Recent Reads: Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

I read Cat’s Cradle by Vonnegut because I was looking for inspiration composing my own tome of Science Fiction satire.

I must admit that have relatively rarely felt so disappointed in a book that by all reports is considered to be the very apex of wit and black humor. At least… I learned what the references to a “karass” in Jo Walton’s novel Among Others were all about… other than suggesting that she read a lot of Science Fiction and Fantasy as a sex-starved adolescent…. (Among Others was awarded the 2011 Nebula and 2012 Hugo Awards for Best Novel… and I really didn’t care for it either….) I just found the fare trite and… boring…. I suppose if you don’t have any idea what Ice-IX really is… maybe what he wrote was enough…. Some of the Bokononism was entertaining…. Making fun of my religion doesn’t really bother me. But… the sexy stuff… really wasn’t…. Didn’t go far enough to actually be funny. And I find that to be a fatal flaw in satire…. To stop half way….

Trivialization of Science so superficially makes it difficult for me to suspend disbelief. I get hung up on criticizing the irrelativity… the innanity… the incoherence… of the misrepresentation of Science…. The lost opportunity…. To inform… To educate….

Maybe Slaughterhouse Five will be better. I hope so. Vonnegut has such a great reputation as a satirist. I would really love to love his writing. At least he has really short chapters. That’s a good thing.

Decided to read The Restaurant at the End of the Galaxy by Douglas Adams first. I enjoyed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but really think it was a knee-slapper either….

I wonder why avoid Atheists and Secular Humanist seem afraid to satirize their own beliefs…? Seems like it would be easier… and immensely more authentic… to actually criticize things you know about… rather than driveling about things you don’t…. Should be able to find many more subtle… and profound… objects… or subjects… for criticism in things one knows reasonably well… I would think….

But… maybe some cows are held too sacred to slaughter….

Maybe I should take a dose of my own medicine….

Racism, Descrimination, Lack of Due Process, and Possibly Apartheid… in America…. A Contrarian Opinion.

What are we going to do in America…

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10861110/vivek-ranadive-sacramento-kings-owner-expects-unanimous-vote-force-donald-sterling-sell-los-angeles-clippers

when everything we say or do…
is tried in the court of Public Opinion…
and binding sentences are handed down…
without due process….

But… only to ONE race….

What are we going to do when the NSA and the IRS and the FBI and the Justice Department has FULL backdoor access to your computer… to your cell phone… to your gaming system… to your television… and begins to collect data…. On everything…. You do…. You say…. You THINK….

When brother… turns against brother… and children sell out their own mother and father… because they will receive the profits….

When the NBA can force someone to sell a business that he has invested in and built up… because of an illegally recorded PRIVATE conversation… without due process… via summary judgment… just think about every private business….

This is a Union… and a Racial issue…. And more….

The coach from the Golden State Warriors who recorded… and released the tape… did so at a time that it would create the maximum chaos for the team his former team was facing in the playoffs… the Los Angeles Clippers….

The woman who set him up in the tapes… and whose phone may have been used for the recordings… is being sued by the Sterling’s wife… and may loose her lavish lifestyle….

Sterling’s wife… will certainly try to use this as leverage to obtain ownership of the team… and a significant financial reward….

Oprah… and everyone else who is offering to buy the team when the NBA forces Sterling to sell… are nothing but a bunch of greedy vultures… who are using racial politics to feather their nests… because they expect Silver will force Sterling to sell the team at a steep discount….

If Sterling were not White… then this would never have been an issue…. It would be laughed off in every newspaper and every sports and news channel…. Because… apparently… only Whites can be punished for holding racist views….

Is Sterling a racist? Maybe. I don’t know.

Sure picked an interesting girlfriend if he is….

At the very least the man is stupid. So… he should certainly pay. For his stupidity… if for nothing else….

And… Sterling was WRONG to say what he did. Wrong to even think it. But… historically… American’s have had to freedom to entertain ideas that are different from other Americans… and even express those opinions… in the Free Press… without fear of reprisal… by Thought Police…. Certainly no American should ever have to fear reprisals as the result of illegal recordings of PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS with intimate friends for political and economic gain… by an enemy… from a different sports team you just happen to be playing simultaneously in the playoffs!

But… if America is going to use racial politics… to redistribute Private Enterprise… without even the appearance of due process… then our American leaders… are engaging in Apartheid….

Political, legal and economic injustice solely based on race….

That’s Institutionalized Injustice…. Radical Racism….

And… such practices are WRONG….

Punish Sterling. But be fair. Impartial. And don’t just politicize the issue to try to make yourself look acceptable.

Another point…. We will probably never know the truth…. Because no one in the media is even the slight bit interested in searching for any truth that doesn’t press forward the agenda….

Ancient China and Modern America: Nothing New Under Master Sun….

China has a very long… very distinguished history….

Of thought…. Of academics…. Of war…. Of politics…. And… of oppression…. Political and intellectual oppression….

The Yellow Emperor established China…. Initially… the Emperor… chose the best ruler… not necessarily a son… as his heir….

The Xia Dynasty changed that….

Cheng Tang rebelled against the Xia Dynasty… established the Shang Dynasty… and ruled as Emperor from 1675-1646 BC… because the Xia discriminated… oppressed peoples they saw as being different…. The rulers of the Shang Dynasty initially were good… and the country prospered…. But… they became decadent…. Very decadent…. And… corrupt…. And… the nation suffered…. Because of the blatant corruption of the bureaucrats…. So… the Zhou Dynasty eventually took over…. And… the cycle… repeated….

My point… the Zhou based their legitimacy… to rebel… and to rule… on The Mandate of Heaven…. Heaven decreases that the Emperor… and the Bureaucracy… must benefit the people… the common man… or… lose legitimacy….

The Spring and Autumn Period lasted from 771-476 BC. That was such a period… of turmoil…. Of extremes…. And great expansion of knowledge….

During that period in other parts of the world… Guatama Buddha lived…. Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, and Xerxes the Great ruled…. Socrates was born….

Meanwhile… in China… Laozi (or Lao Tzu-the “Old Master”) composed the Tao de ching… and established the School of the Way…. Kongzi (or Confucius-“Master Kong” established the rules of right relationships… between humans… between humans and government… and established the School of Scholars…. Mozi (“Master Mo”… or Mo Di… Emperor Mo….) established the “School of Mo”… which conflicted with the teachings of Laozi and Kongzi… and openly taught a different… contrasting… and conflicting set of ideals….

Some other Schools were established…. Sunzi (or Sun Tzu… “Master Sun”) established the School of the Military….

All philosophical schools seemed to agree on one thing…. The absolute need for order…. For… supremacy of… bureaucracy….

All philosophical schools existed side-by-side… fighting for dominance… fighting for relevance… for centuries….

That period in Ancient Chinese history was called the “Hundred Schools of Thought”… and flourished… from 770-221 BC…. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Euclid of Alexandrian, Archimedes of Syracuse… all flourished during that time….

Now… allow me to skip towards the end… a bit….

The Qin Dynasty was the first to unify China…. And… brought about a time of great prosperity…. And when the Qin fell… well… things fell apart…. After a period of prosperity… comes a fallow period…. That’s only natural…. The Way of Nature… as the Taoist would say…. And… Confucius would argue… did argue… that when the government ceased to benefit the people… that government… lost legitimacy… and rebellion was not merely condoned… but was commanded… by the Mandate of Heaven….

Harsh….

Oh…. I’m sorry…. I think I left out one school….

At some point… some group of nameless bureaucrats… established the School of Law around 300 BC…. The bureaucrats were pragmatists…. Who believed that the ultimate purpose of the Law… was to establish… expand… and protect… the power of… the bureaucrats…. That suppressing not only the will of the people… but the people themselves… was necessary…. Man is incorrigible selfish by nature…. The rulers only legitimacy… comes through his position…. Strict adherence to the law is necessary…. The ultimate… the only… good….

At the end… the Qin… just like the Shang… just the Zhou before them… established Secret Police to spy on their perceived enemies…. And citizens…. And the bureaucrats trumped up charges…. And… murdered loyal subjects… and officials… who refused to participate in their corruption…. They massacred the worker bees in the hive…. And destroyed the efficiency of their nation….

And then….  It began…. The Fires of Qin…. And ended… with The Burning of Books and the Burying of Scholars….

And… even that looked like a good move… at the beginning…. The Qin emperor sought immortality…. And many unscrupulous scholars and magi… sought to profit… and sold him snake oil…. And he bought it….

So… the bureaucrats… sensing a threat to their power and prestige… suggested their competition… be eliminated….

And then… they extended that to ALL who dared present a contrary opinion….

So… that’s where we are headed…. Just another repetition of the cycle….

I leave you with these two news items:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/04/01/i_was_against_pollards_release_before_i_was_for_it

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/01/nsa-surveillance-loophole-americans-data

John Kerry and Chuck Hegel gave for keeping Pollard imprisoned was… allies should never spy on allies…. That is true…. And allies that spy on allies… cannot be trusted… and deserve to be punished… especially when caught…. But… who can be found to be accountable… in this flaccid… effeminate… deviant… dissipated… bunch of bureaucrats…? No one…. No one… is ever… accountable….

The reason the National Security Agency spied on Americans was… the Law that was specifically written… specifically allowed warrant-less Domestic spying…. Really…? Isn’t the United States Constitution and its Amendments… such as the Bill of Rights… the Supreme Law in America…? Or has the Liberal Progressive Fascists Legalism usurped that authority… in the name of Political Correctness…?

And yes… such actions by government… define Fascism….