Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Warren from LA writes:

Uh, is it me, or has 10 weeks of working at a college campus made you, like, insanely, ravingly liberal? Between the O'Reilly bashing, the Vonnegut screed, and our debate over downloader rights, you have gone from what I considered to be a reasonable free-market Democrat to a slogan chanter.

Will we be seeing you at the campus anti-war rally?

Ahhh, life must be easy when you can divide the world so neatly. The quick answer to Warren' Q is - Are you fucking kidding me? The large, impersonal state university in which I work is a hotbed of political apathy and white guys wearing baseball caps. In short, the home to a many future Republicans. No influence there.

Of course there are a lot of hardcore liberals among the staff. One asked me to attend an antiwar protest and then added that she thought Bush was worse than Hitler. I made a mental note to thank her for not teaching history. These Florida college kids are confused enough without such nonsense. I didn't attend the rally for a variety of reasons,the biggest being I think rallies are good for little more than cheerleading and getting media attention. Since the Orlando mainstream media cares not a wit for anti-government commentary and I don't care for cheerleading, that makes the rally 0 for 2 in my book.

I have reprinted some liberal stuff in the blog recently for the very simple reason that I find interesting and completely unrepresented in the general media. While the cable networks fine-tune their Drums of War music cues, there are other people out in the world who have serious reservations about the motivations of the Bush Administration in getting us involved in a another war with Iraq. Is this really about terrorism and weapons of mass destruction? Or is it about oil, revenge for Daddy Bush, corporate sponsors, colonialism and a plan by the current Republican administration to maintain a state of perpetual war so that the population never gets too mad about the crumbling economy? Am I the only person who is reminded of that scene in 1984 where the speaker at a war rally gets info mid-speech and changes the enemy from one country to another without skipping a beat? I thought we were going after the Taliban? PooF! Now it's Iraq, that country we armed a few years ago when it was willing to kill a lot of Iranians.

Myself...I remain conflicted about the potential benefits of this war. While I completly mistrust anything the administration says, I still cling to the belief that this conflict could serve a purpose by eliminating a repressive, totalitarian (right wing???) government from the planet. As I've said before, GWB might not know it, but he's fighting to maintain strong liberal values and help spread them across the globe. Sure, he argued against then in the election, but he portrayed himself as a moderate back then too.

So yeah, I guess I'm more liberal these days. Like most folks in the middle, I'm not tied to dogma, so my opinion of things changes day by day as I see who's lying. Right now, our federal government - Remember? Those folks conservatives hated a few years ago? - appears completly full of shit. Their battle plans are likely to provoke more terrorism, not solve it. They are shattering long-held alliances and will likely render the US a second rate global power. It doesn't mean anything to have the biggest ball on the planet when nobody else wants to play with you. Short of the UK, Bush and company won't be getting many Christmas cards next year from our allies.

Regarding O'Reilly, Jeeze, how can anyone defend this putz? He is the Mort Downey of the new millenium. More proof today in the NY Times - Gaffes on Hispanics, From 2 Well-Known Mouths on Thursday night, the Fox News talk host Bill O'Reilly, used the word "wetback" as he fumbled for the word "coyote" to describe smugglers who transport illegal immigrants over the border. Mr. O'Reilly returned a call to say: "I was groping for a term to describe the industry that brings people in here. It was not meant to disparage people in any way."

No, of course not Bill. Everyone stumbles onto wetback when they're looking for that word that means no good Mexicans. What a fucking idiot.

Finally, on the digital download issue, Warren reminded me that his point was simply a stand against illegal distrubution. Point taken, and I missed that at first. Plus I agree. But as I pointed out to him, you can't have it both ways. If you're against illegal digital distribution. How can you justify downloading a few cuts via Limewire to see if you want to buy the CD? Isn't the person ripping the Cd for Limewire involved in illegal distrubution? Aren't you supporting that by downloading?

Ultimately, my digital position is that the record industry is going to change bigtime in the next few years and like Harry Shear said, the best policy to guide that change is probably not "Sue the customer." The music industry might be fucked for a while and it's nobody's fault but their own. Making shity product? Then don't be surprised when your audience treats it like disposable crap. BTW - whatever happened to getting posters and freebees in records? Did that end with The White Album?

At some point, I'm going to have to write a piece on work. I really do like it, particularly the blue collar aspects of the job. There's something very clarifying about lifting and pushing and fixing stuff. I feel useful as well as smart. Both are good.

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