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The Public Blogging of Pomosexuality, Homotextuality, Homophobiaphilia, and Drear Theory (aka Career Theory) [aka Gay4Pay]. We also read the Corner and OpJournal so the right buttock will be punished as well. All comments subject to publication. Or dismissal. Or Both.


Your Disciplinarians: Glenda Benda (Philapa), Amber Waves (Kansaster), Polly Morpheus (Dreamsville), Tess Tosterone (D'Urbervilles)



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Agenda Bender
Saturday, November 15, 2003  

And I've Borne Them All

Nothing beats the jumble mall aesthetic of massively aggregated folk art, if you ask me. OK, you didn't ask. I don't care, and neither does The Hill of Crosses.

Some prefer the fluid grace of the Grecians. Me, I dig the holy mess of the accretions. I'd rank this with the Taliban's demolition of the Buddha monoliths:

Siauliai was a part of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic of the USSR. During the Soviet era, the pilgrimage to the Hill of Crosses served as a vital expression of Lithuanian nationalism. The Soviets repeatedly removed Christian crosses placed on the hill by Lithuanians. Three times, during 1961, 1973 and 1975, the hill was leveled, the crosses were burned or turned into scrap metal, and the area was covered with waste and sewage. Following each of these desecrations local inhabitants and pilgrims from all over Lithuania rapidly replaced crosses upon the sacred hill. In 1985, the Hill of Crosses was finally left in peace.

(Via boing boing)

8:58 AM


The Unasexer

Alston Chase's book about Ted Kaczynski, Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an America Terrorist, isn't great, but parts of it are very good. The second half is well worth reading in its entirety, but the first half is more interesting as a cautionary example of an author falling in love with a premise, for no apparent reason. Chase keeps telling us that T.K. was not the disaffected loner and backwoods misanthrope of media legend, but he keeps tripping over details that show the legend to be largely true. The media may have missed the people from here and there along the course of Kaczynski's visionquest who found him to be open and engaging, a charmer in the rough, but that's no wonder since there weren't very many of them. The library ladies may have loved the strange, erudite gentlemen who hiked down from his cabin to help shelve books, but when you start building your case for anyone's underappreciated bonhomie on their resume as a diligent library volunteer, you've already lost the fight.

The second half of the book has a better premise and better facts to back it up. This is where the book's big idea comes into focus: Kaczynski's terrorism was blowback from the rampant psyche warfare experimentation of the cold war defense establishment. Kaczynski had been a test subject in a pointlessly cruel psychological experiment at Harvard when he was a student there. Henry Murray, a grand man of the field, and a world class nut in his own right, was behind it all. Murray had a hand as well in various other government funded exercises in wanton mindfuckery and official high weirdness. All MK Ultra nostalgists, connoisseurs of CIA psychedelia and spelunkers of the illitary mindustrial complex will be entertained by the story Chase has to tell here.

But really, I only tell you all this as an excuse for reprinting the following paragraph from the book. Again, you might want to leave stories like this out of a book that tries mightily to make some point or other about Kaczynski being less of a twisted introvert than people assume. This is from Ted's pre-postal-terror, grad school days. Ted decided he needed a makeover:

Having failed to find a woman he could touch, he decided to turn himself into one. One can only speculate what previous experience--homosexual, transvestite, or transgender, at Harvard or earlier--may have triggered this decision, but Kaczynski claims that his reason for contemplating the change was not that he saw himself as a woman in a man's body, but rather that only by becoming a woman could he touch one.

He wouldn't be the first terminally virginal dude who took it out on the world.

Ted chickened out before taking the sex-change idea very far, he just didn't have the balls. He decided instead to become a sort of mail order surgeon himself. To touch distant strangers in his own special way. Still no women, though.

(Chase's earlier investigation of Kaczynski in The Atlantic is here.)

1:49 AM

Thursday, November 13, 2003

The Soldier's Girlfriend

Sometimes the soldiers are girls. And sometimes their girlfriends are too.

Best wishes to contradictory Beth. And her soldier girl.

Your background briefing.

2:41 PM


And Their Spokesperson, Darth Vader

I submit this to the Harvard Business School for consideration as one of their case studies for the wheel-spinners in training up there:

You run a telephone company. You begin moving to an automated voice recog customer service system. This system will also answer the line that handles your telephone service and repair calls. A customer calls the service number and meets the friendly service droid for the first time. The pleasant robot answering the calls makes clear by her proffered examples of typical complaints that noise on the line is among the most frequent reasons for calls to the repair line. Possibly even the most frequent, since she only gives two examples of phone problems, and that is the first of them. Then the robot begins her interrogation.

The customer immediately feels a sense of foreboding. The customer is experiencing hum on his line. The customer once read Symbols, Signals, and Noise and has a certain detached interest in such things. But even as interesting as he finds the ramifications of the hum, he would mostly just like for his phone to work again. He is a little proud of the majesty of his problem, though. The hum on his line is something like you would hear if you had a turbine tech boyfriend who called you on a speaker phone just to say hi, from deep inside the guts of the Hoover Dam, churning at full throttle. And on your end the smoke alarm was going off.

Do we all see the problem here? Let me epitomize, gistificate, pithify and summarize it for any of my recently deceased readers, or for any Verizon executives who might have surfed over here while pretending to their secretaries (who don't believe it for a second) that they run a phone company.

Voice recognition robots.

Noise on the line.

Telephone company complaint center.

And once more diagrammatically, but this time just for the Verizonistas, the newly dead must certainly have joined in on the joke by now:

Noise on the Line---->Telco complaint center----> Voice recognition robots

(Please understand, I feel no anger towards the extremely patient and nice robotess who took my call. I blush thinking of some of the things I said to her and some of the names I called her. Thank Claude, her incomprehension was boundless).

PS: You really need to follow the link to Symbols, Signals and Noise and read the review there. My new hero.

7:53 AM

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The Sacred Neighborhood

I often dream of rediscovering forgotten cities and hillside landscapes of abandoned statues and monuments. But in my dreams they are just on the edge of living towns, right around the next suburban corner. Seems like cheating to find them in the overgrown wilderness. Of course, they'd be there.

Still, these guys deserve some credit, unsporting as their methods, and prosaic as their results, were. Always with the solar temples and the must-have-been-a-granary suppositions. Where are the stone whirligig behemoths of my dreams?

Explorers Rediscover Incan City Near Machu Picchu

...Using infrared aerial photography to penetrate the forest canopy, the team led by Briton Hugh Thomson and American Gary Zeigler located the ruins at Llactapata 50 miles northwest of the ancient Incan capital, Cusco.

After locating the city from the air, the expedition used machetes to hack through the jungle to reach it, 9,000 feet up the side of a mountain.

They found stone buildings including a solar temple and houses covering several square miles in the same alignment with the Pleiades star cluster and the June solstice sunrise as Machu Picchu, which was a sacred center.

...excavations suggested that it might also have acted as a granary and dormitory for its sacred neighbor, he added.

...The Incas abandoned their towns and cities and retreated from the treasure-hunting Spanish invaders after the Conquistadors captured and executed the last Incan leader, Tupac Amaru, in 1572.

Hard to keep those Tupacs down. Their hits keep coming, their cities keep reappearing.

12:57 AM