Category Archives: Jude

The Great Benghazi Martyrdom Movie

Yeah, I’m becoming more and more okay with the Nazi comparisons: 

Why did 13 Hours premiere in Arlington? On the red carpet, Bay said he had come because the city was “the heartland of America.” Tuesday’s premiere was, indeed, a very American event. The Dallas Cowboys, after all, bill themselves America’s Team, signifying perhaps that they are a deep well of mediocrity in thrall to a rich, old, spiritually corrupt creep, which is to say that the Cowboys are a PAC or two away from earning top-tier presidential contender status.

But Arlington is more than just the home of a bad football team: It’s the spiritual center of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, a great galactic plane of young suburbs home to some of the most reactionary politics in the country. What happens here steers America, but it’s often less visible in the wider culture than what happens elsewhere.

It’s also a place that’s responsible in large part for the rise of the new civic religion built around the worship of the most lethal among us.

What the hype surrounding this movie reminds me of — with the implication that if you DON’T see it for any reason up to and including that you are physically unable to leave your home, you are an anti-American liberal pussy — is The Passion of the Christ (or as Tbogg called it, Lethal Jesus: 2 Fast 2 Jewish).

It was some kind of litmus test, like if you go see this movie you are a Proper Christian who Appreciates What God Has Done For Unworthy You. And if you don’t see it, you can’t even HANDLE how hardcore Jesus was.

Demand like that, demand that we worship those who serve — and don’t get me wrong, I go weak in the knees for a uniform just like any red-blooded American girl — denies something essential about that service. If you’re doing it for a parade, that’s not service, that’s a transaction. There’s nothing wrong with transactions, so just call it what it is. Jesus didn’t ask anybody to put his picture up. He said, quite explicitly, that if you’re gonna worship, shut the fuck up about it. The baddest badasses of wartime that I personally know wave you off if you try to call them hero. Service is selfless. It is about the Other, about the Served.

That doesn’t mean we can’t be grateful, we can’t honor, we can’t appreciate those who serve. It means demanding that appreciation as a condition of service is morally repugnant and making an I DARE YOU NOT TO LOVE THIS display of it so aggressively misses the point you’d think it was deliberate, if you were a cynic like me.

There’s a lot that’s bizarre about the framing of the main events in 13 Hours, but the portrayal of Stevens is possibly the strangest part. The ambassador is, in conservative Benghazi narratives, the foremost martyr, a man to be honored and remembered, betrayed by the administration. If what is honorable about the contractors is their willingness to lay down life for country, you might think Stevens deserves similar recognition: not so, in Bay’s estimation.

When the warriors start to falter toward the end of the movie, their injuries and deaths are shown in excruciating, agonizing detail. Limbs are severed, and splintered bones poke out of dying men. Warriors collapse in pools of blood. This is Bay’s crude way of emphasizing the magnitude of their sacrifices. Stevens dies offscreen and reappears in a memorial reel in the closing credits.

A.

Breaking Radio Silence

Hey hey, everyone. Just coming out of hiding to say that–perish the thought–I might be writing here more frequently in the near future. Run for the hills, I know. In the meantime, enjoy this song that I’m sure Adrastos can fill you in regarding the backstory.


Enjoy!

I’m back, baby!

Regarding the Goddamn Pope

I’ll let Tim Minchin sum up what I think of the entire rotten institution and person:


I can’t add anything to that.

You probably shouldn’t watch this at work.

Regarding the Goddamn Pope

I’ll let Tim Minchin sum up what I think of the entire rotten institution and person:


I can’t add anything to that.

You probably shouldn’t watch this at work.

The Idiocy


Courtesy of friend of the blog Hobbes.

She’s a great artist. I may have helped with the text on this one.

The Idiocy


Courtesy of friend of the blogHobbes.

She’s a great artist. I may have helped with the text on this one.

One Thought

To anyone who says “if people didn’t have access to guns, they’d kill people in other ways,” I say if you think that we would have seen a spate of mass murders this year if there were no firearms–if you think that there wouldn’t be far, far fewer homicides in this country PERIOD if there were no firearms, then you are a shit-stupid motherfucker who shouldn’t be allowed near stairs lest you hurt yourself. And that is absolutely the nicest way I can put that.

Take care of one another.

Making America Safer


American Moloch. Image via.

First, of all read this.

I
own a handgun. It’s a simple Ruger P95 9x19mm pistol. I bought it
years and years ago when I lived in a terrible, terrible apartment in a
shitty, crime-ridden neighborhood. It cost me a couple of hundred
dollars.

I bought this weapon for one reason–I might need to
point it at another human, discharge rounds, and murder him (if the
anticipated scenario had come to pass, the target would almost certainly
have been a “him”). I had no illusions what it was for. I kept it by
my bed for the year I lived there; magazine in, no round chambered. I
bought a weapon with no external safety because I knew exactly what I
was getting it for. I wasn’t “defending freedom” or “resisting tyranny” or “being a
responsible gun owner.” I bought it because I might have to murder
someone who came into my bedroom. They could’ve taken the TV and VCR; I
wouldn’t have given a fuck. But there was the distinct possibility
that I would need to end another human’s life because mine was in
jeopardy.

That scenario never came to pass. But I held on to
the weapon, and would occasionally go to a range to keep my skills
sharp. Then I stopped doing that. Now, for the last five years, it’s
just sat in a case in my closet. I take it out once a month, clean it,
oil it, and put it back. I never got rid of it because I thought I
wouldn’t make my initial investment back, and I knew that at least it
wasn’t endangering anyone locked away in my closet.

Today, I shattered the stock, spiked the barrel, snipped the springs, tossed the
firing pin into a sewer grate, and otherwise destroyed it.

You see, my reasons for not getting rid of it were bullshit. I’ve never
bought anything else and not ditched it because I would have lost money
in the deal. And I know the statistics that say that households in which there are guns are far less safe than those without guns. I pride myself on having an empirical approach to life; I like to go where the data lead me. But I wasn’t doing that here. The data say: get rid of it. And I didn’t. I held onto it because we’re trained to have an irrational adoration of firearms; in a way, we’re told that it’s our duty to own them.

Well, fuck that. I
don’t need this anymore. I have come to realize that there are no “bad
guys” who exist outside of us. The people who use firearms to hurt other people aren’t monsters from another dimension. They are us. We are all good and bad, and some of us
just have bad days–maybe you’re at the end of yoru rope financially, or maybe you’re inconsolably heartbroken, or maybe you’re dealing with an improperly treated illness, or maybe you’re dealing with any one of the other thousand ways the world can collapse on you. When this happens, some of us might see reckless use of a firearm as an answer to
what’s bothering us. That means that, if you have access to a firearm, your very bad day may give other people unimaginably bad days. That’s never an answer, and I’m removing that possibility from
my life and the lives of people who enter my house.

I’ve seen estimates that there are 270,000,000 privately-owned firearms in the
United States. Getting rid of one of them isn’t going to make a huge
dent in that. But 269,999,999 is still less than 270,000,000, and I’ll
sleep more soundly at night knowing that this tool that I bought with
the express purpose of harming other people (yes, they may have intended
me harm, but that was still why I bought it) will never ever have the
chance to harm anyone.

I used to own a handgun. I don’t anymore. Consider this my sacrifice to defeat Moloch.

Making America Safer


American Moloch. Imagevia.

First, of all readthis.

I
own a handgun. It’s a simple Ruger P95 9x19mm pistol. I bought it
years and years ago when I lived in a terrible, terrible apartment in a
shitty, crime-ridden neighborhood. It cost me a couple of hundred
dollars.

I bought this weapon for one reason–I might need to
point it at another human, discharge rounds, and murder him (if the
anticipated scenario had come to pass, the target would almost certainly
have been a “him”). I had no illusions what it was for. I kept it by
my bed for the year I lived there; magazine in, no round chambered. I
bought a weapon with no external safety because I knew exactly what I
was getting it for. I wasn’t “defending freedom” or “resisting tyranny” or “being a
responsible gun owner.” I bought it because I might have to murder
someone who came into my bedroom. They could’ve taken the TV and VCR; I
wouldn’t have given a fuck. But there was the distinct possibility
that I would need to end another human’s life because mine was in
jeopardy.

That scenario never came to pass. But I held on to
the weapon, and would occasionally go to a range to keep my skills
sharp. Then I stopped doing that. Now, for the last five years, it’s
just sat in a case in my closet. I take it out once a month, clean it,
oil it, and put it back. I never got rid of it because I thought I
wouldn’t make my initial investment back, and I knew that at least it
wasn’t endangering anyone locked away in my closet.

Today, I shattered the stock, spiked the barrel, snipped the springs, tossed the
firing pin into a sewer grate, and otherwise destroyed it.

You see, my reasons for not getting rid of it were bullshit. I’ve never
bought anything else and not ditched it because I would have lost money
in the deal. And I know the statistics that say that households in which there are guns are far less safe than those without guns. I pride myself on having an empirical approach to life; I like to go where the data lead me. But I wasn’t doing that here. The data say: get rid of it. And I didn’t. I held onto it because we’re trained to have an irrational adoration of firearms; in a way, we’re told that it’s our duty to own them.

Well, fuck that. I
don’t need this anymore. I have come to realize that there are no “bad
guys” who exist outside of us. The people who use firearms to hurt other people aren’t monsters from another dimension. They are us. We are all good and bad, and some of us
just have bad days–maybe you’re at the end of yoru rope financially, or maybe you’re inconsolably heartbroken, or maybe you’re dealing with an improperly treated illness, or maybe you’re dealing with any one of the other thousand ways the world can collapse on you. When this happens, some of us might see reckless use of a firearm as an answer to
what’s bothering us. That means that, if you have access to a firearm, your very bad day may give other people unimaginably bad days. That’s never an answer, and I’m removing that possibility from
my life and the lives of people who enter my house.

I’ve seen estimates that there are 270,000,000 privately-owned firearms in the
United States. Getting rid of one of them isn’t going to make a huge
dent in that. But 269,999,999 is still less than 270,000,000, and I’ll
sleep more soundly at night knowing that this tool that I bought with
the express purpose of harming other people (yes, they may have intended
me harm, but that was still why I bought it) will never ever have the
chance to harm anyone.

I used to own a handgun. I don’t anymore. Consider this my sacrifice to defeat Moloch.

One Thought

To anyone who says “if people didn’t have access to guns, they’d kill people in other ways,” I say if you think that we would have seen a spate of mass murders this year if there were no firearms–if you think that there wouldn’t be far, far fewer homicides in this country PERIOD if there were no firearms, then you are a shit-stupid motherfucker who shouldn’t be allowed near stairs lest you hurt yourself. And that is absolutely the nicest way I can put that.

Take care of one another.

I Didn’t Fight For Your Freedom

A re-post from a couple of years ago that I hope, some day, never needs to be said again.


Nope. No freedom being defended here.

So it’s Veterans Day, which means that the US is awash with mostly obligatory tributes to military personnel.

I hate this shit.

I didn’t fight for your freedoms. In the six years I was in, I never once defended your right to vote, or to carry a gun, or to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure (that one doesn’t really apply anymore, anyway), or any of the other things you enjoy as a citizen of this country. I just didn’t. Neither did anyone who went to Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Vietnam. It’s all bullshit. It’s a fucking lie that we tell ourselves and each other so that we don’t have to think about why we send young men and women to serve, suffer, and die for old men’s vainglorious ideas and profit margins.

I passed through Burlington, WI on Saturday to visit their annual chocolate festival. Who could say no to that, right? Well, while there (this being Wisconsin), I got myself a beer. To do so, you had to put up with the shitty metal cover band in the beer tent. There’s a 45-year-old lead singer acting a fool–pouring beer on his own goddamned head, making dumb-ass sexist remarks, saying stupid shit about his teen-aged daughter, etc. Since that wasn’t reprehensible enough, he then proceeded to thank all the veterans in the crowd, specifically pointing out one man whose–well, I’ll just quote this asshole.

I wanna thank all of our veterans for what they do for us. Every guy in the band, our fathers were all in the military. My dad was in Korea! This guy right here in front–his son is in Iraq right now. He’s over there FIGHTIN’ FOR OUR RIGHT TO PARTY!

I wanted to rush the stage and strangle that fuck with a microphone cord.

It’s all bullshit, folks. We don’t do anything for anyone’s freedom. The military hasn’t actually deployed en masse to defend your freedom in a long, long time. Unless you call rich people fucking over the world’s poor and powerless a form of freedom. As you may have guessed, I don’t. It’s bullshit. And it needs to stop.

I don’t mind honoring sacrifice, but the military doesn’t have a monopoly on that, now does it? I also don’t mind remembering military dead and wounded. But we do it all wrong. We just fetishize the suffering (like good Catholics, no?) without wondering why it ever happened in the first place. Remembrance and memorial, it would seem, also involve reflection and assessment. Just because someone died or was wounded doesn’t automatically validate how he or she came to be in that state. We send our young people overseas to be bored, pull duty, sometimes get shot at, and occasionally get hit. Then we never ask why they’re over there in the first fucking place, because doing so, apparently, does them a disservice. What kind of jack shit is that?

A real Veterans/Remembrance Day would involve commitments to cease sacrifices that don’t actually, you know, do anything in the name of freedom. Losing your legs so that Chevron can see higher profit margins is not noble. It’s a god damned shame. Dying in the service of defense contractors doesn’t bestow sainthood on the deceased. It just means that a life got snuffed out for no good reason. Reflexive military worship is a cancer on society. Unscrupulous people use it to justify their actions and avoid any criticism. That shit makes the act of asking why we should send young people to absorb bullets and get blown to pieces into some kind of subversion and/or sedition. How fucking ridiculous is that? Wondering if someone’s death was worth the cost doesn’t dishonor the person. I don’t know how we’ve confused evaluating the motives and actions of leaders with spitting on corpses, but we have. And until we can untangle those things, we’re just well and truly fucked when it comes to international affairs.

So this Veterans Day, take a minute to actually reflect on the acts and deeds of people in uniform. But that involves critical thought instead of blind acceptance of the rightness of our leaders’ actions. Honor the dead and care for the living, but don’t think that people in uniform today are actually standing between you and tyranny.

Remember that.

Merry Christmas, You Bastards


Someone please make sure that Questlove wins the Grammy for entertainer of the year. Seriously. He’s so awesome.

Okay, I don’t really give a rat’s ass about Xmas, and I can’t stand being around children, but even I thought this was cute.

Enjoy the non-wintry start of winter, everyone.

Just A Reminder


Yep. Power in a union.

Remember–this happened. And that energy, and that power, is still out there. We’ve had some wins lately, and a lot more losses, but the people are still there, and will always, when push comes to shove, tell the powerful where to stick it.

Hey Guys


We have no time for your shenanigans.

President Barack Obama jokingly mimics U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla
Maroney’s “not impressed” look while greeting members of the
2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams in the Oval Office, Nov. 15, 2012.
Steve Penny, USA Gymnastics President, and Savannah Vinsant laugh at
left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but the President of the United States is kind of cool.

Hey Guys


We have no time for your shenanigans.

President Barack Obama jokingly mimics U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla
Maroney’s “not impressed” look while greeting members of the
2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams in the Oval Office, Nov. 15, 2012.
Steve Penny, USA Gymnastics President, and Savannah Vinsant laugh at
left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but the President of the United States is kind of cool.

A Quick Thought


This picture has nothing to do with the post. It just cracks me up.

I’m no political strategist, but telling people that they’re too stupid to understand why their lazy, mooching, female, “urban,” or entitled asses should vote for the party that has pledged to destroy the things that those people are supposedly dependent on is probably not a good plan to increase that party’s share of the vote totals. Discuss.

A Quick Thought


This picture has nothing to do with the post. It just cracks me up.

I’m no political strategist, but telling people that they’re too stupid to understand why their lazy, mooching, female, “urban,” or entitled assesshould vote for the party that has pledged to destroy the things that those people are supposedly dependent on is probably not a good plan to increase that party’s share of the vote totals. Discuss.

I Didn’t Fight For Your Freedom

A re-post from a couple of years ago that I hope, some day, never needs to be said again.


Nope. No freedom being defended here.

So it’s Veterans Day, which means that the US is awash with mostly obligatory tributes to military personnel.

I hate this shit.

I didn’t fight for your freedoms. In the six years I was in, I never once defended your right to vote, or to carry a gun, or to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure (that one doesn’t really apply anymore, anyway), or any of the other things you enjoy as a citizen of this country. I just didn’t. Neither did anyone who went to Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Vietnam. It’s all bullshit. It’s a fucking lie that we tell ourselves and each other so that we don’t have to think about why we send young men and women to serve, suffer, and die for old men’s vainglorious ideas and profit margins.

I passed through Burlington, WI on Saturday to visit their annual chocolate festival. Who could say no to that, right? Well, while there (this being Wisconsin), I got myself a beer. To do so, you had to put up with the shitty metal cover band in the beer tent. There’s a 45-year-old lead singer acting a fool–pouring beer on his own goddamned head, making dumb-ass sexist remarks, saying stupid shit about his teen-aged daughter, etc. Since that wasn’t reprehensible enough, he then proceeded to thank all the veterans in the crowd, specifically pointing out one man whose–well, I’ll just quote this asshole.

I wanna thank all of our veterans for what they do for us. Every guy in the band, our fathers were all in the military. My dad was in Korea! This guy right here in front–his son is in Iraq right now. He’s over there FIGHTIN’ FOR OUR RIGHT TO PARTY!

I wanted to rush the stage and strangle that fuck with a microphone cord.

It’s all bullshit, folks. We don’t do anything for anyone’s freedom. The military hasn’t actually deployed en masse to defend your freedom in a long, long time. Unless you call rich people fucking over the world’s poor and powerless a form of freedom. As you may have guessed, I don’t. It’s bullshit. And it needs to stop.

I don’t mind honoring sacrifice, but the military doesn’t have a monopoly on that, now does it? I also don’t mind remembering military dead and wounded. But we do it all wrong. We just fetishize the suffering (like good Catholics, no?) without wondering why it ever happened in the first place. Remembrance and memorial, it would seem, also involve reflection and assessment. Just because someone died or was wounded doesn’t automatically validate how he or she came to be in that state. We send our young people overseas to be bored, pull duty, sometimes get shot at, and occasionally get hit. Then we never ask why they’re over there in the first fucking place, because doing so, apparently, does them a disservice. What kind of jack shit is that?

A real Veterans/Remembrance Day would involve commitments to cease sacrifices that don’t actually, you know, do anything in the name of freedom. Losing your legs so that Chevron can see higher profit margins is not noble. It’s a god damned shame. Dying in the service of defense contractors doesn’t bestow sainthood on the deceased. It just means that a life got snuffed out for no good reason. Reflexive military worship is a cancer on society. Unscrupulous people use it to justify their actions and avoid any criticism. That shit makes the act of asking why we should send young people to absorb bullets and get blown to pieces into some kind of subversion and/or sedition. How fucking ridiculous is that? Wondering if someone’s death was worth the cost doesn’t dishonor the person. I don’t know how we’ve confused evaluating the motives and actions of leaders with spitting on corpses, but we have. And until we can untangle those things, we’re just well and truly fucked when it comes to international affairs.

So this Veterans Day, take a minute to actually reflect on the acts and deeds of people in uniform. But that involves critical thought instead of blind acceptance of the rightness of our leaders’ actions. Honor the dead and care for the living, but don’t think that people in uniform today are actually standing between you and tyranny.

Remember that.

Further Adventures In Social Media; or, We Just Can’t Be Educated


Instead of engaging these dopes, I think I’m just going to have this. ALL OF THIS.

Well, I’m back for one more pre-election go with Adventures In Social Media. Please kill me now. Anyway, today I bring up an acquaintance from high school, who gives us the following:




I just stopped at this point.

Folks, that guy is under the impression that he was right. If there are any of you out there who think that this world can actually see a riot that “upholds violence,” please–take a few minutes to say goodbye to your family and friends, then swallow your cyanide pill.

And the hell of it is, I didn’t even bring up the RACIST AS FUCK underlying assumption. Hmmm…what could it possibly be about Obama supporters that would make these crackers think that they’re more prone to mindless violence. What could it be? What could they be assuming?

You know what they’re assuming–the same thing white folks have been assuming for almost half a millennium in this fucked-up part of the world. They assume thatBLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT RATIONAL HUMANS. Period. End of story. End of fucking story. That’s been a constant trope for centuries now: the wild savage blood, the jungle lust, the frantic dancing and trance-like states of The Negro mean that they’re not nearly as intellectually advanced as us calm white folks. These people are so familiar with it they don’t even recognize it. You know, like how a fish is unaware of water. But the unstated assumption is just hanging there for anyone with eyes to see.

I didn’t even call them out, because they would instantly deny that they could ever think such a thing, and then I’d hear a chorus of how I’m the real racist because I think they’re racist, and I’d blow my fucking brains out.

So thus ends my pre-election jaunt through social media. It’s done a good job of convincing me that education is a lost cause. If you need me, I’ll be over by the liquor cabinet.

Even More Adventures In Social Media; or, Have These People Ever Heard Of The Internet?


Behold, the Internet!

Okay, so maybe I’m doing this bit too often, but it’s just comedy gold.

Once again, a cousin posted something stupid, and I did this idiotic thing called “responding with facts.” Naturally, things only got better from there.

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

  • Red: God-bothering first cousin
  • Blue: Yours truly
  • Purple: Cousin’s African-American acquaintance
  • Green: Cousin’s god-bothering in-law

It’s pretty awesome, and you can see the beating after the jump.

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