Literature

A Note on Why the Internet Goes to Hell When It Dies

[#nevermind]

Did you Know? In 2009, Eminem tweeted proof that he scored 465,800 in Donkey Kong, making him one of the highest scorers in the world. [via Salon.com, 11 November 2017]The Internet—(no, I do not like Capitalizing the Word)—sees fit to inform me that—

In 2009, Eminem tweeted proof that he scored 465,800 in Donkey Kong, making him one of the highest scorers in the world.

(via Salon.com; #nevermind)

—and no, it is true I did not know this before; nor is it clear how I should feel about this information. No, seriously, other than the fact that some editor somewhere saw fit to include a trivial widget to tell me stuff like this, I had precisely no reason to care.

Meanwhile, something, something, and now for something completely different.   

Hey, how about this: If I blame Tom Clancy, how fucking smart are you?

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The Ted Cruz Show (Holiday Special)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responds to the 2015 State of the Union address in an online video, 20 January 2015.

Amid the holiday panic and cheer it is easy for small things to slip past unnoticed. Like, say, on Christmas Eve, when Ellie Shechet informed us that, “This Ted Cruz Holiday Erotica Is Fucking Weird”.

And, you know, I see no reason to doubt her. And the Bulwer-Lytton moment with a head of lettuce should have been enough of a specimen to make the point, but why stop reading? Shechet offers her critique of the first paragraphs:

This is an extremely strong and promising beginning. The setting: Ted Cruz’s retirement party, after which he believes he will be leaving political office. IRL, I have a creeping feeling that our pal Ted would push me, you, and all of his loved ones into a hole in a frozen lake and sprint away before relinquishing one inch of his extremely unlikely and hard-earned influence, but this is fan fic! We are going with it.

Right. Downhill from there. All that.

(more…)

The Carcharodon, Leapt

Credit: Reuters/Junko Kimura-Matsumoto/HBO/Salon

Oh, for ....

In the first three books of “A Song of Ice and Fire” (and four seasons of the show),

Tyrion has a trajectory that might sound awfully familiar to Obama: He’s a bright and charming man who is nonetheless looked down upon by people who are a lot stupider than he is because they are prejudiced against people who look like him. Despite these obstacles, Tyrion rises high in government, taking on the highest executive office in Westeros, with the title of the Hand of the King. His job as the executive is to rein in an economic crisis as well as deal with an unnecessary war, all while trying to manage a bratty king named Joffrey.

Tyrion does an excellent, if imperfect job, despite these overwhelming circumstances, helping stave off an invasion and deal with other political crises. Despite his hard work and many successes, many in the kingdom continue to hate Tyrion irrationally, calling him a “demon monkey” and blaming him for catastrophes brought on by the king, catastrophes that Tyrion has actually gone out of his way to fix. In the end, this public’s desire to scapegoat him leads to Tyrion’s downfall, as he is blamed for the king’s murder, which he didn’t commit, and has to escape unjust execution under the cover of darkness.

If you substitute “the president” for “Hand of the King,” “the Republicans” for “King Joffrey,” and “secretly born in Kenya” for “demon monkey,” the parallels between Tyrion and Obama are downright startling. Like Tyrion, Obama walked into office with a military crisis and an economic disaster on his hands. Like Tyrion, his efforts to fix things get stymied at every turn by forces that oppose him for political reasons. Like Tyrion, he had a major military victory (killing Osama bin Laden) and domestic victories that prevented suffering, but many refuse to give him credit. Like Tyrion, Obama gets blamed by huge numbers of people who have preexisting prejudices about him, who would rather blame someone they irrationally hate than the truly guilty parties.

It is not so much a question of whether Amanda Marcotte is right or wrong; rather, it is simply a matter of, “Oh, come on!”

And it is true that societies witness and take part in transformations of myth, occasionally retiring one here or there while scrabbling perpetually to create new ones. As Barkerα reminds, nothing ever begins. History, meanwhile, will eventually show this particular mythopoeic play more a question of waterskiing in a leather jacket.

Well, you know, if history bothers noticing this one at all.

This is an important question: If life imitates art so much that we shape our decisions in order to create and align mythopoeia that, circularly, it reflects and reinforces itself, at what point have leapt the carcharodon?

(more…)

Congressional Speculation

Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate, does a sound check during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Ryan delivered his speech at the convention Wednesday night, 29 August 2012. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“One senior GOP aide familiar with discussions between leadership and the Freedom Caucus used Dante Alighieri’s description of hell in ‘The Divine Comedy’, with its varying concentric circles, to describe the HFC. No candidate will get to the innermost circle. But Ryan could pick off a lot of members on the outer rings.”

Matt Fuller

The upshot here is that the idea of static or patterned chaos, which really does sound somewhat counterintuitive until you do the thing with a triangle and dice, but in this case we mean something yet altogether different: Meet the new chaos; same as the old chaos. House Republicans seem caught up in some sort of loop, waiting for Ryan while trying to deliberately ignore the gigantic question mark they keep glancing aside in hopes of checking.

Matt Fuller of Roll Call explains:

If the HFC, after largely taking credit for pushing out Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and blocking the ascension of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is seen as having scuttled a Ryan speakership, the divide between the ultra-conservative group and the rest of the conference could become even more unmanageable.

Without Ryan, the speaker’s race threatens to turn into a free-for-all. On Tuesday, there were at least a half dozen new names of Republicans quietly testing the water for runs of their own, including a couple of Texans (Reps. Bill Flores and Michael McCaul), the wealthiest man in Congress (Rep. Darrell Issa) and a woman, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn ....

.... Sources close to Ryan say the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee has no intention of putting up with an insurrection on his right flank. If Ryan agrees to take the speakership, he will tell colleagues he’ll only do it with all of their support. What’s more, he is making no promises about overhauling the process, shaking up the Steering Committee or any of the other concessions being floated by conservatives.

If that’s Ryan’s position, there will almost certainly be Republicans who will oppose him. And then conservatives will have a choice of their own. They can either hold fast to their procedural demands, or they can get on board with a Ryan speakership.

In truth, Mr. Fuller’s running commentary about sources is much more enlightening. After all, Congress is Congress, and reporters are merely human. Every little piece, you know? It’s not just the stories they tell, but also whether or not we are capable of understanding them. In communicative relationships, the burdens of transmission are much more apparent than the obligations of actually being able to receive.

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Image note: Detail of photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Fuller, Matt. “Oh, and another thing I noticed”. Twitter. 13 October 2015.

—————. “Ryan’s Choice and the House Freedom Caucus Fallout”. 218. Roll Call. 13 October 2015.

The Dropped Call of Cthulhu

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 17 August 2015.This public service announcement is brought to you by Adam Huber.

There are, of course, so many things we might say.

Not that any of them are good or useful.

Do we go with the cigarette joke, or the … er … yeah, you know, never mind.

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Huber, Adam. “This is Your Brain on Cthulhu”. Bug Martini. 17 August 2015.

Why R’lyeh Sucks

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 1 April 2015.Sigh.

And then Adam had to go and ruin it. I mean, you’d think living in a world infested with Lovecraftian monsters would be … well, you know … interesting. In real life, we don’t beat them off with brooms; we just suck them in alleys. Elect them. I mean, elect them.

Damn it. Never mind.

You never understand.

Never!

God, why can’t you fucking understand!

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Huber, Adam. “Sink or Swim”. Bug Martini. 1 April 2015.

A Note on Another Note That We Have Our Reasons For

"But I said I don't like sour stuff!" (Frame from 'FLCL' ep. 1, 'FLCL.)

It occasionally happens that I might find reasons to remind people of the Southern California Writer’s Conference, which gathers in San Diego and Irvine every year. LA13 (Irvine) is slated for 25-27 September, incidentally, but the schedule is as blank as we might expect right now.

But I mention this because once upon a time I tried blogging for SCWC, and still occasionally inflict my art upon them. Such as today, in consideration of what annoys copy editors, which, in turn, can be useful information if your ambition, habits, or labor include writing.

It’s worth your time … I hope. SCWC really are a great bunch, and all I can think right now is to wish fellow artists the best in their pursuits.

Be well. Create even better.

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Image note: “But I said I don’t like sour stuff!” Yet Naota drinks the lemon-squash, anyway. (Frame from FLCL ep. 1, ‘FLCL’.)

Your Feelgood Holiday Moment of the Moment

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 16 December 2014.Why not kick off the holiday cartoons the Bug Martini way?

The cameos are worth it, although … er … damn it, you know, any other year a Leonard Part 6 joke would do just fine, here.

Never mind.

(sigh)

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Huber, Adam. “Hum Bug”. Bug Martini. 16 December 2014.

Crazy Sunshine

Detail of 'Bug Martini', by Adam Huber, 4 December 2014.Every once in a while, you know, it’s just what you need.

Today is another of those depressing days in America that really are just too common. But then … I don’t know, it’s hard to explain but maybe that’s because it is difficult to understand why it is hard to explain.

Right. Me, me, me.

Movin’ right along ....

Those who get the reference in the detail from Bug Martini know exactly what comes next.

Still, though, it’s a fun two words: Cthulhu Bug.

Meanwhile, it is difficult to speculate on the implications of a society in which Cthulhu is a ray of sunshine under gray skies.

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Huber, Adam. “The Craft of Unconditional Love”. Bug Martini. 4 December 2014.