Archive for July, 2011

Twilight Zone: Mr. Denton on Doomsday, 1959

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2011 by Jay Howard

Our man on the outside, Rod Serling, relies heavily on the idea of “Fate” as a creepy salesman who pushes us reluctantly into our role as deemed fit by some, usually malevolent force.  Sometimes it is Fate himself to blame and sometimes Fate is simply the postman.  Mr. Denton is force-fed a diet of “Shut the Hell Up!” by Fate and takes it in stride.  Later appears to have been duped when challenger gunslinger throws back the same magik-marksman potion in the same cool silver potion jar.  They shoot bb’s through each others’ hands and become friends.  Doc warns that he won’t be using that hand again for no gunslingin’.  Denton tells his almost executioner that he’s “blessed” because he can’t use his gun in anger anymore.  I get the feeling the guy (in his 20’s, early) feels like a neutered dog in a world full of hungry and sexually frustrated beasties.  He’s gotta be thinking about his possibilities of farming or being an artist or maybe taking up the arts and then he’s snapped out of it and realizing how fucked he truly is.  “Thanks to this shit-mutherfuckin pacifist salesman ‘Fate’ or whatever, arseface dipshiticus cut my fucking balls off and now I have to seriously think about the shittiest life imaginable whilst conscious.”  All those people he pissed off are gonna come gunning hard for his crippled ass.

What else could all this mean but, naturally, the conversion of nuclear apocalypse and the triumph of science in the dusk of Christian monotheistic influence?  What we now know was just another crescent of an oscillation between extremes…  Mix well, add in a dash of logical positivism, a touch of doubt, a heaping trashpile of sexual repression and “Fate” becomes an answer to failed mythology.  Why doesn’t Jesus punch a timeclock like the rest of us.  Do I really worship a cool, 2000 year-old Jewish guy?  That’s kinda weird.  Why not a Maytag man instead?  A janitor of the story–a guy that makes sure that no matter how fucking twisted our original story gets in order to fit my life and it’s particular problems (Please God, let Nancy’s tumor be benign, as you only know that poor woman needs a break.  Between that brute, Homer and her worthless, pee-smelling son, a slow, painful death is the last thing that woman needs…) it all makes sense.  He’s like the aether before relativity.  A reason that things MUST work, because I just can’t come to terms with the idea Jesus abandoned me.  He wouldn’t do that.  There’s a reason things keep coming at me and piling up.  There is a GODDAMNED REASON.

But why does there have to be?  There’s no reason.  Why couldn’t everything have always been here in one form or another, over and over?  Why not?  End of rant.

Fate acts like filler in these stories.  Lubrication.  It’s cheap.

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Creating Footsoldiers for the Culture Wars

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by Jay Howard

The football metaphor of American politics says that we stay loyal to our political party/leaders/ideas in the same respect we stay loyal to our sports team/players/franchise.  The success of this strategy really speaks for itself, but it must ignore the primary brutality of executive power and the inevitability of its abuse.

Conservatism is based on the notion that freedom must be “conserved” by the people, not given over to the government–especially not with the enticement that they’ll “solve” something or other by virtue of our sacrifice.  No.  Bullshit.  It’s correct to be suspicious of that view.  The problem is that conservatism doesn’t look anything like it used to.  As Robert Anton Wilson laid out for us:

“It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.”

It could be said of almost any political party–which is inevitably a group of ideas that get replaced piece by piece until the entire menu changes without much of a hiccup.  Conservatism’s synchronicity with wars, defense, security measures and surrendering of civil liberties is not a coincidence.  Yet it somehow stands in direct contradiction to the principles upon which it was formed.  Not a coincidence.

We’re too old and savvy to explain this pattern as the manifestation of a single individual or group’s endeavors.  No, this pattern repeats as large segments of the real economy simply have convergent agendas.  We cannot ignore the multinational conglomerates–especially those with oligopolies in both the media and the defense industries.  Our beloved financial industry runs on high-profit opportunities with little or no regard for long-term or even short-term consequences beyond profit.  War is an exciting opportunity for most of the wealthiest groups in the country.  Murdering people is extremely profitable.

Now, conservatism wears a robe of xenophobia.  It all seems to follow a pattern: push 1950’s family values coupled with guilt-free consumer gluttony, and voila!, every man for himself, except around the dinner table or if you see them at church.  But that just glosses the surface.  This pattern is perpetrated upon us all as a solution, a path to be desired.

Evangelicals have become the foot soldiers of the culture wars, but again, this is not a coincidence, nor is it simply the natural evolution of Evangelical Christianity.  Is there some charter of Evangelical church practice that dictates displaying the Israeli flag?  Without fail, we see the blue Star of David on a white background posted in every “non-denominational” church in the country as if someone handed down a mandate.  I have no problem with the Jewish religion nor the state of Israel as defined by UN mandate 242, but why is it posted in all these churches?  Pastor Lee Boss of the Victory Christian Center, when asked, told me it was to remind us of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ that must begin in the Holy Land.  I find that answer lacking.  In fact, his expression concealed his discomfort with my questions.  Why would I want to know this?  Was I some kind of anti-Semite?

Hardly.  But that won’t stop the accusations.  Whatever.  The whole enterprise of bringing people in to “worship” feels more like deliberate recasting the entire right-wing agenda as the will of God (or Yaweh).  And why wouldn’t they?  It makes sense as a business model.  The only dirty parts of that equati0n are the pathways through which a plan propagated through to the church leaders.

This has become an unfocused rant, but the bottom line is we are being molded to a set of acceptable behaviors which are ultimately (and even in the short-term), harmful to the whole of American society and citizens of the world.  But we take it, day in and day out, like an obedient pet who thinks it’s normal to be yelled at before being allowed to eat.  Americans are dumbasses.

Seriously, that was a joke..

Posted in Uncategorized on July 6, 2011 by Jay Howard

Not sure if there’s a meaning (beyond my own poor timing) or not, but as I grabbed the elbow of a co-worker today, and she acted like it was sore–like she had been working out.  So, in a playful, brotherly kind-of-way, I was “not touching” her elbow.  She gave me the saddest puppy dog eyes ever and said she fell down.

I jumped on that remark without thinking: “You don’t get a sore elbow from falling down the stairs!” thinking the obvious falseness of that statement would translate into something like humor.  But the other branch of meaning was that someone had beat her.

Well, turns out someone DID beat her.  Who’s the jackass now?  This guy.

Epilogue: She left the asshole at the end of that week.  Good on her.  I hope that fucker goes to jail.