There is just too much meat to excerpt any of it.
Joe Cannon broke his silence yesterday. Upon first viewing I shuddered. Ominous cartoon.
Oh no, I can’t go through that again.
Except, Joe isn’t that in-your-face obvious. Never has been. He likes to drop clues. So I did some digging.
A despondent Mickey returns home and moans: “Oh, what’s the use? She doesn’t care for me anymore—what is there to live for? Without Minnie, I might as well end it all!” Mickey reaches for the rifle on his wall and takes it down.
The next day, the reader sees that Mickey has rigged the rifle on two chairs with a rope so that when he pulls on the rope, he will be shot in the back of the head. Fortunately, the cuckoo clock goes off and Mickey realizes he is cuckoo for trying to end it all that way. The next day, he jumps off a high bridge but lands instead on a small boat that had been tugging underneath. The ship’s captain decides to throw Mickey overboard but the plucky mouse pleads: “Please don’t! I can’t swim! I might drown!”
The next day, Mickey turns on the gas in his house and lies down on his bed to drift into endless sleep. “Goodbye, Minnie! Goodbye, cruel world!” However, while his eyes are closed, a squirrel scampers in to use the escaping gas to fill his balloon. The balloon explodes, waking Mickey, who thinks he has been shot. The next day, Mickey with a huge anvil around his neck goes to the river bank where he asks a nearby fish “How’s the water today?” When he gets the response: “Br-r-r! Cold as the dickens!?, Mickey decides to try again the next day and tosses the anvil in the river.
Finally, Mickey tosses a noose over a tree branch in order to hang himself but before he can do so, he is surrounded by happy playful squirrels and Mickey says: “I guess you think I’m crazy—Well, I must’ve been to think of hanging myself! When I look into your smiling faces, I feel ashamed! It isn’t such a bad old world after all! It took a squirrel to prove what a nut I was!” So Mickey uses the rope to make a swing.
Here’s to hoping he’s coming back. I’ve missed his voice.
“I have seen several entirely sincere people who thought they were (permanent) Seekers after Truth. They sought diligently, persistently, carefully, cautiously, profoundly, with perfect honesty and nicely adjusted judgment–until they believed that without doubt or question they had found the Truth. That was the end of the search. The man spent the rest of his life hunting up shingles wherewith to protect his Truth from the weather. If he was seeking after political Truth he found it in one or another of the hundred political gospels which govern men in the earth; if he was seeking after the Only True Religion he found it in one or another of the three thousand that are on the market. In any case, when he found the Truth he sought no further; but from that day forth, with his soldering-iron in one hand and his bludgeon in the other he tinkered its leaks and reasoned with objectors.” (from What is Man?) — Mark Twain
The Red Queen speaks (and I concur):
I don’t have to imagine too hard how relieved a non het person might be sitting in that office and hearing someone who is not them calling out a douchebag on their douchebaggery. I think if some random dude ever told a street harraser that it’s not my job to smile on command for them, or said ‘hey chill with the fucking not funny sexist posts on facebook’ or maybe even just ‘ugh not another crappy apatow flickwhere all the men are loveable assholes and all the women are shrews’ i’d bake him a fucking cake. Seriously. It’s never happened. Not once. Actually, that’s not true. Deeks done it once or twice. But never a random guy.
Be the random guy (or white person or hetero person,etc.) Show a little courage, suffer a little bit of anger, and be a real ally.
Tom Engelhardt addresses the class of 2010 (if only in his mind):
You, the graduating class of 2010, are caught in a system; then again, so are our leaders. In recent years, we’ve had two presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who could not be mistaken for one another. In most obvious ways — style, thinking, personality, politics, sensibility, impulses — they couldn’t be more different, as have been the ways they have approached problems. One was a true believer in the glories of American military and executive power, the other is a manager of a declining power and what passes for a political “pragmatist” in our world. Yet, more times than is faintly comfortable, the two of them have ended up in approximately the same policy places — whether on the abridgement of liberties, the expansion of the secret activities of military special operations forces across the Greater Middle East, the CIA drone war in the Pakistani borderlands and elsewhere, the treatment of prisoners, our expanding wars, Pentagon budgets, offshore oil drilling and nuclear power, or other topics which matter in our lives.
This should be more startling than it evidently is for most Americans. If the policies of these two disparate figures often have a tweedledum-and-tweedledee-ish look to them, then what we face is not specific party politics or individual style, but a system with its own steamroller force, and its own set of narrow, repetitive “solutions” to our problems. We also face an increasingly militarized, privatized government, its wheels greased by the funds of giant corporations, that now regularly seems to go about the business of creating new Katrinas.
You have grown increasingly used to an American world in which a war-fighting state armed with increasingly oppressive powers offers you a national security version of “safety,” directed by Fear Inc. and based on waning liberties. You seem to me deeply affected by, but detached from, all of this.
In many ways, given our situation, your response seems reasonable enough. The problem is: if you simply duck and go about your lives as best you can, what can this country hope for?
Unfortunately, your disconnect is, I suspect, made more severe because your lives are encased in what I would call a grid of exterminationism. It was in my youth, of course, that the world became exterminable, thanks to nuclear weapons. Today — with other threats, especially global warming and resource scarcity, joining those doomsday weapons in what feels like a fatal brew — how could you not feel despair, whether fully recognized or not? How could you not have the urge to avoid looking toward the horizon, toward a future too grim to think about? If you can’t imagine a future, however, you probably can’t form a movement to change anything.
I feel no pride over the oil-slimed, war-making, money-blowing country that my generation has left you. Not for a second. I wouldn’t chose to be you, not given the tools we’ve left you to work with. But you are, of course, you. That’s the one choice you can’t make, so make something of it.
We’re constantly reminded that we need heroes. We have a tendency now to call the soldiers fighting needless wars thousands of miles away our “heroes.” But what hero struggles halfway across the planet when his home is on fire? What we need is another kind of hero, another kind of bravery: you marching off this campus and out of the 51st state. You facing up to the miserable world you’re in, figuring out its parameters, and doing something about it.
And here’s the good news: in bad times, action engenders hope. So act. It’ll feel better to do so.
Michael Specter takes on the denialists from all corners of the ideological spectrum. I love his line about “high tech colonialism.”
One of the first places I go when I get one of those “Forward this to everyone on your mailing list!!!!” emails.
For the Mikkelsons, the site affirms what cultural critics have bemoaned for years: the rejection of nuance and facts that run contrary to one’s point of view.
“Especially in politics, most everything has infinite shades of gray to it, but people just want things to be true or false,” Mr. Mikkelson said. “In the larger sense, it’s people wanting confirmation of their world view.”
The couple say they receive grateful messages from teachers regularly, and an award from a media literacy association sits atop the TV set in Mr. Mikkelson’s home office.
It is not just the naïveté of Web users that worries the “Snopesters,” a name for the Web site’s fans and volunteers. It is also what Mr. Mikkelson calls “a trend toward the opposite approach, hyper-skepticism.”
“People get an e-mail or a photograph and they spot one little thing that doesn’t look right, and they declare the whole thing fake,” he said. “That’s just as bad as being gullible in a lot of senses.”
But even though Snopes pays the bills for the couple now, through advertising revenue, they doubt they are having much of an impact.
“It’s not like, ‘Well, we have to get out there and defend the truth,’ ” Mrs. Mikkelson added. “When you’re looking at truth versus gossip, truth doesn’t stand a chance.”
It may be my bias, or my imagination, or my distaste for toil, but from here America looks like one big workhouse, “under God, indivisible, with time off to shit, shower and shop.” A country whose citizens have been reduced to “human assets” of a vast and relentless economic machine, moving human parts oiled by commodities and kept in motion by the edict, “produce or die.” Where employment and a job dominates all other aspects of life, and the loss of which spells the loss of everything.
Go read it all.
Disclaimer: Yes, Bill Maher can be a sanctimonious, misogynistic asshole, but he’s spot on with this “New Rule.”