Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Archive for July 2012

Let’s Not Check Facebook for an Hour and Call It “Going Off the Grid”

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Written by Thag

July 30, 2012 at 12:28 am

Dork, Dweeb, Geek or Nerd?

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This isn’t original, but I can’t for the life of me remember where I first saw it, several years ago. It serves an indispensable purpose, however, and that is my obsession with terminological precision. And in case you were wondering, no, I’m not socially inept.

Written by Thag

July 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

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Princess Bride Band Names – this Time with Hit Song Titles

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In our previous post we listed a number of phrases from The Princess Bride just begging to be used as rock band names. It then occurred to us not only that we may have missed some (e.g. Too Many Spaniards), but that myriad other phrases from the movie could serve well as album or song titles.

So here are the bands again, this time with their most notable numbers noted:

Mutton, Lettuce and Tomato
To Blave
You Never Had It So Good
Why Don’t You Give Me a Papercut and Pour Lemon Juice on It?
Mostly Dead (would also work as a band name)
It Would Take a Miracle

Hippopotamic Land Mass
Anybody Want a Peanut?
Dream of Large Women
As God Intended
Four White Horses
Hello, Lady!

Man in Black
As You Wish
Destroy a Stained Glass Window
Get Used to Disappointment
Your Dearest Love
Lies Do Not Become Us
So It’s Torture

Storming the Castle
Let Me Sum Up
Stand Your Ground
Have You the Ring?
Overdeveloped Sense of Vengeance
Miserable Vomitous Mass
Warthog-Faced Buffoon

Rodents of Unusual Size
Grunt, Grunt, Snarl (one-hit wonder)

Brute Squad
Thieves’ Forest (also a good band name)
Give Him Some Trouble
Back to the Beginning

Pit of Despair
Before They’re Broken
Nobody Withstands the Machine
Please…Be Honest

Cliffs of Insanity
Inconceivable
Our Way
What You Think It Means

Fire Swamp
Quite Lovely
Panicking into Error
Your Pig Fiancé
Whenever You Feel Like Dying

The Shrieking Eels
I Only Dog-Paddle
At this Time
Maybe I Was a Little…Concerned (But That’s Not the Same Thing)
Only Compared to Some

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Written by Thag

July 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Top Ten Band Names from The Princess Bride

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10. Mutton, Lettuce and Tomato

9. Hippopotamic Land Mass

8. Man in Black

7. Storming the Castle

6. Rodents of Unusual Size

5. Brute Squad

4. Pit of Despair

3. Cliffs of Insanity

2. Fire Swamp

1. The Shrieking Eels

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Written by Thag

July 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Classic Thag, June 2011: If Restaurants Were Run Like Airlines

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Maître d’: Good afternoon. Thank you for calling Chez Guevara. How may I help you?

Thag: Hello, I’d like to make a reservation for six o’clock. Four people.

Maître d’: Four people, for six o’clock. Under what name, please?

Thag: Thag.

Maître d’: Mr. Thag, may I have a phone number in case we need to reach you?

Thag: Certainly. I’m at 555-1213.

Maître d’: Very good, sir. See you at six.

Thag: Thank you. Goodbye.

*************************************************************************

Maître d’: Good afternoon. Thank you for calling Chez Guevara. How may I help you?

Thag: Hello, this is Thag. I called earlier about a reservation for four people at six o’clock, but I need to change that.

Maître d’: Just a moment, Mr. Thag. Did you say six?

Thag: Yes. Four people.

Maître d’: I’m sorry, sir, I don’t have anything like that in the records.

Thag: What? That can’t be – I just made the reservation an hour ago.

Maître d’: An hour ago? Oh, sir, but you never closed the reservation, so it never went through.

Thag: Closed…what are you talking about?

Maître d’: It’s standard procedure, sir. A reservation must be closed before it can be processed further. It shouldn’t matter this time, sir, we still have space left at six o’clock. Would you like me to put the reservation in again?

Thag: Yes, please – but how do you close it after that?

Maître d’: Oh, I’ll just do that right now, as well. One moment…you said your name was Mr. Thag?

Thag: Right. Four people – oh, wait, no, it’s five people.

Maître d’: OK, five people at six o’clock. The reservation is complete. Your phone number in case we need to reach you?

Thag: 555-1213. What good is the phone number if you don’t use it to call me?

Maître d’: We might need to, sir, if there’s a problem with the reservation.

Thag: But you didn’t call me to tell me there was a problem!

Maître d’: Sir, there wasn’t a reservation.

Thag: But there was! I made it an hour ago!

Maître d’: It was never closed, sir, so it never was. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Thag: Goodness gracious. I do hope there are no more hassles.

Maître d’: We do too, sir.

************************************************************************

Maître d’: Good afternoon. Thank you for calling Chez Guevara. How may I help you?

Thag: Hello, this is Mr. Thag. I’d like to change my reservation to six-thirty if at all possible.

Maître d’: Just a moment, sir…was that a six o’clock reservation for five people?

Thag: That’s right.

Maître d’: How would you like to change it, sir?

Thag: I’d like to make it six-thirty, please.

Maître d’: I’m sorry, sir, I can’t do that.

Thag: Why not?

Maître d’: You never confirmed your reservation, sir. We gave the table to another party.

Thag: Confirmed?! What in blazes are you talking about?!

Maître d’: Please sir, there’s no need to get excited. All reservations must be confirmed or they are canceled.

Thag: No need to get excited?! You canceled my perfectly good reservation!

Maître d’: Mr. Thag, I can try to restore it. Please be patient. I will check to see whether we still have room.

Thag: Still have room? Why didn’t you call me to make sure? I left my phone number for just that reason!

Maître d’: Sir, you didn’t call to confirm.

Thag: Why did you take my phone number then? What do you need it for?

Maître d’: In case we need to contact you, sir.

Thag: Why would you need to contact me?

Maître d’: In case there’s a problem with your reservation.

Thag: But you didn’t contact me!

Maître d’: No, sir, there was nothing wrong with the reservation.

Thag: And yet you canceled it!

Maître d’: Exactly. It wasn’t confirmed, so we canceled it.

Thag: But you should have contacted me first to make sure!

Maître d’: No, sir, only if there was a problem with the reservation. There was no problem, just a lack of confirmation. If you’d have called to confirm that would have been a different story. Now do you want me to put it through again?

Thag: 

Maître d’: …I can put you down for a party of five at six forty-five. Will that do?

Thag: It’s not as if I have have a choice, now, is it?

Maître d’: Sir, there’s no need to get testy. Shall I make your reservation for six forty-five?

Thag: Yes. Then close it, or whatever the hell you’re supposed to do. Then confirm it.

Maître d’: Right away, sir. May I have your credit card number and expiration date?

Thag: My what? Are you serious?

Maître d’: Completely serious, Mr. Thag. We need to make sure our guests show up. The space here is in high demand.

Thag: Oh my goodness. I can’t believe this…my card number is VISA 4690555125558444, expires January 2012.

Maître d’: Thank you sir. See you at six forty-five.

Thag: Not if I see you first.

******************************************************************************

Maître d’: Welcome to Chez Guevara. May I have your reservation please?

Thag: Thag, party of five.

Maître d’: …Party of five…I’m sorry sir, there seems to have been a problem with your reservatio-

******************************************************************************

TV News Anchor: …Thag, 36, of Shaker Heights, was charged with aggravated assault for attempting to strangle the maître d’ of Chez Guevara, Mr. Thomas Alvarez…

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Written by Thag

July 25, 2012 at 12:28 am

What Do Marsupials and Comic-Con Attendees Have in Common?

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Written by Thag

July 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Mass Demonstrations Calling for U.S. Intervention in Syria Continue Not to Happen

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The flag of Syria, which was not set alight in protest.

A year since the start of an uprising against Basher Al-Assad’s rule, millions of people did not gather in public places across the U.S. to demand that the United States intervene to protect the Syrian populace from government forces. Tens of thousands of civilians and armed rebels have been killed since the uprising began.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) did not address a throng of protesters on the Mall in Washington, D.C., calling for resolute American military action similar to the NATO operations in Libya last year. “It is past time for us to stand up for the civil rights of the people of Syria and protect them from the brutality of the Assad regime,” Schumer did not say to thunderous applause from the nonexistent crowd. “America has the resources, the stamina and the moral imperative to show our support and defend the oppressed citizens of Syria,” he did not continue.

The Mall in Washington, D.C., where a mass rally in favor of intervening did not occur.

The White House did not respond with an official statement acknowledging the complexity of the situation and expressing solidarity with the Syrian people. President Obama did not incorporate mention of the rally and the sentiment it did not express when he did actually conduct his weekly radio address.

“We have a serious naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, and can provide air support for the Syrian rebels,” Obama was not heard to say to the American people. “Just as we did in Libya, American or NATO or other internationally sanctioned military action is a serious consideration right now,” Obama did not say.

The rally did not attract approximately 75,000 people, and traffic inside the D.C. Beltway was not disrupted. A smaller counter-demonstration calling for a more isolationist US foreign policy similarly did not take place.

“The American people have enough to worry about without barging into the back yard of every third-world dung heap,” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), did not say. About 500 people, primarily Tea Party activists, were not present, and were not holding placards denouncing talk of further US military involvement overseas.

Rand Paul (R-KY), who did not address protesters.

“Are You Syri-ous?” read one placard that no one held aloft. “More troops in the Eastern Med shows you have a tiny head!” no one chanted. Demonstrators in neither rally mugged for cameras or were interviewed by members of the news media, which did not extensively cover the non-event.

Experts on foreign policy have not weighed in the impact of the rally, and have not invoked it repeatedly in discussing the attitude of the American public toward continued involvement in foreign conflicts. However, anti-Israel advocacy groups have had no problem interpreting this development to suit their agenda, as they seldom base their positions on factual events.

 

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Written by Thag

July 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm

The Worst-Sellers in Children’s Books

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It’s time to revisit a theme I have long neglected: Bad ideas in the genre of Children’s book titles.

One More Hand Grenade for Baby
Words that Rhyme with Angina
Billy Bob’s Big Book of Beggars’ Boils
Let’s Make Fun: Retards
Let’s Make Fun II: Gimps
Let’s Make Fun III: Old People
Let’s Make Fun IV: Rednecks
How Loud Can You Yell in Mommy’s Ear?
The iPhone, the Toilet and You
Bathtub Toast
That’s Not a Tea Bag
The Pleasures of Paranoia
Sweet Schizophrenia
You Can Be Obese, Too!
Where Daddy Keeps the Gin
Prescription Candy
101 Places to Wipe Your Boogers
Who’s Going to Hell Unless You Browbeat Them into Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

Enough for now. Additional suggestions welcome. Keep it PG-13, please.
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Written by Thag

July 21, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Clueless Loser Blogging Tip No. 991: Highlight Your Spotty Commitment

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July 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm

If You Squeeze the Toothpaste Hard Enough, You’ll Hear a Scream. Mine.

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July 18, 2012 at 10:47 pm

A Look at the Messiah’s Mail

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Your Majesty:

I think I speak for all of humanity when I ask, “When will you be here?”

Anonymous
Houston

Dear Louise:

You didn’t really think I wouldn’t know who you are, did you? Please.

As to your question, that’s up to you and your fellow [checks RSS feed] seven billion humans. It gets a little old to hear the refrain of people simply waiting for the End of Days, as if my job is to swoop in and rescue everyone from themselves. I’m the one waiting for you people.

But I want to be as helpful as possible, so please take care of the following issues before I can even consider becoming manifest:

1. Reality TV. I refuse to share the planet with an abomination of that magnitude. Same goes for chocolate-covered raisins. Or raisins in general. Yuck. And “white” chocolate. It’s not chocolate, people. The most you can hope for is that it contains some cocoa butter, but you’ll only get that if you buy the more expensive stuff. Keep calling it by the moniker of the Drink of the Gods and this divinely ordained king will not be paying you a visit any time soon.
2. Video games. Seriously, humanity? You couldn’t find a better way to spend billions and billions of dollars?
3. LinkedIn. I simply cannot countenance the hyper-earnestness of it all.
4. Tobacco executives. Humans, if you cannot find it within your abilities to get rid of these sleazy, greedy, cynical hypocrites, don’t expect me to do it for you.
5.  Abstract art. Oh, you’re just so clever, so meta. You’re an arrogant swine is what you are. I’m talking to you, Christo.
6. Celebrity gossip. Celebrities in general.

That will do for now. I’m sure you’ll have your hands full with those items, but if you do manage to fix all those issues, I’ll be happy to send along a few more.

Yours truly,

The Messiah
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Written by Thag

July 17, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Thanks to the Olympics, Now Everyone’s Heard of London

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Written by Thag

July 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Obama Fakes Own Death; Lead Over Romney Increases

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Marine-One taking off on its final trip (Faux News)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Obama faked a fiery death in a crash of the Marine-One military helicopter this afternoon, the latest step in an increasingly chaotic and media-hyped reelection campaign.

After pretending to board the aircraft on the White House’s South Lawn, the President and First Lady actually descended into a trap door beneath the helicopter, which then took off and flew toward Andrews Air Force Base. About halfway there, the U.S. Marine crew reported engine trouble, and witnesses reported that the chopper crashed in a wooded area just outside Bradbury Heights on the Virginia-Maryland border.

Rescue teams dispatched to the site reported finding no bodies, whereupon the Obamas appeared on live national television to reveal the hoax. Alongside them were the helicopter crew, who had bailed out before sending the distress signal.

“Let’s make America exciting again,” said the President. “Let’s make sure the opportunities for adventure and suspense reach all Americans.”

In the thirty-five minutes between the initial reports of the crash and the televised announcement, the internet and broadcast media were haywire with coverage and commentary, a testament to the robust attention that the Obama campaign has generated. Despite lagging behind Republican Mitt Romney in fundraising over the last two months, the Obama campaign has managed to press its advantage in the default attention that a sitting president receives.

The wreckage site (Faye Kimmage).

A telephone poll by CBS News in the aftermath of the incident revealed that as a result of the stunt, Obama’s approval rating had jumped to 88% from 61%, and that his lead over Romney had grown, to 79% from 58%. If the election were held today, Obama would win in a landslide, the first victory in a presidential election by such a decisive margin since Ronald Reagan’s reelection over Walter Mondale in 1984.

The Romney campaign responded quickly, denouncing the incident as a “cheap stunt, and yet another way in which Obama is wasting taxpayer dollars.” The Romney press release also promised a much more impressive hoax, on par with the victory of George W. Bush over Al Gore in the 2000 election.

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Written by Thag

July 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm

7:30 A.M.: Complain, Throw Food, Provoke Sister

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Written by Thag

July 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Classic Thag, July 2011: I Need that Lemonade Stand Business Plan

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Originally posted July 25, 2011

Son, this business plan for a lemonade stand needs some serious work. I haven’t seen such a sloppy job since your sister’s proposed itinerary for walking the dog. It’s time to sit you down and go through this lame excuse for a business plan so you know what to fix. And there’s plenty to fix, young man.

First, there’s the business goal. You want to “make some money so I can buy stuff.” We all do, son. That’s why people go into business in the first place. You need to get more specific. How much money do you want to earn? How long do you plan for it to take? As your primary investor, I need to be confident that you at least intend to do something worthwhile with the capital.

I don’t see a decent treatment of anticipated expenses anywhere. You’ve got to determine who your target market is – oh, wait, I see that: “people walking by at the corner by the library.” But you need to present how much you plan to spend, and on what. I can’t just give you some lemons and send you on your way. No, you need to give me a detailed discussion of costs: marketing, production, distribution, personnel, overhead, pricing and the rest. “Mom will make some lemonade for me to sell” doesn’t even come close. What materials are necessary? In what quantities? How much will they cost? What is the projected outlay for employee wages? I see none of that here.

You’ve got to deal with the government, as well. They’ll want their share in tax revenue. When you arrive at your target income figure, have you factored in your tax bracket? What health or employee safety regulations must you comply with? You refer to a lemonade “stand,” which implies an actual structure, and which will require all the relevant zoning and construction permits. And then there’s the environmental impact statement, which can get quite complicated. What are the risks of a massive spill? Is there a controlled method for disposal of used materials such as squeezed lemons and plastic cups? You haven’t discussed these issues at all.

As far as marketing is concerned, you have to find a way to create demand for your lemonade. Banking on hot summer weather seems a pretty safe bet, but that’s insufficient for real profit. You need to make people think they need your lemonade, not the free water they can get from the library drinking fountain, or their own nearby homes. That’s going to take research, and a good plan, including advertising. A hand-written sign over the stand just won’t do it. You need to figure out how, when and it what media to advertise. Do you need air time? Radio or TV? Print media? Is your audience merely local, or do you want to attract business for afar, perhaps through shipments of your product?

Have you explored the feasibility of packaging and delivering the lemonade long distance? Do you need a web site? Who will run it? You need to consider all of these questions before I can invest in this project.

Who are your employees? Does your mother expect to be compensated for the time she spends in production? Who will perform Quality Control? Do you have a good way to transport the goods from the production facility to the point of sale? Remember, son, business is rough, and only those who are truly prepared can succeed. You get back to me within fourteen business days with some real answers, and then we can discuss my stake in this enterprise.

Now, let me see that outline for your letter to Grandma.

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Written by Thag

July 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

Study: Not All Jew-Haters Want Jews Shot

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Some want them gassed, burned, drowned, crushed, buried, dissolved, beheaded or impaled

David Duke (KKK)

Phoenix, AZ (Reuters) – A Ku Klux Klan poll has found unexpectedly diverse attitudes among Jew-haters. Where researchers expected to encounter broad agreement with the sentiment that Jews should be shot, instead they discovered vehement insistence on a variety of other killing methods.

In the largest study of its kind conducted to date, the KKK survey solicited the opinions of 45,000 Neo-Nazis, Klansmen, White Supremacists and assorted other anti-Semite activists . They will publish their findings and analysis in the forthcoming issue of  the scientific journal Der Stürmer.

Whereas smaller, informal studies over the last three decades have tended to yield a more uniform picture, in which Jews, by and large, should be “lined up and shot,” the recent study found that “gassed,” “impaled,” and “burned” were in a dead heat with “lined up and shot,”  each garnering about 18 percent of the total responses. Additionally, “beheaded,” which had never before accounted for more than four percent of the responses, kept pace with “drowned” and “crushed” at eight percent. “Crushed” has never before registered as statistically significant, a fact that prompted speculation about the evolving maturity of the American Jew-hater. The study had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

“It’s an exciting time to be an anti-Semite,” said Professor David Duke of Louisiana State University, lead author of the study. “Of course it’s always exciting, but this study opens up new vistas in just how wonderfully variegated and subtle this pursuit can be. It raises so many questions – why the sudden interest in seeing Jews crushed, as opposed to the old reliable gas chamber? What other disposal methods have cropped up in recent years as preferences? There’s so much more exploration to do, and I can’t wait to follow up.”

Louis Farrakhan (NOI)

However, Professor Louis Farrakhan, a noted expert on bigotry studies at the Islamic State University of Illinois, who was not involved in the research, cautioned that the results might reflect better survey methods, rather than a genuine shift in attitude toward Jews. “I’d be wary of ascribing too much significance to the preference for Jews to be ‘impaled’ over ‘dissolved,’ he said in a telephone interview. “I personally find [Professor] Duke’s methods suspect, but I’d need to study the data and methodology more closely before I can comment further.”

Farrakhan also criticized the study’s reliance only on white, American Jew-haters. His department has commissioned a similar study that will elicit responses from Jew-hating populations not included in the KKK study, such as Nation of Islam members and senior Iranian government officials.

The largest, most comprehensive previous study of the fate Jew-haters wish upon Jews took place in 1980, when the Arizona Nazi Party surveyed 800 anti-Semites west of the Mississippi. They found that 750 of the respondents preferred Jews be shot, with other deaths lagging far behind. Assuming the new survey results indicate a shift in attitudes and not merely a sounder statistical body of data, Duke plans to send further questionnaires to the respondents to explore their evolving sensibilities.

“I’d always thought we Jew-haters were very much alike. But it turns out we’re a diverse bunch – and that’s just amazing, because it’s bridging the differences among people that make us such a great species.”

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Written by Thag

July 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

Teen Vogue Vows to Use Only Digitally Manipulated Images of Models

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New York (AP) – In response to Seventeen Magazine’s newly announced policy of refraining from the use of digitally manipulated photos, its rival Teen Vogue has adopted the opposite policy: it will only publish images of models after they have undergone digital enhancement of some kind.

Seventeen publicized its policy after a campaign by a Maine teenager prompted them to make their image policy more transparent. The campaign focused on extracting  commitment from the magazine to provide a more realistic portrayal of its teen modelsand Seventeen responded. Teen Vogue, however, intends to pursue digital alteration of models’ images as far as is profitable, according to a statement by Condé Nast, Teen Vogue’s parent company.

“Our competitors are welcome to try scoring a few short-lived brownie points with do-gooders,” the statement read, in part. “Teen Vogue, however, will continue to give its readers what they want: images of impossibly perfect teen models guaranteed to harm adolescent girls’ self-esteem.”

Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley, before (top) and after (above) her portrait was digitally manipulated using Adobe Photoshop.

The statement continued: “Our advertisers – the real source of our revenue – have a stake in keeping our readers dependent on their products and services, and that can only be served by perpetuating our readers’ sense of inadequacy.”

Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley addressed reporters today at a press conference, and pointed to the increasing sophistication with which teen girls can be manipulated into buying cosmetics, hair care products, push-up bras, and even investing in plastic surgery. “It would be an irresponsible use of our shareholders’ resources to waste all that potential revenue,” Astley noted. “Our first responsibility is to our parent company; the paying customer can go to Hell.”

Teen Vogue‘s move comes amid a rising tide of popular sentiment opposed to the use of digitally altered images in fashion magazine, and not only in the U.S. An Israeli law, the first of its kind, was passed in May, outlawing the publication of manipulated fashion photography created in the country.

“They’re obviously betting on the sentiment becoming no more than a fad,” said fashion magazine industry analyst Slim Stiles. “What’s different about Teen Vogue‘s announcement isn’t its existence – everyone does it – but its stated commitment to old-school, P.T. Barnum marketing.” Late nineteenth-century entertainment magnate Barnum was famous for his cynical exploitation of American entertainment clientele.

Stiles voiced cautious optimism over Teen Vogue‘s strategy, noting a precedent: Hollywood has not suffered significantly despite nearly a century of promoting impossibly svelte and attractive women as role models for American women to emulate. “You might quibble and say that teen magazines aren’t trying to fill the same niche – that they’re not selling a fantasy as entertainment. That’s only half-true: they’re selling fantasy, alright, but presenting it as attainable reality.”

The Teen Vogue press statement also included an announcement that Condé Nast had acquired a 20% stake in Butler, Riess & Co., a firm that handles advertising for therapists and psychiatrists who focus on clients with body-image issues.

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Written by Thag

July 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Classic Thag, July 2011: Palestinians Relinquish All Claims Against Israel

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Palestinian Authority encourages people to move away; calls West Bank and Gaza “Jewish”

RAMALLAH (AP) – The Palestinian Authority announced today that it is relinquishing all territorial claims against Israel, and that it encourages all Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem to move elsewhere.

The announcement comes after months of internal wrangling among the Palestinian leadership surrounding efforts to build a government with Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. Hamas trounced the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in a brief but bloody conflict, taking control of the coastal territory.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh (Agence France-Presse)

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a Palestinian Authority spokesman, made the announcement at a hastily called press conference at the Muqat’a, the government compound. “After years of struggle, we have finally come to the conclusion that the Palestinian cause is best served by the Palestinian people themselves realizing that really, this is Jewish land,” said Rudeineh. “The best thing for the Palestinian people now is to find countries that would welcome an influx of a motivated, well educated, young people.”

Rudeineh went on to suggest that many countries in Eastern Europe could absorb a Palestinian exodus, considering that they were emptied of Jews in the 1940s. “Poland, especially, should have plenty of space, as they got rid of about three million Jews between 1939 and 1945.”

The idea of Eastern Europe as a home for Palestinians represents a turnabout. For decades, Palestinians, and Arabs in general, had opposed the existence of Israel, often through rhetoric that insisted Jews return to Europe, where political Zionism began in the late nineteenth century.

Nidal Saleh (UPI)

Nidal Saleh, a spokesman for Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas, said that the Palestinian Authority’s announcement had no legitimacy and amounted to a historical injustice. “The people in Ramallah claiming to represent the Palestinian people lost the right to do so long ago, when they began negotiating with the Zionist enemy,” he said, referring to Israel.

Saleh presented an alternative plan that he said provided for historical justice: that the Palestinians must march into the Mediterranean Sea and drown themselves. “Only by driving the Palestinians into the sea can the world right the wrong of calling for the destruction of the Zionist entity by similar means,” he said.

Although the Fatah-led Palestinian leadership has recognized Israel and held on-again, off-again negotiations since 1991, the more radical Islamist factions such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad have never recognized the Jewish state’s right to exist. The 1993 Oslo Accords provided for interim Palestinian autonomy over much of the West Bank and of the Gaza Strip, ushering in recognition of Israel by a number of Arab states previously opposed to its existence. Iran and Syria, the main sponsors of Hamas, have maintained their antagonism. Officially, Syria and Israel are still at war, though there have been no significant military confrontations between the two in decades. It remains to be seen how the announcement will affect the Syria-Israel dynamic, especially regarding the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

In 1967 Israel struck preemptively at Egypt, Syria and Jordan, defeating the surrounding countries in six days and occupying the Golan Heights, West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Israel annexed East Jerusalem and eventually the Golan Heights, moves that have not been recognized internationally. Israel had also taken the Sinai peninsula from Egypt, and returned it under the Camp David Accord in 1978. But with Palestinians relinquishing any claims to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it remains to be seen how the international community will respond.

UN resolutions have called for Israel to give up the territories it occupied in 1967. In 2005 Israel uprooted its settlements in the Gaza Strip but has maintained a land and naval blockade. Israel claims the blockade is to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas, which has fired rockets and mortars repeatedly at southern Israeli cities and towns.

The Israeli response has been muted. “This is an internal Palestinian matter,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “If the Palestinians wish to move elsewhere, that is their decision.” He declined to comment on arrangements to facilitate the Palestinian exodus. Israeli occupation has severely restricted Palestinian movement through the West Bank in order to protect Israeli settlements established there after 1967.

The announcement has sparked confusion among Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and abroad. Dr. Mahmoud Aziz, a gynecologist in the West bank city of Nablus, wondered what would happen to his olive grove. “My trees have been in the family for generations. Will the Israelis keep them or bulldoze them? I could understand it either way.” He said his family of eight would probably join relatives in Frankfurt and seek citizenship elsewhere. “There’s certainly no point in moving to an Arab country. Not when they’ve had Palestinian refugees there since the beginning and done nothing for them but talk.”

(Originally posted July 17, 2011)
 
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Written by Thag

July 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm

That’s Not the Prophecy I Spake Unto Thee, Thou Idiot

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Thus saith the LORD: Thou art a moron.

I mean, really. How difficult can it be for you to describe what you saw in that vision? It’s not like I was cryptic or anything. “Go forth unto the people and tell them they have strayed, and now face destruction.” It’s as basic a prophecy as I’ve ever sent anyone – and you render it as “Buy low, sell high”?

This wan’t a complicated metaphor. I did you a big favor – or so I intended – by not making anyone have to decipher obtuse analogies or pick up on Biblical literary references. “And the hamster wheel of vengeance shall sap the strength of the treacherous rodents” was an unwelcome embellishment. Not to mention just plain dumb.

You used to be such a reliable prophet. I’d give My word, you’d transmit it to the people, write it down for posterity, and follow whatever instructions I had. It was a tidy arrangement, and it worked well for both of us. You experienced the spiritual ecstasy of divine communication, as well as whatever support from the community accrues to a man of God, and I received a loyal servant, a dependable conduit for letting My messages out in to the world.

But you got sloppy. I’d send you a vision of locusts swarming o’er the land, and you’d render it as an influx of lawyers. I don’t fault you for jumping to that interpretation, considering the society you inhabit, but the necessary poetry is lacking if you just up and say it that way. You need to uplift people with metaphor and epic imagery, not just shove their faces deeper into the spiritual muck. “The subway rats who feast on the discarded crumbs of evil greed” simply won’t do it.

Gradually, I had to tone down the metaphor with you and give it to you straight. But even that doesn’t seem to work anymore. When I sought metaphor, you went literal. When I wanted literal, you came up with the most bizarre, incongruous images. I do not need people fearing that the foreigner will come wielding the Spork of Doom; enough threatening objects already exist that you don’t need to introduce a harmless one into the mix.

But there’s still hope for you. I can see that; you sincerely believe that you are doing My will when you speak of corrupt judges and officials as gluttonous, onanistic gorillas. Though it rings true, not all truth need be present in every prophecy. I know the bankers are greedy; believe Me, I know better than anyone. I know how

they pretend to serve me with their self-serving donations to worthy cause after worthy cause, when in fact all they seek is a burnished reputation among their peers. But not every message is tailored to those creeps. The other 99% also need to hear what I have to say.

Which only makes it more troubling that My messages of consolation and hope become so…well, lame when they come through you. When I paint for you a vast tapestry of reunited families, the fulfillment of lost dreams and justice for the wronged, I don’t need you couching it in terms of Quality Control at a syringe factory. The goal is comfort, not confusion.

Shape up, prophet. You haven’t sunk to the level of astrologers, but be careful.

Now, about that talking donkey of yours…

 

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Written by Thag

July 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm