Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Thursday, March 30, 2006


I have noticed a new phrase that is slowly seeping into our language. That phrase is as follows: blah blah. Think I'm crazy? Listen for it, and you'll be amazed at a) how often you hear it and b) how often you find the words "" coming out of your very own mouth. I'm no Samuel Johnson, but the lexicographer in me approximates the meaning of "" as "I'm not sure if you understood me, so let me reiterate my point." I find that one says this curious (and inherently contradictory) phrase most often when confronted with an imperfect (so one thinks) response to/summarization of an idea that one has expostulated. While you may be bored to weeping by conjectures on spontaneous language formation, I find it fascinating. And it's my blog, so there.

"So you like language?"

"Yeah, no, I just like how little phrases just sprout from the ether. I don't think anyone sat down and decided that they were going to say ',' it just happened. I say it myself sometimes; I certainly didn't ever plan on it."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

We Are The Media

This started as a comment on a post at Suburban Guerrilla, but ended up as here on SOTU as a full-fledged blog post. Aren't you lucky.

Below is a quote from said post at SG.

This is one of the things that infuriates me about the media and, like Duncan, I just don’t get it. Clearly, there’s something about the emphasis on credentialism that’s attracting journalists who are constitutionally incapable of questioning the status quo.

But of course, media ownership is concentrated in a handful of corporate interests who are more interested in making money than they are in saving democracy.
While I agree that the media is composed primarily of snivelling sycophants, yearning for the opportunity to place their lips firmly on the ass of power, I think it is largely a waste of time to wonder why they don't cover the important issues of the day. The answer is quite simple, and one which Susie hit on herself in her post: money.

Corporate media has one job. Reporting the news? Try again. Uncovering the truth? You've got to be kidding me. The one task that corporate media is interested in achieving is turning a profit. Period. There's no either/or here. No publisher sits in his office weighing whether she wants to a) save democracy and in the process disappoint stockholders because everyone flipped over to FOX or b) say to hell with the country let's run another story where we can show topless, fuzzed-out ladies getting mammograms. Whatever stories get the high ratings are the stories they go with. If a detailed report about the dangers of the unitary executive will cause people to flip the channel, it ain't gettin run. If a week-long series on Natalee Holloway makes the papers fly off the shelves, look for part 2 next quarter.

I feel the only things that we can do are a) try to put them out of business by not watching/reading/listening etc. and b) reporting the truth ourselves. The press is whoever has a press. In the Internet age, we all have a press. We are the media. We should not expect anything from The Media, we should expect things from ourselves. The Media, in terms of something that exists outside the sphere of influence of the common citizen, is dying. We are returning to the age of the pamphleteer, when passionate individuals like Thomas Paine invigorated a nation. We should realize the tremendous, increasing power we have to influence what topics are discussed.

"The Media" (if that label even means anything these days) will NEVER be a public service. The company balance sheet will inform them what "their job" is, not national interest. Let's not waste our valuable energy wondering why our favorite newspapers don't print stories about things that matter or why the same familiar reporters keep asking the same softball questions. Just like we don't waste our time wondering why Exxon funds anti-global-warming research. Just like we don't waste our time wondering why insurance companies lobby against national healthcare.

The press is not something that is out there, but something that is "in here" **pounds chest**. Expecting/hoping/becoming infuriated that the certain outlets that we deem "the press" or "the media" or whatever don't take the health of our nation seriously enough only serves to empower those outlets and enfeeble our own efforts. If a question needs asking, we need to be the ones to ask it. We need to get our own reporters in that press room. We need to work to erase the "unserious" stigma that unfairly plagues bloggers. The more we infiltrate the press conferences, the more the truth will be out. This can be done and it must be done. But it must be done BY US. Wishing that someone else would do it for us is as good as giving up.

Ben the Pen

I love how right-wing cheerleaders keep referring to Ben Domenech's blatant and repeated plagiarism as a "mistake." Even more, how his "owning up" to these "mistakes" may just vault him up to the moral high ground.

Here's the news, chumps: habitual plagiarism is not a "mistake," but a symptom of a fundamental and more or less permanent flaw in one's character. Ben is a liar and a thief. Period.


I'm not going to judge anyone else for wearing fur, but after seeing this graphic video, I cannot in good conscience wear it myself. Not that I ever have worn fur, so this isn't exactly a huge sacrifice, but it is a little sad knowing that I will never be Mr. Male Fur Coat Wearer.

I caution you on the graphic video. It's pretty disturbing. How so? The animals are skinned alive. Repeat. SKINNED ALIVE.

12 sided salute to the incredible juggernaut, Hedonistica.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Duke Puke

I have three words to say now that Duke has been unceremoniously bounced from the NCAA tournament:

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Oh yeah, I have three words for J.J., too:

C. B. A.


I’m tired. So tired. Last Tuesday I was in Philadelphia. I stood where brave and treasonous patriots drafted the Declaration of Independence. I stood in the room where these same men debated the Constitution. When I got home to Chicago, I joked with friends that now that I’ve been to the Philly, where they created our sacred documents, I should make sure to plan a trip to Washington, D.C., where our leaders are currently destroying them. Bookends of a sort, eh? But kidding aside, as our volunteer tour guide spoke about the replica furniture, I thought to myself that such discussion of how to govern a nation, the fierce counterpoint that forged our nation’s structure and ideals, is now extinct. Maybe we will drag it up from the deep one day, like a coelacanth hooked on an unsuspecting line, but I begin to despair. The Republican position on nearly every issue takes but one consideration into account: how will this make us and our big contributers richer. The health of the nation is of absolutely no concern to them. The sole measure of control that they seek to achieve is the destination of the vast sums of money that they alone have the power to route. What use would such people have for the conversations that shaped the USA into the greatest, most powerful nation in the world? Of what interest is the breathtaking potential of its people and its resources? It simply doesn’t matter. And so many people, so many, just don’t care. They just don’t. And I’m tired of hearing them. I am tired of talking to them. Tired of giving them examples. Tired of asking them to consider this or this or this or this. Tired of talking about the fundamental disconnect between trying to fight terror and prop up the US oil industry at the exact same time. Tired of pointing out that being against the war in Iraq doesn’t make you a terror sympathizer, that it doesn’t even mean you’re not a hawk! I’m tired of being asked to, metaphorically speaking, “prove gravity.” I don’t mean to say that the liberal position and, by extension, liberals are always, or even often, right, correct, moral, etc. But just that we have one side arguing for the liberal position and the other side arguing…what? They argue nothing. Just nothing. Savvy taxpayers are encouraged to purchase gas guzzling SUVs. Wiretaps now are authorized without judicial oversight. Medicare is so expensive not because of any incredible drug benefit to seniors, but the jaw-dropping giveaways to pharmaceutical companies. And why? Thinking in terms of nation building, that is, building OUR NATION, the terms within which the architects of our nation considered the effect of each proposal, thinking in those terms, what actual positive effect could these policies have? The care that went into the intricate system of checks and balances, the framers no doubt waking in the middle of the night having thought of yet another contingency to plan for, another roadblock to throw across the path to corruption, where is this care in the modern Republican party? What gets them up in the dead of night? A foolproof way to funnel war profits to campaign contributors? Another ploy to solidify the pulling of the R lever into an article of faith for millions of ignorant and deluded fundamentalists? Or maybe it’s just me losing sleep. Sometimes I just can't force myself to see the gusts for the typhoon. Why point out the odd whipping palm and uprooted street sign when you’re STANDING IN THE MIDST OF A HURRICANE? Can’t you see it? Can’t you see it? It wasn’t always like this. It’s doesn’t have to be this way. It could be so much better. But I get so tired of saying it. Tired of trying to scream my voice above the driving wind and rain. So tired.

Also when I was in Philly, I stopped by the local chapter of Drinking Liberally (a vibrant group of dedicated individuals) and got to meet Upyernoz, a tremendous blogger, and my first and best “blog-friend.” We had a great time talking about blogging, politics and life with the rest of the gang. Everyone made me feel very welcome. A fantastic time.

This blog is based on a true story.