Friday, October 30, 2009

Shorter This Week's South Park

"We can be unbelievably racist as long as we're self-aware about it. And come to think of it, now that we have kind of a reputation for self-awareness, there's no need to actually manifest it in the show itself."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

For your edification, a cool picture I found.

Duck Comics: "The Fabulous Tycoon"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Alas, great geocities is fallen!

No! Now where will we find that inimitable late-nineties, hideous-tiled-background, embedded-midi, garish-font, stick-figures-in-hard-hats aesthetic? Well, there's still angelfire. Still, it feels like the end of an era.

So, alas, my old webpage will no longer be on the internet. But it's not totally gone, since I have the whole thing backed up! Phew! Anyway, maybe I'll post random files from the old site that may, inexplicably, be of interest. Here's the complete Cactus Dance, just 'cause.

Duck Comics: "Pecking Order"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Classroom Adventures #2

"Could you shut the laptop, Alex?"

"Okay, but I was using it to take notes."

"Dude, I can see the screen from here. You were browsing some online comic."

"For the record, I was taking notes."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time to bring back the guillotine.

This. There simply no words for the rage this causes me to feel.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another look into the seething right-wing id

Not much to say about this Turner Diaries-esque fever dream that hasn't already been said, but it does nicely illustrate the limits of wingnut thought. There's no point in pointing out that it makes no sense to have liberals teaming up with Islamic fundamentalists; WE HATE LIBRULS and WE HATE ISLAM; therefore, THEY'RE THE SAME THING. So it is written. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done.

Seriously, as you know, or perhaps don't, I've been struggling with the thought that maybe it's presumptuous of me to assume that we're RIGHT and they're WRONG--because, after all, it's a pretty big--and self-serving--coincidence that our side would have all the answers, but I'm kind of abandoning that stance now, because come on--these people are like children. Stupid, violent children. Basically, Edward Gorey's Beastly Baby (wow, it actually hadn't occurred to me before how incredibly apropos that story is, but just try to tell me that the character doesn't remind you of an unholy amalgam of Beck and Limbaugh). Can you imagine a left-wing version of this game, with Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann beating back the right-wing hordes? No. No, you cannot. Because we are not that childish and dumb. Because while we may (or may not; we don't march in lockstep, which is our blessing and our curse) admire certain pundits on the left, we don't imagine them as GI Joe characters. Because we are not four years old. Yeesh.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Classroom Adventures

Nick is texting, in contravention of classroom policy.

"So, Nick, what's going on?"

"Nothing. Just seeing if Sean's coming to class."

"Is he?"

"No--his shoes got wet so he's going home."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another thing about the Attempted Rams purchase...

I must say, I was a little surprised that it fell through. I sort of think of a rich dickhead like Limbaugh as basically being able to get whatever he wants. But I'm wrong! Yay! And what really surprises me is how fast, dispassionate, and generally businesslike the league was about the whole thing. Yeah, they're a business, so maybe it shouldn't come as a shock, but I assume that most (all?) of these people are far from being DFH's--most of them are Republicans (UPDATE: but Jeffrey Lurie is a Democrat. Go Eagles!), I would imagine. But that wasn't an issue: they perceived that this would be a terrible business decision, so they put the kibosh on it, and that was that. The contrast between their behavior and that of republican congresscreatures, who cringe and kowtow at Limbaugh's feet at every opportunity, is quite striking. Although obviously congresscreatures and football executives have different exigencies, it seems to me that this indicates that Limbaugh's influence is less than everyone seems to think it is. I'll bet you any amount of money that the great majority of Limbaugh's listeners are also football fans--but alienating them sure doesn't seem to have registered itself as a concern to the owners. If republicans weren't so easily cowed, they too might realize that just because his fans are loud and dumb doesn't mean they have much actual clout. Remember "Operation Chaos," where he urged them to fuck up the Democratic primaries by temporarily registering as Democrats and voting en masse for Clinton? How'd that work out for them?

The third-best thing about this is that I got to see this very funny video that someone linked to. The second-best thing is that it shows Limbaugh that--amazing though it may seem--actions DO have consequences. You can't be a racist asshole all your life and not expect there to be repercussions.

But the BEST thing is the hysterical whining on right-wing blogs. Seriously, no joke, you HAVE to read this post, which is pretty much the most hilarious thing I've ever seen. Wingnuts can haz sens of purrspectiv? Sadly, no!

Seriously, dudes, get down off the cross--you look like idiots flailing around up there, and besides, we need the wood to manufacture some tiny violins to distribute among you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let's root for and against football teams based on their political leanings!

Thanks to new statistical revelations, we can now do this with a high degree of accuracy. I just LOVE this chart, because now I have a quasi-rational reason to support support or oppose teams in games I otherwise don't even remotely care about. Useful!

If we want to root for the MOST Democratic team, we have to become fans of--drumroll--the St. Louis Rams. No contest whatsoever. WTF? Is this part of the reason that Limbaugh was trying to buy them (and FAILING--suck it, you hideous pile of shit!)? Given this information, it's kinda too bad that they suck so much.

I'm happy to say that we can be extremely comfortable about rooting for the Eagles, who give more to Democrats than any team other than those damned Rams, and who have one of the highest D/R ratios. WAY BETTER THAN THE STEELERS, I WILL TELL YOU THAT MUCH! HA! My gleefulness IS slightly tempered by the fact that, per the article, Andy Reid gave money to Mitt Romney. The HELL, Andy? Still, no team is perfect (though, again, the Rams come bafflingly close), so we'll take what we have been given. It could be a LOT worse. We could be Chargers fans. Good LORD.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I was going to characterize this as "kinky," but actually, I'm kind of having trouble really conceptualizing it.

Spotted on a desk in the library:

Thanks but no thanks anyway/I know that you're NOT okay

Proposition 3. It would allow for casinos in four major cities in Ohio. The teevee is currently being carpetbombed with commercials for it, including a really horrible one with that inimitable "local TV ad" aesthetic that features two women ("actresses" you couldn't call them) in a bus talking about how CRAZY! it is that they have to go out of state for their annual spree. I personally don't understand the idea of State Pride--I mean, I understand it, I suppose, but it seems to take tribalism to self-parodic parodic heights. Why not City Block Pride?

But what FUCKING BOTHERS THE SHIT OUT OF ME is that all the ads, pro and con, focus on the question of whether these casinos will or will not create jobs for Ohioans. Apparently, the social justice issue has been ceded entirely, and I find this deeply troubling. Yeah, jobs. Great. You know, this is one reason* why I could never be a libertarian. Would it be a terrible faux pas for me to note that this awesome boost to the economy will be in the service of a system designed to more efficiently syphon money from poor people to filthy-rich, plutocratic bastards? I mean, we could also create jobs by building legalized crackhouses throughout the state, and the fact that we don't seems to indicate that we're not totally insensible to moral concerns--but in this instance, we've just chosen to forget about them. Pardon me, but that is FUCKED UP. Ugh. No on 3.

*The other, more general reason is that progressives have worked DAMNED HARD to make the country look a LITTLE less like an Upton Sinclair novel, and call me crazy, but I think that's a good thing.

Friday, October 09, 2009

In case you thought this was a low-class blog...

...I must note that it is in fact worth more than ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!11

Monday, October 05, 2009

An abiding mystery

Microsoft is richer than Croesus (not richer than Scrooge McDuck, however), so why in god's name can't they afford better advertising? That link, of course, is to one of those horrible WIndows 7 ads featuring a four-year-old girl burbling semi-coherently about all the "happy words" about Windows 7 she's been seeing on her dad's computer (dad being some sort of techno-fetishist who should probably clear his cache more often), and the adorable "presentation" that she is making about the deliriously happy happiness of these happy motherfucking words, and CHRIST, I can't even type that without laughing incredulously, because seriously, never mind that the content of these "happy words" amounts to "wow--this sucks a lot less than Vista;" such mendaciousness is only to be expected in advertising.

More troubling: the way the obviousness of the corporate whoredom--and the fact that a small child is being used in this capacity--is accentuated by the fact that four-year-olds don't care about consumer reports on computer software. I mean, I know that seems obvious, and that in some way the ad is meant to be funny-cute, but it's just far too risibly moronic to work on that level.

Most troubling: the fact that Microsoft apparently sees its target audience as brain-damaged toddlers, because seriously--"happy words?" WT FUCK, Microsoft? Are you gonna take us to McDonald's for Hello Kitty Happy Meals after we're done with our Windows? And then when we get home, will you check under our beds for monsters? Kee-rikey! I am just trying and trying to figure out any other way to interpret this ad, and I am not having much luck. And this is kind of a pattern; remember also those bing commercials (update: I have still never used, nor been even slightly tempted to use, bing), which nonetheless were much less egregiously terrible than these W7 spots are.

I guess when you're as big and entrenched as Microsoft you can afford to just dick around like this, but holy fugnation, my mind is just boggled, and it ain't coming unboggled.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Quotin' people who are smarter than me

I have a hard time bringing myself to have a firm opinion about Roman Polanski, but this post is good, and this comment by aimai is better:

These people are absolute toddlers, morally and intellectually. They refuse to display the slightest emotion, grief, or shame over actual crimes that they are party to as members of our elite media and they posture and wail and display themselves like hired mourners at a funeral over a thirty year old case that they just discovered is topical. And, please, for the record—each and every one of Polanski’s new public enemies would have happily and quietly gone to dinner with him at any time in the last thirty years because he’s a celebrity and they are all celebrities. This girl and her sufferings were no more real to them than the Iraqis we bombed. The whole thing is fake from top to toe. From outrage to outrage its vaporware.

Aimai is I.F. Stone's granddaughter, you know. I'd say she's doing him proud.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A brief note on The King

To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.
--Theodor Adorno

Here's my question: did Barthelme actually know that he had only months to live when he was writing this great little novel? This is a question to which there is certainly an answer; I just don't have it. Probably that recent biography would get you it. I only ask because if he did, the thematic resonance of the book would definitely be intensified; regardless, however, the theme is what it is.

It's no accident that we (only somewhat arbitrarily) use World War II as the general point of the birth of postmodernity. It's no lie--the idea that the world has any kind of comprehensible teleology does seem kind of naive after the Holocaust. Not that there hadn't already been plenty of large-scale atrocities that would have clued us in much earlier had we been looking for them, but this one you couldn't really overlook.

The King, if you were unaware, depicts the King Arthur and His Knights in World War II. Not just his knights--a whole chivalric tradition. The book doesn't actually get too far into the doings of the actual Nazis, but we do frequently hear the voices of Ezra Pound and Lord Haw-Haw on English-language propaganda radio, sharply reminding us of the situation.

The question is almost too obvious to even ask, but: how exactly can you have this here chivalric tradition in a world where the Holocaust is going on? What possible meaning does it have? Arthur's rejection of the atomic bomb may be noble, but it just accentuates the fact that this kind of nobility is obsolete--it's still developed and it's still used, regardless of what any knightly code says.

The character of Roger de Ibadan, the black knight (not an actual character from Arthurian legend, alas!), represents the future here. Arthur makes several racist remarks about him, out of obliviousness rather than any malice: the idea of a black knight is hard for him to process. But Roger is representative of a new, globalized world without the Eurocentrism of Arthur & Co--and while the other knights disappear, he has no need to, being well-equipped for it.

"I have another string or two to my lute," said Roger. "My degrees are in engineering, biochemistry, canon law, archaeology, and marine architecture."

Further, the fact that his ladylove is a thief and that he's willing to more or less countenance this shows a somewhat more flexible moral code that is probably necessary in the here and now.

Any comprehensive reading of the novel would have to feature a more in-depth portrait of Arthur, as well as Launcelot, Guinevere, and Lyonesse, at least. But the "grappling with a brave new world" business is certainly where one would want to start.

...or maybe just Sarah Palin's good twin.

You've probably seen Rep. Alan Grayson (Whatthehelldoyouthink-FL) kicking all kinds of ass on healthcare reform. Not that one guy alone is enough to get it done, of course, but it IS cathartic. Imagine if even HALF of the D's were that shit-kicking. However, that is not the point. The point is this little fact, which I first saw on Wikipedia and thought maybe was the result of vandalism until I found it confirmed on his official about page:

Alan and his wife also decided to move to Orlando, and raise a family. Their first child, Skye, was born in 1995. Now they have five children: Skye, Star, Sage, Storm and Stone. Storm and Stone, twins, were born in 2005.

Holy shit, what a DFH! Anyone who says hippies can't also be badasses needs to go pound sand.