28 September 2010

American Exceptionalism

I loathe most aspects of American Exceptionalism.  Except for this:  The Bill of Rights -- one of the towering achievements of political philosophy -- defines what it means to be a human being in terms of inalienable rights, and from that, what it means to be American.  We -- and other countries, too --  have over time, accepted and extended the Bill of Rights to include more rights applying to more people.

Women and people of color didn't do so well at first.  Minorities -- ethnic, religious, and sexual --  still have issues.  The same thing is true for economic inequality.  We're still working on this -- and as long as we as a people continue to work on the extension of rights for all, then I'm satisfied with the American experiment.

This idea -- that we as a people need not be afraid of the other -- is the one part of American Exceptionalism I both embrace and hope to see written large across the world.

26 September 2010

Wherein the present becomes the future

No, I didn't take a video of William Gibson as he was reading from "Zero History" or responding to questions from the audience.  I sure as hell used my 'berry to record my thoughts.  And here they are:

Obsessive need to buy books. "Zero History," of course.  Picked up trade paper copies of "Neuromancer" and "Count Zero."  Fanboy nervous. Also Killcullen and McPhee.  The Killcullen is for MMF. Will read first. Kilcullen's the most important military thinker since Lawrence.

Watching and listening to the staff and acolytes is funny. From Eno c. 1973 to Comic Book Guy and the usual washington technorati.

Powell's v. Politics and Prose: no contest. Powell's.  Why do we stay in this miserable town?

And the battery is dying. Can I be surprised at my 'berry's intransigence? Of course, an iPhone wouldn't be any better.

Men to women ratio: ten to one - at least. I've seen more women at The Eagle!

Glad I got here early.  It's packed.

Gibson looks like an Oregonian.  Yah Oregon!

Gibson sounds like a less fucked up William Burroughs.  And reading, it becomes a real profound similarity.

And the Bigend/Bell connection - terrifying. 

Milgram is more fascinating all the time.  And Bigend - more terrifying. 
Gibson talking on his characters and his process is fascinating.

Cornell boxes. Ah. I never saw the Bridge as a great Cornell box.  But it makes sense.  And I am eternally grateful to Gibson to introducing me to Joseph Cornell with "Count Zero."

Gibson is wicked smart and savvy.  Imagine this is what a reading with Twain would have been like.

Comparing Hollywood movie production to slime mold. Brilliant.

Does no one know how to ask a question?  Answer: yes.

09 September 2010


A present for me, Rahm? Why, thank you! The country thanks you too.

Perhaps now we'll see if the President can get some decent advice and staff work.