Thin Yellow Line

Speaking of assholes in uniform who apparently get their kicks by pissing on the helpless victims of their thuggery, I stumbled upon this earlier today.  You might wonder what all those fine soldiers in Afghanistan, like the ones caught urinating on dead bodies, are going to do when they come back home and have to figure out what to do with themselves in the real world.  If they’re lucky, there will be some positions open in the PA state police, where they can put the tactics they learned in the field to good use.


That’s a mighty impressive precision rifle you’ve got there, Sgt. Johnson

Echoing IOZ (echoing Rob Payne, here), I have to laugh at the hilariously backwards-ass notion of decorum on display from our intrepid news media.  It’s one thing to kill a bunch of guys, and it’s another to pee on them.  But to show the soldiers’ penises?(*)  Why, that would be offensive!

My favorite bit, from the USA Today article quoted by Payne:

In the video, four men wearing what appear to be Marine combat uniforms are seen standing around three dead bodies, quietly talking and joking as the camera rolls. They are equipped with chest rigs, grenades, body armor and some specialized gear. One is holding a precision rifle.

Yes, a bunch of dudes standing over a pile of dead bodies with their dicks in their hands, and the most noteworthy aspect of the image is their gear?  What is this, a feature for Soldier of Fortune Magazine?  IOZ is right, there aren’t enough LOLs in the universe to do this justice.

(*Sorry, the “alleged” penises of “what appear to be” US soldiers.)

A Partial Defense of Adulthood

Found this over at Karl’s place.  In many ways it reads like it was written by a latter-day Henry Miller or Charles Bukowski (and bears more than a slight resemblance to Bob Black’s essay “The Abolition of Work”).  As Bukowski himself said once about the work of another writer, “It’s already been written before, and better.”  But it’s not a bad piece overall, and it’s genuinely funny in spots, and as someone who meets all three of the dubious criteria of “adulthood”—not to mention having recently hit the grim milestone of turning 40—I have to admit that many of the observations ring a little true, maybe a little too true.  I mean, I’m not going to deny that dragging my ass to work every day feels a lot more like capitulation than anything even remotely approaching triumph, and that sometimes I think the sole reason for my daughter’s existence is to destroy her parents’ lives, and that occasionally I wonder what the fucking point of marriage is, other than to have someone to pay half of the bills and help with the household chores.

But this wouldn’t be a blog if I didn’t at least quibble with something, so here goes.  First, there’s this:

But while studies may show that married people have more sex than singles, that’s like pointing out that the man who spends fifty dollars on McDonald’s receives more calories than the man who spends fifty dollars on sushi, and is thus better fed. One of the main elements of sexual pleasure is novelty, and after the first year or so, that’s been killed deader than an unmarried fornicator in Afghanistan. Anyone out there in the real world knows that single people have far better sex than the average married person, who just clicks off the bedroom flat-screen to be confronted with the same tired genitals every night.

Novelty is one element of sexual pleasure, and it doesn’t necessarily equate with better sex.  To spin that analogy around, that’d be like saying that franks and beans is a better meal than beef bourguignon because you’re more accustomed to eating the latter.  I have a friend who’s still single, and, contrary to the cliché, I don’t find his sex life to be particularly enviable.  More often than not, on the rare occasions when he actually does get laid, I don’t get the impression that the sex is all that great; it’s more just a temporary respite from jerking off.  In other words, novelty’s about all he’s got, and novelty has a tendency to get boring, too.

Then there’s this:

The monk, when he turns from life, at least gains spiritual enlightenment. The adult, on the other hand, descends into a cosseted fog of drudgery and consumerism, weighted down by responsibilities and debt—debt! Of all the concepts that have lost their allure in this century!—his drives blunted by cheap surrogates. Relegated to the second tier of pleasures: food (the fetishization of a necessity, the sanctification of something that’s going to be shooting out your ass in 72 hours), vicarious drama (sports, reality television, porn), travel (the novelty of temporary dislocation). What could be sadder than becoming a tourist in life?

No arguments with the general, um, thrust here, but a couple of the particulars jump out at me.  First of all, I thought novelty was supposed to be a good thing.  Why is the novelty of a different sex partner okay, but the novelty of “temporary dislocation” from travel something to be pooh-poohed?  Also, it strikes me as a bit ironic that in an article blasting a conception of adulthood as nothing more than sheeplike conformity to insipid routine, the author would express such a drearily utilitarian attitude towards food.  I guess the first-tier pleasure is—what else?—sex.  But if an extraordinary interest in food is “the fetishization of a necessity,” what do you call an extraordinary interest in fucking?  It’s not a necessity in the same way that eating is, but they both satisfy biological urges, both provide corporeal pleasure.  Isn’t this just the sanctification of something that’s going to be shooting out of your dick in five minutes (though I’m sure Casanova never finishes in less than twenty)?

Yeah, the notion of adulthood that’s fed to us our whole lives is a massive fraud, like so much of the other shit we’re taught to believe.  And yeah, beyond a certain point, it seems like a lot of people become passionless drones, clinging to their lives rather than living them.  But some of us at least are just doing what we have to do to get by and taking our pleasures where we can.  We know we’re losing.  That’s why we’ve stopped keeping score.

How’s that war on Iran going?

Regime change has probably been the goal for some time. The Bush administration had received from Congress funding for a program of support for rebel ethnic groups in Iran to work to undermine the government. President Obama recently issued a finding which extends existing initiatives and is intended to create insurgencies inside Iran, primarily by supporting Iranian dissident groups to conduct domestic terrorism and undermine the Iranian regime.

For years now, a concerted covert U.S. campaign of cyber-terrorism, commercial sabotage, targeted assassinations, and proxy wars has been under way in Iran.

It’s good to see yet another instance where Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner-in-chief, has taken the war baton from Bush and run with it.  I can hear the apologists now: “Yeah, but if Romney gets elected, he’ll probably bomb Iran, and who knows what McCrazy would have done if he had won in ’08.  Probably would have nuked Tehran.”

And here’s your gratuitous rhetorical question of the day: Since we’re busy funding domestic terrorism in Iran, does that mean we’re going to put ourselves on that list of rogue nations, or does it only count as “terrorism” when somebody does it to us (or Israel)?

Big Mother

Teenagers who want to quit smoking in 2012 have a new tool at their disposal: personal messages of encouragement and advice sent straight to their phones, from the federal government.

I’m sure a bunch of text messages, lovingly auto-generated by the central database at the NIH, will have teenagers quitting smoking in droves.  Maybe I’m hopelessly old-school, but I thought the point of smoking when you’re a teenager is exactly because the grown-ups don’t approve.