Category Archives: War

A Call to Disarm, America

We are deeply saddened for the families of those who have lost a loved one to gun violence this week, and every week. But we are even more deeply concerned with the escalating spiral of rage and finger-pointing that are nurturing more opportunities for such violence. Once again we implore you to abstain from feeding these online dialogues that only further entrench those whose opinions would differ from yours behind their own walls of social media righteousness.

It’s foolish to say to a group of adults that the desires of the nation aren’t just black and white.  That’s obvious to anyone capable of even the most rudimentary measure of critical thought.  We know that the nation, and humanity lives in the nebulous grey gradient between those poles.

We each live behind our own fog of war, and believe me, we have allowed ourselves to escalate this conversation into a war. This fog rolls in thick from behind our heads, condensed from the ether by our own social positions and opinions. We reject opinions contrary to ours with our own personal violences: We name call, we unfriend, we bait, we battle strangers in comment threads. We don’t listen. We wait for our turn to tell others how the world should change to better reflect our opinions. Sometimes we don’t even wait.

Each and every one of these exchanges feeds a national online dialogue that increasingly polarizes the population. Each of us adds little pressures to massive, groaning fault line between us all.

And each time we do, we thicken the fog around ourselves, and push those whose opinions would differ from ours deeper into the murky distance.  We do this so much so that we even seek it out in our political candidates.  Every political cycle they become more and more just… caricatures.

And we retreat a little further back into the polarized battlefield, nourishing our opinions on memes and like-minded media outlets, always believing our side to be white, and those whose opinions would differ from ours to be black.

And the faces of acquaintances whose opinions would differ from ours become caricatures.   Less human, and whose opinions do not matter as much as ours.  And who are incapable of seeing the grey that our nation lives in.

The grey we used to see so well.

The grey that is indecipherable behind our fog of war, so far back in our entrenched lines.

The grey that has become a no man’s land.

The grey that does nothing more than catch innocence within the crossfire of our best intentions.

This is the grey we are supposed to live in, but we are willing it into abandonment.

So I stand here, a murky silhouette in the middle of an abandoned American ideal, waving a flag of truce and begging my brothers and sisters in this great experiment called America to stand up from their trenches and throw down their arms.

This has nothing to do with gun control.  I’m asking you to throw down the armaments you use to defend your opinions with extreme prejudice and step out into the no man’s land to have a listen.

No, not to me, and not your media outlets, your memes, or the voices from back in your polarized entrenchment.  Listen to each other, stripped from the offensive weapons we use to berate and belittle each other.  And listen to how we are afraid.  Standing alone together in the grey of no man’s land, the artillery of agendas hissing past our heads and hear the fears of those whose opinions would differ from yours.

And remember what you already know:  We all want the same things.

Safety.

The safety that can only be provided by a government.

Safety from the government abusing the gift of our trust.

Safety to be with our friends and neighbors.

Safety from our friends and neighbors.

Safety to have an opinion.

Safety to have that opinion respected.

These safeties to extend to our families and all those we hold dear.

The safety that those we hold dear would never need to fear the loss of these safeties.

Maybe if enough of us listen rather than tell, we can thin this fog of war back enough to see one another again.

How many more people need to die before we realize the fact that we are all responsible for the environment we have created.  We’ve willed it into cold reality through the self-righteousness of our own opinions, and our impassioned willingness to instruct others on the right way to think.   If you don’t believe me play the following thought experiment with yourself.

When you read the title of this post, “A Call to Disarm, America,” your gut instinct immediately made you think “gun control.”  Before even digesting the first sentence of the post, your brain had already filtered the concept of gun control through your opinions and you had a feral, emotional response toward the word “Disarm” and how you feel about the concept of sweeping gun legislation.  That emotional response entrenched you with, or against the post emotionally, and you started your praise or rebuttals.

Did you have a reaction?  Positive or negative?  Did you bristle or nod quietly to yourself before you read the post?  Did it color the way you read the post?

If so it might be time to accept your part.  Disarm yourself of your opinions, your memes, your like-minded media outlets, and the fear-mongering braying mules who seek fame at the cost of dividing our nation.  Step out from your fog and join me in the no man’s land with ears open. Because a war is coming, and we are escalating it.  Each and every one of us.  Every single day.

I’ll be there, waiting.  On the groaning fault line in the grey.   Afraid.  I hope you join me.  One nation, indivisible.  With liberty, justice, and safety for all.

roads_nomansland

“It is only a fool who claims to know what is right from his fixed position atop his own feet.”

 

Post Script: To those of you who would argue that a conversation can never stop a war I would say this in response:  In October of 1963, a conversation was had that implored leaders of nations to listen to the fears of those whose opinions would differ from their own.  That conversation peeled back a fog of war so thick that the only “rational” response the day before was nuclear war.  Conversation won’t get us all the way there, but it will go much further for the health of our freedoms than rhetoric and violence.

 

 

D-Day

eisenhowerorderofthedayspeech

Simpson/Hemstead would like to recognize and honor those who fought on this day in 1944.

We recognize with solemn reticence those who laid down their lives on this day, regardless of nationality or ideology, for their sacrifice and suffering.

As we move forward from this day through history’s unwritten volumes, may we take this moment to remember the series of events, both individual and national that led to this day.

And let us renew our promise as individuals and as nations of a civilized world to learn from the tragedies of war, and from those seemingly innocuous events years before the first bullet is fired that create the atmosphere for such human suffering.

May we never forget the sacrifices of men and women, military and civilian, living and deceased, whose histories have shaped our world.

Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword. May these words echo forever as symbols of courage, strength, and resolve, while whispering solemn reminders of what happens when the hubris of the megalomaniacal gains the favor of a population.

The All Bird Episode

Yesterday I went on a bike ride and stopped down for a few minutes to shoot some of the seabirds while I was thinking about the flocking mentality of the Occupy America movement.  People have asked Simpson/Hemstead what our stance is on the Occupy Wall Street et. al. movements.  Even though we have remained relatively silent (unless you count muckraking on Glenn Beck’s Facebook page), it is a subject we have very strong feelings about.  We will be presenting an essay later this week, in the mean time, enjoy some birds.

For The Third Time In My Life, A Man Named Conan Has Eloquently Conveyed My Emotions

The first was a barbarian.  The second was a destroyer.

The third is a red head.

This is what I’m bitching about so much on Facebook, guys.

For the average person I imagine that they don’t understand what the big deal with Final Cut (Pro) X turning it’s back on the professional community is about.  I respect that, but for people who have used FCP in a professional setting for closing in on 10 years, who have touted the value of the system as competitive with software like Avid that was at the time priced beyond the reach of the freelance editor without a bank loan.  This is the professional digital video equivalent to the sensation of watching Episode I for the first time in the theaters.  The sense of betrayal is strong with this one…

I promise I’ll get back to writing my own blogs this weekend rather than just posting other people’s things.

Hey, I Have An Idea…

How about we stop using the phrase “game changer,” eh?   Am I the only person so sick and tired of this goddamned buzz-word that the thought of murdering the jackass who uttered it seems reasonable and healthy?

This is “Pro-active” for the 2010’s.  I guess it will go the way of Pro-Active then..  So, by the turn of 2020, it’s theoretically possible that either an acne medication or hair rejuvenating product (possibly a baptist funded, faux homosexuality cure) will adopt a bastardization of this horrific and uninspired term as it’s own.  That’s when we’ll see it twitch it’s last convulsion and give the world a spasmodic death-shit of immortality as a corporate shill called, GAY/ME CHANGER.

Game changer, you can join Travis Barr, gravity, and the Facebooks on my Nixonian enemies list.

Simpson/Hemstead Takes To The Skies For Democracy

Every leadership needs a military, even if it’s a pretend country like Coruscant or Cuba.  Hell, even Oz had an army.  Simpson/Hemstead Sciencewerks, in conjunction with Amazon.com and a Visa card with no pre-set spending limit have produced our first unmanned drone.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/20032570″>Great Thing about work…</a> from

Okay, so it’s an iphone controlled AR Drone made by Parrot.  But still, with enough of these and some teenagers hopped up on smuggled Four Loko, I’m pretty confident we can hold off a small invading force… in 15 minute increments at least.

 

For those of you interested in joining the Simpson/Hemstead Air Force, here’s a link to the Sciencewerks (cleverly called something totally different)

http://ardrone.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/usa/

 

Sanitizing History

NewSouth Books publishing is releasing a controversial printing of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer”as many of you know, and many of you have been asking about Simpson/Hemstead’s stance on this controversy.

For those of you unaware of what makes this printing controversial, it comes down to primarily two words that Twain used in his original publishing that many Americans find insensitive now-a-days.  The first word is the name of one of the characters, “Injun Joe.”  Apparently “Injun” is heap no-goodum in today’s society and we need to be more racially aware, so the publisher is changing the name to “Indian Joe.”  Ahh, don’t we all feel less oppressed by a 125 year old book that was written as a scathing look at southern racism?

The other word is I’ve been told, the most offensive word ever to be created.  It starts with an “N” and ends with an “R” and has a spattering of repetitious consonants and common vowels in between.  That word is so thoroughly reviled that journalists are afraid to use it when commenting on the subject of racism.  It carries the same media charge and fear as printing an image of Muhammad did in 2010, but not before 2005.*  Weird.

Although I'm not sure I want to cross the right jab of Muhammad either...

That word is of course, nibbler.

Goddamn you so much censorship.  Really, I can’t even write the word?  Seriously?  I can’t even write the word for fear of appearing racist.  It’s the name of one of the Goddamned characters.  Really?  Are you kidding me?

Ridiculous.

Fine.

Nibbler…

So anyway, Nibbler Jim is a character in this book that is a scathing look at southern racism from the point of view of a boy who befriends a black man in the time of slavery.

Concept art of what a Nibbler Jim might look like.

These changes were made to reflect teacher’s concerns, primarily in Alabama, that students found the word “Nibbler” off-putting, and in turn, this great work of American Literature was going unread in schools.  That’s a problem…

But what does Simpson/Hemstead think of changing history for the sake of smoothing out the emotions of our progeny?

WE ARE ALL FOR IT!!!!

Why make our kids think in abstracts?  Why make them confront the dark pockets of U.S. and World history if they find it emotionally challenging to do so?  We should, as a nation, sculpt history, art, religion and the natural world into whatever we find the most physically, intellectually and emotionally pleasing!  There is absolutely nothing wrong with updating history to reflect current sensibilities.

In fact, Simpson/Hemstead will start the initiative by creating the Office of Historical White Washing. Let’s take a look through history and see if we can’t make a few of history’s undigestibles more digestible.

RELIGION:

Religion is a hot button topic with a lot of people, many fearing that religions other than their own create an unsavory environment in which to raise their children.  Especially a religion like Christianity, which has been responsible for a lot of plundering and violence against indigenous people on this continent… They might see the book of Genesis as a bit rough…

But what if we replaced every instance of “God” with “Peter Gabriel.”

Every instance of “Adam” with “Phil Collins.”

And every instance of “Eve” with “Mike Rutherford” because a bitch playing bass is pretty rad.

Why, suddenly the book of Genesis doesn’t offend anyone, as it’s just a rock doc.

The hairdos all stay the same from the original, so bonus there.

LITERATURE

If we’re going after Mark Twain, who is a champion of freedom and equality, then I can imagine some more controversial authors should probably be censored as well.   I mean, who really wants to read this book by the king of creepy uncles?  A man responsible for the death of more than 12 million people.

Doesn't matter how pretty the font is, it's still written by HITLER!

Adolph Fucking Hitler.  It’s not a good book, I’ve read it.  It’s not good, but it’s an important book.  It’s a window into the mind of a man who would lead one of the most fearsome revolutions against freedom in the history of the industrialized world.  But some people think Nazis and it makes them uncomfortable, and sure, I get that what with the whole genocide thing.

But what could make an Adolph Hitler book more palatable to the American sensibility?

half-naked Daniel Radcliffe to bring the teenage girls and pervy cougars to the table

J.K. Rowling.  The British Queen of American Literature.  Sure she has the grammatical sensibilities of a web blogger, but people eat this shit alive.  We take Hitler out of the book and change every reference of Jews to “Muggles.”  Problem solved.

SOCIAL PROTEST

Social protest is a bitch.  It’s an uprising of the people against the government.  Unless it’s East Germany or North Korea, Americans can’t really handle it.  It’s not their thing.  And Peter Gabriel forbid we should ever have to roll up our sleeves and dig elbow deep in the social protest of the Vietnam War.  American college students experiencing the Timothy Leary vibe, connected to a war in what felt like real time through television for the first time in history, shit got real.  And it got very real.

Not pictured: Passive Resistance

Kent State massacre.  Man.  This is rough.  Nervous National Guardsman opening fire on protesting students at Kent State University.  Horrible tragedy, and it didn’t do shit for the government image as baby-killers and unfeeling thugs.

Well, this won’t do.  We gotta clean this up.  We can’t have government portrayed this way, and man, dead college kids and crying college kids just really bums out today’s delicate hipster snowflakes.  So let’s take away the bummer parts.

Even the fudge ripple couldn't turn the tide of social unrest

National Guardsman give ungrateful hippies free ice cream in a desperate attempt to calm and disrupt a heavy, misinformed trip.  See?  We don’t have to get rid of Vietnam, protest, or any of that, we just tweak a couple little unsettling things… Problem solved.

WAR!

As long as we’re on the subject of Vietnam, it pretty much sucked.  And you wanna know what sucked the most about it?  A guerilla enemy who dressed and mingled with the civilians.  Made them hard to find.  REAL hard to find.  Sometimes innocence got caught in the crossfire.  Sometimes innocence got caught in the crossfire of napalm.  One photo encapsulates that horror for my generation, and history up until now:

There's no way to spin this shit funny.

Naked burning children running away from a burning village while soldiers casually follow behind.  There’s a certain “taken out of context” vibe to this photo, but the imagery of that little naked girl running down the street crying can give a person nightmares.   I mean, I’m sure everyone in this picture had serious nightmares for years, but it gives people who have never seen a dead body up into their 20’s nightmares.  Well, that’s gotta have something to do with burning naked children.  I can’t think of any other reason.  But what if we replaced “naked children” with “sale on capri pants” and “napalm inferno of Hell” with “Snuffleupagus”?

I imagine they're happily running home to tell mom and dad about the day they met snuffy and got cheap pants.

Ahh, doesn’t your history feel so much more digestible now?

On second thought… no.  Hell no.  The minute it becomes okay to modify a word of art or history is the minute history becomes meaningless, and art becomes wasted.  Everything I mentioned above happened.  It’s ugly, but it happened.  The same applies to the history of blacks and native americans in this country.  There were some dark times.  We are all the children of those times.  Mark Twain was a brilliant, progressive thinking man.  To modify his critical social commentary even by one word is to modify the plea he is making in his parables about equality of man.  To take out this word, “nibbler” because it offends some people doesn’t point out progression toward racial sensitivity, it celebrates emotional immaturity in the face of empathetic thought.  Pandering to immaturity will NEVER garner a harvest of maturity.  It will validate continued immaturity at the price of progress.  We will give future revisionists a precedent upon which to brutalize history further for their own intentions.

Our children live in an age of entitlement.  We shield them from death, sex, profanity and competition at every turn in a misguided attempt to “protect” them.  From life.  What we leave behind are inept, fragile, and self-important husks of people increasingly dependent on a system to continue protecting them.  We give kids trophies just for showing up now.  shame on us all.

And shame on us for attempting to modify literature, history, and art to pander to these crippled and fragile souls.  Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to teach us a lesson about loving each other.  He named a character “Nigger Jim” because nigger was a word that, like today, was painful to hear and challenged the reader to face some important social issues in post-civil war America.  And it should be hard to hear and it should not be used lightly.  Ever. (I’m looking at you, Gangsta Rap)  But it shouldn’t be ignored, replaced, or glossed over either.  Don’t further cripple our children intellectually by removing the challenge presented by Nigger Jim.  And don’t destroy literature, art or history for fleeting social guilt.  To alter the wording is tantamount to book burning, it’s destroying the intention of the written word, and posthumously emasculating the artist.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, “Injun Joe”?  Indian Joe is supposed to be racially sensitive?  Go point to India on a map, assholes, then point to the Mississippi River.  Notice a problem with your logic?

Great, you made the Injun cry.

*look it up kids.  Images of Mohammed were routinely published (often respectfully, sometimes SouthParkedfully) in the media before 2005.

Ghost Mutt

This morning I wake up and head into the yard, bleary-eyed from a night of forget-me-quick drinking and shooting zombies, and photoshopping a site update I’ll post tonight, and I stagger into the laundry room.

I open the back door (the dryer sits outside because this house pre-dates the idea of wanting to dry something inside) and notice something on the brick, hiding in the rapidly advancing weeds.  A proud pile of brown resting in my yard, triumphantly staking it’s flag on my property.  Sadly it wasn’t a team of UPS drivers.

Extra sadly it wasn't THIS team of UPS drivers.

Nope, it looked like the dog had pooped on the brick again.  Ugh, TWICE.  Goddamned dog, first he’s barking all night long, and now he’s shitting on the bricks in the backyard instead of in the grass.  When will he/she ever learn?!

That’s when it struck me:  I don’t own a dog.  The barking hound that keeps me up at night belongs to the neighbor.  The same neighbor throwing fruit at my house last week.  Now I’ve got two healthy-sized piles of feces in my yard to contend with.  Not sure if it’s that dog or not because I’ve never seen it.  Just heard it.

Time to throw on the security cameras, check the footage.  Is it meth addict, is it fruit-chucker, or is it ghost mutt?

Sadly, sometime in the last week the security cameras stopped working, so while I’m resetting the system, and the cameras all come online, I notice something moving in the corner of camera 4…  two somethings…

An adolescent dalmatian and her puppy.  Goddamned it, I can’t be pissed at that.  But I can be pissed at the people who own them.

I send Scott, Director of Homeland Security to investigate.

Dammit, she works for Sony… this is a potential contact.  So now, how to create a networkable connection while still getting the GD dogs quiet.  This is the greatest challenge Simpson/Hemstead has yet to overcome.

 

Fighting a Larger, More Well-Equipped Enemy.

I figured that would be a bitchin’ headline you’d HAVE to click on.  I was right!  Yet another reason to Vote Simpson/Hemstead; we understand the wants of the people.

For instance, last week I noticed that people wanted us to post things for them to read.  That simple act increased traffic to the site, and hopefully satiated the appetites of those who would read.   Then we learned that there were certain things you wanted to see over others.

A child murdering a giant, mutant turkey on Thanksgiving was a big winner.

Even the turkey referred two friends

Conversely, cute, fluffy and alive animals didn’t score as well.

Where are your souls people?

We’ve absorbed that information and we’ve been preparing a multi-million dollar custom built killing floor just to feed your seemingly insatiable bloodlusts.  But then something strange happened:  Yesterday I was whining about Facebook.   votesimpsonhemstead.com posted the biggest hit count we’ve ever seen.  On a saturday, traditionally not a heavy Facebooking day for many of you who have wives, children, alimony, mistresses, yardwork, peeping, or some other such desecrations to do with your time.

 

We hear you, supporters, PEOPLE LOVE WHINING!!

Arrows don't know how to lie.

And thank JesuAllaFasa they do, because we are so good at it.  Don’t worry friends, we will whine until our throats are sore for you, but to whine, we need enemies.

It’s a classic tactic of warfare that, when grossly outnumbered, out mechanized, and out supplied, the smaller army resorts to guerilla combat tactics.  Hit and fades, dirty pool, and using the enemy’s infrastructure against it.

Yesterday, Simpson/Hemstead declared war on the Facebooks as we discussed earlier.  Well, okay, we didn’t really declare anything, we mostly just whined a lot and then aired grievances against primary school bullies.  But in Simpson/Hemstead’s universe that’s EXACTLY like declaring war.

and this is exactly like breaking up

So we must use Facebook against itself.  Take down the beast by using the beast.   Let’s go back to that stat again…  We posted the highest traffic ever by bitching about facebook.  But where did all that traffic come from?

Sun Tzu just got a little nerd-wood.

That’s right.  Facebook was our top referrer.  Stickin’ it to the man, that’s the Simpson/Hemstead way.

 

Begun this Whine War has.

Whine War.  Not to be confused with the Wine War of 2008.

The Wine War ended about 3 hours after it started with an impromptu nap.

 

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