Is Mr. Krassner there?

I'm pretty sure I heard of this one, but I hadn't seen the full text, which Denis DeKat has kindly provided. There are real subversives lurking in the heart of Islamic wild-assness, Saudi Arabia. ("Fundamentalism" is a term with a specific meaning, and we do not muddy the waters by misusing it.) I recommend reading the piece through; it's a fine satire, even if a bit too long.

It's only right and proper that serious-minded Islamists have taken the supposed authors to task for religious extremism; only to be expected that some others would have seriously taken it to heart, but in fact there seems to be no reason to believe that anyone has. Those who want to criticize the Saudi commentators for gullibility will do well to look up Report from Iron Mountain, but there is a difference: there are Americans who have taken that satire seriously and liked it.

(Do I believe the interpretation I've just given, or am I being sarcastic? Yes. I mean, mostly the former.)

Update: For contrast, read this, which looks entirely like the real thing, even when presented by a site that surely is violently hostile to Islamism.

Defending the mall against [what?]

I seem to be leaning on Max a bit today. Via his next item, here's what security guards are defending against today.

Do you see why? Took me a minute, which I'll try to excuse on the basis of the misleadingly colorful illustration in Max's post. Answer is given in the comments. Or is it crashingly obvious? If so, why was the newspaper item so coy about it? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Birth Tax

The party that traditionally has defended us from deficit spending and inflation and all that stuff has found a conflict between that mission and its other one, making life easier for the rich. You knew all that. But since there is so much attention being paid to the Death Tax as a way of fulfilling one of these responsibilities, it's only fair to take a glance at the Birth Tax: the debt that every American acquires by the act of being born. MaxSpeak has kindly given us the data. If you wish, you can cut straight to the graph, showing the national debt bestowed on each newborn citizen over time, expressed in 2005 dollars (corrected for inflation, that is).

Technical note: Why call it a tax? Elementary bookkeeping principles: You add a financial liability to the books, it's a credit entry. The balancing debit entry can be the reduction of another financial liability (nope) or acquisition of a financial asset (nope) or an expense (yep, a tax payment).

Homicide suicide

Not having been driven off by the title's implication that this is about something truly horrid, you are a candidate to read this really remarkable sarcasm-fest from alicublog, concerning the new and seemingly unbeatable standard recently set for how repulsive a statement by a government spokescreature must be before you can use the word "incredible". If you fail to read the comments thread, you will miss much important material, including the strategy for countermeasures by Donald Rumsfeld.

A deconstructionist joke

[Note: I may turn this into an actual post later on. After all, Edward Said, the National Spelling Bee, the brain-eating Hitler zombie, and deconstructionist gangsters could be the basis of quite an entertaining posting. This, however, is at present not it.]

It may not be all that funny, but it's late at night, and I have just spent too much time on a Google search, having decided on a whim that I would now try to find out a thing I had wondered for some time: just what Edward Said really said about "Aryan" languages.

I should say at the outset that I still don't have it quite clear. But I can now be quite sure that nearly everyone who addresses any question having to do with Said from either side, is an insufferable fanatic who is plainly incapable of saying anything that one could take at face value, at least on this subject. Alas, I pretty much knew that beforehand.

In the process I finally found a piece of good sober academic prose, which included an instance of a word I'd never heard of before this week (and confirmed my opinion about that word, on which I may manage to write more trivialities later), along with a quite unexpected sighting of a corpse that may turn out to be the brain-eating Hitler zombie. But that's not the paper I'm speaking of.

Then I came to another piece of non-nonsense, which I found worth reading through while skipping dense discussions of the author's specialized work (rather than invest my time in a long course of instruction to be able to assess the details of his argument, it being easier to stipulate that what he says does support his main point). And toward the end I was further rewarded by a joke:

We now know, thanks to the decontructionists, that not only is objectivity impossible, it seems it is even impossible to convey intended meaning. It seems that there is an unbridgeable gulf between the writer and the reader as well. No matter what the writer intends when he writes, the reader will bring his separate set of experiences and understanding to the writer's text. This is truly pathological. This means that the very enterprise of writing is unlikely to convey the meaning intended by the writer. This is a view that I find truly tiresome (and for those of you who have attempted to read deconstructionist theory you know, at least, what the word tiresome means. The impenetrability of the writing about this theory has given rise to much derision on American campuses--my favorite is the story of the Boss of a Mafia family who decided he would study deconstructionist theory. As a result, he was eventually replaced as the Boss because instead of giving orders that no one could refuse, he found himself giving orders that no one could understand.)
Actually, it's not all that hilarious, but anything that disses the desconstructionists is a good start, and as I said, it's late. If you were still reading, you might ask, 'Do you mean that is the best you found in a long search on <"edward said" aryan> ?' Yes.