February 16, 2008 - February 9, 2008
The Danger of Guns - Sometime ago, we suggested what Dr. Stenger should do at the time of the shooting at Virginia Tech University. Because it was so poorly received and we were told it was in bad taste, we're not going to suggest this course of action in the current case of the shootings at Northern Illinois University -- although we probably should.
Well, now, the kids are getting concerned that maybe the adults are completely insane in their approach to campus security and they've started a little organization, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. They boast a 12,000 member group with nationwide representation.
We would like to applaud and encourage them. Unfortunately you can't even get a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois. Wonder why Steven Kazmierczak was carrying one -- and a shotgun? Good luck out there kids. You should probably join the group and take action to secure your own security. Evidently, all you're going to get from your government is a sign.
. I don't have to prove that I have no use for Jane
Fonda. But today she's being tarred unreasonably. Drudge has run
one of his RED headlines
to highlight her latest crime:
La Malkin pounced on the infraction in her first
post of the day, expressing her profound indignation, as well as
the banal observation that "the woman has no class." Yet she found it
within her journalistic soul to reproduce the offending clip and to
caption her teaser for the post as follows:
That's better is it, than what Fonda did? I don't think so. "Ew, I
could never bring myself to utter this disgusting word myself, but I can
show you other people saying it, and I can play allusive word games
with it, but rest assured it will never pass my lips." The truth is, there are
only two dirty words left in the English language. The runt-rhyme is
one of them. Malkin is equally obsessed with the other one (which she
can, somehow, force herself at least to type):
It used to be that words were dirty because they were too anatomical,
too pungently evocative of sheer physicalness to be permissible in
mixed company. The offending source was always Celtic or Anglo-Saxon
(Go figure.) Latin words were almost always acceptable -- feces, urine,
anus, penis, glans, testicles, mammaries, vagina, vulva, coitus,
orgasm. Because they're not especially successful words; they don't
instantly summon a vivid, sensual (i.e., lurid and smelly) experience
of the thing so named. The Anglo-Saxon words are all works of verbal
genius, astonishingly direct highways to the most fully developed
regions of sense memory: shit, piss, asshole, cock, prick, balls, tits,
cunt, pussy, fucking, cum.
Well, the Romans faded away for some reason. The Celt/Anglo-Saxon peoples flourished and came to dominate the world. Because their dirty words were dirtier than everyone else's? No one can say. But their dirty words were so powerful that their own poets and playwrights and novelists actually connived in the process of making them dirty in the first place. (Distinctly not the case with the Romans, for example. See Catullus, the Keats of Rome.) The words were too powerful. Using them in print or on stage heightened their power and could cost the author the audience attention he craved. So the Latin words were resurrected for all mundane informational applications ("The mother delivers the infant through her vagina," not "Mommy squeezes the baby out of her cunt"), and the writers made up a brand new art of innuendo, double-entendre, and puns to keep their audiences under control. Today it's popular to blame Christians for such word games, and Christians seem happy to accept the credit, but squeamishness about truly effective words long predates Christianity. Politicians have hated every one-syllable word meaning 'lie' as long as governments have existed. 'Prevarication' is a great, mild-sounding Latin word, isn't it?
But we live in liberated secular times now. The censoring of dirty words has become as vestigial as the human appendix. Most of them can be encountered on American sitcoms in primetime, and all but two are routinely said on basic cable and BBC sitcoms: shit, piss, asshole, cock, prick, balls, tits, [nope], pussy, [nope], cum.
But I previously said there are only two dirty words, including the infamous, unspeakable, unholy N-Word, and I've listed two plain old dirty words you'll never hear unless you have a premium cable channel -- or a pre-teen son or daughter.
Which brings us to the most ridiculous phenomenon of our whole media-saturated age: the phony bleep. With the possible exception of 'shit', 'fuck' (and its variants) is the most widely used word on the whole list. The audio editors have acquired the skill of neurosurgeons in cutting out all sound between the first half of the 'f' and the last half of the 'k.' (Soupy Sales should have been so lucky.) Like there's anyone over the age of three who doesn't possess enough persistence of memory to hear the word that's being (un)spoken. We seem to be content with the pretense that we don't hear what every single damn one of us does hear in our mind's ear, as long as the token phony bleep gives us cover. Exactly the same principle is at work with Michelle Malkin's "rhymes with runt." All phony bleeps come with a built-in leer that arises from the shared perception that a dirty word has been amplified by its fraudulent subtraction. We LOVE it, lechers and prudes alike. Censorship as actual titillation. Will Malkin be hotter tonight, on this St. Valentine's Day, because she rhymed runt with [you know]? Sure she will. Words wouldn't be dirty if they didn't have an effect.
Here's a good example of the whole phony bleep phenomenon. Note two things (skip ahead to four minutes into the clip): Harvard alum Matt Damon's easy use of the word 'fuck' with his whole immediate family and children sitting in the front row, and his schizophrenic feelings about the word 'cunt.' Why does he love it AND hate it? Because it's the last dirty word. (Except for that other one.}
. So Brizoni
had to make his tasteless joke
about last week's tornadoes being caused by all the dimwits who voted
for the false prophet Huckabee. Whereupon our whole server gets taken
down by the Wrath of the Almighty, and the world is plunged into seven
days and nights of darkness without the light of InstaPunk to show the
Well, actually, the cause of the downtime is more mundane than that. The socket driver spun out of control on one of those tricky microprocessor chicanes, resulting in a spectacular end-over-end crash of the IP interface. Or something like that. Something technical at any rate. Hopefully, the pit crew has now reassembled enough of the pieces so our grand journey together can continue. Be advised that some links and content may still be missing for a while, however.
We'll be doing our best to catch up. We'll backfill some of the missing days with posts that were written but couldn't be uploaded. We'll also be adding some belated commentary on a variety of nonsense that happened while we were offline. And we'll resume committing our usual crimes and misdemeanors in this space.
So check back frequently, and keep scrolling. Sorry for the lapse in communications.
You've got to read the actual words, as
reported in the World Tribune:
Intelligence. Officials. Beginning
to suspect. Intelligence?
It's not as if this possibility hasn't been raised and chewed over at some length by the blogosphere for quite a while now. We expressed our own strong suspicions almost five months ago, including what little information we could find about the (un)reliability of voiceprint technology. As Rand Simberg points out, there's been reason for suspicion much longer than that:
Simberg goes on to reiterate a question I asked here months ago: Why
the duplicity? Here's my version of the question:
The answer is, it has to be
serving someone or something. Probably elements of the intelligence
bureaucracy, since they are the ones who provide the anonymous
spokespeople to declare that bin Laden is alive after each lame tape
release. Who knows what budget or private political agenda drives their
disinformation strategies? Alternatively, the military bureaucracy or
the Bush administration might have calculated that news of bin Laden's
death would give the pusillanimous Democrats a perfect excuse for
declaring final victory in the War on Terror and pulling the plug on
all funding for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The latter doesn't
seem likely, since there is no time in the last few years when the Bush
administration's approval ratings wouldn't have benefited from news of
bin Laden's death, but I'm putting it on the table anyway because I no
longer care who's behind the deception.
What matters is that we are now in the thick of a campaign for the presidency of the United States, and no one on either side is interested in discussing future policy with regard to the War on Terror. Everyone is perfectly happy to live in the past and address the future only as a simplistic platitude. McCain, for example, takes credit for his (mostly) strong support of the Surge, which is in the past, and he is conspicuously silent about what U.S. foreign policy should be with regard to Islamofascism after Iraq is secure. One could infer that he wants American troops to win whatever battles they are presently engaged in but only because they are presently engaged. It might well be that he is as dovish in the larger war against the Wahabbis who want to kill and subjugate us as Obama is. The persistence of the phantom target called bin Laden makes it harder to see that he has articulated no next steps after Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Democrats, of course, are pleased as punch to address the Iraq War as an isolated, contextless blunder whose only solution is time travel into the past -- via the 9/10/01 utopia of another Dem presidency. Their only policy position with regard to the War on Terror concerns the solitary figure of bin Laden himself, whose death -- or (preferably?) capture and media-saturated trial in a U.S. courtroom with full due process and the armor of his own hand-picked Dream Team of lawyers -- would presumably write finis to any U.S. concern about global Islamic ambitions. After the trial, they could resume the sacred liberal art of talking everybody into the same paralyzed stupor they perpetually inhabit themselves.
But what if Osama bin Laden is really dead? What if the U.S. mass media even seriously raised the possibility that he might very well be dead and forced the public and the political establishment to confront the real implications of that possibility? Wouldn't that suddenly give explosive force to the question, What next? What should we do if the cartoon villain who has so hypnotized our attention were erased from the stage for good? Wouldn't we all have to think about that? And wouldn't we be demanding some real thinking from John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama? Instead of all their empty rhetoric about the past?
But obviously I'm a fool. This five or six paragraph story, whose implications could wipe out every word ever said by a Democrat about their strategy in the War on Terror, is only a footnote, a curiosity, and a distraction from the long march to the great Change we all so desperately want.
. This week dog people are all beagle-mad, because the
fella shown below won the Westminster Dog Show. For example, Dave over
at Ace of
Spades has done two entries
about Uno (second one here),
because he has
a beagle himself, and who could blame him for feeling a glow of
reflected pride? No beagle has ever won Westminster before. Congrats to
all the Snoopies out there and their families.
But there's also some news for all of you who have met the Scottish
in past entries
at InstaPunk. (Most recently, we
candidacy for President of the United States as an
alternative to Rachel Lucas's somewhat authoritarian dog Sunny.) We
love Psmith as much as any doting dog parents, but you could have
knocked us over with a feather when we saw that the Best in Breed
Scottish deerhound at Westminster this year was Psmith's own daddy,
That's all. [bask] [bask]
Sorry. What's a blog for if you can't indulge in a little pointless,
unearned vanity from time to time?
Three guesses when
this was written (no peeking):
Here's a hint (that's only any good if you knew once but have since
forgotten): The man who wrote it calls homosexuality "Non-Euclidean
Sex" (and if you don't know why that's funny, it's time to
Levin had those words published June 7, 1982.
It spooks me how prescient he was, using only calm observation and
simple logical extrapolations. If that's all it takes to see the
future, we're in more
trouble than we like to admit.
As spooky as the efficacy of this armchair Nostradamas routine is, our government can be excused for not taking it to heart enough to prevent 9/11. But surely they've learned their lesson?
(deep breath) Not only is Dick Durbin, an actual Senator, still against
insisting a team of lawyers scour the entire law looking for any excuse to prosecute the
waterboarding of three top terrorists.
And he's got his little fists all balled up because the Attorney
General isn't ready to start freely affixing the word "torture" to mere
botheration w/ the same ease we use "Xerox" instead of the verb "copy"?
Here's something you need to know vividly: Because lawmakers are more interested in looking good than doing good, they'll choose the former over the latter when push comes to shove. A few years back in my hometown, legislators held hearings on banning fatty goose liver*around the same time they turned School Zones into fund-raising speed traps by enforcing the 20--mph limit "at all times", not just school hours. Local talk radio blew a gasket accusing them of wasting time, and rightly so. Lars Larson isn't big on "why", but I was, and it didn't take me long to deduce that foie gras must have seemed like it'd be an easy bullseye in the eyes of the Caffeine City. When it came to an issue like letting the FBI run a terrorist attack drill downtown, anything beyond a lot of hemming and hawing was just too risky.
So maybe Dick Durbin is just an ideological wuss. More likely, he's also ideologically insane. The only way waterboarding could be objectionable in general is if discomfort doesn't occur in nature and can only be wrought through a kind of mechanical alchemy comparable to perpetual motion, and to introduce someting so foreign and awful into the world is godlessly inhumane. The only way it could be objectionable in the three cases cited is if there is no Islamic (ist, whatever) terrorism at all, and the entire War on Terror is a Wag the Dog-style frame-up.
At this point in the "torture" discussion, the objection "How are we supposed to maintain our moral authority when we torture" is raised. No one who raises it is ever satisfied w/ the correct answer: BECAUSE WE'RE NOT NEARLY AS AWFUL AS THEM. Here we run up against Tony's Law, How much proof could you need? It doesn't matter how many examples one cites, or how egregious those examples are; batshit cultural relativism (Tony's Law) flares up, and any objectively evil conduct is sniffed away w/ a "how naive and backward to judge another culture" attitude.
Look at that last example again. The only thing close to Mutaween in our part of the world is the FCC, and if those dinosaurs started enforcing their decency guidelines in public conduct, it'd be a Cannonball Run between me and thousands of others to get to Washington and burn down the entire 1200 block.
Here's the point: Like all old jokes, it's not funny anymore that our elected officials are so retarded. It's not OK that they can all be assessed on a scale w/ "Lazy" on one end and "Stupid" on the other (sure, you can think of exceptions, but enough to disprove the rule?}. It's not worth the satire fodder to me anymore. No more shrugs and wry grins at this.
*And this controversy over "humane" treatment of livestock? We're going
to kill them! They're alive to get killed and feed us! But
Christ forbid they
have a bad time beforehand? NUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!