Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Old News

I managed to figure out how to set up a Google homepage a few weeks ago, and ever since I've been effulgent with oleaginous autoencomia. Hardly anyone has been able to do it. I'm a computer genius. We call ourselves "hackers." I'm having to re-think some of my choices, though. I like the little box that shows local gas prices. I like the Shakespearean insults. The daily naked lady is fantastic -- really relaxing. But the Fox and CNN and Reuters top news stories are getting me down.

I do think it's edifying to read a classic example of how market forces drive prices: the cost of Nigerian machetes has been, uh, slashed in half after the elections, no longer in demand by that country's political thugs. And the Goldman family has acquired the rights to OJ's confession book, and now apparently owns the fungible assets of his name, likeness, image, life story and right of publicity. Ah, sweet, sweet justice.

And Japan's defense minister has resigned after implying that the dropping of the A-bomb was "inevitable". The peecee position in Japan, apparently, is that it was "unjustifiable".
An argument has been made that it saved five million lives. US Army Intelligence underestimated Imperial airpower by five times. "Every village had some type of aircraft manufacturing activity. Hidden in mines, railway tunnels, under viaducts and in basements of department stores, work was being done to construct new planes." Japanese defense plans called for "an initial force of 2,000 army and navy fighters ... to fight to the death to control the skies over Kyushu. A second force of 330 navy combat pilots were to attack the main body of the task force ... [and] a third force of 825 suicide planes was to hit the American transports. ...another 2,000 suicide planes were to be launched in waves of 200 to 300, to be used in hour by hour attacks." And so on. And on. And on. You gotta respect the Japanese, as I am reminded each week on a variable schedule. But if the fighting had gone to that extreme, it would have continued to a genocide. I expect so. Three options: kill, die, or surrender. Lo, a Japanese national slogan of the day: One Hundred Million Will Die for the Emperor and Nation.

But the symbolism, the symbolism of the bomb -- you just can't get around that. It is well that the Japanese defense minister resigned. What would we do if we couldn't blame America?

Still, it might have been wise for me to have maintained that lofty disassociation I held for so many years -- all my news was no fresher than the seventies. I'm having regrets.

Specifically, "that kid" just committed suicide. David Ritcheson. Jumped to his death from a cruise ship. Age 18. I'd never heard of that kid. Just over a year ago he was at a teen party where he made a drunken or drugged, a "stoned" pass at someone's twelve year old sister. Over the ensuing four hours he was beaten, burned and, unconscious, sodomized with a sharped plastic patio umbrella poll. I apologize for telling you that, if you didn't know it. Now you have to deal with the ugliness too. During the assault, the heroic protectors of feminine virtue were heard at some point to shout, "White power!" Young David was Mexican-American, you see. His assailants must have been powerful whites.

I am generally favorably disposed toward Texas, as I am toward those who would protect feminine virtue, and children. I'm not however sure how race or plastic umbrella poles would come into play, in an effort to protect virtue. I expect there must have been some other factor at work. I expect the stated reasons for the assault would have been a pretext. I'm a very subtle thinker, don't you agree?

I don't see that being crass or rude merited the subsequent 30 operations that young David underwent during the following months. I don't see that the notoriety and consequent shame that accrued to him were deserved. I do understand how he could strive to hold up his head, month after month, and tell himself it doesn't matter that everyone knows what was done to him, that he still had worth and was honorable and clean. He'd stopped using drugs. He was on a cruise. He was young. He had so much to live for.

He'd been fucked up the ass with an umbrella poll. God damn this world. God damn these fucking scum.


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