Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iron Man, Jeremiah Wright and South Korean Freaks with Harvard Fetishes

It's been a while, so here's some Inanities catch-up:













1.) I am completely hyped for "Iron Man." Like total DragonCon-nerd kind of excitement. I'm listening to Audioslave's "Cochise" and Sabbath's "Iron Man" all the time because they're in the trailer. Recently I picked up some "Iron Man" comics, just to see what was up with Tony Stark these days in the Marvel Universe (turns out he's now the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Fellow nerds will understand immediately the implications of that statement.) All this hype and anticipation is, of course, entirely manufactured by Marvel Comics (who financed the movie all by theyselves), and a week after it's out I'll have forgotten all about Tony Stark and will be looking ahead to the cinematic exploits of Banner, Jones and Wayne later in the hot months, but until Friday, "Iron Man" is looking to be a very big deal. (Also, Aintitcool's Harry Knowles and Moriarty both raved about the movie after they saw an early screening. Things are looking up for this thing not to suck.)

2.) Reverend Wright is bringing me way down. His very public, very unapologetic, very impolitic appearance yesterday at the National Press Club was all about him, I think, no matter what he says he was doing with regards to defending "the black church." Listening to snippets of his press conference on NPR on the drive home yesterday, I could hear how much fun he was having up behind the lectern fielding questions. He backed down from nothing, and only helped Obama once when he confirmed Obama's claim that Obama had not been present for Wright's most incendiary sermons. But besides that, Wright was busy plunging a chef's knife into Obama's side over and over again, defending his 9/11 comments and reaffirming his belief that the US government invented AIDS to wipe out the black race.

Mostly what Wright did yesterday was deepen the suspicion that many working-class white voters already have (a group Obama's apparently had trouble connecting with) that despite Obama's inclusive, hopeful rhetoric, Obama is an African-American of the Sharpton/Jackson/Wright mold, an angry black activist in other words, and if president, would not have their interests at heart, would in fact be working against their interests. That is, of course, a myth, but Wright helped yesterday to perpetuate it, and from a cursory viewing of all of this one can reasonably assume Wright may be attempting to sabotage Obama's bid for the White House. I can't even begin to understand why Wright would do that, but the evidence is plain. Is Obama going to be able to get out from under this guy?

3.) Who but freaks get into Harvard anymore? I read this article from the Times the other day about elite South Korean prep schools that focus like laser beams on getting their students into America's Ivy League schools. Fifteen-hour school days. Parents who scold their kids when they come home with a 98 on a test. Sixty-seven of your classmates ace the math section of the SAT. Here's a day in the life of a student at an elite S. Korean prep school:

"She rises at 6 a.m. and heads for her school bus at 6:50. Arriving at Daewon, she grabs a broom to help classmates clean her classroom. Between 8 and noon, she hears Korean instructors teach supply and demand in economics, Korean soils in geography and classical poets in Korean literature.

At lunch she joins other raucous students, all, like her, wearing blue blazers, in a chow line serving beans and rice, fried dumpling and pickled turnip, which she eats with girlfriends. Boys, who sit elsewhere, wolf their food and race to a dirt lot for a 10-minute pickup soccer game before afternoon classes.

Kim Hyun-kyung joins other girls at a hallway sink to brush her teeth before reporting to French literature, French culture and English grammar classes, taught by Korean instructors. At 3:20, her English language classes begin....

...Evening study hall begins at 7:45. She piles up textbooks on an adjoining desk, where they glare at her like a to-do list. Classmates sling backpacks over seats, prop a window open and start cramming. Three hours later, the floor is littered with empty juice cartons and water bottles. One girl has nodded out, head on desk. At 10:50 a tone sounds, and Ms. Kim heads for a bus that will wend its way through Seoul’s towering high-rise canyons to her home, south of the Han River.

“I feel proud that I’ve endured another day,” she said."


I'm not sure this is a snapshot of a future America where everyone is working in the service-industry because absolutely everything else has been outsourced to frighteningly-driven kids like this, but it may be a glimpse into how much work we may soon have to ask our kids to do just to stay competitive with the other 6.3 billion people in the world. And all that work won't be to stay ahead of the world and improve our quality of life, all that work will be just to keep our heads above water.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://newleftreview.org/A2367

I suggest you read this article and then tell me if you don't think Wright should be justified in his pillaging of the US government.

Moreover, read this --

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstatv.htm#African

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm#America

Obama is a hypocrit for distancing himself from Wright and White Americans are naive to think just because they voted for the civil right act - all racism has been eradicated.

I'm glad Wright did it as it exposed who Obama truly is - ironically their affiliation actually had me warm up a bit to him (as being more than an Uncle Tom puppet for Empire). Oh, how Whites forget our own history and how Martin Luther King's greatest speech was against the Vietnam War (something that Rev. Wright follows to the T) -

Listen to it here --

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b80Bsw0UG-U

Possibly the reason he was assasinated.

And now Obama is "distancing himself" from his very roots - how fitting.

Just another dupe who ain't gonna change a damn thing.

Keep dreaming for a messiah to help us.

I'll depend on people to one day wake up in solidarity to beat this oppressive system.

PAPA

Anonymous said...

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=10139

More! More! More!

Please - I am ready for someone to debate me on these grounds!

US Gov't rationalization for their unfortunate tampering of other peoples and lands.

1) We did it to stop the barbarians (Africans, American Indians, the white poor).

2) We did it to stop the spread of communism.

3) We did it to stop the spread of Islamism.

Subtext: We did it to keep making money for our friends...

- PAPA

blankfist said...

And then read this: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0398055/

More! More! More!

First, let me say it is great to see you're not being lazy anymore. Did it kill you to finally post something here on your otherwise dead blog? I didn't think so, chief. Here's my response to your blog: 1) Yes, Iron Man looks great. One of these huge summer blockbusters has to be a complete disappointment, and I have a feeling it won't be this one. Anyone want to take bets on which summer blockbuster will be terriblé?

2. I told you already. Clinton is our next president.

3. It looks like we may be in trouble. My advice is to not have kids anymore. Why go through the headache? When I'm 75, I won't qualify for Medicare/Medicaid, there will be no money left in social security, and that million dollars I finally saved up thanks to my well planned 401k will only last six years of my retirement.

JudgeHolden said...

Paul, did you see the Daily Show Monday night? In these appearances Wright's been making, he's made a spectacle of himself -- I wasn't aware of how awful his appearances have been when I wrote this post, otherwise I would have been much harsher in my criticism of the guy. Apart from not caring in the slightest what he was doing to Obama's candidacy, Wright reiterated and defended all of his most controversial claims, and then proceeded into stand-up. He did bad impressions of JFK, LBJ and white people in general. He seemed intent on not being taken seriously. Leaving aside for a moment the truth or untruth of what he says, the Old Left must have a leader or messenger sitting around somewhere who can make the case of the Old Left. Someone charismatic and persuasive enough to get past the MSM filters and speak directly the the American people to tell them that Obama's a sellout and that Uncle Sam made AIDS to kill black people and all that stuff Wright preaches. Because Wright isn't that guy. They need to get someone else.

If Wright had an ounce of self-awareness, he'd be embarrassed of what he's been doing this week. Getting the limelight like that, getting everyone to pay attention to you, and then using that opportunity to do bad comedy for his own parishioners he had bussed in. What I saw looked like minstrelsy. Embarrassing. Why can't people who espouse the idelology of the Old Left ever be sober and serious, much less polished? Why do they have to look and act so much like crackpots? Why do they always start off admirably, but then, over time, decide to put their own interests ahead of literally everyone else's? Nader's a good example. Cynthia McKinney's a better one.

And if there is no one more eloquent than Wright on the subject of black sell-outs, government-created AIDS and how funny it is when white people clap, then there must at least be some cagier fellows than Wright working in the background of the Old Left who know that to elect the first black Democratic President, and to elect he or she in the first half of the 21st century, you don't go out into the world of the straights and make a spectacle of one's self and intentionally scare all the white folk. But Wright did. Wright is not cagey and not terribly eloquent. He's angry and self-involved and having a black president would take away too much of his power. I really don't think his recent behavior is defensible.

Anonymous said...

{My answers are in quotation marks below your statements - I apologize up front for this long e-mail}

Paul, did you see the Daily Show Monday night?

"Haven't - mostly staying away from all TV."

In these appearances Wright's been making, he's made a spectacle of himself -- I wasn't aware of how awful his appearances have been when I wrote this post, otherwise I would have been much harsher in my criticism of the guy. Apart from not caring in the slightest what he was doing to Obama's candidacy,

"Do we know for a fact that he supports or endorses him? Maybe Obama has changed his more left leaning positions in order to obtain the nomination and Wright is calling him out on it. Furthermore, Wright doesn’t owe Obama anything."

Wright reiterated and defended all of his most controversial claims, and then proceeded into stand-up. He did bad impressions of JFK, LBJ and white people in general. He seemed intent on not being taken seriously. Leaving aside for a moment the truth or untruth of what he says, the Old Left

"Old Left is pre 60’s dude. Your talking Leninists/Bolsheviks and followers of Rosa Luxembourg. Post 68 or so you have THE NEW LEFT. The old left has no relevance because it degenerated into Stalinism and the New Left has lost relevance due to its falling into identity politics, unionism/reformism, and its apologist acceptance of Pol Pot and Mao at the expense of the greater cause for an internationalist revolution against wage exploitation and capitalism. Furthermore, the New Left has wanted “inclusion” into the capitalist pie – while the true revolutionaries want an entirely new social relation."

must have a leader or messenger sitting around somewhere who can make the case of the Old Left.

"The true left has no leader as really there is no more LEFT. There are now different shades of capitalists and revolutionaries. Revolutionaries believe in a classless society, delegate democracy, workers councils, etc all of which never materialized. The Old Left cadre were very authoritarian party apparatchiks who adored Adam Smith and certain aspects of Capitalism (albeit run by the state)."

Someone charismatic and persuasive enough to get past the MSM filters and speak directly the American people to tell them that Obama's a sellout and that Uncle Sam made AIDS to kill black people and all that stuff Wright preaches. Because Wright isn't that guy. They need to get someone else.

"Why? They are self-appointed people (who don’t represent any movement but their own self-serving one) as they are immersed in the con that is representational politics (50% of Americans who don't vote comprise of the working classes). Plus, many of these African American leaders who speak out against “whitey” have a very keen, connected part of their history (from slavery to prison). They are aware of the historical terrorism that our government has perpetrated against them (Gary Webb – wrote about the introduction of CRACK COCAINE by FBI/DEA agents into inner cities to illegally fund CONTRAS in Nicaragua). Yes, granted within this group you have hypocrites, demagogues, Elmer Gantry types – but truly think about it seriously - you have a people with no real history outside of being an object for trade. This adds to their radicalism and innate distrust of our government and would you blame them? From there you had the emergence of Christian radicals (MLK, Jess Jackson, Wright), Nation of Islam (Malcom X) and the Black Panthers (Huey Newton, Bobby Seale/Socialist) – each in its own way spied upon, undermined and destroyed by our government security agencies. Read your history. The US Gov't historically has done all that it could do to keep African-Americans as precarious labor (cheap, mobile labor) in order to keep industry profits high. Each time African-Americans attempted to become self-sustainable - they were met with ferocious resistence by the Government.

Check this out:

During the oil boom of the 1910s, the area of northeast Oklahoma flourished -— including the Greenwood neighborhood, which came to be known as “the Negro Wall Street” (now commonly referred to as “the Black Wall Street”). The area was home to several prominent black businessmen and families, many of them multimillionaires.

Due to the success of the Greenwood district, many whites in the Tulsa area became resentful and on June 1, 1921, after a series of race riots, “Black Wall Street” was bombed and burned to the ground.

In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving black business district lay in ruins. Among these were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen private airplanes and even a bus system. As many as 3,000people were killed, and the property damage totaled $1.5 million. Despite the devastation, the community mobilized its resources and rebuilt the Greenwood area within the next five years, but the town never fully recovered.

If you are African-American (and I don’t care if you are a conservative like Alan Keyes) and you have half a brain – then you don’t forget this. People like Wright are just exposing the dirty truths of our country and most people in this country run away – screaming. Who gives a shit if he isn’t consumable or entertaining in his approach? Do we expect this from all of our political representatives? To be a projection of the spectacle? Do African Americans always have to "entertain" white people?"

If Wright had an ounce of self-awareness, he'd be embarrassed of what he's been doing this week. Getting the limelight like that, getting everyone to pay attention to you, and then using that opportunity to do bad comedy for his own parishioners he had bussed in. What I saw looked like minstrelsy. Embarrassing. Why can't people who espouse the ideology of the Old Left ever be sober and serious, much less polished?

"They are polished – many of the post-leftists are either in fields such as cultural studies, filmmakers, writers, sociologists, ethnography, anthropology, etc..Not necessarily politics."

Why do they have to look and act so much like crackpots?

"Because most “mainstream” patriotic imbeciles who make up the media GIVE NO AIR TIME to these people AT ALL. So, when you’re not listened to or given much attention – you find innovative, alternative ways to attract it, get your message across – like pieing Thomas Friedman in the face, worker sabotage, strikes, peace marches, street theatre, property damage, making scandalous art, etc.. Ways to keep an eye on power."

Why do they always start off admirably, but then, over time, decide to put their own interests ahead of literally everyone else's? Nader's a good example. Cynthia McKinney's a better one.

"Because they make the mistake thinking that they alone can work within the system to reform it. Our system – capitalist – is not capable of true reform. That is why Obama, if he wins – will probably not do a damn thing to improve anything (look at Mayor Antonio Villaragosa of Los Angeles as he was far to the left of Obama - he has done nothing), any more than Clinton did – who actually undermined the workers of this country."

And if there is no one more eloquent than Wright on the subject of black sell-outs, government-created AIDS and how funny it is when white people clap, then there must at least be some cagier fellows than Wright working in the background of the Old Left who know that to elect the first black Democratic President, and to elect he or she in the first half of the 21st century, you don't go out into the world of the straights and make a spectacle of one's self and intentionally scare all the white folk.

"The debate should be reframed as –why don’t African-Americans who understand their history continue to defy and delay the inevitable integration into “white homogenous capitalist society”? That's what is really haunting the "system" and the people who run it. Multi-culturalism was an abysmal failure so now they are finding ways to brand this centrist type nuetral character like Obama who will make us forget our history for some "promise land". In reality - he is a tool used by the elite to perpetuate the colonization of the world into one nice manicured lawn of easy, effortless, surveilled exchange. Well, they have their hands full as indigenous people will never give up on their own spiritual beliefs and customs even if it doesn’t gel with the homogenous ruling class societies aspirtations. For example: Why is the ETA still fighting for their own country within Spain? Why are the Zapatistas fighting for internal autonomy from the Mexican state which continues to exploit and neglect the Chiapas region? Why do Islamic terrorists still fight us in the Middle East?

Because they DON’T believe in one parking garage of a world, united by $$$ and technology and American cultural imperialism. Basically, to get the world that we have today – the plentiful supply of things in the US and Europe has blossomed at the expense of the cultural identity, wasted lives, identities and collective memory of those abroad who happen to resist against this agenda.

One that is not symptomatic of a genuine American reality - but part of a long human history of pain. And then you wonder why Jesus, Muhammed, Krishna and Buddha are still so popular?? Because the project of imperialism and primitive accumulation will never completely work."

But Wright did. Wright is not cagey and not terribly eloquent.

"I disagree – humor and irony are wonderful partners. And, it’s still pretty hard to reach the dimwitted, zombie like American people."

He's angry and self-involved and having a black president would take away too much of his power. I really don't think his recent behavior is defensible.

"Exactly – because Wright and other black radicals that you believe are “cagey and angry” are not going to allow themselves to be whitewashed by a system that has continued to exploit and abuse them – one that blames them for all of their problems while exonerating itself. Look at Iraq – almost all of the modern wars and conflicts the US has fought with the (sole exception of Kosovo) since WW2 have been against people of color.

Let's start to think outside the box here. I feel at times Brian that you are too much a "democratic party vanguard." I like to understand the historical reality of all things before getting caught up in the news of the moment."


-PAPA

Anonymous said...

And BTW Brian - I still love you dude! Politics...Shmolitics...

Overall - like I said - I will vote for Obama - but will be surprised if he makes any serious changes while in office.

- PAPA

JudgeHolden said...

Thanks for adding that last comment.I was gonna give you shit for being so pedantic :)

Paul, I think your cynicism is sincere and earned, but I also think the system is, in fact, vulnerable to change, and the only way to change it is through persuasion. Pies in the face are awesome (particularly when Thomas Friedman got one, that pompous ass), but I don't think tactics like this do much to persuade people of the rightness of the pie-thrower's cause. I think real, game-changing persuasion, the kind that can change an entire society in small but noticeable ways, happens most effectively at the highest levels. Bush spent all the political capital of his presidency imposing his will on those disinclined to help him. Nary an ounce on persusasion (outside of the Iraq war.) And that's why, now that everything's gone to hell in every sector of public life, Bush is unpopular. He didn't actually convince anyone of anything. He laid down no idealogical roots. He persuaded no one but those already in his camp.

Obama's a persuader. Even people who don't intend to vote for him listen to him. I don't expect Obama to turn the entire country into liberals, but I do expect, if he's elected president, he'll be able to steer the country out of this damaging rightward trajectory we've been on. And I'd rather have someone in the White House who could do that hard work of persuasion than a more pure liberal who half the country would simply tune out for 4 years.

That's why I think Wright's uncagey, un-eloquent behavior of late has been particularly maddening -- it appears Wright would rather have Hillary or McCain in the White House than an Obama who failed to live up to his standards. I know Wright doesn't owe Obama anything, but I think he does owe African-Americans, 80% of whom support Obama unequivocally.

Check out this article from today's Times: www.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/us/politics/01wright.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

It's about the Obama/Wright break. Sheds some additional light.

Anonymous said...

http://www.counterpunch.org/ford04302008.html

Brian - read this - an excellent analysis on what I am talking about from another African American radical. Like it or not -this guy speaks the truth and if you've read the links I've sent you will see what I am talking about.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/may2008/obam-m01.shtml

Also, read this - the ruling class and their organs (Washington Post, NY Times, ad nauseam) are angry not at his racial inflections - but at Wright's puncturing of the mythical America (God's given nation to earth) that Obama espouses.

And this...

http://www.progressive.org/mag_reed0508

As for the NY Times article - what a waste of space - it is like a Entertainment Tonight gossip piece with no substance - a kind of he said, she said mousetrap. I am completely disregarding its validity due to a lack of substance as politicians are only as powerful as the people and groups behind them.

Look, here is the political reality - Obama was probably looking for black cred so he could run for mayor. He had the Hyde Park white liberals in Chicago in his pocket, but needed to broaden his base. That's why he affliated himself with Wright's church - to KEEP IT REAL.

Although he "seems" to the left of HRC - this continued behavior of Obama is starting to tarnish my support - a bit...Cynically, I will vote for whoever I think will listen to progressive causes (Wealth Tax, increase in Tax to rich, cutting of military spending, ending the war) - but at the same time - due to my political experience - know what the realities are of this ever happening.

The change by incrementalism argument got us Bill Clinton who moved America to the right and all but destroyed any representation of workers by any semblance of a left wing party. THERE IS NO LEFT IN AMERICA! There are just disparate groups - sectarian, etc..

We need serious revolution in this country and one that will REDISTRIBUTE INCOME - but that CAN'T WORK because of our internal history of America as a land completely built on racism and exploitation.


- PAPA

Anonymous said...

Brian - I know we are on the same team dude - I think tactics/strategy is important - and there is a reality to what is happening. We live in 'these times' and a social revolution (which is what I want) may never happen in this millenium - so Obama may be the best we can do at the moment - scars ,bumps and all...Basically - even if he is an opportunist - he is the only one suitable and complex enough to save our Empire from its own self-inflicted wounds. Within that context (and only that context) - I would agree that he would be good for this country and for our rep in the world. Atleast momentarily.

Besides, we all know that you can't have a world revolution when there is so much uneven development or if scarcity or economic woes are hurting a nation. Usually, a revolution in this context historically has given birth to authoritarian or facist movements.

- PAPA

blankfist said...

Get a room, gays.

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