Category Archives: France

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“”Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.” — Earl Warren

BOOK IT — WE’VE GOT BOOKER

How cool is it that Booker T. Jones received an honorary doctorate during commencement ceremonies at IU this weekend?

Booker T.

You know, growing up in Chicago and living within the city limits every day of my adult life until March 20th, 2007, I’d come to the conclusion — like most of my city-mates — that Indiana University was the place where Bobby Knight threw tantrums, won a few NCAA championships, got himself fired for being a jackass, and then the school went out of business.

That’s not much of an exaggeration. Of all the Big Ten schools, IU is probably the most anonymous. Perhaps Minnesota and Iowa might give IU a run for the title, but, nah, Indiana wins it.

If you can find three people in Chicago who know what town IU is in, I’ll give you a prize. I wonder if even a hundred people in Indianapolis know what town IU is in.

Northwestern is where all the future wealthy businessmen and doctors go. A few journalists, too. Illinois is known for Chief Illiniwek and the controversy of using the symbol of a wiped-out race to drum up support for its sports teams — at least it’s known for something. Purdue puts out engineers. Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State are sports factories. Penn State tolerates child sodomizers. Nebraska has a funny team name, Cornhuskers.

This Man Has A PhD In Cornhusking

And Minnesota, Iowa, and Indiana may as well be in Bulgaria, especially Indiana.

Chicagoans no more know that Booker T. Jones, among many, many, many other great and fabulous musicians, studied at the Jacobs School of Music than they know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was born in Kuwait City. (In fact, many Americans assume KSM was born in the same nebulous African/Asian tribal town that Barack Obama hailed from — and for all the average American knows, all three men went to a madrahsah there.)

Booker T. gave the commencement address at one of the two undergraduate ceremonies Saturday. According to the IDS, he told the grads that he used to walk to class at the Jake every morning at 7:15.

I recall listening to an interview with him on Terry Gross’s Fresh Air show on NPR when his “Potato Hole” disc came out. He told Gross that he still practices his scales every single morning and he works on his music eight hours every day. Booker T., it should be noted, is 67 years old.

Booker T. Jones — he’s someone Indiana University ought to be known for.

TIME IS TIGHT

This is my absolute fave Booker T. and the MGs hit, from back in 1969.

THE PRESIDENT IS A SOCIALIST!

Looks like Obama-haters will finally get to see what an honest-to-gosh Socialist looks like now.

François Hollande beat darling of the Right, Nicolas Sarkozy in the French national election for president this past weekend. Hollande is a card-carrying member of the French Socialist Party (or Parti Socialiste, in French — the French are so bizarre, Steve Martin once observed, they have a different word for everything.)

Hollande — Ayn Rand Is Spinning In Her Grave

Not only that, Hollande lived in sin with a woman, fellow Socialist pol Sègoléne Royal, for more than 30 years, and then the two split up in 2007 when Hollande found himself a younger tomato named Valérie Trierweiler. Oh, and Hollande is a Jew.

Trierweiler — So, What Is It With French Presidents And Gorgeous Women?

A guy like Hollande would be as electable in these Great United States, Inc. as, well, Khalid Sheikh Mohhamed.

Now get this — the French Socialists are considered a Center-Left party in that country. Center-Left! There are, apparently, des gauches even more, um, gauche than the Socialists in France. Either that or we have lost all perspective on the political spectrum in this holy land, considering that the very word Liberal is dirty here.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Monday, May 7, 2012

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

Trinity Episcopal ChurchArt exhibit, “Creation,” collaborative mosaic tile project; through May 31st

Monroe County Public LibraryArt exhibit, “Muse Whisperings,” water color paintings by residents of Sterling House; through May 31st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsExhibit, Daniel Lager; through May 17th

Cafe DjangoThe Bloomington Short List variety show, featuring comedians, musicians, dancers, etc.; 7pm

The BishopDJ Betsy Shepherd; 8pm — Arrah and the Ferns, Chandelier Ballroom; 9pm

Arrah And One Of Her Many Ferns

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I got my head bashed in at a demonstration against the Vietnam War. Police were losing control because they were up against a world they really didn’t understand.” — Terry Gilliam

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

Gotta tell ya, folks, I hate to see Little Rickey Santorum go, for the loss of his entertainment value alone.

Now the presidential race is down to two politico-economic fraternal twins, each of whom is about as exciting as a can of beige paint.

Definitely Not Beige

If it wasn’t for guys like Santorum, I’d have to actually take the Republicans seriously and you know how disconcerting that prospect would be for me.

Digging the Santorum campaign was like having a daredevil hobby — bungee jumping off tall bridges, say, or rowing across an ocean. Exciting, sure, but if things go wrong, you’re screwed.

In this case, the worst-case scenario would have been a Santorum presidency

So, bye-bye Rickey. We knew you all too well.

A SIMPLE QUESTION

Does it surprise anyone that the first media creature George Zimmerman has spoken with is Fox News’ Sean Hannity?

Sympathetic Ear

DANIEL ELLSBERG, PATRIOT

I missed this. Saturday, April 7th was Daniel Ellsberg‘s birthday.

You want a hero? You got him.

Ellsberg

Here’s the story of Ellsberg’s heroism as told by Howard Zinn in his compelling graphic narrative book, “A People’s History of American Empire.”

Zinn and Ellsberg became friends in 1969 during the anti-war movement. Ellsberg earlier had worked for  the RAND Corporation, which was assigned by the US Department of Defense in 1967 to write up a history of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg actually did much of the grunt work researching this nation’s involvement there.

He learned that President Harry Truman authorized the funding of France’s colonial war against Vietnam independence fighters as far back as  the 1940s. President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s threw US support behind Vietnam strongmen who opposed free elections in that country.

Throw in a pile of other falsehoods, exaggerations, forgeries, and intentional inaccuracies on the parts of generals and politicians executing the slaughter in Southeast Asia, and Ellsberg understood that our stated aims there were a colossal sham.

Thanks to the study, Ellsberg saw that President Lyndon Johnson’s assertion that the North Vietnamese had started a war just for kicks in the summer of 1964 was an out and out lie.

Johnson, see, had said some North Vietnamese in a little motorboat had attacked a couple of American cruisers just sitting in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and minding their own business. Johnson parlayed this whopper into getting Congress to sign him a blank check and the next thing you knew, a half million American soldiers were fighting for who knows what in Southeast Asia.

Johnson, Finally Grasping What Vietnam Had Become

Ellsberg and some other RAND researchers privately agreed that they had to say something to the American public about our country’s shenanigans in Vietnam.

They figured Middle American folks would trust them, sub-contractors to the Pentagon with 7000 pages of damning documents in their hands, rather than wild-eyed hippies carrying peace placards.

So they sent a letter to major newspapers around the country calling for an end to the war. The New York Times and the Washington Post both published the letter, but nobody really gave a damn about it.

Meanwhile, the United States military went on happily killing and bombing in Vietnam. Then there was a Green Beret murder scandal and the My Lai Massacre. Ellsberg already was wracked with guilt for his country over what he knew and these atrocities only pushed him over the edge.

Destroying The Town In Order To Save It

He contacted another former RAND colleague and together they photocopied the 7000 pages with the goal of releasing the classified documents. The two agreed it was worth going to jail for exposing government secrets if it might shorten the war somehow.

Their hope was the release of the papers would turn even the most die-hard patriots against the war. They contacted the offices of a few congressmen and found no one willing to touch their hot docs.

Finally, they went to the New York Times with their bundle of papers. After a few months, the Times went ahead and published what would become known as the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg was charged with theft and violations of the Espionage Act. He faced 115 years in prison. He turned himself in to the FBI in Boston on June 28, 1971, after having run off many more copies of the Papers and distributing them to other newspapers.

Setting The Type For The New York Times Pentagon Papers Edition

While Ellsberg was on trial, it was learned that the Nixon White House had ordered mugs to burglarize his psychiatrist’s office in hopes of finding incriminating notes against him there, and other mugs to harass him at public appearances. The federal judge declared a mistrial in Ellberg’s case due to these government interferences.

He was lucky.

He was also, as I mentioned earlier. a hero.

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

The Buffalo Springfield played this song on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, February 26th, 1967.

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