Can’t Big Pharma Hire Somebody Less Silly?

When you get a troll come to the blog and suggest that without the HPV vaccine we would all have an epidemic of the Bubonic plague, you realize that the pharmaceutical companies have been trying to save on trolls they pay to promote their cause online. So they started buying very cheap, really stupid trolls who make a joke out of the noble endeavor of getting all Americans on as many meds as humanly possible.

Remember when Bush pushed multi-billion handouts to his buddies through Congress in 2008? The trick used to achieve that was to repeat ad nauseam that if Blankfein and Co didn’t get this huge gift, we would immediately find ourselves in the midst of another Great Depression.

It’s the same strategy, really. Think meds are overprescribed in the US? Bubonic plague will descend on you!

Don’t want to support Goldman Sachs with your money? The Great Depression is coming!

Not sure that it makes sense to invade yet another country? Terrorists! Bin Laden! Ah, he’s dead? Well, still, terrorists! They are coming! Right now! If you are still not convinced, go take some pills, see if that helps.

There Is No Demographic Crisis in Russia

The Russian people have been so brainwashed by the “let’s procreate to stop the brown and the yellow threat” propaganda that they unashamedly peddle these ideological goods overseas. Here is the opening paragraph from an article by a Russian journalist in Foreign Policy:

“Russia needs babies” may as well be the unofficial slogan of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia Party. The country is in a demographic crisis, shedding 2.2 million people (or 1.6 percent of the population) since 2002, and the government is trying to encourage more women to bring Russian citizens into the world.

First of all, there is no “demographic crisis” in Russia. There are racist scary tales but the “crisis” only exists in the heads of Russian nationalists. Our planet is at risk because of overpopulation. This means that any discussion of how people are not procreating enough has to be motivated by racism. The numbers this pseudo-journalist provides are, obviously, all garbage. The migration into Russia has been huge and any “loss” of population has been amply compensated for by the new arrivals. The journalist coyly refuses to mention that the only population she deems worth counting is the white and blue-eyed.

Readers have probably now started wondering why I keep harping on this topic. The truth is that I am deeply convinced that the tendency not to take Russia seriously and not to pay any attention to it since the fall of the Berlin Wall is a huge mistake. The same people (or their children) are still in power in Russia. The fall of the Berlin Wall was a huge symbolic event. Its practical dimensions, however, were limited.

Racism, xenophobia, contempt for everything Western, and religious fanaticism are being promoted in Russia right now. Nobody wants to pay attention, however, because today’s narrative in North America is that Russia has been democratized, now all attention should concentrate on bringing the joys of democracy to the Arab countries. This attitude is as unreasonable as it is short-sighted.

9/11 Coloring Book

It is really sad that people would trivialize the tragedy of 9/11 to achieve really strange ideological purposes. Take, for example, a coloring book on the events of 9/11.

 Do people not realize that the very concept of a coloring book on the subject makes a joke out of 9/11? It takes this event out of the realm of historic tragedies and transforms it into a fairy-tale or a cartoon.

Of course, the makers of the book only created it to sell their propaganda to little kids whose parents are unintelligent enough to waste money on this ridiculous object. As The New Yorker reports:

Above bin Laden’s startled face, there are four long paragraphs on the mission to hunt down and kill him, followed by a paragraph of editorializing:

Children, the truth is, these terrorist acts were done by freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists. These crazy people hate the American way of life because we are FREE and our society is FREE. We must be prepared to know and understand the truth. America is FREE. Ask your mother and father, your teacher, your preacher what this really means. What does it mean to be FREE? Why are we a FREE people? We are free to think, free to be honest, free to write, free to live as we wish. We are America. America does not hate other people in the world, but we love the world in which we live and will defend our way of life.

I’d say that what it means to be free definitely has to include not having some paranoiac screaming the word FREE at you like crazy when you are a small kid. Of course, you can’t explain that to someone who sends you to your preacher to find out what it means to be free.


Klubnikis and Lola

My niece – whom for the purposes of this blog I will refer to as “Klubnikis” – is very smart. She is only 21 months old but she operates an iPad like a pro, can count to six, knows more songs than I do, and understands almost everything (including quite complex sentences) in 3 languages.

She also must have realized what most people don’t, namely, that I don’t like my name and don’t perceive it as in any way descriptive of me onomatopoeically. So Klubnikis came up with a much better sounding version of my name. She calls me “Lola” (pronounced in a Spanish manner with soft “l”s and a short “o”). I like that.

Klubnikis also calls the elevator “elvie” and says “armies” for arms. You have to agree that “elvie” sounds so much better than just some stupid elevator.

At a garden party we had in Montreal, Klubnikis spied me going into the bathroom. Then, she went outside, approached every single guest and informed them in a conspiratorial tone, “Lola piss piss.” When I came back, I was greeted by everybody staring at me and the host asking, “So how did you like the work I did on the bathroom design?”

OK, I promise there will be no cutesy baby stories for a while. I just needed to get this off my chest. 🙂

Does Anybody Else Have a Problem. . .

. . . with this MLK memorial?

Aside from the fact that, as Maya Angelou pointed out, his words were mutilated into a quote that made him sound like an arrogant jerk?

Why is Martin Luther King Jr. suddenly white in this monument? Not only was the guy black, the very reason he is getting commemorated is his heroic activism on behalf of African-Americans. Right?

I’m just not comfortable with this monument at all. Surely, it would have been pretty easy to make it in a way that didn’t transform MLK into a white guy, wouldn’t it?

Russian Speakers on American Sports

N. and I went to my favorite restaurant in St.. Louis tonight. A group of sports fans came in.

“Have you been able to figure out what sport this Cardinals team plays?” I ask N.

“Well, there are only two possibilities, right?” he says. “We should be able to figure this out.”

For a while, we observe the fans in silence.

“Ah!” N. exclaims suddenly. “Look, the fans are wearing baseball caps!”

“So what?” I ask.

“So they must be baseball fans!” he responds triumphantly.

“Wow, you are smart,” I conclude.

I have been trying to remember what sport the Cardinals play for over two years. Now I think I will finally be able to keep it straight: it’s baseball.

Oral Sex As a Feminist Issue

Some of the weirdest attempts to explain human sexual preferences from an ideological viewpoint are related to oral sex. Here is a set of myths that surround oral sex and transform it into a quasi-feminist issue:

– Men who dislike giving oral sex to women are misogynist jerks.

– Men who love administering oral sex to women cannot possibly be misogynist jerks.

– Women who dislike receiving oral sex do not exist. If they do, they must be oppressed victims of patriarchy.

– Women who enjoy giving oral sex are subservient to men.

– The final destination of sperm during oral sex has ideological connotations.

– A true marker of whether a man is a feminist is how enthusiastically he gives oral sex to a woman and how willing he is not to ask for oral sex to be administered to him.

To me, all these attempts to bring people’s sexual preferences into the arena of ideology sound extremely bizarre. We keep making fun of the sexually repressed folks who say things like, “Of course, I don’t want my wife to have oral sex with me and then go kiss the kids with that same mouth.” But are we any different from them if we keep reading ideological meaning into sex acts?

If you want to figure out how feminist one is, believe me, looking at their oral sex practices is really not the way to do so. The manner in which they do or do not enjoy oral sex only tells you one thing about them: this is how they do or do not enjoy oral sex. Looking for  a more profound meaning in these practices is completely and utterly futile.