I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

little, yappy dogs

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


While standing waiting for the bus this morning, I thought of a perfect analogy for my sense of shame concerning a certain subject.

Imagine if you made a foolish mistake, such as putting your underwear on over your pants whilst getting dressed this morning. Never mind how you manged to do this. Let's add to it something further, perhaps, you put on a stained shirt with 'moron' written on it. Again, let's just say for a minute that you weren't aware you'd done this.

And somehow you went out for the day, and spent the day thus adorned, and it was not until you came home and saw youself on the news you realized the mistake you'd made, and how dumb you'd looked all day, and how amazing it was that you hadn't noticed.

You'd probably be kind kind of ashamed with yourself for such a lapse.

But what if you did it the next day, too?

What if the exact same thing happened the next day?

You'd probably start to pay attention, especially because every day when you got home it was there on the news for you to see: You are a dumbass.

...now, what would you say if eight years passed, and for those eight years you made those same mistakes every day, and were on the television every day, and you had still failed to do anything to correct them?

You'd have to either conclude that you really were a moron, or that your daily mistakes were actually on purpose.

And that is what I have to conclude about my fellow MMerrikkkans.

We are either morons, or we mean for our president and his little crew of jack booted thugs to be trashing our country in every sense of the word. Trashing our constitution. Trashing our environment. Trashing our reputation in the world. Trashing our neighbors in the world. Trashing our people by sending them off to 'fight' an unwinnable quagmire in the name of bringing 'democracy' to the rest of the world while it diminishes here. Trashing the memory of those lost on September 11th, 2001. Trashing the efforts of millions of citizens across hundreds of years to make this the one place in the world that truly was one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I'm sorry you are morons, my fellow citizens. I know that higher education is evil and turns you into a communist, and you have every right to fear and loathe the concept of critical thought, as it would assuredly destroy your little reality.

And I am ashamed for what my country has become because of your stupidity and inaction. There is no longer any unexplored land to go to and re-make the paradise that was the USA. All the world is booked up with land that belongs to megacorporations, is occupied by their slave labor- or it's inhospitable, uninhablitable land. You're stuck here with me and I with you.

There will be no great relish in the "I told you so" coming down the pike on this one.

History does not make much of a big deal about the German citizens who did nothing to stop the Nazis- those regular folk who were just trying to keep living, hoping the bad thing would just go away eventually. Like them, we're realizing it's not going away on its own any time soon. I hope history may be so kind to me someday, as I am in the same shoes those regular folk were, and likely doomed to follow in their footsteps. I don't want to have to be the inactive 'useless' citizen who watched as his country was raped, but I don't see a lot of option when I am stuck with all these morons.

The most wicked evil ever put upon the world by a first world power since the Nazis had their time is currently emanating from those in charge of the government of the United States of America.

Without a people united firmly against this, it will not stop- and it doesn't seem likely 'the people' will ever get a clue.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Poor Disillusioned Monkey

We're in a permanent pickle, us people.

On the one hand, we want to enjoy existing. We want to eat good food, and rest well, and sing and laugh and get foot rubs and take hot showers... and the list of enjoyable things just goes on and on.

On the other, we can think. So it's not just a long day of these good things and no real regret for bashing someone's face in, stealing their food and wife, etc.

And then there's this third hand.

The third hand is that the vehicle delivering this 'thinking' is the same fallible pleasure-seeking entity which procrasitantes, convinently forgets, and lies to itself.

That is, the thinking part, even when it is being exceedingly clever, is not resting upon the most firm foundation.

These two irreconcilable opposites- our thinking side and our animal side- are the basis of our awareness. Our awareness defines our reality. Reality exists, for us, to the extent that our thinking animal selves are able to define it and recognize it.

And that's fantastically annoying, because if we can think, we can recognize this lapse.

And of all things, recognizing this lapse whilst trying to think through a difficult issue, one which requires your full attention, a notepad, and several hours thought... well, it can make you want to just set that all down and go watch cable television.

Another issue which seems to go right along with this- historically, the track record of the humans does not show much promise. We have repeated ourselves for millennia. Regardless of our technological standards, we are still one major natural disaster from being in utter chaos, and shortly after that, from living no different than the median human ever has.

So, is it that we just need the right path to follow? Is it possible that someone could show up and lead us all away from the same old mistakes? Make the world the best it could possibly be with us still in it?

Or is it that the way we always have been is the highest possible level we are capable of, and straying from that path with the hopes of advancement is what has caused so much suffering and trouble all along?

Altruism. A trait very few living things are capable of.

Lying, a behavior uniquely human.

If people were more altruistic, the world would be a better place.

But being altruistic takes work.

And we're ever so inclined to work as little as possible.


A few bad apples would ruin that situation, and it would be a very short time before altruism dried up and people were made to fend for themselves- much like now.

As with most things, it is our base animal motivators which get us in the most trouble, and which also are condemned, by and large, by religion and society.

Most of us already know, we are our own worst enemy.

It's only when we are ALL threatened that we all unite, it's only when we are fearful that we can be kept in line. This explains religion fairly well.

It's funny, though.

The fruit of the tree of knowledge is what supposedly got us all in trouble, and what a perfect example we have to support it. The more you know, the heavier your burden is in life. It's no wonder that with age we grow bent and gnarled. The weight of the information in our heads pulls us back to the ground eventually more surely than gravity ever could.

I think I see now how people can age and gradually make peace with the world and slip off into that great unknown without howling in anger as it happens.

There are no objective answers to this pickle, and there never will be.

That won't stop us fretting over it, as if wanting it to be might work, kind of like when you really wanted it to snow as a child.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cafeteria Food

I once worked at the coffee cart at my college. This had me going back and forth through the cafeteria to get things from the back, and of course, there was the benefit of cheap/free lunchroom food.

On noticing the consistently bland and lame food served by the cafeteria and also the capability of the kitchen staff, I asked one of the cooks why the food was always so bland and lame.

He told me that despite the capability of the kitchen, the food had to be dumbed down to meet the needs a mythical, median cafeteria patron.

That is to say, the food couldn't be really good, because that would lessen the number of people that could appreciate it. People who normally would have been ok with their dinner because it was at least sufferable in their boxed-macaroni-and-cheese-world would buy and then be dissatisfied with the overly healthful and non-processed flavor they had received, and thus not be able to eat in the college cafeteria.

This brings to mind a similar story. A very good friend of mine once worked in a group home for mentally retarded adults. The premise of the job was that you went there and worked 3 days straight, sleeping there and everything, and you were paid for a full 40 hour week. Part of the job was feeding the 'clients', which often involved microwaving a hot dog or opening a pudding cup, as the extent of their palate was such items (except for that one guy with pika).

This friend would prepare the food for the 'clients' and then go on to cook for himself, and often create exquisite meals. He has honed his cooking skills to the point he is the best cook out of any of my friends, hands down.

So here we have two sides of the same coin.

On one side, we all suffer because of people who have bad taste. The people who didn't like that fancy cafeteria food could be the ones who were made to suffer, while the rest of us could go to the cafeteria and eat food that was just a little bit better, that seems fair to me.

The other side of the coin is that in some cases we would have less great cooks if there were not a plethora of dingdongs in the world. Can that be?

So, yes, I am being silly.

But in any case, I turn now to the subject of framing.

Framing essentially refers to taking your argument and tuning it so that if an idiot listens in, they will choose your side over the one they already like.

For example, given:

An ancient religious belief enforced by peers, elders and family

which disagrees with a modern scientific belief,

we now have the option of dumbing down and or lying about the science in order to make it more agreeable to someone who is unwilling or unable to let go of their belief in myth.

If you will, we have the option to sell science in the same drink-the-kool-aid fashion that religion is sold in. We can lie and control you, and essentially supplant one bad leader with another.

Framing, as far as I can tell, is the argument that in order to assure victory in any sense, we must pander to the stupid.

In politics, this is certainly true, as those willing to pretend to be upright and religious (the republicans) can control the ignorant, stupid, and irrational- and as they will always outnumber the brilliantly smart in any population, controlling their vote makes the country yours to waste ignorantly, no matter what the people who actually know better say.

In science, however, this kind of control concept goes beyond the 'framework' that most scientists would prefer to operate in. They want to find the data, interpret the data, and give it to the world for all to benefit from- controlling how the world benefits from it is not on their to-do list- unless they work for Monsanto or something.