Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What a Bunch of Poonises

My nephew has recently coined the word "poonis," under the logical (and etymological, and scatological) reasoning that if pee comes out your penis, then the anatomical region that produces poo must be your poonis. I've rapidly developed an intense fondness for this word, not least because it seems to me to neatly encapsulate my current feelings about the Democratic Party.

I often feel out of step with the rest of the LME crowd -- not so much because of the philosophical differences, but because I so rarely talk about current events, preferring to use this space as a place to think about the relationships of individuals to their societies in a much broader, less specific sense. I pay fairly close attention to day-to-day politics -- I'm something of a news junkie -- but I just don't feel that I have much to say about it.

Take the current debate over the surge, for example. What's the big story here? That the Democrats continue to be a pack of pussies, worn, torn, stretched, and bleeding from brutal overuse? That the Republicans continue to form a line of glistening, erect penises, eagerly thrusting in and out of whatever oily orifice they can find? It's hardly worth coming up with the crude analogy, although I did enjoy the triple pun in the word "crude."

Briefly spent some time in a resort village. I'm told that the landscape was beautiful, though this may have been obscured for me by the presence of four Starbucks in a single square mile. Partway through the trip, we discovered a sign that boasted the opportunity to "Make Your Own Ice Cream." We eagerly rushed forward, to discover their offer of ANY combination of chocolate or vanilla, with ANY combination of either a waffle cone or a cup. Buh? Those are significantly *less* options than just about any ice cream shop I've ever been to.

The rhetoric of self-determination requires only the illusion of choice. And -- in an age where we're coming to accept a more fluid perception of human sexuality -- I find it ironic that our ultimate choice boils down to a bunch of pussies, or a bunch of dicks.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Channeling Andy Rooney

In an airport again. On my way to Canada this time. Stopped to use a restroom -- three stalls, all lined up, all occupied. Used those motion-activated flushing mechanisms, which means that each time one of us shifted, the damn thing flushed again, which happened roughly every five seconds.

Aside from the horrific environmental waste, this is just stupid. Everything in the bathroom was automated, the sink, the soap, the toilets, the towels, and not one goddamn thing worked the way it was supposed to. An extraordinary amount of time, money, and effort went into making my bowel-moving experience both more wasteful and less convenient. And -- why? Because we've literally become too collectively lazy to wipe our own fucking asses?

I caught a few episodes of "American Inventor" a while back. I had some interest in the concept -- my father's a scientist, and most of our money growing up came from patents on his inventions -- but I was vaguely appalled by the steady stream of new bike seats, sunglasses, and perfume bottles. There wasn't a single new idea there, and these people had devoted years of their life and thousands of dollars to -- what? A better bar of soap?

If this (admittedly sensationalistic) piece of pop-culture is any indication, the new god of invention isn't progress but convenience. It's a sad irony that such an astounding amount of intelligence has gone towards developing new technologies that have pampered us into drooling incompetence. Living in such a decadent culture is almost enough to make me run off into the woords and become a survivalist.

But not quite. After all, what would I do if I needed to rent a Buffy DVD at 11:59pm?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Capitalism At Its Finest

...and, in a truly fell stroke of irony, shortly after my last blog post I received the following e-mail:

Locate Registered Sex Offenders Living In Your Neighborhood

New registered sex offenders may have recently moved into your neighborhood or your city. Let us help you locate them with a quick search so you can better protect your loved ones.

I click on the link, which offers me a "Free search for sex offenders in my area." Inputting my zip code reveals that -- gasp! -- there is 1 sexual offender located in my immediate area. And, for a small activation fee, they'll tell me who he is!

That's right -- if you don't give us money, strangers could rape your children. Yeesh.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Yeah, this one might be unpopular.

So I've been following the saga of Jack McClellan. The guy's a self-proclaimed -- and also non-practicing -- pedophile.

He's pretty much a grade-A creep. He claims to abbhor any kind of non-consensual relationship, then identifies his favored age-range as being between three and eleven years old. Now, on some basic, primal level of the reptile brain, I can grasp the appeal of a nubile teenager -- those are, after all, the years in which the body is transitioning to adulthood, and begins sending out all kinds of sexual signals. It's literally in our DNA. Not that I by any means condone someone who chooses to pursue a sixteen-year-old -- just saying that I recognize how it could happen. But, ugh. A three-year-old? What kind of consent could possibly take place?

There's some legal gray area here -- although he claims to have never touched a child, he's posted sites that are essentially "how-to" guides for meeting young girls, and he's been seen hanging around places like playgrounds. If I burst into a bar, wielding a gun and screaming profanities, I'm behaving in a threatening manner and should probably be stopped, regardless of whether or not I actually pump a bullet into someone. So legally articulating exactly where that line is is difficult.

That's a discussion worth having. But it's not a discussion that's taking place anywhere near the hysterical news coverage, in which every interview I've seen displays an undisguised disgust with a legal system that leaves a guy like this on the streets. And, y'know? I hate to be the one to say it, but the fact that this guy is on the streets is probably an indication that our legal system is *working*. If he hasn't committed a crime, then he isn't a criminal. Not that I'd allow this guy anywhere near, say, my niece -- but I don't see any way to bring down the hammer of the law without going in a direction that strikes me as fundamentally *worse*.

That's something like thought crime, something a lot like a pre-emptive strike -- the same kind of mentality that leads us to bomb nations under the mere suspicion that they have the means to harm us, the same kind of mentality that leads us to disarm law-abiding citizens. Jesus may have said "...if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out..." but this seems to me to be somewhat impractical as state policy.

We can't prosecute someone who hasn't committed a crime. That's the painful trade-off of living in a free society, the very thing that makes freedom so terrifying -- because it means sacrificing a degree of safety, a degree of security. The rule of law, and the presumption of innocence, both leave us occasionally exposed to criminals. But the alternative? The alternative is unthinkable.