Sunday, March 11, 2012

"good reporting"

Like The Onion, the NYT usually jams the entire joke into the headline so you don't have to bother reading the whole thing, or if you do, you'll wish you had that time back, which is my excuse for not linking to this:
Netanyahu Says U.S. and Israeli 'Clocks' Differ on Iran's Threat
How about some quotation marks for that last word? Did they just run out? Sure, "clocks" should have quotes too, but gets them above only because Netanyahu doesn't have an actual war clock in his office. Duh. A good reason for "clocks" to get quotes is that it's a metaphor for an attack U.S. and Israeli bosses are planning. In other words, "clocks" doesn't refer to clocks but to actual plans for an aggressive war. Threats? That would be a weak way to put it.

Iran's (offensive military) "threat," on the other hand, does not exist, and therefore also needs quotes. Or "[sic]" or mockery.

How about this, instead?
Netanyahu Says 'Israel' 'Wants' to 'Crush' 'Iran' ASAP, 'U.S.' 'Dragging Feet'; 'Iran' 'Just Sitting There, Trembling'

Thursday, March 8, 2012

morality play

The passive observer of human drama instinctively looks for someone to identify with. Who's the good guy in this story? To care at all about a story is to find some kind of rooting interest. 

Children grow up watching drama every day -- at home, at school, on TV, everywhere. They're passive long before they're active. They're acted upon. Someone has to fight their fights for them because they're weak. Someone has to get them food, not kill them, not let them be killed.

Children want their adults to be good, to be committed to them, to share their perceptions of things, to do what they would do in the same circumstances. They see in the adult -- their protagonist -- a more powerful version of themselves, regardless of what that person does or what their motives are. The weak do not get to decide. The adult's motives become the child's.

Morality is projected onto every meaningful event of childhood. The good guys are self, the bad guys other.

Adult spectatorship relies on this childlike capacity to project. When you are helpless to change anything, you fall into the old patterns.

I saw this sentence from someone who'd just argued that Bush was the Patriot Act guy, therefore worse than Obama:
I'm not trying to make the argument that either of the last two presidents has been great on privacy.   
Well, the idea that either of the last two presidents wanted to be "great on privacy" assumes that they think like you do, that they're your protagonist.

They are not. They are not. They are not.

Friend 1: "You're not very good at letting me eat that hamburger."
Friend 2, eating hamburger: "I don't want you to eat it. I want it."
Friend 1: "Yeah, but you're not good at letting me eat it!"
Friend 2: "Don't I have to be trying to do something to be good or not good at it?"

From a non-projected perspective, Obama has been great on privacy. He thinks you should have as little as possible, apparently, and he's doing a good job at achieving his goal.

And to the 5 year-old who thinks her parents could be doing a better job of letting her go to bed whenever she wants: they want you in bed at 9!

Monday, March 5, 2012

across this line you will not

Dear Mr. Limbaugh,

We respect your right to make a living as a professional misogynist. Afterall, you provide a service valued by certain people with a disproportionate share of the wealth, this obtained by leveraging systemic advantages against certain groups, like, for example, women.  That these moneyed people, for example, men, want to maintain a power imbalance that favors them is not only understandable, it's the American way. Freedom of speech is great, especially if you can afford it. We respect your right to produce words that push minds towards misogyny and improve the viability of the patriarchal model going forward, thus helping people with misogynist gains to use same to maintain same and so on.

But, c'mon, do not use the "s" word. We will run with it. Laugh's on you, chump!

The Liberals

P.S. Also, the "c" word and the "n" word and the "h" word...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

deception by repetition


99 images of a bearded demon in a nuclear facility accompanied by deceptions like "what are we going to do about the Iranian threat?" spoken in ominous tones by "respected authority figures," mixed in with a missile launch on loop...  


a single appearance on MSNBC by Glenn Greenwald in which he explains that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and is in no way a threat to the U.S.

Propaganda works because it has numbers and time. It's a Russian winter with millions of poorly armed soldiers. Or a death star that mass produces stormtroopers or something. Its arguments are weak. They are self-contradictory and absurd, at odds with observable reality. Sociopathy reinvents reality to comport with its needs. It thinks like a traumatized child whose psychological survival depends on the truth of an untrue statement (for example, "my parents don't hate me") and proceeds to find proof. Contradictions ensue.  

But 99 demons can beat the hell out of a single accurate statement. The demons have persuasive power mainly because they have numbers. An attempt to manipulate unconscious fears with Freud-derived chicanery would mostly fall flat without control of the "mass" side of mass media. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012


"The World" versus "World"
"The world" suggests to me a thing with boundaries. It points to some outer limits of "the universe" and suggests something beyond. Nothingness? "The world" is a singularity that can be counted. So people speak of possible worlds, for example.

"World" is uncountable. It's what is, now. It's not only these things in my presence. It's what I am and what I'm experiencing. But really, what am I? I'm a configuration of world relating to itself and nothing more. I am world.

Separation is an act of imagination  
Nothing can be separated from anything. If I take a nail and sterilize it and put it on a sterilized table in a white room and run tests on it, I have only distanced it from things things like bacteria and other nails. I can never separate it from world. I can only rearrange world.

Language -- whether everyday, philosophical, scientific, mathematical -- treats world as separable, isolatable. It's based on a suspension of other ways world operates. Language tends to treat "the world" like a box with a number of distinct things in it, then tries to figure out how they interact. Some would call it a lie.

The apparent gap between conscious human experience -- a system flooded with reductions, more so in powerful brains that read a lot -- and other aspects of world confounded Descartes. He called one the subject and the other the object. The subject was transcendent, outside of "the world." Christians believe in a soul.

The imagination works by way of reduction. So, for example, there are no apples, per se. There are configurations of world that the bit of body we call brain calls apples because that's how part of our body relates to other bits of world. The human body needs to change the apple into something else in order to bring it closer and manipulate it. Sometimes followed by action. This is a product of evolution. It's power-over, and power-over has survival advantages.