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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

October 21, 2007

Grown In The Fertile Soil Of The Internet

• Kung Fu Monkey on America's weird farm fetish:

For chrissake, only 17% of Americans live in rural settings anymore. Only 2 million of those people work on farms or ranches (USDA figures)...

Four million people in the US play World of Warcraft. And yet, do I ever hear:

CNN: We stopped by the gates of Ogrimmar in Durotar, on the east coast of Kalimdor, where one local told us Hollywood just can't relate to the level-grinding life.

UNIDENTIFIED ORC: They've never been back here, questing Razormane or Drygulch Ravine, y'know ... or farming for Peacebloom and Silverleaf. They're out of touch.

No. No I do not.

Earlier from Kung Fu Monkey: "Learn to say ain't"

• Christopher Dickey explains what we can learn about our invasion of Iraq from the movie Deliverance

• Somehow I'd never seen these excerpts from a hilariously terrifying NRA comic book before

"Peace is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" by David Swanson, the hardest working man in progressive politics

• Tristero on spying:

[L]iberals like myself, who are pretty far removed from Intelligence activities, tend to have a very skeptical attitude towards the agencies. This is as it should be. A skeptical attitude by laypeople towards spies and spying is a bad thing only in a culture that is jonesing to descend into paranoia, the denouncing of neighbors, and isolation.

Right on. I often think spy agencies, at the end of the day, always do more harm than good to their societies. This is partly because they tend to attract fundamentally boring people whose can only enjoy life with the stimulation of meaningless intrigue and spy vs. spy crap.

Posted at October 21, 2007 07:00 PM | TrackBack

I dunno how aware you are of the fact that Kung Fu Monkey writes crappy movies as well (though I wonder if his original screenplays and stories were that bad or if they were just mishandled), but it's just nice useless trivia.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at October 21, 2007 09:03 PM

There's a better and more direct paraphrase of what Jon said in the film of "The Spy Who Came in From The Cold" starring Richard Burton.

Alec Leamas: What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They're not! They're just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me: drunkards, queers, hen-pecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in a cell, balancing right against wrong?

Posted by: En Ming Hee at October 22, 2007 12:22 AM

You obviously have never watched Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole or you would not say such things.

Posted by: rob payne at October 22, 2007 01:23 AM

rob payne wins :)

Posted by: almostinfamous at October 22, 2007 02:25 AM

Are we still on this "Oh everyone in America is stupid except me and my few liberal friends, so if only I pretend to be more stupid they'll like me" thing? Cuz that's what I got out of Kung Fu Monkey's two year old post. In fact, I think its that sort of nonsense that led to people nominating Kerry when most of them wanted Dean (or Kucinich). They thought, "oh, well *I* know Dean is better, but stupid rednecks will make fun of him. They'll never make fun of Kerry. He's a veteran."

Posted by: David Grenier at October 22, 2007 10:05 AM

What did they call spies? Armies of the night, right?

Spy agencies basically do what armies try to do: protect possessions of the wealthy and try to get other people's possessions for themselves and their masters. It's not surprising to find a lot of post-war CIA's objectives were about OIL, and keeping OIL from Communists and with our OIL companies. When you get down to it, it's all about making money.

Of course, when the King of Prussia invaded his neighbor, it was either to get rich or protect his riches from someone else. Money, money, money...

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at October 22, 2007 10:32 AM

"a culture that is jonesing to descend into paranoia, the denouncing of neighbors, and isolation."

isn't that the US?

Posted by: jonathan "sayer of the blitheringly obvious" versen at October 22, 2007 10:50 AM

from john rogers: This is a nation of self-made people, where you know a man by his actions.

apart from the creepiness of making yourself(sounds rather god-like): what is he, andrew carnegie?

Posted by: almostinfamous at October 22, 2007 12:00 PM

I'm more into Rocky and Bullwinkle. ("Two wrongs don't make a right, but two rights make a U-turn, Two U-turns make a circle, two circles make a figure eight, and two figure eights make a butterfly.")

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 22, 2007 12:17 PM

tristero's PLAME got me to thinking how, back in the old dayz, a fella could commit a little TREASON (which was a crime back then), and, damn, he'd need a sherriff's protection from the armed lynch mob outside. ( OUTTING A CIA AGENT IN TIME OF WAR IS TREASON AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA). Well, since WE all got civilized, finally, and it's pretty much agreed among the whole nation, that it's expiedient to just IGNOR it all, I propose that WE take TREASON off the books, as a crime, (defacto already), and have Congress issue formal appologies to the families of all previous TRAITORS in U.S. history, starting with the Arnold Family.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 22, 2007 04:18 PM

Hm. I think covert agencies are useful in that they infiltrate dangerous radical groups (actually dangerous, I mean, not just inconvenient). I think the important thing is accountability to government, and a democratic system that actually makes government accountable. The latter does exist (not in the US, mind, electoral colleges, first-past-the-post and all).

In fact, the endemic cynicism about govt in the US is self-fulfilling IMO. Why engage if govt is inherently dysfunctional? Then, surprise, the system is gamed and twisted over the years, and too few are engaged to care and protest, so it actually becomes dysfunctional.

I don't think that's the only reason: power centres corrupt more quickly as that's where the money is. But the US has been bled dry by debt and outsourcing. It's a husk of what it has been-- as the right knows, hence PATRIOTISM-- so I don't think that's the reason any more.

Posted by: me at October 25, 2007 01:50 AM