April 3, 2007

the sun highlights the lack in each


Martin Munkacsi, Fun During Coffee Break, 1932

* From a 1973 Playboy interview of Kurt Vonnegut:

Interviewer: What was it like to be at the last moonshot?

Vonnegut: It was a thunderingly beautiful experience -- voluptuous, sexual, dangerous, and expensive as hell. Martha Raye was there. Don Rickles was there. Death was there.

Interviewer: Somebody died?

Vonnegut: Life magazine died. They were down there with cameras that looked like siege howitzers. We hung around with them. We were down there on credentials from Harper's. When they go home with their pictures, they found out Life had died. How's that for a symbol? Our planet became Lifeless while our astronauts were on their way to the moon. We went down because a Swedish journalist at a cocktail party in New York told us he cried at every launch. Also, my brother told me 'When you see one go up, you almost think it's worth it.'

Interviewer: You said it was sexual?

Vonnegut: It's a tremendous space fuck, and there's some kind of conspiracy to suppress that fact. That's why all the stories about launches are so low key. They never give a hint of what kind of a visceral experience it is to watch a launch. How would the taxpayers feel if they found out they were buying orgasms for a few thousand freaks within a mile of the launch pad? And it's an extremeley satisfactory orgasm. I mean, you are shaking and you do take leave of your senses. And there's something about the sound that comes shuddering across the water. I understand there are certain frequencies with which you can make a person involuntarily shit with sound. So it does get in your guts.

* Tom Hayden. excerpt:

"The time has come to understand the new de facto US policy in Iraq: to support, fund, arm and train a sectarian Shi'a-Kurdish state, one engaged in ethnic cleansing, mass detention and murder of Sunni Arabs.

"If this description seems harsh, it is only because our minds are crowded with false or outdated paradigms. First was the dream of Baghdad as an exemplary democratic domino. Then the idea of a unitary neo-liberal state with proportional representation and revenue-sharing among Shi'a, Kurds and Sunnis. All along, the US has described itself as a neutral arbiter among warring factions, a promoter of the rule of law and human rights in the Iraqi jungle.

"Even as former US ambassador Khalilzad left Baghdad, he was struggling to clinch deals over oil revenue-sharing, reversal of de-Baathification laws, and inclusion of Sunni interests in constitutional reform and local governance. The Shi'a, muttering that Khalilzad was a Sunni apologist, seemed uninterested in anything but window-dressing reforms.

"Whether by accident or design, the reality since 2006 is that the Shi'a, with Kurdish approval, are carrying out a sectarian war against the Sunni population with American dollars and trainers.

"Critics, commentators and Congressional members concerned about Iraq must shed past illusions to focus on this new reality.
...
"The Congress should investigate just what kind of regime American troops are being ordered to defend with American dollars. If cutting off tax funding for the overall war is too much for our lawmakers at present, how can they justify the funding of secret prisons, official militias, and the ethnic cleansing of a US-sponsored dirty war? When did that become the authorized mission of our forces in Iraq?

"There is a reason the Administration keeps its purposes hidden. A February Washington Post/ABC poll showed that 70% of Americans blamed the Iraqi government, more than the US, for 'failing to control the violence.' Two-thirds favored cutting off aid to Baghdad if the regime there fails to achieve national unity and civil order. Those numbers spell doom for the US occupation. And without support for a Shi'a-Kurdish sectarian regime, the war could end."

* "Getting even is one great reason for writing." -- William Gass, 1977

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