Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We want your kids to be fricking robots

I read an article today in the New York Times magazine by Ann Hulbert that reminded me just how stupid we have become as a nation when the words "standards" and "education" are mentioned in close proximity to each other. My daughter just got back her SAT test scores and while I am proud of her for achieving the 97th percentile overall on her scores, the lack of serious talk between her and I over what counts for something in this world depresses me. Part of it is her decision to (for good reasons and bad reasons) to become involved with her boyfriend's family who are members of a mega-church. This means that my irreverance is not very welcomedby her because it causes her to feel like she must pick and choose. Which of course is the meaning of Christianity in the first place. Pick a side. Now arm yourself and get ready to kill.

The other reasons why we don't have the kind of debating society I had with my folks (mostly my dad) when I was growing up is that there is no value placed on debate by my lovely wife given the fact that her folks were not formally educated. This is no knock on them but debate is not something they really get. They take everything absolutely personal and they needed to given that they had to fight for everything they got in this world. They are winners, and they are honorable people. Just don't try to debate anything you really care about with them our you might end up missing some vital part of your psychological anatomy. Or you might get a knuckle sandwich.

As for that last reason, the fucking public school system has decided to make "No child left behind" into "we want your kids to be fucking robots." Behave, test, behave, study, behave, conform, drug test, conform, lick the boots of death, etc etc etc. So my good decent brilliant daughter has busted her caboose to make grades and learn her stuff and she will be rewarded, as will I, with bills the size of a Ferrari so she can learn something in the University that very well might make her take SSRI's or a heavy dose of Jesus to try to make sense of the fact that conforming to an insane society makes one insane. Rebellion is the normal coin of the realm in the free world. We are training our kids to be robots in the corporate world of profit and greed. To hell with all of us who think this will make us happy. And fuck those who sell it knowing it for the poison it is.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Death of a Bigot

I'm remiss in not writing about the death of someone I use to imagine dancing happily on after they were placed in the ground. There's a lot to dislike about Jerry, and there's not a lot new to add to the cacophony of derision and false respect thrown in the direction of the dead pompous windbag. I had an interesting evening with a friend of mine in the week before Falwell died, and it had to do with he and his wife's late conversion and "mission" to Africa to help talk black folks out of fucking and getting HIV. I pointed out that I was only mildly ashamed that my daughter goes to church, which got some eyebrows raised. I pointed out that the part of Christianity I couldn't abide was the bigoted part, which while heavily denied by "true" Christians is as American as segregation. As the conversation went and as the evening developed a little confrontation had to occur whereby my friend had to call me to carpet about my apparent hypocrisy (as I had cut down my own brother he felt comfortable to do as well, which I pointed out was something of a no-no in the backhanded compliment department). I said something like "I just love when people tell me that they can't believe those are my kids" which is sotto voce for "how can somebody like you who is irreverent and profane" raise such decent humans. Exactly because is of course my take on things. But this could not stand. And the reason is the same as the reason why people gravitated to that shitman Falwell. Because Americans will compete over anything and their eternal souls are no fucking different. "My soul is cleaner than your's sinner" ought to be burned with acid onto the tailbumper of every motherfucker who puts his little Christian fish or Jesus slogan on the back of their fucking car. I shit in your general direction seems to be something Americans and everyone else too scared to be without a get out of jail free card must have. Whatever gets you through the night is actually fine by me. But if you lord it up over me then join Falwell in hell. If only I believed in that place.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Feminization of American Culture

I had an interesting back and forth with a student in class last night. Men and women have been sold such a sorry bill of goods about how they are the same or how they are different in history that discussing what has changed in the relationships between the sexes has become mostly a collection of agitprop phrases, repeated at various volumes with fervency and obedience. I have spent most of my time in historical study trying to avoid picking the easy fruit of feminism where the rotten pears of men are bad women are victims lay on the low branches of self-righteousness and certainty. Whenever you start talking about the advantages of a more feminized world you open yourself to the oft-repeated “men and women are the same” phrases of happy thinking. We are not the same, and thank goodness for that.

What went well in class was I managed to fairly describe gender as a continuum of masculinity and femininity that does not adhere directly with our genitals. And over the centuries we have witnessed a shift in the amount of femininity that has entered our culture, politics, and society. The historian Ann Douglass calls it “The Feminization of American Culture.” I won’t go and try to defend American Culture as a progressive phenomenon of ultimate transcendence. We very well may find ourselves at the bottom of a dark pit of despair if we continue doing dumb as we so clearly have been doing for decades now. But if something does wake us up and leave us with a future with having and a society worth lauding, I’m going to bet that it has something to do with the fact that year over year women and their subjectivity strengthens the Republic. But no way in heck am I voting for Hilary.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Support our Troops . . .

So the President's veto was supported by idiot congressmen and women who are afraid that their masculinty is being questioned or some other weak-brained self-lascerating bullshit. America is not simply the sum of her fighting forces. Whatever guilt folks feel for the reception that soldiers returning from Vietnam received, it helps this country not one wit to hold fast to stupidity by leaving the military in Iraq. If you want to support the troops stop tying your damn reality to war as the central means of defending American freedom. If the only way we can live this type of over materialistic lifestyle is to war on others and kill hundreds of thousands of people who we think might try destroy our abilty to drive dually pick-up trucks to our office jobs, then fuck it. All the kings horses and all the kings laser-guided munitions can't put Iraq back together again. We lost. We voted for a guy who managed to steal at least one election and we went along and he got us into a evil war. And we lost. We are losers this time. What is good for America is to learn how to learn from losing instead of blaming others for our faults. God bless somebody else because all those stupid prayers we are giving are not helping. Support our country, not just our troops.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The lying bastards

George Tennant is a shitwit. And listening to his self-serving "we never had a debate about whether it was a good idea to invade Iraq" is so piss off provoking I can only hope he chokes on the millions he got for his whorish book deal. There are so many lying bastards who have worked for the Bush regime that it would be hard to pick one who had an ounce of integrity among the whole cabal.

While I hope that the pain of global warming might actually get Americans to focus on a problem that has solutions, I can't help but doubt if Americans have acquired some new unnamed condition that confers shitwit neuronal structures to their flabby under-exercised brains. We are a country of isolated twits, twittering over the latest media fascination with death and destruction. Virginia is a popcorn fart compared to Baghdad but the media almost drowned in its own drool over "the tragedy" that some isolated worm food delivered to their cherished illusions. Gun control will not solve what lurks underneath. To fix the pairing of depression and vengeance will require the media to actual stop pedaling the old guanos of righteousness and purity as enfotainment and develop a narrative on honesty as the best marketing policy. Looking at the departing market shares the mainstream media gets, this is no longer some sort of happy idealistic thought. The survival of decent newspapers will require that the start getting things right more often. And they sure as hell got Iraq wrong.