Freud

Not the Name of My Next Band (Lester Holt and the Wicked Elements)

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt arrives at the 9th Annual California Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the California Museum in Sacramento, 28 October 2015. (Photo by Jose Luis Villegas/The Sacramento Bee)

Acknowledging that the filters or priorities by which one notices anything else are entirely unto that individual, and thus a psychological mystery generally describing anyone’s particular expression, there are also days when, you know, whatever, because I sure as hell didn’t―

• The Perfect Christmas Morning

• Talk About Your Grandmother

• Achieving Erection

―put those elements in that order. Talk to Jason Linkins about that.

Nor am I volunteering to psychoanalyze the fact that he’s on about Lester Holt.

____________________

Image note: NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt arrives at the 9th Annual California Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the California Museum in Sacramento, 28 October 2015. (Photo by Jose Luis Villegas/The Sacramento Bee)

Commission on Presidential Debates. “Moderator Announces Topics for First Presidential Debate”. 19 September 2016.

Linkins, Jason. “First Presidential Debate To Focus On Vague Platitudes”. The Huffington Post. 20 September 2016.

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The Headline

The weird thing about feelgood headlines is that they often require us to feel good about someone else’s suffering. To wit, Washington Post wants us to know that “The Islamic State is failing at being a state”.

It used to be that when we taught young Americans to read, the critical thinking skills required to distill such information for oneself was intended to be part of the instruction. Perhaps it is arguable that people need the news so distilled these days, but nothing about such a notion should be comforting.

Still, though, it is a grim picture Liz Sly paints for WaPo:

Map showing approximate extent of Daa'ish authority in Iraq and Syria; via Washington Post, 25 December 2014.The Islamic State’s vaunted exercise in state-building appears to be crumbling as living conditions deteriorate across the territories under its control, exposing the shortcomings of a group that devotes most of its energies to fighting battles and enforcing strict rules.

Services are collapsing, prices are soaring, and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the “caliphate” proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims.

Slick Islamic State videos depicting functioning government offices and the distribution of aid do not match the reality of growing deprivation and disorganized, erratic leadership, the residents say. A trumpeted Islamic State currency has not materialized, nor have the passports the group promised. Schools barely function, doctors are few, and disease is on the rise.

In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the water has become undrinkable because supplies of chlorine have dried up, said a journalist living there, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety. Hepatitis is spreading, and flour is becoming scarce, he said. “Life in the city is nearly dead, and it is as though we are living in a giant prison,” he said.

Basic Freudianism prescribes the idea that many enter certain professions, or undertake particular endeavors, as a way of sublimating otherwise unacceptable influences. Some doctors, by that outlook, become surgeons simply because they like to cut; and while this seems an utterly simplistic notion we might also try it as a springboard, because it is also clear that there exists a societal question about doctors who “play god”, which would probably be a more common sublimation than the need to slice and dice one’s fellow human being. The boxer? That part is obvious; by basic Freudianism many pugilists just like being in fights, and this is one acceptable way to spend one’s life doing just that. The police officer? Indeed, Americans are grappling with related questions in recent months, but comparatively what is happening in the Middle East is a naked, exponential caricature of any question we might ask about our own governance.

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The Burning Question

"And, er, they are tight.  I mean tight all the way down to the ankles.  And that is not modest, brothers.  No.  It's not appropriate.  It's not sound of mind.  And I was proud of the circuit overseer, who told me this past summer at one of the international conventions—'cause he brought it up—one of these fellas shows up for his circuit overseer visit, and he wants to go out in the ministry, work with him door to door, and he's wearing tight pants." (Anthony Morris III/Kingdom Hall)

One of the challenges facing the blogosphere is its localization. While the democratizing of the internet does mean that any idiot anywhere with an internet conection can now have a soapboxα, there is also the possibility that nobody who happens to live anywhere else has a clue what you mean. Who else is going to understand the Mudhoney bit with socks and toasters, or why the Soundgarden video with the spoons is so damn hilarious?

Okay, plenty, I suppose. It just requires careful watching. Of music videos.

Okay, better example: Who the hell else understands David Schmader?β

I ain't gay no more! I'm delivered!To the other, it is not so cryptic to wonder at the sight of that guy wearing that jacket with that shirt, and that tie and silk square announcing, “I’m not gay no more. I am delivered!”

Which, you know … right. Good for you, dude. Go into business. Jesus the Carpenter would make a killing on closet doors.

Oh, right. Sorry, wrong theology. I’m thinking of Prosperity Gospel, not the Good News of Self-Hatred.

Actually … er .. right. Never mind.

But what, you might ask yourself, is the purpose of such a ranting blog post? Well, to the one, in Slog terms, it’s an entertainment thing. The Stranger and its readers seem to enjoy morbid comedy, and, well, inasmuch as queerness just radiates from the clip, even down to the preacher’s attempt to stir revivalist flames while maintaining a dignified, wooden appearance, ranges between queer and downright f’d up. That is, there comes a point where you look at the little pink glans ring on the microphone as the young man comes in(to) the closet ....

Oh, Jesus. Lord help us.

Look, Freudian fallacies (and phalluses) pass for comedy vérité of the highest order around here.γ But it is true; there are fewer places in human society that understand The Stranger in general, or David Schmader in particular, than, say, Calvinism.

But this is where the fun really begins, because after the chuckle comes the scary part.

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Stupid: The Kentucky Come-Hither

Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell, left, and Rand Paul address the media during a press conference following McConnell's victory in the republican primary Friday, May 23, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

As photographs go, this otherwise unremarkable example from Timothy D. Easley offers two brief amusements. To the first—

Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell, left, and Rand Paul address the media during a press conference, May 23, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo)

—someone botched the caption; that is, of course, Sen. McConnell on the right, although one might understand how, compared to his junior colleague from Kentucky, the Senate Minority Leader might be seen as being to the left.

To the second, though, is a simple evaluation of the aesthetics. Sens. Paul and McConnell are wearing those weird matching expressions, like a May-September couple that simultaneously spied a dashing young potential third for the evening’s enjoyment.

Seriously: Kentucky come-hither.

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