Tag Archives: politics

Lessons I Learned From 9/11

11 Sep

Google this book.

In case you haven’t turned on the news, today is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. People always say the same thing to you, right? Do you remember where you were? I do, of course. (I was in my Yeshiva in New York, which wouldn’t let us leave to go see what’s happening on TV.)

But the thing I remember the most was how unsurprised I was. I felt bad about that, like I should be all shook up, just like the newscasters were saying they were. I just wasn’t.

As a kid, I’d always wondered why there were no big terrorist attacks like they had in Israel and they showed in movies all the time. I figured we must just have better defenses. Secret ones, like automatic surface-to-air missile launchers or a few F-16’s hidden just out of sight. I thought our ports had automatic scanners with green lasers and our airports had retina scanning camera technology. After all, the threat was so obvious. It was so easy to attack.

When the planes hit the towers though, all these fantasies were shaken out of my head. Of course we had no secret weapons. Our security was crap just like it appeared to be. After all, our government worked on a break-fix model, and nobody had attacked us yet.

What 9/11 and the following months taught me was exactly how inept and bloated out government is. The only thing that made me feel a little better was George W. Bush. While the lawmakers made speech after speech about how they were going to change things, this guy actually did something. Thank God for crazy Texans. And thank God for the Executive branch. Everyone ripped him for it afterwards, but honestly, how good did it feel when good old George got up there and said he would “smoke ’em out of their caves”? Hells yeah, Mr. President.

And he did. He sent the Army into Afghanistan which eventually flushed out Bin Laden and his henchmen.

What did the bureaucracy do during that time? Publish a huge paper showing why our security sucks, pour tons of money into a monstrous break-fix security “system” that routinely fails every comprehensive test thrown at it, and get 50 different designs for the new ground zero.

Those green lasers don’t seem to be any closer.

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Random Thoughts #7: Slogans

6 Sep

-I want to make a Viagra commercial. “Viagra. Because on your salary, cheating’s not even an option.”

-Movies need to stop using the phrase “A Timeless Classic!”. That’s a contradiction in terms. How about: “Still Watchable At Very Late Hours!”

-I have a great idea for a Presidential campaign slogan: “My ends, your means.”

-And how about this State motto: “New Jersey. Family owned for over 80 years.”

-I want to put out one of those sentimental books that go viral, like Tuesdays with Mory, or Chicken Soup for the soul. The only problem is I’m not that upbeat. I couldn’t squeeze out a “5 people you meet in heaven” no matter how much you paid me. Maybe “5 people you meet in hell”. Look, there’s your father. And there’s your fifth grade teacher who used to hit you. I think it would be popular.

Fairness: Mission Really Really Difficult

1 Sep

Ooh, lady justice. Looking FINE.

When people say they’re “progressive”, what they mean is they’d like to make changes in society to make it more fair. Equal rights for women, for gays, for black people, for children, for whoever. Personally, I like this idea. I think society can be a lot more fair. But I also think that people who don’t understand the science of life so well are baffled when they run into things that seem naturally unfair.

Men and women should have equal power. But why should the woman be getting screwed? Why doesn’t the man have to take it once in a while? (I’d bet money that there are couples out there right now having some kind of reverse sex to keep it fair.)

In my humble opinion, this all stems from a misunderstanding. Some people think that life was fair before it was messed up by greedy people. But unless you believe in the Garden Of Eden story- which I do, depending on my mood- life is a contest for survival. The strong survive and the weak die. We can try, for moral, religious, or other such reasons to try to make it better, but there are biological walls in place that can’t be avoided. (If you think I’m exaggerating here, you’ve obviously never been to prison. Ok, so I haven’t either, but I know people who have watched the show Oz, and they say it’s crazy in there.)

What’s my point? Well, here:  If it bothers you that your big fat kid is taking the other kids’ snacks, tell him to stop and hope he listens. And if it feels wrong to only have one penis in a relationship, go creative grocery shopping. But at the same time, don’t be too upset if things don’t go as planned. You’re fighting nature with your half a sociology degree Queens Community College. Take it easy.

Random Thoughts: Stand-up Edition

27 Jul

10) My mother is shameless

I keep reading all these other blogs out there about politics and healthcare and all these other crises and I’m feeling a little guilty for giving out bathroom tips and making up Divrei Torah with Pinchas saying dirty words. Maybe we should talk about important things. I think I’ll start with global events.

What’s going on with the EU and Ireland? You don’t know what I’m even talking about. Me neither. I just read about it in a comment on a youtube video. Man, it’s hard when there are no smart people to jump in and take over. My geopolitical philosophy is this: Is America still the baddest kid on the block? Excellent. I’m gonna vote republican and skip the rest of that bullshit then. Hey, I only got so much space in my head, people, and keeping track of Simpsons minutiae is already taking up a huge chunk.

Whenever I mention my political views, someone always says, “You’re so self-centered. Nihilistic. Narcissistic.” To which I answer: “Shut the fuck up, stupid conscience! And you too, Neuroticism! Yeah, I know you’re back there somewhere! You two got me here in the first place! Now you just get to pipe down and watch as I suck other people into this.”

Important things and me have kind of parted ways over the years. I mean, serious reading jumped ship years ago… I forget exactly why, something about not seeing the relationship going anywhere. But now it’s even movies. The only ones I can even watch are under an hour and a half and packed with action, comedy, tragedy all into one big ball.

Like Thor. That movie rocked. Short with immediate payoff. If you didn’t see it, here’s a recap. Fighting, fighting, old English for a bit, explosions, cleavage, fighting, ridiculous CGI effects, kiss, more fighting, bad guy’s locked up for next time. Total time? Hour and a half. Oh yeah. Call me when the sequel comes out. That’s what I’m talking about.

Good night folks. I’m outta here!

Greying Pains

30 Jun

First, here’s a great interview with Israeli-born Gene Simmons of Kiss speaking his mind about Obama’s Israel policy. (Courtesy of Jackbenimble).  Ok, I hope you enjoyed that because I want to explain a fundamental point that he touched on.

We like to think of ourselves as having logical and coherent views on things, but the truth is that we’re mostly full of shit. And that’s ok. Our ideas were handed down to us as The-Way-It-Is by our parents, teachers and society and we accepted them as such. When you’re a kid, things are very simple, black and white. That’s because you have no experience with them the first time you hear them. They are your first and only impression. And they eventually sink to the level of emotions.

(That’s why they tell you not to talk about politics or religion at work. You’re going to end up having an emotional battle, not an intellectual conversation.)

As you get older, though, if you want to be able to see things from a truer perspective, you need to give up the security of holding onto these ideas. Why would you do this? Well, let’s hold off on the ‘Why’ for now and focus on the ‘How’, and the answer should become clear. The question is, if these ideas are on the level of emotion, how do you challenge them? Well, it’s actually not that hard. You can prove to yourself that many of the ideas and values you hold dear are contradictory to each other.

For example, you might feel guilty spending more money to be ‘green’. This is because you feel strongly about the values of social equality, and responsibility. If both values demand total obedience, you’re in a real bind.

Other people believe in Democracy very strongly, and yet still try to get a permanent ban on gay marriage passed before the majority decides it’s ok. That’s because they hold that both their religion and their form of government are a form of supreme truths that should be followed.

Others blame American schools for lowering kids’ intelligences in this country, while simultaneously pushing for less homework and pressure in schools. The two values working against each other here are the value of success versus the value of happiness.

If you don’t take the time to think these things through, and just accept everything in simplistic terms, you can push for one sort of change that will damage something else and you won’t even understand what went wrong at the end. The real truth is that most things in life demand a compromise on black and white values, and this isn’t a wrong or false way of living. Adapting your preconceptions to the reality of life is a true and natural way to live.

Now, I’m not saying there’s something wrong with trying to better your world. If you would like to see the world as a different place, and you think you can change it, go for it. But to push your way through when it’s clearly not working is not only stupid, but potentially very harmful to yourself and society. Just ask mother Russia.

Thoughts on Weiner’s weiner

10 Jun

Hmm, what should the byline be? “The long and short of it.” “Not taking it lying down.” “Having trouble covering up.” “Weiner holding on for dear life.” “Pressure on Weiner starting to show.” The possibilities are endless with this goldmine. If you want more, Hulu has done a nice job of putting together a pretty hilarious “Late-night Anthony Weiner joke symposium”. (Make sure you watch Jimmy Fallon’s piece.) So, since the late night chevra has the comedy angle covered, I figured I’d philosophize about the current comedy feeding frenzy, and about the general state of TV comedy today.

Like I said in the Schwarzenegger/DSK post, politicians getting caught with their pants down is something everybody finds funny. Why though? I think the answer is simple. Comedy is a tool we can use to ‘count the whiskers on the beast’. To give an outlet to the feelings of oppression we feel from forces out of our control. It’s usually not funny to make jokes about people suffering. They aren’t oppressing us, so it’s wrong. However, when other people are pulling the strings that affect our lives, and corrupt career politicians are giving pompous speeches telling us what needs to change while secretly pursuing their own agenda, then when they make stupid mistakes that we can hold over them and cut them down to human size, we jump on it. Then, even Jon Stewart can make quality jokes without feeling the need to politicize it.

What do I have against Jon Stewart?! He’s a stupid, manipulative putz. He clearly has an agenda that he pushes while trying to pass himself off as a comedian. I’m sorry, but comedians can’t promote political parties. Your job is to be on my side against the authority. Promoting the Democratic party’s positions and candidates makes you the enemy. I’ll go for some real comedy, like South Park, or Malcolm In The Middle, or The Nanny.

And while we’re on the subject, The Office is not a comedy. It’s a soap opera with terrible jokes sprinkled in randomly. Conversely, Family Guy is a comedy, but it sucks. It has a bunch of random, bad jokes with a tiny bit of plot sprinkled in. The Simpsons passes because even though the plots are usually lame, and Lisa is preachy, the jokes are funny. After South Park, which is in it’s own league really, Community is the best comedy on TV.

Other good comedy shows over the years have been:

-That 70’s show

-Everybody loves Raymond

-The George Lopez Show

-The Jersey Shore

-The I.T. Crowd

-Malcolm In The Middle

-Fresh Prince of Bel Air

And of course the classics like:

-I love Lucy

-Monty Python

-All In The Family

-Are You Being Served?