On The Radar

Let's all move to California.

By Steven Wells
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 4 | Posted Jun. 18, 2008

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illustration by HAWK KRALL

I love this bit of the economic cycle. All the non-Marxists are running around screaming, "Oh my God! Capitalism's shat the bed! Again!"

And all us Marxists are rolling our eyes and muttering, "Haven't you people read Das Kapital yet? Come on!"

It's a waste of time because half the non-Marxists have already decided that what we need is more deregulation and more war, while the other half are billycooing over Obama. ("He's so shiny! He's so pretty! He'll make everything all right again!")

You people are idiots. You can't be helped. So let's talk about movies instead.

Lawrence of Arabia--one of the greatest films ever made--is about the venality of imperialism. One should watch it in 2008 with a brain inflamed with outrage as you see the start of the whole 20th-century Middle East cock-up--and realize how we've made all the exact same mistakes all over again. (If there was one lesson any reasonable person could take from the history of the British empire, it's never invade the following two countries: Afghanistan and Iraq.)

Instead one watches David Lean's gloriously shot, wonderfully written and superbly acted super-camp anti-imperialist epic thinking: "For God's sake, won't someone give Peter O'Toole some sunblock?" That line's almost a direct steal from Jane Smiley's Hollywood bonkbuster Ten Days in the Hills, by the way. (My wife says it's not as good as it thinks it is.)

It bears thinking about. Not only did the British--a pale, gingerish, freckly people--conquer half the tropical world, they did it in thick, itchy woolen uniforms and without the aid of showers, AC, toilet paper, Avon Skin So Soft (the best mosquito repellent in the world, as used by modern-day British Army special forces, I kid you not) or SPF 50 Blue Lizard sunscreen (with zinc oxide, it's the dog's bollocks).

I'm writing this in the middle of one of our hideous Philadelphia heat waves and I just have to ask--what the fuck, people? Why did anybody--the Dutch, the Quakers, the Irish, the Italians and all those who've come here since--stay? Why didn't they, as soon as they experienced day-freaking-one of a sticky, sweaty, unbreathable, shitty Philadelphian excuse for a summer just fuck off back to Holland or Quakerland or wherever the hell they came from?

Or California? I'm talking to you, the Lenni Lenape, Native American original occupants of this godforsaken asshole of the North American weather system. What originally possessed you to choose this festering hell-pit as home?

Okay, here's the plan: All of us up and march on Northern California. We're Philly. Who's gonna stop us? A buncha lentil-munching yoga freaks? I don't think so.

Westward ho, Philly. Let's get us some of that Mediterranean summer balminess.

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1. lenni_lenape said... on Jun 17, 2008 at 07:27PM

“I'm not sure what the point of this was. We shouldn't have gone into Iraq and/or Afghanistan? We're all idiots? Lawrence was one of the last great epic movies? What does "super-camp" mean? We never learn from history? Nobody returned from whence they came cause they couldn't. You OK?”

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2. timmymcginn said... on Jun 18, 2008 at 06:26AM

“Why don't people get jokes anymore?”

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3. ButteMn said... on Jun 18, 2008 at 03:09PM

“Steven Wells stupidly writes - "I'm writing this in the middle of one of our hideous Philadelphia heat waves and I - just have to ask--what the fuck, people? Why did anybody--the Dutch, the Quakers, the Irish, the Italians and all those who've come here since--stay? Why didn't they, as soon as they experienced day-freaking-one of a sticky, sweaty, unbreathable, shitty Philadelphian excuse for a summer just fuck off back to Holland or Quakerland or wherever the hell they came from?" --Or California? I'm talking to you, the Lenni Lenape, Native American original --occupants of this godforsaken asshole of the North American weather system. What ---originally possessed you to choose this festering hell-pit as home?" Yes because Philadelphia is the only place that has heat waves. The fucking heatwave dumbass went past Maine but your Negladelphian ass doesn't get that. Have you been anywhere below Philadelphia in the summer? Is the asshole of the North American asshole that big that it covers everything east of the Rockies (where we get humid summers?) Or does that sticky weather Follow Stephen Wells because he is such an asshole? ps. Its freezing out in Philly right now, douche.”

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4. kg said... on Jun 21, 2008 at 07:18PM

“people are usually polite when discussing something as trivial and the weather (not weather disasters, mind you). clearly 'buttmn' is the exception to this rule of thumb. umm, thanks?”

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