Monthly Archives: August 2010

Video of the Day: Fox News as “Terrorist Command Center,” Cont’d

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The corporate love that dare not speak its name.

Saudi Prince is second largest share-holder in Fox News parent company, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp; Saudi Prince and co-owner of Fox News is accused by Fox News of being a terrorist sympathizer and secret funder of the Ground Zero “Terror Mosque”; Saudi Prince and co-owner of Fox News is alluded to as terror-sympathizing secret funder of Ground Zero “Terror Mosque” without actually being identified by Fox News either by name or as co-owner of Fox News.

Oceania is at war with Eurasia; Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia . . .

Video here.

Yeehaw! Still More Craziness from Texas Republicans in the House of Representatives

Gohmert’s Pile: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R – Texas) on the floor of the House of Representatives explaining the danger of “terror babies.”  That’s right. Muslim. Terror. Babies.

A month ago it was Rep. Joe Burton (R – Texas) apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the alleged “shakedown” his company received from the White House.  Or – more accurately – a negotiated fund to be held in trust to compensate those who have lost their livelihood by way of a massive oil leak from a BP deep drilling site that has destroyed the Gulf fishing industry.  Corporations, after all, according to people like Barton, are not to be held accountable for their behavior.  That’s only for suckers who actually pay taxes at a rate commensurate with income but can expect either non-existent or inadequate social services in return.  Nausea-inducing video here.

A couple of weeks ago it was Rep. Kevin Brady (R – Texas) declaring that the 9/11 heroes who ran into burning buildings and then dug through the toxic rubble at ground zero looking for survivors, did so to save lives, not to raise the taxes required to fund their subsequent chronic illnesses. You’re an asshole!” explained Jon Stewart. Video here.

This past week it’s been “terror babies,” offered in a kind of Dadaist display of extra crunchy nuttiness by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R – Texas).  That term, once again, ladies and gentlemen, is terror babies.  Here’s how it (cough) “works”: Muslim women “drop and leave” an “anchor baby” (still more made up terminology provided by Republicans and then hysterically disseminated by Fox News) who qualifies as an American citizen so that he can grow up to become a suicide bomber 15 or 20 years hence. No, you do not misunderstand.  That’s really what he means.

After the jump, a much more plausible source of domestic terror.

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Anti-Semitism

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“The Massacre of Jews at Strasbourg” in 1349 by Edward Beyer

Today is the anniversary of two vicious acts of anti-semitism in a long and horrific history of such acts.

In 1349 six thousand Jews in Mainz were massacred after being blamed for the Black Death.

In  1391 Jews were massacred in Palma de Mallorca.

Frye in The Great Code:

Anti-Semitism is a long-standing corruption of Christianity, and one of the more rationalized pretexts for it is the notion that the legalism condemned in the New Testament is to be identified with Judaism.  But this is a very dubious interpretation of even the most polemical parts of the New Testament, and is not found at all in the teaching of Jesus.  Jesus always attacks a quite specific elite or pseudo-elite of priests, scribes, lawyers, Pharisess, Sadduces, and other “blind guides” (Matthew 23:24), but not the precepts of the religion he was brought up in himself.  What Jesus condemned in Pharisaism is as common in Christianity as in any other religion.  The attack on legalism is in quite a different context: it means accepting the standards of society, and society will always sooner or later line up with Pilate against the prophet. (133)

“Liberalism — The ‘Canadian’ Temperament”

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Glen Pearson at his blog The Parallel Parliament cites Frye on Canadian liberalism in a post here.

Money quote:

When Canadian Northrop Frye penned his seminal Divisions on a Ground, he used that very term to describe this very country he appreciated.  While acknowledging the various diverse components struggling to make their way in Canada, he also affirmed that they were in one place – “On A Ground” – and that accommodations were being made.  For that reason, his work was hopeful.

The liberal temperament looks at it the same way.  To live together, temperament matters just as much as policy.  To be decent, tolerant, smart, accommodating, principled and generous has mattered just as much in this country as wealth.  It is who we are and it’s best we get back to it.

Napoleon

An extended excerpt from Abel Gance‘s restored 1927 masterpiece, Napoleon

On this date in 1799 Napoleon left Egypt en route to seize power in France.

Frye in “The Drunken Boat”:

The self-identifying admiration that so many Romantics expressed for Napoleon has much to do with the expression of natural force, creative power, and revolutionary outbreak.  As Carlyle says, in an uncharacteristically cautious assessment of Napoleon: “What Napoleon did will in the long-run amount to what he did justly; what Nature with her laws will sanction.” (The Stubborn Structure, 209)

And here he is in one of the late notebooks on the same quote:

Carlyle said that what Napoleon did will ultimately become what he did justly: people like Napoleon never really do anything, certainly not justly.  They’re thunderstorms in the hell-world.  (CW 6, 672)

Saturday Night Video: Joe Strummer and the Clash

“London Calling”  (Video not embedded: click on the image and hit the YouTube link)

Today is Joe Strummer‘s birthday (1952 – 2002).  You can watch the excellent documentary about him, The Future is Unwritten, here. The film opens with a scalding version of “White Riot”; I understand this won’t be to everybody’s taste, but to those it is, the studio footage of Strummer laying down the lead vocal track will give you goosebumps.

A few weeks ago I posted on British music of the ’80s, and it must have seemed to some that there was a conspicuous omission — no Clash.  That was no accident.  The Clash need a post all their own.  They were not just another British band.  They were, for starters, the most London of bands.  They made the London of the Thatcher era a habitat for everyone demanding a better world to call home.  If, for example, you haven’t heard it in a while, put on London Calling, which is in its idiosyncratic way the most sunshiny and optimistic punk album imaginable.  The Clash were, for the period, an uncharacteristically un-nihilistic and socially committed band. They were the Happy Warriors of the Left, and it’s why they are still loved by people who weren’t yet born when they stopped recording.

When I lived at Vic in the early 1980s, the Clash were the band of choice in many residences.  It may be somewhat frivolous, I know, but a lot of the music I heard during that time got twisted into the skein of my experience of Frye, the Clash especially. Because they — always under the heartfelt and uncompromising guidance  of Strummer — actually cared. And cared to an extent few people in their situation do. They took the best of punk and became arguably the first (and most enduring) of the post-punk bands; drawing, in a way that is typical of English musicians, from as many popular musical influences as they could convincingly string together.  The effect was to render up a sound and an expectation that was not to be ignored.  They were, like the very best English musical artists, concerned but cheeky monkeys.  Think of the Beatles by way of the Sex Pistols.

I know that Frye probably regarded the punk movement in much the same way he regarded the hippies a decade earlier: as a reaction to “an overproductive society” and not a revolutionary response at all.  But I’ve noticed that many of my students — all of whom were born long after the fact — have enthusiastically absorbed both the hippie and punk outlook to resist and perhaps even reform in a very civilized way an approach to life that is not only unsustainable but seems determined to commit slow suicide.  It will be interesting to see if the genuine concern these students seem to carry so lightly and confidently can translate into the future that Wilde says is what artists are.  Their default settings are strikingly liberal and tolerant and thoughtful when it comes to the accelerating destructiveness of a rapacious consumer society.  I am cautiously hopeful.  I know they are capable of it.  It remains to be seen if they can reverse the inertia that plagues a society rendered almost senile in its indifference to the needs of others, and even to the near future it behaves as if it will not live to see.  But it is still a future that remains unwritten.

So, with that in mind — This is Radio Clash; everybody hold on tight.

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Video of the Day: “Is Fox News a Terrorist Command Centre?”

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Yep.  Jon Stewart once again channels Fox News’ guilt-by-association-follow-the-money tactics to demonstrate that Fox News itself might be an Islamic terrorist command centre.  He’s not outright saying it is, mind you.  Like Glenn Beck, he’s just asking questions no one else is asking.  And, of course, they’re much better questions, which is what makes them so damn funny and much more pertinent.

Video via Gawker here.

TGIF: “You vicious bastard”

No case needs to be made for the genius of John Cleese’s portrayal of Basil Fawlty as a study in anger mismanagement, and anybody who knows Fawlty Towers will have their favorite moment or two.  But I defy anyone to come up with a funnier moment than this one from “Gourmet Night.”  Technically, it’s a little masterpiece, something that’s nothing on paper but brilliant in execution: a stalled car, a single stationary camera, a flood tide of verbal abuse from someone who, for a good portion of the sequence, we can hear but cannot see.  And then the payoff. . .

If this whets your appetite, you can watch the full episode here.