Like me, you’ve probably stayed awake countless nights wondering, “Did the Brits ever make plans for a nuclear landmine, powered by chickens?”Read the whole thing. (As if you could stop now.)
Well, dear reader, I’m here to tell you that the answer is yes.
I’m only guessing, but offhand, I’d say that if you plan to hang giant ads off of your landmark high-rise commercial building, you might want to not cover the windows of the exact part of the building where your tenants’ biggest of corporate wigs all have their offices. I’m just sayin’.
Apparently, there’s a market for this.It’s almost too obvious to comment on, but the plain fact is that for millions of people, the idea of Gen. Franks delivering a talk on “Strategies that Get Results” doesn’t in fact produce boggled astonishment. Gen. Franks is a gruff-talking American military man; of course he’s an expert on “getting results”, no matter what kind of results he has or hasn’t actually got.
Local business leaders have apparently been sitting around in their chambers of commerce wondering, “How can I make my business more of an insoluble quagmire?” Or “In today’s competitive marketplace, how can our company create a situation in which we can never win and never leave?” Or “My employees’ morale is at an all-time low after I lied to them into order to launch a massive campaign they now recognize as meaningless—can I force them to stay and pretend they’re happy with some kind of private-sector variation on ‘stop-loss’?” Or “Our company controls only a tiny sliver of market share, we’re completely reactive and we can’t even safely step outside our fortress-like headquarters, what’s the best way to pretend we’re actually in charge and in control?”
Welcome to rule by middle-aged white guys who, by definition, can do no wrong.
Therefore, Democrats and liberals should emulate them in this. That will make us more popular.
On the one hand he is a reactionary. The contrast with the last pope to be popular beyond the RC church, John XXIII, is striking. He has beatified and canonised some of the most sinister and pathetic figures of recent times. He contributed quite significantly to, not the collapse of the Soviet bloc, but the depth of regression that followed. He has stuck to a doctrine that’s contributed directly to the spread of AIDS. The Catholic theologian Hans Kung has recently written a scathing analysis of The Pope’s Contradictions, which goes into these and other dark aspects of Wojtyla’s papacy in detail.Elsewhere, Jeanne D’Arc delivers a thoughtful and even anguished overview of the mixed feelings that many Catholics have about the papacy of Karol Wojtyla:
The other side is that he has stood for peace and human rights in a way that set his face against not only Communism but certain aspects of imperialism and neoliberalism. He condemned the attack on Iraq. He moved the church to a greater acceptance of modern science. He has been more open to other religions than previous popes. He began a repentance toward the Jewish people. He rehabilitated Galileo and apologised for the Crusades.
Like the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, he became a figurehead of an inchoate global humanism that has little to do with what he (and the others) specifically stand for. Fidel Castro is an awkward fourth in that company, but—like it or not—he belongs in it. All four of these old men have their roots in the Cold War, of which they are the last men standing. It’s a measure of the strangeness of the New World Order that they all, in very contradictory ways, have become icons of its discontents.
How much value do I place on a note left at the Wailing Wall, asking forgiveness for centuries of Catholic anti-Semitism and mistreatment, and how much on shoving Pius XII and Anne Catherine Emmerich toward sainthood? How deeply do I value the “preference for the poor,” and how angry do I remain over the papal finger waved in Ernesto Cardenal’s face? How do I measure the relative weight of of one of the world’s most consistent powerful voices against war and economic oppression, and one of the world’s loudest voices for repression? I’m not just thinking of the most well-known forms of repression—the Church’s misogyny, its homophobia, its discomfort with anything related to sex. The intellectual repression is equally disturbing, and in the long run, probably more dangerous. Under John Paul II, this Church has renewed and elaborated its tendency to be an intellectual bully, silencing explorers and dissenters. […]Elsewhere yet, Mark A. R. Kleiman thinks Jeanne D’Arc should keep her mouth shut.
I think you need more distance than I have from the Church of the past quarter century in order to assess fairly its sins and virtues. Billmon has a fair, even wise, assessment. If you’re in a hurry, Julia does the pithier version. Although I agree with both of them, on the whole, I can’t write about it in more detail because I can’t separate the good Church from the bad Church. It seems to me that all the Church’s flaws — all John Paul’s flaws — are rooted in virtues. That’s what I wanted to write about, and that is where I’m stuck. It will take me awhile to work out exactly what I mean by that circle of sin and virtue.