I’ve posted the last half of our trip photos on my photo page.
There are some photos of mom in Saigon and those’ll be up soon.
Check ‘em out.
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I’ve posted the last half of our trip photos on my photo page.
There are some photos of mom in Saigon and those’ll be up soon.
Check ‘em out.
My mom just went home after visiting me in Saigon for 2 fortnights (or 8 sixteenights, if you’re using the older, more reliable British standard) and I have photographic evidence. The first half of our vacation photos are published. Go to the Photography portion of the site to take a proper ganders.
Sniff you jerks later,
What would it take to change a government? To revolutionize it? First, people would have to see that the government was a festering, onanistic, self-sustaining pile of shit, right? That’s easy! I mean, surely, if a government gets to that point, every person in the country is hip to it, yeah?
Maybe not. I mean, what would it take for an entire country- the United States, say- to look and see that the government isn’t rigged to work by the people and for the people, but rather by the few and for the few?
What would it take to expose a machine, endlessly convoluted and consisting of untold, independent entities all operating for their own, individual good, thus unknowingly perpetuating a broke-ass system, crassly eliciting hope from the people only because hope is what the machine runs on?
What would it take?
What effect would it have on the country as a whole if we were shown that the basic tenets of our way of life are as undeniably fake as Larry The Cable Guy’s southern-fried accent?
What would it be like if the American Dream were shown irrefutably to be a lie? If our country violated its own precepts as set forth by The Bill Of Rights again and again and again and again, what would it be like? If our country’s political system and government, in general, depended on the profits made by corporations and put the needs of those same corporations ahead of the needs of the people, how would the world of America be different from what it is today?
Think: what could happen that would shake the faith of suckers enough that they’d stand up and say, “no more!”? Could the people be shown that Democracy is an illusion and still go to work in the morning? Could they be shown that their vote doesn’t matter, that the whole thing is a distracting circus, a vain parade where any choices made are between entities so similar that a vote for one is no different from a vote for another? Could we be given a watertight demonstration that politics work in such a way that it doesn’t matter how good-intentioned a politician is- they will be forced to play ball-and we still engage in it?
What sort of corruption or scandal would it take to change the American way of life?
Let’s- just for fun- imagine that there is nothing that could achieve this. How would that imaginary world be different from ours?
Would it be different?
The short answer is, “no”. The US government is composed of hundreds of thousands of small parts. Each part can take the blame for an entire broken system and be replaced over and over without anyone noticing that the problem doesn’t lie with the individuals but rather with how the government at large runs and is built. The fact that there is nothing the government can do that would make its people lose faith in it is an enormous problem. If a government stands for something meaningful, there is a line that it can cross where people abandon and restructure it1. Our government has no such line and our people are woefully ignorant of this fact.
There is nothing that can be said or done to wake a people from their complicit dreaming who are so heavily invested in a way of life- who don’t want to see. I don’t believe there are any genuine conspiracies (X-files-style, I mean) or global schemes to keep people down. I do, however, believe that the American system is too prone to influence from the minds of corruptible humans who naturally operate in their best self-interest. There are no checks sufficient to stop this; each branch of government “checks” the other on paper only, and simply calling something a check doesn’t make it so. How much control does the president have over anything? How much control can a large body composed of divergent individuals possibly exercise? How much control can a small body composed of bipartisan individuals- each appointed by leaders with varying agendas- possibly wield? Not much. And no one can deny that, particularly in the last 20 years, politics have become more of a joke than ever, devolving into a marketing scam that seems to value little else than pacification and re-election. I’m sure politicians originally started using marketing and PR to secure their positions in order to execute their necessarily term-spanning agendas, but original purposes have become lost and people who maybe gave a bit of a rat’s tit have been replaced by bobble-headed dipshits who do little else than look good in expensive clothes and are able to read teleprompters.
It is in an entity’s self-interest to prosper, to continue prospering and to assure the prospering of their progeny. This instinct can and usually does run contrary to the best interest of a society at large, particularly when the wealthy work to use their filthy lucre to consolidate and control even more loot. Even worse than human greed, though, is human greed accelerated by the might offered by political position. The issue in the US’s governmental system is a lack of accountability. The government cannot be relied upon to check itself any more than your right hand can be relied upon to keep your left in line. Marketing machines work hard to distract and scatter American attention, making upholding political promises or even adherence to the basic tenets of our nation’s founding documents quaint notions of a long bygone age.
A system that has no standards for success or failure (such as the US government) can never fail. In science, this is referred to as unfalsifiability. If something is unfalsifiable, it’s bullshit. It’s a theory that says nothing. I imagine our political system is looked upon by most of its participants as a swollen udder, ripe and begging for milking. They know that it says nothing, they know that it IS nothing but at the same time, it offers all sorts of opportunities for financial gain and personal advancement within the business world at-large.
Because our government is unfalsifiable, there is no amount of outrage or wrong-doing that will undo it. On the other hand, rebellion in the face of a giant rule-enforcing entity that does not apply any rules to itself is masturbation. You do have options, though. Give up and watch the empire fall. Expatriate. Kill your gods. Stop buying. Say, “No!” as often as you can to those in power.
To fight an unfightable power, you dig in your heels and give-up. You defiantly throw in the white flag and refuse to participate. You commit to failure (which is, afterall, the punishment for not playing their games). Sabotage companies you work for. Vandalize advertisements. Awaken the somnambulant public to the ugliness of their passive existence. Force those in power to look down and see that the pedestal they’ve placed themselves on has had its column eroded to a toothpick while they’ve been admiring their erections in the mirror. Let them see they’ve left you with nothing left to lose and then maybe they’ll listen. At least until you tell them that it’s necessary to dismantle everything and start over. Then they’ll disappear you. Regardless, you won’t be a fucking coward and at least your orphaned, homeless children will be able to recall you with pride.
1If, for example, our country stood for Freedom, there would be an amount of Freedom (however this is defined by an elected body prior to election) that it could strip away from its people or other countries’ people that would make its citizens no longer support it.
If, for example, our country stood for Individual Rights, there would be certain violations that, if committed, would make everyone angry enough to dismantle our power structure and start over from scratch. There are, if you’ve been paying attention the last 100 years, no lines in these regards that The US is unwilling to cross. Granted, they may be telling you that they wouldn’t or don’t do things like this, but they’re telling that to you from the other side of the line while pissing in your eyes; the fucked up part is that you sit there and take it (like a bitch).
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a scooter.
Yo: check out my photo page for all the pictures from my trip through the Central Highlands. They’re fresh as hell. You may not regret seeing some of them.
See you in Hell,
It was sticky-sweet hot in Saigon last night. Triumphantly rolling back into town at 4AM had worn me out, but I needed to see my main man in Saigon, Stu. So, Josh, Yoon, Jackie and I met at the vegetarian place by the bridge to have dinner with Stu (and Leo) and drop some yarns, which we did. Jackie had a show, so she had to leave, and Leo is lame as
hell, but everyone else migrated to the pool hall to shoot some flipping stick.
The poolhall was nice. It’s on Nguyễn Trọng Tuyển, across from Mien Dong Thao.
It was fun as hell. And you can cross the street for some Sinh To afterward. Easy as fishing.
Anyway, I’m back. Developing photos right now should be posting shortly. Vacation was life-affirming. Shouldn’t vocations be as such?
Today Josh saved a frog and a toad’s life. They were doomed to a cisterny grave and Josh scooped them out with a hoe (not Jackie or Yoon, but rather a farming implement). We stopped to scope out a vista to uppercut all vistas and ended up saving some amphibians. It was neat because the view was so expansive and the creatures/our focus was so small.
We’re at a particularly placid roadside cafe overlooking a river:
We had a big lunch and now we’re all taking naps on hammocks. Shit ain’t bad.
In the distance someone is straining against a karaoke machine and a cool breeze is blowing through the trees. This is a welcome change to the roaring headwinds and furnace-like temperatures we drove through earlier. It reminded me of the drive into Northern California from Oregon. One minute you’re in a mountainous, cool, forested area, the next the mountains drop away and you’re swooping like a pendulum into and expansive blast-oven.
We drove past a kick ass hydro-power damn and a government housing area that I’m assuming was built for the dam workers. The homogeny of the houses in their dirty, uncompromising rows was a bit sad to look at, but it went by fast. Welcome to the machine, suckers.
I love dogs. They’re great. People who love cats are douche bags. Dogs in Vietnam are weird because people abuse them. It’s so hard to get them to trust you, which sucks because the dogs get little chance to play with friendly humans.
We’re heading out. Talk to you suckers in Pham Thiet.
Breakfast was good this morning (Toni Braxton aside). The hotel operator laughed like a fucking maniac whenever he had to speak to us. Shit got pretty creepy. Regardless, brotha knows how to make him some eggs. The kitchen was jam packed with good smells, bread and super legit honey. Chillies frying! Seriously. It was better than you’d expect just looking at the establishment or the town, in general.
I bought Jackie new shoes because
she’s mostly crazy and refused to get new ones herself. Her old shoes tried to kill her several times yesterday. She bitched about the make of the shoes, but she should have been more appreciative of the fact that they carry giantess sizes in a town that small.
We made it to Da Lat without incident. It was a decent ride today. We drove from Dong Rung, Middle of Nowhere, (on QL27 between Buon Ma Thuot and Da Lat) to Da Lat fairly quickly. We barely evaded a storm enroute:
We pulled into the hotel just as the sky opened up and pissed it down. Hien An is a good, cheap hotel in Da Lat, by the way.
I wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s a couple hundred meters from the backpacker area down Phan Dinh Phung.
We’ve decided to take a stab at another jungle tomorrow. We’re driving down to Phan Thiet tomorrow and going through a National park rather than taking a National Highway. Our reasoning being: we’re awesome.
We’ll snag the afternoon train to Saigon Friday at 2 and be home by 6. OH, YES! EXCITEMENT!
Today we drove through the jungle. Like, we drove through a fucking jungle. I mean, some people may have done some shit, but I’ve driven a 1965 Vespa Sprint through a jungle over a precarious and crumbling stick bridge and through river beds in the fucking rain. I’ve piloted a scooter to places heretofore unseen by the likes of scooter enthusiasts. I’ve navigated my way down a cascading road of slick clay through rushing torrents of water, narrowly missed sheer cliffs, drop-offs and land-slides and lived to tell the tale. Suffice to say, there aren’t many pictures because it was actually really fucking dangerous (no joke) and Jackie was being a super puss because she fell off my bike. Fell off. That’s right. We were barrelling up and down jungle trails barely wide enough to accommodate a small circus monkey and I’m struggling to keep the bike upright and the front wheel ahead of the back and Jackie has the gall to fall off.
Anyway, we made it out alive. We were fairly lost for a good couple of hours, but we’re okay in a cheap hotel room, which is better than great (the fact that we’re okay, I mean. The hotel room has a squat toilet and more bugs than a Looney Tunes Marathon). We just played Canasta and ate 1.5 lbs of yogurt a piece. Each one of us did that. It’s shameful and impressive. Or degrading and disappointing. Or whatever. Either way, I’m full of yogurt and in some small amount of pain due to the jarring and strenuous nature of the ride today as well as the weird muscles used to maintain vertical status while carooming (a word) down bauxite-lubed paths.
It’s time for bed. We’re all safe and sound and looking forward to tomorrow’s ride. We’re getting to Da Lat and chilling out there for a minute.
Also, for posterity’s sake, it should be noted that after a single beer Joshua Beresford Morgan becomes less aware of the weird noises he makes: case and point, he literally moaned in pleasure while savoring some yogurt licked from his yogurt pack’s foil lid. It was a straight up porno moan. It was genuine, too.
That’s a blog. Sniff you jerks later.
Addendum: my hotel neighbor is listening to Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” on repeat and has been for the last 30 minutes. Awesome. Just. Awesome.
Final Addendum: “Unbreak My Heart” lasted for 2 and a half hours. This morning it’s something shitty and different on repeat. I say that thankfully.