Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Ignorance No Bliss

Suggesting everyone’s been a little stupid when it comes to recent turmoil in the Arab world, and that Mr Obama and others should have known better, is a cheap shot. It’s placing the President behind the eight ball, as usual. Experts, pundits and columnists nowhere to be seen or heard before calamities explode on the scene: where were their contributions on the subject, say a year ago?

The point is that we cannot ‘know’ everything about everything that’s going on below the surface in all parts of the world and that this shouldn’t be classified as ‘ignorance’. We’re finding out, and catching on real fast, and the news not always necessarily bad. There’s elaborate deception going on in our own families, in our own towns, and they work well for a very long time. Exposure sometimes agreeable, sometimes violent and always a surprise. Elections often an unknown, but again calling the inability to look inside a million minds ‘ignorance’, is taking the wrong tack. Especially given people’s propensity to lie convincingly when living under threat.

I’m fine, thanks, nothing the matter, nothing wrong here…

Murder In A Cathedral?

Why is it that so few see the supreme irony of a place called Christchurch and its main Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, no less, destroyed by an earthquake with believers in it?

God must have been really pissed off, that morning, especially with Catholics in New Zealand. (And before them those Chileans and Haitians, and after them the Japanese, of course… and so on and soforth, those frightening words.)

Busy mosques and other temples elsewhere also having been destroyed by earthquakes and floods, condemning thousands to a very ugly sudden death, without fair consultation.

The one not entirely unexpectedly taking the cake Billy Graham’s daughter, after each terrible natural disaster loudly exclaiming that this is how much ‘God loves us’, testing our resolve and faith in Him, our love for Him, the poor twerp loving Him for it, more and more each day she moans in near sexual extasy, not unlike Theresa de Avila or Hildegard von Bingen during different, just as cruel days.

Talk about surreal, talk about a parallel universe, talk about delusions…

I don’t think God has to worry too much about his useful idiots, they’re in it for life, or whatever stretch He grants them. I have often said, if there is a God this sadistic toying with people is shameful. Believers at least having to accept that if He ain’t cruel, He must be far from perfect, almost human…. let’s suggest for a moment. In which event they should believe a little further and help Him complete His work here in making a better world, to begin with by stopping bottomless reverence, deference or transfers of conscience and other forms of excessive adoration, like caring for a necessary but faulty buddy on a road trip.

In this fashion chances of getting killed in a Cathedral will be notably reduced, and then some.


I think it’s Khadaffi Fried Chicken, coming up real soon!

Pluto No Hot Dog

Democracies turn into plutocracies, to wit the United States of America: it has no real Left, both mainstream parties are corporatist and the electoral system is such that only the well-off get to be candidates for office and elected. Where they’ll favour legislation which doesn’t hurt them, despite all lip-service to protect the less fortunate. One drive by car through the 50 States will confirm this statement, given the tremendous displays of wealth next to incomprehensible visible poverty. And it is predictable of course that successful people use their talents to remain so, but the result is a bi-polar society, the extremes of which can even better be seen in Latin America, great riches beside great poverty, and stubborn ruling classes still not learning that by opening up opportunity to lesser mortals, they won’t lose anything but get even richer. Precisely like all those snobby, class-conscious Europeans did, but no one forgetting that before the great post-war social opening people starved in large parts of even countries like Sweden and Switzerland.

So that when people in other regions of the world clamour for Democracy, they must know that while this is infinitely better than what they had before, the end result may not be all that different, except for one important element: half decent social and career mobility as long as by hook and by crook they educate themselves.

I hope this won’t keep them from revolting. Like Churchill said, capitalist, social-democratic, parliamentary societies have the worst possible form of government, except for any other form of participatory government.

Missing The Point

The Ayatollas sneaked in under the radar and quickly exercised brutal control, for thirty years now subjecting two thirds of the population of Iran against its will to their foul domination. So much for wonderful theocracy, it won’t last but many thousands will die to straighten out the situation. Yet this regime preposterously congratulates the Egyptian people with its recent victory, predicting Egypt will soon be a backward Islamic State under Charia law and its youngsters happily making it happen.

What dreamy fundamentalists everywhere do not understand is that the young want a normal, open society and that the uprisings are homegrown and neither Anti-American nor American inspired as such, but rather against crazy authoritarians. That this obscene and insulting reasoning will only hasten their own demise, the Ayatollahs, Al Caida, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban not the winners in the battle of the minds in the Magreb, the Gulf and the Levant, though neither America nor Israel.

The winners the new, suddenly sophisticated, till now frustrated generations freed by knowledge through electronic media: articulate, peaceful, ambitious, determined and unafraid, who will finally make a decent life for themselves, and don’t give a damn about Washington or Tehran.


I now hear that the foreign minister of Tunisia has resigned. Well, about time. Couldn’t they find a Tunisian for the job? I think that’s the problem over there. All those foreign ministers, as if there were no good people in that country.


– I met two girls from Hong Kong who work for the same garment factory. They told me they are loom mates.

Keeping Leaders Small

Pretty soon dictators everywhere will be protesting in the streets demanding to get the freedom to express themselves, for they’re fast running out of real estate. I watched the isle of Fidel and the Castroids, and on TV it was all bongos, as usual. I watched Venezuelan TV and to my surprise they showed the turmoil in Cairo, not admitting their own revolution is all bogus and going the Cuban way. The same in Tehran, congratulating the Egyptian people with their victory while torturing their own, and we still haven’t heard from the freedom loving North Koreans and Burmese.

Funny how some delude themselves, or are able to lie with a straight face, good ole Mubarak not too long ago demanding freedom for the Palestinian People, just slightly overlooking his own, and funny how some offer to protect their people against the enemy, when their own malicious gang happens to be that very enemy; as they speak, surrealism at work. But more like a ‘protection’ racket, come to think of it, and much of it Government turning into a criminal conspiracy.

And then there are Syria, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Morocco and more. But also look at Iraq and you see all those free, primitive murderers unable to live by any other compromise than the heroic fuse of a car bomb, spiking the scene with a few narcotic suicidal kids. Though Pakistan has the same national pastime, it very much seems.

So hooray for freedom, but what to do when some cannot stand the civic responsibility that comes with it? A somewhat stern dictatorship by chance, and exactly what most of the places I singled out live under? Plus the old adage that people get the governments they merit? Well perhaps, but there have been many places where ‘the people’ out-evolved their brutal rulers, through invisible maturing and education somehow acquired not in the least through new international mass communication working so very well. (Goebbels eat your heart out.) It having have everything thing to do with the defeat of communism as we know it, forever changing the rules of this huge XXI century human grudge match with the West, and now again with the unrest in the Muslim world. Plus the influence of local culture and sentiment of course: Egyptians are not Arabs and solve their differences in a softer way, on the other hand the Tunisians were just as peaceful but only because they’re the best educated kids on the block, sensing violence is the worst solution to everything. Not so the Algerians who not so long ago went around slaughtering entire villages in a biblical way. Got to do it man, ripping children apart with your swords and with your knives at night, God is great. And just like those Iraqis or Hutus for that matter, not far off.

So what’s my point? Well perhaps to say that less than five hundred years ago, European Kings slaughtered, impaled, tortured, poisoned and worse. That Popes fornicated and murdered or gave orders to that effect. That Americans decimated not only the Buffalo but the Indians, at one point. And I needn’t remind anyone of the efficiency of the Holocaust machine, or the Balkan atrocities, so that this is not the time to get smug, superior or condescending, but to keep leaders small and consensus an irrevocable ideal.


The Vladivostok Opera can put on La Traviata, but this doesn’t mean East-Russians are apt to sing belcanto on their way to the wharf or that Verdi was inspired by a fallen Babooshka. The same with Bizet who modelled La Habanera, the prime aria in his opera Carmen, on a song composed by a local Spaniard who modelled it on the real Habanera, coming from Cuba of course. And Andalusians definitely not walking the streets of Seville, singing Caribbean songs. In fact the music has little if anything to do with the truly local Bulería or Fandango of Spanish Flamenco fame.

Habanera means from Havana, and is a song structure about two centuries old, heavily influencing music like the tango and the rumba, much later emerging on two continents, quite far away, in Argentina and in Spain, plus evidently in a slice of France. But the French didn’t get it straight, because Ravel’s Bolero also had precious little to do with the Bolero even though as a symphonic piece it stands firmly on its own hypnotic feet.

So that perhaps French composers should name their masterpieces more carefully, n’est-ce pas, mes enfants?

(And by the way, Mr Bizet, there’s no such thing as a Toreador for Bullfighter in Seville. This is a an effete gallicism. Matador is the much more manly name those bloodthirsty chaps go by!)

Puffington Most

Besides its heart, everything’s big in America: its ambitions, its conflicts, its deficits, its bank failures, its frauds, its flops, its flubs, its lawsuits, its outrageous compensations, its movies, its idolatries and of course its ridiculous corporate take-overs.

When you read AOL takes over Huffington at 10x times annual gross sales vs 5x annual net profits + real assets, constituting the average corporate sales tag, you begin to doubt the mental health of its perpetrators.

315 miilion $ for Huffington is like someone winning a ball game 315.000.000 to zip: it’s too absurd to contemplate, nobody is that good, nobody’s worth that much and all of it beyond hubris in a dreadful way.

So this is the business model, guys? MBA’s cheering on the side lines? No wonder America’s in economic decline, this sort of stuff is unsustainable bubblenomics all over again, removed from any sense of reality. With one or two winners and 400 million losers forced to wonder, what it was that hit them this time.

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