Skip to main content

68 very long days and counting...

since i like to be aware of whose fingers will be hovering over the nuclear button in the home of our neighbours to the south, i've been following some of the political theatre that's unfolding in denver.

this is going to be a very, very long autumn if what's appeared so far is anything to go by.

personally, i cringe at the overt phoniness of the convention, to say nothing of the sums of money involved in staging it (perhaps i should say buying it). both parties with a snowball's chance in hell of winning play this game and, given the number of people in the united states- let alone in poorer countries- who suffer real deprivation, the idea that it is necessary to lavish such amounts on a spectacle that purports to nominate someone to represent the populace is beyond cynical.

in the spirit of the season, both parties have ramped up their ad campaigns substantially, so that every few minutes i'm advised that someone who is smart and well-educated enough to know better has approved an advertisement that is a bare linguistic notch above schoolyard name calling.

there is nothing substantive in these announcements, of course- their fifteen to thirty second duration makes any sort of meaningful content an impossibility. instead, they are full of snide innuendo about the other party's shortcomings, goading the electorate to vote out of fear.

of course, the presence of around the clock news stations should, in theory, offer some space for analysis. i'll wait for you to stop laughing.

as part of its crack reportage, cnn has been handing over its airwaves to republican party strategists and supporters to comment on the democratic convention. because in order to get an honest, unscripted, cogent reaction to the proceedings, the best place to look is in the camps of those whose livelihood depends on the democrats losing the election. don't worry, i'm sure that the democratic commentary on the republican convention will be equally riveting.

normally, i love the autumn. it's my favourite season. it's not just that my birthday falls then. i love watching the changing of the leaves. i love the crisp weather. i love the smoky scent in the air. but i have to say that this fall, i'm really tempted to hibernate. although i normally cringe at the first sighting of a candy cane, this may be one year when i'll be happy to see those christmas decorations roll out.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…