micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Writing this cornucopia of links
When plotting today’s post, I planned to mention how 40 seconds before the first track of the first disc of David Cross' Shut Up, You Fucking Baby (SubPop, 2002) there is a wonderful Cross riff on the homoerotic nature of clothes that are popular in fraternities.
With that in mind, I was then going to point out that Run Ronnie Run! (Troy Miller, 2002), a movie that is based on a character from Mr. Show, a sketch comedy show created by Cross and Bob Odenkirk, is coming out on DVD on September 16, while Odenkirk's directorial debut Melvin Goes to Dinner (2003) will do the same two months to the day later. After doing that, I was going to point out how sad it is that these guys are not better known with better distributed work.
But then, as fate would have it, I did some web surfing and found some more to write about, which I would have done if not for something that I will disclose later, like the asteroid that probably won't hit this planet in 2014. Part of me can't help but wonder if what this planet needs is a good asteroid hit. Then there is this well-meaning but unlikely to be effective call for "cell phone etiquette." Even if the piece was widely read, I doubt many would follow the advice since I suspect that cell phones are a status symbol and when you are taking a call on a cell phone in a public place most people, consciously or unconsciously, are saying to the world, "I am important! So important that anything that needs to be conveyed to me is more important than your ability to avoid hearing me talking more loudly than I would to someone I was actually in the physical presence of!" It is a human desire that can only be quenched by cell phones but oh what the cavemen would have given for it.
In unrelated news from today, CNN writes:
Israel declared "all-out war" against Hamas Monday and said it is freezing diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority unless the Palestinian leadership takes "tangible steps to deal with infrastructures of terror."If was writing about this, I'd make a joke about how it looks like the Road Map is close to being torn up because Israel is mad, whereas Israel killing 13 of its Arab citizens a little less than three years ago -just one small part of what sociologist Baruch Kimmerling has persuasively argued amounts to Ariel Sharon's campaign of "politicide"- is not a big deal.
Next I would joke about how the U.S. of A. has made Afghanistan all wonderful and stuff while protecting Uncle Sam's many offspring before pointing to a Boston Globe report by Bryan Bender about how the U.S. appears willing to deal with North Korea, a charter member of the "Axis of Evil." Then it would be time to laugh at Colbert I. King of The Washington Post for thinking that it is even possible that the Bush Administration was honest about Iraq.
After that I would point out that what Josh Marshall identifies as the "revisionism" of the Bush Administration is in fact the logical outcome of the "first draft" of history after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks where it was identified that "war" had been declared on the U.S. by "the terrorists" as opposed to just a particular group of terrorists. Doing so would be a good set-up for noting the self-justifying framework of the "war on terror."
Finally, if I were doing all of this, I would scornfully chortle in response to Paul Richter's Los Angeles Times report from Sunday and today's Washington Post report by Peter Slevin about how other countries aren't eager to pay for the occupation of Iraq. "Imagine that," I might write, "governments who didn't support the U.S. taking over Iraq don't want to share the financial burden of that conquest. What will those nutty places think of next?"
I would have written all those things if it wasn't for the news that former Michigan State football player Brian Ottney passed away yesterday at the age of 23. Perhaps it isn't admirable that I can laugh at problems in faraway places but feel sad when someone who entertained me died at a very early age.
As I thought about this my mind turned to Andrew Cockburn's article on modern day slavery in the September 2003 National Geographic. It is an excellent but very somber piece that implicitly points out that today's slavery is not an aberration from the most advanced economic structures, but rather part of it.
Doing a bit of searching, I come up with Ronnie Greene's Miami Herald story from yesterday about brutal conditions, including slavery, on some Florida farms. On a somewhat hopeful note, I did come up with a BBC story from Saturday by Jan Rocha on the freeing of slaves in Brazil:
In Brazil, government inspectors from the Ministry of Labour have freed 849 workers being held in conditions of slavery on a coffee farm near Barreiras in the state of Bahia."Freedom" is of course nothing other than what it is commonly agreed upon to be, but any decent definition could not be inclusive of the outright buying and selling of other humans, a fact that, the more I think about it, makes slavery stand out to me amongst all of the possible issues I could concern myself with.
Or at least it should. I can't justify that I don't do more on this issue as, while I may be skeptical of utopian dreams, I do know that slavery is incompatible with either utopia or the desire for it. And when each of us allows the duty of alleviating slavery to fall to the mechanisms of state, we show Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's light and joyful to the point of being giddy call in Empire (Harvard University Press, 2000) for opponents of their titular object to end "big government" to be, at best, a long step removed from reality.