Saturday, April 13, 2002

More Yeats Overuse and Democratic Speechwriting

Ok, the Second Coming's new popularity (see my earlier post) is really getting out of hand. Who do I here the "... best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.." line coming from? None other than Al "I am a robot" Gore, at a meeting of Florida Democrats. Now, special interests and Enron-style corruption may indeed be an important national issue, but I don't see them leading to the Apocalypse of Yeats' poem. Are Republicans really drowning the ceremony of innocence?

Which brings me to the wider issue: why are Democratic speeches so bad? Gore's wooden delivery makes the boring cardboard cutout nature of his speeches all the more obvious. These speeches are either patronizing (watching Gore preach to minorities during the 2000 campaign was exceptionally offensive), whiny, or plain incoherent.

Clinton, love him or hate him, was probably the best presidential orator of the 20th century. His emotive, sensitive performance usually made you forget that his speeches were so vague as to be meaningless, or, worse yet, filled with bold-faced lies. Bush's oration is probably his weakest features, but the brilliant mix of idealistic imagery and hyperbole of his speechwriters have produced some great speeches. Could you imagine if Clinton's slick charm was coupled with the speeches to come out of Bush post 9-11? He'd probably get himself named President-for-life.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Hezbollah, Israeli Withdrawals, and Future Crapulence

I was going to rant about the lessons Israel’s learned from its withdrawal from Lebanon, but I couldn’t do much better than Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post has.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

US Troops as Mid-East Peacekeepers – What the hell is Foggy Bottom thinking!

Among other things Powell talked about in his visit to Egypt was the possibility of American peacekeepers (and possibly Europeans) on the ground in the West Bank. He said the same thing after his meeting with the Neville Chamberlains in Europe a few days earlier. This is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in a long time.

Let’s assume for a moment that a cease-fire somehow gets going, and Powell’s security suggestions are implemented. That leaves American ground troops, most likely lightly armed, patrolling the border between Israel (lets assume for the moment that the Israelis have abandoned their West Bank settlements) and a newly created Palestinian “state”. Now what happens when the first Hamas whack-job picks off his first GI Joe with a sniper rifle? Or takes out a Hummer full of soldiers with a suicide attack.

At this point, the peacekeeper on the ground is faced with a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. If he goes after the guys attacking him, the Palestinians go apeshit. The Arabs do the whole outrage thing about evil crusading Americans and threaten an oil embargo, sending the world economy into a tailspin. Iraq will show its solidarity with the Palestinians by annihilating the Kurds. Most irritating of all, the French will start bitching louder than usual about America’s “simplicity”.

The other option is to retreat to more secure positions. This tells Hamas and their familiars that the gringos are nice, soft, easy targets, that they can get away with attacking. This’d have god knows how many repercussions, as every piece of crap who hates America would think he’s got a pass to grab an AK-47 and take a few potshots at the nearest American. If we then follow Clinton’s example in Somalia (or, to be fair to our pinko-leaning friends, Reagan’s example in Lebanon), we get the hell out of Dodge, leaving the current Israeli-Palestinian madness to start over, most likely in a bloodier and more ruthless form.

The Israelis have been dealing with these issues since the latest Intifada started. We’d just be substituting the US Army for the Israeli Defense Force. This isn’t a solution, because the rallying cry for the Palestinian leadership is still “Death to Israel!” As long as the goal of Palestinian militants is the outright destruction of Israel, whoever stands in the way of the suicide bombers is just another target.

Let’s just send the Europeans instead. They like this peacekeeping crap, and maybe after they bring home a couple of French or German bodybags they might be a little less fanatical in their rejection of every action Israel takes, but probably not. If there’s one thing the Euro-pansies are good at, it’s hypocrisy.
Boozing, Bloody Well Boozing

---begin rant---

This study is on all the major media outlets, in one form or another. Whaddya know, college kids drink too much. DUHHHHH!

I wonder how much this study cost. I graduated last year, and, make no mistake about it, I drank a lot in my college career. Frat boys were jealous of my alcohol intake (this isn’t so outrageous, considering most Frat boys drink Bud Light by choice). I didn’t even have mommy and daddy paying for my good times (or tuition or rent for that matter). I had to pay my own hard earned cash to get schlacked.

Now, while it’s true that alcohol is involved with all sorts of unsavory activity, I think its important to remember that unsavory people are also involved.

Yes it’s true drunk girls get date raped. However, it’s the males who are much less drunk that do the raping. Alcohol isn’t the problem here. Sick fucks who think it’s a good idea to stick their dicks into unwilling passed out girls are the problem. We don’t need to outlaw booze, we need to take rapists of any variety, and smash their balls with jagged rocks. That’ll learn ‘em.

The most annoying part of this whole issue are those students who piss and moan about how terrible it is for their fellow students who drink too much. Or smoke. Or have fun. Some TV program, I think it was the O’Reily factor, had a bunch of white-bread student representatives from all these shitty colleges around the country. They were all whining about how public drunkenness is such a disgrace, and how their schools were taking increasingly draconian measures to ensure a “dry” campus. What kind of wussy would want to go to an alcohol free school? And who would be lame enough to publicize their wussiness on national TV.

These are the mindless overachieving Christian or Marxist kids (they really are the same deep down) who ran for class president in high school, and cried for a month when they lost to the dumb jock. These are the people who grow up to become Tipper Gore or Ralph Nader, who think I need to be protected from booze, cigarettes, swear words, or a high paying corporate job. I am, of course, an ignorant child, and need these good people to show me what’s best. Sorry guys, I’ve got parents already. I love them, but I still don’t let them tell me what to do. What makes the health / temperance / thought Nazis, who I find infinitely more annoying , think I’ll listen to their bitching?

I think I speak for the majority of decent people in this country when I tell the defenders of virtue, health, and morality that they’d be advised to suck my ass, then find a nice sewer to crawl into.

---end rant---

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

John Wayne is God

For millennia mankind has worshiped many different deities, from the Earth-Goddess of the pre-Indo-European Iberians to the modern God of the monotheistic faiths. These gods have been the inspiration for laws, figureheads for nations, and causes of massive and bloody wars. Of course, most of these gods have a notoriously bad track record when it comes to customer service. You see, for all their pageantry, grandeur and supernatural powers, all these gods are complete and utter bubkis.

Huitzilopochtli didn’t protect their Aztec worshipers from those nasty conquistadors or the diseases they brought with them. Joan of Arc fought blindly for her God, and was rewarded by being thrice cursed, a schizophrenic, burned at the stake, and born French. Let’s not even get into the history of the Jews, who, as God’s chosen people, have had a peachy last 4000 years… and it just keeps getting better for ‘em!

No my friends, these gods are of no use to decent, hardworking, and thoughtful people like you or me. Let me share with you a revelation I received but a few years ago. There I was, innocently sipping on my tenth beer of the night, a belly full of steak, potatoes, and funions. McClintock was playing on the TV, when the famous “I won’t hit you… The hell I won’t! [wack]” scene was playing. I was suddenly struck by a mighty vision.

Heavenly clouds parted to reveal a mighty throne. A bold figure walked down from this great seat and greeted me with a handshake and a grin. Lo, to my surprise who did I behold but The Duke himself, the holy spirit of our Lord and Savior, John Wayne. And he was not alone in his place of power, for on his left was his lieutenant, The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. His Red-Right hand, Lee Marvin was also at his side.

Since this was Heaven, there was a most righteous Bar-B-Que going. Bountiful amounts of meat were slowly cooking on the grill, while sweet beer flowed from inexhaustible fountains. Beautiful women walked hand in hand with heroes from generations past. Our Lord offered me a steak and a beer. Before I was finished with my luscious meal he took me aside.

“Son,” he said, “I didn’t just bring you up here for some dinner.”

I took a deep drink of my beer, expecting terrible news, then looked up at our Lord’s beneficent contenance and was calmed by his kind eyes.

“I’ve got a message for you ta take back with you. Now, I’ve been gone a long time now, and I know it seems like things are getting worse every year, and they damn well are. But I want you to spread the news. When things seem their worst, me and my friends’ll be coming back. And we’ll be looking to kick some commie ass, or those dirty Nazi sons O’ bitches if we can find any of ‘em.”

After that, The Duke let me finish my meal, and then sent me back down to our miserable mortal realm. I’m left to spread his holy message: The Duke is coming back, and, as Dennis Leary predicted, he’s going to be pissed. He is indeed the one true God, for I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah. Amen

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

All laws repealed???

The people at The Onion are being ironic, bless their pinko gen-x hearts, but I think it's a pretty damn good idea!

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Yeats in the Middle East

Sgt. Stryker's has the first part of Yeats' The Second Coming at the top of their front page. It's a perfect poem for situations where, like in the Middle East, the world is rapidly spiraling into a crap-filled toilet. The second part of the poem is even more interesting and ominous in light of the current situation than the first part:

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The poem, inspired by World War I and the Russian revolution of 1917 (and Yeats' occultism), is an apocalyptic vision of Judeo-Christian civilization falling apart, replaced by a mysterious and seemingly inhuman force. This is all well and good for those of us who love a good apocalyptic vision (and who doesn't?), but it's also led to this poem being completely overused in TV shows, video games, comic books, and similar pop culture products.

As a Yeats fan myself, I'm of two minds on this trend. On one hand, it's good that the poem gets spread about to those who night not otherwise be exposed to it. I was certainly in this boat during my Sci-Fi-Superdork phase in middle school, where the poem was my first exposure to Yeats' work. On the other hand, hack writers will often randomly plop the poem into their mediocre books or screenplays anytime they need something dark or ominous sounding. These works have all the literary value of a sonnet written by a 15 year old Goth, and don't give the poem a good reputation.

Now, however, the situation in the world generally and the mid-east in particular seem to be neatly summed up by the poem. Yeats' Irish nationalism was linked to the partisan violence of the 20th century Irish independence movement, if not directly, and he saw the violence ripping through his country. This experience shows itself in his work, and it's hard not to read it and think of current events.

By the way, Sgt. Stryker's is now my favorite blog, if for no other reason than they have a picture of John Wayne on their front page. John Wayne is God, of course. I'll explain more on that later....

Jumping on the bandwagon

Here's my first post. Not much, I know.