i'll be delivering some version of 'political aesthetics' - complete with immortal tech videos - at notre dame [corrected date and time] at 4 next friday (april 8). annenberg auditorium of the snite museum of art.
i'm a little puzzled by what we're not doing in libya now. if we're really pulling back, and the rebels get crushed, it seems a bit hard to understand what we were doing in the first place. i suppose i worry that obama lacks resolve, or the courage of his convictions. but to do those operations, and deliver that speech, and then watch it all go to hell in the few days after that would be incomprehensible.
on more serious matters, it's elton john night on am idol. the item randy jackson just called 'one of the greatest songs ever written' describes candles in the wind as never knowing who to cling to when the rains set in. elton john starts sucking before he wakes up in the morning, sucks all day, and keeps right on sucking after he falls asleep at night. then he sucks. he's done it for decades and been knighted for it. if i wanted to teach louis farrakhan what it means to be white (as he's taught me what it means to be black) - utterly and extremely white without a hint of color, like a blank sheet of copy paper - i'd just hit the poor chump with the very best of elton. here's another twenty-hectare picture of bashar el-assad:
breaking news: as i urged earlier today, obama has indeed issued a finding, secretly authorizing a swack squad on gaddafi featuring sylvester stallone, jet li, jason statham, mickey rourke, dolph lungren, bruce willis, arnold schwarzenegger, and barry bonds: a broad coalition led by americans. they're going in, bringing an unprecedented geritol/humangrowthhormone fury. i'm just glad bo reads my blog.
take a good look, and then tell me that you don't advocate the destruction of these regimes, especially when the populations of these countries have finally gotten fed all the way up. it's always a bad sign when someone is in the habit of unfurling acres of portraits of himself. there is no more vivid sign of the worthlessness of any human being than that he's reached this epic degree of self-esteem. oy, the irony! this is from the pro-assad rally yesterday in damascus. i wouldn't even bother burning the gigantic portrait: just snicker at the absurdity of human pride inflated to a cosmic scale, or the difference of scale between the itty-bitty human being and his monstrous self-image.
where are sylvester stallone, jet li, jason statham, mickey rourke, dolph lungren, bruce willis, and arnold schwarzenegger when you need them? ok admittedly this is the worst movie ever made. or at least the worst i ever rented. but that is itself an argument for sending the squad to libya, bahrain, syria, yemen, etc. no camera crew this time, unless they agree to take a writer.
On Tuesday, Senator Charles Schumer convened a media conference call of Democratic senators, in order to talk about the budget negotiations. Moments before the call was to start, Schumer briefed the other senators on the talking points they should be using. But the phone line for the call was already open and reporters heard Schumer's instructions, word for word: "I always use the word extreme,” Schumer said, describing Republican House Speaker John Boehner. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.” Once the call began in earnest, Schumer's colleagues did exactly as instructed, repeatedly referring to Boehner and his allies as "extreme" or "extremist."
i picture myself as an american politician. other people write the words that come out of my mouth. and the words that come out of my mouth are incredibly primitive and excruciatingly repetitive; not only is someone else's voice is coming out of my mouth, but it is employed to express complete contempt for anyone unfortunate or irrational enough to be listening: a constant assertion that the audience has the sophistication and knowledge of a group of pre-schoolers. and the words coming out of my mouth are written through focus-grouping: they are the collective autonomic responses of a bunch of randomly selected quasi-people. if that was how i came to my opinions and their formulation, i'd hang myself, then shoot myself, then slit my wrists, then take a massive overdose of ambien, then tie cinder-blocks to my feet and jump off a bridge. actually dying would be the only possible evidence that i was ever alive as a particular human being, so i'd want to die as often and in as many ways as possible.
one thing that's obvious: if you make people's jobs, and schools' funding, wholly dependent on standardized tests, you create an almost irresistible motive to cheat. and considering just how dramatically you're compromising everyone's autonomy (the kids', the teachers', the administrators') - considering how mechanical the procedure is, and the contempt it embodies for the agency of the humans involved - you create the sort of situation in which dicking the system seems like a liberatory act.
it's hard for me to believe that my hometown, dc, is about not to be majority black. according to this analysis, it was over 70% black in 1970, when i was twelve. it certainly seemed higher than that to me, and it may be that the census undercounted the black folks a bit. either way it was chocolate city. it was a black thing, you wouldn't understand. blackness to me was a nexus of fear and desire; it's taken me twenty years in the most lily-white spot in america (southern york county pa, and thereabouts) really to lose the wigger affect. the best art was black; the toughest/coolest guys were black; the hottest girls were black.
but dc - the whole region, now - was also among the most strictly-segregated cities in the world, and when my junior high in upper northwest suddenly integrated by busing in 1971, the white flight was intense. but also rational: what might kindly be called a culture clash featured a wave of informal muggings (it took me awhile to be able to maintain my lunch money on any given day); heroin; 15-year-old middle-class white girls turning up pregnant; sudden reduction or elimination of academic standards etc, etc. still i'm probably not the only person, or even the only white person, who's gonna miss chocolate city.
you've got to groove on the names of women's college hoopsters. how about glory johnson (tennessee), sugar rogers (georgetown), and special jennings (xavier). additions: odyssey sims and destiny williams (baylor).
and watchin two great guards tonight: the lovely skylar diggins (notre dame) and courtney vandersloot (gonzaga).
for a long time i have attacked the literary backwater known as fiction, pointing out that people make that shit up. if there is anything worse than a novel, however, it is a review of a novel. it always dutifully slogs through a plot summary: "it's 1968. in appleton wisconsin, teddy and teresa are raising their kids bobo, hubie, and nitbomb. then they discover a diary in a trunk in the attic and their quiet, happy, average american world is shattered by a devastating family secret: teddy's grandmother was benito mussolini's housekeeper." or whatever it may be. reading the typical review of a novel, i don't believe the first sentence, or i don't know what it would mean to believe it, and if i did know i still wouldn't care at all: you know, "jessica is 17 years old." wow, she is? funny i thought she turned 18 on january 22. there is absolutely no reason why that sentence should exist, nothing it's doing, nothing it's about. even if the novel of jessica's sexual awakening - at once unique to herself and deeply universal - could sweep up a person like you into its ohsovividlyimagined world, the plot summary of the novel in a review is a kind of absolute emptiness, yapyap without reference, point, or art. there is no less worthwhile human activity than reading a reviewer's plodding plot summary of a novel. sweetie, it's not 1968. this is not wisconsin. teddy didn't have a grandmother, because he isn't anything but a string of letters. ok:
It’s October 1940 and Tucker, a writer, and his photographer girlfriend are on an assignment for the W.P.A., chronicling the landmarks and local history of Virginia. Driving along a dusty mountain road, they accidentally knock down a child. Though he seems unhurt, they feel responsible and insist on taking him back to the dismal, isolated shack in the middle of the woods where the boy, Eddie, lives with his mother, Cora.
With night drawing in, the glamorous pair — who have clearly dazzled young Eddie — accept Cora’s offer of a bed for the night. Hoping to cheer the boy up, Tucker fetches an old hand-cranked projector from his car and shows Eddie the first horror movie he’s ever seen, “Frankenstein.” The film will change the course of Eddie’s life, inspiring him to run away and start hanging around a local television station, eventually becoming the well-known host of a comic horror show for children.
even if you take the eccentric position that the novel is a legitimate literary form, what literary form is this? i'm sitting here reading this: am i supposed to get swept up in "young eddie"'s "life"? perhaps people are better at suspending disbelief than i am. for such folks, there could be no uncompelling stories or ways of telling stories, i guess. but if there could be, then every plot summary of every novel in every book review is it. honestly i don't know how people read the paragraphs, much less write them. they're excruciatingly plodding fictions about...fictions. it's 1892, 421 bc, the astounding year 500,000! it's eddie, it's teddy, it's freddie, it's god! something is just about to happen that will change all their lives forever! (or would, if there were any such lives or anything that actually happened or any place or time they happened)! whatever.
lala describes ali mohsen al-ahmar, the army commander who's squared off against saleh in the streets of sanaa. it does not sound like a good dilemma.
"he was the commander during the war with the south when they killed hundreds of thousands and piled them up for the vultures to eat and he has been the commander during 7 sa'ada wars during one of which he ordered the gassing of whole villages there."
from lala in sanaa, where events are breaking very quickly:
The parliament approved a state of emergency this morning, which means we basically have no rights (i am copy/pasting the translation of the law below, for your reference). We also have had almost no power throughout the past couple of days and very very short spills of internet, which i assume will go away completely as of tonight. The protestors have vowed to march towards the presidential palace this friday no matter how much blood is spilled. Another cool thing is the fact that the Presidential Guard and Special forces (pro-saleh) have taken over half the city, as the other half is taken over by the First Armed Division (pro-Mohsen) and things aren't looking too good...they seem to think they just own our town. My friends have already fled to their villages this morning, but my family and are are staying put since we really dont have a place to go and definitely unable to afford a move. I am gonna put the website thing on hold for now, and I will try to email you from work, as i am doing now, as often as possible.
Article (1) This law is called (The Emergency State Law)
Article (2) A State of Emergency may be declared in case of a war or a looming war, or when the public security and order in the territory of the Republic or in part of it is in danger because of disturbances or internal strife or natural disasters or a pandemic. Article (3) A state of Emergency should be declared by a presidential decree, and shall contain the following: - A statement indicating the reason to declare the state of emergency - Define the area covered. - Date of entry into force of the situation and its duration.
Article (4) The presidential decree on the State of Emergency should be referred to the Parliament within the seven days following its issuance, and if the Parliament is not in session the President of the Republic shall invite it to convene, but if the Parliament was dissolved, the dissolved Parliament should be invited to convene, and if the seven days deadline passes without referring the bill to the Parliament or without inviting the Parliament to convene, the State of Emergency should be ended by virtue of the Constitution. Article (5) The State of Emergency ends when the period specified in the decree comes to an end, and this period may be extended only with the consent of the Parliament. Article (6) This Law applies when every State of Emergency is declared without being bound by the provisions of the ordinary laws in effect.
Article (7) The National Defense Council is entrusted with the application of the provisions of this law, and after the approval of this law, the President of the Republic may issue written orders to take the following measures:
1. Impose restrictions on the freedom of people in meetings or moves or living or moves in places or at certain times, and the arrest of suspects or those deemed dangerous to the security and public order, and licensing to search people, places and means of transport without being bound by the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure or any other law, and ordering the use of as much force as necessary in the case of reluctance or resistance.
2. Schedule times to open and close public shops, as well as order the full closure of all these shops or some of them.
3. Monitor all types of correspondence and all various media outlets (print and broadcast) and theaters and the like, networks and multi-media information, communication and literature, brochures and all means of expression and advertising, ban, seize and confiscated them and close their premises and the places where they are being printed.
4.Temporarily takeover of any facility or any real estate, safeguard the companies and institutions and seize funds as well as postpone paying back debts and due or overdue obligations regarding the seized or safeguarded things.
5. Abolish licenses of firearms, ammunition, explosives, explosive materials or materials used in manufacturing any of these and ban manufacturing, importing, sale, purchasing, transferring, disposing, carrying or possessing them, and ordering their seizure and handed them over to concerned security authorities, and impose censorship or control of the places of their manufacture, supply, sale and storage.
6. Evacuate or isolate some areas and impose a curfew in these areas and close public roads or some of them and organize the means of transport and specify their moves in different regions.
7. Mandate persons to do any work or perform any service within their respective capacities. 8. Increase rates of daily working hours for workers in the public service units and facilities, both at central and local levels, or under any of them or within the unit or units of specific management.
Article (8) The National Defense Council may expand the circle of constraints and measures set forth in the preceding article, or apply them according to the nature of the situation that led to the declaration of a state of emergency and the circumstances surrounding it.
Article (9) The security forces carry out orders issued during the state of emergency, and the President may after the approval of the National Defense Council mandates the armed forces to implement those orders or some of them where warranted, and in this case, the officers of the armed forces at the rank determined by the order of reference have the authority to set records of the violations of those orders.
Article (10) Violators of this law and its provisions may be arrested immediately, and those arrested or detained should be informed about the reasons of their arrest or detention immediately, and they have the right to communicate or inform anyone of what has happened to him.
Article (11) The regular minutes about the offenses of the orders issued under this law are authoritative in evidence both before the judicial authorities or other authorities until proven otherwise, and every public employee in his/her area of specialty should help those responsible for those records and enable them to perform this task perfectly.
Article (12) Specialized courts look into specialized crimes, regardless of the status of the perpetrators or instigators and assailants, and the prosecution shall handle these cases before these courts.
Article (13) A person who is arrested or detained in other crimes provided for in Article (14) of this Act may appeal the warrant of arrest or detention upon the expiry of three months from the date of arrest or detention without release, and the appeal shall be done as a request to the specialized criminal court, and the court shall consider the appeal promptly, and those whose appeals are refused may request a new appeal after the passage of three months from the date of refusal, and the court may issue a provisional release of those arrested or detained.
Article (14) Those arrested or detained for crimes harmful to the national unity or the security of the State or which shall be determined by a decree from the President of the Republic after an approval of the national Defense Council may appeal the warrant of arrest or detention in a request that is exempt from fees and submitted to the court during its consideration of the case, and the decision of the court to provisionally release those arrested or detained in such crimes shall be effective only upon approval of the President of the Republic.
Article (15) A person whose property is under guardianship in accordance with the provisions (7 / 4) of this law, can present a free of charge appeal to the Specialized Criminal Court against the guardianship or against measures of implementing the guardianship. The case shall be between the body responsible for implementing the guardianship and the owner of the property. The court shall decide on the appeal, to uphold it or amend it. The court’s decision to cancel or amend the guardianship order shall be valid only after the president of the republic approves it. If the grievance is rejected, the owner of the property can re-appeal through four months from the date of rejection.
Article (16) all sentences by the Specialized Penal Court on violations of this law shall be applied only after the final ratification by the President of the Republic. The president can decide the following:
- Reduce the penalty or replace it with a light one.
- Cancel all or some of the penalties, original or supplementary or dependency.
- Stop the implementation of all or some of the penalties.
- Abolish the ruling with the conservation of the case.
- Refuse the ruling and allocate reasoned order to the Supreme Judicial Council to re-trial before three judges selected by the Council from members of the Supreme Court. If the re-trial results in an acquittal sentence, the sentence shall be ratified. In case of conviction, the President of the Republic shall be able to consider mercy and reduce the penalty as mentioned in the preceding paragraphs of this article.
Article (17) The provisions of the specialized criminal courts for crimes committed in violation of the provisions of this Law and orders issued pursuant thereto final only after ratification by the President, and the president, sentences are provided to him for ratification, shall decide the following: - Commute sentences or replace them with lesser penalties. - Cancel all or some of the sentences whether original, supplementary, or dependent. - Halt the implementation of all or some of the sentences. - Abolish verdicts with the conservation of the case. - Refuse verdicts and refer them to the Supreme Judicial Council to re-trial before a jury of three judges selected by the Council from among the members of the Supreme Court, and if the sentence is issued after the trial judge acquittal shall be ratified in all cases and, and if convicted, it is permissible for the President of the Republic to replace these convictions with more lenient sentences.
Article (18) death penalty is excluded from the scope of powers of the President of the Republic set forth in the preceding article.
Article (19) Without prejudice to any severer penalty provided for in the laws in force, any person who violates orders issued by the President of the Republic in accordance with the provisions of this law, shall receive a penalty that should not exceed an imprisonment for ten years or a fine of (1.500.000), million and five hundred thousand riyals. In case the period of the penalty is not mentioned in the presidents’ command, the violator shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and a fine not exceeding (250.000) two hundred and fifty thousand riyals or either penalty.
Article (20) after the approval of the National Defense Council, the President of the Republic can assign a representative to represent him in all or some of his powers under this law, whether at the level of the Republic or in a particular area or areas.
Article (21) The implementation of this law shall not breach the following: - The rights and powers of commanders of the military forces in the military operations zone during the state of war. - The rights and powers of security officers in the field when troops were attacked during armed confrontation or armed rebellion by outlaws.
Article (22) The Specialized Criminal Courts, after the end of the state of emergency, continue to consider the remaining cases in accordance with the provisions of this law, whether these cases had been referred to them or not, and these courts shall follow normal procedures when considering these issues.
Article (23) The provision of the previous article applies to the case decided to be re-tried by the President of the Republic under the provisions of this law.
Article (24) After the end of the state of emergency the President of the Republic may exercise all his powers established under this Act in respect of the provisions set out as follows: - Sentences issued during the state of emergency which has had not yet ratified or those referred to him be he decided they be re-tried. - Sentences in the cases referred to in Article (22) of this law. Article (25) any power to authorize assigning orders issued to any public officer under this Act or orders issued pursuant thereto is added to the powers or its functions. Article (26) All that contradicts the provisions of this law is cancelled. Article (27) This law shall be brought into effect from the date of its issuance and shall be published in the Official Gazette.
there are many differences between libya and, say, iraq. one is that a rebellion was really underway at the moment we intervened. another was that a slaughter by the government was actually in progress. you know you get a different vibe if you were listening to someone like mo nabbous, pleading for help for his city ("are you just going to watch us die?") and his rebellion. nabbous was killed in gaddafi's initial assault on benghazi, which was prevented from total success by western intervention right at that moment. too late for mo. but not too late for so many others. listen to what his widow is saying, for example.
in iraq, rumsfeld or cheney just worked on a fantasy that we'd be greeted as liberators. here we don't have to fantasize. we can't control the entire unfolding situation. but we actually prevented a rebellion against gaddafi from being crushed and a city full of people, or several cities full of people, from being destroyed, right there, at that very moment.
that's why i'm not even going for the objections that run like: but obama didn't adequately consult with congress; we don't have a well-defined strategy or a clear statement of our goals; we don't have - for god's sake - an exit strategy. well you didn't have 24 more hours, much less 24 more years as these approaches seem to suggest. talking heads are objecting to the 'improvisational' nature of the operation. well, obviously. all these are just ways saying: yes, we're going to just watch you die.
ok i'll try! i admit: we have no idea how this is going to turn out. i do not know how this is going to turn out. but i think people's lives count the same close to home or across the globe, la rana. i think it's very likely that we will save more lives than we take, and that most of those we take will be servants of a screeching murderer. it seems to me that it is unlikely that the next regime will be worse than gaddafi's: there just aren't that many as a percentage that are. but the situation is incalculable, and i will really try to eat my words if so. i do not know what role oil plays in the calculations, lisa; i do know that i'd say the same either whether there was any oil in libya or not.
there is very unlikely to be an american occupation of libya. it is not politically viable, either domestically or in the middle east. there might be a un peacekeeping force with american involvement. or there might be a decent rebel-type regime. or there might be a nightmare of one kind or another. i do not know.
there are better and worse uses of military force, in my opinion. if someone could have stopped rwanda, darfur, the killing fields, they should have. of course, the regime they unleashed might have been worse. very unlikely, however. i'm glad the world didn't lay down for hitler. does that mean i love stalin, or even truman? definitely not. is libya rwanda? well, maybe not. but it would have gotten extremely bad extremely fast for a lot of people. does neoliberalism suck? definitely, though i'm still a little fuzzy on its parameters. have we prosecuted bad wars? absolutely. should we have saved the people of bengazi? i think so.
watching arwa damon's amazing reporting for cnn from bengazi. alright on saturday the libyan army rolled into town in tanks, with artillery, and started firing indiscriminately into residential neighborhoods. many were killed. rebels drove them out; gaddafi's forces re-grouped and massed outside of town. on sunday it is very likely that they would have taken bengazi, killing thousands of non-combatants in a city of 800,000. but airstrikes decimated gaddafi's positions outside of town; they could not attack. people celebrated, thanked allah for their lives and the lives of their children. the situation in mizratah has been similar or worse, but communications are completely cut off. this was happening right at the moment the operation began.
i take all these objections and positions on libya seriously, let me say. i realize that there are incredibly difficult questions of all sorts, including what comes next, whether un or us/eu or nato intervention is itself totalitarianism. i don't think you can have a big bombing campaign without killing people other than soldiers. but i just want to say again: gaddafi is a fucking nightmare, and he was just about to slaughter or indeed in the middle of slaughtering people who were resisting his completely indefensible dictatorship. anyone who could do something about it should have. that we're not taking the same steps in yemen or bahrain is problematic, though each of these situations of course has its own incredible complications. but that we aren't is not itself an argument that we shouldn't in libya.
we are trying to save actual human beings from an actual ravening monster. that is a right reason to deploy military force. from the moment the revolts started in tunisia and egypt, my first thought was: could gaddafi go? he needs to go. he would kill everyone to stay in power, and he's got chumps who will help him. unlike egypt or tunisia, or even maybe yemen as it seems the army is turning, there is no other way through except just to watch the slaughter, and then watch him pass along his murderous despotism to his sons. kill him now, is my advice. then revive him by heroic measures and kill him again.
Asked about the explosion, Vice Adm. William E. Gortney said in a Washington news conference that the United States was not trying to kill the Libyan leader. “At this particular point I can guarantee that he’s not on a targeting list,” he said, saying that the United States military was working to weaken his military capacity rather than remove him.
surely we are trying to target gaddafi. if not, we're chumps.
the memoir of grief is in fashion, since joan didion's year of magical thinking. recent installments come from joyce carol oates, francisco goldman, david plante, and a number of others. now i will not read these books, in part because i have enough grief of my own without wallowing in yours. so i don't know whether this thought that i just ran across in edmund burke's a philosophical enquiry into the origin of our ideas of the sublime and beautiful is a commonplace of this literature or not. but burke counts grief as (complex, mixed) pleasure and a source of experiences of beauty:
The person who grieves, suffers his passion to grow upon him; he indulges it, he loves it: but this never happens in the case of actual pain, which no man ever willingly endured for any considerable time. That grief should be willingly endured, though far from a simply pleasing sensation, is not so difficult to be understood. It is the nature of grief to keep its object perpetually in its eye, to present it in its most pleasurable views, to repeat all the circumstances that attend it, even to the last minuteness; to go back to every particular enjoyment, to dwell upon each, and to find a thousand new perfections in all, that were not sufficiently understood before; in grief the pleasure is still uppermost; and the affliction we suffer has no resemblance to absolute pain.
it is of course a bittersweet pleasure, and also alloyed with pain. but you dwell on memory, you try to hold the memories precious, to experience them with the utmost intensity. grief is an experience of love and its loss: that to me is actually the essence of the beautiful: a total longing. you are in grief in part because you want to be. and you should. and it should dissolve imperceptibly over years; you don't overcome or abandon it. if you do not delectate it, revel in it, want it more than anything, you lose faith with the person over whom you grieve. that is why such books could be moving, useful, or a pleasure rather than a mere pain to read. whether any of these are actually that, i will not pretend to decide.
There, hundreds of supporters offered themselves up as human shields, cheering to newly minted dance songs about their adoration for their leader. “House by house, ally by ally,” the catchiest song went, quoting a Qaddafi speech. “Disinfect the germs from each house and each room.”
look. i have caught some shit for being a "pro-war anarchist," and i like catchy pro-genocide songs as much as the next pop fan, but surely every decent person wants to gaddafi deleted from the species. i'm not a pacifist. i realize that in an anarchist world you wouldn't have tomahawk missiles and aircraft carriers. but given that we don't live in such a world, i say that if you are in a position to prevent this fuckhead from slaughtering thousands of people, you ought to. an anarchist isn't likely to be a fan of a murderous dictator, though he might point out that every state transforms its entire population into potential victims. but that doesn't mean that obama is the moral equivalent of gaddafi, or that it isn't admirable for sarkozy, problematic though he is on many grounds, to assemble a coalition to bitch-slap that motherfucker.
you might ask whether i supported the war in iraq on the same grounds. well, all things being equal, saddam should have been wood-chipped too. but he was not right in the middle of mass murder. i actually argued at the time that any arguments the bush admin was putting forward that had any plausibility were better arguments for intervening in darfur. but libya just seems like a clear extremely urgent case. i think saleh in yemen would be a good victim too if we were to continue. i fear that we're still going to try to keep him holding on. but it might break down into true massacre at any moment.
violence in yemen today is at a whole new level. lala says dozens killed today, hundreds injured; 'security' forces are firing at demonstrators, and making medical care impossible. her uncle came in covered in blood, saying he'd seen people with their heads blown off. people want to flee, but it's a very poor country. i guess one hope i have is that actions in libya will make various fuckheads think twice. but i think we're still choosing our killers; we're a lot less likely to do anything worthwhile in yemen or bahrain, as disgusting as the regimes may be.
black-eyed peas on american idol tonight. will.i.am says, "this song is about love and strength. it's for the people of japan." he was very sincere, admittedly hard to bring off in a chrome toupee. the lyrical thrust, buried in vocoder debris: i'm addicted to your booty. in their moment of darkness, the japense people have been inspired! they've recovered from the aflac duck flap. the song helped all human beings everywhere resign ourselves to a slow, hideous death, which now looks like a blessed release from meaningless world.
it's tough collecting pop lyrics that suck. where to begin? but here's a conspicuous piece of claptrap: katy perry's 'firework.' it's the sort of hackneyed self-esteem anthem with which the music industry bludgeons teenage girls, of course. it will be a prom theme for the next twenty years, like 'i believe i can fly.' as the actual writer immortal technique might put it, listening to katy peddle this hooey is more painful than watching r kelly piss on your kids (though the two experiences are similar). but i also like the basic narrative arc: take the tweeny self, turn it into the plastic bag from american beauty and blow it around (except this bag wants to start again, so stomp on it, pick it up, and blow it around some more); put it on a diet, transforming it into a house of cards, then knock it down and cave it in; kill it and bury it as its corpse screams, deafening the world; then set it on fire, launch it into the sky, and blow it up over its home town. that's exactly what i'd like to do with this song. no bonobo writes that badly, or pays $1.29 on itunes for a song like that. youtube lists 143,775,329 views.
Do you ever feel like a plastic bag Drifting through the wind Wanting to start again
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin Like a house of cards One blow from caving in
Do you ever feel already buried deep Six feet under scream But no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you Cause there's a spark in you
You just gotta ignite the light And let it shine Just own the night Like the Fourth of July
Cause baby you're a firework Come on show 'em what you're worth Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!" As you shoot across the sky-y-y
i think bahrain is where this region-wide uprising could go fearsomely wrong. of course libya shows the potential effectiveness of the forces of reaction etc. but already the monarchy in bahrain is in a brutal crackdown on shiites, employing saudi military forces. let's just say that various nightmare scenarios occur, and saudi arabia and iran are two of the most heavily-armed powers in the region, with constituencies extending far beyond their own borders. it could get extremely bad extremely quickly over an extremely large area. throw in israel, the u.s. presence in iraq and the internal problems there, and you have a witches' brew of extraordinarily complex conflagration.