Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You

October 31, 2006

Simple question: “Where?”

Filed under: Iraq,mediachumps,News,Politics,rants,war — secretmojo @ 12:17 pm

The BBC reports that the Pentagon is launching a new propaganda — oops, I mean “media war” unit — that will attempt to offset — oops, I mean “correct” — unflattering (I mean “inaccurate”) breaking news reports.

My only question, which is blatantly missing in this article, is, “Where?” Who are the targets of this propa — media war? Which stations, which websites? More importantly, which country?

The BBC won’t say. They mention TV, radio, and weblogs, and grant the Pentagon a fully dictated — oops, I mean “reported” — paragraph to sort-of explain the issue:

The administration is particularly concerned that insurgents in areas such as Iraq have been able to use the web to disseminate their message and give the impression they are more powerful than the US, our correspondent says.

But my question still remains. “Where?”

Where will these bold countermeasures be conducted? On Iraqi TV? Iraqi Radio? Insurgent web sites?

Not mentioned. Which forces me to conclude that most of this media warring will be conducted in America, on American radio, on American TV, on American blogs, toward American station owners and American citizens.

Seriously, where else is that scary 24-hour news cycle that keeps Donald Rumsfeld “up at night” located? Where else can lobbyists and politicians (uh, “surrogates”) gear up and appear on a TV show so quickly? (Hint: Baghdad is 6,211 miles away from Washington. New York is 204.)

I will hazard a guess that Rumsfeld and the top brass don’t receive their daily supply of heebie jeebies from Al-Jazeera pundits. If not, who are they afraid of?

On Monday, US Vice President Dick Cheney also made reference to the use of media, suggesting insurgents had increased their attacks and were checking the internet to keep track of American public opinion. [emphasis added]

Ahhhh! That’s who. Never mind.


August 5, 2006

The word is “failure”

Filed under: Israel/Lebanon,rants,terrorism,war — secretmojo @ 11:59 pm

My god, why?

What I believe has disappeared via this growing compendium of Justification Proclamations is the concept of war as a failure of humanity.

War is a failure. It means we couldn’t work it out amongst ourselves like adults, and punched our sister in the face for the toy. It is not a triumph. All wars are Pyrric victories: you need only count the dead. It is blood and guts, unbound hatred, and immoral to the core.

War proves itself bizarre when we map its qualities onto an individual. It is everything we would despise about a man: solving problems by fist, justifying beating the crap out of someone, bragging about his kill ratio and the blackjack he has in his car.

So why this depraved assumption that war is innately valid, heroic, and beneficial? That stopping war, even briefly, is useless? Actually, I don’t care for the answer to this one; I’ve heard enough “birth pang”-style ramblings to decide the answer comes more from fealty than intelligence or compassion. War is not innately valid, and anyone who acts like it is is someone to steer well clear of.

We should, if we are human, deplore war. It should shame us, embarrass us, and make us cry for our own species. But I suppose this would require too much grace. Too much “bleeding heart” emotions, as opposed the more manly “bleeding body” approach. But if we still have souls, we should recognize that fighting wars are a stain upon us, and that if we dare engage in them, we best do it for the most obvious, self-evident reasons, and know all the while we curse ourselves to hell for it.

In other words, when we justify our wars ex post facto, and furthermore cheer their existence, we’ve gone sociopathic.

War is a failure from its inception. Did I say that already? If a person believes war brings it like King Midas, transforming useless things into gold, perhaps he’s right: King Midas lost his daughter through his greed. But a war, unlike Midas, has no Dionysus to bring back the dead.

Human beings are not based in hatred and violence; our prominent qualities are intelligence, abstract thought, language skills, music, and the undying need to create, love, and have our stories told.

So I think anyone can predict my response to a post that, in order to justify the continuation of death, blithely mentions uber-menschen, racism, sickness, peace as idiocy, hatred, Pol Pot, Hitler, dysfunction, victimization, pathology, blindness, “stopping feeling,” killing Jews; and uses pejorative language like “Pay attention,” “Is this starting to sink in?” and “We just wanted to clear that up for anyone who’s feelings might have been hurt” and “before you puff out your chests with self esteemed indignation”, and so on, and so on, and so on:

Loathe yourself, because you’re part of the problem.

It’s not “it’s”; its “it’s” is its

Filed under: rants,writing — secretmojo @ 7:36 pm

Okay. Pet peeve time.

Stop putting apostrophes on its! I know it’s [hehe] confusing, but please stop, because you are using the wrong word.

I don’t paint my house read. Nor do I put another read in my oboe two play it. We don’t lower hour standards with other words just because what wee sea sounds like what won here’s—because it’s [hehe] a matter of clarity, not snobbery. So give its its [hehe] meaning back, please. Avoid the apostrophe.

Let me clarify, if you don’t get it.

It is. This is it’s with its [hehe] “i” reclaimed. In rarer cases, it’s means it has. Never mind that saving an extra letter through contraciton is miserly. It’s allows a more casual conversation. That’s it’s’s [hehe] forte, as it were.

Just like any other contraction, it’s smooshes two words together: it and is. This is its [hehe] only function: as a contraction. Don’t is do not, can’t is can not, who’s is who is, and it’s is it is. It’s [hehe] that simple. If you use it’s, but do not mean it is, you are using the wrong word.

Now, let me introduce some confusion (if I haven’t already). When my friend owns a book, it is Bob’s book. Simple? Apostrophe-s. Larry’s pompadour, dog’s bite, Mojo’s pet peeve. The possessive uses ’s. I don’t want to confuse the reader into thinking I’m talking about many Larrys or dogs or Mojos, so I employ the apostrophe.

So if my chair has a lump in it, I say “It’s lump is killing me,” right?

Wrong. Repeat five times: When you use it’s and do not mean it is, you are using the wrong word.

More confusion: Mojo’s going on a rant. This means “Mojo is.” I know, I know, there’s no difference between contraction and possession with nouns, so why bother with it’s? Look, the English language is confusing enough as it is: you go on a bus, in a car, but to a ball park. We need all the clarity we can get. Besides, it’s was developed before we started using the ’s contraction for every noun on the planet, so give it’s a break.

Now: its. This is ownership. No less, no more. We have his and hers for sexed possession, and use its for non-sexed possesion. The dog chased its tail. I don’t like its color. When its meaning became clear to me, it ruined all shoddy technical documentation forever.

The point isn’t formality, but clarity. Consider this mistake: “It’s dancing is the best dancing I’ve ever seen.” I literally have to read again to grasp its [hehe] meaning. First I believe that it is dancing, but then I see “is” and wonder “dude, where’d that second verb come from?”, then I read “the best…” and realize the author used the wrong its, go back, mentally strip the apostrophe, and read again. So please, no complaints that I’m a grammar nazi. I am not. I’m just sick of reading sentences twice.

In fact, all you have to remember is rule #1: if you mean it is, use it’s. (think of the apostrophe as the dot of the missing i, if you must). Otherwise, use its. Easy!

If you’re still confused, expand and read your sentences: “The guitar hit it’s highest note,” becomes “The guitar hit it is highest note.” Yuck!

If expansion does not sound right, then you’ve screwed up. Take the apostrophe off, dangit!

To test its, you can replace with “her”: “Its hot outside” becomes “Her hot outside,” which sounds like caveman talk. But “The city lost its innocence” becomes “The city lost her innocence”, which does not sound entirely weird, so is okay. Try these techniques on the following, if you’re still confused:

“Its wanting us to come in.” — correct or incorrect?

“Its ugliness scared us all.” — correct or incorrect?

“Are you going to touch it’s paw?” — correct or incorrect?

“It’s hit its funny bone; that’s the reason why it’s cringing.” — correct or incorrect?

So please, give its its [hehe] meaning back; don’t let its [hehe] evil brother, it’s, steal its [hehe] identity. Believe me, it’s [hehe] worth it.


July 31, 2006

How to redefine words so you smell more like roses, and less like crap

Filed under: Humor,Israel/Lebanon,News,Politics,rants — secretmojo @ 2:26 pm

Here’s a guide for those of you who, as facts come in regarding Lebanon, need stronger cognitive shielding (hat tip to Curtis, who’s always a fine read, but gets this one wrong). While not as succinct as “War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery,” it’s still a delightful romp into the benefits of self-defined cult language: Ceasefire is Surrender, Civilians are Combatants, Disproportionate is… Kickin’ Ass!

Pretty soon the semantic divergence will be so great that I’ll ask a conservative friend to “pass the salt,” but he’ll hear “appease the chemical weapon.”

Then he’ll start yelling about “taking the fight to them,” and I’ll be all, “huh?” and he’ll be like “Don’t treat me like I’m stupid,” and I’ll say, “whatever,” and reach for the salt.

Seeing the brisk movement of my arm, he’ll take a swing at me, and I’ll say “calm down, buddy, what the fuck’s gotten into you?” and he’ll be all “NO CEASEFIRE!” and I’ll again be like “huh?” and he’ll grab me by the shirt, puff up his chest, and scream “I’m sick of your ‘huh’ accusations!” and heave the table aside in massive clatter.

And the salt will explode all over, I’ll get pissed and tackle him, he’ll bite my earlobe and I’ll gouge his eyes. We’ll both be arrested, and, since he’s got a cop friend, I’ll get jail time for assault.

Then, months later, he’ll moan alone to a bartender, adjust his eye patch, and tell the sorry tale of how good our friendship used to be until, one day, I freakishly attacked him out of nowhere when he politely asked me to pass the salt.

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