“If you’re fifteen or so, today, I suspect that you inhabit a sort of endless digital Now, a state of atemporality enabled by our increasingly efficient communal prosthetic memory. I…
B-Gibs= reblog. Duh. The blog description says “CYBERPUNK” right in it, so what the hell do you expect.
STEALTH EDIT FOR ACTUAL CONTENT: This talk, like basically anything William Gibson says, is the complete and utter jam. Very few people in our current climate have any grasp whatsoever of what the hell is actually going on and how important it is, and Gibson is one of those elite few. He’s known what was going on since like 1978, and, what’s more, he’s known that what’s going on NOW was going to happen since roughly 1978 as well. Listen to this man, because he’s got his head screwed on straight.
When I was 9, my parents threw a birthday party for some old great-aunt or -uncle or other and invited the whole massive extended family. We’re Irish, so it was packed. Last to arrive was my great-uncle Freddy, a jolly widower who had recently taken up painting. He showed up with a huge package and gave it to my parents. “This is for you,” he said. “Open it right now!”
They did. It was a huge painting of my mother. HUGE.
And it was…
“Oh! MY! FREDDY! This is…thank you!” My mom said, through the clenched teeth of the smile a mother smiles when company’s over.
After everyone went home, we sat at the dining room table and looked at that painting. It was just all wrong. The skin tone was cadaverous, the eyes were off center, and she had 900 teeth. It was CRAZY. And the thing was, we loved Uncle Freddy, and he did tend to drop by from time to time. So this big, dumb thing we didn’t ask for was going to have to be hung in our home.
“Well,” my Dad sighed. “This is ours now.”
That is exactly how I feel this morning, as a gay man, about “Born This Way.”
Ouch. I just thought there was too much side-chaining and the lyrics were a little banal.
Seriously, dance music producers: less side-chaining. Larry Levan made it subtle, and it got funky. Thomas Bangalter made it less subtle, but he eq’ed it right, and it was still funky. Just slamming it on every track makes my head want to explode.
Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, “roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether.” Reagan enacted a major tax cut his first year in office and government revenue dropped off precipitously. Despite the conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, the government went deeper into debt and Reagan had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. Despite ten more tax hikes on everything from gasoline to corporate income, Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control.
Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts.Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded. Despite the myth that Reagan presided over an era of unmatched economic boom for all Americans, Reagan disproportionately taxed the poor and middle class, but the economic growth of the 1980′s did little help them. “Since 1980, median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled or quadrupled,” the New York Times’ David Leonhardt noted.
Reagan grew the size of the federal government tremendously. Reagan promised “to move boldly, decisively, and quickly to control the runaway growth of federal spending,” but federal spending “ballooned” under Reagan. He bailed out Social Security in 1983 after attempting to privatize it, and set up a progressive taxation system to keep it funded into the future. He promised to cut government agencies like the Department of Energy and Education but ended up adding one of the largest — the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which today has a budget of nearly $90 billion and close to 300,000 employees. He also hiked defense spending by over $100 billion a year to a level not seen since the height of the Vietnam war.
Reagan did little to fight a woman’s right to choose. As governor of California in 1967, Reagan signed a bill to liberalize the state’s abortion laws that “resulted in more than a million abortions.” When Reagan ran for president, he advocated a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, but once in office, he “never seriously pursued” curbing choice.
Reagan was a “bellicose peacenik.” He wrote in his memoirs that “[m]y dream…became a world free of nuclear weapons.” “This vision stemmed from the president’s belief that the biblical account of Armageddon prophesied nuclear war — and that apocalypse could be averted if everyone, especially the Soviets, eliminated nuclear weapons,” the Washington Monthly noted. And Reagan’s military buildup was meant to crush the Soviet Union, but “also to put the United States in a stronger position from which to establish effective arms control” for the the entire world — a vision acted out by Regean’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, when he became president.
Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants. Reagan signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty. The bill was sold as a crackdown, but its tough sanctions on employers who hired undocumented immigrants were removed before final passage. The bill helped 3 million people and millions more family members gain American residency. It has since become a source of major embarrassment for conservatives.
Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran. Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly sold arms to officials in Iran, which was subject to a an arms embargo at the time, in exchange for American hostages. Some funds from the illegal arms sales also went to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua — something Congress had already prohibited the administration from doing. When the deals went public, the Iran-Contra Affair, as it came to be know, was an enormous political scandal that forced several senior administration officials to resign.
Reagan vetoed a comprehensive anti-Apartheid act. which placed sanctions on South Africa and cut off all American trade with the country. Reagan’s veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled Senate. Reagan responded by saying “I deeply regret that Congress has seen fit to override my veto,” saying that the law “will not solve the serious problems that plague that country.”
Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Talbian and Osama Bin Laden — a prominent mujahidin commander — emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services’ close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan’s decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden’s ascendancy.
Preaching to the choir, I know, but still vitally important as a reminder.