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Monthly Archives: December 2001

I am more sure with…  §

I am more sure with each passing day that we in the western “civilized” world (and possibly the entire world) will soon reach a point at which we will be physically incapable of having certain ideas without having paid license fees each time the mind tries to wander to them. The technology isn’t far away… certainly before the end of the century.

Just imagine, you’re having a conversation with someone and in mid-sentence you stop, your mind gone blank — “Sorry,” you say, “I haven’t paid to have that thought.” and because you’re a little hard up at the moment, the conversation goes elsewhere.

Am I a nut or a prophet? Both. Mostly, I’m scared of the future — a future in which all things are owned either by this multi-national IP organization or that one. It’s what Civilization: Call to Power called “Corporate Democracy” only it’s run amok. Just look at what we’ve got already: SDMI, IP rights for databases of all kinds, CPRM, extended 100+ year copyrights, broadly granted patents with almost no concern for prior art or public good…

And most insidious of all, it’s perfect enforcement, not by physical imposition after the fact, but by intervention before it. You cannot rebel against what does not occur, against what you do not see.

Just you wait. The western nations will own your soul yet.

Another holiday here and gone….  §

Another holiday here and gone. Another turning of the year to come.

I was given a copy of the new Criterion DVD transfer of Fellini’s 8 1/2 as a gift. The quality of the transfer is incredible compared to my VHS copy, and it is uncropped!

Such things make me very, very happy.

On a completely separate note… Sometimes I hate possibility. If fate were to step in and force me into something, I wouldn’t have to rule this or that thing out for myself and feel that maybe I’d screwed myself out of something. Of course, this paragraph is nearly incoherent and no one knows what I mean, so I’ll move on.

I’ve decided I need to find a way to get ahold of a couple of spare Newton 2100 machines. I was managing some stuff tonight and realized just how messed up I’d be if I had to switch to Palm or CE for containing all of my life.

May peace come to Palestine…  §

May peace come to Palestine and Israel, to Afghanistan, to Kashmir and Pakistan, to Nigeria, to Zimbabwe and to everywhere where fighting and misery continue. May all those who preach hate and only love power, money and themselves fall under the weight of their own depravity and may we all be a little safer and a little more reflective at this time next year.

Amen.

Here’s my controversial statement for…  §

Here’s my controversial statement for the day: John Walker should not be charged with a crime, least of all treason, and should instead be stripped of his citizenship and deported to Afghanistan.

Why? How can I say this? Here’s why: the United States was not at war with the Taliban when John Walker joined them. It would be a scary precedent indeed to be able to convict a citizen of treason based on actions taken before any declaration of war occurs — then everyone from foreign aid workers to pilgrims to immigrants would have to fear that in ten, twenty or fifty years their actions might suddenly become treasonous in the United States. Furthermore, he was not involved in the terrorist attacks on the United States, but in fighting against the United Front (a.k.a. Northern Alliance) who were at that time not yet our allies. Thus, to convict John Walker of anything in a civil or military court would be tantamount to retroactive application of guilt by association.

That is not justice. That is prejudice. That’s my opinion. Anyway…

I woke up this morning, stood up, and my clothing fell off. It turns out that Quincy (a.k.a. “the cat”) had chewed the buttons off of my gear while I slept and they were laying here and there. What the hell?! I hope this behavior isn’t a permanent sort of thing — the last thing this cat needs is yet another bit of neurosis, especially if it means I’ll have to start depending on zippers all the time.

Today I am really missing the studying I used to do a long time ago in the film department at school. I tossed around the “film school” idea for a while until I decided that MA/Film was a little too… creative for me. But sometimes I still think about it, just for a moment. I am going to go and pop in a Fellini DVD and throw buttons at the cat to tease him.

Snap is back.

Okay, calming down. Obviously my…  §

Okay, calming down. Obviously my emotions are running high over the last couple of weeks. It’s a combination of frustration at all of the hatred out there right now (especially in this city) and fear that because of my education and politics, I could suddenly disappear without a trace…

I’ve done some holiday shopping and given people jumps (as in with jumper cables) all week. Now it feels like I’m waiting for the holiday to be over — it’s not that I dislike the holiday season… I guess my personality just makes it seem like time has frozen until January 2nd, when everything will begin to move again.

Soon after that, I will be a year older.

I was looking at some…  §

I was looking at some old pictures of myself from the early nineties and wondering at how far things have (and have not) come. It is good to have a goal. Right now, my goal is to study in Europe, either am Nordsee in Germany or in some out-of-the-way area in the UK — Glasgow? Belfast? — I’m having a pile of applications and prospectuses sent.

Meanwhile, I’ve stopped my independent study of Arabic for the moment, because right now it’s tough explain to someone just why you are checking that particular book out or why (when you are trying to remember new words) you are walking around mumbling to yourself in what sounds like a “terrorist language” to them. Right now America is full of nothing but lies, damn lies and statistics; the prevailing wisdom is that only members of Hamas and wannabe John Walkers know how to speak Arabic.

Meanwhile, how about that Enron? Preventing employees from trading to salvage some of their retirement while at the same time the top dogs were selling like crazy, making huge bucks and thereby driving the stock downward in a spiral that would break most of the rank-and-file completely. Then they paid themselves multi-million dollar holiday bonuses even as their company went under and their workers went bankrupt.

And their best friends are running the nation right now.

Just how brainwashed are Americans? How long will they continue to let themselves be raped before they’ll wake up and demand a little bit of common sense? Just goes to show that if you flatter a people enough, tell them they’re the best, they have the moral high ground, they’re God’s chosen people, they’re the only truly free people in the world, etc., you can make them smile broadly even while eating horse shit.

Know what else gets me? Each time some “event” happens — like the Osama tape — every moderate Islamic organization and group in the United States and most of those across the middle east issue statements denouncing terrorism, denouncing Osama, denouncing hate. But we never hear it — our networks and newspapers don’t consider such statements or press releases “newsworthy” enough to bother with, so they are doomed to a short life on the news wire and little else. However, our media outlets will then go on the air and ask “why haven’t the moderate Muslims spoken out against terrorism?” and batt their eyes innocently, as if they have no idea they’re generating a lot of sensationalist hate by suppressing these statements.

Okay, so let’s get this…  §

Okay, so let’s get this straight — the United Nations votes to put human rights monitors in Palestine and the United States, acting alone as one of the charter members, vetoes!? Exactly what positive spin can possibly paint this disgusting act as somehow justified? We’re always blowing smoke about being the human rights leader, but now we don’t want to see human rights monitors in the middle of a warzone?

I’d like to hear anybody explain to me how the United States can claim the moral high ground in anything while voting against human rights monitors in the middle east, especially when the rest of the civilized and uncivilized world votes in favor of such action. Oh yes, I can hear the white Christians now explaining how the United Nations are all just a bunch of terrorists — after all, they’re not all white and they’re not all Christian.

It’s a joke. I’m shaking my head. We vetoed a human rights monitoring program. Obviously, we are afraid that if we allow human rights monitors into Palestine, lives might be saved — and we can’t possibly have that now, can we? No, we’re hoping for a mass die-off in the middle east. After all, they’re all terrorists, those damn bearded darkies!

In the tradition of the…  §

In the tradition of the Jap, the Nigger, the Hun and the Chink, the American media and propaganda machine has now produced the “Arab” — a caricature, a falsehood, but universally hated. There is, of course, nothing redeeming about the Arab at all. He is a rat, vermin, just like the Jap. He is dumb like the Nigger. He is evil like the Hun and shifty like the Chink. Worst of all for this horrible Arab, you know in your heart that he is the child of a lesser God, not your God. No wonder you hate him so!

I know how this feels. I was beaten up at school every day beginning at age five because I was the half-breed son of a Chink and a Hun. Parents threatened me because of what this little half-breed was supposed to have done to their spouses or brothers or fathers in Vietnam or in World War II. As long as life here isn’t safe for the Arab, it won’t be safe for me and the other Chinks, Huns, Japs and Niggers. I need to get out of this country. Since September 11th, it’s making me crazy, absolutely unbalanced, just to be in the company of all these hateful, selfish, spiteful, self-righteous people who call themselves Americans.

Some of you really should know better, too. After all, some of you are Kikes. If this Chink-Hun can understand why it’s bad to hate an Arab just because he’s an Arab, why can’t a Kike — who’s grandparents were tortured in the evil of the concentration camps — figure it out? Are memories really that short? Is humanity really that limited?

Maybe if I go to Germany or China or the middle east (so many people these days seem to think I look Arabic — imagine that), I’ll be accepted and not one of the hunted. But probably not. Maybe the world is only safe for bleach-white non-Germanic protestants.

The death of God and…  §

The death of God and the elimination of property, yours or mine — everything for the workers, for the humans, by the humans. There is no other way. It is all evil, all of it — religion, nationalism, materialism. Patriotism is disgusting; ownership is disgusting; religion is disgusting.

I have little hope for the future of man, little hope for peace, little hope for progress. No God has saved us yet, despite our collective piety. No God will save us ever, and we will refuse to save ourselves. We deserve whatever we get, all of us.

No, I do not mean only Americans. I mean all of us.

Americans think they know everything,…  §

Americans think they know everything, but in some ways they are among the least educated people anywhere. Over the last twenty-four hours I have seen several incredible examples of shocking ignorance about the rest of the world. Our hubris causes us to believe that our children need know nothing about other cultures and other peoples other than “we are better.” As a result, they learn everything they know about the world from television sound bytes, many of which (this will shock some of you) are simply lies — just look at how much “the truth” can vary from network to network! Not all of them can be correct when they all contradict!

The truly scary thing, though, is how many of our children grow up believing they really know a lot about world history, cultures and events on the strength of these sound bytes, many of which become jumbled in their heads, mixing countries and traditions and problems into a lot of xenophobia and hate. There are college educated adults out there who have never had an academic-quality world history course or anthropology course. Most of them have had high school civics or high school world history, taught by Mr. Failure, the bitter, minimally educated, under-qualified high school teacher who was supposed to be teaching shop or art or whatever and is xenophobic and violently ethnocentric himself.

America is doomed. We are Rome — we think we are so great that we have a monopoly on morality and an invincibility that obviates the need for education, wisdom, moderation or pragmatism. As the generations progress, we are losing the ability to teach our children the truth because with each passing generation, fewer and fewer people know it. Yes, yes, I know, some will say that “truth” is manufactured by those who speak it and those who listen to what is spoken. So then, rhetorically, let me ask you: what sort of “truth” are we manufacturing these days in America? Nothing good.

I apologize to the rest of you, on behalf of the US. Not all of us are ignorant and not all of us want the rest of you dead. But those of us who are sane are quickly being rounded up by Ashcroft & co. My advice: run while you can, because it’s only a matter of time before America goes down in the books as an imperialist power with self-granted “moral authority” like WWII Germany & Japan.

The difference is that in post 9-11 America, I keep running into people who want to launch these imperial dreams with the nuclear button. People that I know well and people I don’t know at all are now willing to openly talk to me about the need for nuclear war. How did we forget every lesson learned over the last hundred years in the space of three months?

There are moments when I…  §

There are moments when I very much wish I had not been such a hot-blooded ass when I was younger. Every now and then I get a glimpse into my past. Some of these glimpses amaze and impress me even now… but sometimes I am just very embarrassed instead. Live and learn, right?

Or perhaps not. *sigh*

I am living right in the middle of the wrong culture for the personality that I was born with. I need to be a Yanomamo. Or was that all sensationalized anyway? I can’t remember just now…

No luck with UNV. Instead,…  §

No luck with UNV. Instead, they just pointed me to Action Without Borders. Grr. I knew I should have tried the IT tack instead of the liberal arts + social sciences tack, only I’m so tired of IT these days I’m not sure that would have been the right thing either. We’ll see what happens with the archaeological internships. Sooner or later, dominoes will fall. They always do.

I wish there was a U/U alumni directory… There are a couple of people I’d like to look up. I can’t seem to find one, though, so I’ll assume not.

Christmas coming. Trying to get…  §

Christmas coming. Trying to get the cards together, do some shopping on my (wildly limited) budget, feel the cheer… Unfortunately, I haven’t really felt the cheer since I was little. Some moments, I feel definite anti-fscking-cheer. Like now.

Why do people have to be so damned cautious? Don’t know. Personality differences, I guess. I tried to go down that road once, and I learned my lesson. Trying to grow up and be responsible and serious about things got me fat, miserable, and dumped. That was 1999. This is now. Never let yourself become too private or too cautious; both are just two or three heart attacks waiting to happen.

I really need to be moving on. Really. [I can hear Carlos saying “Yes, you do.” this very second. And I agree with him. Really.]

I’ve applied to be a…  §

I’ve applied to be a UN volunteer. We’ll see if I get an offer. If so, I’ll need to work with them on a few details, so even then it may end up not being an option. There’s a reasonable chance that I’ll move to the west coast instead sometime early in the year. Things could get interesting quickly.

Or they could all stay the same. *sigh* I certainly hope not.

I wish Israel and Palestine would get it together and stop the tit-for-tat nonsense. I realize that cultural realities make relating difficult — but it’s very tiring, even as a distant American, to watch two wonderful peoples knock the shit out of each other… and all, of course as we knock the shit out of half of the middle east, as usual.

Here’s hoping for a new year full of international understanding.