Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Sex Lives of Linkers

If you're into the non-computer world of A-list bloggers, and gosh, who isn't(!), sneak a peek into the torrid sexual lives they lead. Via, once again, a favourite here at Silentio, Christopher Monks.

Outta da way, hoser

I think Canada can expect an immigration increase pretty soon, now that President Painfully Furrowed Brow has made it clear that he so dearly wants to make sure no homosexuals at all vote for him in 2004. Enflamed by her husband's lupine heterosexuality, and with the chemically-induced melange of eroticism and lust that only Mrs. George W. Bush (aka "Laura") can muster, the mind can but reel at the salacious rimming our Husband-in-Chief is due for tonight.

Oh yeah, to sorta quote the erotic Presidential poetry of Christopher Monks, tap 'dat exclusively female, within-the-confines-of-marriage ass, Mr. President. Tap Tap Tap 'dat ass.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

America is a Religion

I was talking to Pat -- mi amigo y se alía de Aquadoodiloop -- on the phone the other night, lonely boy that I am, now that Katrien has fled back to Belgium for a few weeks. The topics were, as they normally are, too many to name and/or remember. However, one stands out to me, not least of which because it plays a role in my doctoral thesis: mythology, namely that of Nazi German (the topic began with my disquisition on the German Romantic's search for a new modern mythology, the ensuing, but by no means necessary, etiology of National Socialism in Germany, and the parallels, rough though they may be, with that of the American tradition. My line must've gotten crossed with George Monbiot's (it's British Telecom, so you never know), as he was explaining to the Guardian Commentary editor that he just didn't have any ideas for his Tuesday column:

The United States is no longer just a nation. It is now a religion. Its soldiers have entered Iraq to liberate its people not only from their dictator, their oil and their sovereignty, but also from their darkness. As George Bush told his troops on the day he announced victory: "Wherever you go, you carry a message of hope - a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, "come out," and to those in darkness, "be free".'"

So American soldiers are no longer merely terrestrial combatants; they have become missionaries. They are no longer simply killing enemies; they are casting out demons. The people who reconstructed the faces of Uday and Qusay Hussein carelessly forgot to restore the pair of little horns on each brow, but the understanding that these were opponents from a different realm was transmitted nonetheless. Like all those who send missionaries abroad, the high priests of America cannot conceive that the infidels might resist through their own free will; if they refuse to convert, it is the work of the devil, in his current guise as the former dictator of Iraq.

[. . .]

Since the attacks on New York, this notion of America the divine has been extended and refined. In December 2001, Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of that city, delivered his last mayoral speech in St Paul's Chapel, close to the site of the shattered twin towers. "All that matters," he claimed, "is that you embrace America and understand its ideals and what it's all about. Abraham Lincoln used to say that the test of your Americanism was ... how much you believed in America. Because we're like a religion really. A secular religion." The chapel in which he spoke had been consecrated not just by God, but by the fact that George Washington had once prayed there. It was, he said, now "sacred ground to people who feel what America is all about". The United States of America no longer needs to call upon God; it is God, and those who go abroad to spread the light do so in the name of a celestial domain. The flag has become as sacred as the Bible; the name of the nation as holy as the name of God. The presidency is turning into a priesthood.

So those who question George Bush's foreign policy are no longer merely critics; they are blasphemers, or "anti-Americans". Those foreign states which seek to change this policy are wasting their time: you can negotiate with politicians; you cannot negotiate with priests. The US has a divine mission, as Bush suggested in January: "to defend ... the hopes of all mankind", and woe betide those who hope for something other than the American way of life.

The dangers of national divinity scarcely require explanation. Japan went to war in the 1930s convinced, like George Bush, that it possessed a heaven-sent mission to "liberate" Asia and extend the realm of its divine imperium. It would, the fascist theoretician Kita Ikki predicted: "light the darkness of the entire world". Those who seek to drag heaven down to earth are destined only to engineer a hell. (my emphasis)

Monbiot's column is, shall we say, a little inflated and hyperbolic, but there's enough good stuff that it made me want to call Pat and continue our conversation.. Be ready, my friend.

C'mon, Mama, Rummy Needs a New Pair o' Shoes!

Ah... our friends over at the Pentagon's Defense Advance Research Projects Agency [DARPA]. home of course of the much beloved Total Information Awareness (oh, sorry, Mr. Poindexter, Terrorism Information Awareness) System, have cooked up another beaut: the Policy Analysis Market.

The Pentagon is setting up a stock-market style system in which investors would bet on terror attacks, assassinations and other events in the Middle East. Defense officials hope to gain intelligence and useful predictions while investors who guessed right would win profits.

[. . .]

The market would work this way. Investors would buy and sell futures contracts — essentially a series of predictions about what they believe might happen in the Mideast. Holder of a futures contract that came true would collect the proceeds of investors who put money into the market but predicted wrong.

A graphic on the market's Web page showed hypothetical futures contracts in which investors could trade on the likelihood that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be assassinated or Jordanian King Abdullah II would be overthrown.

Although the Web site described the Policy Analysis Market as "a market in the future of the Middle East," the graphic also included the possibility of a North Korea missile attack.

According to its Web site, the Policy Analysis Market would be a joint program of the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, and two private companies: Net Exchange, a market technologies company, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, the business information arm of the publisher of The Economist magazine.

Sure, it makes sense, doesn't it, that our defenders from the inevitable acts of terrorism that we've been told repeatedly will, for the foreseeable future, continue, should make a bit of money off it all. I mean, they're not the type of people who'd manipulate / influence their market to make a quick buck. Nah. Nobody ever cheats the stock market.

Monday, July 28, 2003

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

Discovered a nifty double-blog, of sorts, this evening called Beyond Brilliance, Beyond Stupidity. Very cool concept -- one side of the blog is devoted to positive developments in a variety of 'vaguely related areas' like transporation, urban planning, the environment, amongst others; the other side to their negative developments. With its minimalist concept flowing nicely into a smoothly spartan design, it's a nice, possibly even healthy diversion from the otherwise depressing / enraging array of news / commentary to which I too often link. (Yes, Pat, when I actually link to anything, that is).

Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit popping my Thorazine®

You know, sometimes, we all just need just need a little help to stay sane, don't we. During those times, thank heavens there are prescription drugs and something to wash them down with. Happy Monday to you all! Hope you made it out in one piece.

Sunday, July 27, 2003


Some scribbled thoughts as I sat last night hunched over Mark C. Taylor's odd treatise, Hiding, and Thomas Altizer's revised volume, The New Gospel of Christian Atheism.

To begin in skin,
These layers of skin;
All this skin that I see
Is all that I see,
All the way down.

To begin where I am,
In skin, a beginning without end,
All the way down.

To begin in skin that knows no end,
This end that never comes,
The impatient finitude:
An abandon.

And people say I don't know how to enjoy a Saturday evening.

Monday, July 21, 2003

I Hope I'm Preaching to the Choir By Now

"I don't tailor it [The Morning Fix] in any particular way. This is the only approach, the only style I've ever wanted to write. I knew what I wanted from the beginning -- joyously readable and funny and wry and wicked-smart and very, very different. I suppose I do have a modern, flagrantly non-traditional style, and I take perverse pride in that. I have no desire to be cute, or to merely report facts. The world is full of dry facts that lie on your spiritual plate like a slab of old ham. Very simply, I write in a style I want to read, that turns me on. In short, writing that is (hopefully) wry and sexy and fun and incendiary and thoughtful and winking and open-thighed and highly literate and well-informed and self-deprecating and well-lubricated and happy to buy you a drink. I aim to be a writer first and journalist, well, about 27th, right after idea-monger and trickster and contrarian and satirist and pro-sex advocate and wine enthusiast and dog lover and book fan and clothes junkie and yoga teacher and tattoo advocate and spiritual deviant and did I mention the part about the sex? Boring writing makes my soul curdle."

"It's an evolution. I suppose I aim for one part DeLillo, one part David Foster Wallace, one part old Tom Robbins, one part stream of consciousness, one part Peets mocha, one part post-coital flush, one part orgasmic syntax abuse, one part nipple pierce for the AP style guide. It lives at the intersection of Divine and Ungodly. Where the long snake moan meets the cool intellectual margarita. Wry informed satirical thought-provoking absolutely essential effluvia to make you squirm and blush and laugh and sigh. I hope. I fail all the time. But that's just part of the process." (link)

Surely, by now, you're reading Mark Morford. Right???

Is It Just Me . . .

Is anybody else with Google's new Toolbar beta having problems with Internet Explorer crashing? I've no clue if that's the culprit, but something is definitely wrong.

Editorial Title of the Day

Nestled in the final pages of today's Guardian we find a delightfully titled editorial by one Jeremy Seabrook, 'Crash Course On How to be Poor':

All "cures" for poverty have one thing in common - an obsession with wealth. The real problem in the world is not the poor, but the rich. The opposite of poverty is not wealth, but sufficiency. Poor people want enough for their sustenance. They want to be relieved from insecurity, which threatens them with constant eviction. They want a moment of security, peace and stability to bring up a new generation.

But they can't have it. If people were satisfied with what they have, what would become of a system that depends upon constant growth? How would the myth of infinite neediness be promoted by a market without limits? Even the rich are preoccupied by how much better off everyone else is. When they find it impossible constantly to upgrade their lifestyle, they express a form of dissatisfaction which unites them with the poor in a common project: a universal desire for more wealth.

The real criticism of money measurements of poverty is that they ignore millions living on less than a dollar a day who are virtually self-reliant. The global system is demolishing such aberrations so the whole world may be brought within familiar indices of poverty. In other words, humanity must be taught how to be poor.

This is the poisonous "gift" of globalisation - a system from which security, subsistence and sufficiency are eliminated. Belief systems that have taught restraint, frugality and thrift, philosophies that have counselled a joyful simplicity, must be junked to accommodate this discovery of industrial society: enough can never suffice, and there are no limits to desire.

[. . .]

The crusade against poverty is no such thing. It is a crash course in how to be poor - lessons long assimilated by the well-off, who have learned how to feel dissatisfaction with plenty, the inadequacy of excess.

The poverty with which international institutions are now concerned is an artefact crafted out of abundance. Only when the whole world has been immersed in the global market, baptised in the waters of forgetfulness so that even the memory of self-reliance is erased, can these noble agencies devote themselves to the relief of a poverty that has no remedy since it depends on a wealth without end.

Maybe just because it's an editorial, but Seabrook doesn't offer up too much of an alternative to what he espies in his quasi-Marxist, suspiciously utopian criticism, which one would be forgiven thought came to a thundering close for most everybody else around, say, 1989. Nevertheless, his animus against unchecked capitalism's undefined role in societal construction is warranted and worth thinking about.

By the way, if Seabrook floats your boat, or at least keeps just enough of your head above the inevitable torrent of the globalised commodity, then a little of the 'reformed' George Monbiot may be in order.


This is not something you should read just after watching The Deer Hunter. Then again, it might be the perfect time to do so.

Sunday, July 20, 2003


Oh dear . . . Iraqi Shi'ites finally read the fine print of the rules of American occupation. 'Bring 'em on', indeed.

The More Things Change, the More Things Stay the Same

There are some paragraphs that just need to be read, and some posts that are simply essential. Thanks, Tbogg.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

A Post to Grind the Gears of a Quiet Blog

Once upon a time there was a young man, he with the mad-haired, unobtrusively plain face and anonymously banal wardrobe. Seminary had treated him well, he with the golden valedictorian cord adorning his baccalaureate-speaking neck. Trained in the ways of religion, and liberally funded by those knights of fervent faith who considered him a favorite son of the evangelical Christian fold, he was, one might say, blessed. And yet, he quixotically begged to any who might listen: 'You there, you with the faith that runs as deep as your pockets, you must believe for me. I'm no longer sure I do.' Blessed he may be, he with familial friends and a Pharisaic bank account, this studious young man was very unhappy.

His generation was called, by purple hazed rebels with jobs and sparkle-bright smiles, the apathetic generation, a tag its constituents, they were told, always had time to resist. 'You're all wrong,' this unhappy, blessed man concluded. 'Mine, and so many of theirs, my peers, is the question of sincerity.' To be sincerely hypocritical, this was his aim: to religiously embrace, with tears of praise in his heart and on his lips, a passionate irreligiosity; to pursue, with a mystic's vision and a saint's prayer, the path of theological misunderstanding. His lot, he who wished to live a questionable sincerity, he felt was to pinch from the priestly purse the pauper's penny, and to think of nothing but the happy injustice of it all.

And thus he lived sincerely, consciously oblivious to the consequences of his actions. He said what everybody wished to hear so that he might live in such a way that nobody could believe. His life, in turn, was as unbelievable as his faith; lovely words, a fiction whose covers knew no bounds. The sacred fiction of a sincere young man's holy lie, this will be the death of him.

But in the meantime looking for a flat in Scotland -- a fiction of another kind -- is doing quite a number on him, too. I'm off to see another . . . will report back later tonight.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Blogging Blues

Amazingly enough, my hit count hasn't gone down too much over the past two weeks or so; this, even though the regularity of my posting has been, to say the least, lacking. So, thanks to everybody for still coming around, and apologies for having precious little to reward the trouble! Life is on the verge of slowing down, maybe; plus, there've been a few creative stimuli over the course of the past couple of days to generate some bilious blogging. In other words, regular posting shall resume very very soon.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Here to Entertain!

For a laugh at the expense of everybody's favourite, er, maybe not, teenage wizard, click here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

A Bad Dream, Tell Me It's a Bad Dream

Everybody and their cousin has linked to this, and these days I tend to shy away from things like this because they're just too damn easy, but I can't resist. Isn't this the same commander-in-chief who took cover and ran on 9/11? In the now famous words of one of my email correspondents of old, 'Step up, [you "Bring Them On"-speaking, Secret Service-enjoying, Silverspoon-in-Mouth] Bitch'. E-fucking-gads . . . America can only manage to sink lower if nobody calls him on the carpet for this kind of bravery-by-proxy rhetoric. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go pick a fight so Katrien can finish it for me.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003


A friend of mine just sent me this, in hopes of gamma-bombing (sorry, saw The Hulk the other day) my cynicism. The nice thing about a blog is that it gives me a platform from which to do the same to you, my readerly friends. So, ready for your daily Christian edification? Well then, assume the position. Wait, that's no good. There's bound to be something abut that somewhere on this site, too. Um, er, on your knees! Oh, nevermind . . . just enjoy!

26 Important One-Liners to Think About

1. Give God what's right -- not what's left.

2. Man's way leads to a hopeless end -- God's way leads to an endless hope.

3. A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.

4. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.

5. In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma--but never let him be the period.

6. Don't put a question mark where God puts a period.

7. Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the church for a face-lift.

8. When praying, don't give God instructions -- just report for duty.

9. Don't wait for six strong men to take you to church.

10. We don't change God's message -- His message changes us.

11. The church is prayer-conditioned.

12. When God ordains, He sustains.

13. WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.

14. Plan ahead -- It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.

15. Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory position.

16. Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your Bible.

17. Exercise daily -- walk with the Lord.

18. Never give the devil a ride -- he will always want to drive.

19. Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.

20. Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.

21. He who angers you controls you.

22. Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.

23. Give Satan an inch & he'll be a ruler.

24. Be ye fishers of men -- you catch them & He'll clean them.

25. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

26. Read the Bible -- It will scare the hell out of you.


Oh, if only.