Friday, February 21, 2003
SLAVERY: WITH & WITHOUT THE NAME
"...Those who look tenderly at the slave-owner, and with a cold heart at the slave, never seem to put themselves into the position of the latter;--what a cheerless prospect, with not even a hope of change!
Picture to yourself the chance, ever hanging over you, of your wife and your little children—those objects which nature urges even the slave to call his own—being torn from you and sold like beasts to the first bidder!
And these deeds are done and palliated by men, who profess to love their neighbours as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that his Will be done on earth!
It makes one’s blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty."
- Charles Darwin, "Voyage of the Beagle" - 1836
Below is the Anti-Slavery Society medallion (1787), designed by Josiah Wedgewood, Charles Darwin's maternal grandfather.
How far so many of us have come!
How long will we leave so many behind?
Thursday, February 20, 2003
OTTOMANEUVERING IN TURKEY
When negotiating with a delusionary hostage-taker whose outrageous demands for wall-to-wall Magic Carpeting, a falafel franchise on the Space Station, or ... seventy-two Miss February clones, there's a rule of thumb:
Don't say "No".
An abrupt assertion of an imminent "negatory" situation is counter-indicated.
Instead, say to the pita-ful fool: "Maybe"; say "Later"; say "More thorazine in your coffee, Kemal?"
And say it with a lot of compassion, so that he knows that you truly identify with at least one of his multiple personalities.
Then, stand slowly, pat your paunch and express the desire to pop out for a light snack where the cash-kebab ratio is kinder to your wallet.
A kind Thimbleful reader asks if perhaps "Emperor Misha, Glenn Reynolds, Jonah Goldberg and all the rest" aren't overdoing the cheese-surrender "shtick".
I can't, of course, speak for the aforementioned luminaries, but as a new member of "all the rest", my short answer--a la français--is: (shrug).
It's true that many lacto-phobic commentators take a grating posture when it comes to La Republique Islamique de Franistan, and I sincerely hope that Mullah de Vilepin will censure this intolerance before the UN goes on permanent Hajj.
More insidiously, though, an obsession with bovine metaphors casts cowardly aspersions on France's other font of ruminant by-products: philosophy, and by extension, its main cow-pie-in-the-sky consumers--liberal arts students.
So pundits, en garde! As soon as the Amerikan Civilization Liquidation Ubermenschen have gotten a posthumous 30-day community service sentence for Martin Bormann, I think-ergo-assume they'll come down from their Montaigne, reVoltaire, and go Racine through the streets, kicking ignorant Internet scriveners in the Balzac. (Oy Weil! You'll Rousseau the desCartes you were born!)
In the meantime, let us repair to the war room to freshen our palates. For after the bovine and supine there are the ample deposits of the French canine to mine.
A couple of examples of which I've scraped up on the shtick below...Bon appetit!
...and for those with a more jaundiced view...
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
CROSSING OFF FRANCE
Quoth Churchill (referring to de Gaulle): "Of the many crosses I have had to carry, the Cross of Lorraine was surely the heaviest".
Not to worry: we've borne worse.
"In Flanders Fields" - 1915
(John McCrae 1872-1918)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
LIFE IN TAIWAN - ELECTRICITY DEGENERATION
Taipower shut off the juice JUST as I was going to vacuum morgue and power-buff some tomb stones.
- Come on, guys! How long does it take to hook up a new hamster!
So I lopped off the rosebuds with a cheese-wire and called it a day.
Being a gallows humorist is no fun when the escalator breaks down half-way up.
Monday, February 17, 2003
STALINGRADUATES REVISE HISTORY
Russo-German collaboration - Hands across the bloodbath...
Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor the AK-47, is lending his name to product line that will include "umbrellas, watches and even aftershave". (Here, from Reuters, my "favorite" "news" "source".)
M.K. chose a German firm because working with Americans "for profit" would be a "betrayal of the motherland". (N.B. He owns 33% of this company--non-profit?)
What's 20 million dead between associates?
GERMAN PHRASEBOOK FOR NEW VISITORS TO EARTH
Ich vergesse, du vergisst, wir vergessen...alles...
When peace finally prevails and the meek inherit the earth, history will be no more intrusive than a whiff of Kalashnikov kologne.
When the lion lies down with the lamb, the Kalashnikov name will be as innocuous as the beach umbrella shading their fuzzy brows from the harsh light of reality.
And with your Kalashnikov watch your train of thoughtlessness will always run on time--factory-set to the permanent prophylactic present: Year Zero.
UND JETZ! COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK
Say auf wiedersehen to those tedious domestic chores:
Rid your haus of offensive foreign odors!
Stubborn oven stains go instantly kaput!
And that unpleasantness clogging your shower drain?
Thank Gott im Himmler...a bad traum of the past!
Actung! Nothing will trouble your blissful NOW if you use the fine new line of air fresheners and cleansers brought to you by Zyklon-B.
Sunday, February 16, 2003
"PEACE" MARCHERS = DEATH ENABLERS
Life passes before your eyes - The Dissident Frogman has an excellent Flash animation up about this weekend's appeasement demonstrations.
Go and watch. And if there are tears in your eyes, they shouldn't be for the dead. Mourning, like marching, is a luxury of those who haven't yet breathed in poison gas.
Your tears should be reserved for the LIVING who are DYING in Irak NOW!
FLOWER POWER - A FAIRY TALE FOR PEACE
This morning, after milk and cookies, I noticed a lonely dandelion in my garden. It was wilting and sad and I knew it was too late to do anything to save it.
But then I had an idea. I picked the dandelion, blew on it and watched its seeds fly away. I was so happy because I knew that the seeds would become flowers and new dandelions would one day grow far and wide.
And I thought: if only everyone would pick a lonely dandelion and spread its seeds, one morning we'd wake up to a world covered in flowers!
And then all the children--and all the grown-ups who would like to be children--would be happy!
But then I got an even better idea: I made up my mind to make some seeds of my own and spread them far and wide--seeds of peace.
So I got out my pastel crayons, some blunt plastic scissors, a pot of edible glue and an old album of my favorite snapshots...and got to work.
My first drawings are in memory of my grandma, who came to America a long, long time ago, and to her sister who stayed behind in a big Black Forest in the old country.
The Lang sisters were young moms with families when this first man of peace became famous. For nearly twenty years they and their children spent every day living in his dream.
There are a lot of books about him, but they're so full of big words and boring facts. It sounds so much better as a fairy tale...
THE LITTLE MAN WITH A BIG, BIG DREAM
Once upon a time there was a little man with a big, big dream.
His hair was a bit long for the time, and he had a little mustache that tickled everyone.
He never, ever ate meat because he loved animals so much. He loved them so much that he even asked his men to march around the city like the gentle goose and raise their right arms like a seal whenever they said "Hi!".
But some people didn't like him and the way his men acted like animals. So he built some petting zoos and sent some of his men to walk around with big, friendly dogs. And that's where he invited all the bad, unhappy people: like boys who liked boys, children with crooked noses and funny gods, and a lot of other mean people who just refused to follow the rules and fit into his dream.
And he put a big sign up over the gate to tell all the people who didn't fit that they would soon be free--if they just worked hard enough.
So, for a few years, his neighbors left him alone, and his dream grew. Some of his neighbors even gave him new land to make lovely, long roads for shiny cars, and trains that always ran on time.
But one day his selfish old neighbors tried to stop his dream--and that's when the trouble started. And a lot of children went for a long time without their milk and cookies, and many, many dandelions died.
If only his neighbors had given him what he asked for, the world would be so different now!
Imagine the bright flags and brass bands and even tiny boys and girls marching everywhere like geese, across fields and fields of dandelions!
And imagine, just imagine all the petting zoos there'd be!
But sadly, many grown-ups have forgotten this man and haven't told their children the truth about him and his dream--and other dreamers like him dreaming now.
Which is really a terrible shame, because he had such a deep love for cute children...and flowers...