Archive for June, 2013

The Ballad Of Edward Snowden

Orwell Reads Daily Kos

The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthlythe imbecile and the racist papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power. Another marked characteristic is the emotional shallowness of people who live in a world of ideas and have little contact with physical reality.

—George Orwell, “The Lion And The Unicorn,” February 1941

Monkey/Man Link, Illustrated

i'm a monkeyThe creature there to the right is a baseball player.

He is seen here having just crossed “the plate,” having scored a “run.”

This “run,” it meant his team had just “gone ahead,” and might be “the winner.”

His face is contorted in an expression meant to convey pride and accomplishment and triumph. He is reveling in having bested others.

He looks like a monkey. Because that’s what he is.

Job Security

There seems to be a lot of hair-on-fire these days about “jobs.” The burning often concerns the notion that there aren’t enough of them.

Small wonder. Jobs are silly. In the history of humans, they’ve only recently been around. And now—as is true of similar nonsense here come the judgelike cities and money—they’re going the way of the dodo. Good riddance.

However, for people who have only ever lived in job-world, and who cannot think outside the box of job-world, here’s a little tip. If you want real job security, go into the judiciary.

Yesterday I was reading the appellate reports, and came upon a case where the defendant contends, among other things, that the judge who presided over his case had lost all his marbles. Due to bad age and bad chemicals, he had transformed into a dingbat. Judge, thy name was dementia.

However, this judge had served many years, jibbered and jabbered in the remote far-eastern rural hellhole section of that deafening banjo-picking abomination known as Riverside County, and was protected for far too long by his fellow system-dwellers, who did want to embarrass the fossil by publicly decrying him as a being no more qualified to hear cases than a gila monster.

And so he babbled on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

In the course of this defendant’s appeal, many affidavits were filed by attorneys who had appeared before the wingding. An excerpt from one:

Judge Metheny came off the bench, following an evidentiary objection by me, assumed a three-point stance on the floor in the open courtroom, ordered me to get down on the floor opposite him, and threatened to knock me all the way out into the parking lot. When I declined to “assume the position,” the judge then got up and insisted I accompany him to the parking lot so he could knock me around. He had, I believe, imagined he was back at Nebraska State where he was a star football player in the ’40s or thereabouts. That was one of his common regressions . . . .

A three-judge panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court Of Appeals ruled 2-1 last week that such behavior seemed perfectly normal to them.

The dissenting judge began his opinion with these words: “The majority holds that a judge suffering from dementia may sentence a man to death. I disagree.”

But what this dissenter says doesn’t matter. He is the Loser.

The winners are all those who secure employment as a judge. ‘Cause, once up there on the bench, you can serenely spin the propellor on your beanie, and for eons. Secure in the knowledge that you’ll continue to draw the paycheck, week after week, month after month, year after year. Till you go a-molderin’ into the grave. And you can send people to the death house, too, in the meantime.

Orwell Endeavors To Annoy The Scots

why you call me?I must apologize for not writing earlier to thank you for your letter & Caledonia. I liked the latter very much. It is so rare nowadays to find anyone hitting back at the Scotch cult. I am glad to see you make a point of calling them “Scotchmen,” not “Scotsmen” as they like to be called. I find this a good easy way of annoying them.

—George Orwell, letter to Anthony Powell, June 1936

Walking On Sunshine

Over the past week the temperatures here have averaged eleventy-billion degrees. It is like living inside a solar flare. Many old people, if they happen to open the door to let the cat out, and inhale just once of the outside air, collapse in a heat coma. They are then rushed to hospitals overflowing with people seeking treatment for third-degree it's hereburns incurred when they laid hands on the molten metal handles of the doors to their cars. If you have not seen any of this on the news, it is because there is a Coverup.

During this period, I have not been around this here red, because I have been intensively involved in a Science Man study. You see, it is my hypothesis that, through some Unholy process, the interior and the surface of the earth, they have somehow been Exchanged. So that here, on what once was the surface, we are now living in magma.

However, as ever, all is relative. For yesterday, in the late afternoon, in utter grumperment about the warp-ten heat, and as I was trying not to pass out in the kitchen, I switched on the local community radio station . . . mostly to learn if there might be anyone else left alive.

There was.

I heard chirping a young pre-teen, hosting one of the station’s “kids’ shows.”

The heat certainly hadn’t beat this human. In fact, she was content, even joyful, in it. For this plucky little person played the song offered below, “Walking On Sunshine”; the sunshine, or something, making her feel all bouncy, and happy, and hopeful.

And, through her, at least as long as the song lasted, I felt that way, too.

Stiff Upper Whiskers

This is Faith, church cat at Church of England (Episcopalian) Church of St Augustine’s and St Faith’s, Watling Street, London.

She was awarded the Dicken Medal in Silver, and a silver medal from the Greenwich Village Humane faithSociety of New York, for her courage in sheltering her kitten (Panda—he was black and white) in a hidey-hole in the rectory basement, to which she had retreated from her more comfortable position upstairs, in the course of a severe bombing raid on the night of 9 September, 1940.

The church and rectory were, basically, battered and burned to destruction by the Luftwaffe, but Faith continued to shield her kitten, under a heap of smouldering rubble, until rescued by her human friends the following day. Shortly afterwards, the remainder of the church fell down, destroying her position of refuge.

Faith resumed her life as church cat, dying peacefully some years later on her mat in front of an ecclesiastical fireplace. The kitten, Panda, went on to a successful career as resident cat in a care home.

Yes, I know—this will seem silly to many In Here. But consider. Apart from the fact that it is true, Faith’s story became widely known in London at the time, and must have contributed to the morale of many hard-pressed Londoners. Her courage and endurance reflected something that Londoners hoped to find in themselves—and generally did.


Stiff Upper Lip

read on20 March

Fairly heavy raids last night. A lot of bombs at Greenwich, one of them while I was talking to E over the phone. A sudden pause in the conversation and a tinkling sound:

I: “What’s that?”

E: “Only the windows falling in.”

—George Orwell, Wartime Diaries, 1941

Heaven’s Gate



Yeah, well, it seemed like a good idea, at the time. To incarnate here.



Ah-nuld Aristotle

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.

Schwarzenegger first inflicted himself upon me more than 35 years ago, when he was an arrogant dumbcluck dope-smoking bobybuilder, and as such bodybuildingsomehow invaded the pages of my Rolling Stone.

“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, it. is. the. end.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 the horroraccept 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.

Orwell Discovers He is Beloved By Censored French, Unknown To Ugly Americans

(Another entry in the beloved Orwell is Eeyore series.)

Early in 1945 I went to Paris as correspondent for the Observer. In Paris Tribune had a prestige which was somewhat astonishing and which dated from before the liberation. It was impossible to buy it, and the ten copies which the British Embassy received we read orwellweekly did not, I believe, get outside the walls of the building. Yet all the French journalists I met seemed to have heard of it and to know that it was the one paper in England which had neither supported the Government uncritically, nor opposed the war, nor swallowed the Russian myth. At the time there was—I should like to be sure that it still exists—a weekly paper named Libertes, which was roughly speaking the opposite number of Tribune and which during the occupation had been clandestinely produced on the same machines as printed the Pariser Zeitung.

Libertes, which was opposed to the Gaullists on one side and the Communists on the other, had almost no money and was distributed by volunteers on bicycles. On some weeks it was mangled out of recognition by the censorship; often nothing would be left of an article except some such title as “The Truth About Indochina” and a completely blank column beneath it. A day or two after I reached Paris I was taken to a semi-public meeting of the supporters of Libertes, and was amazed to find that about half of them knew all about me and about Tribune. A large working man in black corduroy breeches came up to me, exclaimed “Ah, vous etes Georges Orrvell!” and crushed the bones of my hand almost to a pulp. He had heard of me because Libertes made a practice of translating extracts from Tribune. I believe one of the editors used to go to the British Embassy every week and demand to see a copy. It seemed to me somehow touching that one could have acquired, without knowing it, a public among people like this: whereas among the huge tribe of American journalists at the Hotel Scribe, with their glittering uniforms and their stupendous salaries, I never encountered one who had heard of Tribune.

—George Orwell, “As I Pleased”

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June 2013