Thursday, October 23, 2003

I call firsties on "amazonwhacking"

Amazon made their full-text search features live today. So I uncreatively invented the latest internet fad, amazonwhacking.

My first effort is: oxymoronic nictating

which returns a single entry, The Annotated Lolita.

Cool.

Monday, October 13, 2003

California reaming

Two writers weigh in on the psychological subtexts of the latest in
California hyperreality:

Frank Rich's references are Disneyland with a little bit of Hitler:

The Audio-Animatronic Candidate


As for the young Arnold's ruminations about Hitler, sure there was fire to go with the smoke. Otherwise, why would the star have overpaid $1.2 million in 1991 for the exclusive rights to "Pumping Iron" and its outtakes? But whatever his sloppy words about the F├╝hrer back in the 1970's, his statements about governance in general were more revealing and more to the point of his campaign. Mr. Schwarzenegger's credo was laid out quite specifically in his autobiography, "Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder": "A certain amount of people are meant to be in control. Ninety-five percent of the people have to be told what to do, have to be given orders." This philosophy, which he has repeated elsewhere and never retracted, sums up his politics far more than conventional conservative-vs.-liberal, Republican-vs.-Democrat paradigms. The budget deficit? Failing public schools? Mr. Schwarzenegger will make things right by terminating the malefactors from on high; let the other 95 percent of "the people" get out of the way. What was the plan? "Hasta la vista, car tax!" Such know-nothingness is not Nazism; it's too idea-free even to qualify as fascism-lite. What the Arnold platform really amounted to was a steroid-inflated codification of the trust-me paternalism of Disney's Celebration.

Whereas Mike Davis is put more in mind of The Day of the Locust, with a little bit of Hitler:


Yet, I don't want to suggest that this is a simple repeat of anti-immigrant Proposition 187 in the context of a recession and a nationwide crisis of state financing. Arnold Schwarzenegger does add something genuinely novel to the mix. He is not just another actor in politics but an extraordinary lightning rod, both in his movie persona and in real life, for dark, sexualized fantasies about omnipotence. Pleasure in the humiliation of others -- Schwarzenegger's lifelong compulsion -- is the textbook definition of sadism. It is also the daily ration of right-wing hate radio. As governor he becomes the summation of all smaller sadisms, like those of Roger Hedgecock that in turn manipulate the "reptile within" of millions of outwardly affluent but inwardly tormented commuter-consumers. In their majesty, the predominantly white voters of California's inland empires and gated suburbs have anointed a clinically Hitlerite personality as their personal savior.

Friday, October 03, 2003

the historical origins of the tinfoil hat

The Air Loom Gang, describing a psychotic delusion based on state-of-the-art 1810 technology:
Matthews was convinced that outside the grounds of Bedlam, in a basement cellar by London Wall, a gang of villains were controlling and tormenting his mind with diabolical rays. They were using a machine called an 'Air Loom', of which Matthews was able to draw immaculate technical diagrams, and which combined recent developments in gas chemistry with the strange force of animal magnetism, or mesmerism. It incorporated keys, levers, barrels, batteries, sails, brass retorts and magnetic fluid, and worked by directing and modulating magnetically charged air currents, rather as the stops of an organ modulate its tones. It ran on a mixture of foul substances, including 'spermatic-animal-seminal rays', 'effluvia of dogs' and 'putrid human breath', and its discharges of magnetic fluid were focused to deliver thoughts, feelings and sensations directly into Matthews' brain. There were many of these mind-control settings, all classified by vivid names: 'fluid locking', 'stone making', 'thigh talking', 'lobster-cracking', 'bomb-bursting', and the dreaded 'brain-saying', whereby thoughts were forced into his brain against his will. To facilitate this process, the [Air Loom] gang had implanted a magnet into his head. As a result of the Air Loom, Matthews was tormented constantly by delusions, physical agonies, fits of laughter and being forced to parrot whatever nonsense they chose to feed into his head. No wonder some people thought he was mad.