Wunder Wunderkinder

Wunderlist by 6Wunderkinder. More than just a mediocre run-of-the-mill cloud app? Yes and no. Worst-writer recommends its use–as a shopping list to be shared between iOS devices. I reckon it’s also a great enterprise utility where corporatists can coordinate data and to-do lists in the cloud. But I’ll never get to see that part of it and here’s why…

First. 6Wunderkinder is a Berlin startup. As of the writing of this worst-post, there is no Wiki page on 6Wunderkinder or Wunderlist. Why is that? (See screenshots below.) Also. Having worked in the first Dotcom era, I smell remnants of that era’s demise lingering in the Prussian air.

Second. I’ve been using Wunderlist for the better part of 18 months on my iPhone 4S. My partner and I share a shopping list across my iPhone and her iPad–and it works great. Recently, after numerous updates, I tried expanding use of the app involving the sharing of documents. Unfortunately none of that was possible because the free version greys-out all that functionality. Great way to tease, eh. Anywho. Since I already use Dropbox and Evernote and a few others, on account they offer limited cloud services for free, there really is no reason for me to use essentially what is an attempt by 6Wunderkinder to expand a to-do list into an enterprise productivity app. And that kinda bugs me. I mean, seriously. Should I pay €5/month or €50/year for this? I’m cringing at the thought right now.

As you may or may not know, dear worst-reader, the iPhone and the wondrous world of the Apple monopoly, regularly send out pop-up menus that demand “review this app”. Someone is itching for a kicking out there, huh? Luckily it’s easy enough to click away obnoxious pop-ups on iOS. But since I’ve been using Wunderlist for so long and am now disappointed in the way they expanded functionality without me, I thought I’d give it a review. And guess what wunder happened? When I was done writing my review and wanted to post it, the App Store wouldn’t allow it. I tried several times to post but kept getting the same response about not having the right “nickname”. Since I was determined to get what I worst-wrote posted somewhere, I saved what I wrote as a text doc to dropbox (are you listening 6Wunderkinder?) and then switched to my 2010 Snow Leopard Macbook Pro, which is my main writing tool, and then, at the 6Wunderkinder support page, sent my review via email.

Tommi > 6Wunderkinder support:

AUG 28, 2013  |  02:40PM CEST Original message

Hello.

Below my review that the Appstore wouldn’t allow me to post on account there are no more “nicknames” available!

Review of Wunderlist.

Preferred version 1.x on my iPhone 4S because there is a huge performance deficit in v.2. Try opening wunderlist while shopping in a hurry at a German grocery store where everybody treats everything as though it’s an overcrowded Autobahn with Fiat500s determining the speed of super BMWs. Also getting turned off using wunderlist because the desktop and iPhone version constantly throws “pro”functions in my face. Just separate the pro version from the free version! (No one thought of that?) Why did you stop supporting Snow Leopard? I have several Macs, one of which I use regularly but it has Snow leopard. I know I can download the old version but if you guys have given up on it then why should I use it? Let me repeat: Why do you guys simply not separate the pro version from the free version? This is really obnoxious. Since there are so many other productivity/utility apps that offer the same functionality I don’t know what separates Wunderlist from the rest–and I don’t use most of those apps either. Paying monthly (or yearly) for something where I have dropbox and calendar for free in order to share appointments and to-dos makes your “pro” services pretty expensive. So how’s your enterprise sales staff coming along? ;-)

I’m just a disappointed wunderlist user. 

Tommi Stough (worstwriter.com)

Below the very diplomatic and rehearsed corporate-like response from 6Wunderkinder. My smart-ass take on it all is in [brackets]. Please note: in this case caps are not yelling.

Company Rep > Tommi (aka worst-writer):

AUG 29, 2013  |  06:10PM CEST

Hello Tommi,

Thank you for your email and the honest feedback! [YEAH RIGHT.] We will discuss this in the team and see where we can improve the app and our communication. [????] Having separate Pro & Free versions is not an option for us because it would drastically reduce the conversion rate. [WELL THEN, THERE’S ALWAYS CALENDAR, DROPBOX AND EVERNOTE.] I hope you understand that we have to keep this business aspect in mind. [REALLY? WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED THAT? AND THAT’S FINE AND DANDY. THANKS FOR THE ADVICE THAT I FIND ANOTHER SOFTWARE TO USE.]

But the performance of the iOS app is something that will definitely be improved in future versions. [HOW DID YOU SCREW IT UP FROM v.1.x TO v.2.x IN THE FIRST PLACE?] Snow Leopard unfortunately can’t be supported any longer because it is simply way harder and therefore really uneffective to support Snow Leopard, Mountain Lion, Lion & the upcoming 10.9 OSX at the same time. [NO ONE CAN AFFORD TO UPDATE THEIR HARDWARE AS FAST AS APPS UPDATE THEIR SOFTWARE OR AS FAST AS APPLE UPDATES ITS HARDWARE. COME BACK DOWN TO EARTH, PLEASE.] So we had to stop supporting the oldest OSX version. [AND SINCE I USE SNOW LEOPARD ON ONE OF MY MACHINES, ANOTHER REASON TO LOSE INTEREST IN WUNDERLIST.]

All best, [YOU TOO DUDE AND GOOD LUCK IN DOTCOM ERA VERSION 2.0]

Company rep (name changed to protect the innocent)

Worst-writer commends 6Wunderkinder for responding to my email. But their response is clearly a slap and that if I want to use their software I have to follow their lead. Indeed. Small Berlin start up has learned well from the arrogance of the Apple Eco system but probably hasn’t learned anything from Dotcom boom version 1.0. What they should have done is simply responded with a “thank you” or, maybe, something like: “we take seriously what people think of our software…”.

I’m so shocked that there is no Wiki page on 6Wunderkinder that I’ve included the screenshots from my wiki search. Click pics for larger version. Again. As of the date of this post, they’ve removed their existence from Wikipedia. ???

wunderlist search 1
Wiki search for “Wunderlist” 30.8.2013

 

wunderlist search 2
Wiki search for “6Wunderkinder” 30.8.2013

Rant on.

-tgs-

Hammer Nail

The drums of war beating again? Or maybe they’ve never stopped. Or. Maybe it was never meant to be any other way than to live by the murderous sword of death for hegemony. Who knows. Wait. Maybe there are those who do know.

“If every problem you have is a hammer than everything has to look like a nail.” -Wesley Clark

Unless, of course, you’re worst-writer. Then all you have to do is go about life as though nothing ever really happens because it’s all been planned. What a luxury, eh? I mean, I could spend the rest of my days galavanting around Eurowasteland or North Africa or Mars and never once reach a moment of zen or the like. All there  really is is a worst-word written or correct-word missed and those who run the show on account we’ve let them do it. And so. Why should I or anyone wrack a brain cell or three around all this war mongering? Between the 50th anniversary of MLK’s speech and mediocre Barry Obama doing his thing of trying to represent those who elected him, well, there’s not much to be said about it all on account it’s been planned. Wait. Did I say that already? Nomatter. Which means it’s time to order another sassafras tea and some pistachio ice cream and go about the business of being stupid or hunting moose in Arizona.

Rant on.

-tgs-

Get The ?uck Out Of The Way

Ballmer bwEverything will not be ok, dear worst-reader. But that doesn’t matter. In the immediate short term, the thinkers among us can rejoice that for at least a few seconds the world might be(come) a place lacking in corporate American’t dysfunction as Steve Ballmer decides to… finally get the *uck out of the way. You know, it would also be a great thing if all the baby-boomers would also get the #uck out of the way. That would mean, finally, the problems that are plaguing everything, the cause of life-ills in general these days, could be addressed. But then again. Maybe not. But there always is wishful thinking, eh. And. Remember. The west is now a place where perpetual infantilism is our newest disease that will graciously and profitably be addressed with pharmaceuticals and whatever other addictions we can attain. But seriously. Since boomers only procreated and never really raised their grapefruit children, there’s not much available to take the reigns but a bunch whacked-out perpetual adolescents. Oh well. Again. At least for a few seconds as Ballmer FINALLY gets the fuck out of the way and takes his billions with him we can rejoice. Now if only Larry Ellison would do the same. Say, who else should be on the get the ?uck out of the way list? Steve Jobs? Oh, he’s already gone. Nomatter.

Links:

 

Rant on.

-tgs-

Actor Important

I do not wish to belittle Kevin Spacey’s achievements as an actor. In fact, can’t wait to watch House of Cards. But after watching the above vid of him playing Mr. Important-Actor, all I can say is… Mr. Spacey, YOU GO GURL!

Of course, I live in Germaninland where the digital world is controlled by a totalitarian copy right state that thinks it needs to protect a pacified and naive Völkschen from unwanted access to how life truly is in this centralised everyone-be-the-same land of luxury shit coercive taxed TV. But enough of my complaining about too much vacation and too little culture in this little corner of Eurowasteland. ;-)

Today, dear worst-reader, we have a speech by a very important actor. In fact, we have two of them. Two speeches, that is. Even though everything both actors say is impressive, nothing matters. But listen carefully. It sounds as though they both know exactly what they are talking about–with every syllable. Yet in the end, they are ACTORS. So who’s more true? The actors playing the men, the men playing the actors, or the care-actors that they play? Nomatter.

The real question is, who is the audience here? I think it’s fairly clear with the Matrix outtake. But the more I listen to Spacey for the answers I know he’s trying to give me, the more I am reminded of the shores I will never reach. Nomatter. At least these guys reached ’em.

Applicable text from the Matrix outtake starts @42seconds; here it’s transcribed:

SMITH: Then we have a deal?

CYPHER: (Chewing luscious steak.) I don’t want to remember nothing. Nothing! You understand? (Smith nods.) And I want to be rich. Someone important. Like an actor.

Rant on.

-tgs-

History Bored

In The Garden Of Beasts by Erik Larson

Oh, dear worst-reader, looks like I have to post a pseudo-worst-critique today albeit with a buy recommend. Finished this book the other night. Needed a few days to process it. Here’s what I’ve worst come up with. This book bored the bejesus out of me. Half through it I struggled to give up on it. It’s not that it’s badly written. It is very well written. But as I read through it I couldn’t help but see Erik Larson’s cluttered work space and all the research that he had done to write it–including what a struggle all of that might have been. Was he awash in clippings, dossiers, reference books, tape recorded interviews, notes, etc.? Nomatter. I stuck with the book in the hopes that this guy couldn’t produce something this boring without throwing in a catch or three. I was wrong. Till the bloody end it was a bore. But again. It is very well written. And there lies the essence of this book.

“In The Garden Of Beasts” feels like a chronicle–not so much of William Dodd–but of all the research that Larson could find on Dodd’s ambassadorship to Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1937. As interesting as this is or could be, it’s not. With that in mind. Allow me to make a prediction. According to the book of knowledge, its wiki page, the film rights to “In The Garden Of Beasts” has been acquired and Tom Hanks is gonna play Ambassador Dodd. I predict that the movie will evolve not around Dodd but around his daughter Martha, who, during her stay in Berlin found various lovers and a love for communism. She’s the only interesting thing in the whole book. And if I, dear worst-reader, were to write the same non-fiction about Dodd’s stay in Berlin, I’d have done it through the guise of Martha. Oddly (or not post McCarthyism) she ended up dying in Prague. Yet it is through Martha that one realises how a once great and cultivated people could turn into a batch of snivelling thugs and über-under-achievers that only know hate. How they are gonna make that into an interesting movie is anybody’s guess. But enough complaining.

If you’re not up to par on pre-WW2 history this might be a good read and you might get a few nuggets of info out of it, especially the sensitivity that America obviously had towards what the Nazis were doing to Jews during Hitler’s ascension. And on that note let me add this: The only thing other than Martha Dodd that is interesting about this book is what I could gather from thinking about it. And that’s the idear that the United States and Britain clearly knew what Hitler was doing and planning to do with the Jews of Europe even though, long after WW2 was over, such knowledge was denied.

Rant on.

-tgs-

Crescent Change

Ever watch a crescent moon change? Sometimes you can actually watch the crescent change until daylight gets in the way. All you have to do is put down that drink or joint for about 2 hours and remain there on your back while the bugs crawl from the grass onto your neck and behind you ear lobs. Eventually the shadow of the celestial body will change. It’s slow but it’s cool. The thing I recall witnessing while doing this several times in this worthless, useless, worst-life, is that I always see the shadow on the moon decreasing. I can’t remember ever watching it increase. Or do I have that backwards on account of being on the earth’s northern hemisphere? Nomatter. My point is…

TYT and Cenk Uygur are at it again. Not unlike the futility of wishing for a change in lunar phases, Cenk is barking up a tree in search of leafs at the end of fall. Wait. I should stick with my previous failed metaphor of crescent moon shadows, eh? Nomatter. Once again TYT explains to his audience the joys of American’t corrupt politics. I reckon what he says is informative, if you’re twenty-something and wondering why things are so shitty and your life is gearing up for the luxury of debtor’s prison. And that’s all fine and good. But what irks me about Cenk is how he always fails to provide his listeners a solution. Hence he’s becoming more and more just another media talking-head. But have no fear, dear worst-reader. Since Cenk can’t provide you solutions, I reckon I will. So here it goes…

Just kidding. The solution is quite complex and I don’t feel like writing a bullshit manifesto here. But to keep things short, the reason American’t is so fucked up these days, is because of Americans. That’s it. As Americans we’ve voted our emotions for the last half-century, we’ve suspended all critical thinking and we’ve blissfully subjected ourselves to the god of $$$. So there’s your solution. Or maybe not. Now go buy something and all will be well.

NYT article.

Rant on.

Tommi

 

Poem Of Everything

Beowulf

“Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good.” -Beowulf

A story to adore? Beowulf is a text, when I finally got around to grasping it, that occupies forever the left ventricle of my heart. I have the story in a number of versions but the one I refer to most is from The Norton Anthology of English Literature – Fifth Edition, which I either bought used for English courses at whatever rip-off university bookstore back in 1984 or I stole from some chick who kept it on a window sill above her sordid and protein flake-laden futon. Hence I prefer the modern English version of the original damaged manuscript based on Frederick Klaeber’stranslation of the poem. And if I may go out on an emotional and irrational limb, this story contains everything aliens need to know about humanity in order to make an informed invasion of our planet.

Excess exaggeration aside, there is truly something magical about this story even though the text is allusive, based on conjecture and not very cohesive. Read in verse it’s also somewhat of a tongue twister. What really stands out about this story, though, are the characters Beowulf, Grendal and Grendal’s mother. The triangle these three share is awash with scholarly interpretation. Told by Anonymous, the story takes place at a time when northern Europe was just beginning to adapt the Roman God of Christianity, where the biblical Cain (as in the first murderer) is even mentioned when trying to explain where Grendal’s mother stems from. I don’t know about you, but someone as curious as I am regarding the ills of religious indoctrination that have ruined life on this planet, that’s about as cool as watching Jujubes melt on a sidewalk in July in Florida. And another thing. As I read Beowulf I can’t help but think about the people who heard this story centuries ago as it was told aloud. Back then not many people could read. I imagine bearded landsman and milky skinned fems gathered around open fires, drinking mead, and all dreaming of viking heroics as the reactionary greed and wanton ignorance of southern European false-gods knock at their doors.

Oh well. The Danes, the Geats, the Germanins were all conquered as the God of Rome pushed aside Thor and adopted Santa Claus and Easter bunnies and mixed well with the romantically bored milky babes of Anglo-Sexia who still can’t help but fall for the thrills and machismo of darker skinned men when it comes to deflowering. And all that’s left is imagination pure. Speaking of which. Michael Crichton (yeah, the guy that gave us those weird dinosaur movies) did a brilliant job of playing around with Beowulf with his interpretation in the book “Eaters of the Dead”. The novel was then the basis of the movie “The 13th Warrior” which ended up being a box-office disaster. But I loved it because of how he portayed Grendal’s mother. The only problem with the film is that it doesn’t include Beowulf’s death, i.e. the final heroic battle with the second off-spring of Grendal’s mother, the dragon. For that Robert Zemeckis filmed a somewhat more accurate version of the story in the 2007 digitally animated film starring the motion capture of Angelina Jolie’s body (hubba, hubba). I wonder if there’s some room out there for worst-writer’s interpretation of Beowulf? Nomatter.

Links:

Rant on.

-tgs-

Don't Cry Work

Irre by Rainald Goetz

Oh, dear worst-reader, worst-writer is a third into a book that he dislikes dearly which he may or may not write about on account he might not finish it. This sort of thing happens every once-a-once and I suppose it’s inevitable. Still. I don’t like writing about a book that I’ve only started and might not finish. High hopes that it would be something significant or something worth spending my semi-retired time on has run its course. So. Let me move on to this post and worst-write something about a book that I did finish. Wait. It was so long ago. I think I finished it. Of course I finished it. Oh my.

There is one book in my sloppy, unorganised collection that always stands out. It’s Rainald Goetz‘s (not quite a novel) Irre. The title translates to either “crazy” or “mad”. I prefer the latter. This is the one book that has been with me no matter what since I felt confident enough to actually read German. Even though I prefer a clean desk when I’m working, I’m pretty sloppy when it comes to everything else. Except for this book. If I’m clamouring around my collection to find my old copy of “Wagons Full of Cotton” by Tennesse Williams or copy #3 of Waiting For Godot (which is filled with my best notes), I always come across Irre. It seems to just lay where ever I’m looking as though its ghost has been attached to me since day #1 (in this German language). Heck, even twenty years after first reading it, if I’m watching a podcast or listing to some Miles Davis, if I stretch my weary head, turn my neck to relax it, Irreis right there in my view. I even hid it under some chick’s bed once to try and get away from it. But then she brought it back to me when she broke up with me. So I reckon it’s about time I post something about it, eh? The book that haunts me.

That said, I’m not sure I’ve ever understood anything I’ve ever read in Irre. The book itself isIrre. And even though it’s marketed and sold as a novel (Roman) it can’t be one. It doesn’t have a story and everything in it is kind of… Irre. So I guess I’d better stop there before I dig this hole of literary misunderstanding any deeper. Except for the idear that Irre is about something. And I think that something has to do with being German and working and not crying.

For those interested, the vid below is Rainald Goetz, the author of Irre, reading some of his (other) work. If you’re queazy about blood (like I am) then be advised that this vid might not be for you. At the least, Rainald Goetz is either deeply connected to his work or he has a perverse way of selling it. Plus, it didn’t help him win any prize.

Or did it?

Rant on.

Tommi

Braver Soul

Barry Super Obama

There’s too much focus on “whistle blowing” these days turning the whole thing into a dizzying drama of silliness. Which makes it all (conveniently) very distracting. Since it’s common knowledge that spying has been part of our everyday lives since 2001, that is, since American’ts stood stupefied in ignorant-bliss to the ramifications of the Patriot Act, we’ll have to wait for the dust of history to clear before we know if what all these cowardly whistle blowers actually reveal will make a difference. To worst-writer, it won’t make a difference because, as was the case with Daniel Ellsberg, history still repeated itself. Heck, even back then rational thinking Amerians knew that Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, was all a big fat monkey lie. And so… Drunk on consuming to survive American’t went with the flow. And. Subsequently. The war in Afghanistan exceeded both time and money the war in Vietnam. So I suppose the new American’t motto shouldn’t be life & liberty but instead stay stupid and vote your emotions. And nothing changes ever.

The shutting down of Lavabit stirred worst-writer’s thought this weekend. Here we have, dear worst-reader, a great example of the residual effect of grand-standing, disingenuous whistle blowing. The encrypted email service Lavabit, born out of the paranoia that the wizard of Google was spying on gmail users, was used by Edward Snowden to send email. Under pressure from the US government, Ladar Levinson simply shut down the service instead of turning over his servers for illegal inspection. That means, for the sake of the US Constitution, for the sake of all things private and personal, for the sake of men ruled by law as opposed to being ruled by other men, Levinson is taking a stand that even my cynical mind can empathise with. Indeed. This is an example of doing the right thing and standing up for what you do like a real man should and not running away to Russia like a wuss. My only concern now is that all these great digital minds are gonna go to waste on account they all have to run from big brother.

And remember: the truth might eventually possibly perhaps set us all free but it don’t have to.

Newz links:

Vid to watch:

Rant on.

-tgs-

Shock Awed

washington post bezos buy

Update: here some great reporting on WAPO purchase by Bezos.

Was reading through the news last night using Flipboard. When I saw the headline that Bezos bought WAPO I yelped kinda loud. Startled my dog and perhaps a neighbour or three thru various open windows that seem to offer no help in this Eurowasteland heatwave. Indeed, worst-writer, dear worst-reader, was shocked. Obviously print media is on its deathbed. Even though I remember vividly walking around the front of the Washington Post building in DC dreaming about being a writer, and I even spent a summer delivering this fucking paper to the suburban dead of suburban hell, I have no remorse for the death of print media. RIP and good ridden. But there is something else about this life-saving-ring that the Post has been thrown. There is something I can’t help but feel regarding this transaction between the old economy and the new economy. For example, could this mean, perhaps, even though I’m not sure of what Bezos’ political orientation is, that for the first time a relatively young man, someone reared by the new economy, that potentially knows there is a difference between political right and wrong and just might not be skewed by baby-boomer parents, is now stepping up to an earned pedestal and may very well start wielding some (political) power that could potentially get rid of all the krappy conservatism that has ruined American’t? I know, I know. Wishful thinking. And it’s dangerous to assume that someone like Bezos could actually be liberal (which is the only thing that can save America now). But my yelp in the late, musty, dank heat of Cologne was one of joy and hope. Which reminds me of a little story.

Time travel back twelve years. Worst-writer tried to get a job with Amazon Germany once. What a disaster that was. I was on my third interview with the company to be a project manager for various tech implementations. I had already sensed after the second interview that I wasn’t going to get the job. In fact, it was one of the last job interviews I ever had. It was, for worst-writer, after years of job-jumping and working my ass off for the privilege of never getting ahead, the moment of perpetual semi-retirement was becoming more and more reality. Indeed. I already sensed the outcome of the interview. These Germans are that predictable. Numerous, result-less job interviews provide premonition. The only thing holding me together at the time was my intellect. For while others struggled with their job finding in a world where a job is a commodity not unlike oil, wheat or sugar, I indulged my mind and furthered my lust for knowledge that was above and beyond the idiocy of a cubicle existence. And so. Getting this job wasn’t an issue of my qualifications. I wasn’t going to get the job because I wasn’t German and I already had long surpassed my welcome in this part of the old country. Sure, I could stay in Germany but to actually take away a job from a German when globalisation had already run its course for this pseudo and highly confused communist nation-state, well, ‘nough said there. I went into the third interview at Amazon cynical and confident. And when Hr. Schwantzlutscher came in to the interview room he reeked of Germanin children he created at the behest of a country, government and female that think human procreation requires only that men, real men, fight their way out of wet paper bags. After initial greetings and introductions were over Schwantzlutscher did what all corporate HR schmucks do.

Hr. Schwantzlutscher: (reading from a clipboard) Mr. Stuff, if required, would you get up on this table and dance to Guildo Hat Euch Lieb and then go and sell lots of books?

Hr. Stuff, aka worst-writer: (pounding middle finger on interview table) Fuck no. But if you play Fettes Brot’s Schwule Mädchen then I might not kick your pacified ass. Now. Thanks for the cookies and you can use the rest to… fick dich ins knee.

Indeed. Worst-writer’s last job interview. Go Bezos. Save this fucked up world run by conservative cocksuckers and corporate HR schmucks. Please.

Links:

Rant on.

-tgs-

American Illusion 101

Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

So. Like. When did the intellectual demise of America begin? Could it have begun with the invention of American morality? Wait. Focus. Two things in two sentences that are incompatible. Intellect and morality. I know, I know. To many, America was never really a mecca of intellect to begin with. It is a place of commerce mixed with playboys, a lot of ditch diggers and fun-galore. Hidden behind all that is morality. You know, “In God We Trust” is printed on the money and ironically is all that American churches are about. Combine moneyed morality with a populace of ditch diggers who all want to be playboys and the skill of mastering the shovel is all that’s left. For the new shovel, dear worst-reader, is the same as wearing a corporate badge or a flag on your lapel. Which means that you have to have an advance degree in shoveling, earn your spot of shovel opportunity first, and then go about your bidness of making a living while laughing (or choking) at those who never found their way to the shovel. Indeed, American morality plus intellect equals a melting pot of spectacle, triumph and… illiteracy.

Being a land defined by commerce and über-fun can be confusing. I mean, there is more to life than that, right? Plus, America is a big country. And we were all raised to believe that there is more to America than the deeds of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison or Joe Blow supporting the local little league team and everybody getting a paycheque. America was once a land of makers, of doers, it had a backbone, and it wasn’t afraid of its or anyone else’s shadow. But then something happened,  something drastically changed. That change was a realisation where, not unlike a cartoon where the chaser suddenly finds himself without a floor to stand on, we see a vast and empty chasm below. Like a baby just born we wiggle and wriggle, our limbs cold and dank, we are waiting to fall to the bottom where the difference between the 99% and the 1% might finally be clear. The only problem is, unlike that cartoon where the coyote returns to chase his speeding bird, we can’t return because we are all obsessed with the politics of playboyism and in God We Trust. Illusions be damned.

The book is titled “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.” Chris Hedges starts out by describing how WWE has changed from the day of portraying villainous Soviets or Iranians (cold war and hostage crisis) wrastling truth & justice to today where corporate CEOs “fight” down-on-their-luck wrastlers who have been beaten by the economy. Even though I haven’t seen a wrastling match in over thirty years that’s quite a shift in themes and characters. So dunce audiences still lap up this krapp unaware they are paying to stare into a mirror? What am I asking? Of course they don’t know. Further analysing the spectacle of what blinds America to reality, Hedges adds some great insight into Jerry Springer and Oprah, which to worst-writer are two shows that should, by law, be shown back-to-back 24×7 on their own channel. The channel, btw, should be called “You’re A Fucking Idiot Channel”. But Hedges doesn’t stop there with providing examples of our illusions and the spectacle that is: In God We Trust.

Let’s move on, dear worst-reader, to the darker side of American intellect and morality. It is the part of America that is hidden in plane sight. Chris Hedges focuses on gonzo pornographyand the detail he writes about it is at times disturbing. Keep in mind that Mr. Hedges, according to his bio, graduated from Harvard Divinity School. (The conflict of intellect and morality starting to become real yet?) Hedges details gang-bangs, facials and anal penetration and then connects it all to a young girl who is not very fond of having those things done to her. Surprised? I wonder if she reads In God We Trust on the dollars she’s paid. I mean, is there anyone out there who doesn’t know the obvious: porn objectifies women and frequent porn consumption probably indicates a deeper psychosis than just a lonely guy who can’t get what he wants from his wife. There were a few moments where I thought about skipping this chapter because I kept getting the feeling that Hedges wasn’t the right person to be detailing this stuff. He is, obviously, a man of great intellect and morality. You would think that with such capacities he would know better than to dwell in this subject. It just doesn’t seem necessary to be part of this book. But I pushed on through the chapter and when I was finished it helped me realise the books only fault. Hedges thinks that there is a connection between intellect and morality.

Titillation aside, there is one other thesis in this book that grabbed me. According to Chris Hedges, America’s demise started before Reagan. This comes as a surprise to worst-writer because Hedges says that the real problem started at the end of the Vietnam war, around 1973, and coincided with the first oil crisis. And even though I never considered it this way, right off the bat, I have to agree with Mr. Hedges. It makes a lot of sense to claim that our demise began even before Reagan’s rampant shop-till-you-drop mindset of the 80s set in. It was the the oil crisis that made America turn to credit in order to afford not only gas but everything else. Reagan simply took the next step in our consume-to-survive world and facilitated it all with government policy. Of course, the only way to make Reaganomics really work is to have a populace the lusts after not only porn but Oprah, Jerry and wrastling. But I still don’t make the connection Hedges’ makes between intellect and morality. Nomatter.

In worst-closing, this book is a great read–even though worst-writer thinks America’s problems are not about illusion but more about delusion. Hedges’ connection between intellect and morality also doesn’t work for me. And. If people want to watch WWE and porn, so what. Does Hedges’ morality also want to take away Mickey Mouse? Beyond that, I’ll go as far as to say that porn could provide a service to mankind that no bird-and-the-bees talk ever could. At the least, in an overpopulated world, the control exercised in the so-called money-shot or facial is a great way to add yet another layer of protection to coincide with contraception. The only bad side I can find of pornography and WWE is how one facilitates disease, the other means there has to be a faux newz network. But then again, could girls really get used to facials which would surely darken their princess illusion that there really is such a thing as romantic love or love-ever-after?

Rant on.

-tgs-