Master of This Domain


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hello my baby hello my honey... 

I pity you all for being inundated day in and day out with the latest american freak-out also known as the Terri Affair. America will do just about anything to distract itself from stuff that really matters. To put it all in perspective, I encourage you to check out this short post at The Talent Show. In it you will learn what this whole affair and the singing and dancing frog from Loony Toons have in common. I hope to never bring this story up again.
posted by Kermit at 3/29/2005 11:53:00 PM |

Friday, March 18, 2005

Just to make you jealous... 

...it's 70 degrees here today. In the shade. Life is good.
posted by Kermit at 3/18/2005 05:30:00 PM |

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


I was doing my usual trawl through the blogs and came upon this post and discussion about torturing capitives in Iraq. I have heard from right wing sources for a while now that the torutre we have seen is not really torure but it wouldn't be wrong if it were. Immediately after reading the aforementioned post I read a letter George Orwell had written to the Times in 1942. I think it speaks for itself:

May I be allowed to offer on or two reflections on the British Governments' decision to retaliate against German prisoners, which seems so far to have aroused extraudinarily little protest?

By chaining up German prisoners in response to similar action by the Germans, we descend, at any rate in the eyes of the ordinary observer, to the level of our enemies. It is unquestionable when one thinks of the history of the past ten years that there is a deep moral difference between democracy and Fascism, but if we go on the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth we simply cause that difference to be forgotten. Moreover, in the matter of ruthlessness we are unlikely to compete successfully with our enemies. As the Italian radio has just proclaimed, the Fascist principle is two eyes for an eye and a whole set of teeth for one tooth. At some point or another public opinion in England will flinch from the implications of this statement, and it is not very difficult to foresee what will happen. As a result of our action the Germans will chain up more British prisoners, we shall have to follow suit by chaining up more Axis prisoners, and so it will continue till logically all the prisoners on either side will be in chains. In practice, of course, we shall become disgusted with the process first, and we shall announce that the chaining up will now cease, leaving, almost certainly, more British than Axis prisoners in fetters. We shall have thus acted both barbarously and weakly, damaging our own good name without succeeding in terrorising the enemy. It seems to me that the civilised answer to the German action would be something like this: "You proclaim that you are putting thousands of British prisoners in chains because some half-dozen Germans or thereabouts were temporarily tied up during the Dieppe raid. This is disgustion hypocrisy, in the first place because of your own record during the past ten years, in the second place because troops who have taken prisoners have got to secure them somehow until they can get them to a place of safety, and to tie men's hands in such circumstances is totally different from chaining up a helpless prisoner who is already in an internment camp. At this moment, we cannot stop you maltreating our prisoners, though we shall probably remember it at the peace settlement, but don't fear that we shall retaliate in kind. You are Nazis, we are civilised men. This latest act of yours simply demonstrates the difference."

At this moment this may not seem a very satisfying reply, but I suggest that to anyone who looks back in three months' time, it will seem better than what we are doing at present and it is the duty of those who can keep their heads to protest before the inherently silly process of retaliation against the helpless is carried any further. (emphasis mine)

George Orwell, 12 October 1942

In other words you can't out-Nazi the Nazis and shouldn't bother trying. It is also worth noting that his reference to the "ordinary observer" goes beyond the merely hypothetical. Hindsight being what it is, most people look at Hitler and his merits and faults as a closed subject. While there is now definitely something of a consensus on that account it wasn't always that way. Back in the 30's and even in the 40's, it was not universally accepted that Fascism was evil. For many people it was and remains appealing. There were many who weren't particularly fond of either side in the war, fence-sitters if you will. I believe Orwell saw, much like I do, little things like the treatment of prisoners as greatly important in the war of ideas that was, and continues to rage. Now as then the world is again teeming with fence-sitters and many of which who are vitally important to, if not win over, then at least not alienate any further. Be it the average citizen of Iraq, Iran, or some far away country like Indonesia. Revenge feels good. This is clear. We had 3 Death Wish films to prove that point. However, tactics such as torture do little to help make our case to the student in Tehran but instead aid only in blurring the lines between us and the people to whom we claim to be so superior. We are now fighting on evil's terrain and face the danger of becoming what we hate or at the least least having others see us as such. That matters. This is our chance to demonstrate the difference between us and a bunch of hateful, religious, loons but we unfortunately seem all too eager to diminish that very vital distinction, at any rate in the eyes of the ordinary observer.

posted by Kermit at 3/08/2005 02:22:00 PM |

Monday, March 07, 2005

The beat is still going on 

The reports of my death ... However the reports of my laziness were spot on. I have been doing and thinking about stuff but I simply haven't felt the need to tell ya'll 'bout it. Everything is more or less fine and I hope to be writing again soon. I have a lot to say about the relationship between fascism, talk radio, and the Care Bears. A quick side note though. I was in Prague a couple weeks ago. There was this travelling Cabaret there and it was one night only so... and I saw that "Sideways" was in the theater there. Now I had heard all these wonderful things about this film. It was supposed to be everything and more. I thought to myself that maybe this film could succeed where the cabaret had failed as the cabaret had indeed been everything but hadn't quite provided the more. So off in search of the elusive more I went. It was nowhere to be found. Oh don't get me wrong, the movie was fine. It was sweet and charming, I learned a lot about how people talk about wine and the setting in So-Cal looked just so enticing to this stuck-in-Prague-in-the-middle-of-Februaryer. It was a decent movie. That's it. Decent. Nothing more, nothing less. That's not a knock against it but rather against films and us in general. We have grown so used to celluloid projected manure that when we actually get something that would fail to fertilize a large garden, we fall all over ourselves in praising what is in reality just a pretty little potted plant. Our standards have sunk to the level that good has become great and not sucking has become a term of endearment. This movie was right between not sucking and good with a little weight towards good which these days is about as high a praise as one can bestow upon a movie. The hunt for more continues.
posted by Kermit at 3/07/2005 12:37:00 PM |

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LTI: The Language of the Third reich

By: Viktor klemperer



By: Neal Stephenson