Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shhhhhh... Considering Secrets

As entertaining as the show is, I am not terribly interested in the Wikileaks diplomatic libretto. It seems to be little more than unneeded details in an obvious story line (a rough equivalent would be watching the "deleted scenes" from a cinematic tale of romance, starring Matthew McConaughey : No thanks, I'm pretty sure I have it all figured out).

But I am interested in secrets (considering the difference between keeping a secret and telling a lie is great fun). As for the functions of the secret: to hide and exclude. So, I'll ask: Why hide? Why exclude?

The hiding of information seems to stem from a simple motivation: avoidance of ostensibly unsavory consequences. Why else would you hide? I can't think of anything.

Excluding others from information, keeping certain things secret from certain people, is just a specific form of hiding. Primarily, we exclude when we fear the consequences of inclusion. So, I stumble into a sensuous bar, I enjoy it — I don't want it to be any different. The next day, when someone at work, or wherever, asks me what I did last night, do I say, "went to this fantastic bar, it was great, just what I wanted, you should check it out"?

I might. But I almost might not. I might choose to exclude. Because to include something new would be to invite change. And I fear the change — the potential for loss — far more than I welcome the unknown.

Now, this secrecy is all slightly hegemonic, dominant. To keep a secret is to make an assumption — you have to expect a consequence in order to believe secrecy is the way to go (and our expectations are, to make another obvious observation, varied). So remember, a secret is quite calculated — even when it stems from an impulse (what is an impulse other than an extremely fast calculation?) — and the formula is simple. It's like what Lenin said... you look for the person who will benefit, and, uh, uh... You know what I'm trying to say.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To Vulgarize and Falsify until the Bare Lies Shine Through, I say Thanks

"Well sure, I'm so thankful, especially in this economy."

"Oh, of course. I'm lucky to be picking superfluous fly shit out of pepper, it's a good job... especially in this economy."

"I love you all very much... I mean, have you seen this economy lately?"

Concerning these sentiments — which will, over the next few days, be harped on without relent across this important land of ours — be sure to remind the speaker that Thee Conomy is absolutely fine — just doin' what it do.

As I am ill-adjusted for this life (you'd never know it by my living room decor), I don't understand why you wouldn't recite the Old Man's Turkey prayer for the fam on Thursday. History is important, and we should all take time to recall from whence Thee Conomy of ours has come. It's a classic, don't butcher it, start rehearsing.

Thanks for reading,

One of the Finks

Monday, November 22, 2010

Silly Seattleites

I'm going to do a local puff piece, ready? It was between this and a grizzly Monday morning pick-axe murder — we needn't entertain morbidity, no matter how pressing or, local.

They never cease to amuse. Here's the play-by-play in handy bullet point, public school style simplicity:

I did not draw this. I found it on the internet.
  • Native American 10th grader reads Huxley's Brave New World, doesn't like it.
  • Mother complains to school, "Wasn't Huxley into Ahimsa... I don't like the Hindu-hippie bullshit!". Actually, she said this:
    • the book has a "high volume of racially offensive derogatory language and misinformation on Native Americans. In addition to the inaccurate imagery, and stereotype views, the text lacks literary value which is relevant to today's contemporary multicultural society." 
  • School officials send a letter to Huxley, asking him to, quote, leave this place. After Huxley failed to pick up the books, they banned it. (I will note: this school is named after Nathan Hale — the American revolutionary/spy that the Commie Red Coats hugged hung in 1776)
  • Mother — now on a roll and feeling the awesome power of forcing appeasers to appease — requests (demand might be a better word) that the book be removed from the entire Seattle school district curriculum. Her "resettlement" plan for the books — based on the following quote — remains unclear:
    • "We're not trying to in any way censor that book, we're just saying it does not belong in high school." 
  • Mom (real name: Sarah Sense-Wilson) cites a study she recently completed:
    • "Most of the kids I've talked to don't even like the book so I doubt it would even get an audience in the library."
  • Ostensibly, one Seattle School District meeting did not allow enough time for deliberation, the decision on whether to remove the book is pending. 
Based on the "comments" I've read, it seems like Seattle's snarkiest are actually against exiling the book — they either like the book, hate Native Americans, or both.

Now, I'm with Sarah Sense, getting this book out of the classroom is the right move. I mean don't you know that Ridley Scott is taking the book directly to the people via the Big Screen? Ridley Scott + Leonardo DiCaprio = A better sci-fi boner than I got from Blade Runner. If the kids read the book, that will ruin the movie!

Hot Sauce!

Friday, November 19, 2010

By all means, don't bother "focusing"

Focus — as a verb, an action — only happens naturally, that's what I'm going to argue, at least.

When focus is used as part of a command ("pay attention"), what you are hearing is an essentially unworkable demand. When I focus — no matter the subject or setting — my own "will" is not at work, even if it appears that way. Focus comes and goes, sometimes it's expected, other times surprising, but always... it goes as it will, seemingly uninterested in what we "think".

Fight the impulse to enjoy yourself. Thanks, Management
Surely, you have experienced this, eh? The sun has called it a day, you've slipped into something that is only socially acceptable in private, and you're thinking about some bullshit (let's go with the banal: a co-worker rides your coattails, a memorable woman on the train... whatever) that you wish (or maybe you don't) would be kind enough to exit your mind. But... no. It lingers. It does not release. Focus has you. Perhaps you can wait it out, maybe that will work... didn't work. Talk about it... still nothing. And then, without warning or fanfare, the object of your focus departs. This, necessarily, happens behind our backs (you won't find yourself commenting: "whew, glad I'm not thinking about that any longer").

And yet, I experience and perpetrate this absurd demand.

"Pay attention, student! Focus! Hear me!"

"Sorry boss, I am focused, but not on you. If the mood to think about work strikes me, I'll let you know."

Just another reminder: thirsting for control is untenable — your throat remains scratchy, so please relax.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Upgrade

Let's start with the name we give it. Upgrade. Up. Grade. I love that "grade" encompasses both quality and judgment.

Perhaps this is all obvious, but I will argue that the Upgrade drives our lives with a most fundamental promise — the nervous system of consumption. The Upgrade is the constant, an eternal promise. It comes in several forms. I considered one of them just yesterday, while enjoying a no-work-today 3 o'clock shower: the upgrade as a "good deal".

One of the local Moms backed her auto into my scooter a few days ago; I discovered the damage (and confession note) immediately after receiving a filling from my jolly dentist. Since then, I've been pondering what to do next. So, I'm in the shower, and the following thoughts entered my mind:
1. My scooter is 3 years old.
2. The Beast (pet name) has relatively few miles.
3. If I traded it in or sold it, I get a significant percentage of the purchase price.
4. And then... I could get a new — unquestionably better — scooter for not too much additional cash.
Now, the Upgrade as a "good deal" works very simply: You are driven to get rid of your current thing while it's still considered "valuable" in the marketplace. Surely, you don't want to own something that the marketplace does not value highly, so ya betta act now.

For the Upgrade to be eternal, it absolutely must make everything seem temporal. Every trend or fashion must be temporary. The quality of every product must be seen as good... for now — not good forever. As a result, every beginning has its own end in sight. There is no question of whether a new product or idea or system will last, whether it will endure... we're assured it will not, and the quest for the next thing has already begun.

Perhaps this is all a way to help us cope with the other eternal — death — and the separation anxiety that it so generously heaps upon us... I don't know.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Your E is hindering my enjoyment of S

As a wee lad, I developed a taste for sport. It is one of the very few things that has endured. My fandom is not ceaseless. Before and after the game, sport receives little attention. But during the game... I am enthralled. Which brings me to a problem.

I do not like ESPN, the hegemone of sports broadcasting. The reasons are many, but the commanding grievance is this: ESPN spends far too much time scrutinizing off-field nonsense. If it's not a story about Brett Farve sending picture messages of his cock and balls to sultry sideline eye candy (which isn't a good example, because I do enjoy watching Disney-owned ESPN broadcasters dance around the details by using a bunch of vague euphemisms), it's a story about contract disputes, unsanctioned drug use, or what some guy allegedly did or said at a strip club. If I wanted that, I'd go to your TMZs or whatever. 

For the sake of accuracy, the "E" (which stands for entertainment) might as well be changed to "G" for gossip — the name doesn't suffer, GSPN rolls off the tongue as well, if not better, than ESPN. I'll give you an example of ESPN's gossipy ways:

ESPN Reports: Man Hates Boss; Refuses to Quit

That's the whole quote. "I hate the boss, not gonna quit."

The recently bankrupt-but-still-kickin' Chicago Sun-Times printed a "story" claiming ANONYMOUS Minnesota Viking football players hate their coach —or, boss — Brad Childress. There were a bunch of whiny, stupid, anonymous quotes... that was the story. ESPN picked it up and blasted it into my living room every 5 minutes for the length of an otherwise pretty damn enjoyable college football game.

Now, if six Minnesota Vikings came to my house, cooked me dinner, and talked a bunch of shit about how uncool Brad Childress is, I don't think that would be worth posting on this blog

Oh, a bunch of workers don't like the boss?!... stop. the. fucking. presses. This can't wait. Everyone must know.

When I have to read this shit, it distracts me from what I'm doing: enjoying a game.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What is this One Gamy you speak of?

Monogamy — for us, always-ready-for-sum'-bumpin', human kinds — fits very well, nice and tidy, with a society that "owns" every single thing.

We put da flag on da Moon... of course we want to own access to sex. This is all obvious, right?

I read the Sex at Dawn book today. Yes, it's pop-sci. Smart folk will hate it (assuming, since it's a book, that they — and only they — are the intended audience, adorable smart folk will write squawking reviews: "I already knew all of this!! Not groundbreaking!")

Anyway, the book is a light read. For someone who feels terrible about craving a cock or puss that isn't attached to their loved one, this book might make them feel a little better — which is good, but not terribly helpful for the rest of us.

As many angry science lovers will point out, we don't know anything too good about pre-history peeps, we have to look elsewhere to get the educated part of our guesses. So, naturally, we look to hunter gather types and fellow apes.

Here's the lesson:

People who share — who don't own — are generally pretty cool. The vast majority of uncool behavior stems from laying claim to things. Bonobos seem awesome. They're not individual property owners (I'm basing this on the 4 years I spent in Congo living amongst them).

Our western societies are frightfully big, diverse, whatever. Our happiness is not exactly tied to other people, just our people — and that ain't many. I watch cops wake up homeless people and force them to move.

Let's — all together now — use sex as a tool to comfort, form bonds, and enjoy. Just be generous and take care of each other. So, when your longtime co-worker is having a bad day, do the right thing: take a knee, ascertain approval, get your face situated between their legs, and Go. To. Town. Wouldn't that be nice? We all start Monday. Don't leave me hanging on this one, I'll have a lot of explainin' to do.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We know what we like

To continue quoting Mysteries of Pittsburgh:

Nostalgia destroys everything... (I think that's the quote)

AA Destroying The Social Lives Of Thousands Of Once-Fun Americans

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rainy days

Like a barmaid in Pittsburgh... death, quite simply, does. not. care. (about how gnarly a surfer you are and how — instead of you — somebody who isn't a dazzling surfer "should" have been able to die in your place so you can continue being an awesome, strikingly attractive, star of surf videos.)

I spent many a rainy afternoon pulling college-sized tubes and watching this guy be awesome.

Note to self: pursue pleasure

Why do Americans feel entitled to the highest "standard of living" on Earth?

Who cares... fuck em'. There must be 100 million Randy Moss types running around this town:

‘You know, I used to have to eat that crap – but now I’ve got money.’

                                                — American Ambassador to You're-Not-As-Good-As-Me, Randy Moss