Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Tough Topics #33: Cultural Implications and Repercussions of "What If The Trojan Horse Had Been A Pinata Instead?"

I have a very principled staunch stance that I carry through wherever I go or don't go: wherever possible, things should be done for no reason. This makes it very hard for enemies to predict, as they sit preparing for your attack and you surprise them with a guerrilla pinata party! Just make sure YOU BRING THE PINATA. Otherwise, they may just hang you up for the purpose. They are your enemies after all. You can't be too careful.

HEY! THERE SHOULD BE A VERSION OF THE ILIAD WHERE THE GREEKS HIDE INSIDE A BIG PINATA!!! And then those dumb Trojans drag that huge thing in, hang it up - TROJAN 1: "MAN, THIS IS HEAVY!" TROJAN 2: "WHAT KIND OF AWESOME CANDY MUST BE IN HERE?" - the whole city starts partying, drinking spiked Troy Victory War Punch, whacking away at that big ol' pinata until suddenly - *BURST!!* out come the Greeks.

Out comes the slaughter and rape and pillage - not simply womenfolk-rape either, but menfolk-rape and childfolk-rape! A sizeable contingent of the Greek invasion force were Athenians. I can say that because I'm Greek. Well, I'm Greek-Irish, but the Irish stereotypes aren't nearly as transgressive to our modern mores as the Greek ones, where big tough soldiers wouldn't shirk from butt-raping the enemy - not furtively, and away from the censorious eyes of one's commanders like the Knights of England might! No. Raucously, right out in the open! Raucously, I tell you. As a thing to brag on.

Folks, behavior like that is transgressive on too many levels of modern society for a lot of us to even deal with. First - well, the basic ingrained homophobia! Most of our straight-laced society, timidly insistent on the usual pruderies, runs screaming from the idea of two dignified, urbane dudes buttfucking even consensually. Let alone a horde of onrushing, randy half-naked Greeks in helmets! Holy shit, that's an ad campaign, huh Trojans? You want homophobia - there's a sight to phobe home over! Second, these guys were basically, "The Troops" of their day. For their country. Analogous to our "The Troops." Yet that's how they behaved! To us, imagine if our troops were like - praised for behavior like that? And it was just accepted, encouraged? What would Army recruitment ads even look like?

But to them, to those Greeks, the most feared warriors of their day even prior to the post-scuffle cockstuffing-of-butts, this buttrape of conquest was a patriotic act. Also, third: these dudes were - as far as they were concerned - the manliest men around. And would prove it on you. Not just by beating you in a fight, but by then making sweet, sweet (for them more than for you, probably) love to you.

Now, we here in our modern age find that combination a hard contradiction to process. The grim-eyed soldier, the hardened professional warrior as fighter-lover-buggerer-rapist. How does our modern mind grasp this seeming two-in-one-combo?

We can't.

As evidenced by our common slogan: "I'm a lover, not a fighter." A proud myrmidon in the Greek force was like, "Fuck you. I'm both." We just shake our heads: incomprehensible. Fourthly, and most obviously: just the aspect of nonconsensuality involved. That's extraordinarily repugnant to us, as you know. Is rape funny? Fuck NO it isn't. Not to us, you son of a bitch!! And you bet it was even less funny for people who'd just fought to exhaustion, received wounds, had comrades die around them - I assure you there was no humor in it in the eyes and hearts (and, you know) of the defeated and violated enemy. Yet, we're supposed to picture that as part of the makeup and behavior of a hero! It was considered part of heroism, and conquest in general, to pole the other guy's vault. This, to us, is atrocious, abominable - not just transgressive, it's barbaric! That's how we consider it. And "Rightly so!" we say - and so do I! Because it's fucked up. But to the ancient Greeks, it wasn't. They would be like "What? What do you even mean?" And if you persisted in your disgust at their actions, they'd probably be like "There's only one way to settle this. Let's fight over it."

At that point, just walk away. Better just walk away. Backwards.

Man, isn't it weird how that whole sweet cute little idea of a Trojan pinata turned all ugly on us? Sorry guys, but sometimes I have to bring in the nasty aspects of what war was. I can't take a thought halfway to its inevitable conclusion, only to shy away just because I belatedly see where it's going. I'm a bonafide cultural historian, we can't all just avert our eyes from the unpleasant aspects of the past. Otherwise, we shall be doomed to see those same atrocious acts, reenacted in our own day, as part of a titillating HBO series.

Haha! I Just Noticed the Banner Says "This Blog Is Intended As A Real-Time Updated Archive In A Keyword-Searchable Database For The Discriminating News Enthusiast!"

That's awesome.

Sherlock Holmes: An Appreciation!!!!

This one time, the old professor in the crime scene house (the murder occurred downstairs - the prof's assistant) was a smoker; he had some particularly NICE ones which he was ordering and smoking by the bulkload, Holmes recognized, enthused over them as a tobacco aficionado - next thing you know, the guy's bumming cig after cig at Holmes, they're enjoying a nice chain-smoke together as Holmes conducts the whole interview pacing back and forth, puffing away like a spaz and gesticulating wildly, filling the whole fucking room up with smoke as he and the prof have their little talk. Watson was like "What the fuck?", basically.

The whole point of this big act (apart from to put the professor at ease with a show of unforced camaraderie) was so he could pop his back head in the door an hour later and see where the murderer had been hiding! The tracks were plain as day in all the scattered ash. She (the murderer) had been concealed in a cabinet or something. The professor knew it all the time - thought he had put one over on the great detective.


What a fuckin' weirdo that guy was, you know? A real jerk! Or what about the time he knocked the whole thing of fucking oranges over - and blamed it on Watson! Watson was like "what the fuck?" Still, Watson kept a cool hand, suspecting Holmes had a big fucking foot in the game as usual. Which he did. Which he always did. I can't help but love Sherlock Holmes, and his outré ways! Could it be because he is even as arrogant as myself?

It wasn't always so. Me and my love of Sherlock Holmes, I mean. I had a copy of the big ol' huge A. Conan Doyle collected, "Compleat" as it were - couldn't fucking get any headway through it at all! Why, it might as well have been the fucking Bible at that stage. At that age. I forget how old I was at that point, but I wasn't understanding the charms it had hath. (So to speak.) Anyhow, then years or decades later, I see the Robert Downey Jr. / Jude Law ones - fairly recent films.

Now, I'm the first to admit Downey Jr. looks nothing remotely like Holmes-as-described, OK? But I have to admit, his take on the role made a mark. And then when my eye chanced across that big ol' Conan Doyle doorstop kicking around, I said,"let's have another go, shall we?"


I tore through the whole thing in essentially, one sitting! Punctuated by several standings and a lying down, okay - but I assure you the book was open and continuously in progress more-or-less. Just, one's bodily needs, okay? You got to get yourself a cheese-grilled sandwich, you get yourself a cheese-grilled sandwich. Unlike Holmes, we the readers aren't necessarily compelled to ignore these little necessities, just because Sherlock's all hot on the scent and shit.

And you know what? It was Downey Jr.'s incarnation of Holmes that spirited me through those collected stories of Doyle's. All through that book and since, I just keep on picturing Holmes as Robert Downey Jr. Every time the story mentions or describes what Holmes looks like, I'll say to myself, "that's peculiar," then pass it by. I can't seem to picture Holmes another way, now. I think it's that wide-eyed look he gives us - that look of pretended innocence in some or another matter where we know full well Holmes is up to his tricks! Picturing Sherlock Holmes in his usual classically-depicted unimpressed bird-nosed long-limbed gawky asceticism just wasn't doing it for me. Who wants to hang out with that guy? I don't care how smart he is.

Without changing the peculiar nature of Holmes's character - his acerbity, his impatience with others and disdain for ordinary life, his delight in a challenge and in the exercise of his powers, his pride in advancing the so-called "science of detection" (basically just some bull shit he knocked together himself that nobody else can even do right), his instinct for the dramatic flourish, with all secrets kept for the big reveal - something about Downey Jr.'s take provided the key to the character for me. He made all these things click. With previous Holmeses, a lot of the time I just thought "this guy's a dick, but we need to humor him if we want these crimes solved." Basically you bite the bullet for the greater good. Whereas Downey Jr. makes that same cocktail of characteristics delightful! Delightful. I love to watch him work!

Mind you, I'm not saying a bad word about Rathbone. My mom would kill me. This Cumberbatch guy does a damn good job as well, but something about seeing Holmes running around modern London makes me say "Why not just put him on the Starship fucking Enterprise at that point?" It's not fucking Sherlock Holmes, man. A perfectly valid update/reboot, of course - putting a character in a different setting, hey, it's just done. It's one of those things they're allowed to do - whether I buy it or not. And if you're going to do it, best to do it well. In particular, I must cite the brilliant job they've updating and adapting those methods of observation and deduction. Holmes trains his magician's eye upon all modern details to deliver a classic performance each time, very much in tune with the original. A neat trick.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Artist's Rendering! Sea Levels Rise! Coastal Cities Inundated! GONDOLAS EVERYWHERE!!

This doesn't actually look too bad! How is it that I never even considered the obvious upsides, here? "SUCK IT, VENICE!"

Look how cute our coastal cities will be! I don't know what I was picturing - entire buildings underwater? It's only like the first or second story! Just lift the infrastructure. Sweet.

There's no way this doesn't work out to a huge near-term and long-term boon to the economy and tourism. There will be ample construction projects going - we'll need to have at least some raised bridges and walkways, and with the automobile largely shunted to the side (which is good, right guys?) in coastal metropoleis, public transit will be instant priority number RIGHT NOW. We'll see a boom in traditional options like elevated trains, to be sure - but also, expect some breakthroughs, like subway-to-submarine-way retrofits! How cool will that be. Expect an explosion in personal aquatic transport options as well, many of which are only waiting on mass demand to become widespread and affordable: urban jetskis! Aqua-pedalbikes! And for the bridge & tunnel crowd, the long-dreamt-of (and eminently doable) streetable boat.

What the heck is the deal with people, that they've been ignoring all these obvious upsides? With the pictures, it pretty much stares you in the face what we're going to do. These aren't pipe-dreams, people! Under any credible scenario you care to advance, this is what is going to happen. Except of course, in the event of a real catastrophe. Something on the order of global thermonuclear war - always a possibility. But anything short of that - come on! When the tide comes in, we rise above, turn it into a business and sell tickets. It's hard not to see how well we're going to deal with this. Come on, folks. It's humanity. We don't give a shit.

By the way - hey all you environmentalists? And naturally, I include myself in that. Could we please come off the act that any of this climate concern was for nature's sake? Because it's pretty obvious that it's not, and it never was. Save the earth? Save it for who?

It's just for us. This whole concern is just for us. It's always been. It's blatantly obvious that nothing has ever really been under threat here, except us and our widdle buildings. Meanwhile, the rest of life on earth has weathered global freeze after global melt after global freeze after global melt for ages, and going strong!

Oh sure, I guess if somebody wanted to, they could find tiny little ways to paint it as a "nature's sake" concern. "Species are going extinct!" This is about on the same level of Michael Jackson singing "There are people dyyyinnng..." Yes, Michael, there are. There are and will be. And species are going extinct. Sheesh.

Few things are more annoying than someone who fronts as "informed and concerned about nature," yet - did they miss every year of science class, from elementary all the way through high school? Did their parents excuse them with a note?! Extinction is what evolution is for.

Nope, the stakes here have only ever been a concern for the comfort, convenience, ease and familiarity of homo sapiens. Well on that front, great news! Check a look at these pictures. Not so bad at all! Gondolas everywhere! I can't wait.

Seriously, how cute is that going to be? Okay, except for a lot of dorks and losers who get all boo-hoo about things not being what they used to be. Plenty of humans don't "do" change very well (and honestly, I have to include myself in that, too). But so what? Those people will complain no matter what happens.

Overall, we're going to do fine out of this.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Monday, May 05, 2014

So How Was Your Weekend?

Never play strip poker with a tarot deck. Nobody got naked, and 2 people died.