Friday, 12 August 2016

The really gross domestic product of the Image Nation



Wow. At first I simply noted to myself that, in this attempt to parody multiple American clichés, on a meta level Christoph Waltz is doing a real-time self-parody of the actor who's become a multi-millionaire and, money never being enough, uses his talent to sell some culture infecting piece of crap and the toxic behavior that goes along with it for a sum of money he for a long time now doesn't need in the least:  The Sellout.

Sticking around for the whole ad, however, it's hard to imagine a more offensive premise than the one threading its way through this body waste. Given we're talking about advertising, that's saying a lot.

Relevant here is that Waltz is depicting himself throughout all the costume changes. Whenever he appears in some garb, it's to make a point in answer to his previously posed question, "What has that tireless ambition ever got you, America?"

The few bits that stick out most are when, dressed as a Revolutionary War soldier, the actor remarks, "You built your own country from nothing."  Given the erudite Austrian actor's, in all likelihood, knowledge of historical genocide, it is hard to imagine that the fate of the Native American did not at least briefly come to mind before he heard the word "Cut!" and moved on to the next scene. And it didn't strike me that he was referring to slaves and their awe inspiring co-production work.

When he reacts to his own assertion that "Yes, you're responsible for modern democracy," not with a roll of the eyes but an ostensibly earnest concession, "Well, that's kind of a big one," it forgoes the opportunity to be a parody of the American who actually believes his own bullshit and moves into the realm of Christoph Waltz' actually believing himself that, "Sure, you're the greatest, most influential nation in the world... where dreams come true."

Influential dreams or infectious nightmares, the satire of the sellout, whose self-destruction is only preceded by its would-be destruction of everyone else. Embodying phony values flowing forever outward towards stores some people have no choice but to get lost in.
h/t to South Korea and multinational corporations


Being a theater guy, Waltz is probably aware of Harold Pinter. Here he gives the best Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech that I'm aware of, and it was for the prize for literature, not peace. It is germane to the above, laying waste to the advertised bullet points.  Would that more people were receptive to these truths – or that they were greater worthy of self-evident status. Unfortunately the images of advertising rule the realness of the lies they tell.  Even when we don't believe what's being told.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Trump wrecklessly employs Clintonian rhetoric to co-opt SCotUS argument

Evidence of the more extremely qualified nature of Hillary Clinton comes by way of her so-called opponent (aka candidate who in spite of any estimable future reality could become president):
"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know."

The allusion to the conceivable murder of an adversary by gun is clear, just as was candidate Clinton's original, which came the last time she was in the running for the same office when she justified remaining in the Democratic race by reminding those li$tening that her husband in 1992 hadn't captured the nomination until June in California, adding, "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."


Nevertheless, her shot was so much more skillfully put.  First, she employed the passive voice, avoiding the appearance of having called upon potential perpetrators discretely.  This aptitude for language in politics is crucial to executing the power of the office they seek, while maintaining control of its requisite chaos.  Why, Trump doesn't even know what the passive voice is.

Second, unlike Trump, she was not referring to the potential of a resentful element taking the law into its own hands to prevent their paranoid fantasy's coming to life, but simply reminding a few influential friends with benefits along with her party's shakers that, in addition to being within easy electoral reach of her primary opponent, one of the many ways said opponent could falter might be exiting through the kitchen door before the dirty dishes had been cleared.

By comparison, Donald Trump's reference to "Second Amendment people" is so unsophisticated as to qualify the use of the word "dangerous" to describe it.  Given his one-time status as Clinton family friend with benefits, one wonders how he could be so sloppy.  He certainly doesn't come off as presidential.

Again, Clinton uses the language to signal those who help manage strict order and underwrite the American project, while Trump manages to use it to get his detractors as worked up as his supporters — for yucks or shocks or who knows what the hell for.  Clinton's comment was about the deadly serious issue of seizing the nomination for President.  Trump has long had the nomination wrapped up, and still he doesn't seem to take anything seriously enough to get the occasional good press.  All he does is scare supporters away.  Puzzling, to say the least.

What if Donald Trump were called upon to justify his prior vote for an unpopular war, or having supported a putatively pernicious trade agreement or seemingly creepy crime bill?

Not only is he not in the possession of foresight to have a non-apology issued through his spouse, he certainly does not have the capacity to start the next war, let alone does he have the ability to parse the language just so in order to give the Congress the cover needed to close the deal on the next trade agreement.

Can you seriously imagine him surrounding himself with the right people to effectively evolve the definition of threats to democracy and eliminate them with extreme prejudice in a way that is sustainable?

I'm sorry, it's not enough to appear racist when you're so gauche.  On his watch the war on terror would be over before you could say Shoah!  In a Commander in Chief, we need someone at the helm who can make the nation's wars also the next president's responsibility.

Anyway, given the volume and sources of cash the Clinton campaign has been receiving, she must be doing something better than he is.  One can only hope that Trump's attempt to steal the Democratic party's final trump card, the SCotUS argument, backfires.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Exit LEBOWSKI

The Don desires yond someday Melania
Shall seeth to survive on h'r allowance,
Which is ample. But if 't be true the
Lady doest not, 'tis h'r problem— not his.


David Huddleston 1930—2016

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sue aside.. .

I think under certain circumstances the taking of one's own life is the bravest thing a person can do. I also think that under the same circumstances that deciding not to take one's own life is the bravest thing a person can do. This is not a contradiction. Both are equally brave in that simply having faced the decision and decided one way or the other* is the boldest behavior, in a heroic sense.

I say this now because I have had friends who have been reckoned to've ended their own lives. Oddly, it seems to me, there were not only loved ones of the deceased with the fixed inclination toward ruling out the possibility, I suppose sometimes out of denial, but there were others, as well, who seemed set in the belief that it was surely suicide, not only those who felt they were facing the truth, as each case may be, but with a titillating taste of morbid reassurance.

Now, I am not heroic. If I had had over the course of time a foolproof means to end it all, I doubt I'd be here. The fear of failure, however, a resulting disability, or of being caught, has governed any such thoughts. In this sense I have never really made a decision to go on living so much as *reached a default position. I'll bet you anything that there are a billion more like me.

Now I guess one surefire method would be to climb to the top of somewhere quite high and leap to the glorious death afforded one who gets to feel that rush all the way down. But being rabidly opposed to bombing people, I cannot help fear that last act's ending as hypocrisy from on high.

Regarding living in a heroic sense, if I were truly bold I would risk being thought utterly mad and climb to the top of somewhere quite high and scream to everyone what I really think. And I'd never stop.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Convenient Collective Culpability

The files in the Department of Contradictions Held Fast Simultaneously are swelling to an extent only as the preoccupied would have it, which means they are piling up no matter how you dice it. Yet, still, I cry for distinctions.

Every death that comes to be attributed to another entails each of these accused's actions to be met with the speculation as to his or her affiliations, investigations, calls to wait for these and see, not to rush to foregone conclusions, succumb to fear's rationalizations.

This is most prominently manifest in the wrangling between self-identified liberals and conservatives of the brigade of social media, who, god love 'em, are changing the world one post at a time.

The flame throwing press certainly feed this and no matter how circumspect their "what we know and don't knows" would have it, certain words are taken up, always spoken and/or printed regardless of context. Is he or Is he not?

The consumer response asks "Can we not see that he is summoned from the ideology of my would-be ideological tormentors?" or "Isn't it just the fucking guns?" but never both or neither.

Whatever the stated position, one thing remains true to form: Whether we twist to non-ascription of the criminal so as to buoy tolerance of the innocent, or bend to calling everything names because to do otherwise is worthless and weak, we are at war. At least we are said to be. Always. Always at war with a Name. If there's thinking outside of this box, it hardly ever does anything other than question whether there might be two or three names. Even in the case where it is established that the namer made up The Named, the war on the name stays steadfast.

Despite the irrelevance of the claims of responsibility, the veracity of those claims or identity of the claimant, one way or another the name is propped up as something to oppose, or as in the case of the more activist warrior, something to kill for. Conveniently.

This bears repetition: the Name is something to kill for. Any association with the named need not be any nearer than that. The name alone is enough for untold trillions in expenditure, as well as swinging an axe at strangers on a train. The collective of the former adds further convenient justification to the motive of the latter, which in return feeds the former's irrational self-justification. Now, when I say irrational, I mean those who don't profit from it.


Bullying back with bullets
It's been said that yesterday's pistol wielding killer in Munich had been under psychiatric care and complained about having been bullied for seven years. I wouldn't venture to reckon if his excuse corresponded to the truth of his convictions but I do believe that the world would be better without meanness & violence and don't doubt that the bullied sometimes fire back indiscriminately.

Just imagine what it'd be like to live with the ever-present fear that you or your family might be recipients of an explosive projectile because somebody three doors down doesn't seem to be acting right according to "intelligence". Might you feel picked on? The American First Lady's call for awareness of bullying would take on a profound new dimension if so many people weren't trained in the art of believing the harm they inflict on the innocent serves a greater innocence.

Even if all of this is lost on us, it is not lost on those who pull the strings. If it were, it wouldn't be string pulling; it'd be the folly that the social media activist often says it is... right there next to his advocacy for the nearest puller of his strings.

__


When it was revealed that the apartment house in my 'hood that had been beset by riot cop-backed evictions belonged to a shell firm at whose sole behest — and lack of legal justification — the evictions had been carried out, it was too late for a mindset change even though the evictions were ruled unlawful. For it had already been established by a people not into firsthand knowledge that the automobiles burning nightly on the streets were attributable to the likes of those who occupy this particular building.

Forget that the occurrence of arson had largely abated prior to the convenient harassment that preceded the evictions. Let us rather view the increase in vandalism to everyone being harassed because the evidence is so perfectly circular.

Forget that the actual occupiers — as a matter of semantics — are any new occupants of the building, and by extension the neighborhood, who by virtue of the landowner's looking to late-capitalize off of hip property, would require the previous occupants' being removed.

While we're at it, let's just forget how landowners come to own the land in the first place.

The question is: If someone in your building is suspected of a crime, what circumstances need be met before Law & Order decides to bug bomb the lot of you and make room for the next crop of sub-gentry?

Other than the provincial concerns circling Berlin's imminent mayoral contest, one might wonder what & for whom is convenient this attempt underway to streamline how "far-left" and "far-right" are treated by the arms of city-state justice, by branding them the catchall "extremist" – superordinate to their respective legal transgressions as already defined.



Execute with extreme non-prejudice.
When a guy randomly knifes his co-passengers or takes target practice on mall shoppers, is the best response point-counterpointing sarcastic knife ban proposals versus how much deadlier the rapid fire of bulletry is, or a rush to pit the NRA against ISIS as enemy number one, considering the bottom-line ideology that weaponizes the world to its chattering teeth reaps the rewards of the conflicting principles that say we should profile & execute them by remote so that we don't have to discriminate against them in person?

Is this not the same pretzel logic that calls for due process while taking as given that the public executioners are telling the truth when they say the executed was a shooter, while in all the days and months before, the cockamamie stories cooked up by cops encountered deep disbelief thanks to the presence of (in)convenient video?

Might the difference maker be the universal headlines that co-dubbed the story titled Five Officers Down in Dallas the worst such case since 9/11, thereby rendering examination of any available video to "kooks" who can't quit? (We better keep an eye on them.)

Just how close can extrajudicial process kill, and do you only care about it in the "first they came for the (blanks)" way, which betrays that you don't really care about the (blanks)?

Can the Good Cop really protect the people from destined degeneracy? Might there be issues that trump all others, which in point of fact do not carry that name? Will the big culprits forever remain too big to tell?