Monday, December 08, 2003

It’s time once again for blog filler, or, as I like to call it, “stalling for time because you were too lazy to write an actual entry.”

- One aspect of the Michael Jackson case that has seemingly gone unnoticed is the fact that Michael apparently stole his seduction routine from the dad in Happiness. Why hasn’t anyone roundly denounced Todd Solondz for setting a bad example for androgynous pop singers in their mid-40s? Won’t someone please think of the children?

- Speaking of hysterical pleas in the childrens’ interest, I saw a bumper sticker for one of the candidates for the school board in Fairfax County that read “HUNT 4 THE BEST 4 GR8 SCHOOLS.” What the fuck? Now, let’s set aside the issue of using numbers in place of words a la Prince for a minute. (I did like the candidate’s other bumper sticker, “I WOULD DEMAND MANDATORY APTITUDE TESTING AND NEW TEXTBOOKS 4 U.”) That sentence, in English, reads “Hunt for the best for great schools.” That’s an incredibly stilted, stupid sounding sentence constructed just so they could do the dumb 4+4=8 gimmick. Is this the kind of genius we want deciding the fate of our schools? (Well, apparently so, since after googling I found that Hunt did indeed win a seat on the school board. Oh, Fairfax County, when will you ever learn?)

- I have jury duty next month. When you think about it, registering to vote in the United States is an incredibly stupid waste of time. It puts you in risk of jury duty in most areas, there’s huge statistical odds against one vote ever influencing an election and the winner-take-all system means that your vote is not wanted if your political views aren’t in the mainstream (see: the extremely effective technique of a candidate repudiating “extremists” to prove that he or she is “moderate”). I still vote, mainly because I like to complain about elected officials and voting helps deflect the “well why aren’t you doing anything to change it” retort you get from a lot of people. But the way the system is set up, voting doesn’t really benefit you in any way unless you’re one of those “independent” swing vote suburban soccer moms (or office park dads, or whatever is in vogue in the political consultant field this election cycle).

- I’m against the jury system, and not just because it will cause me mild inconvenience for a day next month. Most people simply aren’t knowledgeable enough about the legal process to make an informed decision about whether or not someone is guilty or innocent of violating a specific law. (Myself included.) There isn’t enough accountability built into the system for jury incompetence, ignorance or neglect of duty. (I realize that the same is true for many judges, which is another problem that will be solved once I become czar and supreme overlord.) It doesn’t seem to me that the advantages of having a jury of your peers would outweigh the advantages of having your case decided by someone who is skilled in law and has to remain accountable to someone. And I think that one of the central theories behind the jury system (that it gives power to the people, and checks the power of judges) has been diluted by the fact that almost everyone in this society views jury duty as a colossal distraction to be avoided if at all possible rather than a serious and important part of citizenship. These and many other viewpoints can be found in my new pamphlet, 8 Points Towards a More Brighter and Wonderfuler America, to be handed out at finer airport terminals all across the country.

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