Differential calculus

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday September 15, 2012 05:41 PM

Facebook is more or less a curse, really, but closing one's account seems too melodramatic -- like jumping off a bridge without any of the real meat-shredding consequences of such a genuinely bold act.

Then too, Facebook is a little like reading a really awful novel. It's badly written, badly plotted, and full of characters among whom one can't distinguish -- they all have the same voice -- and about whom one doesn't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut. But even so, there's a stubborn ineradicable impulse to know what happens next. For me, at least, a book has to be startlingly bad before I'll put it down and read no more. Even a Face book.

If you're a fan of fiction, what happens next is something you look forward to. But if you're an observer of the world around you, in our time, what happens next doesn't bear thinking about. I sometimes wish our actual world were a story I could put down: too sick, too monotonous.

This is all by way of prologue. What I really want to complain about is all my Facebook "friends" who are Democrats. They are boring me badly with all their hysteria about that knucklehead Romney et al. It's turning rapidly into the sort of book that I can put down.

Monotony ought to be an entailment of monotonicity, you'd think. When things are going relentlessly from bad to worse, there's not a whole lot of plot interest in whether they're going a little faster or a little slower -- particularly since the differences in tempo are microscopic, assuming there are any differences at all.

But all my Obamaphile friends seem deeply concerned about whether the bad-to-worse curve is a little steeper or a little shallower from one day to the next. I don't know how they do it. Perhaps it's a little like watching America's Next Top Model?

Comments (44)


Speaking of differentials and Face Book ....I was relieved to hear that I wasn’t the only one who noticed the similarity of the stage made up Colorado Batman Premier shooter ...to Zuckerberg (even without that dyed to match hair). ...... How should we phrase that? ... what a difference a day makes? ....what a difference $$$$$$funding$$$$$$$, the $$$$$right moment!$$$$$$ and $$$$$$the right connections$$$$$$$ make? (sloooooowwwwwwww .. motion .agoniiiiizing dehumanizing slaughter of millions, ....versus the rapid fire of a “loser,” with far, far lesser victims, who cracks?)

Outside of the far larger numbers subjected to being condemned, via their “Facebook Pages” or lack thereof (and the negative economic, and therefore deadly, effects that will have on them at the end of the day), I honestly don’t see much difference as to the thoroughly self absorbed destruction of others –“others”: .... as separate persons who don’t deserve those life robbing and stunning, knee jerk condemnations - tangibly or intangibly, ..between the two of them, other than $$$$$$$$$$, timing and connections, especially when the ‘safe’ connected one set out to ($afely for him) prove what a hunter and stalker he aspires towards.


(and yeah, looks like it was cheap hair dye ...as Zuckerberg has a far more subtle mix going on, ... a high dose, at the least, .... of auburn ...., with likely thick, yet rare and stray, brunette (sp?), raven and blonde .... hairs ....in the mix.)

Straight to the wall* this goes! Just as you intended, I'm sure. But they've earned their shaming, have they not? And so the game continues on...

*or whatever it's currently called

Laurel Roth Patton:

Michael, you have an exceptional mind and a silver tongue, but I am pretty sure you don't have a uterus. The Ryan/Romney bunch and their controllers have proposed changes that would make life in this country for women go from bad to worse—much, much more rapidly than if the current President were to remain in office. You were around before Roe v. Wade. How does no contraception at all sound? Did you think Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was far-fetched? We both have daughters....I guess I just don't get your argument.

I would prefer to be voting for a viable third party, and when it's possible to do so without tipping a presidential election, I do. I am not happy with Obama's use of drones, his awful "Race to the Top" policies on education, and more. But I applaud the many progressive actions he has taken. The difference in the rate at which we'd see an increase in human misery if he were defeated is far from microscopic, and I am gladly voting for Obama. What I have read so far in your blog puzzles me. I can't tell if you expect the mad tilt to the right to simply right itself, or are holding out for blood in the streets. People in this country have died for the right to vote. Were they being hysterical?

I'm also puzzled as to why your Facebook world is peopled by "friends" about whom you do not give a flying fuck. If you are concerned that "unfriending" might cause offense (which seems unlikely) you can simply hit a button to avoid ever reading another boring post by anyone in your Newsfeed. You don't have to close your account and leave the theatre; you have the ability to completely change the featured film.

Merkin in Montreal:

I was just going about my Sunday business when I found this comment from a white privileged owner of a uterus who is waxing poetically about the damage to female folks in case of Obie’s loss. Needless to say, I decided to drop the Sunday chores and chime in.

As a non-white, somewhat privileged uterus owner, allow me to point out that the right to abortion and contraceptives have long been taken away from the general non-privileged population. The majority of the people in America don’t live in metropolitan areas such as New York or San Francisco with somewhat easy access to abortionists and contraception. The cost of abortion itself has gone up the roof and its affordability for the general population is questionable. The abortion providers have declined greatly thanks to the terror the Christian Right has waged against them. I can assure our liberal friend who is worried about reproductive rights for her and Michael’s daughter that with or without Romney, nothing would change for “her daughter”.

When I see such ignorant non-sense from the liberals, I get even more enthusiastic for a Romney win, in which case we’ll see Madame Liberal and her cohorts back on the streets protesting against any misdemeanor committed by that fool.


Laurel -- It's true I don't have a uterus, but some of my best friends do, and I wish them and their uteri nothing but good.

The reason I kinda pooh-pooh the supposed Omneyrite 'war on women' is that I think it's a fraud. I don't think they mean it. It's all there to keep a certain component of the faithful energized; Republicans are at least as good at Democrats at selling out their electoral base.

I just don't believe that this is an area where any sizable component of the Amurrican corporate elites want to make any significant changes, and since I think the Amurrican corporate elites pretty much call the shots, I don't think it's going to happen.

But it's quite useful to both parties to get their respective captive constituencies worked up. A marionette play, full of mythical beasts, terrifying ogres, evil conjurers, knights in shining armor, wise holy hermits and so on.


Oh, PS: I wrote that bit about my Facebook friends in a fit of gloom and misanthropy, to which I am sometimes subject. But now, after singing some Bach and putting away a nice gin and tonic on a beautiful sunny fall Sunday, I feel much more benign. Seid umschlungen, Millionen!


PS again -- Merkin brought it back to class, rightly too; much more salient than either race or gender.

anne shew:

reading down from the last post comment , that diagram /the new diaphragm of waves from the lovely corner of a room ,is now looking very sexual to me after just leaving the last post above ,don't even begin to try to imagine on that one ,said very different . / what are you doing with a face book page , no one that i know well has ever done that , what was the appeal at the start of opening one michael ?


Laurel Roth Patton, I refuse to even entertain someone who is only: ’not happy’ about Obomber’s massive droning of villages and the weddings and other human celebrations of life, ... shaming me for my refusal to vote for evil. Many of which victims, will never even live long enough to get pregnant. (Let alone the fact that you have no valid reason whatsoever to believe that Obomber will do anything whatsoever to prevent the collapse of any remaining women’s rights and chide about that when you have a convenient male target).
I’ll be holding those same, not happy (versus horrified and outraged) about droning, directly responsible when it comes to the next Katrina ..for murder ...and if things don’t change that is exactly what we’ll soon be seeing ...followed by weekly drones over certain dusky hued, poverty ridden areas of: Detroit; New Orleans; Chicago; Oakland, CA; Philadelphia; Camden NJ; Los Angeles; New York City; Miami; et al ........

In my more cynical moments I hope some pedantic fool comes knocking on my door pom pomming for Obomber.

"When I see such ignorant non-sense from the liberals, I get even more enthusiastic for a Romney win, in which case we’ll see Madame Liberal and her cohorts back on the streets protesting against any misdemeanor committed by that fool."

On the other hand, if Rombama (instead of Obamney) wins, the Libterals will have the luxury of forever smiling sickly over their heavily-Xanaxed lattes and staring into the middle-distance of "what might have been". I think they need their faces jammed hard into the steaming arse of what is sure to come, instead.


In response to Merkin, I am not sure why you felt the need for your ad hominem attack, other than some knee jerk assumptions. You know nothing about me other than, apparently, that I am white and live in the Bay Area. I am a first generation American of a working class family that never made it out of the working class. My father did not speak any English when he came to this country, and I am certainly not a child of privilege. My parents both had to drop out of school to support themselves, as their parents could not. I was the first college graduate in the family, and went to college on scholarships. I had to work my way through—as did my daughter. We both still owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Based on what you write, it's certainly possible that you are a more economically privileged uterus owner than I.

That said, I am well aware that my white skin affords me privileges that my students of color do not have. I made a choice late in life to become a public school teacher rather than opting for a more lucrative (or at least secure) career because I care very much about what happens to other people's daughters. I work in a high poverty school where over 60% of my kids can't pay for school lunch.

My post was not about me at all, but I do feel obliged to challenge your assumptions. I am not sure why you think I do not know what has been happening in the rest of the country in regard to reproductive rights. It is precisely because women in some states now have NO ACCESS to family planning clinics at all, due to the murderous results of zealots like Randall Terry, that the issue is crucial. I mentioned my daughter and Michael's because it personalizes an issue which some feel will not affect them.

I agree that the predominant issues facing us are definitely about class, and reproductive rights are part of that. No one in Romney's world will ever be forced to have a back alley abortion, as some of my high school friends did.

Personally, I have not stopped taking to the streets since the 60s, and I am not about to stop now.


Oh, Bay Area as in Cali, Lauren? In another few years you can applaud your vote for Obomber when the drones drop over Oakland, Richmond, Hunters Point, East Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and East San Jose to dispatch those remaining thorns in the side of Pwogwess and Change!!!!!!!

(I'll either not be voting, or picking a name from a third party Female and writing it in.)

"People in this country have died for the right to vote. Were they being hysterical?"

No, they were being cruelly misled. If voting *worked*, you wouldn't be allowed to do it; not any more. Anyone who voted for Clinton (after being inspired by a Fleetwood Mac anthem) should know this by now... if they aren't heavily drugged and flat-minded with propaganda. The Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama years have been one well-oiled luge to the bottom of my credulity.


Since Laurel is an old friend of mine, in the 3D world, I am going to leap to her defense here.

I have the greatest respect for single-issue voting. If there's something that really matters to you, a lot more than everything else, and you really think that Tweedledum is going to deliver and Tweedledee won't, by all means vote for Tweedledum. It's the absolute opposite of strategic voting, which I think is a fool's game: the house always wins; and to that extent I applaud it.

It's a useful thought experiment to ask yourself what's non-negotiable. For me it's the drone wars and the police state; I simply can't sign off on those, even if Obie were in fact better on some other 'issue' -- which I doubt, but that's a question of fact, not method.

Where I disagree with Laurel is mostly on the facts, but there's admittedly a lot of conjecture in there too.

As mentioned earlier, I don't think that either the Demolicans or the Republicrats really want to upset the existing legal applecart as regards the use and enjoyment of the uterus -- you should never believe anything a politician *says*, on either side -- but Laurel is more inclined to think they really mean what they say.

Oh dear, have you not found the "hide" feature that lets you ignore updates from people? There's also a "close friends" list you can use as sort of a whitelist to focus on things from people you actually want to read about.


Oh, I was just whining. It's not so bad, really. One's friends sometimes bore one in meatspace, too.


(and if you'll pardon my saying so Lauren, your parents did apparently have the money to migrate to the UZ, from Europe? Unlike the parents of those darker skinned children; children whom you've taken an oath to the STATE OF CALIFORNIA to learn about pwogwess and change!!!!!

Kids whose parents could never afford to migrate over the Atlantic, or Pacific, .... living in those same neighborhoods which will have the first UZ drones dropped upon them.)


Oh come on comrades, quit beating up on Laurel. Disagreement is fine, but personal reflections are childish.

Proud Democrat:

Laurel is correct and the rest of the commenters here are either idiots or personally unaffected by the not insignificant difference between the two political parties. Laurel, most of the nonsense posted here is over educated, onanistic, faculty-lounge-elitist twaddle. It's comfortable old men having fun playing at radicalism, their children long graduated from private school. Frauds. Entertaining frauds, but frauds and poseurs.


Would that that indictment were true, PD -- every word of it. Your mouth to God's ear.


(are you being facetious about FaceFiend Michael? I happen to be truly outraged about anyone I consider my friend (though I know no such true friends who even use FaceFiend, ....most of my life long friends are not so gullible as to buy on to the FaceFiend rape of privacy) who might post a picture of me without even asking me (to be then scanned into a global/financial database), allow my personal data to be uploaded to their FaceFiend contact list (to be then scanned into a global/financial database), or discuss something about me which I considered a private communication to them .(to be then scanned into a global/financial database).. which would generally be a private communication as regards someone I love - and the wee things in life ...which are so important - which is not up for Global Discussion and data basing in Utah.)


Michael, were you referring to me as to "childish" personal reflections?

Just saying, in case you were, I don't live in any of those neighborhoods I mentioned, though I know .... and love .... some who do. But, if I did, happen to live in one of those at danger neighborhoods: that would be childish if I happened to mention what she appears to be voting in support of?

I'm childish in many ways, but if you were addressing me there, and in that use of the word "childish," I take issue with your use of that word.


(really, if you were addressing me, that would mean that you realy haven't bothered to take much time to think about where the the first UZ drones will be hitting ...and just exactly what it might be like to have drones dropped on your neighborhood from your own "government" ... which you may have actually voted for ........ just in case you might be up to some petty crime .... in order to eat at the end of the day ....)

Merkin in Montreal:

Laurel, guilty as charged! Yes, it was a visceral reaction on my part, which the root of it goes to what diane so succinctly described. Not that I expect everyone to feel as passionate as her and myself about the crimes of Obie against the foreign folks but if one is justifying her support based on an issue that is dear to her heart, the issue must be at least real and factual. The reproductive rights have crept up in the presidential campaigns from time to time and I maintain that it’s another boogeyman used by the Democrats because there is no iota of evidence to prove that a President Romney would rock the boat on this front. However, I do see a more pertinent threat to the reproductive rights at the state level, which has little to do with who’s at the White House as evidenced by our past experience.

To Proud Democrat, indulge us with an example of a "not insignificant difference" and mind you, imaginary woulda coulda shoulda don’t count!

Laurel Roth Patton sez on 09.16.12 @12:09:
Michael, you have an exceptional mind and a silver tongue, but I am pretty sure you don't have a uterus...

May be, but the struggle going on in this country right now isn't just about your goddamn' uterus.


It's so wonderfully reassuring to know that all is not lost and that there are, indeed! millions and billions of us who consider the droning, an outrage against life .... against our very existance ..... a kiss to you Merkin 'janno' (is that phonetically correct as beloved as a human being? or is that more mate oriented in Farsi? My memory fails me...)

Merkin in Montreal:

Thank you diane and I believe the word you're referring to is "jon" or "joon", which means dear in Farsi.


Yes, "jon" also, but if I'm not mistaken, there is song sung by a quite loved woman who was blind. I think her first name (which I think she was generally referred to as, with no need for the surname to be added) was Parin, which included the lyrics: Janno, janno, ...if I'm not mistaken?


(After doing a search, I think it might actually be Pari Zanganeh I’m thinking about (mid page: www.hrmusic.com/artists/axis.html ), if so, I shouldn’t have used the past tense.

www.hrmusic.com/artists/axis.html : Lullabies From The Axis Of Evil

Lullabies lead us to the deepest and most fundamental way of communication between human beings. It is where all sharing of ideas and feelings starts. Between mother and child, between father and child. It is a universal culture. And it is amazing to see how many aesthetic similarities, musically and lyrically there are in lullabies from country to country all over the world. The text-issues are often the same, so are the musical structures. Differences in scales, language, metaphors and religion cannot cover the fact that in the lullabies, the cultures of the earth meet each other. Or rather: from this common starting-point they grow into diversity.

Perhaps the “o” I heard on the end of “jon” is a posessive pronoun suffix, as in my dear?)

Merkin in Montreal:

Now I remember who you're talking about. She mostly sings folk songs and the lyrics of these songs are not necessarily understood by all Farsi speakers as they are in different dialects based on the regions where they come from. So the "o" you heard at the end of "jon" has probably got to do with the particular dialect of the region where that song came from.


Makes sense, the person who I heard her wonderful music through, is from the Azerbaijan region, his family are sheep herders, and he used the term "jonno." He returned to Iran quite some time ago, even after attaining a green card during an amnesty period, as his mom was getting older, and, I believe, because he found the general lifestyle here (the Bay Area), so hollow and mean.


"Laurel is correct and the rest of the commenters here are either idiots or personally unaffected by the not insignificant difference between the two political parties."

As a person with Actual Experience writes:



Kevin Hornbuckle writes:

"I was a candidate for public office, the Eugene, OR city council. I didn't intend to win. Me and my trouble-making friend were just tired of being insulted every four years by a Chamber of Commerce hack running as a liberal. I won, but lost by winning. I had a very left-wing platform and we organized effectively, more to insult the privileged pricks that run this town. I won significantly and it needlessly scared the shit out of the powerful. They had the means to prevent any legislative victories I might have initiated. And they dragged my name through the mud regularly as they have several liberals who have held office since I left after one term."

"People have no idea what the government is up to and no real control over it. This is true all the way from the local level right up to Senate and the presidency. Voting is pretty much a mass fraud; at least candidate voting. (Voting on specific laws is something else). I carry a little guilt about having misled voters. Not much guilt however, because I too falsely believed that the power structure would have to yield a bit to popular pressure. It's a contradiction to "work to dissolve a power center by competing to fill it." I believe that this dynamic is operative in pretty much all levels of elective office and that the unchecked power of the capitalist class makes it so. But liberals' pathological need to believe in something keeps them chasing illusions. A lot of radicals fall prey to this contradiction too. A lot of money and time is wasted on campaigns that actually end up strengthening the elites' claim on power."

"There is widespread contempt for nonvoters. They get used as whipping boys (e.g. you didn't vote so you have no right to complain). The truth is that if you did vote, you have no right to complain either because your side always loses. The fault is presumed to lay with the failed dissident candidate. So that tautology is hegemonic, but no one understands that (except George Carlin who was on to the said chicanery). Instead liberals willingly participate in the mass illusion, even going so far as to attack those of us who refuse to. Phil Rockstroh has been pushing the boycott pretty effectively. But he gets denounced in very ugly terms by dedicated liberals who just love King POTUS Obomber. That is where belief in what actually is a false democracy will get you: false populism. The Green Party and all the other long-shot candidates need to accept responsibility for helping to create that. Soft peddling fascism is a dangerous mistake these days."


My favorite part of Proud Democrat's bile was:

It's comfortable old men having fun playing at radicalism

For one reason: because Merkin and I are not male. For another reason: outside of many 'black' voters (many with no puters and/or scarce allowed time to access them, therefore barely any access to the real goings on), who may be too overwhelmed at the stunning level of betrayal Obomber has accomplished to acknowledge it, ONLY THE COMFORTABLE WHITE FOLK, such as is likely Proud Democrat is, WILL BE THE EAGER IN LINE .... TO VOTE FOR OBOMBER.


I didn't post that last comment at 2:28AM, I did post all the comments above it, using my first name, which is Diane.

I'm assuming the "impersonator" predator was "Karl."

My, Karl, why are you so angry? Dislike people agreeing on a common issue .. for a change?


I mean really "Karl," now you've stooped to the lowest of the low against people who aren't even discussing you personally, by attempting to usurp someone's name, while they are still posting.

You represent the lowest and vilest of the vile as to the internet, enjoy your 'reward' Karl Franz Ochstradt aka Hyman Mittelman Lohmann; a true sociopath.


One issue voting ...at the state level can be by referendum eh?

One surely can try to hustle some improvement
thru that Whatever mechanism in lots of states

No need to choose between the drone parties

The state here is still essentially bourgeois liberal

Popular movements are not repressed in anything sense of that hydra word
one can reasonably and literally inject into our civic context

This is not chile let alone Honduras

Access to abortions
Have any of you red hots on this single issue got a good like to the facts on this ?

I surely have as little clarity on this front of the struggle
as most amercitizens have on the Sins of our FED


Yes the state defined marginals here
feel the edge of the state
That is a public evil minimum
all functioning states provide on behalf of their core citizens

One needs to think hard about Syria today
Or Haiti

And then decide if there remains a condition of civil society
Qualitatively beyond that faced in say .....Oakland or Roxbury

Local oppression surely raises it's head to challenge us
But we are the citizens of the hegemon

Washington in the hands of either big party
is the enemy of the people everywhere

Laurel from NC?

My My

anne shew:

owen, " core " ?


My Facebook feed has gotten annoying as well because of liberal/pwog bellyaching from FB friends (both online and in-the-flesh). Granted, my right-winger FB friends are also predicting the Apocalypse if Obama is re-elected, but they're really not so bad because they're easier to ignore, although it's bothersome when they lump in the Left with the Democrats.


As for Roe v. Wade being overturned if Romney wins (which Laurel seems convinced will happen even though the Reagan and Bush administrations never succeeded in doing it), Romney's a notorious flip-flopper on the abortion issue, so that's highly unlikely.


On a much later re-read, I think I was mistaken about the 3:44 AM comment by Boink as being 'Karl's work (apparently, Karl only used my name to post under, unless the 12:24 AM comment was 'Karl''s?). I think I may have jumped the gun after having just read Boink's comment about aliases and Karl's vicious ‘Autobiography’ of me in the thread below - using my name as the author - which, I believe, Owen kindly snuffed. I saw the names Flug and diane in one sentence, as ‘Karl’ is so fond of combining, and assumed it was ‘Karl’ instead of concentrating on what was written.

Yeah Boink (trouble maker! (smile)), it's correct that I have a somewhat different view about space programs than Mike's. I'm generally aligned with Gil Scott-Heron's commentary on that. Further, I find it bleakly hilarious and typical that we’ve littered space so much with now ‘dying’ satellites, etcetera, that it’s become a very real danger to future ‘launches’ and people living in lucky areas who may have a ton, or so, of debris come crashing down on them with the horrifying force of a small asteroid collision.


(meant to post that comment above to the "You can't fight progress" thread, sorry)


Whose joke was it -- some people are pro-choice, some people are anti-choice, Romney is multiple-choice?

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