Merry Sunday, everyone. It’s the season for Shamelessness.
Back in Vegas, L. and I are notably absent. Here in Metro Detroit, we’ve been celebrating my brother-in-law G.’s birthday, trudging through the snow, and spending time with the Michigan kinfolks. Tomorrow, we’re off to Ann Arbor.
And you? What have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.
This short film is 110 years old and now you can watch it on YouTube. That makes it awesome. I mention this partly because awesome things, being awesome, are worth appreciating for their own sake. And also because you’re awesome, and though the world is cold and dark right now but we’ve set aside some time — all of us, people in every nation, every creed and every age, whenever we’ve been able to — at about this time of year to light the lights and make hot drinks and to gather celebrate goodwill, peace, comfort and joy. It is a time to remember that we can be awesome, that though the world is big and empty and dark and cold, there is also warmth and light, and it can come from us — from the desire and the will and the craft that you, each of you, have for making marvels never before seen, and for projecting them with the light of a magic lantern to the wonder of your fellows; and from the solidarity and admiration and love that we, all of us, can share with each other for what we have together, comforting and inspiring and driving each of us to become our most awesome selves. You’re all awesome, really, and you deserve to be reminded of it, and I hope you all will be.
Happy Christmas, y’all.
So, Jesse Walker recently sent out his fraternal seasons’ greetings by posting a link to rathergood.com’s Communist Christmas over at Hit and Run (2008-12-15). I thought it was pretty funny and cute (kittens!). Right up until they dropped the joke about being worked to death in the gulag, at which point it lost its savor. I’m just mentioning this as a report on my reaction; I don’t have any worked-out analysis or theoretical explanation about why that would be.
But one way or another, before I ever clicked through from Google Reader to the original post, I already knew that the post would immediately provoke Internet Libertarian Trope #426 in the comments — the alleged softball treatment that Communist totalitarianism gets in pop culture compared with Nazi totalitarianism. And I was right. Thus, observe the second and third comments posted in the thread:
Erÿk Gabhran Boston, Esq. | December 15, 2008, 5:53pm | #
OK, who will be first to speculate on exactly what kind of shit would hit the fan if someone did that with the Nazi party?
Brandybuck | December 15, 2008, 5:59pm | #
Communists are the good totalitarians, so it’s okay to poke fun at them in a good natured and respectful manner. But Nazis are bad totalitarians, and humour is not allowed where they are concerned.
Look, it’s certainly true that there are many cases in American pop culture where the Soviet regime is treated with a respect (or at least an indifference) that it doesn’t deserve. And if you just mean to say that this particular video turned out not to be funny in the end, because, you know, a lot of people died, and that’s used as a punchline, and jokes like that tend to suck, well, I’d probably agree with you about that much.
But while I’m sure you learned from the radio that all this has come about because the evil P.C. thought police who direct this culture of ours misspent their youth learning at the feet of a bunch of tenured deep cover foquistas and Cultural Revolutionaries — thus filling them with wistful nostalgia for Bolshevism and a big fat double standard in their indignation at the Nazis — well, I’m sorry, but as far as this case goes, your ideological indignation doesn’t actually have much of anything to do with the way the world is. And empirical reality will out eventually. And there’s no sense in just making shit up for rhetorical purposes.
It’s Sunday. I’m cleaning up around the house, trying to get back to work on a software project, and getting ready to visit Detroit and Philadelphia over the holidays.
What have you been up to in the past week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.