From a new book published by the Library of America, with a piece by Susan Orleans:
Question: Why don’t more babies work? Excuse me, did I say more? I meant, why don’t any babies work? After all, there are millions of babies around, and most of them appear to be extremely underemployed. There are so many jobs—being commissioner of major-league baseball, say, or running the snack concession at the Olympic synchronized-swimming venue—and yet it seems that babies never fill them. So why aren’t babies working? I’ll tell you. Walk down any street, and within a minute or so you will undoubtedly come across a baby. The baby will be lounging in a stroller, maybe snoozing, maybe tippling a bottle, maybe futzing around with a stuffed Teddy—whatever. After one good look, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that babies are lazy. Or worse. Think of that same baby, same languid posture, same indolent attitude, but now wearing dark sunglasses. You see it all the time. Supposedly, it has to do with UV rays, but the result is that a baby with sunglasses looks not just lazy but lazy and snobby. Sort of like an Italian film producer. You know: “Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr. Baby isn’t available at the moment.
No, Mr. Baby hasn’t had a chance to look at your screenplay yet. Why don’t you just send coverage, and Mr. Baby will get
back to you when he can.”
and this bit:
One recent summery morning, I walked across Central Park on my way to my own place of employment—where,
by the way, I have to be every day whether I want to or not. The Park was filled with babies, all loafing around and look-
ing happy as clams. They love summer. And what’s not to like? While the rest of us, weary cogs of industry, are worry-
ing about an annual report and sweating stains into our suits, the babies in the park are relaxed and carefree and mostly
nude—not for them the nightmare of tan marks, let alone the misery of summer work clothes. And what were they doing
on this warm afternoon? Oh, a lot of really taxing stuff: nap ping, snacking on Cheerios, demanding a visit with various
dogs, hanging out with their friends—everything you might do on a gorgeous July day if you were in a great mood, which
you would be if you didn’t have to work for a living. That morning, I was tempted to suggest a little career counselling
to one of these blithe creatures, but, as I approached, the baby turned his attention ferociously and uninterruptibly
to one of his toes and then, suddenly, to the blade of grass in his fist. I know that look: I do it on buses when I don’t want anyone to sit next to me. It always works for me, and it worked like a charm for this I-seem-to-remember-telling-
you-I’m-in-a-meeting baby. I was out-foxed and I knew it, so I headed for my office. As I crossed the playground,
weaving among the new leisure class, I realized something. The reason babies don’t work? They’re too smart.
Perhaps Mr. Dimon, Mr. Blankfein, and the other little loafers simply need their nappies changed? Or perhaps they should switch to a career like professional baby where their behavior is more accepted, less notable, and far less dangerous to the rest of us. God knows they have more than enough money to change careers.
Via The Arabist, a funny rap video:
From the NY Times:
Republican leaders, activists and donors, anxious that the party’s initial presidential field could squander a chance to capture grass-roots energy and build a strong case against President Obama at the outset of the 2012 race, are stepping up appeals for additional candidates to jump in, starting with Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana. (my emphasis)
Okay, this mostly is for laughs. Other than skin color and being in the Democratic Party, what don’t Republicans like about Obama and his policies? In most ways, Obama has been the absolute perfect Republican: attentive to wealthy interests, big business, insurance companies, and spiking Democratic ideas like the public option, Employee Free Choice Act, and other policies that benefit the 99% who are not wealthy.
From Kristof at the NY Times:
The juiciest story behind the Middle East uprisings doesn’t concern Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s “voluptuous” Ukrainian nurse or C.I.A. bags of cash. Rather, it’s the tale of how a nonviolent revolutionary strategy crafted by Serbian students and an octogenarian American scholar came to challenge dictators in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and many other countries.
This “uprising in a bottle” blueprint was developed by the Serbian youth movement, Otpor, to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. One of Otpor’s insights was that the most effective weapon against dictators isn’t bombs or fiery speeches. It’s mockery. Otpor activists once put Milosevic’s picture on a barrel that they rolled down the street, inviting people to hit it with a bat.
Otpor’s strategy mirrors one promoted by a rumpled Boston academic named Gene Sharp, who is little known in America but inspires tremors among dictators abroad. Sharp’s guide to toppling despots has been translated into 34 languages so far and was widely circulated in Egypt last year in Arabic.
Sadly no one on YouTube has thought to post a video of King Julian mocking people in Penguins of Madagascar or I would have posted that here, as well.
More seriously, this week there’s been an online meme taking credit for what happened in Egypt and elsewhere, starting with Reuters and their piece, Special Report: Inside the Egyptian revolution. Then the New York Times horned in with a “Go USA! Go USA!” version, U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings.
Kristof’s piece is worth leading with because he also describes an example of this protest approach as used in Florida by teens who wanted to help their peers stop smoking. Instead of nasty pictures of what smoking does to your body, the kids did an ad where they call up an ad agency to give them a prize for killing the most teenagers.
Mockery also is an interesting tactic because it is anti-rational: we may have the facts on our side after thirty years of depradations but you still have the problem of how to make real to people, in a visceral way, what they are up against.
It would be worth a discussion here about how people who support progressive causes can use mockery and the ideas of Gene Sharp and other groups mentioned in these articles to effectively overthrow the status quo. David and Emocrat, for example, were talking about creating video ads (?). But there must be organized activities currently underway that would be worth finding out about and/or adding our little bit. Certainly it would be worth forming a sort of book club to read then debate some of these books. I know others have posted here links to different books.
There’s been lots of bad news lately, and my state, Arizona, hasn’t been shy about adding to it. Now this. If anything could prompt me to start reading Revelations, this just might be it. Is it true? Who knows, but God’s sense of humor being what it is, it does sound plausible.
If you’ve not seen, Boing Boing has collected a number of stories on the recent Japanese quake that link to news sources with excellent pictures and videos, including this one from Reuters. Which gives new meaning to the kid’s game of cops and robbers (Hands up!). And don’t forget New Zealand, Chile, and Haiti have also suffered devastating quakes in the past year.
More on the inside. Read the rest of this entry »
A unionized public employee, a Teabagger and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table there is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the Tea Partier and says, “Look out for that union guy — he wants a piece of your cookie.”
As seen wondering around the internets.
Before we kill the Humor page (see last comments) before anyone has posted there, it might be fun to do a round up humor online, especially political humor. Let’s warm up with Charlie Sheen’s rant:
But here’s perhaps funnier material:
From Ben Sargent at Slate’s Cartoon Box.