Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Mechanical Dick

Phillip K. Dick, that is. The fabulously twisted science fiction writer, who gave us the print versions of Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall, etc. has been memorialized in what I can only call a highly appropriate manner. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the PKD Android. "With an artificial intelligence based persona based on the life and works of Philip K. Dick, the robot depicts the author with stunning accuracy. Using cameras in his eyes, the Android is able to recognize individuals in a crowd and can carry on conversations."

Don't worry. If it gets loose, we can send Harrison Ford to hunt it down and kill it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Medical Explanation for 21st Century "Conservatism"

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DOCTOR: OK, nurse, who’s the next patient?

NURSE: It’s Mr. Jones, Doctor. In Room 3.

DOCTOR: What seems to be his trouble?

NURSE: Well, his family brought him in. They say he’s been acting strangely.

DOCTOR: Hmm … it says here on the chart he’s a political conservative.

NURSE: Yes, doctor, and the family says that he’s been saying some odd things.

DOCTOR: Well, let’s take a look.

(Enters room)

Good morning Mr. Jones, how are we today?

MR. JONES: I feel fine, Doc. Why am I here?

DOCTOR: Well, your family had some concerns. I’m just going to ask you a few questions, and we’ll see if there’s anything wrong.

MR. JONES: Well ... OK.

DOCTOR: What do you think of when I say the words “Bill Clinton”?

MR. JONES: I think of a corrupt, arrogant president who showed contempt for the rule of law, of course.

DOCTOR: That’s fine, Mr. Jones. Now, how do you feel about President Bush’s claim that he can ignore laws regulating electronic surveillance?

MR. JONES: President Bush is a great man. He’s just what this country needs to fight Islamic fascism. If laws get in the way of that, then he should be free to break them. After all, Bill Clinton did the same thing and said it was OK.

DOCTOR: Hmmm. (Takes notes). OK, tell me your opinion of the United Nations.

MR. JONES: The United Nations is a joke. It’s like Ambassador Bolton said: You could chop off the top 10 floors of the building and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.

DOCTOR: Umm-hmm. And tell us why you think we invaded Iraq.

MR. JONES: We had no choice. They were ignoring United Nations resolutions.

DOCTOR: OK, Mr. Jones, I think we’re zeroing in on your problem. Just a couple more questions. How do you feel about the criminal justice system?

MR. JONES: I think it’s a disgrace that criminals have all the rights in the system. If they weren’t guilty they wouldn’t have been charged in the first place.

DOCTOR: What do you think of when I say the name ‘Tom DeLay’?

MR. JONES: He’s totally innocent. He’s being railroaded by an out-of-control prosecutor.

DOCTOR: OK, Mr. Jones. Just sit tight, I’ll be right back. Come with me, nurse.

NURSE: What’s the matter with him, doctor? Is he crazy?

DOCTOR: Not exactly. Mr. Jones is suffering from a serious irony deficiency.

NURSE: Irony deficiency?

DOCTOR: That’s right. Mr. Jones has lost all sense of irony.

NURSE: I don’t understand.

DOCTOR: Here, maybe this American Heritage Dictionary can help.

NURSE (under her breath): Oh, lord, not the dictionary again …

DOCTOR: Here we go. … “Irony. An incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.” See, since Mr. Jones is a conservative, you’d expect him to be for limited governmental power. You’d expect him to despise anything Bill Clinton ever did, and to ridicule the United Nations. Yet he cites Clinton’s actions as a justification for President Bush’s, claims the president isn’t bound by law, and says we had to go to war to enforce the resolutions of the U.N.


DOCTOR: Wow indeed, nurse. Mr. Jones thinks criminal defendants are guilty or they wouldn’t be charged, but when a Republican is in the dock, he claims it’s a put-up job. I’ll bet, if you asked him, he’d say that the federal government has no business telling states how to run their business, and in the next breath defend the No Child Left Behind Act and Congress’ trying to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case. He doesn’t recognize the irony there.

NURSE: But, doctor, isn’t that just being a hypocrite?

DOCTOR: An irony deficiency can lead to hypocrisy, yes.

NURSE: Is there anything that can be done for the poor man?

DOCTOR: Well, it’s very difficult. First, of course, you have to get through the layers of denial. After that, there’s the reflexive avoidance. Mostly, that involves trying to change the subject to Bill Clinton. But the sooner we get started, the better. We’ll begin with a little shock therapy. Come on.

(Back into the room).

DOCTOR: OK, Mr. Jones. Just a couple more questions. I’m going to read a statement to you, and I want you to tell me what you think of it. “Our Constitution applies in times of peace and in times of war, and it protects the rights of Americans under all circumstances.”

MR. JONES: Sounds like something some bleeding heart Democrat would say. We’re at war with an implacable enemy who wants to kill us. ...

DOCTOR: Mr. Jones, that statement was made Monday by Judge Samuel Alito, President Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

MR. JONES: (Long pause.)

DOCTOR: Mr. Jones? Mr. Jones?


DOCTOR: Looks like we’ve got a lot of work to do, nurse.