Hot Air

Make Room For Daddy

Just wondering: Isn’t complaining about manspreading essentially a form of body shaming?

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My argument: Men manspread because they have junk. Women don’t. Having junk where it is — blame dumb evolution or god; your choice in this context — forces men to spread their legs on a bus or the el train. Otherwise they’d have to crush the furnishings by squeezing their thighs together, and that ain’t no fun. Dudes with heavily-muscled thighs are even more compelled to spread because of this state of affairs. So are those whom the old school men’s departments used to describe as “husky” [read: fat]. In any case, manspreading is a bow to anatomy. Ergo, honking about it is body shaming.

Discuss.

Truth Or Consequences

The CIA and the FBI are at once the most sophisticated agencies of their types in the world and a couple of hard-headed, strutting, preening, antediluvian, tyrannical boys clubs. Between them, they can poke their noses into every nation’s or individual’s business, overthrow regimes, kill foreign rabble-rousers, commit extra-judicial executions here, and otherwise break every rule of law and decency you’d care to cite.

That said, I take whatever either agency has to say worth a grain of salt. They can, for instance, phony-up their intelligence reports if their boss (the prez) needs a compelling casus belli. Or they can destroy any American citizen’s reputation and legacy through a campaign of lies and innuendos.

That doesn’t mean, though, I believe nothing they say. The intelligence agencies, as an example, were spot-on when they reported “Osama Bin Laden Is Determined to Strike in the United States.” A certain commander-in-chief elected to ignore that report, resulting in the most devastating single attack on American soil in history.

The story floating around these days is that this holy land’s intelligence agencies are very confident Russian operatives hacked into both major American political parties’ databases, released info that might be harmful to one presidential candidate, withheld same that might be harmful to the other, generated fake news and baseless charges targeting a specific candidate, and did these deeds at the behest of their country’s leaders who dug the idea that L’il Duce might become president.

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Is it true? None of us has any idea at this moment. But the pieces seem to fall into place.

OTOH, the old pieces-falling-into-place brand of reasoning is the provenance of overzealous criminal prosecutors and conspiracy theorists.

The Russian hand in the 2016 election story will go one of two ways: 1) it’ll peter out due to lack of evidence and 2) it’ll be the biggest scandal ever to hit this holy land. No. 2’s no exaggeration. A foreign power using effective, clandestine means to game our national election is, essentially, an act of war. And, hell, we should know all about that because we’ve done it ourselves countless times in the Americas, the Middle East, the Korean peninsula, and  Southeast Asia. And had those nations the capability to kick us right in our asses for our meddling and hijinks, they’d have been more than justified in doing so.

Now, we have the capability to kick Russia’s ass, sure. But the ass-kicking wouldn’t be simple and it wouldn’t be clean. Potentially, tens of millions of suckers like you and me could be incinerated in the course of our righteous revenge. So don’t expect — or call for — immediate and harsh punishment of V. Putin and his mugs.

In that sense, it’s almost prudent to think Well, let’s forget the whole thing and hope it doesn’t happen again. Problem is, in world affairs, hoping something doesn’t happen again is a virtual guarantee it will.

If we have any hope of maintaining whatever shred of open society we have left, we’re going to have to dig around in the stinking global espionage septic tank to find the truth about this shit. We just may find some domestic excrement in there as well.

I buy into my new pal Carp Combs’ take. He writes:

There is nothing comparable to these charges in our history. That’s not hyperbole. If these claims are true, Watergate and Iran-Contra become minor episodes of past excess.

In a sense, I want them to be true because that would completely delegitimize L’il Duce‘s incoming regime. [Natch, I already find it illegitimate, morally and arithmetically, but apparently a huge swath of the electorate needs further proof. So be it.) What I see are a couple of amoral strongmen (Putin and L’il Duce) who admire the hell out of each other for that reason alone and think they ought to joins forces — they and their nations — to create an irresistible force countering the hard place that is China. Their goal: Generate huge amounts of wealth for those at the top and maybe, just maybe, if the rest of us are lucky, we’ll get to share some of the drips spilling out of their overflowing buckets.

That dreamed-of marriage between the US and Russia will be regulation- and dissent-free. The citizens of the two nations will be even more pliant, obedient consumers than they already are. What’s that — study art in school? Puh-leeaze! Education’s only purpose will be to make you a usable cog in the production machine. Don’t miss the new blockbusters, 1984, Metropolis, and Brave New World, coming soon to a world near you.

But wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so. As Julius Caesar wrote, “Men believe only what they want.”

I’ll be watching the progress of this story and trying real hard to believe that which is real rather than that which I desire.

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