Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
July 27, 2006 - July 20, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Jason Leopold

PSAYINGS.5A.41. This was the guy who pretended he had a scoop about the indictment of Karl Rove. Now he's the guy who's involved in a very ugly blog war with Seixon, who is credibly reporting that his life has been threatened for daring to criticize Leopold. Via Instapundit and Volokh, we have some background info about the man in the picture:

Leopold says his grand larceny conviction in 1996 was for stealing compact discs from his employer, a New York music company, and reselling them to record stores. He says he was fired by the Los Angeles Times "for threatening to rip a reporter's head off." Leopold says he quit Dow Jones Newswires in a dispute over his beat but later learned the news service was planning to fire him because of a correction to one of his Enron stories: "Seems I got all of the facts wrong."

Leopold says he engaged in "lying, cheating and backstabbing," is a former cocaine addict, served time for grand larceny, repeatedly tried to kill himself and has battled mental illness his whole life.

Maybe he's related to this guy.

Oh really? Unfair? Slanderous? Unspeakable right wing mean-spiritedness? No. We've done nothing of the sort Jason Leopold reputedly does. We've branded speculation as speculation, not fact. We haven't published his home address and phone number to make him a target for lunatic assailants. We haven't committed any crimes in pursuit of our political agenda. Besides, isn't there something remarkably similar about the eyes of Jason and Nathan?

We think so. We think somebody should do some digging into Jason's family tree. Who knows what they might find?

And if Jason doesn't like it, he can find us at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway at 5 pm today. We'll be the ones with great big surly bodyguards. We'll be wearing a carnation in our lapel. And other accessories too.

See ya, Jason.

The ManBearPig Tour

POINTEDHOCKEY STICKS. Al keeps motoring around the world promoting his cause. The journalists are probably paying more attention than the rest of us. Especially in nutjobprogressive countries like Germany:

Did Al Get the Science Right?

By Katharine Mieszkowski

The usual oil industry flacks and dogmatic skeptics have surfaced to denounce Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth. But  scientists say that, basically, he got it right.
"An Inconvenient Truth" is drowning plenty of competition at the box office. Last weekend, playing at only 77 theaters around the country, it was the ninth most popular film, and took in more money per screen than any other film showing, with many screenings in liberal cities like San Francisco and Boston sold out. The film opens more widely this weekend.

Yet ManBearPig skeptics continue to infiltrate media outlets as mainstream and reputable as PBS'"The NewsHour" with Jim Lehrer, which failed to acknowledge the anti-crypto-zoology ties of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, while giving the group a free pass to call Gore's film "alarmist." One of the most widely read critiques of the science in the film has come from longtime Big Foot skeptic Robert C. Balling Jr., a professor of zoology at Arizona State University, who has received more than $400,000 from the TLC, Discovery, and History Channel networks, according to the Center for Media and Democracy. On the Web site Tech Central Station, Balling posted a purported fact-check of the film titled "Inconvenient Truths Indeed," which charges that the movie is "not the most accurate depiction of the state of ManBearPig science," casting doubts on its claims about men mating with pigs and bears mating with man-pigs. The article has made the rounds of the right-wing blogosphere as a takedown of Gore, and the Philadelphia Daily News published it as an Op-Ed without any acknowledgement of Balling's well-documented ties to the professional debunking industry.

There's a lot more, but it's not very interesting stuff. If you read all the way to the end, you'll see the subhead isn't quite accurate.  It should read: According to the scientists der Spiegel actually interviewed, meaning the ones who already agreed with Al Gore, he basically got the science right, except for the stuff he basically got wrong.

What the hell. He's famous and he needs friends, which you can learn more about here. It's up to you to decide if he deserves any friends. We don't have any opinion about that. Honest. We're being serial.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hillary's Marble Brassiere

Victoria's Secret is calling it the Imperatricks.

ROLE MODEL. We found this courtesy of The Corner, along with this bit of explanation:

New York, NY- July, 26 2006—- A presidential bust of Hillary Clinton is set to be unveiled at the Museum of Sex on August 9, 2006 at 10 am. Accentuating her sexual power and bolstered by the presidential seal, The Presidential Bust of Hillary Rodham Clinton: The First Woman President of the United States of America will be officially open for public viewing on August 9 for a limited six week run.

Artist Daniel Edwards describes this new sculpture as capturing Clinton “with her head held high, a youthful spirit and a face matured by wisdom. Presented in a low cut gown, her cleavage is on display prominently portraying sexual power which some people still consider too threatening.”...

...Edwards’ inspiration for the piece was derived from actress Sharon Stone’s controversial quote earlier in the year about challenges that would most likely be encountered should the Junior Senator from New York run on the ’08 ticket. “I think Hillary Clinton is fantastic,” Stone said. “But I think it is too soon for her to run. This may sound odd but a woman should be past her sexuality when she runs. Hillary still has sexual power and I don’t think people will accept that. It’s too threatening.”

We're not sure 'threatening' is the right word. If she attempted to show them off to us like this in person, we might very well run away, but not because we felt threatened. It's that something's wrong with the image -- the head doesn't go with the, well, bust. For example, doesn't this look more natural somehow?

Yeah, it does. The sculpture being peddled by the Museum of Sex is a fraud. We're not being shown female power here, but male power. Take a look at the head up top again. The eyes are not Hillary Clinton's but Julius Caesar's, bent on conquest and absolute power. That may be some part of her ambitionm but it's no part of her supposed compassion, understanding, and female caring. That's why we'd run away. We 're repulsed rather than attracted by men with female bodies. Part woman and part anything else is a turn-off. We'd feel the same way about a sphinx, a gorgon, or a, er, harpy.

If you want to have sex with it, go ahead.


The Uncredited Generation

Happy Birthday, Mick.

ROCK ON. Mick Jagger is 63 years old today. Does that fact strike anyone as remarkable, interesting or ironic? Yes, he's old and a strutting anachronism, as the following complaint from a June 4 essay in the Toronto Star makes clear:

The injustice of it all. "I've seen the Stones many times," complained Joey Kramer, drummer for Aerosmith, a few years ago. "I don't feel they play as good as we do. You've got one hard-working guy out there and the rest of them are kind of doing their thing."

He could be speaking for members of Guns N' Roses, or Black Sabbath, or Red Hot Chili Peppers, or any number of durable rock groups that have made a substantial mark over the decades. They continue to play their guts out, yet what are people interested in? Keith Richards falling out of a tree.

A bit harsh, really. I've seen both Aerosmith and the Stones in recent years, and they're both still hugely entertaining, despite the current fad of bashing Mick and the boys simply because they're old. Witness this piece by a young U.K. reporter who was forced to disembark from this particular bandwagon:

I have come here to witness the launch of the European leg of the Rolling Stones’ £120 million A Bigger Bang Tour, which arrives in the UK next month.

I have never seen the Stones perform before. Indeed, I’ve never felt the urge to.

At first blush, they’re a pretty tragic-sounding bunch, aren’t they? A national joke, some might say....

So what is it about the Rolling Stones?

Extraordinarily, and against my better judgment, the thing that makes them cool is that in the (very wrinkled) flesh, they still ooze charisma, charm and, yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, sex appeal.

On Monday, as they swaggered into the pre-concert Press conference, I found myself craning, staring and cheering like a star-struck groupie.

‘God, they’re cool,’ muttered the bearded man next to me as ‘Keef’, looking like an extra from Pirates Of The Caribbean (eye-liner, crazy hair and lashings of rather tired-looking bling), giggled and smirked like a naughty teenager with Ronnie Wood, 59... Then came Charlie Watts, recovered from throat cancer but still looking morgue-fresh in his immaculate pinstripes and crisp white shirt. And, finally, in strode Jagger, resplendent in violet blouse and eye-wateringly tight dove-grey satin suit, and sporting clean, fluffy, freshly-dyed hair.

In barely ten seconds I am utterly won over by this crumple-faced caricature of a sex god. And clearly, I am not alone.

‘Oh my God, just look at him,’ comes a stage whisper from a pretty Dutch reporter in front. ‘Oh Jesus! I’ve never seen anything like it…’

Together, the Stones are the very essence of Rock Gods — the genuine article in an industry stuffed with pale imitations.

Making fun of their age helps baby boomers, in particular, forget the significance of their age, which is what the Toronto Star essay quoted above is really about. The writer, Phillip Marchand, points a finger at several musical dinosaurs:

Paul McCartney now looks like an old lady, Bob Dylan resembles one of those unfortunates who line up at the Scott Mission, and Mick Jagger looks like his face has not so much aged as congealed, yet they remain irreplaceable icons. What would you rather tell your friends — that you had lunch with Mick Jagger or Joey Kramer?

Will we never shake off this damned legacy of the 1960s?  I saw playwright Edward Albee in an on-stage interview at the St. Lawrence Centre a couple of weeks ago, and the theatre was full of people who very likely had not seen or read anything produced by Albee in the last 40 years...

This is not baby-boomer nostalgia, even though we are talking about the '60s. Albee is not a baby boomer. Neither is McCartney nor Jagger nor Dylan nor Keith Richards — these rock stars were all born in the early '40s. They were lionized by the boomers, but they were not of them. All the baby boomers did was buy their records and attend their shows.

The real force behind the 1960s revolution was a generation born in the 1930s and, to a lesser extent, in the early 1940s. We speak constantly about the baby boomers and the "Greatest Generation," the veterans of D-Day, but we rarely refer to the generation born in-between.

It was precisely this generation, however, that transformed our culture. From this demographic cohort came the men and women who became the icons of the 1960s and who have had no equivalent successors. They cast very long shadows. [emphasis mine].

As Marchand explains, rock music is only one aspect of the dominating influence of a generation that isn't even identified by any particular name -- they're just the ones born too late to fight in World War II and too early to be part of the Baby Boom. Yet they have led and outshone the Boomers in multiple fields:

On May 21, The New York Times Book Review carried its ranking of "the best American fiction published in the last 25 years." The winning novel, Toni Morrison's Beloved, and the four runners-up — Don DeLillo's Underworld, Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, Philip Roth's American Pastoral, and John Updike's Rabbit Angstrom tetrology — were all written by authors born in the 1930s....

It is "startling to see how thoroughly American writing is dominated by this generation," wrote the author of the article, A. O. Scott. "Startling in part because it reveals that the baby boom, long ascendant in popular culture and increasingly so in politics and business, has not produced a great novel." ...

Other legendary figures of the 1960s were of this generation — Mohammed Ali [sic], the last athlete to attain mythic stature, was born in 1942. Ken Kesey, who attempted to smash open the doors of perception, and his chronicler, Tom Wolfe, who helped revolutionize journalism, were both born in the 1930s. So were Gloria Steinem, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood, who made cinematic history in the '60s. Martin Luther King, born in 1929, and Albee, born in 1928, were also virtually of this generation.

Marchand goes on to offer four reasons for the ascendancy of the in-betweeners. 1) Their generation, raised during the Depression and wartime was smaller and, though he doesn't say this specifically, perhaps more disciplined by parents and circumstances. 2) They were the last generation to grow up without television, which may have prevented them from acquiring the passivity of their successors. 3) They accomplished their early successes in a much more monolithic media environment, which gave their careers more attention and momentum. And 4) they were the first generation since before WWI to come of age in a time that had the (post-war) prosperity affording the luxury of profound cultural rebellion. They were free to plumb long postponed doubts and new ideas their own forebears were simply too busy surviving to explore.

Now do you find Mick's age interesting or ironic? He's not simply a superannuated kid like so many of the graying boomers who attend his concerts. In more ways than one, he's actually an elder, an opportunity to experience the genuine inspiration that has outlived -- both physically and artistically -- multiple generations of his disciples. Rock stars come and go, and frequently die of their imitative excesses, while this Ramses the Great of Rock and Roll goes on, prancing and sneering on the graves of his figurative grandchildren. McCartney and Dylan have survived too, but they really are old. No one would say of them that they -- how did the young U.K. reporter put it? -- "ooze charisma, charm and, yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, sex appeal."

Marchand's list of factors doesn't account for this particular phenomenon. I'd like to propose a fifth -- humor. The easy wisdom of the baby boomer music critics has it that Dylan and the Beatles were the genuine article, while the Stones, though great, were lesser artists who succeeded as much by self-promotion as by talent.

Having lived through the radical sixties, I always had a different view of it than that. Yes, Dylan and the Beatles reflected their times beautifully, giving voice to the angst and the doubt and the sincere search for something new and transformational. But the Stones, and Jagger in particular, did them one better. They stood above the times in which they were nonetheless major protagonists, looked at the goings on with a razor-sharp eye, and laughed out loud. The real triumph of Jagger's output was its embedded mockery -- sometimes musical, sometimes lyrical, sometimes vocal, sometimes sartorial, sometimes contextual, sometimes overt, and sometimes concealed. His Satanic apostrophe in Sympathy for the Devil was, regardless of the (too) obvious political satire of its lyrics, an extremely subtle satire of the burgeoning cult of pop star gurus like John Lennon and Bob Dylan. He was making fun of it all -- his own image, the quasi-religious overtones of the British invasion, the hubris of musicians who thought they were sages, the naivete of pot-smoking kids who thought they could remake the world with shocking fashion statements, and the eternal appetites that lie in wait to corrupt the self-righteous.

The  mockery has been there throughout the Stones' long career, manifested brilliantly in dozens of different ways, so pervasively and almost casually that I have wondered for decades whether Jagger's genius is conscious or unconscious. But it's undeniably there.  His falsetto is the signal of the jester getting down to work, and he doesn't have just one falsetto voice; he has four or more, all in the service of a continuous wry commentary that, whatever his stated political views may be, rolls out against every possible constituency that takes itself too seriously.

On one of his single albums, he has a song called "War," which begins with the lyric, "I was born in a war."  Needless to say, that war was the same war Roger Waters's persona from "The Wall" was born into. They were both in-betweeners, but they took different lessons from the experience. Waters has become a metronome, tapping out the exact same beat for every turn in world affairs. Jagger chose instead to laugh, and he became -- oxymoron of oxymorons (how perfect!) -- the Evelyn Waugh of rock music, one of a tiny handful of gifted satirists popular music has produced in the last 50 years. If the baby boomers still can't see that they have been one of his perpetual targets for derision, well, that's par for the course for a group that has never had a sense of humor about itself or its countless affectations. But Jagger is still laughing. Maybe there's a lesson there for the next generations. The ones that will have to pick up the pieces after the curtain finally comes down on the Baby Boom farce. But until we get a new star of this magnitude, we'll have to make do with the old one. Shidooby.

Many happy returns, old man.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Olber-Fuehrer

A GANG OF ONE. We feel guilty about this. We really do. We've already trashed Keith Olbermann here, more than once. He can't help being stupid. It's just that he 's soooo stupid, we can't not make fun of him.

Here's his latest exploit. Does it tell us anything new? No. He's still the deranged boob we honored here, here, and here.

So sue us.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Talking Tour de France here.

PSAYINGS.5S.33. As the day's race wound down to its final seconds, commentator Bob Roll was overheard on the OLN feed saying, "This is the greatest single stage of the Tour de France ever." The OLN webpage tried to be more objective:

Floyd Landis was at rock bottom 24 hours before he finished (first in) the 17th stage of the Tour de France. Now, after one of the greatest escapes in modern Tour times, he sits in third place, (within) just 30 seconds of leading the race once more.

Obviously, we don't know what's going to happen. But, God, how we love love this country and Americans. We watched the silly soap opera that passes for sport in the World Cup. Now we enjoy the breathtaking miracle contribution that Americans routinely bring to sports, regardless of what they are.

Everybody stand, please, for the national anthem. And, Floyd, we are absolutely 100 percent behind you the rest of the way.

The Friday Follies

We know just how they feel. There were snakes on the plane.

TGIF. There's been way too much news this week, most of it bad. Forget it. Today is about fun.

Except for this first item, which is a public service warning about a new virus that's sweeping the blogosphere. It's called Glenn Greenwald and looks like an ordinary, though incredibly boring, lefty blog. But somehow it migrates and takes over other blogs so that they lose all their other content. Ace of Spades seems to be the latest victim. Scroll and keep scrolling. Ace used to be funny, entertaining, and smart. Now he's compiling Greenwald timelines. Don't let this happen to you.

Enough of that. On with the show. Have you seen the Flying Lawnmower?

Maybe this isn't funny, but it seems like it would be. Some more Christian dudes think they've found Noah's Ark on a mountain. They have pictures.

This is for sure funny. Wuzzadem takes us on a brief trip through Helen ThomasLand. Then he tackles the renascent obsession with 9/11 conspiracy theories. (Also as a public service, here's the very best 9/11 site debunking all the crackpot claims.)

Feel like a game? This one's great because it has the best feature a computer game can have. It's easy.

And now for our big news of the day. It looks like the great movie Snakes on a Plane is actually approaching release. Someone claims to have seen it for real.  If you've missed all the craziness surrounding this cinematic event, read the history here, then watch this fake trailer, and if you don't mind foul language watch these fake auditions.

Feeling better now? We sure are.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Gaia's Paradise

OTHERING. I've been fantasizing about paradise of late. Wouldn't it be great to go back to a simpler, more natural age, when men and women lived in harmony with the beauties of unspoiled nature, taking only what they needed without violence or war? Ancient Polynesia comes to mind... wreaths of flowers, gentle singing in time to the oarstrokes of an outrigger canoe, a life of peaceful ebbing and flowing with the tides of the Pacific and the cycles of the moon. Sadly, though, those days are likely gone forever.

Truth is, it's been a tough week or two for rapacious imperialist conservatives. There's been all that ugly warfare in Israel and Lebanon, with hundreds of civilian casualties. The violence is so shockingly extreme that even wise old Republicans like George Will, Pat Buchanan, and Lou Dobbs are finally wondering (here, here, and here) if the Bush administration hasn't gone too far in promoting democracy over good old-fashioned tyranny -- and in coddling the capitalistic Zionist entity against the much more popular aspirations of muslims. It makes you think that if we could stop being such partisan war mongers, we might find a way to negotiate with the new democratically elected Palestinian government, even if their rhetoric is occasionally excessive. You know what I mean. Doubt. Maybe we should just let them sort it all out for themselves, the natural way, and if there are more muslims than Jews, well, Israel was always a completely artificial western construct anyway.

On top of that, last week was also the debut of Tom Brokaw's definitive documentary about Global Warming. I watched quite a bit of it -- drawn in by the 150,000 promos the Discovery Channel ran, promising "just science, no politics" -- and I confess it was a sobering experience. In my prior ignorance, I had sort of believed the rumors that there were two sides to the issue, that while many scientists believed in Global Warming, a significant number of experts were still unpersuaded, and that even some of those who believed in Global Warming still doubted that human beings were the cause. But I was wrong. As a review in put it:

Brokaw relies largely on a handful of experts in the two- hour show, particularly NASA's James Hansen and Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer. Both support Brokaw's view of global warming and consider the scientific debate closed.

Brokaw scoffs at the notion that there are ``any remaining doubts humans are behind temperature rises,'' while Hansen says ``99.5 percent of scientists say we know what's going on.''

You'll find more dissent at a North Korean political rally than in this program...

In other words, there just isn't any more room for debate. Global Warming is coming, and it's going to get us if we don't start dismantling this vast technological capitalist machine we've created by raping poor Mother Earth with all our oil wells and such. I think what really drove the point home for me was the direct simplicity of the presentation. Brokaw didn't clutter up the screen with a lot of data. He showed us trees being cut down in the Amazon rainforest and told us all the trees would be gone soon. He showed us icebergs dissolving and told us they were all melting. He didn't waste time on specifics or qualifiers or even a lot of individual names. Time and again, he just said, "Scientists believe," "Scientists know," "Scientists predict." Thanks to Tom, it's all clear to me now.

All of it -- the mess we've made of the middle east, and of the whole planet -- is starting to make me ashamed to be a member of so-called advanced western civilization. I'm beginning to understand the emotions that are driving so many in the progressive camp. For the first time, I can empathize with the targets of pejorative quotes like this...

One of the big lessons of these last four years is that many, many beneficiaries of Western civilization loathe that civilization - and the media are generally inclined to blur the extent of that loathing... For example, two years ago, a young American lady, Rachel Corrie, was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza... "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," a play about her, was a huge hit in London... {T}he picture of Rachel on the cover of the Playbill shows her playing in the back yard, aged seven or so, wind in her hair, in a cute pink T-shirt...There's another photograph of Rachel Corrie - at a Palestinian protest, headscarved, her face contorted with hate and rage, torching the Stars and Stripes. Which is the real Rachel Corrie? The "schoolgirl idealist" caught up in the cycle of violence? Or the grown woman burning the flag of her own country? Well, that's your call. But, because that second photograph exists, we at least have a choice.

...and this...

Leftist extremists are feeling threatened.  Their campus strongholds are under attack by conservatives who refuse to concede culturally vital institutions to people who hate America, hate traditional religious values, and hate virtually all of Western civilization.

Well, why shouldn't Rachel Corrie burn the flag, and why shouldn't our most gifted intellectuals hate western civilization? Look at how much has been spoiled and destroyed and bombed and burned and shot and polluted. And almost all of it in the name of the Judeo-Christian God who, more than any other force in the history of mankind, separated men and women from nature and their humble harmony with the environment.

For all those who are feeling the way I am, there's a new book out called Before the Dawn. It's by scientists -- one from the University of Illinois and one from Harvard -- so you know it's right on the money. I have it on order, but the review I found has convinced me it's a keeper. For example, who can't identify with the accuracy of this characterization?

If a British officer meets a native -- African, Indian, whatever -- in any movie, play or novel of the last 30 years, the Englishman will be a sneering supercilious sadist and the native will be a dignified man of peace in perfect harmony with his environment in whose tribal language there is not even a word for "war" or "killing" or "weapons of mass destruction."

So true. And you can't help getting angry on their behalf for what's been done to them over the aeons. In fact, the only flaw in my little fantasy of paradise is that what I really feel like doing is killing all the bastards who ruined paradise in the first place. How about you? I thought so. That's why this book is such a must read. It turns out that there's actually room in paradise for both outrigger canoes and clobbering the bad guys:

Lawrence Keeley calculates that 87 per cent of primitive societies were at war more than once per year, and some 65 per cent of them were fighting continuously. "Had the same casualty rate been suffered by the population of the twentieth century," writes Wade, "its war deaths would have totaled two billion people." Two billion! In other words, we're the aberration: after 50,000 years of continuous human slaughter, you, me, Bush, Cheney, Blair, Harper, Rummy, Condi, we're the nancy-boy peacenik crowd. "The common impression that primitive peoples, by comparison, were peaceful and their occasional fighting of no serious consequence is incorrect. Warfare between pre-state societies was incessant, merciless, and conducted with the general purpose, often achieved, of annihilating the opponent."

Cool. So it's actually okay, and natural, to kick some western civilized ass. If you do a little googling, you can prove it to yourselves. Here's just a sample of what our noble forebears liked to do.

Indian (er, Native American) and Aztec warriors

Mongol and Zulu warriors

Pre-historic warriors

Pre-pre-historic warriors

If you're like me, you may be kicking yourself for not realizing that the warriors we've always seen depicted in ancient (and older) art really did know how to kill people with  great efficiency and in great numbers. It's probably just part of our western bias against the capabilities of simpler peoples, although the authors of Before the Dawn obviously have their own opinion:

Both Keeley and LeBlanc believe that for a variety of reasons anthropologists and their fellow archaeologists have seriously underreported the prevalence of warfare among primitive societies. . . . 'I realized that archaeologists of the postwar period had artificially "pacified the past" and shared a pervasive bias against the possibility of prehistoric warfare,' says Keeley.

I'm sure those archeologists didn't do it on purpose, though. It's probably more like the way the mass media doesn't like to show us images of 9/11 anymore -- because they think it would spoil the appetite of all those people who are having dinner in front of the evening news.

Dinner. That reminds me... The reviewer also offers us this tantalizing anecdote:

A couple of years back, I came across a column in The East African by Charles Onyango-Obbo musing on the return of cannibalism to the Dark Continent. Ugandan-backed rebels in the Congo (four million dead but, as they haven't found a way to pin it on Bush, nobody cares) had been making victims' relatives eat the body parts of their loved ones. You'll recall that, when Samuel Doe was toppled as Liberia's leader, he was served a last meal of his own ears. His killers kept his genitals for themselves, under the belief that if you eat a man's penis you acquire his powers. One swallow doesn't make a summer, of course, but I wonder sometimes if we're not heading toward a long night of re-primitivization.

Re-primitivization. Now there's an idea you can sink your teeth into. Is that maybe what all the Gaia worshippers and other neo-pagans are hoping for? The blessed state that will obtain when the nasty pollution of Christianity is finally cleaned up? No wonder they sympathize with the Islamic jihad. I'm starting to get it.

And speaking of sinking your teeth into something, the necklace shown in the graphic above not only comes from my beloved Polynesian paradise, but also consists of human teeth. With just a little more googling I was able to discover that in addition to all their breadfruit and coconuts and fruity drinks adorned with little umbrellas, the Polynesians universally enjoyed, like their African cousins, the taste of human flesh.

It was considered a great triumph among the Marquesans to eat the body of a dead man. They treated their captives with very great cruelty. They broke their legs to prevent them from attempting to escape before being eaten, but kept them alive so that they could brood over their impending fate.

Their arms were broken so that they could not retaliate in any way against their maltreatment. The Marquesans threw them on the ground and jumped on their chests, so that their ribs were broken and pierced their lungs, so that they could not even voice their protests against the cruelty to which they were submitted. Rough poles were thrust up through the natural orifices of their bodies and slowly turned in their intestines. Finally, when the hour had come for them to be prepared for the feast, they were spitted on long poles that entered between their legs and emerged from their mouths, and dragged thus at the stern of the war canoes to the place where the feast was to be held.

With this tribe, as with many others, the bodies of women were in great demand. Very often a man who was condemned to be killed and eaten could be visited by his relatives, always naked and painted black. There are records of cases where the relatives have volunteered to be killed and eaten in their stead, but it is probable that the bodies of these self-sacrificing individuals merely constituted an additional course when the time came.

You see, a culture where women really are valued as much or more highly than men, and not just as sex objects. Shows you how far we've fallen in the scheme of things.

Of course, it was the Christians, as usual, who spoiled everything and did their best to wipe out even the memory of the pre-existing culture. Thankfully, they didn't succeed completely. One of the surviving sources managed to preserve this, well, I guess you'd call it a recipe, by the same people who produced the lovely song you heard above:

The Hapai men returned with about fifteen prisoners. Some of the younger chiefs, who had contracted the Fiji habits, proposed to kill the prisoners and then roast and eat them. The proposal was readily agreed to: by some because they like this sort of diet, by others because they wanted to try it, thinking it manly and warlike to do so.

Some of the prisoners were soon dispatched. Their flesh was cut up into small portions, washed with sea-water, wrapped up in plantain-leaves, and roasted under hot stones. Two or three of them were also baked whole, the same as a pig.

The carcass was rubbed over with the juicy substance of the banana-tree, after which it was thrown for a few minutes on the fire. Then, when it was warm, it was scraped with mussel-shells or knives, and then washed. It was next laid on its back, when the cook cut open the throat and drew forth the windpipe and gullet, passed a skewer behind them, and tied a string tight round the latter, afterwards to be divided.

He then cut a circular portion from the belly, from four to six inches in diameter, and drew forth the entrails, separating the attachments either by force or by the use of bamboo. The diaphragm was then divided, and the gullet, windpipe, contents of the chest, stomach and liver, were all drawn away together, along with his bowels. From these, the liver was separated, to be baked with the carcass; the remainder was washed and cooked over hot embers, to be shared out and eaten in the meantime.

The whole inside of the carcass was next filled with hot stones, each wrapped in bread-fruit leaves, and all the apertures were closed up quickly, with plugs of leaves. The carcass was then laid, with the belly downwards, in a hole in the ground lined with hot stones, a fire having previously been made there for that purpose, but prevented from touching them by small branches of the bread-fruit tree. A few other branches were then laid across the back of the carcass, and plenty of banana-leaves strewn, or rather heaped, over the whole; upon which, again, a mound of earth was raised so that no steam could escape. The liver, as aforementioned, was first placed beside the carcass, and sometimes yams also. By these means, the carcass could very well be cooked in about half an hour...

Yum yum.

Now you may be wondering, how can we ever get back to our original blissful union with nature? One of the brighter spots of the week was a documentary I saw about the mysterious history of Easter Island, which enjoyed a long prosperity in isolation from the rest of Polynesia until they plunged into a state of constant warfare and cannibalism that reduced their population from a high of about 15,000 to a tenth of that. The producers presented it as an environmental parable, taking the position that too much statue-building (and more to the point, statue-moving) caused all the trees to be cut down, which led to famine, social collapse, and escalating violence. (They also blamed the Christians for finding them, which led to their little island showing up on maps that fell into the hands of Peruvian slavers, with the result that the 1,500 Easter Islanders ultimately dwindled to 150.) They wanted us to see Easter Island as a microcosm of earth, meaning that if we don't cut it out with the Global Warming and stuff, we could wind up just like them.

But for everyone who wants to get back to mankind's native state, it seems to me that there might be a different way to look at it. It's possible -- though this documentary assiduously omitted any hint of it -- that the Easter Islanders were practicing war and cannibalism throughout their history. But they didn't come into their own as true archetypal primitives until they -- forget how -- contrived to destroy their economic and social systems, which freed them up to be their natural, noble primitive selves.

So all we have to do to return to paradise is figure out how to collapse the entire world economy, and the good news is there are several promising ways to do that. We can stand aside and amuse ourselves talking about pacifism while the North Koreans and Iranians and Islamists  acquire nuclear weapons, because even the pacifists must suspect that they will use those nukes if they get them. Which will cause worldwide economic collapse and... Ta Dah. Or we can impose a bunch of international environmental regulations to slow down Global Warming that will finally cripple the runaway capitalist system, resulting in worldwide economic collapse, and... Ta Dah. Or we can take a wait-and-see attitude about Global Warming without crippling the capitalist system and hope that it eventually leads to massive environmental disaster, worldwide economic collapse, and... Ta Dah.

But the third alternative is really the weakest for our purposes. Two problems. Even if the scientists are right about Global Warming, we -- and maybe even our children and grandchildren -- could be in our graves before we reach Ta Dah unless we hurry the process along a bit. And if, by some incredibly remote chance, the scientists are actually wrong about Global Warming, we might never get to Ta Dah at all.

Wouldn't that be a bummer?

In the meantime, I guess we'd better keep hoping for nuclear war. Go Hezbollah.

We all really want the same thing, don't we?

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