Superman Is Just All Right With Me

As is probably to be expected, some Freepers are claiming Superman as their own, and all us Liberals can keep our dirty, sex having hands off. But is Superman a conservative crusader? Well, not likely. For one thing, his creators, Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster were two good Jewish Kids from New York City. And as we all know, nothing Conservative comes out of New york City. For another, Superman stared out fighting Evil Capitalists. Crooked mine owners. Slum lords. Anyone who was trying to pull one over on the common working man. He was a Depression-era hero for the people, and a bit of a malcontent as well. he didn’t become a boyscout or start fighting super-villains until well after WWII started.

As for the claims that Superman is just a thinly veiled Christ-figure, well, yes and no. While there may be a few similar details to the myth of Jesus, Superman’s story shares quite a few of the basic Savior Myth Archetypes:

A culture hero is a mythological hero specific to some group (cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, etc.) who changes the world through invention or discovery. A typical culture hero might be credited as the discoverer of fire, or agriculture, songs, tradition and religion, and is usually the most important legendary figure of a people, sometimes as the founder of its ruling dynasty. The hero is sometimes said to be still living, but is often instead a star, constellation or purely spiritual in nature

In fact, Superman actually has more in common with Herakles than any other Hero. The comparison to Jesus gets even thinner with the new movie, flirting dangerously close to Da Vinnci Code territory, if you try and follow that train of thought out literally (we can talk more about this in comments, you spoil sports).

So, I’m not buying Superman as ass whoopin Jesus, fighting for the rights of unborn fetuses, one Nation, Under Oil Companies, for just the rich and no one else. If you Freepers want to write that story, you’ll have to steal some lesser-know hero to do it.

Donkeys, Lions and How To Tell the Difference

John Rogers has a fantastic essay up, just ripe for Memorial Day reading:

The point is by the broadest, most easily agreed-upon standards our side of the covenant with the troops is not being upheld. We are culpable, we are responsible, were are in fact guilty if we do not rectify this situation. And the only way to rectify this situation, in our form of government, is to go chew the shit out of the guys whose job it is to execute our will.

The problem is, these yahoos have managed an ugly trick. They have turned criticism of the policies of Bastards in Suits into criticism of The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. This, of course, is completely wrong, as one can easily tell the difference between the Bastards in Suits and The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. One group is in Suits, and Not Getting Shot At, while another is in Uniform, and Getting Shot At. Please, try to grasp this. Not the same.

There is a flip side. Some people confuse supporting the Bastards in Suits for supporting The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. This is, again, ridiculous. If the history of modern warfare has taught us anything, it’s that the Bastards in Suits spend an awful lot of time working the kinks out of plans involving The People in Uniform dying unpleasantly. They often screw that up. When they do screw up, it is incumbent upon Bastards in Suits to suffer criticism and fix the situation, as by comparison The People in Uniform are suffering shattered skulls, missing limbs and death. Which is, on my scale, exponentially more traumatic than criticism.

read the whole thing, which should be chiseled in marble somewhere.

Rock and Roll and The Top-Down Revolution

Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon found a chuckle-inducing exercise in conservative culture jamming, in the form of the top 50 Conservative Rock Songs.* She reviews the reviews and really zeroes in on the Conservative mindset and it’s blindspots, both political and cultural:

“1. “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” by The Who. The conservative movement is full of disillusioned revolutionaries; this could be their theme song, an oath that swears off naive idealism once and for all. “There’s nothing in the streets / Looks any different to me / And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye… Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss.” The instantly recognizable synthesizer intro, Pete Townshend’s ringing guitar, Keith Moon’s pounding drums, and Roger Daltrey’s wailing vocals make this one of the most explosive rock anthems ever recorded — the best number by a big band, and a classic for conservatives.”

The fact that they fall for the “small government” line and continue to elect Republicans who drive up deficits and curtail civil liberties demonstrates that conservatives are in fact easy to fool over and over and over again. Anyone who still trusts Bush after he lied to get us in the Iraq war is demonstrating a depth of gullibility previous unmeasurable by any instruments known to man.

But the choice of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was inevitable. The critical mythology of neo-conservatives is that they were once idealistic leftists and totally cool and could so get laid and knew where to buy the best weed but the tawdry stupidity of liberal beliefs ran them off. The seedy reality is that the only known human being to actually make the legitimate case that this is his life story is P.J. O’Rourke. The rest of them were just Marxists who ran off to be right wingers when they realized the American left wasn’t ever going to embrace Stalinist authoritarianism. All attempts to claim the mantle of pseudo-cool rebellion must be viewed in this light.

This right here explains two very important things about the Neo-Conservative mindset. First, they have no grasp of the concept of irony what so ever. None. Second, it explains why they love, love, love The President so much; they’re disgruntled radicals looking for a Daddy figure to teach them how to do the lockstep line dance. Who better to do that then the Decider?

It also points to why the vilify liberals so much, because they see us as simply younger, less mature versions of themselves. Sort of the way College Sophomores look down their nose at High School Seniors. They are just so unhip, because they haven’t figured out that all the cool kids are lining up to conform and join the trustfund revolution, where the rich steel from the poor and call it charity.

Now that The Decider and his gang have dropped bellow the point of no return in the polls, some old- school Conservatives are trying to play them off as closet liberals. And even though clearly some of the Neo-Cons– Rumsfeld and Cheney, most notably– come from a Marxist background, they are clearly enamored with authoritarian ideologies of the Right (It’s all that Traditional Family Values crap. Anytime someone starts nattering about The Old Time Religion and the Way Things Never Were, what they mean is, they want their Pa).

But the truly frightening fact about American Politics today is that the only thing standing between us and and a full blown Dictattorship is The Democrats.

Strange Frequencies

My Uncle works for the NSA. In fact, two uncles and an aunt work there. well, this one uncle, let’s call him Joe, he’s been there for going on twenty years or more, His job is so secret, he can’t tell his own mother (or brother or nephew) what he does.

About a year ago, Uncle Joe and I were driving along and we got to talking, which is a rare thing because Uncle joe is a perennially quiet man. He told me that at the NSA, every year they have to sign a legal document the thickness of a novel that says, in plain english that they will not spy on American citizens, under penalty of law.

Looks Like it’s about time me and Uncle Joe had another talk, because something’s not right over there:

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

“It’s the largest database ever assembled in the world,” said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA’s activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency’s goal is “to create a database of every call ever made” within the nation’s borders, this person added.

[…] Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, nominated Monday by President Bush to become the director of the CIA, headed the NSA from March 1999 to April 2005. In that post, Hayden would have overseen the agency’s domestic call-tracking program. Hayden declined to comment about the program. [emphasis added]

Gee, can’t imagine why General Hayden didn’t want to stick his dick in that beehive.

Apparently, President Codpiece says that the database won’t be mined or used for fishing, so don’t you worry, valerie Plame, we won’t be outing whistleblowers, or making partisan attacks. Which of course we know is total Bullshit.

As someone who mines databases for a living, I can tell you straight up, The President of the United States is a motherfucking liar. The databases I fish are filled with publishing information on books, MARC records and archival materials. These databases actually have something important in them, info about who you talk to. What harm could come from President kill Again getting his paws on that?

Atlanta Bound

I’m headed off to Atlanta for a couple of days on Double Super Top Secret Library Business,* so now posting until at least Thursday night. in the meantime, here are a few fun links to hold you over til then:

Belle Warring has a great little post over at Crooked Timber regarding our iminant train wreck with Iran. You’l laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll drink yourself into a stupor just to have respite from the cringe inducing shenannigans of the Bush Administration. It’s fun!

Amanda Marcot over at Pandagon talks about why all us pissed off Lefties are so pissed off and how that’s a good thing, contrary to popular belief (and by popular belief, I mean Right blogosphere disgruntlement over the fact that we haven’t all submitted naughty-puppy-like to their stern rolled up newspaper of fascism).

And there’s always Boing Boing.

_________

* The Atlanta Campus of my Unnamed Southern Art School is tripling the size of the library due to the recent acquisition of an entire other, smaller Art School, including their library of 30K volumes. The Executive Librarian and I are going to check out the space, confer with colleagues and meet my Atlanta campus doppleganger.

Read It While It’s Hot

Jane Smiley has some words of wisdom for the recent GOP deserters who just now, this very minute figured out Bush is full of shit.

You really, really need to read the whole thing. This is said often on blogs and then hardly anyone bothers to follow the link and really read the piece in question but this time, seriously. Go read it.

Then you�ll understand why this part needs to be tattooed on the foreheads of every Republican voter in the land:

Now you are fleeing him, but it’s only because he’s got the earmarks of a loser. Your problem is that you don’t know why he’s losing. You think he’s made mistakes. But no. He’s losing because the ideas that you taught him and demonstrated for him are bad ideas, self-destructive ideas, and even suicidal ideas. And they are immoral ideas. You should be ashamed of yourselves because not only have your ideas not worked to make the world a better place, they were inhumane and cruel to begin with, and they have served to cultivate and excuse the inhumane and cruel character traits of those who profess them.

That way, when they talk to some other recent refugee from the GOP-induced coma, they will know the truth and never forget it. they did this through their own shortsightedness and negligence.

Via Tristero at Hullabaloo.

No Boing For You

So, boingboing.net has been blocked by the sole, government owned ISP in the United Arab Emerites for, disseminating information that is “inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates.”

I’d like some Neocon who supports the President’s decision to hand our physical ports over to the UAE to explain this to me, because any country that bans Boing Boing is about as far from enlightened or democratic as you can get.

Xeni also points out that a Netfilter security firm employed by the US Gov. and several private sector corporations has blocked Boing Boing as well, dropping their url into the same category as porn sites. Which means the US Government is on the same page as the UAE when it comes to disseminating information. Like that’s a huge surprise.

Local Oaf Takes Advice From Well Meaning Krank; or: Is the Globe Warming, Or Is It Just Me?

George Washington was an honored veteran of two wars. Jefferson spoke three languages and wrote fluently in all of them.* Grant, it was said, could write in Greek with one hand while simultaneously writing in Latin with the other. President Bush, well, he gets his science from a science fiction author, and not even a good one:

In his new book about Mr. Bush, “Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush,” Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, “State of Fear,” suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat.

Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as “a dissenter on the theory of global warming,” writes that the president “avidly read” the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest “talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement.”

“The visit was not made public for fear of outraging environmentalists all the more,” he adds.

And so it has, fueling a common perception among environmental groups that Mr. Crichton’s dismissal of global warming, coupled with his popularity as a novelist and screenwriter, has undermined efforts to pass legislation intended to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that leading scientists say causes climate change.

Mr. Crichton, whose views in “State of Fear” helped him win the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ annual journalism award this month, has been a leading doubter of global warming and last September appeared before a Senate committee to argue that the supporting science was mixed, at best.

“This shows the president is more interested in science fiction than science,” Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, said after learning of the White House meeting. Mr. O’Donnell’s group monitors environmental policy.

“This administration has put no limit on global warming pollution and has consistently rebuffed any suggestion to do so,” he said.

I saw Barnes on the Daily show and on Bill Mahr, Friday. His book is pure hagiography and Barnes couldn’t defend it even a little without stumbling into lugubrious platitudes. I don’t know what Crichton’s problem is. He used to be smart and sort of cutting edge in the science department. Now he’s just a cranky shill for pseudoscience. I guess that’s what happens when real science passes your fiction by at light speed: what sounded far out and whizbang a decade ago now sounds haplessly naive and about as forward thinking as a coal burning car.

“But it burns coal! It can shuttle a man at twice the spead of a horse and gets fifty gallops to the hogshead!”

Oooh! Tell us more, Dr. Crichton.

Saving us From Sneaker Bombs, Again

UPI:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) — President Bush said Thursday an al-Qaida’s plot to attack Los Angeles was thwarted in 2002 by multinational cooperation.

Bush, speaking at a National Guard Association event in Washington, said al-Qaida had planned to use Asian operatives who would hijack a commercial airliner and crash it into the then-named Library Towers in Los Angeles.

The attackers, he added, had planned to use shoe-bombs to force entry into locked airline cockpits.

“Their plot was derailed in early 2002, when a Southeast Asian nation arrested a key al-Qaida operative. Subsequent debriefings and other intelligence operations made clear the intended target and how al-Qaida hoped to execute it,” Bush said. “This critical intelligence helped other allies capture the ringleaders and other known operatives who had been recruited for this plot.”

Al Quieda gets their ideas from either Get Smart or the CIA. like there’s a difference, these days.

And you know this is the best they could come up with. They thwarted a shoe bomb plane hijacking. Great. So, what about the real threats? The mushroom cloud over New York? The nerve agent in the milk supply? Ninjas? Anything actually a real credible threat? No. Instead, they’re saving us from idiots recycling their own worst ideas from five years ago.

What does it say about an enemy that they are this behind on our own security measures? I think this Onion article was more on target than any briefing from the Pentagon.

And really, this is the enemy we face: the unimaginative and the desperate. Al Quieda and the Bush Administration apparently watch the same lame sixties super-spy movies, never realising they were comedies, not cool ideas no one would see coming.