Cartoon Friday: Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, in honor of the #munkdebate

So as I post, this debate in Toronto is already fifty minutes underwazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Of course, I’m skipping it — I made plans already to more enjoyably shoot carpet staples into my gums –but this hashtag, #munkdebate, at least offers a helpful guide to assholes on Twitter, and yeah, I mean on both sides. Do the rubes ever get tired of earnestly following this nonsense? I realize that life affords upper middle class white people ever fewer opportunities to get deep up inside their colons, but can they just, like, do more yoga or something? Must they be so publicly credulous and dull?

Anyway, as part of my Iconic Left Cessation program, I am trying to restrict myself mostly to mockery, rather than earnestly demonstrating what a reactionary, self-serving, lying piece of shit Glenn Greenwald is. So to that end, I offer two lesser known characters from the Warner Brothers cartoon heyday, Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, in Punching the Clock and dedicate it, with all due respect, to Greenwald, Hayden and Co. May the best man walk out in front of a bus or something.

See also:

Walter Glass Posits Permissible Conspiracism

Rancid Discussion Thread: Blow Me, Rich Dude

Passing Noam on My Way Out, Part 2: Chomsky vs. Aaron Swartz

In Conclusion

A Heat Vampire in Search of a Movie Deal

Fuck the Guardian: Take Your Drip and Stick It

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39 Responses to Cartoon Friday: Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, in honor of the #munkdebate

  1. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    I’ll take Security State Theater for five hundred, Alex.

    • Government Stakeholder says:

      Alex Trebek: “all right Security State Theater for $500….”

      And here’s the clue: Fearless, adversarial journalist Glenn Greenwald walked up to the Wendy’s register and ordered a Frosty. He took his Frosty into the bathroom and sat it on the floor. He pulled his pants down, got down on all fours, and buried the tip of his cock in the cold brown swirl. Then he forced his cock and balls all the way down into the cup, Frosty spilling on to the floor. GG thought real sexy thoughts. His erection slowly forced more Frosty on to the floor.

      Jeopardy contestant’s response: “What is the real test of a drink’s thickness?”

      • diane says:

        We now interrupt this program to offer Colonial Life Insurance to those losers who have no money left trying to live a do no harm life to bury themselves or their loved ones when they prematurely die.

        Oh look! isn’t that Alex, with a brand new wax job (oh Alex, we hardly knew thee! …so freshly waxed! ….. 80 is the new 30 for those who have not much problem with doing harm (or alternatively doing the dirty work for harmers so they could live with far more than they ever needed to survive comfortably), ….whatsoever).

      • diane says:

        (For those not yet subject to Free TV as the last affordable audio video ‘entertainment’ viewing, a rather creepy, far ‘younger’/waxier looking Alex Trebek has been starring in a Colonial Life Insurance commercial on predominantly comcast owned Free TV (which (free FCC broadcasting) used to mean ALL Television, not that very long ago), for well over a year now, gently chiding the non thought leader masses to take responsibility for burying themselves and their riff raff loved ones, when they can no longer afford a roof over their heads, let alone monthly insurance.)

  2. Jay23 says:

    I couldn’t resist checking it out. A commenter nailed it: how the hell can you “debate” what the NSA is doing when we really have no fucking idea how far it extends? (Even after the paltry amount of revelations.)

  3. Jay23 says:

    It was 95% worthless BTW – a more erudite and long winded version of CNN’s Crossfire. The public can be trusted to choose between platitudes hollered by each side, but not the bulk of the truth of what is occurring.

  4. chepasa says:

    There was no point to it at all — except for the entertainment and the spectacle factors for those who are into that sort of thing.

    The argument, such as it ever was, is stale, nothing whatever has been resolved or corrected vis a vis domestic and international surveillance despite all the revelations, and Greenwald’s hysterics haven’t moved the issue at all. Nothing that happened at the Toronto event will change that fact.

    Hayden has presented the same pitch everywhere he’s appeared. It’s tired, old, and boring. Dershowitz has nothing to offer unless you like argument for its own sake.

    Ohanian was new to me. Despite the fact that Greenwald’s claque trashed him mercilessly for his orange shoes, good looks, and well-spoken but repetitive points, given the pretenses of the others, he came across as the only adult in the room.

    His basic point was that “it’s business” and the way the Security State has behaved has interfered with (American) business and profit — so the Security State must be curbed.

    Sad to say, the Almighty Dollar is what resonates isn’t it?

  5. Braan says:

    I have to say that the clear grand-standing by GG was particularly pathetic. He even called direct attention to the fact that only he has it all, leaving it unsaid, that therefore he is the only one who should be believed/listened to etc.

  6. Harpfool says:

    As someone in the radical minority living and working in the Toronto area, I’m saddened by Canada’s self-revelation as the sort of moral and intellectual cesspool that is happy to host debates like this – and the debaters. Though the ultimate was probably the fabulously ironic Blair/Hitchens debate 4 yrs ago on religion (read Christianity) as a force for GOOD – a war criminal and a war crime supporter having a chummy little disagreement, in front of a gold-plated crowd of superior fellow travellers. All courtesy of a taxpayer supported charitable foundation set up by a kleptocrat. Kissinger has participated in these in the past without being arrested, so I imagine we’ll be seeing fellow Nobel lauriate Barry O pontificating up here in the not too distant future.

    • Tarzie says:

      Very amusing comment. I didn’t realize this was a national tradition. Blair/Hitchens debating is some through the looking glass stuff. But then I am at pains to name a single celebrity atheist that would throw all that ‘Thou shalt not kill’ stuff back in Blair’s face. Fake debates are the rule not the exception, sadly.

      • Harpfool says:

        Turns out it’s twice a year! There are enough assholes available to run it that often!

        Peter Munk is Mr Gold up here. He and his Missus formed this little charity to put on these imperial kabuki performances. Name an antisocial success story and they’ve probably participated – Larry Summers, Kissinger as mentioned, etc. Check out the history – in the inaugeral 2008 debate the audience decided the world was safer with a Republican. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munk_Debates.

        I believe entertainment is provided by Nero on fiddle, and catering is courtesy of Marie Antoinette.

      • Tarzie says:

        I’d still rather live in Toronto.

  7. DAV says:

    if the Constitution is not respected as the ultimate limitation on the powers of the federal government, then there is, quite simply, no such thing as ‘law’.

  8. d.mantis says:

    What I love the most is the description of a presumably super-serious question that is, in and of itself incredibly complex in regards to its function and operational systems, not to mention the impact on society both domestically and abroad. Yet is boiled down to a simple binary choice in which participant’s nuanced perspectives concerning the Surveillance State’s methods, context and execution can be encapsulated in a simple binary choice.

    Pro or Con…go fuck yourself. To add insult to an already massive head wound, the “Con” position is headlined by an asshole that has literally bragged about censoring material prior to consulting with authorities to get their input on further censoring.

    Jesus Christ, I think I may give myself an aneurism.

    • Tarzie says:

      What I love the most is the description of a presumably super-serious question that is, in and of itself incredibly complex…[ Note to readers: Munk debate resolution was “Be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms” ]

      That’s a great observation which I regret not having made when I first posted. To be fair, it’s better than the originally proposed, ‘Be it resolved state surveillance is quite super duper really’.

      Pro or Con…go fuck yourself.

      Really is there any way this ‘debate’ can be framed that isn’t beside the fucking point? I am reminded of this classic from Silber:

      Funny thing about “debates”: when you debate an opponent, you grant, at minimum, a patina of legitimacy to the other side. “I want to murder you!” “I don’t want you to murder me!” Let’s debate! Maybe we can compromise on a less violent murder. Maybe I won’t notice that I’m dead.

      • d.mantis says:

        Great find!! I can’t believe I had forgotten that line. If you allow yourself to accept the narrative of news-cycle debate on an issue like “resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defense of our freedoms” you have already lost. The actual point exists prior to this concept in the realm of “Is the surveillance state necessary?”

        Yeah, I think the ‘super duper’ is implied though. And I grant that these things are always tangential. They are basically a circle-jerk with a nice set. Shit, after I read the summary of the debate and then I read who was participating, I felt like I had been kicked in the balls after being kicked in the balls.

        As to how the question could have been framed…i actually don’t know. You’re no doubt right about these types of things. They could have been a little more covert in their signals to authority though. For example, what in the holy hell does “resolved state surveillance” actually mean? What does this entail? What specifically was resolved? How was it resolved? What new means and systems are in place that were not prior to resolving? For that matter “Be it…” really pisses me off too. It establishes a given that allows the fuckwads on the “Pro” side to argue from a position that is unassailable because it DOESN’T FUCKING EXIST.

        I mean, come on guys…at least try not to have a boner all during dinner before you try to fuck us.

      • Tom Allen says:

        Speaking of Silber, in a classic post from October he predicted the dearth of stories due to the Omidyar website and the book. If anything, he was optimistic about how soon new stories/the book would be published. (Silly Silber — he didn’t take into account the delay introduced by the massive number of awards the establishment would force on the oh-so-adversarial journalists. Priorities, people!)

        http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/fucked-baby.html

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah, pretty much

        Thusly and therefore: it appears to me that there might be a few dribbles of Snowden stories between now and then — but essentially nothing new will come out until the book is published (and the movie deal is well in place and already being written, for the movie folk probably will have had the ms for a couple of months by then). In other words: the Snowden stories will come close to stopping altogether for four to six months. In fact, that process has already begun. We’re only getting the occasional dribble now.

        — though I think others were publishing besides Greenwald until early January. Not sure if the movie deal has been nailed down yet. GG probably thinks he gets more leverage on that by holding out until the book goes to the top of the NYT bestseller list. We’re gonna be stuck with this charade for the next ten years.

  9. Steve says:

    9 may 2014
    On the periphery of the hologram

    Hey Tarzie,

    Haven’t checked you out recently because I’m in the country, as in hamlet (pop 40), and have neither the net nor a super phone, but I was finishing off a tree that had to come down, and came up with the following:

    Chomsky’s approach to research in linguistics was kind of like a not very talented fly fisherman with a newly acquired collection of flies: Without a hint of what fly fishing was about, he just kept casting them out there until something bit or he managed to snag one.

    Thought you might like that one, even though it’s rather snarky. Send this when I can.

    Best,

    Steve

    • Tarzie says:

      have neither the net nor a super phone

      It sounds dreamy.

      Chomsky’s approach to research in linguistics…

      I know too little about linguistics to comment on Chomsky’s work in that realm, though I like your characterization just the same. From the sound of things, getting his theories to catch had something to do with his vigorous, allegedly ruthless campaign for them as well as their utility to the military that funded a lot of his early work.

      I have to say, though, that as a layperson, the meta-language theory appeals intuitively to me, and Chomsky’s observations about how quickly children absorb language resonate with my own. To be honest, I find Chomsky more satisfying when he talks linguistics than when he talks politics and social change. But like I said, I know literally nothing about linguistics or cognitive development. On political matters, the more I observe him the more ridiculously over-admired I think he is, so certainly open to reconsidering him elsewhere.

      • Steve says:

        One of his flies caught a Foucault idea. Seduced me, too. Until I read a few of his lesser celebrated contemporaries and started swimming a little deeper.

      • Adam says:

        Y’all might find some linguistic anthropological research more interesting and salient to your overall political concerns here, rather than linguistics. As I understand it, Chomsky is mostly associated with the formalist tradition of linguistics that views language as an abstract human faculty and ignores the troublesome task of accounting for what language “does” in specific sociocultural and historical contexts. In fact, he’s sometimes invoked as a kind of baddie in sociocultural linguistics because he did a lot to push linguistics back towards formalism at a time when linguists had started doing a lot of interesting collaborative work with sociologists. Actually I’ve often wondered how it is that all of his political writing and speaking hasn’t led him away from the study of idealized, abstract language users and toward, say, something like critical discourse analysis.

        Tarzie, since you mention children absorbing language, you might enjoy reading some work by Elinor Ochs and Bambi Schieffelin, if you haven’t already. They have done the most influential linguistic anthropological work on language socialization that I know of and a lot of their articles and chapters are available for free online.

      • babaganusz says:

        Thanks, Adam, for leaving a useful tip at the end of all that.

      • Adam says:

        I tried to keep it short, but once you venture out of the realm of saying things everyone on here pretty much already knows (albeit in a sufficiently funny or sarcastic way), you never know when you are going to be a “knowing knower.”

      • Tarzie says:

        you never know when you are going to be a “knowing knower.”

        Maybe you should direct your pointless dig to the person who made the pointless dig at you. I liked your comment, but feel free to lash out at me for anything any of my readers might say. After all, I’m the only one getting rich on y’alls subscriptions.

        Clearly there is no objection around here to actually knowing things; it’s highly prized. ‘Knowing knower’ is reserved for the kind of self-consciously savvy dipshit that avoids these parts like the plague. But if I called you some variation of asshole once, I’m extrapolating that maybe you had it coming.

        Still, if you’re getting diminishing returns from all this funny/sarcastic same old shit, well, perhaps you should run along and do something weirdly wonderfully hostile along with affable Baba.

      • babaganusz says:

        all i meant was that dropping actual names was of far more value than, e.g., “a few of his lesser celebrated contemporaries.” “all of that” was meant to include the thread which prompted him to respond (which i suppose gets indirect credit for the prompting).

  10. RUKidding says:

    I knew about this Kabuki Show “debate,” and then it eminated from my radio recently. I hadn’t read Silber’s comment, but my first thought was similar: by even “debating” such a topic, it is granting at least minimal validity to both “sides.” What a load of hooey. Other than Ohanian, who I didn’t know about before, I mostly cannot stand any of the other performing Seals (as in Circus, not Navy) and pretty much already knew what Dull (yes – exactly) claptrap they’d bark out. I switched the dial on my radio. Life’s too short to waste a precious nanosecond on such crap. No thanks.

    I was never a Greenwald groupie, but correct me if I’m wrong. It seemed to me that some years ago he wasn’t too bad of a journo. What’s happened since then is up for grabs. Seems like Omidyar’s billion$ may have done the trick and gotten him to go fully to the dark side.

    As for Snowden? I still feel he played a role in alerting a brain-dead populace about what was truly going on. One may posit that “everyone knew all this already.” Well, no, no they didn’t. My one tiny bit of gratitude to Snowden is that now I don’t get the “take off your tinfoil hat” commentary so much. Citizens can choose to go back to sleep, but they can no longer tell me that I’m nuts. So there’s that, at least. And so on…

    Thanks for your posts here. I swing by now & then and enjoy the discussions.

    • As for Snowden? I still feel he played a role in alerting a brain-dead populace about what was truly going on. One may posit that “everyone knew all this already.” Well, no, no they didn’t.

      The extent of electronic surveillance wasn’t exactly a mystery prior to Snowden, Room 641A was a pretty big story in 2006. And tend to doubt that the “brain-dead” populace has learned much more that’s concrete since Snowden. I’m not aware of any polls, but I’d be curious what the populace has actually learned from the NSA drips.

      Citizens can choose to go back to sleep, but they can no longer tell me that I’m nuts. So there’s that, at least.

      Vindication feels good, but I think you may be overestimating the utility of your personal sense of vindication to the larger picture. Any number of tinfoil hats can be taken off, and sunlight can shine into every corner, unless there is change, the surveillance will simply be nornalized.

      Looking around after Snowden, so far I see Polks and Pulitzers stacked eye level, and not much else.

      • Tarzie says:

        My feelings pretty much exactly. To me this goes to the whole problem of valuing information of this kind for its own sake, entirely separate from any impact it’s had. In addition to being the most conspicuous outcome, those Polks and Pulitzers attest to how entirely subservient, and therefore entirely not conducive to meaningful change, the Snowden whistleblowing event has been.

        If you factor in Greenwald’s and Snowden’s ideological assault on the left, the extent to which middle class lefts idiotically identify Greenwald’s ‘fight’ and ambition as their own, the paranoia about surveillance that’s been spread all around and wallowed in, and the normalization factor, I’d say we’re looking at a rather large net negative. I feel no ambivalence in saying we’d have been better off without it.

      • RUKidding says:

        Well I’m not looking for vindication, so I may not have made myself clear. What I’m attempting to communicate is that it makes my ability to discuss these issues with others a bit easier now. No longer am I totally shut down & ignored for being “crazy” because surely “these things simply aren’t happening.” That’s mainly what I’m getting at. It lends credence when I do attempt to discuss these issues with others.

        I keep hearing/reading – as with your comment – that again “these were known.” Well perhaps amongst your circle of friends and affiliates and acquaintances, such issues were clear as day. Probably my circle of acquaintances and friends are numbskulls; they either did not know or refused to acknowledge how widespread the domestic spying is. Now they can’t go into complete denial about it, and it opens door – at least for me – to discuss this within a framework.

        Will it work wonders? Probably not, but I can bring up the topic without being shot down as a nutbag. That’s all I was getting at.

      • Tarzie says:

        Will it work wonders? Probably not, but I can bring up the topic without being shot down as a nutbag. That’s all I was getting at.

        I sympathize. I have said in the past that all I really want at this point is fewer credulous dunces in my midst. But then, the Snowden spectacle seems to have simply altered the terms of that credulity. People who feel vindicated by Snowden’s revelations seem more credulous and stupid than ever. They won’t laugh when you say they’re all under surveillance, but try suggesting that this dialogue is happening only because certain elites — including elites close to the security establishment — want it to happen and see where that goes. Point out that Pierre Omidyar is within, at most, four friendly phone calls of James Clapper and let the tinfoil hatting commence. Don’t even think about bringing up his proximity to USAID and neo-nazis in Ukraine. I mean, what’s that got to do with anything? Glenny has journalistic independence! Nope, they want their little David and Goliath cum Batman and Robin story and Greenwald will dutifully, profitably and prize-winningly provide it.

        See, the ball has barely gone forward if we all still need permission from subservient journalists before we can connect dots and draw logical inferences about where technology + power lead. If anything, the Snowden Spectacle, under Greenwald’s and Snowden’s relentlessly ideological custodianship, has promoted more childish illusions about power than it has dispelled, along with galvanizing the role of the journalist as whistleblower liaison and gatekeeper of permissible paranoia. So it’s wonderful that Snowden got your friends all caught up on exactly one node in a giant surveillance network with a cache of somewhat dated, heavily redacted documents from a single Federal agency. But keep your freak flag at half mast until the media next gives you permission to fly it.

      • RUKidding says:

        Thank you for further discussion about this topic, Tarzie. I definitely get your point and agree that perhaps I am being naïve in my viewpoints. Points to ponder. That said, some of my acquaintances are deeply cynical about the whole Ukraine debacle, and many are aware of the Nazi’s that our tax dollars paid to hire to engineer yet another coup. Dawning awakening? Or am I being naïve again? Time will tell. Onwards.

      • Tarzie says:

        some of my acquaintances are deeply cynical about the whole Ukraine debacle, and many are aware of the Nazis that our tax dollars paid to hire to engineer yet another coup.

        No doubt. But are they connecting the dots between the debacle and Omidyar? Does it cast a pall over the sudden renaissance in ‘adversarial journalism.’? If yes, then it’s despite Greenwald and Co’s best efforts to have them do otherwise.

        Time will tell us what? That we will eventually be so surfeited with elite-commoditized horror we’ll stop seeking catharsis in knowing and do something else?

      • RUKidding says:

        Some are connecting the dots between Omidyar & Ukraine; some are not. What’s not clear to me is, even when connecting the dots Omidyar-Ukraine, how many are then seeing the dots between Omidyar-Snowden (via you know who). When will I get up and do something? I don’t know bc I don’t know what to do beyond tracking – to the best of my feeble capacity – what’s going on. I’m out of other ideas. Used to be quite the busy bee back in the day and may have accomplished a thing or 2. Nowadays, feel pretty useless. Suggestions are welcome.

      • Tarzie says:

        Hey, I wasn’t disparaging you for not doing enough. We’re all fractured and largely powerless and I am out of ideas myself. Lately I am inclined toward retrenchment and the whole ‘act locally’ thing.

        I was simply pointing out that we are in this constant wait-and-see mode, while studying up for some test we’ll never take. I think all the information an intelligent person needs to conclude that this entire system is fucked from top to bottom has been available for years. There is no piece of information that will rouse the sleeping giant of the genpop when most of them already know everything is fucked, even if not in a particularly congealed or principled way. Studying the contours of our cages is fine if you’re into that sort of thing, but there is no need to wait and see on where it leads. It leads to Pulitzers and Polks and movie deals for a handful, swollen coffers for appropriately subservient non-profits, and precisely nowhere for the rest of us.

      • RUKidding says:

        Yeah, ok. Just thought maybe you had a brainstorm or 2. Most of my pals and I are also into think local, plus what can I do to make myself somewhat independent-ish (growing food, that kind of thing), plus helping the community. One of my pals and I do say to each other: why bother to study and try to connect the dots anymore as we know, like you said, basically the system is utterly rotten to the core, it’s corrupt & dysfunctional, and that’s that. Ain’t nothing we can do to make it better, other than to try to help ourselves and our families and friends. But… well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that feeling that knowledge is power and/or curiosity. Plus I do regularly have some who ask me for insights. Seems to help if I’m up to date and can point to a current event and discuss with some knowledge. Albeit I have been known to say simply: the whole system is corrupt. If you’re in the 99%, you ain’t getting ahead – or very far ahead – anymore, so figure out how to survive. And try to be good to those around you. I think that about sums it up.

      • babaganusz says:

        See, the ball has barely gone forward if we all still need permission from subservient journalists before we can connect dots and draw logical inferences about where technology + power lead.

        for me, the latest worst urine-steam-screen has been the horseshit along the lines of “oh, we were up to our necks in unfamiliar applications of technology, we just had to think of SOMETHING to even begin scratching the surface of making sense of it all…” because supposedly there are still enough citizens willing to shrug off any serious analysis of What Movers And Shakers Are Willing To Do To Keep ‘Us’ Safe to at least tacitly assume that the highest-funded military Ever has EVER been a dime short on technological know-how, and thereby keep these deluded and/or control-obsessed power-mad fucks in rotation. (or at least that’s what they want us to believe.)

        We’re all fractured and largely powerless and I am out of ideas myself. Lately I am inclined toward retrenchment and the whole ‘act locally’ thing.

        I have noticed with some relief that [e.g.] David Graeber doesn’t get shit upon around here (for the most part). then again, there’s hardly a danger of him becoming a darling icon of Da Left (or any Faction de la Respectabilitie) as things stand.

  11. Steve says:

    At the risk of pissing off any number of your readers because of the sophomoric content of what I’m about to post, please delete it if it seems just that …

    *****

    I was thinking the other day about something Tyler Durden added at the end of one his posts at Zero Hedge which went something like this:

    This certainly isn’t the country I remember when I was growing up.

    “Amen to that!” I thought to myself. But then I thought back to when I was a kid, in the fifties, to an afternoon when my father and I were torching an infestation of tent caterpillars in a pear tree. Yeah, times were pretty good. We lived in a small, mostly agricultural town in southeast Michigan, officially thirty-two miles north of Detroit, but it seemed like a far foreign country to me whenever we went down there. I could ride my bike the five or six downhill blocks to school and not have to lock it up. We seldom locked the house, the car keys were always in the ignition, our dog was free to run, like all the other dogs and cats in the neighborhood, but was always there when I got home from school.

    It was also the time when there was talk of bomb shelters and we practiced crawling under our desks at school, should the Russians ever decide to bomb us. It was also the time of making Central America safer and more profitable for the big fruit companies, using the most violent means available other than outright destroying those poor countries. And I remember asking my father what was wrong in paying a fair price for our coffee or bananas? since being fair, honest, sharing, and doing my chores were the conditions necessary for getting my measly allowance so I could go to the “show”, or add to my baseball card collection, for accession to a successful adulthood. Why couldn’t we pay a little more, a fair price, so the farmers down there could lead a decent life too?

    Then, looking over the hills to the north (from where I figured a Russian missile come), I asked why a Russian farmer would want to fight with an American farmer anyway? I thought WW II had settled all those questions.

    Of course I was not aware of the coup we had engineered in Iran or the discovery of well number seven in Dhahran, but took it for granted that gas was cheap, maybe a nickel a gallon, and that, later on, for five or ten bucks we could race around the dirt country roads all we wanted and stop in at the local A&W to have a tray loaded with burgers and “pop” hung on the window and, if the weather conditions were right, listen to WABC from New York, WOWO from Ft Wayne, or some station out of Nashville just as a change from the Detroit stations. The regionally cultural differences still existed back then, and we dreamed about our “two Jacks”, London and Kerouac, and having our own convertibles rather than our fathers’ station wagons or sailing the world and wandering around exotic seaports.

    In fact, my first car was an old beat-up, cigar-smelling 1959 white Ford wagon, six cylinders, three on the column, with bald tires my father sold me for fifty bucks out of the small fleet of identical Ford wagons that the salesmen used. This one became available because Larry, one of the most successful sales guys, one Saturday night decided to hook a hose to the tailpipe right there in the warehouse. They found him sometime on Sunday, the car still running. I was pretty creeped out about driving Larry’s car, and later found a brand new bottle of Jim Beam under the spare tire, which I hid in an old filing cabinet behind a pile of old office stuff and damaged kitchen cabinets that probably wouldn’t be moved for years, if ever.

    Obviously, it wasn’t the car of my dreams, but it was wheels, and even if one of the conditions of having it was taking inventory every Sunday night, and turning up dead tired about five in the morning, so be it. If I wasn’t working or playing baseball, I was either learning how to make that old wagon go faster down at a small garage where the guys who worked there, and where I bought my gas, thought it was pretty funny that I spent so much time on that old thing, or simply driving the dirt roads that stretched for miles in any direction around town, idling along, wondering if the cornfields or orchards looked any different in Russia or Iowa, or if I would ever screw up the courage to ask Bobbie Eisenhardt out for a date, even though she was a year older.

    So yes, Mr Durden, I would agree with you that the world we have now certainly isn’t the world of our childhoods, except … that, in fact, it was, and still is. Those dreamsy childhood days were an illusion, a camouflaged, Disneyesque version, custom built just for you and me and millions like us. In spite of Ike’s warning about the military-industrial complex, the money men had been scheming since the get-go. They were organizing the European Union, overthrowing the governments everywhere, doing all sorts of stuff that we were accusing socialist and communist states of doing. And until the race riots broke out and some of the truth about VietNam became apparent, too many of us had been happily lulled into submission by having lots of useless stuff.

    Just like the world we have today where, a few exceptions aside, we still have that uniquely American vision of things, except for the fact that instead of idling down that country road towards some dreamy future, we are accelerating, pedal-to-the metal, into a nightmare.

  12. tanglebum says:

    “…the dots between the debacle and Omidyar?”

    Is he at the apex? Or just a cog in a golden wheel?
    Maybe billionaires have to pledge allegiance to something. Besides each other I mean.
    What would that look like?
    What’s his vision, who shares it? Elites, yeah okay, but what besides self-interest unites them?
    Nothing’s hard to believe. They’re probably normal enough to have to have some kind of rationale. But I don’t know.
    I’ve met and spoken with a few millionaires, but not a representative sample. And no billionaires.
    It seems vital if not crucial to get a sense of what they’re doing long-term, what they think they’re doing anyway. To anticipate their moves.

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