Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Circus Is In Town

In what other city can you see someone dressed like a ringmaster and someone dressed like a clown right near each other on the sidewalk who aren't even together?

Like Winston Zedemore once yelled, "I love this town."

New York is like college without the classes. Of course, college for me also was like college without the classes, pretty much.

(A girl just walked past my window with a Sox hat on. And it wasn't a fashion one.)

Speaking of cities I love, Chan and I were walking past a fountain, and I said, "That spray's gonna be nice this summer." He said, "That's dirty water." I quickly came back with, "I love that di..." Well, you know what I said. He didn't get the reference of course, being a yankee fan.

Last night, Chan and I headed down to the Lower East Side to see
Neil Hamburger at Piano's. (There I saw a dude with a "Jeter Sucks A-Rod" shirt.) Neil is a fake comedian who I've known about for a long time, but had never seen live. He was good; what I expected him to be. But the opening act, Pleaseeasaur, kind of stole the show. He comes out in these ridiculous costumes and sings fake commercials and themes from non-existent movies. My kind of wacky, I guess. It's done in that "fake-serious" style. But with occasional cursing that wouldn't normally be in a commercial for, say, a limousine company called "No Prob Limo."

Is it just me, or is there an inordinate amount of British people on the Lower East Side? Maybe one of the NYC readers could answer/explain this. Also, maybe one of the Harvard readers could tell me if I used "inordinate" correctly.

The show got pushed back, so we didn't get out of the club until 1:17 AM. Which meant I ended up missing the entire Sox game, even though it started at 10:05. I could say that I'm happy I missed a tough loss, but I'm more the type to blame myself for missing it, therefore MAKING them lose. Sorry, everybody. Anyway, another great thing about NYC: Leave a club at 1:17 AM, and the street is packed with people as if--well, you know, the whole "city that never sleeps" thing. Also, not having to drive an hour back to Connecticut after doing something at night in New York is a big plus. And walking back to the subway, I saw an Ortiz shirt on Bleecker, to cap off the evening. (I thought I'd stop with my Sox gear sightings in NYC now that I actually live here, but, it's just fun for me. I will keep doing it.)

Thanks for all your support on both the Feedster and Eric Byrnes issues.

And about the death penalty: When I said that "we" say killing is wrong, I was talking about the fact that murder is against the law, but good point, Sam, that the government essentially says killing IS okay, what with their illegal war. (By the way, if the point of that war was to liberate the Iraqi people, why can't we, at the very least, when we're not too busy killing them, keep track of the number of innocent Iraqis who have been killed?) And also, just having a death penalty I guess is telling people that killing is okay. And that's my point. It's hypocritical. It's like, "Mommy, why did we kill that man?" "Because he killed someone, and killing is bad." "So are we now bad?" "Yes, son, now go watch TV while mommy finishes this wine."

BSM: I got the two-disc Life Aquatic as well. First I went to Barnes & Noble, where it was thirty bucks for the ONE-disc, and they didn't even have the deuce. Then I tried Tower, and it was only 23--for the two-bagger. So I got it there. Unfortunately, today I saw it at Best Buy for $20.99.

And Pixies fans will appreciate this: I went on ticketmaster to check availability for their show at Jones Beach, and the word I had to type in for verification was "debase." I went back and tried again, thinking maybe they're actually using words that relate to what you're searching for, but I got some unrelated word.

Sorry, I have a way of being elliptical sometimes. But what I was getting at yesterday was this: the government doesn't arrest people for murder because murder is bad; they arrest people for murder because murder is illegal.

You might say I'm splitting hairs here, but it's an important distinction to make. Andrew's comments touch on this, although he too has failed to realize the full implications of the situation.

Basically, the idea is this: we all live under what is called (I think) a social contract. Which means, essentially, that in exchange for the privileges & benefits of government protection, an individual surrenders the prerogative to inflict violence upon other individuals.

In a state of anarchy, this is all the recourse one can have: an eye for an eye, as you said. Personal retribution. But this of course is an undesirable state of affairs. You can't have people running around pellmell killing each other every time they get angry. It'd be mayhem. So (under the social contract) we trade the right commit violence for the right to safety from violence inflicted by others.

The government gets the rights to control murder; the people get the right not to be murdered.

Murder is undesirable, yes. Is it bad? Hard to say. In some cases, it doesn't seem bad at all. In others, it even seems necessary. But one thing I think most people would agree on is this: murder is undesirable.

So we ban murder. And when that ban is broken, our police arrest the lawbreaker. Because they've done a bad thing? Not necessarily. Only because they've broken the contract -- and hence forfeited (in all or in part) their right to the benefits of the social contract.

Or, to say it another way, the government is admitting that in this world of clashing opinions & purposes, murder is ultimately unavoidable. Like I said before, get enough people together in the same place at one time, and it's inevitable that somebody's toes are going to get stepped on. But by controlling who does the murdering, and when, a government makes it possible for people to live together in relative peace & safety.

Murder: not bad, just not desirable. You see what I'm getting at here? It's the cold-blooded, logical way to look at the issue. But in essence, that's what I mean when I say I don't believe it hypocritical for the government to arrest people for murder yet at the same time execute as punishment for certain crimes.

Jere, sorry if this getting too off-topic. I'll stop now. BTW, though, I forgot to mention it in my last comment, but I wanted to say I was impressed by the confessional. Feedster be damned. You've got style.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States