But what Weigel elides here is really important: the hidden assumption that these dudes actually are pissing off their political adversaries. It’s a pretty egocentric notion that a liberal, or any stranger, gives three hoots about these huckleberries’ displays of bravado beyond the superficial. The conservative impulse to performed crudeness owes as much to self-centeredness as the conservative political ideology does: “I’m Me, the Me-est Me there’ll ever be, and Me will show you why you need to get off My back!”
These Bocephuses don’t miss the point that climate change, progressive taxation, street laws and sundry other facets of civil society aren’t about them; in fact, their grievances are borne out of a deep conviction that public policy should be about them. Any public policy that doesn’t have them as its heart and soul is, well, socialism. And it’s evil. As the old men say: “Paranoia means always being the center of attention.”
But now the plane is well into its descent to Sana’a, the flaps are coming down, and all I can see below is bare rock from which every trace of sand has been scraped clean by an angry and pitiless wind. At last I understand why it took three billion years for creatures to come out of the sea and colonize the land. One glimpse of these rocks is enough to send anyone flopping back into the ocean, tail tucked between not-yet-evolved legs. Enormous stone fingers point upwards, reaching nearly as high as the plane. Between them are deep scars where water in some inconceivably distant past rushed to get the hell out of this forlorn place. There isn’t the smallest trace of life, let alone human settlement. It is the most pitiless, hostile, and frankly malevolent landscape I have ever seen.
In Martinique, I had visited rustic and neglected rum-distilleries where the equipment and the methods used had not changed since the eighteenth century. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, in the factories of the company which enjoys a virtual monopoly over the whole of the sugar production, I was faced by a display of white enamel tanks and chromium piping. Yet the various kinds of Martinique rum, as I tasted them in front of ancient wooden vats thickly encrusted with waste matter, were mellow and scented, whereas those of Puerto Rico are coarse and harsh. We may suppose, then, that the subtlety of the Martinique rums is dependent on impurities the continuance of which is encouraged by the archaic method of production. To me, this contrast illustrates the paradox of civilization: its charms are due essentially to the various residues it carries along with it, although this does not absolve us of the obligation to purify the stream. By being doubly in the right, we are admitting our mistake. We are right to be rational and to try to increase our production and so keep manufacturing costs down. But we are also right to cherish those very imperfections we are endeavouring to eliminate. Social life consists in destroying that which gives it its savour.
- Bloomberg: ‘Samsung Sees Phone Rebound After Earnings Miss Estimates’ ★
- That’s the current headline from Bloomberg. Look at the URL slug to see the original: “Samsung Profit Misses Estimates as Cheap Phones Struggle”.
Again, I am not faulting you. And by no means am I faulting him. This man of mine diverts his eyes from whatever questionable images flash on the screen before him. But sometimes the temptation is too much.
Citing the newly-established precedent of corporate-religious exemption, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of JCPenney, upholding the company’s right to sacrifice pure-hearted employees in order to assuage the Dread Lord Cthulhu, Bringer of Madness.
The Penney estate, devout cultists and owners of the multibillion-dollar chain of mid-range department stores, joined by CEO Mike Ullman, sued the government in 2012 when new federal employee protections made it illegal for them to hire virgin maidens for the sole purpose of spilling their blood on the Altar of the Cosmos, with the hope that such an offering will prolong the Great Old One’s slumber in the sunken city of R’lyeh.
Around the same time, Pelejero’s colleagues turned their core-sampling techniques to work out how the ocean and its animals behaved long ago, when the water pH was lower. What they found was horrifying. During a 100,000-year-long event known as the Palaeo-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred between the Palaeo and Eocene epochs, 55 million years ago, “you see that the sediment is quite white from the fossil shells—then suddenly it turns red,” Pelejero says. “Because there are no shells at all. Then it turns white again—but the change back took more than 100,000 years.” The first change from white to red represents a sudden die-off of shell-based life; the turn back to white shows the gradual return of shellfish over time. If projections hold, the pH change that killed off or radically altered many of the deep ocean shell animals will arrive again at the end of this century.
Can we please stop putzing around with religion and save some people here on Earth?