Evil Forces in the World

Reflections on ''Evil Forces in the World,'' as well as occasional remarks concerning ''Good Forces in the World.''

Saturday, March 16, 2002

Early morning meetings are a force of evil, 'specially when one is required to be both chipper and knowledgeable.

Friday, March 15, 2002

Foreign aid, when it provides incentives to create sound policy environments in the recipient country, can be an extremely good force.
Look, it's a bloody fact. It can't be denied, so don't bother trying: Natalie Portman is so stunningly gorgeous that it's a bloody scandal. It is nothing less than a bloody scandal. Perhaps it's slightly less than that particular bloody scandal, but regardless, the point remains. Consider the new Star Wars trailer ("Clone Wars," available on the web site only to registered users, a cautionary note for the paranoid among you), which is, incidentally, bloody spectacular: the woman is so soul-shatteringly gorgeous that she's blown a whole in the fabric of the universe. And this gaping whole, perfectly innocent to the untrained eye, is allowing hell-bound banshees from another dimension into our own, all the while wreaking havoc and partying like it's '99 -- 2999, that is, a nightmarish distant future in which humans are much like potted plants and are eaten by irascible goats. And toddlers rule.

But is she a match for Carly Pope, still woefully underappreciated even after her distressingly good performance as a venomous teen queen in Orange County, which will forever be remembered as the first great film of the 20th century, or not? The jury is still out.
Michael Walzer, normative political theorist and dean of the American social-democratic left, has long been one of the more thoughtful figures in American intellectual life, but he's really outdone himself with his essay in the forthcoming issue of Dissent, a magazine I still read religiously. I can't say I always agree with him; I found Spheres of Justice, for example, incoherent. That said, Walzer is a powerful force for good.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Famous playwright Tina Snell is a force for good in the world. She combats the evil forces of sappy and overblown writing, employing a highly honed sense of mystery and wit. Rock on, San Diego!

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Consider the following:

Indeed, some clubgoers felt Bang the Party had faded as an event, and was long overdue for a change of scenery. At the event’s final Friday at Frank’s, March 8, Christina Bienko, a Baruch College student who lives in Bushwick, lamented the Ivy League grads in cardigans and square glasses inundating Frank’s.

"When this place originally started off, it was not like this," she said. "Everybody was dancing and you still had the old crowd, like old moms and pops who lived in this neighborhood before gentrification–before anything–and they were chilling and you be drinking with them. It was like old school!"

Ms. Bienko used one word to describe the crowd she saw that Friday night: "Wack."



Somehow this puts me ill at ease. I'm a native of Brooklyn, New York (as opposed to Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, home of erstwhile home of Jesse "The Body" Ventura), having lived there my entire life until college. And my permanent address is still in Brooklyn. Though I'm now living in Washington, D.C., a lovely city to be sure, it isn't home by any stretch. Home will always be my charmingly ramshackle street in Kensington, which remains obscure and out-of-the-way. But the class composition of Brooklyn, and its place in the broader cultural constellation, has changed dramatically over the course of my life, and indeed in the short time since I left high school. Brooklyn has come to be associated with single white men and women of a literary bent, which strikes me as nothing less than absurd in light of the demographics. I suppose this sort of thing is to be expected; so predictable, that is, as to be beneath condemnation. Also, the fact of gentrification is hardly a bad thing. I am certainly not a reflexive left-winger and I wouldn't be caught dead poo-pooing the fact that large stretches of my hometown are now safer and more prosperous than in the past. Still, there's something odious about these new Brooklynites. Perhaps it's my sense that Brooklyn is a second-best proposition for these people -- a way station, not a home. Or perhaps it's something else. My dream is that Brooklyn will one day secede from New York city. The San Fernando Valley is well on its way to doing just that in Los Angeles. It is, I'll admit, a quixotic dream. Our elected officials have precious little imagination. My borough president, formerly my state senator, is a buffoon and a clod. Brooklyn is disproportionately and relatively poor, it's true, but this can be a great advantage for an independent municipality, a fact that's been ignored. As John Tierney argued some time ago, the role of municipal governments isn't redistribution -- that ought to happen (and I do believe it ought to happen, darn tootin') at the level of the state or the federal government. These governments are meant to provide clean and safe streets, as well as other local amenities New York city has consistently failed to provide adequately, even under the best mayor New York has ever had. Brooklyn should be running its own affairs. These young hipsters are a sideshow. Let them all move to bloody Hoboken. Brooklyn is a force for good.

And the crowd is definitely wack.
It's a damn shame about Kenneth Chang I must agree (saying he looks about 16 is too generous; closer to 13 would be more accurate: click on the link to get the full picture), but I have a theory. Turns out, Kenneth Chang has a rare condition that consists of a chronic reverse aging process. That is: when Kenneth was 13, he looked like he was 37, and as he grows older he looks younger and younger. Not too surprising then, Kenneth now 37 looks a nubile 13, and similarly, when he turns 50 or so, he will look roughly the age of a pre pubescent 7 year old. Strange? Yes. Bizarre? No doubt. And true? ... I think so. I also think that this little condition can decidedly be regarded as a force of evil. That's for DAMN sure.
We've all heard of Botox, which is, as far as I'm concerned, neither here nor there. Then there are those who look unnaturally young for entirely natural reasons. Take Kenneth Chang, for instance. Chang, an accomplished science writer for the gray lady (no, not that gray lady), looks about sixteen. But the main is in his late thirties! What on earth is going on? I can't help but think that something sinister is afoot.
We all know that America rules the skies.

But now we rule the ground! That can't help but be good.
What about a party of sausage? By this I mean an entire political party composed only of pieces of sausage. Can the sausage talk? Hell yes, dammit. Can the sausage debate? Again, hell yes, goddamit. And what would be there particular political platform? Man, I don't know, I don't know shit about politics. But I do know one thing: sausage tastes good. Force of good, there it is.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Who says a sausage party is a bad thing?
I just spent a considerable amount of time by an enormous dumpster. It wasn't by any stretch the worst half-hour or so of my life, but it certainly wasn't the best. The best was spent watching an episode of NewsRadio and eating chocolate chip cookies with a tall glass of milk.

I'm feeling philosophical. Light-headed too. Light-headedness is a force of good.

Monday, March 11, 2002

Help start the Andrew W.K. backlash! Now, I know some of my fellow evilforces bloggers enjoy the W.K., because he indeed does "party hard," but I for one am not transfixed, big neon sign or not. Savvy pop culture critics (Spin, NME, Vanity Fair) dig the W.K., but only because they fear the repercussions: a serious beating by Andrew W.K. fans worldwide (read: US college fratboys and working class blokes from Manchester alike) while "Party Hard" plays in the background. And I refuse to bow down to musical crap that has the lucky fortune of coming full circle from bad kitsch to well received, "good" kitsch. Poison and Warrant did this shit in the late 80s, and dear readers, they rocked harder. They partied harder. Don't believe me? I think MTV documented this fairly well. Get your research assistant/ intern on the case. Where were NME and Spin back then? Praising over rated acts like Husker Du and London Suede no doubt. To anyone reading this rant: don't become unconsciously complicit in a vicious cultural bias that adores the simulacrum but loathes the original. I'm not afraid to stand tall and declare the following: Andrew W.K fucking sucks. Indeed, fear is the greatest, if not only, truly evil force in the world today.

Sunday, March 10, 2002

Andrew W.K. says the following:
You,
You work all night
And when you work, you don't feel all right
And we,
We can't stop feeling all right
And everything is all right
'Cause we will never listen to your rules, No
We will never do what others do
Do what we want and we get it from you
Do what we like and we like what we do

So let's get a party going, let's get a party going
Now it's time to party and we'll party hard, party hard
Let's get a party going, let's get a party going
When it's time to party, we will always party hard
Party hard
Party hard
Party hard
Party hard


All the while, Mr W.K. is "headbanging" in a dark room illuminated only by a neon sign which says, appropriately enough, "Party Hard." How can this not be evil?