You’ve been to the edge of childhood, haven’t you? It’s a few streets from home, at the corner of Saturn and The Milky Way, where the stars become trinkets and shower down in a haze. There is a great big tree there; it bears a million leaves each year. Today if you were to climb up a branch and shake it lightly, little pearls might rain down still.
Your bicycle could have well been your stallion, for you were known to use your sheets as capes. There is a plastic cricket stump in your attic that has seen the blood of many a dragon. What about the Math teacher who wanted you to add things in your head, and the midgets who wouldn’t let you? If you had the foresight then, you’d have fed the midgets to the dragons and done well in math too. Your first math lesson wasn’t even math. The kid next door held up two hands and began counting backwards on his fingers “ten, nine, eight, seven, six and add the five from the other hand and it makes eleven” he said and ruined your entire week.
Remember the trusting toad you put in a box and carried to school for your science project? You let him live after all, and it is a story the frogs will never forget. Your name signed all over the neighborhood with the talented direction-control of piss; you had named it and claimed it and owned it. Those bumbling neighbors who spoke of your mom slyly would have known better if they had cared to smell their walls. Summer nights spent sneaking into the smuggler’s house down the road to check if he was storing gold biscuits in the garage.
Some little kid was run over by a truck and you had to play carom for weeks, no one cycled in the streets, you sang movie songs in the night and when someone mentioned the kid’s name there was silence all around. You saw him once or twice after that, always waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the tree make scary shadows on the window pane. You had to try many times to blow off all the candles lined up on the cake that year, and your cousin said it was bad luck.
That year you also learnt that fathers sometimes leave and go away without even dying, that sometimes the lies people tell about your family have a way of coming true. Zeroes made their way into you report cards and somehow, inexplicably, at the same time teachers became friendlier. Dragons became scarcer; the shadows on the window became scarier. You punched a boy in the street because he said something about your parents. He got up and screamed something nastier, you rushed at him screaming and teeth barred. Tell me, when you went home that evening, were you consoled or punished? Tell me. You’ve been to the edge of childhood, haven’t you?
Sometimes someone sets their sights so firmly on the goalposts that they don’t realize that they are moving, sometimes into an entirely different ballpark*.
Of course, the Jane Fonda question is the easy one. Realistically, the American government is not going to deliberately (in both senses) target and extrajudicially execute “an American not engaged in combat on American soil” anytime soon. Nor, as far as we know, has it ever done so. The only time the American government has adopted a formal policy of killing American citizens on American soil was during the Civil War, and the citizens it set out to kill were most definitely “engaged in combat.”
That statement is so white, i used it to find my emergency lamp during a power cut.
Drones are different. Apart from austere pacifists who reject war or violence in any form, hardly anyone rejects drones as a matter of principle, the way much larger numbers of people reject torture. Nor are there many who maintain that drones are just another weapon whose use should be subject to no more checks or restraints than an infantryman’s rifle.
“We talked it over at the New Yorker, guys, and as long as you keep us informed, blast away. We’ll handle the dirty fucking hippies!”
A common thread that runs through many of the American foreign-policy misadventures of the last couple of generations—the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran and of Allende in Chile, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Vietnam War, the Iran-Contra debacle, the catastrophic Iraq war that was launched ten years ago this week, the torture scandal—is the manipulation of secrecy, deceit, and unchecked executive power.
Is it Rudyard Kipling week at the New Yorker? I mean, ‘misadventure’? really? like really, really?
Apparently the other common thread in evidence; that of gaining control over ‘resources’, using violent force on entire populations, and the loss of millions of human lives across the world, collectively known in earlier times as colonialism is too slender to grasp for Mr. Hertzberg, let alone question. What matters is that those dastardly republicans/tea partiers not gain any ground.
* = Is that metaphor twisted enough to qualify me for the Annual Thomas L Friedman vacation “i can’t believe it’s not a blog” op/ed in the NYT?
Konica Auto S3 with my foot in the background
Thanks to the generous information provided by a kind mentor, and thanks even more to my mom for spotting me a bit of cash during the interstitial no-money days, I have picked up two cameras that are older than me, and are also more expensive to maintain than I am. The first, above, is a Konica Auto S3 from around 1974. It’s a svelte snapshot of japanese high-tech at the time, and at the same time it’s an enduring design that has recently had some sort of a revival – with Olympus, Ricoh, Fujifilm(!!) and Sony among others pulling back from the size and megapixel monsters being proliferated by the two camera colossi Canon and Nikon. On the other hand is another camera of older provenance than I am though due to it’s long production run, it could be anywhere from 1 to 25. This camera is hefty enough to serve as a blunt weapon in times of need, and I am sure that hanging this off my neck will cause severe vertebral degradation at some point in the future. But it’s so worth it!
I have put a couple of rolls of film through both of them and will report on them when i can.
It’s one thing to stretch the law to stop a criminal syndicate or terrorist organization. It’s quite another when prosecuting a reckless young man.
So says Tim Wu in an article about the suicide of one of the leading lights of the blogosphere, Aaron Swartz. Being unfamiliar with Mr. Wu who is a law professor, I am not sure if he has observed the following: If one can stretch a law for one purpose, one will tend to stretch the law for any whim and fancy
A LATE REALIZATION: Why are we always talking about laws being ‘stretched’ and never ‘shrunk’ to fit? is there a 3rd law of thermodynamics for, er, the law?
Apparently, spiders build decoy spiders to fool their prey. I really should have taken a course in mannequin-making
the arachnid crafts the larger spider from leaves, debris and dead insects. Though Cyclosa includes other sculpting arachnids, this is the first one observed to build a replica with multiple, spidery legs.
so you think i’ve got a blog post for you? not particularly. Blogging is dead i thought – so only Zombies blog. At any rate, creating more electronic bits for storage is the whole purpose of the internet – so here are some black and white ones for you.