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breeden
ursulav

Non-Conspiracy Theories

Videos, Iraq, the annoying bits of the debate, and a lot of other stuff that people may want to skip.Collapse )

breeden
ursulav

Non-Conspiracy Theories

When I first heard about the Nicholas Berg thing, I admit, I was not outraged. This is no reflection on the atrocity involved, but rather on my brain–I’ve reached and exceeded my capacity for outrage so far as Iraq is concerned, and whatever horrors come out, on either side, no longer much surprise me. There’s a limit to how impressed I can be by the capacity of people to inflict misery on one another, and we’re way over the limit and appear to be picking up speed.

Doubtless some of my readers are outraged by my lack of outrage, and would like to yell at me for my callousness. Let’s short circuit this right away–you’re a better person than I am, you have more empathy, I suck and should be ashamed. I have no problems with that. My lack of an infinite supply of moral outrage is a wretched character flaw, yes, but we all play the cards we’re dealt. If you still have to yell, go ahead, but don’t expect much response on my part.

What DID happen, however, was that the old, cold voice in the back of my brain said “Well…that’s certainly…odd.” And the more I read about the whole thing, the more it nagged. It’s…odd. There’s something about it that doesn’t sit right. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what–there are lots of little things that can all be easily dismissed, but somehow it doesn’t ring true to my understanding, limited though it is, of how people are. Either we aren’t getting a few key bits of information, or somebody’s lying about something, or there some other bit that’s been misreported or misremembered or I don’t know what, but there is something…fishy…ahout the whole thing.

That’s not the point of this, however.

The point was that we have somehow come to a point where if you say “I dunno, there’s something weird about it all,” people point at you and scream “CONSPIRACY THEORIST!” or “SICK!” and I, for one, am left going “Huh?”

I know what a conspiracy theory is. A conspiracy theory is when you claim the Bavarian Illuminati are controlling U.S. politics, having gotten their claws into Bush during his tenure in Skull & Bones, (and getting Kerry as a candidate so he won’t interfere, also being a Skull & Bonesite) precipitated the 9-11 attacks via the modern incarnations of the Assassins of Alamut, and sent the U.S. into Iraq so that, in all the confusion, nobody would notice that they were raiding the museums to get the key artifact Hammurabi concealed in code on the back of one of the tablets so that they can summon Elder Gods, ia, ia, cthulhu ftaghn! and then handed the whole mess over to the Men in Black so that they can raze Iraq and soften it up for an alien invasion, since greys like Muslim ovaries better.

THAT is a conspiracy theory. Please make a note of it.

A conspiracy theory involves an explanation of events. It may be far-fetched, but it’s an explanation.

Saying “I dunno, there’s something WEIRD going on, and I have a lot of questions,” is not a conspiracy theory. Saying “So how come the guy was in U.S. custody but they claimed he wasn’t?” is a question, not a theory. There is nothing wrong with asking questions. If somebody says “The whole thing strikes me as weird and awfully convenient, and I don’t quite buy the official version of events,” please do not point at them screaming about conspiracy theories unless they begin talking about the Illuminati.

The other method seems to be to point and yell “You’re sick to even think such a thing! I am horribly offended that you would imply that!” This one is also annoying.

1. It is not about you. Trying to make it about you by proclaiming your offendedness is just tedious. There are many other ways to get attention on the internet, even without a webcam.

2. I realize that claiming offense is a quick way to get people to backpedal and apologize for ever having questioned anything, since many of us really hate to give offense, but a backpedal to avoid hurting someone’s feelings is not the same as saying “Okay, my fears have been put to rest, way to go.”

3. What is with “sick”? I mean, what’s sick about asking questions? I realize people like to claim it’s somehow capitalizing on someone’s death, but Christ, if I was dead, I would want people figuring out EXACTLY how it happened!

The whole thing reminds me of religion, really. If you genuinely, deeply, truly, utterly believed in something, you welcome questions. Testing makes you happy. I believe in carbon dating, and I am delighted to see it tested, because there is not a doubt in my mind that it’ll stand up. The Dalai Lama, whom I admire greatly, has asked that various artifacts supposedly belonging to the Buddha be tested so that we’ll know what was and what wasn’t. That’s faith. The Catholic Church obviously doesn’t have that kind of faith in the Shroud of Turin because they dithered for so long, and have cried and kicked their feet about the results, but that’s neither here nor there.

My point is that if you genuinely believe something to be true, you don’t scream when people question it, you don’t point at them shrieking “SICK! SICK!” or anything like that. It’s only when, deep down in your heart of hearts, you’re pretty sure it ISN’T true that you fight questions of any sort and claim that faith is more imporantant. (At least, such is my experience with people, having been on both sides of the equation.) And so it seems to me that those who freak when people asks questions about weird shit like the Nicholas Berg tragedy must not have very much faith in the official version of events, or else they wouldn’t be getting so defensive when people question it, would they?

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


breeden
ursulav

(no subject)

I think I'm an art junkie.

Seriously. First you do it for fun, and then you do it for a few friends, and then you do it for money, and then you find yourself doing it because you're bored and don't know what else to do. I am as psychologically hooked on art as any glassy-eyed stoner is on weed. It's not even that I WANT to draw, or that I have anything to say, it's just that with an afternoon to kill, I start drawing, because, y'know. Beats staring into space and breathing shallowly and all.

Since it is a weekend, I should be relaxing and NOT arting. I should be allowing my brain to decompress. I know this. I find myself drawing anyway.

Possibly I need an art intervention of some variety, except that if there's anything I should NOT be allowed to go cold turkey on, it's art. It would be ugly. Restraints would be required.

Plus, being my career and everything, there would be other ramifications. Not all addictions are bad, and since one of the great realizations of my adulthood was that I do NOT have to give up all of my bad habits and vices before death, I see no point in even making a start on this one. I am comfortable with my art habit.

I blame the ideas. There's too many of 'em. S'like my brain is a stagnant marsh of standing water, hatching out idea larvae in vast sweeping swarms. I can't keep track of them. They've been in full swing lately. Maybe it's something in the air. I try to snag 'em, but I'm one lonely frog in the vast swamp, and the greater part of the idea swarm buzzes on overhead, copulating and biting each other and raining idea body parts down into the water.

I don't mind having ideas--I'm delighted to have them--but there are limits.

breeden
ursulav

(no subject)

I think I’m an art junkie.

Seriously. First you do it for fun, and then you do it for a few friends, and then you do it for money, and then you find yourself doing it because you’re bored and don’t know what else to do. I am as psychologically hooked on art as any glassy-eyed stoner is on weed. It’s not even that I WANT to draw, or that I have anything to say, it’s just that with an afternoon to kill, I start drawing, because, y’know. Beats staring into space and breathing shallowly and all.

Since it is a weekend, I should be relaxing and NOT arting. I should be allowing my brain to decompress. I know this. I find myself drawing anyway.

Possibly I need an art intervention of some variety, except that if there’s anything I should NOT be allowed to go cold turkey on, it’s art. It would be ugly. Restraints would be required.

Plus, being my career and everything, there would be other ramifications. Not all addictions are bad, and since one of the great realizations of my adulthood was that I do NOT have to give up all of my bad habits and vices before death, I see no point in even making a start on this one. I am comfortable with my art habit.

I blame the ideas. There’s too many of ‘em. S’like my brain is a stagnant marsh of standing water, hatching out idea larvae in vast sweeping swarms. I can’t keep track of them. They’ve been in full swing lately. Maybe it’s something in the air. I try to snag ‘em, but I’m one lonely frog in the vast swamp, and the greater part of the idea swarm buzzes on overhead, copulating and biting each other and raining idea body parts down into the water.

I don’t mind having ideas–I’m delighted to have them–but there are limits.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


breeden
ursulav

(no subject)

http://yerf.com/vernursu/pignlizard.jpg

Result of the latest art junkying--a ferocious warrior of the great Piggy-Wiggy tribe, and the small and foolish lizard attempting to collect taxes from him.

The odd thing about this was that about two thirds of the way through, I said to James, "Hey, how's my pig and lizard looking?" And the phrase "pig and lizard" shot through my brain like and arrow, and a long-buried chunk of brain woke up and went "AAAAIGHGGHHH! NOOOO! Not the pig and lizard!"

I'd painted it without ever thinking about it, but hearing the words out loud brought it all rushing back.
What is essentially a shaggy pig story.Collapse )

breeden
ursulav

(no subject)

http://yerf.com/vernursu/pignlizard.jpg

Result of the latest art junkying–a ferocious warrior of the great Piggy-Wiggy tribe, and the small and foolish lizard attempting to collect taxes from him.

The odd thing about this was that about two thirds of the way through, I said to James, “Hey, how’s my pig and lizard looking?” And the phrase “pig and lizard” shot through my brain like and arrow, and a long-buried chunk of brain woke up and went “AAAAIGHGGHHH! NOOOO! Not the pig and lizard!”

I’d painted it without ever thinking about it, but hearing the words out loud brought it all rushing back.

Once upon a time, in a long ago Shadowrun campaign, I played a scruffy, depraved Jackal shaman who’s livelihood was made by scavenging dead bodies for spare parts. Occasionally she would…err…generate a fresh supply of dead bodies. She was a bit of a weirdo, but a dab hand with a scalpel, believe me.

The campaign, however, was beyond weird. We were trapped in some bizarre hallucinatory computer system (or something) although we didn’t know it. All we knew was that we were driving a bus full of the Hawaiian Tropics Bikini Team from point A to point B. This was an odd job for shadowrunners, but we weren’t going to argue.

Obviously, we didn’t make it to point B. We were hijacked by rat people, tied to a stake, and they summoned an Elder God, which ate the Hawaiian Tropics Bikini Team, and left behind two giant…creatures.

A pig and a lizard.

That friggin’ pig and lizard chased us for what was at least six months of game time, an absolutely baffling death march where the universe changed randomly at odd intervals, the world kept shrinking, the laws of physics went wonky, every person we met appeared to be rotting from the inside, and the only constant was that damn pig and lizard. They changed appearance occasionally, but we always knew who it was. If they had names, we didn’t know it–they were just “that damn pig and lizard.” Along the way we had some very bad encounters, lost a character to vampirism, briefly lost Jackal to having been turned into a large dog (who then guarded her teammate’s coffin faithfully for a week until the rest of the team came in. On horseback. With a bunch of Knights Templar. Yes, this was a Shadowrun campaign, but it’s all kind of hazy.)

The worst part was that we somehow got out without ever finding out what the hell the pig and the lizard WERE. We just got captured, (in the city powered by the dead dragon, later immortalized in art that people still bitch at me for) and it just became one of the random oddities of our campaign–that damn, mysterious, pig and lizard.

Hadn’t thought’ve that for years.

Oh, and yesterday I doodled up “The Tengu Are Amused” at
http://yerf.com/vernursu/urstengu.jpg but it’s more of a random silliness than anything else.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.