Evil Forces in the World

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

Friday, August 02, 2002

I should also add that Benhabib is far less silly than Jonah Goldberg would have you believe:

Historians always warn us that the unprecedented will turn out to have some forerunners somewhere and that what seems new today will appear old when considered against the background of some longer time span. Nevertheless to “think the new” in politics is the vocation of the intellectual. This is a task at which luminaries like Susan Sontag, Fred Jameson, Slavoj Zizeck, who have seized this opportunity to recycle well-worn out 1960’s clichés about western imperialism and hegemony, have failed us by interpreting these events along the tired paradigm of an anti-imperialist struggle by the “wretched of the earth.”1 Neglecting the internal dynamics and struggles within the Islamic world, and the history of regional conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Kashmir, these analyses assure us that we can continue to grasp the world through our usual categories, and that by blaming the policies and actions of western governments, one can purge oneself of the enmity and hatred which is directed toward one as a member of such western societies. These analyses help us neither to grasp the unprecedented nature of the events unfolding since September 11, 2001 nor to appreciate the internal dynamics within the Arab Muslim world which have given rise to them.

This strikes me as about right, though I would've added more about, for example, obliterating all evil. Now that our sober-minded interlude has drawn to a close, you can look forward to more rambling semi-demi-sub-narrative on Hollywood starlets, classic songs by the Baha Men, and the philosophical problem of doom. And dooom.

I have but this to say:
Down at 55 Water Street
Top official always seein Chemical Bank, Wells Fargo
Bank of America with my fine secretary Erykah
Me and Al Sharpton was talkin about real estate in Compton
With a loan from General Mills
I would start a new NBA team Baldwin Hills
The Baldwin Hills Spacemen
Lime green uniforms with a orange basketball logo
The group solo, that's right, dolo
with the comissioner of the basketball
Passin y'all in my ASR Rolls Royce
Y'all can't stop my voice and opinion, here's a card and my phone extension
Not to mention I ripped up four tickets to the Grammy awards
I had pasta with my new team and my roster
Agents beware, I'm talkin' to Shaq behind the Lakers back
Michael Jordan I'm important, keep tapes recordin'
Buyin baseball stadiums, talkin to Joe Morgan
Cincinatti Reds, I'm over your heads
Call my limo Nancy, make it fancy, I'm in a rush
No time for coffee, ice cream from Mr Softee

So good, it's evil.
Seyla Benhabib, formerly the chair of my undergraduate concentration and now, tragically, a professor at a thirty-fifth rate muttonchop motion-control factory, has essentially, if indirectly, declared war on Evil Forces, the central premise of which is that good old-fashioned Manichaeanism can go a long way:

"Osama bin Laden may be evil, I agree with you as a moral category" argued Benhabib. "But in the political legal realm we have to deal with these canons, with these categories that we have. That's why I would be cautious as a political person, to use this term. Because it muddies the water." In other words, call the 9/11 hijackers "evil" in the privacy of your own home, but don't do it in public because, according to Ms. Benhabib, in public we must deal with al Qaeda as negotiating partners. "We have to understand [al Qaeda's] grievances that we can comprehend and negotiate about. Grievances about the stationing of troops in ... American troops in Saudi Arabia, grievances about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This is what we have to respond to…" The language of good and evil isn't helpful because it doesn't encourage good-faith negotiations.

Suffice it to say, I am deeply saddened by this news.
I haven't decided as yet. It is during these twilight moments of uncertainty that evil is at its most powerful.
The soul-searingly beautiful Kristin Kreuk (she bears a passing resemblance to the even more soul-searingly beautiful Min Lieskovsky, who also happens to be a science whiz and a descendant of both Genghis Khan and Vlad the Impaler, which basically tells you all you need to know), of The WB's Smallville said the following to E! when asked if she'd go for "the mild-mannered reporter or the studly superhero":

"Oh, that's hard. I would probably like Lex, because he's so evil."

Oy, isn't that always the way?

And to pour generous heapings of salt on the still fresh seven-inch-deep metaphorical gash in my chest (which, were it an authentic wound, would surely have marred my favorite Cal Berkeley T-shirt with rivers of blood by now, though I'd have other things to worry about, including the prospect of an imminent death), Kreuk also digs hip-hop: "I'm really into hip hop music right now. That and rap. Basically I listen to just about everything except heavy metal." For those you who don't know, I too am a great lover of the hip-hop music.

Is Andrew W.K. metal? If so, Kreuk is missing out.

Longtime Evil Force battlers will wonder if Kreuk surpasses the Pope: let's not lose our heads.
Aside from four years of college and one year working for a storied weekly newsmagazine, I've spent my entire life living in Brooklyn, New York, which happens to be "where I lay my dome" at present. ("Brooklyn n____z get crazy loot." "Bucktown: The place where I received my roots / Got put on to this loot / And got my first Tim boots.") Whenever I'd return from abroad (usually after visiting family as opposed to, say, chatting up chalet girls, which would've been pretty keen), I'd get chills running down my spine as my folks ferried me back home. Brooklyn is a damn good force. But where would we be without the NYPD?

An insightful reader points out that, in the absence of a powerful, pistol-wielding police force to enforce property rights and general standards of civilized conduct, including the age-old maxim that peeing in the street is unhealthy, unwise, and uncool (in fact, if it were an age-old "maxim," it'd be more like "argh, matey, peein' on the street is a no-no, don't ya know, now pass me some gold doubloons"; this reminds me: I have not yet explained in vivid detail why piracy is a force of evil, but, rest assured, will do so soon), we'd all be a gang of nose-picking, dope-smoking hoodlums.

(Hold on for one nose-picking minute: this web site is a gas.)

So I say "huzza!" As it turns out, my love for the police got me booted off of a jury, but this is another story entirely. To make a longish item shortish, or perhaps mid-length (which means it'll reveal what may well be the least attractive part of the leg, sadly), the police are very much a force of good, except when they're deeply corrupt and brutal.
Gao Qiufu is, in a manner of speaking, one of us, which is to say that he too is interested in the fight against evil forces, as he makes perfectly clear in this essay:

I recently went to the Central Asian countries to cover the situation in the region. I found that all the people, from the grass-roots to government officials, were focused on one topic: that is, how to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism (three evil forces) and safeguard national stability and the normal operation of public life.

While I'm also opposed to, for example, the Islamist tendency, Gao Qiufu fails to recognize that there are at least seven or eight evil forces, which include a number of more mundane but no less evil forces, e.g., excessive hyperlinking.

Before I forget, RIP Big Pun. "Boricua, morena, boricua, morena."

Thursday, August 01, 2002

I spent last Christmas break playing the video game "SSX Tricky" (which features the unstoppable Run DMC song "Tricky") on Playstation-2 17 hours a day. It was an accomplishment, a triumph of both the body and will. Just thinking about it now typically makes my typically cold and iron-like heart turn into a mushy slush resembling microwaved bread. In honor of that personal memory, I would like to introduce a feature that I would like to call:

Nintendo Power Letter of the Month.

(Nintendo Power, of course, is the in-house publication of the Nintendo Corporation. It helped my cousin in 1992 beat Super Mario Bros. 3)

This month's winner is seriously moving. Enjoy.

"I am writing about my son, Joseph, who is 11. He is a Nintendo Freak who has been legally blind since birth. He started playing when he was 3 and has become a master. Playing Nintendo has changed his life.
To start with, he couldn't see moving objects except when they were up close and moving slowly. Then his grandpa bought him an NES. After about a year we had his vision tested for school. We were stunned to learn that his vision had improved greatly. The doctors were all as shocked as we were. After talking with Joe, they concluded that he had perfected his vision by playing Nintendo. Since the screen continually moves, it strengthened his eye muscles. The doctors have encouraged him to play an hour a day, and more if possible. He was so happy he asked the doctor about getting a prescription for a couple of new games. The difference now in his sight is unbelievable. THe dean of the school of opthalomology examined our son and just shook his head. He said that it has given him something to recommend for other kids with his problem. His dream is to go to the University of Washington and work for Nintendo developing new games. He even jokes that he would like to have Howard Phillips' job. Don't be surprised if someday an eager kid with glasses walks into your offices. That would by my son, Joe.
- Julie Snipes"

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan, my personal hero, for his wit and wisdom and courage under fire. And also for his link to our web site, which we're hoping to make a crucial resource in the never-ending battle against evil, which lurks deep within every nook and cranny.

I should note that Mr Sullivan, and others like him, or rather the other like him (only Mickey Kaus is in his league, in my estimation, though I'm biased) battles a number of very real evil forces.
At 77 minutes, Tadpole was roughly 77 minutes too long: I have but this to say: I want those precious minutes of my life back, and I want them back immediately. If they aren't returned to me soon, wrapped in a fur blouson and gold lamé, you can expect gunboats down the Yangtze, and soon. How on earth could a movie, financed not by nickels stolen from kids and the generally slow-moving or slow-witted but by major movers and shakers, have such an utterly awful screenplay? (I should add that Aaron Stanford, the lead, is talentless in the extreme: he was painful to watch. Time and again, he made me want to leave the theater very badly. As it turns out, I wasn't alone, thus precluding that possibility. I'd sooner drill a long metal tube filled with molten melon goop into my rib than ever see this man again in another motion picture, or play. I would not object to, for example, seeing him cross the street, particularly if he was assisting an elderly woman in the process, which would in fact be both admirable and almost enough to redeem him in my eyes as a human being, if not as a performer.) I'll tell you this much: I'm not the sharpest tack in the box, not by a longshot, but I could've written a better screenplay -- and keep in mind that I barely know how to use commas, let alone string together dialogue that is recognizably human as opposed to rhino -- with several sharp candy-coated arrows, each one lovingly caressed with a dab of highly corrosive acid, lodged deep in my cavernous, largely empty skull. Right, of course, the Columbia History faculty poker game. Naturally. Oh, it gets worse. A portrait of New Yorkers painted in Saskatoon, or by the members of some sort of Mad About You-watching cargo cult with only a primitive grasp of US English. Verdict: Evil. Sentence: Obliteration.

It's time to drop some science.

Years ago, a man I both admire and respect told me that, "On stage, Reihan [my name], you always feel a need to act like either a monkey or a robot." During this period, I did a good deal of acting. My response was as follows: "I feel as though humans are the mushy middle between monkey and robot." I stand by this statement.

And now that the science has been dropped, we can turn to other pressing matters, including the book I've just finished, or rather the slender pamplet I've just finished, which was drawn from a longish piece of reportage by Ian Jack (who wrote a truly wonderful introductory essay to the NYRB edition of Nirad Chaudhuri's first major work, The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian) which first appeared in Granta 73: The Crash that Stopped Britain. It wasn't quite the tiresome left-wing polemic I had expected -- in fact, it was a sober-minded, thoughtful, and thorough analysis of the circumstances leading up to the October 2000 Hatfield crash -- and so I'm more than a little perplexed by the way partisans of the far left have adopted the book as a kind of anti-privatization panegyric. Jack neglects the obvious point that privatization per se wasn't the problem -- the evil at hand, if you will -- but rather the sloppy design of the so-called vertical separation of infrastructure from the train-operating companies (TOCs). Regardless, if you love trains, and I most assuredly love trains, you will enjoy the book.

Consider the following song, which is nothing less than infectiously evil:

I just can't get you out of my head
Boy your lovin' is all I think about
I just can't get you out of my head
Boy it's more than I dare to think about

On behalf of the forces of common decency, I order you, gentleman in question, to remove yourself immediately from this young lady's head. I've had enough of your shenanigans for a lifetime.
Late in last night's game at The Ballpark at Arlington, Texas Ranger 1st baseman and Viagra spokesman Rafael Palmeiro hit a home run off of New York Yankee reliever Steve Karsay. The ball ricocheted off the right field facade, on which was plastered several signs promoting Viagra. There are so many things one can, and should, say about this, all of which are likely good. Unlike witty ESPN anchors, I will allow myself but one comment: moments like this send streams of jokes rushing to one's head.
Dan Savage is a force of good, but I've said this time and again. It's worth repeating.

How did you start writing "Savage Love"?

I was the night manager at a video store in Madison, Wisconsin, and one of my coworkers was moving to Seattle to start a weekly newspaper [
The Stranger]. I said, "You have to have an advice column. Everybody hates them, but everybody reads them." I was advising him because I'm a pushy busybody, which apparently qualifies me to write advice. He said, "Why don't you write it?" I had never written anything before in my life. It sounds disingenuous now, but I really wasn't angling for the gig.

Words to live by from the man himself, and a would-be slogan for all those battling evil:

Well, there's the golden rule. Then there's "don't be an asshole," which is my mother's version of the golden rule. A large part of it was being raised Catholic and dealing with guilt. With guilt, you put yourself in the other person's shoes. It makes you careful about the way you move through the world.

I am interested in writing an "Evil Forces in the World" theme song. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this pressing matter. One way to reach the young is through the power of song.
A short while ago, I was sitting with some friends -- not close friends, I don't think (the faces are indistinct and I honestly can't remember who exactly was there, which is a source of concern), but friends nonetheless -- and we were discussing, for some reason or another, The New York Observer. During the course of the conversation, I recall unashamedly squealing like a schoolgirl in an effort to convey my unbridled enthusiasm. I'm convinced that I'm going mad. But this is entirely tangential to my central point, which is that The Observer is damn good. As it turns out, a TASP alumnus works for them, or rather did until very recently. Because I don't know the fellow in question, I will not disclose the name; doing so might very well make me seem extremely creepy, which is always a risk, in large part because I write longish paeans to leggy, angryish women with slender eyebrows, which is highly questionable and would have guaranteed a Siberian exile during the worst days of Czarist absolutism. As awful as the Communists were, and they were certainly awful (in light of my blind hatred for all things that smack of Communism, including communal living, sharing, and the PBS program Sesame Street, I hardly think I need to establish my anti-Red bona fides), I think they were largely indifferent to fever-inducing overenthusiasm for the brainy ways of, say, a Thandiwe Adjewa.

Crankies: two of the best movies ever made, both of which single-handedly rescued several introspective apes from the clutches of an evil robot, are John Duigan's Flirting and its predecessor, the somewhat less awesome but still thoroughly awesome The Year My Voice Broke. I recommend both.

A key ingredient in making an excellent movie: a fistfight of some kind, preferably between a plucky young adventurer and a soulless cad, or some variation on this theme. A fellow called John Mangin, a good friend and ex-D.C. comrade, once told me the following story, which I found thoroughly entertaining: in elementary school, John was the fourth-best kid at sports, and so he hung out with the first-, second-, and third-best. Naturally, the first-best took the lead, deciding what they'd do as a group from day to day. As it turns out, the first-best kid was in fact extremely clever and creative -- a natural leader. One of their favorite activities was gathering by the roadside and pretending to beat each other up; predictably enough, in part because the kids in question were so young, motorists would occasionally stop and try to break up the melee, the furious fist-pounding, etc. And then the kids would laugh at the well-intentioned motorist, revealing that it had all been a ruse. At one point, however, the motorists in question were high school seniors on the way to the prom; once the kids revealed that they were indulging in a prank, the high school seniors proceeded to beat the stuffing out of them.

Is this good or evil? I can't tell. It is certainly a damn good yarn, and yet the savage beating of elementary school kids is far from model behavior.

I've discovered that there are many references to both Megatron, best known as the pre-Unicron leader of the Decepticons, and Saddam Hussein, the bloodhtirsty Iraqi dictator littered around the web, including the lyrics to the lackluster Killarmy song "Bastard Swordsman." I'm convinced that this is somehow significant.

Observe the following sequence:

Decepticon Leadership Chart
Original Leader
Began Third Cybertronian War

Astrotrain & Blitzwing
Froze Megatron
Self-proclaimed leadership status

Threatened Astrotrain and Blitzwing to regain leadership
Killed Optimus Prime

Ejected Megatron from Astrotrain
Died during coronation

Killed Starscream
Created by Unicron from Megatron
Became insane

I particularly like that last line -- "Became insane": to the point.

Another choice line: Galvatron, who had been lost during the battle with Unicron, later turned up in a pool of lava on the planet Thrull (possibly Thrall or Throb). Have I been outsmarted? (Truth be told, I've been outsmarted by lichen-covered stones lining the garden path, but only stones wearing spectacles and neckties, which were formerly people, sometimes rocket scientists.)

And now I'll be offering up links to apocalyptic abominations compiled by a Great Canadian American Wunderkind, a Genteel, Charming Asian Whitey, a Garrulous, Curious, Acerbic Writer, a man perhaps best known for his love of cocktail receptions, machetes, and risky world travel; I'm responsible for the text, but the Generous, Considerate Alpine Watchdog is entirely to blame for the madness within:

(1) This is deeply strange. An invention? I'm befuddled.

(2) Surely grown men shouldn't be cowering before a mere fish. Several million years ago, our ancestors crawled out of the primordial soupy sea to avoid precisely this fate. I am sad. Air strikes may well be in order.

(3) Having eaten more than my fair shares of cookies, this strikes me as a bit extreme. Oh my good lord, this three-year-old boy weighs 120 lbs. I didn't weigh as much until relatively late in life. My good God.

(4) "A NEW FARM soccer club has been forced to apologise after using a homeless man for target practice.

"A coach and several players in his under-13 team were seen kicking balls at the man during practice as he lay, apparently unconscious, in the club's grounds."

I have nothing to say about this, other than to avert my gaze in utter disgust at the depths to which human beings, rats on wheels at our worst, can sink.

Holy cow: when you type "Evil Forces" into Google, we're the first bloody thing that pops up, at least for today! We've managed to displace the dastardly Chinese government! A word to the wise: Don't believe their lies.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

"Dr Strangelove" of Ain't It Cool News raves about "The Dies" ("dies nuts," as a good friend of mine would almost certainly say):

I always thought Vin Diesel was kinda ok, but after seeing this VIN Diesel is a revelation, the leading man of the 21st century, in XXX he has incredible charisma, virtually the entire movie TREMORS from his massive on screen presence and the fantastic stunts Rob Cohen has conceived, and to all of you who liked The Fast and the Furious, the former seems like a little teaser trailer to XXX.

I am a fairly undiscerning moviegoer, but this is sheer madness. Capitalizing "VIN"? Surely some sort of "Church of VIN" will follow.

One of the several thousand movies I am extremely excited about is The Hebrew Hammer, starring the vaguely Beastie-ish Adam Goldberg, an actor I've liked since he appeared in a tremendously short-lived sitcom about bike messengers that may or may not be a figment of my imagination. (I believe it also starred that odd cat from Murphy Brown, the one with the smock.) Uh, dude, he allegedly dated Julie Delpy of Krzysztof Kieslowski's White, Before Sunrise, and other dubious movies I happen to like but couldn't tell you exactly why (she also made a brief cameo appearance in one of my ten favorite movies of all time, But I'm a Cheerleader, but I can tell you exactly why I liked it: it was hella dope). Uh. Dude. Yeah, I know why: two reasons. For one thing, White was introduced to me by an excellent human being, a fellow with great physical presence and a curious style of dress. When I knew him, which was roughly a generation ago in our accelerated era, he always wore combat boots, a red T-shirt, a half-sleeve batik buttondown shirt, and black pants; for formal occasions, he would button up the shirt (generally unbuttoned, I should note), and add a bolo tie to the ensem, as well as a natty blazer. Another reason: theory-head and upstanding anti-evil commando Rich So claims that there is an existential conflict between the Juliette Binoche partisans and the Delpy partisans; I am firmly in the Delpy camp, though I'm generally indifferent to translucent types.

RIP Colleen Dewhurst: were I a drinker, I'd surely pour a 40 into the ground in honor of this highly cool lady, who starred in the seriously awesome (and yes, I'm definitely embarrassed to admit it, but this web site is like a contract: to lie is evil, and the evil must be stopped with high-caliber rhetorical bullets, and my clip is loaded and ready for action) Anne of Green Gables, a program that quite possibly ruined me as a child by fueling a bizarre, misplaced obsession with Canada and by subliminally causing me to fall hard for difficult, hyperintelligent rural (or just generally odd) girls.

Incidentally, I am indeed listen to "Bacdafucup II," which is hot as f__k. They successfully sample the "Welcome Back, Kotter" theme song. Damn. Incidentally, I wish that I could turn around the lives of some troubled inner-city youth, but as it turns out I myself am a moderately troubled inner-city youth. Troubled isn't the right word, exactly, but I certainly don't have an ideal sleeping schedule.

After seeing the "S1MONE" trailer for the umpteenth time, the following occurred to me: Is Penélope Cruz a robot? Incidentally, one of my best friends, and a theoretical Evil Forces contributor, once said the most painfully funny thing about Cruz, so funny that it made me want to remove my own large intestine and use it as a lasso: difficult to replicate, unfortunately. It was, if I recall correctly, a mangled impersonation of Cruz saying "The pleasure of Sofia." I suppose her English is a little rough, which isn't a laughing matter; she is, after all, from Spain, and I gather her Castillian is impeccable. And yet I am, as I write this, laughing uproariously. Christ. I am a bad dude. Evil? Let's not go nuts.

If you haven't read Sam Sloan's web site as yet, please do. It was brought to my attention by a fellow called Graeme Charles Arthur Wood, a dear friend and personal hero, who is currently in Bloomington, Indiana if I understand correctly. As insane as Sloan may or may not be, I agree wholeheartedly with his legislative agenda. (Incidentally, Sloan also combats evil, but we disagree rather strongly as to what constitutes evil, which comes as something of a relief, to tell you the truth, but I do respect the man for his efforts. In the battle against evil, we badly need allies -- certainly as long as that Leno character is allowed to have his own television program.) Sadly, he didn't quite make it, losing by a narrow margin to some sort of flunky. Actually, it may well have been an enormously large margin, but this is all academic.

Oh my good lord: I've just discovered that Adam Goldberg will soon be in a film featuring Shalom Harlow, one of the six or seven most astonishingly gorgeous women to ever have lived, ever. (I don't know of any of the others, but I assume that at least five or six other similarly stunning women either exist at present and are undernourished and generally oppressed in some sort of Third World shanty, which is straight-up messed up, or have chosen to conceal themselves, and with good reason, frankly speaking, or have existed at some point in the distant past, e.g., Helen of Troy, who allegedly launched a large-ish number of sea-faring vessels, owl-wielding pooja-inspirers, etc.)

Oy, she was also in a movie with Liane Balaban, Canada's answer to our own Natalie Portman (see the side-splittingly hilarious VMA ad featuring Portman and SNL funnyman Jimmy Fallon, who is in the enviable position of sharing a stage with the awe-inspiring Tina Fey on a weekly basis: at one point, Fallon says, and I'm paraphrasing as years of general sloth has undermined my once razor-sharp photographic memory, which is now more like one of those WABC witness box sketchbook memories, with weirdly distorted and terrifying human figures drawn with colored pencils, "you didn't want to make out in the back row of Lilo & Stitch, then you didn't want to make out in front of my doorman when I said, 'Hey, do you want to see me make out with Natalie Portman,'" at which point I was on the floor and in stitches, and I'll tell you one thing: these cats are earning every damn cent) , who was eight miles beyond tremendously wonderful in Bart Freundlich's World Traveler (incidentally, Billy Crudup, who is supposed to be incredibly good looking, is a short man, which is "wicked"), two inches being the distance between getting slapped with a searing-hot rod and driving a sporty automobile on a sweet-smelling and pleasingly warm day, which I've never done but suspect would make for a not-too-bad afternoon.

Please shoot me immediately. No, no. Don't do that.

Word to the wise: If at some point during the course of the day you're called upon to make that fateful decision between whether to pursue a generally evil or generally good course of action, I urge you to choose the latter; failing to do so will almost certainly result in massive rhetorical retaliation, and perhaps literal nuclear-armed retaliation, from yours truly. Suffice it to say, neither of us would be pleased with said outcome. Eat your greens.
From an essay by Sarfraz Mansoor, a "British Asian," to use an unfortunate turn of phrase:

And yet there has always been a troubling dishonesty in my attempts at patriotism. The simple fact is that it is hard to support England when you do not feel English, and I have never felt English; at best, I feel British, but mostly I just feel confused. It’s not that I don’t want to belong, but rather, to misquote Groucho Marx, that I don’t want to support any club that would not include me as a member. It is not a question of intentional disloyalty; the sad fact is that no matter how British British Asians feel, they believe that they will not be fully accepted by the nation of the team that they’re expected to cheer.

Take Nasser Hussain. Last year, this Indian-born captain of the English cricket team voiced his disappointment at how few British Asians supported England during the cricket and instead cheered for India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka. Unfortunately for Mr Hussain, a recent poll on attitudes to race revealed that a significant number of respondents did not consider Mr Hussain himself to be English.

This is a damn shame. Evil might be a bit strong as a characterization of the matter at hand, but it's certainly not a state of affairs best described as good. I may well be imagining things, but I can't say I feel the same way about the United States -- not by a longshot.
I was going to link this excellent and persuasive leader on why the British ought to export prisoners to Africa, but you should just read the whole bloody magazine, as it kicks serious ass. (I like my unkicked ass fine, thank you very much.)
I like this guy:

"Duncan, whose height (he claims 5ft 6in, but he is exaggerating) and style have prompted sobriquets like 'the Bonsai Heseltine' "
Paul Routledge, Independent.

In keeping with the Tories turn toward inclusiveness, Alan Duncan, the Shadow Foreign Minister and a red-meat free-marketeer, "says he's gay," to quote the Times headline. This is, I think, very much a force for good.

Monday, July 29, 2002

I've been saying it for years: this town is stanky.

More to come. (See below: "tomorrow," as you know perfectly well, is today, and today will last for another twenty hours plus change, so hold your horses.)
I've been saying it for years: this town is stanky.

More to come. (See below: "tomorrow," as you know perfectly well, is today, and today will last for another twenty hours plus change, so hold your horses.) I'm trying to restore a decent sleeping schedule. Waking up at 6 PM is evil. I know first-hand.
A Report From the Trenches/ Indefensible Position #1:

So everyone, I have read the first page of Ethan Hawke's new novel, Ash Wednesday. It's okay. As GQ has already noted, Mr Hawke possesses a moderate control of narrative and language, a reasonably sophisticated worldview, and sometimes excellent sense of detail. I am not really in a position to affirm or negate this criticism, but I can report that Ash Wednesday has a wonderfully evocative cover, and in its first page, demonstrates a varied use of prepositional clauses and the like. He also seems to favor the use of "I" to create a personal subjectivity. I can get into it.

This reminds me of the time that my older brother ran into Mr Hawke on the lower east side streets of Manhattan. My brother, who is also a tall, lanky, handsome man with stylishly disheveled hair, swears the two shared a "moment" of hipster solidarity - understanding which became manifest in a brief but precise nod of knowingness. I am skeptical however.

And by the way: Mr Hawke will be appearing at The Avon Theatre located in Providence, RI for a joint first showing of his new movie Chelsea Walls (advance notice on this flick is that it's a trite, pretentious piece of crap - despite the "ill" soundtrack provided by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy), and booksigning of his new novel. The preview fliers promise Mr Hawke in full ironic garb: a tweed blazer and starched shirt with no tie, carefully disheveled hair (a la Hugh Grant in About A Boy), and calculated facial expression meant to convey both confusion and disorientation. Will Brown undergraduate women fall to his feet? Will Mr Hawke pick up 12 "chickens" in the course of one weekend, as Evan Dando (of the now defunct Lemonheads) did one Yale spring fling years ago? To be seen - this alone will be worth the price of admission - a whopping $20 no less.

And just in case you forgot: I'm still spending money from '88 - WHAT?!

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Does "Slam Harder" indeed slam harder (than "Slam," that is)? You'll get the straight dope on the new Onyx release tomorrow, as well as a riveting Civ III narrative in which I'll describe the rise of my primitive tribe from dancing around (sockless, no less) with wild abandon in the pre-wheel era to the heights of civilization, from which we drop massive aluminum canisters of "the realness" onto the heads of non-discerning lesser nations; a preview: it is 1820 and I've mastered fission, stealth technology, and I'm halfway done with my interstellar spacecraft. The other peoples of the world are still working how to use forks. (Note: This is a slight exaggeration.)


If you haven't played "Sissyfight" as yet, I recommend you do so immediately; not quite as wonderful as the legendary "Choclatron," perhaps the greatest thing ever (including tank tops, flip-flops, and robots in smocks), but close. It is a powerful force for good, in large part because it'll teach both you and the kids how to navigate the cutthroat world of the modern playground with aplomb. (It involves a lot of scratching.)