Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bernie versus The Donald

Looking at the U.S. from the outside, I can see a real and distinct possibility - if not downright probability - that when the dust finally settles after the Presidential primary elections, the two candidates chosen to run for the job of POTUS, will be Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

The American people are unhinged and angry enough to select these two impractical and irrational candidates as the Democrat and Republican combatants.

Both Sanders and Trump. in their own way, will be a continuation of the Obama legacy. Trump, as the ultimate, narcissistic empty suit candidate , and Sanders as the Santa Clausian provider of everything we desire.

The only difference between the two is that Trump appeals to the Right-Wing Lunatic Fringe, while Sanders appeals to the equally insane Left-Wing Kooks.

The Democrat voters seem to be falling head over heels for their only major candidate not headed for Federal penitentiary. The Republicans want to tar and feather those that they perceive as "Establishment".

After years of political divisiveness, the country is as conflicted as it can possibly become. Just how the U.S. will continue to survive the 21st Century is beyond me.

On the bright side - if one can call it that - neither President Trump nor President Sanders will be able to accomplish the changes each one wants to bring about. Nothing productive will come about and the country will continue to be divided.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hamid Dabashi Endorses Bernie Sanders for POTUS

Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, endorses Bernie Sanders for POTUS in an opinion piece for Al Jazeera.

As much as Dabashi hates Republicans - and believe me he really hates Republicans - his hatred for Hillary Clinton is greater; he writes:

"I would happily vote for Sanders in the primaries and hope he will beat Hillary Clinton and all her Republican cohorts and become the next US president. But even if he does not, there is no snowball chance in hell I would vote for Hillary 'Margaret Thatcher' Clinton, who I,in fact, consider an infinitely more dangerous warmonger than all those hot-air crackpot Republicans put together."

In his view, "Republicans are political non-entities and have no clue how to navigate legislations [sic] through Congress" and believes Hillary and Bill are "master practitioners" at getting both Houses of Congress to do their bidding. The Clintons will "...... will sail through any legislation that will facilitate dropping more bombs on brown and black people around the world and could not care less if their liberal domestic agenda are stonewalled in the Congress".

He adds,"Billions of human beings around the globe have every reason to be scared witless of a vicious imperialist presidency of Hillary Clinton".

I can't argue with Dabashi's views on Clinton, but he's clueless regarding the Republicans. His obvious hatred for Israel and the Republicans' support for our ally has clouded his judgement.

I'm not sure how much Dabashi's endorsement will help the Berninator, but if it pushes Sanders over the top, so much the better.

A Few Thoughts on "The Western Canon".

Yesterday, after I had finished reading Looking Backward: 2000–1887  by Edward Bellamy, I published a post giving my opinion of the novel. I was not impressed with the novel, to say the least.

I want to explain how I came to read the book.

In an earlier post, I explained how I alternated between using my son's Kindle and the FBReader app on my Android when I wanted to read an e book. I'll use the Kindle only when my battery is low on the Android. Opening up the Kindle recently, I discovered an e book which I had forgotten downloading from Project Gutenberg - Mary Noailles Murfree's, "His Unquiet Ghost". In addition to coming upon that particular e book, I found News from Nowhere by William Morris. Doing a little research on Morris' novel, I learned that it was written in response to Bellamy's novel.

So, I began reading Looking Backward: 2000–1887 on the Android and switching to News from Nowhere on the Kindle whenever the phone needed charging.

I've not reached the half way mark on News from Nowhere and I can see it's going to be a grind finishing it. As much as I was unimpressed with Bellamy's novel, I have to say that it's far and away superior to Morris' book. I'm only going to finish reading this boring piece of drivel because I've told myself that I'd finish reading whatever I've started, as a New Year's resolution.

It's bad enough that News from Nowhere is so dreadful, but for reasons that escape me, the book is listed in Harold Bloom's The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages.

Maybe I should not have been surprised to find Morris' book on the list. Of course, I haven't come even close to reading everything listed in the Canon, but I've read several of the books listed, and some of the books in Bloom's Canon do not deserve to be there.

Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey was entertaining, but it's hardly one of the great works of Western civilization. The same could be said of Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. Does anything by Vonnegut really belong in the Western Canon?

There are several books on Bloom's list which I want to read.....overall it's not a bad list. But, I'll not be just picking something at random from the Western Canon.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Looking Backward: 2000–1887

In the wikipedia article covering the novel, Looking Backward: 2000–1887 ,by journalist Edward Bellamy, is described as a "Utopian science fiction novel". Utopian is an accurate description, but calling the novel science fiction is stretching the term a bit much.

Published in 1888, the novel tells the story of a young man who falls into a deep hypnotic trance and awakens in the year 2000 to find the United States has been transformed into a socialist utopia where war, poverty, crime, prostitution, corruption, money, or taxes no longer exist. Ownership of private property is a thing of the past and the national government owns and operates all businesses.

Bellamy's vision of the year 2000 AD bears no resemblance to the way things have actually turned out. Although many have wished socialism upon us, the Federal government, as it exists, does not have the control Bellamy's fictional government has.

Of course, Bellamy has no way of knowing of the two world wars that happened between his 1887 and the real 2000. His future has no airplanes, or radio, or automobile, not to mention cell phones, computers or television. He was not even able to imagine musical recordings. In his novel, households do have access to music 24 hours a day, but the music comes from live performances transmitted over the telephone - the only piece of "modern technology" already invented in Bellamy's time.

Unfortunately, there is very little action in the novel; it's mostly conversations between the hero, Julian West, and two people he meets - Doctor Leete and his daughter, Edith.

Edward Bellamy may have had good intentions - as did the hundreds, if not thousands of members of the various Bellamy Clubs that popped up in the U.S. following the publication of the novel. Unfortunately, Bellamy's hope for the future was based on wishful thinking regarding human nature. We are not as self sacrificing and altruistic as the folks in Bellamy's year 2000.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Benito Mussolini With Trump Hair.

I included in yesterday's post [Trump - Benito Mussolini with (Bad) Hair] a photo featuring Donald Trump as Mussolini. I had used GIMP to paste Trump's face onto an image of the Fascist dictator in uniform.

After I had published that post, I came across a photo where someone had pasted Trump hair onto Mussolini. I liked that photo so much, I had to fetch it and post it here.

I wish I could say it was my work, but it's not. On one of Il Duce's lapel, we find the words "The Pixel Factor". I did an Internet search, hoping to find other great images. Sadly, nothing else lives up to Mussolini with Trump hair.