Survival tips: Lessons in Misanthropy (What’s This?) Get ‘em while they’re hot. Here’s one one of them: “The more people know about you, the more they can use against you: It would be self-destructive to provide your enemy with information about yourself that may be used against you. And remember, today’s friend is tomorrow’s enemy. Those that you trust today may eventually turn on you, either because of you or because of them.”
Archive for September, 2007
Transcript of the National Press Club’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad roast
Good evening Mr. Ahmadinejad. Good evening veiled ladies and gentlemen. [some laughter]
We are here tonight to honor the president of an oil-rich country—by the way the only kind of president worth honoring. [some laughter, applause] In fact, I see you’re so oil rich you use it in your hair. [slight laughter, couple of boos]
Mr. President, I understand your beloved mother is still alive [applause]; we hear that when you were born instead of naming you Mahmoud she originally opted for Rosemary’s Baby. [nervous laughter, some loud hissing] We also hear when you were born you were very hairy; in fact, the doctor mistakenly slapped your face. [laughter]
Mahmoud we’d like to congratulate you on your appearance at Columbia and your witty comeback to Chancellor Bollinger’s insults. Mahmoud, let me say right from the start that you are no dictator. Dictators wear better suits. [laughter]
Mahmoud, you said at Columbia there’s no gays in your country. Of course that may not be true for long. I understand all your women are being stoned to death. [laugher, some cheers] Hey but that’s all right; I mean you put a veil and burka on a guy and it’s the same thing right, Mahmoud? Only the beards in the wrong place. [heavy laughter, foot stomping] But seriously Armadinejad, you Iranians are lucky. Take your prostitutes. You don’t even have to pay them—I mean, hey, what would a goat do with money anyway. [laughter]
You know, Mr President, it must be hard living next door to Israel, but look on the bright side. If it weren’t for Israel all those Jews might be moving to Iran—with their weapons. [nervous laughter]
Now you’ve been criticised for your nuclear ambitions, Mahmoud. Quite unfairly we think. I mean, imagine how many virgins one of your suicide bombers would get with an A-bomb strapped on him. [heavy laughter]
And what about us Americans?…Mahmoud you gotta admit one thing: we don’t stink as bad as the French. [guffaws] And another thing you oil guys gotta love about us –Just one of our Hummers uses more gas than your entire air force. [heavy applause, foot stomping, shouting, whistling]
Listen, Mahmoud, I know you have to get back to Iran to hang some more dissidents, but I’d like to say a couple of more things…I understand you and bin Laden have something in common besides terrorism: you both use the same beard coloring—Just For Terrorists. [loud laughter]
Mahmoud, we hope you enjoyed your dinner here tonight. Everything was kosher. [laughter]
In closing, Mr. President, I’d like to say—and I’m sure you’d agree–that all of us men, Muslim and Jew and Christian alike share a very human trait. Underneath our pants we are all circumcised. [loud applause, laughter]. That gotta be a good omen for world peace, right? [applause]
Mr. President, thank you for attending this dinner and roast and may Allah grant you your most sacred wish—that you were a normal-sized human being…[applause, laughter, foot stomping]
Update: You know people have actually emailed me accusing me of making this up.
According to an essay by Pat Buchanan (Is Belgium breaking up?) the religious intensity of diversity and multiculturalism, gripping both Europe and the U.S. and Canada, could in fact be be the end chapter in Arthur Schlesinger’s prediction (1991) that “Ethnic and racial conflict…will soon replace the conflict of ideologies as the explosive issue of our time.” Multicultural society–a society with no dominant national culture or laws–is gradually writing its own final chapter. In Britain alone Scottish and Irish secessionists have been gaining ground. In Spain too. England, Norway, Sweden and Denmark are fast being divided by religion and culture (Muslim VS secular society). Bilingual Canada is essentially two separate countries (French speaking Quebec and English speaking provinces). America is fast becoming divided by language due to nearly unchecked illegal immigration. Here, too, a growing Islamic population is gradually procuring its own Sharia law separateness (though it’s not yet quite as bad as it is in Europe). The most apparent demise right now is bilingual Belgium; it is so stymied by seperatism that almost half of that population want to officially divide. To make things even uglier these governments that want to remain “solvent multicultural nations,” are resorting to crypto-fascist technique.
As Buchanan describes it, “Heightening the tensions, on Sept. 11, a demonstration was held in Brussels to protest ‘the Islamization of Europe, featuring a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11. There, as Washington Times columnist Diana West describes the videotape, ‘we see black-clad Belgian policemen brutalizing a man in a light-colored suit and tie. His hands are cuffed behind his back, his right elbow is clasped in what is known as an arm-bar hold, and he is being subjected to a genital hold – a vicious grip that, a retired cop friend of mine tells me, would get any American policeman thrown off the force.’ The victim of this police brutality was Frank Vanhecke, president of the Flemish secessionist party Vlams Belang and a member of the European Parliament. Also arrested and beaten was Filip Dewinter, the leading politician of Vlams Belang, which is Belgium’s largest opposition party. This is like having Mitch McConnell beaten up and arrested at a rally on the Washington Mall to protest illegal immigration.”
I read this book about 10 years ago and am now reading it again. As an inquiry into human nature it’s hard to put down. A quick rundown of the experiment.
“I observed a mature and initially poised businessman enter the laboratory smiling and confident. Within 20 minutes he was reduced to a twitching, stuttering wreck, who was rapidly approaching nervous collapse. he constantly pulled on his ear lobe, and twisted his hands. At one point he pushed his fist into his forehead and muttered ‘Oh God, let’s stop it.’ And yet he continued to respond to every word of the experimenter, and obeyed to the end.”
“Civilization isn’t only a matter of art and statecraft and the building of cities; sometimes it rests on nothing more substantial than a splinter. The discovery of the toothpick may not rank with the invention of the wheel. Still, it could be argued that this humble implement not only alleviated discomfort and promoted good hygiene, but made conversation possible at close quarters. Of course, public use of the toothpick has always been controversial. When the Roman writer Petronius wanted to show the vulgarity of Trimalchio in his ‘Satyricon,’ he has him “going over his teeth with a silver toothpick” at an obscenely lavish banquet.” Look at it this way: it’s minimus meets maximus. Read rest of article (NY Sun). Or buy the book: The Toothpick Technology and Culture (Henry Petroski). Reminds me of John McPhee’s Oranges.
Head down to the corner of Bleecker and 11th Street on any given day, and you’re likely to find a line of some 40 people snaking around the corner, rain or shine. What are they waiting for…cupcakes.
Such is the power of Magnolia Bakery, the city’s legendary mini-cake emporium, which is to baked goods what Jack Nicholson is to womanizing and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to ill-fitting menswear. Only one question remains: Um, why exactly? Here’s the cold, hard truth: Magnolia’s cupcakes aren’t that good. And they’re certainly not worthy of all the hype, articles and long lines. But instead of shrinking, Magnolia’s myth is expanding: The bakery recently announced it will open an Upper West Side branch…” Read rest of article (NY Post).
“Tania Head’s story, as shared over the years with reporters, students, friends and hundreds of visitors to ground zero, was a remarkable account of both life and death. She had, she said, survived the terror attack on the World Trade Center despite having been badly burned when the plane crashed into the upper floors of the south tower. Crawling through the chaos and carnage on the 78th floor that morning, she said, she encountered a dying man who handed her his inscribed wedding ring, which she later returned to his widow. Her own life was saved, she said, by a selfless volunteer who stanched the flames on her burning clothes before she was helped down the stairs. It was a journey she said she had the strength to make because she kept thinking of a beautiful white dress she was to wear at her coming marriage ceremony to a man named Dave. But later she would discover, she said, that Dave, her fiancé, and in some versions her husband, had perished in the north tower.” Read rest of this article. (NY Times) There’s another article about this here (London Daily Mail).
By all accounts Tania is a sensitive, kind-hearted woman; was her empathy so great that she had to inject herself into the emotional horror of the survivors? Or does she suffer from some pathological plight that we may never get to the bottom of?
Update: This NY Times story must have struck a nerve with a lot of people. My post alone here had about 700 hits (and counting).
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad–female stoner, gay executioner, dissident torturer, apartheid enforcer, terrorist enabler–smiles for his Liberal admirers at lavish dinner party (media stars galore). This sort of thing is why satire is dead. Satire has become reality. What was once extrapolated absurdity or exaggeration now exists at face value.
“The invitation was on creamy stationery with fancy calligraphy: The Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran ‘requests the pleasure’ of my company to dine with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The dinner is at the Intercontinental Hotel — with names carefully written out at all the place settings around a rectangular table. There are about 50 of us, academics and journalists mostly. There’s Brian Williams across the room, and Christiane Amanpour a few seats down. And at a little after 8pm, on a day when he has already addressed the U.N., the evening after his confrontation at Columbia, a bowing and smiling Mahmoud Admadinejad glides into the room.”
Turns out when Andy Warhol defined one of the layers of the future as a time when everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes he only got it half right. After all, that was pre-YouTube time, pre MySpace. Now, amending it, it’s everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes over and over again.
Yes, he’s known as the smooth operator (by all means listen to the song) , “moderate Muslim” Tarik Ramadan is often seen as leading the way on a compromise between Muslim and non-Muslim Europe (better known today as Euro-Islam). Author Bruce Bawer notes in his book that in 2003 Tarik was asked by France’s minister of the interior (Nicolas Sarkozy) to “demonstrate his moderation by doing two things: one, tell Muslim women to remove their veils, and two, declare his opposition to the stoning of adulteresses. Tarik refused the first request; in response to the second, he suggested a ‘moratorium’ on stoning. ‘That way,’ he said, ‘you start a dialog.’ ” By the way, Tarik has been denied exit to the U.S. and France because of terrorist ties. I guess Tarik could use just a little more moderation.
“Shouting, ‘This is YouTube material!’ a 27-year-old British man urinated on a dying woman who had collapsed on the street, the BBC and local Hartepool Mail and Northern Echo tell us. He also doused her with a bucket of water and covered her with shaving cream. The woman, 50-year-old Christine Lakinski, died at the scene of pancreatic failure. In a sad sign of the times, it was all recorded on a mobile phone. Read more.
SS guards relaxing at the camp’s recreation lodge (evidently they had a busy day)
Read the article here in the NY Times (along with slide show).
I saw Death Sentence the other night. Here’s a short review.
After his son’s throat is fatally slashed by a gang member who must pass his initiation by killing someone at random, the father, Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) foregoes the deal-making of the prosecutor/defense lawyers (mandatory two years hard time is better than nothing, he’s told) for his own heartfelt justice. He follows the killer home to a dumpy section of town and administers well, a death sentence.
The dead gang member just happens to be the gang leader’s brother. Now Nick is being marked for a death sentence. Unfortunately the gang finds Nick a tough opponent and it isn’t long before another gang member (mostly all white by the way which turns out to be a kind of satire by itself) bites the dust, actually he bites the asphalt when he is rolled off the roof of a parking garage, the climax of an extremely well done and intense foot-chase scene. Keep in mind Nick, the hunted, is just trying to stay alive. At this point he resembles a deer barely escaping the headlights of an SUV.
The beautiful but languid monotone-voiced female detective (Aisha Tyler) assigned to the case is getting suspicious now after the second death. “If you started this war,” she tells him, “God help you.” Of course, like Iraq, this war hasn’t seen its last battle. Despite police protection they manage to kill his wife and seriously wound his other son. Up to this point the movie has followed what we might call standard operating procedure. But then there’s Part B and it’s as if the Part A director (James Wan) was suddenly replaced by Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror) and Quentin Tarrintino (Death Proof, Kill Bill). Yeah, we’re headed very fast into 70s Grindhouse mode. Nick has now procured an armful of guns, unwittingly it turns out, from the gang leader’s very sleazy fat sweaty dad, Bones (John Goodman). “Go with God and a bag full of guns,” he tells his cash customer who just laid down 5 grand.
Of course, before the coming surge, there is one thing left for Nick to do: haphazardly shave his head. There’s something symbolic here but I can’t quite place it. Maybe it’s symbolic of his completing his degradation—becoming the other (as in the object of his revenge). Whatever it is it sure adds to the climatic juice. Make no mistake, this second part of the movie plays out in the fantasy section of the mind’s R-complex layer of the brain. This is Rambo First Blood contained in the confines of a single old dilapidated building. We’re talking shotgun damage producing great bodily death. Guys are blown out windows, through walls. Smoking holes appear everywhere. Glass explodes. A leg flies off. Fingers are blasted away. Nick has definitely lost his deer-caught-in-the-headlights stare.
This climax is pure emotional gratification–remember we’re operating in R complex mode—and so we are allowed to temporarily ignore our badge of civilization with impunity. We can ignore the frustrating subtleties of the slow winding course of law and lawyers, which is why I so enjoyed this movie.
“There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around.
You: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday.
The manipulator’s response – “It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment – but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain [don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point] aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry.”
Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all – but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played – don’t capitulate!…” (quoted from link below).
Don’t forget, the emotional manipulator is the picture of a wiling helper. Remember, there are eight ways to spot emotional manipulation. Remember too, they–the manipulators– could be lurking anywhere–and, worst of all, one of them could be your own mother. So walk softly and carry a big mental stick.
“Scientists have discovered a way to identify the politics of the human brain by using a scan that can identify liberal or conservative tendencies…Consevative disposition can be distinguished by a type of brain activity involved in regulating conflict between a habit and novelty…while liberals are more likely to be open to trying something new.” Read more.
From Nikki Sixx’s Motley Crue tour days tome, and as the NY Post says about the book, it “would be impossible to cram any more debauchery, drug use or desperate living” into this tell-all (hey I wonder if Bill Clinton and his sax ever toured with the group?)
” ‘Once, in a London heroin den before a show in the late 1980s, I OD’d on the spot,’ Sixx relates. ‘My lips turned purple. I was gone. The story I heard was that the dealer grabbed his baseball bat and tried to beat the [bleep]ing life into me. He couldn’t, so he flung me over his shoulder to dump me in the trash, because nobody wants a dead rock star lying around.’ ” And let’s not forget Tommy Lee’s quote: On tour it “looked like it was [bleeping] raining panties – there were literally thousands of pairs . . . We started collecting bras, panties, shoes, dresses, skirts, naked Polaroids…and thought about opening a Motley Crue museum.”