My most recent traffic stats - I had been ignoring them for a year or so - indicate the Flea receives twenty times more traffic from the United States than it does from Canada, the UK and Australia combined. So, thanks to my American cousins.
On a related note: It is time for me to move to Los Angeles. Suggestions, guidance and advice would be most welcome. I do not have a green card so am after teaching, research, communications, writing or administrative work in a position which would allow me to apply for the appropriate visa. Or better yet, anything in sound design... The notion is to make a living while placing myself closer to the film industry; I have soundtrack music to sell.
Also, I have decided life should include palm trees.
Related: Theresa Duncan.
And, of course.
A second lifeboat will serve us better.
HMS Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition left Plymouth en route to the Antarctic via Buenos Aires and South Georgia on 8 August, 1914. All proceeded according to plan until the ship was caught in the ice of the Weddell Sea, 17 January, 1915. By February 24, Shackleton and his expedition realized they would be settling in for the winter.
Come spring the shifting ice shattered Endurance' hull and come October 27 the order to abandon ship. Shackleton's expedition camped on the ice for two months, hoping it would drift toward land. By 17 March, 1916 the ice had drifted to within sixty miles of Paulet Island but refuge remained cut off by treacherous ice. On April 9 even the precarious shelter of their ice floe was shattered as it broke in two. Shackleton and his men entered their lifeboats and made a sea crossing of seven days to Elephant Island, 580 miles south of the Falkland Islands and 550 miles southeast of Cape Horn. A very long way from shipping routes, a long way from anywhere; the closest navigable outpost of civilization a whaling station on South Georgia across 800 miles of open ocean.
Which brings us to our second lifeboat, the James Caird.
Shackleton and the crew of the James Caird left Elephant Island, 24 April, 1916, sighting South Georgia two weeks later on May 8, finally hazarding a landing on May 10. Shackleton then lead two men on a thirty-six hour hike across the spine of the island - no man had ever made it further inland than half a mile - to reach the whaling station, and a tiny outpost of civilization, at Stromness. It would take three attempts, and the intercession of the Chilean government, before Shackleton rescued his men - all of his men - from Elephant Island on August 30, more than two years out from Plymouth, England, home and beauty. It is almost impossible to imagine the fortitude of these men, their skill, or the sheer bravura of the time they made. This was not only a staggering feat of strength and endurance, it was a testament to their age.
There is still great bravery in the world, still much to aspire to. But I cannot see anything of that post-Edwardian daring in our world, fashioned as it was in the trenches of the War To End All Wars. I have a great fear for what lies ahead of us. If the conflagration comes and our remaining strength should fail then many, many of us will be killed. The ones who survive will only do so through having chosen submission. Our books will be burned, our freedoms thrown with them on to the pyre. Our priceless, irreplaceable treasures of history, philosophy and art plundered and destroyed; at first through wanton violence and soon thereafter by neglect. Any truth remaining then claimed as a prize of war, as the "science" of the conquerors when it will be no more than barbarous, and sterile, translation.
If the worst comes, the one and only advantage we shall have lies in the inability of an illiterate foe to manage his pogrom beyond the first generation. Beyond that his society can only revert to its only established polity: peasantry, ignorance and the casual brutality of all against all for dominion. Think of the wreck of Afghanistan and Lebanon. This is a machine for making deserts, utterly lacking even the post-apocalyptic grandeur of Mad Max. We have to start thinking about the near future as it if was dystopian science fiction. We need to start thinking about what we can save; what we may keep hidden, keep safe.
In such a world any organized resistance will be sought out and destroyed. We must face the fact there will be collaborators and that, in time, our children and grandchildren may be indoctrinated against us. Some alive and known to us now will surprise us with their treachery but in all too many cases the traitors will be no surprise at all. Many of us will have chosen not to be alive to see that day. If some spark of civilization is to endure, we must imagine a leaderless resistance, a rhizomatic resistance; something closer to Anonymous than the Maquis of wartime France, there will be no friendly power across the Channel, no airdrops of arms, no broadcasts from Bush House.
She is right, of course. Our world is a lifeboat only in so far as we have hope for a savior, quite literally an alien concept to the secularists who proposed the metaphor. But I believe we must think of ourselves aboard a lifeboat, nonetheless, and think of ourselves attempting a dangerous passage in hope of rescue. The safe harbour I suggest lies somewhere in the future, in a time of a second Renaissance, a second Enlightenment. I do not know the way there but can only propose we set course by dead reckoning, guided by a star of conscience where no light may be seen through arafel, "the cloud darkness at the end of the universe".
We must think of ourselves as a second - and secret - James Caird Society, each captain our own life boat and set out into the open ocean. There is a great uncertainty that lies before us, and all that stands between us and the storm our wits and a mustard seed.
The James Caird has found a permanent harbour at Dulwich College.
One the most important resources in learning to use my Wacom Intuos tablet lies in studying the work of accomplished artists. Take Sparth, for example. Just stunning. Breathtaking. For example, the best representation of the God Emperor I have seen.
Though I should confess this work is so good it leaves me jealous and angry. It is that miraculous translucence I have yet to figure out how to replicate...
Related: Concept artist Daniel Dociu.
This includes at least one blogosphere celebrity; people can work that one out for themselves. Also fascinating were MySpace pages by two ex-girlfriends of the Flea. On the plus side I found a MySpace page I set up several years ago, never used, subsequently forgot and as of this morning deleted; about a dozen people on my Gmail contacts appear to have done the same, minus the "deleted" step.
"Watch the pretty lady sing the scary song, over and over again"
The Scarlett Johansson video, for some reason featuring Salman Rushdie. Remember when "the left" used to defend freedom of speech against death threats, fascism and Dark Ages theocratic misogyny? Now we have banned hate speech we do not need to worry about that sort of thing anymore, of course.*
But still, good times. Good times (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).
* When you outlaw hate speech only outlaws will have speech. Something like that.
Update: WWTDD comments:
Ecologist Garrett Hardin suggested a metaphor of "lifeboats ethics" in the mid-1970s, one of many fathers for today's neo-Nazi "environmentalism". Somebody must starve - must never be born - for the good of Gaia. And somehow that somebody is never an undergraduate student at a top drawer university, never an ecologist. Somehow it is always brown people, people living in far away countries about whom we know little who are meant to sacrifice. Closer to home, somehow it is always the poor who are expected to do without for the common good.
There is only so much jet fuel, and only so many carbon credits, to go around.
I have two more specific lifeboats in mind. Case studies drawn from brutal human experience rather than science fiction of ecological speculation. The first lifeboat scenario is the long boat of the William Brown, a ship lost to the ice of the north Atlantic in 1841. This is depressing, dispiriting stuff.
And this they did. His orders being to throw passengers into the Atlantic so as to prevent the vessel from being swamped; fourteen men in all and none of them from the ship's crew. Holmes, the sailor charged with physically throwing passengers to their deaths, had an enterprising attorney. He claimed his client had acted in "self defense". I am not certain whether to laugh or cry that even in a clear-headed Victorian morality could not see reason: Holmes served all of fifteen months in prison and a twenty dollar fine for manslaughter. It is one thing to understand in the abstract that people are despicable, quite another to be presented with the evidence.
Tomorrow: Another life boat.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Xinhua has news of the Olympic torch making its way without incident to Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The "storm of claps" is the best touch.
Well isn't that special. Nothing here that might bring Koreans into "hatred" or "contempt" either by overt statement or by omission, nothing here that even a Canadian "human rights" commission could find objectionable. The people of Canada may turn to their Olympic coverage - and the advertising of its Canadian sponsors - secure in the knowledge wise heads in Ottawa are protecting them from hearing, seeing or saying anything nasty about anyone.
Unless it is Israel, the United States or Mark Steyn, obviously.
... and they were right!
"Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
- George Orwell
Update: A reminder of something Theodore Dalrymple observed.
"Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell
Kevin Steel publishes a guest post by noted journalist, Bill Dunphy. Dunphy is writing in reply to Steel's post, "Stirring it up again", a salient reminder the Canadian government has a track record of using agent provocateurs to discredit marginal political movements, including - but by no means limited to - the white supremacist Heritage Front. Dunphy was an investigative reporter for The Toronto Sun when he exposed Grant Bristow, Heritage Front head of security, right hand man to HF leader Wolfgang Droege and paid agent of the Canadian security services (via Jay Currie).
Both articles offer an illuminating primer for some of today's sturm und drang about "human rights" commissions, maximum disruption and the old fashioned authoritarianism that underlies Canada's peace, order and good government. Two linked assertions stand out for me. First, Dunphy's contention that while "the media exaggarated the danger of HF and misdirected the public, the reality is that there was real danger inside that movement." Agreed. Second, much deserved kudos for Anti-Racist Action.*
He is exactly right, though I would point out ARA had access to excellent advice in the out-organizing department. That ragamuffin band of homeless street kids and anarchists was very dear to me. Me and mine having been assaulted by HF members, I am not convinced the media exaggerated the the danger of the Heritage Front.
I was living in Ottawa in May of 1993 when the fight was taken to the HF on Parliament Hill and elsewhere. My clearest memory of the time is not of George Burdi** and the rest. It is of the general public standing by as teenage girls were set upon by thugs. But then Ottawa was and remains a respectable town and if your hair was pink and blue the sentiment was you had it coming.
That is how it always starts. “First they came for the street kids, but I was not a street kid…”
* Which is not to excuse everything the ARA got up to or, presumably, still gets up to. I used to know a bit too much about everything they got up to and am now delighted to say I no longer do.
** I gather Burdi has reformed. Good for him. As you can see from the linked YouTube video, his former comrades in stupid are not pleased.
Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944). One of the most astonishing things I have seen on the intertubes. At 19:20 a speech beginning "The Hun is expecting us.": The narrator explains the context of the mission with a moral clarity that is absent in our time.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Reminder: Fleur de Saison.
Crown Film Unit presents "London Airport" (1949), specifically the building of. It was in April of 1944 that history came to the fields of Heathrow. The past was obliterated, along with the empire of Japan.
The Provincial Legislature is to meet today to enact back-to-work legislation regarding the TTC strike. An interesting note on our government and constitution on why the Legislature is only back in session as of 1:30 this afternoon...
Related: From an update to yesterday's National Post coverage of the TTC strike.
For up to five days should the NDP have sided with the strike. I suppose that decision depended on whether Ontario's ersatz socialist party wanted to elect MPPs from Toronto ever again. Given that Howard Hampton still will not say whether he thought it was reasonable for the unions to break their word, strike with an hour's notice on a Friday night and strand over a million people downtown, I would say their chances are not looking good even if they should bring themselves to do the right thing this afternoon.
Unions are meant to help "working people", not establish a closed shop aristocracy of the proletariat. It is the working poor who are hurt by this strike, not the bosses at the TTC. A shift worker on minimum wage may easily spend more getting to and from a job s/he cannot afford to lose than s/he will make working their eight or twelve hours; a shift which could be the difference between buying groceries and not buying groceries. These are the people TTC drivers abandoned at midnight, so concerned at being "insulted" by the public last weekend. So much for solidarity.
Related: On the side of the angels.
The same might be said for surprisingly moderate, reasonable Toronto Star coverage of the strike. Management must have decided not to incur the expense of replacing every blue newspaper box in the city.
Update: In case anyone still harbours sympathy for these TTC bastards.
Another operator points out that drivers will take 100% of the blame. At least one driver believes the vote was rigged. Something to keep in mind while considering the etiquette of your next bus trip.
Update: First, second and third readings of Bill 66 out of the way and the TTC is back to work. There is a lot here about how the drivers should be "treated with dignity" tomorrow morning, Premier Dalton McGuinty saying:
I cannot speak for the rest of Toronto. But I plan to treat TTC workers with exactly the same courtesy and goodwill they have shown to me.
The TTC* went on strike at midnight last night leaving over one million Friday night revelers stranded downtown. The Flea, having been laid low by a hospital cold, was at home watching Harry Potter and so missed events. BlogTO has the best coverage and comments; some incidents of vandalism are reported.
My thoughts exactly. The unions have intentionally stranded without warning and thereby endangered a million people. Spare a thought too for what police officers had to contend with last night. I had been arguing the unions' corner up to and beyond the 4pm negotiation deadline of last Sunday and have this week congratulated two drivers and a maintenance worker on their settlement.
The unions have lost my good will. I now have only a few words to add. These are: "Essential service", "Fire them all" and "Private transit". Not to forget, "Fuck you, ATU 113".
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113
812 Wilson Avenue
Phone: (416) 398-5113
Out of Town: 1-800-245-9929
Fax: (416) 398-4978
At least it's not OC Transpo.
* Take The Car.
Update: I had wondered at reports of a spontaneous demonstration outside TTC HQ last night.
Timely: The T&C Transit Strike Survival Guide. My current option will have to factor in my competitive jerk tendencies. Fortunately, I have access to a shower, locked parking and an excellent bike that looks like a beater.
Update: The strike may well be legal, but is it moral? No, it is not.
Éowyn fell forward upon her fallen foe. But lo! the mantle and hauberk were empty. Shapeless they lay now on the ground, torn and tumbled; and a cry went up into the shuddering air, and faded to a shrill wailing, passing with the wind, a voice bodiless and thin that died, and was swallowed up, and was never heard again in that age of this world.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields" (emphasis added)
One of the most important expressions of Tolkien's theology is evident in the defeat of the Lord of the Nazgûl.* The Black Captain does not perish at the Pelennor Fields but, as with Sauron at the hand of Isildur, is merely banished for a (long) while to an entirely disembodied state. The light never finds an absolute triumph over the darkness; from almost the very beginning, discord was sounded in the celestial choir. Something in Creation requires opposition for the operation of time itself, for history to unfold. We cannot utterly defeat the darkness, the power to do so lies in greater hands than ours. Yet if darkness triumphs, the whole of the world may be stifled and a great nothingness ensue. It is no accident that entropy and darkness are allied as they are expressed in human affairs. A creative impulse, a will to beauty, cannot be contained; merely extinguished. Think of the foe. For all his boasting of past glory he has not written a word worth reading in a thousand years, made no science, contributed no industry, made nothing of the geological or archeaological treasures that lay hidden in the sands of the lands he conquered long ago. He took the flower of the ancient world, the bread basket of the greatest empire in history, and made of it a desert, a nothing. His sole accomplishment is in the work of desecration but, so poor is he even at this mean task, he must rely on others - on us - to identify that which is beautiful and useful and full of promise so he may learn what to scar.
It bears repeating: Your dark science may learn learn to drive a plane into a tower but your dark science will never build the plane, will never build the tower.
Our love and our light means that even in his defeat we must hope for the Witch King to repent and come back to the world. We cannot cast him into the outer darkness, the decision lies with another. But the Witch King in his triumph would kill and torture and maim and defile until nothing is left except the sterile and the corrupt. Our victory lies in remaining true to what we are. But the enemy, having no authentic being, is only victorious in killing us or - worse - twisting what we are into something monstrous. This pattern is not a myth but may be seen in our every present debate. One side wants to win an argument, the other wants to win by banning all debate. This latter logic always starts with the little things, with our guilty Hobbit pleasures. But surrender the pipe weed and you are surrendering the field.
I am not joking. And I am not exaggerating.
As we near the end of the Fourth Age of the Children of Ilúvatar, the enemy forges iron and rings, seeking to use our craft against us with ever more devilish improvisation. He awaits the return of his witch king from some unholy well and revels in thoughts of rape and slaughter. If we allow his agents to silence us in our homes and in our streets there will be no warning as his hosts rally to the sound of idiot piping and black banners snap in the wind.
We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced.** This is a war aim.
* Also known as the Witch-king of Angmar, the Black Captain, the Morgul-lord and other well hard, metal sounding honorifics. Tolkien never reveals his true name though presumably it sounded like "Brian Warner" in Númenórean.
** Via Five Feet of Fury.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Get Fit, Fanboys! offers exercise tips from the Marvel Multiverse.
The full text of Ellis' original post is here. Mandatory trite equivalence of the jihadis and American "rednecks" aside, the term not only encapsulates the Morlock horizon but does so in useful contrast with happy-clappy network society thinking. And here:
Related study material: The problem of "civilization" from Oswald Spengler. The Decline of the West.
You may ask yourself: Would the Flea link an arguably not terribly convincing Tom Wait cover because it is by Scarlett Johannson?* But you would be asking yourself a rhetorical question. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Zenarchy).**
* And David Bowie, who is still not missing a trick after all this time.
** Ok, I take it back. This is awesome. Just. Freaking. Awesome.
The tag-line is from a witty, incisive and above all timely Shire Network News interview with Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals and Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet of Fury. Both point to years of abuse by "rights commissions" targeting unpopular minority opinion by contrast with recent, broad support of bloggers targeted with a defamation lawsuit. It may be the rest of us are waking up to the seriousness of the problem: Many genuinely diverse voices are going to have to learn to agree to disagree or we will lose what freedom we have to the Ministry of Nice.
Update: Red State Update celebrates the big tent on the right. Maybe we can all just get along.
David Mellor's essay about England's shame deserves wider attention. Even before PRC police thugs pushed aside British citizens in the streets of London*, the "government" of the United Kingdom had warned our athletes against expressing badthought about the mandate of heaven.
It is a shame for free men to kowtow before a dictatorship; a shame made all the worse for our having made the same mistake before.
* A grotesque spectacle that cost a reported £750,000.
Today is St. George's Day.
Related: Dragon Awareness Day.
Man Bites Dragon Update: George Brown gets something right.
Now back to bashing the Prime Minister: Simon Heffer says, England, arise and claim self-determination!
"England, arise! The long, long night is over!"
Call me a Three Percenter.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
But I will entertain an argument for making another version of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
It's too bad they won't live; but then again, who does.
Yale undergraduates may not be at the bottom of the genetic sink-hole that is conceptual art. Guillermo Vargas, for some reason aka "Habacuc", took a stray dog from the streets of Managua, Nicaragua, and tied it to a short leash as an exhibit at the Códice Gallery in Managua, Nicaragua.
Now an on-line petition is mobilizing international opinion against Habacuc, saying:
I have received two copies of this petition in the last 24 hours, each accompanied by upsetting images of the dog (blood pressure/humanity warning) - Natividad - tied up and in apparent distress. Both the gallery and the artist appear to keep changing their story as to the purpose of the installation - to protest against human indifference to animal suffering being the obvious rhetorical ploy - and it remains unclear if and to what extent the dog was mistreated or allowed to die.
What is clear to me is that if this travesty was displayed within a hundred miles of Flea Towers it would last precisely as long as it took to get to the gallery, punch out Habacuc's front teeth and rescue Natividad. That the patrons of the Códice Gallery did not react in a similar fashion tells me everything I ever want to know about Managua.
For everyone joining me in celebrating Mars Day. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Exploring beaver habitat and distribution with Google Earth. Take this half mile long dam northeast of Fort McMurray, for example.
On account of police
cowardice advice, the St. George's Day parade through Bradford has been canceled.*
Even those who loathe St. George's Day, England and the English should ask themselves where this will lead. Having create pirate enclaves in England and ceded English towns to pirate law there can be only one outcome. It seems obvious that where riot and mayhem have become the only law the people shall inevitably turn to riot and mayhem in their own defense. To Enoch Powell this was dire speculation; bringing about his prophecy is now nothing less than state policy.
* Via Rantburg where Anonymoose observes this is what happens "When multi-culturalism hits the brick wall of multi-barbarism." the latter term has now entered my vocabulary.
Giles Coren - who subsists on a diet of wheatgrass and self-congratulation - has a go at the traditional English fry up (hat tip to a Celtic Warrior Queen). He cannot agree the outrage that has greeted the news Little Chef is to propose a healthier menu, dismissing the critics as "gastronomic reactionaries".
Coren recommends porridge as a sensible alternative. These days they call it health and safety but they used to have a more honest term for the sentiment: Calvinism. But this is the best bit:
This prig should be working for the Obama campaign.
And other fun facts with An Engineer's Guide to Cats.
(via the Armored Facilities Manager)
P.J. O'Rourke considers what you can learn about America on the deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
"I could not believe my eyes, when I first saw her. The girl has the rare combination of two qualities crucial in Rhythmic Gymnastics - flexibility and agility."
- Vladimir Putin
Agent Bedhead has a round up of Vladimir Putin/Alina Kabaeva news to which I would add the following observation. I have grown increasingly multitasky either with age or by necessity. It find it difficult to sit through a feature length film without "interruption" and even 42 minute dramatic television - Battlestar, say - is accompanied by email, writing posts, surfing and full on beat-splicing if the mood strikes me.
It is with some satisfaction, therefore, I can report sitting through this video of Alina Kabaeva training in Genova 2005 without doing anything else but watch it very carefully. I think I blinked once or twice.
Update: The most seductive woman of all time (with apologies in advance).
More lawlessness in Baghdad. To think Bush declared "victory". No blood for oil. Plastic turkey.
Next it will be speed traps. Quagmire!
Related: Mahdi Army stronghold seized by ennui and Iraqi Army, but mostly Iraqi Army.
Related: Heart of Glass.
The first Hammer horror release in twenty years: Beyond The Rave. It looks promising. The name comes with enormous good will but they still have their work cut out for them if they are going to compete with Lions Gate for the loyalty and affection of today's horror aficionado.
John Lingan claims the Humans vs Zombies phenomenon "all but prove[s] the lack of seriousness at liberal arts colleges." Incorrect. Actual verdict: Awesome.
(Via Jonah Goldberg.)
Related: Warhammer 40k Nerf Guns.
Jeremiah Wright described the massacres of September 11, 2001 as "chickens coming home to roost". He is not alone in holding this sentiment; not alone in grounding this assertion in a theology of equal parts grievance and narcissism. Candy throwing revelers in "Palestine", the Phelps clan and their ilk, and at least three people I can think of by name who live in my Annex neighborhood by word and by deed have said much the same thing.
They were right; it was our fault. But it was our fault for exactly the opposite reason this collection of moral cretins believe it to be. We deserved what we got not because of what we are but because we are no longer proud of what we represent and what we have achieved. We deserved what was done to us because we allowed it to happen. From creeping formal and informal censorship of dissenting opinion and especially the inexplicable embrace of blasphemy laws by "the left", to the loss of the small freedoms - swimming pool hours comes to mind, to captive sailors chastised for smoking cigarettes on Persian television. On and on it goes all the way back to the next hyper-atrocity... we are allowing it to happen again.
Let us start with the obvious. Jeremiah Wright could care less about the people who were murdered on September 11, 2001. To him, those falling bodies do not even rise to the level of puppets in his cosmic drama. Wright strikes me to be cynical, evil, driven by greed and harbouring whatever trivial peccadilloes animate a man of little imagination. His condemnations of the West have no importance beyond their ability to tar Senator Obama's reputation and, with luck, prevent him from taking the White House.
Osama bin Laden is a lion by comparison, albeit a posturing drama queen; a dilettante who, having never worked a day in his life, has enacted a quite genuine cosmic drama and enlisted the rest of us in it. If things had gone ever so slightly differently it could have been polo or collecting super cars; in this time line it was chic terrorism and a martyr complex. We have seen the like before and - God willing we survive - we shall see the like again. Yet compared to Wright he is the better man in so far as it is still possible to imagine he might believe some part of what he says. Not entirely evil, just a man doing evil having been raised in a demon worshiping cult. It is for this last reason that Osama and the like are wrong about 9/11. Their demon tells them their acts were those of shaheeds, martyrs in a holy war. But their demon is lying to them. The same might be said for the legion of Arab dupes in the West Bank and Gaza, too stupid to realize that in attempting to kill Israelis they are attempting to kill the only people in the world who actually want to help them.
Which leaves my Annex neighbours, also wrong but for reasons yet more trivial, yet more contemptible. To them, the only cosmic drama is one which has them at the centre of the universe. A species of pre-Copernican, fetishistic masochism animates their worldview; they believe at the core of their being that the only people capable of guilt are the only people capable of assuming moral responsibility: "White people". For all the self-abnegation and finger-pointing and saccharine mea culpas, however, this is nothing but a blatant, post-modern racism. East Timor, Tibet, Darfur and, yes, Iraq. There are no third world peoples who cannot be thrown on to the fire to make a rhetorical point about the evil of Starbucks, SUVs and MacDonald's.
Yet for all their nihilism and apartheid era identity politics this last group come closest to being right, closest to understanding why we deserved what happened to the West on 9/11 and why we will deserve it when the bomb goes off in London or Washington DC. These self-styled progressives are closest to being right because the enemy's war-making strategy is only possible because we have been so enervated by a culture of self-loathing. Simply put: It is their fault our civilization has become weak.
It is their fault we are weak. It is their fault we having been fighting lawfare as much as warfare. It is their fault we cannot detain the enemy, intern his relatives or take the fight to his holy capital. It is their fault our universities, our newspapers, our elected representatives cannot even name the enemy's ideology for fear of causing offense. It is their fault we have built a Babel of trivia and historic ignorance and an anorexia of the spirit.
Former Weatherman, Bill Ayers' unapologetic claim, his boutique terrorism posturing, was published in New York City the morning of 9/11, a fact Senator Clinton now decries as deeply hurtful. But there has hardly been a day since when the great media outlets of that city, its elite universities and art museums and the anti-Fox News coffee house chatter has not excused and enabled men just like the ones who drove those airplanes into the towers. Some similar grotesque apologia will be on their lips even as a second sun renders them differently abled.
It will be their fault. And it will be ours for letting these cowards and moral imbeciles rule us to the very end.
Update: Meet William Ayers.
They walked. Nice to have that tidied up.
After years of existence "only as promises and PowerPoint presentations", the DDG 1000 destroyer, the CVN 78 carrier and the LCS (Littoral Combat Ships) are all underway. The production line for the DDG 1000 is about to start, the first CVN 78 is being built and the first LCS is only months away from putting to sea. Writing for Armed Forces Journal, Christopher Cavas calls this "The big gamble"; an excellent summary of past risks taken and the scope of the risk these concurrent programs pose to the fleet.
Not so today. Better hope these designs work and the PRC designs do not.
Bill Ardolino is going back to Iraq. Godspeed.
Canadian Flea-readers are presumably not eligible for the deduction but might consider the money well spent regardless.
A number of interesting sights and sounds that have been bumped by recent ranting:
The Moving Pyramid (2001)... The Moving Pyramid is "a charming animated short that tells the story of corruption, power and revolution." My favourite idea is the carrot. That is old school Hermetic motivational magick.
The Archangel Grimoire, representing the Enochian End of Days... Paul Tronson discusses bookbinding with Maybe Quarterly. One book in particular stands out.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Taylor & Company reviews Cloverfield (spoiler warning). Your suggestions for feature films that would be improved by adding a 200' monster might be appreciated in the comments.
Spengler argues it would take the "strategic equivalent" of a conversion experience for Ehud Olmert to do his duty and make war on Syria. But make war he must if he is to quell the rocket attacks from irregular forces in Lebanon and Gaza, cloaked as they are by a fatuous trans-national anti-Semitism and the jihadi's own blood-thirsty civilian populace (I added the subordinate clause but I suspect Spengler would agree the sentiment).
And there it shall continue to sit. As Spengler put it: "A nasty sort of sobriety prevailed in Israel in 1967. That has given way to a delusion."
Not only in Israel. At least I have an excuse to post my current desktop background, Caravaggio's magnificent Conversione di San Paolo, this from a time when we used to believe in something.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
One of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Found web surfing... Why Alfred Hitchcock refused to meet Steven Spielberg.
I would have thought Nazi occupation might have demonstrated the piss poor job the seigneur was doing keep the place free of the Queen's enemies and put an end to his feudal privilege sharpish. But such would be to cede the floor to reason.
Update: More local colour. Particularly eager to ride the Toast Rack, a passenger trailer attached to the back of a tractor.
According to Wikipedia, Jersey - much as the Isle of Man - is not part of the European Union. This being the case, and assuming Sark does not fall under a different kind of arrangement with the Crown, I fail to see how European human rights law has anything to do with the governance of these polities. Our transnational conventions of thought have come to something when feudalism looks good by comparison.
Let us all cultivate a positive self-image. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Google's European engineering headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland suggest the '90s may now officially be considered retro. Office photos and video leave me wondering whether to hate/envy them more for the fireman's pole, slide or free ostrich lunch.
Trying to hoodwink you. Would that everyone in Pennsylvania could see this.
Allahpundit considers the latest spin on Senator Obama's Kinsley Gaffe* regarding the electorate of Pennsylvania; subject to a false consciousness - "distracted" in Obama-speak - and turning to God and guns out of bitterness against their material condition. If Obama's original statement boiled down to “religion is the opiate of the masses,” says Allahpundit, the Senator is only adding, “and what wonderful things opiates are.”
Which I would add only goes to underline Obama's Marxist train of thought, these opiates being “the heart of a heartless world.” People rarely refer to the extension of Marx' famous aphorism from "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" yet given the Senator's proselytizing the voice should sound remarkably familiar nonetheless.
* When a politician inadvertently says in public something they actually believe.
Kate MacMillan observes leftist blogs also have comment sections.
Read the whole thing. It will move you.*
The other day I was asked if I went looking for trouble, seeking out confrontations. I said, "You have noticed that Protestant has the word 'protest' in it, right?" It is a sentiment that is not limited to Protestants, of course, to Christians or even to those who believe in the divine. But it is a sentiment that is strictly limited to those of us who believe in something. I have learned many things this week, the most important of which being there are two kinds of people.** There are people who care about freedom and people who do not; the latter more interested in themselves or, worse to my mind, just cannot be bothered. Kate is right. This is not about what we say. This is about who we are.
* Feel free to skip over the quote at the top. I have it on reliable authority from a commenter at SDA that my "caricature" of the academy is "preposterous". Obviously someone who has never been interviewed for a tenure-track position.
** "People who say there are two kinds of people and people who don't." Ahem.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Related: I am headlining tonight at Savage so should be on about midnight.
I very briefly dated a woman who strongly resembled this Quidditch keeper. In some parallel universe we are married and I have a proper goatee.
Notions of a "quantum bounce" suggest our universe may have its twin on the far side of the Big Bang. Until Alejandro Corichi from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Parampreet Singh from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario revealed their simplified* Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG) theory, "no observations of our current universe could have lead to any understanding of the state of the pre-bounce universe, as nothing was preserved across the bounce."**
Their work is to appear in a forthcoming issue of Physical Review Letters.***
* This word "simplified". I do not think it means what they think it means.
** Excepting Galan of Taa, sole survivor of the Big Crunch.
*** "Moving physics forward" and, in this case, backward.
Babes of Battlestar as Barbarella. That is all.
Nostalgia warning for Canadian Flea-readers: Hinterland Who's Who. With my apologies for the person I should hat tip this too... too many links today and I lost track.
Related: Mouse in the Bottle.
Pressman's Witch Doctor Head Shrinker Kit: Give them to your witch doctor friends!
Related: The Ghost of a flea British Iron Age project stomps all over Savage this Friday night (these ads always say 9pm but I would not expect much going on before 10:00 or 10:30). I picked up the first run of the new album yesterday and should have copies on sale. Flea-readers who for whatever reason cannot make the show need only be patient a little longer; I have some figuring to do with the PayPal shopping cart for the new website. Details to follow...
The following critical communication from the elusive Beautiful Atrocities arrived at Flea Towers at some point in the small hours. I am forwarding it to your attention at once.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
For some, understanding is a one way street.*
It sounds to me as though the field trip was a success. These children should come have come away from the experience with a perfect understanding of the culture with which they are dealing. And also something of the failings of their own culture; credulity, for example.
* As are other terms including but not limited to "terror", "innocent", "victim", "respect" and my personal favourite, "peace".
Or at least look like a rose. One year out from the theatrical release of the film on March 6th, 2009 and four (revised) Watchmen costume images are released in an attempt to generate buzz in the general public and throw a bone to those of us who would finally pay proper cinematic homage to Alan Moore (hat tip to the Armored Facilities Manager). First Showing comments:
But wait, there is more hand-job where that came from.
My verdict on the photos: They are ok. But then so was the costume for V. If Watchmen is also turned into nihilistic agit prop for the enemies of civilization the costumes are not going to save the project for me. Call me a hater.
Nattapat Khongkhoun was a bank clerk before her father was killed by jihadis.
"Separatist militants", indeed. No doubt Code Pink can blame the violence on Buddhist fundamentalism. The above AFP link has photos: This is real feminism in action.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Band Name Maker would most probably also work for blog naming.
Having foolishly abandoned a copy of Alan Gardiner's masterpiece, Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs on the shelves of the archaeology section at Blackwell's impressive Oxford location*, it was only recently I could start my study in earnest having come across another copy at The Monkey's Paw here in Toronto. Flea-readers seeking a more succinct introduction may turn to Ronnie Barker.
* Thereby disobeying the Moscow Rule of Shopping.
Related academia: Mastermind.
So on the one hand it is an Oliver Stone propaganda film. On the other hand it is to feature Thandie Newton. Who, like Condoleezza Rice, is brutally, brutally hot. Advantage: The other hand!
Related: SondraK covers W's farewell summit with Vladimir Putin. Misty water-colored memories...
It is still a matter of conjecture who poisoned Sean Carasov's cat, Mudkip.
Please read the whole thing.
Eurovision 2008 is upon us! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Also in Europe: Greece, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands considered entrants singing in European. As did Azerbaijan singing a traditional Nightwishian folk-tune. Armenia submits a song as sung in the original Caprican. Baffling but true: The Latvian entry is worse than Ireland's. Also, Spain. New life goal: Take my show on the road to San Marino; I shall be a Rock God. Also, Andorra: Time to start issuing collectible Flea-postage. Bulgaria, also singing in European, needs to look up the word "genre". Finland shocks by considering a hair metal act singing in Finnish. The United Kingdom also shocks by submitting an entrant singing in English. Funky.
Astute Flea-readers will have noticed Eurovision has a certain "camp" quality. Take Greece again, for example. Or Russia (best cover ever). All I can say is there is Eurovision gay and then there is Man Meadow Eurovision gay. Related: Polish Kylie. Also related: Poland is making me feel funny inside. In a good way. And no need to for a dodgy line on the monthly credit card statement.
Second look at... Natasza Urbańska!
Update: And Sandra Oxenryd.
Created by OnePlusYou
I am surprised it is as high as 3%... not certain what they are counting as cuss words. This via the relatively curse enhanced Drink Soaked Trots.
On the 40th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Senator John McCain offers his apology for having first voted against commemorating a day in his memory. There were extenuating circumstances, McCain was in captivity at the time of the murder and did come to understand King's importance until much later.
Even so. I watch the dignity of this man as he is booed by the crowd and listen to a growing chorus in his favour. We all make mistakes, indeed. Watching I think, this is the work of providence.
Update: Martin Luther King is not your pet.
Watching Forbidden Planet again for the first time in ages, I was struck by a line from the opening scene (screenplay here). Approaching Altair, and their destination, the ship's doctor observes, "The Lord sure makes some beautiful worlds."
The future has changed since the 1950s. Everything from the ship's interior design to the uniforms suggested rationality and efficiency but more than that a self-confidence and a certainty about who we were as a civilization. I enjoy Blade Runner's tech noir as much as anyone - more than most - but am at a loss as to how we decided the future was no longer something worth fighting for.* And there was the Captain's seemingly off-hand observation, made all the more remarkable for its being an off-hand observation. "The Lord sure makes some beautiful worlds." I could not remember another time such an explicitly Christian sentiment was expressed in a major science fiction film. Is there something in the genre, or sf writers, antithetical to expressions of faith?
Fifteen science fiction authors address the question. Best to read carefully lest ye vanish in a puff of logic.
* If anything, we are now enjoined to "fight the future".
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Speaking of Protestantism... I suppose if someone had asked me if Dr. Gene Scott had parents I would have reluctantly conceded he must have done. Still, nothing prepared me for the reality. Werner Herzog's God's Angry Man also features some awesome organ playing.
Michael Rubin and Suzanne Gershowitz consider Quaker politics, and particularly that of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), in "Putting politics before pacifism" (via Michael Rubin at The Corner).
Not antiwar. Just on the other side.
Hoover Institution research fellow and a senior research fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Rachel M. McCleary writes on "Religion and Economic Development" for Policy Review. Some arguably problematical representation of correlation as causation but much to think about nonetheless. For example:
There are two missing corollaries to this point:
First, that exclusive, minority, cultish sects not only benefit from a functioning state, they could not exist without the law and order such a state provides yet to which they contribute all but nothing. Think here not only of Nazarenes, Mennonites, Brethren, Amish, and Hutterites but also, for example, of "religious" Jews exempted from Israeli military service.
Second, Ivy League institutions such as the one which produced McCleary's study are themselves exclusive, minority, cultish sects benefiting from a functioning state, that could not exist without the law and order such a state provides yet to which they contribute all but nothing. It is no accident these cults do not allow military recruiters on campus; such would be to contradict their parasitic ethos.
For Lilana, wherever she might be. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Gentlemen, classify your beard using this handy late Victorian facial hair type chart. I would love to sport a "Franz-Josef" but my genetics do not support one. According to Jeremy Piatt's updated facial hair chart I have grown a "Backstreet".
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Related: Kylie in Paris for Eurostar.
Standard Oil Company of California presents for your enjoyment: Desert Venture. From a time when serving a world which moved on wheels could be described as a victory. Which it is.
Mike Reed's Flame Warriors presents a useful typology.
I can think of at least one Furious Typer whose ass has been banned from the Flea under at least two TypeKey IDs.
Helpful: What To Do In A Zombie Attack (Complete!). They are laughing now but ask yourself the following. Who do you want as your neighbour when the zombies attack: Al Gore or George W. Bush? There is a certain grim fascination at the realization people will prepare a bug-out bag, survival gear - including weapons, and multiple emergency plans on the off chance of zombie attack but would never dream of doing the same as a precaution against natural disaster or the latest mass atrocity by the enemy.
The technical term for this is displacement. This psychic logic suggests some substantial portion of the population is waiting for things to hit the fan if only for the chance to think - and act - with clarity. I am including myself in this category. Many of us find horror fiction to be reassuring; things may have gone very badly but at long last they make sense. Having just read World War Z, I cannot say I am completely opposed to this state of affairs, either our collective repression of the horror that faces us or the liberating prospect of removing the bandage. If we are haunted it is not by the imperfectly repressed images of September 11, 2001 - or all its kindred horrors - but by the specter of the world as it was that morning just before 8:45 EST.
Update: Related... Zombie Strippers.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.