Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On the Economy and Tourism

To demonstrate that we occasionally emerge from our ivory towers, we Learned Men have decided to discuss some current events. Since Patrick and I both completed short tours with our respective bands, we felt it was important to reflect on our time with the public and give the vox populi a chance to be heard. - Klint

Klint: So Patrick, our past two topics have been intellectually crippling. Let's try something a little more current. Any ideas?
Patrick: Well, I was considering taking some time off and vacationing. Can you think of anyplace that is warm, has a rich culture to immerse myself in, and happens to be affordable?
Klint: Affordable means you'll probably have to stay continental. Florida lacks the rich culture you so strongly desire. How about Mexico?
Patrick: Klint, what do you know about Mexico?
Klint: Well, I know that it was originally settled by the colorful Aztecs, and subsequently raped by the Spanish. Modern day Mexico is kind of a mystery to me, though.
Patrick: Likewise. I can assert that I know a thing or two about strip-clubs in Tijuana , but am otherwise ignorant to Mexico's day-to-day workings. Let's get on the ground.
Klint: I know a few things about Tijuana, as well- but I hope they're really not indicative of the the entire country.
Patrick: I think there is a certain appeal to a country with an economy built on selling stolen prescription pills and teen prostitutes, but it makes me hope no children live there.
Klint: Well, I'm pretty sure there's also a bustling illegal drug trade fueling their livelihood.
Patrick: My efforts to learn more about the topography and demographics of Mexico have been derailed a bit. I've found something very interesting.
Klint: I remember reading about this, actually.
Patrick: Michael Vick goes by the alias "Ron Mexico" when getting tested for STD's. What do you think this means? How does it reflect on the people of Mexico?
Klint: Ron Mexico is a known dog fighter. Mexico has a rich history of cock fighting. It seems to me that we're dealing with an entire country of cretins and animal abusers.
Patrick: That's a solid bit of reasoning there. Does this tie into the drugs at all?
Klint: Yes! Drug cartels have a known level of brutality that could be easily associated with the activities of sociopaths. A common early warning sign for violent mental illness is animal abuse. It would seem to me that the culture, not the cartel, is to blame.
Patrick: interesting. When the tell-tale signs of sociopathy are established parts of culture: the culture itself is sociopathic.
Klint: Exactly. So a known degenerate profession, in this case drug smuggling, becomes as commonplace as carpentry.
Patrick: I feel like we're treading dangerous territory right now. We don't want to level judgments against entire cultures.
Klint: You're probably right, especially when these cultures propagate a more than a fair share of kidnappings and decapitations.
Patrick: Maybe it's "all good," this drug dealing.
Klint: I mean, I don't do drugs, so I don't interact with these cartels particularly often.
Patrick: Maybe it would be best if we played this one down the middle. Let's say that while drug dealing ruins its fair share of lives, it is also a profession with a rich heritage.
Klint: On a basic level, it's just like trade in any other commodity. Like pork bellies or frozen concentrated orange juice.
Patrick: Can I invest in drugs without actually buying them? Can I buy shares? I think this is a growth industry. Drugs are going to get big in 2009.
Klint: I don't know enough about robust and stable investment schemes to really know where to begin funneling money into drug trade in order to reap returns. But it's definitely a bullish commodity. Considering our current economic state, I foresee a migration from the office to the pipe.
Patrick: This is the first installment of Learned Men where I feel that we can offer the reader some insider knowledge that will make them money. DRUGS IN '09. Buy now before despair causes a spike in demand.
Klint: Eat your heart out, MSNBC. We have our fingers to the pulse of the underground economy. So, if there's going to be a surge in demand for drugs in the coming months, what does this mean for the future of Mexico?
Patrick: It stands to reason that Mexico will be the next global superpower. I don't see China coming with that drug-based economy and the US has outsourced all its drug-making.
Klint: Do you think they have the means to keep up a sufficient supply without imploding?
Patrick: I think they are a resourceful people with an ingrained understanding of the product. I think they'll stay on the forefront for a while.
Klint: And furthermore, how will a previously poor country handle a massive influx of money?
Patrick: Funny you should ask that. I know the answer.
Klint: Lay it on me, then.
Patrick: Reference 1 and Reference 2 People on Nauru bought Ferrari's for roads that weren't built yet. Like Prince said, "Money changes everything."
Klint: So you think Mexico will amass a ton of money quickly, blow it on useless luxuries, and then end up worse than when they started?
Patrick: Nu money. They'll all get hot tubs and baby grand pianos they can't play.
Klint: And other enormous investments that rely on nonexistent infrastructure? Sounds about right.
Patrick:Apparently 400 people have been murdered in Juarez in the past few months. Seems like a dream getaway. Maybe we should research it before I buy the plane tickets.
Klint: I've heard similar stories about the local color, so I think this does bear investigation.
Patrick: To the smart-cave! The internet!
Patrick: Here's a telling bit of news copy.
Klint: Googling "Mexican drug war" turns up a lot of hits.
Patrick: Apparently the situation there is so bad that they are relying on the 2012 endtimes to get a handle on it.
Klint: If these cartels are so powerful that they can crush the Mexican government, who's to say they can't stop a meteor?
Patrick: A valid point. You know, Klint, I don't want to make light of a situation causing so much pain to so many, but these facemasks are pretty boss.
Patrick: Is the Mexican Police actual C.O.B.R.A. from GI Joe fame?
Patrick: Because those outfits are seriously a 12 year old's dream.
Klint: Definitely intimidating, and quite possible. Though I think C.O.B.R.A. could stand up to drugs.
Klint: Including the pair of sunglasses so you can still look like a badass without the mask. According to this, there's been one kidnapping per day in Phoenix linked to Mexican drug cartels.
Patrick: That took place in the US! Are we safe talking about this?
Klint: Seeing as it took them 3 years to make it to Phoenix, I think we're far enough from the border that they won't catch up with us before 2012. So all of this is just because of drug trafficking in Mexico?
Patrick: Yeah, I guess that is the part I don't understand. Don't we have drug trafficking here? Why is our state not in peril?
Klint: My best guess is that the economic climate in Mexico makes wealthy cartels more powerful than the government in some places, and they've just been able to gain a few footholds. So, judging by our own economic downturn, it's really only a matter of time before MS-13 or the Latin Kings take over a small town.
Patrick: Holy shit! I hadn't thought of that. We've been up here drinking high-fructose filled sodas and Tex-Mex burritos, laughing at our neighbors to the South. Smugly, we thought our towns could never be wild west shootout stages or COBRA training grounds. But with everyone in the US unemployed and the demand for drugs staying consistent, i think it's inevitable that we have a narco-state established in Vermont any day now.
Klint: Vermont would be an easy place to take over. People there seem to be pushovers. So, barring end of days, is there any sort of advice we can offer our neighbors to the south? Is there any resolution in sight?
Patrick: Can they mellow out and let the drug thing work itself out? Maybe they should just pass that shit and let the US worry about the corresponding gang violence here.
Klint: I think Mexico relies on the US for enough that they're not trying to pawn their murder problem off on us for fear of being cut off.
Patrick: I'm going to the source. I'm getting some good insights from a drug user. I'll share in a moment. I'm going deep undercover here.
Klint: Excellent. I think we're about to break this wide open.

Patrick: Ok, anonymous, as a drug user- can you explain what is going on in Mexico to me? Did you do it?
Drug User: I'v never been to mexico
Patrick: When you are hypothetically doing cocaine do you ever turn to the person next to you and say, "you know, maaaaan, I think we're part of a cycle of violence originating in the hill country of South America that works its way through the arteries of Mexico, ending only in the crime-ridden ghettos of America's poor?"
Drug User: no usually when you do cocaine you just talk about partying and doing more cocaine. cocaine is not the type of drug to be used while reflecting on global politics
Patrick: Do you think if you stopped doing cocaine, hypothetically, that the global market for South American drugs would take a significant enough hit to stem to tide of violence?
Drug User: i really doubt it. i don't think the amount of cocaine i do would really effect such things


Klint: He must be doing so much cocaine he can't accept responsibility for his own actions.

Patrick: Is it possible you are doing so much cocaine you are like the villain in Bad Boys 2 and are incapable of determining wrong from right?
Drug User: hahaha no that is not possible. cocaine is only like my 5th favorite drug. i guess t's possible tha the combination of all of these drugs could make such a situation occur


Patrick: So I think we've got a lead, if not a handle, on this drug violence epidemic in Mexico.
Klint: Agreed. I think I have a possible solution.
Patrick: That video speaks a thousand words. I think with some future research we can make solid recommendations to their government and probably make headway here.
Klint: I think we should send it to the Mexican government. So what have we learned about Mexico, then?
Patrick: We've learned that this is a buy and dump deal. We'll get in now, but sell before the thing implodes.
Klint: Sound financial advice to help you through these lean times.
Patrick: Good luck, Mexico. You'll still get my travel dollar, but I expect one of those cool masks when I walk through customs. This blog has made us targets.
Klint: Adios!
Patrick: Viva Mexico.

Monday, March 2, 2009

On Cyborg Feminism: Gender and Laser Vision


For the second time in a row, we believe we've met our match with yet another subject so asinine that even Learned Men can't comprehend it. -Klint

Patrick: Klint, I hope you've been well. I've had a remarkably boring couple of days to myself. I have fully understood all the concepts presented to me and felt challenged by nothing. I was hoping you could hit me off with a brain-buster to make me feel whole again.
Klint: I've been quite well. A largely uneventful weekend, but sometimes that's alright. And good thing you asked, because I'm about to drop a megaton of phony academia on you. Have you ever heard of Cyborg Feminism?
Patrick: I'm sorry, say again?
Klint: Cyborg Feminism. Sounds as if they'd go together like nuts and gum. But, Donna Haraway wrote an essay entitled "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century" which attempts bring the two together.
Patrick: Well, I have to confess this is an idea I don't understand at all. You've met my challenge head-on. Let's learn!
Klint: Here's a good place to start, since Wikipedia isn't thorough enough this time.
Patrick: Klint, I want you to be honest with me. Can I rely on you to answer me straight?
Klint: Patrick, how long have we known each other? Of course.
Patrick: Do I have brain damage?
Klint: No, but I think Donna might have suffered some before they turned her into the Robocop of the women's studies department.
Patrick: The page you just sent me, aside from the sexy tie-dye anime girl, is straight-up gobbledygook. It made less sense to me than Mormonism. Am I losing my brainpower? Like Professor Klump in The Nutty Professor 2?
Klint: No, it just really is this stupid. Try this and this.
Patrick: You know what the worst part of this is? This nonsense sucks all the joy out of both cyborgs and women. Prior to reading this, I thought cyborgs were awesome and women were my equals. Now... I'm all mixed up.
Klint: I am, too. The cyborgs she speaks of have nothing really cool going on about them.
Patrick: This sort of lifted my spirits. I felt a lot better about cyborgs after watching that, but am still feeling a little betrayed by women.
Klint: Well, the idea she's trying to express is that there's nothing basic that women all have in common just because they're women. The cyborg part is just in there to make her ideas seem novel. You really need to try and get the idea of T-1000s and anime sex robots out of your mind. And I thought women were my equals, too. But apparently they should also swear no allegiance to each other and have robot legs.
Patrick: I've been saying that for a long time. Does this woman want a cookie for suggesting the obvious?
Klint: I think she wants tenure.
Patrick: So are we sure this has nothing to do with actual legitimate awesome cyborgs?
Klint: I'm sure. No eye lasers, no guns instead of arms, or anything else appealing. It's just using the combination of organic and inorganic life as the root of a poorly developed social commentary.
Patrick: I'm tripping balls. This shit is like trying to do a Magic Eye while battling a migraine.
Klint: Check out some of her other essay titles: Crystals, Fabrics, and Fields: Metaphors of Organicism in Twentieth-Century Developmental Biology, Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science and Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature
Patrick: Was Inspector Gadget a robot or a cyborg?
Klint: I think a cyborg, since he had a daughter. Or was she a niece?
Patrick: Niece, I think. How do you think she felt about Cyborg Feminism?
Klint: I don't know if she was a liberated woman or not.
Klint: Slightly related question from a reader: Ben Brennan seems to be convinced that if people had sex with robots, it would be the downfall of humanity. How do you think this relates to Cyborg Feminism, and what are your feelings on it?
Patrick: What constitutes a robot? or a cyborg for that matter? I mean, if a woman gets her vagina tightened or her breasts lifted, that's not cyborgism right? Does there have to be an artificial component left in the body? And if so, does it have to be functional? Are breast implants the first part of being a cyborg? And if so, can I suggest that cyborgs are every bit as awesome as I always believed? And if you masturbate with prosthetic hand, is that having sex with a robot?
Klint: Well, Haraway defines cyborgs as, among other things, a "hybrid of machine and organism." So I think plastic surgery and/or breast implants would not qualify as cyborg. And to clarify, I think a robot lacks any sort of organic component.
Patrick: So if the breast implants had a lever, pulley, or wedge they would move someone towards being a cyborg? Those are machines.
Klint: You could probably sell that on a technicality. I'd rather make the breasts run Linux. Here's a section of the actual "Cyborg Manifesto." You can tell by the illustration that her ideas are very serious and academic.
Patrick: Oh fuck. Ok, I am starting to grasp that this is irony and purely rhetorical to further a point, but even with that in mind: What the fuck is going on here? It's unreadable! I feel like you gave me a link in Farsi with disappearing ink.
Klint: It's a pile of garbage. I don't understand what motivated her to choose the cyborg as her metaphor, either. Pick a concept that the academic community respects. As it stands, this appeals more to a World of Warcraft player than her supposed peers at university.
Patrick: There was an old bum in my town for years during my youth and he would stumble around yelling at people and breaking into storefronts. I feel like he made a fuck lot more sense than this gibberish.
Klint: That's probably true. And I'm sure his drunken ramblings about the end days were more relevant, too.
Patrick: Holy shit.
Klint: Breakthrough?
Patrick: Breakthrough.
Patrick: Did you know Angelina Jolie was in Cyborg 2?
Klint: I didn't even know there was a Cyborg 2. According to the trailer, she's also made for making love. A sexually liberated robot/woman hybrid is a feminist cyborg, I guess?
Patrick: Case closed. Thanks, crazy old lady, for introducing us to this dynamic idea. Cyborg feminism. Awesome.
Klint: I think I actually know less about this than when we started. Perfect place to stop. Thanks Donna, thanks Patrick. Fuck.
Patrick: Peace out, mean old lady. The only literature we need is Cyborg 2's closed caption option on it's multiregion DVD.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On Marquis Hector Oswald

Our search for a greater understanding of our world and its inhabitants hit a stumbling block with this topic. It's rare that we'll admit this, but we have found something beyond human understanding. Still, the conversation was a spirited one and we hope you can pull something from it.  - Patrick


Klint: I've spent my entire adolescence dabbling in various subcultures.  Hell, I still identify with a few in my mid 20's, but there's one that I really don't understand at all.

Patrick: Evangelical Christianity? 

Klint: Close.  Are you familiar with "steampunk?"

Patrick: Vaguely. I see people on the internet talking about it, but it seems to be the same people who are into those cats with the words underneath them so I can't say I know much about it. 

Klint: Picture an entire subset of people who loved the movie Wild Wild West so much that it's influenced every aspect of their being.

Patrick: The Will Smith movie? It meant that much to people?

Klint: I think there's more to it than that.  At least I hope there is.

Patrick: Give me a moment to do a Google image search. I don't want to stay ignorant. 

Klint: I'm going to do some research of my own.


Patrick: Ok, first question:  Is this real?  Like a real thing?

Klint: Well, it has enough of an internet presence to lead me to believe that it's not just some elaborate 4chan prank.

Patrick: Are we sure it's not like that photo with the shark attacking the guy on the helicopter? Totally fake? Because I'm into some pretty square shit and this is even too nerdy for me. 

Klint: Some of this stuff is pretty elaborate.  There's a "Steampunk Name Generator."  According to this, I'd be "Honourable Quinby Belcher"

Patrick: So this is just an aesthetic choice? 

Klint: I think that's how it started off.  Based in some awful subgenre of science fiction.  But, now there's steampunk music and even some sort of steampunk philosophy.  According to Wikipedia

"Other have proposed a steampunk philosophy, sometimes with punk-inspired anti-establishment sentiments, and typically bolstered by optimism about human potential."

Patrick: Is this about glorifying a period in human history where the anemic nerds who are into it would have died of tuberculosis? 

Klint: Sort of, except none of this stuff ever actually existed.

Patrick: And maybe I'm confused, aside from dressing like a jerkoff, what does it have to do with punk?

Klint: I think it's a few steps removed from cyberpunk, which is in turn a few steps removed from actual punk.

Patrick: So this is roleplay?

Klint: Right.

Patrick: Quinby, I'm still confused.  Why does steam power speak to greater human potential? 

Klint: Let's back up.

Patrick: My head is spinning. 

Klint: It's all based off some books a few guys wrote in the late 70's into the 80's.

Patrick: So there is a steam punk bible?  A little red book for virgins?

Klint: Not so much.  It's all bad fiction about what would happen if computers and technology existed in Victorian times.

Patrick: That hardly seems like a full enough world view on which to base your life. 

Klint: Which brings us to why this is all a bunch of crap.  It's just a bunch of weirdos romanticizing a timeperiod that never existed.  It's so idiotic that your average person at a club's goth night thinks these people are losers.

Patrick: I don't understand what makes steam powered gold plated technology any more appealing than "cavepunk" or "iron agepunk"

Klint: I think they assume that if they conduct themselves in a manner they perceive to be befitting of aristocrats, maybe normals will respect them instead of slashing their tires while they're parked outside of the store where they buy Magic cards.

Patrick: Let me refer to the internet for a moment. Someone must have published a Martin Luther-style agenda or proclamation on this whole thing. You and I think we have the "why" of it, but what do they tell themselves?

Klint: Good idea.  I'll look independently

Patrick: Well, here's something. On the community forum The Gaslamp Bazaar, I found the following poll: "Steampunk with or without magic?"

Klint: Wow.  I found a "Steampunk Manifesto," but I think that one simple question upset me even more than this did. 

Patrick: 77% of those polled like some magical and occult influences mixed into their steam punk world view. 

Klint: That makes perfect sense to me. 

Patrick: Klint, or Quinby, or whatever you prefer to be called these days.  I know this is a scholarly blog. 

Klint: Klint, please.

Patrick: I know we attempt to raise the bar and teach ourselves something with each entry.  But can I speak freely here?

Klint: Please do, because I think I know where this is going.

Patrick: I'm not confident there is anything to understand here. I don't think further research will yield any more profound an answer. I think we can sum this up simply: These people suck. Trying to decipher their motivations is pointless. That entry you just shared with me includes the following line:

"Our corsets are filled with safety pins and our tophats hide vicisious mohawks. We are fashion’s jackals running wild in tailorshop."
There is no reason here. Just ugly nerds.  If there is a side against this in the culture wars, I'd like to join. 

Klint: I'd agree.  Things like this are an affront to all that we, as learned men, stand for.  They're using misplaced SAT words to make their garbage subculture appear elegant and intellectual.

Patrick: Ok, shoot straight here: Would any of these people be involved in this if they were physically attractive?

Klint: It's possible, but unlikely.  No intelligent people could be involved, and for an attractive person to get into this, they'd have to grow up as ugly ducklings.  Maybe a big girl who loses a lot of weight, or a formerly acne ridden late blooming male.

Patrick: Do you think people will raise children as steampunks?  And do you think those kids will make it out of middle school without serious trauma from their peers?

Klint: I don't envision steampunks as effective breeders, but if a child is raised and sent to school in "steampunk attire," I forsee them being severely beaten and chastised.  

Patrick: This can't end well. I vote we close the topic for fear we'll let more of this idea into our lives. 

Klint: I agree.  I'm actually visually agitated by all of this.

Patrick: I mean, I'm impressed with people building computer mouses out of gold foil and balsa wood, but it also fills me with a particular sadness. 

Klint: As if there was something wrong with their brand new Dell 17" Inspiron laptop, that they had to open it up and rehouse it in polished walnut and brass.  So much wasted time and crafstmanship.

Patrick: Maybe they could build a time machine next. Go back to another era and be disliked there as well. 

Klint: I could see the LARP crowd really wailing on steampunks with their foam swords.

Patrick: I respect LARPing. Steampunk doesn't even have swords. 

Klint: True.  Final words?

Patrick: Should we expect hate emails from steampunkers or will it all arrive via carrier pigeons wearing brass goggles?

Klint: I picture them being written with quills on tattered parchments with a lot of flowery language that doesn't mean anything, sealed with a dollop of red wax that they pressed their class ring from vo-tech school into.

Patrick: That says it all. Tallyho, Quinby. 

Klint: Ugh.  Tallyho.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Submissions

If you'd like to submit a question or a topic, you can now do so at learned.men.blog@gmail.com.

On the Likeness of the Prophet

This is the first in a series of discussions between Patrick and I in an attempt to learn more about topics foreign to the both of us.  Feel free to continue our exploration in the comments section.  - Klint


Patrick: Klint, I know this is dangerous territory here, but I'd like to tackle a question I've been wondering about for some time now.
Klint: And what's that?
Patrick: Well, you probably remember that big hububalo about the cartoons of Muhammad. If I understand correctly, the issue wasn't that he was depicted as an asshole, but that he was depicted at all. I'm curious why muslims care so much.
Klint: I've heard about this, and always sort of wondered the same thing. Religious art is something that has a long tradition in any faith, so why is Islam the exception?
Patrick: I have a religious studies degree and consider myself fairly knowledgeable on that broad topic, but I don't have a fucking clue about this particular hang-up. So I was thinking you and I could do some heavy research, dig deep, and get to the bottom of this.
Klint: I think that's a reasonable idea. Hopefully we can crack this open.
Patrick: Let's break for a moment and independently collect some knowledge here.

Klint: So I started with Wikipedia to gather some background information.
Patrick: A reliable source. I like to change baseball players' stats at random on wikipedia, so I trust it.
Klint: I once made myself the mayor of Riegelsville, PA. I think it still says that I am. But, on topic, the Qur'an says:
"Behold! he said to his father and his people, "What are these images, to which ye are (so assiduously) devoted?" They said, "We found our fathers worshipping them." He said, "Indeed ye have been in manifest error - ye and your fathers."

Patrick: Is that it? Like, from that I'm supposed to pull that Muhammad is above being depicted?
Klint: Not exactly. I think the practice exists to discourage the worship of Muhammad's image instead of his words. Which aren't even his. They're just the regurgitated words of Allah.
Patrick: Like if I'm at the Jersey shore with Muhammad and I want a cute caricature of the two of us from a boardwalk vender, that shit is haram?
Klint: No, they have ways around it. Sometimes they veil his face or just depict him as a huge ball of fire.
Patrick: So fire is ok, but as we learned from that whole Danish debacle a bomb is not ok. How stylized can I get with this ball of fire?
Klint: I'm not really sure. Apparently the word of God is full of loopholes, so it can be pretty abstract.
Patrick: Like if I want to make the ball of fire look like the Mac Tonight McDonald's mascot from the 80's, is that shit cool?
Klint: Sure. Just leave the face blank, like this.  For all we know, he could look like the Noid.
Patrick: So, Ghost Rider?
Klint: I think motorcycles are haram.
Patrick: Most interesting about this, to me, is what it says about likeness. Clearly, a cartoon is not a realistic likeness of Muhammad. But Muslims took it as such.
Klint: It begs the greater question, what constitutes likeness?
Patrick: How abstract and removed from actual likeness can we get before a fundamentalist Muslim would have to throw in the towel and admit it was ridiculous? Like if I drew a carrot and said, "This is the prophet!" Would I be in hot water?
Klint: If someone worshipped the carrot, I think so. Or what if i spray painted Muhammad on the side of a barn?
Patrick: So we're in the clear provided that no one takes my childish doodle and prays to it?
Klint: Maybe? Or it might be a matter of merely attempting to depict the prophet. Regardless of skill level, I expect it's still a transgression.
Patrick: My intent is what matters here?
Klint: That seems the most reasonable interpretation. Because if a child tries to draw Muhammad, it's probably not going to look much like him, but it should still be forbidden. Or else you get into arbitrarily judging how much it looks like a man no one has ever met or seen an actual picture of.
Patrick: Hm. I was impressed with that probing bit of research you did by using Wikipedia, but I wanted to push further into this topic. Posing the question, "Why do Muslims hate cartoons?" to www.Ask.com yielded this
Klint: Watching that doesn't really answer your question, but I'll say I find the video to be reassuring, only because it proves that Muslims are consistent. If they hate the Dutch, they're not going to support the Dutch in any way.
Patrick: Is Muhammad the original Keyser Söze?
Klint: I'm not familiar enough with The Usual Suspects to really tell you that. I will say that Muhammad is the original Wilson.
Patrick: I know a guy is really angry that I owed him $30 for three days in 2003. I think Muslims are a lot like that guy.
Klint: Explore that idea.
Patrick: He IS Wilson. Holy shit. They both give scary, but attractive, truths from behind a veil of visual anonymity. I think we've gotten somewhere with that. That is really cutting to the core of the matter.
Klint: I'm glad we've been able to dig into it. I suggest a reader pick up from wherever we leave off for their dissertation.
Patrick: Agreed. People have strong views on religion and it might be best for everyone to give themselves a primer on the details of various faiths. If only for your own safety.
Klint: It's true. You don't want to accidentally serve a Jew a BLT or draw the prophet.
Patrick: Klint, can we safely say we got to the bottom of this? I thought the video was a spicy visual aid.
Klint: I think we have. The video was a nice touch. I'll include a few links for further exploration at the end, as well.
Patrick: Peace be upon you.
Klint: I'd like to thank everyone for joining us on the inaugural discussion for Learned Men.   All praises due Allah.

For further reading:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Salutations

“If ignorance is blissfulness, that must make me a genius.”
-Michael Vogelsang

Access to education is one of the finest luxuries we, as modern men and women, can enjoy. To enter each day with a combination of universal and specialized knowledge and the desire and capacity to implement and expand upon that is truly a formidable tool in the human chest of drawers. Unfortunately not everyone shares such motivation or potential. That’s where we fit in.

Some of you may know me already, but for those who don’t, my name is Klint. By virtue of being a reader, a traveler and a student, I consider myself to be a smart and learned man, though through my interests and frequent journeys, I often find myself in the company of people who don’t share the same thirst for the academic. Thus, Learned Men was born. At the urging of my good friend Patrick, we’ve embarked on this joint venture to present discourse, dialogue and experience from and between civilized men who reside within a frequently uncivilized world. Our discussions have taken place behind closed doors for long enough. Now is the time for the mundane to be privy to, and potentially partake in, the magnificent.

Patrick here,

Being smart has fewer benefits than you’d think. It doesn’t ensure an interesting or high-paying job. It sure as hell doesn’t throw vagina your way. All being smart guarantees is the resentment of your peers and a lasting feeling of alienation. Being intelligent isn’t a choice or vocation; it’s a calling at best and more often a curse.

As sharp as Klint and I believe ourselves to be, there is much we don’t know. This blog, in part, exists to further our education. Anything the reader pulls from it is of secondary importance. We’re paddling our way to the headwaters of the river, you’re wishing us the best from your place on the shore.

I’m Patrick and I thank you for joining us.