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busy, busy, busy

Friday, February 28, 2003

I am still hopelessly crushed by the passing of Fred Rogers, just so you know. I can't help but think that there is now absolutely no good left in this world. I mean, the guy sitting in front of me in the computer lab keeps mumbling things like "kike" and "fucking die" to himself. Should I be amused, or worried?

So, in lieu of actually writing something, I'm going to post lists of what I have been reading, watching, and listening to over the past few weeks. Read and enjoy, or come back tomorrow when there might actually be something of substance here. It could happen.

My Reading List: (this is what I've read over the past month or so)

Neuromancer by William Gibson

A Scanner Darkly & The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

The Zinn Reader by Howard Zinn

Hocus Pocus, Slapstick, Galapagos & Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

...and some other random stuff I can't recall at the moment.

My Listening List:

David Cross Shut Up You Fucking Crybaby

The Dismemberment Plan

Radiohead, especially Kid A and Amnesiac

Modest Mouse The Moon & Antarctica

Sigur Ros


Missy Elliott

The Cure

My Watching List:

South Park

The Daily Show

Law & Order

Late Night with Conan (bring back Pimpbot dammit!)

International Intelligence Briefing with Hal Lindsey

Thursday, February 27, 2003

I turned on the TV early this morning during a fit of insomnia and the first thing I heard was that one of my personal heroes had died just a few hours earlier. In my book, Fred Rogers ranks up there with Eugene Debs as one of the world's greatest human beings. I'll probably write more about it when I'm not feeling so crappy.

The state of Missouri, like many other states, is running very low on cash. Fortunately, it has come up with a great way to save some green: by stopping the funding of medical programs for poor children. Sounds like a winner to me.

Since I'm not really in the mood to write, here are some articles:

Silent Protest. Sometimes I wish I played sports, or otherwise attended public events, so I can pull stuff like this.

Many hawkish-type individuals often ask "If not war, then what?." Here are plenty of answers.

Goddammit this one of the funniest things I've seen.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I am so not into this blog thing. It's been less than a week and I'm already completely bored with it. I suppose it would help if I ever had anything worth saying, but unfortunately my mind is usually a blank pool of nothingness. The best I can do is provide links to other places. The less time you spend here the better, anyway.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

The treatment given to the global antiwar movement by the mainstream media is absolutely shameful. Not only are opponents to war labeled "appeasers," now the media implies that we are in league with Saddam Hussein. Though it's true most educated people will see right through this, the fact is most of the people who depend on places like CNN for news are not so gifted. CNN's subtle insinuation of an alignment between those who oppose war and Global Enemy Number One is deliberately misleading, yet sadly quite representative of any major media outlet in the United States. So much for democracy.

Every American has the right to speak his or her own mind. Unless one happens to be a celebrity. And left-leaning. That's the way it seems, anyway. Almost every time I turn on FOX "News" I find some poor, conservative individual complaining about how Susan Sarandon's activism and star-power is drowning out their own voice (obviously--they're only on FOX). One person even went so far as to create an online petition to protest celebrities "abusing their status to speak for us." I wish I could feel sorry for these people (not really). These celebrities have just as much of a right to speak their minds as anyone else does. They are speaking for themselves and no one else. If the "average American" feels his or her voice is being drowned out, they should speak louder (or, in most instances, try speaking out in the first place). Of course, the real issue is not certain individuals "abusing" their celebrity status; the motivations behind this petition, and the criticism that it represents, are purely political. Look at the celebrities who have been singled out: Susan Saranson, Barbra Streisand, Martin Sheen, and so on; the only outspoken celebrities mentioned in any discussion on this issue are those on the left. I never hear those people lambasting Arnold Schwarzenegger, Drew Carey, or James Woods, just to name a few, over their public political statements; don't they "abuse their status" in much the same way? So, the issue is purely political. It's not about Hollywood celebrities pushing other, not-so-fortunate voices out of the democratic process. Where are all those critics of celebrity influence when Charelton Heston makes public statements? Where were they when Ronald Reagan was running for president?

Saturday, February 22, 2003

I continue to be amazed by the spectacularly growing antiwar movement. As it continues to gather momentum all over the world, the pessimist in me is somewhat calmed; with each passing day, war appears less and less inevitable. With enough pressure, it is likely that many of the US's current "staunch" allies might back down and change their course, choosing to side with the more realistic and rational world leaders. As more "allies" choose another path, the probability of resolving the situation through peaceful means becomes more of a possibility. More than anything, that is why a global, peaceful antiwar movement is so important.

As far as the American movement is concerned, I fear it is in danger of making itself hopelessly irrelevant. This is happening largely because movement leaders desperately want to avoid appearing "anti-American" in today's political and international climate (unfortunately a next-to-impossible task). Most antiwar activists do this by making a simple statement that, while it may sound nice and neutral, contradicts their actions: We do not support a war, but we do support our troops. I seem to be one of the few people who is deeply troubled by such an attitude. People who are much more radical and activist-oriented than I am (and I'm pretty far out there) always seem to fall in line on this one issue--oppose the war, support the troops.

To "support our troops" is to support the war, and there is no way around it. The situation would be different if a military draft were in place; in that case, many of those who would serve in the armed forces would not be there by choice (though technically there is a choice in such a situation, but few would choose federal prison over military service). In the case of the Vietnam War, it was entirely appropriate to "support the troops" since a large chunk of them were serving against their will. They needed the support since they were just as much victims of government policy as were the Vietnamese families melted by US napalm.

In today's situation, there is no draft--all soldiers are soldiers because they volunteered to be soldiers. They chose to be there. They chose to turn themselves into potentially lethal instruments of US foreign policy. Are they all bloodthirsy killers? Not really. I'm guessing the number of men and women who join the military out of a desire to kill other human beings is very small (though I am sure those people are there). Most people join the military because they are enticed with money for college, training in "high tech" occupations, and travel to exotic destinations. Think about it: have you ever seen an Army or Navy advertisement that says, "Join the Army: Go to war, probably kill some foreign humans, and possibly be killed by them (or in a training accident)"? No. Kids are tricked into volunteering. A good many never have to go to war or see combat. Life is good. They become recruiters to tell other kids how great the military is. And so on.

Does this brainwashing excuse any of these individuals, though? In my opinion, no. So what if they were tricked? So what if the recruiters played upon a person's low economic status by offering them financial rewards? So what? Just a small amount of critical thinking (and anyone who has ever seen a war movie or watched the evening news will be able to do so in this case) will lead a person to think, Hey, I might have to kill. I might have to die. I don't care how brainwashed a person is, that thought must cross their mind at some point. From that point on, for all intents and purposes, they become a killer. That is their job. No matter what duty they take up when in service, it all comes down to one basic factor: eliminate the enemy. Kill. Destroy. Victory. They knew it going in. Without the soldier, who will fight? With no one to fight, how will there be a war?

If the antiwar activists are like me, and I know most of them are, they are primarily opposed because of the death and destruction that will come from war. Where does the death and destruction come from? Who does the killing and destroying? Who is ultimately responsible for making the choice to pull the trigger, drop the bomb, and launch the missile? It's not the president, it's not the secretary of defense; it is the soldier.

Three out of four students at my university have no idea about what's going on. Want proof? Though it's far from scientific, it's something.

Do you ever wonder what happens when a large number of J.R.R. Tolkien freaks discuss current events not related to Lord of the Rings? Well, I have. After some thorough investigatin', I've decided they should keep their conversations limited to Beren and Luthien, Tom Bombadil, etc.

I hate it when I'm right; As seen on TV; Patriotism in a box: Order some now, while soldiers last.

Okay, generally speaking: Americans are ignorant creeps. Americans are assholes. Americans are the most arrogant people on the face of the planet. Yet, Americans are constantly amazed to find out the rest of the world dislikes them; they just cannot understand why everyone doesn't love them.

Friday, February 21, 2003

I think I have a pretty good imagination, and I sometimes use it to envision some strange and horrifying ways in which one could die. I could never, in a million years, have thought of something as horrible as burning to death at a Great White concert. Being burned alive is bad, and experiencing a live performance by Great White is probably almost as bad; but having to go through both experiences at the same time--it hurts to think about. Just try it--the last sound they heard with mortal ears (besides the horrified screaming of themselves and others, i'm sure) was a live performance by Great White. I mean, Christ man, talk about adding insult to fatal injury. And check this out: think of the survivors; not only will most of them have physical and emotional scars for the rest of their lives, but they also have to account for why they were at a goddamn Great White concert. I have not the mental capacity to imagine what the rest of their lives will be like. At least the survivors of, say, a Who or Rolling Stones concert have some sort of credibility.

As Matt said in an email earlier today, "Once bitten, twice--OH SHIT, RUN!" My version goes a little like, "Once bitten, twice--what do you mean I'm buring alive? I thought this nightmare was plenty bad as is!""

Thursday, February 20, 2003

All I have to say is way to go Bretton Barber. I think that his t-shirt should be adopted as the new uniform of the American people.

There's not much going on today, and I don't have much time. I plan on being back tomorrow or over the weekend with a vengeance. It could be Monday. I wouldn't plan my schedule around it if I were you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I'm not sure what turned me into such a misanthrope. While most of the time I'm certain it's stuff like self-righteous warmongers or "nookyooler" weapons that lead me to be so negative (some types of christians may also have something to do with it), sometimes I see something like this and I just want to move to the moon.

This kid might be my new hero. I wonder if anyone wearing a "Go U.S.A." or "Hey Saddam--This Scud's for You" t-shirt was sent home. I want one of those shirts. I could probably wear it around my school without being accosted. Sure, most of the people here are ignorant, brain-dead, bigoted automatons, but they're also hopelessly apathetic and impossible to motivate.

I'm not sure if having a blog is a good idea for me. I don't seem to have anything to say.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Basically I don't like anything that's going on right now. In fact, I so dislike the real world I often find myself spending too much time at places like this. Yes it's sad. Oh well. I had quite a few neat ideas for this whole blog thing earlier today, but I can't seem to recall anything now. Well, anything except

Why the hell did I watch the Joe Millionaire show last night?

I've been telling myself that I watched it in order to keep tabs, so to speak, on today's popular culture. I've never actually watched a "reality program" (The Osbournes though... I watch that. I like it.) and I figured this one would turn out to be pretty repellent and fairly representative of what passes for regular television. In my defense, I did read a Philip K. Dick novel through most of it (just imagine the mixed perceptions running through my brain... appropriately enough the novel was A Scanner Darkly).

By now I have already forgotten where I had planned to go with this little rant, so I obviously need to write things down throughout the day. I could use my trusty Palm Pilot PDA Handheld Sony Minicomputer Life Organizer, but I really never use it and so I really don't know how. Ah well.