Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oedipal Apparatus

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blames capitalism for poverty and the next day "capitalism" tops Yahoo search results because most Americans aren't really sure what "capitalism" means. Apparently "capitalism" is also to blame for ignorance.

First day of class this semester, most of my students couldn't explain the basic principles of capitalism, democracy, or Christianity. The holy three. The three Oedipal figures responsible for constructing their reality...

And that's one to grow on!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cosa Sua

Rhode Island is a temporal vacuum. A large portion of the female population either feather or perm their hair. Most male clothing stores still sell Sansabelt slacks. As of Saturday, September 18, 2010, the top Netflix, Local Favorite selection for Providence, Rhode Island is the 1939 classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington starring James Stewart. To this day, some Rhode Island residents inject themselves with polio just for old time’s sake.

During recession years, Time rewinds in Rhode Island. The Ocean State recedes. It regresses morally and therefore socially. Republican senator Lincoln Chafee—the state’s most bi-partisan politician in recent history—was ousted during the 2005 elections as a result of George Bush’s disastrous presidency. Change for the sake of change rarely fosters progress. In Rhode Island it typically achieves the opposite. The perfect metaphor being my armory district neighborhood where the corbels and gables of every other Victorian might be refurbished, but ignorance and poverty still abound.

Rhode Island is the all-American contradiction. Jay Gatsby resides here. The International Tennis Hall of Fame. World Cup sailing. Slave ships. Cosa Nostra. Victory over Japan Day. And let’s not forget Alan Shawn Feinstein. Feinstein is an alleged philanthropist who only gives money to institutions willing to rename themselves after him or one of his family members. Rhode Island’s a hard-up state so his name is everywhere, as is his ridiculous motto:

“Helping to better the lives of others is the greatest of all achievements.”

Aside from its clunky wording, this motto sucks. It doesn’t make sense. Bettering the lives of others is not an achievement. Maybe it’s a virtue. Maybe it’s a moral act. Maybe it will get you into heaven, but it is not an accomplishment. Managing a profitable racketeering ring for three decades is an achievement. Sailing past the Royal Perth Yacht Club amongst the choppy waters of Narragansett Bay is an achievement. Conducting twenty-six successful slave voyages is also an achievement. None of these will get you into heaven, but they’re accomplishments nonetheless.

Feinstein wants to end hunger in the state of Rhode Island. I suppose that would be an achievement, but what’s taking him so long? How many starving people can there be in a state of just over one million people? Thirty-thousand is a generous estimate. Feinstein has built athletic and academic facilities at Brown, Providence College, Roger Williams University, RIC, URI, and Johnson & Wales. He donated money to help build the IMAX. How does this help to feed Rhode Island’s hungry? It seems like some of that money would be better spent building food pantries. It seems like he’s not even close to achieving his goal. An achievement is something accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill, practice, or perseverance. Feinstein is exerting and persevering, but mostly towards his own goal of achieving immortality. Why else would he advertise his own donations on local television commercials? Why else would he put his name on every good deed?

In labeling charity an accomplishment, Mr. Feinstein treats it as something to put on a résumé, a big cock to unfurl at a urinal. Charity is not a prosthetic penis. Charity is not an accomplishment. It’s our duty. We’re all obligated to help the less fortunate, especially the well endowed.

I’m pretty sure that Mr. Feinstein is not a scholar of Kantian ethics. Moral actions should be judged by their intentions not consequences. Mr. Feinstein wants to live forever. He wants to go down in history as the state’s leading altruist. He must rethink his intent and marketing strategies or he’ll always be runner-up to Rhode Island’s most beloved and celebrated humanitarian, Mr. Potato Head.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The American

My wife and I saw The American last night. We left mostly disappointed. The film is philosophically contrived. My favorite movie of all time is Antonioni's L'Avventura, a black and white visual masterpiece that's slower to watch than reading Kant's Metaphysics of Morals. I also have a man-crush on George Clooney. Therefore, you can't accuse me of being an ADD American who doesn't appreciate good art or the salt and pepper handsomeness of Danny Ocean. Clooney wasn't himself in this film. I don't think he can pull off gloomy. He's just too goddamn good-looking to be bummed out or broody.

The only thing that saved The American from being a complete waste of my time was the cinematography. The beauty of Abruzzo has personal aesthetic value for me. My grandfather was born there. He was born in the town of Introdaqua where many of the scenes are shot. I never met my grandfather. He died of stonecutter's lung when my father was only 18. Many of his cousins still live there. I'd like to move back, but there's no ocean and thus no surfing. I'd consider seeing The American a second time, but there's a George Clooney in the film and no Danny Ocean.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Irish Proverb #1

I was feelin a little bummed out last nite before bed so i farted in the dog's face. Problem solved. Watever it takes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

One Man's Junk

The first signs of Danielle. After a flat spring and summer, it felt good to get in the water knowing that better swell was on the way. Better footage from the next day to come. For those who are too young to recognize the song, it's the theme song from an 80's sitcom Sanford & Son. Viva Redd Foxx!