You know how there are certain times when everything you do seems to end in failure and/or injury? Because that's the way this entire week has been for me.
Fuck you, universe. I thought I was finally in a situation that would give me a chance to advance my life, but it seems like I'm destined to be a jobless, friendless nobody forfuckingever.
Here's a fun fact: When you spend several months dedicating at least an hour a day to physical activity, then move to a place where you're forced to spend most of the day sitting around because you're unfamiliar with the neighborhood, it does very weird and unpleasant things to your mental and physical health.
Have I mentioned how much I miss my nightly walks? I haven't felt this shitty since before I started my diet and exercise program.
Maybe I should start accepting donations in the form of Pepto-Bismol or something...
If you take it, feel free to share your results. For example, here's how I did:
You answered 29 out of 33 correctly — 87.88 %
Average score for this quiz during November: 77.8%
Average score: 77.8%
I knew that political science minor would be good for something eventually.
Don't ask me how I found this. Just click and enjoy:
Dear retarded zebras,
If it's a penalty in the first period, it should still be a penalty in the third period. Don't express your anger about never making it as a player by allowing people who actually have skills to be blatantly hooked/tripped/boarded/etc. right in front of your malfunctioning eyes.
In my rather ample (at the moment) free time, I've decided to re-read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. This is partially just to refresh my memory. I was 15 the last time I read it, and I skipped over a couple parts, including the excerpts from Goldstein's book, because I had to write a book report and got too close to the deadline. Also, I'm trying to apply it to the current political climate, as I'm sure others have done.
Just so you know, those who have read the book will probably get more out of this post.
I have to say, first of all, that it's a lot more meaningful now than it was eight years ago. I obviously understand more of it, and in contrast to the last time, when the word "politics" was synonymous with the word "boring" in my mind, it's actually interesting.
As much as those of us on the right like to compare leftist policies to those of Ingsoc, and vice versa, it's important to note that the train of thought leading to the worship of Big Brother contains elements of both the collectivist/anti-individualist extreme left and the nationalist/war-obsessed extreme right. Ultimately, however, it is called "English Socialism," so it's pretty clear that despite Orwell's own leftist leanings, he's condemning totalitarian socialism (or "Oligarchical Collectivism," as it's called in the novel).
Ironically, Orwell's socialism can be seen as a type of doublethink: the ability to both believe a lie and realize that one believes a lie. He was apparently a "democratic socialist," but his own work seems to indicate his reluctant acceptance of the fact that this type of government will ultimately end in a dictatorship. Kind of fun to think about.
Right now, as the title would suggest, I'm reading through the "Ignorance is Strength" section of The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. As I mentioned, I skipped over this part when I read the book before. These sections explain the historical events leading up to the establishment of Ingsoc and some of its core philosophies. Part of one passage, which describes the indoctrination and resulting mindset of Party members, strikes me as particularly relevant to our present situation:
The first and simplest stage in the discipline, which can be taught even to young children, is called, in Newspeak, crimestop. Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.
As I said above, it's foolish to think that this applies only to one side of the modern political spectrum. On the other hand, as I read through that, I couldn't help but compare it to the thought process of someone who was educated by a system that emphasizes good feelings over critical thinking and good intentions over results, and who has additionally been hammered with propaganda until their only response to a criticism of their beliefs is to declare that criticism a lie and accuse the critic of being a racist or a homophobe. That type of person would also engage in many interactions such as the one described here:
An e-mail from a reader mentioned trying to tell his sister why he was voting against Obama but, when he tried to argue some facts, she cut him short: "You don't like him and I do!" she said. End of discussion.
Anyway, the book continues:
But stupidity is not enough. On the contrary, orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one's own mental processes as complete as that of a contortionist over his body. Oceanic society rests ultimately on the belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and that the Party is infallible. But since in reality Big Brother is not omnipotent and the party is not infallible, there is need for an unwearying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of facts. The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink.
Once again, I'm sure a liberal could find plenty of examples to throw back at me, but I still can't help thinking, for example, of Democrats describing the threat of Iraq's WMD program and then later claiming that Bush lied about WMD and Democrats were always against attacking Iraq. Or, if that doesn't work, how about Democrats encouraging financial institutions to approve loans to people who couldn't pay them back, then later claiming that "Republican deregulation" caused the ensuing financial crisis? Or even more recently, Bill Ayers claiming that he was never a terrorist, despite his earlier admission that he planted bombs and wished he had done more? Or how about...well, you get the idea.
More food for thought: Earlier in the book, Winston's lover Julia is described in a way that also seems somewhat relevant:
In the ramifications of party doctrine she had not the faintest interest. Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past, and the denial of objective reality, and to use Newspeak words, she became bored and confused and said that she never paid any attention to that kind of thing. One knew that it was all rubbish, so why let oneself be worried by it? She knew when to cheer and when to boo, and that was all one needed...
...Talking to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant. In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.
Of course, Julia rebels against the Party, but it's more because she doesn't like being controlled than because she disagrees with their ideas, which she admits she doesn't even understand. Once again, if you combine her knowledge of "when to cheer and when to boo" with the later description of the true believers, it's eerily reminiscent of something like this:
512 Obama Voters 11/13/08-11/15/08 MOE +/- 4.4 points
97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates
Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions
57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)
71.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)
82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)
88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)
56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).
Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes
Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter
And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her "house," even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!
Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.
Only .5% got all of them correct. (And we "gave" one answer that was technically not Palin, but actually Tina Fey)
On a final note, I feel I should mention that many of the Party faithful in this book (especially Mr. Parsons) could be reasonably described as "community organizers." Not that I'm insinuating anything...
I'm going to keep reading now. Down with Big Brother.
You know, as I look back on some of my old posts, especially from the first few months of SIT's existence, I realize just how much my writing has improved over the last five years. Writing has always been my greatest strength (which makes me wonder why I've decided to look for a job in film editing until I remember how much more fun editing is), but for some reason, most likely the blogging itself combined with all the essays I had to force myself through in college, I've gotten about 50 times better at it since I was 18.
This may sound horribly arrogant, but I really believe that if I were to go outside and randomly select 100 people, I would turn out to be a better writer than at least 98 of them. This would, of course, require an objective method of making that determination, so it'll never actually happen.
It's really too bad that I hardly ever blog anymore, and that hardly anyone reads it when I do. Maybe I should try to fix both of those problems...
This shit is mind-boggling. How can you be too retarded to fill in a fucking dot? The person who couldn't spell the name of their chosen write-in candidate is a fun little bonus.
Really, regardless of what the rules say, they should just throw out all those ballots. I believe in the universal right to vote, but I also believe that if you're too stupid to make your intent clear, your vote shouldn't actually count. I don't want the outcome of any election to be influenced by the opinion of someone who thinks "fill in the oval" means "circle the square."
Laundromats are evil, sadistic places where hyperactive children are allowed to roam free in packs because their parents have apparently never heard of a fascinating concept called "babysitting."
It's been a while since I wrote a complete political song, but there's a topic I've wanted to explore for a long, long time, and certain attitudes/events related to the recent election inspired me to finally give it a shot.
My philosophy is that if I have to tell you what my songs are about, I haven't done a good enough job writing them, so here are the lyrics, and you can see for yourself if the theme is evident:
So many times I've tried
To open up your eyes
To all the forces that were keeping you from the top
I made it easier
Removed the barriers
Instead of thanking me, you tell me I need to stop
How dare you think for yourself
You can't get by without my help
All I want is to run your life
But turn your back, and you'll feel my knife
I held your hand so long
But now your shield is gone
I'll prove to you that you are nothing without my support
You would not play my game
So I'll destroy your name
I'll cast you out, turn friends against you; all's fair in war
Can't you see your mind is flawed?
You're not authentic, you're a fraud
Only those who think like me
Are worthy of my empathy
I just wanted to be your white knight
But you took away my spotlight
What's the point of my good deeds
If I can't be a celebrity?
You liar, you faker
You fucking self-hater
You'll fail sooner or later
Like the other selfish traitors
Don't try to pull yourself up
I'll drag you back down
Poison the water and hold you under 'til you drown
Your success doesn't count
Unless it comes through me
I am your savior
Submit to me
I'll set you free
What do you think? I just finished writing this about 20 minutes ago, so I'm open to suggestions.
You know, I've heard people on both sides of the abortion debate claim that "nobody is pro-abortion." This is a nice sentiment, but I'm afraid that it's a load of naïve bullshit.
First of all, there's the good old "I chose and I'm proud!" crowd, but I suppose that you could still see that as simply a celebration of the choice, rather than of abortion itself.
However, other pro-abortion feelings are more overt. In the process of doing some quick research to try and figure out why the hell Sarah Palin caused such an irrational amount of hatred from liberals this election season, I came across this (all emphasis mine):
Governor Palin has a Down's syndrome kid.
I know, I know, that doesn't seem like a reason for me to hate her. After all, I grew up with a handicapped sister, taught special ed kids, and am generally highly in favor of rights for disabled people.
But the thing is, Palin doesn't just have a Down's kid. She chose to have one. Early screening meant that she was warned that her baby had Down's syndrome but due to her stance on abortion, she decided to go ahead and have the child anyway.
STUPID. Stupid, stupid, stupid and selfish. So you're pro-life and refuse to abort this kid on principle? Congratulations, you've doomed him to a lifetime of suffering. A short lifetime, mind you, because most Down's kids have shorter lifespans and are highly susceptible to anything going around, but it's still pretty much a given that they're going to suffer for as long as they live. They won't be able to keep up with the other kids, they'll be developmentally stunted both physically and mentally and it's all your fault for having brought said kid into the world, knowing what he'd have to face.
...Even putting aside the anti-abortion, anti-contraception (wtf, has she never heard of AIDS?) issues, I have no respect for anyone who would deliberately bring a child into the world, knowing that child's life will be filled with nothing but suffering. No respect AT ALL.
I challenge anyone to convince me that this is a pro-choice view rather than a pro-abortion view. How can you honestly call yourself pro-choice if you only respect one of the available choices?
On another note, the above thought process makes me think of a certain word, but I can't quite remember what...hmmmm...I think it sounds kind of like "Eugene..."
Hey, minions. SIT is now coming to you from an undisclosed location somewhere in Weehawken, New Jersey. I'm renting a bedroom/bathroom from a middle-aged couple for a month while I look for something more permanent in the area, hopefully with people closer to my age. Also, I'm using a wireless Internet connection for the first time ever. Fun stuff.
This location gives me the advantage of being able to watch the Penguins play the Islanders tonight, albeit on the MSG+ feed instead of FSN Pittsburgh.
Anyway, that's about it. I had to get up at 7 this morning to get here (after staying up until 5:30), and I'm really, really tired now.
I had more angry political posts in mind, but I'm moving out in a few hours, and I'm trying to stay positive to make it easier. Therefore, allow me to brag a bit more about my weight loss.
For those keeping track, I've now lost 65 pounds since college. I thought I'd provide a fun visual aid to demonstrate what a difference this has made.
Here is what I looked like in April of 2007, when I weighed about 235 (those tapes are the raw footage from my senior thesis project):
And here is what I look like as of tonight, weighing in at about 170:
I barely even recognize myself in the old pic anymore. It's actually kind of scary.
To keep the post from being totally apolitical, I'll note that this is an example of real change that happened without any government intervention.
Anyway, the next post will probably come to you from my new (temporary, but still new) home in New Jersey. Until then, (insert clever closing line here).
As we prepare for the age of Obammunism, I think it's important to keep something in mind:
A city being destroyed by a natural disaster is a form of change, a herd of animals stampeding over a cliff is a form of progress, and a kid sneaking out of his room on Christmas Eve to catch a glimpse of Santa is a form of hope.
Also, I've seen a few conservatives saying that they're going to throw the whole "not my president" thing right back at the left as payback for the last 8 years. I don't think I'll be going that route.
Barack Obama will be my president. However, as an American citizen, I have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to criticize the everloving fuck out of my president, and I plan to take full advantage of this right, no matter how hard liberals try to redefine dissent as racism and/or blasphemy.
Suck on that, motherfuckers.
(Side note: Is anyone still reading this? I didn't mean to disappear for two more weeks just as I was getting back into a rhythm, but...moving out, etc.)
I hope I get a job at least a couple months before Obama takes office, just so I can experience keeping the money that I make.
Honestly, I'd feel worse about living in a socialist country if I wasn't already planning on moving to New York.
Just look on the bright side: Part of the reason Reagan was elected was that people were so disgusted by the utter incompetence of Jimmy Carter. Obama's gradual destruction of the country could usher in a new era of conservative dominance.
...Assuming the country is still here after the guaranteed international crisis, of course.
Speaking of looking on the bright side, as a musician, I can benefit somewhat from all this. I'll have so much material to work with over the next four years that I'll probably be able to write several albums' worth of protest songs.
On that note, will liberals finally stop claiming to be anti-establishment now that they've given the keys to the country to a radical? I doubt it, but it will be fun to see how they handle the cognitive dissonance of the situation. Hell, there's a song topic right there.
Finally, a message for John McCain:
Hey, moron, thanks for alienating a huge portion of the right-leaning electorate (myself included) and responding to eight years of hateful, ignorant bullshit from the left by preaching compromise and bipartisanship. While Democrats compared Bush to Hitler, claimed that non-Obama voters were racist, fundamentalist gun nuts, and blatantly pushed for an overwhelming numerical and ideological majority in all three branches of government, you made your record of "reaching across the aisle" to these petulant children the centerpiece of your campaign. That "uniter, not a divider" bullshit didn't work for Bush, and it didn't work for you, because Democrats aren't interested in compromising with people they consider to be stupid, evil, or some combination of the two. Fuck you.
I think I'm done now.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a sticker, so this is the best I can do to show it off. Among all the talk of long lines, etc., I waited in line for 0 minutes and 0 seconds and was something like the 358th person to vote in my district. At 4:45 PM.
In other news, I'm moving this weekend. Yeah.