December 28, 2008

Wrong From the Beginning

Like the rest of the world, I'm watching the events in Gaza with dismay. If this proportion of deaths were occurring in the US, the dead on the first day would number 46,000.

First Israel, with help from Egypt, starved the Gazans. Some Gazans responded with unlawful, but largely ineffective homemade weapons, as well as despicable suicide attacks. Now, however, Israel is killing policemen and schoolgirls from the air, and apparently intends to go on doing it (until what?) No end in sight.

These are war crimes. "Strategic bombing" is a war crime. Supplying high-tech weapons, knowing the track record of the Israelis, is also a war crime.

Pro-Zionists will argue that Israel has a right to defend itself. Perhaps, from a short-term perspective.

Zionism, despite the hollow pronouncements of some of its early leaders, could only have meant what it ultimately accomplished--the expulsion or elimination of the indigenous population, based upon a newly-discovered interpretation of the Jewish religion. Unfortunately, however crudely and stupidly led, the indigenous population has refused to acquiesce in its dispossession.

Meanwhile, Zionism has meant the uprooting and destruction of small Jewish communities the world over, the extinction of their languages, and their subjection to the religious dictates of pettifogging Ashkenazic rabbis, whom the secular state has empowered.

It has also created a claque for the most aggressive and mindless U.S. policies.

In short, although I have defended the existence of Israel notwithstanding my rejection of its mythology, I must recognize another truth, "Zionism poisons everything." That proposition is the beginning of wisdom. It is the same idea that the French officer expresses in the film "The Battle of Algiers," if you want to keep this place, implicit in the wish are the tactics we employ.

Whether some form of accommodation is still possible, or whether the best solution is the evacuation of Israel, which has already begun through voluntary emigration, which now exceeds immigration, I do not know.

I do know this: Zionism poisons everything.

December 20, 2008

More "Bah! Humbug!"

If you're with me in despising "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," listen to Fairytale of New York.

This is the version with Katie Melua, not the Kirsty MacColl version. The latter is grittier, but the former's easier to understand.

The people in the song aren't sanctimonious, and are in need of salvation.

December 17, 2008

Honest Abe?

A whingeing pom gives another perspective on Abe Lincoln.

High-level corruption in the Land of Lincoln, and this US Attorney thinks we should be surprised at that -- and Lincoln would be shocked. Oh, sure. As Captain Renault was shocked to find there was gambling going on at Rick's Café.

I am not surprised to see yet more evidence that corruption is endemic in the Land of Lincoln. I'd call it highly appropriate. But then, I've known enough about Lincoln all my life to know that the sobriquet 'Honest Abe' was originally meant as irony. Lincoln was venal and greedy, and long before he was elected president in 1860, the people of Illinois knew it.

Fair use and all that. Read the whole thing.

December 15, 2008

Vile Christmas Music

With a few exceptions ("White Christmas", "Deck the Hall", "The Twelve Days"), I dislike secular Christmas (oops, "holiday") music.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"? Yecch.

I reserve particular odium for "The Little Drummer Boy." Cloyingly sentimental, repetitively oppressive, and this years, seemingly, played everywhere.

Most carols, on the other hand, I like. Grouchy, ain't I?

December 14, 2008

Epoxylips Now?

We hear all kinds of weird and distressing news these days:
  • The world financial structure continues to teeter and disintegrate, while free marketeers shovel out subsidies--but not to any company that actually makes anything.
  • GM, which used to be the pillar of our economy, is teetering on the edge, begging for a direct subsidy, as opposed to the highway program's indirect subsidy. (Remember "Engine Charlie" Wilson, Secretary of Defense, who said "What's good for GM is good for the country"?)
  • Bernard Madoff turns out to have been the biggest crook in world history, to the tune of fifty billion dollars! Most of the booty was swindled from his supposedly money-smart co-religionists.
  • The Governor of Illinois was trying to peddle a Senate appointment, on the phone, while he knew he was under investigation. Well, actually, he's a run-of-the-mill Illinois crook, a piker and a nutcase.
  • The US defense establishment (and even more so, its political masters) is exposed--a report came out on the hollowing-out of the military in spite of increased expenditures, another on the incompetent effort to rebuild Iraq, and a third on Washington's deliberate encouragement of torture.
  • The Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the Whale (the LA Times), files a bankruptcy petition. NBC gives up on drama or comedy in the 10 o'clock hour, and instead goes for five days of Jay Leno. In short, the MSM are in the tank, too.
While this goes on, I'm reading a post-apocalyptic screed-novel, World Made By Hand, which describes a post-nuclear, post-plague world where modern technology fueled by fossil fuels and electricity, has disappeared, and people have to live and make do on a local level. The author seems to like this notion.

Are the end-times here, or has history, pace Francis Fukuyama, simply resumed?

December 5, 2008

Eyesore Central

James Kunstler is an aficionado of apocalypse*. If it wasn't Y2K then, it's "peak oil" now. He's a particular critic of suburbanization, fueled as it is by cheap fuel, which he believes will soon be gone and force us into a less global, more local, and sounder way of life.

That's a kettle of fish for a later supper, however.

Today I wish to celebrate a feature of his blog, the "Eyesore of the Month." Kunstler has pretty good taste (at least he dislikes what I do), and each month he posts a photograph of something tawdry, tacky, or pretentious. He has a particular dislike for the Euro-pretentious architect Daniel Liebeskind, whose monkey I decline to touch, no matter how Euro-hip he is.

The above picture is just one of many.

*The use of "apocalypse" here to mean the end of civilization is really a misnomer, or at least a case of metonymy. Apocalypsis means "revelation," not "end times" or anything like it. It happens that St. John's revelation referred, among other things, to the end times, and so the word has acquired an additional meaning.

December 3, 2008

Grave of Fireflies

Apparently I never posted about the Japanese animated film, Grave of Fireflies, by the great Miyazaki.

I'll make it short. It's a tragic film about the aftermath of American bombing of Japan in WWII, but it's also about the great love of a brother for his sister.

Heartbreaking but beautiful.