Saturday, June 7, 2008
Anyway, it's another senseless, meaningless column from Bobo, in which his main point is bemoaning the end of "sin-centric" character-building.
The concept of maturity has undergone several mutations over the course of American history. In Lincoln’s day, to achieve maturity was to succeed in the conquest of the self. Human beings were born with sin, infected with dark passions and satanic temptations. The transition to adulthood consisted of achieving mastery over them.
You can read commencement addresses from the 19th and early 20th centuries in which the speakers would talk about the beast within and the need for iron character to subdue it. Schoolhouse readers emphasized self-discipline. The whole character-building model was sin-centric. So the young Lincoln had been encouraged by the culture around him to identify his own flaws — and, in any case, he had no trouble finding them. He knew he was ferociously ambitious and blessed with superior talents — the sort of person who could easily turn into a dictator or monster.
In January 1841, Abraham Lincoln seems to have at least vaguely thought of suicide. His friend Joshua Speed found him one day thrashing about in his room. “Lincoln went Crazy,” Speed wrote. “I had to remove razors from his room — take away all Knives and other such dangerous things — it was terrible.”
Lincoln was taking three mercury pills a day, the remedy in those days for people who either suffered from syphilis or feared contracting it. “Lincoln could not eat or sleep,” Daniel Mark Epstein writes in his new book, “The Lincolns.” “He appeared at the statehouse irregularly, hollow-eyed, unshaven, emaciated — an object of pity to his friends and of derision to others.”
Later, Lincoln wrote of that period with shame, saying that he had lost the “gem of my character.” He would withdraw morosely from the world into a sort of catatonic state. Early in his marriage, Epstein writes, “Lincoln had night terrors. He woke in the middle of the night trembling, talking gibberish.”
Instead, David B.'s idea of "maturity" is the usual Rabid Weasel approach, skin-deep only, & mindful of Exodus, the outfit that claims to "cure" gay people, mostly by telling lesbians to wear more make-up & play less softball, & telling gay men to play more sports & wear less make-up. More like a stuff back in the closet approach than a "cure."
Here's how Brooksie says Lincoln achieved "maturity."
Over the course of his young adulthood, Lincoln built structures around his inner nature. He joined a traditional bourgeois marriage. He called his wife “mother” and lived in a genteel middle-class home.
In the last few years, we may be [sic] shifting toward another vision of maturity, one that is impatient with boomer narcissism. Young people today put service at the center of young adulthood. A child is served, but maturity means serving others.
And yet, though we’re never going back to the 19th-century, sin-centric character-building model, for breeding leaders, it has its uses. Over the past decades, we’ve seen president after president confident of his own talents but then undone by underappreciated flaws. It’s as if they get elected for their virtues and then get defined in office by the vices — Clinton’s narcissism, Bush’s intellectual insecurity — they’ve never really faced.Do those last four paragraphs make any sense? "Gone to school on his own failings?" "Somehow?" "Most emotionally gripped by his own failings?" What does this mean? Bush certainly seems "emotionally gripped by his own failings," he's been nothing but a failure his entire life. Do we want another one like him? How about McCain, who claims never to have sought help, counseling, or whatever for his horrific POW experiences? We're surprised Mr. Brooks doesn't have anything about Sen. Obama's "failings." Maybe he's not a "narcissistic boomer."
It would be nice to have a president who had gone to school on his own failings. It would be comforting to see a president who’d looked into the abyss, or suffered some sort of ordeal that put him on a first-name basis with his own gravest weaknesses, and who had found ways to combat them.
Somehow a leader conversant with his own failings wouldn’t be as affected by the moral self-approval that afflicts most political movements. He’d be detached from his most fervid followers and merciful and understanding toward foes. He’d have a sense of his own smallness in the sweep of events. He or she would contravene Lord Acton’s dictum and grow sadder and wiser with more power.
All this suggests a maxim for us voters: Don’t only look to see which candidate has the most talent. Look for the one most emotionally gripped by his own failings.
We are, & we say up yours!
UPDATE (7 June 2008 @ 1620):
We were on deadline (the adult mental daycare center where we hang only allows us an hour of internettery a day) so we were unable to get to one last point concerning Mr. Lincoln & that fool Mr. Brooks. Here it is: Lincoln is generally assumed to have suffered from depression, & the mercury ingestion certainly didn't help. Here is but one web page the Just Another Blog (from L. A.)™ research staff located on the subject. Yes, it's from "Neuroscience for Kids." Perhaps a bit too deep for Mr. Brooks, who wouldn't want to be thought of as an elitist or anything, we're sure. One more, from The Atlantic. (Yes, the very same Atlantic where Megan McArdle types.)
Abraham Lincoln fought clinical depression all his life, and if he were alive today, his condition would be treated as a "character issue"—that is, as a political liability. His condition was indeed a character issue: it gave him the tools to save the nation.It would, therefore, appear that David "Bobo" Brooks' entire take on "character" & "maturity" is invalidated by his complete avoidance of Lincoln's mental health problems, especially as exacerbated by ingesting mercury. We may also note that Brooks dismisses mercury merely as medication for those suffering from or fearing contracting syphilis. Not so much at Neuroscience for Kids:
In the 1800s, these blue pills were commonly prescribed for a wide variety of conditions, including worms, tuberculosis, toothaches, and cholera. They also were often prescribed for "hypochondriasis," a very general medical term that was used to describe many different physical and mental problems. Lincoln was said to have suffered from one condition often attributed to hypochondriasis: melancholia or depression. It is likely that a physician recommended that Lincoln take these blue pills for his depression.According to Brooks, however, Lincoln managed to "mature" by "joining a traditional bourgeois marriage." Joining? Is that like joining the B. P O. E.? Or DeMolay? It's as if the marriage were already going on & Abe joined in, threesome-style. Oh, Bobo. Oh, New York Times. Oh, the humanity.
A fuller spectrum of stuff on Lincoln + depression may be found @ Google™.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Christian Sharia, Or: My Heart Bleeds for the Victims But I Stand By The Church's Hierarchical Structure
In a melodious voice, Mohammed chanted verses from the Koran expressing faith in Allah to protect him, then provided their English translations, observing that his linguistic skills seemed better than those of the tribunal's official Arabic interpreter. Mohammed denounced U.S. law as immoral, citing some states' recognition of gay marriage. "Evil laws are not the laws of God, laws allowing same-sexual marriage," he told the court. "I consider all American laws under the Constitution to be evil."Smarty-pants terrorists w/ their "linguistic skills." Hmmpf. We suppose Pat Robertson & Ralph Parsnips (Rod Parsley, to the uninitiated) will be coming out for leniency for these sexist & homophobic killers, now that their position on "same-sexual" marriage is out. After all, per Pat it was gawd itself as what allowed the attacks of 11 September 2001 to take place. You know, like gawd allowing Hitler to scare all the Jooos back to Palestine. In yesterday's Timeses (N. Y., L. A. & Washington) this collection of Mary-worshipping Catholic wackos published this screed. Two freaking pp. in Section A of the local wrapper, we'll assume the same in the other Timeses. Not inexpensive, though it wouldn't surprise us one bit if the Moonie Times extended a discount to them, even if the Rev. Sun Myung Moon thinks he's the real pope or Jeezis or whatever. Note similarities to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's approach to law & human rights.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property is yet another outfit that invokes the First Amendment as an excuse for their religion & morals to be imposed on everyone, because their "rights" are denied if any laws or court rulings don't exactly agree w/ their teachings, rather than treating the First Amendment as an admonition to mind their own beeswax & leave decent anti-theists alone. P. S.: Keep your mackerel-traps the fuck closed until you've cleaned up all the pervy priests your Holy Mother Church keeps shuffling from parish to parish, you sick bastards. ASDTFP's biggest concern w/ the pervy priests is that it may cost Holy Mother Church some of her tax-free donations & real estate profits. Second biggest concern is that the hierarchy may be threatened.
The stakes are also clear. This is a battle for the soul of America. The so-called Cultural War is gradually becoming a Religious War. For one cannot modify the lex agendi (rules of morals) without thereby modifying the lex credendi (rules of belief) given the profound relationship between the two. He who accepts as good and even exalts homosexual practice cannot adore the true and living God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of that sin. (Gen. 18-19) In view of the above, it is urgent to resist the imposition on our country of “morals” opposed to those of Christ. Our resistance must be accompanied by sincere, ardent, and persevering prayer, since, as the Savior admonished us, “without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Lastly, since the legalization of homosexual “marriage” is a public sin that can draw God’s punishment upon our country, we must sacrifice and do penance, for God does not despise “a contrite and humbled heart.” (Ps. 50:19)
Far from denying the very real crisis inside the Church, the TFP takes note of the manner in which the present crisis is paraded before the public on every occasion. It also points out that a veritable media-reformist alliance seeks to undermine the trust of the faithful in all clergy. By creating a "hurricane of pressure," reformists create the conditions for presenting a range of demands to the bishops: empower the laity; eliminate, curtail, or render meaningless all priestly, episcopal, and papal authority; make priestly celibacy optional; ordain women; and change Church morality.Golly gee whillikers, there's certainly no reason to "change Church morality," is there? Let's just blame the media. After all, it's not that gay guys think their gayness is a call from gawd to be celibate &, therefore, join the priesthood, is it? No. Rather, "Sexual Abuse is a General Problem of a Hypersexualized Culture." Really, the devil made us do it.
The American TFP insists that these reformist pressure groups do not represent average American Catholics who are extremely concerned with the crisis and their [sic] hearts bleed for the victims of so much abuse. "However, they stand by the Church's hierarchical structure," Mr. Drake reiterates. "Their hearts are not those of revolutionary firebrands but of deeply hurt but faithful sons and daughters of the Church."
The "Church stands alone" w/ the Radical Fundamentalist Extremist Islamic Terrorists. "Knowable by reason?" If they can't reason the intent of the First Amendment, we're not trusting their "reason" on anything else.
As Michel de Jaeghere rightly reminds us “the Church stands alone in proclaiming today the existence of a natural moral order, knowable by reason, and which imposes itself on civil law.”10
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.Can you disagree? We thought not. Ladies, what are you waiting for?
This is perhaps the most breathtakingly naive statement of all, implying as it does that it is actually U.S. policy that motivates Iran rather than Iran's own perceived ambitions and interests. That would be news to the mullahs in Tehran, not to mention the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah.One of Iran's primary ambitions & interests is not to be blown to shreds by a crazed United Snakes, which has made the "obliteration" of Iran almost official policy. We suppose Bolton's next move will be to deny that "infidel' Troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia was one of the reasons Bin Laden attacked this nation on 11 September 2001. Then he'll deny that the removal of those troops was an act of surrender. After all, his new book is entitled Surrender Is Not an Option. 'Cause we all know President Obama wants to hand Florida over to the Ay-rabs, just as soon as he's returned the Southwest to Mexico. 'Surrender." So lame we forget to laugh. Equally lame: "San Francisco Democrats." Another classic Bolton pulls from his pooper.
It is an article of faith for Obama, and many others on the left in the U.S. and abroad, that it is the United States that is mostly responsible for the world's ills. In 1984, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick labeled people with these views the "San Francisco Democrats," after the city where Walter Mondale was nominated for president. Most famously, Kirkpatrick forever seared the San Francisco Democrats by saying that "they always blame America first" for the world's problems. In so doing, she turned the name of the pre-World War II isolationist America First movement into a stigma the Democratic Party has never shaken.Bullshit. Sheer unadulterated bullshit. Remember, Bolton is the bozo Bush couldn't get confirmed as ambassador to the U. N., so he had to sneak-appoint him when the Senate was out of session. What a colossal tool. Blame America first, last, & always, we say. You won't get very far from the truth when you follow common sense.
This is the paradigm—the relational model that shapes so much of our public life. Its primary components are intimidation and fear. It is essentially authoritarian. If not principally about the abuse of power, it rests, nonetheless, on a generally accepted notion of power’s privileges. Of its inherent rights. The Rights of Man? Please. The average man has the right to get rich so that he too can sit behind a desk wearing an absurd haircut, yelling, “You’re fired!” or refuse to take any more questions; so that he too—when the great day comes—can pour boiling oil on the plebes at the base of the castle wall, each and every one of whom accepts his right to do so, and aspires to the honor.Not even sad, only to be expected, & entirely true.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq. Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses—a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world. [...] A searing indictment of the President and his administration, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder also outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions, thereby creating a framework for future occupants of the oval office. Vincent Bugliosi calls for the United States of America to return to the great nation it once was and can be again. He believes the first step to achieving this goal is to bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.Might be worth a read. It dropped (As the teens say, see how hep we are?) 26 May 2008, don't know why there hasn't been more (Has there been any?) controversy about it than the McClellan opus. Too hot to handle, perhaps. An actual plan & call for action, as opposed to yet another Washington post hoc mea culpa. Wait, some Googling reveals an exceprt on HuffPo.
As usual, we present the most interesting & damning portions:
On national security issues, McCain receives advice from several generations of Republican strategists and former top foreign policy officials such as Henry Kissinger and Richard Armitage, often grouped in the realist camp of foreign policy, as well as William Kristol and Robert Kagan, leading neoconservative voices. The campaign lists Kagan as a leading foreign policy adviser...Ah, some real winners there.
Scheunemann, Kagan, and Kristol are project directors of the Project for the New American Century, an organization formed when Democrats controlled the White House in 1997 around what many analysts say are neoconservative ideals. The project says on its website it aims to promote U.S. leadership in the world and "rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America's role in the world." The organization's statement of principles says the United States needs to "increase defense spending significantly," "strengthen ties to democratic allies," "promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad," and "accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles."The usual gang of idiots, w/ virtually no idea of any other nations, ideologies or cultures (except that they're "other," & therefore wrong & "anti-American") who want to stick their fingers into everyone else's pie w/o even washing their blood-stained hands, & then are just "shocked, do you hear, shocked" when things don't turn out as they hoped & prayed (thinking they could "create their own reality" merely by exercising the military power that's bankrupting This Great Nation of Ours™).
Some observers point to McCain's embrace of policy issues identified with neoconservatives dating back to his presidential campaign of 2000, when he called for a "rogue state rollback" policy predicated on aiding opposition groups that could then drive from power some regimes seen as threats to the United States. His plan for a "League of Democracies," envisioned as a group of like-minded nations that would act in lieu of the United Nations against some threats to international security, is also seen as consistent with the neoconservative aims.
We'd be more convinced of their desire to "promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad," if any of these chicken hawks had ever expressed the slightest interest in freeing working Americans from the economic exploitation that occurs every second right here in the United Snakes. "Political & economic freedom," like charity, begins at home, ass wipes.
Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria, say[s] the speech was indicative of a "schizophrenia" in McCain's foreign policy, due in part to his call for ousting Russia from the Group of Eight industrialized nations. In the speech, McCain describes himself as an "realistic idealist" who abhors war and emphasizes the importance of respecting allies. "When we believe international action is necessary, whether military, economic, or diplomatic, we will try to persuade our friends that we are right," McCain said. "But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them.""God" & destiny. Wow. Makes us feel very insignificant. From The American Conservative:
Douglas C. Foyle, an associate professor of government at Wesleyan University, calls the Los Angeles speech a reaffirmation of McCain's core neoconservative beliefs. "He's talking about idealism with realistic tendencies but he's still talking about God and destiny for the United States, which is very neoconservative," says Foyle.
The varied balloons Kristol and company hoisted to give a focus to their politics (“national greatness conservatism” was one, with an emphasis on an assertive foreign policy and constructing patriotic monuments) never gained much altitude.Yes, kick Hussein's ass (quite a challenge, that) & build patriotic monuments, like the Nazis, the Soviets, or... (Dare we say?) Saddam Hussein.
The very same neo-cons who wanted a war/occupation on, of & in Iraq as far back as 1997. From the same American Conservative article:
Kristol and Robert Kagan’s “Saddam Must Go” editorial of November 1997 is reprinted: “We know it seems unthinkable to propose another ground attack to take Baghdad. But it’s time to start thinking the unthinkable.”Yes, the neo-cons. Bad, stupid ideas they stick w/ until well past the bitter end. Funny that so few mentioned Cheney's (& many others') pre-11 Sepember 2001 lust for war & occupation when commenting on Scott McClellan's new book. And funny (stupid) that McCain has bozos like Kristol & Kagan advising him, offset by "realist" Kissinger, who is scared to leave the country for fear of being arrested as a war criminal. In his case, we can only hope that he is captured & punished sooner than Pinochet, his good buddy in crime.
In “The Holocaust Shrug” (April 2004), David Gelernter wheels out the tried and tested appeasement analogy in support of the Iraq War. Saddam is no Hitler, Gelernter acknowledges, but “the world’s indifference to Saddam resembles its indifference to Hitler.”
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Any way, we always liked the play on words of "S. C. U. M.," & thanks to A. S. Hamrah, the author of the op-ed, we are treated to a bit more of Val's ideology:
It was in 1968 that Warhol first noted that in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. But in 1967, Solanas had prefigured that with a warning of her own. In the future, she wrote in her characteristic mode of threat-laced irony, "it will be electronically possible for [a man] to tune in to any specific female he wants to and follow in detail her every movement. The females will kindly, obligingly consent to this." These twin predictions sum up the world we find ourselves in now, the world of reality TV, Facebook, Twitter, the entire free-range panopticon. Solanas made her prediction in a footnote to "SCUM Manifesto," but the whole essay is like that."Totally insane & totally right." That's just what we've been hoping for at this stop on the Internet.
For a 50-page, sexually confused diatribe against men, the manifesto is filled with an odd glee, a kind of joy in the freedom to put down words with precision and wit. "SCUM," Solanas wrote, "wants to grab some swinging living for itself." The manifesto isn't just anti-men. It's anti-everything: anti-hippie, anti-work (and pro-"unwork"), anti-art, anti-military, anti-boredom, anti-you-name-it. Its nihilism is a form of utopia for Solanas, a pre-punk aesthete who fearlessly tossed out ideas that people are just now beginning to raise. She predicted reproduction without men, the elimination of aging, the end of reproduction itself and the dawning of an age of quasi-immortals. For Solanas -- who saw the extinction of men as inevitable, an evolutionary process -- these were all signs of hope that future generations, like men and all the other things she couldn't stand ("landlords, owners of greasy spoons and restaurants that play Muzak"), would become unnecessary and disappear.
As a mixture of social philosophy and fine shtick, her work has the rare virtue of seeming at the same time totally insane and totally right. That's a virtue we used to look for in philosophers, from Diogenes and Socrates up to Nietzsche.
More on Ms. Solanas here. Or let Google's™ fingers do the walking.
And perhaps the most useful thing the Times has done since publishing restaurant closures from the Health Dep't.; a list of songs w/ "The Beat," & YouTube links thereto. That should fill the rest of your day.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Hagee described the Antichrist as a seductive figure with "fierce features." He will be "a blasphemer and a homosexual," the pastor announced. Then, Hagee boomed, "There's a phrase in Scripture used solely to identify the Jewish people. It suggests that this man [the Antichrist] is at least going to be partially Jewish, as was Adolph Hitler, as was Karl Marx."To us, Hagee is at least partially a buffoon. And really, would anyone bother to hate gay people so much unless one hated oneself for being gay in the first place? Note the code phrase "fierce features," as in, "Ooooh, he's sooo fierce," heard in gay bars nation-wide. And the anti-Semitism? When will Sen. Holy Joe Lieberman get his head out of his ass? Check The Nation story for the full poop on all involved. And then wonder why this isn't all over the media like Rev. Wright.