Category Archives: Surveillance Society

Hot Air

Inflexible Moralizing

Glenn Greenwald made a name for himself around the world by hitching his wagon to the Edward Snowden runaway horse. Greenwald, of course, is the reporter who published, via the Guardian US, Snowden’s revelations that this holy land is nosy about every single email you’ve ever written and every cell phone call you’ve ever made.

Greenwald

Greenwald (Photo by Kin Cheung/AP)

Rightly so, we were aghast that our heretofore simon-pure leaders were attempting to peek over every transom in America. So Prez Barack H. O. had to toe the dirt in front of him for a few uncomfortable moments and get all apologetic for wanting to look under the socks in our collective upper right hand drawer.

[That’s three metaphors in one graf; is that my record?]

Snowden, meanwhile, started thinking he was the protagonist in a cheap spy novel and fled to Russia where freedom reigns eternal. And Greenwald found himself the hottest investigative reporter around.

Now, loyal Pencillistas know my feelings about Edward Snowden. Basically, he’s a dildo who somehow found himself in a position to do the rest of us one act of good and then proceeded to go back to being a dildo. As for Greenwald, I never thought much about him one way or the other, although I had a suspicion he might be a tad overzealous in view of the USA as this planet’s most odious villain. As in, we’re Nazi Germany sans the swastikas. In fact, Greenwald is skeptical of those who pooh-pooh Godwin’s Law practitioners.

Now we learn Greenwald is four-square against the United States sending police or military resources to Nigeria to assist that nation in finding its kidnapped 300 or so young girls.

His rationale? Well the US has done a lot of crappy things in its day so who are we to try to be good guys now? That and any expeditionary force, no matter how limited, surely will be the advance guard of an imperialist takeover of that oil-producing land.

Perhaps I’m naive but I believe Glenn Greenwald is full of horseshit.

A great number of Far Left radicals also buy into Greenwald’s reasoning. They’re calling any American effort to go over to Nigeria to help in the search “neo-colonialism.”

Nigeria

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They, too, are full of horseshit. Nigeria is suffering under the threat of those Boko Haram nitwits. And the president of the country until very recently was more concerned with silencing parents and their supporters calling for a stronger government effort to find the girls than actually finding the girls.

BTW, Nigeria in recent years has criminalized homosexuality. Oh, and most secondary schools in the state of Borno have been closed due to the menace of Boko Haram which means, literally, western writing is sinful.

The big shots in charge of Nigeria might not need neo-colonialism but they sure need a swift kick in the ass.

Jet

From the very first time I ever rode an el train to downtown Chicago alone — in the summer of 1972 — there’d be kids walking from car to car hawking copies of Jet magazine. And, sure enough, they’d find at least one passenger in each car who’d buy the little, digest-sized mag. It cost 35 cents at the time.

In fact, I’ve found the cover of the first issue of Jet I ever saw:

Jet

That’s Angela Davis, the era’s chic-est revolutionary. She was smart, determined, a college professor, a rebel, and gorgeous to boot. I already had a huge crush on her when the kid selling that month’s issue came through my car. I saw the cover as he neared me, repeating the mantra, Jat, Jat, Jat….

I would have paid a dollar and 35 cents for a copy, that’s how smitten I was with Angela Davis.

The discovery that black people had their own magazine was a revelation to me. Funny thing is, I was too scared to buy one from the kid. The only folks who bought them on the train had dark skin. I was certain the kid would snicker at me or some older black person would give me a dirty look. I never even opened a copy until my first bookstore job in 1977.

By that time, I knew white people were allowed to read Jet. Only they didn’t. We’ve come a long way.

Jet soon will publish its last print issue. Beginning in June, it’ll go online exclusively. I’m not going to cry phony tears over this transition. Working at the Book Corner (where we don’t carry Jet), I’ve come to understand that the vast majority of mags simply don’t sell. People are reading online now. I’m reading online now. Perhaps we can save a tree or two.

The only thing I’ll miss is those young black newsboys threading through the cars of an el train intoning, Jat, Jat, Jat….

Wake Me When It’s Over

Are you as underwhelmed as I am by the prospect of Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush in 2016?

Clinton/Bush

Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z

Well, one good thing. We’ll have our first woman president. No, make that a great thing. Alright, alright, I’ll stay up for the race.

Indiana Ear Candy

The Indianapolis alternative weekly NUVO has released its 100 Best Hoosier Albums Ever.

You’ll recognize plenty of the artists: everyone from David Baker to Hoagy Carmichael to the Jackson Five and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. But those big names are really the minority. You’ll discover a hell of a lot of great new music if you study the list and take a listen to some of the choices you’re unfamiliar with.

I have a feeling it’ll be a better experience than being earwormed by The Lion Sleeps Tonight (wink, wink, Susan Sandberg!)

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