Tom Waits on YouTube ["Video Bar" added 4/3/07]

Loading...

Friday, March 30, 2007

* RADIO RANT: French Cuisine

There's some company selling language software on the radio called Rosetta Stone. The "testimonial" guy brags about going into a French restaurant and being able to say, "Je voudrais le poulet et le riz." Hey, if I ever get to Paris—or even to a "fine" French restaurant—why the hell would I order plain ol' chicken and rice!? (The dish had better have lots of garlic in it?) . . . Another person on the web hears it as "le poulet et le frit"—and points out the awful grammar, in that case: it should be "les frites" (fries, plural, not one "fry"). But even worse, then: I'm gonna fly to Paris or Nice or Marseilles and order—chicken and fries?! (Er, one fry, thank you—I'm watching my cholesterol.)

[Added 3/31/07:] Okay, so a third person on the web hears it as "le poulet rotî" (roasted chicken), a well-known French dish—in which case, "never mind!" But I'm gonna have to listen again. . . .

[Added 4/6/07:] No—I'm pretty positive now, upon hearing it again, that's it's "et le riz."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

*RADIO RANT: Conservatives' Favorite Two Words

. . . of disapprobation: on conservative talk radio, these two words are "POLITICALLY CORRECT." (Nope, liberal is only ONE word!) But like "liberal," this phrase has been rendered ugly by conservative brainwashing and browbeating. The original intent of "P.C." (not our choice of words, anyway) in the 1970's was the simple(?) entreaty to respect diversity/difference in social discourse: as a corrective to sexism ("chairperson" rather than "chairman"); as a corrective to racism ("Native American" instead of "gut-eater" or "prairie n-----"); as a corrective to heterosexism ("gay" rather than "faggot"); as a corrective to all blithe denigrations of people with disabilities (i.e., avoiding such awful, dehumanizing terms as "crippled" and "retarded"); etc. (To those who say, "But those are only words"—I have no words for you. Or more to the point: that calls for another blog entry, on social constructivism and poststructuralism.)

Admittedly and unfortunately, the conservative backlash against such gestures towards linguistic—gasp—humanity has been very SLY in its strategy: "We won't use those words any more" (except for Michael Savage?!, who just offhandedly tossed off the word "cripple" the other night); "we will instead go on the offensive and claim that such calls for tolerance are themselves intolerant—of our very right to hold attitudes that are, finally, just as . . . sexist, racist, etc., as we bigots have always clung to, and indeed, cherished, as reactionary confirmation of our own tenuous and xenophobic self-worth."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

* Geico "Caveman" = "Indian" (cartoon)

This is my recent cartoon-blurb add to a graphic found on the 'Net long ago. I think that the Gieco "caveman" commercials are brilliant satires on 1st-world ethnocentrism, on the primitivist ideology that finds all other peoples to be more backwards than the so-called "superior" members of Western Civilization. And I can't help but think of the New World Western discourse regarding the "savage" Native American—who, yes, still exists, and who—like the Geiko Neanderthal coming upon his "caricature" on a poster in an airport—still feels a deep chagrin at very similar contemporary stereotypes.

* Gaian Allergies

Planets have allergies, too.The early morning radio headline news had the obligatory annual note on spring allergies, followed by reports of weird weather in California and Texas. . . . Well, planets have allergies, too; in reaction to certain irritants (including humankind), they suffer from sneezing, and from itching, burning, watery eyes.

Quot. of the Day:

"There is a separation that has taken place between us and nature. Something has broken deep in the core of ourselves. . . . The result is a spiritual fragmentation that has accompanied our ecological destruction."
    --Linda Hogan

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

* Dissonant Times Deserve . . . . (cartoon)

Scan of a hand-drawn cartoon circa 1991—I think my first wife drew the cartoon (at least the face?), and I wrote the blurb (musta thought I was Rimbaud or somebody at the time).

* Birdwatching Joke

On The Daily Show last night (3/26/07), Lewis Black had a hilarious take on the publication of the first Iraqi bird guide: [to paraphrase Black from memory,] "Yeh, that's the thing to do in Iraq right now! Let's dress up in camouflage, get some big-ass binoculars, and go out and just lurk!"

Quot. of the Day:

Bird watching: "a mild paralysis of the central nervous system which can be cured only by rising at dawn and sitting in a bog." --Joe Hickey

* Intelligent Design

INTELLIGENT DESIGN is simply anthropomorphic circular reasoning, a projection of homocentric notions of "intelligence" and "design" upon an utterly alien (non-human) universe. For instance, the organization of, say, quartz crystals is really NOT analoguous—at least in the way meant by the intelligent-design people—to a child's propensity to draw circles and squares on a piece of construction paper. . . .

I've also always been tickled by the proof of "God" as "First Cause": for the universe to have begun, the argument goes, there must have been some "someone" (presumable an anthropomorphic deity) prior to its existence who created it. But then, who created that 'someone"?! The argument that "HE" had always there, for all time, could be more reasonably extended (cf. Occam's Razor) to the cosmos itself. (Moreover, the whole argument is based upon a culturally specific Western rationalism, with its privileging of origins and cause-and-effect as fundamental tools with which to attempt to explain anything.)

Quots. of the Day:

"God? . . . who the hell is he? There is nothing here, at the moment, but me and the desert. And that's the truth. Why confuse the issue by dragging in a superfluous entity? Occam's razor. Beyond atheism, nontheism. I am not an atheist but an earthiest. Be true to the earth."
    --Edward Abbey

"If a man's imagination were not so weak, so easily tired, if his capacity for wonder not so limited, he would abandon forever such fantasies of the supernal. He would learn to perceive in water, leaves and silence more than sufficient of the absolute and marvelous, more than enough to console him for the loss of the ancient dreams."
    --Edward Abbey

Monday, March 26, 2007

* RADIO RANT: Conservative Bumper Tunes

[2nd subtitle: Conservative Contradictions III]

It first struck me years ago, when I heard Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" as a lead-in or lead-out bumper to the The Rush Limbaugh Show. How incongruous, I thought, to play such "hip" hard-rock tunes—and to give the show a greater "hip" feel for a wider, younger audience?—VERSUS Rush's own moral-majority message, against we Lefties' supposed drug abuse, profligacy, etc. (common subjects in the very bumper tunes the conservative talk show hosts often play, BTW). Glenn Beck's custom theme song sounds like some knock-off of the Friends TV song: so 90's pop-rock (and now so dated) in its sound. Michael Savage goes them all one better with some thrash-speed-metal theme à la Metallica; this can't be what he listens to in his spare time?! Of course, cultural critics have long pointed out the rather fascist elements of heavy metal; and I can imagine the Savage Nation (as he dubs his acolytes) stomping their jackboots—er, banging their heads—to the ideological beat right now. . . .

On a more pleasant note, I actually enjoy many of the Coast to Coast AM bumpers. There are the expected "ooh-OOh" standbyes, like BÖC's "The Reaper," Fleetwood Mac's "Hypnotized," and Golden Earring's "Twilight Zone." But besides the fact that I love the techno theme song (Moroder's "The Chase"), I occasional get turned onto "new" songs (e.g., Alannah Miles' "Black Velvet" and Métisse's "Boom Boom Ba"); and I often rediscover some tune I haven't heard in years. Thus I was recently inspired to figure out the guitar to old 1970 Santana song "Samba Pa Ti"—rather a jazz-solo, bossa-fingerstyle version. Here's the tab to the first section (I'll send anyone the entire tablature upon request, plus the full key to my more esoteric symbols below):


|------------------pickup notes::::------------------------------------3--|
|------------------------------------------------------------3------/5----|
|--------------------------------------------------2-4-/5-----------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
::A1::
GM7 Bm7
||------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
||(1h)3=======---3====-----------3----|--/7========---7====-----7h8p7------|
||---------------4====-------0h4==----|---------------7==========-----7----|
||---------------4====----------------|---------------7================----|
||------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
||-------------------3----------------|-------------------7============----|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Em7 Am7
|------------------------------------|---------------------------------3--|
|----------/8-----8==---8-------5====|====-------------------3------/5----|
|----------/7-----7==---7-------5====|====----------2-4-/5----------------|
|----------/9-----9==---9-------5====|====--------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
|---0========-------0====------------|---5=======-------------------------|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

GM7 Bm7
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
|(1h)3=======---3====-----------3----|--/7---7====---7====-----7h8p7------|
|---------------4====-------0h4==----|---------------7====----------------|
|---------------4====----------------|---------------7====-----------9----|
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
|-------------------3====------------|-------------------7----------------|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Em7 Am7 v
|------------------------------------|---------------5h7p5-5---3h5p3------|
|----------/8-----8==---8-------5====|====----*5---------------------5----|
|----------/7-----7==---7-------5====|====----*5--------------------------|
|----------/9-----9==---9-------5====|====----*5--------------------------|
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
|---0========-------0====------------|---5--------------------------------|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

D9 [harm.] Am7
|--*5-------7------------------------|---------------5h7p5-5---3h5p3------|
|--*5----------/12===--!12!==--------|--------*5---------------------5----|
|--*5--------------------------------|--------*5--------------------------|
|--*4--------------------------------|--------*5--------------------------|
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|---5--------------------------------|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

D9 v D7 v [single attack:]
|--*5--------------------------------|------------------------------------|
|--*5-----5---5---5h7p5\3====--------|---3--------------------------------|
|--*5--------------------------------|---5-------------------5p3/1p0h1/3--|
|--*4--------------------------------|---4--------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|---5--------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Am7 Bm7 v
|------------------------------------|--------------------------*2--------|
|---------------5========---5--------|-------3-------5b(7)---3--*3--------|
|---2-----------5========---5--------|--/4----------------------*2--------|
|---------------5========---5--------|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
|-----------------------5====--------|------------------------------------|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Am7(9) D9
v v v v v v v
|--*7---5---5---3---3-------3--*5====|============================--------|
|--*5-------------------5------*5====|============================--------|
|--*5--------------------------*5====|============================--------|
|------------------------------*4====|============================--------|
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

D7 v
|---------------------------------3--|| [to the top . . .]
|---3-------------------3------/5----||
|---5----------2-4-/5----------------||
|---4--------------------------------||
|---5--------------------------------||
|------------------------------------||
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Saturday, March 24, 2007

* Lewis & Clark (photo/cartoon)

Outside the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, NE, is this tribute to Lewis & Clark, and to Euro-American colonialism. Beside the figures in the photo above is an Indian kid spreading a U.S. flag—in celebrative mode, apparently.

Friday, March 23, 2007

* RADIO RANT: "Sports Talk Studs"

It was curious to listen in on how the John Ameche vs. Tim Hardaway flap played out a few weeks ago on sports-talk radio. Ameche had just "come out of the closet" after having retired from the NBA; fellow NBA alumnus Hardaway, when asked about the possibility of a gay teammate, said, "I hate gay people."

As expected, Hardaway's remark was lambasted nearly unanimously by ESPN, Fox Sports, and local-affiliate radio-heads—with good reason, of course. But what strikes me as curious about the whole affair is how disingenuous, even hypocritical, this whole chorus seemed, given the day-to-day blatant macho heterosexism that characterizes most of the "talent" in the syndicated sports talk media. The interminable adolescents-in-an-alley sexist wink-wink double entendres about women, the frequent admonishments to "man up" and to "show you got a pair," come across finally as desperate appeals of "Look at me! I'm a manly man (though I may well be in sports 'journalism' because I wasn't even 'man' enough to make the high school varsity team)!" The shtick on ESPN's morning show between Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic—the former casting himself as a metrosexual "sissy man," much to Golic's consciously exaggerated manly-man chagrin—may seem to be an exception, but it ultimately only reinforces the heterosexist ideology. But the heterosexism really deconstructs itself in the banter between many a radio-sports-talk-show team, as their interchange becomes "embarrassingly" (to them, if they were conscious of it) "homosocial"—to use Eve Sedgwick's term—even homoerotic. (A welcome exception: at least Dan Patrick can be consciously self-ironic about it.)

Of course, this is just one manifestation of sports fandom as the great homosocial outlet for the American male. . . . Come now, we don't look forward so desperately to next Saturday afternoon w/ a six-pack and the boys just because Whatsamatta U. is playing South-South-Central Missouri State, do we? Hey, and if it's football, we get to watch other men throw their bodies against each other. Woo-hoo! "Go—uh—Big Red!" . . .

Thursday, March 22, 2007

* RADIO RANT: Conservative Contradictions II

Two common themes in Michael Savage's various harangues contradict each other (or do they?).

Theme #1: The U.S. (as the evolutionary apex of western Judeo-Christian culture in general) is the greatest thing since sliced apple pie (with vanilla ice cream). Furthermore, "we" are in grave danger from the threat of radical Islam, which (apparently—in this argument—out of sheer malice, jealousy, and religious fanaticism) would wipe us off the face of the earth, if we weren't so capable of still being as mighty, brave, and righteous as our forefathers. (And of course, the patriarchal fathers is quite the operative word here.) (Savage still rattles the saber of this argument intermittently—and always vociferously—although he seems now more prone to the next, contrary view.)

Theme #2: The U.S. is going to hell in a porno-shop video-drop-box because of the rampant perversion (read: "fags"), socialism (read: "commie bastards"), and general liberalism (which is, after all, a "mental disorder"). Indeed, it is this godless social atmosphere that the "Islamo-fascists" so revile in our culture, and therefore seek to destroy it. And if we don't change our ways, they may well do so. (This pessimistic Jeremiad is more Savage's wont these days: indeed, one wonders whether he might even welcome it, if only to fulfill his dark prophecy, and assuage his chronic misanthropy.)

Any even occasional listener to Savage's radio show realizes that the man is unbalanced, always oscillating in a schizoid manner between such apparently mutually untenable viewpoints. (Who suffers from the "mental disorder" here?) The more calm & careful conservative commentator might more reasonably argue that, of course, both these "themes" are salient in the present-day "American" character. Indeed, it's as if said character suffered itself from a bipolar disorder, both fascinating and dangerous. . . . But, hell, it's also great fun to listen as that disorder is dramatized in the psyche of a certain Michael Savage.

At last, if liberalism is a "mental disorder," it is not an illness unto itself, existing in a vacuum: it is part of a complex of interrelated, compensatory national & geopolitical neuroses and psychoses; or better, it is more a belated symptom, or even a necessary reaction, to a previous pathological psycho-social "condition." Ah, this leads nicely to another Quot. of the Day:

"What is falling, one should also push."
    --Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

* Bald Eagle (photo/cartoon)

My photo of a Bald Eagle in a Lincoln, NE zoo. (Cartoon "balloon" added w/ Comic Life 1.3.)

* RADIO RANT: Conservative Contradictions I

[Some of these early blogs are catch-ups of sorts, reactions to media trends, etc., that have been bothering me for months or years. This is a revision of an email I sent in 2003, and thus some of the anachronisms.]

[Quot. of the Day:]

America's poet once wrote, "Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself. . . ." So often epitomes of the American character, Walt Whitman's words in this instance have never rang truer than today. And never have these national contradictions been more lamentable and portentous.

I must admit to being an addict of the popular media, especially talk radio and cable news. One current refrain in said media that would seem to allow for no contradiction, a mantra of both conservative radio pundits and administration mouthpieces, is that "this is the greatest country on earth," an utterance inevitably accompanied by the assumption, spoken or not, that this greatness stems from our morality and our godliness as a "chosen" people. But then I casually channel-surf through the "reality" television shows that—as the ratings tell us—Americans now most like to watch; and I find nothing but Americans lying, cheating, and stabbing each other in the back—an environment, at last, of petty selfishness and cruelty. Then I recall the "greatest country" mantra, and realize how much of this ideology is occasioned more by a political reaction to our espoused enemies—those Shadow complexes of "evil" and "barbarism"—than by any real examination of our own national character. And on the nightly news I see mothers killing their children, friends of the family kidnapping children, and endless (however moralistic) speculation about Michael Jackson and children: these are symptoms of a society in its final decline, not of a society that should put itself forth as a model for the world.

We would benevolently impose our "democratic" way of life upon our "lessers." But what has our democracy come to? Ubiquitous Internet polls, that's what, mostly involving questions of the most inane nature, which nonetheless give us the false faith that we are making important, self-willed choices. Worse yet are the poll questions on national and foreign policy that really matter; we vote on these just as eagerly as we do on questions about our favorite "movie hunk"—not with any great thought based upon knowledge and research, but rather as knee-jerk, emotional outlets of our "free will," and our blind biases. And our insecure politicians are too often apt to devise policy based upon such public opinion. Worst of all, perhaps, such unthinking ease in exercising our "vote" in Internet polls may be having, or will have, a carry-over to actual elections, in which voting becomes another casual outlet for our now inveterate habit of clicking a box or circle in a web browser. (Or—perhaps closer to the truth—the electorate has always been, for the most part, a knee-jerk bundle of blind biases.)

The real quandary of democracy is that the opinion of the majority is often wrong, as any examination of American history makes clear—e.g., the majority attitudes towards slaves and women circa 1800. But conservative commentators still blithely and gleefully quote polls showing that, say, 70% of the U.S. public support the war, are against affirmative action, etc. However, the inanity of their logic comes to the fore when the polls are against their conservative agenda: what now? "Well," Rush Limbaugh says, "the people are in need of my enlightenment"—that is, they are ignorant, a rationale, however, that could just as well be applied to the majorities in the polls that support their agenda. This is the grand aporia, the logical contradiction, at the heart of democracy.

Another part of the conservative talk-show testament to our "greatness" is our First Amendment right to freedom of speech. But at the same time that they run this tenet up the flagpole of chauvinism, it is becoming clear that, in conservative discourse, the very right to dissent is becoming more and more limited. A too-common sentiment is that, in the wake of 9/11, those against current administration policies are unfit Americans who should leave the country, who should "go back where they came from." (As someone part Native American, this leaves me in something of a quandary.) As for our vaunted "equal rights"—admittedly, conservatives are now usually careful to avoid blatant racist statements; however, their knee-jerk negative reactions to, for example, African-Americans who continue to speak out for racial equality is actually a closet racism all the more insidious. And our vaunted open-minded embrace of all peoples and cultures—well, the current harangues against our erstwhile European allies—now they suddenly are "frogs" and "krauts" again—attests to an ongoing insulated xenophobia that put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps only fifty years ago. (Of course, the demonization of the Islamic world is the most blatant present example of all this.)

At last, the current contradictions in public discourse have coalesced into a seething, polarized virulence that is a danger to the very democracy that both sides would defend. My own attitude towards what I consider the irrational virulence of the conservative right is no doubt obvious. But at least I have listened long and hard—and with great angst—to their arguments. Many of my liberal friends and acquaintances (most in academia) have not, living more firmly in the ivory-towered realms of high culture and NPR, and thus have little first-hand experience with this frightening world of conservative talk radio and of "fair and balanced" (and utterly conservative) cable news. So I am afraid that many of their reactions are just as unthinking and virulent—gasps of disgust at the very names of Bush and Limbaugh, an elitist disdain for this whole "redneck, trailer-house" culture. It also seems to me that many of my liberal academic friends know as little about current political events and debates as their opponents, and that their pet liberal projects, such as the pro-choice and pro-environmental movements, are often championed in just as knee-jerk fashion. And there's the problem I perceive—an increasingly polarized populace yelling at each other more and more loudly, with less and less knowledge and discernment. But then, I never said that humankind was a rational animal.

* RADIO RANT: Global Warming--Facts and Reason

Quot. of the Day:

"There are no facts, only interpretations."
    --Friedrich Nietzsche
Nietzsche's words will seem to some as the worst sort of postmodernist, relativist drivel; but his point is that there is no "statement of fact" within human discourse that is disinterested, that is not biased by our own subjectivity, colored as it is by our membership in our species, nation, political ideology, et al. The current political debate about global warming is a fine case in point: whatever the objective truth about its causes, extent, or very reality, the debate itself is nearly entirely a whirlwind of subjective, self-interested ideologies (and I don't exempt scientists here). My own "liberal" pro-environmentalist is certainly colored by my own self-identities, by my lifelong reading of Romantics and naturists, by my minority-status allegiance to colonial discourse theory—and maybe even by a certain inveterate misanthropy that really resents the view that "man is the measure (and center) of all things."

But I'm just as struck by the knee-jerk reaction against the possibility of global warming by every talking head I've heard in conservative talk radio, including Limbaugh, Savage, Beck, and Drudge (and strangely on first sight, George Noory). WHY? It can't be that conservative values per se have led each and all to the same interpretation of the scientific data. No, it's gotta be one thing (sort of a "conservative value," I guess): the Republican self-interest of pro-Big-Business. "There's nothin' wrong, people! No need to worry about legislation regarding emission standards! (Etc., etc.)"

I must qualify myself. In the wake of recent overwhelming evidence against them, these talking heads are gradually adopting a more "reasonable"—if just as dangerous—position: "Maybe there is global warming, but it's a natural-cycle thing; humankind and our techno-industry have had nothing to do with it, and there's certainly nothing we can do about it now." This again lets big business and industrial capitalism off the hook.

Last night (3/20/07), as an example, Michael Savage grasped the most recent straw of this latter argument, rehearsing the new finding that Mars is warming up, too; ergo, it's a solar thing, and no fault of good old homo sapiens. . . . However, in explaining to us peons in his usual supercilious fashion how the solar system works, he said that the sun is "the smallest star in the solar system"(?!). HUH? He was just misspeaking here, no doubt, but he was just plain wrong in his argument that, because Mars is warming up and the Earth is warming up, they MUST be related out of sheer "Aristotelian logic." No, this is actually a fallacy of cause & effect, and is certainly not a syllogistic proof, if that's what he had in mind. (In other words, if I go bald tomorrow and Tom Cruise goes bald tomorrow, the fact that we both use Suave shampoo [right!] is no sufficient proof of cause.) I am reminded of Limbaugh's tried-and-true dichotomy between the liberal-as-emotional-feeler and the conservative-as-rational-thinker, a facile dualism at least implicitly assumed by most later conservative talking heads. But characteristically, the conservatives' vaunted "reason" is ultimately a series of specious rationalizations, based on their own (very emotional) self-interests. (Moreover, it assumes the view that "Man is a rational animal." As I watch cable news or listen to talk show callers, I find this very hard to believe.) . . . But all of this is only my interpretation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

* Beyond Humanism

Oh, to get beyond all the politics, and literature, and literature about politics, and politics about literature, to get outside of my skin, of my species. . . .

Quots. of the Day:

WAXWINGS

Four Tao philosophers as cedar waxwings
chat on a February berrybush
in sun, and I am one.

Such merriment and such sobriety—
the small wild fruit on the tall stalk—
was this not always my true style?

Above an elegance of snow, beneath
a silk-blue sky a brotherhood of four
birds. Can you mistake us?

To sun, to feast, and to converse
and all together—for this I have abandoned
all my other lives.
    --Robert Francis (1960)


from AVIAN NIGHTS

The babies screamed to greet the morning light.
What could they've been so excited about?
What is starling joy? When a starling finds
A shiny button, does it dance and shout?

Do starlings celebrate their day of birth?
Do they lust and take each other to bed?
Are they birds of infinite jest, of mirth
And merry? How do they bury their dead? . . .
    --Sherman Alexie (2003)

* RADIO RANT: Engfish (sic) Only

Among the specific ideological inanities of Michael Savage's "language, borders, & culture" spiel is the eternal call for English Only—as he then proceeds to mispronounce every other 4- or 5-syllable word that he utters (despite his alleged Ph.D. credentials). And I heard Glenn Beck, a few weeks back, defend conservatives as follows: "[They call us conservatives non-compassionate just because we want] only English to be spoke here?"!? Outrageous!—to summarize his oh-so-cutesy tongue-in-cheek conclusion. But, well—if English is going to be "spoke" that way, it's rather a Pyrrhic victory, n'est-ce pas?

* A Postcolonial Parable

In my Native American literature courses, two or three students every semester tell me/"us Indians" to "get over it. I didn't do anything to you people!"

And so I wrote the following PARABLE for them:

My dad raped a woman. And when he was done, he took this great diamond from her dresser drawer, a diamond beautiful beyond imagination. When my dad died, I used that diamond to make my fortune on Main Street, and on Wall Street. But later, the sons and daughters of that raped woman came to me and said that they wanted the diamond back. "Go to Hell," I said. "I'm not the one who raped your mother or stole your diamond. Take your claims elsewhere!" Proclaiming all this with a mighty huff of triumph, I walked blithely away to enjoy all the more my profits and my privilege.

* RADIO RANT: Red Elk & George Noory

So I was listening to the "ooh-OOH" late night (er, early morning) radio show a week or two ago, Coast to Coast AM, and the guest was that New-Age-"shaman"-faker Red Elk. It was bad enough that there were lots of people out there falling for his crap (with the obligatory "send me money" about every five minutes), but the host George Noory actually started calling him "Red" for short after a while, thinking, apparently, that that was his first name, or nickname! And the poseur didn't even bother to correct him.

I'm also generally saddened by Coast-to-Coast's untoward change in tone when George replaced Art Bell a few years back. Sure, Art may have given some of his more wacko UFO-abductee guests a little more slack than they deserved, but he usually kept a good cynical head about him and, at last, one could discern an all-in-good-fun wink of the eye about the whole program. But Noory either believes almost all the drivel his guests spout, or he is--even worse--disingenuous in his "you-never-know" all-embracement of the supernatural. Worst of all, the Christian-theological undercurrent that Noory brings to bear is something Art must be biting his tongue hard about: in sum (and to paint with a broad brush), the show has devolved from aliens to angels, from entertainment to intellectual insult.

* Sitting Bull, Anti-Terrorist (picture)

 

This is my version of the popular t-shirt/poster slogan (replacing an armed Geronimo & company with Tatanka Iyotanka [Sitting Bull].)

Monday, March 19, 2007

* RADIO RANT: Michael Savage & Bogus History

Michael Savage has struck again with some egregious misstatements, in his commentary on the movie 300. For one thing, he at least implied that the Spartans at Thermopylae won (nope, they all perished in their "heroism"). More troubling—and in line with his usual xenophobic attitudes towards Islam—he claimed that the Xerxes & the Persians were "Muslims," although the battle took place a good millennium before the Koran.

In Savage's Manichean view of geopolitics, the Islamic world = those "backward" and "effeminate Oriental" Persians, and the Greeks = the U.S., of course (the two great "flowerings" of Western civilization). But his brief gloss-of-a-paean to Greek culture failed to mention that the Greek city-states were hardly utopias, either (most notably Sparta itslef), and that their treatment of women, slaves, and "barbarians" hardly made them diametrical opposites of that idolatrous "Orient." (And, oh, oh—the homophobe in Mr. Savage best read Plato's Symposium. . . .)

This commentary was actually from Friday, and he replayed it tonight, as he patted himself on his genius (in true Rush Limbaugh fashion). Mr.—er, Doctor—Savage actually claimed tonight, in lauding his own harangue after the replay, that "every word was perfect." Well, only if he could change the dates of either Xerxes' reign or Mohammed's birth.

* "Check, Check" (1st Blog Entry)

There's nothing to say, and too many bloggers spend way too much time saying just that. But I'll throw my hat in the ring, since I'm po'd every 5 minutes by something I hear on conservative talk radio.

There's nothing to say . . . that hasn't been said better already; and so a—

Quot. of the Day:

"Insanity in individuals is something rare—but in groups, parties,nations, and epochs it is the rule."
    --Friedrich Nietzsche

A Word from One of My Sponsors (not "AdSense"; rather "MadSense" or "RadSense"):

MeadowlarkSponsor