Archive for January, 2015


January 29, 2015

No question Clint is ever true to his brand. No question it was a hell of a compelling film.

But there is also no question that it is one hell of a piece of skillfully contrived propaganda motivated to stimulate hatred towards Muslims by extreme right wing bible thumping Christian zealots.

Have to admit I was surprised by the film – it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I figured the Muslim hatred and non stop killing would be there and I certainly wasn’t let down. I wasn’t at all prepared, however, for the blatant and extreme Christian Right propaganda message it was all wrapped in.

The attached Hedges article (link below) pretty much captures my thinking on the film.

Regardless of how I might feel personally about the film, I definitely
think it’s a must see. As scary as the thought might be, it’s a portrayal of reality. And it actually happened. The senior ranks of our military are filled with these guys. Our dogs of war…

Which when you get right down to it look quite a bit like the portrayed “Muslim” dogs of war…with the exception that Christians wear high tech uniforms have cooler weapons.

So I found myself wondering what was the film’s point. Pumped up assassins can kill a whole lot of people no matter who their Higher Power might be (the film portrays ‘ours’ versus ‘theirs’). And tribes can and do “deify” these special killers who can do so without remorse.

Seems to me the moral of the whole “Sniper” story is that all this racial, cultural warfare to keep people compliant and crushingly subjugated just keeps pissing more and more people off. If I thought that was Clint’s point, I’d feel a whole lot better about the movie. Judging from the overwhelming preponderance viewer’s comments here-to-fore, this point seems lost entirely. We’re stuck way back in blood lust…

Not so good for a quick resolution of anything…


JMB – 1/29/15


The payback legacy years…

January 16, 2015

Mais, mais…Je sus, Charlie.

Il est tres difficile n’est pas? There’s so much to think about. Everywhere: scary cops and guns – and threatening blacks and guns – and rights to be alive, and black…and foreboding and grossly overweight – and rights to ‘protect and serve’ and to be scared…and the right to survive doing your job. And for us on the outside, the rights to be defiant and to speak truth to power – and to be a white privileged protester. And for people less defined, the rights to say anything you want because freedom of expression is the most important thing – except when things that are said are bad – or when people are lying. Or are telling the truth, whatever that is. Because they can. Because it’s the law for gods sake. Even if you shit on the god of someone’s last resort, and on their hope – and on their last straw. It’s hard when you really want to help but are afraid – and feel like you are falling into deep dark hole in the ground and are falling toward a huge black fast talking toad with a law degree and a gun. Who’s laughing at you for being so stupid. And for sputtering about how you wish to galvanize the world to be righteous and good. And find your mouth saying that “cartoons are good” because the vicious satire they spew help people see the futility in taking themselves (and their Gods) too seriously…and help them deal with their feelings of being desperate and rage full toward those who have killed them and left them alive. And how those who are laughing, need those cartoons to get a good laugh over the pain and destruction of hope they have inflicted. And then thinking what a blessing it was for two years of HS French so we all could translate Je suis Charlie correctly – and still have the capacity to misinterpret the meaning of all that into believing that what just happened was actually the way we wanted to believe it was…only to find it was entirely wrong. It’s so hard being righteous and clueless and scared shitless all at the same time – when you’re wanting and needing good sweet and human and caring cops more than ever. It’s so hard living in the payback legacy years.

 JMB – Jan 16, 2015

The future of Facebook…

January 15, 2015

There are physical limits as to how far you can fly up your own ass…

So. Facebook messages and posts are metastasizing geometrically. I went looking for a Facebook post sent to me by a friend a couple of days ago and was staggered at the sheer volume of stuff I was scrolling past in my quest to find the post I was looking for. I never did find it. I quit after what seemed like an hour-long search past the digital wasteland of yesterday’s detritus. It was a post made 3 days ago…and yes I know there are a number of ways to shortcut the searches. I just didn’t feel like shortcutting…and as I got into it (the scrolling and the search) I couldn’t help but be astounded at the volume and scope of things people felt compelled to “paste up” on the Facebook community bulletin board. Including the stuff I felt compelled to post.

A couple of thoughts occurred to me:

One, FB requires a lot of time…just to “keep up”.  I mean like “hours” of time. Daily. Because if you miss a couple of days of FB time, the tidal wave of postings just is overwhelming. You’ll never recover. You just have to let go of the ‘missed yesterdays’ completely, and start all over again.

Two, so much is posted, by so many people…most of whom, in truth, I only peripherally know. But my daily Facebook postings are also peppered with a modest number of people I do know pretty well… whose lives and opinions and points of view and adventures and celebrations, and family drama, and expansions and contractions and ups and downs I really do care about staying up with. Now that it’s possible to do so.

But I have to be honest here; I don’t think I ever felt compelled to “shadow” the lives of people I cared about ever before FB happened. Nor did I ever feel compelled to “like” or to “withhold liking” on such arcane things as kittens and puppies loving each other…or 4 year olds playing percussion instruments…who write, manage, direct and assume the lead roles in actual replica of a Passion Play…while beguiling a savage lion met once while on safari at the Bronx Zoo.

Three. A lot of “playing Facebook” involves being sensitive and nice. Frankly, I never before Facebook, felt compelled to affirm someone for searching for a “meaningful” poster quote – from what ever place these things come from…which they post on FB as a proxy for personal reflective thought…and to suggest the “implicit” intent that the post-or will someday actually act out of the belief expressed. But WTF, I’ve become easy these days. And I’ve acculturated. I know from experience, if you don’t “like” other people’s stuff, they won’t “like’ yours. (LinkedIn’s “endorsements” are the most blatant example of institutionalized lying for reciprocity).

Four, and this is hard to admit…my initial interest in pursuing Facebook as a social media flowed primarily out of a desire to seek an audience composed of others who shared my points-of-view and world views and/or who I felt might be receptive to opinions and thoughts and reflections that I felt compelled to write about.  And FB (and a puny audience reach – blog) offered the promise of both “reach” (the possibility of reaching potentially interested people)…and a likelihood of finding a like-minded community where sharing and discussion on points and observations was possible and immediate – albeit generally confined to “like” or not response. But I didn’t know that yet.

And guess what?

The Facebook audience for thoughts and opinions and points-of-views, after initially being composed of a fairly broad spectrum of people who I knew, and who were as intrigued with social media as I was – rapidly degenerated into a pretty calcified audience of similar and like-minded people who were looking for sounding boards for their material, just like I was…and also by people from my past lives who genuinely wanted to reconnect after a whole bunch of years – to find out what happened since the year books were printed and everyone went off on their own journeys. Go figure. FB – red and blued…right down to the HS graduating class connections. Just like it happens everywhere else… people opted to stay in, or to opt out largely dependent on how comfortable they felt with the community members they found there.  Cliques all over again.

So I’m still on Facebook…and I’m still drawn in by the community-ness of  it all – and I’m still clicking away, “liking” kittens and puppies and kids being sweet and precocious – and posters that speak meaningfully and compelling enough to me to click off a reflexive “like” — mostly because I like the person who sent the message more than the message content itself.  And, of course I’m still blabbing away in my little self selected “very blue” personalized self culling Facebook space when the spirit moves me.  But mostly I find my FB world is shrinking in ways I never imagined would be the legacy of social media.

Nothing changes it appears. We still tend to gravitate to people much like ourselves. It’s just done electronically now. The algorithm knows before we do…and it seems at the end of the day, we are mostly alone with the people we mostly knew before – who were mostly like us then and are still now…plus or minus. A few more or less. Connected and blithering to the few of us who still like and/or will tolerate people like ourselves. Surrounded by the illusion of community and social involvement and deliberate purpose and right reason…when it’s really all comprised by well intended words and images and  expressions of how we wish it would all be, if only…people would do what they’re supposed to do (what we would like them to do) and make the world a fairer, safer, less unstable, more predictable, more unified and saner and benevolent, less explosive world to live in. There’s just so damn much to sort through. Overwhelming.

I suspect we can expect Facebook to get more cluttered and confusing and paralyzing and overwhelming for a while longer, before it gets less so…and more essential. One can fly up one’s butt just so far. There’s just so much time one is willing to spend on FB until the thought occurs to you that you’re really just talking to yourself…and that the others who habituate and fill your FB space are doing pretty much the same thing you are doing. Wasting time. In the ill placed hope that maybe you’re not…and that maybe this really is real and makes a difference.

And as for “too much?” Well, we will, if we haven’t done so already, find ways to be more selective. To get what we are looking for – in the amounts we are looking for. We will chop down the content by limiting what we see – and as submitted by whom.

We will start searching more by specific “friend” to see what’s going on in their lives specifically – and will spend way less time searching across the whole spectrum of postings made by the entire list of people who populate our friends lists.

We will block submissions from people we don’t want to hear from. We’ll start to categorize content by type and block stuff we don’t want cluttering our lives. We will be way more selective in who is allowed to post articles from various authors and opinion writers. We will tighten down on the FB universe the same way we tighten down our media selection and newspaper readership and opinion and editorial materials elsewhere in our lives.

We will limit our exposure to what we want to hear – and we will continue to vote people we don’t like “off the island” – when we’ve had enough. And so will everyone else who currently are our friends. And because we are all fearful of what this end game will look like for us personally…we will go slow and will be very careful about what we say and how we say it – and how we disconnect or reduce the levels of connection.  We really don’t want to be alone again. And we will continue to believe that we are alive and are vitally functioning and are influencing change and are making a difference…when we really are not.

But it is nice to be able to touch a few old bases every once in a while. And it’s good to reconnect with people who slipped out of our lives and grasps over the years – and to let each other know how important their presence in your life was when they were. We need to hear that from each other.


JMB – Jan ’15