Thursday, December 22, 2011

"They" get "us" with their words

"Spill" is tangled with intent. And the way intent is used — particularly in the tales of war-death-destruction-despair — is often misleading (see, right there, the way I used misleading... is very misleading).

Easy example: when I make cocktails, I'm very often shaking for four. Squeezing four drinks into one batch brings the spirits near the stainless steel brim — the danger zone. When straining the sweet relief into glasses, some initial spillage can be expected — you know how this works... the shaker is just a little too full, the liquids surge to the edge, and if I don't pour fast enough, some of that icy tequila is going to run down the side of the shaker, de-stressing the tabletop. So... did I spill? Of course not. I had too much booze in the shaker to avoid the small spill, I knew this, and poured it anyway.

If the result of an action is known, speaking of intent is nonsense.

So when Royal Dutch Shell spills dumps oil onto West African land and water... every. single. day... it is not doing so by accident — therefore spill confuses what actually happened (which, of course, is in the interests of Royal Dutch Shell and the Culture of Destruction). As always, the ethical standards of having a Blogger account are high, so I'll be fair with Shell:
Apparently predicting interest in the spill would grow, Shell already had taken out Internet advertising Thursday on search engines, directing those searching for the spill to their website. Jonathan French, a Shell spokesman in London, said the advertising came in the "interests of full transparency" so people can read the company's updates on the spill.
Which brings me to Santa's big gift (assuming, like me, your portfolio is heavy on uranium futures), the new Westinghouse AP1000 is approved and ready to boil! I love the blue, but why did they do the outside in brown? Hopefully they'll have more colors for next year's model. At least it's safe:

But the chairman of the commission, Gregory B. Jaczko, said that all of the panel’s safety concerns had been fully addressed.
“The design provides enhanced safety margins through use of simplified, inherent, passive, or other innovative safety and security functions, and also has been assessed to ensure it could withstand damage from an aircraft impact without significant release of radioactive materials,-” he said in a statement.

Warning: Pass this point, and your face will look like mine
Well, if Dr. Jaczko (he is a doctor, I hope) thinks the safety margins are enhanced... and it's airplane-proof... we can get back to designing the signs that will remain coherent for... for... forever. It really sums it all up, does it not? A culture that can create death on a chronological scale so hilariously vast that it feels compelled (it's the right thing to do) to pass along warnings to our — it'll take you about 45 minutes, but please say "great" about 3,000 times — grandchildren. They are the future.

Nuclear Power is almost all-the-way-back. O-Bah-Ma, O-Bah-Ma, O-Bah-Ma

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birth of a Ham Monster: Seeking, Eradicating, Balancing Desire

The black cat — prodigious leaper, lover and fighter, combatant in games of "chicken" played against actual chickens — has been consumed by a new desire. Ham. He tasted ham, chewed ham, swallowed ham... and then something happened. The experience required repeating. It wouldn't be "nice" to have a little more ham some time, the strong-legged cat doesn't simply respond positively to the offer of ham, he pursues it. He requires it. Without it, he cannot be content. So what does he do? He sits at the refrigerator. And he demands to have his desire satisfied. For five years, this cat has known where his food is kept, yet, he never showed any desire for it. He ate it. Sure. But he didn't desire it... why not?  Desire? What could I mean...

I like desire as: an expression of a need to pursue that which is required. In other words, something you need (not want) but don't always or easily obtain.

The black cat always had his regular, everyday food. It sits in two places: wet food in the kitchen, dry food on the shelves outside the bathroom door. Ham doesn't follow this pattern. Ham is kept away, in a massive, mysterious, humming tank. So, I ask: is the black cat in a "good" situation. Should I, as keeper-of-the-ham, nurture this, or find a way to end it?

Recently, quite recently, I was informed — by a very confident person — that "people" should eliminate desire. I didn't know what the fuck they were talking about, so I asked: huh? To which I received a reply along the lines of: be content with what you have, satisfy your basic needs, and wish for no more.

Now, I know (I think I know) what they were selling: a fairly standard anti-consumerism idea. These are common messages, no? "If you think that the new car or new gadget will make you happy, you're mistaken!" And, of course, relationships with other subjectivities certainly offers a more varied experience than relationships with objects, like cars or telephones. But what about desire? I think the complexities that desire induces can be quite delightful. An example:

I desire — require but can not always have — at least an hour of alone time everyday. Some days (such as today) this is very easy to come by, and others (like tomorrow) it simply is not going to happen. But wait a second! Surely, if I require some alone time, I'll get it, right? Easy enough. All of tomorrow's car-travel, chit-chat, family time... just skip out on some of it. And I could do that — what is stopping me? Desire! A competing desire. A desire to have the family not think I'm a disagreeable asshole, incapable of going-along with the structure of family days. This is something I require (truly, despite all evidence to the contrary, if I couldn't at least obtain the status of: not a completely disagree asshole... this would be an unsettling situation).

Leaving me with this: Desire is delightful, it requires we pay attention to our own needs, and make compromises and adjustments when desires come into conflict. This is a life, conflicting desires. As for the cat, well, I require a sense that I'm feeding the cat food that won't result in bad health (salted cured meats probably fit the bill) but I also require that he shut the fuck up, so here comes some ham, Ham Monster.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ripley's: In some parts of the world, the rulers make the peons do shit they don't want to do?

North Korean honcho dead, what have we learned? New Yorker knows (fun and easy game: change the proper nouns to make these nonsense sentiments sum-up Modern Death Captialism and the waking reality of the American Non-Dream):
Mandatory public crying. Those three words sum up about as tidily as possible the ghastly bondage—the incessant psychic and physical torture—that the Kim dynasty has made the North Korean way of life for more than half a century. No sooner did the state news agency release the news of Kim Jong-il’s death than the public plazas of Pyongyang began to fill with neatly assembled ranks of citizens, weeping and wailing on command, while state television recorded the spectacle, which was promptly uploaded to YouTube. Early in the most heavily circulated clip, the fakeness of the grieving is obvious: you can see the captive mourners forcing the sobs, moaning unconvincingly, and squeezing their eyes to produce tears. But by about half way through the clip, the atmosphere of absolute bereavement looks real: men and women prostrate themselves, writhing and howling in what appears to be acute and authentic agony. Here in the space of just a few minutes of videotape we see the method and the madness of the Kims’ grim dominion over North Korea enacted in miniature—we watch a lie become reality.
Apparently, in North Korea, there is an expectation  (I'm gonna try explaining this to you, but you'll be as baffled as a 83 year old New Guinean woman trying to learn the ins-n'-outs of being a sales associate at Baby Gap... you ain't gonna get it on the first try, so read slowly) there is an expectation that you have to offer fake sentiment in order to flatter your superiors ego! You can't just do your own thing, oh no: there is a code of conduct which demands a very limited range of acceptable social behavior. I know I know I know... fucking unbelievable, right? Like, you gots to fabricate yo' personality and shit, it's like all the peoples are a fiction, an invention — IL-LEGIT!
You know how in America, when the boss is trying to pawn off some bullshit, some new protocols that guarantee everyone in the cubicle of cubicles has to press a bunch more buttons that don't need to be pressed, we all tell the boss to get fucked! We ain't doing it! And yo' breath be stinkin' too! That's how America works, all genuine all-the-time.

Here's my favorite line in the article:
But what has always made North Korea really frightening is that, from within its own twisted worldview, Pyongyang behaves rationally. Never has such a small, economically weak state succeeded in making such a big deal of itself for so long. One of the main reasons for North Korea’s endurance is that South Korea is terrified of its collapse. Although the Korean War has never officially ended—and more than eleven million Korean families remain divided by the partition of the Korean peninsula—it has been Seoul’s policy for several decades now to try to prevent a North Korean implosion rather than to promote one. Why? Because South Korea, having watched West Germany pay for the integration of the former-Communist East Germany, is terrified of the cost that integrating the blighted North would entail. So our great ally in East Asia is complicit in propping up our great enemy there.

Our enemy?! Holy shit, it's almost like the lie has become the reality. Know this, dear reader, North Korea is a sham bogeyman, and the sham bogeyman is the absolute greatest ally of the American ruling class, FOR-EV-ER.