Miss Protest

new stasi agency NSAThe first protest I ever experienced in Eurowasteland goes back to circa 1986. Was visiting Germanian and happened across a demonstration. Not sure what they were demonstrating against but it really doesn’t matter. After that I found myself seeking out these protests more and more. Reason? What a great way to pick up armpit hairy Euro-chicks. I mean, seriously, I was overwhelmed with milky skinned Fraüleins who would put out at the snap of a confident finger and a male attitude that was opposite of the Germanin mutter-boys they usually had to deal with. No wonder so many girls lost their virginity to southern Euro boys, eh. Nomatter.

So, like, what are people protesting now? Ah, the NSA and the breeching of collective society privacy. Reading through this morns articles on the subject certainly brings back memories. Heck, even some of the girls still wear the same shit they wore a quarter century ago. And all that skin during summer protests is still so milky. The only real difference to so long ago is that now they shave them armpits. What a shame, eh. But I really need to move on.

armpit protestHere’s the thing. Why is it Germanins come out to protest when they hear that the NSA is spying on them but they don’t do it when their own government has been spying on them their whole lives? Or are Germanins naive enough to believe that their beloved Wohnmeldepflicht (compulsory residence registration) represents something more than just informing beloved Staat where they are getting laid? (Btw, I have seen the dossiers that follow individuals around in this country when they move from one place to another. For someone raised in America, it is a shocking sight.) And what about the way the state requires that Das Volk pay their taxes? Ever cross anyone’s mind that that too is a form of spying? But a more poignant example of how government has been spying on citizens is best found in the fallacy of digital copyright infringement. Why is it that for years certain venal lawyers were able to scam thousands of Germans for exorbitant amounts of cash by accessing their online activity, without permission, in search of “illegal” downloads? That’s right, baby. Private organisations, hell bent on profits and scorn, have vigorously cashed-out because they could easily spy on people who use the Interwebnets.

So here’s the thing protestors. The deal between the NSA and the Germanin government ain’t about you or your silly privacy. That information is already available because you are too preoccupied with a good-time and your fucking beer-halls and having finally figured out how to shave your armpits. But if you insist on protesting — because it fills the boredom — then why don’t you protest the real reason for the NSA. Which means you’ll be protesting against their spying on your corporations, your industry and the various institutions that make up the bureaucratic hell that is Eurowasteland which has given you the gift that keeps on giving: austerity and pacifism.

Protest mahlzeit, motherfucker!

Links:

Rant on.

-tgs-

Trickle Fail Up

capitalism_not_quite

Is it fail upwards or is it trickle upwards? You know, the question that best represents where we are today in this dog eat ice cream but enjoy yourself anyway world? Wait. Or. Should the question be another question? Perhaps we should resort, dear worst-reader, to questions better fit for the norm? That is, let’s rephrase the question so that one can walk around a WalMart and ask: If everybody is a hoarder and everything is hoarded, what now? (Btw, wouldn’t you agree that a WalMart store is the perfect setting for such a question? Of course you would.)

Cenk at TYT really gets into it in the vid below. He explains how the beloved predatory capital dog has been abusing its owner. He explains in fairly simple terms (probably not simple enough to take to a Walmart shopping floor) how aluminium, oil and copper, as commodities, are being hoarded in order to manipulate prices. Now. This isn’t really anything new. For those not in the know, this type of top-of-the-heep behaviour is exactly what lead to the Boston Tea Party. And there’s the problem I have with how Cenk is doing this. People watching him might actually believe that what he says is something new, as though he found this out on his own, or with his TYT team. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m glad TYT and Cenk are doing what they’re doing. Except for one very important thing. By only telling Das Volk about the robbers won’t change the ways of those who don’t think they are being robbed. (And get this: those who are ignorant to being robbed, don’t care. Why? They want to become robbers. Now pack that in your suitcase and use it to figure out why so many Americans vote conservative.) And that holds true even if American’ts could save a measly $10 dollars with every tank full of gas. I wonder at times if Cenk is aware that he’s preaching to the minority or majority blissfully ignorant choir?

Oh. And something worst-else. By explaining and thereby simplifying this level of complexity to an audience that probably only knows how to consume-to-survive, he focuses on the wrong thing. It’s not the activity of the power-that-be that is the sole problem. In fact, he is deliberately missing the root of the problem by doing that (otherwise he wouldn’t have an audience). So let’s return to the idear of hoarding. Hoarding is what predatory capitalism has to resort to now that the western world’s industrial base has been eroded to the point of no return. And the irony is, hoarding is exactly what every individual has to resort to in order to consume-to-survive. And it’s not just the material that is hoarded. People hoard their work-cubicles, their cars and gadgets, their extended commutes to jobs they have only because thousands of others can’t have a job. Etc., etc. And so. It’s not just aluminium, oil, copper, banks and governments that are hoarding. Everyone is doing it in every aspect of life. “It’s mine! Not Yours!” And it’s game over for the dream. So it’s time to wake up. Go thank your baby-boomer parents for that. Now come down off your high horse. Better yet. Pick something to report about that the WalMart crowd can change first cause untill krapp like that changes it remains game-over.

Links:

Vid:

Rant on.

-tgs-

Way To The 20th Century

Picasso At The Lapin Agile by Steve Martin

In the movie From Hell, starring Johnny Depp, there is a line by Jack The Ripper (played by Ian Holm). It goes something like this: Someday people will know that I am the one that brought the 20th century. Even though I love the movie,the story it is based on — with the idear that the murders committed by Jack The Ripper directly involved the British monarchy — is even better. Hence, it is an underrated film where a brilliant story and writing gets lost. Nomatter. The line regarding who brought us the 20th century has stuck with me ever since. It is one of those lines I will simply never get out of my head. Which is kinda strange. For one, I hate the 20th century. Secondly, what’s the big deal? The passage from the 19th to 20th just can’t be the passage to end all historic passages? I mean, come on. The 20th century is a time where thousands of years of human evolution combined to result in nothing more than destruction, hate and ugliness comparable only to a space-time anomaly where an ice cream maker is suddenly transported from the comfort of the first world to the malcontent of the 3rd world, let’s say right in the middle of the Amazon or the Sahara, just as he was about to provide an over-priced banana split to the richest child New York City greed could ever produce. And as history witnesses this phenomenon the audience gasps and screams: Aw, fuck the kid, what about the poor ice cream?

“A bar in Paris, 1904. One year later, Albert Einstein published the special theory of relativity. Three years later, Pablo Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” -Mise en scené from Picasso at the Lapin Agile, by Steve Martin

Ok. That’s one way to worst-see things. Another is provided by Steve Martin. Of the people I grew up watching on the boob-tube, Steve Martin I remember well. I used to love watching him on SNL in the 70s. His film “The Jerk” is one of the greatest comedies ever made and for weeks after I first saw it (at a drive-in) I went around saying: I was born a poor black child. Many years later, when I first saw “Roxanne“, I thought to myself, how talented can one person be? Well, that’s the thing about talent. When you got it, you got it. King Tut aside. So spring forward to a visit to one of my favourite bookstores in the world. Whenever I was visiting San Francisco I would spend hours in the basement of this store combing through the play section. When this book fell into my hands I had no idear that Steve Martin wrote plays. The clerk laughed at my ignorance and put another book by Marin in my hands. At that moment I started to hate Martin. Without even reading a line of one of his friggin’ books, I hated him. It just ain’t fair that nature put so much talent into one man and leave the rest of us to wallow in worst. Oh well.

So I bought both Picasso at the Lapin Agile and other plays and Shopgirl. I read them in hours. Never before did I embark on reading something and before my mind processed the first words I knew it was going to be good. This stuff comes out of the talent of Steve Martin. And even though it makes no sense that I should make the comparison to From Hell, a story written by someone who is probably the antithesis of a über-talented American comedian, both writers tapped into the question: who gave us the 20th century?

Einstein: “I never thought the twentieth century would be handed to me so casually…” -Steve Martin from his play. 

Rant on.

Tom

Motown Blues

detroit vs greece

Joke: What does Greece have in common with Detroit? (Short pause. Think.) Well, that’s about all the joke I can remember. But then again, if you think about it, there really is something to laugh at when it comes to comparing Greece with Detroit. And be assured, these two should be compared. First, they’re both bankrupt. Second, believe it or not, Detroit, a dying city, still has an economy larger than Greece. And therein lies the missed punchline. But it’s too late for the joke now. Nomatter. The best laugh comes when Mr. Prez, vid below, throws-down about not letting Detroit go bankrupt. Remember those days? Of course those of us who think rationally know that there’s really very little that Prez can do to save what has already been done to Detroit and the rest of the American’t centralised economy that is now safely in the hands of greed mongers and hoarders. So at this point there’s really nothing left to be said about losing (y)our industrial base except, maybe, good luck suckers… or… just get rid of all the conservatives and replace them with something not conservative. (Now that’s a load to think about.)

Newz Links:

 

Rant on.

-tgs-

 

Alone With Company

One of Samuel Beckett’s last published works. “Company” is a fable. I always thought a fable has animals in it. In this fable there’s only “M” and “Hearer”. Oh, there’s a “W” in there somewhere, too. If that sounds a bit ambiguous, then go with what you’re hearing. Ambiguity and loneliness is really all that’s in this piece. Also. Worst-writer learned long ago, probably after reading Malone Dies, that actually paying attention to what goes on in Beckett’s work can easily send the mind astray. Just read the stuff.

For why or? Why in another dark or in the same? And whose voice asking this? Who asks, Whose voice asking this? And answers, His soever who devises it all. In the same dark as his creature or in another. For Company. -Company by Samuel Beckett

Still. I’m surprised at how hard it is to actually summarise what goes on this story. The reason for that is because this is what it would sound like:

Laying on back. Staring at sky. Almost bored. But alive. And you can go places although it doesn’t really matter where you go. And when you get there, a café or a pub or a john, just stare at the sky. But I already mentioned that.

Could not conceivably create while crawling in the same create dark as his creature. -Company by Samuel Beckett

I don’t know what else to say except it’s word sculpting from another dimension. And that’s grand.

Rant on.

Tomas

Anglo vs Germanin

Note 1: Post is incomplete, not very cohesive and w/out narrative. It’s worst than normal-worst. You’ve been warned. Good luck.

New & Improved Clans

I’ve been obsessing for a few years over of the idear that there’s a growing, alive & kicking chasm in the western world. This chasm is, in part, due to Das Volk’s inability to see impending demise. Obviously the euphoria of capitalism winning over communism has done more to blind eyes than the standard illusions and myths of the past. Add to that we are now living in Orwellian perpetual war and it’s no wonder a chasm the size of the Atlantic is forming. Ok. Maybe it’s only the size of the English channel. Nomatter. Here’s the thing: after so many years living abroad, worst-writer has finally come to terms with his advantage. I am an American’t living not by choice but by happenstance in Eurowasteland. It is exactly in this position that I am witness to the birth of a new era where geographical boundaries and political ideologies no longer determine the fate of Das Volk. Instead this era is a new & improved version of one from such a distant past that, historically and intellectually, it is beyond comprehension. For you see, it is commonplace these days to spew these words: we should learn from our past. And when Das Volk hear such words they immediately think of a new past such as the 20th century or, maybe, if a few have read a book or three then they might think of the 19th century. But guess what worst-writer is thinking of as he stares down from his pulpit above the Atlantic chasm? That’s right, you guessed it, I’m thinking of the 15th century. You with me? In order to not repeat the past we should all be thinking of the 15th century. Come on, let’s go.

Best Ever Made

Early to mid 1970s. It wasn’t a bad first job. I pumped gas at a local gas station. Heck, I even got to pump gas during version 2 of 1970s gas crisis. I worked at the only gas station on a northbound highway that connected rural and suburban hell with the big city, about an hour’s drive away north, which is also the capital of the united mistakes of Amerikan’t. Luckily the 2nd gas crisis ended faster than the first but all the terrapin soup had run out. And that’s neither here nor there. What was really cool about this first job was that the owner of the gas station was the only VW and Porsche specialist in the area. That meant I got to hang around a lot of interesting “foreign” cars. And once I proved my competence (I wasn’t a mechanic), I got to do basic tune-up stuff on all of those cars, which included oil, plug, filter changes, etc. The peeves of doing all this was that the shop owner and customers let me drive the cars. By the time I was seventeen I had driven Porsche 911’s, Speedster 356 replicas (yes, we built them) and the awfully-chilling and ravenous Karman Ghia. With all that naive and young-gun experience, worst-writer is confident in saying the following: The Porsche 911, before they decided to go the route of turning it into a “super car”, is simply the best all-around car ever made. If I had to pick a car to drive to the end of time, it would be an air-cooled 911. Of course, I am from humble beginnings, to say the least. Actually owning a 911 was (and still is) out of the question. And so. The engineers at VW had Das Volk like me in mind when they created the Porsche 914, aka the “VW Porsche” (which I actually couldn’t afford either). Mr. Lustgeier (pronounced “lust-gear”) loaned me his 914 VW Porsche once. So there you have it. 2nd best ain’t all that bad. But then Lustgeier died. Wait. He killed himself.

Dead Banker Cars

Since I can remember there are two types of Porsche owners beyond the ones that falsely made the “e” silent. One is the enthusiast. These were people that just loved the mystique of German auto engineering. The others were Suits. Mr. Afred Lustgeier was both. He was a big-whig at Riggs Bank in Washington, DC. He was also part owner in various local and interstate businesses. He owned several houses up and down the east coast and it was rumoured that he was looking to invest in a project that would put luxury houses on the Potamac River where people could then commute to Washington DC by boat. It was not actually known how many Porsches Mr. Lustgeier had but the shop I worked at serviced at least three of them that were stored at one of his houses nearest us, about a forty minute drive south.

Lustgeier’s gem was a brand new 911 Carrera Turbo that was painted in metallic sky-blue (it’s only fault, btw). Another was a grey 1969 Targa, grey being the perfect Germanin colour. But the one he “got a kick out of” was a yellow 914, aka VW Porsche. The latter two being the ones he kept nearby. One morning when he came in to pick up his tuned-up Targa he asked my boss if he could send someone to pick up his 914 to have it brought in and tuned-up. My boss offered that I do it and after a skeptical look or three Lustgeier agreed. I followed Lustgeier and his Carrera. When we arrived at his house he let me admire his new Carrera and then gave me the keys for the 914 to drive it back to the shop and he included the “door opener” for the gated community for when I would return the car.

Before I left Lustgeier tried to explain to me the odd gear placement of the 914. But I told him I was aware of it. After a quick pee in his house I started the Porsche and drove back to the shop. Two things stuck in my head during the drive. One was that Lustgeier’s house was completely empty. No furniture, no carpeting, no shelves, nothing. But there was toilet paper. The second thing was, since I had to pass through his house to get to the pisser, I noticed, through large sliding glass doors, his empty pool in the back yard. Well, it was empty of water. The pool was filled to the brim with what looked like everything that should have filled the house. In fact, after a short but intense glance, it looked like the entire innards of the house was in the pool, although I hadn’t been upstairs. I thought it all so strange that I didn’t bother to ask about it. Three days later I finally got the message that Lustgeier threw himself off the Potomac River Bridge and burned everything from the house in the pool, including the Targa. The Carrera was left on the bridge from the spot where he jumped.

Chasm

And so, worst-writer’s obsession with the Chasm is that it seems to be growing out of the negative energy and rage of reactionary politics, greed and too much sugar extract mixed with hydrocarbons and doused with recourse and even less attention. But more importantly the mist and dust from the mechanics and geology of this chasm, that which has hid it from the gluttonous red-eyes of most consume-to-survive mortals, is breaking away. The chasm is coming now to full view. That it resembles a vagina might prolong it being empirically studied but that’s neither here nor there. What’s more important is finding examples of where the chasm rears its wrinkly face-head.

As best I can tell, there was a situation brewing in the hedge fund markets out of London in 2007 that best exemplifies worst-writer’s idear of the chasm. At the time Eurowasteland’s largest auto maker, VW, was in dire straights and needed saving. Of course, German industry and business ain’t much different than any other business in the world. It too is run by a mafia-like codec and it is commonplace within such a system that winners and losers are clearly separated from owners except when winners win, at which time, owners get their fair cut and when losers abound, participants either cry foul or do as it’s always been done, leave it up to taxpayers. Say what you will about this system of mafia-like and centralised economics. For a country like Germany it seems to work well, especially when one considers that the German mafia is so much more efficient than the Italian one. Have I opened a can of worms there? Nomatter.

By 2008 the situation with VW had gotten so bad that hedge funders thought this might be an opportunity to break the hold of the German mafia on one of its blue-chip corporations and short the shit out of some stock. Aim was taken at financially strapped VW. The British, or, better put, the  Anglo hedge fund managers thought they could actually short a Germanin blue-chip stock. Enter the chasm. None of these hedge funders based in London ever bothered to take into consideration what they were actually dealing with. That they all completely missed a loophole in Germanin law that allowed a company to buy a stock with out making the purchase public didn’t seem to cross anyone’s mind. While hedge funders shorted, Porsche bought. I mean, hedge fund managers are supposed to be the most scrutinising and detail driven financial experts there are. Or?

Now. I can’t say that VW and Germanin investors planned this from the start but in the end what happened to VW and subsequently Porsche was all a result of the chasm between the Anglo way of doing things and the Germanin way of doing things. The question I often ask myself after a few too many beers in the right bar is this: would this same blunder on the part of the Anglos had happened if the investment was about an Italian company? Or Spanish company? You see, those countries have all in some way or other adopted the Anglo mindset when it comes to running their economies. The Germanin economy, for whatever reason not to be addressed here, has never adopted the Anglo way of doing things. Long story short. In the end the Germanins won the stock shorting battle of VW. Porsche had been secretly buying VW stock when hedge funders were trying to short it. Billions on the Anglo side of this trade was lost. Which means anyone invested with these hedge funders also lost.

 

Enter Adolf Merckle. A Germanin that chose the wrong side. He bet against his clan! (You see, I wanted to connect the “clan” thing more in this post.) He lost and threw himself under a train traveling the speed of a Porsche! Once the bets were being called Merckle had to come up with a really exuberant amount of cash to cover his bets. Even though he was supposedly a multi-billionaire, he chose to throw himself under a train instead. Or, like Lustgeier from his bridge, these guys simply got caught in the chasm.

Yeah, the chasm.

Or something like that.

-end-

Note 2:. Other less extensive, confused and chaotic posts about the subject of worst-writer’s obsession with the Anglo vs. Germanin are contained in this site. I was and have been trying to develop a narrative that employs two things. One is the idear that there is an Anglo mindset and a Germanin mindset. I also believe that these two mindsets are at war right now. But I haven’t found that narrative yet and this is one of my first attempts at writing it down. And if you’ve read any or all of this post then you probably know that already.

Some further reading on the VW/Porsche and hedge fund disaster… Oh. Wait! It was only a disaster if you’re Anglo. Nomatter.

Links:

 

Rant on.

Thomas

Consume To Survive Paradox

debt vs income

What is your claim to fame, dear worst-reader? Everyone has one, right? Worst-writer’s claim to fame is having lived most of the last twenty years debt free. And if all goes well, I will live the rest of my life debt-free. Seriously. Before this grand achievement I had a loan to finance some fun in the form of an Italian motorcycle. Paid that off in less than three years. Then there were the years where I wasted life paying off college loans. But paid them I did. By the time I was thirty-five I was debt-free. Has that registered yet? Wait. There’s more. My favourite method of payment for this consume-to-survive life is via a credit card. Sound contradictory? Not quite. I pay off my credit cards at the end of every month. I haven’t had a revolving credit card since leaving American’t for other shores, which goes back to 1989. Now. Get this. Even though I applaud the efforts of Elizabeth Warren, I was always against Bill Clinton signing The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 in the first place. Which, btw, is what Warren should focus on. That republican/conservative driven legislation is what enabled big banks to consolidate their efforts and subsequently figure out how to finance a country lost in a spiral of debt. And we’re not just talking about credit card debt run-up by people who are clueless to the fact that when they charge a seven dollar cup of coffee and that amount only adds to their revolving account, which they never pay-off, someone, somewhere has to service the debt. Add that up with a population that truly believes it is entitled to credit in order to consume-to-survive… Well, the salad has been made and the salad days are longing. This mess, in my life time, has NEVER been addressed (even though I have addressed it). At the time, around 2000, I was very confused why Clinton did what he did. But since then it’s easy to see that he was a lost soul, not unlike the current Dem prez is a lost-er soul. The simple fact is, American’ts will never get it. We have fallen so far off the edge of reality and logic that there is no return–there is only the imaginary Phoenix that must some day rise from the ashes that is the inevitable crash and burn. Unless, of course, American’ts start politically growing some balls and get rid of all these dumb-ass conservatives that have been selling you/us all this grievance, belonging and sentiment which, according to the politicians elected into office, everyone seems to luv. So keep waving your flag and wearing red, white and blue and voting for these dumb-asses. That said. The reality is this: What banks have been doing other than paying out huge bonuses to useless purveyors of financial derivatives, credit default swaps and all other Wall Street trinkets, is keeping the country going. It’s true. And you should be thankful. Without the post 2007 radical consolidation of all banking assets, both from retail (your worthless deposits) and investment banks, the US economy would collapse in a matter of hours. There is and never was any other way of covering not just Wall Street’s ass but America’s ass than to use ALL retail banking deposits as collateral. The real joke, though, is that American’ts don’t even have enough deposits in banks to cover all the debt. That’s why Warrren’s effort doesn’t matter. The only solution is to pay off the debt and then figure out how the country can finally get back to generating income that has some real value. Good luck, suckers.

Newz Links:

 

Rant on.

-tgs-

Innovation Dead On Arrival

Subtitle: Real Digital Pop.

Update: Berlin Polizei want the perpetrators. Go figure.

How to kill innovation? Worst-writer needs to write a book about how they killed innovation. Reason? I think I’ve lived through the killing. That’s right. I worked for at least two dot-coms back in the day. And I have no qualms in saying that the dot-com era was systematically killed by government and bankers who conspired to prevent the birth of an obviously liberal but also stink-rich new class of innovators. The old school couldn’t have any of that. Say. I’ve already got a title for the book. I’ll call it “IDA And The Fat Happy Face”. IDA stands for innovation dead on arrival. The fat happy face is either mine or Kim Dotcom’s. And speaking of Dotcom, I really like this guy. The problem is, I only wish Dotcom would fight his battles using something other than getting rich(er) off file sharing. But then again, I think he probably tried to fight battles in Germany and was crushed and that’s why he was raided by US-lead authorities in New Zealand who think copyright is the reason for crushing all (digital) innovation. I know. Did I just contradict myself? Here’s the thing. It’s probably true that there is some kind of a conspiracy going on in the upper echelons of western power regarding innovation. All western countries are part of the conspiracy, with American’t leading the way. But the basis on which all the crushing is taking place has to do essentially with one thing and one thing only. Consuming. Would it be possible that the best way to counter government control would be to consume less? I know. Worst-writer is a dreamer and a contradictionalist. Hey! Cool. I just made that word up. Coin it. And send me a quarter every time you use it.

Rock on Dotcom.

Rant on.

-tgs-

Pentagon Papers vs Corporate Culture

stained flag

Why is everybody jumping over-board regarding the rogue adventures of an obviously angry, confused and perhaps a bit spoiled twenty-nine year old? I mean, didn’t Edward Snowden have a great job? Heck, I worked for Booz Allen Hamilton once, something like 20 years ago. Worked for them for about three years. And I can easily say this about that company: what a corporate nightmare that place was. But then again, they did pay well and no one cares about how Tommi made a living before bagging it all and going the route of semi-retirement and worst-writing comfort (thank you very much).

Recent comparisons in the newz between Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg is starting to bug me. The Pentagon Papers actually revealed how clueless America is about Empire. Obviously those papers changed nothing. The way America plunged into Iraq should go down in history as the best example yet of a country drunk on the Kool-Aid — Pentagon Papers be damned. I mean, Americans are still voting for these conservative nut-bags who love war, abortion, impeachment, etc., in both national and state elections and a shit-load of shit-kickers even believe the krapp spewed by The Tea Party and Libertarians. And let’s not even start with the luvfest for the Constitution. The fact is the shit has long since hit the fan. But what’s with the comparisons between Ellsberg and Snowden?

It’s time to look a bit deeper, dear worst-reader, into the rotten barrel where everybody is trying and hoping to scrape their way to the top and thereby failing to see how truly empty everything is. Enter a new generation of Americans reared on political and economic fail-upward-ness. I mean, let’s put things in perspective, shall we? Snowden (and Manning) are Boomer children. A new generation is now living in the nightmare that the Baby-Boomers all thought would be the (American) dream. What is clear so far in this era of the great American experiment is that it will be impossible for any new generation to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Yet they all try. Indeed, they are all trying really, really hard.

Give yourself a quick read on Snowden, dear worst-reader. Plenty of links below and in these Interwebnets. And then give this a thought: Edward Snowden is not only a child of Boomers but he is also a person that will never really graduate to adulthood. Yet by twenty-nine Snowden was earning, so the story goes, something like $200k a year. Men of Ellsberg’s generation were full grown adults by the time they graduated high school and I wonder if Ellsberg, even when he was working at RAND, including inflation, came even close to what Snowden earned. Which makes me ask: was Snowden really earning that? If he wasn’t earning that or if he was so unhappy making that kind of a living, why didn’t he do what Ellsberg did as a whistleblower (see vid below)? I guess the answer lies in the fact that since Ellsberg’s day voodoo economics, pharmaceuticals, political conservatism have all contributed to rearing a generation that will forever remain pubescent. Oh, and let’s not forget we’re probably also dealing with a generation of fraidy-cats. Add to that the corporate culture that Snowden chose to work in that does nothing but maintain a perverse sense of the status quo, exemplifies corporate dysfunction and forces individuals to give up their individuality in order to be part of the hoarding herd. Indeed. Edward Snowden should be compared to something.

That said, should the likes of Snowden or Manning bear the burden and the glory of whistleblowing? Compared to Ellsberg, I’m not sure. Compared to the rest us? Sure, why not. But there is something that should not be forgotten: what Snowden has revealed is nothing new. This spying stuff has been going on since American’ts have failed to recognise the demons that have given us legislative krapp like the Patriot Act. And since America is all about under-achievement and meritlessness now that it is so clear that the Baby-Boomers have failed miserably and turned the whole shebang into AmeriCAN’T, we shovel on and keep trying really, really hard to get some scraps from that empty barrel that is the true nightmare left behind. Yeah, baby. Fail upward and wait and see what you do when some corporation offers you $200k/year to work in the only industry America has left to get a decent job.

Links:

Vid to watch here.

Rant on.

-tgs-

Alternate History

Burr by Gore Vidal

From the afterword:

“Why a historical novel and not a history? To me, the attraction of the historical novel is that one can be as meticulous (or as careless!) as the historian and yet reserve the right not only to rearrange events but, most important, to attribute motive–something the conscientious historian or biographer aught never do.” 

This post is better late than never. Plus this is a lazy post. Trying to fill my study section so it looks like the done-section of my bookshelves. And so. Finished reading “Burr” last fall. It took me a few years to get around to reading it. That is, I read Lincoln in 2007 but because of other books put-off continuing with Narratives of Empire. Of course, the best part about the series is you don’t have to start from the beginning. In fact, Gore Vidal himself wrote them way outta order. Nomatter. As I’ve said, I plan on reading them all and if my mind holds up, I’ll get them done not so soon enough.

Anyone who wants to know about the history of America should read Vidal’s collection of historical novels. And keep in mind, you will be reading fiction but you will also learn more about American history above and beyond the inadequacy of history lessons from conventional schooling. Hence these books should be required reading. The reason they never will be required reading is because Vidal’s attitude toward life, liberty and the American’t way is counter to most aspects of what has been running the show since, gee, Nixon(?) But that’s neither here nor there. Next on my list is Gore’s Empire–hopefully it won’t take me five years to get to it. BTW, I also read gore’s “Creation”, which is not in the series. The reason I mention it is because Burr and Creation are written basically in the same style based on a kind of memoir and collection of letters.

What is most appealing about Burr is Vidal’s anti-establishment take on our history. I suppose you could call it an alternative history. But there’s something else to Gore Vidal and his motivations that worst-writer suspects has something to do with a desire to at least offer an alternate truth. In that vein, please indulge me this stretch or three: Gore Vidal might be related to Al Gore. In fact, he’s also distantly related to Jimmy Carter. And his grandfather was a Senator from Oklahoma. Vidal even ran for congress but he lost. I mention all that because of one of the significants parts of Aaron Burr’s life. Vidal chronicles the election for third president of the United States. It was a close race and the final decision of the presidency went to Thomas Jefferson but it was decided by the congress because the two tied in electoral votes. So. While reading Vidal’s take on history, I couldn’t help but think about Al Gore and how he lost to Dubya in 2000. Anything similar? I mean, it wasn’t the voters the picked Jefferson. But I am stretching. And I suppose my stretch would be better relatable if Gore or Bush had duelled each other. I know. Wishful thinking. I found this part of Burr’s life to be more interesting than the Hamilton incident but perhaps that’s because Vidal thought it more significant, too.

Burr is a wonderful journey into our history. But what makes it so appealing is that the reader, if willing, won’t be bothered with Vidal’s prose that borderline at times on turning the whole shebang into a soap-opera. Either that or it works at times as a bad western, especially the part about Texas and the Alamo, including some interesting insight into Davie Crockett’s true intention for going…. allow me to say: for going west. But then, worst-writer doesn’t need to mention anything more about Gore Vidal’s attitude toward what made America and what has subsequently ruined it. Indeed. Vidal breaks through all the mythology and paints a beautiful, untainted portrait that motivates further self-inquiry and study.

Rant on.

Tommi

Meta Data

Interactive Map

Link to Zeit Online article containing interactive map that shows how a person with a smart phone can be traced. Way cool.

When viewing the map above it almost seems like it could be part of a James Bond movie where “M” is tracking Bond and figuring out which beer hall he’s flirting in. I’m not sure what I find more interesting. The shear amount of information that can be gathered to track someone or how it is put together to illustrate the effectiveness of meta data.

Welcome to your future.

meta data
Screenshot of the spreadsheet containing “meta data”.

Rant on.

-tgs-