AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! I cannot fucking TAKE another MINUTE of Jeremy fucking BENTHAM! This article in NY Times Magazine, right? Quoting Bentham’s famous “can they suffer?” passage as the wellsprint of animal rights. May I remind the world that Bentham was the stone nutburger who dreamed up the Panopticon prison system (a system so inhumane it led to insanity and suicide amongst those exposed, not to mention the starting-point for much modern surveillance theory)? That the man had himself STUFFED AND MOUNTED IN A CASE after death with his HEAD between his FEET?! NO MORE BENTHAM! I declare an ETHICS STRIKE!

As for the rest of the article, it’s lots of fun. The author (Michael Pollan, always a pleasure) brings some interesting points and is refreshingly pro-meat in some respects (free-range farming, baby!). And he gets a few good shots at the lunatic fur-fringe (eg., animal-rights folk who try to make their cats — excuse me, their “animal companions” — vegetarian while shrugging their shoulders at mass extinctions). And by the way? Bentham was a carnivore, proving that even a stopped clock or a stuffed Utilitarian can be right on occasion.

An excellent piece from the Washington Post on the kind of guys that don’t exist — in the national discourse, on the radar of the media, in the statisticians’ files. There are plenty of them where I’m from, of course, but that place might as well not exist either. There’s a sweetness about this piece, perhaps Ben is a not-even-vaguely-angry young man (though after you read the account of how his teachers handled him, you might be pissed; I know what happens when Ben grows up, though.

The bad news: We are (as long predicted) getting fucked by not only the Boomers but by their hideous spawn. The good news: We may be the last generation allowed to live outside the blare of cradle-to-grave marketing. (No, the children of Xers will not also be spared; by then the marketing Powers That Be will have micro-targeting worked out and they’ll be just as pummelled as the rest. Sorry.) One might think that it’s also good news that relatively few of us will be drawing Social Security while all those urchins pay in, but we’ve had that talk before about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and Social Security funds for our generation…

It’s Election Day and something’s rotten in the state of Florida. What were the odds? And how will future generations explain to each other why we were so eager to rain hell down on the overseas enemies of American democracy, and so disinclined to pursue those at home? (Not to mention the irony of pre-eminent vote-monitor Jimmy Carter actually being from America. Christ, Georgia’s just one state away from Florida and Tennessee both. Suppose he’s doing anything this afternoon that couldn’t wait?)

They’re losing the cow? THEY’RE LOSING THE COW?! Dude, I’m getting a Dell! (Seriously, they’re making a breathakingly stupid move — mooooooooooooove — eliminating the cow from Gateway’s ads and packaging. It stands out and has a solid, dependable vibe, and if you’re walking along an NYC street and see a pile of those black-and-white boxes by the curb on trash day, it’s instant computer-upgrade envy, and at no additional cost ot Gateway. I’m willing to bet they back off this stupid idea within a year.)

Ah, the perils of the practicing ethicist: Randy Cohen (the NY Times version of me) took some heat for an answer he gave in last week’s column. Those of you not in NYC may be confused about the logic by which some Jews would call other Jews anti-Semitic, but I assure you that this is a bona fide occupational hazard, or geographical hazard, or what you will. (And his answer in the original piece? Yes, he probably deserved that whupping. It was a bad call and bad advice.)

*sigh* The sad thing is, I was literally visiting AlterNet to make a donation just now — they do great work — when I stumbled and fell face-first into this foolishness. What is it about San Franciscans that makes them so unutterably self-absorbed and so entirely uninteresting at it? Guess New Yorkers just make it look too easy to do it well; the provinces get ideas… Meanwhile, gonna hold off on the donation until the queasiness dies off.