Archive for January, 2011

Misr al-youm

January 25, 2011

Egypt Today


Tear gas disperses crowd in front of the Mugamma / Omar Makram Mosque

Confrontation on the bridge from Mohandiseen to southern Zemalek



Andes Gloom Tune

January 25, 2011

When was the last time you checked in on the lyrics of the Peruvian national anthem? From a WSJ article:

Over the past decade, Julio César Rivera Dávalos has spent more than $100,000 of his savings, put his consulting business on hold and endured blistering personal attacks to advance a lonely cause: changing Peru’s epic downer of a national anthem.

The 69-year-old auditor has traveled up and down the Andes Mountains giving talks assailing the song and its gloomy first verse, which starts, “For a long time, the oppressed Peruvian dragged the ominous chain.”

Dragged the ominous chain?!

Full verse:

For a long time the oppressed Peruvian
Dragged the ominous chain;
Condemned to cruel servitude
He moaned for a long time in silence.
But as soon as the sacred cry of
“Freedom!” was heard on the coasts,
He shook off the indolence of slavery,
He raised his humiliated neck.

Trash Jetty

January 16, 2011

Has you is noticed everyone in the nooz talking about blood libel last week? Apparently all of a sudden we were pretending to care about the proper meaning of words? Weird! If everyone in the nooz is going to attend to the to the phrase “blood libel” with such historical fidelity, can I ask that we also be more careful in our use of “tragedy”—as in the oft-repeated Tragedy in Tucson?

A tragedy, by definition, implies inevitability—a situation where the awful conclusion is the necessary outcome of its circumstances. Y’know, like, the hubris of the victorious king blinds him to, and ultimately determines, his sad fate. Thus, “senseless tragedy” is an oxymoron (or, at best, poetic usage), because labeling something a “tragedy” alludes to a certain logic, a cosmic plot guiding the characters & outcomes.

Now I’m not saying that the events in Arizona necessarily weren’t tragic—perhaps a concoction of societal forces compelled this outcome—but that is a grander & perhaps darker claim than what I take most nooz heads to mean. It seems most of them want to say the exact opposite—that the evil of the situation is “unknowable”.

What is wylde is that this misunderstanding of tragedy is part of a tragic misunderstanding. We inhabit a milieu wherein our pundits & politicians refuse to see the true societal ills that stalk the nation and instead talk endless noise about bogeymen like [fill in the blank]. When our true kulture problemz catch up with and consume us, it will constitute an actual should-have-seen-it-coming tragedy—and within this tragic plot, the prevailing misunderstanding of what is a tragedy will heighten the dramatic irony. Toto Meta-Aeschylus! Way to go nooz doodz! You are earning the starring role you so strive for!

Quintessential Doom Spiral