Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
July 26, 2008 - July 19, 2008

Friday, April 27, 2007

Oh, go away.

A dumb dwarf. Or is that politically incorrect?

WHAT WE DO WITH THE LITTLE PEOPLE. He was always a little man in a suit too big for him. He's the guy who took copious notes without ever understanding the meaning of the lecture. He's the guy who got the plum assignment by working twice the hours his more talented competitors did. He's the guy George W, Bush stands behind when everyone who has stood behind George W. Bush is throwing up in the weeds because George W. Bush doesn't know when or how to fire an idiot.

Alberto Gonzales is a mediocrity. And a gross incompetent. And one of those pitiful little guys who always look like they've been dressed by their mother.

I'm a right wing conservative Republican and I'd rather have Bobby Kennedy running the Justice Department than this guy. What does that tell you?

GWB -- Buy a goddamned biography of Napoleon. Not that it will help. You've become the biggest disappointment of my life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why Global Warming is a fake issue

(Graphic borrowed filched from CLS at

THINK ABOUT IT. I know the lefties believe they're building up some serious momentum on the Global Warming fad, but it's just not the ticket to long-term ascendancy and power they think it is. Not because the danger has been overstated, which it almost certainly has been. The truth or falsity of the scientific claims is irrelevant to the question of what political advantage the Democrats can wring from them. What does matter is the elementary calculus of what makes a political issue potent enough to create a sea change in the electorate, and in this respect Global Warming couldn't be more of a loser for the party that tries to parlay it into a mandate.

Strange that the party which constantly talks about "kitchen table" issues could so entirely miss the fact that Global Warming isn't one of them. The most basic fact about a kitchen table issue is that it's something the electorate is experiencing right now. There's something that's causing them pain or want in their day-to-day lives, or there's the prospect of an immediate, achievable benefit in their day-to-day lives. That's it.

FDR rode the Great Depression to a generation of Democrat power. He was elected because the people were already suffering, a lot, and they wanted a savior. He received a second mandate after Pearl Harbor, because the people wanted revenge. Not the day before Pearl Harbor, please note, because although the world political situation was equally dire the day before, it wasn't hitting American kitchen tables and therefore wasn't important enough to occasion real sacrifice.

Ronald Reagan rode economic stagflation to power. The people were suffering 'right now' from 13 to 18 percent inflation they had endured long enough to associate with out-of-control big government policies and spending.

George W. Bush received a huge but short-lived mandate from the 9/11 attacks, because average Americans felt themselves under direct, immediate threat from a frightening, alien enemy.

A huge majority of Americans signed up for the "Global War on Terror," which was described from the start (regardless of how people wish to recast it now) as a painful struggle that could last for an entire generation or more. But just a little more than five years after 9/11, the immediacy of the fear has dissipated and "the people" want nothing more to do with fighting terrorists. Do the Islamic jihadists hate us any less? Have they abandoned their stated goal of destroying the west and creating a medieval theocracy that rules through terror, murder, and totalitarian oppression? No. But what have they done to us this week? Not much. So the people would rather think about something else, please.

And this is where the lefties have seriously bamboozled themselves. People are prepared to be "alarmed" about Global Warming precisely because it's so much less scary than murderous Islamofascist thugs who maybe can't be stopped from doing their worst. The warming catastrophe if it comes will take a long long time to reach the kitchen table, and it sorta kinda (at the moment) sounds like the ones who will have to pay for fixing it are all those rich, greedy corporations who are so much fun to hate until they start laying off the people who sit at our particular kitchen table.

But there's the rub. What happens to the appeal of Global Warming as an energizing issue when the people discover there's absolutely no upside to it? When they discover that the real 'vision' of the environmental crusaders is to exact an accelerating series of sacrifices that will hit the kitchen table damn quick -- higher fuel prices, frailer cars, lower standard of living -- with absolutely no prospect of immediate benefit other than some theoretical delay in a remote future disaster?

They're absolutely not going to buy it. They're already so fatigued with the GWOT that they're ready to turn and walk away from a military engagement with al qaeda that very few of them have sacrificed anything to support. Why on earth would they persevere in an even longer term cause that has yet to kill anyone when they finally realize that they're being asked to give up a century of technological progress and clean up after themselves like some Parris Island marine recruit?

When they find out how expensive it is to buy their electricity from wind farms and heat their houses with solar panels, they'll just say no. When you jack up their gas prices and impose SUV taxes to force them into expensive hybrids that are slower, smaller, and uglier than what they're driving now, they'll say "Hell no." And when you ask them to recycle still more trash, surrender their air-conditioners, ration their electrical usage, compost their own sewage, and become first vegetarians, then Vegans, their answer will be unprintable. Most people don't have the luxury of buying fictitious carbon indulgences just for the sake of pretending they're saving a planet that not one of them believes is in any serious danger from us, anyway. And if Kyoto or its successor reawakens the beast of runaway inflation, there aren't enough eco-platitudes in the universe to save the party in power frm the wrath of the voters.

Of course, there are probably a good many liberals trying to ride the Global Warming issue at the moment who know exactly how silly it all is. If they don't, they're fools. If they do, they're corrupt opportunists. Take your pick. If you still want to ride along with them, you have a constitutional right to be as big a fool as you want to be. But here's what you can take to the bank: the Europeans may be braindead enough to let themselves be regulated back to the nineteenth century or earlier, but Americans simply will not stand for it. And five years from now, they'll be as oblivious about the dangers of Global Warming as they are now about the several hundred million Islamic fanatics who want to cut their throats today.


She's in a deep dark place and needs our help.

THE O'REILLY FACTOR. The lure of celebrity is a powerful thing. Once you get the taste, it's apparently impossible not to want more. Famous people invite you places, give you opportunities to do things you never dreamed you were good at, and eventually you start believing you're good at all kinds of things, including things you should absolutely stay away from. That's when your friends should have the courage to step up and say, "Stop it! At once!"

We don't blame Michelle Malkin for catching the celebrity bug. She's hardworking, energetic, dedicated, and nice looking. Her blog is justifiably popular because it's as fearless as she is and updated at an almost frightening pace every day. She's become a regular guest on Fox News and even a sometime guest host for that ultimate glory-seeking publicity hound Bill O'Reilly. Her year-old multimedia blog HotAir has become brazen enough to employ the O'Reillyian tactic of self-promoting a FNC television gig for its own principal. So far so good. Nothing wrong with being ambitious and self-confident.

But recent events are a cause for grave concern. Especially because it's Michelle Malkin we're talking about here, who has been pitiless in her contempt for Hollywood celebrities who think their popularity as entertainers also means they are world-class intellectuals who should lecture the rest of us about politics, values, and lifestyle. One of Michelle's own colleagues, Laura Ingraham, has written a book about such celebrities called "Shut Up and Sing." That's exactly opposite the advice Michelle Malkin needs to hear from the rest of us as loudly and insistently as necessary.

First, there was this very odd bit of performance art from HotAir the other day:

Frankly, this struck us as an act of masochism, almost of wanton self-destruction. We've empathized over the years with the pain La Malkin has experienced from the filthy imprecations of the soul-damaged denizens of the left. Why on earth would she voluntarily open herself up to this kind of attack? (and needless to say, this is the cleanest part...)

And what's a 40-year-old woman doing with a schoolgirl outfit just lying around the house, anyhow?  Or is that something special you got after the twins were born when you found Jesse's browser history pointing to a whole slew of porn websites?

No matter, regardless of where that outfit came from, I think that this is as good a time as any to tell you this, honey.  Displays like this are not going to make people take you any more seriously.  In fact, it only reinforces our contention that you are basically developmentally frozen at about an eighth grade level.  Did something really unspeakably awful happen to you when you were 13?  Is that what retarded your emotional and cognitive development?

Why set yourself up for such derision and abuse? Why? It makes no sense. Yes, you could argue that it's a one-time aberration. Everyone makes mistakes. Except for today's HotAir entry. Which begins to seem like a pattern.

It's true La Malkin went to Oberlin College, where most everyone has musical talent. Obviously, her talent in this respect consists of playing the piano. It's not singing. IT'S NOT SINGING.

The people closest to her need to take her in hand. She has a problem. It's time for an intervention. You can't be continually dancing on the heads of Hollywood performers for talking about politics if you're a political writer whose secret ambition is to be a performer yourself. It's the kind of miscue that gets you laughed at. A lot.

Michelle. Please. STOP singing and dancing... and do the O'Reilly thing you were born to do. Okay?

The End of Government

HONESTY. God, how I love this book cover. The sharp knowing eyes. The wry knowing smile. The dark suit that is somehow an all-encompassing foreground and background. The grandiloquent, allusive title that is nevertheless dwarfed by the name of the author. It's perfect. How can it not remind us all of MacArthur's West Point valedictory -- Me, Honor, Country?

Don't know how to break it you, all you boomer, X, Y, and XY generations of the once great nation called the United States. It's over. Today's Drudge item is as perfectly emblematic as the cover:

"(T)he hardest part of all this has been just listening to this for almost three years, listening to the vice president go on "Meet the Press" on the fifth year [anniversary] of 9/11 and say, 'Well, George Tenet said slam dunk' as if he needed me to say 'slam dunk' to go to war with Iraq," he tells Pelley. "And you listen to that and they never let it go. I mean, I became campaign talk. I was a talking point. Oh, look at the idiot [who] told us and we decided to go to war.' "

Boo. Hoo. He was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America. And we're supposed to feel sorry for him because he once made a remark that became symbolic of the failure of his entire organization to do its job for the people he was sworn to serve? Is there anyone out there who believes that the thousands of anonymous intelligence operatives who risked death and torture for their country in the certain knowledge that their contributions and sufferings would never be known by the public are somehow honored by this kind of narcissistic self pity from the director of the CIA? If a CIA agent is trained to die without any hope of rescue or recognition, why in hell should a CIA director complain if his own reputation is tarnished in the prosecution of American foreign policy as the duly elected president conceives it?

But he's far from the only one. There has been a constant stream of subversive, self-aggrandizing books by those whose whole power to serve the U.S. government resided in their capacity to listen and speak honestly to the President, whose confidence in their input rested largely on the knowledge that candid conversations about matters of state would not be spilled into the public trough.

Thanks to the likes of George Tenet, Colin Powell, David Frum, Richard Clarke, and God only knows how many other narcissistic crybabies, it will never again be possible for a president of the United States to converse with advisers without contemplating the self-serving books they will write, and publish, while he (or she) is still in office.

Sorry. I can't forget what everyone else -- and I do mean everyone -- has forgotten. The United States of America is the most powerful and benevolent nation the world has ever seen. The decisions that have to be made on behalf of our own ctizens and the world are frequently difficult, complex, morally contradictory, and nearly impossible to make. The leadership of no other nation in history has ever voluntarily confronted the murderous intentions of its rivals without permitting itself the option of annihilating them by any means possible. Thus, the much pilloried Bush adminsitration has continuously faced a situation without precedent in human history -- fanatical, mortal enemies bent on the destruction of the nation they serve, enemies who could be reduced to ash in approximately 60 minutes without significant risk of retaliation, but who will not be exterminated because we choose not to do so for moral reasons.

The question that must be asked is why this heroic moral choice should lead to the end of the most basic principles of loyalty, honor, and integrity by those who have been so privileged as to participate in the experiment.

The answer is apocalyptic. Such lofty expressions of merciful intent lead inevitably to the lowest, most venal reactions by those who detect the weakness inherent in mercy. They know they can get away with personal treachery to further their own interests.

George W. Bush's real weakness is that he is not Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin, Saddam, Castro, or Pol Pot. That he is far more like Portia than Caesar is a promise of doom. In the days of Octavian, Powell, Tenet, Clarke, and Frum would never have lived to write their whining memoirs about their superiority to those from whom they took their orders. And the citizens of the Republic would have been safer abroad as a result. But there will be no American Augustus to lay the groundwork for a second American Century. There will be, however, (count on it) an American Cleopatra, Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero, and an inevitable sacking of the capital of the world.

Rejoice, all you nihilists. Your fondest, deepest wish, the slashing of your self-hating throats by oppressed barabarians, is one step closer than it was yesterday. Happy?

Sure you are. It's called thanatos. The only spiritual abstraction you can imagine...

Thanatos. Jason Bourne without the doubts and inhibitions. Or the mercy.

Enjoy the ride, everyone. It will, of course, be televised. Cool.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You Greenies want to cut CO2?
We're calling your bluff. Today.

Us rednecks could handle it. How 'bout you, cuz?

FOLLOW-THROUGH. Is anyone else tired of celebrities who insist the rest of us should live like cavemen while they continue to sport around the world in Gulfstream jets and hundred-foot yachts? Yesterday's proposal by Sheryl Crow that we common folk should confine ourselves to a single square of toilet paper was obviously ridiculous. Yet it proves why Global Warming is such a perfect cause for idiot liberals. They love it to death because they're convinced nothing can really be done about it, which means that pious speeches and token gestures are all that's required to demonstrate absolue moral superiority over the proles.

The Kyoto Treaty they claim to want wouldn't do a damned thing to undo the catastrophe they predict for Global Warming -- except (further) beggar the Third World and plunge the civilized world into permanent economic depression. It's pretty safe to say no one is going to permit that eventuality to happen, which enables the speechifying enviro-nazis to go on shaking their heads and looking down on all the dimwits who don't buy their vision of paradise. Wouldn't it be great if there were something that really could be done, something that would force the talkers to put up or shut up?

Yeah, but there really isn't anything to be done. If the earth is warming, there's no practical way to slash CO2 emissions to any significant degree. The talkers have total license to keep on talking and trying to make the rest of us feel small. Sheryl Crow is free to pretend that a goddess like herself doesn't need more than a single square of paper to police her butt, while us lowlier apelike humans need a handful. Point made. Perfect celebrity posturing.

Or maybe not. What if there really was something that could be done to slash CO2 emissions? Something more substantive than walking around smelling like feces. Something us Great Unwashed are better equipped to do than pansy liberals. How would that go down among the self-congratulating illuminati?

The good news: there is such a thing.

It's generally the oddest items of trivia that open up whole new boulevards of thought. I followed an InstaPundit link one day last week about some current political tiff and accidentally scrolled past the referenced item to the following intriguing sentence:

I don't like motorcycles, I don't like outfits that proudly use the word "confederate," and I'm not sure you are allowed to use the word "bitchin'" anymore--but this is a bitchin'-looking motorcycle. ...

The source is Mickey Kaus, who's a thoughtful and reasonable commentator, delicately poised in the middle of the road for the purpose of taking down the absurdities of both the extreme left and the extreme right. The quoted sentence is a perfect microcosm of his overall demeanor. Esthetically, he really is a liberal. He enjoys debating his lefty professor pal Robert Wright because Robert is so damned smart and, well, superior to the oafs of the right. Kaus probably goes to foreign film festivals for fun, and though he disapproves of French political treacheries, he would most likely feel more at home in Paris than in Biloxi, Mississippi. I don't know any of this for a fact, and so I'm being hideously unfair, but if I had to pick the car he drives, I'd guess a Volvo.

Why am I being so unfair? That opening statement: "I don't like motorcycles." Wow. Not, "I'm afraid to ride a motorcycle," or "I think motorcycles are unsafe at any speed," or  "I find motorcycles on the highway to be loud, unsettling, and annoying." No. We have a pure value judgment here, which is actually equated with his disapproval of any firms that would use the name "confederate." Which means that it's an ideological thing, a class thing, an us vs. them thing. He probably feels the same way about tattoos.

But there's also good stuff in Mickey Kaus. He has that old-timey liberal open-mindedness which allows him to appreciate an attractive, if alien, alternative esthetic. If he did like motorcycles, he would like the one shown at the beginning of this entry. It's called the Wraith, and it's manufactured by the Confederate Motor Company. If he'd looked at the CMC site, he'd have discovered that the company's marketing makes no use whatever of the Confederate flag. Even their tee-shirts are beautifully understated.

Not their bikes, though:

The Wraith

It's a pretty raw thing, the Wraith. One seat. 410 lbs. 125 hp. 4.1 gallon fuel tank. No storage. Runs like a scalded cat. The company name makes a certain kind of sense. One can't help being reminded of the wild-ass CSA technology that launched the first-ever submarine used in combat. Doomed, of course, like all Confederate plots, stratagems, and acts of derring-do. Nathan Bedford Forrest would have ordered Wraiths for all his crazed cavalry troopers. And he'd still have lost in the end.

BUT the thing about the Wraith, the thing that struck me, is this. As radical as it is, as impractical, as testosterone-overdosed as it unquestionably is, I'd be willing to bet this bike still gets better fuel economy than the next generation micro-car Green fanatics have been salivating over since they first saw it in "The Da Vinci Code."

The Zap! Smart Car. 40 mpg.

Yeah, I know. You libs and enviro-freaks probably think it's darling. On the other hand, the average redneck looks at it and flashes on an extremely unwelcome picture of John Bobbitt's truncated sex life. That's not an overreaction. That is what you liberals have in mind for all of us, isn't it? Isn't castration part of your utopian dream? Of  the phallic component in cars? Of the white male patriarchy? Of the rampant predation of capitalism? Of the male authority embodied in the Judeo-Christian evangelizing tradition? Of course it is. There's really no other explanation for the contradiction in terms your whole perspective on automobiles entails.

On the one hand, you bleat continuously about the need for absolute safety, regardless of driver competence. You pore over crash test data. (Volvos good. Yugos bad. Uuuuhhh.) You pass laws mandating airbags to protect those of you who panic like teenage girls and abandon all attempts to control the vehicle when an accident appears unavoidable. Then you pass more laws mandating child seats that -- to protect them from TA DAH! your mandated airbags -- turn parents into chauffeurs for the back-seat emperors and empresses whose accessories have grown so numerous and bulky as to require "minivans" to convey them from place to place in royal comfort.

On the other hand, you wax so paranoid about "the planet" that your most fervent desire is to require the most advanced civilization in history to abandon all the fruits of technology -- to turn out the lights that freed people to read at night, to give up the warmth in winter and cool in summer that freed people from their 40,000-year slavery to the seasons, to reduce their individual lives to efficient units of energy usage in the name of saving a planet whose natural forces dwarf, in every conceivable respect, the mightiest accomplishments of the species it is your pet project to hate.

You're such weenies you demand assurance that your stupidest driving maneuver can't possibly kill you. And you're such loons that you simultaneously insist on universal submission to tin-can vehicle designs which will make you feel more divine by fantasizing the vulnerability of a planet that will keep right on going whether you live, die, or transmogrify into hermaphrodite lumps.

It's time to call your bluff. There's an easy way to cut vehicular CO2 emissions in half almost immediately. Outlaw cars. Starting right now.

From now on, we use motorcycles. Of the two- and three-wheeled variety. Guess what? The common folk you despise so much are far better equipped to deal with this transition than all you environmentally correct folk who never saw a physical risk you wouldn't go miles out of your way to avoid.

And no scoffing. It's completely do-able. The benefits to our "carbon footprints" will be huge. We won't be able to carry as much stuff around. There will, therefore, be less stuff. The inept and inattentive will be more likely to get killed. We may wind up with fewer professors, social workers, attorneys, witless adolescents, and braindead bureaucrats. That aids evolution. But without all the giant vehicles currently terrorizing our roadways and glutting our interstates, averagely competent people will still be able to get more-or-less safely from place to place, and we won't have to waste petroleum and other pollutant resources in needless expansion of our asphalt traffic arteries. There will be more incentive for people to work from home rather than doze through long commutes. Old people who shouldn't be on the roadway won't be. Operating a motor vehicle will become, once again, a skill rather than the automatic right of superannuated children who don't know the difference between a clutch and a CD player. Life will become exciting again. AND CO2 EMISSIONS WILL DECLINE BY HALF, OR MORE THAN HALF, IN THE VERY FIRST YEAR. Just how badly do you want to save this fragile little planet that's been so abused by the machinations of mankind? Enough to show a little balls? That's right. This is a test.

We've even prepared a substitution table that will show you exactly what you'll be riding given what you're driving now.

If -- like most politicians and celebrities -- you blast from airport to hotel in a black Cadillac Escondido (Escalero? Escamillo? Escompoopoo?) or a fleet of them, here's your new ride:

Harley dresser.

Please remember to wear a helmet (it's like gun control, a reassuring fiction), and don't be looking for an automatic transmission.

If you're an academic weenie who just loves the safety record of the Swedes and requires a vehicle that looks like a shoebox (Volvo) or the shoe that comes in it (Saab), here's your new, much narrower carbon footprint:

Husqvarna, the only Swedish motorcycle.

But, hey, you were just about to upgrade from that Volvo POS to a true liberal vehicle, like maybe a BMW. Here's your contribution to Global Warming mitigation:

BMW 1200

I'm sorry. Does it look dangerous? No place for your cellphone and your f***ing Ipod? Well, you're doing it for the planet, a**hole. Get used to it.

Maybe you're one of those liberals who have solar panels on your 12,000 sq ft house and buy carbon credits to offset your 6 mpg Ferrari. Guess what? Here's your new sports vehicle:

Ducati. 'Il Monstro.'

Are you a Marxist little liberal who's never been into 'things,' and are quite happy putting around in your Prius or retro VW Bug? Sorry. You're not immune. Even you have to cut your CO2 emissions in half. To save the plant. You know. Here's your new ride:

Honda Eterno. 80 mpg.

Of course, I know some of you are laughing. You're exempt. Because you have kids. With a ton of Fisher-Price crap to haul around for the little bastards. Well, throw away the Fisher-Price crap. Here's your new minivan:

If you have more than two kids, you shouldn't. Too many carbon footprints. Get Nancy to legalize retro-active environmentally friendly abortion (RAEFA). It's for the planet, remember. Which will die completely to death unless we save it.

But I forgot. Some of you are celebrities. Who need to cover vast distances in order to sing about how everybody else must vut back on toilet paper, electricity, and heat. You need stretch limos....

You need to haul your expensive sound equipment to the stadium...

And you need -- what was it?...

Three tractor trailers.

Four buses:

And six cars.

Truth is, we're ready, Sheryl. Millions of us who already know how to ride these things. Millions of us who are dying to watch you wipe your pampered ass on the pavement.

Are you ready?

The breadbasket of America is waiting.

Back when the warming started. She used too many squares. Bitch.

All in all, it's a simple choice. Live to ride, people. Ride to live, libs. Are you listening, Sheryl?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sheryl has that 'pesky' feeling...

WE CAN HELP. Yeah, it's a bad feeling, knowing that Global Warming is going to drown New York and San Francisco and all the best concert venues. The consequences are dire. At the very least it would mean rewriting the list of terms, conditions, and perks the band would have to extort expect from promoters and producers. Think how much more complicated this clause would get:

God, you've have to specify flying boats, barges, launches, and a cabin cruiser, at a minimum. What's a girl to do?

That's why we understand her natural inclination to make suggestions. But we can't help observing that she's thinking a bit small. No matter how you perforate slice it, her toilet paper suggestion isn't going to save the concert-going public from inundation by the melting of the polar icecaps. It wouldn't even shift the balance if she issued the Luddite decree that ALL the mallrats of the western hemisphere revert to the fresh corncob solution of the 19th century (strangely practical when you figure in the fact that the Third World will no longer have access to corn for food when it's all being used for ethanol), or that women abandon disposable paper products for the re-usable cotton towels that marked the high point of Roman female hygiene.

But it was the best she could do. The amount of brainpower required to write three-chord rock and rhyming iambic lyrics is not the same as that required for saving the embattled earth from the sickening depredations of post-Neanderthal primates.

Rescue is on the way. We know what to do. And if these additional shots of Sheryl are any indication, she just might jump onto our admittedly narrow bandwagon. Tomorrow.

She might turn out to be one of the survivors. Unless... well, tune in tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Old Thunder:
Shuteye Town

The back room at Moon Books in the Shuteye Mall.

PREDICTIONS. Back in the last century, InstaPunk contributor R.F. Laird wrote the first truly multimedia work of fiction. Shuteye Town 1999 was a graphical journey through an underground world built around a massive mall. The work is much too large to summarize here -- 3,300+ graphic files, 350,000+ words of text -- but the reason we're remembering it today is that one of its many themes was the catastrophe that's invisibly overtaking our children. The influences on their development are rendered in painful detail -- you can actually play the video game "Teacher Kill," for example, and you can surf the "UnderNet" until you go mad -- yet the most troubling part of Shuteye Town is not its cartoon imagery, but its prescience. It seems to know beforehand about the Virginia Tech Massacre, and it even presumes to know why it happened. We can't possibly show you all the ways this phenomenon is addressed in Shuteye Town 1999, but we can show you a few. So that's what we're going to do.

The Shuteye Mall has a bookstore featuring representative titles and parodies of bestsellers ranging from literary fiction to romance novels to comic books. But there's also a back room containing the works that can no longer be published in our free society. Our tour guide is the very same Daniel Pangloss ("All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds") highlighted in the last InstaPunk entry. He's pleased by the absence of any books by "Angry Young Men."

We'll get to some of the other books later, but first let's take a subway ride to Schoolz Station.

And here's our destination.

Seems they've had an "unfortunate incident" of their own.

So sad.

V-e-e-e-e-ry sad.

It kind of makes you wonder how the college kids at Schoolz Station are reacting to the tragedy, doesn't it? Well, they're coping. In their own way.

And if the girls on campus don't cooperate, there's always the option of hooking up in some online chatroom.

But where were we? Oh yes. Why. Time to return to the back room at Moon Books. Here's something in the Unacceptable Viewpoints section.

The Functional Sociopath

The Thesis

Item. An 18-year-old girl in the company of adults sees a friend she has not spoken with for many weeks. As they talk, she is reminded of a ‘funny thing’ concerning one of her friends. The friend announced to several of her peers that she was leaving for a weekend jaunt somewhere. Subsequently the friend is not heard from again, although she had been a frequent caller by telephone. Curious, a trio of her intimates visited her apartment about two weeks after the ‘weekend jaunt’, found the door ajar, and entered. There was no sign anyone had been inhabiting the apartment in the previous two weeks. Nothing was missing, but a few things were strangely broken. The trio left the apartment and went their separate ways. None made any further inquiries. By the time the ‘funny thing’ was related as an anecdote, more than two months had elapsed since the ‘friend’ had been heard from.

This is just one of dozens of such items I have collected in recent years. Not as spectacular as school shootings, they nevertheless have in common with them an odd emotional discordancy. We regard it as striking when a teenage boy responds to teasing by murdering a dozen of his schoolmates, but isn’t it equally striking that ‘friends’ seem unable to summon enough concern to investigate or sound the alarm when an intimate simply disappears?

I believe that such discordancies are both striking and widespread. It may be rare, thus far, for them to result in violence, but if my theory about what is happening turns out to be correct, we will see far more apparently inexplicable violence in the years to come.

What is my theory? I am convinced that what amounts to a system-wide collapse in all our child-rearing institutions has created a virulent new strain of personality disorder—one I call the functional sociopath.

A sociopath is a person without conscience and without deep emotional connections to other human beings, individually and collectively. Science has long sought an organic basis for this kind of pathology, but it is also known that early environmental influences can play a major role in shaping the sociopathic personality.

I am persuaded that we have, as a culture, established an accidental combination of educational and child-rearing approaches which are practically ideal for generating sociopathic personalities in otherwise healthy children. To wit:

Self Esteem. The elevation of self esteem as a principal, if not the cardinal, goal of elementary education has dramatically reduced the opportunity for children to experience the necessary pain of perceiving that the world outside of themselves can and will make demands on them. This is a deprivation which stunts the prime mechanism by which children grow from infantile self absorption to fully individuated, ethical adult personalities. In other words, the permissiveness that accompanies the emphasis on self esteem aborts or sabotages the development of a real self of any kind.

Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit....

Sorry for the bit at the end. It's called greeked text, which printers (and some writers) use to represent the copy that's either not there or doesn't need to be because we all know what it will say. Now, here's a little something from the Invisible Problems section.

The End of Consciousness

The Thesis

In 1976, a Princeton psychologist named Julian Jaynes published a breathtakingly novel theory about human development. Titled The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Jaynes’s book addressed a subject—human consciousness—which had been virtually ignored by the formal discipline of psychology for most of the twentieth century.  His theory of consciousness was that the kind of self-awareness we take for granted as an intrinsic attribute of humanity is so dependent on the metaphoric properties of language that it could not have existed prior to 1500 BC.

To clear the way for his most daring assertions, Jaynes laid down a series of startling hypotheses about the nature of both mental experience and human history. He argued persuasively that consciousness is not necessary for most of the mental functions we use in daily life, including memory, learning, and judgment. Consciousness is necessary for decision-making, specifically for the imagining of possible consequences of alternative courses of action.

Largely because of the very specialized role he inferred for consciousness, Jaynes contended that individual self-awareness is not a prerequisite for the development of highly structured civilizations. As long as such civilizations operate in rigidly hierarchical organi-zations, individual decision-making—and therefore consciousness—is  not necessary. Indeed, Jaynes suggested, it was only the historical collapse of multiple civilizations in the millennium before Christ which resulted in the kind of consciousness associated with modern man. To put Jaynes’s point in the starkest possible terms, it was not conscious man which produced civilization, but civilization and its boom-and-bust cycles which produced conscious man.

The reasoning behind this apparent reversal of cause and effect is brilliant. Jaynes points out that consciousness is itself a highly sophisticated metaphor; that is, an internal, mental analogue of the external world.  That analogue cannot be any more sophisticated than the mental vehicles which are used to represent real experience and real external phenomena. Since these consist primarily of words, the depth and complexity of consciousness is governed by the depth and complexity of the language that is employed to symbolize, character-ize, and differentiate experience. And language acquires abstract and subtle meanings only in response to the appearance in the external world of complications and complexities which require new words and connotations to express them.

Thus, there is—must be—a phase in the development of every language when its words are merely names for things—rock, leg, buffalo, baby, night, sun, rain. What concept of ‘self’ could be made out of such basic naming conventions? If a speaker of the language has a name, that name stands for the person who looks like him or her, not for a set of accomplishments that can’t be listed during a period of time that can’t be differentiated from ‘now’ by any man’s tongue.

It is not necessary here to replicate the entirety of Jaynes’s theory or the compelling evidence he cites in support of it. Those who are so disposed can find his work and explore it in depth. The bases which are critical to this work have been established—the hypothetical primacy of the relationship between language and consciousness, and between consciousness and the cycles of human civilization. Other relevant Jaynesian notions will be cited as appropriate in the context of this book’s thesis, which can now be articulated.

The End of Consciousness

Individual human consciousness has served an indispensable role in the creation of the highly advanced technological civilization we inhabit today. But all cycles repeat to some degree, and there is now a considerable body of evidence before us to suggest that individual self-awareness is no longer necessary to the culture as a whole and is, in fact, being ruthlessly exterminated by the behavior of the social system as a whole, which has itself achieved consciousness by the same process which produced it in Mankind.

The particular propositions entailed by this statement are as follows:

1.    All organizations and systems of which human beings are components do acquire and maintain their own self-awareness—not figuratively but literally, in that they are in part biological entities, possessing physical brains of enormous size in the form of those portions of individual human brains which serve as repositories for their rules, their values, and their preferred models for decision-making.

2.    In the course of its development, individual human consciousness has been of continuing service to organizational and system consciousnesses because none of these has had the authority or power to function with complete autonomy. Always, individual human awareness—with its highly flexible and adaptive decision-making skills—was needed to arbitrate conflicts between competing organizational and system consciousnesses.

3.    Whatever human purpose has been served by individual human consciousness in the past is irrelevant to the question of whether it will be retained in an organization or system of sufficiently large scale and scope. Whatever values attach to organizational and systemic consciousness are oriented toward their own growth and survival, not to the well being of Mankind per se.

4.    The scope and scale of the worldwide socio-economic system which is being continuously created by the proliferation of computer technology and global business-nation organizations has reached the point at which autonomy can be achieved without further human assistance. Indeed, it will proceed more efficiently without human interference. This does not imply the elimination of Mankind, but rather its conversion to an operator population of relatively affluent and healthy automatons.

5.    The self-awareness of the worldwide system is already a fait accompli, developed beyond the power of any individual to fully comprehend or anticipate it. A corollary of this state of affairs is that if any human being can even detect the existence of this supra-consciousness, then its program of exterminating individual human consciousness must already be far advanced; that is, advanced beyond hope of our preventing or stopping it.

6.    The evidence that individual human awareness is, in fact, being progressively exterminated has become so obvious and pervasive and incontrovertible that the universal human ignorance of the accelerating process is the surest proof of its existence.

The remainder of this book is devoted to elaborating and elucidating these six propositions and the central thesis they support. Arma virumque cano...

Your patience is much appreciated. Here's your reward. It has nothing to do with school shootings, but it is a bestseller in Shuteye Town.

Thundrous Passions

by Evelyn Ivy

Chapter One

Arma virumque her long skirts and voluptuous yet maidenly form cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque the candles which her younger sister had lit hours before venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec the lush scent of the wisteria outside olim meminisse iuvabit.

Arma virumque still not married and contemplating the prospect of being a spinster cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto since her virtuous but dull suitor Thomas had fallen off his horse. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit sighed heavily, causing her firm young bosom to heave.

Arma virumque cano handsome stranger, dirty, disheveled, smelling strongly of maleness and travel. Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto ever since the war had begun. Dux femina facta troops and bandits and mysterious things in the night. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Aunt Prunella looked on disapprovingly as arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque the stranger looked directly at her and a strange heat grew in her belly venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

“How dare you speak to me in that way, sir?” she protested.

Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille his arms went round her but she pushed him away and ran back to the house through the rose garden, her breath coming in quick short gasps. terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta and nothing happening for quite a while. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Arma virumque cano and nothing continues to happen for a while Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et some cooking and sewing haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Arma virumque more candle lighting cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris difficulty sleeping iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec rumors of historical events and name dropping in some nearby town olim meminisse iuvabit.

“Wake up!” It was his voice and she came bolt awake, still half in a dream she realized had involved him. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Arma his arms around her but she pushed him away and virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa more nothing going on but some name dropping and more historical events ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec a famous person shows up and thinks she’s smart and fascinating for a woman olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae more trouble sleeping qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris disturbing rumors about the handsome stranger iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Arma virumque candles and sewing and cooking and bosom heavings, trouble sleeping, name dropping, horse hooves et cetera Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Arma around her and this time she did not, could not have resisted because it was page sixty, and she knew it was impossible to hold out past page sixty. She wanted him, had wanted him ever since the moment she first laid eyes on his handsome face and the virile shape of his lean, male body inside those leathern breeches.

“Oh my darling dear,” he breathed, “I’ve wanted you ever since I first saw your beautiful face and the womanly heaving shape of your, er, maidenly form in that dress that’s cut down to here, if you know what I mean.”

And then they didn’t speak. There was only the questing of their hands, their lips, their hundreds of other nonsexual body parts, and finally their things that stiffened or peaked or protuberated or moistened, and they were joined together, as man to woman, and they rose and fell together, as deeply and naturally as the ocean or as two dogs in the street, except that the smell of tallow candles and leathern breeches made it somehow sweeter, more refined, less dirty and disgusting than it is in real life, and they sighed the words of love in the proper dialect in each other’s ear, and kept on joining and rejoining and rejoining some more until dawn, when both of them were exhausted with love, but still not speaking because of the plot complication.

Virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

And from there on, it gets really hot. Have a nice day.

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