Monday, January 31, 2011

An Egyptian Dilemma

And like a Mexican standoff, I don't see how this one ends well.

Egyptians seem to be tired of the dictator they've had to endure for 30 years. Although it is half a world away, American's have an unkown quanity of a stake in the outcome of this unrest. As I understand it, in my shallow and dim view of international goings ons, two immovable premises seem to present themselves:

A) We like political freedom and a full range of human rights and think that everyone on the planet should have them as well.

B) We crave security for us and our allies, Mubarak provided that, though at the expense of premise A.

Anyone American whose heart now warms at the thought of the Egyptians throwing off tyranny, I include myself in this category, is a hypocrite. We can talk the talk all we want, but our actions belie our rhetoric. We put American interest above, not equal to, all of the rest of the world. Is this wrong? I think so; at least on some level it just has to be. Is it practical, and so second nature to humanity so as to almost be above questioning? Of course it is. Obama says he is not taking sides but of course he already has: $1.3 billion a year to the Mubarak regime is siding for sure. But for some reason Americans, liberal and conservative, haven't been all that interested in pointing out the double standard. Now there are people in the streets, people not really any different from us, when you get down to it, and our heart soars at the idea of triumphing over an oppressive regime. One that we have helped hold in place. Mubarak affords us and our allies security while oppressing his people—you and I didn't have a problem with that a week ago.

All I want is for us to soak in the knowledge that there is blood on our hands, we are not innocent; though I'm not sure what the alternative is. The answer I've always gone with is that we support bad governments as opposed to worse governments. We sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler and all that. It's morally ambiguous at the least, and probably damnable in the end. We're morally bankrupt hypocrites, but I haven't really got a better idea.

Your Zen/Christian Meditation of the Day

The fastest way to become like Satan is to try to be God. The fastest way to become like God is to refuse to be God. --Tim Keller

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Breaking Entertainment News!

I'm not sure on this, I'll have to get one of my researchers to pull the stat for me, but this may be the first real, legitimate news story that I've ever broken here at WNTE.

So has anyone else noticed that all but ONE of the men nominated for Best Actor have a first name that starts with "J"? No, you haven't, because I broke the story first!

Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem, Biutiful

Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Colin Firth, The King's Speech

James Franco, 127 Hours

Why are the non-J actors being all but boxed out of this year's oscar nods? What evil figure, or figures lurks at the heart of this nasty form of racism that most of us thought was dead?
This leads me to another possible breaking news story, why am I the first to report this controversy? Why have you been so massively failed by much bigger newsertainment outlets than this rickety, humble old blog? Stay tuned as I try to blow the lid off of this one as well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Musing of the Day: Media Consumption and Attendant Perils

Today I've allowed myself to be disturbed by my voracious appetite for media. I compulsively check,, and Twitter; and of course Facebook, but to a lesser extent. That's just the beginning. I have a list of movies and books I need to consume, probably longer than three of your arms put together, and if I let myself try I could probably easily double it. The knowledge that I will not get to all of these books and movies leaves me not infrequently sad. Is it a bad thing to consume too much media? Of course it is. Why it's bothering me today is that I don't want the time I spend consuming media to choke out the time I spend in the act of creation. I'm of the mind that it's a symbiotic relationship to be sure, that of consuming media and creating media (because in my fantasy life that's what I do), but where do you draw the line? I also deal with this nagging sensation that I cannot create until I have consumed X, Y and Z because X Y and Z will contribute to my greater understanding of the human condition and I'm incomplete and intellectually unpresentable without them. I know this is wrong, but like most pernicious ideas I believe it lingers because there is a hint of truth to it, isn't there?

Of course the answer is everything in moderation, but isn't that a boring answer? Or maybe I think that's a boring answer because of all the media I consume. It has to be interesting or complicated or else it's valueless.

Anyway, gotta go check Drudge before my break is over.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deconstructing Fear, Part 1

Write what you know.

That is eternal writing advice. It's not something I've hewn too closely to, but that is more owing to the fact that I don't write all that much. I wouldn't say that when I write I write what I know, I would say that I haven't written enough to really know what I know.

But friend, let me tell you, of the things that I do know about, a small pocket of items to be sure, fear would be chief among them. I have let fear flirt with me from a distance, then it romanced, dated and finally bed me down in immoral fashion as it tirelessly had its way with me. Is having it's way with me. This isn't something I've gotten over, nor do I know if I ever will.

What is that fear? An all consuming fear of failure, I believe. It's that loathesome, paradoxical fear of failure that keeps me from ever trying in the first place. What if I fail? Though it's obvious that it is better to fail than to never try at all, still that easy fact hasn't penetrated the part of my brain that draws me to action.

I'm starting with writing what I know. I know all about fear. I know him well, and he is ruthless.

A Little Pearl for You

From About You, by Dick Staub, page 103:

The Talmud tells the story of Rabbi Akiba, who on his deathbed worried aloud to his rabbi that he was a failure. His rabbi moved closer and asked why and Akiba confessed that he had not lived a life like Moses. The poor man began to cry, admitting he feared God's judgement. At this, his rabbi leaned into his ear and whispered gently, "God will not judge Akiba for not being Moses; God will judge Akiba for not being Akiba." Akiba was a man who sensed he was going to the grave with his song unsung and still in him. He had spent his life trying to be like Moses instead of simply becoming the best version of himself.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Afternoon Break Blog

I think I did one other of these once, where I wrote a blog on my break. I have to do it again. It's just been too long. I've been beating myself up too much for not writing any blogs lately, and I'm tired of that.

While I've been away from you I've been doing bloody battle with demons--for your benefit, by the way. Writing and me don't get along well, I think I've probably aluded to that in the past, but I'm thinking of just coming out and saying it right now.

Side note: That reminds me of something that just happened the other day at work. I was in this lady's office and she was rocking some Neil Diamond unplugged while she was training me. After awhile I said, "So are you a big Neil fan?" She said she kind of was, and I let her know I was a big fan myself. Then she asked if I had the blah blah channel, and I said I didn't, and she said, "Oh it's really great, they play all kinds of concerts from the past and future."

I about died. It's one of those things we're all capable of doing, and it doens't necessarily mean that she's mongoloid, or even partial mongo. But she didn't go back and fix it. Can you even imagine? She just left me with the image of going home to watch a concert from the future; perhaps Justin Beiber's post-rehab tour. I could have gone to our boss and let her know that so and so is losing it. People are funny.

So yeah, I've been trying to psych myself up into thinking that it's All Going To Be Ok, and that I can Just Write Whatever I Feel Like And Not Worry That It Sucks.

So that's what I've been doing with myself. And it's hard.