No Comment, Part II

The mainstream media is starting to catch on.

“Got a comment? Keep it to yourself” | The Boston Globe

My favorite passage:

I feel sorry for today’s reporters and columnists, who work hard gathering information dutifully trying to raise the debate on issues or inform the public on a burning topic only to have some agenda-driven bonehead who doesn’t have the courage – or need – to identify himself or herself and isn?t bound by the same ethics or policies tear down the work product the moment it appears.

Well said.

Fanboy nirvana

In celebration of the San Diego Comic Con, USA Today has an amusing article examining the so-called “fanboy” phenomenon. (One thing I’ve never understood–why are those people who paint their bare stomachs at ballgames and name their kids after football players just “fans,” while anyone who owns a Star Wars toy is a “fanboy“? Not a new observation I know, but whatever.) I went to the SDCC in 2003 and would love to go back someday. That’s one point DG has in favor of moving to Cali.

Before anyone asks, no, I haven’t had the chance to read Deathly Hallows yet. Blame Tom. DG burned through it in seven hours though. I’ll try to get through it by the end of the weekend, then maybe we can have a little spoiler-filled discussion here.

Before I forget, congrats to Sean for breaking the 10K barrier on his Xbox Gamerscore. Way to go, fanboy! (I kid because I love.)

On a side note, I decided to remove the “What I’m Reading” section, mostly because it felt a little too much like that Twitter thing I tried a while back–too much pressure to constantly update.

Muchos huevos grandes

Before writing this, I looked up the phrase “long time, no blog” and found 190,000 results. At that point one is way beyond cliche, so I’ll skip it. In case you didn’t notice, I added an About Me page a few days ago, for those of you looking for a vaguely disturbing example of me talking to myself.

I’ve consciously been avoiding politics on this blog—for a number of reasons—but I just have to link to Stephen Colbert’s speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Essentially, Colbert numbers every crime Bush’s administration has been accused of with Bush sitting not five feet away. Of course, it’s all done “in character”—Colbert’s Bill O’Reilly simulacrum that he plays on is show. He also indicts the attending journalists for their complacent attitude toward this administration—which was later highlighted as the AP, Reuters and other organized marginalized Colbert’s speech in their coverage of the dinner while making a big deal of Bush’s goofy skit with an imitator. Unsurprisingly, it’s the blogosphere that’s buzzing over Colbert.

You can also read a transcript of Colbert’s comments here.

Rather than offer a boo or a booyah! to Colbert’s comments, I’ll offer these links. The Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen lambasts Colbert here, while Sydney Blumenthal lauds him here.

I do want to say one thing: Cohen seems to censure Colbert for publicly criticizing Bush when he knows he won’t get “smited” or ” tossed into a dungeon” as he might have in less democratic countries or earlier periods of history. This argument doesn’t make much sense to me. Isn’t that the point of the freedom of speech? To be fair, I think what Cohen’s objecting to is the notion that Colbert did anything brave or noble (that he “spoke truth to power”), but the second part of that implication is, “because he couldn’t be murdered for it.” Well, no, but he could become the subject of editorials by indignant columnists at national newspapers. And let’s not forget what happened to Bill Maher. Colbert was arguably putting his career on the line, and for that, I have to give him the award for “muchos huevos grandes.”

deplore

I offer my deepest condolescences to the victims of today’s bombings in London.

From what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that these were suicide bombings, so maybe they’ll actually find someone to punish for this.

For all the money we’ve spent on two wars, I don’t feel one iota safer than I did right after 9/11. But that’s simply because terrorism is something you can’t fight directly.

It reminds me of an Onion article that came out shortly after 9/11, in which the U.S. government asked the terrorists to form their own country (e.g., “Osamastan”) so we could bomb it. It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. The war in Iraq did not prevent the bombings in Madrid or London.

The age of terrorism is going to be a lot like the fifties and sixties, when people lived under the constant threat of nuclear war. In the end, after we’ve done what we realistically can to fight terrorism, we just have to live our lives–not in defiance of the terrorists, as some of our leaders would have us do, but in indifference to them, as we do earthquakes, tsunamis, and disease. A hundred years ago, a disease like smallpox could kill hundreds of thousands of people. Every age has its dangers, though we’re fortunate enough to live in a time when those dangers are minimal (though, of course, we currently have the potential to destroy all human life on Earth in a matter of days–something I think we really should get rid of).

I have a few simple suggestions for dealing with terrorism. First, dismantle the nuclear weapons. Some countries can keep a few (no more than ten) for deterrent purposes (and in case of oncoming asteroids), but those few must be kept under strict guard, with international security teams keeping an eye on them. (Okay, that’s probably too simplistic, but it’s a step in the right direction–we don’t need 10,000 nukes out there.)

Second, stop warring and start putting more eggs in the Diplomacy basket. Terrorism is indeed a swamp; drain the swamp and you have far fewer mosquitos.

But let’s be realistic: there will always be a few mosquitos. It’s just something we have to learn to live with.

yaphy

Here’s something troubling: Student Arrested For Terroristic Threatening Says Incident A Misunderstanding.

“My story is based on fiction,” said Poole, who faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. “It’s a fake story. I made it up. I’ve been working on one of my short stories, (and) the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies.”

Even so, police say the nature of the story makes it a felony. “Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it’s a felony in the state of Kentucky,” said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill.

Poole disputes that he was threatening anyone.

“It didn’t mention nobody who lives in Clark County, didn’t mention (George Rogers Clark High School), didn’t mention no principal or cops, nothing,” said Poole. “Half the people at high school know me. They know I’m not that stupid, that crazy.”

When I was in seventh grade, I wrote a short story called C.H.E.T. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Education Teacher). It was a parody of the movie C.H.U.D. In my story, the teachers in our school (and I referred to them by their real names) get turned into zombies and run amok attacking the students (again, all referred to by real names). The kids get eaten, the teachers get blown apart with shotguns, and so forth. I was young and stupid. Most of the kids in the story were friends of mine–not enemies I wanted to kill by proxy. I was probably one of the nicer kids in my class. I just thought the idea of the story was funny. And it’s common to write for a very specific audience–e.g., your friends at school–when you start your career at that age, so I made my friends the stars and the teachers the bad guys, since the teachers were, after all, the ones made us do homework.

I shudder to think what might have happened to me in the same situation as Poole. Drawing pictures of your teacher with bombs dropping on them or whatever is a rite of passage for teenage boys. From the way it sounds, Poole’s story was even less specific and violent than mine was.

I know I showed the story to a couple of other kids, though I don’t think I showed it to any teachers. However, I also don’t recall being that careful to keep it out of teachers’ hands. I did show my English teacher a later story in which terrorists take over the school and my friends and I have to kill the terrorists to save everyone. A teacher or two may have bought it at the hands of terrorists in that story, but my teacher didn’t scold me. I don’t know what she thought of it, actually, but she continued to encourage my writing, so she must have seen something in that Z-grade Die Hard rip-off (thanks again, Mrs. Gill).

Of course, there may be more to the story. In this article, the school’s principal claims the word “zombies” doesn’t appear in the story, though that really doesn’t mean anything. Poole could have referred to the monsters by some other name. I just checked C.H.E.T. (yes, I still have a copy of it), and the word “zombie” doesn’t appear in it, either.

Neither article gives much information about the actual story itself–all we get are second-hand descriptions by Poole and the principal. But as of right now, I’m inclined to give Poole the benefit of the doubt, because there but for the grace of Mrs. Gill and a pre-Columbine world go I.

In other news, I’m taking the week off from work(s). It’s spring break at Emerson, and I could use some time to sleep and write.

Here’s a bizarre news story. Inexplicable dog suicides off an eerie bridge? How many short horror stories are being written about it at this very minute?

I came across this amusing Lovecraft pastiche by Neil Gaiman.

Until next time, Cthulhu fhtagn!