Archive for the ‘Livin’ in the USA’ Category


FOOTBALL, n. A male religious ritual involving human sacrifice. Like most other American religious observances, the rite of football is normally observed on Sundays, and is, in fact, observed on approximately 24 consecutive Sundays culminating in the holiest day of the year, Super Sunday, a day on which all normal male activities—including, even, lexicography—grind to a halt. Football is distinguished from more mundane religious practices in that its celebrants normally worship a 60-inch screened deity and imbibe a ceremonial liquid known as “Bud,” the symbol of which, perhaps for reasons of taste, color, and odor, is a large horse.

–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


Of late, the slavish sycophancy of a certain American con man’s followers has become a national scandal. Please consider the following, the doggerel of the day if you will, written by an American “poet,” and then take the very short quiz beneath it.

Heed not those alien, rabble foes,
That tear and rend our land,
Our land was built by Patriots,
Who by their country stand.

And you, today, are your land’s hope
Its savior whom traitors fear;
In you the glowing flame leaps high
That once stirred Paul Revere.

Now, name the object of this piece of poesy (bonus points for naming its author):

  1. Benito Mussolini
  2. V.I. Lenin
  3. Fidel Castro
  4. Francisco Franco
  5. Donald Trump
  6. Adolf Hitler
  7. Nicolas Maduro
  8. Josef Stalin

Scroll down to find the answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, but you (probably) missed the Glorious Leader the “poet” was slavering over: the answer is contestant #6, Hitler.

I’m also sorry that you missed out on the bonus points. The “poet” was Hannah Cushman Howe. (I’d never heard of her, either.)

She was a member of the nose-up-the-butt/nose-in-the-air brigade, and the only unequivocal reference I could find to her with a brief search was in the 1912 edition of Social Register of New York.

She was an early member of the “very fine people” so famously referenced by the current occupant of the White House. In her note to the Dear Leader, accompanying the poem, Cushman Howe said, in part, “. . . America’s enemies . . . I saw them. Jews from Russia, Poland, Italy, and Germany too.”

Just goes to show how similar goose-steppers are in all times and places.

Thanks to BoingBoing’s Love Letters to Hitler for the above-quoted “poem.”

 



No, I’m not going to name the band or the bar, which would give it away.

They were incidental to why I went up to the local dive to watch the ‘9ers game. Unfortunately, the band came on during half-time, so I had no choice but to listen to them.

All of them were good to very good players (the bassist), and I haven’t heard so much wrong with a band (maybe three bands combined) in ages.

Here’s what was wrong:

  • They were way late setting up, the earliest of them arriving half-an-hour before they were due on; (normally you want to be there at least an hour before);
  • The drummer didn’t arrive until 20 minutes before they were due on;
  • He was so late they didn’t do a sound check;
  • They didn’t have monitors;
  • All they were miking was the vocals;
  • And as a result, the mix was way off during the first set, with the snare way too loud during the first three or four numbers;
  • Because they didn’t do a sound check, the vocal mics were feeding back, sometimes painfully, for half the set, and they didn’t have anyone riding the board so they didn’t adjust for it;
  • Despite the feedback problems, the vocals were too far down in the mix (yes, it is possible);
  • It sounded like the vocals were dry (i.e., no reverb or other FX);
  • On the final two or three tunes, they had some idiot sitting in playing claves badly — think the clunk, clunk, clunk of “Magic Bus” rather than the
    clink, clink, clink that you want — and just enough off the beat, and irregularly so, that it was annoying as hell;
  • They had two — not one, but two, count ’em, two — keyboard players, and on many of the numbers the keyboard player playing lead was using a soul-sucking artificial synth sound a la The Cars that was abandoned for good reason back in the early ’80s;
  • I didn’t like the guitarist’s tone (too muted in an attempt to be pretty — but that’s just me);
  • And (a more general whine) they advertised themselves as a “soul” band, but they didn’t do soul — they did lounge, the closest thing to soul being their closing number, Al Green’s “I’ll Be There”;
  • And, of course, just covers, no originals — it ain’t that hard to write originals, but writing good ones is another matter; why most musicians don’t even try it is beyond me.

At the break, they finally did a sound check. I had to sit through their first couple of numbers in the second set before the ‘9ers kicked the winning field goal in the final seconds. (Go ‘9ers!)

What I noticed was:

  • The feedback was finally gone;
  • The balance was a bit better
  • The vocals were still too far down in the mix;
  • They were still dry;
  • And their material was almost as awful, non-soulful ands non-original as in the first set.

The lessons here are pretty obvious:

  • Get there early enough to do a sound check;
  • Do a sound check;
  • Use monitors;
  • Mic everything (and I mean everything);
  • If you’re not competent to do a good mix, have someone along who’s competent to do the sound;
  • And above all deliver what you promise: if you promise blues, play blues; and if you promise soul, play soul.

 

 

 

 

 


The obvious answer is “for good reason.” They have a well deserved reputation as holier-than-thou, uptight pricks more interested in patting themselves on the back (their chiropractic bills must be astronomical) and asserting their moral superiority than in making the world a better place for people or animals. They’ve managed to make a healthy, ecologically sound diet less popular than oral herpes. As the old joke goes, “Don’t worry about whether any of your dinner guests are vegans — they’ll let you know.”

The latest example of vegan scumbaggery comes courtesy of vegan talibaner Phillip Williams who sued Burger King for cooking his Impossible Burger (a veggie burger that tastes exactly like meat) on a grill on which — the horror! the horror! — they also cook meat.

Let’s think about this douchebag move for a moment. It’s more than obvious that for Williams, it’s all about him. Burger King isn’t going to the massive expense of installing separate grills for meat burgers and veggie burgers (for the morally pure). Williams’ lawsuit probably won’t go anywhere, but at best it’ll be a waste of time and money for all involved, and if, god forbid, he wins, it’ll result in more meat consumption and more slaughtered animals, as Burger King would drop the Impossible Burger in a heartbeat rather than go to the massive expense of duplicating the number of grills at their outlets to accommodate vegan puritans. Hence, more meat consumption, more slaughtered animals, more environmental degradation.

Not that that seems to matter to Williams. After all, it’s all about him.

What an asshole.

 


“[E]ven in a world where the facts don’t matter anymore, even in a world where progressive values have been co-opted as corporate speak, even in a world where people with disgusting amounts of wealth can do suspect or even terrible things and face little to no consequences, holding those in power accountable is still a fight worth having.”

–ShutUpWesley in McCovey Chronicles’ “The Zaidi Era is Officially Here

(For non-sci-fi fans, the weird pseudonym refers to the intensely annoying Wesley Crusher character — who you felt like smacking around on general principles — in Star Trek: The Next Generation.)

 


One of the most depressing aspects of what passes for modern political discourse is the tendency on both the left and right to engage in collective guilt tripping. You hear this crap constantly: it’s all the fault of the boomers, men, millennials, women, feminists, blacks, whites, godless atheists (a bit redundant there, eh?), immigrants, Muslims, latinos, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseam. (Perhaps even more depressing is the guilt and self-loathing of white liberals who buy into this shit.)

There are several problems with the overly broad assignment of guilt (for damn near anything and everything you can think of). The first is that it’s lazy. It’s a ridiculously easy “analysis.”

The second is that it allows the demonizer to feel superior to the broad class of demonized (whites, blacks, latinos, men, “feminazis,” gay people, Jewish folks, whoever) simply because the demonizer is not a member of the demonized per se evil class. (Never mind what s/he is doing with their own life, never mind that they’re often a pathetic piece of human waste — they’re not a member of the cursed class, so they’re automatically virtuous; at present, this form of mental sickness is most pronounced in the outbreak of white supremacism and its related misogyny/homophobia.)

The third is that collective guilt lets those guilty of real evil off the hook. For instance, if you assign all Germans (including those not even born yet when it occurred) guilt for the Holocaust, it lessens if not eliminates the individual guilt of the murderers. This equal-opportunity guilt/blame places those who fought against and fled the Nazis on the same moral footing as those who perpetrated the horrors. But, gosh, isn’t it convenient to assign the guilt simply to “the Germans”? So easy. (The same of course applies to whites as regards the treatment of black people and Native Americans, and men vis a vis the suppression of women: the one-size-fits-all blame-game lets those guilty of real evil off the hook.)

The fourth is that it sets people against each other. As an example, I’ve spent my entire adult life working to eliminate racism, xenophobia, economic exploitation, religious authoritarianism, misogyny, homophobia — all the forms of coercive domination/submission — and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to feel guilty for being a straight white male (things over which I have no control). While I share a lot of the goals of the blame-culture PC left, they’ve made themselves into my — and humanity’s — enemies, unwitting dupes of the powers-that-be in their divide-and-conquer game, in their blaming of me and countless others for things utterly beyond our control.

If we’re ever going to make real progress, we can’t do it by eating each other alive. Improvements in such things as wealth and income distribution must benefit damn near everyone; if for only certain classes of people, that’ll further divide us.

The fifth, and perhaps most major, problem is that the simplistic assignment of guilt based on race, gender, ethnicity, etc., is that it short circuits critical analysis. There are complicated reasons for almost every major problem. Assigning guilt to classes of people allows those (often unwittingly) serving the powers-that-be to avoid looking at the underlying societal/economic mechanisms that produce the various horrors (mass unemployment, environmental despoliation, restriction of reproductive rights, climate catastrophe, etc.). In other words, mass guilt provides convenient scapegoats. If you don’t look at the underlying mechanisms, and then do something to fix or replace them, you’ll never get anywhere: you’ll just arrive at an endless miasma of guilt, blame, and hate while those on top stay on top.

The sixth and most obvious problem is that assignment of collective guilt leads to atrocities. Such things as the Holocaust (for imaginary offenses), internment of Japanese-American citizens in concentration camps (again, for imaginary offenses), the Israeli government’s bulldozing of the homes of thousands of suspected Palestinian militants (thus punishing their entire families), and the caging of immigrant children (yet again for imaginary offenses).

The next time you hear someone say it’s all the fault of the Jews, the whites, immigrants, men, blacks, women, gays, Muslims, etc., etc., please realize that that person is a bullshit artist. Someone trying to distract you with scapegoats. Someone who wants to let those actually guilty off the hook. Someone who doesn’t want you to look at the underlying problems. Someone who’s however unwittingly a servant of the powers that be.