Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm not American, I guess

One day, standing in the furniture workshop at my job, I listened to ad on AM radio from McCain’s sponsors. It implied that Obama is not really “American” since, what was it?, he once (or couple of times, I don’t know) had the opportunity to visit the troops currently warring in Iraq and instead went to the spa or some high-class sauna or what-have-you. I was quite disappointed and pissed that McCain would resort to Identity Politics, to saying such idiotic things, but I then remembered that him saying such things, of course, makes sense since……you know……he’s an idiot. Another thing to consider is that, at this point, The Joker from The Dark Knight probably looks better in the public eye than the Republicans do, thanks to dear ole’ George W’s super sloppy administration in war and economy.

I think McCain is counting on it not meaning anything to “Americans” that Obama traveled to Russia, Azerbaijan and some other places in order to research a way to control the circulation and supply of the world’s conventional, nuclear and biological weapons as well as WMDs. This is so that life doesn’t instantly turn into those terrible dystopian landscapes you see in such fictional works as Mad Max, 1984 or Teletubbies because some countries decide they’d like to bomb the crap out of each other over oil and destroy us all in the process. McCain counts on it not meaning anything to “Americans” that Obama is working on the proper funding and housing for soldiers, disabled and abled, coming back from the war so that they’re not just tossed into the streets, like a real American like McCain is likely to do. It won't matter that Obama supports the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, and is working on making the government more publicly accountable in their federal spending, so that we can see our taxes is being spent on things like education, better hospitals, transportation and the like. Not being privately spent on a brand new Bugatti Racer for McCain’s son.

But all these things mean nil. Because since Obama didn’t salute the American Flag here, because he didn’t sport some silly American Flag pin there, because his middle name is Hussein and in a retard’s mind this associates him with Muslims, because he didn't go over to Iraq to shake the soldiers' hands before indifferently letting them go to their deathbeds, he is not American.*

*Hell, next to no one in this country is American. If only Americans are to be Presidents, then all of them historically and up to now would have been Native American. And even they aren't American! They migrated through the Arctic and Canada all the way from China over 10,000 years ago before landing in the Americas.

[Note: One bad thing for Obama: Joe Biden seems like a good Vice President for Obama, due to his extensive foreign relations knowledge and military expertise. Unfortunately, his son is a lobbyist for the bank MBNA and Obama's campaign is all about getting campaign funds from the public only. Let us see how his publicist handles this.]

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Woman. Phone.

A scene from some hours ago:

With my notepad and iPod, I sit at a round, white oak table in the basement-level cafeteria at my store. This is where workers come to warm up their leftovers for lunch and eat, the lunchroom being perfectly positioned right next door to a sewer. Over on a black leather couch, leaned against a newly built wall with circles of dried up plaster lays [Elian], a short Honduran pastor and security guard. I can't hear but I'm sure he's listening to what he always listens to as he drifts to a noisy snore on the couch on his lunch hour, which is the latest in self-glorifying, self-righteous Gospel. The likes of Paul Baloche or Steven Curtis Chapman or some such mess. We are both Christians, and even though the artists I'm listening to sing religious lyrics as well, I highly doubt he'd approve of them. I highly doubt he'd approve of any of the Christian music I head-bobbingly listen to. That's ok, I highly doubt I'd approve of anything approved by him. I put my iPod on pause.

On top of his gospel, his snoring, and the hum of the refrigerator trying to keep someone's leftover curry and rice with beans cold, I write in this notepad. I feel the underground Parisian expatriate artistic genius in me flow whenever I do, because Barnes and Noble told me that Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin wrote in this very (kind of) notepad. I loved Hemingway's story on abortion debate over Spanish beer at train stations. So, B&N and moleskine.com have won my integrity and money over because they told me that by buying their product, I could take part of something that was once attached to a chauvinistic, drunk and possibly racist writer. So I begin to write an idea for a sci-fi novel about a cyborg.

A salesman and a carpet stockman come in and quietly play Gin Rummy at $2 a hand at a table next to mine. I write. Elian snores as Paul shouts to the Lord, the frig hums, and all is peaceful.......

Until [Scarlett] bursts in the lunchroom, screaming into her phone and talking faster than certain Ford Mustangs can drive. Lucky Elian, gospel saves him from the racket, but the salesperson lays down a Full House, turns and asks "what the hell is wrong witchu'?"
She waves him off and continues yelling at the phone. "Nah, nah, what da f*** you mean 'dat's just how she is? Dis is her second time wit dat s***, dat's money out my purse, ya understand? I can't afford to keep payin' fo da way she is." She says with rapid fire speed.

You see, Scarlett woke this morning out of her queen-sized bed in East New York, Brooklyn, got dressed, went down to her building lobby by way of a piss, trash and graffiti-covered elevator, crossed a children's park to the street curb and found her Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with the word "Bitch" on the front hood, and "stop f*****' wit him or I'm beat yo ass [exact wording]" on the doors. This congenial message was scratched into the car by way of a key. In script.

"Watchu mean sit and talk....if I see her, I'm straight smackin' da s*** outta her, dats' it. I on't wanna hear nothin', I don't wanna sit down s***."
The two employees laugh and return to their game, the salesman taking $2 out of a thin stack of singles the stockman has next to him.

Scarlett is throwing her arms around in forceful gesticulations, pacing back and forth with buggy eyes looking all about and an angry, pouting twitching mouth. She puts her hand on her hip to listen. "What...da what? Nig**, is you stupid, I don't know why she does it either. Why don't you ask her, cause I'm telling you if I see her, it's gon be problems, for real."

I mean, I don't know. Scarlett and the citizen on the phone say the woman who did it maybe insane, or perhaps she targeted the wrong car. Again. Logic condescendingly shows me that the woman was angry because Scarlett slept with the woman's fiancee of some years. Well, not angry that they slept together for the 10th or 20th time, but angry that she caught them for the second time. Yes, a second time with the very fiancee Scarlett is on the phone with now. None of us, "us" being me, the two card players, Elian, and the rat I just seen at the edge of the cut open ventilation shaft above Elian, are worried about Scarlett's consequences. Coveting thy neighbor's husband is more a lifestyle for her than a sinful indulgence, and she can take care of herself.

By the turn of the conversation, I'm sure she's learned her lesson, though: "Aiight, good, so you payin' for it then. Aiight........so you still wanna go to dat hotel next week?"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Grand Theft Auto 4: The Dynamic

I didn't realize how anarchic Grand Theft Auto 4 was. This especially came out as I read a blog post @ Versus Clu Clu Land, where a law student expressed her professional view of the game and listed the amount of laws your character breaks as the story of the game progresses. Playing it the other day, the viewpoint of completely disrupting social order for money had dawned on me as my missions ranged from stealing trucks filled with cocaine to robbing federal banks and killing SWAT Team members by the waves. I never really looked at GTA 4 in that context. It was just a game to me.

I've even taken jobs from an anonymous caller to assassinate targets ranging from groups of men in a construction site to some VIP whose about to take off in a helicopter from a pad on top of a highway. For the latter, I just walked up to the copter, carrying a rocket launcher in plain, clear view, and blew it up. I mean, the helipad is directly above the highway, not any miles away or anything. Here's the reason I point that out.

Niko Bellic (the main character) supports himself in New York City Liberty City by agreeing to be paid for the most reprehensible and immoral acts. In doing so, he meets a colorful range of characters who are just as immoral as he is. I mean, even the Liberty City Police Dept. and CIA catch him, only to pay him for his terrible services like everyone else. So where is the order in this game, really? Only on the programmed surface.

Niko causes this chaos and, while in real life his crimes would be deep gashes in the social fabric, in the game they're more like superficial cuts on the fabric's knee. After blowing up said helicopter and killing about 3 innocent people nearby, the police may show up and arrest if they're nearby and (remember, if), but the whole thing is either forgotten about through a couple of hours in jail and a bribe, or as soon as the mission ends, the police suffer the instant amnesia that the Men In Black used to administer when the public knew of their Roswell activity. The innocent people who've died in the blast literally disappear, and all the other citizens go back to walking up and down the sidewalks and attending their business like they're programmed to.

Of course, the reason why this can't be reality, or game developers can never imitate reality, is that they cannot take the spontaneous and random aspects of life and program it into made up people. When something like that happens to us, simultaneously law and society try to make sense of what happened, repair it, and in the process, dynamics take place and open up new pathways.

So after the helicopter is blown up:
A detective who has a son with Down Syndrome investigates the crime scene and debris, while some greedy, annoying journalist listens to his note taking and, moronically and selfishly, releases key leads to the public, which helps Niko escape.

The little girl who was sitting on the bench in an upscale park just yards from the explosion is hit with a speeding piece of helicopter door in her lung and now needs a blood transfusion. This has to be paid for by the family that made just enough money to supply her with a wheat and tuna sandwich every night........

........but her older brother takes this experience and finds a new religion that worships antique chandeliers made by a 16th century Sicilian genius hermit who lived in a hole under a stone bridge and believed that after Christ died, he was reincarnated in the form of the hermit's own right eyeball.

The highway underneath the helicopter pad closes and Bob finds a new way to drive to and from work, where he chance-meets a stripper who is also a Russian spy and finds through her wisdom that his real self is a Marxist transvestite.

The conspiracy theorists who read about the explosion in the newspaper believe the man in the helicopter was selling FreeMason secrets to the public, and he was the first target. The second is his publishers handling the non-fiction book.

A man in his shoddy one-bedroom apartment in the projects, who is an ex-glue sniffing necrophiliac, watches the explosion in slow-motion on T.V. and suddenly has the idea for a new American three-course dish involving Indian spices and mercury. In 7 years time, he single-handedly stops world hunger and rids any and all attention to 50 Cent.

The Black Agenda-ists who question the cops, find out the man in the helicopter was black, and question why the law and government does not enforce Martin Luther King Jr.'s ideal, and so react with incendiary Malcolm X policy.

And finally, poor, poor Steve, the Christian electronica D.J. who was on his way to aunt's house to pick up some old records, sits at home watching the news report and realizes that he's seen Niko, with his very own eyes, walk towards the heli-pad with a rocket launcher in his arm (though at the time he didn't know what it was). Filled with guilt at the fact that he could've saved a life, he sleepwalkingly drifts to some hole under a stone bridge, produces a knife and takes out his own right........
Got carried away. Sorry. But you get the point.