Friday, November 17, 2023

Ted Cruz Is an Asshole (Cut Chapter)

From the first draft of Losing My Religions:


What, after all, was the point of civilization if not the well-being of citizens?

Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice

(Written after the Uvalde TX school shooting, but applicable to every day there is a mass shooting. Which, thanks to the NRA and their Republican lapdogs, is every day.)

I know this isn’t very mindful, and he’s just following his programming, but my gawd is Ted Cruz an asshole.

Want to know why the United States is so different from every other advanced country? Too many white men here are insecure about their cocks. Goddamn I am so fucking sick of these fucking motherfuckers.

What happened to them? After yet more children have been slaughtered by assault weapons that they could have outlawed, what do they feel when they look at their children?

Seriously, I’m asking.

Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations are (mostly) terrible. 

I’ve known smart people who love this book. But it is just a bunch of aphorisms and slogans you might find on shitty posters at your shrink’s office.

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” Wow, never thought of that.

“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” OK, thanks, Marcus.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.” This is horseshit from the most well-off man alive at the time. We all need some basics for a good life. Yes, how we think impacts our mood, but I just can’t get past rich people telling everyone else how easy it is to be happy.

But he does say a few useful things. “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly.”

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” Boom – there it is, the one quote worth knowing. Now I’ve saved you hours of a rich guy telling you how easy it is to be happy. You’re welcome.

Want to read a really old guy – even older than me – who says many useful things? Try Cicero (especially the last):

Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:

  • Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;

  • Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;

  • Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;

  • Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;

  • Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;

  • Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.

–Cited in Trish Hall’s Writing to Persuade.

My Octopus Teacher was not a good movie.

I could be wrong, but it seems like people think they just happen to be watching this guy building a relationship with an octopus. But there are other people there filming him! It is all scripted and staged.

And the guy is so self-centered. The only things in the world are his feelings. He is rich enough to be able to take all this time and live at the beach. Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to drive more transgender kids to suicide, and women are being transported back to serfdom.

As I’ve said, not every movie has to be Oh So Serious. But neither Anne nor I wanted to spend any time with this self-indulgent whiner. There are lots of good pieces on YouTube about how smart and cool octopuses are.

Also: Terms of Endearment was a horrible film on every level. Both The Big Chill and The Right Stuff are amazing movies from that year, and Chill should have won Best Picture. Want a very depressing but powerful and well-acted movie? Ordinary People will haunt you. Taps is also a great movie (with an incredible cast) that isn’t as well known.

William Hurt was on a roll in the ‘80s. In addition to The Big Chill, movies of his that were nominated for best picture: Kiss of the Spider Woman (for which he won Best Actor, and which I wish I hadn’t watched), Children of a Lesser God (fan-freakin-tastic), Broadcast News (the lightest of all of these), and The Accidental Tourist. (That last one is where I can’t decide if the book or movie is better.)

The movie I most wish I hadn’t seen? The Killing Fields. I watched it on one of the many winter days I was home sick senior year of high school. It made me want to take off all my clothes and go outside and freeze to death. Elie Wiesel’s Night did the same. Watch The Killing Fields and read Night and tell me that humanity is worth preserving.

Finally: Lord of the Rings is an amazing film franchise:

“What are we holding on to, Sam?”

“That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

Fox News is a terrorist organization.

I doubt this opinion will be unpopular with you, and I’m certainly not the first person to say this. Just Google, with the quotes, “Fox News is a terrorist organization”.

In short, they exist to spread terror (“The caravan is coming for your lake house! Democrats are replacing white people! Parents who have their kids wear masks are child abusers!”) simply to further their political and financial aims. 

It’s not aliens. It’s never aliens.

Not much more to say than that. And before you say, “But these are professionals. These are Navy pilots,” remember that there are medical doctors who believe in “demon seed,” and PhDs who believe QAnon’s nonsense. As Uncle Carl said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Want something unbelievable? Watch the magician Shin Lim’s first appearance on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us. I promise you it will be worth your time.

Star Trek’s transporter is an execution chamber.

This one is obvious if you think about it. If not, Next Generation’s “Second Chances” (S2:E24) spells it out clearly. In that episode, the crew finds someone who had previously been left behind after his transporter signal (unknowingly) bifurcated, with one beam making it back to the ship and one reflected back to the planet’s surface. Which Commander Riker is the “real” Riker? Neither! And: Both! 

To everyone else and to themselves, each Riker is Riker. But to the original Riker who was expecting to be beamed out — his consciousness just dissolved and ended. Poof. Ded.

By the way, the transporter was only created for the original series because the special effects team didn’t have the budget to make it look like the Starship Enterprise was landing on planets.

Nancy Pelosi got Biden elected.

If Nancy had agreed to another round of stimulus checks in September or early October 2020, Tangerine Palpatine would have won the electoral college again.

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