Great Internet Truth #7

If anything preserves true representative government anywhere in this world during the 21st century, it will be transparency in the media and in government enforced by use of the internet.

From the Sunlight Foundation:

sunlightfoundation

We know that at the heart of the open, transparent government we seek is ‘open’ government data that is available online and in real-time.

Government information should be as accessible to us as information about the weather, sports scores or knowing what’s going on in the stock market — and we need it to be this way so we can both hold government accountable and create new enterprise with what is made available to us.

Read the essay. It’s well worth your time.

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A lesson I only recently learned

io9 is currently running an article entitled 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Star Trek.

It’s a cute article in itself, but one of the items piqued my interest and moved me to hunt down an old Isaac Asimov essay on ST from 1967. (BTW, io9, the link you posted to the essay is broken. Here is a better one.)

Here is “Spock is Dreamy!” from the Good Doctor:

MR. SPOCK IS DREAMY!
by ISAAC ASIMOV
(First published in TV Guide April 29, 1967)

A revolution of incalculable importance may be sweeping America, thanks to television. And thanks particularly Star Trek, which, in its noble and successful effort to present good science fiction to the American public, has also presented everyone with an astonishing revelation.

I was put onto the matter by my blonde, blue-eyed, and beautiful daughter, who is just turning twelve and who, in all the practical matters that count, is more clear-sighted than I.

It happened one evening when we were watching Star Trek together and holding our breath while Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock faced a menace of overwhelming proportions.

Captain Kirk (for those, if any, who are not Star Trek fans) is a capable hero and a full-blooded human. Mr. Spock is half-alien and is a creature of pure reason and no emotion. Naturally Captain Kirk responded to every danger with an appropriate twist of his handsome and expressive face. Spock, however, kept his long, serene face unmoved. Not for an instant did he allow emotion to dim the thoughtful gleam of his eye; not for a split second did he allow that long face to grow shorter.

And my daughter said, “I think Mr. Spock is dreamy!”

I started! If my daughter said Mr. Spock was dreamy, then he was dreamy to the entire feminine population of the world, for my daughter is plugged into that vague something called “femininity” and her responses are infallible.

But how could that be? Mr. Spock dreamy? He had a strong face, of course, but it was so solemn and serious, so cool; his eyebrows were drawn so outward and upward, and his large ears came to such a long, sharp upper point.

How could he compare with full-blooded Earthlings with normal ears and eyebrows, who were suave, sophisticated, and devilishly handsome to boot? Like me, for instance, just to pick an example at random.

“Why is he dreamy?” I asked my daughter.

“Because,” she said, “he’s so smart!”

There’s no doubt about it. I have asked other girls and they agree. Through the agency of Mr. Spock, Star Trek has been capitalizing upon a fact not generally known among the male half of the population.

Women think being smart is sexy!

Do you know what this means to me? Can you imagine what a load of guilt it has taken off my back? Can you imagine what a much greater load of vain regret it has put on my back?

But, heaven help me, it wasn’t my fault. I was misled. When I was young I read books about children; books for which Tom Sawyer was the prototype. Anyone else old enough to remember those books?

Remember the kid hero? Wasn’t he a delightful little chap? Wasn’t he manly? He played hooky all the time and went swimming at the old swimming hole. Remember? He never knew his lessons; he swiped apples; he used bad grammar and threw rocks at cats. You remember.

And do you remember that little sneaky kid we all hated so? He was an unbearable wretch who wore clean clothes, and did his lessons, and got high marks, and spoke like a dude. All the kids hated him, and so did all the readers. Rotten little smart kid!

As I read such stories, I realized that because I had known no better I had unwittingly been committing the terrible sin of doing well at school. Oh, I did my best to change and follow the paths of rectitude and virtue, and dip girls’ pigtails in inkwells and draw nasty pictures of the teacher on my slate, and steal pumpkin but girls didn’t have pigtails and I didn’t have a slate and nobody I knew across the length and breadth of Brooklyn’s slums had any idea of what a pumpkin was.

And when the teacher would ask a question, I would, quite automatically and without thinking, give the right answer and there I would be. Sunk in vice again! Talk about a monkey on your back!

There was no way out. By the time I was in high school I realized I was rotten clean through and all I could do was hope the FBI never saw my report card.

Then, somewhere late in high school, I became aware of an even more serious difficulty! I had been noticing for a while that girls didn’t look quite as awful as I had earlier thought. I was even speculating that there might be some purpose in wasting some time in speaking to one or two of them, if I could figure out how one went about it. I decided the place to learn was the movies, since these often concerned themselves with this very problem.

Remember those movie heroes? Strong, solemn, and with a vocabulary of ten easy words and fifteen grunts? And remember the key sentence in every one of those pictures?

You don’t? Well, I’ll tell you. Some girl is interested in the movie hero. She sees something in him she does not see in any other character in the film, and I was keenly intent on finding what that something might be.

To be sure, the hero was taller and stronger and handsomer and better dressed than any other male in the picture, but surely this was purely superficial. No female would be in the least attracted to such mere surface characteristics. There had to be something deep and hidden, and I recognized what this might be in that key sentence I mentioned.

The woman says to her girl friend, “I love that big lug!” Or sometimes she says to the hero himself, “I love you, you big lug!”

That was it! Hollywood was of the definite opinion that for a man to be attractive to women he had to be a big lug. I ran to Webster’s (second edition) to lookup the word and found no less than eight definitions. Definition number eight was: “A heavy or clumsy lout; a blockhead.”

It was school all over again. I could manage being clumsy but I could never keep up that blockhead business long. I’d be doing fine for a while, glazing my eyes, and remembering to say “Duh” when spoken to. But, sooner or later, at some unguarded moment, I would say something rational, and bitter shame would overcome emit was no use; I could never attain that glorious lug hood that would have put me at ease with women.

I got married at last, somehow. My theory is that the young lady who married me must have seen that under my suave man-of-the-world exterior, there was a lout and a blockhead striving for expression. So she married me for inner beauty.

Then came television. Remember the husbands in the situation comedies? Stupid, right? Have you ever seen one who could tie his shoes without help? Have you ever seen one smart enough to put anything over on his wife? Or on his five-year-old niece for that matter?

That was one thing all situation comedies had in common–the stupidity of the husband. The other things were the smartness of the wife and the depth of her love for her husband. These points can’t be unconnected, can they? Anyone can see that the only deduction to draw from this is that wives, being smart, love their husbands because they are stupid.

All I can say is that for years and years I have done my best to be a stupid husband. My wife, loyal creature that she is, has assured me over and over again that I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and that I am the stupidest husband who ever lived. She seems so sincere when she says it, and yet I have always had to ask: Is it merely her kind heart speaking? Can she be just flattering me?

And then, then, came this blinding revelation. Here I had been watching Star Trek since its inception because I like it, because it is well done, because it is exciting, because it says things (subtly and neatly) that are difficult to say in “straight” drama, and because science fiction, properly presented, is the type of literature most appropriate to our generation.

But it hadn’t occurred to me that Mr. Spock was sexy. I had never realized that such a thing was possible; that girls palpitate over the way one eyebrow goes up fraction; that they squeal with passion when a little smile quirks his lip. And all because he’s smart!

If I had only known! If I had only known!

But I am spreading the word now. It may be far too late for me (well, almost), but there is a new generation to consider! Men! Men everywhere! Don’t list to the lies! I have learned the secret at last. It is sexy to be smart! Do you hear me, men? Relax and be your natural selves! Stop aiming at lughood. It’s sexy to be smart!

Just one thing bothers me. Can it be Mr. Spock’s ears? Webster’s (second edition) gives that blockhead definition as its eighth. Its definition number two for the same word is “ear.” Could it be that when a girl says, “I love you, you big lug,” she means the man’s ears are as big as Mr. Spock’s?

Well, just in case, while I’m being smart, I’ll also let my ears grow.

Another measure of worth: which one would *you* want as a neighbor?

You want to see a distillation of the differences between the modern Republican and Democratic political parties?

Just listen to the ladies:

There’s a world of difference between “we had to sell our stock investments to stay in school” and “our [Michelle and her brother] sick father took out personal loans to help ensure that our student grants and loans got the tuition paid”.

A world of difference.

“I cain’t see ta woods, Clem! Too many goddam trees in ta way!”

From Shakesville’s Feminism 101:

For straight men, who exist in a culture largely structured to accommodate male primacy, pulling apart the intrinsic nature of men from the socialization borne of a society that reinforces the privilege of maleness, is exponentially more difficult. And thusly, lots of men cannot dissociate their rigid understanding of manhood from the societal influences which are largely mutable; they’ve had no reason to question whether a society that so perfectly suits them has created a definition of manhood that isn’t “real,” and so attempts to change society are inextricably linked to attempts to change men in ways they believe they cannot be changed. And that makes a lot of men angry.

I can’t tell you that I agree with “feminism” any more, because there are so many schools of thought on it, some more radical and extreme than others, with all sorts of confusing messages. It’s enough to give Woody Allen a neurotic breakdown.

Shakesville’s feminist primer is a good place to start for someone who is looking for some answers about the subject. I have a difficult time accepting the entire body of thought there, but there is much that is good and true.

“The fault, dear Cassius, is not in the stars but in ourselves.”

In the boldest journalistic move I’ve seen in years, the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal had this as their entire front page yesterday:

Here’s the editorial that followed:

Siouxland lost a young life to a senseless, shameful tragedy last week. By all accounts, Kenneth Weishuhn was a kind-hearted, fun-loving teenage boy, always looking to make others smile. But when the South O’Brien High School 14-year-old told friends he was gay, the harassment and bullying began. It didn’t let up until he took his own life.

Sadly, Kenneth’s story is far from unique. Boys and girls across Iowa and beyond are targeted every day. In this case sexual orientation appears to have played a role, but we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike. No sense can be made of these actions.

Now our community and region must face this stark reality: We are all to blame. We have not done enough. Not nearly enough.

This is not a failure of one group of kids, one school, one town, one county or one geographic area. Rather, it exposes a fundamental flaw in our society, one that has deep-seated roots. Until now, it has been too difficult, inconvenient — maybe even painful — to address. But we can’t keep looking away.

In Kenneth’s case, the warnings were everywhere. We saw it happen in other communities, now it has hit home. Undoubtedly, it wasn’t the first life lost to bullying here, but we can strive to make it the last.

The documentary Bully, which depicts the bullying of an East Middle School student, opened in Sioux City on Friday. We urge everyone to see it. At its core, it is a heart-breaking tale of how far we have yet to go. Despite its award-winning, proactive policies, we see there is still much work to be done in Sioux City schools.

Superintendent Paul Gausman is absolutely correct when he says “it takes all of us to solve the problem.” But schools must be at the forefront of our battle against bullying.

Sioux City must continue to strengthen its resolve and its policies. Clearly, South O’Brien High School needs to alter its approach. We urge Superintendent Dan Moore to rethink his stance that “we have all the things in place to deal with it.” It should be evident that is simply not the case.

South O’Brien isn’t the only school that needs help. A Journal Des Moines bureau report last year demonstrated that too many schools don’t take bullying seriously. According to that report, Iowa school districts, on average, reported less than 2 percent of their students had been bullied in any given year since the state passed its anti-bullying law in 2007. That statistic belies the actual depth of this problem, and in response the Iowa Department of Education will implement a more comprehensive anti-bullying and harassment policy in the 2012-13 school year.

But as Gausman and Nate Monson, director of Iowa Safe Schools, are quick to remind us, this is more than a school problem. If we want to eradicate bullying in our community, we can’t rely on schools alone.

We need to support local agencies like the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention and national efforts like the one described at stopbullying.gov. Bullying takes many forms, some of them – Internet, Facebook, cell phone – more subtle than others. Parents should monitor the cell phone and Internet usage of their children. All public and private institutions need to do more to demonstrate that bullying is simply unacceptable in our workplaces and in our homes. We need to educate ourselves and others.

Some in our community will say bullying is simply a part of life. If no one is physically hurt, they will say, what’s the big deal? It’s just boys being boys and girls being girls.

Those people are wrong, and they must be shouted down.

We must make it clear in our actions and our words that bullying will not be tolerated. Those of us in public life must be ever mindful of the words we choose, especially in the contentious political debates that have defined our modern times. More importantly, we must not be afraid to act.

How many times have each of us witnessed an act of bullying and said little or nothing? After all, it wasn’t our responsibility. A teacher or an official of some kind should step in. If our kid wasn’t involved, we figured, it’s none of our business.

Try to imagine explaining that rationale to the mother of Kenneth Weishuhn.

It is the business of all of us. More specifically, it is our responsibility. Our mandate.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge our community has yet to view bullying in quite this way. It’s well past time to do so.

Stand up. Be heard. And don’t back down. Together, we can put a stop to bullying.

It’s too late for Kenneth Weishuhn, and Phoebe Prince, and Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, and Ty Field, and Alexis Pilkington, and Megan Meier, and Ryan Hallington, and all the other kids (children, dammit!) who have hung themselves, shot themselves, jumped off heights, or did whatever they could do to make the pain stop.

But we can help stop it from happening again.

How knowledge and understanding can bring tears to your eyes

Here’s my idea of a superbly spiritual evening…

I bring you several of  UppruniTegundanna‘s series. Begin with the aptly-named “You Are Here”…

…followed by the sublimely beautiful “The Ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine” with its wonderful soundtrack…

…and the beautifully staged “Reverse Engineering the Universe”…

Go see the rest of UppruniTegundanna’s Youtube work. Well worth the time spent.

“This is the dimension of imagination.”

The title is part of Rod Serling’s monologue at the beginning of each show of the first season of The Twilight Zone, which is arguably the best-written dramatic series ever broadcast on American television.

Today Stumbleupon found for me a wonderful list from Everything (a great site for free-form thinking exercises) of published works that induce one or more mindfucksthe most sublime element of that dimension.

Have fun!

~~~

Adams, Douglas

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
  • Life, the Universe, and Everything
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
  • Mostly Harmless
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Richard Adams

  • Watership Down

Alighieri, Dante

  • Inferno

Allende, Isobel

  • The House of the Spirits

Asimov, Isaac

  • Foundation
  • The Bicentennial Man

Atwood, Margaret

  • A Handmaid’s Tale
  • The Edible Woman
  • Surfacing

Ayliffe, John Stephen

  • Blind Man’s Bluff

Banks, Iain or Banks, Iain M.

  • The Bridge
  • The Wasp Factory
  • Use of Weapons

Bantok, Nick

  • Griffin and Sabine

Barth, John

  • Chimera

Bear, Greg

  • Blood Music

Bester, Alfred

  • Tiger! Tiger! (otherwise known as The Stars, My Destination — one of my personal favorites)

Bey, Hakim

  • Temporary Autonomous Zone

Block, Francesca Lia

  • Dangerous Angels – the Weetzie Bat books

Boethius

  • Consolation of Philosophy

Borges, Jorge Luis

  • Ficciones (Fictions)
  • The Cirular Ruins

Bradbury, Ray

  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Dandelion Wine

Bryant, Dorothy

  • The Kin Of Ata Are Waiting For You

Bulgakov, Mikhail

  • The Master and Margarita
  • The Heart of a Dog

Burgess, Anthony

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Wanting Seed

Burroughs, William S.

  • Junkie
  • Naked Lunch
  • The Ticket That Exploded
  • Junky’s Christmas

Camus, Albert

  • The Outsider
  • The Myth of Sisyphus
  • The Stranger
  • The Plague

Capote, Truman

  • In Cold Blood

Carpenter, Edmund Snow

  • They Became what They Beheld

Carroll, Lewis

  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Through the Looking-Glass

Carroll, Peter

  • Liber Null
  • Psychonaut
  • Liber Kaos

Casares, Adolfo Bioy

Castaneda, Carlos

  • The teachings of Don Juan: a Yaqui way of knowledge
  • A Separate Reality
  • Journey to Ixtlan

Cervantes, Miguel de

  • Don Quixote

Chase, Truddi

  • When Rabbit Howls

Chayefsky, Paddy

  • Altered States

Chuang Chou

  • The Chuang-Tzu

Clark, Arthur C.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Childhood’s End

Cortázar, Julio

  • End of the Game and Other Stories
  • Rayuela (Hopscotch)

Coupland, Douglas

  • Microserfs

Danielewski, Mark

  • House of Leaves

Dawkins, Richard

  • The Selfish Gene

DeLillo, Don

Dick, Philip K.

  • A Scanner Darkly
  • The Divine Invasion
  • VALIS
  • (and almost everything else he wrote)

Dickens, Charles

  • A Tale of Two Cities

Dostoevsky, Fyodor

  • Crime and Punishment
  • Notes from the Underground
  • The Brothers Karamazov

Eco, Umberto

  • Foucalt’s Pendulum
  • The Name of the Rose

Efsandiary, F.M.

  • Upwingers

Egan, Greg

  • Diaspora
  • Distress
  • Permutation City

Eliot, T.S.

  • The Wasteland

Ellis, Bret Easton

  • American Psycho

Ellis, Edward Robb

  • A Nation in Torment

Ende, Michael

  • The Never-ending Story

Euclid

  • The Elements

Farmer, Philip Jose

  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go

Faulkner, William

  • As I Lay Dying

Feinberg, Leslie

  • Stone Butch Blues

Foucault, Michel

  • Discipline and Punish

Fowles, John

  • The Magus

Freud, Sigmund

  • Civilization and Its Discontents

Gaarder, Jostein

  • Sophie’s World

Gardner, Laurence

  • The Bloodline of the Holy Grail

Gaiman, Neil

  • Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett)
  • Neverwhere
  • American Gods

Genet, Jean

  • Miracle of The Rose

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins

  • Herland

Gibson, William

  • Burning Chrome
  • Neuromancer
  • Count Zero
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive
  • Virtual Light
  • Idoru
  • All Tomorrow’s Parties

Gleick, James

  • Chaos : Making a New Science

Gray, Alasdair

  • Lanark

Gogol, Nikolai

  • The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories

Golding, William

  • Lord of the Flies

Grimwood, Ken

  • Replay

Gurdjieff, G. I.

  • Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson

Halperin, James L.

  • The Truth Machine

Hand, Elizabeth

  • Waking the Moon
  • Glimmering
  • Winterlong
  • Aestival Tide
  • Icarus Descending

Heinlein, Robert A.

  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Time Enough For Love

Heller, Joseph

  • Catch-22

Herbert, Frank

  • Dune

Hermans, W.F.

  • Het behouden huis
  • Nooit meer slapen

Herr, Michael

  • Dispatches

Hesse, Herman

  • Steppenwolf
  • Siddhartha

Hofstadter, Douglas

  • Godel, Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
  • Metamagical Themas

Hugo, Victor

  • Les Miserables

Huxley, Aldous

  • Brave New World
  • The Doors of Perception

Ibsen, Henrik

  • A Doll’s House

Irving, John

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

Jotce, Graham

  • The Tooth Fairy

Joyce, James

  • Ulysses
  • Finnegan’s Wake

Kafka, Franz

  • The Penal Colony
  • The Trial
  • America
  • The Castle
  • Metamorphosis

Kaku, Michio

  • Hyperspace

Kerouac, Jack

  • On the Road
  • Visions of Cody

Kesey, Ken}

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Keyes, J. Gregory

  • Newton’s Cannon
  • A Calculus of Angels
  • Empire of Unreason
  • The Waterborn
  • The Blackgod

Kidder, Tracy

  • The Soul of a New Machine

King, Stephen

  • The Dark Tower series
  • The Tommyknockers
  • The Stand

Kingston, Maxine Hong

  • The Woman Warrior

Knowles, John

  • A Separate Peace

Land, Jon

  • The Jared Kimberlain series

Kosinski, Jerry

  • The Painted Bird

Lawrence, D. H.

  • Lady Chatterly’s Lover

Leary, Timothy

  • Politics of Ecstasy and Info-Psychology (aka Exo-Psychology)

Lee, Tanith

  • The Silver Metal Lover

Lem, Stanislaw

  • The Cyberiad
  • Solaris
  • The Futurological Congress
  • Eden

Lewis, C.S.

  • Out of the Silent Planet
  • Perelandra
  • That Hideous Strength

Leyner, Mark

  • Et Tu, Babe
  • The Tetherballs of Bouganville

Lilly, John C.

  • Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer

Llewellyn, Grace

  • The Teenage Liberation Handbook

Longyear, Barry B.

  • Sea of Glass

Mailer, Norman

  • Why Are We In Vietnam?

Mandela, Nelson

  • Long Walk to Freedom

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude

Mayle, Peter

  • Where Did I Come From?

McKenna, Terence

  • The Archaic Revival
  • The Invisible Landscape (with Dennis McKenna
  • True Hallucinations

Miller, Walter

  • A Canticle for Leibowitz

Miller, Henry

  • Plexus

Milton, John

  • Paradise Lost

More, Thomas

  • Utopia

Morrison, Tony

  • The Bluest Eye

Murakami, Haruki

  • A Wild Sheep Chase
  • The Wind-up Bird Chronicles

Musashi, Miyamoto

  • The Book of Five Rings

Musil, Robert

  • The Man Without Qualities (Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften)

Nabokov, Vladimir

  • Lolita

Neville, Katherine

  • The Eight

Nietzsche, Friedrich

  • The Gay Science

Noon, Jeff

  • Vurt
  • Nymphomation

Nørretranders, Tor

  • The User Illusion

Oates, Joyce Carol

  • Blonde

O’Brien, Flann

  • The Third Policeman

O’Brien, Timothy

  • The Things They Carried

Orwell, George

  • 1984
  • Animal Farm

Paglia, Camille

  • Sexual Personae

Palahniuk, Chuck

  • Fight Club
  • Survivor
  • Choke
  • Invisible Monsters

Perec, Georges

  • A Void

Plath, Sylvia

  • The Bell Jar

Pirsig, Robert

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Poe, Edgar Allan

Pynchon, Thomas

  • The Crying of Lot 49
  • Gravity’s Rainbow

Quinn, Daniel

  • Ishmael and The Story of B

Rand, Ayn

  • The Fountainhead

Rhinehart, Luke

  • The Dice Man
  • Adventures of Wim
  • Search for the Dice Man

Rooney, Andy

  • Not That You Asked

Rosen, Robert

  • Life Itself

Ross, John

  • Unintended Consequences

Roy, Arundhati

  • The Cost of Living
  • The God of Small Things

Rucker, Rudy

  • Software, Wetware, and Freeware

Rushkoff, David

  • The Ecstasy Club

Sacks, Oliver

  • Seeing Voices

Sagan, Carl

  • Pale Blue Dot
  • The Demon-Haunted World

Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de

  • The Little Prince

Saramago, Jose

  • Blindness

Sartre, Jean-Paul

  • Nausea

Shakespeare, William

  • Hamlet

Shelley, Mary

  • Frankenstein

Shem, Samuel

  • The House of God
  • Mount Misery

Shepard, Lucius

  • Life During Wartime

Simmons, Dan

  • Hyperion
  • The Fall of Hyperion

St. Augustine

  • Confessions

Stapledon, Olaf

  • Starmaker
  • Sirius

Stein, Gertrude

  • How to Write

Stephenson, Neal

  • Snow Crash
  • Cryptonomicon
  • Zodiac
  • Diamond Age

Süskind, Patrick

  • Das Parfum

Tan, Amy

  • The Joy Luck Club

Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Old Path, White Clouds

Thompson, Hunter S.

  • Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

Thurber, James

  • The 13 Clocks

Tolstoy, Leo

  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich
  • The Kreuzer Sonata

Twain, Mark

  • Letters from the Earth
  • The Mysterious Stranger
  • Autobiography

Ullman, Ellen

  • Close to the Machine

Various

  • The Bible

Vian, Boris

  • I Shall Spit On Your Grave

Vinge, Vernor

  • A Fire upon the Deep

Vonnegut, Kurt

  • Breakfast of Champions
  • Cat’s Cradle
  • Player Piano
  • Sirens of Titan
  • Slaughter-house Five

Wallace, David Foster

  • Infinite Jest

Welsh, Irvine

  • Filth

Walsh, Lawrence E.

  • Firewall

Watts, Alan

  • The Book
  • The Joyous Cosmology
  • The Wisdom of Insecurity
  • The Way Of Zen

Wilbur, Ken

  • Sex, Ecology, Spirituality

Wilde, Oscar

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wilder, Thornton

  • The Bridge of San Luis Ray

Wilson, Robert Anton

  • The Illuminatus! Trilogy (with Robert Shea)
  • Prometheus Rising
  • Cosmic Trigger
  • Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy (note: originally published as three volumes: The Universe Next Door, The Trick Top Hat, and The Homing Pigeons. Thanks to Wobbly Tech)

Wolfe, Gene

  • Peace

Woolf, Virginia

  • To the Lighthouse

Wright, Robert

Yogananda, Paramahansa

  • Autobiography Of A Yogi

Yourcenar, Marguerite

  • Anna… Soror
  • Alexis
  • Memoirs of Hadrian

Yevgeny Zamyatin, Zamyatin, Yevgeny

  • We

Zinn, Howard

  • A People’s History of the United States

Zukav, Gary

  • Seat Of The Soul

Yet one more reason not to live in Arizona

“Mr. Johnson? Please sit down. I’d like to discuss your job application and particulars.

“Let me first say that you have an impressive resume. We think you’d be a a real asset. I have just a few questions I need to ask you.

“First — I’m sure you also noticed that list of the works of literature that we will no longer offer our students here.

“Well, I thought you’d be curious about some of the choices in that list. Yes, no more Salinger. Such awful language. And Vonnegut is completely unacceptable. I’m afraid that Chaucer will have to be removed as well. A pity — Canterbury Tales is one of my personal favorites, but then we cannot have our charges exposed to such trash.

“We will be eliminating Shakespeare from our curricula, and removing Shakespeare compendiums from the library — rape, dismemberment, cannibalism, sex outside of marriage. All most definitely unsuitable and now quite illegal.

“Yes, we will have to expunge our dictionaries from the campuses. Most of them contain obscene words.

“Oh, and we have a few requirements of our instructors, and for you as well if you take the proffered position. You will not be allowed to have sex ever — that would be conduct unbecoming. And you will not be allowed to urinate at any time, either. I’m afraid both of those activities are not allowed by the rules of the FCC, and as such are now against the law.

“I hope those won’t not be large inconveniences for you. We’re just keeping everyone in line with the new state law.

“So…will you be joining us for the next fall term here at the University of Arizona?”

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Interesting (and compelling) argument:

Click to enbiggen

If “sanctity of marriage” is what’s keeping you from agreeing with gay marriage, you should pay more attention to your First Amendment. (It wouldn’t hurt a bit to pay more attention to the “due process” clause of the 14th Amendment as well.)

(Thanks to Tony for the tip.)

Just so we’re all reading off the same Middle East page…

There has been a lot of press recently about American support for Israel. If you’re pondering what the proper moral path is here, consider a few historical and political facts:

  1. The Zionists of the early 20th century purchased much of the arable land in what is now Israel. The land had been owned by absentee Jordanian landlords and was being worked by local sharecroppers (mostly Muslim Arabs). The sharecroppers were forced to leave by the new landowners, who were building farms and cities on their new possessions; this created something of a refugee problem.
  2. The United Nations granted Israel legal statehood in 1948, mostly in gratitude for support of the Allied effort during WWII from Jewish residents of the area. (Most of the Arab countries supported Nazi Germany until it became obvious that the Axis would lose the war.)
  3. In response to the UN action, the countries surrounding Israel declared war on the fledgling state in 1948. Jordan occupied Trans-Jordan (now called the West Bank), which had been considered by the UN as a homeland for the Arab refugees of the area. Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Egypt had their asses handed to them by Israeli brigades and militia.
  4. In 1953, the Arab countries again declared war on Israel. And they again had their asses handed to them by the Israeli army, which then proceeded to occupy Sinai, Trans-Jordan, and the Golan Heights. The resulting armistice called for Israel to return these occupied territories, which they did.
  5. In 1967, the Arab countries declared war yet again, and they had their asses handed to them yet again. This time Israel took permanent possession of the Sinai, Golan Heights, and the West Bank, both because of their strategic values and as punitive punishment for their neighbors’ aggression.
  6. There was another war in 1973; this time the Arab aggressors gave no warning. Israel beat them soundly for a fourth time.
  7. In 1979, Egypt sued for a permanent peace in the region. Israel and Egypt signed a treaty pledging permanent peace and stating that Israel had a legal right to exist. As a result, Israel returned the Sinai to Egyptian control. The two countries have been at peace since then.

It is true that Israel has been guilty of many human rights violations; the King David Hotel bombing was a horrific loss of life and was attributed to radicals within Israel. However, in comparison the surrounding countries

  • have declared that Israel will be annihilated, and all Jewry forced into the sea
  • condone ongoing terrorist attacks upon Israeli citizens (per Hamas, “there are no civilian targets in Israel”)
  • have manipulated and militarily supported the disaffected Arab peoples who reside in Israel (for the political and military advantages)

Israel is the only democracy in that region of the world. (Hopefully Iraq will stay a democracy.)

Israel grants full civil rights to women.

Israel is coming quickly up to speed on LGBT rights.

Israel acknowledges religious freedom to an extent unheard of in the surrounding countries.

Tell Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to declare the same level of peaceful co-existence to Israel that Egypt has done, and there might just be a chance for real peace. If all countries involved (including Israel) would quit granting political power to the religious extremists within their borders, that peace just might last.