American Gomorrah

Republican Gomorrah by Max Blumenthal

Truth is a bitch. I know for a fact that truth is a bitch. I’ve faced truth numerous times in my useless-eating life. Truth has beat me to a pulp every fricking time I’ve faced it. There are also times where I haven’t faced truth and I know each one of them by heart. I will carry around my lies, dress them up and make them presentable, perfume them, and know exactly when/how they squeeze by in this world without a care, without a concern, without remorse. For they are mine, these lies. And they too are miserable because I won’t let them out. Let me have the simplistic beauty of my lies. Please.  -Worst-writer’s mantra to conservatism that has ruined everything.

Nomatter what I prologue (text above), this post ain’t about me and my silly politics. This post is about a book that some people really should consider reading. Well, you should consider reading it if you’ve ever questioned the how/why of republican politics in the Grand United Mistakes of Amerikan’t post Ronald Reagan. The book is called Republican Gomorrah and it is a seething exposé of the darkest corners of the disgusting and abhorrent republican party. This party and its politics, btw, has literally ruined everything since Reagan. But that’s not the worst of republican politics. The worst is that most Americans will never understand why things have gotten so bad. Indeed, truth is a bitch.

There are three things that I’ve always had difficulty dealing with  in this lie-of-the-mind life of being (proudly) reared American. These things, these idears, these concepts are part of my upbringing, they are part of who I am. And I am afraid of them as much as I am afraid of anything else — especially my weak mind, my ill-character, my skinless shadow and that wriggling thing on the pavement that resembles my spine that I’m always leaving behind.

The first thing I’ve had difficultly dealing with in this life is authority. Keep in mind that the word authority has replaced what used to be America’s first choice of words: Freedom. The bleeding irony of life as preached by my home country is that the word “free” has absolutely no meaning whatsoever anymore. The word “free” has been relegated to being neither a noun or a verb (not unlike the word love, btw, but that’s a whole ‘nother post), and so something else has replaced it. Hence, Americans have turned to the live-in-fear, life-security, two-faced happiness of authority. America is awash with ersatz freedom in the form of authority and millions of minions adhere to it on a daily and religious-like basis. Indeed, there is a zombie nation at hand that gladly beckons the call of being told what to do.

The second thing I’ve never been able to deal with is behavior. Behavior is the first thing American’ts are taught when life begins. How convenient, eh. Like most western countries, people give little thought to the hoarding, prodding and burdening of children into inadequate and compromised baby-sitting systems (aka schools) in the hopes of churning out good little worker bees and/or every once-a-once an Einstein or Tim Berners-Lee. These school systems do fulfill one social need, though. Forget learning history, chemistry or grammar or, in some cases, good manners. No. Systematic and generalized schooling, I mean, baby-sitting, transcends education and pours over into daily life where people are thrown into a cesspool of having to cope with each other and every single individual, all struggling to survive (and not just live), and it all is manifested in behavior(ism).

The third thing worst-writer loves to fear is the human decease called religion. Put authority, behavior and religion together and it’s no wonder that so many of the inept can be taken advantage of for political gain and hence turn a once great country into nickel platted smith & wesson with a pearl grip purchased with the left hand, locked, loaded and ready to fire in the forehead with the right hand.

**

Republican Gomorrah is about what has not only ruined a political party but also about what is ruining a great country. Max Blumenthal focuses on the republican party and also the disgusting inner workings of political conservatism, the life blood of republicans and the neo-cons. If you thought you knew anything about hypocrisy in politics then this book may make you think twice about what you know. For one, it tears open some of the disgusting inner workings of politics from the point-of-view of those who lay claim to wielding power and authority. It also provides some insight into the human psyche that enables the type of behavior that is being spewed in the name of morality, patriotism and honor. If you ever thought that Bush was stupid, this book won’t change your mind, but it does show how stupid people that have power act and vote and support politicians that are even stupider.

For me, dear worst-reader, there was one moment right after George W. Bush was re-elected where I started to gather my wits. I was surprised and pleased that Blumenthal covered this issue in this book like a real journalist should. At the time it happened it was mostly covered by frat-boy humorist Jon Stewart, which also help project the story into the stratosphere. It was a moment during a presidential press briefing in Jan. 2005, where Turdblossom-Bush was thrown this softball question.

“How are you going to work with people in the democratic party who are so divorced from reality?”

“Continue to speak to the American people,” Bush responded.

I had never heard a question like that asked before at a presidential press briefing. A lot of other people had never heard such question asked before either. Suddenly the Internets, the main-stream media, the whole news she-bang started to bloom with curiosity. I followed the situation for weeks via blogs and various news sites. What seemed like a grade-school and perhaps naive question, turned out to be one of many so-called softball questions that Dubya would be asked on a regular basis and all the questions were thrown by conservative organizations. That in itself isn’t so bad, both sides of American’t politics do it. The thing that made this particular question stand above others was the person that asked it.

Long story short. A “reporter” named Jeff Gannon was throwing softball questions at the President. As banal as the questions were, they weren’t really the problem. It turns out that Gannon was a self-declared journalist working for an unknown media company that loved conservatism. Also, this pseudo-journalist and the story behind him was NSFW for the main stream media because, when not throwing the President softball questions, Gannon was a $200/night gay prostitute. When the story first broke I was shocked that a person with Gannon’s non-credentials could so easily get access to the White House. Careers can be made by getting such access and in these days of be-like-me or be-not corporate American’t AND high unemployment AND the main-stream media not doing its job, a lot of questions should be answered as to how a person like this can be handed a career. Of course, was a male prostitute, posing as a journalist and given access to the confused testosterone world republicanism doing anything else in the White House? Are the days of intern blow jobs and blue dresses so far behind us?

Max Blumenthal does a great job of breaking down not just the Gannon story but also the whole perverted and sexually oppressed foundation of conservatism and the republican party. Most of this oppression stems out of suburban-hell homophobic pentecostal religious fanaticism that is trying to occupy the country. What are the most common scandals that come out of this typically American’t new & improved take on god and the universe? Obviously there are also gay democrats, but most of them are out of the closet and so democrat hypocrisy on homo and heterosexual issues isn’t as prominent — at least we have the Clinton blue dress thing long behind us. The irony of there being no (or very few) openly gay republicans, and yet so many of them are either under investigation for abusing boys (Mark Foley), playing tiddlywinks in the men’s bathroom at an airport (Larry Craig) or being a so-called consultant to the president and at the same time skipping sermons from his mega-church in order to drive on his Harley to Denver to take methamphetimines and have sex with other men (Ted Haggard), is strange indeed.

Here a great quote from Blumenthal about republicans and their perverted mix of sexuality and politics: “many self-loathing homosexuals have confused authoritarianism with normality and have sought to transcend their tortured pasts by donning the cartoon-like costume of the Republican male social dominator–the political analogue of an “excellent top.” But although they avoid the seedy lifestyles they once lead, the conformist solution that (these men) and countless other conflicted conservatives in crisis have chosen is always evanescent. The culture of the radical right may promise a resolution to unbiblical desires, but in the end, repressed homosexuals can only cover their supposed sins, not wash them away.”

**

The road I have chosen as an expatriate American is probably the easy road. One of the reasons I chose to expatriate was because the more and more I travelled the more I saw how other people, other nations, other cultures dealt so much better with their fear of authority, behaviour and religion. Indeed, figuring out who and what I am, what reared me, and what so angers me about my home country’s politics is hard. And more importantly, it’s sad, it’s very sad.

Republican Gomorrah is a great read.

Links:

Rant on. 

-tgs-

High Finance

Almost a review of three books. Well, not quite almost. Nomatter.

Informed about the world of high finance and rob-your-soul banking? Me neither. Every class I ever took that had anything to do with business, economics or numbers, I bagged as soon as I could and went about living life as it should be lived. (Without numbers!) Anywho.

Here are three worst-writer recommendations–I think. Well, maybe this isn’t really a recommendation.Whatever. Reading at least one of these books might help if you’ve ever wondered what a CDO is or what Subprime is or if you’d like some insight into the mechanics of what has facilitated the fail upwardness of the grand fiat world of finance we are all now slaves to. For me, the questions I’ve been asking are still open. These books only helped me ask a few other questions. Which is good enough. I mean, that is a form of progress. Or? So, like I said, this ain’t much of a recommendation. Nomatter. These books are great.

The Big Short, Michael Lewis

Too Big To Fail, Andrew Ross Sorkin

More Money Than God, Sebastian Mallaby

The Big Short is the second book I’ve read by Lewis, here a post on the first. Lewis is probably the best writer here. The others read more like text-books. I often refer to the index of Too Big To Fail when I need to look up specific terminology or acronyms. Which reminds me. A great website that goes in this direction, plus a bit of political incorrectness, is:

http://www.zerohedge.com/

For those interested, the questions I’m still asking (about high finance) are:

Who and what are bond traders? How do they work? Are they any different than slimy car salesman? And for those that lose so much money on their trades, why aren’t their faces posted in all public places as a form of humiliation? Or better yet, in order to help cover their losses, why aren’t dart boards made with their eyeballs as bulls-eye.

If all money is privately held yet claims to be backed by governments (you know that whole “legal tender” thing) then how come I can’t get the same type of backing when I go to Vegas?

What is it that makes humans worship god and money equally subsequently voluntarily subjecting their lives to a new form of slavery and forgetting so quickly how to laugh at their own stupidity in the process?

This one isn’t quite a question but I’m gonna give it a whirl: The answer to the question regarding how to reign-in the wild-west, winner take-all mentality that is world finance is to address how the mechanics of all this high finance functions and then figure out how those who run the machine are compensated.

Or something like that.

Links:

 

Rant on.

Tomas

Illusion of Comic Truth

July 27, 2012

The Illusion (Of Comic) Truth

It took me a while to get used to it but I eventually came to terms with the fact that it takes a bit longer for movies to get their start in Germany. This delay has to do with the greed of movie distributors and the dumbfounding need of Germans requiring movies to be dubbed. While waiting I gather what I can about movies from critics, blogs and youtube. This is particularly tasty with all the block-busters trying to top one another — they need exposure more than ever. The only problem is, sometimes after I read about the film, I lose any desire to see it. Hence, I cut back on movie going and have gotten comfortable with the convenience of DVDs. But something changed in the spring and summer (2012). This change has nothing to do with the quality of movies, let me tell ya. I think it has to do with the weather. Yeah, that’s it. The weather sucks so bad in Germany that there really is nothing better to do.

Anywho.

Last night was the premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Germany. Surprisingly (or not) the theatre was empty. Wonder why? I’m not afraid to admit that I actually had an ill thought or two about going to see this film. People over here were even making jokes or smiling while waving the finger-gun when they heard I had tickets. I was eventually comforted by the fact that I now live in a place that is ruled by mendacity as opposed to living in a place where mendacity is systematically bringing it down. Another comforting thought is knowing that access to prescription drugs and military grade weaponry, stockpiling a small armory of munitions and booby-trapping an apartment with explosives, etc., might just be a bit beyond the average nutcase Eurowastelander’s capabilities. Unless, of course, one considers the Norwegian Anders Breivik. But Breivik seemed to prefer the great outdoors and not comic book characters with orange hair. And while I’m on the carnage comparison: considering other Colorado mass shootings, James Eagan Holmes might go down in history as an underachiever. But I suppose that’s neither here or nor there. For I quickly overcame my fears of being shot dead in a cinema because I wanted to pass a few hours with brain dead entertainment.

My son and I have been talking for weeks about seeing the new Batman movie. We’ve seen the first and second installment and our opinions differ as to the success of this newChristopher Nolan franchise. Plainly put, since Batman Begins, which I put off seeing until the DVD was released, I don’t like it. My son loves it. Of course, I have the advantage — or is it disadvantage? — of having grown up with Batman. I loved the original Batman, even the cheesy TV series. As far as movies go, the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher franchise was great. That’s why I feel fine claiming that all the rewriting that has taken place to make this classic comic hero appeal to a new generation — including the brilliant Frank Miller interpretation of the cape crusader — suck. Nolan sucks even more for ruining Batman along this vein. Obviously a Brit might not be the best choice for writing and directing something so quintessentially American but that might also explain turning this character into a corporate-loving blue blood. Also, Nolan failed to provide any worthwhile reason for re-interpreting Batman. Frank Miller did a better job and maybe he should have written the script for Nolan. Nonetheless, modern comic action films are sucking the life out of what they are based on. But then again, watching these big budget things with my son still takes me back. I’m reminded of days past when I borrowed and traded comics and listened to others wax poetic about heroes. Oh, how these days are gone and I do not wish to impose them on my son. Indeed, how things have changed. But for the better? Yes. Most things are better. Except Batman is just like Iron Man and Iron Man is just like Spiderman and soon they will all be just like Superman, etc. Indeed, these films are the same now. We are all lesser because of it. But we have lots of gadgets to consume the past with. Shame.

Don’t get me wrong.

I am not NOT recommending this movie. In fact, one of the things that motivated me to want to see this third (and hopefully final) installment is that the the Aurora shooter had one thing in-common with Heath Ledger, aka the Joker from part 2. Heath Ledger died from consuming a whacked out cocktail of pain killers galore — just after he played a killer who loved killing people. James Holmes is probably going to be put to death because he pretty much did the same thing. Yeah, baby. Drugs, guns — and movies that misinterpret things once great! And let’s not forget the Hollywood connection here. For you see, dear worst-reader, Hollywood has finally found a way to take illusion out of the fold. There is no longer a need  for verisimilitude. The illusion of truth in movie making, baby, has run its course. Characters, actors, directors, etc. are all now one with reality. I mean, James Holmes was trying to reenact something, or? Nomatter. These really expensive and money driven movies are action packed! Yet the theater I was in was practically empty on opening night. Anyone wonder why?

Oh. And before I forget.

verisimilitude |ˌverəsəˈmiliˌt(y)o͞od|

noun

the appearance of being true or real: the detail gives the novel some verisimilitude.

DERIVATIVES

verisimilar |-ˈsimələr|adjective

ORIGIN early 17th cent.: from Latin verisimilitudo, from verisimilis ‘probable,’ from veri (genitive of verus ‘true’) + similis ‘like.’

There was one other thing that excited me to go see this over-budget mediocre Batman extravaganza. I read that the Amerikan Pig-man himself, the great American’t voice that spews the life blood of a nation yearning for grievance, belonging and hate, the singer of the American’t way of life, the great Rush Limbaugh, had taken issue with this movie because the antagonist carries the name Bane. Yes, indeed, leave it up to political talking heads to turn to this. All because Bain Capital, the company Mitt Romney got rich off of by selling out Amerika, is a homophone to the word Bane. Only in American’t, baby.

Although a typical Limbaugh retraction eventually followed, Rush first commented that the character Bane was part of a left-wing Hollywood conspiracy that coincides with the occupy wall street movement. As I watched the film unfold, especially the characters of Catwoman and Bane, I realized that I had to give good’ole Rush L. credit for calling it. This film, as mediocre and mundane as it is, actually has a thing or two to say about the current state of American’t political affairs. That kind of threw me for a loop. Not leaving well-enough alone, some have tried to top Rush by saying that billionaire Batman with his skyscraper offices and corporation ownership is actually Mitt Romney. Wow, eh. Go Amerikan’t. What else is there to say?

But. Back to the film.

Christopher Nolan’s Batman has been a disappointment from the get go. Yet I have watched his trilogy and gladly recommend it — especially if you’re into so-called block buster action. Yet, what Mr. Nolan fails to realize — as he continues with what Frank Miller started — is that the Cape Crusader was something special in the world of super hero comics. He was special because he was, unlike all the other comic heroes, a regular guy without super powers. Sure, he had lots of expensive toys to help him along and they were all stored in the wondrous Bat Cave. But there were no radioactive spiders, no kryptonite blood, no steroid laden venom (for those who don’t know that was how Capt. America got his powers) and no cold fusion energy source that powers a suit. Unlike almost all other comic heroes there were no tricks or alien influence that made Bruce Wayne super. It was only his dedication and desire to help others that drove him. Also, the portrayal of wealth, power and money was never part of Batman’s persona. Indeed, it must be hard to make a film that is supposed to make billions of dollars that doesn’t somehow show our world as it truly is: A world of greed and selfishness. So I can’t help but admit that this mis-characterization of Batman hurts me a little. But it hurts even more that a nutcase like Rush Limbaugh was part of motivating me to see it.

Links:

 

Rant on.

-tgs-