When did Sony products start to bite donkey-haunch, exactly? I remember when Sony was a byword for coolness, for efficient design. Hasn’t been that way for years. Feature bloat and trendyitis killed that rep years ago. I’m looking at this godawful radio / tape player my wife has, which I’ve been using since my tiny little Emerson portable died for good. It’s the size of Mike Tyson’s fist. It turns itself on when you bump the AM/ FM / TV / Weather button, and since that button is the most prominent thing on the front you can’t toss it in a drawer without turning it on. Then you use it the next day: no batteries. And when the batteries go, they take your presets with them. Oh, you could use the HOLD button to keep it from turning on, but it’s easily toggled as well.

I have a few other Sony devices, and there’s something wrong with each. The VCR has that ridiculous “shuttle wheel” for moving around the tape; the amplifier has - groan - proprietary plugs for the speaker connections. I’m surprised that Sony movies don’t require the installation of a third eyeball, or perhaps a cochlear implant to pick up certain wavelengths of sound. What’s the matter with these guys?

Not that I really care. I’m too tired to care about anything, really. It’s not that the day was long and arduous - no. I just stayed up too late. You look at the clock, it’s three. There’s no going back when it’s three; you’re committed. Two, there’s room to move. You can go to bed and not rise the next morn feeling like some low beast. But there’s something immoral about three o’clock. No matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, you feel as though you are sitting in a whorehouse parlor with your hat in your lap. You haven’t done anything, but you’re ashamed nevertheless.

The mailbox was full of magazines today - Macworld, always welcome. I’ve been subscribing to it since 1989 or so, and occasionally I wonder: what did they put in the mags in those early years? No internet, no video, no digital photography - all they had was Freehand vs. Illustrator pt. 34, or Laser Printer Shootout - which of these $19,000 printers should you buy? The motto should have been: Macworld, the magazine for people who put out Macworld. I wish I’d saved the controversial cheesecake edition with the swimsuit model. She was lounging in an inflatable raft in a pool, the new Mac Portable on her stomach. Hah! That thing would sent her to the bottom, if it had been real.

Also got “Reminisce,” which is a magazine for white-haired old people who never threw away their Kewpie dolls and fondly remember the time when Aunt Stypic lost an arm in the threshing machine. I like the magazine as well, but only for the pictures. Every issue has dozens of old photos from “The Good Old Days.” In fact the magazine is called “the magazine that brings back the good times,” but this is pure thistle gilding. The latest issue has an entire page devoted to outhouse recollections. And two pages devoted to the clothes people made out of feed sacks. I think these are interesting topics if you wish to understand the experiences of the Greatest Generation and the early boomers, but if you have to excrete down a hole into a buzzing pile and wear burlap pants, you'' have a difficult time convincing me that those were the good old days.

And then there’s the New Yorker. Long piece on North Korea - mostly stuff you knew, if you’ve been following the story, and a review of Thurber’s letters. I first encountered Thurber as a young boy - ten, maybe; I loved the cartoons, even if I didn’t quite understand them all. The stories fascinated me. I thought he was just neat and I wanted to be him when I grew up. Later I read a brick-thick bio, and went back to reread the work; after reading the particulars of his life, you couldn’t help notice the desperate unhappiness that sits a millimeter beneath the surface of much of his stuff. It’s like silk draped over a pincushion. And your heart goes out to the man when you learn that he was abusive and miserable when drunk - and he was drunk much of the time.

Just took a break. Wife’s not home yet; she’s at the Guthrie. I did some blogprowling, went to the peeve farm, checked to see if Tim Blair was awake, then hit asmallvictory, where Michelle was writing about 9/11. She does that from time to time. Pitbull / bone. One of the reasons I go there daily; that, and the comic book talk, parenthood observations, and other deadpan delights. Uh oh: she quoted a Metafilter comment that took me to task.I think, I’m too beat to reply to this drivel.

Although I could nuke a cup of coffee.

He wrote:

Funny how it's easy to disregard the Rwanda and Bosnia genocides and yet remain the eternal victim because of 9/11.

James Lileks: What the hell does he have to be angry about? He's Caucasian, male, and living in the richest nation in the world. He has more opportunities in one day than a Third World citizen has in a lifetime. Is he being targeted because of his ethnicity? Is he being thrown into a camp and being repeatedly raped? Is he being buried alive in a pit by hateful condotierres paid a pack of cigarettes a day?

The 9/11 victimhood seems to me an excuse for the Angry White Male to make a comeback. Except this time it seems to be justified, even if you weren't anywhere near the WTC. And that's the sick cancer festering within the American psyche.

This reminds me of a gentle tut-tutting I got from some guy on a webpage I stumbled across post 9/11 - he was just so . . . bemused at how I’d lost my grasp on reality. I had been describing my reaction to the men who’d kill my daughter for the glory of Allah: give me the gun, show me the cave. The author of the piece suggested I would be perfect for the role of the WW2 black-out warden who scolds people for half-closed windowshades.

Why, it’s almost as if I thought we were at war, or something.

Obviously the guy had no kids. I’m not saying childless people can’t have a visceral reaction to terrorists, or that parenthood has imbued me with a special glowing Field of Righteousness - but until you have children you can’t quite realize what you’d do to defend them, because the emotion comes from a place you didn’t know too much about. The weeks after 9/11 we all thought that we were in for more of this - more planes, more bombs, and come the winter, Smallpox. I would jerk awake from nightmares where Gnat had the pox. You do everything you can to keep them safe - then this.

I was nowhere near New York when it happened, of course. But you’d have to be unusually thick not to see that this was the start of something that would affect more than the lower portion of the island of Manhattan. I don’t know what compelled me to grab the videocam off the shelf and start shooting, but I’m glad I did, because what I caught captured something I needed to remember: the TV has the picture of the twin towers engulfed in smoke: my little 14 month old child is grinning with unbearable delight, holding out her Elmo phone. Hi! Hi! Hi! Jasper’s in the corner of the picture, on his back, paws up, whimpering; whatever I was giving off, he got. But Gnat was in Elmo-world, a happy little place in which she’d always be safe, and I’m wondering if her future will be all downhill from here.

At that point I thought the fires might go out. I thought the towers might be saved. Then they fell. And you knew that the future had just taken the wrong exit.

Angry? Almost two years later I’m still f*#king furious about it, if you want to know the truth. I’m not sure what emotion these people want me to have. An appropriate amount of sadness mixed with an appropriate amount of shame mixed with a soupcon of perspective and a dram of self-hatred? Can you send me the precise recipe, please? Because from where I stand, I see the two forces I thought the left deplored: religious intolerance and fascism. Together at last! Swirled into one cone! If Kluxers had flown planes into the UN building, these people would be insisting that America was bubbling over with millions of Bubbanazis, and the failure of the networks to mount Second Anniversary specials would be proof that the media secretly embraced the White Power agenda.

Again, I’ll ask the question: when did I overdo it? January 14, 2002? August 23rd 2003, 11:34 AM? Was that the point at which we were supposed to pack it all away in a box and store it in the attic with the newspapers and Time magazines? I pass a house every day that still has a Wellstone! sign in the front window. Should I knock on their door, and ask why they have the sign up? They’re white, male, living in the land of opportunity. Stop grieving. Stop it!

Wellstone died almost a year ago - by accident. Three thousand people died by design that day. Only a fool couldn’t help noticing what it meant: they want us all dead. They want a world in which my daughter is a slave - and even though they’ll never get it, they will kill someone else’s daughter a half a continent away just to make their point. They want a world in which there is no US, and the Bosnias and Rwandas are not only commonplace, but proof that their god is ascendant.

Sorry. No. I want a world where those who choose Western ideas can flourish and thrive. And by “Western” I mean that raped girls aren’t stoned. Gays aren’t crushed by rocks. Public cleavage doesn’t get you whipped. Jews and Lutherans and Sufis can sit on a bus together and it’s no big deal. Where citizens decide that if they don’t like their government, they try it again - and the recall pits an Austrian immigrant against a native-born man of Hispanic origin.

The 9/11 victimhood seems to me an excuse for the Angry White Male to make a comeback. Except this time it seems to be justified, even if you weren't anywhere near the WTC. And that's the sick cancer festering within the American psyche.

There you go. The problem isn’t Islamist fascism. It’s the sick cancer of men with low melanin concentrations who can’t forget that picture of two strangers - one Asian, one Black - embracing in sobs in a bodega as the smoke and dust rolled down the street. This is why I left Metafilter right after 9/11. They don’t mind if you’re angry. You can be angry about important things, like Microsoft security lapses and Ashcroft crusades. But 200 stories of skyscraper falling to the ground? Thousands dead, ten thousand orphaned, ten million mourning?

Dude. Get a grip.
Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More