Readings: "In the Hyborean Age, We Call That Thursday"

“[Witches] sometimes collect male organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in a bird’s nest or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like living members, and eat oats and corn, as has been seen by many and is a matter of common report.”
(Malleus Malleficarum, 1547)
“We don’t think of ourselves as a culture in the West. We think that we somehow exist outside of time and culture. We’re the real world moving inexorably forward: Get with it or lose the train. When the truth is, we’re the anomaly. ... We think that this that this economic system or our exists out of culture, out of time, and is the inexorable wave of history when, by definition, it is simply the product of a certain set of human beings, our lineage.”
(Wade Davis)

'China will tighten its controls over foreign singers and other performers after Icelandic singer Bjork shouted "Tibet! Tibet!" at a Shanghai concert last weekend... Bjork chanted the name of the Chinese-ruled Himalayan region after performing her song "Declare Independence," which she has used in the past to promote independence movements in other places such as Kosovo.
The performance "not only broke Chinese laws and regulations and hurt the feelings of Chinese people, but also went against the professional code of an artist," the ministry said in a statement quoted by the official Xinhua news agency.'
“The awful truth, of course, is that we’re all living in a huge conspiracy, and things are so ridiculous that we barely even think about it anymore. We entered into the Iraq war under false pretenses. Our government routinely spies on its citizens both inside and outside its borders, and runs secret courts with special rules. We torture and kill civilians in other countries because we can.
“I was surprised when I met some of Seattle’s Truth groups [Believers in alternative 9-11 conspiracies] because I was confronted by smart, sincere people with lots of information about the sad state of civil liberties and corporate control in the United States, people eager to inform other people about what’s happening to our rights and using money out of their own pockets to do it. People fighting, in other words, the single biggest sin in America: laziness. ... They could do a lot better by dropping the arguments about the melting point of steel and whether or not planes actually did hit buildings. What they already have in their hands is priceless: In just a couple of years they’ve created, from nothing, a truly democratic, highly visible grassroots framework for a new kind of peace and civil rights organization that could use that concept of “civil informationing” to bring about change.
(Paul Constant in The Stranger)

“The more I read about Socrates, the less I wonder that they poisoned him.”
(Lord Macaulay)

“It will come as a surprise to many people that there are rules in politics. Most of those rules are unwritten and are based on common understandings, acceptable practices, and the best interest of the political party a candidate seeks to lead. One of those rules is this: Do not provide ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party's nominee. This is a hyper-truth where the presidential contest is concerned.
“By saying that only she and John McCain are qualified to lead the country, particularly in times of crisis, Hillary Clinton has broken that rule, severely damaged the Democratic candidate who may well be the party's nominee, and, perhaps most ominously, revealed the unlimited lengths to which she will go to achieve power. She has essentially said that the Democratic party deserves to lose unless it nominates her.
(Gary Hart)
“I'm not really a horror reader. I don't really love roller coasters and things that make me queasy, and I particularly dislike gore. ... But—you knew there was a "but" coming—I've always had a weakness for ghost stories. I'm not sure why; something about the attenuated cry of the long dead, something about the loss, and the possibility of justice, or at least the emergence of truth, strikes a chord in me. There's something ineluctably human about ghosts.”
(Michelle West)
“In Buckley’s world, gifts of intellect and power were to be used as bludgeons against the less gifted and powerless. For all his cunning charm, Buckley’s was a cynical view of the human condition, its practicality based on the commonest greed and fear. Alas, few truly rigorous minds ever had the chance to take on Buckley in public, though he was ultimately oblivious to argument. Still I wonder if he ever regretted that his intellectual defense of selfishness became the mindless thuggery of the current conservative movement?”
(blog comment by Ric Williams)
“Germany, Japan, and the USSR were modern industrial nation-states that posed direct, tangible, and sustainable military threats to the survival of the United States. The Islamofascist enemy is a specious conjuring of the neoconservatives that does not exist. The Islamist threat personified and led by Osama bin Laden is a direct, tangible, and enduring national-security threat to the United States, but it does not now amount to a world war, and it will not unless the neoconservatives continue to hold sway. We are fighting a war with the Islamists that is ours to lose, and at the moment we are successfully losing it because President Bush and 17 of the 19 individuals in the current crop of presidential candidates buy Podhoretz's lethal lie that the Islamists are "the latest mutation of the totalitarian threat to our civilization" and are, "like the Nazis and the Communists before them … dedicated to the destruction of the freedoms we cherish and for which Americans stand." Actually, America's war with the bin Laden-led Islamists is fueled by the impact of U.S. and Western interventionist foreign policies in the Islamic world, not, as Podhoretz claims, by "our virtues as a free and prosperous country." To the extent that America combines reduced interventionism with military action against genuine threats, we will defeat the Islamists. The increased interventionism of Podhoretz and his coterie will lead to endless war abroad and eventually between Muslim Americans and their countrymen at home – and America's defeat.”
(Michael Scheurer)
“So fuck the Street, Ben Bernanke; just this once, just for, like, a quarter or something. You don't have to play rough; I'm not asking you to nationalize any industries or institute land reform or anything, just give them a little scare. They chose this path, you know. They chose to worship Ayn Rand and wear those Paul Smith shirts and pay zero money down on their Hamptons summer homes and obnoxiously, whenever confronted by someone like myself at a bar, claim that the Market Solves Everything. Let the market solve this one for them.”
( posted by “Moe” on
Honesty feels heady right now. For seven years, we have lived with the arid, us-against-them formulas of Bush’s menial mind, with the result that the nuanced exploration of America’s hardest subject is almost giddying. Can it be that a human being, like Wright, or like Obama’s grandmother, is actually inhabited by ambiguities? Can an inquiring mind actually explore the half-shades of truth?
Yes. It. Can. The unimaginable South African transition that Nelson Mandela made possible is a reminder that leadership matters. Words matter. The clamoring now in the United States for a presidency that uplifts rather than demeans is a reflection of the intellectual desert of the Bush years.
Hillary Clinton said in January that: “You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose.” Wrong. America’s had its fill of the prosaic.
The unthinkable can come to pass. When I was a teenager, my relatives advised me to enjoy the swimming pools of Johannesburg because “next year they will be red with blood.”
But the inevitable bloodbath never came. Mandela walked out of prison and sought reconciliation, not revenge. Later Mandela would say: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
(Roger Cohen, “Beyond America’s Original Sin”)
“...Conan has sex with a ghost, chops up a couple dozen mummies, and then stabs a wizard who is riding a giant red eagle and summoning Lovecraftian horrors. Back in the Hyborean age, that was pretty much just called “Thursday.””
(Chris’ Invincible Super Blog)

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