Non-Violence, Progressive Framing and Project Runway

(from yesterday)

The darned wireless isn’t working at the Argo Cafe. I even called ahead and they said it was working which means either it wasn’t working, it’s spotty or they are lying to me.

Got to the gym slightly early today in the middle of ALL THE FRICKIN’ SNOW. Yes. Snow. And then when I got home it even hailed for a little bit. Yes. HAIL.

Came home and had a great call with a resume writer. I’m fluffing my resume as part of my yearly update. I figure I ned to leverage all of my possibilities as much as possible and that includes possible gigs with marketing or entertainment companies. I’d love to work for the Playboy Corporation. I think to work in their online media division would really be fun – but at the same time I might be moving out west. Ron has put in a transfer to Los Angeles (again). And supposedly it is going to go through soon – though you never what ‘soon’ means in terms of how his employer moves. He wants to be domiciled in Los Angeles and then live in San Diego or something like that. I could use a change of scenery and maybe some more sunshine. I’d love to get some consulting gig where I get to travel all over the world – that would be fun.

Antsy to get the two book proposals sold. I need to update the one and then re-vamp the other one to make it more focused. I’d counted on those being in the pipeline for 2006 – not sure if that is going to happen with the approaching holidays.

Sometimes I feel like Tuesday through Thursday are a blur. I seem to get the most done on the weekends and on Monday and Thursday early.

Project Runway is careening towards a blowout ending with one of the finalists being accused of not doing all of his own sewing. I agree. When Jeffrey said that he was designing his garments for Olmypus Fashion Week and at the same time was designing his own second ‘season’ of designs, I got skeptical – along with the huge studio Jeffrey has to work in. He did admit to sending something out for pleating but I figure that will gradually expand as he gets cornered. I dunno. It was fascinating to watch the one guy that smuggled in pattern books weasel his way through the lies during the reunion show. He simply couldn’t do a mea culpa and move on – he had to keep building lie upon lie – and each time decimating any credibility me might have or leveraging any visibility he’s getting from the show. Everybody likes the penitent. He should have said, ‘It was a mistake, I was desperate. I’ve learned my lesson.’ Instead he is charging the producers with a conspiracy – and even saying that the contract didn’t say anything about pattern books. You can tell he’s lying because his story shifts each time it is challenged. I think he’s really a deft conman. I’ve worked with a pathological liar before – it is easy to get seduced in to their worldview.

There’s a guy in front of me slumped over on the counter at the cafe. I know it might make me less of a Christian but I really have no sympathy for people my age that are broke or on drugs. When I see a guy on the street begging for money and his mouth is a mess you know he’s a meth addict and I just don’t have much sympathy for him. You can be an addict and still work a little bit. Like a friend I have that has a boyfriend that he supports – the boyfriend is depressed and this guy pays for all of his therapy and meds plus all of his shopping and expensive tastes… I’ve been depressed before and I still got shit done. You can work and cry and the same time.

Ron’s commented on this as well – coming from outside the country and seeing how people don’t realize the enourmous gifts that we have here. Yes, many broken or failing institutions but still an infrastructure for success nonetheless.

One of my clients in Canada called yesterday. A guy that has supported my work since the very beginning. I have several of these ‘booster club’ members that I truly enjoy hearing on the phone during conference calls. They’ve seen me grow up and my business grow up as well. He is from Calgary and says that every time he talks to any of his friends in the Statest hat they all have such a negative and fearful opinion of our curen tleadership and the possbilities for the next several years. I still think of Sandra Day O’Connor remarking before she left the Supreme COurt that the mechanisms for a dictatorship are being put into place. I think we expect it to come in the form of goosestepping parades and familiar icons from WWII (I must sidebar to report that Ron thought that Isabella Rosellini was a daughter of Benito Mussolini). I think there can be a great deal of social control and violence exercised on the populace and it will still look like Uhmericuh. With so many surveillance systems already in place – the ATM network, the credit card network, the national banking system, purchasing behaviors, GPS on cellphones – not to mention the growing surveillance cloud in Chicago’s downtown of security cameras – it becomes easier to control people without really appearing threatening to others. If you can be declared an enemy combatant and whisked off to another country for torture (where you will inevitably confess to anything to get the torture to stop) with no oversight, no recordkeeping, no due process, no access to courts… if these small examples start off as men that don’t look like us – foreigners, Arabs, Muslims… eventually it will extend closer to home. Anyway – I told my friend in Calgary what I tell all my Canadian friends: Keep the guest bedroom clean because when the hammers comes down I gotta get a ticket on the underground railroad.

I started reading 2 books this week Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky (foreword by the Dalai Lama) and Whose Freedom? by George Lakoff. The nonviolence book is powerful. I decontructs the process by which Judaism, Christianity and Islam all started off as peaceful religions of nonviolence and then eventually became co-opted by the state and began to be used to defend, advocate and promote warfare. It looks at the role of nonviolence throughout history – when it works – when it doesn’t – and has a list of 25 precepts, one of my favorites so far is: "As a war continues, you start to resemble your enemy." Or "Governments that amass weaponry as a military deterrent, eventually use it."

Most insightful of the book is the complete lack of a word for non-violence in any language. That the tendency to warfare and state violence is so ingrained in our society and behaviors that we don’t have a word to express the absense of violence – we have to affix the word for ‘violence’ with a negative. Nonviolence requires patience. War is the easy reach.

The Lakoff book is similarly blowing my mind. Lakoff looks at the term ‘freedom’ as framed in the United States both by historians, conservatives and progressives. It looks at how Bush can use the imagery of freedom and sounds almost exactly like he wants the same things that the liberals want but it is a slight twist. Useful in the book is to stop characterizing conservatives as greedy assholes – which is very easy to do. It really is about putting yourself in the shoes of your opponent and seeing that they are just as guided by morality and values as you are – and are even using the same vocabulary. But is it too late for these niceties? Will the Republicans simply implode with the pressure of their own moral hypocrisy? The problem with working for those that don’t like you is they will always sell you out if they think it’ll get them a vote. Useful in the details also is the theme that being rational doesn’t work. This is a big part of marketing too – we make our decisions based on emotion and then justify them with logic and facts.

I think about the New Deal or the platforms of Huey Long (granted he got a little nuts as he got more powerful)… what is our obligation to eachother? To the poor? Is it immoral for me to let another man starve? Or is it immoral for me to short-circuit their growth by helping them out? Do the social costs of poverty: crime, medical treatment, uneducated workforce – outweigh those benefits? That was always my favorite reason to oppose capital punishment – that it costs more to go through the appeals process to get an execution done than to just house someone for life (of course Ron chimes in with a Marcos-era: ‘Kill ’em! No waiting!’). Does it cost less to give drug addicts access to clean needles or methadone compared to the costs of AIDS treatment or rehab or drug-related crime? Does the cost of treating thousands of soldiers for war injuries, re-entry into civilian life and post-traumatic stress disorder outweigh the actual cost of our own foreign policy? Does the cost of free, unfettered access to full reproductive options for men and women of all ages outweigh the costs of unwanted children, mistreatment, abuse and crime? I guess conservatives see the morality in the contraction of options – that there’s less paths to choose from so you choose or lose. Maybe I see things as more expansive.

Then I watch Judge Hatchett and all of these theories fall to shit as they exhibit some of the most emotionally crippled metnally retarded individuals on the planet. And I don’t mean ‘mentally disabled’ like people that have less mental functioning or a diagnosed condition and can still be productive members of society. I know my mom doesn’t like it when I use the word ‘retard’ because it is a slur for the mentally disabled – those people are much more together than these full-brained witlesseds. I mean retards. And the problem is the retards are breeding.

We need mandatory AIDS testing as a part of every medical checkup. There shouldn’t be a opt-out – if you have bloodwork done, you have an HIV test done. If you want a vassectormy or get your tubes tied – I think we should have 1-hr in-and-out clinics. If people wanna fuck like bunnies there’s no reason they have to breed like bunnies.

I had another creepy X-Files-ish idea the other night. What if prisons becamse like a human storage facility. In prison you are simply put into a vegetative state for the length of your sentence. Stacks and stacks of humans with IV drips and catheters. If we are going to treat prisoners like chattel let’s go full throttle. I guess it’d be like hypersleep in the Alien movies. If prison is supposed to be a ‘time out’ then make it a time out. Maybe start prisoners on IV drips of antidepressants while they are in there so by the time they leave they are completely chemically rehabilitated. It’s like a chemically induced time-out.

I vaccilate between hope and love for the human race and good faith in giving people all the options and knowledge to make the best decisions and complete utter contempt for the moral gutterlings that can’t even be held accountable for the blinking of their own two eyes.

2 thoughts on “Non-Violence, Progressive Framing and Project Runway

  1. Joe

    Just a quick note on Project Runway…I agree that Jeffrey must have had outside help. I’ve watched all three seasons and never saw anyone make it to the finale show with everything completely done on their garments. They’re always frantically sewing on buttons and finishing hems, etc. right up to the runway show. But I think he’s going to get in anyway…I don’t think they can prove that he outsourced any of his sewing.

    As for Keith…What a moron. He all but admitted to deliberate possession of the books when he was thrown off the show and then, at the reunion, said it was a big conspiracy by the producers. PUHLEEEEZE!!!!! Anyway…What a mess!

  2. sam

    Yes yes, put them into a vegetative state in a large bladder full of goo and harness their biowarmth as a new energy source. Just like in ‘The Matrix.’

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