Monday, June 14, 2004

Smiling even from behind the barrel of a gun....

In our late teen years, my best friend and i, bookish but wild, used to variously quote to each otherT.S. Eliot, Heart of Darkness, or whatever else we were consumed with at the moment (I think catch-22 broke the record of most quoted book between us, i'll have to write on that some other time)

so anyway, when i saw my best friend the day that reagan died, it was perfectly natural to greet her with "Mr. Reagan, he dead" to which she immediately responded with "A penny for the Old guy".

a few days later, i was torturing myself by listening to some of the eulogies for reagan and one person, some priest or pastor or some such thing, actually quoted T.S. Eliot.

I didn't actually catch the quotation itself, but i am nearly certain that it was not from the piece that most reminds me of mr. reagan and his ilk.

i am pasting it below for your enjoyment.



The Hollow Men

MISTAH KURTZ -- HE DEAD.
A penny for the Old Guy

I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us--if at all--not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer--

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
and avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
and the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

My little brother is graduating tomorrow. He's not too thrilled about any of it, especially not the ceremony he has to go through, but i want to congratulate him publicly anyway.

so way to go, petit frere!

here is my word of advice to you in this life: whenever you are faced with any formalities--be they simple or not--just think to yourself "Je suis Oneuf!!", and everything is bound to turn out ok.

well, speaking of my brother and inside jokes aside, one of my most treasured possessions in this world is a picture of him when he was in the first grade. on the back of his little class photo, he wrote, and i quote below (everything is verbatim--inlcuding the funny place of the punctuation mark--but of course i am leaving out both of our full names). ok, so this is what he said:

Dear, N
I like you a lot. sometimes when you hit me, i dont like it at all.
love, N


god, he was the sweetest little jerk of a brother anyone could ask for.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

You know those half-wit monarchist/right-wingers who try to pass themselves off as progressives over at "activist chat"?

they have this petition going against the IRI, i suggest you look at the text of their logo closely:



How, pray tell, does one become a part-time suicide bomber? How exactly would this work, you drive taxis in the day and moonlight as suicide-bomber? Has the IRI figured out how to bring back the dead? (because if they can, this publicity stunt of their's would be the least of our troubles)

Update: well, i guess the activist-chat people figured out that it made no sense to say that the IRI was looking for part-time suicide bombers. i should have saved the image instead of uploading it straight from their site. well, anyway, i'll still keep this post up as a reminder of how idiotic the activist-chat people are, there is always something on their site that is as equally ridicule-worthy as their announcement of part-time suicide bombers.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Why the Iranian "opposition" is an embarassment to itself and to all iranians--Part II

I'm afraid this will be an on-going series.

With the anniversary of the July 9, 1999 student/popular uprising against the Islamic Republic coming up again, we'll see the familiar resurgence of interest in the student movement and its imprisoned political activists.

a few weeks ago, i saw this flash video in commemoration and support of the student movement in iran and i just about died of embarassment.

the video starts out tolerably enough, and even has some good introductory text and a range of pictures.

but then, as the already dramatic music increases in cheesiness, the most horrible thing happens, there is a shift in the soundtrack, and you hear the voice over of, god, i can't even bring myself to say it...ok, um, you hear the voice of Mel Gibson, from the film Braveheart!!!

they have him speaking in his fake scottish accent about freedom from tyranny, fighting to the death, etc. and the text of the monologue is actually transcribed alongside photos from various student protests.

Though I could go off on this for a while, i'm actually having a hard time ripping the people who made this flash video apart because, unlike the idiots who posted the picture i have in my previous post on their website, i dont know that the people who made this piece are evil jerks. in fact, i have a feeling they had the best of intentions.

a severe lapse in good taste and political sensibility isn't a crime is it? (it should be, i think, but it isn't). so what's my point, then?

let me say it as briefly as i can.

according a Reporters without borders' press release last year, Iran has imprisoned the most number of journalists in west asia and north africa. these same prisons hold numerous other prisoners of conscience (even president khatami finally had to admit this obvious fact): some of our best and brighest have been languishing in jails for years.

so does it honor them, the weight of their social and political struggles, or the gravity of their circumstances to set them to the soundtrack of a stupid hollywood blockbuster?

just because the most photogenic and/or the most vacuous (i'll be nice and refrain from linking any pictures on this one)activists get all the attention doesn't mean that the on-going struggles in iran are bereft of all substance.

we have our own words/ideas and those of many other variously persecuted poets, satirists, musicians, activists, and journalists. we shouldn't have to rely on a screaming and half-naked mel gibson to give us our inspiration.

.

Ever wonder why Iranian "opposition" groups have little to no credibility?

It's because they do things like post obviously photo-shopped pitcures, like this one below of Khoemini bowing his head before the shah, as their "picture of the day".



I'm not saying they are trying to pass it off as an original, i mean they are not that desperate and stupid, are they?

But what point are they trying to make for god's sake. That khomeini was a yes-man for the shah? That the shah was head-and-shoulders above khoemeini?

And this is a leftist site, i should add, so this whole khomeini-looking-humble-before-the-shah picture makes even less sense than it does at first glance. or am i missing something here?