November 30, 2004

Cue every memory at half-speed

* George Saunders on how to fix Iraq. [via maud newton] excerpt:

"I’ve completed the math.

"There are approximately twenty-five million Iraqis in Iraq. There are approximately three hundred million Americans in America. This means that there are approximately twelve Americans for every Iraqi. This means that, if we all go, each American will be responsible for one-twelfth of an Iraqi. An Iraqi family of five will thus be attended by sixty Americans. We will come, this second wave of three hundred million of us, unarmed. We will bring nothing but ourselves. We will simply show up, saying, 'What would you like for dinner?'

"While we cook, our Iraqis can just relax. God knows they have had a terrible couple of years. We will encourage them to sit on their couches, if they still have couches, while we clean up after dinner. We will bring them coffee, tea, dessert, whatever they like. All these months, we have winced from over here, imagining their pain. Once we are there, we will do what we can to say, 'We like you, and want the best for you. We’re sorry. This was not what we intended. No matter what it might have looked like to you, we have always wished you well.'
...
"What about provisions? Simple. Each American will bring a thirty-day supply of food from his or her local market. Hams, turkeys, huge roasts of beef, wheels of brie, large jars of Greek olives, bottles of champagne. We will also bring our TVs and our microwaves and our refrigerators, along with generators. We will sit around with our host families, eating ourselves into a pleasant stupor, watching TV, playing board games (we will also bring board games). If anybody gets sick, we will locate a good American doctor in one of the nearby host homes and lavish the sick Iraqi with the finest in American care.
...
"Now, a reasonable question is, what will be happening in the completely deserted United States of America at this point?

"This is where Phase II of my plan begins.

"Once the U.S. has been vacated, the Palestinians will be moved into the Western U.S. and the Israelis will be moved into the Eastern U.S. Between them will roll the mighty Mississippi. Even if they wanted to get to each other and do some killing, sorry, no. Armed U.N. guards will be posted at every bridge.
...
"I think it could work. It is only a matter of will, of giving up certain comforts (our homes, any concept of privacy, our jobs, our businesses, etc.). The hardship is great, but so will be the reward: an Iraq where nobody is killing or dying, an Iraq caught up in an ecstasy of normalcy, boredom even—people bickering, committing adultery, gossiping, sleeping in the middle of the day, mouths hanging open, flies flying in."

* List of best anti-war/political songs.

* Is marijuana a medicine? Tracey Blevins looks at some data.

* Hilarious picture of a couple apes at the zoo.

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