Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: Crawling Through The Wreckage

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: Crawling Through The Wreckage

“Mr. Watson, come here, I want you,” Alexander Graham Bell shouted to his assistant. Watson didn’t hear him directly — but he did hear Bell over that newfangled telephone invention of his. “Screw you,” Watson replied. “You’re using social media to harass me!”

I’d rather avoid contradicting Marshall McLuhan. He said his piece to Woody Allen on-screen, but, damn, the medium is not the message. It only seems that way because we have a tradition of shooting the messenger. Social media has been made out to be a great evil, spreading fear and danger across the globe.

I have no overwhelming affinity for social media. You’re unlikely to find me gazing at my iPhone while blocking pedestrians at Grand Central Terminal. Social media can be a shit magnet, but it is one made of mirrors. Facebook did not invent White Supremacy, no more than D.W. Griffith did. Twitter didn’t invent body shaming; we’ve had teenage angst since the creation of acne vugaris. They provide the platform for anybody and everybody. We’re blaming these companies for delivering on their promises. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: Crawling Through The Wreckage”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: F-Bombs Away!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: F-Bombs Away!

Frack. Frick. Fug. Frigging. Fenorking. Freaking. Funked-up. Boffing. Boinking. Deuced. The F-Word. The F-Bomb!

Generally speaking, these euphemisms are substitutes for the unholiest of all words,“fuck.” When you hear any of these terms — depending upon the context, of course — your brain understands them as “fuck.” Simply reading the word will send you straight to Heck, so I guess if you made it this far I owe you an apology.

Euphemisms are needless conduits to reality. They don’t work unless the real word already is in your head. Cut the cheese and say what you mean.

This past Sunday, Bill Nye The Science Guy dropped the F-Bomb (seriously; that term is far more banal than the source term) on Last Week With John Oliver something like five times in five minutes. It was hilarious, but the fact that it was just proves the word still has some power. This astonishes me, as it achieved commonplacehood a couple generations ago. Nonetheless, it persists.

We shouldn’t need these words to shock. Pick up a newspaper. Turn on the news. Take a look at your retirement fund. Think about all those people who voted for Trump. That’s the stuff that should shock you. The fact that most of the near-infinite circumlocutions truly are sophomoric shows how impotent the word fuck really is.

Yet these words continue to offend those who make the conscious decision to be offended, to show that they are superior to the riff-raff because they are better, because they think euphemisms show off that superiority. These are people who keep their noses so high in the sky they would drown in a light drizzle. They are elitists who want to delineate their moral dominance. They have no functional belief system other than their own elitism; they haunt the rosters of both the left and the right.

A week ago today, the National Review — one of the comparatively sane conservative publications — published a well-written essay by Heather Wilhelm, who probably is a very nice person with an obvious sense of humor, but who probably wouldn’t like me very much.

The piece was called “The Banality of the F-Bomb,” and she starts with several instances of the use of the word — starting with Maurice Chevalier, for which she deserves serious props. But Ms. Wilhelm establishes her moral superiority by asking “What is wrong with everyone? Have we lost our national “edit” button? (I’ll answer my own question, because the answer is obvious: Yes.)”

No. No, we haven’t. We’ve simply gone honest on your ass. We’ve accepted the fact that times change and some words that previously were unacceptable are now acceptable and other words that previously were acceptable are now unacceptable. Fuck is in common usage, but we now have the N-word to replace a previously common phrase.

Is that progress? Not really. It’s fashion. By 2076 other words will be verboten and some others will get a reprieve. Calm down; I’m not taking a position on which words should be good and which words should be bad. I’m simply pointing out the vicissitudes of history.

If a single word causes you to foam at the mouth and writhe around in an epileptic fit, that’s on you. If that word causes the overwhelming majority of people to foam at the mouth and writhe around in an epileptic fit, that’s on society.

Besides, despite common liberal philosophy words in and of themselves really are harmless. If I say the word fuck to you, you will still be the same person you were the moment before and it will be your reaction that might be childish. It’s concepts that are dangerous. I’m much more concerned about White Nationalists than I am about whether they use the N-Word itself or simply say “N-Word” as illegitimate proof that they are not racist. If they want to call me a kike, that’s fine. Forewarned is forearmed.

I agree with Ms. Wilhelm’s final observation that “Americans will get bored with using it.” Well, not bored so much as running out the fashion clock. Of course, what goes around comes around.

Euphamisers are shitheads. Is that the S-Word, or the S-Bomb? I dunno. Fuck ‘em.

• • • • •

Mr. Gold will be joining much of the Pop Culture Squad tomorrow (Friday) through Sunday at the East Coast Comicon at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Expo Center. He doesn’t make as many shows as he used to, so if you’re in the area drop by and tell him to bugger off.

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #037: Weed Prefer Reason

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #037: Weed Prefer Reason

My local newspaper (those things we used to wrap fish) says “Many Democrats view (marijuana) legalization as an opportunity to reverse some of the effects of the War on Drugs, increase state revenue and invest in urban communities. But Republicans and some Democrats believe the social costs of legalization – particularly concerns about driving under the influence, teen use and addiction – outweigh the benefits.”

Well, if that’s true — and it’s right there in black-and-white, so it must be true — then Republicans and some Democrats are a bunch of idiots who have been living under a rock… and that comment embraces truthiness. It’s like these people were hiding in church until the flood receded. America’s become a different place, whether these busybodies like it or not. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #037: Weed Prefer Reason”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #036: It’s The Planet That Got Small

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #036: It’s The Planet That Got Small

For several billion years the planet Earth had grown just a bit more unusual every day, but for the past several years overall global weirdness has been multiplying faster than amoebas on Viagra. In the past week or two, we have enjoyed or endured so much wacky stuff that it now seems commonplace.

For example, the voters in the Ukraine elected a new president who happens to be a comedian and an actor without any governing experience. But seriously folks, he did play the part of a teacher who accidentally became president. He might have been the most qualified candidate and he might become a great president, but as an American I’m a bit shy when it comes to television stars taking over the reins of government. To his credit, President-elect Volodymr Zelenskiy said to his supporters “I promise I won’t mess up.” Make the Ukraine great again!

Meanwhile, Peru’s former president Alan Garcia had an amusing response to his forthcoming arrest in a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal: he took out his gun and blew his brains out. Mister Garcia was but one of four former presidents involved in this scandal, but he’s the only one to have committed suicide thus far.  Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #036: It’s The Planet That Got Small”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #035: The Great American Crossroads

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #035: The Great American Crossroads

Nancy Pelosi has been promoting the position that we should not be seeking the impeachment and conviction of the President of the United States at this time. She makes some good points about how impeachment would be very divisive and will energize — and arguably grow — the President’s so-called base. It is clear that, at this time even if the House votes for impeachment, the Republican-controlled Senate will not vote to convict and remove.

But the increasing moral outrage against each new revelations about our President’s lies, manipulation, and outright thuggery shows a growing desire for Congress to do its job and hold hearings that could lead to an impeachment vote, and that if the Republican Senate refuses to convict no matter what the evidence, we should see which ones will go on the record against the laws and values of our nation. That, alone, could give the Democrats control of the Senate a year from January.

That is a dichotomy of Nietzschean proportions. Perhaps it would be a bit easier to wrap ourselves around Pelosi’s position had she revealed the political mathematics behind her position.  Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #035: The Great American Crossroads”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!

As you read these words, and thank you for that, you are one up on me. You’re reading this after the Barr Report is released. I’m writing this the evening before the Barr Report is released.

I’ll bet you don’t know a hell of a lot more about this report than I do, or I did last night, which, for me, is right now. Can we predict future history based upon past history? George Santayana be damned! Have a little patience!

Then again, one person’s patience is another person’s deadline.

It is my belief that the Barr Report isn’t going to do squat aside from raising the volume of our already ostentatious national discourse. It’s not the Mueller Report; it’s a gaily colored, heavily-censored phone book marked up by our nation’s most talented obfuscator, William Barr. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #033: Some Of My Best Friends…

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #033: Some Of My Best Friends…

Lately, our nation’s Despot-In-Chief has been facing growing accusations of anti-Semitism. On one hand, acts of anti-Semitism in America have been growing faster than the measles outbreaks in Orthodox neighborhoods. On the other hand, we have a tendency to think that just because a person repeatedly shows bigoted behavior towards various groups – in Trump’s case, Muslims, Hispanics, Africans and most all other people who are imbued more eumelanin than Casper the Friendly Ghost – they must be bigoted towards all groups.

That is just silly.

Clearly, Trump is also highly bigoted towards women, and, arguably, towards attractive women and women in power. He is bigoted towards anybody who vocalizes opinions that differ from his, even though his opinions frequently change within the course of his speeches, and sometimes within his sentences.

But is he bigoted towards Jews? That is an interesting question.

“Hey,” Trump might well say, “Some of my best friends are Jewish.” Then he would point to Stephen Miller, the juggler best known for simultaneously being both a Jew and a Nazi, adding “Yeah, that guy jewed down the price of those cages. He saved us a fortune.” Miller would be at home with the likes of Emil Maurice and General Erhard Milch.

Miller is a toxic turd. He is the mastermind of Trump’s immigration policy – the modern-day pogrom – and he got that job after years of stellar service to Jeff Sessions and Michele Bachmann. If we had been in a declared war and we had lost that war, Miller would be in chains shivering before Spencer Tracy. Yup, Miller is Jewish. He self-defines as a white nationalist, so his understanding of American history is negligible. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #033: Some Of My Best Friends…”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #032: This Asshole Wants To Kill Your Mother

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #032: This Asshole Wants To Kill Your Mother

You might think that headline up there is an exaggeration, maybe even a gross exaggeration. And it is. Absolutely. This asshole only wants to kill your murder if she didn’t vote for him.

Fair is fair, or for you objectivists out there, A is A. I could have suggested other headlines: “This Asshole Thinks You’re An Idiot,” or maybe “This Asshole Thinks You Need A Healthy Diet – HIS!” Or perhaps “This Asshole Wants You To Avoid The Rush and Kill Yourself Right Now.”

Do you feel a certain sense of urgency here? This is the man whose reality testing is so low he can’t even spell solipsism. To be more specific, and I’m not making this up, our Asshole-In-Chief is a philosophical zombie. Yup, that is a thing. Check out the work of contemporary philosophers such as Robert Kirk, Karlyn Campbell, or David Chalmers. 14 years-ago Kirk rethought his position and stated such philosophical zombies are impossible. He continued to stand by his self-refutation in 2017 when he published Robots, Zombies and Us ­– which strongly indicates Wi-Fi reception at his Nottingham University must really suck.

(Yeah, I dig philosophers. They’ve dedicated their lives to trying to answer the question “How many meth heads can dance on a pin.”)  Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #032: This Asshole Wants To Kill Your Mother”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #031: Justice v Vengeance

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #031: Justice v Vengeance

According to the Vera Institute of Justice, the cost of incarceration averages more than $31,000 per inmate per year. That can run as much as $60,000 in some states. Add to that the state’s expenses for prosecution and appeals (both from the state and from the defense) and the resources needed in getting the convict to and from court, and you’re talking about some real money. Multiply that by the annual number of people convicted of non-violent, essentially petty crimes and you’re talking the GNP of, oh, say, maybe Latvia or Tunisia.

So when we talk about locking somebody up – as opposed to other sanctions such as community service, fines, et al – we should ask ourselves are we serving the cause of justice, or are we just seeking revenge?

Yeah, I know. “An eye for an eye” (Matthew 5:38-42) vs “Vengeance is mine, I will recompense, sayeth the Lord” (Hebrews 10:30). First amendment, separation of church and state, yadda yadda yadda.

Obviously, this brings us to the current brouhaha regarding actor and failed hoaxer Jussie Smollett. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #031: Justice v Vengeance”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #030: Is Bigger Worser?

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #030: Is Bigger Worser?

Last Friday Senator Elizabeth Warren called for the breaking up of the larger tech/innovation companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. She made this argument at the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology conference, citing anti-trust as her major concern.

It’s amusing to see Sen. Warren side with Donald Trump on anything. You may recall that Trump wanted to kill the AT&T / Time Warner merger. The standard reason of “limiting competition” was offered, and I agree with her in concept: limiting competition is bad, and monopolies suck. Ask anybody who subscribes to cable television.

A couple years ago Warren promised to break up the big banks. These few institutions are quite rich, extremely powerful, are paying their top executives in eight or nine and are doing much, much better now than they did before they forced us into our worst recession since the Great Depression. At that time, the government said they could not break up these institutions who had put a death grip on our economy, cost millions of mom-and-pop investors much of their life savings, and allowed them to gobble up hundreds of smaller, local banks. They were, as we were told, “too big to fail.” Which is the same as “too big to follow the law.”

Warren cried bullshit onto that, and she was right. But if she did anything meaningful about it except bray, she’s succeeded in keeping that to herself. So, instead, she’s shifted her attention to much lower-hanging fruit. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #030: Is Bigger Worser?”