, 2018

The Philadelphia Eagles Football Club has won the Super Bowl of American Football.

This is a fact.  A thing that happened.  My football fandom has become much more circumspect as late--partly because football destroys people and partly because the NFL is an indefensible entity quite apart from that--but I cannot deny that this made me happy.  That means I'm part of the problem, I know.  But I still wanted to note it here.  It happened.  I watched it happen.  And...that is that.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

An abiding mystery.

The Madness single "Cardiac Arrest."  Hell, it's a catchy song.  Like pretty much every Madness single.  But what about this bit:

Think of seven letters
Begin and end with C
Like a big American car
But misspelled with a D, am I missing something really obvious?  The words can't be anything other than "cadillac" and "cardiac," can they?  Can they?  But...well, first of all "cadillac" is eight letters, so we have to get rid of two if we're going to add a 'D' and end up with seven.  So...cadidac?  caddiac?  Don't think they were thinking too hard about these lyrics, to be brutally honest.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Racist things are not racist because I don't associate them with racism.

How would you like it if I changed this blog's format to all-people-who've-said-crazy-things-on-my-facebook-feed, all the time? Does that sound good? Actually, they don't usually do that. People criticize facebook on all kinds of bases, but honestly, I find it to be a generally pleasant place. I'm not friends with people who have awful politics (or if I am, they keep it to themselves), so basically, it's just people I like and posts from Disney-comics groups I follow. It's fine. The only potential problem is the occasional temptation to get into arguments with other people's awful friends who comment on their posts, but I know full well that this is the most stupid and futile thing I could possibly do on the internet, so I never do it.

Well, anyway, still. There's this dude I'm friends with. I don't know him particularly well; just someone I sometimes saw in the company of other friends when I was in my Doctoral program. He has a PhD in music theory and perfectly conventional liberal politics, as far as I've been able to tell. Certainly not a stupid person. Which is why it was so friggin' bizarre to see him having a truly spectacular meltdown on the subject of the Cleveland Indians deciding to de-emphasize their cringe-inducing logo. He started by writing--to paraphrase--"it's funny how all the people happy about this change have probably never even gone to an Indians game or can name any players." The relevance of this was...not clear, but as became apparent in the trainwreck of a comments thread, the real issue was that he had all kinds of nostalgic memories wrapped up in the team, racist mascot and all, he saw any criticism of it as some sort of personal attack, and he believed that because he personally did not associate the logo with actual Native Americans, it was not racist. Truly an impressively sub-rational display. Apparently he realized how awful the whole thing looked, because he ended up deleting the thread, but then he made ANOTHER post really emphasizing the whole nostalgia thing and how his dad used to take him to games and now his dad is dead [and has been for nineteen years, mind; this isn't a recent psychic wound that would make this sort of thing understandable] and SCREW YOU for calling him racist (which I don't think anyone had actually done, but WHATEVER) (he also deleted a comment on this post which--seemingly with no awareness of the, uh, issues here--characterized Native Americans objecting to Chief Wahoo as "uppity." With friends like these...).

Anyway, there's no real point to this beyond GOOD LORD people are crazy. Even people you have every reason to think AREN'T crazy.

Whither Felix Gilman?

Seriously, man, it's a real bummer: he deleted his twitter feed, his website has been devoured by spambots, and basically neither hide nor hair has been seen of him since shortly after the publication of his last novel. I hope the fact that I found it disappointing didn't strip away all his motivation to write. His other books--in particular the half-made world duology--were SO FUCKING COOL. If he's abandoned fiction writing, it's a huge goddamned shame. I know this isn't a very substantial blog post, but the question "What happened to Felix Gilman?" gets zero hits on google, so I just wanted to point out this apparent loss.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

[Cannot think of good post title off top of head]

Looking through one's blog archives, one learns things that one had forgotten about oneself. For instance, I'm kind of amazed at what a hate-on I once had for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party in general. Here is me angrily declaring that I'll NEVER EVER vote for her if she wins the 2008 primary. It's kind of eye-opening to realize that if I met 2008-me, I'd kind of hate him.

To be clear, it's not that my politics have moderated since then--quite the contary; all the Marxist theory I read during graduate school dragged me further left than I was. It's just that now I take a more pragmatic approach to things. If nothing else, the person in comments who talked about Supreme Court nominees was absolutely right and I was absolutely wrong. It's not that there isn't a lot to criticize about the party; of course there is. A lot of that is no doubt down to the two-party system: when you have one party that's absolutely committed itself to hateful nihilism, it forces everyone else into the other party, and then with such a heterogenous mix it's awfully damned hard to find any sort of philosophical coherence. But the system is what it is; and the Democratic Party--imperfectly, painfully slowly, incoherently, and often in a one-step-forward-two-steps-back way--is trying to drag the country in the right direction, and if you refuse to be down with them, well, you don't matter. Yes, I KNOW Democrats do things, especially in the foreign policy arena, that are indefensible, but ferfucksake, do you want ANYTHING to get even a TINY BIT better, EVER, or don't you?  You can make abstract philosophical arguments about how if enough people break away from the Democrats you can force a political realignment, but A) that's never going to work if you're stuck with the two-party system; and B) when goose-stepping ICE agents are dragging people away from the only homes they've ever known RIGHT NOW, you kind of look like a monstrous sociopath for not supporting the party that would reign them in.

I have a dear friend who nonetheless has a less-than-lovable trait, which is that she buys into the whole Democrats-suck/Clinton-sucks thing I was doing ten years ago--and she's like fifteen years older than me, so she doesn't have the excuse of being young and naive. In particular, the continued vociferousness of her Clinton-hate is just perverse. Clinton lost. She's never running for anything again. And yet, the anti-Clinton facebook macros will not stop. Where the hell does this COME from?

She recently shared THIS bizarre thing on her facebook wall:

Um. Has a SOTU rebuttal EVER lead to someone being widely feted as the next Presidential nominee? Survey sez no. I mean, I suppose it's conceivable that it could happen if they delivered a real barnburner of a speech, but this specifies that that can't happen, so...? It's just an out-of-nowhere fantasy from someone who apparently can't come up with enough REAL reasons to hate the Democrats and thus has to create special fanfic on the basis of which to hate them more. It is SO DAMN WEIRD.

But the question is, will the person who wrote this and the people who shared it reexamine their priors at all when this event signally fails to come to pass? You know they won't--anymore than the people predicting apocalypse after Obama's election reexamined theirs. It's not about logic; it's just pure emotion. God knows I have my own biases, but like to think that I at least make an effort to ground my beliefs in some semblance of reality. It is sobering to note that you don't have to wander over to the fever swamps of the far right to find people who don't.