Fundamental Truths

  • In war the best policy is to take a state intact.
  • Too Much is the Same as Not Enough
  • Fear is the Mind-Killer
  • All Warfare is based upon deception.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cultural Insensitivity and Me

So apparently Jay Leno (Unfunny Motherfucker) displayed the holiest of holies of the Sikh faith in a skit mocking Mitt Romney. This has several Sikhs quite pissed, to the tune of starting a petition.

The Sikh community has launched an online petition and an Indian minister called the comments "objectionable".

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told reporters: "It is quite unfortunate and quite objectionable that such a comment has been made after showing the Golden Temple."

Mr Ravi said the Indian embassy would take up the matter with the US state department, the Press Trust of India reported.

He said: "The Golden Temple is the Sikh community's most sacred place... The American government should also look at this kind of thing.
Golden Temple The Golden Temple is the holiest Sikh shrine

"Freedom does not mean hurting the sentiments of others... This is not acceptable to us and we take a very strong objection for such a display."

Mister Ravi, on behalf of the people of the united states... Get fucked.

The right to make fun of shit, no matter what it is, is one of the American people's most sacred joys... The Indian Government should also look into dealing with real problems, as opposed to the lame attempts at humor of a fucking hack.

Respect for your religion does not extend to legislating what comedians, however unfunny, can say... This not acceptable to us and we take a very strong objection to your fucking whining.

Petition signatory Simran Kaur says: "Jay Leno must apologise and promise not to make any direct or oblique references to Sikhs or their places of worship."

Mister Kaur, if you dislike Mister Leno's material, do what I always do- Don't watch it. Seriously, he sucks, it's not like you're giving anything up.

I try to remind myself that this kind of religious bullshit is largely brought on by human context,but the fact is, as insensitive and culturally blind as Leno's stupid joke may have been, the Sikh response shows a marked lack of respect for one of the few identifiable North American cultural imperatives, one we inherited from either Europe or a romanticized notion of Europe- the Jester's Prerogative.

Hands off, motherfuckers, or I'll unleash the hate-reanimated corpse of Lenny Bruce on you. And he will show you no mercy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dune-isms For Our Times

In honor of the general state of affairs, I present the following:

From Dune Messiah:

"Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual."

From Children of Dune, that paean to collapsed empires and failed dreams:

"A large populace held in check by a small but powerful force is quite a common situation in our universe. And we know the major conditions wherein this large populace may turn upon its keepers--

One: When they find a leader. This is the most volatile threat to the powerful; they must retain control of leaders.

Two: When the populace recognizes its chains. Keep the populace blind and unquestioning.

Three: When the populace perceives a hope of escape from bondage. They must never even believe that escape is possible!"

"Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class-- whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs or financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy."

"In all major socializing forces you will find an underlying movement to gain and maintain power through the use of words. From witch doctor to priest to bureaucrat it is all the same. A governed populace must be conditioned to accept power-words as actual things, to confuse the symbolized system with the tangible universe. In the maintenance of such a power structure, certain symbols are kept out of the reach of the common understanding-- symbols such as those dealing with economic manipulation or those which define the local interpretation of sanity. Symbol-secrecy of this form leads to the development of fragmented sub-languages, each being a signal that its users are accumulating some form of power."

"People, not commercial organizations or chains of command, are what make great civilizations work. Every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces. If you over-organize humans, over-legalize them, suppress their urge to greatess-- they cannot work and their civilization collapses."

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Holy Books Of A Northern Jackass

All right, as anyone with the capacity to read and the colossal poor judgment to be wasting it on this should know, I've got Dune and Art of War quotations liberally slapped all over this bastard.

There is a perfectly sound reason for this- As a somewhat irritable agnostic, I haven't got a sacred text to refer to for either philosophical underpinning or obnoxious evangelism.

But damned if I'm going to be left out of getting my worldview from books!

What follows is a list of books from which I derive either philosophical insight or basic guidance I can apply to my life-

The Art of War- Sun Tzu. I favor the Samuel B. Griffith translation because the man is a Marine. A linguist might translate the classic Chinese correctly, but a fighting man is more likely to grasp what Sun Tzu (Or Sun Zi for you latter-day pedants). As a basic "how-to" manual, it's something of a mixed bag- yes, it has profound wisdom, such as the advisability of living upon the enemy's supplies as much as possible, but it also has detailed advice in how many chariots you should deploy to take out a rival warlord. Fortunately, the chaff is pretty easy to sift out. I refer to this badboy a lot when confronted by a stressful situation or an opponent in any sphere.

Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God-Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse: Dune, all by Frank Herbert. Yes, it's a science fiction. Yes, Herbert was clearly out his damn mind (God-Emperor is AWFUL as fiction- as a study in tyranny, of course, it's great), but a lot of his observations on human behavior and the nature of hydraulic despotism are spot-on. The cynical political creeds of the Bene Gesserit are infinitely more applicable to what you're going to experience than anything a talking head on CNN will have to say. Also has some nifty ecological pointers.

Watership Down by Richard Adams. The actual story of the rabbits founding their new warren is, at best, okay. But the underpinnings of the rabbits' mythology are phenomenal. Frith's advice to El-ahrairah is a must for anyone who isn't the strongest, deadliest, or best-defended- and let's be honest people, that's most of us. Be cunning and full of tricks, motherfucker, because you will die in a straight-up fight.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Mowgli of the Seeonee Wolf Pack becomes a model worthy of emulation by the end of the tales, and even his youthful follies are instructive. He also leads a damn nasty guerilla war against the dhole.

So there you have it. I draw most of my guidance from stories about talking animals, far-future posthuman badasses, and the martial code of ancient China.

Not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Election Year. PIG and ROT

So, in keeping with the finest traditions of modern U.S. democracy, the Party In Government (hereinafter PIG) is free to sit and watch as the Rest Of Them (ROT) thrash it out amongst themselves.

Has anyone realized how fucking stupid this process is?

In the primary system, fringe and undecided voters are ignored. No, the ROT need to galvanize their base. This leads to progressively more insane and asinine claims and statements revolving around whatever in hell their narrow pool of voters care about.

Right now, objectively, what are the biggest problems in this country?

From where I sit, we've got three big 'uns.

1- The Economy, Stupid. Really, a true shitshow. The Occupy movement amuses, rather than fires me up, but they're addressing a very real perception that things are not working like they should. Then there are basic numbers like unemployment figures and home ownership. They ain't good.

2- The steady erosion of civil liberties- To be fair to the PIG, this has been going on for a long time, with some of the most precipitous damage happening in the last eleven years or so. Still and all, from both major political entities in this country, it's quite hilarious how clear they've made it that they do not give a shit about the rights of the average citizen. One sides with corporate kelptocracy. The other... sides with corporate kleptocracy with a big pretty bow on top claiming they care. Neither cares about you, fool. They care about their personal power and fortunes, about shoring up their own faction. And frankly, no alternative party would be much better once they got on top. They won't stop this on their own- they need to be scared. Neither PIG nor ROT has really had their snouts whacked on this in far, far too long- hardly surprising, when this is one area where they appear content to cooperate. Thanks, assholes.

3- Foreign Adventures- You know, there was a time when this country was inclined to let the rest of the world get by without us. I blame our shattering sense of triumph in World War II- we came out of that one on top, unquestionably the best-armed nation on the planet. But it seems that no one has taken a good long look at our track record in major conflicts since 1945- Korea was more or less a draw, Vietnam was a strategic loss and a horrible waste of life (come on, a bunch of raggedy-ass half-trained guerillas with Kalashnikovs stood us off for HOW long?), and then.... then we entered a long series of brushfire bullshit in keeping with our imperial legacy, propping up regimes and looking after our own interests- success in a lot of limited objectives against weaker foes. And then there was the failure to rescue the hostages in the Tehran embassy in 1980. In 1983, we steamrolled Grenada. Air strikes on Libya in 1986 in a bid to kill Qadaffi (which may have only strengthened his hold on power), 1989's invasion of Panama was business as usual, 1990-1991 we, with other nations, slapped Iraq upside the head but changed nothing of import, insuring that we continued to have occasional live-fire incidents with Iraqi forces from 1992-2003 as the no-fly zones were enforced. In 1995, we went into Bosnia. In 2001, we went into Afghanistan (we're still there, by the by) to repeat the lessons we should have learned in Vietnam and Cambodia. Not content with that, in 2003, we formally re-invaded Iraq, and, in the following eight years, have had victory declared twice by two different Presidents. And then there's our recent Libyan intervention. Hail, victory.

We haven't been militarily inactive since... about 1935, apparently.

So of course, rather than dealing with any of these three lingering headaches, the ROT know what we really care about... that our sitting President is a "Socialist." That he is "soft on terrorism" (Good thing for him he has Osama bin Laden's bullet-riddled corpse on his scorecard for that one). That he is "at war with Christianity." That homosexuals can openly serve in our armed forces.

Hey. Assholes. The PIG ain't going down if that's the best you can do- and by the time the ROT have chosen their boy, the PIG will know all they need to know about 'em. And they'll also have a whole primary season's worth of stupid, extremist base-flacking bullshit to throw in the public's face.

The fix is in. Bend over.