Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One Side Attacked Me and the Other Began Negotiating Terms of Surrender

Vote away Congress, playing with lives as the toys of ideology and elites. Where’s my Social Security, my medical care, my living wage, my freedom from borrowing under duress?


And the President, with the white flag of surrender permanently attached to his forehead. Fight the callous zealots! Rip away the fa├žade of populism to expose the sneering elitism! Now I need my bailout and my bonus, or am I small enough to fail?


Forget Boehner, Reid, Pelosi, and McConnell. They’re all at a table, celebrating a job that was never worth doing. Two with most everything they wanted, two just get to move on.


Sweet champagne for baby Boehner and bitter beer for the coward Obama. Three cheers for economic reformation! And shrugs to the quiet masses.


They will all be driven home tonight, jobs awaiting them tomorrow. Succeed or fail, 90% will be re-elected.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death, celebrated

It is the strangest thing, this campus. Full of hippies, hipsters, fogies, and nerds all trying to be correct and sensitive, all celebrating the end of a life. I am not sure how to feel, balancing victory with respect for death, and it is that balancing that keeps the line of my mouth straight...mostly straight.

I walked through the commons last night - everyone standing and talking when most sit and stare at computers. Is this what it takes for us to be social?

I want to mention that he was living in a mansion two hours from a capital and close to a military academy. I'd like to discuss the appearance that the house was too secure and the activities too furtive for someone to have not had an idea. Maybe it matters that Obama made this a priority and maybe - just maybe - it matters that someone was killed as a shield.

From there, I could write about leadership flaws, partisanship, even problems with international relations, practical and academic. But I really just want to express my confusion. It was a moral victory, a vindication, closure (maybe) and a show of dominance and victory. But bin Laden didn't really matter that much anymore and people are celebrating his death like it's the end of the wars rather than just being death. But maybe the moral victory is significant enough and maybe the symbolism is great enough. Beyond it all, though, remains a simple truth, that death, celebrated, is unnervingly strange.

Monday, April 25, 2011

God and the existential Catch-22

So in the midst of all my mind-crunching work, I am having an existential crisis. Intrigued? Well, click on good sir/madam/other


Monday, April 18, 2011

Update

Alright, so here's the deal. I have my final school project due on May 3 and, believe it or not, that's a very tight deadline right now. Plus, I'm working 20-40 hours a week at my job so I don't have time to post right now, unless you guys want to hear about types of methodologies and things (some of) my co-workers do that piss me off. Actually, I don't want to write about any of that.

Anyway, I have a bunch of half-written posts I might have time to finish but I'm not sure if I'll have that time.

Don't forget about me and follow me on Twitter so you know when posts go up. Or email me (DownWithGroupThink@gmail.com) and I will let you know. Peace!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Round-Up #12

Welcome to the Round-Up. Throughout the week, I tweet links to anything unique or funny that I find online, via DWG's Twitter feed, DownWithGT. Then, every week or two - typically on the weekend - I post the 3(ish) most unique or funny tweeted pages. So, without further ado, here, ladies and gentlemen, is the Round-Up #12



Thursday, April 7, 2011

I wish people were smart

I wish people were smart. I wish that when I talked, they listened and responded constructively. I wish that intelligence was assumed so that there was no need for people to defame all else as "stupid" or disparage themselves by pointing out "fails."

I know that people have the ability to think and think deeply. I think that in many cases they work too hard to do so. But I think they should at least acknowledge when they decline to use their intellect. No more do I want to hear someone tell me one thing, refuse to listen to me explain another, and tell me I'm wrong. Engage or admit inability to judge.

The thing is, judging is rampant. Everyone judges all the time. Sometimes I think that it has become a past time, what with every action and every comment being examined for flaws and stupidity. When did we lose the ability to accept without determining rightness? Why does everyone feel this need, as if judging all proves intelligence?

Everyone's a critic and a critic is no more than a nay-sayer. To be truly intelligent is to know when you don't know and to understand when you don't understand. So when I hear something defamed as "stupid," I wonder whether that word might be better applied to the defamer, although I much prefer "willfully ignorant."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Round-Up #11

Welcome to the Round-Up. Throughout the week, I tweet links to anything unique or funny that I find online, via DWG's Twitter feed, DownWithGT. Then, every week or two - typically on the weekend - I post the 3(ish) most unique or funny tweeted pages. So, without further ado, here, ladies and gentlemen, is the Round-Up #11


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Stolen Laptop

It is surreal. My mind is empty. Deep and hollow. This isn't disbelief. I believe but it was never real. I know but I don't comprehend. I go through the motions.

It isn't traumatizing or emotional. It is just ... nothing. Really? Yup, I tell myself. Really, I ask again a minute later. Maybe it is all the hiccups, irritations, and infuriations of the last six days. Perhaps I have had my fill. When the tow driver pointed to the nail in the tire, I reached the point where it is all funny. The saturation point. You can't be irritated because it is simply the tide of nature rocking back against you.

Now, it is past that and what do you do when the saturation point is exceeded? It is just ... numb. It is disbelief. At one moment, anger, yelling. At the next, laughter followed by a blank stare. I over-dramatize because I am looking for description through the veil of that stare. If that makes sense.

One upon another and this moment is exceeded in ... whatever it is ... by the next, already. The next irritation, promising to stretch until ... whatever.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Round-Up #10

Welcome to the Round-Up. Throughout the week, I tweet links to anything unique or funny that I find online, via DWG's Twitter feed, DownWithGT. Then, every week or two - typically on the weekend - I post the 3(ish) most unique or funny tweeted pages. So, without further ado, here, ladies and gentlemen, is the Round-Up #10

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Link-Up Issue 2: Sex In All Its Sexiness

Welcome back, says the Link-Up, I know it's been a while. Just blame it on this stupid blogger who's so up his own [we'll get to that later] that he can't sit back and let other people do the talking.


Oh, suuuuure, he set up that awesome Twitter feed for my home, and he's writing those stupid Round-Ups (*cough* inconsistently *cough*), but can't he sit back for a minute and pay some modicum of respect to that whole "deference to the experts" thing?


But I'm back anyway so let's make it a good one. He found that sex lecture at Northwestern thing so interesting that he started looking up what people are into. Popular fetishes, what people are writing about the state of sex in the US, etc... It's kinda weird but hey, I'm back out in the world so who am I to complain?



Thursday, March 3, 2011

Two Metaphors for the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Two Hagglers and a Lemon

The seller starts at $100, expecting to negotiate downward, and the buyer starts at the highest price s/he can pay. The seller is confused when the buyer won't offer more and eventually becomes frustrated when the buyer won't cooperate. The buyer keeps offering the most s/he can pay and becomes frustrated when the seller won't understand this. There is deadlock and no sale, and a passing observer becomes frustrated because s/he sees just one lemon on a healthy tree.


Two Parties and Two Threats

One party says "If you threaten me, I will hit you in the stomach." The other says "If you hit me in the stomach, I will hit you in the stomach."

Video Interlude - Sir Ted Robinson on the nature of the educational system and what to reform

This is a TED talk and a collection of films on education can be found at Festival-of-Films.com

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Round-Up #9

Welcome to the Round-Up. Throughout the week, I tweet links to anything unique or funny that I find online, via DWG's Twitter feed, DownWithGT. Then, every week or two - typically on the weekend - I post the 3(ish) most unique or funny tweeted pages. So, without further ado, here, ladies and gentlemen, is the Round-Up #9


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Round-Up #8

Welcome to the Round-Up. Throughout the week, I tweet links to anything unique or funny that I find online, via DWG's Twitter feed, DownWithGT. Then, every week or two - typically on the weekend - I post the 3(ish) most unique or funny tweeted pages. So, without further ado, here, ladies and gentlemen, is the Round-Up #8


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Egypt: History's Great Microcosm and Metphor for US Foreign Policy, and the Impossible Dilemma Therein

At its inception, the United States was a neutral nation. George Washington wanted to see no foreign entanglements because he knew that such arrangements could be disastrous for a country in its infancy. For most of our history, we hewed to this policy as closely as we deemed possible. We avoided what had been the downfall of many great nations and what bankrupted so many of our European cultural allies.

However, when the United States began to find itself with a growing ability to shape the actions of other countries, we began the process of conveniently forgetting the lessons of President Washington. Starting perhaps with Latin America, the United States began brandishing  its newly developed big stick.

Today, our foreign policy is the opposite of what we started with, without equivocation. For both better and worse, we have embedded ourselves in more of the world’s problems than I have time to count. And if we did not already know it, Wikileaks exposed to us our own hubris in expecting the world to accept our involvement. Like the bad aunt in a family comedy, we let our opinion be known - righteously and imperiously.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

What's Our Problem?

I am so pissed. America doesn't think anymore. My fellow Americans are not stupid. Perhaps if they were, all this silliness could be excused. I am pissed because my fellow Americans are - increasingly - willfully ignorant.

The stunning ignorance of our elected representatives is on display once again. Representative Michele Bachmann has confidently declared that all of our Founding Fathers were resolutely opposed to slavery and worked tirelessly to end it. This is blatantly false, as many Founding Fathers owned slaves, and the Constitution, albeit for purposes of political compromise, implies that slaves were each 3/5 of a person.

Meanwhile, Sean Hannity invited a radical Muslim cleric onto his show only to shout over the man. Rather than engage a representative of a large and growing segment of the world's population, Mr. Hannity opted to retire to a few simplistic points while his "guest" calmly attempted nuanced argument in support of what could have been interesting points. In a microcosm of the entire interview, the end featured the cleric calmly stating Mr. Hannity was acting immaturely but that he wished for a more substantive conversation in the future. Mr. Hannity called the man a "sick, miserable, evil SOB." Whether this is true or not, who would an impartial viewer sympathize with? For that matter, has the cleric come away with an understanding and respect for an alternative viewpoint?

I find this troubling not because I believe the cleric to be a good man. I haven't the slightest idea, thanks to Mr. Hannity's diatribe poorly masked as an interview. I find this troubling because I could write all day and night about incidences of public figures or officials displaying strikingly stunning ignorance or an apparent allergy to anything accept total agreement with any point s/he makes.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Where I come from, the highest compliment you can pay someone is to say they are down to earth...

I understand why being "down to earth" is a valued trait but I don't understand why it is valued so highly. Being down-to-earth is to be average, slightly uncreative, and largely unadventurous. Why is this not a trait to be accepted pleasantly rather than wished for actively? After all, those who improve our future condition are the opposite of down-to-earth. They have ideas that are derided as fantastical but rather than bring their ideas down to us, they bring us up to their ideas.

Not being down-to-earth is meeting the woman in the red silk dress or the man in the pressed white suit. It is jumping off that cliff and swimming through those curious fish. It is what you have always dreamed of but never risked wishing for.

Those who are the most fun or the most inspiring or the most adventuresome, those we admire as children but sometime learn to forget because ... well, because ... are the ones who left the common world because of all the things we, the down-to-earth, complain about but accept as fact. Accept the world as opinion, and it becomes a much more wondrous place.

So pay me a compliment. Tell me I am not down to earth.

(concluding sentence modified from - and post inspired by - two lines in the superb movie, "The Tourist" (2010))

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Round-Up #7

Welcome to the Round-Up. Whenever I something interesting, funny, or unique online, I post it on DWG's Twitter feed, DownWithGT. Then, every weekend or so, generally on the weekend, I post a list of the 3(ish) most linkable pages and call it the Round-Up. Number seven after the jump.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ah, I See That the World is a Mess

This post, about the Wikileaks revelations, is no longer timely and what follows is a polished version of an unfinished draft. However, I have a perfectly valid excuse for not finishing it (my computer crapped out and I only just got a new one) and a perfectly good post so screw it.

In America, we have been told many times the story of how the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War created a new view of politics and an era of cynicism that stretches through the present day. It was these two events, we are often told, that proved to Americans that their leaders were not only fallible, but also sleazy, underhanded, and entirely untrustworthy.

However, we were still left with the idea that the world's leaders were at least usually intelligent and, in some way, usually capable. We may have been forced to recognize the unforgivable personal faults of leaders but we were at least left with the possibility that these leaders would not walk us off the edge of a cliff...not unknowingly, at least.

But this too is now a shattered illusion. Take a mental trip around the world as revealed by WikiLeaks and you find an international community of leaders populated by sycophants, evil and creepy manipulators, and generally inept leaders.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Round-Up #6

Note: Hopefully, non-Round-Up posts will resume this week. My old computer died about a month ago and I should get another soon.

Welcome to the Round-Up. Whenever I something interesting, funny, or unique online, I post it on DWG's Twitter feed, DownWithGT. Then, every week or so, generally on the weekend, I post a list of the 3(ish) most linkable pages and call it the Round-Up. Number six after the jump.