Monthly Archives: February 2013

LIONEL PODCAST: Zero dark Eleven. Credit Nightmares. Go FICO Yourself.

Debt before dishonor. I’ll bet you know nothing about credit, FICO and the pitfalls. I’ll bet you know nothing about the real goings-on as to papal succession. Well, don’t feel bad. These inter alia are my area levels of expertise. Sit back and just watch the magic. Including my greatest Friars Club moments. This will surely make you cringe, Shirley.

And now, the moving picture portion of the entertainment. “Historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.” ― Howard Zinn

LIONEL PODCAST: Niagra Falls Mentation

I couldn’t have said it better myself. There’s so much more than the visual, the visible, the apparent. This disquisition delves into scores and heaps of data, ideas. Knowing yourself, drafting a user’s manual, is what the secret to self-actualization really is. And finding why we do that which we do is priority number one.

And these words are beyond beautiful. How succinct and perfect. And from the late 19th century, no less. They could have been spoken today. So apt, so perfect, so spot on.

Variations on the quote below have been misattributed as a response to a toast, by John Swinton, as “the former Chief of Staff at the New York Times”, before the New York Press Club in 1953. However, research reveals that Swinton (1829-1901), after moving to New York, wrote an occasional article for the New York Times and was hired on a regular basis in 1860 as head of the editorial staff. Afterward holding this position throughout the Civil War, he left the paper in 1870 and became active in the labor struggles of the day. He later served eight years in the same position on the New York Sun and later published a weekly labor sheet, John Swinton’s Paper.

The remarks were apparently made by Swinton, then the preeminent New York journalist, probably one night in 1880. Swinton was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.

(Source: Labor’s Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

Despite the misattribution, the quote raises the issue of whether there is not continuing truth in Swinton’s remarks, and whether some candid journalist might not be able to fairly say similar things today. Anyone who has associated closely with journalists can hardly avoid finding a ring of truth in such words, and the best evidence lies in the actual product of journalists and how well, or how poorly, it both agrees with and covers what actually happens, especially involving such things as corruption and abuse of power.

And the that video thing. I’m glad you asked.

LIONEL PODCAST: Welcome to the Matrix. Red or Blue?

A parallel universe. Science has posited that that the web of subatomic particles that composes our physical universe – the so-called “fabric of reality itself” – possesses what appears to be an undeniable “holographic” property. G’head, read for yourself. I’m in awe of the implications. Can you feel your brain stretching?

We are viruses. What a lovely thought. The Matrix changed my life. As did Hee Haw, but that’s another story.

I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure. (Agent Smith)

And now for something universally parallel. Red or Blue?

LIONEL PODCAST: Super Bowl Homoerotic Tribalism

Everyone cheer! You’re part of the tribe. The cabal. The coven and coalition of the similarly influenced. Wear your jersey. Root and yell on cue and on command. Look at me, I have no soul! Team allegiance. Tribal connectivity. It’s a human thing. As is mass murder. Let’s celebrate brain damage. America’s game. Are you ready for some football? Can you say chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative and incurable disease whose symptoms can include memory loss, depression and dementia? What a game, huh? Imagine if a street drug did that. Law enforcement would become unhinged. But this is different; this is football. And the day you ever see me wearing another man’s name on a jersey, shoot me.

And my award for great labeling concepts. Tada! It works. No scheiße. Or is that yes scheiße? (Cf. crapulence.)

Watch the man speak. He’s speaking to you. Not at you.

LIONEL PODCAST: The Illusion of Reality and Postmortem Encomia

Death has a way of filtering reality and distorting history. Tolstoy said that history would be a wonderful thing if only it were true. That Murray Tolstoy was on to something. With the announcement of Ed Koch’s passing I was most impressed with true and accurate depictions of his legacy and those recollections that were at least grounded in part in reality. And then as the day progressed each recollection and postmortem anecdote seemed to fuel what could only be construed as what I call auto-mourn, i.e. an almost self-directing momentum that some media reporting possesses that takes on a flavor and tenor of its own with the intent of outdoing or “outmourning” a competitor’s elegy and/or panegyric. Ed Koch will certainly and deservedly be in the pantheon of New York mayoral titans. The troika: LaGuardia, Koch and Giuliani. Natch. But he was not without faults and shortcomings. Such may not be the best addressed when in the midst of eulogia. That being said, he was an historical figure and his record has nothing to do with Koch the human spirit who has passed. Had he addressed the AIDS crisis with his patented verve he could have made an important contribution in stopping this scourge. But he had a larger-than-life presence that gave New York a shot in the arm when it was desperately needed and there will simply never be another like him. Period.

The essence of that which you’re trying to do. One of the greatest pieces of unsolicited advice I can give is to figure out that which you’re really trying to accomplish. Stop the eye-rolling, Sparky, and listen. In this TV and radio thing I do, I ask myself constantly, “What am I trying to accomplish?” Viewership, listenership, respect, attention, what? The answer: Yes.

Watch the man on the screen. This will be my legacy. When I lapse into cosmic expurgation (AKA death) let there be an exhibit at MOMA consisting of a 24/7 virtual and continuous playing of these words. And should GITMO be closed permanently and a new form of mind torture is required and sought, chain a detainee to a chair and make him watch this, my words. Forever. Until he begs for death. Or something.