The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

perverts-guide-to-ideology

Slovene philosopher Slavoj Zizek is a charming public intellectual whose accented-English, absentminded nose-wiping, and obvious enthusiasm for Ideas make him a kind of ambassador of deep thinking. In the 2012 documentary “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” directed by Sophie Fiennes, Zizek delivers dazzling deconstructions of many popular films, showing how they function as instruments of ideology and propaganda. Jaws, Titanic, Taxi Driver — they all contain subtle (and not so subtle) cues that encourage the viewer to believe and accept a prevailing ideology, much like “Triumph of the Will” worked for the Nazis. Zizek, and “The Guide” are provocative and highly entertaining, often more so than the movies he analyzes.

We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists

The Bad Guys

The Enemy Who Hates Our Freedoms has gotten unruly, crossing borders dreamed up by imperial empires. Impudent weeds with AK-47s and machetes impertinently raise their masked heads, taunting, braying, slashing American throats and luring the big bad bully into yet another unwinnable war. It’s time to mow the grass. Here we go. Again.

It’s been 13 years since the Bad Guys got our attention and, barely trying, won the War on Terror. They left us terrified and flummoxed and hysterical, perfectly prepared to plunder our treasury in exchange for the delusional belief that we would be more secure, that somehow – and this would all work itself out, we were assured – our drones and bombs and torture camps would eliminate the threat, not increase it.

Well, reader, you and your neighbors have spent trillions to feel better. You and your precious children are altogether safer today than ever before, . . . → Read More: We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists

Is the Tall Man Happy?

is_the_man_who_is_tall_happy_an_animated_conversation_with_noam_chomsky

Driector Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) is currently flummoxing viewers with his persistently inventive “Mood Indigo.” But of all his blazingly original creations, the 2013 documentary “Is the Tall Man Happy: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky” might be his most densely wonderful work. Gondry and the indispensable linguist and social critic Chomsky have a wide-ranging chat. But instead of filming the discussion, Gondry animates it (beautifully and strangely). The result is simultaneously light and trippy, heavy and profound — and consistently mesmerizing.

News Quiz

News Quiz

Who said what?

“This act of violence shocks the conscience of the world.”

A) Eric Holder, on the Boston Marathon bombing.

B) Reverend Al Sharpton, on the slaying of another unarmed black man by American police.

C) Prime Minister David Cameron, on the downing of Malaysian Air #17.

D) None of the above.

“They are killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and . . . → Read More: News Quiz

Israel’s Final Solution

Conflict Ender

Enough already. We’re sick and tired of hearing about the conflict in Gaza, especially when there’s a new turtle movie coming out.

Sure, our tax dollars pay for Israeli and Egyptian weaponry, and, yeah, OK, that sort of makes us involved. But, really, what does this decades-old grudge match have to do with us here in America? Can’t it just end so our newspapers can return to reporting good news, like the discovery of more frackable shale in North Dakota?

Supposedly there’s no way out of this deplorable situation. Supposedly there’s no answer acceptable to all three parties (Hamas, Israel, and USA). Upon first and repeated consideration, that seems about right. Water and oil will never mix – unless you add a bonding agent, but never mind. It’s a foregone conclusion: Israel and Hamas will never come to terms.

Have you not read the Hamas Covenant? Are . . . → Read More: Israel’s Final Solution

Religious Champions of Discrimination

rights can't wait

America’s religious leaders, some of the most esteemed and respectable citizens in our republic, are helping us understand that our precious freedoms — the ones our brave soldiers fight and die for in faraway dust bowls most of us can’t find on a map — are once again under attack. This time the perpetrator isn’t a hairy Muslim in pajamas or an angry white guy with an automatic weapon and the phrase “2nd Amendment is 1st in My Heart” tattooed on his shoulder. This time it’s the White House.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order this week that barred anyone doing business with the United States government from discriminating against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or transgendered Americans. The upshot: if you want to hang onto your tax exemptions, government contracts and subsidies, you must hire the ungodly and unworthy, the sodomites and Sapphos and freaks.

Now, this . . . → Read More: Religious Champions of Discrimination

When Credibility Is More Important Than Justice

upholding the law

In a story headlined “Pot’s popularity, state law create trying times for U.S. prosecutor,” a Los Angeles Times reporter named Joe Mozingo attempted a sympathetic profile of a United States attorney who works closely with DEA agents to imprison Americans for possessing or selling cannabis, even when those Americans are obeying state law. How tricky, how challenging! Especially when the prosecutor, Julie Shemitz, 57, admits that she personally has no grievance with the plant or people who enjoy it.

Indeed, she claims she wouldn’t care if Congress made it legal.

Then why does she ruin the lives of people who she understands are no threat to society? According to the newspaper, so the Justice Department can “remain credible.”

A Justice Department that prosecutes immoral laws has no credibility. Yet, so long as there are credulous writers like Mozingo and rationalizing dupes like Julie Shemitz willing to do . . . → Read More: When Credibility Is More Important Than Justice

Poem: The Silliest Most Comforting Thought

raison detre

How terribly awfully

blatantly and, one might emphasize,

preposterously

naïve

to envision even for a frivolous moment

a world, or a set of circumstances,

alternating laws and chances,

in which wherein and also everything else you can dream,

human beings,

people

decide to make love

the reason for living.

 

Slilly thought yes.

Even sillier, giggly wiggly like

the tail of a pig **+*+**:

imagine, as the man said, imagine

this most preposterous fantasy:

the human race

entirely too busy making love

their reason for living

to waste lifetimes making hate.

Poem: The Abiding Benefit of Employing Servants

Jet setters

Employing a staff, you see,

Betters all mankind, not just me.

Look, the man who drives my car

Was born unlucky, not a star

Like me and Angie, Anne and Mike,

All us worthy of your thumbs-up “like.”

 

Meet the girl who cleans my home:

Born unlovely, brownish gnome

With moles unsightly, hair unkempt,

She’s never loved nor even slept

With a charismatic VIP

(Speaking only theoretically).

 

The lesser lights now have work

And I can bear the taunts of “jerk,”

Because, you see, I know the truth.

Three things we covet quite more than youth:

Power, wealth, and celebrity.

Now, don’t you wish that you were me?

Poem: Absolution

asking for absolution

Forgive me

Wash it all away

The sins and unpleasantries that have soiled my otherwise pristine existence.

Rid them. Scour and scald if you must. Scrub.

Make magnificently clean the miasma of my missteps.

Heal. Mend.

But mostly clean.

Absolve.

Purify – and not in the mendacious greed-modeled sense of “purified,” as in

Water from a dirty distant place, now a drink suitable for your refined palate.

Purify with light and air. Let the freshness flow like tears

No longer dammed.

 

The ask is the task we have now unmasked.

Caskets and coffins and cantilevered cornucopias conspire to conceal,

But better billows of spirit steam, soapy and serene

Vindicate vivacity lurking in vitrines

And antler horns and manors born and all the Andean

Quinoa in China.

 

And now we wait. Refreshed

For now.

. . . → Read More: Poem: Absolution