Thursday, September 29, 2005

Today's "Apropos of Nothing" Moment

I used to live in this shitty apartment building just across
the freeway from downtown. The front door was sticky
and, if you weren’t careful, it wouldn’t latch behind you.
This proved a boon to the many derelicts who lived in the
park down the block, especially during the colder months.
They would sleep in the halls and stairwells and, when I
got home late, I had to step over them to get to my tiny
one bedroom. The worst was the laundry room. In Jan-
uary, that place would be like some kind of hostel for
grizzled, unconscious crackheads and winos. Now, in
other buildings, you can just bring your clothes down
to the basement, stuff them in the machine, and then shuffle
off to watch television or surf internet porn or whatever. But
not in that place. There, you had four options. You could...

a) Wake up the sleeping street people and try to shoo them
away. This struck me as the least appealing option. I usually
figured it wasn’t prudent to go prodding at booze-smelling,
desperate strangers.

b) Call the police to get them to wake up the sleeping street
people and bring them to jail. Time considerations generally
ruled this approach out. I just wanted to get my underwear
washed, I didn’t want to drag in all of city hall.

c) Wash the clothes while hoping that none of the sleeping
street people wake up and steal them. I did this a few times,
and I never got used to it. I always spent the whole dry cycle,
panicking at the thought of some sluggish junkie wandering the
neighborhood in my best slacks.

d) Wash the clothes while sitting in the room to keep an eye
on the sleeping street people. This was my preferred strategy.
I felt that we all got our needs met this way. The derelicts were
able to sleep peacefully and I was able to get my stuff clean. If I
didn’t have to spent those hours in a dank little room watching
a bunch of smelly drug-addicts snore, it would have been perfect.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Time Wasting Time!

Now you too can play "Who's In Hennepin County Jail

I am the laziest blogger ever!

I haven’t posted much recently. I’ve been pretty
busy. Perhaps I’ll put something up tomorrow. Or
maybe the next day. Or it could be the day after that...


Monday, September 19, 2005

The Apeshit Insane Demographic Wants You Dead

It is a mark a political culture’s stability when its assassins
and would-be assassins act out of purely absurd motives.
No one shot at Reagan to protest his Central American pol-
icies or to bring down world capitalism; he was shot at be-
cause some goofy unmedicated loser saw that as the only
possible way he’d ever get to score with a famous actress.
Arthur Bremer didn’t put eight bullets into George Wallace
to punish segregation’s highest-profile advocate, he did it
because he was weird and creepy and because George
Wallace was the only figure on the national scene low-rent
enough to go kissing babies without an army of professional
lunatic spotters in his entourage. And Robert Kennedy’s
death was awesome in its meaninglessness, gunned down
in a kitchen by a drooling freak straight out of central cast-
ing with a name that was the same thing repeated twice,
like some sort of trained elephant or a child’s word for a
rude bodily function. Bo-Bo the Slayer. PeePee the History
Changing Psychotic. In these events we show ourselves to
be far removed from most of the struggling, troublesome
world, where people still die and get killed for actual
causes and ideologies. Here the only cause with the strength
to kill off the powerful is celebrity worship.

Assassination has become a crime for those too weak
and timid to steal candy bars. There is no moral question
in it anymore. Had someone killed Hitler in 1943, they
would be a hero now and we’d drive down streets named
after them. Were someone to kill Osama bin Laden to-
morrow, the world would lose some crafty nut living in a
cave and gain a much more fearsome martyr. This speaks
not to the futility of violence, but to its ubiquity. Violence
and murder to end violence and murder has long been
recognized by civilized people as a quaint equation, but
America will always reserve the right to dump discredit-
ed notions on foreign soil. Hence our war. Hence our
tendency to crush unhelpful despots while always some-
how managing to make the situation worse. For a society
of the future, our statecraft is still caught up in a peculiar-
ly retro form of imperial sadism.

Within our borders we’ve moved beyond the fetishes we
inflict on others. Certainly, there’s always the danger of
someone from a distant land with a grenade and a griev-
ance menacing our elected officials at home or on holiday,
but these people aren’t my focus here. I’m interested in
our homegrown assassins, the Lee Harvey Oswalds, the
Lynette Frommes, and the Mark David Chapmans. Most
often, their politics aren’t politics at all but a fog, a sort of
far-gone paranoid simulacrum of the same subjects sane
people debate. If they have a "worldview", it’s generally
delusional and entirely idiosyncratic. If they have a goal,
it’s likely to be a very rarified form of self-aggrandizement.
The victim is someone and their killer is a nobody. In a
nobody mind prone to these fixations, the least strenuous
way to resolve this depressing formula is to attack the
somebodys of the world. Any one will do: left-wing or
right, noble or corrupt. Obscurity is the only injustice
these people wish to avenge. The only "movement" they
represent is the movement out of their dank and miserable
lives onto the pages of history. Notoriety can be a cause in
itself, it seems.

President Kennedy’s unfortunate end can now be seen
as the archetype of this dynamic. At first glance, one
might be tempted to understand his death as a part-
icularly horrible moment in the Cold War. His killer
could easily be mistaken for a Communist sharpshooter,
a player in a red conspiracy. Oswald had defected to
Russia, he had proclaimed his devotion to Marx and
Lenin, he loved Castro and hated America. None of
this, in the end, really mattered at all. A personality
such as his might have just as easily gravitated to the
fringes of the right or into some fundamentalist re-
ligion. He was, above all, an inadequate and unstable
man. There was so little to him he needed the whole
Soviet Union just to fill him up. He was a terrible
communist. He was too lazy to be a worker even in
the worker’s paradise; he wanted to be a czar. The
lefty trappings were failing him as his life led up to
its big moment in the school book depository–he
had left Minsk in defeat, floundered purposelessly
in New Orleans and Dallas, and his last-chance scheme
to sneak away to Cuba had ended badly. Communism
had failed him. It hadn’t taken him out of his unbearable
life, it refused to make him a hero. A psyche like his be-
comes dangerous when human institutions fail to succor
the grandiosity that emptiness encourages. He was facing
down a long, worthless life and so, when fate routed the
President’s motorcade right past his newest dead-end
job, he made his sad grasp at immortality and actually
caught it. Ideals had nothing to do with it. President
Kennedy died for nihilism only.

The murder of Martin Luther King Jr. was different in
many aspects, but the underlying nature of the crime
corresponded closely with the script laid out above. James
Earl Ray was a venomous racist. He loathed King for being
black and when he shot him he likely thought he was
striking a blow for white supremacy. This would seem,
then, to be more of a "classical" assassination–a calcul-
ated killing to shift a balance of power or redress a per-
ceived grievance. Ray’s racism was certainly deeper
than Oswald’s communism, but–ultimately–it was
the personality more than the politics that drove both
men to their awful acts. The only thing greater than
James Earl Ray’s envy was his utter inadequacy. This
was a man who could embarrass the Klan, a sleazy
drifter, a shabby piece of flotsam who couldn’t even
learn to shoplift right. King must have been a living
insult to his serpentine stupidity–while Ray was floun-
dering around in his idiot sociopath’s life, here was this
lowly black preacher winning Nobel prizes and changing
the world. He probably saw King as an usurper; he pro-
bably imagined that the admiration and anger that King
inspired were rightly his. He was a child jockeying for
attention. He didn’t care if it was hate or love, either
was better than being ignored. In 1968, just as today,
this country was overrun with violent bigots, but Ray
had at least two things most of them never had–the
opportunity to commit one of the most vile crimes in
history and a psyche that longed to be more vile than
any other. For this reason, the lesson of Martin Luther
King’s death is only partly about racism. Outside a
Memphis motel room, the greatest man in America
was at the mercy of the wretchedest. To me, then,
his killing is about how the cruel, the stupid, and the
heartless will try to seize back any history that threat-
ens to show them for what they are.

And so it went for the rest of the century. In Germany
they had the Baader-Meinhof gang. In Italy they had the
Red Brigades. Here we have a handful of fearsome crack-
pots willing to upset the whole system just pretty much
solely for the thrill of seeing themselves on television.
This might not seem like much of a menace, but this demo-
graphic has been building an impressive body count: a
couple Kennedys, a King, a Beatle, not to mention all the
unsung ones who get gunned down in their schools and
workplaces when this sort can’t find a famous person to
kill. We live in a time that deifies greatness and power.
Greatness and power, we are told, are the rewards one
gets for the willingness to take big risks, pursue big goals,
and live outside the rules that hold down everyone else.
If this is a story we want to tell ourselves, we shouldn’t be
surprised when the mad and hateful lay siege to that gold-
en ladder in the only way they know how. Their shadow
America could just as well be the real one, couldn’t it?
After all, what is America other than a snarl of unrecon-
ciled, competing fantasies? In a nation of aspirants, ass-
assination happens in concert with, not as a protest
against, the overriding ethos. It is, in a strange way, a
testament to the strength of our society: everyone
from Presidents to their lonely, depraved murderers
endorse the same ideas. The killed and the killers be-
come inseparable, they pass into memory as negative
images of one another: the inspiration and its defeat,
the promise of change and the futility of fear, the dream
and the bitter reality. They are not miles apart in this
country. They are not even opposites. They stand face
to face, across a razor-thin divide, each one waiting for
the other to blink. We are a people who have found a
way to bind together the highest hopes and utter hope-
lessness. E pluribus unum in excelsis...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

In which I apologize for the transgressions of my blogging alter-ego...

I suppose that, should I ever run for public office, want
to get married to a gentle lady, or die and have to face
some sort of higher power, I'll have to account for the
fact that I not only wrote this, but felt good enough about
it to put it up on the web for all to see.

So, to those future voters, my lovely future bride, and
that all-merciful and wise deity: I'm sorry. I don't
know what I was thinking. I am bad.

Still, at four in the morning, it did seem pretty funny.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tonight I haven't the stomach for political blogging...

Apparently, there's a new website for college conservatives.
Whooptie-shit. I was going to go check it out and report
back on it, but it was taking forever to load on my cheap
dial-up modem. Fuck it, I thought and went and shopped
on Amazon instead.

You've seen one fucking website for college conservatives,
you've seen them all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Thucydides has something to say about Bush's America:

There was, then, civil conflict; and those of the cities
which were involved later, through hearing of what
had happened earlier, pushed on to further extremes
of innovation both in the ingenuity of their schemes
for seizing power and in the extravagance of their
reprisals. They altered the accepted usage of words
in relation to deeds as they thought fit. Reckless
audacity was termed courageous loyalty to party;
prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation,
a cover for spinelessness; and ability to understand
all sides, total inertia. Fanatical enthusiasm was rated
a man's part; and cautious deliberation, an euphemism
for desertion..."

The Peloponnesian War, Book 3
circa 425 B.C.E.

I'm like Karl Rove, only skinnier...and I have more hair...and I'm not impotent either. So I guess I'm nothing like Karl Rove. Bummer.

While voting in the Minneapolis primary earlier today,
I became aware of a minor political phenomenon. In
elections such as these, there are typically long lists of
candidates vying for seats on various obscure boards
and commissions. Most of these, in turn, are bodies
which only the most civic-minded have an opinion on:
the parks committee, the zoning affairs advisory coun-
cil, the board of water purity and fluoridation. It seems
to me, then, that it would be reasonable to assume that
around 95% of voters either (a) ignore these people en-
tirely or (b) select them at random. Yet one candidate,
halfway down the library board list, caught my eye:
Mark "Sparky" Elko. My pen hovered over his little
bubble, almost marking it even though I had no idea
what he stood for. The idea of voting for some guy
named "Sparky" appealed to me, though. I stuck my
ballot into the counting machine with some real regret
over not throwing my support to the man.

Because of this, a plan began to form in my mind. I
would change my name to something catchy, adopt
a nickname that would reassure the citizenry that
I wasn’t evil or a Republican or something like that,
and reap thousands of votes from people like me. So,
for political purposes, my name will now be Flipper
"One Love" McGee. I’m thinking of running for a seat
on the Estimate and Taxation Commission, mainly be-
cause it sounds foreboding and impressive, but also
because estimating and taxing are two things I could
wield as weapons against my accursed enemies.

Imagine it with me: "Oh, you want to build a new McDonald’s
on that lot? Did you know that you’ll be assessed $5,325,443
in taxes if you wanted to do that? Just for fiscal year 2005?
Of, course I know what I’m talking about! I’m Flipper McGee!
I have the mandate of the masses behind me! Now get your
junk food franchising-ass out of my office!"

But I could also use my new-found powers for good:
"What’s that you say Sassy VonTrapp? Foul-breathed
condo developers are raising the rent of your indepen-
dent art studio? They want you to move so they can
sell to a bunch of corporate attorneys and investment
bankers? Not on One Love’s watch, they won’t! I’ll
low-ball their estimates until they’re begging you to
stay! Oh, no! No need to thank me, Sassy, it’s all in a
day’s work for Flipper McGee!"

Of course maybe someone on the Estimate and Taxation
Commission wouldn’t be able to do things like that. If this
is the case, I hope someone lets me know so that I can
try for a spot on the Liquor and Gaming Authority instead.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The wet blanket in the fuckpile...

It seems reasonable to assume that, in every large
swinger’s club, there’s always one guy (and it’s always
a guy, I’m sure) who somehow managed to slip past
the admissions committee. Maybe his ex-wife knows
someone high up in the organization, maybe he lied
on his application. Whatever. He’s in and no one likes
it. Sure, everyone’s entitled to make lewd comments
while standing around the deli table, but he takes it too
far. The men all knit their brows and the women shud-
der. The grope room empties out when he wanders in,
all oily and bright-eyed, his leather pants snug against
his obvious excitement. Partner-swapping negotiations
are always entered into well out of his earshot, because
they know–they just know–that he’ll horn in with his
Simpsons character buttplugs and his endless requests
for odd positions named after tropical animals. The swing-
ers in good standing have a much better time whenever
he’s down with the flu. They can go about their business
with abandon then, they can break out the swings and har-
nesses and trampolines without the worry that he’ll break
them in a fit of ecstacy. They’ll make nasty jokes about
the weird way his ass looks and his slobbery oral sex tech-
nique. They’ll ask why he hasn’t been drummed out yet.
At the end of the night, when all the members are sweaty
and things are being toweled off, they’ll share memories
of how the club was back in the good old days. It’s clear
to all just when those good old days were. There will be
moments of silence in dozens of conversations and then
people will sigh and go back to the rest of their lives. Some
won’t give him another thought. Others will hate him with
a burning fury. A few might consider asking him to leave.
One or two might entertain fantasies of killing him. All the
while he’s laid up at home, a cold pack on his forehead, anti-
cipating the next time he’ll get to go to some frontage-road
hotel’s conference room and be with his real friends again.
The ones who understand his needs. His kind. He starts to
touch himself to their memory, oblivious to the fact that he
ruins everything, that he’ll always ruin everything, that he
makes the only people he wants to be with nauseous and

It must suck to be that guy.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Consumer Advisory

Posted by Picasa

Admit it. You don’t own this album. You don’t own it
even though it features Oscar Peterson on piano, Herb
Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, and Stan Levey on
drums. Verve has lovingly reissued it with a lavish new
package and fitted it out with digital sound so good you
can hear the man’s lips as he french kisses his tenor, but
that doesn’t matter because you never went out and
bought it. You bought a flat-screen plasma television or
a dozen pairs of designer jeans or season tickets to the
Bengals, but you can’t spare $14.99 for Ben Webster. I’d
call you on your poor priorities, but I’m sure you’re al-
ready aware of them. After all, I’m the one who can listen
to Ben blow pure beauty any time I want to. Just imagine
that I want to hear perhaps the most transcendent
version of "Where Are You?" ever played. What would
I do? Well, shit, I guess I’d just pop ol’ "Soulville" in and
cue up track number five! The real question is, what will
you do? I suppose you could make do with the Frank
Sinatra version if you were really desperate. Oh, and
did you know that Ben also plays piano? No, you didn’t
know that, did you? Sorry about that. And, while I’m
being sorry, I have to admit that I worry about your
love life. If I can get personal for just a moment here,
may I ask what you play? On the stereo, I mean. Kenny G?
Peabo Bryson? The White Stripes? And that works out
alright for you? Because we’ve already established that
you don’t have the lustrous, fearsomely-erotic Ben
Webster sound to turn every kiss into a communion of
souls, every caress into a buttery express elevator to
joy, and every moment into the glorious embodiment
of radiant, undying love. Without that, I feel you’re
missing out on something...

Seriously. Don’t you think you ought to go out and get
it? Tonight, maybe? Maybe order it on-line?

Just a friendly suggestion.

They call it "creative fundraising"...

My city council member is in trouble and you can
read about it here and here. Tomorrow I’ll be vot-
ing for his opponent in the city-wide primary. I’m
not the sort to hold a couple of bribes against an
elected official, but this just added to my animosity
towards him and the Green Party in general. As for
the former, he’s just a classically ineffectual munici-
pal politician who never met an issue he couldn’t
grandstand around. The latter is a party I find myself
siding with theoretically, yet always vote against at
the last minute because I just can’t shake the suspicion
that they’re utterly full of shit. I’m sometimes sorry
I feel that way, but usually I figure it’s a mistake to
put people in power simply because they happen to
be well-intentioned.

Of course it remains to be seen if Dean Zimmerman
even has good intentions going for him anymore. If
the FBI is right about him, the man has grievously
insulted all the kind, committed people who’ve sup-
ported him in all his windmill-tilting adventures. He
ought to be ashamed of that, but it could very well
be that he’s utterly shameless. After all, this is a
person who turned a press conference about the
charges against him into an opportunity to scold
reporters for their indifference to the poor and
homeless on his street. That shit doesn’t play with
me. He and I live in the same neighborhood, and I
can’t say that I’ve seen any great improvement in
services for the impoverished and unfortunate under
his tenure.

The Republicans exploit the poor to trick votes out
of fearful and complacent suburbanites. Apparently,
the Greens exploit them to stoke liberal guilt. Perhaps
that's the real corruption scandal here...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The trouble with progressives...

The progressive movement is consistently undermined
by its relationship with authority. It rejects too promis-
cuously, it whittles itself down to essentials far too readily.
It is a demographic which, more often than not, seems con-
tent just to criticize. The horror of any particular era can
be judged by how uselessly enraged these people are, how
impassioned their promises of action become. This action
never arrives. Action is ugly and uncomfortable, but sanc-
timony can be had on the cheap. Moral purity is the poison
that keeps the left feeble. A leftist nowadays, typically, is
most comfortable opposing; he or she prefers to take a
stand rather than to exercise power. When all is said and
done, what is important to them is registering their dis-
pleasure at the depredations of their ideological enemies.

Those enemies have learned to ignore the noise. They
carry on with their depredations regardless, and their
toothless adversaries are the ones who wind up disgust-
ing the country. Look at the miracle the right has worked:
self-righteousness is fatal, except when it comes from
them; stridency is appalling, except when they can score
some points with it; arrogance is unpardonable, but fully
expected of them. Why has this happened? The short an-
swer, I feel, is authority. Those flabby and craven whores
use it in a way that suggests they own it, while the left
wears it like a checked polyester suit. They look ridi-
culous and they know it. Their self-consciousness undoes
them. Their reluctance to be in any way like the Repub-
licans–a noble urge, God knows–winds up looking like
amateurishness at best, dishonesty at worst.

The left has an unhealthy fixation on the outsider. The
problem is that the outsider is a better literary figure
than a political one. The glorious and free rebel might
be a nice story, but it has little to do with the actual run-
ning of a complex society, much less with bringing to
heel the most powerful and uncontrolled nation the
world has ever seen. Mainstream culture is something
many progressives long to be rejected by, very few have
any real will to take its reins and change it into something
better. Even avowed activists often seem to be operating
under some ridiculous "lonely voice in the wilderness" de-
lusion. Their passion for change is their lust to be holy,
their cause is their ego trip.

The conservative analogue of this is, of course, their repul-
sive Ayn Randism. While they preen around their think-
tanks as make-believe awesome supermen in a world full
of dimwits and unquiet servants, the left does its own little
dance, the ballet of the wise hipsters beaten down by the
moron, corporate state. As a liberal, a proud liberal, I
think we ought to give that up. We’re like a movement
of scared six year olds, we long to hear the same bed-
time story every night as the world gets worse and worse
outside our windows. We need to wake up. Taking the
country away from the people who are running it into ground
will be a hard, filthy business, but our James Dean alter-
egos don’t like to get dirt under their fingernails, do they?

Understand. I am not arguing that we should rethink our
positions on the issues, nor am I arguing that we should
settle those positions amongst ourselves once and for all.
We don’t have to. We always think that we need a little
P.R. to make our beliefs palatable to that mythical
"average American", but this is only part way true. Our
beliefs are already common currency. Our beliefs are
largely uncontroversial. When we act like they aren’t,
we perpetuate the myth of the impractical and emptily-
idealistic liberal, a myth both the timid left and the bel-
lowing right seem to have a vested interest in keeping
afloat. What we need to do is make ourselves palatable.

This will require that we make peace with power. To
take charge of this country will require a ruthless
streak progressives in this country have always been
unwilling to adopt. We will, finally, have to abandon the
notion that we can be the most virtuous person in the
room simply because our hearts are in the right place.
Our good intentions keep piling up while the nation is
ransacked. Our virtue gives no succor to anyone. The
people we want to speak on behalf of–the poor, the
struggling, the working class, and the soldiers getting
shot up in the Middle East–might agree with us, but
they also view us with well-justified suspicion. Our
stirring words say little in the face of our decades-
long abdication.

Today’s dim brand of conservatism thrives in the
rhetorical spaces liberalism leaves for it. They slip
a lot of dismal business into the public domain by
playing on the other side’s well-founded distaste
for intolerance. Take "intelligent design". The
theory of intelligent design is, to put it mildly,
utterly asinine, yet in offering it as a sop to their
religious contingents the right-wing has so far
successfully played to the sympathies of a liberal
nation that feels, wrongly, that even the most dub-
ious ideas are worthy of respect if they seem to be
sincerely held. Liberalism has allowed itself to be
reconfigured as unending acceptance and so we’ve
reached the point where people who have no use for
its principles will nonetheless demand that we indulge
them while they dismantle our freedoms. This is silly.
There is nothing to being a liberal that requires us to
be considerate to retrograde and oppressive mindsets,
we have no duty to extend our generosity to those who
would do us harm.

To reclaim the country, we need leaders who under-
stand this. We need cold blood. Progressives must be
confident enough in their beliefs and selfless enough
in their actions to bring about their vision, no matter
how many pundits screech about it, no matter how
many backwards fools whine about being persecuted.
Authority won’t come to us by accident, we have to
seize it and, once we have it, we can’t be afraid to
wield it. We can’t quail at being loathed. The Bush
base will always loathe us. We should want them to
loathe us more. The more they fear us, the worse they’ll
get, until they reveal themselves once and for all as
what they are: a tiny, overfed alliance of the bitter,
the greedy, and the medieval.

But for that day to come, we’ll have to stop patting our-
selves on the back for being so enlightened and start
slapping them around for being so foul.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Today's "Apropos of Nothing" Moment...

I just bought a new package of underwear and the
model on the front looks kind of like a chipper,
freshly-waxed Henry Rollins.

A Socratic Dialogue With Press Secretary Scott McClellan

SCOTT: It is important that we not get bogged
down playing the "blame game"...

SOCRATES: We shall soon know better, my dear
fellow. Just consider this argument: is the blame
game played because of blaming? Or are the blam-
ed playing a game?

SCOTT: Be that as it may, this administration will
not play the "blame game"...

SOCRATES: Then I will try to say it more clearly. We
speak of being carried and of carrying, of being led
and leading, of being seen and seeing; and you under-
stand in all such cases that and how the one thing differs
from the other?

SCOTT: We would really prefer not to play the
"blame game" here...

SOCRATES: Is blaming and being blamed something
different than this?

SCOTT: Some people want to play the "blame game"!

SOCRATES: Then tell me, is what is being carried what
is being carried because someone is carrying it, or for
some other reason?

SCOTT: We have to do all we can to avoid the "blame
game". Next question, please...

SOCRATES: And what is being led is what is being led
because someone is leading it, and what is seen is what
is seen because someone is seeing it?

SCOTT: It’s a funny thing, this "blame game"...

SOCRATES: Then someone does not see it because it is
being seen but, on the contrary, because someone sees it
it becomes something which is being seen. Again, someone
does not lead something because it is being led but it be-
comes something led in virtue of the fact that someone
is leading it. So is it quite clear, Mr. Press Secretary, what
I want to say?

SCOTT: But there are people out there who want to play
the "blame game"!

SOCRATES: Now then, what shall we say about the
blame game, Mr. Press Secretary. Is it, according to
your account, what is being played?

SCOTT: Exactly! And it shouldn’t be about the "blame

SOCRATES: For this reason, because it is blame, or
for some other reason?

SCOTT: Let me reiterate: the "blame game" shouldn’t
be played...

SOCRATES: We are blamed because of a game, or there is
a game played because of our blame?

SCOTT: That has been the administration’s argument all

SOCRATES: But surely, the blamed and the game players
are the blamed and the game players because of blame, not
because of the game?

SCOTT: Well, I think it’s patently obvious that–

SOCRATES: Then the blamed are not playing the game, Mr.
Press Secretary, and the game players are not to blame, as
you were saying, but the one is different from the other.

SCOTT: Next question please...

SOCRATES: Because we agree, do we not, that the blame is
being game played because it is blamed, rather than the
game is blame because it is what is played?

SCOTT: No, no. "The Blame Game" will not stand. It is the
duty of all Americans to resist the temptation to play the
"blame game" This press conference is over...

SOCRATES: Also that what is blame gamed is blame
gamed because it is played, that is, by reason of this
play, rather than that they play the blame game?

SCOTT: [Ruffles papers, walks out]

SOCRATES: And what about the games that blame the
player? Are those not also the blame game which is played?
And if the game were played in virtue of blame, then the
game-player would blame in virtue of being a blame-gamer;
and if the blame-gamer was a game-player in virtue of play-
blaming, then the blame would be blame because it is gamed.
But you now see, don’t you, that the opposite is the case, in
that both are entirely different from one another. For the
one is gamed because it is blamed!

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Sir, we’re going to have
to ask you to leave the building...

SOCRATES: I was only pointing out that the game is
different than what is being played when blame can be
construed as blame, rather than as, or in opposition to,
game playing. You can see that, can’t you?

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Of course. Please come with
me, sir.

SOCRATES: The Press Secretary is a tool, isn’t he?

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Yes, sir. One of the worst, sir.

SOCRATES: That’s what I thought.
Good evening. Please, do come in. Have a seat on
the divan. Yes, I’m certain you will find it most com-
fortable. Perhaps you would like a throw pillow? No?
Excellent, excellent. May I offer you something to
drink? A nice Beaujolais? I have an intriguing Pinot Noir,
if you’re interested. A very uncommon vintage, I must
say. Just a Diet Coke? Splendid! I think I shall have
one myself. Ahhhhhh! That is most refreshing. Now,
if you’ll permit me, allow me to introduce you to my

No! Please, please, I implore you, be so kind as to stay
seated! You have nothing to fear from my blog. It isn’t
like the other blogs, the ones that you might have heard
about. Yes, yes: I agree wholeheartedly. They are a rude
and unmannered lot at best. Quite. No argument here.
Disgraceful, really. You can’t come out too strongly
against them.

But I beg of you to hear me out. My blog is of a different
breed entirely. It is a doughty and gentle-spirited thing,
imbued from birth with a sense of purpose and dignity. A
noble mien and a sterling heart, if I may be forgiven a
momentary poetic indulgence. It is a creature in whose
veins courses the sweet soul of a great and advanced people,
a living and breathing monument to civility, decorum, and
high culture. Oh, goodness! I’m afraid I do get a little
windy, don’t I? You’ll have to excuse me. You will excuse
me, won’t you? May I freshen your cola? It is excellent
this time of year, isn’t it?

Oh, bosh! My blog doesn’t even know those sorts of
words. Even if it did, it wouldn’t dare to say them. No!
I’m afraid you’re mistaken! My dear, won’t you allow
me to summon my blog so that you may judge it with
your own eyes? I’m sure you’ll find it to your liking. If
you don’t, I’ll send it right away and never trouble you
with it again.

What’s that? Of course my blog will listen to me! Do
calm your nerves! Honestly, you’re being quite silly!
Ah! Here it comes now! Hallo there, blog!

Can’t you discern the wisdom in it’s furrowed brow,
the honor that shines in its baleful yellow eyes? Are you
really so hobbled by your ancient prejudices that you
fail to notice the majestic grace of its massive jaw, its
firm flanks, its brindled mane? It IS an impressive
beast, is it not? Truly? I’m glad you agree.

Still, it might be wise to move your feet from the
ottoman. That’s the blog’s ottoman. Yes, he’s a
territorial fellow. Slowly now. Very slowly. That’s
good. Excellent. Oh, he likes you! Magnificent!

Yes, I suppose it does take some getting used to.
But wisdom requires that we look past our fears,
doesn’t it? And it is true that many of his kind are
out there baying at the moon as we speak, ram-
paging through the countryside, massacring the
orphans, and so on and so forth. Dreadful stuff,
really. But I raised this one from a pup. No,
slaughtering the peasants is right out for this
blog. He’d just as soon be the Queen of England.

Oh. Just be still. He’s just making your acquaintance.
I imagine that’s a trifle uncomfortable right there. No,
there you’re mistaken: it only slobbers when it’s most
at ease. Still, it might be wise if you didn’t speak
for a moment. He can be just a wee bit imperious. In-
stinct, you know. No getting away from it.

What’s that? Call him off? Well, that’s ridiculous!
Do you think I’m mad? Why, he’d tear me to pieces!
No, I’m afraid you’ll just have to bear it for a moment.
It is, after all, the experiences which are uncommon
to us that we learn the most from. Spinoza, I believe
said something of the sort. You do read Spinoza,
don’t you? Perhaps I will have to loan you my
edition. The binding is magnificent.

Don’t do that. Oh, no. That’s right out. Please. I
implore you. It’s absolutely imperative that you...oh, do
listen, won’t you? You may regret it. You’ll bring about
the ruin of the divan and that I simply can’t countenance!
Wait! Please! Oh. Dear me.

Blog! Blog! Heavens. Oh my. Goodness. Oh bother.


I need twice the attention...

You want nonsense rambling? Carping about current
events? Vicious slander against elected officials and
unpleasant invective against fellow bloggers? Arrogant
posturing and mindless chest-thumping? Well, then
you've come to the right place, pal. Here at the Insomnia
Report, I'm all about calling random strangers "douche-
bags" and "incompetent, warmongering shit wizards".
My philosophy can be summed up thusly: "Oh yeah?
Well, fuck YOU then, you worthless little scraping of
gibbon mucous!"

So, in the spirit of the blog scene, let me issue a hearty
"fuck all y'all" to the shadowy six people peeping in on
this site.

But if you're some sort of softhearted pansy type, perhaps
you'd prefer my alter-ego website, The Dead Postman. It
is here where I'll post gentle stories about lost love and
daffodils falling into limpid pools. Wrenching confessions
of vulnerability? Winsome explorations into the foibles
of modern romance? Gentle humor appropriate for
the whole family? You better believe it, motherfucker.

For real.