Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this: American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.
The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.
When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.
The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn’t in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.
–Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five, chapter four
* Davis stayed with the agency for 19 years as a music director, creative concept writer, composer and producer, rising to senior vice president. He would popularize and create new “song-form” advertising that won every award the industry offers. He wrote Coca-Cola songs which are some of the most popular advertisements in existence today, including, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” “It’s the Real Thing,” “Have a Coke and a Smile,” “Mean Joe Green,” “Coke Is It” and “Country Sunshine.” He also wrote songs for Miller Brewing Company (“If You’ve Got the Time”), Campbell’s Soup and Sony.
* Meanwhile last night’s Game of Thrones was prurient and horrible.
* A Duke University professor has reportedly been placed on leave after posting racist comments online that included talk of “the blacks” and “the Asians.”
* Early men and women were equal, say scientists. Stealing the illustration directly from the Guardian:
* “But Game Of Thrones goes to absurd lengths to present full-frontal female nudity.”
* “People would look at us and say, ‘Oh, so you’re gay Amish?’ ” Johannes said.
* Sweden is not a member of NATO and spends a relatively small amount on its military. How could it hope to deter the Russian navy on its own? The answer, according to one Swedish group, is simple: The Swedes must send out gay propaganda via Morse code.
* “It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals,” write two New York Times reporters. “Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.” In Washington, this weekly meeting has been labeled “Terror Tuesday.” Once established, the list of nominees is sent to the White House, where the president orally gives his approval to each name. With the “kill list” validated, the drones do the rest.
* I can’t help it: I just love reading about EVE Online.
* And stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally.
As Marquette’s faculty gathers in the basement of the Bradley Center for commencement, some links…
* I have sat in philosophy seminars where it was asserted that I should be left to die on a desert island if the choice was between saving me and saving an arbitrary non-disabled person. I have been told it would be wrong for me to have my biological children because of my disability. I have been told that, while it isn’t bad for me to exist, it would’ve been better if my mother could’ve had a non-disabled child instead. I’ve even been told that it would’ve been better, had she known, for my mother to have an abortion and try again in hopes of conceiving a non-disabled child. I have been told that it is obvious that my life is less valuable when compared to the lives of arbitrary non-disabled people. And these things weren’t said as the conclusions of careful, extended argument. They were casual assertions. They were the kind of thing you skip over without pause because it’s the uncontroversial part of your talk.
* Hillary Clinton personally took money from companies that sought to influence her. The next couple years are going to be a bottomless exercise in humiliation for Democrats.
* History is a nightmare for which I’m trying to hit the snooze: NJ Republican Introduces Resolution Condemning ‘Negative’ AP History Exam.
* I also won’t accept that Someone Did a Shit So Bad On a British Airways Plane That It Had to Turn Around and Come Back Again.
* When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer’s, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when?
* If Catch-22 appeared a few years before Americans were ready to read it, Something Happened jumped the gun by decades, and the novel was already forgotten when its comically bleak take on upper-middle-class life became a staple of fiction.
* Jurors In The Boston Bombing Case Had To Agree To Consider The Death Penalty Before Being Selected. This is a very strange requirement of the law that seems to strongly interfere with the “jury of your peers” ideal.
* Deleted scene from Infinite Jest. So bizarre.
* Dibs on the young-adult dystopia: Teenagers who show too much leg face being sent into an “isolation room” for breaching the new uniform code.
* “On the occasion of David Letterman’s retirement after 33 years of hosting a late-night talk show, Jason Snell presents his take on Letterman’s significance, told with the help of a few friends.”
See here. I suspect MFA programs will generally be more prone to these sorts of work actions than PhD programs: they’re often require more debt, are paid worse, have an even more ephemeral link to future job prospects, and are shorter, so easier to walk away from…
I’m just glad to see a higher ed administration finally pay a concrete, immediate price for behaving abusively.