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Archive for the 'Rants' Category


2009.06.13 A Backwards Glance at Nothing Good:

A Sideways Look at Time
A Sideways Look at Time by Jay Griffiths

My review
rating: 1 of 5 stars
It's not often that I will actually STOP reading a book, on purpose, once I've started. Sure, sometimes I'll put it down for a while and come back to it later, but like leaving in the middle of a movie, putting down a book—for good—without finishing it is something I just don't do.

Well, now I have.

The premise of this book intrigued me, with its vague intimations of a philosophic and Zen inspired discourse on time—how we perceive it, and how we might get back to a better relationship with it. Presumably, that discourse exists somewhere within the book, but I wasn't able to slog through the first few chapters to get to the meat of it.

The author is apparently of an American school of writing influenced heavily by the Beats. His prose attempts that Kerouackian stream-of-consciousness that Jack managed to pull off with energy and weight, but which this author only stumbles around with, coming off as amatuerish and disjointed. The book feels like a first draft, with the author repeating the same ideas several times in the course of several paragraphs, and revisiting them again later in the same chapter. By the third reading of the same statement, the reader is left saying "OK! I get it! Can we move on!"

Coupled with repeated assertions, the author employs broad, seemingly faulty interpretations of events or social phenomena to support his ideas. The first few times these weak arguments show up, the reader may be willing to overlook or forgive. But with each additional instance, the reader's patience is tried and the author begins to seem like a buffoon.

Ultimately, as I said, I only made it through the first few chapters before I had had enough of the faux-progressive prose and faulty logic. The book comes across as something that might have been an interesting idea for a 10-20 page essay, which has been expanded—to its great detriment—into a full-length book.

For the premise alone, I wish I could recommend the book… but I can't. Don't buy it, spend your precious time on something worthwhile.

View all my GoodReads reviews.

- 12:42 pm - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Rants - Upset/Dislike

 

2008.10.02 use it like a screwball would:

What a week, huh? The House fails to pass the bailout bill, the markets crash, and there was a period on tuesday where I wish I had $10,000 for about 15 minutes (Google's stock crashed right at close, then rebounded almost immediately in after-hours trading).

And most people are putting the blame for the bill failing the House squarely on John "Maverick" McCain. They had a provisional agreement until he touched down, then the shit hit the fan. Then again, they're also trying to blame Next Gingrich, so what does anybody know? I know that I'm really glad I never started a 401k, that's for sure.

Speaking of Google, I have started to covet the T-Mobile G1 (not in that ugly white, though). I thought, a few times, about switching to AT&T for the iPhone, but it looks like I've been rewarded for my patience. And my upgrade should make it more than affordable. Good thing, too…my RAZR is showing its age. Either way, it should make Matt's Treo look like it has some sort of childhood developmental disorder.

- 08:49 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Gadgets - Politics - Rants - Raves - Technology

 

2008.09.26 my man's (not) mccain:

i'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret: in 2000, when McCain was running against Bush, and Gore was an uninspiring shoe-in for the Democratic nod, i very well might have voted for McCain over Gore in the general election. i didn't get to agonize over that decision, as the frightening Bush candidacy dominated the republican primaries, and ultimately I didn't even get to vote for Nader because i went to the wrong polling place with no time to spare.

in 2000, John McCain was still widely regarded as the maverick senator who didn't toe the party line. he was a rough and tumble sort of guy with well defined convictions about how to improve or eliminate the problems plaguing our government. campaign finance reform, pork barrel spending, antagonistic relationship with corporate lobbyists and their interests. he was a republican, sure, but he had the right ideas about some important issues. and that whole thing about bucking the party line to take a stand was a very attractive component for someone who felt the stodgy old politicians were too enmeshed in their own comfort zones to do any real good.

so yeah, in 2000, John McCain was a great candidate, someone who appealed to the political independents who felt the major parties were loosing touch.

then, after the bush v gore debacle/travesty, McCain continued to stand up against the new administration when it counted. he appeared on talk shows, and all but called Bush a bumbling idiot. god, how i loved that! (because it's true, you see) he continued pushing for his causes, trying to make positive change, and being a thorn in the establishment's side.

then, somewhere around 2004, things started to change… i'm not sure exactly when i noticed it, or the specific situation, but there was a moment, when McCain came out in support of Bush, Bush the bumbling idiot, Bush the perpetrator of a War of Lies and Bad Intentions, and I *knew* then that McCain had done it—this was the moment where McCain made the decision to value political maneuvering over personal conviction. this was the moment where whatever respect i had for McCain as a politician, and a person, was lost.

after that, McCain appeared more and more in support of the administration, in support of the republican establishment. i didn't pay much attention to him after that, except to feel a sense of disappointment whenever i saw him.

now, we're on the cusp of another election, and this time, he's the nominee. he won. it's his show. and he's trying to bring up his maverick status, and his willingness to stand against the establishment, which is something that he hasn't noticeably demonstrated in the last 5 years or so. he still talks a good talk—about campaign finance reform, about pork barrel spending, about kicking the lobbyists out of washington and putting a halt to the undue influence of corporations on the legislative process. he's cribbed the obama cry for "CHANGE!" and tried to own it.

but in light of his recent record, all of this is hollow talk. he *had* a record as a maverick, he *had* a record an an anti-establishmentarian, he *had* a record of standing up against the lobbyists. he *had* a record as a broker of change.

HAD.

now what does he have? a record of 90% agreeement with a 19% presidency. a campaign run, almost exclusively, by lobbyists and former lobbyists for the very corporations he's fought against in the past. he has a campaign that spews a torrent of LIES at every turn, and, even when these lies are dissected by the media, continues to regurgitate them. he has a campaign where the political maneuvers are blatantly obvious and frankly, somewhat disgusting. he has the audacity to make a baldly political VP pick with little to no actual qualifications.

and let me just talk about that for a second. off the bat, let me just say that Sarah Palin's gender is completely irrelevant, as is her religious affiliation, her sexual orientation, and her shoe size. what's relevant are her qualifications and her political views.

despite those things, it is obvious to me (outside looking in and all that) that McCain picking Sarah Palin was at least partially motivated by a desire to haul in those former Hilary voters who loudly and frequently (before the DNC, anyway) let it be known that they were on the fence about Obama. in other words, McCain's pick *was* gender oriented. considering Palin's other stats, that fact seems obvious.

as for her qualifications, there really aren't any to speak of. she has some local executive governmental experience, and she's been a Governor (since Dec. '06) for just a tad longer than Obama's been a presidential candidate (since Feb. '07). she has zero foreign policy experience, and her major federal experience has been in getting earmarks from congress for her hometown. she may be a great governor (though an ethics investigation may indicate otherwise), and she may be well suited to it. but this little bit of experience is not presidential material. senate, sure; house, definitely. but not presidential.

in fact, her almost total lack of qualifications for the office leads me to feel that her nomination for the post of vice president is actually… offensive! it shows a lack of respect for the office of vice president to nominate someone who is not eminently qualified for the post. sure, we had Dan Quayle for a while, and he was in no shape to run the country, for sure. but just because there's precedent…

but, ultimately, this is about McCain. and what it comes down to is this: he's a "used to be." he used to be honest, he used to be righteous, he used to be respectful. he used to be a lot of things that he's now left behind in the name of getting the victory.

he used to be someone i would consider voting for. he's not anymore.

- 02:22 am - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Nostalgia - Politics - Rants - Society - Upset/Dislike

 

2008.07.26 except for the bits with the bat, man:

(with apologies to the three or four of you who might read this post, as you're probably the three or four to whom i've already talked about it, and you've probably heard most of this from me already…)

Sara and i finally got out to see The Dark Knight thurs. night, and while it exceeded my expectations, i felt it didn't live up to the hype.

let me say first that this was a fantastic movie. all the major characters felt fully realized and deep, and either had strong arcs or a consistency of character that was gradually exposed during the course of the movie… that is, all the characters but one—the Batman. there was a recurring thought in my head as the movie unfolded: "this is a great movie, except for those pesky bits with the batman." after the movie, i reasoned that this movie would have been perfect as a GCPD movie—with all the batman stuff happening off-screen.

the performances delivered by the entire (non-batsuited) cast were absolutely spot-on. Gordon, Harvey, the Joker, and heck, even Lucius and Rachel were phenomenal at every turn. Such fantastic acting, scripting, and directing that there could be an oscar here (or several).

as bruce wayne, christian bale's performance was on par with his co-stars, an unimpeachable rendition of the nuanced billionaire playboy—dashing, vain, pretentious, and ostentatious, while also calculating, serious, and very aware of himself. a perfect bruce wayne. however, once he's in the suit, we're not so lucky.

i do understand that batman is not the suit, but the man inside and the raging, conflicting emotional and philosophical debates that play inside him. however, i feel that bale's portrayal of batman is weak and contrived.

the main thing I hated about the val kilmer batman (aside from the dreadful story and the rest of that horrible movie), was that stupid, insipid, forced gravelly voice thing he did. well, now, of course we've got christian bale doing the exact same thing. it's well established in the comics that batman does speak with an altered, lower voice than bruce, so it's not like the gravelly thing is completely off-base… it's just that it's so bad, and unnatural, and just simply not right. batman just doesn't talk this way, except maybe in one of those weird surreal one-shot trades by some artist with a fixation on the grotesque.

also, this batman just doesn't feel right to me somehow. in the (hand-to-hand) fight sequences, batman seems slow, plodding, and shortsighted. despite the fact that he's just a man with no superpowers, a man who is supposed to be the single greatest fighter in the world should move with more grace, fluidity, economy, and speed. batman's abilities border on the super-human, but with this batman, i don't feel that at all. it just feels like a guy in a suit. as the bat acolyte says, "what's the difference between you and me?" in this movie, the answer is "nothing."

(let me digress for just a sec by reiterating that in the previous paragraph i'm talking almost exclusively about the physicality of batman—we'll deal with psychological and philosophical concepts in a moment)

also, the suit. the keaton suit always bugged me a little, because, like the current suit, it's a little too bulky, a little too stiff, a little too rubbery. however, i felt like in the keaton movies, tim burton worked fairly well around the limitations of the suit, leaving that batman feeling more like a superhero than a guy in a suit. i almost feel that chris nolan just doesn't care to work around his suit's limitations, like he wants it to be more realistic, and thus it ends up being just a guy in a suit. and what's up with the cowl? keaton's was a bit funky, with that stiff rubber, but seems like it was shaped better. bale's cowl feels too ovular, and like he's just got this tiny pointy little face on this great big egg shaped head. i dunno, but i don't like it.

veering away from the negativity a bit, but continuing with physicality, i have to say that the driving and flying sequences were great. all very well done, and enjoyable to watch. batman on a glider is one of my favorite things, and this movie didn't disappoint in this area. some of his toys were pretty nifty too. however, i do have a beef with the whole "skyhook" thing. it's a fantastic idea, don't get me wrong, it looked pretty awesome, and i know bruce wayne is rich as fuck, but seriously, the way that went down was not batman's style. a charter plane, or involving the U.S. military, either way, it's not his style. i mean, you can pursue realism all you want, but there is a line.

i mentioned earlier that all the characters were deep and well-realized. this is also true of batman (even though i don't care for the portrayal). the concepts dealt with in this movie—duality, sanity, purpose versus principles, and escalation—are indeed quintessentially batman concepts which have been dealt with extensively in the comics and other movies. so, yes, the batman's arc in this movie is also fantastically conceived… if only it was executed as well.

finally, we saw the movie in the IMAX theater, with seats near the middle on the second row about 100 feet or so away from the screen. perhaps i was too close, or perhaps i was too engrossed in the movie, but i can't say that i ever noticed a single bit that was IMAX. i will also say that it was very disappointing that there was at least some component of the projection system—the screen, the booth window, the project, or even the film—that was very dirty. there were black spots all over the screen.

given all the above, and my love of batman (in general), i figure that i will like it much better after a second viewing. now that i have traded expectation for experience, and having already said my peace about bale's bat, perhaps i'll be able to sit back and really watch it, enjoy it, and not let the bad bits color my perception of everything else too much.

anyone willing to give it a second look?

- 04:29 am - PL :: 5 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Indifferent - Movies - Pop Culture - Rants - Raves - Uncategorized

 

2007.04.03 a distinct lack of joy:

so yeah, work has been a might annoying the last week or so. i really enjoy being a web developer, aside from the occasional annoyances, mainly having to do with browser compatibility issues and occasionally poor support of web standards. i enjoy the problem solving, and making pretty, functional things. i've realized that i really don't enjoy doing diagrams, documentation, proposals and estimates. i suppose it won't be quite as bad once i have a clue as to what i'm doing, but it's just terribly annoying to have to do things, and finish them on some kind of deadline, when you don't really understand what it is you're supposed to be delivering.

probably the most annoying part of the job is the way there tend to be dry spells in work, followed by a few weeks where every day is full and the deadline for every project practically overlaps. and then there's the equipment malfunctioning and behaving improperly. gah.

well, anyway, i'm just frustrated after a long, trying couple of weeks. good thing is, we're closed for Good Friday, and i could really use the long weekend.

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- 10:45 pm - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Computers/Tech - Rants - Upset/Dislike - Work

 

2007.03.30 not an epic post:

so, you may or may not have noticed that i'm trying to get back on the horse here, and i think i've had a realization that part of my stumbling block to getting something out, is the feeling that every post should be a big, epic barn-burner. of course, some of the best posts are, but if every post has to be, then, well, i'd have to lead a more interesting life.

as it is, tonight's post, which was going to be about my upcoming trip to the PHP/tek conference in Chi-town in May, is actually going to be about how much i already despise Vista.

I've had the new laptop just over a day now, and already it has bogged down or crashed out at least 6 times. the first being mere moments after first boot-up and running through the initial new-installation setup routines. i swear, for an OS that is supposed to be the most stable windows version yet, this is one touchy little bitch. I have finally managed to divest it of all the crapware that came pre-installed (including MS works, office trial, and other sundries), but i can't for the life of me figure out where to go to uninstall windows mail or windows messenger. on the bonus side, messenger doesn't seem to be starting up on boot, so maybe i don't have to worrry about that anyway.

oh, and you know that Mac ad with the windows security guy standing behind PC asking him to "cancel or allow?" well, i figured it was an exaggeration, but y'know, it really isn't. every damn time i try to load some piece of software (i am trying to setup a new machine, afterall) i have to confirm that yes, i do want this program to run. and heaven forbid if i try to actually administer the computer.

i may not even make it to the point where i have a working system before I strip it and install Linux. i'm already severely annoyed with Vista, and a little sad that MS can get away with putting out such crap, still.

none of this is to say that Mac OSX isn't without its flaws, but hell, at least they can fall back on the whole "we had to migrate from an entirely different architecture" thing.

oh yeah, and one last thing. the entire time i've been typing this, Vista has been trying to restart, after a software installer failed to even launch. and now, i think it's knocked out my router. but then, my router's been a little wishy washy lately anyway, so i can't blame that entirely on Vista. but i'm still suspicious.

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- 12:51 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Angry/Hate - Computers/Tech - Rants

 

2004.11.03 can't win for losing:

needless to say, i've been more depressed today than any day in the last ten years. i'm flabbergasted, completely dumbfounded. everything i thought i knew leading up to this, has been thrown to the ground and stomped on.

ok, hold on. yes, i expected it to be close. yes, i expected the unwashed masses to vote against equal rights. i even expected, on some level, for Mongiardo to lose, though i was hopeful 'til the end (not that i agree with his social conservatism, but he'd've been better than that old coot who won). i expected these things, but i also expected the throngs of liberal voters we were promised, and i expected the reports of skewed poll numbers leading up to the election to have been more accurate. i expected more people to have woken the fuck up during the last four years and to have seen the horror this administration has wrought. i expected quite a bit, and i was sorely disappointed.

as andrew sullivan pointed out, it wasn't the war on terror that was the pivotal issue of the campaign, it was the fear of homosexuals. it was "moral values" that drove the conservative voters to the polls, and it was precisely those "moral values" that Kerry and the other Democratic candidates hadn't campaigned to win.

and the thing that gets me is, how can you claim superior "moral values" when you're preaching discrimination, hatred, misunderstanding, ignorance, denying families the right to exist, stealing money from our children and grand-children (and now, most likely, our great-grandchildren), sending our youth to die for a war based on lies and faulty information, and the economic subjugation of the "lower" classes by the already wealthy? how are those "moral values?"

as you might've read in my last post, that email discussion with my dad, those aren't anything like the "moral values" i was raised to believe in. i was raised to believe that if you treat others with love and respect, that you'll build a better world. unfortunately the policies of those in power operate on a completely different tack. and even worse, the party in power has managed to befuddle the masses to the point where they actually believe they are supporting their values and ideals.

what we need now is to not give up. don't give ground. i dont' know if we need to go as far as Rich Malley suggests, but we certainly need to keep the screws tightening.

more importantly than that, we need to truly educate ourselves and become the shining font of education and information in order to re-establish our reality-based community (sic)
and spread truth.

as i said to my co-worker earlier today, we certainly can't be expected to be imminently knowledgeable about every issue, but we can certainly pick a topic or two to be "experts" on. find something that interests you, study it, learn it inside & out, and anytime you get an opportunity to talk to someone who's uneducated or misinformed about that subject, don't hesitate to shower them with the facts. don't hedge, don't qualify, don't apologize or state your "opinion"—assault them with facts. know both sides of the issue, know what the results of different policies would be, and make sure they understand when they're supporting the wrong ones.

form a network of knowledgeable friends. find out what your buddies know, where their areas of "expertise" lie. when you get in a conversation with someone who's talking wrongly about something your buddy knows inside & out, give him or her a call, or suggest that the person you're talking to seek that person out. or get their email address, and have your buddy contact them. somehow close the gap of knowledge and education.

it is imminently possible to eradicate the republican standard operating procedures of misinformation and miseducation, it's imminently possible to take back the "high ground" on morality and family values, but we can only do it if we can educate ourselves first, and present our personal knowledge in ways that can't be misconstrued. don't leave room for doubt, don't leave room for interpretation. cite fact.

we can take this country back, but we will have to work for it.

2004.10.07 how will i ever DO anything:

i am no stranger to obsession, thought sometimes they run stronger than others. for the last… er… what, like 8 months? a year? almost a year… i've been singularly obsessed with politics. and not just politics, but with current events as well (though not with a broad scope). i have collected links to sites that i read on a regular basis, and in the past couple of weeks it has seemed that pretty much all i do anymore is read news sites/blogs and either store the information loosely in my buggy brain, or slip it softly into a "staging" folder in my bookmarks.

for quite some time i've used a "daily" bookmarks folder to house links to all those sites i visit (oh, this is good, you'll never guess) daily, with subfolders for sites i visit "frequently" and for the sites of "friends." before that it was just a huge dailies folder and a blogs folder.

about a week ago i finally decided to take some time and figure out what bloglines was all about. now, i've attempted to use RSS aggregators before, but never really found them to integrate well into the way i surf the web. plus there never seemed a good way to fold the results of all those RSS feeds in with each other. bloglines still doesn't integrate the feeds, but it does an adequate job of tracking entries that have been read, so that i just have to check periodically for new ones. since it's a browser-based aggregator, it's integrated into my regular browsing habits just like my daily bookmarks, but quicker (plus, i no longer have to remember–for the most part–which posts i've read and which i've not, not that it was that hard to begin with).

anyway, it seems to have streamlined my daily reading, but now i seem to have so many damned sites that i read, most of which are fairly prolific posters (or teams of posters) that all i seem to do is read.

The Daily Reads:

43 Folders
AmigaWorld
Bloglines | News
Boing Boing
Cool Tools
The Courier-Journal
Daily Kos
David Allen
Daypop Top 40
Engadget
Gizmodo
On Lisa Rein's Radar: Daily Show Clips
InfoWorld
Jabber News
Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting
LostInLouisville
Louisville, KY – Topix.net
MobileWhack
MoCoLoco
MT-Blacklist/Comment Spam Clearinghouse
Quotes of the Day
Screenhead
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
Techbargains.com

i've actually managed to do a little work tonight (answered a few emails, updated old-man.net, and written this post) but i still feel like i'm racing the clock.

part of this continual feeling of overwhelmed ineffectualness has driven me towards things like Danny O'Brien's LifeHacks, 43 folders, and especially David Allen's Getting Things Done. i am now making a concerted effort to learn the GTD concepts, and research and figure out how to apply the principles in my life, and with the tools that i like to use. i want to figure out how to make that Handspring Visor i've been neglecting a vital part of the process for me. right now, my room's a mess of discarded envelopes (and, of course, their content) and i have a bad tendency to let things sit for too long or forget them altogether until it's too late. i've gotten my finances under control because i have A SYSTEM, now it's time to get the rest of my life in some semblance of that same control. i know i have the capacity, now i hope i'm finding the methods and the tools that will let me figure the rest of it out. we'll see, but i do have a good feeling about the whole thing.

oh yeah, bush sucks, kerry rules.

- 10:22 pm - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Cool Links - Personal Projects - Politics - Rants

 

2004.09.01 horseshit comes in surprising packages:

well, previously, i thought horseshit only came out of horse's asses. apparently, i was mistaken, as i've just seen one man spew more horseshit in two minutes than i've seen in all the years i've been alive. the capacity of the man's stomach must be mind-boggling, to be able to store all that crap, and regurgitate it upon command.

i already thought Zell Miller was an idiot, now i'm wondering if he's even still considered sentient. if this is they guy the Republicans choose to deliver the keynote speech, then man, this country (being temporarily in their hands) is even worse off than i'd originally estimated. i really tried, i steeled myself against the crap that i expected, and thought i was prepared to sit the whole speech out, but i just couldn't do it. sitting in a room with my moderate fiance and her ambiguously conservative father, i didn't want to start going on a rant that would alienate me before the wedding plans are even finalized.

needless to say, i'm supremely interesting in seeing what those who are better at this sort of commentary have to say about his speech tomorrow.

i'll set this in motion though, with two points that stuck in my craw:

1) Partisan activity / no bi-partisan cooperation:
The republicans can hardly blame the democrats for a lack of bipartisan cooperation, as i seem to recall that, at least for the entirety of Clinton's second term, especially once the Republicans gained control of the legislature, there was limited to no bi-partisan cooperation from their side. in fact, there was such a witch-hunt against Clinton, that it seriously damaged even the possibility of bi-partisan cooperation, even among reasonable people.

Sept. 11 did a lot to overcome that animosity, but King George's actions and decisions since then have only served to bring them back. Those opposing Bush are fighting for freedom against tyranny, and this country was *founded* by a massive revolt against the established leadership.

in fact, i was thinking the other day about a series of questions to ask people who say that disagreeing with the president is unpatriotic. i now don't remember specifically the questions i was thinking of, but it boils down to asking if they considered the American Revolution to be a patriotic endeavor, then pointing out to them that the American Revolution was all about dissenting with those in charge.

so, i would argue that the people who disagree with the president are at least as patriotic, if not more patriotic than those who blindly follow him.

*** at this point, i've completed this entry once, crashed mozilla & lost everything after this point, so i'm going to try to re-create it ***

2) the second offensive thing he went off on was the whole "liberators/occupiers" thing. we may have been liberators, but after King George declared "mission accomplished" at the "end of major combat operations" we became occupiers. but that's beside the main point of why this pisses me off.

if we had gone into Iraq for the purpose of liberating the people from the evil Saddam, then i'd be all about calling us liberators. unfortunately, the reality is that the reasons we went to war had nothing to do with the freedom of the Iraqi people. we went to war because Saddam's (non-existent) WMD made him an "imminent threat" to the safety of the nation. and the war piggy-backed on 9/11 because supposedly Saddam (militant secularist) had some indefinable connections to al Qaeda (extreme fundamental religious). of course, all of these real reasons we were given turned out to be false, and so the administration and their lackeys fell back on the convenient "liberators of the Iraqi people" excuse. it's kind of like, when you're a kid, and mom finds you digging in the cookie jar, and you say "but mom, i was getting a cookie for sissie." if mom actually buys it, she's a moron with no business parenting.

now, i walked out on the illustrious idiot's speech, as i said, about two minutes after we'd tuned in (if that long), and ended up getting so pissed it had to leave right about the line "… nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators."

as i've gone back later tonight and read the text of his speech, i can see more what the imbecile meant by "liberators"–that our soldiers protect the freedoms of american citizens, thus they are our liberators. this is all well and good, unfortunately, as mentioned above, the reasons given for needing to protect American liberty turned out to be bogus. there was no imminent threat to national security presented by Saddam. of course, ask me if i think Iraq poses a significant threat to American now, and i would say, most certainly, yes. the occupation of Iraq has stirred up ill will toward this country not only in Iraq, but in most other countries around the world as well, and it has made Iraq what is was not before–a breeding ground for new terrorist groups and recruits. so much for the war on terror, eh Mr. Bush?

i think i'll try to update this post a few times today if i run across any good commentaries on the garbage that prompted this post.

David Adesnik on OxBlog
Steve on his NewsBlog (i almost didn't link this one because of the Nazi/Fascist hate-baiting, but he did make a few salient points).
Daily Dish on andrewsullivan.com
Jesse Taylor on Pandagon
Joshua Micah Marshall's TalkingPointsMemo
NewDonkey.com (be sure to check out the link about Kerry's weapons systems votes)
Kevin Drum on Washington Monthly (actually, i don't think i need to look for any more after this one, his post is a roundup of other's posts, so he's done my job for me.)

- 11:04 pm - PL :: 3 Comments
categories ::  Angry/Hate - Politics - Rants - Society

 

2004.07.27 whether aught, to us unkown, afflicts him thus:

one of my biggest and most consistent complaints about modern society has to do with the rampaging corporate behemoths who are destroying the fabric of America. i constantly rail against those monsters of society (Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc.) who have grown so large that they've lost whatever "soul" they might once have had, and who, no matter how much good they do (Wal-Mart = zero, McDonalds = zero, Starbucks = some fair trade, some shade grown, most neither), the good will never outweigh the bad.

so i was heartened, while making my usual 'net rounds this morning, to find this article by Ted Turner about media conglomerates and how the relaxation of the media ownership regulations (over the past 25+ years) has all but destroyed innovation and competition in the industry.

the problems with modern media is but another microcosm that exemplifies the greater ills in our society today. put it up there alongside the epidemics of: multinational corporations, greedily sucking up more market share to destroy the little guy; right-wing moral crusaders, wishing to force their ways of thinking on all of humanity; and the bureaucracy of health and medical-malpractice insurance, where only a select few can afford to receive coverage or care from the dwindling number of doctors who will be left because their premiums are still skyrocketing. these examples being but a few.

the things that're infecting us (as a national—if not global—culture) are legion. i keep trying to enumerate them, to define them, but i keep finding more things or having to revise my original conception. i think the biggest thing, socially, right now, is that we're infected by the need to be right. we all pick things that we put a stake in, and claim them for ourselves. when confronted by others who have staked their claim with something that opposes or deviates from ours, we have to stand up, call attention to ourselves, and let the world know that we know we're right. it's becoming increasingly less likely for people to admit they're wrong, and attempt to understand others, than it is for them to immediately shut off and ignore whatever arguments the other side may be making, for the sake of not polluting their own steadfastness, but in the name of righteousness.

until we can all put aside this particular greed of ours, this greed of intellectual/spiritual/political/physical/etc. superiority, and learn to really listen to and learn from each other, and to attempt to understand each other. the fabric of our society will continue to wear, until the seams can't hold any longer. i'm not predicting the downfall of society just yet, but if we don't take steps, things *will* only get worse.

still, i think this greedy righteousness may simply be a smaller symptom of a greater affliction. at the moment, the words to describe that affliction elude me. but we'll find it eventually. we have to.

- 01:29 am - PL :: 3 Comments
categories ::  Rants - Society - Upset/Dislike

 


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