This is one of those weeks when I’m up to my eyeballs (and then some) in preparing our “Autumn Harvest Slow Food Feast of Fools and Friends” at CounterPULSE this Sunday. It’s going to be amazing (and it’s within a seat or two of being sold out!). Weird how much food is moving to the forefront these days. Modern Times is having a 35 year anniversary banquet (“Dance of the Dinner Rolls”) the same Sunday night at Martin de Porres (they have tix left if you’re interested!). One of our contributors, Miss Snail Pail is also contributing also to a curious show at The Lab, called “Detourned Menu: Food As Activism”, which includes a panel discussion next Thursday night the 26th and a snailing expedition later that same night for you intrepid urban hunters… This food topic is something I’m going to come back to in a big way one of these years…
Meanwhile, with no time for my own writing and not much for reading either, I’ve been making my usual perusals of my personal “Silk Blog Route”… first Riverbend reappeared after months of silence to address the Lancet study on Iraqi deaths. She prompted an eloquent soul-searching by Billmon, who really hit an unusually confessional tone that I think captures the deeper pain and guilt that a huge swath of Americans feel these days.
The despair that so many feel is quite palpable and no small part of what drives even radical friends who know better to put a certain amount of time and energy into the upcoming election. As I told an old friend in front of CounterPULSE after she’d just finished a 2-hour stint as a Move.on caller, I would like to believe that getting pwogwessive Dems elected will make a difference, but I don’t. Luckily, as I wrote earlier, the rest of the world is ‘moving on’ without waiting for the mysterious self-referential world of U.S. politics to do anything different. In Oaxaca a real revolution is underway, nicely captured by George Salzman. Staughton Lynd was interviewed on Democracy Now today and as always, manages to keep his eyes on the real movements that challenge the powers-that-be. And lastly, for all the Americans who still imagine that the U.S. military is an irresistable force that can assert itself globally at will, check out this very interesting two-part series on Asia Times about the relative weakness of the U.S. geostrategically AND militaraily against the new alliance of China-Russia and Iran…
OK back to work…
Busy and blurry lately, emotional grays rarely penetrated by the bright lights of passion or excitement, but so it goes sometimes. Part of the sub-malaise (that is, not quite a depression, but a distinct lack of inspiration) is the endless blather that passes for politics that I already complained about last time. It builds and builds towards the election and then there’s the inevitable hssssssss of gas escaping the inflatable ballooney that everyone was so worked up about… coming very soon. But until then, it’s nonstop fretting and fervent hand-wringing about… not much.
Meanwhile, the real world out there is carrying on, and the American narcissism that really imagines this is the epicenter of world history, the best civilization has to offer, etc., is barrelling towards its imminent rude awakening. To get a glimpse on the military and political front, I highly recommend the 3 part series by Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry that went up at Asia Times this week on the Hezbollah victory over Israel, and the ensuing collapse of U.S. agendas in the Middle East. It even casts serious doubt on the coming bombardment of Iran, which many U.S. radicals think is all but unavoidable. It may be that the abject failure of Israel in Lebanon is giving pause to even a palpable madman like Rumsfeld, facing the almost guaranteed disaster that will follow a U.S. attack on Iran.
Then there’s the unmentionable but obvious reason why the U.S. is deep into a years-long murderous frenzy: energy resources. The sidewalks of San Francisco are increasingly a gallery of imaginative stencil art, and here’s my most recent favorite, that I saw on Valencia near 15th Street I think:
I’m back in San Francisco where the gray rain has followed me from the east coast. Doing my usual perambulations around the internet and blogosphere, I’m amazed by the frenzied thrashing in the shallow end of the pool going on. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since we are now officially in election season. That’s the pathetic ritual that passes for “politics” in the U.S. every so often.
Nationally all news has been buried under the avalanche of the latest scandal, embraced with enthusiasm by liberals happy to see the Repugnicans turning on themselves, but scarily reinforcing the worst homophobia and exaggerated fears of child abuse. The power relations of exploitation are clear, but the unmentionable story of teenage sexuality in the overheated atmosphere of power and money is ignored. Who at age 15 or 16 hasn’t wanted to have sex with attractive adults? But who cares anyway? How can this culture still be so crazily obsessed with the private sexual behavior of politicians and celebrities? I know people aren’t getting enough for themselves, in any way you care to measure it, but this frothing irrelevance is absurd to an extreme. (For an intelligent, 5-part analysis of how Russia, China and others in the Great Game are reshaping the playing field of world politics while all this stupidity dominates our anti-news services here, check out this Asia Times series… in general Asia Times is one of the best news sources these days.)