Msnowe's Blog

Terminally Healthful Fiction

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on November 8, 2007

Review of “DIA” — the first chapter of Tyranaeus von Rheinhold’s novel.
(read here: http://www.nevermoreofpeace.blogspot.com/)

The best works of fiction grab you immediately, and find unique ways to convey vital information. Rheinhold’s methodology is sparse with a manac, yet intellectual lilt. The opening throws you in medias res – and the haried attempt to shed light on what it means to be Ty becomes the reader’s obession, in direct contrast to Ty’s own obession with escaping the light of the sun.

Perhaps the most elucidating aspect of Rheinhold’s chapter is the clever word painting. Somehow, the beauty of the text shines through in the most gruetesque and funny similes and metaphors. They are spot on. Ty’s world is a place where: “The age of the women only showed in the vertical stripes of their empathic neckbones,” and “Claudia the Flexible” arranges Ty’s marathonic feets of travelocity, behind her “print blouses with tiny flowers hiding the person beneath.” Ty’s references to past drug use adds the perfect touch of destruction – an exegesis of his troubled past, the coke snorting days show the reader the edge of collapse, but never push them down into the abyss – and for good reason. The story has just begun, and so have Ty’s problems. His monomanical pursuit is to keep everything in stark contrast, with “no transition space” between each of his imagined “incongruities,” starting with the August snow upon the sage brush, and continuing with his self-built kingdom of contrariness. The bipolarity of the character becomes not just a internal disease, but a huge attempt to force, (with his considerable monetary heft) the world into the submission of his pyschosis.

By the end of the chapter, the reader knows more about Ty’s ducking of the supoena, and understands that perhaps the narrator has not been completely honest, or forthcoming with his humble readers. The age and observations of Ty are slightly Roth-like, glimpsing the conflicts of a man later in life, and his struggles with personal fictions and bald realities. As the text opens up in the coming chapters, Ty’s interaction with the world will only get more interesting and deeply incongruent. Let the “arsurdities, natural and artifical,” commence.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Know the author, but attempted full objectivity.

Average, predictable tyranny just not sexy enough?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on November 7, 2007

So, how many people have actually heard about what’s happening in Pakistan. Yes, it did break on the weekend, and the news reels covered it fiercely in the first few hours, but since then, the coverage has been spotty and scant at best. Americans just don’t seem to be interested, and somehow that either came from the administration’s veneer of disinterest, or a trickle up affect from the masses own apathy. But no matter how this unnatural homeostasis of apathy for Pakistan’s plight is a huge, hug mistake. This country, which is so obviously in the throes of a tyrannous and ill-advised lock down of all things democratic, has somehow lost credit with the Bush Administration’s push for world wide Democratic ideals. Yes, Bush has come out and said a few nice words, and then a few more harsh words directed at Musharraf, but they aren’t really connected to any threat of US action. Now, this isn’t a suggestion that we should immediately fly in, but a little pressure would be well advised. Let’s not forget that unlike other countries teetering on the precarious tip of internal/external revolt (for instance, say Iran or North Korea), Pakistan has nukes. That’s right, bona fide Nuclear. The military has declared a state of emergency, and intellectuals and Human Rights activists are being rounded up and put in pens awaiting a decision, like turkeys fenced in before Thanksgiving – and the outlook for either side of that simile doesn’t look rosy.

So why aren’t we more concerned? Perhaps the administration is uneasy about addressing civil liberties, and the sacrifice of said liberties with an appeal to people’s sense of security … sound familiar? If nothing is done to help, the least we can do as free citizens is learn from other country’s problems, and see the dangerous political avenues we might choose to travel down ten blocks before we approach them. We can’t be blinkered to the events of the outside world, except for a select few nations – because its the roadblocks that allow us to better visualize a more enlightened journey.

But let’s try and do something in Pakistan, eh? Why not push on our administration to push on their administration. We don’t even necessarily have to threaten with our might (which is deteriorating in the hot sands of the Middle East), but use sanctions, embargoes, etc. One thing our government is good at is stalling and bureaucratic tie ups, so why not harness that power, and execute it on another nation for a change?

Two good courts…

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on November 1, 2007

So normally, the French seem to be a bit at odds with the US policy, sometimes for the good, often for the oppositional benefit of disassociation, especially lately. And as much as many Americans harbor an unfair objection to French policy and politics, and the liberal curve arcs more and more towards unity with central American views, more and more people are seeing that perhaps an open rendezvous with French thought might be, well, good. Now France is allowing American and European Civil Rights groups to file a legal complaint with Ex-US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld with calling for torture, and allowing it to continue, in Iraq and US prisons abroad. The plaintiffs were a coalition of US, German, and French groups. And the great part was they strategically waited to file under Mr. Rumsfeld, the antithesis of a Ben Franklin-type ambassador, set foot on French soil. Instead of parties with the King, Rumfeld got slapped with an accusation of war crimes. Unfortunately, Rumsfeld is far too slimy to actually be contained in France – there is almost no possibility he’ll be arrested, issues of diplomatic immunity, etc., might come into play – but the gesture might make it so he can’t comfortably return. And most people would be happy if other nations all filed warrants for his arrest, making it impossible for him to travel. But this is a double-edged sword. Because most people are probably happier with Rumsfeld out of the country, and if he keeps finding himself locked out of civilized countries, he will have to retreat to the US. So let’s start prosecuting him here, too – then the only viable place he could go would be to space – and I think a mars explorer would be the perfect venue. You can be sure if there is life out there, Rumfeld’ll torture it into submission before it even THINKS of posing a threat to our precious national security.

In another court, the father of a killed soldier won an $11 million verdict against a small church that protests outside of funerals of soldiers – and what do they protest, you ask? They protest the entire country’s apparent “tolerance of homosexuality” and believe that god is punishing the entire nation with the Iraq war because we “tolerate” the homosexual lifestyle as a nation. There are multiple problems with this train of thought.
1. The military is the most intolerant when it comes to accepting homosexuals. The whole “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is formed out of homophobia, and intolerance, and ignorance. SO why should the church make military men their enemies? If anything, they should be recruiting most for their church.
2. Who said Americans were sooo tolerant of homosexuals? Thankfully, there are many accepting, enlightened people in this country who do not see sexual orientation as a determination of anything outside it – and their attitudes exhibit a kind and loving nature that goes beyond tolerance, to complete agape. While that is a beautiful thing, the opposite, exemplified by this hate group, is an ugly stain on all efforts of peace, and unfortunately our country is not as enlightened as it could be.
3. This is just another horrible and yet completely clarifying example of why church and state need separation, and the dangerous extremes, and sad positions and thought we can ingrain into children. More sad than the actual beliefs of this group are the pictures of the youngest church members holding up signs that say “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21566280/) They will probably grow up with ideals aligned with their parents, and that is perhaps one of the worst kind of legacies and diseases to pass onto innocent children.

You can’t help but be happy with the verdict, despite the freedom of speech implications. You’d be hard pressed to find many who would agree with this fringe group’s opinions. But its sad to know that a country which thinks of itself as so enlightened still fosters such groups. Anything that resembles the designation of a “holy war” rings too familiar to most for any shred of comfort.