Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

What the Che?

September 4, 2008

A bit back i was given for my birthday a history of the Armenian genocide, a biography of Hitler, and The Portrait of Dorian Grey. Yes, i asked my family if they were trying to tell me something or really trying to depress me. I’ve gotten through 2 out of 3. Hitler will just have to wait.

I also recently finished Mao: The Untold Story, or Mao: All The Times He Should Have Been Shot. Hard,

The point is I’ve recently, and historically, read a lot of books about Important People who killed a lot of Less Important People. I’m a lapsed historian, after all. It’s to be expected.

So that’s why I’m hesitant about picking that big Che Guevera bio from a year or two back.  I’m not a big fan of Marxism, Marxist Philosophers , and most  Important Killers. The diff between imp. killers and leaders?

Eye of the beholder. Entirely subjective.

I saw The Motorcycle Diaries, ( Y Tu Mama… was a way better Latin American road trip. And it actually touched on many of the same themes. Just had less of that whole Star Wars Prequel before he was Darth Vader/Che Guevera vibe  ) and the countless t-shirts made by slave labor benefiting la Revolucion in no way what so ever. But I have no idea why I should hold Che higher than the rest of the murderous scumfucks who’ve wasted millions of lives for a philosophy so awful facism was considered an alternative.

Obviously, I’ll get around to it. There’s a Che sized hole in my reading on South American history, and true, I haven’t lived through the crushing poverty that inspires people to revelot for a better life, than follow other people who do everything to destroy everything worth living for.

Hey, I know I’m prejudiced on the subject matter. It’ll be worth seeing if anything shakes that prejudice.

Christians and Falun Gong and Scientologists, OH MY!!!

April 15, 2008

So it’s Friday night awhile back, and I’m going from the ESPN ZONE ( pro-athletics on the projection screens, anti-athletic food on the table), in Times Square to the A train, up to Fibi’s in Harlem. If you never had the pleasure of walking underground around the Times Square area anytime from the 1970’s to the mid-90’s, you would be hard pressed to understand just how much these tunnels have changed.

While not gorgeous, they seem wider, better lit, certainly cleaner and better smelling. The walk from Times Square to Port Authority just isn’t the hellish trudge it used to be. While you don’t feel you are going to be shot, stabbed, assaulted, or targeted by the body fluids of assorted lunatics, there are still those seeking to lead you off your intended path.

Right at the stairs to the 7 train is the Areana of RELIGIOUS KOMBAT! ( FIGHT!!! CHOOSE YOUR RELIGION! CHOOSE YOUR SPIRITUALITY! FIGHT!!!)

First was a Christian with literature spread over 12-15 feet of tables, signs suggesting with extreme prejudice that you “THINK JESUS”. If you didn’t get that message, more verse was computer-stitched on the back of his hoody, complete with different colors, bold face and underlining.

New York has long been a target for Christians looking for not-Christian enough folks. I remember one time a couple of years back, a whole choir of blond, blue eyed Southern teens and their long haired pastor were crooning “There Is Power In The Blood.” near Bryant Park. Of course, my first thought was to ask him for their passports and how much for the lot of them. (Isn’t that always everyone’s first thought on seeing a choir of Southern gals from an unaffiliated church singing on 42nd street?)Instead, I chuckled to myself and walked on.

In all fairness, they were more polite and cheerful in their p.d.f. (public demonstration of faith) than most.

And a couple of them gals was really, really cute. So why be rude?

The guys at the table by the 7 train? Not so pretty or cheerful. They were much more in the “Believe-or-go-to-hell-and-die” tradition. Still, they didn’t go out of the way to stop you from goingwhere you were going.

And they were actually honest about what they thought about you.

Right after passing the tables and tables of Chick tracks we came upon back-lit billboards for the “Holiday Extravaganza.” This was one of the many covert/overt efforts by the Falun Gong to publicize both their practices and the persecution by the Chinese government. After a couple years of failed, very blatant protests, they’ve shifted tactics. These last two years, they had followers spread throughout New York in traditional Chinese costumes, some even making it onto network morning shows.

Looking and sounding like, well, blissed out cult members, they’d talk up the traditional Chinese values and splendors of their show, while not mentioning a thing about it being a Gong show. And, from many posted reports, people who actually went were bored to tears by bad performances and anti-Chinese propaganda.

Now, the commonplace persecution of well… not just the Falun Gong but about anyone who doesn’t toe the Party line in China deserves protest and condemnation. We’ve been bad here in the US, they’ve been worse. If you don’t get that, start reading some different newspapers and history books.

But the Gong’s manipulative practices, like the bait and switch of the Holiday Spectacular, doesn’t help their cause. Just because the PRC’s actions are wrong, doesn’t mean the Gong are right, or shouldn’t be a cause for concern. After all, if a group is generating cult-like devotion, making cult-like claims of the powers of its’ beliefs and practices, and acting in really creepy ways, well, maybe they are a cult.

Just because you have two wrongs, doesn’t mean you have to choose one of them as right.

Also, maybe the MTA should get around to rotating it’s subway ads more? Just a suggestion.

So guess who we ran into next? Think cults, un-scientific claims, manic devotion and sleazy practices.

Right by the stairs to the downtown the A.C.E and the RAG shop, were our friends, the Scientologists. Big tables, lots of E-meters and books, three Sci guys, one person having a reading taken and not much else. They were looking a little down. This was right around the time Tom Cruise’s private rant leaked on video, just before Anonymous started doing it’s net-vigilante thing.

As we passed, I remarked “Sorry, I’m a suppressive.” And kept going.

Too say I don’t indulge my scorn the these particular cult flunkies would be both dishonest, and pointless, given that it’s here in plain html. But tearing into them doesn’t do much good, and is just plain self indulgent.

Unlike posting on a blog 4 or 5 people may actually read.

All the same, to take a stroll through the depths of the Earth being accosted by false prophets and their advertising buys was a strange way to start a Friday night.

So what did we learn on this stroll?

One- Strange things in NYC always come in threes.

Two- Overbearing religious zealots are just that. Overbearing religious zealots. But a little bit honesty on their part helps

Cute blonde girls in pastel with lovely singing voices helps as well.

Three- While the underpasses beneath 42nd street may be less crime ridden than they used to be, sometimes it’s still safer to walk above ground.

Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me…

August 22, 2007

Whatever doesn’t kill me does raise my insurance premiums. ( paraphrased from the HistoryChannel show “Human Weapon”)

Whatever doesn’t kill me still ruins an otherwise lovely day.

Whatever doesn’t kill me can kill me if it tries again, having learned from its first attempt to kill me.

Whatever doesn’t kill me can still marry me, than emasculate me continually over the next 40-50 years.

Whatever doesn’t kill me had better get on the ball, prioritize it’s agenda, and hurry up and do the job right. Because I won’t settle for anything less than the best.

Whatever doesn’t kill me can still be really, really intimidating.

Whatever doesn’t kill me can still apologize at any time, so long as it really means it.

Whatever doesn’t kill me will probably lie to all it’s friends, say it did, and hope I never show up to prove it wrong.

Whatever doesn’t kill me will if they ever get enough subway cars. Have you tried getting a seat on a New York subway car at rush hour? How can whatever doesn’t kill me have enough energy to even try if it’s standing all the way to where I am, trying not to step on anyone’s toes and getting out of the way of the kids trying to break-dance in between subway stops?

Whatever doesn’t kill me will appear on my blog or myspace page, unless it happens at work. Than I won’t post it, because I don’t want to be fired for writing about something that almost killed me at work.