Saturday, August 30, 2008
I've already told you how I feel about politics in the Year of Our Lord 2008, so you can guess how I feel about the Conventions; I've been doing my best to ignore them. Lest you forget, I was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton, thinking that was the only way to bring back any effective rational behavior on the part of "our" government, and I feel that Obama is probably well-meaning, but is also a self-important blowhard whose followers are naive idealists. But I'm gonna vote for him because he's better than four more years of McSame; the Republicans need to go down, even if it's just for the show value.
Nevertheless, I was relieved at Obama's choice of Joe Biden as Veep; Biden is an experienced fighter with good connections back into the solid base that Obama will need to get anything done if elected, and I have to admire a fighter (and someone who'll speak his mind occasionally). Of course I was mildly curious about McShit's choice, though I didn't expect much. But I was titillated, excited and like most Democrats dancing in the aisles yesterday when I heard who he'd chosen.
It's often said that the choice of the Veep candidate is the Presidential candidate's first real choice as Executive, and these two choices were, uh, revelatory. While Obama's was very sound, I think that John McCain, with the choice of Sarah Palin, has shown that he is indeed a fucking idiot.
Surely this will be the end of the challenge to Obama's experience! Palin has spent about 18 months as governor of Alaska. Prior to that, her only other office was mayor of Wasilla, a town of about 9,000. Just who I want a heartbeat from the Presidency with her little soccer-mom hand on the nuke button. If you were undecided, here's your best reason to vote Obama: the spectre of Sarah Palin as President.
It strikes me that the nomination of Palin is a real insult to women. Next to this bitch, Geraldine Ferraro was a gem. I won't go on about her; you'll be hearing it all from better authenticated sources 'til November. There will be revelations of petty corruption, and I can't wait to see her advocating the rape of her home State by the oil boys. And any woman who's anti-Choice has a real problem with Stockholm Syndrome.
So, was this an attempt to win the potential crossover Hillary vote, with a woman? Did he think just any woman would do? Does McCain seriously think that anyone who'd support a vetted, intelligent woman like Clinton could vote for this twit? Does he think that just any woman would do, and after all this one's not even bad-looking....
So I was thinking I'd help him out. Lately, I've been fascinated with the work of a performance artist named Boyd Rice, to whom I was turned on by a co-worker. Rice as an early Industrial performer,and was included in that famous RE:/Search Vol. #6/7 Industrial Issue back in the late '70's. In the '80's and '90's he became associated with some really edgy groups, like the Church of Satan (apparently he was dating Anton LaVey's daughter at one point!) and was featured in some White Supremacist media, probably because he'd taken to wearing and featuring Nazi regalia in his performances. Whatever. But he was originally a DJ and apparently still does some work, and he just released an EP with Go-Go Giddle Partridge.
Giddle Partridge was associated with the Partridge Family Temple, a religious organization devoted to the worship of deities who incarnated as member of the Partridge Family. She has had some movie roles, particulary as a character named as the Blonde Floozie In Year of the Dog. She is now working on an album with Boyd, and she lives in LA, working as a dancer and designer. It appears to me that based on these qualifications, she would be an excellent choice for Vice President. Check her out!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Thanks for allowing me my rest from blogging for a while; I'm still not over it. In the meantime, I wanted to introduce those of you who are not already familiar with two of my favorite bloggers, to some great stuff that's come out just in the last few days.
First, meet Jackie Fox, original bassist for the Runaways. After she left the band, Jackie went to Harvard Law School, where she was in Barack Obama's class; '91? Anyway, I don't know anyone else who could write an insightful comparison of Obama and Joan Jett. It first appeared here in her MySpace blog, and was picked up for the Huffington Post. I'm reprinting it below. Check out her other blog entries; she is an intelligent, insightful and charming writer. If more than one in a million attorneys were anything like Jackie, I might have stayed in.
And Brad Warner has been on a roll. He has been reprinting his posts from his Hardcore Zen blog site to MySpace, and then there's his work on Suicide Girls. Check 'em all out. Whenever I get bogged down by the wait of all the delusional deadheads in Zen, Brad is the antidote. The following is a YouTube video of his appearance on CNN last Sunday morning. His comments (as well as the same video) appear here.
I won't be silent much longer. See you soon.
Why Barack Obama Reminds Me of Joan Jett
Yes, you read that right – Barack Obama reminds me of Joan Jett. They are the only two people I've ever known who have affirmatively chosen to give themselves a larger-than-life persona and then grown to fill it. I saw this a little better with Joan, given that she was a younger age when I knew her than Barack was when I knew him. Joan in late 1975 was a perfectly ordinary Valley girl. You would never have looked at her and thought you were seeing a future rock star. If you'd even noticed her at all you probably would have thought she was a bit of a mouse. She had brown hair cut in a competent, if unremarkable, shag and she had that slouched-over bad posture that seems to be the working uniform of the shy. In the early days of the band Kim Fowley was always yelling at her to stand up straight. When I saw the Runaways play as a three-piece band at the Whiskey, I thought they weren't terribly interesting. Both Joan and Sue Thomas (the future Michael Steele of the Bangles) were ordinary and unassuming. The only member of the band that really stood out was Sandy, and she was stuck behind her drum kit. The response to the band was a bit lackluster and it's no surprise to me that Kim decided that the band needed more of a visual standout up front. By the time I auditioned for the band they had added Cherie and Lita, both of whom grabbed your attention immediately. Joan kind of faded into the mix, and I doubt that the addition of a fifth band member, especially one who was tall, smiled and wore skirts, helped on that front. Cherie was blonde and beautiful in a sulky, fragile way, and Lita had enough personality for ten girls, not to mention lots and lots of curves. Plus they were the lead singer and lead guitarist, respectively, the two instruments that soloed on every song. Who was going to notice a shy, brown-haired rhythm guitarist with bad posture?
I don't remember which came first, the persona or the black hair, but they pretty much went hand-in-hand. One day Joan just decided to become a bad-ass rock star. She dyed her hair black, bought a leather jacket, and started scowling. She turned her slouch from that of a shy person to that of a rocker who wears her guitar slung just a bit too low. She started standing at the front of the stage and doing the most talking in interviews. It was a noticeable and calculated transformation and if it seemed a bit silly and over-the-top at first, it has served her well over time. Act like a rock star long enough, do it unfailingly and well enough, and you become one. The few times I have spoken to Joan in the years since I left the Runaways, I've found it hard to recognize the Joan I met in 1975. She wears her rock star persona like a second skin. I sometimes wonder if she is even capable of taking it off. Who knows – maybe she goes home at night and coos baby-talk to her cats. I'd like to think so. I admire her for sticking to her guns and believing in herself, or at least for having the guts to "fake it 'til you make it." Most people give up in the face of adversity. Joan never did. I do have to wonder sometimes if that's the Joan that was always there hiding under the shyness and brown hair, like the butterfly hidden inside the caterpillar, or whether she had to give up a significant part of Joan Larkin in order to become Joan Jett. And if so, was it worth it or does transforming yourself like that make it impossible for a question like that even to make sense?
When I met Barack Obama, in our first year of law school, he had already put on his big-time politician act. He just didn't quite have it polished, and he hadn't figured out that he needed charm and humor to round out the confidence and intelligence. One of our classmates once famously noted that you could judge just how pretentious someone's remarks in class were by how high they ranked on the "Obamanometer," a term that lasted far longer than our time at law school. Obama didn't just share in class – he pontificated. He knew better than everyone else in the room, including the teachers. Or maybe even he knew he didn't know, but knew that the leader of the free world had to be able to convince others that he did. Looking back now I can see that he had already decided that he was a future president, and he was working hard at filling that suit. I wonder – was there a moment in his life when he did the presidential equivalent of dying his hair black and putting on a leather jacket? I'm betting there was, but he'd already done it by the time I met him. I'm sure Barack as a child was perfectly ordinary, just like Joan was. Until the moment he decided that he was a star. The Barack with whom I went to school wasn't the Barack that debuted on the national stage at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, but the president suit was already on, even if it was still too big for him. In law school the only thing I would have voted for Obama to do would have been to shut up. When he made that speech almost exactly eight years ago, I wanted to vote for him. For something, for anything. Now, as his vision of himself becomes a real possibility, though, I find that he may have filled out that suit all too well. It's hard to see the humanity underneath. Even the humor feels calculated now. And again, just like with Joan, I have to wonder – is he so focused on the goal that he has to live that persona every moment of every day? Or is he the kind of guy who can go home at night and change diapers while making poopy jokes? And if he gets elected, in eight years will he even think to wonder if it was worth it? He'll spend the rest of his life followed around by the Secret Service. How will he ever be able to take off that presidential persona without feeling entirely naked? Most of us look at the before and after pictures of U.S. president and wonder how anything that ages you that much in eight years could possibly be desirable. And yet, they seem to miss it when it's gone.
I once told someone that I felt like I wasn't special and nothing I did seemed to make a difference. He told me to stop trying to be special and, instead, to decide that I already was special and not do anything inconsistent with that. It was an effective strategy. The hard part was not to overshoot the mark and go from special to entitled. Barack and Joan seem to have adopted a similar strategy, but on a really grand scale. I just hope that they haven't overshot the mark, either. Because I really liked the Joan I knew in 1975. And Barack may just be our next president.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
In response to those of you who've wondered where I've been, and for those who have asked, I got tired of words for a bit and decided to go live in a place where actions speak louder. Actually, I went for the ten-day free trial of World of Warcraft® and instantly became addicted, so I've spent my off-time for the last ten days or so developing a Dark Elf Warrior named Kwanyin in the Realm of Onyxia to a level 13 (gamers may laugh, but I'm doing it the slow, hard way as a solo act). She's about to take the Ferry to Darkshore, and I'm very excited.
Seriously, words do get old. I have to live in them all day at work, which is expected, but they have been getting in the way, otherwise. I've begun to concentrate on my workouts again; I can get more "spiritual awareness" from one good Yoga class or even a Step class than any dozen Buddhist Festival Board meetings, or listening to any more canned words after a session of zazen. Why is it that we feel the urge to talk, talk, talk after we sit? Wouldn't this be the best time for some silent physical activity? Will I ever get the time and resources to put together the Zen/Yoga workshop I've been thinking about for a month or two, to counter the talky talky crap from every other Buddhist activity I'm involved in? Stay tuned.
So if you must read about Zen, instead of just cutting to the chase and doing it (which is the only path that's ever going to get you anywhere/nowhere), at least read something real; I can heartily recommend Gudo Nishijima's To Meet the Real Dragon. No pansied crap there; if you see a giant pink lotus anywhere, run, run, run.
And if you want to watch something, the Witchblade TV series is out on DVD, finally.
Or come and join me in Azeroth. Very little talk (if you ignore the chat feed), lots of action. No screaming babies. Seriously, a few hours of this stuff makes me feel like I've had a real vacation. Make sure you hang in there through the map stuff at the beginning, to see how the characters look and move. So although millions of people are already doing this, I'm going to give you their trailer to watch. Maybe this'll hook you.
And don't worry, I'll find something to yak about again soon, I'm sure. I'm just as addicted to words as you are.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Let's combine a serious prediction with some fun, OK?
It should be pretty clear by now that modern civilization as we know it is near the end. Mankind's excess of success as a species -- and Man's adamant refusal to rationally manage his environment in such a way as not to suffer the otherwise inevitable consequences of that success, i.e., destruction of his environment (via annihilation of the earth's client and the extinction of its natural resource, petroleum, which fueled his existence binge in the first place, 150 years ago or less) -- is about to lead to the end of the Industrial Age. There are many possible means of that end, which can either lead to the extinction of Man as a species, or simply his reversion to a primordial, uncivilized state. All of them can and probably will occur to some degree, and we are already seeing them, much more so that than when I first started throwing this in your face. Nuclear war is still a threat, and war in some form is inevitable. Starvation is there already, it just waits to become universal.
You know, the Powers that Be have to be aware of all this. Dick Cheney, as we've pointed out before, has been talking about Peak Oil for fifteen years. These are evil men, but not ignorant. More and more, it strikes me that they have a solution in mind for overpopulation, and for the preservation of earth's scant remaining resources for the chosen few alone, and the most efficient means to reduce the population drastically would be the controlled release of a pandemic.
Surely today's extensive research in bio-warfare has by now given them a virus that could do the job. Then all you have to do is make sure you have enough antivirus to inoculate a small segment of selected survivors, and bingo! A few more generations of livability on Planet Earth for the chosen few and their progeny. The viral weapon could be waiting, cocked and loaded at CDC in Atlanta, or in any of a thousand places.
Of course, this theme is not new; I have merely made a Robert Frost choice in this case, although mine is guided less by poetry than by rationality. And the whole idea does lead to a certain Poe-ish scenario, does it not? But it's also been done and overdone in recent fiction, as if it's become an unconscious artifact of popular consciousness, while the bodies associated with the minds in denial continue to spit out little genomes as if this were the Dawn of Eternity. Look at the whole Resident Evil series, and probably hundreds of others.
But if you're gonna dance til you drop, you should at least have fun doing it, and Doomsday, a movie released on DVD last Tuesday, set in a world where a natural(?) plague starts in Scotland, of all places (guaranteeing great dialect in the dialogue), is much more fun than most. When I started watching this movie at the theater, I was afraid I was walking into another underfunded British sci-fi knockoff, but once the protagonist, played by Rhona Mitra, is captured by punks weilding chainsaws (25 years of isolation and they have gasoline?), and then it is revealed that the punks are in contention with a medieval heraldry headed by Malcolm McDowell for control of Glasgow -- well, this one is so far over the top that you don't even look for the logical howlers any more and are free to enjoy this delightful hodgepodge of free-flowing Dystopian fantasy. Watch the preview below, then go rent it or buy it now! Then continue on with your spewing out babies and guzzling up petrol, or whatever it was you were doing.
Friday, August 01, 2008
One of Hunter Thompson's most celebrated bits of genius writing came in the midst of the book many consider to be his masterpiece, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He wrote circa 1971 of living in California in the '60's:
You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning...And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting – on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave...So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Out of the ashes of the failed Hippie and the Peace Movement, my culturally immediate progenitors, came some of the biggest greedheads and failed bastards of all time, the people who have made America and the world what they are today; a wasteland of the dead and dying, the rich sucking off a petroleum pipe full of opium, while the populace lies starving in the desert. But for most of us without Thompson's vision, the true turning point came at the end of the year 2000.
Who would have guessed that the Doomsday Millennialists were right? All those deranged fantasists who told us that the end of the world would come in that seminal year. I did, I felt it as a sleazy, slick, sickening feeling when the U.S. Supreme Court, the American people, and yes even Al Gore himself were complicit in allowing the Bush Cabal to steal the Presidential election.
One has to ask, would it have gone down the same way, had any of us, including the Clintons, known the true horrors of what would happen in eight years of lawless tyranny? Did even Bill Clinton, who surely knew more than anyone at this point, know how America would tolerate the evisceration of its Constitution and its heart, by the soulless bastards who seized control in 2001? What would have happened at the end in November and December, 2000, if Clinton's Executive branch had seen how Congress would roll over and play dead when the present current Executive blatantly refused to follow the Constitution and the mandates of the powerless Legislature and Judiciary, and taunted it as young George must have taunted the flies whose wings he pulled off as a child?
In 2000, the Clinton administration still had control of the Executive branch, and Bill Clinton was Commander-in-Chief of the military, who I think would have been at least partially loyal to him. What if Clinton and Gore had beat the Cabal to the punch and refused to acknowledge the manipulated Supreme Court affirmation of the Bush coronation? Well, it would have been the end of our Constitutional government, for sure. It would have happened a few years earlier; how different would the results have been?
And more intriguingly, while maundering in rancid waters of useless speculation, what would Clinton and Gore have done had they known how truly heinous the Cabal would prove to be? The planes did fall out of the sky, not at midnight at the beginning of 2000, but twenty-one months later (and remember, most of the Millennialists were Christian and uneducated; the Third Millennium actually began on January 1, 2001, not a year earlier). Would Gore have rolled over and played dead, as he did, had he known, how Bush's puppetmasters would manipulate the hunger and desperation of the Middle Easterners, for their own vile ends? How the Cabal would manipulate the incipient desperation of the American public, using pseudo-patriotic hokum which would have embarrassed P.T. Barnum to lure the gullible youth of this declining empire into the jaws of death, to secure the last few remaining petrodollars for the grim old men and their sharp-tooted prodigy who now roam the corridors of power?
Would Clinton and Gore have fought back, had they known the ruthless means by which the real Evil Ones would seize the reign of power to steer the Hummer down the fatal slope into oblivion? Or what's worse, more frightening: Did they? And were they just too afraid to fight on?
I think it was all over in 2001, when Bush was inaugurated the first time. The theatre of the War on Terror which his masters created and performed nauseates me now as it did then; I refuse to revisit it further, here.
But for most of us whose hearts still beat, the final nail in the coffin came this year, when a still-gullible American public allowed Rove (or whoever is really behind him) and his instruments manipulated the sad, gullible Democrats into nominating Barak Obama, thus abandoning the last hope we had of having anyone with any pragmatic sense of responsibility, and moreover capability, anywhere near the power switch. A Hillary Clinton administration could've done, with the aid of the people and the apparatus who gave us the last successful administration in the last real American Presidency, whatever could have been done to minimize the bloodletting. The bus is already headed down the slope at breakneck speed, and nothing can be done to avert that, but it would've been nice to have a pilot who gave a shit to avoid a few trees and rocks on the way down, and would've been experienced enough to drive the thing.
Now we have an election between Tweedledum and Tweedledoofus, who will do nothing. It will be a one-term administration that begins the Plague Years. And yes, I said Plague. I'll vote for Obama, though I don't like him. But I have no hope; he's been set up to fall big before November, which is why he was hand-picked by the Cabal in the first place. But even if he wins, in some twist of manipulation that is too far away from the hand for the eye to see, he's been so compromised that he's be nothing but a scapegoat.
Tanya asked me why I don't write more about politics; this is why. I can try to show you the big picture, plain as the smirk on Bush's face or the heaps of our predecessors dying in Africa; or I can urge you to focus on developing yourself now, for what is happening, now. But the middle ground? Politics is dead. Get ready to starve and join it.