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So last night on Fear Factor one of the “dares” was play piercing with what appeared to be a series of ten needles between 27ga and 18ga. I don't know if they slowed down or altered the footage, but judging by both the speed and technique of the piercing, they'd either found a very poor piercer or they'd instructed him to hurt the people as much as he could with those tiny needles.

In all honesty, I'm not sure how I feel about this being on TV in this way… However, you can tell Joe really cares about pushing the contestants through something, and that he at least “gets” it so I want to be very clear that this isn't an attack on him in any way. I actually talked to Joe “Fuck Trent Reznor, I can handle it” Rogan last March about including suspension on the show… At the time he told me:

As far as suspension goes, I think it would scar too much for them to accept it. It WOULD scare the fuck out of them, though ... Any other ideas that don't involve blood or scaring, let me know.

I guess someone eventually suggested play piercing, and given that he's well versed with the innards of BME, maybe we were the catalyst. Anyway, the reason I'm not sure how I feel about it is not because of what was done to the contestants — I actually got the impression they walked away from that feeling empowered, which I think is a lot of Joe's goal with the show… But the bigger question is how the audience interpreted it.

“Scary/fucked up” would be my guess as to what the average viewer saw. I have to also wonder what comment is made about a society that enjoys watching torture on television… It's different than watching it on BME, since on BME you're seeing it as an insider and interpreting it very differently. But outsiders seeing it as entertainment is kind of freaky!

I thought I'd missed it, but it turns out someone here recorded the Steve-O appearance on Jimmy Kimmel for me. That was kind of weird to see too. I know his fans are pretty pissed about it, and Steve looked kind of “where the fuck am I and what am I supposed to be doing” during most of it:

Jimmy asked him the typical “so you enjoy pain?” question, and I think none of them really understood his answer, something along the lines of, “no, I hate pain, but me being in pain makes other people happy, so I do it.”

I think people tend to have the misconception with him that he's a masochist, or is trying to do the most hardcore stunts… Not at all — after all, if that was the criteria, most IAM members would outshine him, having done more intense rituals themselves. But that's not the point. It's a matter of presenting these acts not as personal rituals, but as public spectacles in order to improve the lives of the audience (through humour) in some way.

At least that was the impression I got.

Anyway, it was weird to see him in the middle of this horrid Don “Only in America” King spectacle with waving flags and singing patriotic children… I really hope that's not what the United States has come to stand for. It really was weird to see, and, maybe it really was modern America in a nutshell.

You had Don King, the master of pugilistic puppets, shouting patriotic slogans, waving and wearing the stars and stripes, while Joe Millionaire, the quintessential groomed American boy — tall, handsome, and well hung, but dumb as a rock — smiled and nodded no matter what was said. And then Jimmy Kimmel, falling perfectly into the role of slimy worm making boorish pro-war comments while the audience cheered and Steve-O sat there, just back from Europe, wondering what was happening to his once-great nation.

Yes, it's a boy strangling a goose. Didn't you know that's art?

You can tell a lot about a society by its art. When a society is thriving, it tends to celebrate life in its art; the work has a genuine nobility. But when a society begins to crumble, it generates two kinds of media: depraved media (violence, lewd or inappropriate sex, and so on; in effect celebrations of socially unacceptable behaviour) and nationalistic media (perverse celebrations of not just patriotism, but also of the leaders themselves).

I'm sure it's impossible to really tell at the time; these things are always clearer a thousand years later. But I do wonder sometimes — do we have the dubious honour of getting to live through the collapse of the United States? Probably not a full collapse, but certainly an earth-changing upheaval I think.

Oh, and I thought I'd mention the car flipping deal.

Jason ended up coming home about two minutes after I left — no one else here was cool with flipping the car out of the way so the lawn was turned into a driveway temporarily. In any case, in the pictures above you can see both where the dumbass parked, and then the amazing plough job that Rob's dad did with his tractor after Jason got his fat and oily ass out of the way.

The third picture is just narcissism.

Anyway, I have to do a pile of video editing today, as well as some software development work, including major upgrades to the newsfeed so that it will (a) be more automated, and (b) give credit to the folks who are helping me out with it. But in the mean time…

The war on Iraq has begun… Not that bombing has ever stopped, but it's recently been stepped up a level, presumably to clear the way for the full invasion. Even though its own people are opposed and the world community is opposed (even God is opposed — whodathunkit!? God hates killing*?), the US government has been very clear: “Baghdad is their prize” and they'll take it alone if they have to.

Everyone's pissed at France right now. Yeah, it's fun to hate the French, right? But let's take a look at the UNSC veto history for a moment. France is far from the leader there… The Soviet Union vetoed more than half of the 250 or so proposals the security council has dealt with, the the United States coming in second with 76 vetoes so far (half of those being dedicated to ensuring that Israel triumphs over the Tusken Raiders, and protecting the Jewish sanctity of the Jundland Wastes). Now, France is vetoing a war they feel is unjust… What has the US blocked in the UNSC, and why?

  • In December it vetoed a resolution that criticised Israel for attacks on UN workers in Palestinian areas. In this veto, like in most, it stood alone, the sole voice of fascism.d
  • The US has blocked international observers from entering Palestinian regions, blocked any condemnation of Israeli human rights violations, and so on, having vetoed at least 38 resolutions which drew attention to human rights violations against Muslims (google cache since some US ISPs block that domain).
  • Vetoed Boutros Boutros-Ghali's second term, primarily for increased peacekeeping actions.
  • Vetoed a resolution calling for the UNSC to be kept informed of the status of the Central American crisis.
  • Vetoed a resolution condemning the US attack on the Nicaraguan embassy in Panama and for its support of the contra rebels.
  • Vetoed a resolution calling for all states to observe international law.
  • Blocked the international war crimes courts unless they are implemented in a way that offers US war criminals immunity.
  • Vetoed a resolution blocking weapons in outer space.
  • Voted a ban on nuclear weapons and further nuclear weapon development.
  • etc…

Not that it'll surprsise anyone that knows her history (she was Republican until hooking up with Bill), but Hillary is totally pro-war. Even though Bush previously said that “regime change” was not what he was seeking, the new story is that “war won't stop until Saddam goes” and even though Colin Powell promises a “humiliating defeat [at the UN]”, Bush couldn't care less and says that no matter who objects, no matter how illegal the war is, it's time for bombs to start raining.

On the Crazy North Korea story, North Korea has said that if US aggression continues, nuclear war, or as Kim put it, “a frightful nuclear catastrophe”, could break out. Good-bye Los Angeles? This comes after North Korean fighter jets came within fifty feet of US spy planes which they claim have been flying sorties inside their air space. What's going to happen when North Korea shoots down one of these planes? I'm assuming that's the next step in this escalation.

Do I need to start digging a big whole in the back yard? I hope I don't hit the cistern.

* One of my favorite post-911 jokes involved God saying to the terrorists as they went to hell, “what part of 'thou shalt not kill' did you not understand?” …Too bad everyone thinks there are loopholes.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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