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Viewing blog entries in category: random political nonsense

  • Iain Aschendale
    Waiting in line this morning and a man in his fifties brazenly cut straight in front of me and a dozen other passengers to secure the best seat on the bus for himself and I find a spot sit down open the virtual paper on my phone and see an opinion piece demanding sensory friendly showings of movies and plays for people with autism and that Belgian law allows euthanasia of people with autism and that a middle-class white woman is complaining that someone laughed at her child’s name which is Abcde and the president’s lawyer has pled guilty to more counts of lying to Congress about working with the Russians and 737s will crash because of a safety feature that can’t be overridden and I wonder at what point where when why all my feigned progressivism is going to be seen as the embarrassing relics of a bygone age don’t mind him it was a different time back then yes but why is he yelling at that empty chair mom?

  • Iain Aschendale
    My alarm wakes me from dreams of Weimar street fighting, but these take place no on old sped-up black and white newsreels but the vivid colors and shaky cellphone cams of YouTube, police hovercraft spilling their skirts to blast protester and counter-protester alike down the street, thugs in makeshift riot gear tapping their shields to an internal rhythm before exploding against their opposite numbers their opponents their enemies them a man using the American flag as a spear a club bashing some cowering wretch into the pavement and I've been awake seven minutes now and it's Thursday again just Thursday but I don't want to check the news, not just yet.

    Foxxx, Oscar Leigh and Some Guy like this.
  • Iain Aschendale
    I didn't much like the movie Vanilla Sky, but it's the example that comes to mind right now (if you haven't read The Execution Channel by Ken McLeod. If you have, you'll have a clearer idea of what I'm getting at).

    There's so much going on in the Debate Room news these days. The US president's unconventional, and some say dangerous style of leadership, climate change, the World Cup, earthquakes and flooding here in Japan, Nicaragua has deployed a high number of internal checkpoints for what reason I know not, I'm sure you could post a dozen things happening in your own sphere of interest, but these past couple weeks I can't shake the feeling that somehow that little story that keeps popping up in the background, those Thai boys trapped in the cave, the retired Thai Navy SEAL who died trying to save them, their teacher a former monk training them in meditation techniques to reduce oxygen consumption in their little bubble of air down there deep in the earth, that that's going to be the big reveal, that was what the story was about the whole time, we just didn't realize it because it was on the channel the bartender switched away from to catch the footie, the autoplay video in the sidebar that we muted, the story on the side of the newspaper that faced the camera, not the MC....
    Moon, Jenissej, John-Wayne and 3 others like this.
  • Iain Aschendale
    I'm watching a documentary on North Korea on National Geographic, and they're talking about the Sony Pictures hack. The guy (sorry, missed his name and credentials) on the screen says "That a tiny little country, a fourth-rate power, managed to bring down a movie studio is proof of their power outside their borders."

    That is...

    Fuck Americans. So fucking convinced of our superiority in all things that we're amazed that a sovereign nation could do damage to a fucking entertainment company? An entertainment company that was set to release a fourth-rate comedy that, oh, incidentally called for the assassination of their head of state?

    I'm no fan of North Korea or the Kims. My first adult job was trying to bring those people down, but goddamnit America, can you not realize the entitlement your project? Just for a moment?

    Prolly not.
  • Iain Aschendale
    "The Last Emperor" was on the TV again.

    I've been there. Mrs A and I visited Beijing five or seven years ago, my first visit to a... strategic competitor (?) country.

    Ages ago, in another life, the Army of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea serenaded me to sleep at night. It was cool, there were three strands of concertina wire and a couple of miles of mountains between me and the most heavily guarded frontier in the world.

    Plus, I kept one of the two loaded magazines we were allowed to have.

    Nobody else wanted to bother with it.

    But anyway, we went to Beijing, decades later. Had to leave my passport with the Chinese consulate for about two weeks to get my visa, and, as someone raised on the "Pulp Fiction watch" principle of passport control, that was tough. Here's the thing about China: Go to your local Chinatown, and search out the crappiest, most low-rent souvenir store you can find.

    Pretty damn authentic.

    It was a good time.

    So in between my trip to Korea (with sixty-five of my closest friends and an automatic rifle) and my trip to Beijing (with my Asian wife and a proper tourist visa), I stopped by Turkey, among other places.

    Turks are fucking weird. They put their damn flag up almost everywhere.

    Especially conquered military installations, like Bronze-age stone forts built by those dastardly Hittites.

    So, they're pretty much like Americans. Fucking flags everywhere.


    And in China, the tourist junk shops, the ones aimed at the Chinese tourists, were selling those stupid little battery powered crawling soldiers.

    You know the ones. Like this, even with the M-16ish, just a paint job and a big Chinese flag:

    How can they fly that flag? How can they do that in.... China?

    Right. That flag's only sixty or so years old, they've got a much shorter history than us Americans...



    And then there was the changing of the guard. The area where the souvenir shops was was just across the street from Tienanmen Square, behind the wall where the famous portrait is hung:

    Right behind there (that shot isn't mine, but it's from Tienanmen Square itself) is actually in the Forbidden City itself, just not in the bit you have to pay to see.

    And we got to see the changing of the guard there.

    Ever seen the changing of the guard?

    Anywhere, that is, not just Beijing. I've seen it at the Tomb of the Unknowns, the old palace in Seoul, the Military Museum in Istanbul, and...

    You haven't.

    Because the other places I've seen it were real, like the site on Hill 666 (an alias) in Korea, and the western gate of Camp Suzie, and a score of other places, including afternoon formation at Tienanmen North.

    I didn't take pictures.

    There was a group, call it roughly a Marine platoon, of guys in.. Beijing police uniforms? Anyway, forty or so... no, thirty or so guys in uniform, and ten or so men in distinctly casual clothes, who knew how to march and come to attention.

    Forgive me for not have taken pictures, but this was something that was meant to be witnessed, not recorded.

    Am I losing my train of thought? Dunno, maybe.


    So then we went to see Chairman Mao. He's been preserved in a mausoleum in the middle of the square.

    Mao is one of the greatest monsters of the twentieth century.

    Yet, while we were waiting, coming into the building itself, several older men detached themselves from the main line where it split, to stand in front of the statue of Mao.

    And bow and clap, in keeping with Eastern traditional prayers.

    To some people, Mao is a hero.

    To some people, he isn't.

    To a lot of people, George Washington is a hero.

    To some people, he isn't.

    To a lot of people, Dwight Eisenhower is a hero.

    To some people, he isn't.

    To a lot of people, Barack Obama is a hero.

    To some people, he isn't.

    I could just go on and on, but tonight, I've got a headache.*

    *spot the quote? anyone?
    TheDankTank and Lifeline like this.