I stopped writing about & voicing my political opinions back in 2008 or 2009 after J. Kevin Kelley & Kevin Payne got busted by the FBI for their corruption. At the time I tweeted something along the lines of “I can’t believe I worked on a project with these scumbags.” That project being a redesign of the County Engineer’s website that had languished for over a year, complete, but without sign-off to go live. The next day I got called into the Director’s office with my boss and syntax was structured that tangentially implied that further public commentary from me on anything job-related would affect my employment. That Director, Dan Weaver, later got sentenced to 3 years in prison as part of the same giant pile of corruption that infected the management of the entire County. I think the FBI stopped fishing soon after because everything left was small fry.
They scared me. I had a brand new infant, a mortgage, there were no job prospects in Cleveland, so I deleted the aforementioned tweet and kept my head down for another 5 years. The FBI burst in to my office because these criminals spat upon the same civil responsibility that I was honored to contribute to. Everyone at the County was implicated. I know how louche it is to voice personal opinions regarding one’s professional position, but some shit needs to be unequivocally repudiated. The following tweet is, as far as I can tell, the only one left standing from that time:
I’ve spent 7 years with my lips zipped — which is not an easy thing for me to do. I’ve tried to be as non-partisan as possible in my dealings with everyone. Going along to get along. I’ve avoided engaging in anything that might be politicized, but what isn’t these days? Ain’t nobody playing for low stakes.
I can continue to kibitz, or I can throw my two cents on the pile & see if anything shifts.
Mainly, though, I’m tired of keeping my mouth shut.
There are endless things we can and have learned from nature that have daily, practical application in our lives. Velcro was invented by a guy who took a close look at the burrs that stuck to his dog’s fur. It wasn’t given to us by Vulcans. I’m sure my mom has a special place in her heart for those things, since there were innumerable times that my socks went through the wash completely covered in them. Velcro is useful, and it is kind of difficult to figure out how it could be misused.
Marketing, on the other hand, is something that nature has ingrained into us, and learning to use it as a tool for just about any job means it gets misused all the time. The most blatant form of nature’s marketing is used for sexual selection. Think peacocks, or Irish Elk. Pretty harmless, specifically targeted marketing. That easily explains the marketing phrase “sex sells.” Properly marketed, you can sell anything. With products, this has been age old; there were hucksters selling snake-oil and hoof grease to dirt-farmers in Ur. I’m sure the marketing of ideas dates to antiquity as well, but the proliferation of communication in the information age compounds this into a serious problem.
With proper marketing, you can sell any idea. There’s a sucker born every minute. What sucks about the suckers is that they’re more likely to believe the hype than due the diligence. So you can sell creationism, fascism, racism, and that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslin and folks will take the good marketing as gospel. It’s Colbert’s truthiness. Facts are hard things, and thinking requires thought. Since we’re hard-wired by nature to buy good marketing, it’s easier to buy intellectual snake oil (especially when it goes with our preconceptions) than put forth the effort to test facts for scratch, indentation and rebound hardness.
Caveat emptor, and if you don’t, God help the rest of us.
i’ve found something disturbing. whenever i catch a bit of news regarding the war, which is not much because as long as people are dying i don’t care for it, but whenever i catch a bit of news containing a picture of a moustachioed Iraqi, they all look like Saddam Hussein. It is quite hard to tell one moustachioed Iraqi from another, and i’m pretty sure this is purposeful. everyone knows about Saddam’s doppelgangers. everyone knows that Saddam is crazy. everyone knows Saddam has a moustache. but if it appears that every Iraqi has a moustache and looks like Saddam — does it not follow that all Iraqis are crazy? This is how racial profiling proliferates. Even if it is unintentional, the abundance of moustachioed evil Iraqis will create a stereotype that all Iraqis are evil and moustachioed.
at 6 this evening i’m driving out to Colorado Springs, CO and the USAFA for the NCAA fencing championships. It is about a 19 hour drive and at the end of it i still might not be able to watch my team compete for the championship. i had to submit my social security number, driver’s license number, etc. in order to get security clearance to get on the base. at all times i must have two forms of picture ID. but once the war starts not even that will get me on the base. i’m still going out dammit.
what a stupid ultimatum from Dubya. yeah like that is EVER going to happen. might as well require the impossible so we can start bombing on schedule. anything for the war. even if the ulty did work i’d still be creeped out because the US would be able to coerce a country into essentially giving up its sovereignty. jeebus.
what the internet needs is a bestiary of mythical beasts. and a good one at that. the only ones i’ve found have been crap. maybe i could start my own if i had some time. meagan will you draw the critters and creepy crawlies?
Trogdor the Arcade Game!
I’ll be back sometime next monday unless NORAD and the USAFA get nuked by Iraqis.
i suppose i’m un-American. i don’t want war with Iraq. I see no motivation for it apart from a familial grudge held by the man currently recognized as our the American president. i think the days of rampant die-hard nationalism are past. i believe it is time to focus and concentrate on a more global scale. i’m not talking about corporate globalization which in my opinion is nothing more than American imperialism under a different guise. i’m talking about global humanitarianism which of course is way too idealistic at this point. I do think, however, that it is high time we Americans at least start moving in that direction. Lord knows, much of the rest of the world is attempting to. i read somewhere that our the American government has a $400 billion budget for military spending. i’m pretty sure that is more than would be required to protect our America’s own borders. Instead, it is focused on protecting American ‘interests,’ a convenient term which can be molded to justify our American involvement anywhere. America could be a respected part of the world community instead of feared because of its power if we it could just stop being trigger-happy and realize that helping out others will help us America out in the long run.
it would have been bad karma to bash the american media about patriotism yesterday so i held off until today. on my shift wednesday night i was glancing through a Time and Newsweek and marveled at the amount of propaganda that was present in the publications. This is eerily like the development of the fascist system in Orwell’s 1984. every article and many of the advertisements promoted a sort of blind unquestioning allegiance toward new policy and other government action. Patriotism it appears, has reached the point where either you must support every aspect of government or be in league with terrorists. i imagine the mccarthy era was like this except instead of being a pinko commie, you are helping out Islamic fanatics. the last time i checked, there wasn’t a law against this but now it appears that the Patriot Bill and office of Homeland Security have changed our civil liberties in some very fundamental ways. That is scary enough, but when our source of ‘free’ speech effectively condemns all naysaying I feel a little claustrophobic. Why for instance do we need another government oversight administration for the citizens, if the FBI and CIA aren’t working well, then make them better, don’t create a new system. its like taking a car to the junkyard because it has a flat tire and then asking the GM to build you a new one from scratch. as far as i can tell, the US is losing the war on terrorism, because the US isn’t quite the land of the free that it used to be.
as for the whole pledge of allegiance mumbojumbo, will the separation between church and state reach the point where ‘God Bless America” is banned and religious lobbyists are prevented from expressing their desires for new legislations? will religion end up being banned altogether since the USA as an entity allows churches on her soil. i can see it coming. dubya’s government is a scary scary thing.
i’d better hop on my plane to Pakistan now since it is obvious from the previous paragraphs that i am a cause of the problem and not just an American exercising my right to free speech. omygod they are here already, banging on the door! i haven’t even posted yet.! big brother is everywhere!
5.26.02 EXT. MOD QUAD. 6:03pm DAY
i think the extreme conservatism here at Notre Dame has made more of a liberal out of me. the hypocrisy, bureaucracy, and oppressive nature of ‘tradition’ that i am constantly faced with has slowly forced me from my rather apolitical fencesitting into a slightly more radical stance where i welcome effective change and rebellion against blind, stagnant, patronizing authority. perhaps i am wrong and my liberal arts (even though it isn’t called that here) education has changed me…
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was a good read. i wasn’t expecting to be confronted with the extensive philosophical discussion that it contains, but it was much easier to understand than say, Descartes “Discourse on Method.” The storyline is very good and i could have used more of it, but i understand that it merely functions as a frame to contain and direct the inquiry into values. i would definitely recommend that you read it, but be prepared to have your ways of thought challenged on a fundamental level.
there is a new link in ‘people’ to some ratbastard and another one in the ‘other’ section to all my poetry (which sucks and you’ve already read before).