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Junk shot

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday May 29, 2010 04:12 PM

Our own Mike Flugennock, inspired by a recent post from Al:

Comments (16)

My, my, aren't we SMBIVistas going through a rather nasty stretch of depressive misanthropy? "You" is in the junk? Porquoi?

You think so? Check this shit out:


The other day I was riding the Metro back into DC from a meeting out in the Virginia 'burbs; I was on that stretch of the Orange Line that runs above ground from Vienna to East Falls Church parallel to I-66, and was checking out the traffic which, at 4pm, was already starting to back up. I noticed with more than a little dismay and disgust that damn' near every vehicle on the highway was carrying 1 -- count 'em, 1 -- person, the driver.

Misanthropic? Nahh, I'm just being honest.

Flug, I assume you agree that the US would hold a similar lead on a chart depicting the degree and depth of capitalist dominance over domestic societies.

Correlation there?


misplaced daisy cutter version
of the mind of our devine Al shumanski

"ach frigin' frug ...
always wid dah overkeel "

Overkill? Nahh, c'mon; it's just the straight, raw truth, man.

The way I see it, you might as well go whole hog, or not go at all.

@Michael Dawson | May 30, 2010 11:31 PM:

Correlation? No shit, Sherlock.

The same people I saw clogging I-66 one to a car are, for the most part, the same people who sit silently by while the US State engages in deceit, treachery, murder and torture in order to secure oil reserves and, in some cases, actively cheer for oil wars and offshore drilling. They're equally as responsible -- if not more so -- than BP, environmental nonprofits on the take, and Barack Fucking Obama, and are equally deserving of being shoved down the hole along with the used kitchen utensils and golf balls.

Wow, Flug. Is this all new, or have you always held the commoners equally if not more responsible for the shape of American life?

I love your toons, but, still, wow.



Thanks for the link. As shocking as that graph is, if you click on the "per capita" view, it's just as shocking (at least to me) in calling into question some of my unexamined assumptions:


The US is #23 in per-capita oil consumption. Less than Canada. Just a smidgen more than Belgium or the Netherlands.

Granted, 1 to 18 are all very small countries, and the outsize oil consumption of, say, the Virgin Islands (#1 by a long shot, with more than 12 times the US rate) must surely be attributable to high-consumption leisure activities by tourists (jet skis, frequent commercial flights, etc). But... Belgium?

There's something more complicated going on here than the car-centric American lifestyle if the Americans are only consuming 20% more oil per capita than the Belgians or the Dutch. And I think it's fairly clear what that missing factor is: the rate of oil consumption per capita seems to be almost perfectly correlated with a nation's wealth, with some fudging at the margins to account for geography etc. (In the case of VI et al, we can define "wealth" as a measure of how much money people spend while residing in a country -- even for a weekend -- to explain their rankings.)

Not that I don't sympathize with your depiction of nearly-empty cars populating America's highways, but the truth of the matter seems to be that America is rich and has a lot of people in it, and those two factors alone explain its #1 ranking for gross oil consumption.

CF Oxtrot:

Nice to see Dawson mining the noble savage vein. I'm sure it holds as much obfuscation gold as the noble Democrat vein holds for Obamaphiles. Yes, I'm sure the noble savages have no choice but to drive alone, and in fact are wise to do so. Otherwise they may have to communicate with OTHERS! How terrible! Instead, they should be free to cocoon themselves, and socialize strictly via the InterWebToobz. That's America! That's what makes us great! Flugennock should bite his tongue, clearly! He's criticizing something Dawson holds dear!

Picador's apology smells like it comes straight from BP headquarters, with the rush of a gusher's pressure and promise of sludgy black riches.

Now all this thread needs is some op verbal crude processed through with a big cracking tower to fraction and refine the crude into those pithy non-sequiturs that comprise a Paine Poem.


Ordinarily I don't hold with blaming jes'-folks for making the best of the bad choices they're given.

But there's something to be said for "sinners repent!" as a sermon text.

Do we believe, or do we not, that ordinary people's thinking plays a role in history?

Maybe it's not such a bad thing to ask us all, what would you personally give up in order to avoid ruining yet another enormous body of water and thousands of miles of its coast? How about giving up -- the SUV?

Just how sad are you?

MJS, which do you consider true and/or the better route to changing what needs changing?

1. Putting "you" in the same pipe with BP and Obummer and the entire ruling class, and cajoling people to give up their cars while telling them its your fault as much as anybody's.

2. Politicizing transportation policy and the depth and breadth of the overclass interest in their cars-first dictatorship.

I'm rather surprised, given your long-standing hatred of cars.

And are the Dems rotten because people vote for them, or because they're corporate whores?

The wheels are wobbling on this cart.


pics per capitas indicate western europe runs
itself nearly twice as economically
oil swallowing and farting wise
and we know how they did it so as a start
going from 60 per to 30 per sounds like a plan eh ???

i won't get into blaiming the mass of american drivers ensanared by social design as much as anything else
in a system of daily bread winning
that rewards mobility over all else

as to oxy's usual cart load of opaquely reasoned
"Yes, I'm sure the noble savages have no choice but to drive alone, and in fact are wise to do so. Otherwise they may have to communicate with OTHERS! How terrible! Instead, they should be free to cocoon themselves, and socialize strictly via the InterWebToobz. That's America! That's what makes us great!"

noble savage ??
why not try hitting the mark here oxy
noble savage has nothing to do with it

in fact dm is suggesting once
the savage is forced to make her way inside
a motorized modern civilization
the oil gluttony follows apace
add in too cheap gas at the pump
then like savages using lobster as fertilizer
the car race begins a booming !!!

that car pools have not "caught on" except among the too many DWI's victimate
and the bike and hitch hike contingents
is hardly a clear registraion of mindless pled hoggery

oil is just way way to cheap
lets try it at 6 dollars a gallon
like europe

we'd cut car useage of petrol
by 30% or more
once we'd "adjusted "
at least that's my envelop guess
and mjs's suv 's car choice
of sub urand repugs
shrivel in size or at least gallonage demanded
like oxy's dick in a cold pool

look if one of the big parties
offered 6 dollar gas
proceeds above prime costs
fully rebated per capita
and was believed

i submit that party
could sell the plan better then
free abortion on demand
plus easily pass laws and regulations
to jack up engine performance
md 's point is simple

price gas at its full social and natural cost
and bingo no more
mass of accidental oil hogs

personally i find the round head line on all this exceedingly prigish diversionary and crassly merit class
go fuckin ride your bike of a bridge

which do you consider true and/or the better route to changing what needs changing?

1. Putting "you" in the same pipe with BP and Obummer and the entire ruling class, and cajoling people to give up their cars while telling them its your fault as much as anybody's.

2. Politicizing transportation policy and the depth and breadth of the overclass interest in their cars-first dictatorship.

Are they mutually exclusive? Why?

There's actually a lot to be said for guilt. If there's any such thing as human nature, then the capacity to feel guilt is part of it (though there are exceptional people like psychopaths). It's certainly an indispensable mediator between egotism and socialization. Admittedly, people's choices are far more limited than they ought to be. But as regards the choices they can make, it seems quite right to point out that some of these are more culpable than others.

But in any case it's a cartoon, folks, not the Communist Manifesto. Seeing "you" as one of the villains might conceivably make somebody annoyed enough to go out for a long ride in his SUV, just to show us who's boss, or might make him ask, well, what in fact am I doing? At worst the practical effect is a wash, and probably rather better than that.

Granted, it's a cartoon. But the ordinary citizen sees "you" in the pipe and knows they're being harangued for things that are largely out of their control, as op-san says so well, by somebody who sees Joe Schmoe as equally if not more to blame.

I'm not against suggesting carlessness as an option. But not only is that literally next to impossible for probably 75 percent, but I contend that there's a real intellectual and political choice that has to be made here, if we're doing more than venting our weariness and depression and/or our entry onto the David Horowitz expressway.

Either people have been dictated to, or they have freely chosen the cars-first arrangement we have. I'm not saying it's an 100 v. zero matter. Obviously not. But, unless your analysis is that the citizenry has really and truly done something like 50+ percent of the choosing that has shaped reality, it is wrong to stuff "you" into that pipe.

Myself, I see this as a 90/10 outcome. Transportation policy is even more insulated from popular discussion and democratic controversy than the Pentagon. The last Congressional highway bill passed 503-12, with all 12 nays being Republican "government hating" grandstanders. The phalanx of auto-centric business interests that have bludgeoned and greased policy-making at every level for a century has been as efficient and effective as it is possible to be. They have emitted a constant tsunami of propaganda. They benefit from the simple fact that they have won and the built environment imposes cars on people.

And, of course, our mass media are corporate, so they have literally eaten it all up like pigs in a trough of bacon grease.

Another problem with piping "you" is that automobiles are among the least evenly distributed of commodities. Their unequal distribution raises the question, in fact, of the degree to which they are an item of capitalists' luxury consumption (i.e., a way of burning off the economic surplus).


@ Michael Dawson | May 31, 2010 3:19 PM

Well, it's not exactly new -- it's been smoldering since at least the Clinton years -- but the frustration, rage and disgust finally rose to palpable levels in just the past couple of years, right about the time that Alice Walker and Maya Angelou published their love letters to Barack Obama. I could see all my fellow Lefties and all the Pwogwessives getting all starry-eyed over some no-name huckster who was all show and no go, as if he were a goddamn' rock'n'roll star. I'd seen a lot of fucked-up shit by then, but I'd never seen anything quite as deep-down fucked up as the wave of Obamania taking over the minds of normally rational people as if it were some kind of brain-sucking space-alien parasite. The off-scale high level of mindlessness and dysfunction on the Left was truly gob-smacking.

It damn' near makes my head explode when I hear my "fellow Americans" (spit) piss and moan about the quality of politicians we put into office, and then turn right around and vote for the same class of scum, only with different faces and names (see http://sinkers.org/stage/?p=571 ), like a really stupid cow that can't stop walking into the electric fence. F'cripesake, y'all, how many goddamn' times do you need to be done over before you stop looking to politicians and a horribly corrupt and mutated electoral process and start looking to yourselves and your communities for solutions and leadership? It's not like y'all have to come up with a magic bullet right away, just start taking some small steps, like ditching the SUV and carpooling or using mass transit if it's available, or not answering Pavlov's bell and taking that long trip for Memorial Day weekend.

Granted, television is largely responsible for this, but it's not like anybody put a gun to peoples' heads and made them sit on their couches and get fat and lazy watching sitcoms and quiz shows and Jersey Shore and amusing themselves to death for the past three or four generations.

I blame Liberals and what passes for a Left in this country. The GOP and the born-agains and the Teabaggers wouldn't have gotten away with any of that shit if you hadn't let them bully you and jerk your asses around and tried to placate and appease them. Even two years on, I'm still astounded at how the Left dropped everything it was doing -- antiglobalization and antiwar activism and everything -- to pour all its time and energy into electing a guy who never did let on what he was for or against but who could've been easily sussed out with a bit of judicious search-engine trawling.

Even today, while the Teabaggers are stealing our message and our tactics, all the US Left can do is sit around and piss and moan about how those mean old Teabaggers have taken over the streets and email each other clips of the Daily Show, and talk about how stupid Sarah Palin is. Where the hell were the ISO, ANSWER, UFPJ, Jobs With Justice, Code Pink and the Ruckus Society when Obama was helping bail out the banksters? When he was bloodying his hands in Pakistan less than a week after he took office? When he started escalating the war in Afghanistan? When he was shutting the single-payer supporters out of his healthcare summit? When he ordered extrajudicial assassinations? Out to fuckin' brunch, that's where. Fuckin' MIA. Over the goddamn' hill. They should've been busting ass to get people into the streets by the hundreds of thousands to raise hell and shut down the goddamn' country over that stuff, but, nada.

The Teabaggers are busy running their own candidates in primary challenges for the off-year Congressional and Senatorial "elections", and threatening to stay home on "Election" Day if the current crop of GOP candidates don't give them what they want, squeezing the GOP's nuts until it cries like a little girl, but where the hell's the fuckin' Left? where the hell are the Greens, or the Socialist Workers? Why the hell aren't any of these outfits hitting the streets and telling Leftie voters to stay home and let the goddamn' Donkeycrats lose if they don't stop the pandering and cowering? Where are our goddamn' political suicide bombers, already?

This especially bugs the shit out of me because while I'm probably far from the oldest one here, I'm still old enough to remember when the US not only had a functioning Left, but it wasn't gun-shy about hitting the streets to protest against a Democratic administration -- not like today, when they're all so goddamn' shit-scared of measly little pikers like Sarah Palin and Rand Paul that they're ready to follow any goddamn' dipshit that has a little "D" after their name.

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