Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Genghis Khan vs. George W. Bush

Matt Yglesias has the blistering takedown.

On the advice of some readers I picked up Jack Weatherford's Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World where I learned that Genghis Khan banned torture in his empire.

So, yes, under George W. Bush the United States of America is regressing to an understanding of humane treatment of people that doesn't reflect the enlightened views of Genghis Khan. That's your feel-good thought of the day.

Now, yes, you can say that Genghis had pragmatic reasons for this and not moral reasons. You can also say that Genghis perpetrated many atrocities in his time. Still, it's pretty sad when the President of the United States of America heartily embraces a practice banned by Genghis Khan.

Five Things to Keep in Mind

Jeromy quotes five things to keep in mind from a book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.

Life is Hard.
You are not that important.
Your life is not about you.
You are not in control.
You are going to die.

Those are some good guidelines for life, though I would modify a few of them.

You are not that important, but you can do important things.
Your life is not about you; it is about what you can do for others.
You are not in control of what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.
You are going to die, but only physically. "Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter."

I might also say "Life is hard. It's harder if you're stupid," but that's mean sarcasm and certainly not how I roll.

Monday, June 23, 2008


No longer can anyone criticize the sarcasm that has been known to occasionally fall from my lips. I can just say, "Survival of the fittest, baby."

Evolutionary biologists claim that sociality is what has made humans such a successful species. We are masters at what anthropologists and others call "social intelligence." We recognize and keep track of hundreds of relationships, and we easily distinguish between enemies and friends.

More important, we run our lives by social calculation. A favor is mentally recorded and paid back, sometimes many years later. Likewise, insults are marked down on the mental score card in indelible ink. And we are constantly bickering and making up, even with people we love.

Sarcasm, then, is a verbal hammer that connects people in both a negative and positive way. We know that sense of humor is important to relationships; if someone doesn't get your jokes, they aren't likely to be your friend (or at least that's my bottom line about friendship). Sarcasm is simply humor's dark side, and it would be just as disconcerting if a friend didn’t get your snide remarks.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have survival traits to hone, not that I expect you to have a clue about anything like that.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Dregs of Humanity

Another story to make me weep for humanity.

In the windowless front rooms of a former day care center in a tiny Texas community, children as young as 5 were fed powerful painkillers they knew as "silly pills" and forced to perform sex shows for a crowd of adults.

We better hope aliens do not decide to visit our little corner of the galaxy. If they heard about depravity like this, they'd nuke us from orbit. And we'd deserve it.

Weekly Music Video

The video this week should put Jeromy's mind to rest.

Devo - "Whip It"

If you're curious, Wikipedia has a good article on the song and the video.

Weekly Secret