The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The New and Improved Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Yes, "Islamic" is in the title of country, while I imagine it's necessary to deflect any excessively overt signs that any Americanization of the country is going on, it really is rather symbolic.

A man accused of converting to Christianity, a capital offense under Afghanistan's Shariah law, has been found insane and therefore unfit for trial.

Cox and Forkum


Woooo! Howza freedom taste?

Seriously though, it is a dilemma, we can't coerce a country from the outside once we've "liberated" them can we? I should hope this puts to rest any serious accusations of "AMERICANIZATION!!!" from radical leftists (no not democrats or liberals, anarcho-greens, and yes there's plenty of them) but I'm not terribly optimistic. What is more progressive? To respect the independence of other countries or to refrain them from executing barbaric medieval practices?

For now the prospect looks like muddling along with technicalities.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Pandemic: Sex Addiction

CNN claims new research is required into a rapidly developping syndrome, known as sex addiction, which may rapidly undermine society. Indeed, the Spring is the time when the love drug creeps its way back in to the mainstream and parts of society lose their wholesome monogamous activities and votes are lost to the Democratic Party. Fotunately, the moral majority is proposing aid with leaders who, for various reasons, are immune to the disease. However, the proposed War on Sex is receiving considerable inexplicable obstruction in congress.

Numerous stars are attempting to tackle the problem of our oversexed society, such as Jessica Alba and Angelina Jolie by proclaiming solidarity with sufferers of sex addiction through the wearing a chastity belt and RapeX condoms respectively.

There are also numerous associations to help recovery such as Sex Addicts Anonymous to help individuals pursue healthy natural heterosexual relationships. Recent studies of chimps and baboons have shown that their unorthodox sexuality and diversity of sperm present in females is do their status as godless freaks of nature.

For my part, though not a sufferer of the disease, at least not particularly so, I intend to join Liverpuddlians Sex Addicts Anonymous (website pending). Partly to do my bit in helping members of the community in need and partly to meet women.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Characters: NIXON

Richard Milhous Nixon. Note the capitalization. Few men are so controversial, powerful and evil as to attract the fascination of historians and political scientists like Nixon has. To the extent that in my library there are about 10 biographical tomes (circa 500+ pages each) on the man. He started off his career as a buddy of McCarthy spewing anti-Communist hysteria. This led to his rising popularity and being VP for good ol' ultra-respectable-except-for-my-associates President Eisenhower. It took lots of wrangling, a failed Presidential campaign and a failed California Gubernatorial before finally clinching the presidency. A sort of liberal fifth columnist in the conservative movement he achieved things like food stamps, affirmative action and eliminated the gold standard. Abroad Nixon's juggling was even more impressive that he simultaneously spewed anti-communist rhetoric, opened China, instigated d├ętente with the USSR and withdrew from Vietnam. Of course, he did lots of evil stuff like Watergate and supporting an evil genocidal dictatorship of West Pakistanis over Bangladesh.

Nixon being "presidential". Note the poor shave, slick hair, hands and jowels.

Nixon was a frequent target of cartoonists like Herblock and Oliphant.

Wrapping oneself in the flag to blanket oneself against criticism... Remind you of anyone?

Nixon got nailed for illegal wiretapping. Remind you of anyone? He struggled to keep tapes of him supporting wiretapping his opponents secret, citing executive privilege (Remind you of anyone?) but ultimately failed.

Nixon did not seem to enjoy power much. Being the butt of many jokes and as he put it, "kicked around" by the media and cartoonists. He seemed to have a good enough life though.

Legendary cartoonist Herblock about to give a "very close shave" to Nixon to clean the poor old boy up.

He later became a respected elder statesman who, despite his finished political career, was respected for his insight on foreign policy. (I've read his book "1999" on the subject, sometimes subtle, sometimes prescient, often rambling) Here Futurama shows Nixon as one of the Greats who would be preserved for posterity after death.

Or is he really finished? Nixon was the comeback-king, though he burns in hell he's sure to be scheming for a return playing on our emotions with the most manipulatively cold calculations.

Dead or not, for Nixon, it's almost as if an end isn't possible for the little devil.

Nixon had to resign in the end, and is now safely dead. Nonetheless, through human will, power and a bizarre victory, were all his.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Characters: The Buddha

As you might have noticed I've been kinda low on the posting recently. Well, I've figured I'd have a new series to have summat to say. Today's character the Buddha, or prince Gautama. Yes, I know what you're thinking: "What could a religion that's too much of a pussy to kill people in its name have to offer me?" And you're probably right. Which is probably why there has yet to be a major Buddhist empire and is the reason for the Tibetans getting sinicized even as we speak.

Nonetheless, artistically the religion is nothing short of fancy with Gautama (and other Buddhas, individuals who have achieved Enlightenment) being personified in many different forms in statues always heavily altered by local culture. Unlike the monotheistic religions or Hinduism, Buddhism is so un-dogmatic that it's allowed very personalized buddhas. Some of the earliest Buddha statues were made by Greeks (of all people) who on their killing rampage across Persia and northern India had picked up some culture along the way.

Standing Buddha in classical style.

Many places have a thing for massive buddhas. Recall the statues the Taliban blew up, but there's plenty of others.

Chinese Buddha. Not very esthetic.

A somewhat more famour rendition Sino-Japanese style. The sheer weight and mass of serenity is unshakeable?

We're all familiar with the usual laughing Buddha (who was in fact the original Gautama Buddha but a Chinese monk who claimed to have become a Buddha) but there's in fact been quite a few styles not usually seen in the West. These happen to be some of my favourites.

Evil laughing Buddha. Somewhat reminiscent of Nurgle.

Buddha, before reaching Enlightenment, attempted severe asceticism (physical and sensual deprivation). Some statues portray him in that state, and call me morbid, but they've got a nice complementary character which I like.

Hollow-eyed ascetic Buddha. Perhaps I like because I know my eyes will be that hollow one day? :-P

Some post-modern stuff:

Yes, everyone's favourite ex-first-black-president-to-be used to be a bit of demi-god in the 90s when he had just published his autobiography and people were thinking up offices for him to fill.

Here's prolly my favourite of all.

A sitting classical, probably Greek, Buddha. I see a quiet virile serenity that's difficult to match. Indeed you don't usually have those words together. And the missing arm just makes it better, surreal. (much like the winged victory statue)

And now, the man's latest incarnation:

Because babies are far too cute to leave out!