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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Moving On

This site is long dead. Many links are dead, and several pictures are just blank. Nevertheless, the individual writers have since gone on to writing elsewhere.

Worse Than Coleslaw entries were written by Matt Blythe, who now runs WorseThanColeslaw.com.

The Words From The Exit Wound column was written by Comus. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any of his current online work.

World View articles were written by David Mendoza. He no longer writes online, but you can always check out his facebook updates.

Finally, the Worthy of Attention stuff was written by me. I now write fairly regularly at EricHerboso.org.

Though Panangelium.tk is now dead, the articles will still be hosted on blogspot. If you like what you see here, I hope you'll take a look at the stuff we're writing these days.

Be well.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Worthy of Attention: Taking Stock of Reality

Back After Katrina

Okay, so it's been a while since I posted. At least this time I have a (slightly more) valid excuse. Hurricane Katrina really screwed up a lot of my plans recently. Forcing its way hrough less than a week after school school began, I had not yet moved my stuff into my new dorm when I had to leave abruptly and catch a death cold of immense proportions. Even after power was restored and my sickness died down (thank god for a/c), I had lost two acquaintances to the storm's fury and two of my friends had severe flood damage in their home. The job I had agreed to take upon starting school again has been completely ignored so far; I won't even start until Monday of next week. Classes are severely behind, and class sizes are in some cases double what they were, because students from the destroyed campuses of Loyola and the like have transferred to Spring Hill College in an attempt to continue their education despite Katrina's wrath.

Writing this column does mean a great deal to me. It is, in my mind, a place where I may write about things that make people feel. And so I am quite glad to be back -- as odd as it may seem, writing these articles makes things seem more normal, even if they really aren't.

I have an article already written--it was finished before Katrina hit, actually--but I will wait until next week before posting it. It just doesn't seem appropriate, given that in every one of my classes, at least one person has lost their homes, or one of their family members' lives. For those of you who know of no one on the Gulf Coast, allow me to let you know that this hurricane has severely affected a great deal of people in very negative ways. But despite this, life goes on, and tragedy will pass in time.

Until next week, when I will present an argument in favor of infanticide, may you all live on, and enjoy life.

Be well.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Worse Than Coleslaw: Collegiate Neurosis For a Brave New World

On Comic Strips and Human Complacency

People really take their comic strips seriously.

There's this comic strip that runs in the Tallahassee Democrat called “Snuffy Smith”; I don't read the Mobile Register or know anyone who does, so I'm not sure if most people here would have read it. For those of you who aren't familiar with Snuffy Smith, I'll tell you that it is probably the worst comic strip I have ever read. It features a bunch of hillbillies doing their hillbilly stuff and is often so terrible as to transcend current standards of badness and exist in sort of a Crap Nirvana where everything makes a loud sucking noise all day long.

The Tallahassee Democrat once tried to pull the strip from its pages a few years ago, and I was one happy dude. Almost immediately, however, the letters started to pour in.

Apparently there were people who were big fans of Snuffy Smith. They were simply outraged that the Democrat would ever even think to pull it from its hallowed place just below the fold on the left. They had fond memories of reading that strip as children, supposedly, and wanted to always be able to have that lifeline to the past. This was made easier by the fact that Snuffy Smith contains the same punchline every single day, so it's like you're caught in a time loop.

Blondie is another one that people like for reasons that elude me. That strip, it recently had a big thing about its 75th anniversary and everyone got really excited and had the characters make guest appearances in other strips, even though Blondie is not funny at all. Probably it never was, yet it is syndicated in every paper that has ever existed.

None of us were very discriminating in our tastes when we were little. Thundercats, for example, was a cartoon that I like a lot when I was five. I have watched it as a teenager/adult and can now see that it was actually very crappy, with that irritating little Snarf thing that would never shut up. As much fun as my five-year-old self had doing his crazy five-year-old thing, and as nice as it would be to not have to worry anymore about things like girls, death, politics, and that paper for English I still have to write, I'm not so desirous to go back to the halcyon days of my youth that said desire would lead me to start liking things that suck.

Which isn't to say that nostalgia is a bad thing when what you're getting nostalgic about was actually good. In elementary school I read every single Calvin and Hobbes book that had ever been printed; the difference between this and something like Blondie is that I, as a neurotic 21-year-old, can read Calvin and Hobbes and think to myself, “Wow, this comic strip is perhaps the best thing I have ever read in my entire life.” It evokes memories of times past, sure, and that really heightens the experience a lot. But the quality is still there even without all that.

I've asserted more than once that Calvin and Hobbes is the greatest work of Western art in the last 500 years, and I can say that without being familiar with just about everything else in this category; since I haven't seen or read or listened to those other things I automatically like them less.

So it bugs me when stuff like Blondie continues to make itself part of the collective consciousness of American culture simply by virtue of the fact that it's existed for a really long time.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Words From The Exit Wound

La bufera infernal

So, with this hurricane thing we’re already starting to see, and will probably continue to see (maybe by the time this is published, since certain difficulties prohibit me from writing this over the weekend as I usually do. This, combined with the fact that I’m only writing this because I take my commitments seriously and would rather limit my involvement with this site and the hurricane for the moment to finding out that David and Eric are fine, will explain why this is relatively short), a particularly rewarding type of stupidity: the moral cause and effect game. This is mostly seen in remarks made by partisan moralists wanting to blame something that’s not their fault on those ideologically opposed to them.

I first read about this (in this case) in an article about German media reactions to the hurricane: the more conservative reporters and pundits just treated it as a natural disaster and the more liberal ones intimated that Bush was reaping what he had sown and that recent natural disasters were caused by US business practices. I hate to defend Bush or US businesses and I’m certainly not one of those ‘global warming is an invention of the jew-run liberal media’ types, but I do try to avoid being bullshitted even by those who oppose the same people as I do, and it’s a mistake to think of climatology in linear causal terms. A hurricane hitting an inconveniently located and well-liked city like New Orleans is not really a time to launch into anti-Bush polemics. The appropriate time for that is whenever he says anything. Get it right.

Now, what I haven’t yet seen but expect to see at any point (and what very well may have shown up by the time this article is posted) is commentary from some far-right, well-known, and generally considered loony but respected by enough of the population to be considered influential Christian nutjob, blaming the hurricane on the iniquity for which New Orleans is famous. Those of you with memories extending back to slightly less than four years ago or further will remember Jerry Falwell taking the opportunity to blame the terrorist attacks in New York on abortionists, the ACLU, and others for ‘mocking God’ (‘God will not be mocked.’ Indeed), and his pal, the equally famous Pat Robertson agreed right down the line. I haven’t heard this yet, but it’s gotta be coming considering New Orleans’s reputation for being a fun place to visit and the persisting belief in Old Testament-style divine retribution in such people as the aforementioned good reverends.

So, why is all this stupidity? Isn't this actually really smart, since it makes one’s enemy, man or behavior or whatever it may be, seem like even more of a monster, thereby causing those who already disliked it to hate it even more and work even harder to destroy it? Well, kinda, but most of the choir being preached to will just smile complacently at the confirmation of being right and then go about their regular business. Beyond that, to anybody but those who only need to hear these arguments as near-constant reaffirmations of their beliefs without the effort of research or posing questions with any seriousness. Besides which, it’s just out-and-out lying that these people believe as they say it, which is just fuckin’ stupid.

One final place the blame has been cast lately (mostly by those on the internet) is on the people who chose to live in New Orleans, a city sitting below sea level, between the ocean and the Mississippi, with nothing but blind luck to protect it from the elements. One of those ‘they deserve what they get for living in such a stupid place’ deals, which is along the lines of a ‘she was asking for it’ argument with a bit more weight to it. Not much more, though. This kind of attitude is fairly common among people who live absolutely safe lives in absolutely safe parts of the country: Why continue living in a place prone to flooding/tornados/earthquakes/etc? Anybody choosing to do so, they say, deserves what’s coming to him when it comes. There’s some truth to this argument, in that somebody who understands the danger of living in such a place and continues to do so anyway takes responsibility for his own actions, but that doesn’t make his becoming a victim his fault. He’s responsible for living there, but not for being douched by a hurricane. Hopefully this distinction is clear.

That’s it for today. I won’t be able to post for the next two weeks or so, so either there will be a guest columnist or the Mondays of my potentially non-existent readership will be slightly more hollow. Either way, enjoy the next few weeks, and stay safe.

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