Looking for a comic artist, 4-5 pages, superheroic, unpaid – just a fun thing somebody suggested and I wouldn’t mind doing. Interested parties can email me.
The 2012 presidential campaign is coming down to its last few days, for those of you who have just recovered from an eighteen-month coma and have immediately decided to check out this website (and why wouldn’t you?) And for some reason, it’s actually kind of close. Not as close as many in the mass media are making it out to be; most pundits are deliberately ignoring any information that would make the race seem like anything other than a down-to-the-wire deadlock (like, say, the existence of the Electoral College, or the unreliability of the “likely voter” screen) because let’s face it, nobody tunes in to CNN to see a bunch of guys saying, “Romney’s DOA. Wanna break down the details of House Bill No. 497?”
But it is closer than it should be. Even if the two men are not absolutely deadlocked, Romney still has a chance to win this. And if you are one of the people who this open letter is addressed to, it’s because of people like you. I don’t know if you’re undecided, apathetic, or actually planning to vote Republican, but if you’re any of these things, I have one thing to say to you: Please change your mind. Right now. Because if Mitt Romney wins, I honestly think that’s pretty much it for the United States of America.
Not, mind you, because Mitt Romney has some unrevealed policy goals that will destroy this country. I think that Mitt Romney will be a bad President, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think he’ll do anything radically different than George W. Bush. He’ll probably be a better President than Bush, in fact…mainly because it’s not actually possible to be worse…but he’ll probably be more slightly moderate because he’s not a true believer like Bush was. He’s a cynical, calculating schemer with no personal convictions, which is actually an improvement over a President who had deep personal convictions that all happened to be absolutely wrong. (The analogy I always used was, “If you had a firefighter who thought that gasoline put out fires, would you want him to be a determined firefighter who always charged in regardless of the obstacles, or would you want him to be wishy-washy about it?”)
But it’s not the hypothetical Presidency of Mitt Romney that scares me. It’s the fact of his victory that I think would spell the beginning of the end for America. Because Mitt Romney has run the first campaign in American history founded entirely on lying. That’s not to say that other candidates, or indeed other successful candidates, haven’t lied before. We all know they have. But Mitt Romney has made the conscious decision to run using nothing but lies. He has lied about himself; he has lied about his opponent. When he has been caught lying, he has either responded with a new and slightly more complex lie, or he has lied about being caught lying. Where he has avoided lying, it has been either with empty platitudes or with pleas for trust in the absence of evidence. The only time the man has ever revealed his true plans, thoughts, opinions or emotions in the entire eighteen-month campaign, it has been when he did not know he was being recorded, and it was to express his open and naked contempt for almost half the electorate. Mitt Romney is running on the platform that if you spend enough money throwing enough bullshit at the wall, sooner or later enough of it will stick to convince people to vote for you. Mitt Romney is running the first ever entirely fact-free campaign.
And if it works…if the people pushing Romney’s candidacy find out that they can actually win with this strategy, they will do it again. Mitt Romney’s next campaign, in 2016, will be nothing more than naked lies and character assassination directed against his opponent, and 2020 will see another empty suit spouting empty bullshit. And every one of these empty suits will do what the last group perfected: Loot the public treasury with both hands and funnel it into the hands of their rich benefactors. They will steal until there is no money left if they have their way, and they will never tell the truth until they learn that there are consequences for lying.
So far, this campaign hasn’t exactly done a great job of teaching them that. The media hasn’t called Romney on his lies in any meaningful sense. Obama has pointed out the existence of the lies, but there’s only so honest he can be without opening himself up to charges of character assassination. The only people left to hold Mitt Romney accountable for being a shameless, craven liar are the American voters. So please…on Tuesday, can you go out and do that? Because I guarantee you, they will lie like this until it stops helping them get elected. Or until they have stripped this country to the bones like vultures feeding on a carcass. I’m kind of assuming you don’t want that to happen.
It’s my birthday today, and thirty-five is not one of the great birthdays: it feels sort of milestoney because it divides evenly by 5, but unlike a “divides by ten” birthday it doesn’t feel impressive in any way, and unlike 25 it is not an awesome number. It is just sort of there, blandly saying “well, you’re in your mid-thirties now, and no mistake.”
Plus, having your birthday be right in the middle of the workweek is exceptionally unfair and I wish to complain to management about that.
Anyhow. Those interested in giving me presents (surely there are some of you) – what I’d hope people might do is also consider buying James Young something from HIS wishlist, since James has done a lot of thankless heavy lifting behind the scenes to keep this blog running smoothly despite configuration issues that make Rube Goldberg machines look like inclined planes in terms of ease of use.
Alternately, you can always consult the Paypal button or my Amazon wishlist. Service resumes as normal tomorrow.
Well, we’ve definitely had a banner week here at the site with all the image-looking (and some leeching, which I’m not too happy about and have to work on), so now that Alignment Chart Week is over, it seems like an ideal time to point out the old Amazon wishlist, for those so inclined to make holiday purchases, or alternately there is always the Paypal button at right.
Donations to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association are good too, although I would like an iPad and I bet I would make the world a better place with it, and so forth.
I am not sure what this birth-year cover entails, but I suppose there are worse omens.
See, now that is a bad birth omen.
Anyhow. For those wishing to buy me birthday presents (which, barring a sudden need for an organ of some kind, will be your last opportunity to do so on a significant date until November!), the wishlist is here, and the donation button is on the right sidebar as always.
When I was a kid, there was this awesome picture book I read, one of the sort where the writer/artist had put in all sorts of diagrams and little details and so on, and it was about this race of tiny, fuzzy hippopotamus-like people divided into two kingdoms which were at war. But I can’t remember the name of it.
Is this ringing a bell with anybody?
UPDATE: In comments MIB correctly identifies it as Trouble For Trumpets, which now checking eBay I discover is stupidly expensive. And what’s worse is that at some point I’ll buy it, because that’s the sort of book I wanna read with my kids if and when I have any.
All right, I hope this is not an abuse of my posting priviledges here, but I thought there might be a chance that someone here could help me. There’s bit in the Tank Girl movie with Lori Petty where Malcolm McDowell says,
“Eight, eight, the burning eight. Between Sunday and Monday hangs a day so dark it will devastate.”
Okay, what the hell is that from? (Might also be “The burning hate”?) Surely that’s not original to the movie; there’s got to be a source, hasn’t there? But Google turns up nothing but quotes from Tank Girl itself. McDowell later quotes some variation on “Abandone all hope, ye who enter here” from Dante, but the “burning eight” bit does’t turn up in a cursory glance of the English translation of The Inferno I have.
If anybody out there could tell me the source, or if it really is an invention of the screenwriter, I would appreciate the hell out if it, because it’s been driving me crazy since Friday.
Oh, and um … so that I’m actually providing some measure of content and not just a plea for assistance … Okay, I know that Tank Girl gets a bad rap, particularly among comics fans who see it as a travesty to the source material. And I guess it sort of is a travesty to the source material. But divorced from all that, it’s still a pretty iconoclastic movie. In the pantheon of Early To Mid Nineties Sci-Fi Dystopia Movies Made On A Modest Budget, it’s a very fun and unusual experience (and I will watch Malcolm McDowell in pretty much anything, frankly). This is a movie in which Lori Petty gets a weird haircut and takes a bath in sand, Iggy Pop cameos as a pedophile, a bizarre animated interlude takes the place of a proper ending, two songs by Bjork are played, and Ice-T receives second billing as a mutated kangaroo-man designed by Stan Winston’s company. It’s a testament to that insanity of the Hewlett and Martin comics that a movie like this comes off a totally watered-down, cleaned-up Hollywood adaptation. It could have been a little better, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse. At least it was directed by someone who wanted to get some of the visual feel and anarchic flavor of the comics, and who hard the absolute nerve to make a sci-fi movie with a female lead who wasn’t “conventionally” hot.
Weird thing, though, the box to the DVD has a banner across the top that says “AVANT-GARDE CINEMA,” and that’s probably stretching it. Avant-garde a clue, maybe. (Joke copyright 1968 George Harrison.)
Here, I’ll even set up a copypasta for you:
“Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels’ Generous Offer” By Christopher Bird (http://mightygodking.com/index.php/2009/11/10/scenes-from-an-alternate-universe-where-the-beatles-accepted-lorne-michaels-generous-offer)
See? Easy-peasy. Nominate me in “short fiction, English.”
In an act of shameless self-promotion, I’ve posted my short story “The Coldest War” (which originally appeared in the February 2009 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction) online here. If you’re a Canadian citizen (not necessarily living in Canada) or a permanent resident, you can follow the handy-dandy links to the Aurora Awards nomination page once you’ve finished reading the story.
So I’m just going to put up the annual “Christmas drive” post right now, because the simple truth is this: keeping this site up and running costs me a fair chunk of change and a lot of work. I like doing the work and I don’t really mind paying the money: that is why there are no advertisements on this site (and never will be for anything other than things I am personally involved in creating).
But that doesn’t mean I mind occasionally holding out the hat; after all, I only do it three times per year (on Christmas, my birthday, and the site’s anniversary in August). Because while I would do it for free and indeed mostly do just that, I still like offsetting the cost a bit.
So this time I present you with not one but two options. The first option is the ever reliable Amazon.ca wishlist (Amazon.com shipping is too prohibitive, alas, to make giftgiving from it really worthwhile). The second and newer option is that I have finally caved and included a Paypal donation button on the sidebar there for people who might just want to tip a buck or two into the hat rather than buying me large impressive presents that show how amazing your genitalia are (and I am certain they are quite splendid).
(Hey, if every one of this site’s unique readers chipped in just one dollar a year, this could be my job! Except, on second thought, that is kind of disturbing on multiple levels.)
My request is that you actually tell people what G20 is actually about. If you want people to send you over there, it’s only fair. It’s not just a trip to London they’re nominating you for. (Maybe, given that you are generally pretty pro-labor, you could talk about how the Labour Representation Committee are strongly opposed to G20. Or you could talk about how G20 protesters have been systematically targeted for violence and unlawful arrest.)(/soapbox)
I’m pro-labour, but that’s different from being for the Labour Representation Committee, who are real honest-to-god hardcore socialists (as opposed to American “socialists”) in the old-school “ideology before practicality” mold.
Honestly, G20 protestation – much like WTO protestation – is frequently ridiculous because it’s so undefined. One of my great dislikes about liberal activism is cause-collation, or as people commonly recognize it, “when Free Mumia signs show up at a gay rights rally.” G20 and WTO protests, in my experience (and I’ve seen/attended a few) inevitably end up being colossal wankfests because they’re not really about anything, they’re just a giant chorus of “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG” and while that’s not untrue it’s also completely unhelpful.
I know I am going all Toby from West Wing here, but if you’re going to protest labour policies or climate change policies or poverty policies, great, but pick one at a time because the inevitable message class just gives the appearance of a group of disorganized, clueless hippies and/or “in it for the experience” protestors. (Go figure that a campaign to go in-city camping to protest carbon trading regulation would be considered unserious!)
And why I want to go to G20? From their site:
We are inviting 50 influential and knowledgeable bloggers to attend the G20 Summit on April 2nd in London, UK, where they will get unprecedented access to world leaders and thinkers and the chance to ask questions about the issues important to them. 20 of those bloggers will be nominated by you.
I’ve had the chance to put questions to Jim Flaherty and Stephane Dion already, so I consider that practice for something such as this. Rest assured, if I go, the questions I’ll be asking will be about international climate change policy – and I’ll have consulted with several of the leading environmental law and international law professors in Canada before I go because I’ll want to do it right. (Also, the whole Jon Stewart “only the court jester can really ask such of the king” sort of deal.)
Addendum: those of you following me on Twitter, feel free to direct a tweet to “G20Voice,” because they have decided to make themselves accessible via Twitter because, I dunno, politicians love Twitter now for some reason, and talk me up.
So: G20 Voice has decided to subsidize bloggers to cover the G20 Economic Summit in London in April. And I would really like to go! I mean, if you look at their list of categories, I qualify for two: I’m definitely from a G20 country (GO FIRST WORLD!) and furthermore I believe I am “high-profile and eclectic.”
Also I am dirt poor with no summer job in the Law as of yet, and I would really, really like a free trip to London to help me forget about that for a few glorious days. And did I mention that doing this would probably be really good for my resume? Because it totally would!
So: please nominate me. When nominating me, try to ignore the comic book stuff (as much as you might like to mention Rex the Wonder Dog) and the Photoshops and instead try to mention that I am the senior editor of Osgoode Hall Law School’s law blog, an occasional political blogger (both here and at Torontoist.com), and a “clever humourist with an offbeat, trenchant, observant world view” or similar words to that effect.
I have about four to five thousand readers per day; if I get three or four hundred nominations I am positive they will ask me to go and do important blogging crap! So get on the horn? Please? I realize trying to get one-for-ten is probably unrealistic, but then again so is the idea of going to London to be a FOR REALS JURMALIST and you will note that is not stopping me.
As per usual with all posts where I beg for favours, in comments feel free to request posts about whatever when you actually go through with the two-minute effort of nominating me. I am nothing if not disproportionately reciprocal!
UPDATE: In comments, Zifnab points out:
If they don’t actually check your blog, you’re a shoe-in.
He has a bit of a point, so if you haven’t already nominated me, I would suggest including in your nomination a link to one of my more “respectable” posts. Like this post about environment stuff, or this one about nuclear power, or this one about airships, or this one about gorillas, or this one about term limits, or this one about the Liberal Party being fuckups, or this one about Obama’s election, or this one liveblogging the Canadian election debate, or this one about concrete, or this post at TheCourt.ca debunking allegations made against Chief Justice MacLachlin, or what the hell the political Magic cards or the Joe the Homer ‘shops.
Okay, I just want to go on record as saying that 33, as numbers go, is a sucky one. It is evenly divisible by 11, which earns it a little cred, but that does not counter the fact that “early thirties” is gradually starting to become inapplicable to describe me and that kind of sucks. However, so far friends have gotten me an Animal Man trade, the latest Scott Pilgrim and the offer of future-bread, which is like freshly baked bread which only exists in potentia, and that’s good!
Anyways, since it is my birthday, I will not-so-casually mention the wishlist, with potential presents for the man running this pointedly ad-free website ranging from “fuck you” to “I secretly collect locks of your hair” in cost.
So the nominations for the 2009 Bloggies have begun, and although I think the odds of winning anything are relatively low, I’d certainly like to try getting nominated in any of the following categories:
So if you’re willing to go to the trouble of nominating me (and at least two other blogs, required by their nomination form – feel free to suggest anything in comments, I always like to look at sites people recommend), I’d appreciate it. As per usual, if you want to request a not-guaranteed post topic out of me, that is something you can also do in comments.
(And for the person who asked: Thursday Who’s Who is on hiatus until the end of exams.)
EDIT TO ADD: To clear up some confusion: it’s three different blogs overall, not per category. I’m not willing to ask people to do that much work.