Daily Archives: June 6, 2010

Shocking! news: Israel refuses inquiry

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The right-wingers in charge of the rogue state of Israel must miss former “President” George W. Bush. What a pal they had in him. They must feel like the leaders of Cuba did when the U.S.S.R. collapsed.

What the right-wing Israel and the unelected Bush regime have in common (besides a lot of unnecessary bloodshed in the Middle East) is their respect for the international community and its regulatory functions when doing so benefits them, but when not, suddenly the international community and its regulatory functions are irrelevant.

Unsuprisingly, Israel’s ambassador to the United States today stated, “We [the members of the Israeli government] are rejecting the idea of an international commission” to investigate Israel’s recent massacre of nine members of a pro-Palestinian flotilla that has enraged the international community.

We’re just supposed to take Israel’s word for it, you see. We’re supposed to accept Israel’s highly edited video- and audio-recorded versions of the events. And shut the fuck up.

Notes Glenn Greenwald* on the matter:

It was clear from the moment news of the flotilla attack emerged that Israel was taking extreme steps to suppress all evidence about what happened other than its own official version. They detained the flotilla passengers and barred the media from speaking with them, thus, as The New York Times put it, “refusing to permit journalists access to witnesses who might contradict Israel’s version of events.”

They detained the journalists who were on the ship for days and seized their film, video and cameras. And worst of all, the IDF — while still refusing to disclose the full, unedited, raw footage of the incident — quickly released an extremely edited video of their commandos landing on the ship, which failed even to address, let alone refute, the claim of the passengers:  that the Israelis were shooting at the ship before the commandos were on board. 

And Greenwald concludes, as I have concluded, that “whatever else is true, at least nine civilians were killed by the Israeli Navy, only the latest example of Israel (and the U.S.) using massive military force against civilians.”

That much is irfuckingrefutable. 

But “truth” in the United States — including in its 51st state, Israel — isn’t decided upon the facts. As Charles P. Pierce notes in his great book Idiot America (on pages 33 through 35),

…“fact” is now defined as something believed by so many people that television notices their belief, and [“truth”] is measured by how fervently they believe it….

If something feels right, it must be treated with the same respect given something that actually is right. [Emphasis mine.] If something is felt deeply, it must carry the same weight as something that is true. If there are two sides to every argument — or, more to the point, if there are people willing to take up two sides to every argument — they both must be right or, at least, equally valid.

Dress it up and the [gut feeling] is “common sense,” which rarely is common and even more rarely makes sense. It often comes down to assessing what Everybody Knows, even though Everybody might be as false as blue money to the truth of things….

Yup. Everybody Knows that Perma-Victim Israel Can Do No Wrong, so there is nothing more to argue, and therefore it’s likely that Israel’s refusal to place itself under international scrutiny — the very definition of a rogue state — will simply slide right on by here in Idiot America.

Also behind Israel’s ability to get away with murder here in the United States is tribalism, as Glenn Greenwald also has written upon, and which I touched on when I stated that staunch Christians, Jews or Muslims cannot see the Palestinian-Israeli mess clearly and fairly because they are inherently tainted by their tribalism.

There is the term “Judeo-Christian,” you see, as in the assertion that the United States is a “Judeo-Christian nation,” but I never see the term “Islamo-Christian.”

Most Americans call themselves “Christians,” and most “Christians” are aligned with Judaism, considering it to be misguided because of its lack of belief in Jesus Christ, but considering it to be the forerunner of what passes as “Christianity” and thus worthy of some degree of respect nonetheless. Islam, however, gets no such regard among the vast majority of “Christians” in the United States.

Most Americans wear Judeo-Christian Goggles, and thus the Muslim Palestinians never have gotten a fair shake among Americans and they aren’t likely to any year soon, as President Barack Hussein Obama, already slammed by the wingnuts as a Muslim/terrorist sympathizer, isn’t likely to stand up for full fairness for Palestine any year soon.

Greenwald correctly notes that it would be uber-hypocritical for the U.S. government to slam Israel for the same war crimes and crimes against humanity that the U.S. government still routinely commits in the Middle East, but it’s never too late to rein Israel in nonetheless. After all, as Greenwald notes, “We’ve been arming Israel and feeding them billions of dollars in aid and protecting them diplomatically … for decades.”

The United States, it seems to me, should tell the rogue state and the welfare state of Israel what the fuck to do — and not the other way around.

A good first step would be for the United States government to demand an international inquiry into the flotilla massacre.

Until and unless that happens, neither the Israeli nor the U.S. government will have a fucking shred of credibility left within the international community.

*Greenwald states that this past week he has been “bombarded relentlessly” with the “self-hating [Jew]” epithet, which is “grounded in the premise that one should automatically defend one’s ‘own group’ rather than endeaveor to objectively assess facts and determine what is right and true.” He further correctly notes that this tribalism isn’t just a Jewish thing, but an American thing, too; thus Americans are expected to defend (or at least to ignore) all kinds of atrocities that their own government commits.

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‘Splice’ is a splice gone wrong

Film review

Warning: Contains ample spoilers.

In this film publicity image released by Warner ...

Bioenginer Elsa (Sarah Polley) meets a very young Dren in the sci-fi film “Splice,” above; and below, a young Dren (Abigail Chu) plays with her teddy, and a grown Dren (Delphine Chaneac) tries on makeup with her “mother” (Polley).

Abigail Chu

In this film publicity image released by Warner ...

“Splice” is an appropriate title for a film that seems have spliced together two different films: a thoughtful, philosophical one — and typical Hollywood sci-fi thriller garbage.

I’ve always liked Sarah Polley, and Adrien Brody is OK — he’s a reliable if not an exciting actor — so to see them team up in “Splice,” the kind of movie that I usually wouldn’t see, seemed promising.

Alas, it turned out to be a false promise.  

“Splice” takes on some interesting issues in its first portion, but then squanders it in its latter portion. The issues that it initially raises include the ethics of creating new life forms –including the question as to whether these new life forms are creatures in their own right, especially when they contain human genetic material, or are “specimens” to be treated only as objects of study (and thus killed when deemed necessary) — the ethics of corporate weasels being involved in bioengineering, and the age-old topic of parenthood.

Speaking of which, as scientist couple Clive and Elsa, Brody and Polley don’t make very good parents. As far as I can tell, we’re supposed to like Clive and Elsa, but their actions toward their human-animal hybrid creation (well, mostly it’s Elsa’s creation) that Elsa names Dren (that’s “nerd” backwards) don’t make them very likeable.

When Elsa asks Clive whether or not he was trying to drown the young Dren or whether he knew that she could breathe underwater, it belies Elsa’s intelligence and it makes us not like Clive very much too early in the movie. (Of course he was trying to drown Dren.)

Then there are the fairly heartbreaking scenes in which Elsa takes away Dren’s beloved cat — an awful thing to do to a minor, to take away his or her pet without extremely good cause — and in which Dren tries to go outside to explore, as any caged human being or any caged animal or any caged human-animal hybrid would want to do, and Dren smiles broadly in anticipation — only to get a shovel in the back of the head at the hands of Elsa.

None of this makes us like Elsa very much, and again, I surmise that we’re supposed to more or less like her.

And any misbehavior on Dren’s part, such as what she ultimately does to Fluffy, mostly stemmed from her shitty parenting and from rather normal human childhood and teenaged rebellion.   

And then there’s the look of Dren. I can get over her chicken legs and her chicken feet that make her look like she’s always wearing high heels, and her goat-like pupils (which are pretty cool, actually), and I can even get over her possession of a monkey-like tail, but apparently the filmmakers didn’t feel that those alterations of the human schematic were enough. So they gave Dren a retractable lethal stinger at the end of her tail, and after a while she even rather ridiculously sprouts wings, all in all making her resemble quite the she-devil.

Speaking of that stinger, perhaps the best scene in the film — next to the hilarious scene in which the mole-rat-like bioengineered creatures named Fred and Ginger are introduced to their owning corporation’s stockholders (well, I laughed if only no more than a few others in the audience did…) — is the one in which Elsa decides that Dren’s stinger has got to go. (It kind of reminds me of how my mother destroyed my brother’s BB gun after he used it to shoot at his two siblings [including me].)

Up to that point in the film Elsa had always been defensive of Dren, but when you see Elsa cut Dren’s black dress off of her before performing a stinger-ectomy on Dren, suddenly the naked Dren becomes the lab specimen that Elsa had always insisted that Dren was not, and the symbolism of that scene makes one realize how much clothing serves to humanize us.    

But as if the retractable stinger at the end of Dren’s tail — and her retractable wings, which no animal, to my knowledge, possesses — weren’t enough, the filmmakers then have Dren switch, unbelievably, from a female to a male.

Why? So that first she can seduce Clive into fucking her and then so that, as a male, she can rape Elsa.

That’s what I mean by the latter half of the film being typical Hollywood trash: It just wouldn’t be a Hollywood blockbuster if Clive and Elsa didn’t have sexual relations with their creature, would it? And we have to go as far with Dren as we can, even having her/him ominously flying around at the end of the film. (Hell, why didn’t they have Dren belch fire, too?)

Nor would it be a typical Hollywood blockbuster sci-fi film if Elsa weren’t shown pregnant at the end of the film, making a sequel possible.

So the first portion of “Splice” I give a B+ and the second portion I give a C-.

“Splice” is better-than-average entertainment fare for its genre, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the mere presence of art-film actors Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody (both of whom have won Oscars, Brody for best actor and Polley for best adapted screenplay) has elevated the bioengineered-monster genre that much.

My grade: C+

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