Thursday, March 21, 2013

Abbottabad Playset Sold Separately

Courtesy of the underground network of trans-Pacific ateliers harvesting souvenirs from the dark intersections of banal pop culture and apocalyptic Zeitgeist, last night's spam brings the perfect gift for that special friend celebrating the 10th anniversary of the decapitation strike that started the Iraq War: the zombie Osama action figure.

The ZOMBEE TOY 1/6 Ozombie Walking Dead Terrorist Infected action figure comes complete with jungle camo field coat, custom AK-47 with three banana clips, weathered leather boots, and a 1/6 scale copy of Time Magazine with a picture of W. on the front and an ad for Jack Bauer's CTU on the back.

Plus, a miniature coffin with "Solid Diecast Metal Anchor Weights & Hooks" perfect for burial at sea in the Indian Ocean or the bathtub of your favorite GWOT-savvy seven-year old.

The ideal playmate for that Elite Force Aviator President George W. Bush action figure that's been gathering dust on your shelf, G.I. Joe-compatible zombie Osama even has his own promotional video.

Zombie Dick Cheney with replica general counsel's memo on enhanced interrogation techniques and functioning die-cast metal cyborg heart has not yet been released. That will be coming out at Christmas with the Saddam, Uday and Qusay boxed set with Spiderhole Command Center.

But they do have Hitler's Brain.

Handmade with pride in USA.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Zeitgeist Savings Time

What would George W. F. Hegel make of the puppy paintings of George W. Bush?

After the hack of a few weeks back, the weekend's news revealed an interview with the lady who got tapped to come to an undisclosed secure location and teach W how to more properly participate in our surreal age by slowly releasing images directly from the infantile, wounded segments of his brain.

These images arrive almost exactly a decade since U.S. troops arrived in Baghdad and found the chainmail bikini fantasy art of Rowena Morrill and others decorating the bachelor pads of Saddam Hussein.

Is it too much to imagine a reality in which a platoon of Force Recon Marines dig their way through the post-Shock and Awe rubble into the underground bunker and find Saddam's love nest decorated with nude shower self-portraits of W.?

Saddam, of course, wrote genre novels.

[Pic: Cover of Zabibah and the King, an 8th century romance novel by Saddam Hussein.]

Perhaps, with the hour that disappeared overnight, we lost an alternate time stream in which W., Hitler, Saddam, and other world historical figures who wreaked substantial havoc on the planet in the past century lived out their lives as artists rather than rulers. The threads of the sweater holding together your reality pull much more easily than you think. That's why Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un are laughing at you.

Do we have the courage to really examine how our popular culture shapes the frequently defective personalities of the people who govern our world? How much distance is there, really, between the outsider Magritte shower stall self-examinations of W., and the clown paintings of John Wayne Gacy?

[Pic: Georg W. F. Hegel watching how things are playing out at the nexus of art, culture, geopolitics and personality, 300 years later.]

[Extra credit: Some premonitions from 2003.]

Friday, March 1, 2013


Monday, April 30, 1973

Resignation day. We finished up our resignation statements this morning, I had a meeting with Bull, Parker, Larry, and Kehrli to impress upon them the need to carry on the ongoing system just as it is until a new system was worked out and ready to put into place, and urged that they not fall into the trap of any sort of internal struggle for position. And explained the importance of their holding everything tightly together during the interim period while the P would be in very tough emotional and physical shape, and so on.

Ehrlichman and I then met with the senior staff. Shultz couldn't be there because he was testifying on the Hill, but we had Ash, and Kissinger, Timmons, and Ken Cole, and told them what our decision was, and made something of the same points. John was very emotional in that session, broke down or was on the verge of it at least, several times. Everybody, I think, was genuinely shocked, and I think we successfully impressed on them also the need to deal very carefully with this interim period.

I made a number of phone calls, talked to Billy Graham. He seemed to feel it was the right thing to do, said that he didn't believe that in government he had met two finer men than Ehrlichman and me, and that we have his full support—he feels we've been caught in a web of evil that will ultimately be defeated. He has great affection and love for me as a man, that I should count him as a friend, and that what I'm doing is going to help the P.

— H.R. Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House (1994)

The above is the beginning of the final entry in H.R. "Bob" Haldeman's diaries of his years as Nixon's Chief of Staff, a tattered paperback copy of which I acquired recently while exploring the ruins of New Orleans. The resignation Haldeman refers to is his own—Nixon's would not come until a year later.

Perhaps I can blame the fact that I have been reading excerpts from Haldeman's diary for the Nixon flashback I had yesterday, as I glimpsed the images of the papal helicopter lifting off to deliver the Pope Emeritus to his Italian San Clemente.

I love interregnums. They represent the possibility of a world without kings. The idea of individual leaders seems deeply programmed into human culture, and there are few human socio-political institutions that don't rely on one, even if it is sometimes more titular that real. Whether it's the pope, or the President, or the CEO, when the Chief leaves without an immediate successor, and life goes on without any material difference, one can almost imagine a world in which our silverback programming could be hacked to remix our way toward a system based on something more harmonious than primate competition for power and dominion.

Interregnums induced by enigmatic resignations employed as a tactic to evade the transparency of justice are all the more interesting. Ritual exile can be a successful alternative to exposure of what really happens inside the institutions where the greatest repositories of human power are stored. You'll never know what these guys were really talking about. The past gets buried under the cathode ray snowfall of interregnum, and the need to keep the trains running.