Author: Andrew

I'm an officially minted writer and a new father, an amateur essayist, and a fairly dapper nerd.

1985 is a Thing

Way before I’d ever read 1984, I’d heard of it. I don’t know if I had heard of it during the year 1984, as I turned eight that autumn, but somewhere along the way I heard that particular year spoken of in that way that conveyed symbolic significance. When I did read it,that significance finally took shape.

In between the realization that 1984 was a book, and reading that book, I also somehow digested the notion that someone had written a response to it, and that someone was not George Orwell (if I knew who Orwell was at the time, which seems unlikely). I was aware, at some point, that there was also a book called 1985.

Today, in a lonely impulse of delight while pursuing Goodreads, I confirmed that reality.

Anthony Burgess. Of course.

As a sidebar, The International Anthony Burgess Foundation has a nice historical summary of the dystopian genre. I never would have realized that Brave New World was written before 1984.

The term ‘utopia’, literally meaning ‘no place’, was coined by Thomas More in his book of the same title. Utopia (1516) describes a fictional island in the Atlantic ocean and is a satire on the state of England. The English philosopher John Stuart Mill coined ‘Dystopia’, meaning ‘bad place’, in 1868 as he was denouncing the government’s Irish land policy. He was inspired by More’s writing on utopia.

Something fitting about “Utopia” being about England and “Dystopia” being about Ireland. Always thus, I suppose.

In any case, I look forward to reading it.

Game of Thrones Turns Us All Into Monsters

Reaction video to the lastest out-of-the-blue death in Westeros. Spoilers, obviously.

Basically, if you find yourself at a wedding there, RUN.

Who did it? The books explain it, but honestly, I’ve forgotten. In the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter. Nothing good will come of it. Well, some good, maybe, but really a whole lot of horrible. It will just be horrible that we will tolerate because it’s being visited on (mostly) the right people.

We are steeped so far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.

lannister

So WHY Did Hillary Get a Shoe Thrown At Her?

Because there seems to be a wrinkle:

An attendee later handed a reporter a piece of paper that was apparently thrown by the woman. It appeared to be a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation ‘Cynthia’ in Bolivia.

“Operation Cynthia” seems to be a hole in Google. I cannot find any good info on what Operation Cynthia was. There’s a Time magazine article from 1967, but it’s behind the paywall. Wikipedia is mum.

What this has to do with Hillary mystifies me.

UPDATE: Sean pulls the veil back some:

A library card is a powerful thing. Operation Cynthia was the name of an anti-guerrilla operation ordered by then-President Barrientos and conducted by the Bolivian military. The target was a group of pro-communist militants who opposed the standing government of the time and who appear to have had close ties with Fidel Castro in Cuba. The operation was named after the commanding officer’s daughter.

According to Wikipedia, Barrientos came to power “in a CIA-backed coup”, whatever that means (did the CIA say “Hey, you, get rid of this president and we’ll back you,” or was it more like Walder Frey asking Tywin Lannister for approval before the Red Wedding?). The article doesn’t substantiate this, and indeed suggests that the charge  originates with Barrientos’ erstwhile frient and Minister of the Interior, Antonio Arguedas, who fled to Havana with Che Guevara’s diary after Bolivian troops captured and killed Guevara. So there’s that.

One might safely assume that the Johnson Administration would have provided support in some form for the combating of Marxist guerrillas in Latin America, but this remains an assumption.

What was Hillary Rodham doing in 1967? Near as I can figure, this is about the time she stepped down as President of the Wellesley College Young Republicans, and moved to supporting Eugene McCarthy’s campaign. So…

whatever gif

Rolling Stone Trolls Us All With Naked Julia-Louise Dreyfus, U.S. History Fail

They’ve pretty much become the Slate of music magazines (NSFW-ish at link): throwing up outlandish nonsense to boost sales.

Ace thinks this editorial ignorance, or even a prophylactic error, a case of “If we don’t put John Hancock’s signature on her butt, people will give us crap for getting it wrong, even though it’s not wrong.”

I disagree. I think everyone saying “Hey, you dipsticks! John Hancock didn’t sign the Constitution!” was the entire point. It blew up on Facebook yesterday, and as with the Boston Bomber, now everyone is again talking about Rolling Stone. With hate, sure. But advertising dollars don’t recognize hate. And Rolling Stone needs the money. As Ace puts it:

Rolling Stone

The magazine for smart, educated, socially-aware young Americans who are over 60 years old and who are also as dumb as a box of chicken farts

Exactly. Rolling Stone is a feckless pile of hippie nostalgia and glossy ads. They are the magazine that makes Spin look cool. They have no marketing strategy left other than to relentlessly piss people off to maintain “edginess”.

In fact, the interest this cover offers lies solely in wondering how much of it is Photoshopped. One assumes that JLD got a little digital tuck-and-lift (if not, then I am impressed); it’s simply the business now. And if that’s the case, did they actually bother tattooing the Declaration of Constitution on her back? Or did they just add that digitally later?

This presents an interesting nexus in American popular art: a piece in which everything, from the model, to the “provocative” tattoo on the model, to the actual intent of the image, is faker than a freshman’s drivers license. Welcome to the new nadir.

mclovin id

McLovin: Prophet of Our Times

 

I Was Supposed to Get a Pass: Stephen Colbert’s White Privelege, and Other Exercises in Doublethink

3vctg1

Historical Racism, defined either as discrimination formalized in law or as open white supremacist hostility, has ceased to excite progressives in proportion to the degree it has vanished from American public life. In order to maintain their cultural edge, the Left has instead declared war on the more nebulous (and thus, easier to accuse) “White privilege”. This concept has a long and tenuous definition, but in practice means that the white may not speak to or about the nonwhite in any way that sounds bad to the latter. If the nonwhite says it is offensive, then it is offensive. Full stop. Intent does not matter.

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It’s Getting to the Point Where I Don’t Even Remember What Themes I’ve Used….

I feel like I’ve used this one before, but I also feel like I’m wrong. whatever gif

It’ looks nice, anyway. If I can get my Medium profile to embed in the sidebar, I’ll be in business.

Meanwhile, in Twitchy-land, truth breaks out all over.

UPDATE: Apparently the workaround for embedding your Medium.com profile is to embed it in a post at the same time. Then WordPress recognizes and does the right thing with it. It will be interesting to see if that changes when this post goes to the next page.

Anyway:

View profile at Medium.com

Let the #HIMYM Fans Rage, Crack, Blow Thy Bellyful.

Sitcom finale’s always disappoint. Always. They either go full maudlin and forget to be funny, or they work too hard to provide finality and so screw up the chemistry, or they don’t do anything at all (hi, Seinfeld!). This happens because sitcoms are built on the idea “these people, in this scene, are funny.” Ending that arbitrarily is delicate work.

But HIMYM had a point! A purpose! A climax, built into the title. This was an easy lay-up. Instead, they spiked the ball in our face and ran off.

But don’t take my word for it. Savor the sweet, sweet, fan rage from around WordPress: (Obviously, SPOILERS!)

FESTINOVERINI: How I Made Your Mother a Back-Up Plan Until I Have The Chance To Pursue The (What I Delusionally Think) Love Of My Life: “Maybe, just maybe, somewhere along the way the creators thought that they want to create one of the most unforgettable unexpected season finales in the history of TV series. So they decided to ruin it, big time.

daniellepc: How I Was Disappointed By a Finale: “Look, maybe we could have handled old widow Ted having another crack at love with Robin, if it wasn’t for a few things.

muchsports: How I Met Your Mother – Why I am Actually Mad: “The idea would have worked if the show had been 4 to 5 seasons, but it wasn’t. It was 9.
acoupleofyears: Why HIMYM’s Finale Let Us Down: “it felt like they were telling a story that started with ‘ Oh I had this friend, who was so funny, and….legen….wait for it…dary….Playbook…..HAHAHA!’

And when we ask: ‘ Oh, what happened to him in the end?’

Their answer was ‘ Oh…you know, he got a girl pregnant and became a father.’”

themedia10.com: Is The How I Met Your Mother Ending Inexcusable?: “The entire ending was believeable, it was just executed in a way that didn’t allow the audience to breathe.”

Obligatory Apologetics - Jon Negroni: Why You Hated the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Finale: “You hated the way the show ended because you thought it was “How I Met Your Mother,” not “How I Got Permission From My Kids To Marry Aunt Robin.””

This last one makes some decent points. Yes, there’s an internal logic to this story being told this way. Yes, this was really the plan all along, with has the benefit of making the last two seasons of BarneyRobinBarneyRobin at least a clever Rube Goldberg device.

But Blackmailers Don’t Shoot nailed it. How I Met Your Mother Dies a Screaming Death, Covered In It’s Own Blood: “At the end of the day, those of us who stayed with this show to the end are Girl 31. We knew that we were being used. It wasn’t going to end well and they wouldn’t respect us in the morning. It was fun, but not worth it.

 

Game of Roses, or How George R.R. Martin Gave New Names to Historical Persons

I see my friends getting all excited for the new season of Game of Thrones. It almost makes me wish for HBO. But as I’ve said before, I’ve read the books, and as I’ve said before, Martin has drawn heavily on the actual history of 15th-century England in creating his saga. Sure, most people with a basic knowledge of the Wars of the Roses will see York and Lancaster in Stark and Lannister, but it goes deeper than that. Some of the key characters are practically reincarnated versions of real people who played the game of thrones in an England drenched in war.

To wit: (Spoiler-Free for anyone who has seen up to the end of Season 3 of the series, but hasn’t read the books) (more…)