Archive for the 'War On Women' Category
It is generally believed that Roundhay Garden Scene, an 1888 wonderment from Louis Le Prince, stands as the world’s first film produced using a motion picture camera.
For the fabled Science Men, forever marching on, recently unearthed a film, produced using a motion picture camera, that captures an 1866 Ku Klux Klan rally in that upbubbling of Hell known as Georgia.
Therein, diverting for a moment a demented diatribe centered primarily on the need to hunt down and hang “uppity darkies,” a crazed yeehaw can be seen, and heard, sternly commanding his fellow yeehaws to marry females when they are not more than 15 or 16 years of age, after first insuring that the frail pale wildwood flowers have one hand welded to a bible, while the other is ceaselessly engaged in cooking and/or duck-plucking. Then, as the syphilis seizes his brain—syphilis contracted through many a night devoted to cornholing sheep, feral pigs, and alligators, out in the swamps and bayous—the yeehaw begins ejaculating wildly, waving his bible, and thrusting into George Washington’s mouth things the man never actually said.
The horror. The horror.
F. Scott Fitzgerald saw it. To the bottom of every bottle. Which, early—44—killed him.
No matter. He got it right. Wrote the Great American Novel. The Great Gatsby. Which ends with this:
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away. Until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther . . . . And one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
The green light, it will never be attained, as Fitzgerald knew, on this continent, by white people. Because they do not belong here. It was a mistake, for them to ever to have come. To this place. Because it is not their place.
The green light, they can bask in it—the white people—when, “boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” they return to from where they came. Where they should, forever, have remained.
the little bird; all that there is
We now know the genesis of addled actor Clint Eastwood’s “talk to the chair” routine at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
This is the Diamond number that contains the notorious foursome:
i am, i said
to no one there
and no one heard at all
not even the chair
This last line is one of the great clunkers in all of songwriting. People active and practiced in the craft, to this day they cannot understand why persons and/or sound machines emitting such a travesty are not pelted with tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and other rotting substances.
I mean, yeah, the guy needed a rhyme for “there.” And, in this tune, Diamond is deeply afunk in Bummertude. Because he ain’t being listened to. About the crushing burden of having to live in Los Angeles, rather than New York. In order to earn eleventy-billion dollars in the music business.
So sure, okay, we get it, nobody’s listening to him bleat.
And, among the nobodies, can be counted a chair.
But, like, had the chair ever heard him? When he was moaning about having to earn more money than Midas, out in LA, rather than in New York? Was it normal for the chair to give ear, when he was on about such things? Was this like . . . a magic chair?
Or, since we are talking 1971 here, a drug chair? A chair that, when Mr. Diamond delved into the many fine psychoactive substances of the time, heard and talked and danced and sang and otherwise engaged in all manner of merry wonderful weirdness?
We receive no information about any of this. All we know is that the chair doesn’t hear him.
And this is not surprising. Because a chair—unless it is a drug chair, and/or a quantum physics chair—is not equipped with aural apparati. Hearing is not what a chair is supposed to be about. The thing is there but to plant your butt on.
No. Sorry to say, what we must here reluctantly conclude, is that Diamond was a lazy-ass mofo. Who just settled on some “chair,” not hearing him, because he was too slothful and/or thickheaded to come up with any other rhyme for “there.”
And it is said that the man spent four months writing that song.
And in all that time the best he could up with was “not even the chair”? The mind: it reels.
Today, while driving, it took me about four minutes to come up with about fourteen alternatives.
For instance, if Diamond had not been suffering from a city-disability, and were singing instead from or about some country place Normal, then various and sundry animals could have been mustered not to hear him. We could have had “not even the bear” or “not even the hare” or “not even the mare.” Who were not hearing the guy.
Or he could have complained “not even Aunt Clare,” which would also have allowed him to go wild with banjos in the break. Or “in all County Klare,” which would have permitted him to pour a thundering wall of bagpipes into the song.
Since Diamond at the time was riding a wave of songs in which he praised unrestrained bibulation—”Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Red, Red Wine,” etc.—he could have referenced his ongoing rednoseness by admitting “and no one heard at all/when I tripped on the stair.”
He could have been all stoic, and defiantly proclaimed: “and I did not care.” He could have gone dada, and pronounced: “so I ate a pear.” Or strayed into Isaac Hayes territory, with “so I porked the au pair.” He could have envisioned the onrushing cult of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and come out as a crossdresser, boasting “so I shaved with Nair.”
And so on.
Anywho. Clint—fast-forward to 2012—is there in his hotel room, when suddenly the extraterrestrials—who, as has previously been documented here on red, owned and controlled the GOoPer portion of the 2012 presidential campaign—bring to him over the radio Diamond declaiming about the obdurate chair that will not hear.
And Clint, he experiences a truly massive brainshower. He will go on stage, with a chair, and pretend it is President Obama. And, like the Diamond chair, the Obama chair, when Clint pours out upon it his complaints, it will just sit there; it will neither hear, nor respond.
This brainshower, it will be remembered, when it was spewed out across the land, was considered a laff riot by that 23% of the American population that occupies what is today the equivalent of Dogpatch.
“Way to put it to the black man, Clint!” the Dogpatchians, they squealed like a pig. “Yeehaw!”
However, those of us who have not married or otherwise had sexual congress with our sisters, and/or other blood relatives, we had quite a different reaction.
Not even the Captain Underpants people, it developed, not even they, could easily stomach the chair scene. Literally, they could not stomach it. Senior Underpants advisor Stuart Stevens, it is said, vomited. While the Neil-inspired Eastwood, he was dying there, on stage, with the chair. Stevens, he wished that, like in the Diamond song, no one would hear Clint. At all. Not even the chair.
It was the astute AvoWoman who first pointed out to me that this speech was not the first time that Eastwood had publicly addressed wood products.
Oh no. For way back in 1969, Eastwood wandered around on screen, “singing,” in the film Paint Your Wagon, “I Talk To The Trees.”
And even back then, the wood gave ol’ Clint the deaf ear.
And it was not only the trees. But every other blessed natural element, as well.
I talk to the trees
But they don’t listen to me
I talk to the stars
But they never hear me
The breeze hasn’t time
To stop and hear what I say
I talk to them all in vain
Be warned. Beyond the furthur, I shall embed Mr. Eastwood. “Singing.” Not only that, I shall also embed, from the same film, Lee Marvin, also “singing.” And this last, some say, is the aural equivalent of the Holocaust.
Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
—William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
So far as I can determine, Darth Cheney has always been controlled by Fear.
He grew up—a child—in Caspar, Wyoming. Staring across the endless wastes. Where there was nothing. Nothing at all. Least of all: him. Amidst all this nothingness. Young Darth. He became Afraid. So lonely. So cold. Just . . . so lonely.
And then, his corporeal container, it failed him. Utterly. And early.
In 1978, when Darth was but 37, a massive real-bad heart attack, attempted to carry him away. This he, somehow, survived. Six years later, he had a second heart attack. A third came after four more years. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery at age 47. In late November of 2000, while waiting for the United States Supreme Court to complete its judicial coup, and thereby elevate Darth, and his minion George II, to the vice presidency and presidency, of the United States, respectively, Cheney was hit with a fourth heart attack. A fifth struck in 2010.
In the many meantimes, Cheney underwent coronary artery stenting, urgent coronary balloon angioplasty, the implantation of a cardioverter-defibrillator. Etc., etc., and etc. He also had fitted this and that and the other, and more, pacemakers.
In the spring of 2011, amid desperate and extraordinary attempts to extend his life, he became a man with no pulse.
Basically, Darth Cheney is a roboman. Nature, it tried to carry him off. And many years ago. But technology. It keeps him keepin’ on.
From the first time ever I saw his face, Arnold Schwarzenegger has annoyed me.
Almost as much as the song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”
But never mind that now.
“What a nimrod,” I thought. “Here’s a goofy gap-toothed guy whose last name translates as ‘Blackblack.’ His name is redundant, and so is he.”
Humans engage in many pursuits that may be fairly described as imbecilic. “Bodybuilding” surely is one of these. I have long believed that such people should be confined to zoos. For the poses they strike, the spectacle they make of their tortured and contorted near-naked bodies—these may be likened only to baboons shimmy-shaking their bright-pink asses, giraffes blithely running fourteen feet of tongue in and out of their nostrils, pint-sized hippos waddling about with their penises on backwards, terminally nearsighted rhinos suddenly gone mad racing across the dirt to plunge their horns into shivering two-by-fours.
“Martial artists”—they can occupy the next cage over.
It was during this “bodybuilding” period that Schwarzenegger personally consumed most of the steroids annually imported into the state of California. Indeed, so extreme was his consumption, that by the age of 30 his testicles had negative mass. They could not be detected even through an electron microscope.
Schwarzenegger next decided he would defile the movies.
Director and self-described Cro-Magnon Man John Milius must be blamed for this: he cast Schwarzenegger as the ur-human protagonist in Conan the Barbarian.
Schwarzenegger’s film career, combined with Milius’ literally unbelievable Red Dawn, recently resulted in a United Nations declaration that, as Punishment for his Sins against Mankind, Milius must be placed in a see-through bamboo cage and run through the streets of Hong Kong, followed by a million Chinese loudly banging gongs.
From time to time I have earned my crust as a film critic. For many years, it seemed like whenever some new Schwarzenegger vomit hurled itself upon the screen, I was ordered to review it. Once I thought seriously of shooting myself in the arm, to avoid a Schwarzenegger assignment, one that I knew would result in a lifetime of PTSD. I refrained only because my then-editor was such a Walter Burns that he would have ordered me to do The Job anyway, insisting I could dictate the piece into a handheld tape recorder, using my one good arm.
I remember leaving the Schwarzenegger monstrosity End of Days convinced that motion pictures should just be abolished. Better that no film, ever, anywhere, ever again be screened, than that something like that End of Days atrocity be allowed to slouch out of Schwarzenegger to be borne.
Somewhere along the line, Schwarzenegger married a Kennedy.
For a long time this pissed me off. Until I realized that, because of completely out-of-control Catholic breeding practices, there are now so many Kennedys in America, that the chances of a person entering matrimony finding his- or herself marrying a Kennedy, these are about equivalent to getting “heads” on a coin-toss. In fact, odds are good that I myself may marry a Kennedy, before my day is done.
Not that Schwarzenegger should be marrying anyone. He is the sort of man for whom Science Men should construct a cunning device that would be implanted under the skin in order to deliver a powerful and incapacitating jolt of electricity, whenever he comes within five feet of a woman.
This is because Schwarzenegger is the sort of “man” who, when he comes within five feet of a woman, thinks it a hoot to reach out and twist her nipple, then giggle like a monkey.
We now know that, during his marriage, whenever Schwarzenegger was puttering around the house, and would grow bored, he would wander down the hall and impregnate the maid.
After so befouling the movies that extraterrestrials have blocked off-world transmission of Terran films for a thousand years, Schwarzenegger next decided to invade politics.
When Karl Rove and Enron deliberately shot in the stomach California Governor Gray Davis with that phony 2000-2001 California “electricity crisis,” Schwarzenegger announced as one of about 465 humans, semi-humans, and flaming freakazoids of no known origin, seeking to replace Davis in a special recall election.
Listening to debates featuring the duelling accents of Schwarzenegger and that shameless freak Arianna Huffington, I felt like I had been transported into some Saturday Night Live skit titled something like “Spawn Of The Fascists.”
Where the fuck did I live? California? Bavaria? The summer playhouse of the Greek colonels?
This nonsense was so far removed from Reality, it had to be staged.
It was this experience that allowed me, some 10 years or so on, to instantly identify the 2012 Republican presidential primary sideshow as an event owned and controlled by extraterrestrials, having a lark, just fucking with the humans.
Schwarzenegger was actually elected governor by the people of California; he was then—yes, it’s true—re-elected.
I haven’t the faintest idea what he did while in office. Because I refused to accept it. I studiously avoided all awareness of state politics. I chose to live in an alternative universe during that period. Because I would not be a part of the universe where Californians, having already inflicted Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan upon the land, decided it would be Right and Meet to roll in the hay with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I do know that his term must have been a complete and total disaster. Because, upon his exit from office, the state’s voters desperately employed a time machine. To return to the governor’s mansion Jerry Brown, who had already served in that office from 1975 to 1983. Clearly, these voters were, ashamedly, trying to roll back time to 1983. And pretend that all the years after—and particularly those with Ah-nuld—Never Happened.
I had not thought of Schwarzenegger for many moons. Until this morning. When the intertubes chucked up the photo you see there above, and to the left.
I am not exactly sure what is going on there. But it is not anything like Good.
It seems that, with that lectern, and that pointed finger, and that earnest/amused expression, and that absurd facial hair, Schwarzenegger may now be trying to recast himself as some sort of philosopher. Ah-nuld as Aristotle.
My colleague is fond of asserting that “the American people always get exactly what they deserve.”
But no peoples, deserve such as this.
The horror. The horror.
Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military’s ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.
A World War II study determined that, after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties. A common trait among the remaining 2 percent was a predisposition toward having “aggressive psychopathic personalities.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, notes: “It is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they got there.”
War is necrophilia. This necrophilia is central to soldiering just as it is central to the makeup of suicide bombers and terrorists. The necrophilia is hidden under platitudes about duty or comradeship. It is unleashed especially in moments when we seem to have little to live for and no hope, or in moments when the intoxication of war is at its highest pitch. When we spend long enough in war, it comes to us as a kind of release, a fatal and seductive embrace that can consummate the long flirtation with our own destruction.
War ascendant wipes out Eros. It wipes out delicacy and tenderness. Its communal power seeks to render the individual obsolete, to hand all passions, all choice, all voice to the crowd.
War is the beautiful young nymph in the fairy tale that, when kissed, exhales the vapors of the underworld.
The ancient Greeks had a word for such a fate: ekpyrosis.
It means to be consumed by a ball of fire. They used it to describe heroes.
He ran non-stop, like some chipmunk on speed, from one end of the nation to the other, and back again, throughout the entirety of the GOoPer primary campaign. But in the end he received only 2,095,795 votes. Or roughly the same number of ballots cast in November for Barack Obama in the city of Chicago alone.
Rawl was a favorite of the extraterrestrials who owned and controlled the 2012 GOoPer primary campaign. And so he was induced to remain in the race even after such falling bodies as the pizza topping (Herman Cain), the bedbug in a skin-suit (Newt Gingrich), the farm animal (Rick Perry), and the raccoon (John Huntsman) had crashed and burned.
Perhaps the high point of Rawl’s campaign was when his eyebrows slid off his face during a televised debate.
For reasons that passseth understanding, Rawl had decided he needed to apply eyebrow toupees. When, there on the TV, the things proceeded to melt and migrate all over his dim-bulb phiz, and in a perfect expression of the hapless mendacity that defines everything about the man, his people announced that “allergies” had caused Rawl to suddenly sprout fake, mobile eyebrows.
When a Rawl hot-air balloon deflated and fell to earth onto some road outside a hamlet in South Carolina, it became apparent that the man was but a pale copy of the humbug Wizard of Oz. But by then no one cared.
Rawl not only failed to attain the presidency, but also gave up this year his seat in Congress, where various assorted Texas yeehaws, retroverts, and knuckledraggers had sent him over the past decade, so that he could periodically take to the floor and there mumble darkly about Money.
Rawl has long been a favorite of the sort of people who shoot speed in both arms and then stay up all night cleaning their guns and obsessing about assaults on the American dollar.
Rawl is a partisan of gold, because he has determined that paper money is crawling with germs spread by black and brown and other Wrong people; precious metals, it seems, can retard both the presence and potency of these germs.
Too, people who should otherwise know better would occasionally hug Rawl to their heavy-breathing bosoms, because he spoke out against the US mucking about in foreign lands, and because he disfavored the surveillance state.
What these people failed to get is that Rawl abjures foreign wanderings because he believes all non-Americans to be a form of monkey. He would not war on them, but neither would he give them a crust of bread. He doesn’t want to get involved, in whatever it is that’s going on out there in the world, because he Knows it is the Work of the Jews.
Similarly, his suspicion of the surveillance state arises from fears that gub’mint boys might interfere with the plans of he and his posse to beat with big sticks any black or brown or red or yellow people who happen to wander into their stores and there attempt to purchase a donut.
Now, in retirement, Rawl can return to his primary concern: Occupy Womb Street. Out on the campaign trail, Rawl made no secret of the fact that in an America According To Pawn, all doctors who performed abortions would be lashed into jail, and so would all the women who sought them.
So much for this “libertarian” protector of “freedom.”
All the vaginas, belong to him.
Here at red, we are occasionally able to access alternative universes.
And so today is presented a dispatch from one such Reality. Find below, the inaugural address, of President Pawn Rawl.
I am no longer certain that the people of Maine can claim to be Sane, or even Normal.
First came recent news that a truck rumbled out onto a Maine airport runway, causing a nonplussed plane to crash into it, settle, and burn.
Then, the Maine airways authorities pronounced that the truck had behaved in a way both Sane, and Normal.
Now we hear of the Maine man who pistol-whipped his estranged wife with his pee-pee.
No. I do not make this shit up.
The incident occurred in July, when his wife of 39 years, who was estranged from him, stayed at his place. He offered her $20 for sex, and when she refused, he took out his penis and struck her with it, according to the prosecution’s version of events, to which he pleaded guilty.
Defense Attorney Justin Andrus said Thomas was tremendously upset that his marriage of 39 years was ending. He said his estranged wife was planning to go to Pakistan to meet a man she met online.
“This was not his normal conduct,” Andrus told Justice Jeffrey Hjelm during the sentencing hearing[.]
“Not his normal conduct.” This is good to hear. That it is still considered Not Normal, there in Maine, for this man, or any other man, to whip out his pee-pee, and start flagellating with it some ex-pillow companion, simply because she wants to follow online some man from Pakistan.
Increasingly, there really are no additional words, to add to these stories, of the ways and means, of the Americans.
(Below is a piece I wrote in August for an iPad app that briefly lived and died this past summer. Given that with Tuesday’s results the Republican Party stands naked and exposed as the National White Male People’s Party, and that it failed to capture the Senate solely because its white male candidates just could not refrain from recurrently shooting themselves in the stomach by flapping their yaps about women’s vaginas, I thought I’d reprint it here. Todd Akin, the ur-human at the center of the piece, this man it was once believed would easily secure a seat in the Senate—so long as he did not do something like pork a pig on national television. As it happened, he more or less did just that, and lost by some 15 points.)
This week the name on everyone’s lips—very often accompanied by projectile vomit—was Todd Akin, the freelance dingbat who opined that women possess magical lady parts that will prevent pregnancy if subjected to “legitimate rape.”
Horrified that Akin had vocalized what they all believe, every pol and pundit in the National White Male People’s Party—also known as the GOoPers—proceeded to screech at top volume that Akin needed forthwith to cease his attempt to unseat Claire McCaskill as US senator from the state of Missouri.
They are so scared, see, are the GOoPers, that the flaming dirigible known as Mitt Romney will crash and burn, in the race with Barack Obama for the White House—and he will; it’s already happened—that they have decided that every little thing that seems as if it might prevent the aerial flamewagon from outdistancing the Black Man, must immediately be heaved overboard.
And Todd Akin—he, most definitely, the GOoPers decreed, needed the heave.
Else the electorate perceive that the Akin imbecile embodies everything the White Male People’s Party is all about, when it comes to the truly—to them—scarifying subject of women, and their vaginas.
In a reluctant attempt to move into something resembling the 20th Century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently decreed that women will be allowed, here and there, to vote.
Driving, however, remains out of the question. Under Saudi law, women are prohibited from driving; it is forbidden for x-chromes even to ride a bicycle. And they’re pretty serious about it. One Shaima Jastaina was recently sentenced to 10 lashes for defying the nation’s driving ban; the sentence was not carried out only because 87-year-old King Abdullah intervened.
Jastaina is part of the intertubular Women2Drive campaign, in which uppity females get behind the wheel and go rolling across the desert, law or no law. Saudi mossbacks are getting active in return, gathering on oppositional Facebook sites to ululate about the Horrors and Dangers of women drivers. Below are some excerpts from their postings, which I nicked from the November 2011 edition of Harper’s.
I’m not against women driving so much as the chaos that’ll occur.
It women tried simultaneously to direct their family’s upbringing, guide the nation’s moral education, and, on top of all this, drive a car—this country would record the highest mortality rates in the world.
It is the Saudi man, with his intense love for his wife, who provides her with a chauffeur. And yet they reject this part of his charity and love.
It is obvious to any sane person that to empower women with driving will rob the man of his household role. This will increase the divorce rate—already high—and scatter families, children. Girls will be lost, trampled by extortion.
The economists say that money spent on car insurance for women will be at least ten times more than what is now spent on women’s transportation, private and public. And the notion is still raised! They say, “What does the West say about us? They’ve landed on the moon! Let’s catch up!” The West did not get to the moon with women’s driving!
I wouldn’t want to be on television. The tube that makes people appear wider and heavier than they actually are, the harsh and pitiless light meanwhile tending to lend a corpse-like pallor to even the healthiest person. Humans who appear on television with some regularity become accustomed to slathering themselves down with heavy makeup, so as to appear something like a human. Some even come to rely on serious body modification.
So I have some sympathy for GOoPer slave-holder and Hebrew-fearer Pawn Rawl. Who, for the occasion of the most recent televised GOoPer clown-car confab, felt it necessary to appear onscreen with a pair of eyebrow toupees. One of which proceeded to very publicly fall off.
The collapse was first broadcast by David Magee of the International Business Times. Who wrote, even as the GOoPer debate was still in full jabber:
The Republican debate on Bloomberg is underway at Dartmouth, and the focus is on something critical to America: the economy. But I’ve barely heard a word said in the first 18 minutes of the debate because I’m so concerned about Ron Paul’s fake eyebrow, which is falling off.
[A]s Paul kept talking in his first turn to answer a question at the roundtable-style debate, it was clear that he was wearing fake eyebrows and that his right eyebrow—showing up on the left on TV, was falling off.
It was crooked, almost upside down, and revealing his real, much thinner and lighter-colored eyebrow underneath. He looked like a clown, I’m sorry to say.
Paul talked, but I barely recall a word he said. It sounded like blah, blah, blah, my fake eyebrow is falling off.
Magee then pronounced a massive and final judgement on the Pawn candidacy:
I’ve got a problem with a person running for president wearing fake eyebrows. All of the candidates are wearing heavy makeup for the lighted stage. Of course. They’ve got hair dye, hair spray, layers of makeup and more. But a fake eyebrow? That’s too much.
Ron Paul is wearing fake eyebrows, and I can never take the man seriously again as a candidate for president. Paul is entertaining—especially tonight—and he’s got some interesting positions, like the one that the Federal Reserve is America’s anti-Christ. But we can’t have a man in the White House who wears fake eyebrows, and poor ones at that.
In a previous debate, Paul was criticized for wearing a suit that was too big. It swallowed him. He needed a good tailor. Instead, for this debate, he got a bad makeup artist. I feel for Paul, in a compassionate sort of way—but the fake eyebrows are too much for a serious presidential candidate.
Holliwell finished his packing alone. When his bag was locked and standing by the front door, he went into the kitchen and made himself a strong bloody mary. He drank it by the living-room window, looking out at the front yard where his magnolia hung snowbound and his mountain ash stood tortured and skeletal in an envelope of ice.
He finished the first drink and then had another, not bothering with breakfast. By the time he put his suitcase in the back of the Volvo, he was high enough to stop at the smoke shop in town and buy his first pack of cig-arettes in a month. Driving to the turnpike, he smoked one cigarette after another.
After the turnpike entrance, he hit the radio and in a mile or two WWVA eased down from space, selling lucky crosses and Christian good fortune. Holliwell tuned it in carefully and between commercials heard a singular musical recitation, delivered in up-country dialect, about a young football player.
The youth on the record was his high school’s star quarterback; it was the Big Game against the school in the next hollow and at half-time the home team was a couple of touchdowns behind. During the half-time break, the boy disappeared from the locker room and he was late returning for the third quarter.
“Where in the hell you been?” demanded the anxious hometown coach, who was decent but hard. He swore at the boy and shoved him toward the line of scrimmage. There then commenced an astonishing display of unforgettable schoolboy ball. The kid played like a young man possessed, and the fans in the little country-and-western town had never seen the like of him. The opposition was devastated, the coach awestruck and penitent. Amid the jubilation outside the showers, he drew the young quarterback quietly aside.
“Coach,” the youth explained, “my father was blind.”
The boy’s father had been blind and for a week had lain upon his deathbed. The boy had been phoning the hospital regularly and during half-time had learned of his father’s death.
The coach cleared his throat. How then to explain the spectacle only just witnessed—the sixty-yard touchdown passes, the seventy-yard scoring runs?
“You see, coach,” the boy said quietly, “it’s the first time he’s ever seen me play.”
By the time WWVA faded out, Holliwell was aware of the tears streaming down his face, staining his tie, wetting his moustache and the stub of his cigarette. He eased the Volvo into the next turnoff, and sat, with the motor running, staring through the windshield at a row of green refuse cans until he had stopped sobbing.
So much for morning drinking.
—Robert Stone, A Flag For Sunrise
Those ignoranti known as the teabaggers, motivated as they are by Fear Of The Black Man, cannot really be expected to think coherently. Not learned, not bright, all that they are proceeds from delusion, from a racist certainty that, as Jill Lepore puts it The Whites Of Their Eyes, “everything about Barack Obama and his administration [is] somehow alarming, as if his election had ripped a tear in the fabric of time.”
The teabaggers’ minders shrewdly wrapped them in the mantle of the American Revolution, because “nothing trumps the Revolution,” and this “conferred upon a scattered, diffuse, and confused movement a degree of legitimacy and the appearance, almost, of coherence.”
But the Revolution as perceived and play-acted by the teabaggers bears no relation to any that ever actually existed in discernible space-time. As Lepore notes, “[w]hat is curious about the Tea Party’s Revolution, though, is that it isn’t just kooky history, it is antihistory.” It is, in a word, fundamentalism: “‘the founding’ is ageless and sacred and to be worshipped; certain historical texts—’the founding documents’—are to be read in the same spirit with which religious fundamentalists read, for instance, the Ten Commandments; the Founding Fathers were divinely inspired; the academic study of history is a conspiracy and, furthermore, blasphemy; political arguments grounded in appeals to the founding documents, as sacred texts, and to the Founding Fathers, as prophets, are therefore incontrovertible.”
All of what the teabaggers are about flows against actual history. The “Founding Fathers,” for instance, were never considered as such, under such a name,until the 1921 inaugural address of Warren G. Harding, who on that occasion also became the first person to pronounce them—falsely—divinely inspired. This in a speech described by H. L Mencken as follows: “It reminds me of a string of wet sponges. It reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.” Harding himself a president so bad he was commonly proclaimed history’s worst, until the electorate began elevating Bushes. Harding is best remembered as the Bill Clinton of his time (“it is a good thing I am not a woman,” he once confessed, “as I would always be pregnant, for I cannot say no”), a man who was once memorably denounced by journalist William White as a “he-harlot,” and who while president frequently smuggled into the White House Nan Britton, who first conceived an attraction for Harding when she was 12, and who gave birth to his daughter Elizabeth Ann in 1919, the year before Harding entered the White House. Harding and Britton most often engaged in sexual congress in a darkened coat closet off the Oval Office: then he would send her away, stocking-tops stuffed with money; she gathered in additional coin via an office job proffered by Harding’s friends at US Steel.
None of these inconvenient truths rattle around the brainpans of the teabaggers. Just as there is no room in their noggins for the historical truth that such teabagging termagants as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Christine O’Kooky, and Sharron Angle would never have been allowed to utter word one, back there in the late 1700s, when first the tea fell into the harbor. Because these people are women. And as Lepore puts it: “In eighteenth-century America, I wouldn’t have been able to vote. I wouldn’t have been able to own property, either. I’d very likely have been unable to write, and, if I survived childhood, chances are that I’d have died in childbirth. And, no matter how long or short my life, I’d almost certainly have died without having once ventured a political opinion preserved in any historical record.”
Finally, when the teabaggers proclaim, as they so like to do, there during their clan hoedowns, that “the founders are here among us,” that “they’re all around us,” the baggers neglect to note that if this were actually true, odds are those founders would be reeling around dead drunk. Because the United States, from 1770 through 1830, was “one of the world’s great drinking countries”—and not just for that time, but in all of history. “Party Like It’s 1773″ read one placard at an Atlanta teabagging revival, hosted by Sean Klannity, attended by 15,000 people, and opened by a white-wigged would-be eighteenth-century minister, who bloviated from in front of a giant US Constitution: “I am Thomas Paine.” Except Paine, in 1806, observed by a neighbor in a New York tavern, was “so drunk and disoriented and unwashed and unkempt that his toenails had grown over his toes.”
It is easy to see why people, especially women, detested the picture. It presents a male nightmare of female puberty. Emergent female sexuality is equated with demonic possession, and the men in the picture—almost all celibate priests—unite to abuse and torture Regan, as John Boorman recognized, in their efforts to return her to a presexual innocence. Having Regan jam a crucifix into her vagina is intended to be a sensational and fiendishly inventive bit of sacrilege, but it is also a powerful image of self-inflicted abortion, whether the tool is a crucifix or a coathanger. The Exorcist is filled with disgust toward female bodily functions; it is perhaps not too much of a stretch to see the famously gross scene in which Blair vomits pea soup as a metaphor, Carrie-like, for menstruation. Indeed, The Exorcist is drenched in a kind of menstrual panic.
But for most people, the picture worked. It was terrifying. Like Bonnie and Clyde and other New Hollywood pictures, The Exorcist turned its back on the liberal therapeutic framework of the postwar period. (The psychiatrist in the movie is just befuddled, clearly inadequate to the task, and Burstyn has no choice but to call upon the Church.) In exchange, the picture substituted a kind of born-again Manichaean revolution of the right, to Reagan nattering about the godless Evil Empire. Satan is the bad dad who takes up residence in the household of the divorced MacNeil in the stead of the absent father-husband. Families who pray together and stay together don’t have unseemly encounters with the devil.
—Peter Biskind, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
One of the charms of the world created by J. K. Rowling in her series of Harry Potter novels is that although the young people featured therein can do all sorts of magic and stuff, most times they must contend with the same sort of miseries that afflict anyone else their age.
That is, their parents are clueless embarrassments, their teachers are fearsome weirdsmobiles, schoolwork is stupid and hard, bullies roam the halls, mindless cliques diminish the strong and destroy the weak, and their bodies start behaving strangely even as their minds decree that they must fall desperately in love with people who don’t even know they’re alive.
Meanwhile, out in the real world, the young people selected to portray the various Potter characters on film have indeed become rich and famous, but they have also found themselves as constrained and constricted as any other youngbloods. Without exception, all greeted the final wrap of the final film with great hosannas of relief.
This is a brave woman. Amal Basha, of Yemen. One of maybe 22 women in that country who does not wear the veil.
“I had to wear the full niqab when I was 8 years old,” she says of the face veil worn by women here. “I couldn’t breathe. I saw the world in dark colors. I fell down because I couldn’t see when I walked. Men should put this on for one day. They would change their thinking. They don’t know how horrible it is under sun, heat and sweat. It’s a kind of torture. I decided I wanted to see the beautiful colors of life—red, blue, green. Not black.”
Basha is a descendant of the prophet Mohammed; today she heads the Sisters’ Arab Forum For Human Rights, in the planet’s poorest Islamic nation. In the light of her mind she reaches back to Mohammed—”you know,” she says, “we’re all created from the same soul”—but in life she must contend with the darkness of a world dominated by the ossified barnacles that have attached themselves to her forebear . . . such as Yemeni cleric Shiek Abdul Majeed Zindani, who claims to possess “scientific proof that women cannot speak and remember simultaneously.”
“Yemen is the home of the Queen of Sheba,” Basha retorts. “How can you say women can’t govern? Yemen is a failed state today, and men have been the rulers.”
Basha’s work documenting torture in her country moved the United Nations to call for an official investigation. She strives to legislatively end the practice of marrying off Yemeni “women” as young as eight years old. She seeks to help Yemeni women who are victims of domestic violence, of sexual harassment, of illiteracy, of caste prejudice. She advocates for prisoners and refugees.
For her pains, Basha has been threatened with death, had the brakes cut on her car, had acid hurled at her face. She has been branded by her countrymen as “un-Islamic,” a “Zionist,” an “agent of the West,” a “temptress of Eve.” Her accusers forgetting that it was Adam who received the injunction against plucking the forbidden fruit. Not Eve. Eve was innocent.
In the old Soviet Union, Ukrainian women were considered the most beautiful in all the Russian empire. As is often the case with such things, this caused the women themselves more problems than not. And things haven’t changed much since the Union disunited, and Ukraine set out on its own.
Ukraine is today one of the largest “exporters” of women in the international sex industry. Women who freely choose such work are one thing, but many Ukrainian women have been lured into the trade under false pretenses, or are more or less forced into it for economic survival. Many are minors; some are simply slaves. Of an estimated 500,000 Ukrainian women who migrated to Western Europe in the late 1990s, an estimated 100,000 wound up in the sex trade. Ukraine itself has become a prime destination for those involved in “sex tourism”; the sex trade in Ukraine now rakes in $700 million per year, more money than the company makes that supplies the nation with natural gas.
An activist group of Ukrainian women traveling under the rubric Femen is not happy about this. “This is insulting to us and it harms the country’s image, since we’re increasingly becoming a country of destination for tourists whose sole purpose is to have sex with our women,” says Femen’s Anna Gutsol (pictured above, on the left).
Of late, Femen activists have, counterintuitively, begun protesting against the country’s treatment of women by staging demonstrations where they appear topless. Who knows—it may work. It has already embarrassed the hell out of Vladimir Putin.
Leamas saw. He saw the long road outside Rotterdam, the long straight road beside the dunes, and the stream of refugees moving along it; saw the little airplane miles away, the procession stop and look toward it; and the plane coming in, neatly over the dunes; saw the chaos, the meaningless hell, as the bombs hit the road.
—John Le Carre, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
As I mentioned here, the Wikileaks release of documents pertaining to Afghanistan held no surprises for those who have attentively followed Operation Enduring Fiefdom. Similarly, the more recent Wikileaks release of documents pertaining to Iraq holds no surprises for those who have attentively followed Operation Iraqi Fiefdom.
I find that what has struck me most, so far, is something that was not even in the Iraqi document dump itself, but instead a paragraph closing a New York Times piece regarding the release. To wit:
Civilians have borne the brunt of modern warfare, with 10 civilians dying for every soldier in wars fought since the mid-20th century, compared with 9 soldiers killed for every civilian in World War I, according to a 2001 study by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The trench warfare of World War I remains the zenith—or, more properly, the nadir—of militarized madness, in the sense that day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, men were ordered to run across open ground directly into machine-gun fire. This continued until a sufficient number of men in both the French and German armies walked away and went home: they simply would no longer put up with such mad shit.
But now we must confront the fact that WWI seems, in another sense, to have marked a sort of high-water mark of non-barbarism. Because at least most of the people who were killed in that war signed up to die in it. Nowadays, by a ratio of 10-1, those whose lives are snuffed out in war are innocents.
Heretofore, I have neither liked, nor ever employed, the term “asshat.” I hadn’t even the foggiest notion of what it might mean.
When I was reviewing films, I considered Fry to be a fair-to-middlin’ actor. His Oscar as Wilde was not particularly convincing, and his turn as the butler Jeeves in Jeeves and Wooster suffered next to Hugh Laurie’s impeccable impersonation of Bertie Wooster. Still, he was not an actual embarrassment to the craft. I mean, it wasn’t like he was Keanu Reeves.
In recent years, however, Fry seems to be carving out a second career for himself as a public embarrassment, emitting increasingly weirdsmobile would-be profundities. It is as if, having once frequented the British radio show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, he seems compelled to prove at every opportunity the truth of the show’s title to his own life.
Fry’s crowning achievement in cluelessness, thus far, is his pronouncement that no woman truly enjoys sex. And the proof of this is that he knows of no woman who frequents churchyards and public toilets, there to grab hold of some anonymous man, so she might drag him off to sexually ravage him in the foliage.
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Nine years on, Operation Enduring Fiefdom is proceeding so well that the Taliban and associates, now dominant throughout much of Afghanistan, have returned to publicly stoning to death people who love against their rules.
Last month a 47-year-old pregnant Afghan widow, Sanam Gul, was flogged and then shot for conceiving out of wedlock a child with a man she intended to marry. That proved to be just the warm-up act for the death sentence meted out a week later to 25-year-old Abdul Qayum and his 19-year-old beloved, Siddiqa. Their crime? They had eloped against the wishes of their families.
The punishment was carried out by hundreds of the victims’ neighbors in a village in northern Kunduz Province, according to Nadir Khan, 40, a local farmer and Taliban sympathizer, who was interviewed by telephone. Even family members were involved, both in the stoning and in tricking the couple into returning after they had fled.
Mr. Khan said that as a Taliban mullah prepared to read the judgment of a religious court, the lovers defiantly confessed in public to their relationship. “They said, ‘We love each other no matter what happens,’” Mr. Khan said.
These lovers were beings of light. Those who killed them: anathema.
Not many people are aware that Eve was not the first mate to Adam.
First Adam got jiggy with the various beasts, birds, and other living things that Yahweh paraded before him. As Robert Graves and Raphael Patai record in Hebrew Myths:
When they passed before him in pairs, male and female, Adam—being already like a twenty-year-old man—felt jealous of their loves, and though he tried copulating with each female in turn, found no satisfaction in the act. He therefore cried: “Every creature but I has a proper mate!”, and prayed God would remedy this injustice.
Yahweh then presented Adam with Lilith, a human female. A being run up from the same sort of dust from which Adam was created. Rather than yanked from Adam’s own flesh as a rib, as was, later, Eve.
Adam, however, proved a boor, and Lilith left him. Graves and Patai recount what happened:
Adam and Lilith never found peace together; for when he wished to lie with her, she took offence at the recumbent posture he demanded. “Why must I lie beneath you?” she asked. “I also was made from dust, and am therefore your equal.” Because Adam tried to compel her obedience by force, Lilith, in a rage, uttered the magic name of God, rose into the air and left him.
As Lilith was not around or involved when Adam and Eve consumed the forbidden fruit, she was not subject to the penalties inflicted by Yahweh upon the rest of the human race: death, the pain of labor, enmity between wo/man and nature. Some say Lilith lives to this day in the Edomite Desert, among satyrs, pelicans, owls, ostriches, arrow-snakes, and unicorns.
It’s Monday, so what the hell: let’s put on the Happy Face.
Collected here are some genuinely good-news pieces from out of Malaysia. Malaysia, like all artificial European-colonial constructs, has had its problems, some of which I’ve addressed here and here. But the people there, they’re trying. As these pieces will hopefully show.
Malaysian immigration officials in Kedah state raided a house of bondage and rescued 71 women who had been forced for more than two years to work without pay as housecleaners. The women, originally from Indonesia, had been lured to Malaysia on promises that they could earn $160 a month as maids. Once they arrived, recruiters seized their passports, locked them up in a house, and sent them out every day to work, without pay, in cleaning houses. Some of the women were as young as 17; the men who enslaved them could face up to 15 years in prison on human-trafficking charges. It is estimated that some 2 million people from countries outside Malaysia, mostly its poorer neighbors, work in Malaysia in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and service industries. Claims of overwork, underpay, and sometimes even physical abuse, it is said, “are common.” Sorta like in the US.
Malaysian Muslim clerics have decreed that while soccer uniforms featuring devils, crosses, and skulls promote the “wrong value,” they do not believe such items should be banned.
For reasons I do not want to think about right now, the British soccer team Manchester United is particularly popular in Malaysia. The team’s emblem is a red devil holding a trident, and the players are ofttimes referred to as “the Red Devils.”
Though he and his fellows are not interested in banning the things, Muslim cleric Harussani Zakaria says: “We just advise people not to wear this. Satan is, for us, our enemy. It’s the wrong value. Satan is always bad.”
Less than a week after Asha Saini and Yogesh Jatav were tortured and murdered in New Delhi by members of Saini’s family—for the “crime” of pursuing an inter-caste love affair—Monica and Kuldeep Singh, who four years ago had eloped and married outside their caste, were slain by members of Monica’s family.
The same men then proceeded to kill Monica’s cousin, Shobha Nagar, for both supporting Monica, and pursuing an inter-caste love affair of her own.
Shobha’s younger sister, Khushboo, and her new husband Ravi, who recently eloped and married against family tradition, are currently receiving police protection.
While the men who committed the killings were on the run, friends and relatives defiantly told the police and public that their actions were justified. Says Dharmaveer Nagar, uncle to Mandeep Nagar, who shot his 20-year-old sister Shobha in the forehead at point-blank range:
“This is not at all wrong. What is wrong in it? Murder is wrong but this is socially the best thing that has been done. This cannot be termed as wrong.”
“[Inter-caste marriages] will break our society, bring down self-confidence. I would say that the youths have done the best thing. This will send a message in society.”
Prior to shooting his sister, Mandeep and two other men killed Kuldeep in his car, then shot Monica at her home, after gaining entrance on the pretext of delivering food for her parents’ marriage anniversary. One of the killers was her brother.