intertribal: (leather)
Reading this obituary of Fred Phelps Sr., founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church --

Fred Waldron Phelps was born in Meridian, Miss., on Nov. 13, 1929. After his mother died of cancer, he was mostly raised by an aunt. His father, a detective for the Southern Railway, was often away on business. He was ordained as a Baptist minister at 17 and bounced around as a street-corner preacher while taking classes at various colleges.

-- made me think that maybe this guy is the all-grown-up version of Francis Tarwater, from Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away.

Truly, would explain a lot.  Don't let the door hit you on your way out, mister.
intertribal: (pro nails)
If I could make music videos I would make one for this movie to the tune of "They're Coming To Take Me Away," Neuroticfish cover.

I think my favorite exchange (other than "murders and executions") was:

Evelyn Williams: You hate that job anyway. I don't see why you just don't quit.
Patrick Bateman: Because I want to fit in.

It was a real "YESS" moment for me.  I have friends/acquaintances for whom this would probably strike too close to home.

It's a tricky movie, though, because you know there are people out there who are like "yay Wall Street" after seeing this movie.  I mean the number of people who don't "get" what I see as the point of this scene, for example, is huge.  Patrick Bateman's world is complete artifice, shallow and insincere and color-by-numbers, where merit is determined by business card fonts and the most time seems to be spent deciding what restaurant to go to and no one knows who anyone else is, anyway.  Bateman cuts through the niceties and surface tension and just puts forth the truth of what this world is all about.  And of course if you know about predatory capitalism...

On the other hand, there's this kind of sad exchange I had with a receptionist yesterday, about New Yorkers:

Receptionist: I mean, do those people have any idea what the real world is like? 
Me: ...?
Receptionist: They have no trees, no lawns!
Me: Oh.  Well, they probably feel the same way about people here.
intertribal: (baby got a nobel prize)
Tim Hetherington, the conflict photographer who directed Restrepo, was killed in Misrata, Libya (along with many Libyans).

Cue some genuinely asinine comments by people suggesting that Restrepo is "sedition" because war doesn't need to be shared, and Hetherington got what he asked for and "it's hard to feel much grief for those who walk in to harms way when there is no need to do so" (pity only goes out to soldiers killed in war, not people who are there just to make "some point").  

If people like those commenters were in charge, there would be no need to worry about the world ever improving.  Conflicts would be hush-hushed and no one would be accountable and people would die and the rest of us would stick our heads in the sand and never, ever stick our necks out for any cause.  Someone replied to these comments asking "would you say the same to John Steinbeck, if he were still with us?"  I assume any civilian who tries to document any war is fair game.  Who the hell do they think they are, right?  So fuck you too, Hemingway.
intertribal: (baby got a nobel prize)
This is why racism remains a "thing" in my novel, which is post-apocalyptic (and I don't even have the apocalypse coming from across borders - it's just part of social organization in Junction Rally, as it has been for all its years of existence).  The Yellow Plague: Asians and Asian Americans in Post-Apocalyptic and Zombie Fictions by Bao Phi:
But like many brands of American horror and action genres, popular post-apocalyptic and zombie fictions tend to veer towards straight American male fantasy - many of the fictions and films in the genre operate under the assumption that, if all hell breaks loose, all issues of race, class, and gender are (supposedly) irrelevant compared to basic human survival - and consciously or otherwise, most leaders that emerge in these imagined post-racial scenarios are straight, white alpha males. In the Western pop imagination, there seems to be a desire to wipe the difficult questions of co-existence off the table - and what better way to do that, then to imagine a situation where five to ten random (and mostly white) strangers must fight off mindless brain-hungry hoards while trying to divide the bullets, bacon, and fresh water into equal shares? Where the musings and philosophies of fancy pants artists and social commentators like myself are next to useless?

Let's say that North Korea or China suddenly launched an attack on present-day America, like in the video game Homefront or the upcoming remake of Red Dawn. The popular, traditional white male western narrative would then position a white hero leading a resistance of people against the invaders, and our race wouldn't matter - because we're all Americans right?

No. History has taught us is if that shit went down, and Asians in Asia attacked America, the first people who would be fucked would be Asian Americans. We'd be imprisoned without due process, called traitors, tortured and murdered in the street. And yet none of this is ever explored in post-apocalyptic scenarios where Asians bring about doom. I guarantee you, if a science-project-gone-wrong in North Korea causes zombie apocalypse tomorrow, you can bet it's the Asian Americans who won't be getting their share of beans at the survivalist pot luck.
I think this argument - on the emotional/psychological desire for an apocalypse to "wash away" people and structures you don't like - is perfectly applicable to post-apocalyptic fiction that isn't British and isn't even all that "cozy" (i.e., involves cannibals and zombies and killer flus).  Some of the comments imply it better fits the American model anyway.  Related: "AEnema" by Tool: "Some say we'll see Armageddon soon/ I certainly hope we will/ Learn to swim, see you down in Arizona Bay." Who reads cosy catastrophes? by Jo Walton:
I argued that the cosy catastrophe was overwhelmingly written by middle-class British people who had lived through the upheavals and new settlement during and after World War II, and who found the radical idea that the working classes were people hard to deal with, and wished they would all just go away.

In the classic cosy catastrophe, the catastrophe doesn’t take long and isn’t lingered over, the people who survive are always middle class, and have rarely lost anyone significant to them. The working classes are wiped out in a way that removes guilt.
And from the comments (man, this is so why Zombieland did not work for me):
On a bad day, it could even be secretly, guiltily desirable: all those people who fit so well in the modern world, but didn't know how to deal with *real* change, would be swept away. And the people who knew how to prepare would be vindicated. The reader is implicitly in the category of people who can deal with change, of course, by virtue of having read the book.

The desire to be freed of social constraints and to get fat off humanity's detritus crosses the economic divide.  
Pop Agitprop from Cheap Truth #13, published in the 1980s, a series of scathing reviews by sci-fi authors, of sci-fi authors - I think this gets to the heart of the problem with a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction very well (and is related to that terrible Dodge Ram commercial as well, re: the sheer amount of self-stroking misanthropy that goes into crafting a post-apocalypse):
The gem of this collection is Vernor Vinge's "The Ungoverned," a sequel to his commercially successful novel THE PEACE WAR. In this ideologically correct effort, radical Libertarians defend their realm from an authoritarian army. Thanks to their innate cultural superiority and a series of fraudulent plot Maguffins, they send the baddies packing with a minimum of personal suffering and a maximum of enemy dead.

First, and very characteristically, it is post-apocalyptic, conveniently destroying modern society so that a lunatic-fringe ideology can be installed as if by magic. Vinge avoids extrapolating their effects on society, because society is in shambles.

John Dalmas contributes a decent male-adventure Western. Unfortunately this story pretends to be SF. It is set on yet another colonial planet lapsed into barbarism, a fictional convention that allows SF writers to espouse reactionary social values without a blush of shame.

Dean Ing's recent novel for Tor, WILD COUNTRY, takes a similar tack. This book, the last in a post-apocalypse trilogy, is a meandering series of shoot-'em-ups. Its hero is an assassin. The villain is a gay heroin-smuggler, as if an America devestated by nukes did not have enough problems. Ing's hasty depiction of future society is grossly inconsistent; ravaged and desperate when the plot requires desperadoes, yet rigidly organized when Ing suddenly remembers the existence of computers.

The book is a Western, set in a West Texas conveniently returned to the robust frontier values of Judge Roy Bean. Men hold their land, with lasers if possible, while women raise corn and keep the home fires burning.

The book is speckled with maps, diagrams, and lectures on the Second Amendment, which, one learns, "absolutely and positively, guarantees citizens their right to keep and bear arms."  Like his fellows, Ing treasures this amendment, the last remnant of the American policy that he is willing to respect. There isn't much mention of, say, voting, or separation of powers. Power resides in the barrel of a gun, preferably the largest and shiniest possible.
No We Can't by Hunter (this one is political, but I think it ties in nicely with the apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic, vision, and the desire for this vision to actually happen - thanks to [livejournal.com profile] realthog for linking it):
Past-America could provide at least some modest layer of security to prevent its citizens from descending into destitution in old age; we in this day cannot. Past-America could pursue scientific discoveries as a matter of national pride, even land mankind on an entirely other world; we cannot. Past-America was a haven of invention and technology that shook the world and changed the course of history countless times: whatever attributes made it such a place we cannot quite determine now, much less replicate. Public art is decadent. Public education is an infringement. Public works are for other times, never now.

America of the past could build highways and railroads and a robust electrical grid. We cannot even keep them running. Of course we cannot keep them running: that was past-America. That past America had a magic that we modern Americans cannot match. Perhaps it was beholden to Satan, or to socialism, or merely to some grandiose vision of a better future, one with flying cars or diseases that could actually be cured, with proper application of effort. Whatever the case, past-America was wrong and stupid, and we know better.

We are told all the things America cannot do. We have yet to be told any vision of what we might still be able to do, or what hopes we should still retain, or why our children will be better off than we were, or why we ourselves will be better off than we were a scant few decades ago. Perhaps the very climate of the world will have changed, and the sky will be hotter, or the storms will be bigger, but none of those are things we can do anything about. Perhaps there will be nuclear disasters, or oil spills, or epidemics, or perhaps a city here or a city there will be leveled by some unforeseen catastrophe; we can be assured of it, in fact, but none of those things are things we can expect to respond to better next time than this time. Those are not, we are told, the tasks of a nation.
intertribal: (audrey)
Connie Chung worked for CNN at the time, hosting Connie Chung Tonight.  Martina Navratilova is a former tennis star, current tennis commentator.  Extra note: Navratilova was born a citizen of Czechoslovakia (then a Communist country).  She defected to the U.S. when she was 18, in 1975, seeking political asylum - she had already been told by Czech authorities that she was "becoming too Americanized" - and became a U.S. citizen in 1981.  This interview took place in 2002.  Bold emphasis is mine.

CHUNG: All right. I'm going to read what was said, a quote from that German newspaper. Quote: "The most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I have exchanged one system that suppresses free opinion for another. The Republicans in the U.S. manipulate public opinion and sweep controversial issues under the table. It's depressing. Decisions in America are based solely on the question of how much money will come out of it and not on the questions of how much health, morals or environment suffer as a result."  So, is that accurate?

NAVRATILOVA: Well, that's pretty accurate. I mean, I was talking about the Bush administration making a lot of environmental decisions, again, based on money pandering to the people that perhaps help put Bush in the office. I was talking about a particular amendment that I know about. There was a vote that was about education. It was a good bill. And then they try to sneak in that Alaska Wildlife Refuge drilling. It's like, by the way, we're going to drill but we don't really need to know that we're going to do it.

CHUNG: But what about that one key sentence, I think, "the most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I've changed one system that suppresses free opinion for another?" You're trading one regime for another. I mean, that's I think one of the main quotes that raised so much ire.

NAVRATILOVA: Well, obviously, I'm not saying this is a communist system, but I think we're having -- after 9/11, there's a big centralization of power. President Bush is having more and more power. John Ashcroft is having more and more power. Americans are losing their personal rights left and right. I mean, the ACLU is up in arms about all of the stuff that's going on right now.

CHUNG: So you were or weren't misquoted in that particular -- you know, regarding that particular sentence of trading one regime for another?

NAVRATILOVA: I don't think I said it exactly in that context. I certainly didn't mean that I'm here in a communist country and that I can't be what I want to be. However, when it comes to personal freedom as a lesbian, I am getting more squished here than I would be in Europe or in...

CHUNG: In Czechoslovakia.

NAVRATILOVA: Well, Czechoslovakia, in a communist country, they sent you into the asylum. This is a whole different story.

CHUNG: Can I be honest with you? I can tell you that when I read this, I have to tell you that I thought it was un-American, unpatriotic. I wanted to say, go back to Czechoslovakia. You know, if you don't like it here, this a country that gave you so much, gave you the freedom to do what you want.

NAVRATILOVA: And I'm giving it back. This is why I speak out. When I see something that I don't like, I'm going to speak out because you can do that here. And again, I feel there are too many things happening that are taking our rights away.

CHUNG: But you know what? I think it is, OK, if you believe that, you know, then go ahead and think that at home. But why do you have to spill it out? You know, why do you have to talk about it as a celebrity so that people will write it down and talk about what you said?

NAVRATILOVA: I think athletes have a duty to speak out when there is something that's not right, when they feel that perhaps social issues are not being paid attention to. As a woman, as a lesbian, as a woman athlete, there is a whole bunch of barriers that I've had to jump over, and we shouldn't have to be jumping over them any more.

CHUNG: Got you. But sometimes, when you hear celebrities saying something, do you ever say to yourself, I don't care what so and so thinks, you know. Yes, go ahead and say whatever you want to say. But you're not a politician. You're not in a position of government power or whatever.

NAVRATILOVA: No. And I just might do that. I may run for office one of these days and really do make a difference. But...

CHUNG: Are you kidding me?

NAVRATILOVA: No, I'm not. One of these days, hopefully. But when you say go back to Czech Republic, why are you sending me back there? I live here. I love this country. I've lived here 27 years. I've paid taxes here for 27 years. Do I not have a right to speak out? Why is that unpatriotic?

CHUNG: Well, you know the old line, love it or leave it.

NAVRATILOVA: I love it and I'm here and I'm trying to do my best to make it a better place to live in, not just this country, but the whole world. And, you know, I'm doing my little part. And I'm just a tennis player.
intertribal: (ich will)
From The Guardian:

Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret "kill team" that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.

Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses, including members of the unit smoking hashish stolen from civilians.

In one of the most serious accusations of war crimes to emerge from the Afghan conflict, the killings are alleged to have been carried out by members of a Stryker infantry brigade based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.

According to investigators and legal documents, discussion of killing Afghan civilians began after the arrival of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs at forward operating base Ramrod last November. Other soldiers told the army's criminal investigation command that Gibbs boasted of the things he got away with while serving in Iraq and said how easy it would be to "toss a grenade at someone and kill them".

Investigators said Gibbs, 25, hatched a plan with another soldier, Jeremy Morlock, 22, and other members of the unit to form a "kill team". While on patrol over the following months they allegedly killed at least three Afghan civilians. According to the charge sheet, the first target was Gul Mudin, who was killed "by means of throwing a fragmentary grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle", when the patrol entered the village of La Mohammed Kalay in January.

Morlock and another soldier, Andrew Holmes, were on guard at the edge of a poppy field when Mudin emerged and stopped on the other side of a wall from the soldiers. Gibbs allegedly handed Morlock a grenade who armed it and dropped it over the wall next to the Afghan and dived for cover. Holmes, 19, then allegedly fired over the wall.

Later in the day, Morlock is alleged to have told Holmes that the killing was for fun and threatened him if he told anyone.

The second victim, Marach Agha, was shot and killed the following month. Gibbs is alleged to have shot him and placed a Kalashnikov next to the body to justify the killing. In May Mullah Adadhdad was killed after being shot and attacked with a grenade.

The Army Times reported that a least one of the soldiers collected the fingers of the victims as souvenirs and that some of them posed for photographs with the bodies.

Five soldiers – Gibbs, Morlock, Holmes, Michael Wagnon and Adam Winfield – are accused of murder and aggravated assault among other charges. All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

The killings came to light in May after the army began investigating a brutal assault on a soldier who told superiors that members of his unit were smoking hashish. The Army Times reported that members of the unit regularly smoked the drug on duty and sometimes stole it from civilians.

The soldier, who was straight out of basic training and has not been named, said he witnessed the smoking of hashish and drinking of smuggled alcohol but initially did not report it out of loyalty to his comrades. But when he returned from an assignment at an army headquarters and discovered soldiers using the shipping container in which he was billeted to smoke hashish he reported it.

Two days later members of his platoon, including Gibbs and Morlock, accused him of "snitching", gave him a beating and told him to keep his mouth shut. The soldier reported the beating and threats to his officers and then told investigators what he knew of the "kill team".

None of this, of course, should come as any surprise (look up any colonial conflict - I'd suggest the Algerian War).  I'd just like to take a second and ask how you would feel if these were the people who had taken control of your neighborhood, ostensibly for your own good. 

I can't imagine why they hate us. 
intertribal: (smoking room)
1.  Marc Thiessen on Jon Stewart - extended, unedited interview, in three parts.  One of those cases where Jon Stewart looks genuinely disturbed.  Part 3 is like arrgh.  This is Marc Thiessen - he has an endorsement from Dick Cheney: "Marc Thiessen knows, in ways that few others do, just how effective, heroic, and morally justified were the interrogators who kept this nation safe after 9/11. If you want to know what really happened behind the scenes at the CIA interrogation sites or at Guantanamo Bay, you simply must read this book." 

2.  Christopher Hitchens on waterboarding: Believe Me, It's Torture - "I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture."

3.  Whatever It Takes: The influence of 24 on the US military and US torture culture in general - "The third expert at the meeting was Tony Lagouranis, a former Army interrogator in the war in Iraq. He told the show’s staff that DVDs of shows such as “24” circulate widely among soldiers stationed in Iraq. Lagouranis said to me, “People watch the shows, and then walk into the interrogation booths and do the same things they’ve just seen.”  He recalled that some men he had worked with in Iraq watched a television program in which a suspect was forced to hear tortured screams from a neighboring cell; the men later tried to persuade their Iraqi translator to act the part of a torture “victim,” in a similar intimidation ploy."

4.  A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb, by Amitava Kuvar.  "He quotes the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who asked us to understand “why millions of people in poor countries that have been pushed to one side, and deprived of the right to decide their own histories, feel such anger at America.”"
intertribal: (ride with hitler)
And its Statue of Liberty is a dude!

In his acknowledgments he thanks "the Glenn Beck Insiders.  We're not racist and we're not violent... we're just not silent anymore." 

In an author's note he adds: "While nonfiction books aim to enlighten, the goal of most thrillers is to entertain.  But there is a category of novels that do both: "faction" - completely fictional books with plots rooted in fact, and that is the category I strived for with The Overton Window... I know this book will be controversial; anything that causes people to think usually is... As I write this introduction, weeks before this book will even go on sale, I already know that my critics will be fierce and unforgiving.  They will accuse me of being every kind of conspiracy theorist they can invent - and they will base it all on the plot of a novel that they likely never even read." 

Glenn Beck is not a conspiracy theorist, ok?  He's a psychic. 

Glenn Beck vs. Ra's al Ghul, or the Illuminati, or somebody )
intertribal: (i'm a hustler baby)
The Harvard Hoaxer case is a pretty amazing incident, really.  He's my age, guys!  Well, graduated high school the same year, anyway.  The "powerpoint" version:
  • When Mr. Wheeler, now 23, applied as a transfer student in 2007, for example, he sent along fabricated transcripts from Phillips Andover Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In fact, he had graduated from a public high school in Delaware and had attended Bowdoin College, in Maine.
  • One tipoff could have been that M.I.T. does not give letter grades in the fall semester of freshman year, like the straight A’s that appeared on the grade report that Mr. Wheeler submitted. And the names of the four M.I.T. professors who wrote his glowing recommendations? The letters were fakes. And while the professors were real, each teaches at Bowdoin.
  • (As Harvard would later learn, he had been suspended from Bowdoin for “academic dishonesty,” according to the indictment.)
  • In September, when Mr. Wheeler began his senior year at Harvard, an English professor read his Rhodes scholarship submission and saw similarities between it and the work of a colleague. When confronted by Harvard faculty members, Mr. Wheeler remarked, “I must have made a mistake, I didn’t really plagiarize it,” according to Mr. Verner.
  • Mr. Wheeler left Harvard, rather than face an academic hearing. He then applied as a transfer student yet again, this time to Yale and Brown.
  • In February, Mr. Wheeler applied for an internship at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, in which he “provided fraudulent information regarding his credentials and student status at Harvard,” the hospital said in a statement.  In applying to Yale and Brown, though, he not only suggested he was a McLean employee, but also submitted a false letter of recommendation from the McLean official who had refused to hire him.
  • Officials at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, Del., from which Mr. Wheeler graduated in 2005, said they were contacted in April by Yale admissions officials. Yale wanted to confirm that he was the class valedictorian (he was not, though he was in the top 10 percent of the class) and that his SAT scores were perfect (they were several hundred points lower.)
  • “It seemed out of character that the young man we knew would would try to pull off this type of hoax,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, the district superintendent, who was principal of Caesar Rodney when Mr. Wheeler attended.
His redacted resume, posted by The New Republic when he applied for an internship there.  It is quite nuts.  But in all honesty, how dumb is Harvard?  They apparently did not check to see that they gave two "prestigious writing prizes" and thousands of dollars of prize money to plagiarized submissions.  Come on!

These are the books he's the sole author of:
  • Mappings, Unmappings, and Remappings (In Progress): Critical work that has attempted to explain the experience of geographical and textual space in modern writing has focused predominantly on the map as an analytical tool of orientation that makes formal writing structures legible. My dissertation, however, articulates a positive and generative potential in the experience of getting lost. Disorientation, then, allows us to come to terms with the difficulty of modernist literature from the ground level—to view these works not as an abstraction seen from the “God’s eye” perspective that is implicit in most maps, nor a teleological outcome of the Enlightenment seen from retrospect. By restoring the experience of disorientation, I argue that getting lost becomes a radical discourse that reflects back to us how we orient ourselves—what we pay attention to as we move through physical space and how we construe meaning as we move through a text from page to page.
  • The Mapping of an Ideological Demesne (Under Review at Harvard UP): The massive proliferation, from the fifteenth through the seventeenth century, of technologies for measuring, projecting, and organizing geographical and social space produced in the European cultural imaginary an intense and widespread interest in visualizing this world and alternative worlds. As the new century and the Stuart era developed, poets and dramatists mediated this transformation in the form of spatial tropes and models of the nation. I examine the geographical tropes by which Tudor and Stuart writers created poetic landscapes as a mode of engagement with the structures of power, kingship, property, and the market. Accordingly, each of the texts that I examine betrays an awareness of writing as a spatial activity and space as a scripted category. The critical topographies that these writers created are maps of ideology, figural territories within which social conflict and political antagonism are put into play.
Dude likes maps.
intertribal: (medusa)
Everybody knows Westboro Baptist Church, right?  They're in Kansas.  They're famous for "picketing" soldiers' funerals (some family is now suing them for emotional damage or something) as well as the funerals of people who died of AIDS (and Matthew Shepard) because they think 9/11 and American deaths in Iraq are retribution for homosexuality, and apparently drug use (?) (Miss Megan Phelps thinks Heath Ledger was struck down by God, so...).  One family is basically in charge of the whole thing, the Phelpses.  Granddaddy founded the church, Mommy the Minister (one of thirteen children) got arrested in Nebraska* for letting her 8-year-old stomp on the American flag (see?  those flag desecration rules are enforced!!), and Megan Phelps is one of her eleven children.** 

So anyway little Megan made a "parody" of Lady Gaga's Poker Face.  It's called, uh, No Poker Face (surprising it's not Poke Her Face).  I could not stop laughing while watching this thing.


* I have to say, I held it against SVU that their version of the Westboro Church was Nebraskan.  We wouldn't have a church like that.  Neo-Nazis, yes.  Westboro Church, no.

** Look, my grandfather was one of thirteen too.  In the 1900s.
intertribal: (yes and)
"The Amy Bishop Case - Violence That Art Didn't See Coming" - The New York Times.
Women who kill are “relegated to an ‘exceptional case’ status that rests upon some exceptional, or untoward killing circumstance: the battered wife who kills her abusive husband; the postpartum psychotic mother who kills her newborn infant,” Candice Skrapec, a professor of criminology, noted in “The Female Serial Killer,” an essay included in the anthology “Moving Targets: Women, Murder and Representation” (1994).

Ms. Skrapec was writing at a time when Hollywood seemed preoccupied with women who commit crimes — in productions like “The Burning Bed,” the 1984 television film in which a battered wife finally sets her sleeping husband aflame, and “Thelma & Louise” (1991), in which a pair of women go on a outlaw spree after one of them is threatened with rape.
Both are essentially exculpatory parables of empowerment, anchored in feminist ideology. Their heroines originate as victims, pushed to criminal excesses by injustices done to them. The true aggressors are the men who mistreat and objectify them.

Much has changed since then, but the topic of women and violence — especially as represented by women — remains more or less in a time warp, bound by the themes of sexual and domestic trauma, just as male depictions of female violence are locked in the noir demimonde of fantasy, the slinky femmes fatales once played by Barbara Stanwyck and Lana Turner more or less duplicated by Kathleen Turner and Sharon Stone.

The uncomfortable fact is that for all her singularity, Dr. Bishop also provides an index to the evolved status of women in 21st-century America. The number of female neurobiologists may still be small, but girls often outdo boys in the classroom, including in the sciences. Women now make up the majority of undergraduates at many prestigious colleges. And the tenure struggle said to have lighted Dr. Bishop’s short fuse reflects the anxieties of many other women who now outnumber men in the work force and have become, in thousands of cases, their family’s principal or only breadwinner.

“Everything is about power,” Patricia Cornwell maintained in an e-mail message, when asked what she made of the Bishop case. “The more women appropriate power, the more their behavior will mimic that of other powerful people.”

No genre writer had sharper antennae than Shirley Jackson, whose gothic classic, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” first published in 1962, was reissued last fall. Its narrator is an 18-year-old multiple murderess who lives with her devoted sister and fantasizes about killing again. She is “socially maladroit, highly self-conscious, and disdainful of others,” Joyce Carol Oates wrote in a penetrating essay recently in The New York Review of Books. “She is ‘special.’ ”

When I asked her what she made of the case, she drew an implicit comparison between Dr. Bishop and Shirley Jackson’s narrator: “She is a sociopath and has been enabled through her life by individuals around her who shielded her from punishment.”

Her assessment comes from beyond the realm of predigested doctrine. It echoes the blunt assertion made by Ms. Cornwell: “People kill because they can. Women can be just as violent as men.”
intertribal: (fuck it all)
Some thoughts about the guy who flew a plane into an IRS building, killing himself and an IRS worker.  On the one hand he's a "hero" to the Stormfront people (natch) and random people on Facebook who quote Thomas Jefferson and say he's a real American patriot, etc.  On the other hand, he finishes his "manifesto" not with the line that the newspapers are quoting, "Well Mr. Big Brother IRS man… take my pound of flesh and sleep well," but this, "The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.  The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed."  He also calls Bush a "presidential puppet" with "cronies."  So are Stormfront and the "anti-tax movement" now also Communist and Bush-hating?  Because that might make them more interesting.

But they probably just didn't read the manifesto.

Meanwhile Littleton, CO just barely avoided another school shooting incident (but this time by a 32-year-old!), and a killer whale dragged a Sea World trainer under and thrashed her around until she died.  And I know I missed psycho biology professor who, until it was revealed she'd already killed her younger brother, attracted a shocking number of comments on the New York Times sympathizing with her killing three of her colleagues because the tenure system really sucks, yo.  Yep, just another day on Planet USA.
intertribal: (strum strum)
April Gaede, mother of little Aryan pop duo Lynx and Lamb of Prussian Blue, is taking up matchmaking for white nationalists:
Eager to see white folks reproduce, Gaede is touting her services on Stormfront.org, the leading white supremacist Web forum. “I am willing to act as a go between, researcher, matchmaker, older sister and guide for any WNs [white nationalists] who are looking for a WN spouse,” she wrote earlier this month. “Only email me if you are serious about finding a spouse or long term partner.”

At 20, Gaede married Kris Lingelser, whom she described as a pot-smoking Icelandic pole vaulter. Although he made for good “Aryan” breeding stock, she claims that their relationship turned violent; they were divorced in the mid-‘90s. Gaede has said her one regret is “the many years that I lost in which I could have produced four to six more children with that ideal eugenic quality that [Lynx and Lamb] possess.”

By 2005, the then-12-year-old twins were wowing white supremacist audience with their sieg heiling and shrill odes to white survival.
Oh, Prussian Blue.  They sure "realize that their main duty is to raise lots of White children."  I saw a guy wearing a Stormfront shirt once in the Black Hills, SD, in the Cosmos Mystery Area.  I'll never know whether that was the Stormfront or not.  I'm guessing probably yes.
intertribal: (life's a witch)
"The Danger of Celebrating Halloween" by Kimberly Daniels for Charisma Magazine, via The Wild Hunt:
The word "holiday" means "holy day." But there is nothing holy about Halloween. The root word of Halloween is "hallow," which means "holy, consecrated and set apart for service." If this holiday is hallowed, whose service is it set apart for? The answer to that question is very easy—Lucifer's!

The key word in discussing Halloween is "dedicated." It is dedicated to darkness and is an accursed season. During Halloween, time-released curses are always loosed. A time-released curse is a period that has been set aside to release demonic activity and to ensnare souls in great measure. (A/N: Is that something like a time-share?)

For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.  (A/N: Witches at the Hershey factory!)

Mother earth is highly celebrated during the fall demonic harvest. Witches praise mother earth by bringing her fruits, nuts and herbs. Demons are loosed during these acts of worship. When nice church folk lay out their pumpkins on the church lawn, fill their baskets with nuts and herbs, and fire up their bonfires, the demons get busy.

Gathering around bonfires is a common practice in pagan worship. As I remember, the bonfires that I attended during homecoming week when I was in high school were always in the fall. I am amazed at how we ignorantly participate in pagan, occult rituals. 

Halloween is much more than a holiday filled with fun and tricks or treats. It is a time for the gathering of evil that masquerades behind the fictitious characters of Dracula, werewolves, mummies and witches on brooms. The truth is that these demons that have been presented as scary cartoons actually exist. I have prayed for witches who are addicted to drinking blood and howling at the moon. (A/N: Sweet, thanks!)

While the lukewarm and ignorant think of these customs as "just harmless fun," the vortexes of hell are releasing new assignments against souls. Witches take pride in laughing at the ignorance of natural men (those who ignore the spirit realm).  (A/N: Cackle cackle cackle.)

The word "occult" means "secret." The danger of Halloween is not in the scary things we see but in the secret, wicked, cruel activities that go on behind the scenes. These activities include:
  • Sex with demons
  • Orgies between animals and humans
  • Animal and human sacrifices
  • Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood
  • Rape and molestation of adults, children and babies
  • Revel nights
  • Conjuring of demons and casting of spells
  • Release of "time-released" curses against the innocent and the ignorant.
There is no doubt in my heart that God is not calling us to replace fall festivals and Halloween activities; rather, He wants us to utterly destroy the deeds of this season.
intertribal: (here comes trouble)
I love Kissing Suzy Kolber.  What follows is all theirs (and true - except for Brett Favre having a goat head):


"Anyway, it seems like only yesterday we were still talking about the woman who was traveling to Minneapolis with a live purple- and gold-painted goat with the number 4 shaved into its sides tied down in her trunk, with the apparent intent to sacrifice it near Brett Favre’s preseason debut on Friday.

"However, as we all know, the goat was saved by fortuitous car trouble and the altruistic mechanics at Tires Plus in Winona, Minnesota — a tough blow for the subset of society that believes in a Chicago Cubs-like curse on the Vikings and also enjoys a good goat sacrifice.  Moreover, the would-be blood offering to the football gods has been named Brett and is now living in Packers country, at the very same Favre-lovin’ farm that chose to make a Brett Favre corn maze last year instead of planting crops. (Native Americans call it “maize”) — it’s a small world when everyone’s insane about the same washed-up, self-centered quarterback.  We can only guess that Brett the Goat will live happily on the farm for several months before he un-retires and ends up tied down in another car’s trunk.  The first step to curing addiction is admitting you have a problem.

"As we sift through the untidy aftermath of news stories dedicated to A FREAKING GOAT TIED UP IN A TRUNK JUST BECAUSE IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH FAVRE, perhaps the greatest development in this was MyFox New York’s decision to segue this story into a sport that dates back to 13th century Afghanistan.  Because it involves goats, you see:

Goats also play a major role in Afghanistan’s national sport — Buzkashi. Translated into English, Buzkashi means “goat grabbing” or “goat killing.”"

intertribal: (Default)

From Gene Lyons' "The Apocalypse Will Be Televised" (Harper's, November 2004) - it's about (what else?) Left Behind:

There's a scene in Nicolae in which Buck Williams, by now a so-called tribulation saint and married to Rayford Steele's daughter, hears on CNN radio that Nicolae the Antichrist has nuked Manhattan. (Although, of course, the godless media don't put it that way.) Fleeing Chicago, Buck sees a mushroom cloud rising near O'Hare airport. Thinking fast, he drives across the median, whips into a Land Rover dealership, plunks down a company credit card, and drives off—“carefully,” we're told—in a “beautiful, new, earth-toned Range Rover.” Scolded by his dutiful suburban wife for reckless spending, he explains his decision, sounding like nothing so much as the gospel version of Chuck Berry's “No Money Down”:

“Chloe . . . look at this rig. It has everything. It will go anywhere. It's indestructible. It comes with a phone. It comes with a citizen's band radio. It comes with a fire extinguisher, a survival kit, flares, you name it. It has four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, independent suspension, a CD player that plays those new two-inch jobs, electrical outlets in the dashboard that allow you to connect whatever you want directly to the battery.”
World War III has begun, the city is under nuclear attack, and car salesmen are sitting around the showroom writing up contracts and—somewhat improbably—accepting credit cards.

Before long, in the name of peace, World Potentate Carpathia has also dropped megaton devices on London, Montreal, Toronto, Mexico City, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington. The “wrath of the Lamb” earthquake has exterminated one quarter of the world's surviving population. Yet the Tribulation Force warriors experience no difficulty zipping all over the world by Learjet, keeping in touch by cell phone, spreading the Gospel over the Internet, and tracking Nicolae Carpathia's schemes on CNN.

It's not until Glorious Appearing, the twelfth and final novel in the Left Behind series, that the comic-grotesque aspects of this whole rapture business become simply disturbing. Here are our heroes, zipping around the Holy Land on ATVs, when G.I. Jesus finally materializes in the sky, mounted on a white horse and costumed like a professional wrestler:

He wore a robe down to the feet so brilliantly white it was incandescent and bore writing, something in a language wholly unfamiliar to Rayford and something else he easily understood. On His robe at the thigh a name was written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Jesus was girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace.

Exactly why Jesus has selected this outfit for a horseback-riding expedition is puzzling; perhaps he's mounted side-saddle, like a nineteenth-century gentlewoman. The armies of heaven, also on white horses, follow, though their role in the battle ends up being superfluous. The Antichrist's black-clad legions ride horses, too, possibly because they explode so satisfactorily. No sooner does Jesus speak than the carnage begins. Carpathia's legions begin to fall dead, “their bodies ripped open, blood pooling in great masses.”

Seeking a better view of the action, Rayford abandons his ATV for a Hummer, “riding shotgun,” which, write Jenkins and LaHaye in something less than a Proustian reverie, “transported him back to college when he and his fraternity brothers would compete to call the favored seat, sometimes as much as twenty-four hours before a trip.” Meanwhile, the slaughter runs on for close to eighty gleeful pages:

Rayford watched through the binocs as men and women soldiers and horses seemed to explode where they stood. It was as if the very words of the Lord had superheated their blood, causing it to burst through their veins and skin. . . . Their innards and entrails gushed to the desert floor, and as those around them turned to run, they too were slain, their blood pooling and rising in the unforgiving brightness of the glory of Christ.
intertribal: (monster man)
I've been devouring Vince Passaro's 1996 Harper's article, "Dragon Fiction: The (Very Lucrative) Advent of the Christian Thriller," and boy, it's amazing.  (Not available online, unfortunately, unless you're a Harper's subscriber)  The following is about (a real book!) Gideon's Torch, by Charles Colson (who was convicted of involvement in Watergate):
They are protesting a nationwide network of soon-to-be-opened "regeneration centers" that will use fetal tissue to do state-of-the-art AIDS research. This is a nifty plot ploy, because lingering behind the veil of an evil government is the entire homosexual community, with its "enormous influence" as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently put it, howling for the brain matter of babies.

The anti-abortionists then blow up the first regeneration center near completion, at George Washington University's Medical Center. The two bombers are caught and killed by a SWAT team. One of them has a brother, a minister, a gentle soul who disapproves of the bombing scheme and had nothing to do with it. He is arrested (opening the book up for its big Trial Sequence), convicted, then sent to a really nasty maximum-security federal prison, where he is stabbed to death by a large, homosexual Negro drug dealer when he tries to help a retarded boy about to become the man's sexual pet... the fundamental decency he revealed at his trial and in his martyrdom brings about the religious conversion of the attorney-general.

Her slow conversion is brought about through the agency of a crippled Christian whom she has been forced to hire as her associate attorney general. His name is Paul, as in Saint, and he doesn't take long to start showing Emily the error of her secular ways... what is a mere Harvard law professor compared with a good Christian thinker who understands God's law?
On the trend in general:
They are dramatically unconvincing; indeed, they are dramatically appalling. What's more telling is that their sense of Christianity isn't much better.

What we learn from this new blossoming of "Christian fiction" is that American Christianity has entered a paranoid and deeply disgruntled stage, one not helped by the transparently dishonest pieties of politicians who cater to the nation's most superficial moral convictions while ignoring at every turn the deeper requirements those convictions carry. As always, though, we get the leadership that we wish for and deserve: one that doesn't ask much of us. We live in a country that wants its narratives sentimental and its religion easy.
And on Christian books that are actually good:
The smartest assessment of [Flannery O'Connor] came from Thomas Merton, who once said, "When I read Flannery O'Connor, I don't think of Hemingway, or Katherine Anne Porter, or Sartre, but rather of someone like Sophocles... for the all the truth and all the craft with which she shows man's fall and his dishonor." As with Graham Greene and many other openly Christian writers, O'Connor's Catholicism grants her an intuitive sympathy to the tragic narrative. In our own time, the tragic narrative has almost disappeared from view; the sentimental narrative has supplanted it. Not surprisingly, we also live in a culture that cannot tolerate the suggestion that life will possibly be painful, not always rewarding, and gratuitously unfair.
intertribal: (crashing his head against the locker)
The studios hate the Oscars for a different reason than I do, yet I understand their plight...

It wasn’t so much about admiration for the picture itself, though there was plenty of that. Insiders read the snub more as a rejection by the academy, once comfortably regarded as an adjunct of the industry that created it, of what the inner circle does best: Build complex, monumental films that move millions.

But the academy gave no points for popularity. And the company folks noticed.

As little as a year ago, the prestige that came with an Oscar contender could seem worth at least a small financial loss to studios that could always make up for it with their summer hits.

In tougher times, not so.

Maybe we should just split the annual "film awards".  We can have one batch devoted to popular box-office hits, rewarding the especially stellar and accomplished among them.  Media darlings and people who are famous for doing nothing can present.  Fireworks and acrobats on stage, possibly animatronic elephants.  Then we can have another batch devoted to movies that are actually good; not good-hearted, but well-made and well-acted and well-written even if no one sees them, with very little fanfare and no red carpet and no mush, for God's sake, no mush. 

And if there must be awards given to feel-good movies that are not actually good in a merit sort of way, but aren't box-office smash-ups either, then they can have their own separate shindig.  The Yay! Awards, or some such thing.  Maybe the Academy can take over there, since they consider themselves the guardians of mass morality.  They need to let go of the whole "artistic achievement" thing, though, cuz that is something they just don't do. 

Carpetbagger (the NYTimes film awards moron) describes the Oscars as "a ceremony that can feel oddly reassuring in the face of difficult economic times."  Yeah.  Definitely the Yay! Awards.

---

A sad HAHAHAHA to the idea that Pete Carroll is a "specialist" at the University of Southern California, $4,415,714 salary aside.  Specialist at what?  Being a dick-face? 

The idea of him teaching class reminds me of American Lit (Differentiated!) in tenth grade, which was taught by one of the football coaches.  He was kind of a sad, stern guy.  Never let the class sidetrack him into discussions about the team.  He would just chuckle, all dark and grim like we're atheists in foxholes, and say, "Now, guys.  What about Huckleberry Finn."  Looked somewhat like Major West of 28 Days Later.  He had a dogmatic approach to most of the books and was impatient with getting these points - which were above the heads of most of the students, but below mine (not to be too cocky about it, ha ha) - across when most of the class was like, "Catherine [of A Farewell to Arms] is like a Cadillac - she's easy".  He liked me, though, gave me an A on everything and kept all my papers (even the horrendous Catch-22 in-class paper I wrote where my thesis was something like, Yossarian is a liberal - seriously, goes down in my memory as the worst thing I ever wrote).  I feel like he was fond of The Grapes of Wrath - he seemed down with listening to Rage Against the Machine's "The Ghost of Tom Joad."  So I guess it can be done.

Still.  It's hard to imagine Pete Carroll teaching English. 

---

Paul Wolfowitz is a raving lunatic and a piece of shit.  "The reason the terrorists are successful in Indonesia is because the Suharto regime fell and the methods that were used to suppress them are gone."  Can somebody staple his mouth shut, please? 

Seriously, Wolfowitz, DIAF. 
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