slow return of the repressed

A Meandering Consideration of Absolutism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, 3 March 2015.  (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

“Maybe it’s an unfortunate hallmark of contemporary conservative thought?”

Steve Benen

Over at Slate, Fred Kaplan offers an interesting consideration:

It’s looking more and more like Benjamin Netanyahu committed a strategic blunder in so ferociously opposing the Iran nuclear deal and in rallying his American allies to spend all their resources on a campaign to kill the deal in Congress.

SlateIf current trends hold, the Israeli prime minister and his stateside lobbyists—mainly AIPAC—are set to lose this fight. It’s politically risky for Israel’s head of state to go up against the president of his only big ally and benefactor; it’s catastrophic to do so and come away with nothing. Similarly, it’s a huge defeat for AIPAC, whose power derives from an image of invincibility. American politicians and donors might get the idea that the group isn’t so invincible after all, that they can defy its wishes, now and then, without great risk.

It would have been better for Netanyahu—and for Israel—had he maybe grumbled about the Iran deal but not opposed it outright, let alone so brazenly. He could have pried many more favors from Obama in exchange for his scowl-faced neutrality. Not that Obama, or any other American president, will cut Israel off; but relations will remain more strained, and requests for other favors (for more or bigger weapons, or for certain votes in international forums) will be scrutinized more warily, than they would have been.

There is, of course, much more to Kaplan’s consideration, including the implications of current Congressional momentum and the widening gap between the credibility of favoring and opposing arguments. Toward the latter, he notes, “Most criticisms of the deal actually have nothing to do with the deal”, and that’s about as least unfavorable as his critique of the criticism gets.

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The Girl with the Clown’s Face

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 13 July 2015.Something about implications goes here.

When I was young, a distant relative explained why her three year-old daughter didn’t like Sesame Street―clowns frightened the child. It was the first time I’d ever heard of such a thing, but in later years a joke would emerge; it turns out the young lady was hardly alone in her fear of clowns.

This is not quite the same thing.

Still, though, Zach Weiner’s latest is actually kind of frightening.

Well, you know. If you stop and think about it.

How ’bout this? Don’t think about it.

____________________

Weiner, Zach. “Pix”. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. 13 July 2015.

Your Morning Metal (Suffer the Masses)

Flotsam and Jetsam

I find neuroses fascinating. Never mind.

The promise cast, the hopeful lured. Stabbing by the pointed words. Tortures of the damned you’ll find; guilt preys upon the human mind. All you know and all you feel is all there is and all that’s real. Innocent told you’re a worthless pain, eventually drives all insane. Bleak optimism gained, a lame excuse to hide the pain. Instinct stifled, be ashamed for what you feel is right and sane. Suffering, told what you feel and need is wrong when conflicting with the machine, the machine that’s run so long. Suffer the masses; contradicting views inside. Suffer the masses; the personality divides. Suffer the masses; what’s told and what you know. Suffer the masses; now, now the neurosis grows. Generations handed down the false smile to hide your frown. Instinct stifled, don’t be afraid for what you feel is right and sane. The promise cast, the hopeful lured. Stabbed by pointed words. Tortures of the stabbed you’ll find as guilt devours your broken mind.

Flotsam and Jetsam, “Suffer the Masses” (1990)

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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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Follow-up … Clean-up … Something-up

The Rachel Maddow Show, 6 October 2014

Rachel Maddow’s nearly giddy segment on msnbc last night noted that when the full effect of yesterday’s Supreme Court rejection of appeals against marriage equality reaches the states, the roster will equal thirty states. And she looked forward to decisions expected from the Sixth and Ninth.

Today, the hammer dropped in the Ninth; Dale Carpenter quips:

I haven’t read the Ninth Circuit opinion yet. I have to teach now, so it would be nice if the courts would stop issuing gay-marriage decisions for an hour or so.

The estimable Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog explains what happened in the Ninth:

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling was made up of three parts.

First, all three judges on the panel joined in an opinion by Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt finding that the Idaho and Nevada bans violate the constitutional guarantee of same-sex couples to be treated the same legally as opposite-sex couples. Second, Judge Reinhardt issued a separate opinion, for himself only, saying he would also strike down those bans under the Constitution’s Due Process Clause, arguing that the right to marry is a fundamental guarantee and that gays and lesbians have a right to share in that right. Third, Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon, in a separate opinion only for herself, said she would have also struck down the bans on the premise that they discriminate on the basis of gender.

The third member, Circuit Judge Ronald M. Gould, joined only the main opinion on the equal protection principle.

This ruling was perhaps the least surprising among four federal courts of appeals decisions striking down state prohibitions on same-sex couples marrying, and already-married couples gaining official state recognition of those unions, performed elsewhere.

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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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