Monthly Archives: January 2012

So I know the fun is over, the party happened and it’s too cold to camp now. But I was just tracing back to that old line about “OWS doesn’t have a coherent message!” and it only just occurred to me…

Where else do you have an almost random assemblage of people, who have varying tastes/desires, meeting in a vaguely delineated space, with an outcome/decision based off the accumulation of individual desires and wants?

A: Markets.

Think about it, the very thing that OWS is targeting is also, ironically perhaps, also the same method of that protest. What does a Market want? Who speaks for the Market? Random assemblages of people casting an unofficial vote… OWS is not as far from capitalism as capitalists are from OWS.

And a make it or break it orientation isn’t necessarily a good OR bad thing. Name one successful political movement that had a bullet point strategy for success. Not Civil Rights, not the American Revolution (the Constitution came long after a scrambled revolution had happened.) Obviously, you don’t just “revolt” and hope for the best later, something of a coherent strategy is in play before the protest fun happens. But this hardly differs from the norm.

When politicians run for office they usually spell out their platform in simple terms, and what happens? They diverge from it. Remember Reagan and Bush as the anti-tax candidates…? Remember how they shot up taxes and government spending to putting us all in debt? Remember how Obama was going to stop the abuses of the Bush-Cheney system and then re-instated the policy of indefinite detention?

Stable platforms on policy or governance are more or less shit. Anarchy, as a political method, is way more credible not only as an ideology but in practice as well.


While browsing for the types of coverage about the Tahrir Square protests I naturally had to turn to Fox News, but before I could get even close to Tahrir, I was treated to: “Obama Warns UN: Reform or Else… (We’ll Keep Sending You Money.)”

Now, no one thinks Fox News is credible journalism except Fox News. They try to put up a good show of it, but using sarcasm in a front page headline is not even trying to appear respectable. That is just going full-on editorial without even the decency to at least try to cover up such a huge violation of ethics in journalism.

It’s a bad sign when a media organization like Fox can be so completely out in the open about their total lack in objectivity. We all knew Fox is a conservative mouthpiece, but the fact that they had mostly been keeping it subtle was at least consoling in that it showed their inner guilt for being a soap box rather than a news source. But in their growing openness, which still carries the same psychological denial of “fair and balanced,” it’s just clear that they no longer even worry about being called out.

Deny, disavow, play the fool… it’s not just Fox, nor just the right-wing, but it’s politics itself. Or take Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich in response to their bizarre and troublesome attitude towards women and marriage, they basically divert, go into tangents, deny and bullshit reporters into submission. Yet, where was Gingrich during Clinton’s trials? No honor among adulterers, apparently.

Particularly horrifying has been the constant, double-sided talk from Wall Street. Wall Street says, “we’re the only ones who can run a complex global economy! You *need* our expertise!” But when accused both of negligence and criminal activity suddenly they become the ignorant, doe-eyed fools that are too naive and innocent to have been economy-crashing greedy.

Today I got a whole number of rantings from friends who work in the service sector (a.k.a., Hell.) And I can identify because I did that for years and probably will again soon, but people are idiots and these are the ones I mean.

1. “I come here so why do I have to tell you what I want?” So may valid responses. A. You don’t come here so much that I recognize what you want, fucker; so just use your words and tell me.” This seems particular to friends I know who work at Starbucks but I recall this all too well myself. As my Kindergarten teacher told me, “use your words.” What do you want? You’re waving a napkin, do you want more napkins? Is that why you’re waving a napkin like a desperate sailor trying to signal? Sorry, I don’t read the language of Over-priviledge”

B. The reason you’re asked for an opinion about what you want at a service place is so they can actually do that. If you come out in the end unsatisfied, don’t act like nobody respected your opinion because all service industry transactions start with “how can I help you?” questions.

Didn’t get what you wanted…? It’s probably your own stupid fault. When they asked what you wanted, you didn’t tell them, you think they’ll pry you with follow up questions. “This is not what I got last time.” Who cares? Fact of the matter, service workers are people and not calibrated robots so if you want what you got last time to be what you got last time, then build you a time machine or forever live in in misery. Because things that are made are made by people, who cannot recreate all the physical movements of the thing they made for you two weeks ago, straightly, you’re fucked. So stop complaining or learn how to articulate your needs beyond “like last time.” “The consistentecy of the foam in my cappucino is not what I wanted” (repeated to me today.) No, you’re merely a control freak deviant who can only obtain sexual gratification by manipulating the inconsequential aspects of your Starbucks beverage and watching people (who actually do work for a living) sweat to please you with the right frothiness. You should be put against a wall and shot.

2. “I am a regular!” The people who are regulars, we know who you are, you’re regular. I’ve had people come up to me and say “I’m a regular” not knowing who the hell they were. Service workers, we know who our regulars are. Doesn’t take any time to spot them on site. People who come in three times a year,, you’re not a regular.

3. The people who need it made by “you” not your coworker. My last real customer service job I had I had to make veggie juices and this one woman absolutely would not allow anyone but me to make them for her. Literally, if I was busy, she’d wait. So I made them, generally according to the standards we had. But she always said, “you make it best” but the thing is, I never measured or cared about the juice I made her. It varied by what I had on hand, I put less effort into her juice than all other tasks there, I cared a shitsworth, but every time she said I did it better than anyone. Which says, the customer doesn’t know a thing, they just get hooked on certain employees.

4. “I’ll Talk to Your Manager About This!” Such a hardcore threat, as if the person you’re sending it to is actually keeping but withholding the power to make your consumer wish come true. Talk to the manager, and then what? You find out your dickhead request was merely blocked by a living wage employee who make an executive decision to fuck you over for the sake of prospering the company? Such people, we work on kissing your ass like horny teens, not recreating our own ideas of company policy to make your day inconvenient. So here’s my belated, fuck you.

So speaking of the Master Cleanse diet, a lot of people I know swear by it, but I have a few questions for subscribers of this, doctors, professionals basically anyone…

1. If lemon, maple syrup and cayenne have “toxin” removing properties, wouldn’t it make sense to push them heavily into a diet plan? Rather than have periodic cleanses?

2. The toxins that the cleanse flushes, can you A. name one and B. explain why this particular diet eliminates it? In terms of chemistry terms, so I can check with sources. 🙂

3. Most of the arguments I tend to hear in favor of the Cleanse say, “I just did it and it worked!” How might you respond to the suggestion that maybe people just get a boost of positive feelings by thinking their doing something good and in the end associate their happiness to “committing to a ludicrous diet” as itself their positive feelings of well-being?

4. Lemons are out of season, can I use limes instead? Maple syrup is expensive, can I swap Mrs. Butterworth? Cayenne? I prefer paprika, is this okay? If these substitutions are invalid, please explain why giving concrete reasons on a pharmaceutical level.

Some days I like to think of myself as a sort of Penn & Teller type, someone who exposes the stupidity and hypocrisy of people’s beliefs, except for the fact that I’m not a heavy-set moron with a ponytail shilling for the Libertarian Party who can’t tell a fact from his own ass. But webbing brought me to a “Gross Ingredients In Your Food” article and it got to me.

I think everyone deep down knows there’s some freaky shit in the everyday foods we eat. And there certainly is (sawdust, for instance.) Even if we’re not the hyperactive nutcases in the outermost tiers of the New Age movement who think every plant grown in Asia cures cancer and black pepper destroys your cells (actual statement from one of them.) But I have a real problem with “X is in Y, so X is Y” shit that people talk about. And that’s basically what this article was.

Here’s a list of things to freak you out of my own:

1. Onions contain the same compound used in drain cleaners.

2. The salad you order at a restaurant probably has over a million bacteria on it.

3. Cinnamon can cause liver failure.

4. Foods made with wheat/rye can lead to psychosis and death.

5. Swiss cheese can be as deadly for the allergic as bee stings are to some.

6. Cooking food on a stove imparts radiation into it.

Just a few things off the top of my head. Want to cut out salad, bread, Swiss cheese now just because of these “shocking truths?” And they are all very, very true, trust me. Well, if you are worried then fucking stop doing that.

Onions contain the same acid used in a lot of dangerous cleaning products, but in such minute amounts that it doesn’t matter at all (they’re actually very healthy vegetables.) Same with cinnamon, it’s toxic maybe if you ate a whole entire bag of cinnamon sticks, but why would you do that? Salads have millions of bacteria on them, but your own body has trillions; mathematically and biologically-speaking, bacteria is just in everything, so deal. The grain thing, ergot poisoning, almost never happens. Swiss cheese death, rare allergy, almost never happens. Cooking, specifically microwaving imparts radiation into your food–I’ve heard this said as a warning in all honesty. Truth is, yes it does, If you are reading this then that means light waves are entering your eye sockets and you are being radiated. Because that’s what radiation is: light, heat, microwaves, radio signals… if you want to avoid radiation there’s one option for you: failure. Because it’s in every known part of the universe and it doesn’t always kill you.

Conspiracy theories, New Age medicine, contemporary religion (but not mine!), everything in politics… there is so much crap peddled to us, and sometimes it’s “honest” but honest in such a manipulative and sleazy way that it can fuck you out of reality if you let it. There is a big difference between saying something true and being truthful. Being truthful means conveying a statement in a way that the hearer is expected to understand; saying what is true can mean passing information along to a listener that is right, but that which distorts or mars their understanding of it.

America, my beautiful America, is getting way too obsessed with this “what hidden thing in that every day thing will kill you next?” question and it needs to stop now, somehow, maybe I can help. Want to not die? Quit smoking, be a cautious driver, eat less fats and exercise. There is no secret other. There is no hidden toxin. And speaking of toxins, don’t ever listen to New Age people for health advice ever. Master Cleanse is nothing but short-term starvation. Trust doctors! They don’t spend eight years in post-graduate education to just lie to you. Herbal medicine companies aren’t subverting the greedy pharmaceutical industry, they’re just trying to sell shit to make money.

Two points I wasn’t clear on:

1. That Obama put an end to Guantanamo-esque torture, I’m glad of! For sure! But infinite detention, with no due process is still in my mind akin to torture, or at least entirely counter-focal to the very exact standards of our Constitution and our international treaties. So saying “no torture” as an appeal to me is basically like saying it’d be cool if you or I were jailed for life so long as the guards didn’t beat us. Your argument holds water as a sieve.

2. Obama should not count on his left-liberal supporters if indiscriminate detention (I hate to say “indefinite” because that implies a reason for detention had been already there.) I know things are more complex than the left-center-right division that has plagued politics that have plagued politics since the French Revolution, but I don’t know one single–not a single human being–who does not reside on the left side that Obama appeals to that finds detention the least tolerable. Most those I associate with, both political theorists and totally average Joes from the Midwest, we find it nauseating and disturbing.

Practical for the safety of our nation…? No, our safety resides in our commitment to values over short term leaps into totalitarian practice for the sake of efficiency! This simply CANNOT stand and expect the continued support of those of us from a plethora of left-liberal traditions. Even my mom, who will slap a vote on any Democrat who mentions environment or labor in passing is starting to question Obama’s capacity for anything but a shifting centrist pollster! We DO want to support him, and I think he has the gusto and know-how to really do some shit. But if he keeps this up, he’s another Clinton or Carter, a caving Democrat who gets his more passionate supporters looking for other, better options. This is what I know from basically my entire political support group.

Please, stop caving to simplicity without justice. Make us proud, you’ve got little time to expect any kind of vote from me. I’d rather abstain as of now (but I’d REALLY not want to.)


Post-script, I can see a lot of basic flaws in how I appealed to a federally elected candidate. For one, no one is going to read all of that, if anyone reads it at all. But to put it in a way that I suppose anyone who reads me would get, Obama is to me what a Radiohead fan might expect after 5 years of waiting for a new album only to get served posturing crap (King of Limbs, for example.)

Real political tact, not that you should ever take me as a good example! is a fine thing. It’s a mix of actually making informed statements to your official, being non-polemic, not vituperative, and hitting straight to what you hope/expect/approve them to do. Basically, everything I didn’t do!

Pro-choice. So in the grand scheme of things I am certainly pro-choice. As in I believe in a legal right to safe and legal abortion for all women who want that. How then could I possibly be pro-life?! Well, evidently by not conforming to all the tenets of the greater pro-choice movement, which I will now deconstruct and explain.

1. “It’s my body, it’s my choice.” No. Technically, that thing in you is not your body. That is another body inside your body. That you should have legal rights to decide certain options, even for the life and death of this other, yes, I gladly concede that! But that it’s “in” you does not grant you ultimate rights.That’s some twisted and bizarre legal reasoning.It resembles the logic of so many home-steaders who shoot an intruder claiming that sovereignty laws (that don’t really exist) enabled them to murder.

2. “It’s a choice.” Well, it would be a choice if it were certainly not murder. But it isn’t quite, not exactly and not for sure. I don’t chime in with the “fetuses are human beings!” side, but nor do I with the “fetuses are just some cells, not life!” side. Lets face it, it’s complicated, and well impossible to know what is and isn’t a baby. Conception, third trimester, birth… all this shit is arbitrary as hell. If you think otherwise, give me a solid argument why it isn’t. Why the definition of a human-with-rights begins “HERE” but not “THERE” then go on and solve this grand dilemma.

So what we do is make the best choice given the facts we have, our general knowledge and a rough median of our collective ethical decisions. And mine, well, it’s pro-choice. I welcome pro-life dialogue, I actually get what you’re saying because I’m not skewed by the biases of traditional pro-choice banter. But I still disagree. And this is what I hate so much about the abortion issue; I “get” the opposition, but all the arguments against it have no bearing toward it. I feel that it’s obvious that *IF* a fetus in the womb is actually a person that it’s rights triumph a woman who says her uterus is her own. But not so easy! Supposing a life, if “real,” doesn’t get entitled to rights. Now you’ve got a playfield wide fucking open.

But that’s such a speculative if, there is way more to talk of, but no talk happens in the abortion debate. So all I can do is push the safest and most general argument: I want abortion to stop, but I want to keep it legal. Because theologically and scientifically that’s all I see. Until the deadlock is broke where we can actually talk about the rights of parents *and* the sanctity of life then the abortion debate is basically apples and oranges talking about who is more fruitier. Yes, fruitier.