Archive for the ‘terrible things’ Category

Little Gobbets

July 22, 2014

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Animal Punishment

March 30, 2013

Animal Punishment


January 31, 2013

During the early days of the Egyptian revolution, I returned to the old Doomspirals houseboat to chat with our friend Mohamed, the bowwab (doorman, groundskeeper). I asked Mohamed who was living here now, and in a hushed tone he confided that the Police Chief of Waraq (the agricultural island just to the north) was hiding out on the boat—a guest of our landlord. In response to decades of maltreatment, the residents of Waraq had torched the police station, and the police chief was on the lam.

The Waraq police station has been back in the news lately for—guess what—police torture. From Al-Ahram:

According to Sameh’s brother, Abd El-Mohsen Farrag, Sameh [a 48 year-old clothes merchant from Imbaba] visited Al-Waraq police station on Tuesday to enquire about a friend who had been detained there.

Police later visited Farag’s family home and asked them to receive Sameh’s dead body from the Imbaba public hospital.

Upon their arrival, Farag’s family found Sameh’s body half naked with a swollen face, handcuff marks around his wrists and bloodstains on his feet.

A classic incident. A man—who is not even implicated in a crime—visits a local police station. And for meddling in police business receives the typical police treatment. If this follows the standard script to the end, the police will claim that Sameh was a drug dealer who tried to assault the officers.

Have you been following the latest violent developments in Port Said? The war between the people and the police-state? The trigger was the recent court verdict that sentenced 21 Port Said men to death for their involvement in last year’s Port Said Stadium Tragedy (in which 70+ fans from Cairo died in a horrific rampage). In a good video interview on the NYT our friend David Kirkpatrick explains that the court ruling is seen in Port Said as biased & politically motivated—levied to appease to the Cairo streets. But there is another, larger framework, too. Remember that the police are blamed (rightly or wrongly) in Port Said for the stadium deaths. And now 21 Port Said residents have been sentenced to the noose, whereas no police officers have been charged for any crimes (of negligence or otherwise). This is a toxic situation. In the two days following the verdict, 30 young men died (including a man in a wheelchair) in clashes with the Port Said police. And now—in this city where the courts are viewed as an appendage of the police state—the question is: you still demand 21 more bodies?

Protests in Port Said. Notice the black shirt carrying the ubiquitous slogan: A.C.A.B. (All Cops Are Bastards)

Protests in Port Said. Notice the black shirt carrying the ubiquitous slogan: A.C.A.B. (All Cops Are Bastards)

In response to recent chaos, President Morsi has called (feebly) for a ‘national dialogue’. Reportedly, a component of this dialogue will be a study committee dedicated to security. One wonders if the deep dysfunction of the security state will be meaningfully addressed. The reconciliation between the people & the police is fundamental to the future stability of Egypt. More violence—the Mubarak solution—is not the answer.


p.s. Overlapping the police narrative, is the related issue of Port Said as a flashpoint in the wider federalism debate in Egypt—where all sate power resides in Cairo and the rights of the periphery remain, well, peripheral. For a nice look at the marginalization of the Sinai, check this short documentary produced by our pal Anjali Kamat for Al-Jazeera.

p.p.s. did you see this incredible photo of the protests in downtown Cairo?

Kempinski protest

First Person Shooter

November 14, 2012

In keeping pace with American imperial ambition, the video game industry has invaded foreign lands. Several years ago when Modern Warfare 2 was released a friend who follows the grisly aspects of the US war in Afghanistan told me that the game’s climactic scene was copied almost exactly from a leaked AC 130 gun-camera video (“shot-for-shot” was his dark pun). The leaked video showed the American gunship strafing dozens of Afghans on a hilltop outpost—and now in the video game version lil’ ol’ you got to pull the trigger. Like many of these games, the villains here are technically “Russians” (to be politically sensitive? lol), but players understand who is really being shot in Afghanistan. Americans seem quite eager to participate in armchair-imperial-bloodlust-snuff-film-cum-entertainment, but let’s not mix-up our adventures in Afghanistan & forget who we sub-contracted to actually fight the Soviets… oh yeah, Al-Qaeda!

So last week came the kerfuffle that at least seven members of Seal Team 6 have been disciplined by the Navy for assisting game designers of Medal of Honor: Warfighter simulate the raid that killed Al-Qaeda guru/posterboy/financier/inhouse-hack-poet Osama bin Laden. How dare they help in producing America’s premier propaganda!? They are supposed to leave that to the Navy itself! (The other irony, of course, is that modern warfare, like Modern Warfare, is already a video game: we have all read stories about military employees controlling death-delivering drones from computer consoles in Nevada. Then leaving work to pick up kids from soccer practice. BTW: Does the Pentagon provide treatment for virtual-based PTSD?)

All this came to mind this week when reading about the new EP from Kuwaiti-born musician, Fatima al-Qadiri. As she told Pitchfork’s Ruth Saxelby the EP, “Desert Strike”, is named after a video game of the same name from her childhood.

It’s named after a Sega Megadrive game from 1992, based on Operation Desert Storm from the first Gulf War in 1991…. The record is dedicated to this sci-fi period of my childhood—surviving the invasion of Kuwait, the war, and then playing a video game based on those events a year later.

Holy Shit & Dark & Unreal. The vantage of the game is American (obviously), so young Fatima would be playing as the U.S. invading her neighborhood—commanding digital helicopters as they bomb the region, steering toys of the tanks that rumbled the real highways outside her childhood windows. The surreal mixtures of experiences: first-hand and virtual. The evil twin of the bullshit we’re always carrying on about!

Screen capture from Sega’s 1992 game “Desert Strike: Return to The Gulf”. In development, the game was based on the Lebanese Civil War and titled Beirut Breakout, but the setting was changed to coincide with Desert Storm.

The original iteration of the game penalized players “if they destroyed objects that resulted in negative economic and political results”, but this feature was not popular during internal review and was scrapped. Oi.



For all of you fretting that the gaming industry is woefully retrospective, fear not: the recent game Battlefield III is set in Iran. Cool foreshadowing for WWIII? Fingers crossed!

Not enough line-blurring for you? The new Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 features a cameo from man-o-th’-hour Gen. Petraeus. (Picture)

p.s. It is convenient that the leaked gunship videos (etc.) that inspire these game sequences are in a familiar format: first-person shooter. And isn’t assuming that POV the point of this entertainment/propaganda? [Related: Of the many sites that host leaked combat videos pls note that brands itself “Shock & Awe Entertainment“]


November 6, 2012

After Republicans lose the presidential election several things will happen on the stupid TV. First there will be a scramble for excuses. Much of this will be borne of anguished disappointment, but for many key players & talking heads there will be a compelling self-interest in naming a scapegoat. (Can you imagine a sweaty Karl Rove explaining to his SuperPAC donors that their $300,000,000 just went up in smoke?—better start scapegoating pronto!) But as attention turns toward governing, there will be an argument from the right that the election did not confer “a broad mandate”.

Because, y’know, Obama’s coalition will be comprised of a strong majority of only Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, single women, educated urban whites, etc. But he only captured perhaps 30% of the general white vote—y’know, the votes that really count.




White Supremacy Update: Here is one of several round-ups of Rage Blanche that you might read. Instead of couching bigotry in terms of “there is no mandate”, Das KKKrazy Arseholes are bounding 9 steps ahead and saying “there is no America”. “The white establishment is now the minority,” O’Reilly says, “It’s not a traditional America anymore.” Or, more succinctly, Victoria Jackson’s appraisal of the election:

Human Debacle, contd.

October 18, 2012

Last month, as the world burned in reaction to “The Innocence of Muslims” nonsense, the most interesting response came from activists in Syria. In Kafranbel, where government warplanes had recently reduced to rubble the city’s most revered mosque, residents wondered why there was outsized fury at an asinine youtube video. Oh, such furious displays of piety in the Arab world!—at some internet bullshit!—& yet where among these bold defenders of religion was equal outrage at an Arab tyrant IRL exploding houses of worship?

Keen Kats in Kafranbel highlighting the hypocrisy of anti-youtube protests.

I thought of this protest poster yesterday when I read the devastating news that the 12th century Umayyad Mosque in the Old City of Aleppo had been trashed during skirmishes.

The Grand Umayyad Mosque, October 15. Last week, 500 shops in the adjacent old bazaar—in continual operation since the Middle Ages—were destroyed by fire.

Apparently, government forces had been using the mosque compound as a hideout & military depot for months. In the same article I read the stunning extent to which Syrian cultural heritage has been “collateral damage” of that terrible war.

Five of Syria’s six World Heritage sites have been damaged in the fighting, according to UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural agency. Looters have broken into one of the world’s best-preserved Crusader castles, Crac des Chevaliers, and ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra have been damaged.

So depressing.

Kontinue Reading…

Black Angel Lead and Zinc Mine

October 1, 2012

“For me, I wouldn’t mind if the whole ice cap disappears,” said Ole Christiansen, the chief executive of NunamMinerals, Greenland’s largest homegrown mining company, as he picked his way along a proposed gold mining site up the fjord from Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. “As it melts, we’re seeing new places with very attractive geology.”

The Black Angel lead and zinc mine, which closed in 1990, is applying to reopen this year, said Jorgen T. Hammeken-Holm, who oversees licensing at the country’s mining bureau, “because the ice is in retreat and you’re getting much more to explore.”

“This is huge; we could be mining this for the next 100 years,” said Eric Sondergaard, a geologist with the Australian-owned company Greenland Minerals and Energy, who was on the outskirts of Narsaq one day recently, picking at rocks on a moon-like plateau rich with an estimated 10.5 million tons of rare earth ore.

“If we don’t get this mine,” he said, “Narsaq will just get smaller and smaller.”

Don’t ask why I was watching Jay Leno last night!

September 27, 2012

Earlier this week Joe Nocero had a column about the new list of “Forbes 400 Richest Americans”. It included this devastating couplet of facts:

In the last year alone, the cumulative net worth of the wealthiest 400 people, by Forbes’s calculation, rose by $200 billion. [Pause to ponder that figure!] That compares with a 4 percent drop in median household income last year, according to the Census Bureau. One would be hard pressed to find a clearer example of how powerfully income inequality has taken root.

Last night Jay Leno made a crack about Forbes’ list during his monologue that caught my ear / boiled my blood:

Forbes Magazine has come out with its annual list of the 400 Richest Americans. If it shows you how bad the economy is 200 hundred of them have moved back in with their parents!

AHHHH SO ULTIMATELY WILLFULLY OPPOSITE. Wealth inequality is so fucked up & destructive in this country, and Jay Leno (Jay Leno!) is so obscenely & flagrantly wealthy, that making mindless cracks about the social chasm is like making offhand jokes about———whoops, can’t complete the analogy because I just shot myself in the face!

Keep Reading: More Hell

Spot the Suzerain

August 31, 2012

Speaking of ugly culture! Did we hear that 2011 was a bumper crop for global arms sales? $66billion, up from the previous year’s measly $21.4billion worth of mechanized death. In fact, weapons sales to Saudi Arabia alone ($33.4billion) were greater than total global sales for the previous record year (2009, $31billion). Do these preposterous exchanges of wealth & trophy remind anyone else of ancient kings offering tribute to one another? Rare spices, a ruby pendant, and a shipment of wheat to proclaim fealty —> 84 advanced F-15 fighter jets, a bouquet of missiles.

Except that with the U.S. & the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I can’t tell who is paying tribute to whom?! Is it a kindness of the Saudis to support our darling defense industry, or is it a kindness of the U.S. to give collectors-item death toys to a regime that doesn’t need them? Actually, it may be more like when heads of state meet and swap gifts of local significance (a violin from the Italian Ambassador, a rare wine from the French attaché). It’s just that the U.S.’s renowned, signature handicraft happens to be war instruments, of which we dedicate great efforts towards their refinement. The U.S. is like: Here is our exquisite F-15, I do hope you like it. And Saudi Arabia is like: Here are several vaults of cash, I do know how much you enjoy the stuff.

Also from the desk of Weird Empire:

Did anyone read this magniloquent jawn in the WPost about the woman who (maybe) thwarted a rogue Navy provocation of Iran and was (maybe) fired for her meddling? So many taken-for-granted shady dealings and “back-channels to rogue states”. Glad to know that when you peel back the curtain of empire, everyone involved sounds like a massive dill. Anyhow, one passage will jump out as silly self-mythologizing to anyone who has visited Egypt:

From there on, her life would seem to unfold as if it were an episode of “Alias” or “Covert Affairs.” One time, “I hired a car and driver and drove across the Sinai from Cairo to the Israeli border, with Abba [sic!] blaring on the stereo and feeling rather like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” she recalled. Destination: Eliat, on the Red Sea. Mission: scuba diving.

Driving from Cairo to Eilat to go diving is the equivalent of driving to the Outer Banks to go… diving. You just drive there. And maybe you play loud music along the way! She seems like someone who took to heart that corny H.S. Thompson exhortation: “Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors.” Barf. Must’ve been written during his tenure at

Booke 1, Page 1 of “The Consolation of Philosophy”

August 25, 2012

Take that flute and flute it

August 8, 2012

Advance apologies for sloshing into mainstream electoral politics.

This morning I was reading the Post‘s lead editorial [ugh, what has my life come 2???] concerning Harry Reid’s ongoing challenge to Mitt Romney that he reveal his tax returns. Harry Reid latest tactic is to speculate publicly that Romney didn’t pay any income taxes for 10 years. Seems like a pretty standard political gambit, right? Reid is overreaching, sure, but to refute the charge Romney would have to release embarrassing information. But the Post is aghast.

If the senator has any proof, he owes it to Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, to put it on the record, now. Otherwise, Mr. Reid ought to pause and reflect on the record of another senator who once claimed to have a list of Communists and spies at the State Department — and could not substantiate it.

Oh shit, is the Post insinuating that Harry Reid is as bad as Joseph McCarthy? Oh, wait, no, it’s not insinuation:

Mr. Reid’s smear tactics are not unlike those of Joseph McCarthy and deserve equal condemnation.

KABOOM! Baiting a presidential nominee about his un-disclosed tax filings is on par with the broad & systematic witch hunts of private citizens by the House Un-American Activities Committee? I’d say the Post doesn’t know any better… except that the term “McCarthyism” was coined by The Washington Post! One can only assume then, that drawing this insane moral equivalence stems from a pandemic of false consciousness for our financial overlords.


Did I mention that I bought a COFFIN?


[Every time I hear Harry Reid’s name I automatically think of the epic hit song “Reed Flute” by the underground sensation I’m In Love With You.]

Vauxhall & Islam

June 15, 2012

If you’ll recall, during the parliamentary elections all the thousands of wooden ballot boxes of a voting district were trucked to a huge, centralized counting center. If you’ll also recall, these centers—housed under makeshift tents inside stadiums & schoolyards & social clubs—were scenes of absolute mayhem. Thousands of military personnel, military trucks, judges, polling staff, and political operatives converged on a single gated entrance. It took hours to fight the wild throngs at the gate to gain entrance to observe the wild throngs counting votes.

So this time around the procedures have changed: votes are now counted inside each polling station; these local results are recorded on a few small forms, which are then aggregated on the district and governorate level. So… [why always these long preliminary paragraphs?!] So…

Late into the night we sat in the polling station while the judge emptied the ballot boxes and tallied the votes. In front of the fixed gaze of campaign agents, the judge dealt out a long parade of ballots into separate piles, one for each candidate. Hamdeen… Hamdeen… Moussa… Foutouh… Morsi… Morsi… Morsi… Every time the judge said “Morsi” I grinned, imagining he was saying Morrissey Morrissey… Morrissey. And I pictured the Egyptian voter entering the booth, running his pen up & down the ballot, and ticking the box for Morrissey (over Shafiq and Abel Fotouh (and Depeche Mode and Flock of Seagulls)).

Caption Caption [Courtesy of Black Cherry]


Caption Caption [Courtesy of Hell N. Carey]

We shared these crucial lulz images with a few friends. Farrah [pic’d at bottom] nodded but shook her head: “I always favored Johnny Marr’s guitar chops… over Moz’s crooning and dramatics. Conclusion: my ears hear Marrsi.” The Inimitable Tad (aka Field Marshal Tadtawi) took my Flock of Seagulls Elections Joke and raised me a Flock of Seagulls Elections Joke, sending me this ballot paper from the 2010 Malaysian elections.

The second party listed on the 2010 Mandaluyong ballot: Flock of Seagulls. (Party 69: Hotdogs; Party 77: Itchy Worms.) How u like dat civil disobedience?! Next level pomo stylie: pop culture / literal election ballot mash-up! Who’s Paper Rad now?? Mandaluyong is Paper Rad now.)

So, yes, to improve yr amusement: for the hectic rest of campaigning, re-imagine every newspaper article about the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate to be a trippy article about our favorite grim dandy crooner, Morrissey.

DIY window tint in Damanhour. Nasser… ?… Sadat… Who will be next? Maybe Moz’s mug!

Morsi claims to be the candidate of the revolution, so, appealing to the frustration of activists, perhaps he should change his campaign slogan to “How Soon Is Now?” If elected maybe Morsi will change the popular slogan “The Army & The People One Hand” to “The Army & The People One Hand (In Glove)”.

&If SCAF steals the election: “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby”


OUROBOROS OMNIBUS! Holy shint, there’re a lots of wordz to say about the ongoing hidden-in-plain-sight military-judicial coup—as Neil says “Counter-Revolution in tha buildingzz!”—but jah gotta do some work right now for the insane elections tomorrow. Pls consider the above/below an ruff draft! Much to set the quill to, including:

*Mubarak’s whack verdict! What up with that! Plus: The Mubarak verdict foreshadowed by the romance novel found in my hotel lobby.

I found this steamy tome about the sexy & the undead in my hotel foyer. We were sitting around waiting for the Mubarak verdict to be issued so I cracked the spine. Chapter One: “The Last Council”. Go on… The first line—I swear on baby jesus’ teal bonnet: “‘How much longer will the verdict take, do you think?’ Clary asked.”

Plus, the more/most serious issue: How the Mubarak verdict gave the green light to all the smaller, provincial police violence cases—the message: it’s cool to let the killers go now. [Winning quote from Morrissey: “We want the love between the people and the army and the police to return, because unity between the people would protect the people from the beasts that want to eat the flesh of the people [referring to thefts and killing of the ousted regime],” Morsy added.] [My emphasis??!?] Spoiler alert: for friends who remember that never-ending research project I did for that Harper’s article… well… the villain is now as free as cotton candy aloft in a fragrant zephyr. [So have we all agreed to forget how monstrous the Egyptian police were before & during the revolution?]

*Shafiq proceeding in the election + parliament being dissolved! KaBoom!

*Freudian Typos on Al Jazeera!

*Visiting Shafiq’s summer villa compound! AKA All Wealth Is Stolen AKA Scream Until You… Actually Just Keep Screaming!

* The military announcing the reinstatement of the Emergency Law. Almost forgot about that one!

*New nonsense t-shirts, including:

Not just fine art, “fine ass art”. In smaller print “Unway Lagoon Resort”

…and this afternoon’s acquisition:

“Why I got kucked out of The Beatles”. Great topic. And the four lads (crossing Abbey Road??–slant allusion??) are having the most _____ conversation. Gazing off toward the mushroom cloud two ask “Nice one boy?” one asks “one boy?” and the fourth remarks “Lao Scene in the northern mountains of Laos, near here we saw men walk”. At the bottom it mentions The Beatles again: “The Beatles Again”.

* An amazing new arts space in Alex leading to more reflections on the nature of political art! Y’know, fine ass art!

[Wait, an friend just sent an picture from last night—sorta sorry I’m not on Facepage to see these things!]

The fierce & charming Dina Wadidi last night at Teatro. (And also a shoegazing foreign dude on the floor with his friend Sabrine. What up, Sabrine!)

p.s. Dina sang a romping rousing rendition of Kifeya Aish [“Stop Cheating”] dedicated to Shafiq & all the judicial nonsense of yesterday.

* Some comments related to Maria Bustillos recent essay on Oscar Wilde +++ Ricks on A.E. Houseman’s “Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?”. [Bustillos is the best—why are her books so terribly titled?]

*All I’m saying is that we’ve got some stuff to catch up on here! Egypt is getting weird! And I’m not just talking about the recently ubiquitous SpongeBob SquarePants paraphernalia or the tiny plastic lawn chairs.

Perhaps this is the wrong question, but what are we supposed to *do* with tiny plastic lawn chairs?

don’t much care for our in-house mercenary overlords

October 29, 2011

Lockheed Martin, by their own admission, is run by a cabal of satanic zombies. The below picture (untampered!) of top executives appeared in the corporation’s 2009 Annual Report. Ahh! Just look at those bloodless motherfuckers!

Like all real monsters, these ghouls try relentlessly to break into my house (through the radio).

Every morning I am subjected to Lockheed Martins’ slogan, slavishly read by NPR announcers:

Lockheed Martin: We never forget who we’re working for

And… umm… who exactly is that? The highest bidder? Pakistan, Israel, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Chile, or any other of your dozen-plus foreign government warfare? Maybe the United Arab Emirates, to whom you leaked classified information and tried to arrange illegal arms sales? Or maybe you mean the American government, the source of 80% of your revenue? But that’d be a little weird considering you’ve been convicted of fraud by the federal government in each of the last three years and rank #1 in the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database with 57 legal violations since 1995 and nearly $600m in fines. So maybe you just mean the American people more generally. That’d make some sense. After all, as the largest ‘defense’ contractor in the world and hyper-siphon of public moneys, Americans essentially pay an annual Lockheed Martin Tax. Dag, in 2009 alone you received upwards of $125 for every man, woman, and transgender baby in the Union.

And as war profiteers/mongers, it’s very cute of your marketing department to devise a slogan that incorporates never forget. I bet you do hope we never forget! The Globo War On Terror has been an un-small boon for biz. Snap, since 9/11 shares of your stock have nearly quadrupled in price! Congrats, you’re making a killing! I hate you!

I’m just saying, I reserve a special Fuck You for Lockheed Martin. I rank my personal Lockheed Martin Fuck You above even my Goldman Sachs Fuck You—I mean, shit, Lockheed Martin got bailed out too.

But anyway! this is old news! I only bring up this dirty [blood-stained] laundry because of some ripe bullshit I And I heard on the Kojo Nnamdi Show yesterday. Apparently, the Montgomery County Council passed a non-binding peace resolution that mildly suggests the federal gov’t should reassess its spending priorities in this Era of Austerity; that our nation would be better served by investing less in war and more in education & health & infrastructure. VERY KONTROVERSIAL, I KNOW!

But Lockheed Martin no likey! They dispatched their $10m/year lobby team to dress down the peacenik council! And there is talk of Lockheed leaving Maryland altogether if Marylanders are going to be so unhelpful to the war cause! Waaaah! The Chair of the County Council sympathized with his bros at Lockheed and warned the Council against passing the resolution, stating that it is “a dagger pointed directly at the heart of Montgomery County”. Sweet murder imagery, you tool! And I like how weapons manufacturing is “at the heart” of Montgomery County… I told you these dudes openly admit to being satanic zombies.

Grim Peeper

October 26, 2011

Leontius, the son of Aglaion, was coming up from the Piraeus, close to the outer side of the north wall, when he saw some dead bodies lying near the executioner and he felt a desire to look at them, and at the same time felt disgust at the thought, and tried to turn aside. For some time he fought with himself and put his hand over his eyes, but in the end the desire got the better of him, and opening his eyes wide with his fingers he ran forward to the bodies, saying, “There you are, curse you, have your fill of the lovely spectacle!”

Plato, Republic, Book IV


Number of the ten most popular prime-time television dramas that regularly feature corpses: 8

Harper’s, March 2011


Everybody Loves Raymond Looking Qaddafi’s Slain Corpse! True, prime-time drama gives us a good sample-spoon of necro-gawking, but on special occasions we get the real thing! Sci-fi distopianists/CNN have long promised us live war & death as entertainment, but it’s hardly as regular or often as we might like. But what a feast for the eyes we’ve had lately in Libya! And where’s his body now?? In the industrial fridge?? In the desert!! I hope bedouins don’t exhume his shallow grave because they’re only likely to have lo-res cell phone video capability, which is good for that authentic snuff film vibe, but the blood hues and depth-of-field for deep gashes are well nigh of satisfactory.

I swear, if it weren’t for all the iPads lying around, I might think the 21st Century wasn’t too modern. Hunting down Arab kings and killing them like village dogs? Am I reading all this on a boastful parchment scroll brought back from Antioch in the Lord’s Year 1245? Are we bringing back desiccated heads from battle and hoisting them on pikes in the town square? I’m glad that the New York Times has found its calling in the digital age! The more things change, the worse they get! It’s also cool how the hard-learned lessons/rationale of the international tribunals at Nuremburg or Tokyo or The Hague are not even garbled side-chatter in the national conversation… forget we ever learned 1 thing about transitional justice/salvaging an teensy slice of humanity from carnage… everybody just do that right-dark urge!

How quaint a disposition, that young Leontius! How passé to be conflicted about staring at the gory result of public executions. Don’t worry, history won’t frown on your grim-grave voyeurism. In a few short centuries the Romans will spread gladiatorial arenas about the realm and institutionalize blood-sport death-entertainment. In Libya even? You bet! Shit, about a hundred miles from modern-day Sirte they built a massive arena at Leptis Magna where archaeologists recently uncovered an huge mosaic depicting a gladiator “resting in a state of fatigue and staring at his slain opponent.” Like Pee-Wee said: Take a picture [make a mosaic], it’ll last longer. This gazing-at-gazing-at-corpse art—esteemed by scholars as one of the finest examples of representational mosaics extant and a “masterpiece comparable in quality with the Alexander Mosaic in Pompeii”—originally graced the walls of a dang swimming pool at a Roman villa. Ah yes, spare no expense to capture in portrait the unfortunates of mortal combat… an glorious ting to ogle whilst splish-splash chillaxin in my roman play-tub.

Joyce Carol Oates, an aficionado of face-punching, wrote in On Boxing (1987) that the allure of the brutal contest is the dramatic arc of the fight and, ultimately, the satisfaction of “a final and incontestable judgment”. The spectators enjoy vicariously the struggle and share in the triumph. And when this spectacle is geo-political we all get to play at Empire and share in the kill, the final judgment. Now, as with the ancient arena, once the opponent “lay prone on the sands, everyone regardless of status or age could indulge in a short-lived group fantasy of being a dominus, a master, with the power to grant life or death.”

And what better way to play empire than dress-up?! This Halloween, go gung-ho for country and show the whole neighborhood that you, too, have internalized the sociopathic ideals of constant global warfare and that you are on trend with Arabphobia.


Oh yeah, we got him! And now that the death-image trophy is beamed real-time to all our glowing screens we can recline & glib-smug-chuckle at the distant death of our imperial villains.

The satisfaction of “a final and incontestable judgment” indeed!

I like how the Late Night Show, which has nothing to say on any weighty matter, weighs in on the metaphysical terrain of HELL. Y’know, our show doesn’t have any religious affiliation, and we don’t really condemn or endorse anything of consequence, but from time to time we like to venture a lil’ divine judgement on the passage of souls in the afterlife. In jest of course.

It gives the show real backbone! We are not wishy-washy; we take absolute stands on matters of moral gravity! Reminds me of how the Washington Post editorial board recently took a bold, courageous stand against the inscription on the MLK memorial you’ve got his meaning all wrong! — while never pecking one lonesome keystroke for anything resembling MLK’s message. This, of course, the same editorial board that championed the Iraq War with red spirals in their eye(s). e.g. See Section A1 for our coverage on Fuck Peace; See the Style Section for our beloved annual contest Fuck Peeps.



Friday Blues Pt. 3

October 22, 2011

Should have better known

October 19, 2011

You know that sinking feeling you had during the big bank bailouts when you realized that the public rescue packages came with no strings attached? You know, that moment when the banks were panicked & desperate and the government had the golden opportunity to say, “if you want this money, it comes with serious reforms”? But instead, nothing was done and we let them dust off, regain their footing, and now they’re back 2 dem kool old wayz… almost as if no one learned anything! The expression of frustration that always comes to mind is: we had them on the mat.

I think a lot of Egyptians had a similar feeling in the months after Mubarak fell, when the remnants of the old regime were disoriented and defeated. “Now is the time to change the old institutions,” an activist told me. “But I see nothing happening.” The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had the chance to fundamentally re-shape the country’s security sector—that monstrous body that propped up the old regime—but it wavered and did nothing, for whatever reason.

Now after the sinister attack on Christian demonstrators this month at Maspero in downtown Cairo I wonder if even SCAF itself is beginning to regret letting the old, corrupt security apparatus up from the mat? Yasmine El Rashid’s new piece at NYRB suggests some of the culprits behind this recent massacre in Cairo:

Then there is the matter of paid thugs who seem to have taken part. Official government memos obtained by local newspapers in recent weeks indicate that there is a network of some 165,000 thugs who worked for the State Security apparatus and who have been used by agents of the former regime in various assaults over the past six months. Within army ranks, it is believed that destabilizing SCAF itself may be one of their targets; a plot orchestrated from within the existent and underground remnants of Mubarak’s security apparatus. Indeed, amid the violence of Maspero, plainclothes state security agents and thugs seemed to have played more of a part then the soldiers themselves as the night wore on.

What is it they say happens when you make dealz w/ the devil?


Heartbreak Hotel

September 12, 2011

Friday Blues Pt. 2

September 10, 2011

Blass From The Past: This Old Chestnut

May 20, 2011

Seems as good a time as any to revisit this little gem. BTW, should we talk about celebrating death now, or later? When do we get to talk about how stupid the idea of “countries” is? Can we talk about “who” deserves “what”??

Smug Cock

May 3, 2011