The most relevant bullshit
I fear the implications of what went down today in England

The real issue I have with what went down in England today lies not in the fact that any government has little interest in extremely sensitive data being “out in the wild”. It also has little to do with the fact the Great Empire pretty much was reduced to an American enforcement unit. Like it or not, these are pretty much mandatory when it comes to that system of politics, and do not contradict with democratic values any more than the mere existence of intelligence agencies per se does.

It’s not in the “what”, it’s in the “how”.

Just raiding the place - and we are not talking about a shady organization but the Guardian - in such a fashion reminds of a mixture between a bad carricarture of communistic military police, V for Vendetta and the X-Files. There is no single trace of pretending going on here - judge, jury and executioner were bundled in one hand, and that hand struck. This is either incredibly, as dangerously naive, on a political level, or an attempt to set and example and have the state appear as a mob-like organization that does not tolerate such behavior. Either one holds a lithany of treats, both to its citizens and its political stability.

The fact that no other newspaper had this incident on page 1 either tells me that if it is not the latter, at least the awareness for the implications of such things has dropped to terrible lows. Lows which in fact undermine the understanding of the separation of powers, of authority’s limits and of the role of the state.

They do not need to pretend to give a fair trial (or any, for that matter), and that shows one horribly distorted self-image of what a state is comprised of, and who the souvereign is: Its people.

Living in a complicated world filled with tons of greys, this is one of the most blatant examples of “okay, this one’s black and white”. I am tempted to divide this matter in these two parts, “bad guy” and “good guy”, and that concerns me deeply. For one, such conclusions usually miss the spot. However, I find little argument for a divided “evilness”, i.e. the good intentions of the raid or the misdoings of the Guardian. Again, it is about the way of doing it, not the thing and goal itself. Protecting the people of “the western world” (mostly America in this case) respectively one’s allies (again) is one thing; sacrificing definite freedom and public awareness (and the potential for it, which is vital for any democratic system) for potential conflicts (which were brought upon one’s self and at the very least partly without legal basis) is another one altogether. And although I still do not see the “evil” party acting all ultra-nemesis like, going “let’s do some very bad things today!”, this at least implies a fatally flawed idea of how democracy (and the element of public deliberation) work(s), and if not, the willingness to dilute it to homeopathic levels.

As it is, England has set the stage for a rule of fear for many years: First by sowing a general fear of terrorism as means to reap more surveillance, then by a paranoia of being monitored (by both those weilding structural as well as physical violence), and now by this factual and direct action. Whether this has produced a general climate as that people simply do not care anymore or just fear being targeted themselves - at least as of now, apathy seems to be the reaction. The former scenario presents an infertile ground for democratic sensibility, the latter a highly authoritarian state intimidating its citizens. This could result in impotent rage or actual attempts to bring upon an overthrow of the current system (or at least state of affairs).

The thing is, the 1980s-Hollywood-flick-like choleric patriarch is not a failed state, or a member of the axis of evil (or whatever these are called these days). It’s England. As such, it is a state that I thought deserved its moniker - that was not a failed one, but one with a “proper” political system. Either this one is misguided big time, or the true colours of even such a state can drop from “once the most modern in the world” to the deepest blacks on a slippery slope. Without a major overthrow or revolution. The ice is getting thinner as the Leviathan degenerates.

PS: I am well aware that this may imply a laughable level of hubris (as I am not nearly important enough), but the very fact that I caught myself thinking “hmmm, could posting this in public potentially spell trouble for me?” shows the way such events cripple democratic discourse.

Yes, it worked.

Yes, it worked.

Intelligent level design

What advocates of intelligent design really seem to believe it that life itself (as a concept) is in fact a video game engine designed by God, and that the real world (not just planet Earth but all material things) is just your sandbox, one giant open world specifically designed to test you.

Within the levels this hub world contains you have a chance of getting a high enough score to unlock a bonus world after you complete the main game. Since you are constantly being judged and have very little room for experimentation, this concept makes the Mega Man Zero series seem tame in comparision.

Anyway, said main game is over once you die at a specifially intended point (kind of like Aerith in Final Fantasy 7), and if you did not gather enough points by that time, the game will autosave, meaning you won’t be given a second chance, and you will be shown the bad ending and then sent into minus world, where even what little freedom you had in the main game will be revoked (so Hell is a bit like Codename: Iceman). If you did well enough, you will have to wait for judgement day, and then Heaven will be unlocked, and that’s when the fun actually starts.

Since neither version allows you to play through the game again, you might be better off with Buddhists who seem to believe in New Game+.

Cain and Perry, but no Schon

Warning: Rant touching politically charged subjects ahead.

So the European press - Germany’s SPIEGEL for one, which is pretty much the biggest mag in its sector - are laughing at the new course of America’s Republican party on how to deal with foreign affairs,or rather, at the fact that the blatant ignorance actually appeals to the American voters. And while it’s true that it is rather comical that people aiming to become the world’s most powerful man (or woman, in Bachmann’s case) are not only throwing out what appears to be a cross between a pledge to, and evidence of, limited knowledge, but are doing so to such great success, this is a) not new (anybody remember Palin and her “one of the people” appeal?), and b) no different from how the very same press and target audience that is now reading such articles and laughing handles foreign manners themselves.

The whole rhetoric of “why send money overseas, we’ve got enough more urgent problems ourselves” is actually very similiar to the often touted lines on how to deal with Greece’s money problems: “I don’t know much about it, and neither do I care, but fuck ‘em anyway, this is our money.” This is of course a perfectly valid opinion - it stands to reason if it is a politically wise course to take, but as a sheer opinion, the “let’s take care of our own business first”-approach is understandable (if somewhat naïve in an intertwined world). Opinions don’t neccesarily have to be well-formed, because although in the aftermath of the French revolution it was argued that the very principle of democracy depends on informed opinions, not mere affectual ones, as of now, the good ole opinion-card’s “that’s my opinion, who are you to argue?” has long substituted such idealistic plans. And this is why the rags are full of abridged takes on the whole subject matter, to the point where it is closer to an amputation, and is effectively an abomination - nonetheless very much influencing the stance of “the common man” and building the basis - however small - on which their opinion stands.

Either way, the point is - if you look at the whole matter on a more abstract level, then the very same people who are bitching about America’s blatant ignorance concerning foreign problems, no matter how much they might affect oneself, have no problem taking the solitary position themselves. The real distinction is who “the rest of the world is”: If it includes one’s own country, it is unacceptable, if it is some foreign country, it’s a totally valid path to tread. And that is still an opinion, but the inner logic is faulty, and one that can only be called hypocritical. Because the official criteria and reasons cited are not the same as the critical one. And that’s what really bothers me - this is not about whether it’s right to be for the interventions in Greece or not, this is about that you can’t have it both ways without talking out of your ass.

PS: The title is a Journey - the band - reference in case anybody is really wondering.

My roommate’s gone over the weekend, so I decided to set his spank corner to Cruise control. (The caption is German for “I watch you masturbate”)

My roommate’s gone over the weekend, so I decided to set his spank corner to Cruise control. (The caption is German for “I watch you masturbate”)

This view certainly beats the one on Lulu.

This view certainly beats the one on Lulu.

10 plays

Lo and behold: Original content, courtesy of sir Life-Rot and myself: The Ahnuld Dance!

The main source is this gem - you should already be familiar with the other samples.