Men. Women. Just Saying.

Heart-rending story in the New York Times, The Life and Death of Therapist Bob Bergeron.… but perhaps not in the way you think. Depending perhaps on whether you are gay, a man. I’m not, but the beauty-fade? The loss of looks?  Getting old? The Creeping Decrepits, my son calls them. He, however, is only eighteen years younger than I, so he’ll get his. (He’s a Good Boy.) (Also a Senior GeoTech engineer, so I probably won’t be sending him this post.) You know the first thing I was thinking? Ladies,  do we kill ourselves when our looks disappear? The bright and shiny looks of youth? Noooo. And guys: this meat market, the whole guy hookup thing. Of which the Bergeron obit writes so blithely, so blindly. You think maybe it’s a tad empty? A tad suicidal, in and of itself?

Continue reading “Men. Women. Just Saying.”

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North Korea: Failure to Launch

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I never watch the news, but you know what I saw on the news? The fucking humanitarian aid, the food and supplies, North Korea receives?  The North Korean people are told that these are tributes. To their Leader. Then, if they’re lucky, I guess they get to eat.

I imagine the sun shines and the rice grows to the greater glory of the current Kim. I imagine all of creation has been made into one big tribute—especially the bad parts. For there is no one for turning his own crimes into personal glory like the professional narcissist. But even if all you know is the amateur, it’s all the same. The absence, the carefully cultivated inability to acknowledge other people. These people are the Sun King, in their own lives.

Continue reading “North Korea: Failure to Launch”

You Don’t Know What Is Happening Here, Do You, Ms. Katehi?

Verrry interesting. The slow tap tap of her heels … in all that silence. Just devastating.

Depending on which video you see, her face is quite visible, and she seems to look out over that long line of students with some surprise. No threat. That there was no threat to her was palpable. That extraordinary silence. The smartest damn protest I’ve ever seen. We’ve come a long way since the Sixties. When general melee was all. That or stopping troop trains, that was a fair biggie. Then of course the trains were routed elsewhere, and eventually the tracks torn up. But whoa, lost in the past again. Continue reading “You Don’t Know What Is Happening Here, Do You, Ms. Katehi?”

What To Do About Larry

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Should Google Tweak the News? asks the New York Times.

Count me Horrified. Can the Times retract the question?

“Should Google play an editorial role in presenting readers with news?”

That question was a matter of debate at Zeitgeist, a Google conference this week in Paradise Valley, Ariz., where Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and chief executive, said that Google had a responsibility to improve media.

The question came up when Ted Koppel, the longtime broadcast journalist, complained that too much news was drivel.

Yea, Ted.

“I see this as our responsibility to some extent, trying to improve media,” Mr. Page said. “… we have a responsibility to … get people focused on what are the real issues, what should you be thinking about.”

Larry Page? The guy who invented, along with his college pal Sergey, BackRub, which became Google?  And one used to feel so good about Google. The insanity seemed to begin—or if not begin, to be officially blessed—when Larry became CEO. Is this not a mistake? Is a however-brilliant engineer the same as a CEO? Qualified in the tiniest?

Or perhaps he has come to think of himself as Having Anything To Say, and Google as a force to shape us—the bloated ego never fails to amaze me. The past two years or so has seen Google search results so clogged with ads-as-pages, quasi-web pages. Although all that so called “content,”  faux blog posts that make the teeth ache. As does any complete and total nonsense. Get the fuck out of my way, I’m looking for something.

Okay, often I’m looking for an item to buy, the sort of search that starts spammers drooling. But what poor souls, what non-native English speakers click on not only the links on those junk pages, but while we’re at it, on Google text ads.  Do you even see Google ads anymore, or are they just blots of busyness fucking up the page layout? Raise your hand.

I don’t care who Google hires, in this new drive for—importance? Hipness? Social? Google is stuck in ugly. This is not news, any more than is Larry’s fatuousness. What’s amazing is that people who should know better—well, that isn’t news either, everyone bows to money. Nowadays.

Not so long ago, there were forms of power that couldn’t be calculated in hits, or page rank. It’s important to remember that it’s the tools that have gone rotten, and the way people think. Money corrupts—and has, as long as we participate in that thinking, corrupted us.

 

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The Shock of the New

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On Richard Brody’s New Yorker Blog, the DVD of the Week is that fave, that treasure, Terrence Malick’s Badlands.

Brody writes:

It’s a jolt to see “Badlands” again after having seen the new movie; what seems, in the earlier film, to have been mere hints, adornments, and suggestions—background gleams, silhouettes, shots of nature and landscape, a fascination with the celestial, a sense of the cosmic …

And I am like, stop right there! What about those crickets and other night cries in “Days of Heaven.” What about those “background gleams” that sure as hell came to the forefront in the prairie fire. Silhouettes—Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, swiping at the fire with what was it, their shirts? Tricky fire, it seemed so small, so manageable, before it swept the plains. Just clumps of grass.

Grass. What a motif, throughout Malick’s work. The New World … nothing but grass whispers, until, y, Colin Farrell appears like a god, from nowhere the natives had imagined, ever had reason to imagine. The Thin Red Line. Must I go on? It is a pleasure to go on.

Then a commenter gets his pants in a knot. I make it a rule not to read comments, because they always spoil the damn piece.

… Kael’s opinion wasn’t based solely on the performance style of the actors. She says, “Kit (Martin Sheen) and Holly (Sissy Spacek) are emotionless, and the film looks at them emotionlessly.” She says that “Kit and Holly are kept at a distance, doing things for no explained purpose; it’s as if the director had taped gauze over their characters, so we wouldn’t be able to take a reading on them.” If any “mistake” has been made, it’s been made by you, Richard Brody, in your consistently skewed interpretations of Kael’s words.

Like Pauline Kael was someone to look to on the subject of emotion? Kael, as quoted here, is so misguided, I can’t help but think she was threatened by all that Malick foretold—not her kind of film. And film was hers, then.

For if Kit and Holly represented anyone, it was precisely nowhere kids like them: bored, without resource, without a future. Kit grabbed at what everyone grabs at now: fame. Via murder? Does the shooter care?

And Holly? Didn’t you know phlegmatic girls like Holly back in school?

Then you didn’t grow up in a small town. Where no one gave a thought to a college education. Where your life held no surprises. Only risk.

I left Mr. Pants a reply. Funny how you can care about a film.

Maybe it’s an age thing, or where you grew up, but nothing could convey that empty forward push of people like Kit and Holly than their “emotionless” demeanor. Which shows them as all the more lost, in the modern world to come.

Burning the Hajib

hajibBurning down the cloth house. Have you a shred of a chance of realizing all that you know in your heart are your dreams withheld, stifled, lost? And does this loss, what you have already lost and what will come, does it resonate anywhere? Or do your struggles as women rise and disappear like waves in the ocean, what does one woman matter, in a world you know is Wrong. Misguided, stupid to the core. Could you do better with one little finger than the men you refuse to call, anymore, leaders. And don’t you have to live with the terrible obviousness. Your perfect skill to find the moral balance midst conflict. Isn’t it all a big pissing contest, no more than gang behavior … and aren’t you, as a woman, with your maternal, familial skills, aren’t you the hope of the world?

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More Than A Disgrace

Rereading Seymour Hersch in The New Yorker. Christ, it’s searing. Explain to me what the Rumsfelds of this world, the Gonzales’, explain to me what the prize is. Or is it just that when you no longer feel what other humans feel, you are capable of anything.

These mild men. Not-men. Our own, pale Eichmanns.

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservist but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoner in Iraq.

According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq.

“Generate more intelligence.” That’s bureaucrat for: “If you torture them, people will give up the really valuable information.”

Jesus, the gasping stupidity of it all. Continue reading “More Than A Disgrace”