Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Morning Comin’ Down

"Christ, what an imagination I've got!" Edition.

In “Stand on Zanzabar” -- John Brunner’s great, sprawling, sprinting, lunatic of a novel written in 1968 – the author foresees the world of 2010 as a place where:
“…the population of Earth has reached 7 billion. The Soviet Union is defunct as a superpower, but China is rapidly industrializing and increasing in power. Giant corporations have large enough economies to control entire countries.

In-vitro fertilization and genetic mapping are becoming a reality.

A computer the size of a large book is more powerful than the most massive supercomputers of the Sixties.

Personalized digital avatars of yourself feature in everyday entertainment.

Religious denominations are rapidly polarizing on moral issues like abortion.

And ordinary people suddenly snap and go on killing sprees in schools, workplaces, and malls.”
One of the famous through lines of the multi-viewpoint novel is provided by a stoner named Bennie Noakes, who spends most of his time wasted on a drug called Triptine, randomly flipping through the 1000 channels available on the teevee and musing
"Christ, what an imagination I've got!"
because the sheer weirdness of what he is seeing is getting so dense that it has become impossible for him to believe it.

SPOILER ALERT (Although if you haven't read the novel in the 42 years since it was published, I'm not gonna feel too sorry for you if your eyes accidentally fall upon its closing lines.)

The “wham line” that ends the novel comes from “Shalmaneser”, the great supercomputer which controls the media and the economies of much of the planet. And which, having been forced to absorb endless petabytes of data about the totality of the human condition
“SCANALYZER is the one single, the ONLY study of the news in depth that's processed by General Technics' famed computer Shalmaneser, who sees all, hears all, knows all save only that which YOU, Mr, and Mrs. Everywhere, wish to keep to yourselves.”
finally comes to this:
Bathed in his currents of liquid helium, self-contained, immobile, vastly well informed by every mechanical sense: Shalmaneser.

Every now and again there passes through his circuits a pulse which carries the cybernetic equivalent of the phrase, "Christ, what an imagination I've got."

And that, my codders and shiggys and applesofmyeye, is the straight true vibe that came roaring off of today’s Mouse Circus. And so in the spirit of "Zanzibar", Chad C. Mulligan and Hipcrime --
“Coincidence: You weren't paying attention to the other half of what was going on.
-- allow me to relate the following in no particular order...

David Axelgrease made little, empty, humming noises all over the teevee that amounted to nothing. We want to compromise. With anyone. About anything. China. South Korea. Jim DeMint. Darryl Issa. The Soup Nazi. The Skoal Rebel. Jefferson Davis. Mr. Spacely.


Except, of course, for snooty Liberals who have been right about everything all along.

Fuck them.

Senator Jim DeMint is still fighting hard for the title of Undisputed Mayor of the Lizard People.

George Will is still an unreconstructed Coolidge-loving, fact-averse twat.

Robert Kagan – the co-founder with William Kristol of the infamous Project for the New American Century and one of the main cheerleaders of Bush’s Iraqi Debacle -- was put in front of a camera to talk about Iraq for some reason.

Mr. Andrea Mitchell -- the architect of the economic philosophy that destroyed America and The Pope of All Capitalism –
Pope Of Capitalism 2
is still alive and mumbling on my teevee for some reason.

John McSame still holds both the record for most appearances on "Meet the Press", and the land-speed record for selling out every single one of his principles to advance his personal political fortunes.
McCain v4.0

He is also clearly still driven by a seething, bilious hatred for Barack Obama.

Establishmentarian Marionette David Gregory

asked “But don’t we have to have an Adult Conversation, with people...?” of a panel composed almost entirely of has-beens, sell-outs and depraved thugs he himself had assembled.

David Fucking Brooks
appeared by proxy via David Gregory:
“David Brooks writes in his column Friday about the politics of this…”
Fucking Oy.

Harold Ford Junior is still a straight-up whore. Guess which one of these is not a direct quote from Harold Ford Junior from today:
“I hope the Left in my Party and the Right in the other Party don’t scream loud enough to scare the Center.”

“Speaker Gingrich is a friend. He has been not only a leader in his -- the Republican Party , he's been a leader in a lot of ways for calling for a new American way , a new American majority.”

“I will suck anyone’s dick for a dollar.”

Hard, isn’t it?

Newt Gingrich said --
“People can disagree without being demagogues.”
-- and David Gregory did not come across the table at him with a fucking machete, which brings us to the central plot of today's Mouse Circus: The Biannual Rehabilitation of Newt “Fundamentally. Profoundly. Basically.” Gingrich by David Gregory.

Since the beginning of recorded time, Newt Gingrich has been a real curve-breaking innovator
in Republican lying, adultery, hypocrisy, racism and demagogy.

He also hasn't held a single elected office since "Ally McBeal" was on the air.

In case you are just skimming past en route to Alpha Centauri and have no idea about who or what a "Newt Gingrich" is, he is a multiply-humiliated Republican personality who gloms onto whatever wingnut conspiracy theory or demagogic lunacy Fox News is peddling this week and lends it a portion of his ever-diminishing credibility.

He then collects money for rolling in his own shit until the results get too horrifying for even the clowns who run the American news media to ignore.

Then he goes in the Villager enalty box for awhile, until the clowns who run the American news media wear the corners off of their short list of Conservative and "moderate" ass-lickers and apple polishers, and need someone to come on to add a little "fizz" to their stupefyingly turgid and deeply dishonest puppet show.

Then the clowns who run the American news media draw straws to see who gets to let "Nazi" Newt out of the penalty box this time.

And then the Circle of Corporate Media Fake Journalism Life is Complete.

Meanwhile, nobody bothered to trouble their Beautiful Media Minds over the revelation that Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is a monstrous hypocrite who was willing to put American lives at risk to advance his political fortunes, while excoriating Democrats for not insufficiently supporting the Iraq War.

Or that Newt Gingrich’s infamous "Obama is a Kenyan anti-colonial..." and "Muslim=Nazi" comments have now officially been Unremembered.

Or that Eric Cantor -- the next House Majority leader -- is, by his own estimate, an American traitor.

Or that nobody but a comedienne on Twitter is asking about Honeywell CEO David Cote.
“This asshole is on the debt commission. Proposed to charge vets for Healthcare over cutting military contracts.

I watched it all –- what was said, what was not, who was invited into the Golden Cathode Circle, and who was not -- and all I can say is, Christ, what an imagination I've got!


KWillow said...

I read that book when I was a teenager... must read it again, I don't remember much of it. I think I was glad that a computer was in charge, but that might have been "When Harley was One".

Are these Sunday Choir Shows actually watched by anyone? Or maybe they're just an excuse to bribe opinion-makers with TV Exposure! and Big Bucks!

Anonymous said...

Man, I had completely forgotten about "Stand on Zanzibar". Did you subscribe to that Hugo winners list too? Because, sometime in the last 4 or 5 years you have mentioned a great number of books I read in the early..mid 70's. I really wish I still had them around to re-read.
Anyway, this morning, as Lindsey Graham sputtered about the very..very..important need we have to stay in Afghanistan until the end of all time, I suddenly hallucinated Christiane Amanpour, shrieking like those Arab women on the cliffs in "Lawrence of Arabia", lopping of his head with huge scimitar.
Does that make me a bad person?


Rehctaw said...

But Driftglass, it all sounds so plausible doesn't it? I mean if you don't want to get bogged down in details and reality, every utterance might well be applicable to some situation; somewhere...

The Sunday after TSHTF there will be a canned mouse circus urging center rightward movement and free market gloriousity.

Hell, we could have an extinction level event and the following Sunday would be Plausibility Playhouse with asshats beaming in their pablum from undisclosed locations saying it's just a flesh wound caused by DFHs.

Anonymous said...

Stand on Zanzibar had affirmative action programs even applying to top level executive positions. Which suggests that the politics of this dystopian future are still, in many respects, more liberal than in the US in 2010.

I have a sinking feeling that the one he really nailed was "The Sheep Look Up". It's ending isn't nearly as positive.

"You're fucked. There's really nothing you can do to fix it. There are places that are not fucked. Leave them the fuck alone."

Suzan said...

I thought it was only a nickel.

Love ya, Dg.

You rule!


Anonymous said...

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” George Orwell

driftglass said...

Don't feel bad: Half of them had computers in charge.

An while I wish otherwise, but Sunday Shows are very well-watched: they are where people who barely pay attention to politics but want to pretend they are informed go to get their opinions, and where political trial balloons are launched, and Villager "truths" are set in concrete.

I am a terrible judge of "bad", but I think cartoon fantasies are pretty harmless.

The waste of the last two years is going to go down in political history as the period when Barack Obama literally save the GOP by letting them use Liberals as a punching bag/flotation device.

Science fiction ruined me for being surprised at much of anything.

Inflation :-)