Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction finally located April 18, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, wingnuts.
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I can imagine the conversation:
Party Loyalist: What will we do when the Americans come looking for WMDs we don’t have?
Saddam: Do we still have that nitric acid from the kids’ science classes?
Party Loyalist: I think we do!
Saddam: Then it’s settled. We’ll give the Americans papercuts and totally stick there hands into the acid! That will really sting!
Don’t have enough fury in your life? Watch this April 17, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in arts and culture, language and lit.
I know many readers of this blog are, like me, huge fans of Kurt Vonnegut. While I knew he was never popular with people who did not like to think, I thought–foolishly–that he might be given some dignity due to his having passed. But count on Fox News to class it up.
Memo to James Rosen: you don’t get to decide who was happy, you smarmy sonofabitch. But you might start by making sure you’re not simply writing your desires into others’ lives. It sure seems like you despise Vonnegut for calling government bullshit (if that makes him an “icon of the left,” remember those were your words, not mine.)
The only comfort I take in this is that Rosen’s wasting his breath: Vonnegut isn’t around to hear it, and would doubtless be amused to see petty little men taking potshots at him on the occasion of his death.
In a related sidenote, I don’t pretend to know what Vonnegut would have really thought of finally kicking it. But I do know what he had to say about those we lose, and it’s much more genuine and beautiful than anything Rosen could hope to say:
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Okay, he didn’t say that exactly, but check out the vileness he vomited forth this time:
The United Nations, which purports to make and enforce modern international law, routinely undermines God’s laws concerning life, liberty and property and openly rejects any connection between God and the law of nations.
As America and other nations try to “set themselves” against the laws of God, we increase the risk of repeating the lessons of history. When our thoughts turn toward the horrors of the Holocaust this weekend, let us not forget that the Nazis at Nuremberg were held accountable because of the higher law of God to which all nations, at all times, are subject.
No, Mr. Moore. The Nazis were held accountable because the human governments of the world defeated them, and then those same human governments–whose organizations you now decry–brought the Nazis to justice. Moore is free to believe “God did it,” as he believes about every subject, but let’s be clear: the Nazis were defeated because the world (including the Soviet Union) worked to defeat them.
If Moore thinks it is God that held them accountable, then I’d ask why he wasn’t doing so while they were busy murdering millions.
But it really doesn’t matter, because people like Moore honestly believe that non-Christians couldn’t possibly act morally. In Moore’s world, the only thing that keeps people from strangling puppies while molesting babies is that they know God is watching them. So I hope Moore never decides otherwise, since his belief in God is obviously the only thing restraining him from being even worse.
Fortunately for those of us with actual moral compasses, the people of Earth can–and occasionally do–unite to condemn evil, even though they follow different gods, or no God at all. Let’s condemn humans for the evil of the Holocaust, and praise them for that which is worthy of praise.
Grindhouse April 17, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in arts and culture, language and lit.
I’ll start with this: if you have a strong stomach, Grindhouse is great fun. It’s not for those who don’t like Tarantino and Rodriguez, and it’s really aimed at those who like Troma, B movies, exploitation flicks and the like. Also, it’s gross. Really gross. But it’s great fun for those who can get over all of that.
But there’s something else worth noting: this movie is more political than you would expect, especially from Tarantino (Rodriguez has always been more interested in politics, especially racial and national politics). I’ll post some thoughts, with spoilers below the fold.
Do I think that tragedies like this one might lead to good discussion on gun laws, societal standards, contemporary alienation, and the like, I think that if your first instinct is to say “it’s the evolutionists,” “it’s the
muslims foreign people,” “it’s the gun control people,” “it’s the anti-gun control people,” or whatever, step back and reconsider. Please.
There are no easy answers here, and frankly we haven’t had the time to really heal enough to begin an appropriately thoughtful discussion. This is a terrible situation, and we don’t know what could have prevented it, or how things could have gone differently.
Let’s mourn the dead, contemplate the facts as they come out, and begin a healthy discussion. And for the love of all that is good, let’s ignore those who would politicize horror for their own ends.
I have a Bible quote which I was going to post with a picture of Osama Bin Laden. But I have a problem with doing that:
I don’t want to have his photo on our blog. Even though it fits with the verse.
So here’s how we can do this:
If you would be so kind as to use your imagination and remember what he looks like, hold that thought in your mind and read:
“A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood
Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him.”
As a public service, I too can provide a picture of a man who is laden the guilt of human blood,* though he will undoubtedly retire to leisure:
It’s funny how some Christians only see guilt in people who don’t share their politics. But it’s not even remotely hard for them to use the Bible to make their case: anyone can.
On a related note, I support severing the hands of women who touch genitals while defending their husbands. I take it as self-evident that groin shots are totally approved by God, so long as men are doing the punching.
Hey Brian Williams: do your job! April 12, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, News and politics.
Brian Williams is upset that bloggers are getting attention. It seems he thinks that you need journalistic training to be able to compile facts, analyze data, and put forward thoughtful opinion.
So I’ll ask Williams a simple question: if mainstream journalism is getting the job done, why did Bush get a free pass on Iraqi intelligence? When untrained schmucks like me could see what the Bush Administration was up to. Simply put: if the mainstream media was really doing its job, then the blogosphere wouldn’t be nearly as powerful or important.
Sounds to me like Williams is just angry that journalists can no longer get away with appeals to authority to justify their actions: if they want to regain relevance, they’d better join the few of their number that are really doing their job.
(For the record, I have high respect for journalistic training and techniques. But I don’t think those things mean only journalists can provide valuable information and insight, nor do I think that being a journalist makes you good at practicing journalism.)
[Ed: thanks to luaphacim for pointing out that I shouldn't post while I'm this sleepy.]
Kurt Vonnegut passes away April 11, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in arts and culture, language and lit, Morality, News and politics.
Kurt Vonnegut is no longer with us. He will be missed.
I’m thinking right now of the final scene in The Sirens of Titan where Malachi Constant lies freezing to death on a cold night. Salo has mercifully programmed him to see the face of Malachi’s best friend who Malachi killed without realizing what he was doing.
We know by this point that the Universe of the Novel is, like our own, cruel, capricious, and lacking in meaning even when it has direction. So the irony of the final paragraphs is overwhelming:
“We’re–we’re going to Paradise now?” said Constant. “I–I’m going to get into Paradise?”
“Don’t ask me why, old sport,” said Stony, “but somebody up there likes you.”
Of course there is no one up there. Malachi Constant, like the rest of the characters in the novel, is a victim of chance, his life’s path largely determined by events originating in other galaxies and over which neither he nor the rest of the characters has any real control.
Vonnegut was not a sentimental writer; why then, does he end his novel with a delusion, even if a welcome one? Why have Constant die believing a lie?
Perhaps because someone up there does like him, in a sense. Constant has found a woman to love, a son to be proud of, and a reason to live. And he has patiently rebuilt Salo, who tore himself to pieces when he realized the futility of his own quest. Constant is in any number of ways not a good person, but he has made friends and has made a positive difference in the lives of others. And this difference is finally repaid, as Salo rewards Constant with a vision of that which he most desires.
So I don’t see the ending as a delusion at all: Constant has made a friend in Salo, and they have found a kind of meaning in each other’s friendship. Constant gives Salo life, and Salo gives Constant a happy death. Their lives have no external meaning of any note, but they are still made meaningful by their interactions.
That is what I most admire about Vonnegut: trapped in a bleak, uncaring and meaningless universe, his characters nevertheless are given a kind of dignity, dignity granted through their ability to make one another’s lives better, to find for themselves and their loved ones reasons to press on.
Vonnegut presented a world of cautious optimism, where hope is earned through suffering, and where meaning is never bestowed easily. He urged us to look for meaning in our interactions with one another, and to support one another in the face of a reality which has no particular desire to support us.
He will be missed.
Nathan Bradfield, still oh-so-wrong April 10, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, constiutional issues, wingnuts.
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Bradfield has been wrong before, and actually has made a pretty impressive wrong by failing to be right about most anything. I’m willing to ignore most of his vacuous arguments as obviously fake, but when he stars being staggeringly dishonest on a subject where he’s likely to be taken seriously by some otherwise reasonable people, I have to step in.
This time he’s on about the problem of “special rights” for homosexuals. Observe ye the breathless panic:
For all the whining homosexuals heap on us about not desiring morality “forced” upon them in this country, it’s not enough for them to have the freedom to commit sodomy in private.
That’s right, what Gays really want is anal sex in public during their Disney-sanctioned commitment ceremonies.
(Below the fold, Bradfield’s lies, gibberish, and heavy reliance on secondary sources)
Poetry: William Carlos Williams and L.D. April 10, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, Poetry.
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First, the one you probably know:
This is Just to Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
…and one by the largely anonymous author L.D.:
This is Just to Say
I am wearing
that you left on
you might have wanted
to put on
when you got home
it was irresistible
and so warm