please stop tickling me

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Monday, October 27, 2008

You People

" You let them in, and now they're everywhere..."- Shriekback, "Hammerheads"

Good Christ David Reinhard, will you shut the fuck up?

Yes, if only due to massive financial collapse, the political tide is turning, and as it happens, free market delusionaries are taking the beating they so richly deserve. People making stupid arguments about the need to keep a standing fighting force around the world so as to ensure our "credibility" will be regarded -rightly- as fools. And above all else, people who think that gay marriage is the greatest threat to civil society will be actively shushed and told that the grownups are talking, so just pipe down now.
Probably; although you never know with people. Point is, your guys get to be in the position of being Questioners for a while, and lucky for you, they will do so in an atmosphere in which your guys have made Questioning tantamount to treason.

At what point the asking of questions came to be viewed as No Decent Person's avocation, I'm not sure. Maybe it was always this way, and my dream of an idealized past in which citizens of this nation felt it was their duty to ask pointed questions of their overlords is Just That: an ideal. But I do know that above all else, this whole Everything Going To Shit thing has reopened the door of political discourse among the greater run of Americans, who are suddenly remembering that they're actually part of a society, and need to watch carefully to make sure that the drunks aren't getting the keys to the car.

Why do I have to listen to you whine about how mean and nasty everyone has become, when dammit, You People started this one? Hey; remember when that Fat Fucking Drug Addict that you guys like -Limbaugh, I believe his name is- decided that a decent criticism of President Clinton's policies was to talk about how ugly his thirteen year old daughter was? I seem to recall that Chelsea wasn't actively involved in policy-making at the time, so I found this surreal. Likewise, Mr. Limbaugh felt that a valid criticism of then-Labor Secretary Robert Reich was to note how short he was.
I could go on here. Point is though: that was your buddies who started the baby talk. Now the baby talk is mandatory, and for a little while, you guys are going to fail to profit from it.

I mean, all of what passes for the intelligentsia on the right has fled the ticket this year (and no, Charlie Krauthammer does not count as an intellectual), and the RNC has noted that all you've got left is the lynch mob vote. This particular demographic has been actively groomed and molded by you guys, and let's not act like that wouldn't eventually poison the well. These are your zombies; they're coming back for your brains.
Thing is, I genuinely don't believe that your average American is a murderous shithead, or even someone who only cares about themself. I believe they are encouraged to view life in this way by Someone, for short-term political gain. They really wouldn't spend so much time publicly endorsing torture, either, had they not been told to do so.

Remember? McCain started off opposing such things, and for understandable reasons. Unlike most people in America, he's been tortured. He has noted that, along with being unpleasant, it's a shitty method of gathering intelligence, and mostly serves as a pleasing source of personal revenge for the torturer.
Nowadays, he is stuck with the rest of you who have not been tortured, and feel that it is a fine, necessary thing. I've asked the question of right-wingers before, and I'll ask it again here, in the form of a hypothetical:

Okay, so say someone blows up the Eiffel Tower. The French government, reacting to a crisis, decides that it is meet and good to lock up all Americans on French soil. They justify this by noting how vocally Anti-French the greater run of Americans are, and further note that to really get to the bottom of this thing, the detainees will need to be tortured.
You, David Reinhard, are vacationing in France. Even though you don't know a damn thing about who blew up The Tower, you disappear from view of family, friends and your government, and are tortured. When you protest that you truly don't know anything about this insidious plot, they just torture you a little more.
And when you get out -
if you get out- the only thing you truly know is that you sure would like to go back and blow up that station where they tortured you. Maybe you didn't start out as militantly anti-French, but you sure are now.

Last time I put that one to a right-wing blogger, he responded; "Never happen, as I'll never ever set foot in France." Touche, idiot. Other responses include: "Never gonna happen, as I'm one of the good guys. These other guys are the bad guys, and the only language they understand is brutality..."
This is why I think it's just precious that a know-nothing blowhard editor of a newspaper in a medium-sized west coast city notes that there have, finally, been some incidence of liberals acting like lynch-mob jackasses and has decided that it's an epidemic, or a movement.

No: remember that the last two presidential elections have been stolen, the Supreme Court and several lower federal courts are packed with reactionaries, the media refuses to ask decent questions, we're all poorer and much worse off than eight years ago and it would appear that there's not really anything we can do about it. So yeah, some people will be getting violent, I bet.
It was especially telling that you used a story that was proved to be a hoax -and that you even noted as being such- as an example:

"We learned Friday that a McCain campaign worker's claim that she was beaten up and had the letter "B" cut into her face because her car had a McCain sticker was a hoax. Such deranged doings are just as appalling when it comes from the right, though my sense is that this hate-filled intolerance more often comes out of left field."

Hey Dave: non-sequitur. That really doesn't follow. Your Guys were lying (again), and for some reason, it's evidence of a vast left-wing conspiracy.

You have noted that you will be "leaving the business" after the election. Really? Because of a few death threats? My father wrote an editorial in his paper seven years ago, calling in the meekest of ways for us, as a nation, to not go off all half-cocked and destroy the world (and our standing within it) just because we were feeling mad. He not only received death threats, but lost a lot of his subscribers because of it. And that was your guys.
He said what he felt needed saying. As usual, those who don't think so good told him that he should not. This is almost always what anyone describing a distaff opinion at any point in human history can expect.

You're lucky that you're up against a bunch of peace-loving liberal pussies who feel that we need to try to curb the violence, and inject a note of civility into the otherwise inhuman realm of politics. Is that partially a pose? Yes, among Democratic politicians, certainly. But not so much around your average liberal. We're the ones trying to remind the rest of you that to live in a society is to have responsibilities, and that the Republican way doesn't even make you rich anymore. Class warfare? Yeah, with you guys doing all the shooting.
To wit: I don't believe I saw any Democrats in any angry mobs in Florida in 2008, trying to subvert the election process with brute physical intimidation. Why don't we start there?

On the other hand, I saw a lady downtown the other day who was wearing a t-shirt that said, simply, "Kill Bush". You fucking idiot, I thought. "But did you openly repudiate her?", you might ask, red-faced, of me at this point. No: I scowled at her, but didn't say a damn thing because she not only Is her own defeat, but what she represents is so small when compared both to the good work that genuinely is done by your average community activist and the overwhelming evil done by those cheerful sorts who want us to squander what little we have left of anything on keeping a police-like presence nearby what remains of the world's oil supply.

So, leavin' the business, are you? Don't make us wait, buddy: I don't think you have the stomach for this, nor the intellectual security to be told that you're wrong as often as you are. There are some conservative writers I don't mind reading, you know, and it helps to note that they are also the ones who are running as fast from McCain/Palin as they can. But at least they all can say that they are not another one of those talking-point lockstep jackasses who are ruining it for everyone.

And yes, I am aware that in my last post I described the target demographic of the Republican party this election cycle as those who shoot each other and molest their children. This is something I feel okay doing because this is an online diary and not something I am paid to say to an entire state. We say things differently, according to context.

If I had your job, I'd be trying to make everyone start talking to each other again, not just blowing off steam, like I am here.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Palpable Sense of Dread

This is all the bigger I could get it, but here is the scariest image of MSNBC's Mike Viqueira I could find. I'm not a-scared of no Mike Va-queer-ya there (I actually have no idea who he is), but it sort of nicely underscores exactly how much in a bad mood everyone is, as we roll into the final debate of the season.

The Republican penchant for appealing to everyone's worst instincts seems to be coming back to bite it in the ass: folks are more or less calling for a lynching at their rallies. I've been saying it as long as I've had this blog: folks on the right talk about the physical elimination of their political opponents all the time, folks on the left rarely, if ever, do.
And now, since so many of us are completely sure that someone's at least going to take a shot at Obama -and maybe it'll hit- what then? Your republicans are already in a bloodthirsty mood, so what happens when the rest of us, who tend to keep riots from happening, decide that there's nothing left of democracy, and no need to bother being civil to other people who just happen to disagree with us?

Yes, assassination could happen, or another conveniently timed terrorist attack...Or "they find bin Laden", which I'm not sure why that would mean a victory for McCain, but okay...Then there's "The Bradley Effect"; I think it's entirely possible that lots of people would say they like the young black one to a pollster or reporter, then turn right around and vote for the old white one because he seems safer.

The Oregonian tends to run editorial cartoons of the brain-dead-moderate variety, but a couple days ago, they ran one from Glenn McCoy:

So you see, as is always the case with editorial cartooning, if you don't have a good idea, and can't use words so good, all you need to do is some shitty charicatures, helpfully labeled, in some sort of surreal misunderstanding of the term 'symbolism'.

It's stupid, sure, but it's only that: people who like Obama aren't going to have their minds changed by baby-talk of this sort, and those who hate Obama already feel like the characterization depicted here is true.

The loser, I suppose, would be Glenn McCoy, except that he gets paid for this shit, which encourages him, in his drunker moments, to think of himself as a political commentator. One could say that the word 'symbolism' loses pretty big here, but that'd be redundant. We all lose, in the continuing infantilization of our political discourse...But I still wouldn't call it "reprehensible", as a letter writer did this morning, to The O. Her name was Carol Radich, and her larger point was that "we don't need even more voters being swayed by hate rhetoric instead of by reason."
Too late, Carol. And of course, this (and far, far worse) has been the way politics is played since the beginning. I don't like it, but there's lots of things I don't like. This isn't a modern phenomenon, and...Sorry, but: still free speech!

So you know: stupid people are going to believe stupid things, and legislating it out of existence isn't going to change that at all. Wait for this election season to be over, and this same demographic will go back to shooting each other and molesting their children, as usual.

Which brings us to the debate itself. Not a lot to say there, but we came up with a pretty good scenario. I've known a fair amount of gay Republicans in my time (they tend to be the rich ones), and wouldn't it have been great if, instead of Joe The Plumber, we had...Terry the Hairdresser, and he dreams of one day buying the salon he works in...
I dunno. It would have caused some nice cognitive dissonance. Joe, by the way, strikes me as a McCain employee. In any case, he's a fucking crybaby: I'd love to make as much money as a plumber.

McCain sounded hysterical, and Obama was doing the dignified thing again. I can't fault it; it seems to be working, but still just once I'd like to see him look right at War Hero and say, "There you go again: you always do this." What he did instead was show how McCain always does what he does, and that appeals to nuanced n' educated people.
Now, McCain basically slathered a lot of happy fucking babytalk all over everyone else, which appeals to lots of people too.

It was noted last evening that if the election were only held among those Fifty and older, McCain'd easily win. Also, if the election were only held among those Forty and younger, Obama would win in numbers easily surpassing double digits. The Olds like to vote, The Kids often forget to, or are convinced that the whole thing doesn't apply to their lives anyway.
And hey: those are poll numbers, by the way, and I used to do that shit for a living, so believe me when I say that those numbers, for manifold reasons, could be completely wrong.

So go vote, and remember:

Big brother is watching you.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Letter to A Not-Very-Good-At-This Candidate

Let's see what Christopher Hitchens is talking about. I always liked the guy; his Letters To A Young Contrarian is a classic, and that made it all the weirder when he signed on as one of the few leftist voices who supports our current "war of terrorism", if I can quote Borat here for a minute.

One of two things happened there, I think. Either his intense dislike of religion is doing the talking here -and of course, I don't like theocracies either- or someone put a fucking gun to his head. Anyway, as you'll note in the link above, he's endorsing Obama.
This is after noting -playfully, I thought- that pretty much every time O-bam there opens his mouth, there is something about how we need to stay in Afghanistan pretty much forever, and invade Pakistan too! Hitch notes that if this is actually the way Obama feels, and not just electioneering boilerplate, that means that he's the only one who gets it, y'know? He's the only realist of the bunch.

Of course, McCain says something equally stupid about Iraq every five minutes, and he is ridiculed for it. Rightfully so: he's a stupid, senile old liar, but have you watched him? He at least can encapsulate his ridiculous positions into something self-contained and quotable, whereas Obama can't answer questions at all.
When called upon to do so, the man that Hilary Clinton called "BRR-ACK!" in her finest voice-of-the-henhouse tries to elucidate his thoughts, and just can't. He talks himself in circles, wastes way too much time defending himself against the childish accusations of his opponent, fails to burn said opponent on the ridiculous assertions he makes -even though they're really stupid- and above all else paints himself into unfortunate rhetorical corners like our need to spend our final years as any sort of world power invading Pakistan, when we're not busy fighting Russia, that is.

Now, does that mean that I'm voting for The Party of Pure, Unadulterated Evil this year? Of course not. I'm a Party of Grave Disappointment man going way back. But I just gotta say it out loud here so everyone can hear it: I kinda think our candidate is a moron.
For instance, Brrrack, I'll give you a gimme here: next time that War Hero guy over there is drooling about how nice n' safe nuclear energy is, put on your best Serious Face, look at him and say, "So, where are you planning on putting all the waste?" Just that. It's an argument that utterly trumps his, and makes him look like the doddering old fool that he is.

And why don't you? I understand that you just standing there looking like a gentleman makes you seem presidential to some people, especially when the other guy is clearly pooping his pants and wanting like hell to call you "those people", but c'mon...You've got everyone's attention, so why don't you point out exactly how evil and stupid the other side is? This is a year when no "conservative" should win, and the only reason some will is because you've got about as much balls as Nancy Pelosi.
So let's do it; call a feeb a feeb. Call a Nazi a Nazi. And quit suggesting that war with Russia is a viable option, ya' moron.

That lady with the dogs is writing again. You should go check it out, as it contains many bits of meaty goodness.


Monday, October 06, 2008

A Crucial Argument of Deadly Seriousness

It is a matter of historical record that, for reasons unknown even today, a British newspaper published a crossword puzzle on the eve of D-Day that contained all the classified names of each of the missions, including the name of the mission itself, 'Overlord'.
So that said, it always creeps me out when I see things like yesterday's Jumble, where the first three answers were 'dismal', 'weapon' and 'curfew'.
But then the next two were 'belief', and 'affirm'. That was puzzling enough, but what pattern is suggested by the final word, which was 'frolic'?

But, only a little ways over from there, you get to read the guest opinions of one Becky Ohlsen. "Portland, Get Over Yourself", is the damn thing's name, and shitty generalizin' is its game.
I've gone on record here before about what I think of people who use the trope of either 'get over it' or 'get over youself', but let's just say it again: it is a non-argument made by morons. It could be viewed as edgy by somebody, but who?

It's more of the same territory mined by The Mercury's Matt Davis (who I see has also linked to Becky's thing). People have been rhapsodizing about how wonderful Portland is since the mid-'70's, and it caused a lot of people to move here, which sort of added some more voices to the discussion. Now, as much as I don't get people who swoon about how fucking wonderful it is here (it's a lot like a number of other medium-sized cities I've seen, actually), the attendant backlash to that is just fucking ignorant. Worse yet; both sides are wrong.

The complaints generally follow some mutation of the 1968 Haight-Ashbury broadside "Nebraska needs you more", or my thing I always said to angry Olympia pseudo-feminists in the '90's ("If you want to make a difference, there's a timber town called Shelton twenty miles west of here. Standing around here flipping shit to a bunch of hippie boys who attend a liberal arts school is just lazy.").
So yes; sitting around talking in circles with people of like mind is sorta masturbatory, but what does it actually harm? And at what point do I get to be a person living their life, as opposed to Bold Crusader For Truth? I lost a lot of my hubris after I...Ceased to be Becky Ohlsen's age, I suppose...

Also on the list is the somewhat incoherent argument that goes something along the lines of, "oh, you think you know the real world? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE REAL WORLD!" And then they point out how much more realistic it is in some shithole like Baltimore.
Hey, you know what? I don't wanna live in Baltimore, and you know what? Neither do people who live in Baltimore. I think it's just fine that here is this little island of relative sanity in a world that largely sucks.
Is it complacent, even about its own needs? Yes, at times. We're Sorry.

Inevitably, when the general turns specific, it comes down to certain things that just happen to bother the author, and don't do such a hot job of underscoring how...Urgent the need for change is. Witness:
"They don't think it's rude to ask the waiter if the salmon on the menu is farm-raised or wild; if it's farmed, the diner will opt instead for the salad of locally grown beets and wild greens picked in the meadows of nearby Mount Hood." Well, being an asshole is still being an asshole, though.

"Being vegan is cool, not annoying." No, it's annoying when they're an asshole about it.

"Portlanders drink organic beer and wine (except for the dregs of the demimonde, who insist on Pabst Blue Ribbon and are mocked for it)." No, due to a need to not be viewed as elitist by blinkered cultural commentators like yourself, PBR is the drink of choice for most beer drinkers I know.

The parochialism card gets played:
"I know half a dozen women in Portland who work in the media, but we never talk about the news. We talk about kids, dating, hiking. Another friend works for an alternative-energy company; we've never had a conversation about the election, the economy, the price of oil. In Portland there's no need to talk about these things. Everyone already agrees."

Actually, like Seattle, we have a lot more of a conservative streak than you might be told about. We're still only a generation or two removed from a resource extraction based industry, and frankly, many of us still work in it. We're basically a buncha rednecks walkin' around in city clothes, and people talk politics all right, and they certainly don't all agree with each other.
The people I work with, for instance, are union members and non-union members who all have political opinions of their own and regularly express them. Is the problem with the example above that you were speaking to people who are way too comfortable?

"The city is so self-centered it forgets that dissenting views exist. This becomes obvious the moment a Portlander ventures beyond the city limits. In Boston, New York, even tiny Pueblo, Colo., people are talking about politics. They're talking about the war in Iraq. They're talking about religion, Wall Street, global warming, gay marriage. And they're not just talking about these things: They are arguing. Portlanders don't argue. They don't think they need to. But they're wrong."
Now you're just being incoherent. To say that Portlanders aren't politically engaged is to miss a rather large part of our public discourse. To say we don't argue? Well, if not always with each other, I know I'm not the only person here who has gone out of his way to engage people of diametrically opposed viewpoints on this thing here called The Internet. Y'oughta try it; it's great.

"When everyone around you agrees with your views on pretty much everything, you start to imagine that everyone everywhere feels that way. You leave yourself vulnerable to unpleasant surprises. Guess what? People still use Styrofoam cups by the hundreds at church-basement gatherings in Topeka. Lots of women oppose abortion rights. Outside of Portland, you might hear nice, reasonable, educated people expressing dismay at the idea that a Muslim baby killer is running for president. And because you've been living your exemplary life in your exemplary city, surrounded by others just like you, these arguments will blindside you. You'll be baffled, disarmed and defenseless. You'll lose the fight. And it will be your fault. What's the matter with Kansas? Honestly, Portland has no idea."

So...We should be like them? I mean, you're really high if you think that we here in the Marxist Utopia aren't aware of where we're not living.
I, like most people I know, came here from somewhere else. Eastern Oregon, to be exact, and I feel damn lucky I got out. I know what folks there think about most things, and you know what? They're childish and parochial in their hatreds and suspicions. The operate under a blanket of fear-based consensus and automatic disdain for the outside world that makes Portland look positively diverse. And from what I am told, much of Murka is like this.
If you were a little more honest with yourself, you'd be writing about them. But of course, the wisdom of the common folk is to be trusted and venerated at all times, lest one become an elitist. Pabst, y'know. (Although, if you drink Pabst in Pendleton, folks will wonder why you aren't drinking a Bud.)

Tell us Becky; what is it that we are supposed to do?
"This is not a call for Portlanders to start roaring down their bike-laned city streets in SUVs, insulting their neighbors on the basis of dietary or sexual preference and tossing their empties into the Dumpster. Rather, it's an attempt to point out that perfect behavior won't protect you when the rest of the country decides to overturn Roe v. Wade, ban gay marriage and elect another Republican. It may seem comforting to spend election season swapping recipes in your community garden, but there's a different conversation going on out there, and you can't afford to ignore it."

Oh, so no idea, huh? Yeah, Matt Davis doesn't have any, either.

But really, why'd you write this? If you think you're saying something that hasn't been said before too many times, forget it. For that matter, this is the kind of thing a thinking person already is on the watch for in themselves.
That being said, it is the prerogative of fools and children to point out that the emperor wears no clothes: the emperor already knows that. We all get around in a bubble of subjectivity that relies on a certain amount of knowing self-delusion and trickery: magical thinking that insulates us from things that might just cause us to quit our jobs and sit around obsessing endlessly about things we have no power over for the rest of our lives.
Do we engage where we can engage? Yes, and I'm gonna say that for a lot of us, that's at community level. The last two presidential elections were stolen, y'know, and a lot of those people you think you're reminding us about out there think that Santa Claus is gonna come down and kill all the brown people so we can have our jobs back. On one hand, dialogue is good, but on the other, fuck them. They marginalize themselves, but the media keeps holding them up as the paragon of all that is pure and beautiful in the 'Murkan spirit.

And, y' damn Eastern Liberal Media Insider you, shitty freelance writers like to shoot fish in barrels. I'd say 'don't be that way', but I'd rather do this instead. Oh, and Maybe you should move to Alabama, if you like it so much.
Which is exactly what any redneck I've ever met says whenever you talk about, say, The Netherlands.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Nearly A Laugh, But Really A Cry

(I actually wrote this back in the late '90's for The Antagonist, but it never saw print, and I'm just in the mood to put something here, as I've been working my ass off lately, and haven't had time to blog.)


The concept album. It unfortunately conjures up images of Yes, or Emerson, Lake and Palmer. But a lot of good bands did them (The Kinks, in particular). If you buy the story that the 'White Album' by the Beatles is actually them merely making fun of everyone else currently active in music at the time, that also means that one of their best albums is a concept album, sort of. In any case, it's an idea that could see some reviving, in competent hands.

Toward the end, Pink Floyd did almost nothing but concept albums. This one I'm reviewing in particular just happens to be the most dark, cynical pondering on the state of humanity that I've ever heard.

You know the concept, right? The human race is basically broken down into three subgroups; dogs, pigs and sheep. It begins with this little calm-before-the-storm number called "Pigs on the Wing (part 1)". Just acoustic guitar and Roger Waters' voice. It sort of sets you up with what this album might really be about: what if no one really gave a good grey shit about anyone else?

And we roll into "Dogs". It begins really quietly, building as the lyrics begin: "You've got to be crazy/ Gotta have a real need..." To be a dog in this world is to be vicious and mercenary. On one hand, they're speaking of gangsters and thugs, but it soon becomes clear that they're talking about stockbrokers and businessmen, too. "You've got to be trusted/ by the people that you lie to/ so that when they turn their backs on you/ you'll get the chance to put the knife in..."
But they're also literally talking about dogs. It gets into what the end is like for you, as a dog. After all is done, and you've done as many people that've stood in your way, you cease to be useful, and are to be hunted down and destroyed. You flee, cancer eating your guts, knowing full well that one one of these days, they're gonna put you in a bag and throw you in the river.

The last verse is a list of everything that has happened to you in your dog life (or dog-man life) that took you to where you are now -drowning.
"who was given a pat on the back
who was breaking away from the pack
who was only a stranger at home
who was dragged down in the end
who was drownd-ed all alone
who was dragged down by the stone...

The music is thick, richly produced. You can hear every dog recorded clearly, like it's in your backyard. The music is so slick, it's almost dull. It's a lot less musically adventurous than a lot of their albums, but a lot more menacing. It gives you even more of an impression that all of this is inevitable.
For whatever it's worth, it's also sort of clear that old Rog considered himself a dog.

Then a pig grunts, and "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" begins. It is a sweaty, nightmarish funk thing. It, of course, is about the folks set above us all by society.
The first two are merely rich people. People who are able to believe they are safe. This delusion lends a bit of piety to itself; "And when your hand is on your heart...You're nearly a good laugh/ almost a joker..." But as with all of them, "You're nearly a laugh, but you're really a cry..."
The final pig is different; not just rich but powerful. "Hey you White House...You house-proud town mouse..." And this pig too feels that all is right in this world that has given it so much, yet cannot help but feel that breath on their necks that suggests otherwise: "You're really a real treat/ all tight lips and cold feet...And do you feel abused? You've got to stem the evil tide/ but keep it over the hillside..." Even the rich and powerful are terrified and hunted.

But the scariest track here has to be "Sheep". That's you n' me he's talking about there. "Harmlessly passing your time in the grasslands away/ only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air..." Wm. Burroughs said that dogs are the lynch mob animal. But no- who is most easily led, through their fear? That's you n' me he's talking about there!
"Meek and beleagured you follow the leader down well-trodden corridors into the valley of steel..." Yes, we sheep can be counted upon to shovel a couple generations worth of us into the fiery maw of hell if we're sufficiently convinced that we're in danger. And if the fear of the dogs won't do it, there's always God.

This twisted version of the Twenty-Third Psalm slithers into the middle of the song:
"The lord is my shepard, I shall not want...
With bright knives he releaseth my soul
he maketh me to hang on hooks in high places
He converteth me to lamb cutlets...
Lo, we shall rise up,
and then we'll make the buggers' eyes water...

Religion is all you have as a sheep; the possibility of revenge. "Bleating and babbling I fell on his neck with a scream...Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream..." And when the foe is smited? "You'd better stay home, do as you're told/ stay out of the road, if you want to grow old..." Then one of those great leads that Dave Gilmour pulls out of his ass roars onto the scene, repeated over and over until the song fades back out. It's no mistake that there is so much repetition on this album. Everyone's stuck in their category until death. Eternally at war and bewildered.

You feel like you've been through a storm. And right on cue comes the calm after the storm, "Pigs on the Wing (part 2)". It's fragile, and cautious. It knows that too much has already been said. It sort of tenuously says, well, at least you n' me care about each other, right? And that counts for something, right? Well, maybe; no conclusions are drawn there.
Above all else, this album has led me to question why so many suburban American teenagers listen to Pink Floyd on acid. You'd have to ignore the lyrics. But on the other hand, this album makes me oddly exhilarated, usually in that nice-to-know-someone-else-is-thinking-this-too sort of way, but it's there.
The Floyd album to trip to, by the way, is "Ummagumma".