It may not be "just for morons and losers," anymore.

(55 words; posted Sept. 24, 1996; not to be read before Sept. 24 1999)

According to de Tocqueville, "The story of politics is the story of the sound of a mind inside the sound of a body." Or what Foucault once referred to as "the dispassionate interchangeability of filling real desires with bogus objects and bogus desires with real objects." More contemporary reworkings of Aristotle (Minsky & Berra, 1975), see it as, " baseball. The people who watch it are all drunk and the people who do it are all self-righteous, self-important assholes. And on top of that, they've only got like 2 or 3 tired stories which get played and replayed over and over again with only the slightest variation in characters. But the fans get to be part of something dynamic, and the winning players get to reward their cronies, mess up their enemies, and build up political capital for the time when they too return to being permanent losers again." But the best formulation probably comes from the second line of the preface to LBJ's memoirs: "Issues and people are like third base -- just something you have to step on before you can score."

In his recent book, Garbage Collecting the Soul, de Tocqueville points out that the mythic function Save(Hero,World) is so strong, and so fundamental to a human population, that it will demand argument fillers despite the utter absence of anything appropriate in the environment. Hence, Bruce Willis, Steven Segal, Sly Stallone, et al. And since man's foremost drive (after survival) is to digitize the world, it's plain why everything has to be in black and white, though, in the words of Klima and the Belmonts ("Negations," 1964),"...a cynic is just a romantic who got mugged watching sausage being made last night."

n any reasonable society, one of the ways in which brand preferences will be expressed is through consumer loyalties to personalities. Personalities which are built in media through an authorial voice. A voice that gives you a leverage point to create customer preference and brand loyalty.

For example, long ago John Locke solved the problem of programming hundreds of channels of information and entertainment when he wrote, "Take all the CEO's of the leading high-tech companies and lock them in a room together with only water, amphetamines, guns, alcohol, and psychedelics. Place hundreds of video cameras at all possible angles around the room, and run them 24 hours a day, and have each one feed a separate TV channel. This gives the viewing audience at home, well over 500 choices of what to watch at any given moment."

ut, according to Rousseau, "History is just a million tired lies, and the better you know them, the more likely you are to repeat them." He was referring, of course, to the wide-spread perception of his time that the business of ideas had become nothing more than the drive to advance the technology of animating corporate logos, leaving virtually zero shelf-space for things like, you know, the self. Which can only lead, finally, to the state of affairs underscored by this recent posting to alt.javascript, "... but when the time finally comes to run the time-out event, it freaks up, and exist. This, btw, happens regardless."


You can read all about the original thought that Sam Donaldson once had at The Cokie Roberts Institute, a site devoted to mediocrity in journalism. Or read excerpts from George Wills' new book, "Pomposity for the Hades of It," at the MTV website. (If the project succeeds, every teen-ager's brain will be wired by 500-channel fiber-optic cable to Sam Donaldson's chinchilla farm in Montana, where you can control feeding times and the irrigation systems from "The GBN Fanzine site..")
Jack Kemp and Carrot Top were legally married in the state of Hawaii by the New York Times Magazine, Lingua Franca, the Sciences, and the New Republic, and as a result, will have a smaller tax liability on the $100,000 we paid them for this article.
Illustration by Slime on the Family Stove

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