Thursday, September 01, 2005

LP on film

For those who haven't heard the news: THE ARISTOCRATS records dozens of standup comics, some more famous than others, offering their renditions of the filthiest joke in the world. Apparently, this joke has been shared among comics for generations, but (for reasons that will become apparent to the careful observer) never told on stage. THE ARISTOCRATS presents endless variations on a basic theme. Thesevariations includes every possible profanity, obscenity, crime against nature,etc. There's even a mimed version, and one told by a ventriloquist's dummy.

This movie is strongly recommended for those of you who, like me, are temperamentally irreverent and are not easily shocked. (Three people walked out of the theatre the day I was there, and that's out of twenty or so in attendance.) My own personal high points: Carrie Fisher, Gilbert Gottfried, Mario Cantone (impersonating Liza Minnelli telling the joke), and Bob Saget. The bits are pretty inconsistent, but there are lots and lots of them; if youdon't like that particular comedian, wait thirty seconds.I wish Jack Benny and Milton Berle were around to tell this joke. I hate Jackie Mason, but I wish he'd signed on for this particular project. He'd be good at it.

The best possible remake of this film would subtract Rip Taylor, David Brenner, Rita Rudner, Fred Willard, Bruce Vilanch and several others, and replace them with Rick Santorum, Phyllis Schlafly, Mitt Romney, Jeanine Pirro, PatRobertson, the Rev. Farwell, Bill Frist, and Karl Rove. If it's cosmopolitanism you're after, toss in Kurt Waldheim and Jean Marie le Pen. If you'd like to be nonpartisan about it, then bring on Maxine Waters and Mario Cuomo. Some producer should find a way to compel this.

If that can't work, well, computer generated imaging works wonders.

Les Phillips

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Dear readers,

We're currently developing the new Desis For Texas blog.

Our increased readership has inspired us to ever further heights of creativity.

Drop us a line!


Monday, August 29, 2005

Our guys in the news

Jay Aiyer, our candidate for Houston City Council At Large Position No. 2, is facing a new challenger. The entry of a candidate with Spanish last name throws the significance of ethnic voting alignments into sharp relief. Let's support Jay!

Chris Bell, our Democratic Candidate for Texas Governor, debuted a post from his wife, Allison, on the campaign blog. Allison Ayres Bell discusses the importance of Chris's campaign from the perspective of a mother of two young sons in Texas, and how this race will affect their future.

Chris Bell, our Democratic Candidate for Texas Governor, addressed a crowd of Democrats in Tyler, TX, discussing the dangers of one-party rule.


Dear Friends,

Shortly following our endorsement of Congressman Chris Bell, Democrat, as our candidate for Governor, we were contacted by representatives of the Chris Bell for Governor Campaign. They were happy to have oursupport, but pointed out a factual error in our blog announcement. Our original endorsement erroneously characterized the nature ofCongressman Bell's candidacy for the Mayor of Houston.

Mr. Bell got 16% in the mayor's race and subsequently endorsed Lee Brown in the runoff.. Our endorsement stated that Congressman Bell had stepped out of the race, making room for Lee Brown.

As the one responsible for researching Mr. Bell's past and authoring our statement of endorsement, I take full responsibility for this error, and I am glad to have this opportunity to correct my statement. I wish to thank the Bell campaign for bringing this error to my attention. I shall take greater care in the future regarding any

We are still proud to stand behind Mr. Bell as he stands for election in Texas, and will do everything in our power to aid him.

Congressmen visit Kashmiri exhibit

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman Nick Lampson were among the distinguised guests at the recent exhibit on Kashmiri suffering that took place in Houston recently. French journalist Francois Gautier, a veteran reporter who has been covering South Asia for years now, was motivated by the juxtaposition of the beauty of the land and the ugliness of the violence that he saw to establish The Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism, an organisation that has successfully travelled the United States and the United Kingdom with provocative exhibits and information sessions on the horrors of terrorism.

Jackson Lee has been the representative for the 18th Congressional District of Texas since its recent inception, and has been in the U.S. Congress since 1994. The eighteenth district has a huge population of desis, which is reflected in many of her Congressional actions. Indeed, Jackson Lee is the co-chair of the House Pakistan Caucus, and has made many a trip to both India and Pakistan to surveille the conditionst there.

Lampson has been representing southeast Texas for just about thirty years now. He is currently seeking election in the twenty-second congressional district of Texas, hoping to unseat Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Both Congressman Lampson's and Congresswoman Lee's presence at the exhibit showing the painful story of the exodus of Kashmiri pandits has helped bring awareness to the necessity of an immediate, peaceful reconciliation of the Kashmir problem. It also shows that both Representatives are truly responsive to the needs of their constituency, and not just paying lip service.


Regarding gender differences

Good morning, dear readers. I hope that both of you had lovely weekends. (Mom, I know that you did. And yes, I'll remember to pick up the dry cleaning.) I would like to begin this week of posts by continuing on a thread I introduced in an earlier post: the differences between men and women, and why this is politically significant. In the former post, I merely took the significance of this issue for granted, and assumed that both of you readers were with me on it, but I think that we should expand a bit on it at this time.

If you'll look to the right, you'll see a list of links to publications that we find interesting. Some of them are right-wing, some are left-wing, some are literary, some are nifty and there are some lucky few who happen to combine everything. One of these super-nifty-left-and-right-as-it-develops magazines is First Things, a magazine of politics, culture and theology published monthly by Neuhaus and a contingent of American Jesuits. I enjoy this magazine quite a bit, although there are few other Desis For Texas staffers who are interested in what they have to say. (Let's just that there are few people involved in our efforts who are anywhere near as geeky as I am, and leave it at that.) Anyway, in last month's issue, there was an interesting book review of two books on gender theory. I thought that the review was subtle and enjoyable enough to warrant being the article linked to in our title link. Whoo-hoo!

At the root of this whole discussion is the so-called battle of the sexes. I'm sure that we've all heard various things through the years from uncles and aunties that supposedly explain why men and women are different. Here are two of my favourite ones to date.

Gurdeep Uncle: A woman's behaviour can be fully explained by words beginning with "in." Indulge, Inquire, Instruct, Investigate, Interpret and Instigate.

Amrita Auntie: The only thing that men care about is keeping women down.

My friend Raj (not the blog writer): I am firmly convinced that there is nothing more horrifying to a woman than the notion that a man is making decisions without her, and furthermore, is happy doing so.

My mother: To determine the emotional age of a man, add the digits of his age together, and you'll get his actual emotional age. So you, son, are twenty-six, which means two plus six, and that's eight. You are emotionally eight years old.

Of course, depending on which bathroom you go to, you're going to probably find humour and sympathy with either position. I've heard any number of people completely agree with any of these statements, and proclaim the genius of the authors thereof. My personal favourite of all these theories is my father's, who described the basic plotlines of all movies and television programmes as

Man bad, woman good. Man makes woman cry. Woman cries. Man is stubborn because he's dirty, stupid, ugly and has no feelings. Man eventually realizes everything that's wrong with him and spends the rest of his life apologising to woman for existing, and makes it up to her by letting her push him around.

Pretty funny, huh?

Of course, there are some serious political issues at play here. Seriously. As we all know from our studies of Plato, the single most important question that we can ask is the "What is?" question.

  • What is holiness

  • What is justice?

  • What is reason?

  • What is man?

  • et cetera

Once we know a thing for what it is, we can begin to properly act upon it and integrate it into a political and philosophical system. This preoccupation with determining what a thing is has led many people to think that philosophy is really nothing more than a series of definitional arguments, semantic quibbles, if you will, with no real consequence. That is the classic Marxist line. Til now, philosophers have merely interpreted the world. The thing is to change it.

Consider, though, that all the oppressive laws in history have been based on some understanding of the nature of the people being oppressed.

Women are like children, requiring guidance. One doesn't allow a child to vote. Why should we allow a woman?

Blacks are barely one step removed from the ape, as indicated by their cranial structure. We must keep them in slavery because that is all that they are capable of.

The Indian is enshrouded by mysticism, superstition and ignorance. He is incapable of self-rule.

These are all statements attributing some property to the fundamental nature of women, blacks and Indians - a statement about what they are. Anyone who thinks that these arguments over the nature of men and women don't have political consequences is delusional.

More later. I'm sure that Mimosa will have something to say on the subject. ;)


LP on film

Best greetings! This is my first appearance on this blog. Congratulations toall of you, and especially Dheeraj; a lot of hard work going on here in a goodcause.I'm Les Phillips, and I'll be writing a weekly column on movies. I'll alternateclassic and current films, week by week. Ordinarily the column will appear onThursdays.

ROMAN HOLIDAY (William Wyler, 1953) is the film that made Audrey Hepburn astar. I saw it epochs ago and remembered it as charming but very slight. I musthave been very stupid. ROMAN HOLIDAY is beautifully crafted, and has a genuine,understated poignance.ROMAN HOLIDAY is an arrangement in grey and black, but also an arrangement ofold and new. Hepburn, whose origins were Belgian/French/Dutch/English, plays aprincess from some indeterminate European country. She's been sent on a tour ofEuropean capitals, a goodwill mission; but her beauty and good nature mask agrowing impatience. Her quarters in Rome are old, majestic and dull. Everyonewho attends her is old and dull. She is always indoors. When she runs away, sheexits through a series of somber, elegant, ancient corridors and entrances andexits, into the freedom of the city. The viewer travels with her through thestreets of everyday and tourist Rome.

ROMAN HOLIDAY is one of the first majorfilms to be shot entirely on location. The city is bright, the people are happyand young and casual and friendly. It is only seven years after the end of theSecond World War, but for Princess Ann, it seems like her first glimpse of thetwentieth century.She also gets to meet Gregory Peck and his sidekick Eddie Albert (who plays asort of 1953 hipster! Named Irving!!). They're American journalists, and theyplay poker and drink bourbon. The black and white of the "holiday" section ofthe film is still black and white, but it plays like color. No music in the film, until the Princess Ann runs away; none after she returns after herholiday, either. The contrast is meticulous and thoughtful.

Hepburn was 23 when she filmed ROMAN HOLIDAY. She wears her grace and gravitas so naturally that she seems older. She is exceptionally beautiful. (I hope Idon't have to tell you about Audrey Hepburn.) William Wyler is such a gooddirector: subtle, fully in control, superb taste, yet capable of surprise. Wyler made gazillions of silent films in the Twenties (18 of them in the year1927!). His experience shows; this is a quiet movie. The screenplay, by theblacklisted Dalton Trumbo, isn't afraid to be silent. The major emotionalshifts in the film are signaled nonverbally. We know that Princess Ann is boredand restless not because she tears her hair and screams, "I'm bored!!!", butbecause Hepburn acts it, and because Wyler shows her slipping one foot, ever so tentatively,out of her shoe. Behold a fifties Hollywood movie almost entirely withoutmusic, virtually without any emotional manipulation of any kind.

The final sequences of ROMAN HOLIDAY are a small masterpiece. THe princess saysgoodbye to Rome in a majestic receiving hall. Hepburn's back to herprincesshood, formal and correct, but expressing a lovely range of emotion,almost covertly. The very last scene is Peck's. He says not a word; Wyler'sdirection of the final ninety seconds says everything for him.

ROMAN HOLIDAY is easy to overlook, if you're not really looking. The romantic story isn't fresh, the suspense is nothing special, even the one actionsequence (a fistfight) is done gently. Really it is a film about nobility, ofthe common and royal varieties, and what it might mean to be noble. See thisfilm if you haven't; see it again, if you have.

Les Phillips

Friday, August 26, 2005

Desis For Texas Endorses Jay Aiyer, Houston City Council At Large No. 2

I am pleased to announce that the endorsement committee of Desis For Texas has unanimously voted to endorse Jay Aiyer in his bid for Houston City Council. As a native Houstonian, the honour of writing the 'blog announcement has fallen to me.

Jay Aiyer's bid for City Council represents the triumph of the desi immigrants. As mentioned in an earlier post, we have been coming here for generations, preoccupied with working hard to provide the kind of opportunity that was never available in the homelands. Jay was able to attend top-notch schools in Alief and Fort Bend ISD, my beloved alma mater, The University of Texas and later, law school here in Texas. He was a first-class student at every step of the way, all of which paved the way for his career in public service.

Jay's devotion to the City of Houston has been obvious at every step of his career and in every action taken. He's served as Chief of Staff to the Mayor's Office, bring his history of sound management and efficiency development to the organised chaos that was once the municipal bureaucracy. He's helped streamline and energize the Houston Community College System, making higher education not only more affordable, but of a higher quality. He's participated in leadership forums and mentorship programmes for Houston entrepreneurs and aspiring civil servants.

And yet, while he has a sterling history, we are not endorsing him because of it. We are endorsing him because we believe that his future is more promising. Jay's vision of what Houston can be and how we can get there is an exciting game plan for the country's third largest city.

  • Using the private sector in conjunction with public sector coordination will not only free up quite a bit of redundant municipal spending, but will also bring Houstonians better services with greater speed.

  • Consolidating the training of first-response emergency aid workers into a centralised system and integrating this academy with the Houston Community College System will not only provide for more robust and better trained emergency force, it will do so at a significantly cheaper cost.

  • Houston is about to undergo an infrastructure crisis. We need to have manageable and affordable mass transit. Jay's plan to further develop what Bill White began will only lead to a safer and more navigable environment in which businesses can flourish.

Jay Aiyer's vision for Houston is the right vision, and Desis For Texas is proud to lend him all the support that we can.


Jokes of The Week

It's hard to top The Sacred and Holy Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, but I think that we can do it.

A desi couple was blessed with quadruplets. As they were birthed, the doctor asked the father what he wanted to name each child.

"This one is Chirag."

"Yes, sir."

"This one is Mahabhir."

"Yes, sir."

"This one is Devanand."

"Yes, sir."

"And this one is Wong Fu-Lee."

"Wong Fu-Lee?"


"What? Why?"

"Don't you know? I saw on the news yesterday that every fourth child born is Chinese."

(drum roll)

Let the produce fly, ladies and gents.


More on Intelligent Design.

As a recent convert to Pastafarianism, I think it important that we call on the Republican leadership to make sure that my beliefs in The Flying Spaghetti monster, the flatness of the earth, geocentrism and the horrors of miscegation.

My retrograde beliefs are threatened by science! HELP!


p.s. For some intelligent discussion of how the religious right have become nothing than a bunch of pomods, albeit, with far lamer clothes and less sense of fun, I advise that you read this great article from The New Republic.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Desis For Texas Endorses Chris Bell, Democratic Candidate For Governor

As a native Houstonian, I am proud to write our 'blog announcement about endorsing Congressman Chris Bell for Governor of Texas in 2006. Our board was happy to unanimously vote for Chris, and we're thrilled to see that he's continuing his service to The Lone Star State.

Since I've been in Houston, Congressman Bell has been a voice of responsibility, prudence and good sense. I remember watching the news when I first went to college, and seeing him campaign for the City Council elections. Right there, in that first bid for public service, were the seeds of what grew into his political ethos. He was telling Houstonians about how their government needed to be more efficient, more transparent, more honest about how they were spending the tax revenues and more accountable to the people. He demonstrated that we could have a better, stronger and more progressive city government without having to raise taxes, and in fact, by cutting them. He also authored legislation that made it more difficult for former municipal employees and servants to parlay their service into lucrative lobbying contracts, lining their pockets with monies exacted from hard-working Houstonians. I had never seen a politician talk that talk, much less walk that walk. At the time, I was just beginning to question my involvement in the Republican party, and I remember thinking that if this is what Democrats were like, perhaps I should switch parties.

Congressman Bell's legacy to the Houston City Council was a stronger, more efficient, more transparent and more progressive city government with property taxes. This legacy parlayed itself into his mayoral campaign, where once again, he astounded the city by backing out of a run-off race, and endorsing Lee Brown. Rather than put the city through a divisive three-way run-off, Congressman Bell decided to back out and serve elsewhere.

This brings us to Congress. As a Congressman, Chris Bell's prescience and vision led him to found the Port Security Caucus, long before it was popularly known that porous borders and insecure ports of entry constitute a terrifying national security risk. Recognising that his district, the former Texas 25th, was a diverse district, Congressman Bell made every effort possible to be available to his constituents and to address their wide variety of concerns. I remember seeing him at the Mahatma Gandhi Community Centre in 2004, addressing the audience about the richness of America's melting pot. I remember scanning Yahoo! News and seeing stories about Congressman Bell taking a Congressional junket to Mumbai, as part of the Congressional India Caucus.

His legacy as a Congressman was a committment to national security, diplomacy, peace-building, international development, civil rights and most importantly, ethical and transparent government. It's impossible to pigeonhole his ideological beliefs simply because of the fact that he's above that. When Bell discusses issues and their solutions, he's truly discussing issues and their solutions, and partisan gamesmanship has nothing to do with it. Although Washington and Austin may be more polarized than ever before, the rest of the country isn't. Most of us are more interested in solutions than we are in smashing the opposition, and it is we who should elect Chris Bell to represent us. The initial seeds that began so long ago in Houston have now grown into what Congressman Bell calls The New Mainstream.

The New Mainstream is comprised of people who think that when there are complex problems, we have to innovate, make tough decisions and be willing to go beyond the politics of soundbytes. The New Mainstream is about using issues as a way of bringing people together rather than keeping them apart. Very few things in politics have a black and white answer, and those usually involve body-counts. If we want to solve a problem, rather than keeping it alive for political gain, we have to be able to cross the aisles and work together. The New Mainstream is about recognising what we've done til now that's good, keeping it, discarding what hasn't worked, and being willing to move towards new ideas.

The New Mainstream is reform in the truest sense of the word: it's about redrawing lines to include rather than exclude.

Desis For Texas is proud to endorse a man of Chris Bell's vision, character, integrity and commitment to service. We've seen his dedication to his constituents in the past, and know that he'll bring that regard to the entire state as Governor. We are happy to be part of The New Mainstream.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ship of Fools

The capture and transport of slaves from Africa to America has been catalogued in numerous books, films, television shows (Roots is one of the more memorable examples). Similar acts of brutality occurred before and since the famed triangular trade route surfaced between Europe, western Africa, and the newly formed colonies in the Americas. Besides being captured, many Africans were simply given away as slaves by their kings in return for goods such as beads, shells, textiles, brandy, horses, and guns. Contemporary American politicians have played the race card from time to time to differing effects. The concept of reparations has haunted generations of African-Americans after the failure of "40 acres and a mule" to help their community rise above the degradations imposed upon them by simply evil men - white or black, as seen by the antecedents of the slave trade. Africans had been traded for centuries before the triangular trade began.

None of these details substantiate the truly horrific loss of life under demeaning circumstances. Nonetheless, it is intriguing to see how the past funds our present and future, most notably in the funding of historical studies. Today's NY Times online profiles marine archaeologist Jaco Boshoff and his attempt to find the remains of a Dutch shipwreck that hosted both a slave mutiny and their eventual capture. Much of the ship's tempestous journey has been well-documented, in letters and court archives, and is now stored in Cape Town, South Africa. In a nutshell: the Dutch East India company sent the Meermin to Madagascar in search of slaves for its burgeoning new settlement at Cape Town. On the way back, half of the 147 slaves - including women and children - rebelled against their captors and attempted to steer the ship back. Both slaves and captors utilized cunning and skill in getting their way. Whereas the slaves were able to mutiny after being assigned to the menial task of cleaning spears, the crew members fought back by stealthily guiding the ship to what the slaves thought was Madagascar. Meanwhile, officials in Cape Town became suspicious after sighting a still-born ship without a flag, and readied their arms for mutinous slaves. Total casualties amounted to nearly 60 dead Dutchmen and dozens of slaves drowned, shot, or chained to bondage.

Artifacts of the tumultuous trip include bayonets, pistols, ropes, and compasses. The Meermin's fate was less fortunate, left to drown out in the sand at the mouth of the Heuningries River. This is now the site of Boshoff's current search. Shackles, spears, and other remnants of the prison-like conditions on ship would point him towards the bounty of all treasure-troves: the last remaining wreck of the Meermin. While the majority of Boshoff's funding has yet to be secured, aptly named mining conglormerate Anglo-American has given him a $40,000 magnetometer and a field assistant to help him during the search. Even more intriguing is the Dutch government, who will gladly donate should Boshoff find actual pieces of the wreck.

I am hesitant to continue the expository tone of this piece. It ignores the human toll coldly acknowledged as collateral damage in the midst of terrible times. The birth of new countries is rife with convoluted tales and stories with grizzly ends that the slaves and crew members met. Projects such as Boshoff's shed another light on the story, and it's the responsibility of both him and his funders to insure that the wreck is salvaged without too much pomp and circumstance, but rather, with the slow, solemn mourning that should have accompanied its demise.

Looking for something awesome?

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Drop him an email and tell him what you need. The rest is pure magic.


The Best Personal Ads EVER.

Who has a Friendster profile? Who has a MySpace account? Signed up for Mera Pyar? Admit it. We all live in America. EVERYONE uses personal ads, or at least reads them. You know that you do.

Some of us, though, in addition to reading personal ads and browsing other people's profiles (OPP FOR THE 21ST CENTURY!!), read books and magazines. And I don't mean Entertainment Weekly. Nor do I mean magazines in which such idiotic topics as distressed denim and asymmetrical shirts are discussed. Nope, gents, I don't mean magazines in which video games and nineteen year old c-list actresses are featured either. No, my friends, some have joined the ranks of the literate. Not only do we read books, but we read magazines about books, and that worse yet, sometimes feature articles about reading books. For those of you who refuse to believe that such a magazine could exist, thinking to yourselves, "Uh, who wants to read about reading?" let me introduce you to The London Review of Books. I've been a long time reader, but this morning, I was reminded by a colleague about how great their personals are.

Without further ado, then, I give you the courtship declarations of the literate.


Thought for the day: ‘When there are no rights attached to language, language is theft’

Worshippers of beauty! Deity of aesthetic delight requires suitable attire! 40K needed before season ends!

Wyt ti’n byw yn gogledd Cymru? Dysgu Gymraeg? Fyddet ti’n hoffi cyfarfod i diod a scwrs? 01492 531148

Living easy, living free, season ticket on a one-way ride. Highway to Dagenham with Dad-rock M (46). WLTM F to 45 who knows a mid-life crisis when she see one. Box no. 15/01

CONGRATULATIONS! You are the thousandth reader to pass this ad by. Your prize is to pay for dinner and listen to me bitch about my university colleagues until pub turfing-out time. And no, you don’t get sex. Ever. Ever, ever, ever. Sensitive F. 38. Box no. 15/02

Did you know that 82% of male LRB readers are deadly ninja assassins? I’m not one of them, however, because my Kung Fu is of an older school, whose secrets are known only to a select few. Not only can I summon chi demons with a whisper, but I also live in my parents spare room and harbour impotent revenge fantasies against my ex-wife’s lawyer. This latter move is known in ancient Kung Fu circles as ‘Mardy Locust’. Let me teach you its deadly glare. Pathetic man, 41. Harrow. Box no. 15/03

My only academic achievement was contaminating the water supply in class 2C by sneezing over the beaker tray. It caused the biggest outbreak of conjunctivitis ever known at Sutton Primary. I wasn’t sorry then and I’m not sorry now. Bitter PR exec. (F, 34). WLTM man to 40 who enjoys living on the edge (of Putney). Box no. 15/04

The LRB had promised to be a fertile field for my sociology studies. But after signing up to a year’s worth of direct debits, I find that I was wrong. You are all idiots. I hate you. Get out of my sight. Or else reply to soon-to-be-redundant sociologist (M, 53). Box no. 15/05

Suggest to me something obscure. F,37 Clapham. Box no. 15/06

‘All he needs are some psychiatric treatments to reduce the strength and regularity of his biorhythmic brain explosion episodes. For one so young, his powers of telekinesis are far beyond that of any project we’ve developed so far. His brain has the power to rule the world. It may cause you some problems at home, but the benefits of the bionic mind far outweigh the pitfalls.’ My school report, 1979 (Porton Down Preparatory School). So much promise then, look at me now. Ex-superhero, now librarian (M, 31) seeks solvent woman to 35 for scrabble, real ale, and spontaneous morphing. Wilts. Box no. 15/07

Woman, 67, seeks man, ??, to explore possibilities. She: non-academic intellectual; special interests in science and philosophy of psychology and politics. General interest in most ideas, committed egalitarian. And he? Box no. 15/08

She-wolf looking for a mate loups around. Box no. 15/09

Male, 50, would like to escort a woman to the Edinburgh Fringe and Film Festivals. Email

It's not that I don't like living with my mother; but it would be nice to meet a woman who doesn't think that subtext is what you get when you press '888' on the TV remote control. M (42), n/s.

Woman, 60. Fit as a fiddle, full of beans, cockeyed optimist, old soul/young at heart, clever clogs, seeks clichŽ-free relationship with intelligent, creative, vital man, still crazy after all these years. Box no. 16/01

Active, literary, 34. Seeks girl Friday 07939 666328

Must it be by burglary? Ethical rough tarte seeks age-inappropriate permanent relationship with bloke, needs: fictional qualities Prof Bhaer/M.Paul; physical energy/wit Depardieu/Auteuil/Berling; soul P. Levi; brain/humanity Wittgenstein; smallest touch Sid James/Morrissey. Definitely no faint hearts or fetishists. Small chance huh? Box no. 16/02

Don't speak, you'll only destroy my already low opinion of you. And put your pants back on. And your wig. Terminally disappointed woman (38, Barnstaple) WLTM a man. Form a queue, then I'll negotiate the criteria. Box no. 16/03

Gynotikolobomassophile (M, 43) seeks neanimorphic F to 60 to share euneirophrenia. Must enjoy pissing off librarians (and be able to provide the correct term for same). Box no. 16/04

Pimp My LRB! My subscription has chrome rims, neon waterfall lighting, and the baddest, phattest exhaust this side of Osterley. Once inside, however, it's the same old Austin Maxi it's always been - unpredictable, sticky brake pedal, worn clutch, and chipped walnut veneer dash. M, 51, wants woman with a scooter. May accept all-zone train pass as long as you don't mind me stopping off at the Well-Man clinic along the way (first Tuesday of every month). Box no. 16/05

Jarns, nittles, grawlix and quimp! This column gets more profane with every issue. Straight-laced, blue-stockinged F seeks to establish higher standard with well-heeled gentleman to 60 with some degree of euphemistic dexterity when the moment demands it, and a liberal application of silence when it doesn't. We sleep in separate rooms and never share a towel at box no. 16/06

In June, 2001, Laura Buxton released a balloon during her grandparents' gold wedding anniversary celebrations in Staffordshire. She'd attached to it her name and address along with a note asking the finder to write back. Ten days later she received a reply. The balloon had been found by another Laura Buxton in Wiltshire, 140 miles away. Both Laura's were aged 10 and both had three-year old black Labradors, a guinea pig and a rabbit. The replies to my personal ads are of a very similar nature, always coming from people who share my name and major characteristics of my life. The only distinction is that my replies do actually come from me. It's not because I have a poor memory and respond to adverts I don't remember placing, but because I'm so damned attractive I find me irresistible. You will too, but if you don't own a three-year old black Labrador, a guinea pig and a rabbit I won't reply. Man. Gorgeous man. 37. Lovely. Kettering. Adorable. Yummy. Reply soon. Of course I will, you silly little pussycat. Box no. 16/07

American man, 57. I just want a girlfriend. What the hell is going on here? Box no. 16/08

Not allowed to compete in the 2004 RoboCup Robot Soccer World Cup with his team of bionically improved cats, computer geek and amateur bio-mechanic (M, 32) seeks woman to 30 with knowledge of advanced humanoid circuit systems to assist in the building of electronic water-loving mammal capable of writing children's fantasy fiction (or The RobOtter Potter-Jotter¨ , to use the project's full name). Must also have large bust. No loons. Box no. 16/09

September 5 is the anniversary of my divorce. So too is November 17, January 12, March 8 and June 21. Summer is usually much quieter - take advantage of the sunshine and lawyers' vacation periods by dating impatient, money-grabbing PR senior (F, 39). Box no. 16/10

Boanthropist (M. 34) seeks bovine woman with udders and bell. Box no. 16/11

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Why expanding the vote is a good thing, part two.

Good morning, dear readers. I hope that both of you had a good night's rest.

Yesterday, I began a long post discussing the benefits of including more blocs of people in the electoral process, you can just scroll on down and find that at your leisure. It's called Why expanding the vote is a good thing, part one, surprisingly enough. Yes, my friends, this consumer of exquisite neckties is gifted not only with the charm of the devil and the looks of a Bollywood film star (according to his devoted mother), but with an imagination and flair for composition unrivalled by anyone except for, well, everyone. Yes, I completely suck when it comes to coming up with titles for these posts. Sorry. Perhaps if I were to come up with better titles, you'd be more likely to read. Well, at the very least, if I quit this rambling, you're liable to continue reading, so let's get back to it.

We left off discussing the infamous Moynihan Report, in which Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then Asst. Secretary of Labor For Policy, discussed the differences between normal poverty and black poverty, and why standard-issue poverty combatting techniques were not liable to be entirely successful in the black community. There's really no way to summarise his findings without doing tremendous intellectual damage to what he had to say, but essentially, Moynihan's claim was that centuries of having their cultural institutions, such as families, religions and schools, destroyed and undercut by slavery, Jim Crow laws and a federal government that was hamstrung by racist Southern Democrats had created a situation where it wasn't enough to merely try and place people in jobs, as the very fabric that held their society together was falling to pieces. In fact, argued Moynihan, without comprehensive efforts to revitalise their institutions and re-engage them with society at large, any attempts at alleviating poverty were doomed to end disastrously.

We are living in a world today where what I call the Moynihan nightmare is more applicable to ethnic minorities than I think even he envisioned. A quick survey of popular music and culture shows that more and more people are starting to feel completely disengaged from the political process, as if their votes don't matter, and that the only viable political action is through violent revolution. So although I don't really care for the self-styled visionaries of the hiphop community in general, who in my opinion, are nothing more than over-indulged and melodramatic panjandrums, I must say that in the case of Puffy's Vote or Die! coalition that I absolutely endorse and support these efforts.

Any attempt to persuade someone must be made on the terms of he who is to be persuaded. You must show him how whatever it is that you're trying to show him is what he really knows and wants, and you have to do so in terms of his own framework. So while some may consider such efforts to be tacky or think that by making voter registration a part of a club night, the dignity of the process is decreased, I say that Puffy et al. are seeking out these alienated youth and working with them on their own terms. By reaching out to a generation of people who are weaned on lingering nostalgia for groups like The Weathermen, The Latter Day Zapatistasa and other such groups, we take a group of people who have never been raised with any sense of civic obligation or loyalty to the system of law and order that we take for granted and bring them into a full world of civic life which they've never had a part of. From the perspective of liberal political philosophy, the legitimacy of a government is measured by the consent of the governed. The consent of the governed is measured by participation in the government and its institutions. Without the consent of the governed, we are at risk of a breakdown of law and order, and a premature end to the grand experiment in liberty that is the American Republic.
An even more horrifying thought is that if the current generation of politically disengaged youth never acquire the lifestyle of civic participation, their children never will, either, and so we begin the long downward spiral to chaos.

Desis For Texas is proud to be involved in outreach to young voters. We've held parties at The Hookup Lounge, appeared on Generasian Radio and are constantly on the lookout for more ways to get the youth involved.

If you have any ideas, as always, drop us a line.