Cultural Crit & Art


Every once in a while we come across the most inane discussion. It all reminds us of a movie we once saw in which the central message was «one should not confuse babies and angels». Now of course the writer and the director wanted us to think that it was ok to do so, but, we think the initial missive was bang on. It appears that in our unexplained absence good old Cherniak has taken the opportunity to get dumber while his shadow boxing intellectual opponent Mr. Scully has taken the opportunity to become the dumbest faux intellectual in the history of blogging.

WTF you ask? Well apparently Cherniak and Co. have been having a debate on what is the definition of terrorism. Good topic we think. Too bad the intellectual neophytes in question do not have the capacity for abstraction—and as such definition—(fuck we should have gone to law school) (fuck that, what a nightmare of social interaction!) And yes we just put two distinct but connected thoughts in separate brackets. Oh well let us say good night to the English Gestapo while we are here.

Again, WTF you ask? Well if you have not taken the time to explore the links provided above; here we give the skinny on the situation. Mr. Scully’s final definition for terrorism was «those who kill without a just cause.» And of course our intellectual pimp squeak Cherniak finds the definition a little too inclusive!

Katel should release an album entitled: “faux intellectual shit parade“ Look the issue is really simple. Terrorism is the tactic of an inferior force who believes that through random violent conflict one can further their political objective. It is distinguished from war by the fact that those who wage war are usually understood to be officially (state) sanctioned combatants who use violence to further their political agenda. Neither definition has any referent to a just cause.

The precipitate to our definition is that Mosses was a terrorist too! How do you like those apples?

For the longest time we have tried to figure out the allure of Kinsella. By all insider accounts he was less of a backroom general than a side room shill in the Chretien court. Oh sure towards the end Kinsella got a boost but by that time it was when Chretien needed all the friends he could get so Kinsella got a promotion—to what we are not sure.

Every once in a while we wander over to his blog and sometimes we even peruse his putative column in the National Post. A newspaper it should be said that is incapable of displacing that increasingly poor excuse for a national daily newspaper known as the Globe and Mail. Indeed, if one were to discount the Post’s circulation in Western Canada and the free copies circulating on West Jet’s regional flights the pathetic status of the Post would be plain for all to see. And while we can’t say if Kinsella’s association with the Post is responsible for the declining circulation it is certainly true that Canadians are not flocking to pony up the 25cents to read Kinsella’s column.

But we digress. What is the allure of Kinsella? Is it a measure of how thin the Canadian punditry is that Kinsella manages to rank? Is Kinsella really the best the provincial liberals in Ontario can do for strategist? Here is a hint Dalton, strategy is different from tactics. And really all Kinsella brings is antics. Spend the cash and hire a strategist from south of the border. At least that way you can get access to first hand strategies rather then buying second hand tactics that Kinsella has ripped off from his cousins in the south.

Again, we digress. What is the allure of Kinsella? The equivalent of a Puck Bunny for politicians is the best we could come up with.

Disutopia is the most significant project of our time. It is not the temporary absence of Utopia but the celebration of the end of social dreams. Social dreams have become a nightmare in which it is impossible to materialise our desires into a collective thought. Disutopia should not be confused with the form in which it appears: indifference. Disutopia entails an active process involving simultaneously the struggle to control diversity and the acclamation of diversity; the repression of the struggles against Disutopia and celebration of individual self-determination. The result of this is social schizophrenia. In so far as diversity, struggle and contradiction cannot be eliminated by political or philosophical voluntarism, Disutopia has to be imposed. The advocates of Disutopia spend a huge amount of time in de-construction, repentance, denial, forgetfulness, anti-critique, coupled with academic justifications and the scientific classification of the horrors of our time. Whilst the reality of capitalism is destroying planet earth, Disutopia pictures Utopia as a romantic, naïve and old-fashioned imaginary that is accused of not dealing with the real world. However, our point is that Disutopia can only be sustained by denying the real content of life, i.e. the foundations of the real world. The result of all this together is mediocrity.

Dinerstein and Neary “Class struggle and the Communist Manifesto” (2001, p. 4).

Does anyone else out there notice the CON’s embrace of a certain aesthetic that abruptly went out of fashion in the mid 1940s? Note to Harper: Tone it down until you have control of the Reichstag.

 stephen_harper_victory.jpg

That fact is that any certain claim by man (sic) to know the mind of god is not only blasphemous but also futile.  By definition god is a bit of mystery beyond the bounds of human knowledge; indeed this is what is meant by man is fallible.  Man is fallible not simply because he is a sinner but more importantly because there are inherent limitations to mans knowledge. Man will even sin when it is not his intention to do so. It follows from this that we have no possible way to know which way god would vote.   So the point is that any question of which way Jesus would vote is a dumb question.  Obviously the right, centre and left can find textual evidence in the bible supporting their respective projects but this is an entirely different proposition than stating what the mind of god is.  Politics is the providence of man; judgement is the providence of god and we should think the political party affiliations of Jesus unknowable.

The eXile
#259
23 Mar 07

Triumph Of The Vile

Or: 300 Bottles Of Idiocy On The Screen
By Gary Brecher ( war_nerd@exile.ru )

FRESNO, CA — Well, I did it, took one for the team,
jumped on the grenade, offered my belly to the
bayonets – in other words, sat through 300, the
comic-book movie about Thermopylae. The only reason
this thing got made is that it makes good anti-Iran
propaganda, because as every war fan knows, at
Thermopylae “300 brave Spartans held off the entire
Persian army.”

Frank Miller’s movie is the “Hoo-ah!” version of this
story. Every time the Spartan king Leonidas makes a
“rousing speech,” his warriors yell “Hoo-ah!” like the
Rangers in Mogadishu in Black Hawk Down. Actually the
Spartans had a rep for silence, but we’re not dealing
with great historical minds here.

What had me really wanting to puke is that this movie
tries to make Sparta into some kind of Land of
Hallmark Card-givers. There’s about an hour’s worth of
perfume-ad scenes where Leonidas and his lovey-dovey
wife, a feisty lady in one of those bondage-lite Greek
dresses, cuddle and make eyes at each other and say
patriotic stuff by way of foreplay. Yeah, that’s why
you see those bumperstickers, “Sparta was for lovers.”

Fact: Sparta was about as romantic as North Korea.
Give or take a little egalitarianism, Sparta WAS North
Korea. Spartan laws did everything they could to break
down the family. Sparta was more anti-nuclear family
than any Hollywood liberal could ever be.

Wanna know what a Spartan wedding night was really
like? It’s pretty hilarious, in an insane way. As soon
as a Spartan girl got her first period, they grabbed
her, shaved her head, dressed her as a boy, threw her
down on her new husband’s bed, and then, well, he had
his way with her. What way was that? Since hubby had
been in an all-male dorm since age seven, I’m betting
that that night of lovin’ was more like a skinny white
boy’s introduction to San Quentin after lights-out
than it was like a chick flick. So when this movie
shows the Spartan hero saying to his wife, “Goodbye,
my love,” I just had to laugh.

No Spartan ever told his wife he loved her. That
would’ve been like treason, because the Spartan rulers
wanted family ties snapped, so the only bond left was
to the state. They left room for folks’ natural urges
by letting the women drink, which they did non-stop,
and the men form what you might call close comradely
bonds with their fellow soldiers.

In the ancient world, gay was a matter of who was on
top. If you were a topper, that was fine; if you were
the one getting in the ass, not so cool. In other
words, prison rules. Sparta’s leather-bar ways were a
running joke to the ancient Greeks. The Spartans were
stone killers – but they also preened like teenage
girls before a battle. They grew their hair long, and
before a fight they’d comb it, oil it, try out
fetching new styles, put little baubles in their ears,
anything to die young and leave a beautiful corpse.

None of that in this movie. Just the opposite. Miller
even has Leonidas taunt the Athenians calling them
“boy-lovers.” Athens, the true hero of the war against
Persia, gets dissed time and again in this movie. You
won’t hear a word in 300 about Salamis, the real
decisive battle of the war – because it was Athens,
not Sparta, that destroyed the Persian fleet at
Salamis. The Spartans wanted to run away from the
Persian fleet and wall themselves off in the
Peloponnese (you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve
messed up the spelling on that damn word). They didn’t
have a clue about combined-arms operations (which the
Athenians handled durn well). In fact, the Spartans,
who are called “the finest soldiers in history” over
and over in this movie, were a mediocre,
one-dimensional, inflexible military force.

Sparta understood only one kind of fighting: land
battle, the hoplite shield-wall – a Big Ten offense
from the old school, “three yards and a cloud of
dust.” In any shield-wall vs. shield wall battle, the
bigger offensive line will break the opposing team’s
wall, leaving them open to massed spear thrusts. Once
the opposition’s wall was broken, the citizen-soldiers
would scatter to fight another day – a totally
sensible reaction, since the alternative was
annihilation. In battles like that, psycho varsity
offensive-line types like the ones Sparta bred did
just fine. But vary the conditions of battle in any
way, and they were as helpless as Woody Hayes’ Ohio
State teams were against a team that could stop the
run.

So it was actually fairly easy to stymie the Spartans:
just put them in a situation where they had to think
for themselves. Imagine a Spartan army up against a
Mongol scouting force. Even if the Spartans
outnumbered the Mongols by, say, 4-1, I’d have no
hesitation betting on the Mongols. They were truly
tough, not artificially hardened by sick PE games but
by life in the saddle, on the steppes. And they were
smart enough to realize that smarts count on the
battlefield, that negotiation and alliance-building,
scouting and propaganda are all important aspects of
war. Only amateurs like Frank Miller are dumb enough
to think that being dumb, mean and inflexible like the
Spartans is the route to military success.

The Thebans under a really brilliant general,
Epaminondas, crushed the Spartans in the battle of
Leuctra (371 B.C.) because Epaminondas just plain
out-thought those lummoxes. He knew exactly how the
Spartans would stack their forces in battle order,
because they always did it the same way. So he
tinkered with the conventional phalanx-stacking set-up
and those Thebans, most of them ordinary Greek
citizen-soldiers, mere amateurs by Spartan standards,
kicked Spartan ass right down the line. The Helots,
the locals the Spartans had enslaved and terrorized
for generations, finally got a chance for payback and
Sparta withered away to nothing. Game over.

Only amateur fascists admire Sparta guys like Frank
Miller, who are still pissed off because people like
me dared to warn them the Iraq war was going to be a
disaster. Now Miller and his fellow neocons have gone
so over the deep end of delusional thinking that
they’ve resorted to fantasizing about Sparta, where
nobody ever argued, where everyone yelled and stabbed
and otherwise kept their mouths shut.

It’s downright hilarious the way this movie punishes
every smart character. Every time someone wants to
argue with the war party in this movie, he’s evil.
Everybody who talks in a normal tone of voice is evil.
Miller shows two scenes where the Spartans murder
Persian envoys arriving under a flag of truce. And
both times, you’re supposed to cheer.

Since when do Americans cheer when truce parties are
murdered? Well, that’s pretty easy to answer,
actually: since Iraq. These diehard neocons have gone
insane because there’s no way they can argue for an
invasion of Iran any more. But they still want it,
bad. So they’ve taken a crash course in fascism,
jumping all the way to cheering for Sparta and booing
for Athens – because Athens stands for brains and
flexibility and talking things out. They can’t win the
argument, so they want to kill anybody who tries to
argue. That’s why Leonidas kicks the Persian envoy
down a well.

Miller only approves of two things:

1. Yelling

2. Bashing.

I say “bashing” because you can’t call his view of
military operations “strategy” or even “tactics.” It’s
just close-ups of Leonidas’s teeth while he yells
about “freedom.” He talks about “freedom” non-stop.
I’m serious. A Spartan! Talking about freedom!
Leonidas actually says, and this is a quote, “Freedom
isn’t free”! I thought I was back watching Team
America: “Freedom isn’t free/It costs a dollar
ninety-three…”

And since the ham playing Leonidas has this thick
Scottish accent, and teeth like an old horse, it was
like some Clydesdale doing an impression of Mel Gibson
in Braveheart at the same time. Left me woozy, I tell
ya.

But here’s what’s really interesting about Leonidas’s
“freedom” speeches: every one happens just after he’s
thrown some envoy down a well or stabbed somebody who
advocates talking strategy. That’s the real fantasy
here: wouldn’t it be great if we could just yell
“Hoo-ah!” non-stop and just kill the naysayers? You
can almost see this pitiful dweeb Frank Miller jacking
off every time his musclebound Spartan hero kills
another envoy or politician. That’ll shut’em up!

Well, it might be fun but it’s not war, fellas. If
there’s one thing we shoulda learned from Iraq, it’s
that in asymmetrical war, the following items are
totally useless, in fact worse than useless, because
they get in the way:

1. muscles

2. “Hoo-ah!”

3. killing anybody who points out the flaws in your
plan.

Contrary to what amateur fascists think, the really
successful military elites encourage discussion, train
mid-rank officers to react independently, and
discourage yelling, steroid use and macho bullshit in
general. Hell, even the Wehrmacht was filled with
calm, polite and cultured men. We could use a few of
them now.

Petraeus seems kind of like that, but by this time the
situation’s so awful I’m not sure how much he can do.
At least maybe it’ll shut up all the “Hoo-ah!” jocks,
make them realize they’re not fit for theater command,
and get them back to their true calling: coaching
high-school football. In Miller’s case, Junior
Varsity.

Someone is trying to Hack our site: We received several emails from wordpress indicating that someone has requested a new password for our site. Asking to have our password reset does nothing unless we confirm it. Amateurs! You will need to directly hack the site or our email account. Beyond the illegality of all this you should also know we switched all of our passwords to a long alphanumeric pin. So a dictionary hack is not going to cut it. If you try to hack our email account you are going to find the same thing. We have also backed up this site so even if by some fluke you managed to hack it we will be up in a day.

You should also note we do not store any of our emails on our account and our ISP is registered to a third party which has no direct connection to us. It is a waste of your time. So unless you can get CSIS to take an interest in us, which we doubt you can, as they have real things to worry about just chillax and debate the argument (if you indeed have one) on its merits.

We should also note that we have contacted wordpress and requested the IP address from which the request was made.  Once we have this we will be taking the appropriate legal action.  Given this was an amateur attempt we are sure you did not cover your tracks very well.

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