Monday, January 13, 2014

Yes, But Who Built It?

So, remember the stories that finally went mainstream about a month ago around the idea that perhaps this universe and everything we know is just one big computer simulation? It occurs to me that this might be a very good explanation of why we’ve never encountered alien life: those who built the Matrix would likely be outside of it looking in.


Of course, that presupposes someone ELSE building the simulation, someone not human. What if we built it ourselves? I think that thought is even more disturbing. But it is also one that lends itself to explaining why our politicians and our powerful are so hell-bent on pissing away all of our resources and laying waste to the planet. If you knew it was all false, that it was all a game, it would definitely change your attitude toward the things the rest of us normally take for granted as “real.”

And if I were a powerful person in possession of some definitive knowledge like that, knowledge that the world and everything in it was just a construct, then I have to assume I would do my damnedest to keep that knowledge secret. Imagine the chaos, the insanity that would be unleashed on the world if everyone suddenly came to find out that we’re all living in a massive lie.

 No, we certainly must keep the plebes struggling and desperate and fearful.

At any rate, this train of thought reminds me of a sort of side point--but one that is incredibly thought-provoking and perhaps alarming--in Chuck Palahniuk’s book “Rant.” In it, a character who is capable of time-travel casually opines something along the lines of this (badly paraphrased): If it were possible to do that, to travel in time, don’t you think the people who have all the money and the power not only know about it, but have already been doing it for a long time?

Similarly, it occurs to me that if the universe and our world is a simulation, then the people who run things, the people who are privy to information most of us can’t even dream of, would be the most likely to know about it. And so look at their behavior: they sure ACT like there is no reason to worry about destroying this world...
###

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Violent Ape/Deadly Ape

This is a piece I started a few months ago and just got around to finishing it. It's pretty bleak. And while I would say it is only reflective of how I feel SOME of the time, I would hasten to add that I in no way disavow these thoughts. Not at all.

Bleakness comes and goes, ebbs and flows, as does my faith in humanity.


MONKEY WITH A GUN

George Zimmerman readying for another night patrol on neighborhood watch.

So, another school shooting.

Another outcry, another call for compassion, another call to keep The Children in our thoughts, along with Those We Have Lost.

Another call for prayers to a god who either chooses not to intervene and is therefore evil, or who is incapable of intervening, and is therefore not omnipotent, and therefore no god at all.

But at least Rush Limbaugh has straightened everything out for us: these things happen because liberals.

Of course.

(Note that there is always the jangle of defensiveness, the blatting of a wrong note, the creeping desperation of the lady protestething too much when people like him clamor to mansplain these things, you notice? A couple of shootings ago, someone was saying it was all because God has been kicked out of the schools, um, somehow. Funny that, when he tells us he’s everywhere...)

I would posit that the answer is even simpler than that, that it goes back further than the Johnson Administration--or even the Jesus Administration: simply put, we are a dumb, violent, brutal species, just as myopic and short-sighted as any other hungry animal on the planet, incapable of thinking coherently for any length of time beyond our own immediate needs. And with our big, stupid brains and our subjugation of the natural world and conquering of death (we like to imagine), we’ve managed to convince ourselves of an entirely new and all-encompassing definition of the word “need.”

As CIA Director Saul Berenson says to his brilliant but impulsive protégé Carrie Matheison on “Homeland,” “You are the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I’ve ever known.”

That is the human race in a nutshell.

Convince us that we are gods incapable of dying--or who SHOULD be--that we are emperors incapable of suffering the slightest inconvenience--or who SHOULD be--that we are kings and queens who deserve everything we can possibly imagine--and then put guns in our hands and watch as we destroy ourselves.

We like to argue that the rapists among us, the shooters among us, the child abusers among us, the animal torturers among us--that these are aberrations, that they are outliers, that they fall far outside the bell curve of normal human behavior.

But at some point folks, we have to admit that there are simply far too many of “them” to consider “us” as something completely separate. Perhaps, a la Occam’s Razor, the answer is far simpler than the reasons we desperately grasp at in the wake of these events: bad upbringing/poor socialization/affluenza/The Media/violent video games/the NRA/the religious/the atheists/the homosexuals/etc etc ad infinitum.

Perhaps we’re just stupid, selfish, inherently violent monkeys whose brains grew too large.



But what about art, you say. What about beauty and love? What about the search for something larger than ourselves? Whither Michelangelo and Shakespeare and Mozart? What about humankind’s higher callings and aspirations? To that I would argue that, yes, fleetingly, a few of us have occasionally shown ourselves capable of rising above our brute, petty needs. But really these examples are quite rare, when you think about it. And on closer examination of the individuals responsible for birthing such beauty into the world, we usually find that they are just as monstrous, just as banally, casually stupid and evil as the rest of us, in their own way. They just happened to stumble upon beauty in addition to the rest of it.

As they say down south, even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then.

Simply put, humans are shitty people.

Individuals have moments when they are not, but if taken honestly and as a whole tapestry, let's face it: the overall picture is bleak.

I’d rather spend my time with a dog. At least they won’t shoot you.
###

No. Just, no.

via



Just when you thought adult Americans couldn't get any more cutesy-wutesy in our ongoing regression into childhood.

Introducing the Hoodsie, a hooded onesie for "adults." (note the quotation marks at the top of the video.)



How did I know these idiots would at some point be wearing one of those retarded animal hats?


If you wear one of these and you are over the age of twelve, please kill yourself.

I don't care how many hot models you feature sporting this terrible product, we all know that the people who will end up wearing them will be obese, unwashed Wal-Mart shoppers, like this lovely lady looking spiffy in her terry-cloth, bib-overall style onesie.


Hell, if they made one with a butt-flap, you'd never have to change clothes at all! 

pic via

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow and Batman Jammies



This dog is happy, methinks. via laughing squid

Some Days...


Some days, human beings break my heart.

It’s nothing out of the ordinary; it’s just the way it hits me. Just all sorts of stupid things I notice sometimes, things that aren’t any different from anything any one of us does on any given day. But watching others fumble through their lives some days, it’s just heartbreaking, I don’t know why. The futility of their efforts, their failed attempts at...everything. The eternal hope and subsequent, inevitable eternal failure is just excruciating sometimes:

Some grumpy kid being dragged behind his clueless parents on an outing that started out fun but isn’t anymore.

Some lonely, heavyset girl eating alone, her long-anticipated meal of a sandwich and a yogurt so much of a letdown even after only a few bites.

Some older lady waiting for a delayed flight in her stupid new boots. You can sense her disappointment in the world reflected in the shiny silver buckles, her disdain for things that don’t turn out her way in the care with which she perches them on her stool’s footrest.

Some days all the sad, crushed high hopes of the ever-hopeful human race are right there, plainly etched in the dead skin of a cow wrapped around some woman’s feet.

Other days, humans fill me full of rage. Our unfathomably stupid, thick-headed bloody-mindedness. Our relentless selfishness. The endless wells of self-deception we lug around with us.

On those days it amazes me we ever survived our trip down out of the trees.
###

Happy New Year

I'm back.

Again.

I hope to get back in the habit of posting here at least every other day. I found last spring that it took me away from writing on my plays. Which it does. But I also am finding that I need this outlet too. Hope you'll enjoy.

pic via

Monday, April 22, 2013

background checks and hypocrisy

This is not the appropriate time to discuss background checks (on immigrants and/or muslims.) We should be looking at the mental health component of this tragedy, and the individuals in question rather than painting all (immigrants and/or muslims) with broad brushstrokes. #soundfamiliar? --kjb

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quo Vadis?


O, Obama, wither goest thou?
And thou, O Liberal, who followeth thy shepherd?

There is a tale from the Acts of Peter which has Saint Peter fleeing from Rome and his own likely crucifixion. When he encounters a resurrected Jesus on the road, Peter asks, “Whither goest thou?” ("Quo vadis" in Latin.) 

Jesus replies, “I am going back to Rome to be crucified again.” Thus, Peter gains the courage to return to Rome himself and continue his ministry--at least until he is indeed finally crucified, upside-down.

And as the media try to make sense of Obama’s proposed budget, which sells out seniors, not to mention 70 years of Democrats fighting to protect Social Security, liberals find themselves encountering Obama on the road to Rome.

Are we going to follow him back to the Eternal City to be crucified ourselves, ass pointed toward the sky, head full of blood--and very likely, regret? Will he be your resurrection? Or could it be possible that Obama is--gasp--selling out his base? As unimaginable as this may seem?

Well, an adorable little article that appears today in politicsusa suggests that there is no such crucifixion in the offing. That in fact, what is actually happening is that that clever Obama is at it again, playing 11-dimensional chess and whooping everyone’s ass in the process, only no one else knows it yet.




Well, the article would be adorable if it weren’t so hopelessly naïve and so typical of the contortions that liberals will put themselves through in order to find a way to keep supporting this president, even after he has proven  himself over and over to be nothing but a less-abrasive, English-speaking version of George W. Bush.

In the piece, the author, one Jason Easley pushes the notion that Obama’s embrace of chained-CPI social security “reform” is in fact a setup:

The truth is that outside of the right wing ideologues, many Republicans see real political danger in messing with Social Security. In plain English, Republicans will get nothing on Social Security unless they agree to raise taxes.

He suggests that Republicans have three choices: allow tax increases in order to get chained-CPI passed (and get savaged by their tax-hatin’ base), argue for chained-CPI without tax increases (and get nothing, because Obama and the Senate have proven so very formidable when it comes to negotiations) or reject chained-CPI altogether (resulting in a party divided and nothing getting passed at all.)

Well, first of all the premise that Obama might stand tall in negotiations with Republicans in order to secure a deal that he “really wants” is...well, it’s sweet. That's so cute. I wish I could meet Mr. Easley so I could pat him on his widdle head.



As is apparent to anyone with a pulse, this flies in the face of all available evidence. Given any opportunity to cave to Republican wishes or to the received wisdom of the Beltway in order to fulfill his weird fetish for so-called “bi-partisanship,” this president has done so.


One might be prompted to imagine--if one were of a cynical bent--that with this nearly unbroken string of concessions, Obama has in fact been getting what he wants all along. That perhaps his stated goals aren’t in sync with his actual goals. One might imagine that if there is a game being played, it isn’t being run on the Republicans, but rather on Obama’s liberal base. (See: closure, Guantanamo; reform, Wall Street; health care, single-payer; withdrawal, Iraq; Patriot Act, renewal; torture, non-prosecution of; etc., etc., ad infinitum.)

But enough heresy.

Mr. Easley goes on to say:

Democrats have constructed an elaborate political trap for Republicans. If they go on record as supporting Social Security cuts, President Obama his party will snap it closed. (sic)

Yes, because that’s what Democrats are good at, snapping traps.

Note that within hours of Obama’s budget proposal going public, Republicans were already accusing him of selling out seniors

That’s some fine trap-snappin’ there, Lou.

Obama:   Good luck in 2014 and 2016, fellow Dems! Did I mention I won’t have to run again? Ever?

Dem politicians:   0_o

Perhaps the most infuriating piece of this liberal head-in-the-sand routine as demonstrated by Mr. Easley’s article is the notion that anyone who argues against Obama’s policies from the left is somehow actually the one who is ignorant or naïve:

While the activists on the left continue to completely ignore the political realities unfolding before them, it is looking more and more like Obama’s Chained CPI offer was designed to call the Republican bluff on Social Security.

Here’s the thing: the “political realities” are a result of what the president wants them to be. They are not entirely his doing, obviously, but the president has the largest, loudest, biggest, baddest bully pulpit on the planet. If he wanted to change the conversation--or even make an ATTEMPT to change the conversation, he could do so. He could have done so, over and over again. He has had countless opportunities to try and shift the conversation--ANY conversation--more toward something resembling the progressive platforms on which he ran.

He has not done so.

And here’s where the intransigent Obama cheerleaders are completely self-defeating: the conversation desperately needs to be changed. I AGREE with them, for fuck's sake, that this country is fast steamrolling toward an unshakeable oligarchy run by and for the plutocrats, and there will come a point--if we haven’t passed it already--at which no amount of howling from us plebeians will have any effect.

And if Obama won’t change the conversation, we need to call him out on it. If we continue to support him no matter what shitty, anti-democratic, anti-human policies he supports, we are complicit. Why isn’t he (and Mr. Easley, for that matter) saying things like:

-the cut-off for social security contributions is $113,000. Any money a person makes over that amount is exempt from the SS tax. You want to “save” social security? Raise that limit a few thousand dollars and it can last as long as this country does.
-Social Security is not insolvent, nor is it about to be.
-Social Security does not add to the deficit.
-the deficit is actually dropping.
-the deficit is actually a good thing right now, according to some economists.
-tax rates are at their lowest in ___ years (depends who you ask).

My point is that left and right, blue and red are no longer relevant arguments to be having, not when all of the people we’re arguing about, left or right, are supporting the position of big money, either tacitly or overtly. If anyone or anything is threatening the destruction of this country, it is wealth disparity, political corruption, and revenue shortfalls.

So who’s being naïve again? The people who think Obama is pulling some elaborate con while only appearing to sell out his base? Or those who think that he really is selling out his base, as he has so many times before?

O, liberal, wither goest thou,
Now that thy shepherd has proven a wolf?

--kjb



(by the way, if you haven't clicked on the last two "via" links I posted, go immediately to this guy's tumblr. It is awesome and hilarious. :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guns Don't Kill People...

...four year olds at picnics do.

Tennessee is two-for-two today in the weird story lottery, what with the masturbating driver going 90 miles per hour and this one:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout and accidentally shot and killed the wife of a Tennessee sheriff’s deputy.
No, this is really sad and not very funny at all. But it does go to debunk all the gun-toters' pithy quotes about how gun violence is strictly an operator problem, not anything to do with the equipment at all. Still.

Investigators say Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning on Saturday was showing his weapons to a relative in a bedroom of his Lebanon home when the toddler came in and picked up a gun off the bed. Sheriff Robert Bryan says the weapon discharged, hitting 48-year-old Josephine Fanning.
Sad.

Tennesseeing is Tennebelieving

And what they Tennessesaw they cannot UnTennessee

Headline reads:

"Former Tennessee Lawmaker Allegedly Drove 90 mph While Masturbating out Window"
Witness Deanna Dykes said Blakely was "waving, grabbed his shirt, kind of pulled it up."
"He was taking his hand, wetting his mouth, and masturbating," witness Deborah Sturgill said.
And another:

Witness Kelly Street offered a similar account.

"At over 90 miles per hour, he had his penis out [the window]... he was masturbating... and that's when it got really, really bad. I wouldn't look over any more, and I wrote his tag number down on my hand, which I believe he noticed, and he exited very quickly," Street said.
Wait a minute. He put his penis out the window at 90 mph, and you say "...that's when it got really, really bad??"

I think not. I say kudos, good sir.

Hell, if he's that coordinated, not to mention talented, not to mention determined, maybe he deserves another shot at office?

You should see what he's got in his other fist.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Change Your Profile Pic or the Homo Gets It

Well, I’ve been sort of passively called out by an FB friend for posting this picture yesterday or the day before, and for being snarky about the whole “change your profile pic in support of gay marriage” thing.


For the record, I also left this pic up after a different friend posted it on my wall.


(I also posted this, but who's counting?)



First of all, let’s establish this: I’m not anti-gay marriage.

I’m anti-marriage, personally, but if anyone else wants to get married, I don’t give a shit. I will mock them mercilessly, and I may drunkenly cite divorce statistics at the reception afterward in a very loud voice, but I have no reason to stand in their way.

I am fully, 100 percent in support of legalized gay marriage. Like my friend, I too have many, many friends who are gay, and I too abhor homophobia. Here are a few things I have written on the topic, and there are many, many more relevant posts on FB. 

Second, the pictures are fucking funny. Aren’t they? I mean, come on. No matter where you stand on this, these are funny. When did liberals become so very humorless about things we support? I thought that was the job of hardcore religious conservatives.

(And Libertarians. Try making a Rand Paul joke on the interwebz sometime. It’s like trashing Elvis while you’re on a Graceland tour. Only instead of fat, southern, octegenarian housewives riding scooters chasing you off, it’s 20-something, half-bright bros clutching “Atlas Shrugged” and firearms. Many, many firearms.)


The point is not to disparage people who support gay marriage or who changed their profile pic, but to suggest that we all take a moment to think about climbing down off that high horse, before it gets so very high we require a helicopter extraction team.

Yes, it’s taking the piss a bit, at a lovely time when the tide towards tolerance seems to be shifting in this country. But I contend that taking the piss is a healthy part of the discussion, even on a day when the national bandwidth is covered in so much “support.”

Maybe especially on a day like that. As Harvey Keitel’s character The Wolf said in “Pulp Fiction,” “Let’s not all start sucking each others’ dicks just yet.”

(Ha ha...irony...insert your own joke here.)

(Ha ha...he said “insert...”)

Anyway, the last time I got into an FB discussion with the first friend, the one who was offended--I don't even remember what we were talking about--but we went back and forth a few times in comments before he announced he was finished with the discussion and taking himself out of the conversation--after posting his last say, of course, haha.

So that’s the reason I’m going to post this here and not bother with going back to his original post; if you don’t want to engage the topic and have a discussion all the way through to wherever it leads, then why begin it?

Which is also kind of my point about these trends on FB: we post these things (remember Stop Kony?) in a mostly closed feedback-loop of self-congratulation and mutual back-patting, assured of 98 percent of our friends' “Solidarity” and “Support” of whatever the topic du jour may be without actually DOING anything more than clicking “change profile pic.” It is my contention that this leads to an unpretty and self-deceptive smugness and sense of “a job well done” while not having actually done anything.



Also, if you’re “taking a stand,” then shouldn’t you be prepared for some dissent? The original friend actually wrote, “...it is really not acceptable...” to post things like these pictures at a time like this. (He used the word “ridicule,” but as I explained above, I don’t think that is the message; I know it definitely isn’t the message I was trying to send, and if any of my friends felt ridiculed by me for changing their profile pic, then I humbly apologize.)

Anyway, my main point here is to make sure that anyone who cares knows without a doubt that I am not anti-gay marriage. Nor am I anti-changing-your-profile-pic-to-show-support-for-gay-marriage.

My second point is that it is okay to laugh at ourselves. I mean, I am a liberal. I am a flaming liberal. I'm practically a socialist, I’m so fucking liberal. But I can be that and still be aware that we’re hilariously self-contradictory, overly earnest, naively idealistic at times and many other things. So what if we’re funny? We’re still right, so I don’t give a shit if anyone laughs at me, and I’m okay with seeing the humor in us as well.

Thirdly, if you are going to “take a stand” on something, then you need to be able to handle a bit of very, very gentle and oblique teasing about it without getting all huffy. You take a stand by clicking a link in your FB profile, then get upset if someone posts something on their own wall that mildly, jokingly rebukes you a tiny bit?

I mean, it’s hardly firehoses and police dogs, now, is it? And to suggest that certain words and pictures and phrases are unacceptable or inappropriate is about as illiberal as you can get.

Stifling dissent? Shit, not even dissent--low-key mockery by someone who is clearly on the same team? Again, that sounds like something the hard right does, not us.

If you want to be part of a national discussion, great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should expect the online equivalent of a roomful of 500 of your “closest personal friends” all nodding in total agreement and saying, “Yep, you sure are right, Steve.”

How fucking boring would that be?

Plus it's not even like I disagree.

Take care everyone, and again, I pledge my undying support for my LGBT brethren and sistren. Let’s hope those douchebags on the Supreme Court actually do the Right Thing for once instead of the expedient, political thing.

--KJB

*The picture of the two combative gay gentlemen is from an episode of Seinfeld, so, no, not all that terribly hip, I don’t think. Not for a couple of decades at least. :-)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cornel West is Right



But it is so goddamn hard sometimes.

Despair is a hungry demon nipping at your heels, demanding attention constantly. You think, maybe if I just give him a snack, he'll leave me be. But whatever you feed him only whets his appetite.

Best just to kick that little bastard in the throat and get on with your day, with something that gives you hope, with people that uplift you and help you to see what's possible, not what's impossible.

--kjb

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rand Paul is Still an Idiot



via

Hey, gays! Guess what? The junior nutbag from Kentucky has great news for you!

No, it's not an intellectually consistent stand on individual liberty versus liberty for commercial interests, but it's almost as good! When asked if he would strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as a federal interference in states' and individuals' rights to decide who can marry whom, Paul weaseled and waffled, "...that's a complicated issue..." but then came up with a left field idea that might be just as good.

See, you know how you guys are always on about the whole marriage thing? How about this instead: a flat tax just for you and your...what, husbands? Wives? I never could get that straight. No pun intended! Ha ha!

No, really though, here's the idea (via crooks and liars):
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday suggested that implementing a flat tax could assuage gay and lesbian Americans who want equal marriage rights because straight marriages would not get a tax break.

During an interview on Fox News, host Chris Wallace pointed out that the Supreme Court would be hearing arguments this week on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevents the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages even in states where those unions are legal.
Well, come on, I mean everyone knows how teh gheys are about shopping and spending money. Surely they will appreciate this gesture. Think how many more brunches per year they can afford with the savings!

Republicans: Making This Shit Up Every Day, So We Don't Have To.

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