Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Heaven and Hell

Two writers died this month, both from the British Isles, both in their middle-60s. One was a pig, a snitch, a backstabber, a liar, an ass-kisser of the powerful, a Neo-Conman regularly gibbering for more and more worldwide murder. This pig did his gibbering at Vanity Fair, at Slate.com, on MSNBC and CNN, on National Public Radio. Of course, you know this one's name: Hitchens.

The other was one of the best literary and movie critics of his post-literate time, one of the best novelists and short story writers, as well: the great Gilbert Adair.

Was Adair's death even mentioned in the New York Times or on the oh-so-precious NPR? Was his value debated at CounterPunch or Salon.com or at The Nation? Was he hosanna-ed in The New Yorker, at Harper's Magazine or The Atlantic Monthly?

Since Adair never met an elitist he didn't hate or mistrust, of course not.

His work was beautiful and kind and funny and human. Surfing the Zeitgeist is a fine place to start.

From its preface:
Let's put it bluntly. The health, and hence the future, of our culture is in the hands of hacks -- hacks of whom it may be said that, when they die, it will be as though, professionally, they never lived, as though their opinions were never expressed, as though the millions of words, the literally millions of words, which they committed to print during their lifetimes, failed to make the slightest impact on either their own posterity or on that of the medium to which their careers were dedicated. Given the stratification of our society, we have no choice but to entrust the management of its culture industry to these hacks, as we have no choice but to entrust our social and economic welfare to politicians. That, however, is no reason why we should regard the former as any more intelligent, any less obtuse, than most of us do the latter.
As December showed, this man full of faith and trust and heart had, of course, things backward.

Gilbert Adair, R.I.P.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry

Purple Crepe

No Phil Jackson. No Jackson staff. Jimmy Buss instead of Jerry. An already-breaking-down (and possibly divorce-court distracted) Kobe Bryant in his 16th season (most of those 100-game seasons). Lamar Odom traded by Jimbo to Dallas for nothing besides Mark Cuban's dirty shorts and some snapshots of Dealey Plaza. First four games without center Andrew Bynum -- with probably many more of those to come. An on-the-trade-block and often nervous Pau Gasol. And who exactly is the best 4th guy on the team? McRoberts? Metta World Peace? Barnes, Blake, Murphy, Fisher, Walton? Perhaps Andrew Goudelak or Jason Kapono? The slowest club in the league. A compressed season for one of the NBA's oldest teams. The media glamour passed over to their Staples roommate, the Clippers. And what reason is there to trust new head coach Mike Brown? What has he ever done with a veteran team used to being in the Finals, as player or coach?

I don't think we've discussed enough just what NBA Commissioner David Stern did to this franchise with his backalley reversal of the Chris Paul trade (to the Houston Rockets as well). Not just for this season -- a year already compromised by the lockout and by Stern's skulduggery -- but for the next five years (or longer) as well. Two of the three franchise players on the club are on the way down. The other (Bynum) has shown little evidence of long-term health or drive or offense-expansion. Where is the future?

I know we're all asking Santa for Dwight Howard. But why would Howard now come here? The glamour has shifted to the red-and-blue unis. Jackson is gone. The team has nothing beyond the big three (and in a trade that three would shrink to two or one.) Would he come here to play with a mid-30s Kobe Bryant? If not that, why then? (And is that a reason?) There is NO CHANCE Howard would agree to a trade during the 2011-12 season when he'd have to play with no PG, no SF, and no bench (and a first year Laker coach). So perhaps a free-agent signing in July (if Magic GM Otis Smith is dumb enough to wait)? Again, why to L.A. and not Chicago or Dallas or Houston or even the Brooklyn Nets? All those teams have much better parts than the Lakers will have going down the road.

David Stern has draped crepe over this paper-thin franchise. Prediction: 33-33, 8th seed, 1st round and out. (And worse to come in future seasons.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mass Murder, My Sweet

Chris Floyd:
This is the reality of what actually happened in Iraq: aggression, slaughter, atrocity, ruin. It is the only reality; there is no other. And it was done deliberately, knowingly, willingly. Indeed, the bipartisan American power structure spent more than $1 trillion to make it happen. It is a record of unspeakable savagery, an abomination, an outpouring of the most profound and filthy moral evil.

Line up the bodies of the children, the thousands of children --  the infants, the toddlers, the schoolkids -- whose bodies were torn to pieces, burned alive or riddled with bullets during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Line them up in the desert sand, walk past them, mile after mile, all those twisted corpses, those scraps of torn flesh and seeping viscera, those blank faces, those staring eyes fixed forever on nothingness.

This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; there is no other reality.

These children -- these thousands of children -- are dead, and will always be dead, as a direct result of the unprovoked act of military aggression launched and sustained by the American power structure. Killing these children, creating and maintaining the conditions that led to the slaughter of these children, was precisely what the armed forces of the United States were doing in Iraq. Without the invasion, without the occupation, without the 1.5 million members of the American volunteer army who surrendered their moral agency to "just follow orders" and carry out their leaders' agenda of aggression, those children would not have died -- would not have been torn, eviscerated, shot, burned and destroyed.

This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; you cannot make it otherwise. It has already happened; it always will have happened. You cannot undo it.

But you can, of course, ignore it. This is the path chosen by the overwhelming majority of Americans, and by the entirety of the bipartisan elite. This involves a pathological degree of disassociation from reality. What is plainly there -- the evil, the depravity, the guilt -- cannot be accepted, and so it is converted into its opposite: goodness, triumph, righteousness. The moral structures of the psyche are eaten away by this malignant dynamic, as are the mind's powers of perception and judgment. Thus depravity and evil come to seem more and more normal; it becomes more and more difficult to focus on what is really in front of you, to perceive, judge and care about the actual consequences of what you've done or what is being done in your name. Unmoored from reality, you become lost in a savage nihilism that cloaks its unsifted rage and fear and chaos in the most threadbare pieties. And thus you drift deeper and deeper into evil and meaninglessness, singing hosannas to yourself as you go.
 The rest.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Burn, Baby, Burn

An early Christmas gift. Christopher Hitchens is dead, joining the over 1,000,000 Iraqis (and Afghans, Pakistanis, Serbians, Somalis, and Libyans) he pimped so hard to murder -- 'though he'll be in a much warmer place, the sniffy little atheist.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Payback

During the months of October and November, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss -- winner of 10 NBA titles over three different eras -- became the most pro-player (or, least anti-player) force on the owners' side. Going around commissioner David Stern and his punk handmaiden Adam Silver, and around the more extreme owners led by Airhead Jordan, Buss put together the coalition which approved the lockout-ending deal, allowing us to have a 2011-12 season.

Over the past week:

1. The Lakers finalized a three-team deal for all-star PG Chris Paul. A deal which gave back to Paul's current team (the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets) the reigning Sixth-Man-of-the-Year Lamar Odom, 18 ppg/10 rpg big man Luis Scola, 24 ppg guard Kevin Martin, and premier bench guy Goran Dragic. In a move unprecedented in NBA history, Stern & Silver stepped in to nix it.

2. Over the weekend, the Lakers attempted to rework the deal, ADDING future draft picks and a boatload of $$$$. Stern again said no.

3. Also over the weekend, Orlando mega-star Dwight Howard -- the player assumed by all to be the anchor of the next Lakers' championship era -- suddenly announced he prefered to play for gangster capitalist (and future fascist President of Russia) Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the New Jersey Nets.

4. And over the weekend, the Lakers were forced to trade the now very sullen and unhappy Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks (NBA champs and LA's leading Western Conference competitor) for some snapshots of Dealey Plaza and Mark Cuban's dirty shorts.

5. This morning, the Orlando Magic announced they were taking Dwight Howard off the trade market.

6. And tonight, Chris Paul was sent to the Los Angeles CLIPPERS, the Lakers' inner-city rival and co-residents of the Staples Center, for less value than was offered to the Hornets by the Lakers.

Now watch the nerd-pack in the sports media turn on a dime and tell us what an honorable genius David Stern actually is. From the White House to the clubhouse, in USA 2011 there is no escaping the unspeakable:
"It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said; the void that gets into the language of public and official declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss." -- Thomas Merton

Friday, December 9, 2011

Paul


This summer and fall, it was both laughable and infuriating to see NBA commissioner David Stern take it between the cheeks every lockout day from the vampire owners (led by Greatest and Dumbest Dickhead of All Time, Michael Jordan); and lying every day to the sports media about everything. And now Stern allows this blatant hijacking of a three-team, league-changing, completely above-board trade!

However, as someone who's always bled Purple-and-Gold: what were the Lakers thinking here? Blowing most of your trade value on a point guard who's as fragile as he is magnificent? (With L.A. having one of the most brutal 66-game schedules in the shortened season.) Without Paul signing an extension? And without receiving in return the underrated Emeka Okafor as replacement big man for Gasol? Most important, any future deal for the incomparable (and indestructible) Dwight Howard becomes impossible without Odom or Gasol available to send along with the benumbed Andrew Bynum.

You did it for your usual slimy reasons, David -- but thank you! (Even though Gasol and Odom -- notoriously moody players under the best of circumstances -- have already started their funks.)

Back to the plantation for NBA darkies. Or in the words of great Pacers forward Danny Granger:
"Due to the sabotaging of the LA/NO trade by David Stern and following in the footsteps of my athlete brethern Metta World Peace and Chad Ochocinco, I'm changing my last name to 'Stern's Bitch', effective immediately."

Plantation Update: the reigning Sixth Man of the Year for draft "considerations"!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seventh Heaven

76 years after the birth of Mr. Chomsky, and 63 years after the Japanese retaliation at Pearl Harbor for the 1937-41 U.S./Brit economic terror war against it (explained here by Mr. Chomsky), Saya-chan was born!

Happy 7th birthday! Tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Professor!

Celebrating 83 years today, without a moment's slow down. . .

Saturday, December 3, 2011

From Allen to Fallon


Is there a more accurate embodiment of the "comedy" aspects of our smirking prick HiDefecation culture than the flyspeck known as Jimmy Fallon? Not only does Fallon's material seem like something shat out by a bunch of luded dimwits (and lapped up by his equally luded, I guess, live audience), but Fallon's delivery and timing make the dead seem creative. And such Coolness! (This from a pimp for the crime combine known as Capital One Bank.) How the heck did this guy get his own late-night talk show? How the heck did serial-murderer Barack Obama get to be President? Both by being psychopathically ambitious Nowhere Men, I guess. . .



Could this, and the four-eyed tubby sidekick, be parody?



What makes Fallon even more repulsive is that he and his gimmick occupy the same midtown NBC studio space once occupied by the greatest late-night host of all time (and pretty much forgotten), Steve Allen.



Most of the great stuff from 50s and early-60s television has been remastered and Blu-rayed. Not Allen's. At the moment, nothing of Steve Allen exists on DVD/Blu-ray or is planned for release, which must make pygmies such as Jimmy Fallon feel real safe.

Legend has it that one night in the late-1950s, Allen passed out lemons to all members of the studio audience, then led his audience outside to launch an attack on a nearby fruit stand, run by a guy who'd been mean to Allen earlier that week -- an attack which today would give birth to 10,000 lawsuits and have Allen and his audience immediately arrested as a terrorist organization.

Steve Allen!