Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:40 AM
Number of posts: 638
Number of posts: 638
I write a blog of dark humor - Goblinbooks.com
Obviously Fox News is terrible for this country. Obviously it's a disgrace even to the elaborate grift that is television journalism. Yes, it encourages every xenophobic, bigoted, and anti-intellectual impulse among the less bethumbed of our citizenry. It showcases the talents of Ann Coulter, whose charm is like that of a praying mantis stuck to a windshield. It features Sean Hannity, who always looks as if he's just about to cause a fraternity hazing death. It's completely uncontroversial to say it is one of the nastier cultural transgressions of a man who has much to answer for - an execrable and sociopathic plutocrat with the skin of a lizard and a voice like the suffering of children.
And the network is, let us never ever forget, largely responsible for Glenn Beck.
But it's also important to point out - whether you wish that religion well or ill - Fox News is a great enemy of Christianity. You've no doubt already heard about the above clip - the ugly Muslim-baiting Lauren Green attempts while interviewing Reza Aslan about his biography of Jesus Christ. Green embarrasses herself, as all who work for that company inevitably must, in her efforts to disparage Islam. But she manages to profoundly slander Christianity as well. She suggests very stridently that people who are not of the faith have no business critiquing Jesus. That academics who happen to be non-Christian don't have the right to focus their attention on his life. Nothing could be worse for this church than for people like her to gain influence. Nothing.
The day that Muslims, Jews, atheists, and agnostics stop talking about Jesus is the day that Christianity itself shrivels. Whether you believe he is God or not, it is a mark of his power that historians and philosophers of all backgrounds are still arguing over him and the astonishing things he said. Many of them criticize him and doubt the religious traditions surrounding him? That means he remains relevant.
By contrast, Lauren Green and her employer want to turn Jesus into L. Ron Hubbard. The sort of cheap cult leader whose memory can rally the faithful for political or commercial gain. But someone who just doesn't matter to the wider world. They do much to pander to the particularly ovine of the Nazarene's church.
But they are no friends of it.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Mon Jul 29, 2013, 09:25 PM (11 replies)
Can you believe the news? Wild stuff happening in that New York race. It's insane that Weiner is still running! WTF people! And why is his wife with him, anyway? I mean, can we please talk about that?
The other thing, obviously, is how good Kate's looking. She walks out of that hospital like she's ready for a photo shoot. I know she's rich, and she has a staff - but that can't be easy at all. I really like her.
Me? Oh, don't mind me. I'm just that Syrian conflict that's going to kill a few thousand US troops. Don't worry about it. I'm not really news yet. I won't probably be news any time during this administration, actually. Right now, all the president is doing is arming some rebels. You figure we launched some covert actions with the kind of special forces that don't officially exist - I mean, big whoop. It's not like we're really involved.
This is the part where we go for a decade or so, gradually escalating the involvement in some country we don't care about, and not talking about it. We'll set up a no-fly zone, maybe send some advisors. Every once in a blue, you'll see some article in the Christian Science Monitor or one of those newspapers you wouldn't read on a dare. Our spies and special operators will be killing people and blowing up stuff on the sly, of course - I mean, more and more of our foreign policy seems to be completely classified, making it easier to have these kinds of secret wars without Wolf Blitzer getting anywhere near this crap. And each president will be boxed in by all the little steps the last guy took which seemed reasonable at the time. Iraq took a decade to boil over like that. Vietnam spent even longer simmering away on low. The point is, it's not going to be real news until it ramps up enough so that a president has to give that speech and drop a couple hundred thousand guys in green on the problem. That's going to be a couple of elections from now, okay?
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Posted by paulbibeau | Thu Jul 25, 2013, 10:14 AM (19 replies)
Is there something I can help you with? You look lost. I don't recognize you from around here.
No, I'm not a cop or anything. I'm just an ordinary citizen trying to look out for his neighbors. I like to drive these streets at night and make sure everything's okay. I do regular patrols, observe people, ask questions. That's the way you keep a neighborhood safe. I wish more people did this. What are you doing out this late anyway? You have some kind of ID on you?
No, you don't have to answer that. Heck, you don't have to talk to me at all. But why not? You've got nothing to hide, right? I'm only trying to make sure we don't get robbed. I'm only trying to be a good citizen. Where are you from?
A lot of crime out there. And the police can't control it anymore. Too many rules about what they can and can't do. Too many controls. They need to take the restraints off them, if they want results. I tried to be a cop once, but it's crazy what they have to go through. That's why I'm happy doing what I do now. Just an ordinary guy on my own. No one to answer to. Nothing but this scanner, a cell phone, and a 9mm handgun for company.
It's a great country for guys like me. People let you be yourself, you know? I get a real kick out of being out here. Doing my part. Prowling around in the dark and making sure everything looks just the way it should. Just like I want it.
You never told me your name. What's your name?
READ MORE ON MY BLOG
Posted by paulbibeau | Tue Jul 16, 2013, 04:06 PM (81 replies)
Lucky? Yeah, I think so. Look, I landed a spot as an intern at one of the top media companies in the country. This place is introducing me to a whole new world of not making money.
The workload is intense, and they're very demanding here. The editors have incredibly high standards, and not every unpaid worker is ready to meet them. Most give up within a couple of days.
"This is not just a job - this is a passion," my supervisor told me. "This is for people who live to be in the new world of media. They don't mind working late to be the first to post on a major story. They don't mind lying about their age to stay on their parents' health insurance. Maybe even collecting some cans on weekends."
"This is also not just a job, because we're not paying you," he added. And I can't sleep in the room with the coffee pot, or steal condiment packets - they've had a problem with that, and they're cracking down.
I never forgot those lessons. They inspired me to throw myself into this. And when the company cut a third of the staff, it totally paid off. They gave me new responsibilities - writing, editing, finding content we can run for free, and finding new ways we can use Kickstarter. And the benefits are pretty solid. I have internet and access to social media practically all the time. It's mandatory, actually, but that's fine with me, because I don't have anything else to do. Plus, we get a lot of music, movies, and gift baskets, unless the owner sees something he wants. Most importantly, I'm gaining real world skills - interviewing techniques, line editing, different ways to cook ramen, and basic food service for when the owner caters at his home in Connecticut.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Thu Jul 11, 2013, 10:21 AM (10 replies)
America is not a nation founded on an idea. America is a nation founded on the idea that America is a nation founded on an idea.
A simpler way to say this: America is a nation founded on a prank.
A prank that went way, way too far.
More than two hundred years ago, a group of some of the richest, most powerful people gathered in Philadelphia to address a little spat over taxes that they were having with another, similar group of people with almost identical privileges. And in the course of these very human events, as this thoroughly unlikeable group was compiling a list of grievances, they happened to make some ridiculous claims: About how all men are created equal, and that they have rights - inalienable rights, mind you. And that states derive their power from citizens and not the other way around.
They didn't mean it. Not really. How could they - the kind of people they were - how could they have meant any of that?
Of course it was a joke. You can almost hear them snickering malevolently as they wrote those words. Would the Crown, would the English, would anyone at all actually be stupid enough to take them seriously?
The rest of American history is a story of that prank unfolding like an elaborate Andy Kaufman bit. No one in the audience believes what's happening, but the performers refuse to break character. And the only way to keep it going is to follow these stupid, ridiculous statements to their logical conclusion. All men are created equal? Yes. Even if they're our enemies? Our slaves? Our outsiders? What if they're women? What if they're the kind of people who've been denied respect by us? Denied rights for so long it seems like just to acknowledge the injustice would be cultural suicide?
Yes and yes. The humor comes from the performers stumbling around, trying to do the impossible and failing miserably, trying to hide their failings and failing at that, but never stopping until they've torn down everything on the stage. Everything they counted on. The basis for all their power and influence and comfort. The humor comes from the fact that anyone can use this formula to attack us... to demand their rights, to demand justice. The only proper response is to let them.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:31 PM (2 replies)
The reason the title is funny is I am literally about to do just that. Ha! Okay, these limeys have to get on with my neck extension, so I'm going to keep this brief.
This Independence Day, while you NSA employees and other members of the intelligence community are relaxing on your patios with a cool drink and some munchies... I hope you think of me, your patron saint. And then I hope you all choke on your friggin' hot dogs and code out, you losers.
People have already pointed out how many of you are betraying this country. I'd like to add that you're also betraying everything US spies are supposed to stand for as well. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
Remember the ugly days of the Cold War? Remember how they did nasty stuff, and we did nasty stuff, and there was a point when people really wondered how we could call ourselves the good guys? What was the only thing that made you feel better? That made it clear? The Securitate. The KGB. The Stasi. The other side were the bad guys, because they had creepy secret police agencies which targeted their own people. I'm sure you're going to say that those guys were worse. How would any American citizen know that? How do you even know that? Everything is classified, the top officials lie to Congress, they lie to the American people, and when they don't lie, they release information through carefully controlled leaks to friendly journalists, so no one knows the information they're missing. And when some real solid truth gets through, you go after the leaker and pretend that leaks aren't something you do all the time. I haven't even mentioned hiring retired generals to go on news programs and engage in propaganda efforts. Or letting politicians use you to sell bad wars to the public.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Jul 3, 2013, 11:35 AM (8 replies)
Hi. We're the folks sitting next to Pat Robertson. We'd like to make something clear to you: We're not bad people, okay? We don't agree with whatever crazy thing just came out of Pat's pie-hole. Most of the time, we are just as horrified as the rest of you. But the goddamn cameras are on us, and we need to keep this job.
Yes, we should say something. Yes, we should tell him he's a lunatic. Maybe even get up, take off our mikes, and storm out of there. But then what? Where would we go? What would we do? How would we keep our kids in school and the bank from taking our homes? Plus - and we are serious here - Pat would bide his time, and then someday he would take us down, Corleone-style. The guy's like Blackwater and the Church of Scientology had a baby and raised it in a racist tent revival. He's every villain from every 1980's action movie you've ever seen. You have no idea what he's capable of.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Mon Jul 1, 2013, 01:39 PM (1 replies)
If you're like me, this DOMA victory will not be complete until you've surfed over to some rightwing blog or website and witnessed a conservative absolutely losing his mind.
My personal fav is RedState. The head guy there has been writing stuff that warns of some kind of dystopian crackdown on Christian America as a result of the gay rights movement. He sounds apocalyptic in the truest sense of the word - by which I mean he actually uses the same rhetoric as John of Patmos in predicting a tribulation and excoriating progressive Christians for allowing the world to seduce them into being reasonable. I plan to write about it for my blog, Goblinbooks.
So... own that schadenfreude! Where will you go today, and why will it be so dang entertaining?
Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Jun 26, 2013, 11:29 AM (22 replies)
We need to remember how we were, people. We need to bring this nation back to that place of unity and resolve we shared in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. During those dark days Americans came together to fight a common enemy. And in that spirit, you decided to let everyone in the government do whatever we wanted and also totally let it slide that we'd fucked up royally.
Those were sweet times.
I mean, a major reason we created these massive intelligence agencies was to prevent a second Pearl Harbor. And here we were, spending billions, vacuuming up phone traffic all over the world with the Echelon Program. But the second Pearl Harbor happened anyway. We all sat at our little monitoring stations watching the towers go down, while Dick Cheney hid in a bunker. Only one of the attacks al-Qaeda launched that day failed to hit its target - and that was because of some ordinary civilians, not anything we did.
The entire military and intelligence community failed miserably at what was supposed to be our only job. And your response was swift:
"Here's a huge bag of money," you said. "Go nuts."
Man, that was nice. No one got fired or demoted. Everyone just received a computer upgrade and some time for all our pet projects. It's like you found one of your employees cooking up crystal meth at his work station, and instead of calling the police you gave him the company credit card for "research" he suddenly decided to tackle.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Jun 26, 2013, 09:56 AM (7 replies)
As this NSA surveillance scandal unfolds, people are following Edward Snowden's apparent attempts to evade extradition. However, I think we're losing sight of the other fugitive from justice - James Clapper. After committing the criminal offense of lying to Congress back in March, Clapper vanished into the federally administered tribal areas around Washington, DC. He is thought to be somewhere near McLean, Virginia, and continuing his role as Director of National Intelligence. Will he be caught and brought to justice?
Now legally, it seems like it should be a more straightforward matter for American authorities to seize Clapper. Unlike Ecuador, where Snowden is seeking asylum, Northern Virginia is technically a part of the United States. The same is true of other areas in and around the "Beltway zone" where Clapper could be hiding. These areas have US administrators at the federal and state level - they even use our currency. In fact, since 9/11 American funding has absolutely flooded the local economy there in an effort to buy us influence.
But as with many other US allies, we're not always sure of their loyalties. These are intensely secretive people. Simply put, we don't trust each other. They don't share our values: They don't believe in transparency or accountable governments. It's never been part of their culture, and they resent our attempts to impose our system on them. And the fact that we give them so much money creates a strange cognitive dissonance that makes these people really hard to communicate with. Here you'll find someone whose entire lifestyle is based on getting money from the US Treasury, and he will nonetheless refers to himself, seriously, as "a small-government conservative."
What complicates matters is that, because of the idiosyncratic way they use language, they don't think James Clapper actually lied. One of their local media sites, ABC News, recently posted this article, and I think the title alone tells us what we're dealing with: "Did Intel Dir. James Clapper Lie To Congress? It's Complicated." The basic point of the article is that Clapper found himself faced with a simple question that required him to lie, but he really, really wanted to answer another, more complicated question that would have allowed him to evade the truth without actually lying.
"How is that not lying?" you're asking. "How does that complicate things?" Believe me, when you've lived in this place long enough, you'll get it.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Mon Jun 24, 2013, 11:18 AM (12 replies)