Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Letters to an Old Contrarion Douche Bag

I still kind of tolerated Christopher Hitchens when he cynically turned on the Nation to support George W. Bush's war in Iraq. I thought he was rightly critical of many within the anti-war movement who seemed to contribute nothing to any kind of national discourse (civil as it now is) and merely parroted things said by Kos and whichever reactionary contributor to the Huffington Post managed to write something that day. And he labeled many of those on the anti-war side as naive, etc, etc. Certainly, Hitchens is dubious of George W. Bush's administration, and is not unaware of his... interesting way of expressing himself.

But he never seems to acknowledge that any unilateral action by America within this current administration's time in office would be inherently incompetent, that they would never let reason stand in the way of their actions, that their cost-saving techniques were counter-intuitive at best, and so forth. Merely, he hammers it home that Saddam was evil, he committed atrocities, etc.

Today in Slate, he tongue in cheek suggests those in the anti-war movement offer themselves as human shields for those Kurds and Iraqis they so feel for. It's a cute suggestion, the type that Jonah Goldberg might recite at some intolerably boring and drably attired cocktail party. So here's the stand-by response - Chris, if so many of your friends were murdered by Saddam's cronies, and you've made no secret that you have no problem with the vengeance aspect of this war, then why don't you have your son volunteer? Isn't he a young contrarion, eager to placate his Joyce-spouting, cognac-swilling, chain-smoking, hard-to-please father? I'm sure he'll get by fine, he probably knows the country like the liver spots on your hands, as I'm sure you've imparted all of your knowledge with him.

As Hitch would, and did, say: "Oh, Jesus, another barrage of emotional tripe about sons. From every quarter, one hears that the willingness to donate a male child is the only test of integrity. It's as if some primitive Spartan or Roman ritual had been reconstituted, though this time without the patriotism or the physical bravery. Worse, it has a gruesome echo of the human sacrifice that underpins Christian fundamentalism."

When one moralistically supports the war, no matter the cost, in fact does not acknowledge the cost, indeed this is a relevant question. But it is rather funny that he wrote this, a year ago, when today he suggests a very similar action for those on the other side of the coin. Are trite platitudes reserved for only one side of the aisle? I don't suggest strong-arming your offspring into war, I'm suggesting that they have inherited the moral forthrightness of their father, and that they realize they speak empty words if they parrot what you say if they can not act in some way.

But, if a parent who has lost a child to the war, and is against it, they are not entitled to an opinion, because it wasn't THEIR choice. The child was free to do as he pleased. Well, maybe if the fruit of Hitch's loins is blown up by an IED, Hitch will have some kind of snide remark about how clumsy it must have been for his son to make such a mistake as to have been blown up.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Greatest Movie Endings Of All Time

It's kind of stupid to do this, because every list now is post-modern, and I guess I should include something like the barf-off ending of "Garbage Pail Kids", but I feel like going over some of the shit I've seen on Netflix. If you haven't seen some of these, skip past them, particularly 24 Hour Party People. So:

Being There

I love absurdism, especially absurdist comedy. That's why I judge people's sense of humor on what they think of Monty Python. But Being There, to me, is not a comedy, even though it's a satire, and the president is impotent, and I'm supposed to laugh at Peter Seller's talking jive to the rich old man's doctors. Maybe it's because Sellers is so earnest throughout the movie, as we find out he's not just a blank slate of everything he's ever seen on TV, when he tears roll down his face after the old man finally dies. But the one truly absurdist moment of the movie, the last image, indeed, is so hard-earned that my spirits were lifted after sitting through about two hours of somewhat dated satire - Peter Sellers walking on water as the eulogist for the old man says, "Life is a state of mind."


Unfortunately, me and my younger brother Kevin watched this movie every day for about two months when we were in pre-school, after we got home from our terrifying swimming lessons. Older brothers Brian and Jamie would come home from SLUH and bitch at us for watching this same movie every fucking day. Maybe we liked the soundtrack, maybe we liked the name "Egon Spengler," I don't know. But I have always wanted to know what it felt like for adults who saw the movie for the first time, that the harbinger of the apocalypse is the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

24 Hour Party People

God appears to the most egotistical man alive, in the image of the most egotistical man alive, and tells him he was right about everything.

Life of Brian

Men being crucified singing "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life." A touching, sensible, ridiculous ending for the funniest movie ever created.

8 1/2

An internationally famous directly on the verge of a nervous breakdown is redeemed (or ultimately judged?) in this surreal ending wherein he directs everyone he's ever known to dance, joining hands, around his abandoned, expensive movie set.

The 400 Blows

This kid is fucked. That's what I take away from this movie.

And oh, there are others, but I grow tired so early in the day.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Contemplating My Introversion

Unless I stay nearby my close friends at a party, I become exhausted within the first two hours. I was led to believe this is a serious flaw - one should be able to socialize at ease in all such light-hearted occasions. But this isn't the case for introverts.

What muddies the water is the fact that for much of my life, I suffered from social anxiety - and where this ends and my introversion begins, I still don't quite know. Before I began high school, I took the Meyers Briggs Personality test, and the results showed that my type is Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving - INFP. This is a pretty in-depth definition.

In some ways I don't match up with the definition - I'm not a perfectionist, I'm too lazy; I'm not focused on making the world a better place, unless I become one of those types who thinks they're writing can change the world (shudder); I am intuitive about people, but I find this hampers me as much as it helps - I have a pretty good sense of who is trustworthy and who is not, but I also over-generalize people and make assumptions of them with little evidence; Sometimes I am considerate, other times I could give a shit as to someone else's tribulations; This thing says I'm most likely a talented writer - thank you, impersonal website.

It is normal for me to want to be quiet, unless I'm around people I have a lot of respect or admiration for - then I can't shut up. It is unfair to be told that I need to be more outgoing, or more talkative. Extroverted girls, especially, get rather uncomfortable around me because I don't talk much, so they think I may be silently judging them (sometimes this is true, but surely they've done something to deserve my judgement). This leads to rather humorous types of conflict wherein I'm told I need to be more laid-back - so that over-burdening my brain with the excruciating minutaie of small talk is somehow a relaxing passtime. At any rate, if I have a salient thought, I will express it, and if I don't, I'll keep my trap shut. It is tiresome listening to people talk for long swaths of time. I view it as abnormal for someone to want to talk to others even if they haven't much to say at the time. This is why the thought of going on a date with someone I don't know very well gives me the night terrors.

So next time you call me stoic, give some thought to what I am doing that makes me look so stoic. I'm thinking, cogently, of something you likely couldn't process. Not that I'm smarter, just rarer.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

O'Reilly to Gays: Go Fuck Yourselves

"But the truth is that many who oppose gay marriage do so because they believe that society is better served by putting traditional marriage in a special place."

Bill O'Reilly then goes on the slippery-slope stand-by that if you legalize gay marriage, you must legalize polygamy. First off, only ugly people engage in polygamy, so what's the concern? More ugly people off the market, that can only be a good thing for those of us who've trolled the bar scene looking for a potential mate. Not once have I seen an attractive polygamist. Even if there is an attractive polygamist or two, I wouldn't want anything to do with them, because they're Mormons. Mormons are weird. Holy shit, I just had a thought: What if the whole push to gay marriage is actually a polygamist thing? They know gay marriage has more support than polygamy, so it's a shadow game they're playing - they're secretly pulling the strings so that once gays can freely and openly marry, polygamy will slip right on through as well - and then, here's the thing, and then - I could marry three women and another man all of whom could marry others until everyone in America is married to each other. That would be fucked up, and that is not something I support. Bill O'Reilly, my hat is off to you. You keep America safe.

On a similar note, it's impossible not to see some right-wing commentator who believes religion is under attack in America today. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Would that we could foment some kind of intellectual assault on religion. Alas, we are forced to witness a Time and Newsweek cover story every month about Who Was Jesus, Really?, the types of articles that show just how little most Christians know of their own religion. I'm beating a dead horse, but here's what calling Jesus the Son of God does to the rest of us - it utterly puts us off. The Beatitudes are the most inspiring, open-minded religious treatise of all time. Why must others sully them by placing more importance on whatever miracles he may or may not have performed, or spurious claims of his resurrection? The Beatitudes are enough. It doesn't even matter who said them, just that they were said. If some religious nut wanted to put the Beatitudes on a stone tablet in front of a court building instead of the ten commandments, fine with me. They'd never do it though, because it would lay bare the fact that the Justice system is not the implementation of someone with a Christian bent. And so I'm forced to be wary of someone who was by all accounts a good guy because people fanatically and fantastically miss the point of his life. Remember when the Catholic Church came out at the turn of the last century and said that, essentially, Catholics should not look forward to life in heaven, but that heaven is more of a spiritual realm of the now in which we are in concert with God in the present? A religious leader in America says that, bloodshed ensues.

By the way, one last point: Want to drag a Conservative into a fight? (not something I would reccommend, for hygienic reasons, among others) Either tell him/her you either a) know more about Jesus than him/her or b) you love America more than him/her.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New Ideas for Marquette's Mascot

It's been a while since the last, humiliating campaign to change Marquette's mascot from the inoffensive Golden Eagles, so, assuming the wounds have healed, I propose another go at it:

The Marquette Potowatomi Casinos: Sure, Warriors is an insensitive stereotype - but our favorite local reservationists get a marketing deal with a major university, and they might even pick up the lease on the arena. (Note: Mascot looks nothing like an indian, or what we think an indian should look like)

The Marquette College Republicans: They're already a self-parody, and it's only a small step from self-parody to demeaning stereotype. And what's a mascot if not a demeaning stereotype? Our College Republicans will gamble away their father's money from the car dealership, fag-bash, race-bait, and drink their way into corporate success after a four-year college career.

The Marquette Jew: Really, it will just be the Jewish kid at Marquette. Suggested by Hershel Mandelbaum.

The Marquette Skull-Fuckers: Original, edgy, and will make for one hell of a plush doll at the bookstore.

The Marquette Plutocrat Bastards: Comes with rapeable twelve year-old from Thailand.

The Marquette Jack Bauers: 24 rules.

The Marquette Jesuits: This one is unfeasible because the regional head of the Jesuits will demand a hefty licensing fee.

The Marquette Harvard Crimson: Justifies the recent hikes in tuition.

The Marquette Bushbashers: These five hippies will scream their heads off about how George W. Bush is a terrorist, but everyone will ignore them because who pays attention to a mascot?

The Marquette Human Papilloma Virus: More prevalent on campus now than students from Chicago.