Monthly Archives: July 2011

WHO is demonic and mob-like?

Updated below

This is an undated image obtained from the Twitter page of Anders Behring Breivik, 32, who was arrested Friday July 22, 2011 in connection to the twin attacks on a youth camp and a government building in Oslo, Norway. Breivik is a suspect in both the shootings and the Oslo explosion Friday. (AP Photo/Twitter, Anders Behring Breivik)

Associated Press photo

The new face of terrorism? The latest political-ideologically motivated murderous rampage was committed not by some “demonic” liberal, but by yet another paranoid, bigoted, stupid white man who, among many other wingnutty things, opposes the immigration of people who aren’t just like he is, including those who aren’t “Christian.”

When is the last time that some liberal went on a political-ideologically motivated murderous rampage here in the United States of America?

According to the American right wing, acts of violence committed by left-wingers are commonplace. In her introduction* to her subtly titled book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America, wingnutty whackjob Ann Cunter proclaims that “The demon is a mob, and the mob is demonic”; “A mob is an irrational, childlike, often violent organism that derives its energy from the group”; and “The Democratic Party is the party of the mob…. Democrats … are the mob.”

She goes on:

The Democrats’ playbook doesn’t involve heads on pikes — as yet — but uses a more insidious means to incite the mob. The twisting of truth, stirring of passions, demonizing of opponents, the relying on propagandistic images in lieu of ideas — these are the earmarks of a mob leader.

Gee, I don’t know. It seems to me that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are much more like the mob than are the Democrats, and that Cunter’s definition of mob-like behavior describes the behavior of her and her fellow Repugnican Tea Party traitors to a “T” (that’s “T” for treason).

The Democrats just let George W. Bush treasonously steal the White House in late 2000 — meanwhile, there were actual mobs of Repugnican operatives in Florida who did their best to disrupt the ballot counting at ballot-counting sites, which to me sure the fuck amounts to treason — and then the Democrats just let Bush treasonously launch his illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War in March 2003. (Thousands of our troops have died for the unelected Bush regime’s repeated lies about its reasons for having launched the Vietraq War. If that isn’t treason — to launch a war that is good for the profiteering of a relative handful of corporate war profiteers but that is disastrous for the nation as a whole — then I don’t know what the fuck is.)

There were some protests against the blatant theft of the White House and the launching of the bogus Vietraq War — I attended them — but they were nonviolent and thus they were non-threatening to the powers that be. (I’d have written “the powers that were,” but these powers essentially still are, so I’ll leave it at “the powers that be.”) Thus, the protests were ineffective. (Nonviolence, as the right-wingers know, often if not usually is ineffective, which is why they often embrace the use of violence for achieving their political aims.) 

And indeed, the unelected Bush regime was able to get its bogus Vietraq War for the war profiteering of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and the other oily subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp in large part because of the mob-like, toxic national political atmosphere that the Repugnicans had created in the wake of 9/11, in which to disagree with the unelected Bush regime on just about anything supposedly amounted to treason and supposedly aided and abetted the “terrorists.”**

Democrats dangerous? Democrats ready to put wingnuts’ heads on pikes?

Fuck, I only wish! (Just as I only wish that corporate-ass-licking capitulator in chief Barack “Hope and Change” Obama actually were a socialist.)

Speaking of mobs, it was the “tea party” traitors who disrupted the congressional town halls to discuss the Obama administration’s (pseudo) health-care reform. It was a nationwide coordinated attempt by the right wing to disrupt the town halls that was reminiscent of the coordinated attempt by the right wing to disrupt the ballot counting in Florida in late 2000. The right-wingers hate democracy except when democracy goes their way. (And even when democracy doesn’t go their way, they’ll treasonously steal an election if they can get away with it.)

Now that’s mob activity. I only wish that the waaay-too-easily-cowed Democrats would engage in actual mob activity when it comes to things like stolen presidential elections, the launching of bogus wars for corporate war profiteering, and the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ current plan to eliminate Social Security and Medicare and to eliminate, as much as is possible, taxes for the rich and the super-fucking-rich — because surely the remedy for our nation’s economic woes is to make the poor even poorer and the filthy rich even richer.

Another quote from Ann Cunter before I move on: In her intro to her latest collection of venom, bile and blatant lies, she also notes, “It is official Democratic policy to appeal to the least-informed, weakest-minded members of the public.” Um, isn’t that Faux “News'” mission statement? And isn’t that Cunter’s bread and fucking butter, appealing to the least-informed, weakest-minded members of the public? If millions of so-called Americans weren’t paranoid, abjectly ignorant, bigoted, self-righteous and hypocritical mouth-breathing fucktards, Cunter couldn’t keep selling her demonic books. 

It’s hard to tell whether Cunter is someone who hypocritically projects her own evil onto others like she’s on crack or if she’s an outright liar for pay (very good pay, apparently). What she at least appears to desire, however, is an Ayn-Randian “utopia” in which everyone whom she disagrees with has been eliminated. And because she apparently fears that the left wing might one day purge the nation of the right wing, that the left wing might beat the right wing to it — even though the modern American left wing has shown itself to be pathetically unable to accomplish anything big and routinely lays down and plays doormat to the Repugnican Tea Party traitors (Sure, Gee Dubya, we’ll just give you the White House; sure, Gee Dubya, we’ll just give you your Vietraq War; sure, John “Cry Me a River” Boehner, we’ll just give you your cuts to Social Security and Medicare and your tax breaks for the rich and the super-rich) — she has written a book telling her fellow wingnuts that the liberals are gearing up to put their heads on pikes. (Or, again, she’s lying and she knows it. Hard to say which…)

While I can’t think of a single instance of an actual liberal actually having gone on a murderous rampage over his or her political ideology, Norway this past week was rocked by a white-male wingnut who went on a murderous rampage over his right-wing political ideology.

Reports Reuters today:

Sundvollen, Norway — Norway mourned [today] 93 people killed in a shooting spree and car bombing by a Norwegian who saw his attacks as “atrocious, but necessary” to defeat liberal immigration policies and the spread of Islam.

In his first comment via a lawyer since his arrest, Anders Behring Breivik, 32, said he wanted to explain himself at a court hearing [tomorrow] about extending his custody.

“He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary,” [lawyer] Geir Lippestad said.

The lawyer said Breivik had admitted to Friday’s shootings at a Labour party youth camp and the bombing that killed seven people in Oslo’s government district a few hours earlier.

However, “he feels that what he has done does not deserve punishment,” Lippestad told NRK public television.

“What he has said is that he wants a change in society, and in his understanding, in his head, there must be a revolution.” …

More information about terrorist Anders Behring Breivik will come out, I’m sure, but it’s interesting that Ann Cunter very apparently shares his core right-wing beliefs on such issues as “liberal immigration policies” and “the spread of Islam.” I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Breivik is familiar with Cunter’s work.

The picture of Breivik above shows him to be a young white guy. Murderous thugs or terrorists aren’t supposed to be squeaky-clean-looking conservative blond white guys. Nope. They’re supposed to be black or Arab or Muslim (or some combination thereof).

I have to wonder if Breivik’s brand of terrorism — and, because he’s a right-wing white guy, are the wingnuts here at home even going to acknowledge that Breivik is indeed a terrorist?is the new (white male) face of (domestic) terrorism. (I specify “domestic terrorism” because the white male face long has been the face of global military terrorism, although, of course, here in the United States it’s never considered to be terrorism if the U.S. military [or one of its wingnutty allies, such as Israel] commits state-sanctioned terrorism.)

Reuters notes that Friday’s “violence, Norway’s worst since World War II, has profoundly shocked the usually peaceful nation of 4.8 million.”

If a white male wingnut can slaughter 93 innocent people in the name of his political ideology in a nation that (until now, anyway…) has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the most peaceful nations on the planet, what might we expect here at home?

While Ann Cunter blathers on about Democrats seeking to put the heads of American wingnuts on pikes, it was a white-male wingnut who apparently agrees with her on the core issues who in cold blood slaughtered dozens of mostly teen-aged members of his nation’s Labour party, which is roughly equivalent to the United States’ Democratic Party. (I can only say “roughly equivalent” because the establishmentarian Democratic Party, since Bill Clinton, has been drifting further and further to the right to the point that it really can no longer be called “liberal.” Even calling it “centrist” is a stretch, since it’s more center-right than it is center-left.)

While Cunter blathers on about Democrats being violent, it was an apparently right-leaning young white man, Jared Lee Loughner, who shot Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head (and shot six others dead) in Tucson in January.*** Oh, and this was after Repugnican Tea Party (then-)queen Sarah Palin had posted this image on the Internet, in which Giffords had been indicated on a map with a gun-sight crosshairs:

Yes, it’s the Democrats who are mob-like, certainly not the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, whose presidential aspirants actually think it’s perfectly OK to post mob-like hit lists of political opponents on the Internet. 

I’m not advocating that we actual liberals seek out the white male wingnuts and pre-emptively put their heads on pikes because they are ticking time bombs ready to start shooting into gatherings of people whose ideology they oppose (I could list several examples of their potential targets, but I don’t want to give them any ideas) and to start bombing government buildings a la Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was yet another right-leaning white male terrorist (and who might have inspired Breivik; I suppose that we’ll find out).

Should the white male wingnuts start mimicking Anders Behring Breivik (and Timothy McVeigh and Jared Lee Loughner and…) here at home, however, I wouldn’t rule that out.

My general feeling is that if the treasonous wingnuts want another civil war, then we should give them one — and annihilate them this time, instead of actually help them with reconstruction, only so that they could continue to drag the nation down to this day.

In the meantime, however, it’s quite easy to lay waste to the claim that it’s the liberals who actually are “demonic” or “mob-like” when it’s the wingnuts who always actually have committed the lion’s share of the killing of innocents and other mob-like behavior.

*No, I have not and I will not read Cunter’s entire book. I’d never contribute a single fucking penny toward her poisonous and treasonous right-wing propaganda. The intro to her book, if you want to read it, is available at amazon.com.

**I use quotation marks because it’s only others who kill for political gain who are “terrorists,” even though the United States slaughters far more innocent civilians in its pursuit of its own political (well, corporate) objectives than does any other nation, hands down.

***Loughner appears to be insane and his political ideology (what we know of it, anyway) therefore is muddled, but he inarguably meets the profile of the alienated, angry, dangerous young white man whom we have come to know and love. And certainly his target, a female Democratic lawmaker, sure looks like, symbolically, at least, an assualt on the liberal and the feminine by the conservative and the masculine. With a gun, of course, because the alienated, angry, dangerous young white men sure love their guns. And aren’t they exactly the ones who should possess their own home arsenals?

Update (Sunday, July 24, 2011): I’ve done a lot of reading on Anders Behring Breivik. It’s quite interesting. Apparently we know that he was inspired by at least one American white male wingnut — Ted Kaczynski, the “Unabomber,” portions of whose manifesto Breivik reportedly simply lifted for his own lengthy manifesto.

Breivik reportedly signed his wingnutty manifesto as “Andrew Berwick,” which suggests that he identifies with the Anglo(-American) brand of winguttery, even though he is a Norwegian nationalist who apparently wants to see Norway (and indeed, all of “white” Europe) purged of people who don’t look and believe like he looks and believes, much like the Nazis of Nazi Germany wanted to purge Nazi Germany of its “undesirables” and the anti-immigrant, xenophobic, misogynist, patriarchal, homophobic, capitalist/anti-socialist, Islamophobic “Christo”fascists (and some right-wing Jews) of the United States (who, with rare exceptions, such as Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirant Herman Cain, also are white supremacists) would love to purge the United States of its “undesirables.”

The world — its demographic make-up and its balances of power – is rapidly changing, and the stupid white men who always have been in charge of the show (at least in Europe and in the United States) — and their supporters – are coming unglued. Suddenly they are the “victims” — even though no one is victimizing them and they continue to victimize others.

Finally, you should read Glenn Greenwald’s piece on the definition of the word “terrorism.”

As Greenwald points out amply, to hypocritical Americans (and, I suppose, to some hypocritical Europeans and Israelis as well), it’s only “terrorism” when a Muslim does it. And I mean literally — to many, the very definition of “terrorism” necessitates that it is an act committed by a Muslim, because, very apparently, “Christians” (and Jews) are, by definition, incapable of committing terrorism. (When you are God’s chosen, you can do no wrong, apparently. Especially if your skin is white.)

This discussion of the definition of “terrorism” reminds me of how George W. Bush used to toss around the word “civilized.” According to Bush, the Muslim “terrorists” (oops — that’s redundant!) are not “civilized,” while the “Christian” (and Jewish) residents of the United States of America (and the United States’ partner in crime, Israel), by definition are “civilized” – even though in my lifetime the “civilized” “Christians” and Jews of the United States and Israel have slaughtered far more innocent Muslims than vice-versa.

(The tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis whom the United States of America has slaughtered since March 2003 in the Vietraq War in retaliation for the roughly 3,000 Americans killed on September 11, 2001 — even though Iraq had had nothing whatsofuckingever to do with 9/11 — is in line with the insane disproportionate amount of killing that we see in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which the Israelis whine that they are “victims” when, in fact, every time there is an Israeli-Palestinian flare-up, only a handful of Israelis die in comparison to the large number of Palestinians who die as a result of the military aid that the United States gives Israel.

Yeah, the United States and Israel — God’s chosen nations, dontchya know — are “civilized.” Right. Just like Anders Behring Breivik is civilized.)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wingnuts’ call for California’s split is disingenuous

Southcalifornia

New York Times and Los Angeles Times graphics

Just say oh, hell no!: The current Repugnican Tea Party proposition to split California into two states is meant only to help the shrinking Repugnican Tea Party in presidential elections.

It’s been in the news lately that some wingnuts in Southern California want to split the state into two states, “North California” and “South California” (a la North Carolina and South Carolina or North Dakota and South Dakota).

California is just too big to continue to (try to) manage as one state, they argue (correctly or incorrectly).

This argument has been made before many times in the history of the nation’s most populous state, and repeated efforts to split the state into two throughout the state’s history have failed.

So should this one.

As the Repugnican Tea Party traitors always do, they give benign, reasonable-sounding reasons for their plan, but in actuality, their plan serves only to benefit them politically.

With a population of more than 37 million according to the 2010 U.S. Census, for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, California has 55 electoral votes. Texas, the second-most-populous state, has 38 electoral votes. (New York, at No. 3, has 29. [Each state gets two electoral votes for its two U.S. senators, as a baseline, and top of those two baseline electoral votes, gets one electoral vote for each of its members of the U.S. House of Representatives.])

Fifty-five electoral votes — that’s a lot of electoral votes, and the Repugnican Tea Party traitors long have wanted to get their grubbies on a chunk of them for a long time now.

Q: How to do that, given that California is a solid blue state and that like most of the 50 states, California awards its electoral votes on a winner-takes-all basis?

A: (1) Try to turn California from a winner-takes-all state to a state that awards electoral votes proportionately, like Nebraska and Maine do. Or, (2) try to split the state into a blue state (“North California”) and a red state (“South California”), giving the Repugnican Tea Party another red state in its column.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d be giddily happy to no longer have to share the great state of California with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and other assorted right-wing nutjobs — but not at the expense of helping the Repugnican Tea Party traitors more easily win presidential elections.

I’m fine with proportionally allocating electoral votes within the Electoral College; I don’t like the current winner-takes-all system myself.

But unless all fucking 50 states award their electoral votes proportionately, it’s unfair (and, it seems to me, unconstitutional [specifically, violating the Constitution’s requirement of equal protection]). You don’t hear the Repugnican Tea Party traitors pushing for, say, Texas’ electoral votes to be split proportionately, do you?

Best of all would be to abolish the Electoral College altogether and elect our president on a straight national popular vote. (If our system had been set up that way, as it should have been and should be, we would have had President Al Gore instead of “President” George W. Bush, since Gore won more than half a million more votes than Bush did in the official 2000 presidential election results.) If it’s good enough for us to elect our governors on a straight popular vote, it’s good enough for us to elect our presidents this way.

In the meantime, reforms or changes that are meant to benefit one party over another are bullshit and need to be blocked.

Sure we can split California into a red state and a blue state. But only when and if we split the red states, such as Texas, into red states and blue states.

(What’s that, wingnut? Suddenly it’s not such a great fucking idea?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.)

P.S. As I painstakingly pointed out way back in April 2009, the red states take more from the federal coffers than they put into the federal coffers, yet the red states piss and moan about how horrible they have it under the blue states when the red states are, in effect, welfare states — drains on the blue states.

Similarly, Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office has pointed out that the red area of the state that would comprise “South California” takes more from the state’s coffers than it puts into the state’s coffers.

(And Brown’s spokesman said that talk of splitting the state into two “is a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody’s time,” adding, “If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right-wing laws, then there’s a place called Arizona.” [Or Texas or…])

So again, yeah, except for the fact that it would help the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the presidential elections, I’d be more than happy to see the blood-sucking red counties of California go their own way from those of us in the blue counties who are carrying their pathetic, worthless asses.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Perry a potential Repugnican Tea Party insurgent to be reckoned with

Texas Governor Rick Perry

AFP photo

Texas Gov. Rick Perry addresses the Wingnuts’ Ball (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Washingtion, D.C., in February. Perry reportedly is testing the presidential waters.

I hate Repugnican Tea Party Texas Gov. Rick Perry. I hate Texas. I hate the Repugnican Tea Party. I hate baby boomers (most of them, anyway) and Rick Perry is one of them.

But putting my broad-spectrum hatred aside, I think that Perry has a great shot at winning the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination.

Perry is the demonic hybrid (hey, if Ann Cunter can use “demonic,” I can, too) of Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann.

Romney is a Richie Rich frat boy who has the support of the Repugnican Party Old Guard (or maybe that should be Old Money), because he promises to protect and to expand their fortunes, to further enrichen the already rich and to further impoverish the already impoverished.

But the “tea party” traitors aren’t so keen on Romney, in no small part because his Mormonism isn’t in step with their brand of “Christo”fascism, but for other reasons, too, such as that he was, in their eyes, the too-moderate governor of the blue state of Massachusetts. (This — the ability to win in a blue state — actually would be a strength for a Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate in actually winning a national election, but the worst of the wingnuts probably don’t see it that way.)

Bachmann, who is an abject lunatic, replete with eyes like a deer’s in headlights, is the “tea party” darling, but she doesn’t have the support of the Repugnican Party Old Guard, in no small part because unlike Romney, she doesn’t come from Old Money, but also because, let’s face it, she’s just embarrassing. (For someone who wraps herself in the flag so much, she struggles to get a single fact about American history correct. And that’s for starters.)

Perry’s biography doesn’t indicate that, like George W. Bush does, he comes from Old Money, but Perry has the gravitas of Old Money nonetheless — at least in stark contrast to Bachmann, who is Sarah Palin’s Mini-Me.

In a political pinch, like the pinch that they are in now (there is doubt that Romney can beat Barack Obama), the gravitas will do for the Repugnican Party Old Guard, methinks.

Perry also is a “tea party” darling. He has called forth the specter of Texas seceding from the Union, after all (to which I say Good fucking riddance, but that’s another blog post).

Perry has two main obstacles to the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination, that I can see: He doesn’t have Romney’s money and political and fundraising network (Romney has been running for president for years now), and there are and there will be the inevitable comparisons of Perry to the last Texas governor who became president of the United States.

But, in the end, Rick Perry is not George W. Bush.

It’s true that Perry started out as Bush’s lieutenant governor in January 1999 and became Texas’ governor when Bush went to the White House even though he had lost the presidential election to Al Gore, but Perry went on to win the Texas governorship in his own right in 2002, in 2006 and in 2010, “an unprecedented feat in Texas political history,” according to Wikipedia, which adds that Perry is “the longest continuously serving current U.S. governor and the second-longest-serving current U.S. governor after Terry Branstad of Iowa.”

And Texas is the nation’s most populous state only after California. (It’s a distant second, however; California has more than 12 million more residents than does Texas, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.) Texas is the most powerful of the red states, as California is the most powerful of the blue states. Both behemoths have millions and millions of dollars of potential campaign contributions and millions and millions of potential votes.

And while he hasn’t been running for president like Romney has, Perry isn’t exactly a political neophyte, having been governor of the most populous red state longer than anyone else ever had before him, apparently.

And, of course, Perry is a late-middle-aged white “Christian” guy, the kind of candidate that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors prefer.

Romney matches Perry on that one, but Romney’s Mormonism and Massachusetts political roots are, I think, no match for Perry’s Texas roots (he’s a fifth-generation Texan, per Wikipedia), and while (per Wiki) Perry at least nominally is a Methodist, he caters even to the way-off-the-deep-end Pentecostals, since it’s politically beneficial. (Perry, among other things, opposes women’s right to control their own uteri, denies the fact of global warming, and of course he opposes same-sex marriage and loves the death penalty. I mean, Texas.)

Perry is, I think, for a political party that has seen the milquetoast Mitt Romney as its best hope for months now, the best of both worlds: He can get the “Christo”fascist vote without turning off Old Money.

It seems to me that if he fights for it, the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination is his.

P.S. Some perhaps-not-so-trivial Rick Perry trivia: According to Wikipedia, Perry began his political career in Texas as a Democrat and even “supported Al Gore in the 1988 Democratic presidential primaries and was chairman of the Gore campaign in Texas.” In 1989, Perry switched to the Repugnican Party, according to Wiki.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bill would make LGBT individuals visible in California public schools

The California state Legislature has passed a bill that requires the state’s public schools to teach about the contributions that non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming Americans have made to the nation — and the wingnuts, predictably, are agog.

Funny, though, how it’s perfectly OK for the Repugnican-Tea-Party-majority members of the Texas Board of Education to dictate that state’s public school curricula — among many other things, the Texas board last year voted to replace all references to “capitalism” with “free-enterprise system” (since capitalism, in which the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer, is growing more and more unpopular these days) and to rewrite history to reflect that the alcoholic, self-aggrandizing witch hunter Joseph McCarthy wasn’t such a bad guy after all — but it’s “socialist” “tyranny” or the like (indeed, the McCarthy-loving Ann Cunter would call it downright “demonic”) for the Democratic majority in the California Legislature to dictate California’s public school curricula.

It’s only “brainwashing” when the Democrats do it, you see.

One Repugnican Tea Party California Assemblyman said of the pro-LGBT education legislation, “As a Christian, I am deeply offended” that the “homosexual agenda” would be taught in the state’s public schools.

As a non-Christian, I am offended that the so-called “Christians” — the “Christo”fascists — believe that it’s appropriate for our public schools to be conducted like “Christian” schools. What if the Muslims or the Jews wanted Islam or Judaism pushed in our public schools? How would the so-called “Christians” like that?

And the “homosexual agenda”? First of all, we don’t call ourselves “homosexuals” — only the homo-haters call us “homosexuals” — and secondly, our agenda is that of equal human and civil rights. (The “homosexual agenda” to the right-wing fascists, I do believe, is that we “homosexuals” have the goal of “making” everyone homosexual. [Of course, the actual heterosexual agenda is to “make” everyone heterosexual, but I digress…])

Gay Democratic California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco stated of the pro-LGBT education legislation, “I don’t want to be invisible in a textbook,” echoing the words of a (wise) Latina Texas Board of Education member who reportedly last year stormed out of a board meeting after the white-majority board refused to include more Latinos in the curricula, even though Texas is second only to California in the number of Latinos who live there: “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”  

The Democratic view of public education is that public education should reflect our nation’s diversity. Our children, after all, need to be taught how their world is, not how some wingnutty ideologues believe the world should be.

On that note, the Repugnican Tea Party view of public education is that public education should perpetuate, as long as is possible, the unjust, oppressive domination of the entire nation by the minority of those who are right wing, white, (presumably) heterosexual and gender-conforming, and “Christian.”

Determining what should and what should not be taught in our public schools inherently is a politically charged process, but if I had children, I sure the hell wouldn’t cripple them, possibly for life, by sending them to schools that don’t teach how the world is, but that teach how some ignorant and bigoted, white supremacist, patriarchal and misogynist, heterosexist “Christo”fascists — who, thankfully, are a dying breed — would like the world to be.

I hope that California’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, signs the bill to require that the contributions of us non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming Americans are taught in our public schools. It’s the right thing to do.

P.S. For more context, this is from The Associated Press:

California law already requires [public] schools to teach about women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor. The Legislature over the years also has prescribed specific lessons about the Irish potato famine and the Holocaust, among other topics.

SB48 [the LGBT education bill] would require, as soon as the 2013-2014 school year, the California Board of Education and local school districts to adopt textbooks and other teaching materials that cover the contributions and roles of sexual minorities.

The legislation leaves it to local school boards to decide how to implement the requirement. It does not specify a grade level for the instruction to begin.

So all that the LGBT education legislation does is add LGBT individuals to a curricula of diversity that already is mandated by state law.

I love living in California, where diversity is honored, not shit and pissed upon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

‘Tree of Life’: For critics or for viewers?

Film review

“The Tree of Life” (which contains all of the images above, among many, many, many others): Great art or the self-indulgent, inaccessible pretensions of a baby boomer growing ever closer to death?

It is telling that (as I type this sentence, anyway) Yahoo! Movies shows American director Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” as having garnered an “A-” from film critics — and only a “C+” from the common folk.

The question then becomes, I think, whether the film is flawed or whether the film is just above the audience’s head.

“The Tree of Life” spectacularly peculiarly alternates between the very apple-pie story of a white middle-class family in the suburbs of Texas in the 1950s, patronized by Brad Pitt — and “2001: A Space Odyssey”-like grand views of the cosmos, views of dramatic geological events here at home (lots o’ lava, that is), and micro-views, such as that of a developing embryo (which we also saw in “2001,” and the same guy who did the special effects for “2001” [which was released the year that I was born] was involved with the special effects for “The Tree of Life,” and thus the deja vu). And throw in a lot of surrealism involving our real-life characters, such as an apparent family reunion in the afterlife on an ephemeral beach. Oh, and dinosaurs, too.

In “Tree of Life” Sean Penn plays the grown-up eldest son of Pitt’s character — and Penn apparently is the stand-in for Malick, kind of like one of Woody Allen’s stand-ins for himself — but Penn actually isn’t in the film all that much. It’s mostly Pitt, but Pitt does a great job, as he usually does, and the child actors also impress with their very natural acting.

The main problem with “The Tree of Life,” I think, is that the previews make it look like a Pitt-and-Penn vehicle with a little bit of artsy-fartsy stuff thrown in there, but the actual film is two hours and 15 minutes of an awful lot of artsy-fartsy stuff thrown in there. American audiences, at least, aren’t, I surmise, ready to go back and forth among watching Brad Pitt playing a family man in 1950s suburbia and Sean Penn playing his reminiscing grown-up son and watching Carl-Saganesque grand cosmic events and more down-to-Earth lava flows and even dinosaur politics.

(The French, however, have loved “The Tree of Life,” which they awarded the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival…)

Don’t get me wrong. The dinosaurs in “The Tree of Life” are quite well done, perhaps the best technically done dinosaurs to hit the silver screen thus far in cinematic history. I’d love to see a feature-length film about dinosaurs made by Malick — even if the dinosaurs aren’t anthropomorphized, even if there is no plot, so to speak, even if it’s just the dinosaurs hanging out and being dinosaurs. (Actually, I don’t like it when critters are inappropriately anthropomorphized, such as in Disney’s “documentary” “African Cats,” even though its target audience is children.)

And the story of the humans in “The Tree of Life” probably would have made a much better stand-alone film, stripped of the “2001”-like surrealism of cosmic vomiting and universal diarrhea, in which creation often rather violently explodes all over the place.

Indeed, not long into “Tree of Life” it occurred to me that just as they hand you your 3-D glasses before you view a 3-D movie, they should give you a joint to inhale (or maybe a bong would be less cleanup afterward) before you view the surreal “Tree of Life.” Then you’ll love it.

I suppose that there are two general camps when it comes to art. One camp maintains that art is whatever the artist wants it to be. Therefore, highly personal art is perfectly acceptable, probably even more preferable to art meant for the masses, to this camp. The more inaccessible, the better — the more artistic/“artistic” — some if not most of those in this camp seem to believe.

The other camp, which I favor, believes that art should be accessible, that art should communicate, or at least touch those who experience it, and that if the artist does not touch his audience, then the artist has failed.

It probably isn’t an over-generalization to state that we might call the camp of artistic/“artistic” inaccessibility the French Camp and the camp of accessibility the American Camp. Those in the American Camp often view those in the French Camp as pretentious. Those in the French Camp don’t really understand the incomprehensible art that they claim to understand, those in the American Camp believe (and thus the charge of pretension), and I tend to agree.

But art doesn’t have to be comprehensible, doesn’t have to be logical and rational and linear. As I stated, as long as the art touches you, in my book, then the artist has succeeded.

It is true that with American audiences, Malick had an uphill battle making such an impressionist film that would be well received (if he really even cared at all how it would be received by American audiences, indeed). Americans aren’t used to impressionism in their movies. American audiences are used to realism, to literalism, to fairly clear, point-A-to-point-Z plots.

“The Tree of Life” has elements that succeed, but in my eyes with the film Malick fails as an artist because his film goes on for so long, and becomes so ponderous and so difficult to experience, that he loses his (at-least-American) audience. In the audience that I was in, I think that most if not all of us were ready for the film to be over at least a half-hour before it actually ended, and at the end of the film we felt only the type of satisfaction that a long-suffering cancer patient might feel during the last few moments of euthanasia.

I’m down with the dinosaurs, and I am open-minded enough to be able to give a chance to a film that tries to capture Life, the Universe and Everything, but in my book when the viewer just wants it all to be over already, please please please God just make it end!, the artist probably has done something wrong.

I get the impression with “The Tree of Life” that the 67-year-old Malick had two films inside of him trying to claw their way out of his chest cavity like identical twin aliens a la “Alien,” but that he was concerned that if he didn’t put them into one film, he might not live long enough to get both films made, so he put both of the films into a blender.

Again, either of these two films probably would have been or at least could have been great, Malick’s ode to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001” (and to “Jurassic Park”) or Malick’s very personal (perhaps too personal) recap of his own childhood as an American baby boomer having grown up in Texas.

Malick’s fellow baby boomer Roger Ebert ate up* “The Tree of Life,” which, while apparently is accessible to white American baby boomers who grew up in families that were at least middle class, isn’t as accessible to the rest of us. (I, as a member of Generation X “raised” by and surrounded by baby boomers, had quite a different experience growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. Yeah, my memories of childhood are not so fucking idyllic.)

So we come back to the question as to whether a film succeeds even if it loses most of its viewers (here in the United States, anyway, since I am an American writing this review primarily for my fellow Americans). I say that it does not. (Again, the French, apparently, say that it does [indeed, a good number of them apparently believe that if a film is comprehensible, then it is shit].)

So, while I appreciate Malick’s technical achievements — again, love those dinosaurs, and he directed his child actors masterfully — I cannot ignore the fact that as patient as I am, “The Tree of Life” wore out its welcome, wore out my patience, and apparently wore out my fellow audience members’ patience even more so and even more quickly than it wore out mine. A good film, it seems to me, makes you regretful, not relieved, at having to leave the movie theater at film’s end.

And again, unlike Roger Ebert, I cannot ignore what doesn’t work in “The Tree of Life” — such as the apparently uber-pretentious scene, among many apparently pretentious scenes, that has Sean Penn walking through a door frame that is erected in the middle of nowhere — and focus on how great it is to take a stroll down Baby-Boomer Memory Lane, because I think that I can relate to the lives of the dinosaurs a lot more than I can relate to the reportedly idyllic childhoods of the baby boomers, who made my childhood much less idyllic than theirs.

“The Tree of Life,” as a whole, fails (at least here in the United States of America) because it loses its (American) audience.

And the grade for failure is an “F.”

My grade: F

(I surmise that Yahoo!’s commoners give the film an average grade of “C+” only because some people will give a movie a decent grade if there are at least some scenes that they liked and because there are plenty of pretentious, “artistic” people who will claim to have appreciated and understood an incomprehensible film.)

*Ebert swoons:

I don’t know when a film has connected more immediately with my own personal experience. In uncanny ways, the central events of “The Tree of Life” reflect a time and place I lived in, and the boys in it are me. If I set out to make an autobiographical film, and if I had Malick’s gift, it would look so much like this.

Yeah, like I said, I had a different life experience…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized