"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

(clockwise from topleft: Randy the Cowboy, Victor the Police Officer, Alex the Sailor, Glenn the Biker, Felipe the American Indian, David the Construction Worker)

When I was a kid in the late 70s, the Village People seemed cool or at least a lot of fun, with their energetic performances of songs like "Macho Man," "In the Navy," and "Y.M.C.A." Little did I know, as Wikipedia reports, "The band's name references New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood, at the time known for having a substantial gay population. [Composer Jaques] Morali and [business partner Henri] Belolo got the inspiration for creating an assembly of American man archetypes based on the gay men of The Village who frequently dressed in various fantasy attire."

Stephen Colbert appreciates the McCain's campaign tactic of adopting Joe the Plumber in their attacks on Obama.
I for one appreciate the McCain campaign treating us like children. McCain will bring us back to a simpler time. A time when you could identify your neighbors' jobs by the hats they wore. Like Sam the Fireman, Bill the Cowboy and Jose the stereotype. These are the people in your neighborhood. The people that you meet when you're walking down the street. They're the people that you meet each day. And what the people in your neighborhood, the Joe the Plumber, the Wendy the Waitress need are tax cuts for the wealthy and off shore drilling. They don't need universal health care or last names.
(via Crooks and Liars, via Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Procrustes was a host who adjusted his guests to their bed. Procrustes, whose name means "he who stretches", was arguably the most interesting of Theseus's challenges on the way to becoming a hero. He kept a house by the side of the road where he offered hospitality to passing strangers, who were invited in for a pleasant meal and a night's rest in his very special bed. Procrustes described it as having the unique property that its length exactly matched whomsoever lay down upon it. What Procrustes didn't volunteer was the method by which this "one-size-fits-all" was achieved, namely as soon as the guest lay down Procrustes went to work upon him, stretching him on the rack if he was too short for the bed and chopping off his legs if he was too long. Theseus turned the tables on Procrustes, fatally adjusting him to fit his own bed.
Doug Henwood linked to this in his criticism of Naomi Klein's Disaster Capitalism.

A Procrustean bed is an arbitrary standard to which exact conformity is forced.

Stumbled across this at stand-up comedian Marc Maron's MySpace page:
I may be a little late on this but someone recently sent me a link to zietgeistmovie.com. They said, "you're going to like this, man. It's going to explain everything." It's one of those movies that debunk large chunks of history through valid research and some conspiratorial revisionism. You know the territory: the Jesus fallacy, the illuminati, Hitler was funded by the Bush family, the Federal Reserve Bank's control of inflation, 911. I tend to avoid this type of thing in my life right now. Not because I have any problem with people who want to do that kind of work. I'm just not in a position right now to dedicate my life to it. Which seems to be what it requires. I don't want to be the brooding guy that enters every conversation saying, "What about World Trade Center 7? Explain that."

Granted the Kennedy Assassination conspiracy buffs really solved that thing. Look what those guys who relentlessly pursued the multi gunman theory have done with the 40 some odd years of work they put in. Thank god we now know the truth.

So, I got sucked into this zeitgeist thing. It might be true it might not be true. Do I care? What's difference between believing in that and believing in Jesus? You act the same as a religious fanatic if you are a conspiracy theorist. You pick a series of unprovable "facts" that become dogmatic tenets and you commit your life to it. If anyone argues with it you say, "Well, I guess you just don't want to open your eyes to the truth. You want to live in darkness. You don't want to see the light." So, how are they any different? You just pick a different dogmatic system that explains the relatively recent killing of a very attractive president and not the killing of a very attractive Jew thousands of years ago.

So, I'm watching the film. I tried to fight it. I'm fighting it now. I used the phrase conspiracy theorist and I don't like that phrase because I know it's a right wing semantic fuck off and it denies them their place but I don't want to be one of them and I know I'm vulnerable to it. I'd rather use 'independent speculative investigator'. They are doing something. It is unclear how important it is now or if it will ever be but they are committing their life to it and certainly there are questions.

The movie starts out by proving, effectively, that Jesus didn't exist. I'm thinking, "Okay, I know that." The eloquently and cinematicaly show It was a myth constructed from Egyptian astrology and several different creation and sun god myths that were popular in the region. It was compelling, well executed, and logical. Then, BAM, planes are flying into the towers. I'm in Jerusalem and now, in a cut, I'm in smoldering downtown Manhattan. As if to say, "Now we've showed you that Jesus is a lie and your mind is open. What about this?"

I've got to say, maybe they're right. I'll give them that. Here's to the 911 Truth Movement, maybe you're right, good for you, good luck with it. God forbid you do something practical like help change legislation so we can all have health care or not have our hard drives infiltrated by the government. No, what you're doing is much more important because the truth needs to come out. Don't worry about re-legislating bankruptcy laws so were not all just two payments, a divorce or an illness away from abject poverty. No, its important to know what happened to WTC 7 because ultimately if we know that then we are winning and all problems will be solved.
The observant Belle Waring caught this:
OK, I expect a certain level of crazy from Dr. Helen, [wife of Instapundit-peter] but I have to say this left my head spinning:
Is your head spinning from all the doom and gloom being blasted from the media and Congress day and night about impending financial disaster? Mine is, and frankly, I sometimes wonder how much of the financial picture is accurate and how much is manufactured in order to get a Democrat elected. One has to ponder about the timing of all of this bad news.

Why the crescendo of economic collapse right before the election? Why didn't the media and congress act just as concerned some time ago or wait until sometime after the election to go into crisis mode? [perhaps an actual crisis occurred at this time?--ed] The timing of the current financial crisis seems too planned and calculating to be just a coincidence. Polls show that people's number one concern right now is the economy and that for the most part, voters believe Democrats are somewhat more likely to help with the economy. Could it be that the liberal media and those in Congress, knowing that, is blaring the bad economic news from the rooftops in order to manipulate voters into voting for a Democrat? If so, it won't be the first time.
The Instapundit often likes to take a similar line: the economy is actually fine but people are being tricked into thinking it's not. I really don't understand what model of the human psyche we're meant to be working on here. If you're underwater on your ARM mortgage, you're going to feel stressed out; likewise, if you are worried about losing your job and have huge credit card bills. There's just no amount of evil MSM scheming that could plausibly negate your actual experience of local economic conditions, unless the TVs at the Instapundit home are tricked out with an array of virtual reality simulators and backed up with generous servings of psychoactive drugs. Which, if true, makes me want to go to Tennesee, because that sounds rad. But this, view, while silly, is as naught compared with the belief that George Bush, Ben Bernanke, and Henry Paulson are part of a scheme to elect Barack Obama. I mean, really.
Yglesias noted Waring's find on Oct. 6, Henry at Crooked Timber on Oct. 21 - with an added link to Barbara Ehrenreich - noting that the conspiracy really isn't about electing Obama, it's about heightening the contradictions, which means electing McCain.