Pop

I turned on the TV and discovered there’s an activity called “pimple popping.” It’s something people actually do. It sounds like a terrible, unhygienic idea.

I’ve never had this skin issue but there are really great South Korean remedies that remove zits literally overnight. Why would anybody pinch them with fingernails? It’s disgusting.

Synagogue Shooting in Germany

At least two people were fatally shot on Wednesday in the east German city of Halle, the police said, with local news outlets reporting that at least one gunman had opened fire at a synagogue... A witness to the shooting, which took place in broad daylight, told local broadcaster MDR that he had seen a gunman dressed in military gear and armed with several weapons firing at the synagogue. Other news outlets reported that a hand grenade was thrown into a Jewish cemetery nearby. Prayers for Yom Kippur, began at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and had been scheduled to continue until 8:30 p.m. It is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and services brought many people to the temple.

The NYTimes coverage, though, is really icky. See this:

Anti-Semitic crime and hate crimes targeting foreigners have both increased almost 20 percent in Germany over the past year.

Are Jews foreigners? Is that the suggestion here? Or is the idea that these “hate crimes targeting foreigners” and anti-semitic crimes are committed by the same people? What about the hate crimes perpetrated by foreigners? Or is “a foreigner” a synonym for “victim”?

It’s very annoying that the paper can’t let any tragedy happen without trying to use it in some way to indoctrinate.

Soviet Propaganda

The problem with Soviet propaganda, by the way, wasn’t that it communicated things that were factually untrue. The Argentinean Junta was, indeed, horrible. Pinochet was a murderous dictator. Apartheid was immoral and inexcusable. Guatemalan children were suffering during the Civil War. Nobody was there in the “truth is lies” mode, telling us the war with Oceania never happened.

The problem was not with the content but with the manner of delivery.

The incessant shrill drumming on and on, in every context, of the identical formulaic statements, the insistence that everybody reproduce these statements verbatim, the humiliating call-outs for the slightest departures in vocabulary usage – all of this robbed people of dignity and self-respect.

Working out is definitely good for your health but if you are forced to interrupt your work, get up and start doing sit-ups on cue because it’s mandated by the authorities (like happened in the USSR), exercise acquires a different meaning. If somebody had the power of telling you to sit down and then get up, and you had to obey, how would that change you? It’s clearly not the actual sit-ups that would do the damage, right?

Soviet Schooling

No matter where I go, the Soviet schooling system follows me.

As the protagonist of the best anti-totalitarianism novel I ever read says, “This would be intolerable to people who remembered the word – not the concept because that doesn’t exist anymore – but even just the sound of the word ‘dignity.'”