Friday, September 01, 2006

They just want Others to be more humble, is all. They're Progressives!

Someone sent me a link to a thread on an exceptionalist blog, where a couple of good-hearted souls were fighting the good fight.

I say they won, if only because they have managed to free themselves from the sticky net of cultural solipcism, thus becoming Others-by-choice, foes of their own countrymen, even those who have perhaps themselves been dabbling with some gentle questioning of their country's policies.

They're progressives, you see. All they are asking is that people from other cultural groups be polite and properly humble, as befits their station, when criticizing US/Israeli crimes against humanity.

They are very civilized people, they don't agree with it one bit, in fact most of them believe very strongly that these crimes should be committed by gunmen from other countries, maybe even wearing blue hats. And some would even be in favor of more humane methods of extermination than those employed by the current administration, and that the contracts go to companies owned by Democrats.

We know they believe this very strongly because they frequently urge others to send money to politicians who have pledged to do these very things. So they do not appreciate it one bit when their fellow Americans side with foreigners against them. Especially dusky Muslim foreigners, who, if they feel obliged to be critical of America, should at least have the decency to do so in a way that shows they know their place.

Maybe something like, "It is possible that there are some people with ties to the region who may have wondered if perhaps America might consider slaughtering just a bit fewer people, and who have been leaning lately toward a less positive reaction regarding burning the flesh off children, but this should not be taken to mean that they are any the less admiring, any less in awe, of the true greatness of America, or ungrateful for all the good things America has done for the entire Majority World over the decades, and all the wonderful people who have made it possible through their loyal devotion to their corporations and the politicians who serve them."

That, you see, would be an acceptable sort of criticism from a non-American.

It's kind of like the difference in reaction to Barack Obama and Al Sharpton.

Al and Barack are good examples to use because for one, both are well known, and two, they just illustrate the point more clearly than a Sharpie marker on Brooks Brothers broadcloath.

Al and Barack are both politicians, they're both playas, but their personas are as different as well, black and white.

Barack is one of those Bryant Gumbel-style black folks, talks white, acts white, if it weren't for his skin, he'd be white.

Al, on the other hand, has retained his identity, which, to be fair, so has Barack, for all we know. We could say both have remained true to their culture, too. It is not likely that Barack, for instance, ever saw the inside of a projects apartment until someone on his staff suggested he visit one for a photo op and to boost his credibility. Al saw a lot of them in the course of his regular life before he ever started working for James Brown.

And yes, both would quite rightly be decried as utter fakes should they attempt to reflect a culture other than their own.

Barack acts "white" because that is how he was raised, that is who he is. And Al doesn't because that is how he was raised, that is who he is.

And Barack is acceptable to the US mainstream, while Al is not. Now we could ascribe this to Al's being about ten times smarter than Barack, but that has to do with the business of US politics and not Anti-Otherism per se, and is something that, like their culture, that neither one can help.

Barack is not angry, he is quietly and understatedly grateful for the advantages he has enjoyed, he is not uppity.

Al, in contrast, is frequently openly angry, for all his playahood, is quietly and understatedly scornful of the few advantages that he has been able, as a politician, to wrest from the beast, and he is uppity as hell.

The Democratic party could easily run Barack, at least as a vice presidential candidate, without upsetting even their southern contingent too much, when Sharpton ran in 2004, he was considered the campaign's comic relief.

Any honest career or guidance counselor will advise any student of color who wants to be successful in a high profile, public life-type field to try to seem as white as possible, so that white folks will "react better." Of course they will probably not put it in those terms, unless they themselves are openly uppity, and thus on the verge of losing their counselor job. They will use the term "mainstream" which is the code for white.

One frequently hears the mainstream excuse their Islamophobia by expressing the view that "Muslims have not apologized enough for 911."

It is therefore, even more outrageous to them that Muslims should complain that the US mainstream has chosen to be represented internationally by a bestial horde of torturers and sexual predators.

That's uppity. If a Muslim, or for that matter, a Hindu, or an African Animist, or a Latin American of indeterminate faith tradition, wishes to criticize US policies in his or her region, or in the Majority World as a whole, the mainstream will "react better" if this criticism is obliquely and indirectly hinted at, heavily loaded with disclaimers absolving all present from any sort of collective responsibility, and prefaced by and appended with lavish praise for the US in general - and its wonderful people, all present included, of course.

Ironically, it is this insularity which has been the ruination of an entity that did quite objectively have tremendous potential for good, though if truth be told, and I, being uppity, will not hesitate to tell it, by tremendous potential despite its mainstream.


supersoling said...

I can't get too deeply involved in those threads because it's just too damned frustrating after awhile. Blueneck and Myriad did a fine job of thoughtfully and patiently spelling it out. I can't do that because the whole idea of having to explain something so basic and simple as why so many are angry at the US and it's people is beyond ludicrous. Why some can't see beyond their own hurt feelings, of which I'm also an owner, is beyond me.

DuctapeFatwa said...

LOL, I thought you did quite well. In fact, you were one of the people I was referring to as having won, and one of the people to whom I was attempting to pay homage in the rant on Enemy of the State.

I am notoriously bad with nicknames, but blueneck surprised me. If I have the right person, isn't he some sort of Democratic party operative? Or am I thinking of blue something else, and insulting blueneck in the process, thus setting myself up for being obliged to compose a profuse and heartfelt and twofold apology, first for the name confusion (I will of course, blame meds) and second, for failing to recognize one of those precious beings who has bravely and resignedly slapped a yellow star on his own arm quite a while back, and I just failed to notice, for which I will be unable to blame meds.

supersoling said...

I don't recall readinging anything from Blueneck that described his vocation. But in one of his comments he said he was trained in communication. My instinct of him says he's not involved in party politics beyond supporting and voting. I wish I had the patience to spell things out as intricately as he does.

And thank you for your comments about me, though I'm not a comfortable homage recipient.

DuctapeFatwa said...

Well I suggest you get used to it, as I am daily more inclined homage-ward toward your ilk. You are not one of those off-brand streak and spot leaving solings, you are supersoling!

I have this awful feeling that there is another person called blue something who is the operative, not a covert one at all, but I should probably start apologizing profusely to blueneck anyway.

catnip said...

"Oh look. Here's that uncomfortable topic again. This time let's talk about the differences in "tone" between this author's writing and that of DTF's so we don't actually have to discuss it. DTF isn't around anymore but he always comes in handy as a scapegoat when we don't want to talk about American exceptionalism. Man, we were lucky he posted here so we can just ignore things we don't like and talk about him instead. And please, make sure none of you bring up the tone we use when we bash Bush and other assorted people and things we all agree about. In those cases, tone is irrelevant because it's okay to be angry. It's our right, in fact."

supersoling said...

To be fair,
it was Deward Hastings, a commenter who isn't hostile to DTF, who brought up his name in the diary when he pointed out that the featured article was very similar in content to many things that DTF has said. And yet DTF's words were dismissed because they weren't properly kind and gentle enough. That's where that whole tangent came from.

spiderleaf said...

I've given up trying or even paying attention. My MoBettaMeta is deciding which colours to paint the walls and which project I'm going to accept.

This whole situation fucking disgusts me and I was just reading that bullshit thread (yes, blueneck was quite good in it) and who shows up again to talk about tone but the sanctimonious and utterly hypocritical Second Nature.

Yeah, tone matters unless your name is MilitaryTracy and you are "hurting".

A fucking woman who's husband is dropping bombs on innocent civilians is hurting and can use any tone she wants to insult and lie, but someone who points out the mother in Lebanon or Iraq who is hurting because her fucking child was killed by one of those bombs and WATCH OUT, YOU'VE CROSSED THE LINE.

Fucking pathetic and a complete waste of my time... which is why I haven't been around.

I like Canada, I like the intelligent discussions about peace I can have on the streets of Toronto and I feel it's doing my own health a disservice to care one bit what the brainwashed masses in the US think or feel anymore. Fuck 'em.

(ps - hi)

NLinStPaul said...

I hate to nitpick - because I COMPLETELY agree with your example of the difference between Obama and Sharpton, but....

I read Obama's biography after his speech at the Dem convention. The one he wrote about his life and search for his father's legacy long before he entered the political scene.

And he had plenty of experience in the "projects" working as a community organizer in Chicago for years with some of the most "others" in this country.

But this makes your point all the more strongly. Why he seems to have turned his back on all of them since his involvement in politics might be the real story of how our current system is so terribly broken.

scribe said...

Super, I so admire your courage in speaking up and out on Boo, as you consistantly so. ( And don't try to tell me it doesn't take courage, either, because I'm not buying that.) I feel badly for not jumping in beside you, but I just don't have the energy, (or the eyesight, at present,) to be doing much blogging at all.

Even as I write that,
I see the parralel between a blind person who cannot access the blogs and alternative news sources online, and the general public. ( who doesn't know about it, or knows and chooses not to use it.)

All you have left to go by then, is what you can hear on major media. Involuntary blindness or chosen blindness, the outcome is the same: an awareness that is controlled by the power elite.

As for what went on on that thread at Boo, seeing again how FAR apart the perceptions are, among those of us on the left, made me want to just lay down in a corner and cry from sheer frustration and weariness. More and more each day, my level of awareness of what a total alien I truly am, in my own country, just grows deeper and deeper. I really do not have a culture of my own, and I really never did.

I spent over half my lifetime folding, spindling and mutilating myself, trying to fit into what I thought was "my culture", never once truly suceeding. Then, as soon as I was no longer "useful and productive" to that culture, I found out what a total farce it all truly is.

All of it was pure propaganda. All of what I was taught about how wonderful, how exceptional America is, was pure, unadulterated bullshit, for all of us except the powerful elite.

That's who the American Dream was intended for, not me. None of it was EVER available to me or to much of the population of this land of the free/home of the brave.

I am growing old now, and health issues are coming up fast. I am very very tired and moving toward feeling pretty ready to wind up this gig and move the hell on outa here. I do not find that a scary thought at all, as I know what I've accomplished in spite of all the obstacles, and I am damned proud of my life's work and the contributions to others I have made along my way.

Of course, knowing myself pretty well, tomorrow I may wake u clamoring for another 50 years or so, because there is SO much left for me to do and see and which case this post can be disregarded. :)

Anyway, till I get my eyes working again, I won't be around as much as I was before. Surgery is scheduled for Oct 19, for one eye, which should set me able to resume my normal levels of spouting and spewing all over the internet.

BTW, I've sent out my new emial addy to as many of you that I had emial addys for. I can still read my emial!

supersoling said...

Somehow I have a hard time picturing you curling up and crying in any corner :o) Besides, if you did that your armor would get all rusted up from the tears!

Commenting against the grain is uncomfortable for me because I count most of those people as friends and I could go into a really long explanation of how my relationships with my family growing up have caused that reluctance and discomfort, but I'll spare everyone on that deal. Most of the time I let stuff slide because like you, I want to belong too. I'd like to have a idealogical home where we all agree. So when I find myself seeing things differently than my friends do it's tough sometimes to risk the busting up of my comfort zone. That says more about me than it does about the need to call people out when they're inconsistent. I dislike that part of me because I generally feel comfortable with my opinions, just not comfortable with expressing them. At least to friends. People who are blatantly evil, on the other hand, I have no problem jumping on :o)

supersoling said...

ps scribe,
I got the new email address...thanks :o)

...and hi back to you and Cookting, Spiderleaf :o)

Arcturus said...

Ick, why did I read that??? & I even knew better; kinda like craning neck for roadside wrecks I suppose.

Catnip has nailed it quite succintly.

Bookchin's questionong & rejection of a dismal retreat into ideological obscurantism and a "mainstream politics" that acquires "power" and "effectiveness" by following the very "stream" it should be seeking to divert? Will it pursue fictitious "mass constituencies" by imitating the very forms of mass manipulation, mass media, mass culture it is committed to oppose? still rings true today, & applies way beyond the environmental movement.

Meester Fatwa: Here's a l'il sumpin' to feed your Paris fetish.

catnip said...


"I feel your pain". Those of use who are Canadian contributors to the American political dialogue face something that Americans don't: we must deal with what's happening in our country as well. And, sometimes that double burden is just overwhelming.

I've often felt the same way you do: it's not my country, I'm tired of it, let them deal with it etc but when I remind myself that what America does affects all world citizens, I can't give up just yet. (Add to that the fact that I'm a news junkie and feel compelled to spout off my opinions.)

But if you feel your health is being affected - just as mine was last year - please pull back. The whole insane mess will still be there when and if you come back. (((hugs)))


Thanks for sharing how things appear from your new, limited perspective. I still think we need to get you some handy, dandy software - maybe something that will read sites to you - to keep you involved. I wish you the best when you have your surgery. We need you!! And you deserve whatever medical miracle that might make you whole once again. (((hugs))) for you too.

As for the culture aspect of your post - I sure relate to that. I envy people who are immersed in their cultural identities and with the ever changing faces of Canadian and American culture, it can be tough to get a handle on exactly what that culture is. I think that drives the fear many conservatives have of multiculturalism, but it also drives people like me to embrace the many sub-cultures that surround me to create a larger culture that I can really enjoy living in. I suppose when one feels one's cultural/national identity is lost on a grand scale, it might be one solution to create one that you want in your own little world in order to endure the crisis. I don't just prompted me to think about what "culture" means to me, so my ideas aren't fully formed on that front.

See? That's why we need you. You make people think. :) And that, as Martha Stewart would say, is a Good Thing.


Thanks for continuing to speak up even when it's most uncomfortable. You're right about Deward Hastings bringing up the comparison to DTF's posts however, the last time I visited that thread, there still wasn't much discussion about the actual content of Booman's post. I do think they can walk and chew gum there when they choose to. Perhaps it's just beating a dead horse to expect a frank discussion about exceptionalism/imperialism anymore, since there are 6 ways from Sunday to ignore those subjects. I thought blueneck's and myriad's comments hit the mark. If only that could have resolved the whole "tone" discussion. Unfortunately though, it didn't.

This "I don't like your tone, young man" attitude seems to be a reflection of some people's need to control the dialogue as if they're parents dealing with unruly children and it's quite insulting. Ironically, it's the same message sent by Bushco when it wags its collective finger at dissenters.

Brian Nowhere said...

Important Story right now at

Commons3nse discovers an ad running today at dailykos that promotes and supports a Major Republican Supporter

Read all about it at nowhereweb in the main page article titled DailyKos Caught In Bed with GOP: Not Sleeping!

catnip said...

O/T, but useful: If you click on a link in a comment and find that there's no back button to return to the comments, just use Alt +Left Arrow.

supersoling said...

...or right click and then click "back".

catnip said...

D'oh!! lol

I'm obviously new to these internets tubes thingies. (not!!)

Arcturus said...

catnip sez: there still wasn't much discussion about the actual content of Booman's post

If there's anyone left over there who would disagree that bombing & invading Afghanistan was a necessary & 'just' response, well, I can't blame 'em for not wanting to go into Round xxxxx on that one. Such a suggestion gets Martin's panties all in a twist.

catnip said...

What's unfortunate, from this antiwar person's point of view, is that "justness" is often measured by the results of a war by far too many people. Seldom do people reflect beforehand on the "justness" of starting wars in the first place although, since the Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel/Lebanon wars have proved to be such disasters, more people are now willing to do so when it comes to dealing with Iran. Making people a bit more gun shy is probably the silver lining that's come of these abuses of power, but the fact that Bushco will do what it wants regardless is where morality again becomes horribly silenced.

Arcturus said...

From the beginning of a fantastic little prose piece, dated 8/8/06, by Mary Burger:

We responded to the ubiquitous emergency as if it wasn’t happening to us. Our island of pleasure seemed all the more fanciful as we absorbed the continuous updates about the far-away detonations and the dismemberments. Perhaps that was the purpose of the uninterrupted disaster stories, to lull us in our own comfort.

. . .Here we were, in this shady back yard sharing a meal, when we could have been lying at the side of a road somewhere, dismembered.

Nanette said...

(Please note that I'm not talking about the vast majority of Americans, certainly not anyone who might be reading this comment, as I would never wish to offend anyone's beautiful mind who might be happily ribbiting in the Pond.)

LOL, priceless. I have no idea what blueneck does either but I have a feeling that sitting quietly watching the world go by is not part of it.

super, you were great in that thread, as were the others. Even the smallest voice raised in opposition to some of the stuff being said there is all good, if you ask me.

I'm actually learning a lot from BooMan and his (and others who think like him) reactions to things. Well, I think they were not things I didn't know before, but stuff I'd not really thought about until all this American identity/exceptionalism came up.

And one thing is that that for US politicians (Republican OR Democrat), one reason that black people, especially some of the black politicians and people like Sharpton must be marginalized and not take leadership type roles outside of a well guarded parameter, is that black people... in a very broad generalization, do not believe in American exceptionalism and imperialism.

This is my opinion, anyway, going by the people I know, and by the polls taken about the Afghanistan invasion (no majority black support for that), and iraq and so on. Add this to the fact that many black people... in general and very broadly speaking, are not in favor of corporatism and all that, and the last thing you want is a firebrand like Sharpton anywhere near a policy table (and you have to make sure to keep the CBC marginalized, get rid of people like McKinney and try not to let Conyers scare folks).

This goes back to the "tweak, not a change" thing that so many on the leftish side of things seem to want (and which, I believe, is the cause of so much division lately). Not too much rocking the boat, just enough to displace a really bad crew and put a slightly less bad crew into place... and then we can all go home and have a rest. Whereas most of us here are more geared towards a deep level change, structual, political, societal - and that freaks people out totally.

catnip said...

O/T: Speaking of American exceptionalism and because we all could use a bit of comic relief every now and then, someone has posted "Talking to Americans" at You Tube. Boing Boing has the links to the segments. If you've never seen these interviews with Americans by Canada's Rick Mercer, I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

P.S.: We have stupid people in Canada too. We just hide them well, send them to Hollywood and, ocassionally, make them Prime Minister.

Arcturus said...

"The Mojo Against Genocide Was Taken Care Of In The Beginning"

there is a hole in a shadow
through it a blinding light shines.
it is the eye of a shadow)
and that is why
you can't see it
every shadow is the dark
person the earth will never be bare of
black people

as long as the sun shines.
the sun makes us
this way
as long as the sun keeps
you alive it will make
black people,
when you do not need the sun
peoples you will not need yourself

--Ed Roberson

That poem was first published 30 years ago (Etai-Ekan, 1975 -- from Just In: Word of Navigational Challenges, Talisman, 1998) and still fresh in Katrina's aftermath. (I've been dipping back into my poetry books lately -- came across this one this afternoon at random -- could probably find even better ones to agree with your (catnip's) points with a more concentrated hunt.

A perceptive commenter at Amazon culled these lines from his 1999 collection (I don't have it), Atmosphere Conditions:

"stories architecturalize levels / of tolerance for what so / cannot be tolerated people die / trying / to get up / top"

and "that what we cover / doesn't hide nor change us so much as / make us the assignment of witness" . . . "to find the shared / place."

DuctapeFatwa said...

LOL, catnip! You do have a way of crystallizing things! On reflection, though, I wonder if they are not making the best choice. While the policies may make some of them feel a bit uncomfortable (what comes to mind are those stories one reads from time to time of bystanders watching some horrible crime take place, and opting to do nothing, though later admitting to reporters that they did feel like it was indeed a horrible crime), and since the window for them "doing anything about it" has closed, if it gives them comfort to rail against the impropriety and sheer bad manners of uppity Others who fail to keep to their place, and insist on bringing things up that are really not in good taste at all, I cannot overlook the possibility that under the circumstances, perhaps I am being a bit inhumane myself, to criticize them for simply being who they are, and finding whatever solace they can find, wherever they may find it.

scribe, please take care of your eyes as you get ready for your operation. Be sure to set your browser to make all letters large and thick and black. And don't spend too much time gazing uninterruptedly at your monitor, the TV screen, or even reading a book. And thanks for sending your new email! :)

Arcturus, that person is way behind. There has been a whole new Simple Life, where the girls have to go and take the place of the wife and mother of a different family every week. I'm sure the father of the Pakistani family teaching the girls how to pray has some eastern panties rendered entirely unusable. In fact, I know some of the owners. :D

NLinStPaul, it was very sloppy of me not to point out that Obama had done some volunteer work which would have indeed given him to oppportunity to visit low income homes. And I should have not only given him credit for such commendable activity, but made a very clear distinction between exposure to "projects" as a feature of community service, as opposed to Mr. Sharpton's first-hand knowledge of that demographic.

And while I am hardly the best person to defend Obama, the fact is that he is merely conforming to the policy and practice of his party. Neither party has anything to offer the poor, and to their credit, few pretend that they do. Whether that is due to candor and honesty, or a natural politician's desire to accomodate the attitudes, opinions and beliefs of the political class, from whence come their small contributors, their volunteers and assorted devotees is a secret of the heart of each individual politician, where applicable, however from my "outsider" point of view, it is a pointed change that has quite logically come about in recent years as the American underclass has been increasingly marginalized and disenfranchised, as the gap between the haves and the have nots has widened, and as the ranks of the latter group have swelled.

Nanette, that is also my perception, not only of Afro-Americans, but Latin Americans and other "immigrants," though the lack or enthusiasm for war on the part of the latter group could be due to more of them having had closer contact with it than watching it on TV or sending best wishes to a co-worker's nephew. I remember someone telling a story about the days following the 911 events, that in his (white, affluent) neighborhood, and his white, affluent workplace, his white, affluent gymnasium, etc, he heard a veritable chorus of the sentiments expressed by Ann Coulter. Then one night he happened attend a gathering at the home of a Latin American family, where to a man and woman, everyone there was voicing the need to pray and hope for peace.

People from some nations in Central America, especially, are intimately familiar with what "war" means when it happens in one's living room, to one's family, and there is a decided lack of zeal to see US policies be "robustly" implemented into the living rooms and onto the families of other people.

And it is also my impression that the underclass in general, among whom people of color are dramatically over-represented, were they to suddenly become internet denizens in large numbers, would find themselves much more at home with the likes of us than with the hoity toity exceptionalists.

I suppose one can put it all down to different points of view about what constitutes good manners, taste, and that elusive quality that no amount of money can buy that those of us on the receiving end of sneers from the brie n' chablis set would call "class."

For example, the notion that it is far worse manners, and in far worse taste, to bomb little towns and put dog leashes on people than it is to point out that this is being done, that it is wrong, and that it has consequences.

Which brings me full circle back to the first paragraph of this comment ;)

Arcturus said...

Oops. I was actually trying to respond to Nanette with that poem.

canberra boy said...

Blueneck and Myriad and Super did a great job in that thread.

I was brought to a sudden realisation today about how one's understanding of events is culturally defined. (Or put another way, where you sit is where you stand!)

It was literally a laugh out loud moment. Our family was in the car and my partner turned on the midday radio news.

One of the leading items was about Dr Dewi Anwar, a former adviser to Indonesia's last President, saying Australia needs to reassure its neighbours that it has no desire to acquire nuclear weapons.

I laughed out loud in the car because I suddenly realised: the Prime Minister started a public debate a few weeks ago about the use of nuclear power in Australia (we only have one research reactor here which is used to make radioactive medicines and industrial radioisotopes). This debate is proceeding under cover of arguments that nuclear power may be the green solution to carbon emissions and climate change. But in my view it's really about opening up new uranium mines to allow mining companies to export more of our uranium reserves (from memory Australia has about 30% of the world's uranium reserves).

I laughed because I had never thought before about how this debate might be perceived overseas, particularly in Indonesia, the world's most populous muslim country. But it's obvious, really. When Indonesians perceive Australia as having promoted the secession of Timor Leste from Indonesia, and led armed forces into Timor twice in recent years, and wantonly attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, the possibility that we might start enriching more uranium needs to be considered in a strategic context. Dr Anwar said that Australia needs to assure the international community that it is not a security threat.

All of a sudden, I started to realise a little of how it might feel to be an Iranian.

catnip said...

Interesting perspective, canberra boy. Of course, I doubt your PM is fueling the fire with rhetoric on the level of Iran's president - which, when it comes down to it is just the regular type of macho blustering that Bush does on any given day too, but America is "good" while Iran is "evil", right? ;)

I could write a whole screed about men and their testosterone-powered weapons matches that play out on the world stage but it struck me the other day, after pondering if women ran the world that it might be more peaceful, that the fact that women like Coulter, Malkin et al can be just as pompous, hateful and mean as their male counterparts certainly doesn't bode well for that nurturing peace so many of my gender would like to believe might ensue if we did take over the world. That's depressing.

catnip said...

I have a feeling that George Orwell would have been banned from BT and dkos:

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. - George Orwell

Or is his tone acceptable?

Arcturus said...

A lot of people still think Orwell was ojnly talking about those evil commies, so it's acceptable.

Heard, as they say, is another word.

canberra boy said...

catnip, I realised the Iran simile was stretching things somewhat as soon as I posted. While John Howard may not be a world-class belligerent, he is quietly doing his bit...

why only last Thursday he said that muslim migrants to Australia needed to conform to 'Australian values' by learning English and 'treating women with respect'. This led to fears in the muslim community that the remarks might spark racial clashes. Which is what I think Howard would like. Nothing like fear and loathing prior to an election, due in the next 15 months.

canberra boy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
boran2 said...

Scribe, best of luck with your operation. Take care.

James said...

Take care of your eyes, Scribe, first and foremost. Keeping my fingers crossed that the upcoming operation is successful.

scribe said...

Thanks for all the good wishes, friends. Cataract surgery runs a 90% success rate, and I'm told that ever after just one eye is done, most people are able to drive and see quite well again.

They use something called "conscious sedation" during this surgery: you are awake, in a way, but you really aren't personally involved in things. I can't help but think how well that term "conscious sedation" fits so much of the American public these days.

canberra boy said...

Apologies for the repeated comment there.

Scribe, my very best wishes for the operation. I am sure you will bounce back bigger, and livelier, than ever.

As for 'conscious sedation', I believe that is what I had when my nether regions were operated upon some years ago: you are given a kind of memory-blocking drug which means that, while you experience what is happening as it happens, you don't remember it long enough to worry about it. My one very strong recollection is that I realised the doctor who was about to operate on my aforesaid parts had only one arm: I tried very hard not to stare at him in case it made him feel uncomfortable.

Lest anyone think this was the delusion of a sedated mind, I was able to confirm later that the doctor concerned did, indeed, have only one arm.

scribe said...

The last time I saw this eye surgeon, he had two arms, but I will be sure to check this out on October 19th! I told him whatever drugs they use, for his own safety he will want to make sure that when I see him approaching my eye with his sharp stick,I won't be able to leap off the table to rip out his jugular first. This caused him to write something down on my chart pretty fast. :)

Janet said...

Scribe, take care of yourself and I wish there was something we could do... another buggaboo about this crazy thing called cyberspace. You connect to people you can't physically touch.

Canberra, I got your mail. THANK YOU!!!! Hey, I when I had the last bit of work done on my kidney stones, tbey put me in a "stone crusher" machine (it feels like you've been hit by a VW bug, it uses sound waves to crush stones) and I was put into a "fugue" state. I guess I talked non-stop LOL. I don't recall any of it except for one part where the doctor was talking about my sonogram... I remember that and it was confirmed. :) I had undergone 4 operations for stones while pregnant and had to wait till I was "healthy enough" and no longer preggers to have this done. My doctor was called Gerschbein and several times my husband joked to me his name should be Fishbone... sure enough... during the fugue state THAT's what I called him... ACK. :)

As to the "tone" I am just bowled over. We've been trying to get money "Collateral Repair" to the Iraqi delegates who had to flee Iraq... been worried about some's safety... and here we're supposed to watch our tone???

Stop the fucking murdering and bombing for fucksake!!!! People are fucking dying!!!!

I guess if it's not "our" precious babies being blasted and raped and burned into the cement... we should be polite?!?!

As I've told my daughter... when retribution for Bush's holy war of oil... they won't just target Bush Supporters... we've all got bullseyes on our backs. Kinda like how we were going to liberate the Iraqis... well it seems that bullets can't differentiate between Saddam supporters and the ones to be liberated.

This country... is weak, cowardly and too caught up in television to give a fuck about reality.

Moderation and tone... Tell me about moderation and tone when you're trying to pull your child from a burning building or out of the hands of a rapist.

our world is on fire.

yeah, I guess I am a liberal extremist... but the mainstream veered off to a weird angle and when it comes to children being murdered and killed... my tone just goes right out the window.

DuctapeFatwa said...

canberra boy, I thank and congratulate you. While there are those in the east who would read your comment, roll their eyes and mumble well DUH, the fact is that few easterners understand how deeply certain notions are inculcated in the west, so much so that they are things that most are not even aware of.

Just as there is an urgent need for education and advancement and modernization of thought and culture in the west, so is there a need for eastern people to understand that westerners are, for the most part, not primitive brutes who consciously seek to kill and destroy all around them, and lack the capacity for much else, but regular human beings who tend to be UN-conscious of the aspects of their culture which are most harmful to them, as well as to their neighbors.

And yes, the Australian Question is a troubling problem. Quite dismayed at the failure of modern engineering to develop the technology to tie the continent to a sea vessel and simply haul it up to a more desirable neighborhood in the North Sea, and relieve its pouting determination to refuse to acknowledge that it is an Asian country, Australia is responsible for frequent fits of giggles, but at the same time, it is a very serious issue.

As you point out, Australia has proven that it is willing to translate its national neurosis into an aggression and brutality that is far from amusing, and its alignment with the US has transformed it into a danger to the entire Asia-Pacific region. It will continue to be a major player in the unfolding Situation, and as for its destructive capability, I am among those who is certain that the US has already provided its sulky little "ally" with the weaponry necessary to obliterate Indonesia entirely. Dr. Anwar is being very polite.

Miss Janet, opposition to crimes against humanity, mass murder and genocide is hardly an extremist position. Sadly, your country has assumed a position so "extremist" that it has become its own worst enemy, as well as the world's. Thank you for your tireless efforts to incite peace. That is the Ultimate Resistance Movement. :)

Janet said...

America would much prefer to critique the evening wear at the Emmys than foreign policies.

"Oh my did you see that horrible dress Joan Rivers was wearing?"
"Yes! It was ghastly!"


"Oh my did you that horrible news item about the children being slaughtered?"
"What? I don't like that tone! Slaughtered... you want to provide empathy for the terrorists? Don't you know that our fine military is killing and raping as many of those young would be terrorists. It's for your own good. Now shut up about it unless you want others to think you don't like America."

They're raping them there so they don't have to rape them here.

oh wait... what's the propoganda line this week??? They're figting for our freedoms there so they can take them away from us here?

Wait.. I got it.

Don't cut and run because killing for no good reason is so much fun.

One day they will come for our children. The entire world. And they won't bother to ask any of us if we supported Bush or not. They'll ask, if they bother, "what did you do, once you knew?"

If we protest... we're fucked.
If we roll over on the couch and watch American Idol... we're fucked.
If we dare to question authority and seek answers... we're fucked
If we blindly go about our daily lives, trying to make ends meet... we're fucked...

So I say FIGHT THE BASTARDS OF WAR. Stop their killing machines. Stop the madness. Grow some cajones and stand up, speak out and for godsakes don't give up hope and spunk.

(haven't been around due to son's school issues and looking for a job... which I landed a real "sweet" one. Where I actually create stuff, I can be myself and make people smile and still be home to get my kids off to school and be home by 6. :) And it doesn't involve killing anyone or anything.

catnip said...

Congrats on the new job, Janet!

Janet said...

Thanks Catnip! It was a weird week. Busy and then I had to say... "ENOUGH!" and took one day to totally flake and rejoooove. This month is cuuhrazy for CodePink.

But while taking the kids into school today for their first day... I was listening to KBOO (progressive radio) and my hair caught on fire about politics. Wasn't even 7:30 and my mind implodes. LOL there is so much to do. It's over-fucking-whelming.

I didn't get to the Peace Vigil last Wednesday... everyone in this house totally spaced it. So now we all have guilt ROFL. But seriously if I don't get out on the street at least twice a week, I start feeling totally disconnected to the movement.

DuctapeFatwa said...

Miss Janet, I wish you were a communicable virus, spread by airborne droplets.

Janet said...

sexually transmitted would be more fun the airborne droplets :D

I did get the invite... and due to a comment I made in your blog... I'd like to expand on the "analogy" from the refugee woman who wanted to ask American women... if you were raped, would you want the sister of your rapist to clean your wounds? regarding american aid.

Booman said...

you're invited to debate:

DuctapeFatwa said...

There is nothing for me to debate.

By virtue of being a non-American, and the even greater virtue of my blessed uppitiness, I am not required to view America either as an exception in the sense that many of its people do, or that it is the divinely mandated owner of the known universe.

With the exception of the miniscule but immensely precious number of its pro-Reform nationals, it is unquestionably an exception to the most rudimentary levels of decency and civilization attained by the human species, which should be of no small comfort to the exceptionalists. Any exception, I suppose, is better than none.

If Americans receive a psychological benefit of some kind from debating any of that, or debating the sexual preference of Tinky-Winky, then by all means they should do it.

I do regret that the US did not make different choices.

catnip said...

People keep talking about returning to America's glory days. When, exactly, were those times?

What's exceptional about America is that too many people believe it's exceptional.

When you have a US president admit to using torture - something that the CIA has been doing for decades around the world, what else - really - do you need to know about America? And the only thing left to wonder is why the US government hasn't been overthrown by the people it's supposed to represent.

Arcturus said...

an invite to "debate?" what a hoot!
such a generous invite boo, but I'll pass; been there - done that w/ even a da capo here & there.

it would though be cause to celebrate if Bush had managed to "destroy" A.E.; though all indications, incl. the words of the post's author indicate this isn't the case.

Arcturus said...

err, been there - done that,

Arcturus said...

& grrr . . . been there - done that
(preview is my friend, pre- . . .)

Nanette said...

Good heavens... I'd forgotten about most of that stuff in that thread. Or, I think also I missed some of it the first time, as it got so unwieldy (I do remember your being the KGB though, lol).

Looking at it again I realize though that I've been letting BooMan off of too many hooks for his part in perpetrating that and the resulting messes.

DuctapeFatwa said...

catnip that is the most succinct summary I have seen in a while. You are getting really good at this brevity stuff. Maybe you can sneeze on me...

blueneck said...

Howdy ya'll! Call me late to the after-dinner party...but don't call me late to dinner!

First, I'd like to say that I am pleased to have found mo betta meta thru canberra boy's blog. He gave me a nice compliment at BT today and I felt compelled to follow his link. So, thanks again canberra boy!

Second, I'm no operative for anybody, I guaran-damn-tee it.

Third, I appreciate the many compliments and support I found in the comments above for some comments I made at BT.

Fourth, sometimes, when I find myself in certain types of company, I feel it is necessary to soften the blows of impolitic comments by throwing the 'other side' a bone. (i.e. disclaiming to be a fan of one or another commenter in order to emphasize that I am in all ways an independent thinker - or disclaiming having a side on a certain issue when the flame wars start, in order to preserve the impartiality I feel I need to have in order to try to tone things down.)

Fifth, I love everybody!

Sixth, I agree with lots of what has been said in the diary and in the comments above.

Seventh, I'll be back!

blueneck said...

Oh yes, btw, the experience in persuasive communications that I mentioned over at the pond is strictly amateur, well-intentioned, and hopefully, well developed. I said that in order to throw out the concept that I, we, all of us who write these blog diaries and comments, are far better 'trained' at communication than most. I did not specifically intend to hold myself out as an expert above the experts that surround me on these blogs (neither did I disclaim that at the time, though), but instead wished to introduce the concept of differential communication skills and differing techniques. I have heard and read many very eloquent comments expressed in sentence fragments, incorrect spellings, and mistaken word usages. I have seen and heard many eloquent comments expressed in fits of rage and in moments of quiet reflection. My greater point was that it is also the responsibility of a listener or reader to seek the wisdom that can be found in every willful human expression.

Nanette said...

Hey blueneck, good to see you here. Glad canberra boy's blog gave you a pointer. I had no idea he even *had* a blog, so thanks for the pointer to that ;).

If you want to be a rant starter (aka "contributor"), I'm sure someone will be happy to send you an invitation. I think a rant about persuasive communication sounds like an excellent idea ;)

blueneck said...

Thanks nanette, it's nice to see so many good folks that I have been accustomed to interacting with in the past over here. At the moment, I'm sticking to BT for my rare diary posts and occasional trickle of comments, as I don't have lots of time to spend on writing. I'm also very stubborn/loyal/unmovable as concerns BT. I do believe that it is OK to leave a site, but I have learned in life that relationships deserve to be talked out, and that every group of folks will have within it some who do not agree and some downright shit-stirrers. I try hard not to take offence and to continue to engage others with patience and perseverance. I don't believe that in most cases storming off in a huff proves anything, and that sometimes long-term engagements, with repetition ad nauseum, produce the best results in terms of changing minds and hearts. Plus, living here in MS, I'm used to being surrounded by people who do not agree with me, so I kind of feel comfortable at BT even though I have some major differences with many of the posters there.

However, I will be commenting here from time to time. I like the folks here and agree with most everybody here most of the time, judging from the diaries and comments that I have read.

As for future diaries, I do have one that I have been preparing on the topic of communication. No promises as to when I will publish it, but I'm working hard to make it a good one. Stay tuned... :)

DuctapeFatwa said...

Welcome, blueneck! And if I have not apologized sufficiently enough for confusing you with blue something else, here is another large platter of it.

If you will send your email address to I can make blogger send you an email that will let you put your rants here whenever you choose to do so.

Your pro-Reform stand and open advocacy for modernization and advancement for your country is very brave, while I am sure there are a great many people in Mississippi who disagreee with you, to say the least, the history of your state is rich with true stories of great courage, and perhaps it is the spirit of those heroes who have inspired you to such cultivation of conscience in the face of the overwhelming opposition of brutality.

I hope you will grace us with your rant when it is completed.

For my part, I am considering committing one on the intricacies of my new cell phone, the entertainment value of the television shopping channels, and my newest pill, which is called Ambien. The narcotics keep me awake, and the shamans are displeased. They do not understand that the cardio-vascular benefit I receive from the hearty laughter caused by Diamonique Till Dawn far outweighs any slight untoward effects of sleep deprivation. But I do not wish to distress them, so I will take the silly pill and awake in time for my regular Fashion TV viewing schedule tomorrow. I suppose one can only watch so much Diamonique before the nervous system demands to see an ambush makeover.

Madame was speechless with astonished awe the other day when I correctly identified the purse carried by a descendant as a "hobo bag."

I defy anyone to say I lack skill in ferreting out the best of American culture and enjoying it immensely.

blueneck said...


Nice platter, by the way. As for your generous invitation, I respectfully decline at this time. I remain humbly committed to my present location for diary publishing, as time does not generally permit me the luxury of cross-postings and such, and for other reasons outlined in my comments above.

Your paean to the heroes of the history of my geography is both moving and correct. Your identification of me with them, not so good. Though you accurately observe the roots of my moral greenery, my bravery has not yet reached levels worthy of florid praise.

I wish you luck with your new regimen.

It seems as though the "hobo bag" may soon be making a larger comeback than mere fashion sense would dictate.

catnip said...

DTF wrote:

catnip that is the most succinct summary I have seen in a while. You are getting really good at this brevity stuff. Maybe you can sneeze on me...

Ha! I only still have moments of brevity so I don't know that sneezing on you will make much of a difference.

You're taking Ambien? Hide the car keys.

Welcome, blueneck. Thanks for wandering into these here parts. ;)