“When mother smiled, no matter how nice her face had been before, it became incomparably nicer and everything around seemed to brighten up as well. If, at difficult moments of my life, I were able even fleetingly to see this smile, I would not know the meaning of sorrow. It seems to me that what people call the beauty of a face is constituted by its smile: if a smile adds glory to a face, then that face is beautiful; if it does not change it, it is ordinary; and if it spoils it, it is ugly.”—Leo Tolstoy, Childhood. (via mills)
Imbued with a sense of victimhood, entitlement, and cultivated grievance that can only be taught, their preferred response to inconvenience is a temper tantrum. Sometimes, as with the Penn State riots, they are physical. Other times, they are intellectual or theatrical. But the tantrums are always self-justifying. Arguments are correct not if they conform to facts and reason, but if they are passionately held. Unfairness is measured by the intensity of one’s feelings.
Perhaps that’s why a “right to riot” has become a staple of campus culture across the country, particularly at big schools. Students riot when administrators take away their beer. They riot when they lose games. They riot when they win games. They riot when the cops try to break up parties. Inconvenience itself has become outrageous.
It is also why idiotic protests have come to be seen as “part of the college experience,” as if chanting inane slogans and spouting weepy canned platitudes is essential to a well-rounded education.
At a Bright Eyes concert a couple of weeks ago I saw something that I still haven’t gotten over. At the edge of the stage, in the first five ranks of fans who had pushed and wormed and begged their way forward to get within armpit sniffing distance of their presumed idol, Connor Oberst, a number of kids, a fair number of kids, were holding their smart phones out in front of their faces and watching the performance that way, miniaturized and framed. That it was a wild, disheveled, sweaty performance which lent itself not at all to tidy framing didn’t seem to matter to the kids; they were acting on some new instinct, apparently, on some irresistible new reflex to insert as many technologies as possible between themselves and raw, ongoing experience. An anxious Fear of Presence is what it looked like. Some sort of compulsion to rid the here and now of its proximity and contemporaneity while still holding on to an image of the experience suitable for ‘sharing’ on a Facebook page.
That’s the problem with life, with art, with Bright Eyes shows: they don’t come into existence already edited. What a fucking strange species of middlemen we’re becoming. In every transaction between matter and spirit we rush in with our devices and break things up.
[The EU] will need to create long-term institutions that both minimize the risk of future economic crises and refrain from adopting politically unsustainable forms of austerity when crises do hit.
Right. It’s a matter of designing your institutions correctly. Should there be an odd or even number of career political insiders appointed to the steering committee? What percentage of them should be women, ethnic minorities, or LGBT? Also, timetables for phasing things in are important. And what you name the milestones.
Get all those details exactly right, and you’ll be fine. It’s just like designing a bridge. One too few gays on the committee, though, and you’re doomed. But fortunately the EU has a wealth of experts with ample experience designing bureaucracies, so the set of arbitrary compromises they arrive at is guaranteed to be perfectly tuned to conditions now and forever. And if it’s a shambling useless clusterf**k, the critical experience they gain this time will guarantee perfection next time.
And if it’s a shambling useless clusterf**k next time, the critical experience they gain next time will guarantee perfection the time after that.
A struggling entertainment journalist falls for a 20-year-old psychotic pyromaniac. After the journalist interviews his institutionalized ex-wife, the young woman sets fire to the institution. The reporter finds her in the woods and falls in love. The two start their affair of burning passion while she continues her passionate burning.
Last month, for instance, Anna Diamantopoulou, the education minister, proposed appointing 150 young supporters of Mr. Papandreou’s party, Pasok, to her ministry’s Youth Institute, but the project was canceled after critical media reports. Ms. Diamantopoulou’s spokesman said the jobs would have been paid for by the European Union, but were eliminated after a budget review.
Jeff (aka Hadzilla) slept on my couch last night. This morning we discovered something really terrifying. Our guns were gone. ALL our guns.
I went to bed last night with nine guns within easy reaching distance of me—Don’t worry I’m not gay, I own way more than nine guns, I’m just saying there were nine in bed with me. Jeff had six guns on the couch with him. This morning I wake up, I’m wearing the bottom half of a Batman costume and all my guns are gone. I quickly remembered how I ended up in the Batman pants (wink!) but all my firearms were missing. Someone stole them.
And think about what a crazy fucking thief sneaks into a house and steals guns from someone with nine of them within easy reaching distance. Up until he gets that last gun there’s a good chance I wake up and shoot him. And believe me I wake up shootin’.
The really irritating thing is that this is the second night in a row this has happened. You might recall from my rap song yesterday that I couldn’t find my guns yesterday morning either. I went out and bought 25 replacement guns and they all got stolen last night. All these replacement guns are fucking destroying my budget. Now I have to buy 30 more guns this afternoon and hope they don’t get stolen tonight while I’m asleep. It’s so fucked. I can’t afford to buy all these new guns!