Tips to survive the next morning.

So let’s assume that you have some kind of professional job. Odds are that you don’t, if you’re reading this. You probably work on campaigns, attend graduate school or do something artistic. After all, you’re my friend. Well, at least I hope that you’re my friend. The odds of you reaching this page without being my friend are rather low. Well, you could be one of my detractors. I’m not terribly fond of you people, so let’s not spend any more time thinking about you.

Anyway, let’s get back on track. If you have some kind of professional job, and you run into the problem of being late in the morning because of the previous night’s bender, you have found the right guy to help you get out of that particular jam. What follows is my Four Point Plan to Get You To Work Without Being in Trouble.

Step 1

First things first, wake up. This is more important, and not as obvious, as you’d think. Not only does the rest of this material not apply if you don’t wake up, but you’re going to be in more trouble than you’d be in otherwise. Believe me, you definitely want to wake up. Now that you’re awake, do not go back to sleep. Going back to sleep will result in some serious problems. You really don’t need what you think will be just another ten minutes as much as you need not to sleep for the next seven hours. Getting up at noon would be a real problem for you. Don’t do that.

Get out of bed.

Step 2

Look at the time. See exactly how late you’re going to be. Proceed to panic for about thirty seconds to a minute. Go ahead, get it out of your system. It’s entirely necessary and quite worth it. After this short window of time is over, though, you now reach for the telephone and call your office. Tell them that you’re going to be a little late and blame it on car problems. No one ever knows whether or not you own a car, much less, what would be wrong with it, and transportation problems are always perceived as legitimate and unavoidable. (Of course, you could always tell them that you’re not feeling very well, that you’ve had a touch of nausea, and that you’ll be in a little late. When pressed, you can always blame it on the ubiquitous bug that’s going around. Trust me, there’s always a bug. I usually have it.)

This is a good idea. It’s far better to call in advance and tell them that you’re going to be late than it is to try and sneak in. No matter how good you are, it’s always a bad idea to try and get past the receptionist and get to your desk. You’ll be rather conspicuous. Come on, you have your briefcase and coat, and you’re walking through the office. There’s really only one place where you could be going: your desk, and late at that. Everyone knows it. Moreover, if you’re the sort of person who gets bombarded by emails and calls all day long, people are going to notice that you’re not responding, and maybe actually pop in to see what’s going on. They will see that you’re not at your desk, and start making inquiries. In short, there’s really no way to sneak in without getting caught. Just call and tell them that you’re going to be late.

Step 3

This is absolutely critical. It’s amazing to me how many people skip this stage, and I have no idea why. Now that you’ve established that you’re going to be late, just go ahead and bathe. Not only should you bathe, you should brush your teeth, apply cologne, shave your face, comb your hair, etc. If you’re already going to be late, it’s just a question of degree at this point, and while I am very sympathetic to the idea that one should minimize the damage done, in this case, the twenty minutes that it takes you to cleanse yourself is entirely worth it. There’s a very good reason that you’re late. You were drinking alcoholic beverages in copious amounts last night, and no matter what excuse you may have given to your coworkers for your tardiness, there’s a very strong suspicion towards the back of everybody’s mind that this is the reason that you’re late. Do not validate or confirm that suspicion by showing up smelling like the trashcan in the men’s room of your favourite dive bar or looking like its contents.

Step 4

Bite the bullet. Apologize once, and only once, to anyone whom you’ve inconvenienced. Go check your bank balance. You may be buying lunches or coffees to compensate. Buying pastries for the staff is always a good way to do this. Just showing up with a box generally generates enough good will that your tardiness will be excused. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, this will be your excuse to go talk to that brunette in the office by your friend of a friend of a friend with whom you once discussed a baseball game while drunk at an office party. Making that work, however, is the subject of a different advisory email.

As someone who frequently does this, I’ve had no problems when using this protocol. I hope that it’s of help.

-dx

Why I am not a Republican.

From time to time, I wonder exactly how it is that the other half think. I am not one of those Democrats who believes that Republicans don’t think, or, at least, per se do not think. That being the case, I have taken the liberty of assembling a list of what it is that Republicans do think. Enjoy it. -dx

*Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals, Arabs, and Hillary Clinton.

*Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney and Rumsfeld did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush couldn’t find Bin Laden.

*Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

*The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

*A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

*The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.

*If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.

*A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle and antagonize our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

*Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

*HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

*Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

*A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

*Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

*The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s driving records are none of our business.

*Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

*Supporting “Executive Privilege” is imperative for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born in perpetuity.

*What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.

*There’s nothing wrong with supporting drunken hunters who shoot their friends and blaming the friends for looking too much like quail.

Continuing a theme…

Not too long ago, I wrote this about the liberatory nature of the letter Y. Below the fold is a piece that I wrote on the same subject years ago. -dx
Dear Debate People –
I’m not quite sure how to begin this email, but I’ll give it a bloody good
shot. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that more and more people are
going out of their way to play the (what I think is stupid) “semiotic
resistance” game, i.e. re-spelling words to reflect what they think is the
hidden sexism and prejudice within the etymology of the words. Please don’t
deny it, you know that you do it, very proudly thinking of the first time
that you read Judith Butler when you do it. ; > But for god’s sake, when
you erstwhile hermeneuticists attempt to do such things, have the decency to
get it right. When you make claims and accusations, justifying your
“semiotic resistance”, that are simply fallacious and untrue, all that you
do is make yourself look stupid and paranoid, invalidate any possible
meaning that your particular criticisms may have, and de-legitimate the
entire field of philosophical hermeneutics.
Here are a few that I’ve seen Kevin make with great frequency, but I think
that I’ve seen quite a few of you do it as well.
1. “Human” —> “Humyn”
This is quite a stupid mistake. Consulting www.dictionary.com, or any
dictionary with etymological information, will yield the knowledge that our
current English word “human” is derived from the Latin word “Humanus”.
Should you fail to have Latin, I recommend visiting the Perseus Digital
Library ( www.perseus.tufts.edu ), and use their tools section to look up
the meaning of Latin and Greek words. You will quickly find out that in
Latin, “humanus” is an adjective meaning “of or belonging to a human,
human”. “Well I’ll be Richard Rorty!”, you’re thinking as this particular
truth sets into your linguistic universe, “There’s no sexism to be found in
this word. Oops!” Now you could make the argument that “Roman culture, and
therefore Latin, were sexist, therefore every word that comes from them
requires re-spelling!” but I think that that’s a pretty tenuous claim and
almost impossible to take seriously, in addition to being QUITE non-unique.
2. “Person” –> “Persyn”
This one, actually, I’ve seen Kevin make very infrequently, but god only
knows how many others I’ve seen do this. Let’s play the same
www.dictionary.com and www.perseus.tufts.edu game. Why look! The
etymological root for “person” is the Latin “persona”.
This is a tricky word, so I’ll give you the standard dictionary entry.
persona , ae, f [acc. to Gabius Bassus ap. Gell. 5, 7, 1 sq., from per-sono,
to sound through, with the second syllable lengthened].
I. A mask, esp. that used by players, which covered the whole head, and
was varied according to the different characters to be represented (syn.
larva), Gell. 5, 7, 1: …..
II. Transf., a personage, character, part, represented by an actor:
parasiti persona, Ter. Eun. prol. 26 sq. : sub persona militis, Gell. 13,
22, 11 : (tragici) nihil ex persona poëtae dixerunt, Vell. 1, 3, 2 .–….
B. Also, transf. beyond the scenic lang., in gen., the part or character
which any one sustains in the world (class.):…..
2. A human being who performs any function, plays any part, a person,
personage…..
The above can be found by entering “persona” into the tools section on the
Perseus website. In case you weren’t able to piece it together, the original
meaning of “persona” to the primitive Latin-speaking-people was a mask used
by the actor/priests in social rituals (per+sonare: to sound through), used
to represent characters, much like the elaborate masks of the great Athenian
tragic tradition. From there, the word came to describe the image that a
person projected of himself to the rest of the world – in a sense, it’s the
way in which a person wishes to be seen. “A, voila!” you think, “Zere is non
sexisme ‘eer, but zees word reminds mee of le play by Sartre! J’ feel so
existential!”
3. “History” –> “His Story”
This one is just plain dumb. Period. I’ve never known even Kevin to be dumb
enough to go for this one, but I have seen it before. What is this world
coming to? Well, anyway, at www.dictionary.com, the given etymology for this
word is either the Latin “historia” or the Greek, “Historein” (those of you
who have Greek, excuse the lack of accents. I have yet to figure out how to
put them into my email program.), from which the Latin itself is derived.
Looking up “Historia” yields the following:
historia , ae, f., = historia, a narrative of past events, history (syn.:
annales, fasti).
Hmm…looks like “history” has nothing to do with a crasis of “his” and
“story”.
I seriously sometimes wonder what’s next, and I’ve made a few predictions.
1. Manage –> Mynage
2. Mandible –> Myndible
3. Emancipate –> Emyncipate
4. Sonority –> Synority
These are four simple predictions, every one of which I’m sure that various
(aspiring) French-speakers can manage to come up with some fanciful
etymology and history, BUT IT WOULD BE FALSE.
1. Manage, from the Latin, “manus”
2. Mandible, from the Latin, “mandere”
3. Emancipate, from the Latin, “ex mancipare”
4. Sonority, from the Latin, “sonore”
Doubt me? Check any dictionary. Then look them up on Perseus.
At the very least, people, try to understand that different languages can
use the same combinations of phonemes and have completely different meanings
from them. To assume that the phoneme combinate /m/a/n has the meaning that
your language assigns it over all languages is not only stupid, but has me
thinking that you (aspiring) French-speakers are at great risk of violating
all the post-colonial stuff that you love to gush over. What would Homi
Bhabha or Gayatri Spivak think if you told them that the Hindi word “Mandir”
(meaning, “House of God”, temple) and the Sanskrit word “Mantra” (meaning,
“Words to God”, or a sacred chant for meditation and contemplation) should
be re-spelled “myndir” and “myntra”, respectively, because the combinate
/m/a/n/ is always a sexist combinate? Wouldn’t they tell you that you’re
imperialistically projecting your world-view onto the sub-altern colonial
subject, who futhermore cannot speak? I believe that somewhere, a bearded
Spanos would be jumping about, proclaiming you to be the crusading army of
the ontotheology.
Look, I am all about the hermeneutic project. (That’s actually why I’ve
spent years acquiring languages and knowledge of various cultural systems
that would yield their specific languages.) What I am not about is lazy,
ridiculous mis-applications of hermeneutic techniques without the rigour of
the deep work and investigation that hermeneuticists undertake. (*Cough,
*cough, SPANOS, a man who claims to have found linguistic nuances connecting
Heidegger and Foucault, but has no German, French, Greek, or Latin, and is
relying on translations, *Cough *Cough) I guess that this merely proves the
point that you should never trust a lit-crit to do a philosopher’s job.