Today Barack Obama admitted totally to being a Muslim because he apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the burning of Korans by American soldiers at Khogyani Air Base in Afghanistan. In a letter expressing "deep regret" over the incident, Obama (shown here donning the Saudi Order of Totally Being a Fucking Muslim) completely buckled to pressures from his fellow Muslim leader, at last giving in and exposing himself for what many Americans had always suspected: A tool for jihad, wielded by the hands of Allah.
In performing the ritual and required act of apology as dictated on page 5 of the Koran manual, Obama shows his allegiance to Islam in all of its forms, and repudiates any affiliation with love, freedom, or non-Muslim religions. Later, in a press conference given at the ruins of what was, until midday today a Christian house of worship, Obama declared: "As we have pulled down the cross of your Christ, we will pull down His nation, and the Crescent of Islam will fly over Washington, D.C. Saracens fill the halls of power, your American infidel way of life as you understood it is over. Allahu akbar." He then wound a turban around his head and brandished an AK-47 at the audience.
He did not, as the socialist liberal news media will no doubt attempt to spin, attempt to defuse a situation between a group of dumbass mercenary punks committing a stupid and deliberately inflammatory (yeah, you like that one?) act and a country full of religious zealots who think a book of fairy tales is more important than the life of even one human being. Riots and investigations, calls for death and destruction, 14 dead. I want you to go back and look at the hatred on the faces of those children in the link above. I want you to realize that idiots, censors, Nazis & Klansmen burned books, and that these guys would have to know what they would set off, because it happens every time.
Went a different direction there at the end, didn't I?
I think I've emotionally retarded my development by placing temporal restrictions on myself.
When I was a younger man, I had a really nice watch; a heavy Citizen with lots of superfluous bullshit on it, it told the time really accurately, and was tough as nails. I still have it; the crystal is all scratched up to be damned, and the band's been replaced about four times. Reached a point in my life, though, when I stopped wearing a watch. I found that when I wore one I would check incessantly to see what time it was, and what time it was just wasn't important as often as I was checking. That, and I lived in South Florida then and it was just the wrong watch for the climate.
I went without a watch for years. Haven't really missed it. Now, I carry a Skelanimals puppy watch, 100% plastic construction, fully digital, that my daughter gave me out of a fast food meal. I can't reasonably fit it onto any appendage I have, so I keep it in the front pocket of my hoodie or the hip pocket of my pants. I only carry this watch when I have classes or have to be somewhere at a given time. In fact, I ONLY started carrying this watch when I started school. Previously, I had disabled the clock on my iPod, and put the really nice watch Matt gave me in '04 in my nightstand.
I worked for years in a deadline-rich environment, and I came to the realization today, while pursuing personal deadlines, that maybe, just maybe, adhering to anyone else's concept of days, minutes, hours, timespans of any kind, is a mistake. How often do I wish away a month because I wish it was next month already? Or aim at the end of a week because I'm tired, thus missing what I pass on the way? I do not cram my every waking hour with entertainment and diversion, but I cram a fair bit. How much would it open our tiny little minds if everyone's perception of time extended simply from when it started to whatever I've got left without marking it all the time? Would you still hurry? Still care about how long anything took? I think I still would, but I'm not sure.
People often ask me how many books I read in a year, and I usually know that answer, because I keep lists and check at the end of the year. What if I stopped? Here's the books I read since I read some other books. I only read this one book while I was reading this book. This kid's newer than that kid, but she seems older sometimes, due to the wiseness/creepiness thing little girls do sometimes. Deciding to do this would be an easy process for me, since my sense of time is broken anyway. 15 years ago seems crystal clear, but I have troubles with the early 00s. Maybe I exist better in the stretched out times and not so well in the smaller ones, or maybe my perceptions are all jacked up. This might make me difficult to deal with in terms of being on time for stuff, but I'm fairly certain that I can pick out random instances marked by numbers and hit them without fucking up my whole "drifting through a limbostream without reference points internal anti-chronometer" thing I'm attempting.
(Today's art is by Ghetto, upon whom I visit a small art crush.)
Last night I had this dream where Wallis Simpson (pictured here) was giving me a hot towel shave with a straight razor. She did not shave off my actual chin whiskers, so no Delilah imagery, unless someone more educated than I am on the subject would like to argue the point. I was in an old school green metal and black leather barber's chair, and she sharpened her razor on the leather strap affixed on the right hand side. She leaned in close to do the part of my left jaw where I broke it once (there's kind of a lump in the bone), and she smelled like vodka, fruit juice and expensive perfume.
The chair was in the middle of a giant oaken stage, right in front of a pipe organ. In a huge balcony about thirty feet off of the stage surface, a full orchesta played "Seven Nation Army," PJ Harvey's "To Bring You My Love," and a couple of other things I recognized but could not place. Thanks, brain. Off to one side, presumably waiting for shaves from Mrs. Simpson, was a bench full of people including Eddie Izzard, Volstagg from Marvel Comics, Willie Nelson, Vini Demon, Chuck Norris and the man from this poem by Edward Lear. You might be wondering how I recognized him, but then you are illiterate, which means you are also not offended by what I'm saying or indeed, reading this.
There was a spirited conversation going (folks had to speak up over the orchestra) about why some Christians build very modest meeting houses (not wasting money that could be better spent elsewise, modesty, works over appearances, the relationship between utilitarianism and Calvinism, etc.) and others build grandiose compounds and spires (glorifying God, making a place that the destitute will want to come to, not hiding one's light under a bushel, arrogance, egotism, etc.) that segued into a history of the Vatican and then into stockings and high heels, which I don't know much about.
When she finished, I tipped Mrs.Simpson a golden coin about the size of the palm of my hand (In truth, it looked a bit like the Nobel medals) and sat down on the bench to smoke a cigar and read an issue of Poor Richard's Almanack with all of the pages sealed individually in plastic. The smoke and discussion and overblown music whirled around me, and I woke up.
Last week, DC ComicsROCKED the comics world, and you didn't even notice. After previously ROCKING the comics world with their universe-wide reboot late last year, and then ROCKING it again with their new logo that pretty much everyone hates (but that I acknowledge the potential utility of), they announced that they would be doing a series of prequels to Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' 1986 comics masterpiece that most of you only care about because there was a movie with blue dong in it a couple of years back.
Naturally, this set off a fervor of arguments, with fanboys having a say, everyone else having a less informed say, and Alan Moore having his typical say, which is always about the same say, so what say we deal with that first?
Alan Moore predictably hates the idea, as he hates everything anyone does with his work, and disavows all movie adaptations and expansions. This includes League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (based upon previously existing characters that Moore simply spun up into something else), which was bleagh as anything other than straight action eye candy, to the previously mentioned Watchmen film, which people fought about, to From Hell and V for Vendetta, which are excellent. He doesn't care. To adapt Alan's work is to fuck it up in his mind, and he's quite vocal on the subject. So he's a dick. Hey - Van Gogh ate paint, Hopper & O'Keefe beat people up, and Pollock drank himself into a fatal car accident. David Foster Wallace and John Kennedy Toole killed themselves, just like Papa Hemingway. The 27 rule reigns over our musical talent. Many truly gifted people are a little insular, egotistical, or fucked up, and we deal, because they make good things we want. Moore's last big project was porn based on fairy tales. I would conclude my assessment of Moore's remarks by mentioning that ALL of the main characters in Watchmen are based on old Charlton Comics characters, Moore's explanation of which takes up about 20 pages at the end of my fancy 1989 hardback edition, so this is not a secret. Nor is the ending of The Outer Limits episode "The Architects of Fear," which actually gets mentioned in the original series. Moore denouncing folks for adapting his work might be a wee bit hypocritical. "There is nothing new under the sun," and as long as there are stories to tell, and told well, then maybe listening to them before denouncing them would be something to do, no?
Now - kicking DC all around the block for the money-grabbing aspect of this? Well, yeah: they're looking to make some money. A comics company doesn't hold licensed characters for the fun of playing with the licenses on weekends, and yes - as soon as the sales of the previous editions of the graphic novel and DVD and merchandise started to fall off from the last wave of Watchmen funtimes, they decided to make some more money. Luckily, they seem to be keeping two things in mind: Make shit, and people won't buy as much of it, and if you fuck this up, your credibility is shot all to hell. To wit, the talent they have chosen for this thing looks like a dream team of appropriate writers and artists (and if Moore had a brain in his fucking head, he'd point out to everyone that it takes four guys writing 35 comics just to get to where he started his story) and I, for one am looking forward to it. Selling stuff doesn't necessarily equate to selling out.
One danger is that they will fuck this up in one of two ways we've seen recently. The first possible for this is the Starfire route, where you take a previously established and well-loved character (whose most well-known incarnation is from a children's cartoon) and re-interpret her in a way that changes her whole personality, thus messing up the character for everyone (except, in this case, horny straight teenage boys) and pissing people off. This is less likely in my mind than the Wolverine:Origin mistake where you mess up the appeal of a character we don't know everything about by telling us everything about them. TMI in the worst way ruins the mystery of a character, and while we already have a raft of backstory about all of the main folks in Watchmen, I still have fear. But it's a small fear.
There is no way that the prequels can measure up to the original, and I think everyone knows that, and there's a very simple reason why. The thing that makes Watchmen great (and what is missing from even the movie) is not the great characters or non-linear storytelling, or even the multi-layered world. Though those things are all amazing, but it's not as if they've never been matched. The thing that's really unique about Watchmen is the same thing that's unique about Unforgiven or Rhinoceros - it's a deconstructionist work about the genre in which it exists, you don't have to know that to enjoy it and it still manages to be entertaining, whether or not you bring that level of analysis to it. Only if the prequels deconstruct the comics industry, superheroes and the nature of prequels, could they come close to the level of the original work.
I'm going to read them anyway, and choose to reserve judgment until then.
(I almost entitled this post "I got 99 Problems But Ron Paul Ain't One.")
I have friends who have friends who are for Ron Paul for President in 2012. I don't have any friends who are for him, and if you are my friend and you are for him when you finish reading this, then one of those things has to change. When I walk around my college campus, students - who traditionally are at the crazy end of liberal - have flyered all over for a man who has one of the most conservative voting records around, presumably because he'd let them keep their weed, which is a fuckheaded reason to vote for someone, and bolsters an already negative stereotype about marijuana users.
Seemingly rational people are for Ron Paul. Don't be fooled, though. It's like when you get three hours into a conversation with someone and you kind of dig them and then they cop to being "born again" or Raelian or Scientologist or they believe in ghosts or tattoo their kids for ID purposes. It spoils everything.
So I'd like an explanation. If you're a Ron Paul supporter, which is akin to being an athletic supporter and smells about the same, and fancy yourself to be a reasonable person, I invite you to clear up a couple of things for me.
"LIBERTARIAN": What the fuck is Paul, exactly? I mean, I know he's supposed to be this sort of libertarian in a Republican mask that we all know is fake, but he isn't, not really. He's off script too much. He's so far from their platform that other people are looking for him in the crowd. Really, he's just an 80s-style "Get Big Government Off Our Backs" Republican wearing a special pin, and chatting up abolishing the Fed and preaching against Big Brother. So yeah: prove he's a libertarian. Youse can start there. In the meantime:
ABORTION: Dr. Paul, the former OB-GYN, is a staunch opponent of abortion (except for in cases of "honest rape," which I'm not even going to get into) and therefore supports limiting the rights of women to control their own reproductive freedom. As a quasi-libertarian, this is a strange position to take, one that limits liberty. He takes this position because he says that due to his many years as a OB-GYN, he's convinced that life begins at conception. This is a bit like a lifelong chef having strong and global opinions about the ethics of using spinach, and then running for office to enforce those ideas about spinach on others. Dr. Paul would overturn Roe v. Wade if that were ever in his power. So - if you're a woman who supports Ron Paul, I hope you're religious and believe that life begins at conception, because otherwise you're simply voting to curtail your own rights.
GAY RIGHTS: While Ron claims that he favors "any voluntary association" between two people, he also has this libertarianesque hang-up where he thinks that marriage is a sacrament (which is interesting because it would seem to imply that those without religion shouldn't marry) and that the state shouldn't involve itself at all in marriages. He has the right people mad at him about this, too. However. While he does not support any constitutional amendment defining marriage, he defines it as "between a man and a woman," and says that gays can "call it whatever they want." So he's not for it. He urges people to look it up in the dictionary if they need to define it. His old newsletters have yearned for the days of closeted homosexuals, he thought that DADT was a "decent policy" and then voted to have it overturned. What the fuck, Ron? I have a guess on this one. Ron's the kind of old guy who's icked out by gays, and as long as he doesn't have to hear about it, is fine with them doing whatever the fuck they want. The problem with this is that it automatically relegates homosexuals to the status of second-class citizens. So - if you're a member of the GLBTQIAlphabet soup community, and you're voting for Ron Paul, you're voting to make yourself into a less present member of our society.
GUNS: Paul would repeal the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, gets an "A" from the NRA on a regular basis, and really wouldn't restrict your rights to have guns whenever and wherever you want. If you think more guns make America awesome, Paul's your man. The best part of this is The Gun Owners of America, who exist because they think the NRA "sold out" on the gun issue in the US, that big bunch of pansies. The quote at the top of their webpage? "The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington. Ron Paul." 'Cause they have guns, and people with guns shouldn't have to compromise.
RACISM: Paul claims to be against racism, while his old newsletters (yes, again) have printed openly racist statements that, whether he wrote them or not, he later defended. He's also openly associated with known racist activists. His basis for being against things like Affirmative Action is that it is a form of reverse racism (I would argue that it should more accurately be defined as a form of reparations, and you can take issue with that if you like) and that he opposes the "obsession with racial identity." Which is one of those things only white people say, because we don't think about it, because we don't have to. No one's giving me shit for being white while I'm out for the day. If you're black and voting for Ron Paul, be aware that he doesn't like you very much.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Just not a big problem for Ron Paul, who's one of those annoying people who doesn't quite accept it, but won't land on a definite position, either. Mostly, he doesn't care: "I think war and financial crises and big governments marching into our homes and elimination of habeas corpus — those are immediate threats. We’re about to lose our whole country and whole republic! If we can be declared an enemy combatant and put away without a trial, then that’s going to affect a lot of us a lot sooner than the temperature going up." That's right, Ron - our country is a lot more important than the planet it's on.
ENDING THE FED: Possibly the position he's best known for, and the one that a great many of his supporters are really proud of. He's got books you can read on it and everything. In them, and in his various speeches, he claims that putting an end to the Fed would end the cycle of recessions and depressions (there is no evidence to support this, and he doesn't give any that I can find), that it would end inflation (as a long-term upward trend, yes, but not entirely, and deflation would be more drastic without controls) and that it would "end corruption between government and banks that virtually defines the operations of public policy." Ending the Fed ends corruption? Really? Does it bring fairies and unicorns out to play in the fields of sparkly fun, too? Do I get my own gold flying pig? This one I really don't get, because he's either naive or lying, to say out loud than any single action could end corruption. It's like he needed one more argument and so he made one up. The place where he's standing here - a platform made of prudence and responsibility - sounds good, but this is a wrongheaded approach fueled by creepy economists I admittedly only partially understand. But I know enough to be able to say it won't work, Paulists.
And then there's some other stuff, but I've already got almost 1400 words on the subject, so it's your turn. I can't do everything for you, but I hope you'll do this for yourselves; Renounce your support of Ron fucking Paul. It's not worth it just for the cool stickers. If you feel outsidery, then vote Batman or Eli Manning or yourself, or your friend's mom or something, 'cause if you keep voting for Paul he's going to think you like him, and he'll never stop until the doors are broken down and America's brain is totally eaten away.