nothing is more disingenuous and fallacious than the statement of susan rice at the un, concerning this rudimentary proto-recognition of the palestinian territories, that the us opposes it because the two-state solution 'can only emerge from direct negotiations with the israeli government.' um, ok, so why is this incompatible with that? it's completely irrelevant. if we support palestinian statehood, we should be happy to endorse this little symbol of its possibility. this only constitutes a 'barrier to negotions' (the israeli formulation) in the sense that it could conceivably give the palestinians some little bit of leverage. of course, the israelis will only negotiate on a completely asssymmetrical basis. even then there's no chance they will agree to statehood.
the truth is that we oppose palestinian statehood until the israelis endorse it, which is, i predict, never. the israeli negotiating position is ridiculous; they certainly do not have any interest in palestinian statehood, but they're constantly pretending to endorse the two-state solution. you can't talk to people when they're just yapyaping like this. they'll say anything. their actual strategy is to represent their policy as being the opposite of what their policy is in fact. let's say they have mixed succes in concealing their actual policies, but there's no sense talking to them because what they say is always the opposite of what they do. how it could possibly be in our interest to echo this line of jive is a question i leave to the professionals. i said the same last year when the thing came up before.
well i will say the way the obama administration publicly portayed the benghazi killings is at best a royal screw up. the very idea that they supposedly have no idea who developed the sort of false information purveyed by rice, carney, and others is bizarre. but there was no way some false cover-up story was going to hold up; no one could have seriously entertained that idea. nor, really, do i see why they should have; you pay tribute to the heroic dead and vow to do better on security in the future. so i think there's just some element we don't know about yet. at any rate, initially the acting director of the cia said the 'talking points' were redacted or falsified by the fbi. then they settled on the dni, etc. it's him; 'it's not my fault' would be a good replacement for 'e pluribus unum.'.
now here's a juicy possibility. note the rift between the fbi and the cia exposed in the petraeus scandal, where fbi agents are literally scrounging around in the director of the cia's emails as his fantasy world comes unglued and he prepares his resignation or tries to figure out how he can hang on after all. while that is happening, petraeus is distractedly watching susan rice on meet the press, like a soundtrack. i'm telling you we have no idea of the factions in this security state, and people could even be hanging other people's people out to dry, or sabotaging the other faction, or setting off suicide blackmail bombs, threatening to end careers. no doubt the factions were formed around different adultery/fine liquor/cialis/blackmail networks, etc. anyway, you can see how everyone might have been a bit bewildered right about then.
seems like someone out there started to figure out squishy totalitarianism, starting from a marxist angle.
The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren’t straightforwardly opposing forces.
In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state, including its role as an “informal empire” promoting free trade and capital movements.
ok then, let's talk about steven spielberg. i want to say, it really is amazing all the things you're not supposed to say, and all the people who are more or less above criticism. but anyway, here's my idea: steven spielberg may be this and that, but he is not an artist. i'd say the very budget of these films precludes them being particularly expressive or embodying anything like a personal vision: the films are elephantine, inert, manipulative rather than meaningful, and really quite banal, though of course impressive as spectacles. they lurch between sentimentality and didacticism: spielberg is always teaching you another lesson, and all the acting and emotion and stuff is like a crocheted cozy on a bludgeon. the lessons are very much at the level of sesame street: they're just cliches: precisely because of the gigantic commercial emphasis and investment, the messages must be uncontroversial, and boy are they. nothing strange or subversive or original or idiosyncratic has ever appeared in any steven spielberg movie. and have you ever tried to watch indiana jones and the crystal skull? he's just the chap to do a hagiography of lincoln: there could be no more redundant or predictable gesture by an american filmmaker.
spielberg will be remembered as the second-rate riefenstahl of squishy totalitarianism, the vanilla pseudo-auteur of the era of copyright protection. the stuff emits the scent of bureaucracy, or centralized planning of the arts. when it becomes impossible to spend that much money on a movie, movies will be better. with the deranged level of promotion, in which all media outlets conspire, it's almost like you're required to watch it and like it: it's socially compulsory, baby. i wouldn't necessarily trust the sincerity of any particular person's ecstatic response in a situation like that, especially critics. and i'll tell you this, the pentagon-style media organization - in publishing and recording and visual arts as well as film - has been an aesthetic wasteland, divided between big sortof highbrow art things and shimmering meaningless corporate pop. it's been the era of the blockbuster: way too much unanimous concentration on and promotion of way too few big bloated items: way too few novels; way too few songs; way too few paintings. you have to manufacture a critical consensus and give the bookers and stuff just to fend off facing your own conventionality and mediocrity. we must have the dullest and safest arbiters of taste since the romans. there's a difference between taste and authority, david remnick, and you are failing in your duty to be interesting. every sign that the culture is multiplying or disintegrating - and of course there are many - is good for the arts. insofar as we have universal cultural touchstones they will be way too huge and puerile. gigantic art should be resisted.
reviving the tribute to tammy i put down in 'songs about kissing' (below). (that tammy wynette is fucking incredible: my candidate for the greatest pop singer of the twentieth century. her timing is so extreme and devastatingly expressive, playing so far behind and then on the band as though waiting for and then trying to seize the cure or just describing the shape of yearning. that timing is of the essence of country music, and it corresponds to the similarly extreme, the unmatched, dynamics. she's always threatening to unleash a new level of intensity. i don't think the recording equipment of the era could really capture or even survive what she's doing there. it's thermobaric. i will be your vietnam.)
you have to be very early on tammy's recordings. i hate to sound condescending especially to my favorite singer but few artists have more badly misunderstood the source of their own power; she made so many pseudo-sophisticated horseshit songs, starting early, so random downloads is a very bad approach. never, however, has suffering been so intensely expressed in popular music (i'll give you billie, though), but then also transcendence of suffering, or transcendence through immanence. really tammy is being crucified. i would call the cross 'heterosexuality,' or being female in a heterosexual couple circa 1967, and i have no idea why she doesn't play the cultural role played by judy garland; dude it's super-intense, super-tragic, in sequins, and the music is better. it's the campiest thing ever and yet within that tammy is completely emotionally exposed, absolutely vulnerable and devastated. she embodies a perfect submission, but she gropes for modes and moments of resistance or understanding. (if you want to hear systematic resistance, though, you'll have to listen to loretta.) anyway here's a twenty-cut list. i'm just going to say this: these are the best country recordings.
(1) The Ways to Love a Man
(2) Enough of a Woman
(3) Yearning (To Kiss You)
(4) I'm Not Mine to Give
(5) I Wound Easy (But I Heal Fast)
(6) Two Story House (George and Tammy)
(7) Too Far Gone
(9) Apartment #9
(10) You Can Steal Me [Album Verson]
(11) Golden Ring (George and Tammy)
(12) I Don't Wanna Play House
(13) Stand by Your Man
(14) Don't Touch Me
(15) I'll Share My World With You
(16) Almost Persuaded
(17) He'll Never Take the Place of You
(18) I Know
(19) My Daddy Doll
(20) These Two
(21) Where Could You Go (But to Her)
(22) Lighter Shade of Blue
(23) The Ceremony (George and Tammy)
the thing to take away from petraeus scandal - not that people are really capable of drawing conclusons like this, or they would have done it from infinite data around 2000 bc - is a vague recollection of what power actually is, and what sort of person actually wants it, and what people do with it when they get it. this is just a kind of hilarious thing: beyond hubris and tragedy into a realm of sheer narcissism, grotesque self-deception, and farce. so really, i want you to picture this situation; petraeus chooses broadwell as his biographer either because he's sleeping with her or because he wants to. then they spend months together working together on a hagiography of petraeus and screwing (if you believe this crap about how it only started later, you're a worse sucker than david's wife; it might be some sort of attempt to save the book, which ought to be vaporized except as a cautionary tale). let's say the wholly uncritical worship - whether it was sincere or not (and in this sort of hierarchy, sincerity and voluntariness are always pre-compromised) - had an erotic effect; petraeus finally realized how his sexuality was actually configured or what it was actually for: an orgy of the most mortifying self-love, gaucherie on a world-bestriding scale. petraeus is his own fetish. then broadwell's on her book tour with their stirring tribute to his extreme...excellence, giving him a blowjob on every news program and radio show, and then again at the hotel room that night. in brief, a pure ethic of public service.
normally i might have a certain sympathy with the 'human foibles'/hey that could happen to anyone/throw the first stone kind of approach. let's say you want to think that through before you apply it here. the person of petraeus exposed in the scandal is a conspicuously outstanding - a truly distinguished - nightmare.
i like privacy as much as the next guy, but i am not going to peg my argument for it on the example of an invasion of the privacy of the director of the cia, though like so many others i would die to protect it. i would love to hear him explicitly crying foul on that, though. i admit that the concept that someone is rummaging around in the email of the director of the cia is very surprising, unprecedented as far as i am recalling at all. indeed, it is potentially explosive; it seems to expose rival commanding factions in the security state, like you'd get in pakistan or iran: hard to say who's in charge of what, really. you start to wonder who controls the nukes. i wouldn't think we know the half of it between the fbi and the cia; it could well have to do with, like, rival adulterous sexual factions: rival procuresses and viagra suppliers, for example, rival studs and lovelies and distinguished old men peppered throughout the military, the secret service, defense contractors, lobbying firms, etc. well honestly what do you expect in that sort of authoritarian hierarchy? heroes?
so the syrian opposition generates a new leadership. headline here? no women. as your village is shelled and your mom explodes, i'd be appointing a commission on pay equity. as far as i'm concerned, they can sit there and die until they get to 17% lesbians. how many latinos in the leadership of the syrian revolution? surely these people can be made to understand the importance of tokenism to the war effort.
by the way, i would definitely support legislation to remove your children from your custody if you permit them to watch ss. here i make a serious assertion: sesame street is the worst children's show ever, and quite a plausible candidate for the very worst television show of any sort. sesame street completely misconstrues the nature of childhood, not to speak of the nature of television. not every minute has to be another minute of fake play to teach; and we can do more for our kids than try to manufacture them as democrats. childhood is intrinsically, not just instrumentally, valuable, and if the point is that you'll never know how i or the corporation for public broadcasting actually formed your consciousness because you'll be under the delusion that you're having fun and acting autonomously; oh, think again and feel more fully your love of small persons. it's like you're forcing these poor little saps to listen to sting. or it's like the new punch and judy show, brought to you by erich honecker. i'm not sure you really want to entirely break down the distincton between entertainment and manipulation, but at least it doesn't work very well: the thing is as entertaining as a migraine. it's helping you model extreme insincerity, though, which will be extremely important to your children's future success. fortunately the ideas and values and characters are so blank that even though your three-your-old might be chanting along to the numbers again, it's going to be nothing compared to his discovery of something actual, like sponge bob say. really key to parenting: ask yourself, how can i manipulate my children to do and believe and say what someone told me they're supposed to, while all the time cleverly pretending to play with them? this is key to preparing your great love/little sucker for the college admissions process. supposedly sesame street was a substitute for pre-school for ghetto kids, growing up in housing projects built on the same aesthetic model. if you think ghetto kids got anything out of that or that it had a big inner-city audience, you are mistaken. it had a multi-cultural cast but the most painful whitebread aesthetic. its actual function was pre-kaplan sat prep course for suburbanites.
that's a rant, in case you're wondering, ma! meanwhile, where is bashar al-assad with his helicopter gunships when you need him? for episode 18 billion or whatever they're up to this week i want the whole cast down there in his state-of-the-art torture/education facility, forced to count from 11 to 20 and not recycle. the opposition to assad on sesame street will be evanescent. but it will be diverse.
it is so good that gay marriage passed by ballot initiative in maine and maryland. the anti forces always say that no voters have ever approved it. see i totally read that as a libertarian thing, though i am not simply identifying as a libertarian. but same thing with the pot legalization. completely. absolutely. maybe when i keep saying there is nothing over on that side of the spectrum but more state power i need to qualify that. now y'all think more thoroughly about the welfare state in relation to asymmetries of power. k?
the way i think about marriage - and i say this as someone who has had some really harrowing experiences - is that it's an act of expression, you know? it's your personal public festival of love where you say whatever you can say that expressses the deepest commitment and love you can, in front of people who will be happy with you and also sort of try to hold you to it. right you don't need the state or the church for that, but that could be important too to someone. so i am for it for anyone in any form or by any authority they prefer. but i think again it needs to lose its normative or expected status and be some people's option. the gay marriage thing doesn't challenge the normative status of marriage. ok. one victory at a time; the other is something we're working on bit by bit.
so now y'all can go from a simulation of the ecstasy of election night 2008 to a simulation of the disappointment you felt for the whole first term. perhaps another redeemer will someday emerge to clarify the extremely muddled idea that is america. i don't think there are any plausible kennedys left, though. or they're all in rehab right now, harboring and hoarding their charisma.
like you, of course, i am kind of bummed out by our terrible setback in the war on women. we are getting. our. asses. kicked. but i am not at all admitting defeat. we will wrest from you once again control of your bodies! if we lose, though - as ultimately seems inevitable - i plan to go all tranny.
so looking at google election results: 1,087,503 votes for gary johnson; 368,324 for jill stein. about 115,000,000 for goldman sachs: those are indeed the people whose votes really counted. i remember pre-internet trying to figure out how many votes the libertarian candidate got; no one would report it at all. you'd have to wait until the next election for them to telll you they got 800k last time or whatever it was.
12:07 one thing you should resist the temptation to do now is write the obituary of the republican party. that happens to the losing party after every single election. right there are these demographic challenges (though i'm less impressed by them than some). but i am telling you that there is an ever-renewed wellspring of real conservative sentiment in this country, and not only among white men. this thing where they've supposedly for decades been unable to work out their outreach to latinos, black folks, or even young single women is pathetic. i could write the scripts in my sleep. so could michael steele, for that matter. where is your total operation in the black church? do you really think even rick santorum doesn't work with latino catholicism? i am telling you that these are in many ways fundamentally conservative constituencies; they have only to inflect the image and make real connections. right you are going to have to tone it down on certain symbolic issues; just grab others. why don't you really blow through a completely sincere self-reflective speech on anti-racism? just hit hard on a certain vision of equality = equal opportunity etc. exploit the resentment of some portions of these populations for the very bureaucracis and forms of control that supposedly ameliorate their condition. work in self-reliance, quoting...marcus garvey.
12:00 co and washington have legalized pot. we started screaming for that in 1970. i remember getting gassed in all senses at the smoke-ins. folks, if you think a legal market in two or three states can be contained to those states you are stoned, but not stoned enough. the market in cannabis will be even more flooded than it is with the medical stuff everywhere; prices will come down. anyway, hard to believe!
11:58 gotta say i'm kind of relieved. that mitt romney is repulsive. plus everyone i ever actually hung out with is happy.
10:08 mackaskill wins: i guess maybe god isn't in favor of rape after all.
10:07 hey crusader, off the top of my blog tonight.
10:04 it would have been worth romney's adjustments to the supreme cort etc to see bruce springsteen sobbing. really all his records are like that. he charges admission.
9:52 call nh for obama. it's going to be ok, dems.
9:40 have to say i'm glad that bob casey beat tom smith in pa senate race, though that was obvious. smioth is a mine-owner whose ads featured coal miners paying sterling tribute to his signature on their paychecks.
9:30 the call for sherrod brown and the solid margin in ohio is one of the things that looks good for obama right now. i just think it falls into place even if he loses virginia and florida. michigan, pa, wi: all falling into place.
9:23 the blogging's gonna be weak; just chillin. glen points out that we all used to watch the total popular vote accumulate on the bottom of the screen on every network. we've been flipping through them all all night and no popular vote total of any kind anywhere. this is emblematic, we feel. it's not a national election in so many senses.
8:37 i fondly remember an election night i spent in jamaica. there was gunfire and yelling from all around. it seemed so direct, so human compared to 10 billion bucks in ads.
8:32 fox is definitely the toupee network plus i'd scrub the cake makeup off the blondes.
5:50 once again, my old refutation of the claim that voting for a third party is wasting your vote (or one of many dimensions of the argument).
5:00 seriously my actual prediction for a romney admininstration: we'll be muddling through the mess. also for a second obama administration. it's going to suck pretty bad sometimes; other times not as much. such is our condition, nor is it entirely unsatisfactory.
4:15 martin bashir on msnbc just described a romney victory as 'the real apocalypse.' it's literally hysterical! look you can say romney's a nebbish, a non-entity, a chameleon, etc., but this right-wing extremist threat to the american way of life just isn't plausible. plus it's very not plausible to do both of these things in back-to-back seven-minute segments. but like i say: any club in a purposeless fight, especially if you have a punch like bashir's. goldman-sachs or soldman-gachs? don't let these people work you up into a tizzy.