My country, right or wrong!

I have to defer to those who express their opinion much more eloquently and succinctly than I can.

From GK Nelson’s Civics 101

Many in today’s society, instructed by tradition and nationalism rather than a critical understanding of the Constitution, believe supporting their elected officials in any and all their actions is, in fact, patriotism.

Excerpts from Mark Twain’s Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War

Monarchical and Republican Patriotism:

There are two kinds of patriotism — monarchical patriotism and republican patriotism. In the one case the government and the king may rightfully furnish you their notions of patriotism; in the other, neither the government nor the entire nation is privileged to dictate to any individual what the form of his patriotism shall be.

We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had:– the individual’s right to oppose both flag and country when he (just he, by himself) believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism.

- Mark Twain

True Patriotism at the Children’s Theater

The true citizenship is to protect the flag from dishonor — to make it the emblem of a nation that is known to all nations as true and honest and honorable. And we should forever forget that old phrase — “My country, right or wrong, my country!”

- Mark Twain

From the Declaration of Independence

The history of the present [ed.—Just for fun, insert ‘Administration’ in place of ‘KoGB’] King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their substance.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislature, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Get up! Get on up!

Uncle Leo

I managed to get my ass to the Da Vinci exhibition last Sunday before it ended. Unbeknownst to me, my little excursion coincided with the Greek Independence Day parade, so the otherwise normally accessible area was a mess of people, police, and barricades.

I didn’t mind the 10 block walk from my parking space. I didn’t mind the freezing rain that started the minute I got out of the car, and stopped the minute I set foot inside the Met. I didn’t mind the throngs of flag waving Greeks celebrating their heritage. This was the easy part. What I did mind was what went on inside the Met.

Like Kottke’s assessment, I’m not sure the payoff was worth the wait. It had to be one of the most disorganized exhibitions, festooned with the most discourteous patrons, that I have ever been to. Encircling the Great Hall balcony, the line looked somewhat like a funerary procession, with the majority dressed all in black. In some way I guess we were there to pay our respects.

At forty-five minutes my section entered the Asian Art room where we were corralled and left to fester in the heat generated by what had to be close to 300 people. I tried to take a few quick snapshots of a finely detailed wall painting only to see the last of the battery power drain from my camera. [ed. note—Who’s disorganized now?!]

At an hour and fifteen minutes, making our way ever so slowly to the exhibit, we were given final instructions before entering—No photography, all cellphones must be turned off, nothing about turning off crying babies.

Finally entering the exhibit, it became every man/woman for himself/herself. Either the Met hadn’t planned on the crowds, or it was just a poorly designed exhibit, but people were jammed around each piece in the collection. Even when some people were trying to be courteous and form a line to see some of the pieces, the next wave would come in from the side and simply crowd around. People darted from kiosk to kiosk, and from wall to wall trying to see everything.

An exhibit of mostly drawings and sketches, you needed to get close to really see some of the pieces. With ten or more people surrounding a piece, and with some sticking magnifying glasses right over the piece, it was difficult to explore the subtleties of a piece without being frustrated by some external distraction. It was like this in each room of the exhibit. Some rooms had fewer people in them, but overall it was difficult viewing. I’m not sure if it was a symptom of my frustration with the crowds or not, but I wasn’t taken aback by any of the drawings or sketches in the exhibit. At some point I had to remind myself that this was Uncle Leo’s work and not some collection of sketches from an SVA life drawing class.

Ah well, maybe the Manet/Velázquez will be better.

map yourself silly

Display your geographic location with IndyJunior Flash Mapping Module from bryan boyer.

Get up! Get on up!

GK has a great idea for a peaceful protest—levitate CNN.

I don’t want to splinter the movement, but can I levitate ‘30 Rock’, and NBC on that day?

the car acrobatic team

I’ve been a Speed Racer fan since I first saw the cartoon as a kid. The Mach 5 was the ultimate race car, and I still love that sleek, 60s, Le Mans era, GT 40 look. These cars were/are, for me, the coolest things to ever come out in automotive design. The Mach 5, with all its ‘toys’, was beyond cool, it was a fantasy car of sorts. Well guess what? The Mach 5 Lives!

I’ll admit there are no toys, but it’s still the coolest thing since first seeing the Batmobile at a carshow. I also have to admit that while it looks great, the corvette in it comes across a little more than I care for. I would actually have liked to see them base it on a GT 40, which has more of the flavour of what the car was actually meant to be. Don’t get me wrong, I was totally entertaining the idea of ownership, the silly personal use agreement notwithstanding. I will just have to settle for 1:18 scale die-cast replica, or the radio controlled racer.

I’m really not fanatical about this. If I were a fanatic I’d be all over the Speed Racer and Racer X salt and pepper shaker set, but I’m not that far gone. Definitely will get the matching Racer X car when it’s available, but that’s it.

Do you need another Speed Racer link? Ok… Speeeed!!