Comments: Off/On

I reveal my inmost self unto my god....

Posted by NomadUK at June 10, 2009 09:03 AM

Exactly right. Puppets of the Merchants of Death.

Posted by Oarwell at June 10, 2009 09:43 AM

Whoa! Excellent!

Posted by catherine at June 10, 2009 11:28 AM

Oh, I think you should all just calm down and be reasonable. You're all far too critical of Obama and we should all wait at least two or four years before drawing any conclusions and besides you all think your so perfect and pure pure purity pure pure ANYBODYBUTBUSHANYBODYBUTBUSHANYBUSHBODYBUTBUITBDICLKDS#$@)(!!

Posted by Not Exactly But Pretty Close at June 10, 2009 12:23 PM

Why is it there's never a cobalt bomb around when you need one?

Posted by NomadUK at June 10, 2009 01:04 PM

DISORDER NOW!

Posted by Jenny at June 10, 2009 01:49 PM

I'm with you on agit-prop (for the same reasons) but I'd agree that this is spot on. Along the same lines, I always liked this.

Posted by John Caruso at June 10, 2009 04:23 PM

I would like to see human blood dripping from the bared teeth of Skeletor, but I agree this is a good one. It's not too unlike the sequence of 5 or 6 images which show stepwise facial alteration from Bush to Obama, but the Skeletor truly sends the right message... death drives the mission!

Posted by Juan Seis-Olla at June 10, 2009 05:11 PM

St. George Orwell explains:

"The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. Warfare is also useful in keying up the morale to the necessary pitch.

War hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries, and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners which extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal, and when they are committed by one's own side and not by the enemy, meritorious. But in a physical sense war involves very small numbers of people, mostly highly trained specialists, and causes comparatively few casualties. The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at, or round the Floating Fortresses which guard strategic spots on the sea lanes. In the centers of civilization war means no more than a continuous shortage of consumption goods, and the occasional crash of a rocket bomb which may cause a few scores of deaths. War has in fact changed its character. More exactly, the reasons for which war is waged have changed in their order of importance.

The consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival. War not only accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of the masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war."

Posted by Oarwell at June 10, 2009 07:42 PM

Oarwell, which piece is that from, and what year?

Posted by Nell at June 10, 2009 07:55 PM

Along those same lines there's also this, from a well-known commie pinko radical:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people ... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican

Just try to imagine any major politician, regardless of party affiliation, saying anything remotely approaching those words today. Times certainly have changed.

Posted by John Caruso at June 10, 2009 09:06 PM

That's Emmanuel Goldstein's book in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Posted by Cloud at June 10, 2009 10:12 PM

The ONLY true war crime IS failure to participate.

Posted by Mike Meyer at June 10, 2009 10:14 PM

Nell, it's from '1984,' a silly book about a silly time (sly wink). I find the quote using (shudder) Google books around p. 186 of the Signet Classic reissue, 1990. I'm too lazy to turn around and get my own booze-stained copy down. The passage is from the book by Emmanuel Goldstein, 'The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism,' that Winston finds, in Ch. 1, "Ignorance is Strength."

"Winston stopped reading, chiefly in order to appreciate the fact that he WAS reading, in comfort and safety." That line gives me chills, makes me want to cry, to tear my eyes out.

And Caruso, quoting Eisenhower? Sometimes you go too far.

BTW, Jon Schwarz linked to this bit in a May 2004 post, directing the reader to Jackie Jura's wonderful, quirky tribute site, 'Orwelltoday.' Isle of Jura, all that.


Posted by Oarwell at June 10, 2009 10:30 PM

Nell, it's from '1984,' a silly book about a silly time (sly wink). I find the quote using (shudder) Google books around p. 186 of the Signet Classic reissue, 1990. I'm too lazy to turn around and get my own booze-stained copy down. The passage is from the book by Emmanuel Goldstein, 'The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism,' that Winston finds, in Ch. 1, "Ignorance is Strength."

"Winston stopped reading, chiefly in order to appreciate the fact that he WAS reading, in comfort and safety." That line gives me chills, makes me want to cry, to tear my eyes out.

And Caruso, quoting Eisenhower? Sometimes you go too far.

BTW, Jon Schwarz linked to this bit in a May 2004 post, directing the reader to Jackie Jura's wonderful, quirky tribute site, 'Orwelltoday.' Isle of Jura, all that.


Posted by Oarwell at June 10, 2009 10:31 PM

I think this passage from Orwell's novel could serve as a text for Leon Kuhn's very nice bit of agit-prop...

[_Nineteen Eighty-four_. Part 2. Chapter 9. The last few pages.]

"In principle, membership of these three groups is not hereditary. The child of Inner Party parents is in theory not born into the Inner Party. Admission to either branch of the Party is by examination, taken at the age of sixteen. Nor is there any racial discrimination, or any marked domination of one province by another. Jews, Negroes, South Americans of pure Indian blood are to be found in the highest ranks of the Party, and the administrators of any area are always drawn from the inhabitants of that area. In no part of Oceania do the inhabitants have the feeling that they are a colonial population ruled from a distant capital. Oceania has no capital, and its titular head is a person whose whereabouts nobody knows. Except that English is its chief lingua franca and Newspeak its official language, it is not centralized in any way. Its rulers are not held together by blood-ties but by adherence to a common doctrine. It is true that our society is stratified, and very rigidly stratified, on what at first sight appear to be hereditary lines. There is far less to-and-fro movement between the different groups than happened under capitalism or even in the pre-industrial age. Between the two branches of the Party there is a certain amount of interchange, but only so much as will ensure that weaklings are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious members of the Outer Party are made harmless by allowing them to rise. Proletarians, in practice, are not allowed to graduate into the Party. The most gifted among them, who might possibly become nuclei of discontent, are simply marked down by the Thought Police and eliminated. But this state of affairs is not necessarily permanent, nor is it a matter of principle. The Party is not a class in the old sense of the word. It does not aim at transmitting power to its own children, as such; and if there were no other way of keeping the ablest people at the top, it would be perfectly prepared to recruit an entire new generation from the ranks of the proletariat. In the crucial years, the fact that the Party was not a hereditary body did a great deal to neutralize opposition. The older kind of Socialist, who had been trained to fight against something called 'class privilege' assumed that what is not hereditary cannot be permanent. He did not see that the continuity of an oligarchy need not be physical, nor did he pause to reflect that hereditary aristocracies have always been shortlived, whereas adoptive organizations such as the Catholic Church have sometimes lasted for hundreds or thousands of years. The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but with perpetuating itself. Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same."

Posted by Steve in L.A. at June 10, 2009 11:31 PM

Mr. Kuhn is quite a talent. The other work at his site is really good too. i think the Statue of Liberty Lenticular (turning the statue of liberty into the famous abu ghraib photo) is just fantastic. That's my favorite. In the video he has on his site, kuhn sounds like such a mild-mannered fellow, which is sort of funny considering his art hits like such a club.

that "on/off" photo (there's also a flash version) is great art, but i don't know how it would be received as a political statement. it is easy to understand and packs an emotional wallop, that's for sure, so that's a good beginning. what i don't know is what the average person now generally thinks, if anything, of "imperialism." i'm curious how most people would react to it. kuhn says in his video that people rarely see stuff like his in the culture unless they seek it out, but that it expresses the feelings of a lot of people.

p.s. oarwell: osama bin laden is emmanuel goldstein. he changed religious and gave up publishing for broadcasting.

Posted by Not Exactly at June 11, 2009 09:24 AM

If I only had a blog, the header sentence would be:

"Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same."

Thanks, Steve in L.A.

NE, sorry about criticizing your writing style the other night.

The ObL = Emmanuel Goldstein insight certainly isn't new. ObL, being obviously dead (as per President Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan in her last interview before being, ehrm, assassinated), functions less well as star of the one-minute hates than some of the other hairy men. It is amusing, though, how they trot out a "tape" right on cue, whenever sop is needed for Cerberus.

Posted by Oarwell at June 11, 2009 10:34 AM

oarwell--don't sweat criticizing my writing style. i actually thought your "poem" was clever and pretty funny. half the time i don't even capitalize or punctuate in these posts. somebody, i can't remember who, once said it takes much longer to write something short than something long. that's definitely often true, and i deserve some grief. i should edit. though i like the ee cummings look too.

i'm not surprised others have said osama=goldstein. i probably heard it somewhere. I don't know if any of those osama tapes are genuine, but many of them certainly aren't. I got a real kick out of the one praising william blum--someone with a sense of humor did that one. The one on the eve of the election that helped Bush's poll numbers in 2004 was ridiculous too (not that it helped them enough; i believe the exit polls).

What's remarkable to me is that even if a leading expert says the tapes aren't authentic, the press doesn't report that. even when the cia concedes a tape probably isn't authentic, that isn't even reported. i don't think it would be reported by the media if God wrote it in the sky with fire and announced it with rams blowing huge golden trumpets.

i remember a few years ago reading lawrence wright's the looming tower, in which wright describes osama bin laden as "just over six feet tall, not the giant he was later made out to be." looming tower at 82. that's odd, i thought, because wright has a list of author interviews of over 600 people in the back of his book, and many of them knew, had met, or personally seen bin laden, as shown in the book.

obviously, scores of people who know bin laden aren't wrong about whether he's just over six feet tall or half a foot taller than that. that would be sort of amazing. yet the media universally describes Osama as a giant, about 6 foot 6. Why? becuse that's what the fbi says. if the fbi were to say he is blue, they would report that. or turquoise. whatever. and that's obviously the most basic fact imaginable, ridiculously easy to check one would think. such is the "news" business.

by the way, i recall you said something about wtc 7 once, though i didn't respond. I recommend David Ray Griffin's New Pearl Harbor revisited as to wtc 7. there was info in it that was new to me about 7, and i'm geeky enough to have read a whole lot of the articles in the journal of 911 studies. (i wonder how many people even know there is such a thing.)

Posted by Not Exactly at June 11, 2009 01:25 PM

"What have the Romans ever done for us?"
from "Life of Brian"

Posted by Murfyn at June 11, 2009 08:55 PM

Answer from "Life of Brian": the aqueduct, sanitation, roads, education, irrigation, medicine, public health, public order and safety, regional peace.

I'm not sure what point you might or might not mean to be getting at here, M., but if the US (Bush or Obama)in Iraq and/or Afghanistan is being compared to Monty Pynthon's satirical version of the Roman Empire in ancient Israel, then I'd have to ask how well is either Iraq or Afghanistan doing under modern US rule in regards to clean and safe potable water, sanitation, roads, education, irrigation, medicine, public health, public order and safety, and regional peace. Bloody disastrous.


==========
Murfyn:
"What have the Romans ever done for us?"
from "Life of Brian"

Posted by Steve in Los Angeles at June 11, 2009 09:43 PM

They were, if I recall correctly, doing quite reasonably well under those evil Communists, before the US organised what would become the Taliban and Al Qaida to throw them out.

Posted by NomadUK at June 12, 2009 02:44 AM

Hey! At least we allow them to participate in cool scientific experiments:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/engelhardt/engelhardt380.html

Posted by Oarwell at June 12, 2009 09:28 AM

I read Mike Gerber's "Hardwired for Imperialism" post (which was a response to "Off/On") and my "Life of Brian" reference was to that; however it seemed funnier to put it directly into the "Off/On" comments so I did.

Posted by Murfyn at June 12, 2009 05:43 PM