Thursday, November 13, 2003
Better to stick with Garfield
Having committed myself to being a lifelong student of
English, I try to be perceptive to new developments in the
language. Recently I've noticed a few of instances of the
expression "Bizarro world", the latest of which in this Dowd
But why? Are the Bizarro cartoons really that famous? What
for? Being both unsubtle and unfunny? Now that's bizarre,
for that combination is neither intriguing nor rare!
Bizarro in the November 11 issue of the Bangkok Post
features a pair of mother and son. The mother says:
Get packed. Your school just closed, so we're sending you to
the ones we're building in IRAQ.
Ha ha. In the Bizarro world, the extreme Left borrow lines
from the extreme Right.
But that, regrettably, is also the case
in the real world. And I don't turn to the comics page
just to be reminded of how empty the empty half of the world
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
First day in office for
Wattana Muangsuk as full-fledged Minister of Commerce. A
case of blogs getting results?
No? I see you don't believe the Blogging One.
And you complain about your academia?
I'd long been itching to write about Thirayuth Boonmi, but had never thought it worthwhile until reading
a glowing profile of him a few weeks ago in the Bunkum Post.
A professor at the prestigious Thammasat University
(prestige, of course, is relative), Thirayuth is one of those
"academics" whose views can be summed up as: The world is
all fouled up and the West (read America) is singularly to be blamed.
Nothing new there. We're used to those hacks' warped
polemics, which have time and again been
shredded into pieces
by real scholars.
Still, Thirayuth is in a class of his own in sheer
ignorance. Lacking even the most basic knowledge about the
world, he's unfit even to follow the intellectually bankrupt
footsteps of, say, Noam Chomsky, who would only be
embarrassed by him.
Yes, it's possible to be so bad as to embarrass someone
who epitomizes the term "idiotarion". Let
me demonstrate that first by telling you this: Thirayuth
doesn't know what "the West" means.
In his article titled "ทิศทางประเทศไทย:
("Thailand's direction: When the world
stops kowtowing to the West", Matichon Weekly, April
4-10, 2003), he wrote:
... [It] has become obvious to the world community
that the conducts of the US and most other Western nations
are all contradictory to the West's own tenets; like
regard for human's liberty [and] democracy, regard for human
rights; [these] are all the things about which Western
nations have been hypocritical.
US soldiers killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people
in Vietnam, Somalia and Grenada.
French special police killed Algeria's nationalist movement
and tens of thousands of civilians.
Russia killed up to a hundred thousand Muslims in
Afghanistan and Central Asia.
[my translation from Thai, emphasis added]
Yep, that's right. Russia, also known as the Soviet Union at
the time of the Afghan invasion, is part of "the West".
And boy, was it being untrue to its "Western" values!
What is this? Does Thirayuth think "the West" means "white"?
He's really straying into dangerous territory there.
Should we be grateful, then, that he doesn't always
think in racial
terms? Only two paragraphs before the
above-quoted, he wrote:
รัสเซีย และอินเดียก็ควรขยายตัวพอสมควร เช่นเดียวกับประเทศยุโรปตะวันออกและประเทศมุสลิมที่เคยอยู่ใต้อาณัติของรัสเซีย
... the West's economic power and security are
also declining, its wealth decreasing from being 85.6
percent of world GDP in 1900 to merely 50 percent at the end
of of the century. [We] can predict that in the next two
decades, China and the five Asian tigers will continue to
grow rapidly; Japan's, Russia's and India's economies
also should expand satisfactorily, just as [those of]
Eastern European countries and Muslim countries that
used to be under Russia's suzerainty. [my translation from
Thai, emphasis added]
Judge for yourself what's worse: the flagrancy
per se of Thirayut's counting Russia as a Western
country or his
blatant willingness to turn around and contradict himself
in order to degrade "the West", whatever it happens to
be at the time.
Or perhaps you find even more objectionable his, shall we say,
unorthodox facts and figures. Be warned, though, that those
are ubiquitous in all Thirayuth's utterances and you could go crazy trying
to call him out falsehood by falsehood.
So I won't do that. My point is already well served by
sticking with the very most astounding examples of
Here's another one. Thirayuth being a committed America-hater
and his article being about, insofar as this befuddled
screed is about anything, the world's political
and social landscape after the watershed Iraq war, you'd
have expected him to wax vituperous about the neocons,
right? Wrong, he didn't mention neo-conservatism once in the
But of course, it wouldn't be like Thirayuth to write a
paragraph without an "ism" and here in particular he needs
one to blame for the evil war. So what ism does he turn to?
Well, after that bit about "the West", this shouldn't be too
. . .
หรือแนว neo realism
Realism, or doctrine of power and [self]
interests. This doctrine states that each state, each nation
will be cynical toward each other and gives precedence to
one's own self interests, hence [this cynicism] has led to
many a war in the world.
. . .
This war will compel the world to think along the lines of
realism or neo-realism, which emphasizes clashes
of civilizations. [my translation from Thai, poor word
choices original, emphasis added]
So realism leads to wars, and even clashes of civilizations?
Oh yes, I remember Henry Kissinger's taking America into the
with China and the
clash with the Soviet Union.
Gee, how shocked will Thirayut be when he learns that, in
loathing realism, he has one thing in common with the hawks
who have come to be known as the neoconservatives and who
provided intellectual firepower to the War in Iraq?
That is, of course, hypothetical. He will never learn that,
or anything else. If Thirayuth's anachronistic obsession
with "realism" (mentioned six times in the
article) suggests that this man stopped absorbing new
information long ago, his total misapprehension of it
reveals that he
did so even earlier.
Still, Thirayut didn't completely shut everything out. He
did pick up bits and pieces here and there, which, while far
from constituting "information", do provide him with new ways to
make a fool of himself.
Take neo-conservatism for example. Despite being utterly oblivious
about the doctrine, Thirayut did know a neocon (if only by
the name, as will become obvious) and
even mentioned him in the article:
สำนักระบบโลก... ครอบคลุมหลายสำนักคิด ทั้ง
เช่น ความคิดนาย F. Fukuyama...
The school of Global Order... covers many schools of
thoughts including Liberalism which foresees that the
world will eventually develop and be connected under one
economic system and one ideology that is Liberalism, like
the thinking of Mr. F. Fukuyama...
This war of aggression against Iraq will cause the thinking
of the Global Order school, be it Marxism, Communitism [Communautarisme?],
and globalization lose explaining power. [my translation
from Thai, emphasis added]
While I understand little of this quote (particularly that
"Global Order" bit), this much is clear: Thirayuth thinks
(not "classically liberal", mind you) and implies
that he's against
the war in Iraq.
Yep, and Reagan is a left-winger who opposed the Cold War.
All this should be enough to give you an idea what kind of
person Thirayuth is. No, he's no communist, socialist,
leftist or any other ideological creature, whatever he
thinks of himself and regardless of what the stereotypes
tell you. Just as a color-blind person cannot have a
favorite color, Thirayuth cannot have an ideology.
Nor is he a "romantic" -- a bookish academic out of touch
with the real world -- as his critics in the TRT Party
dismiss him. Such a characterization not only makes a
travesty of the word "academic", but is also slanderous to
the notions of being romantic (like Beethoven), bookish
(like Nietzsche) and even out of touch (like the current
Rather, Thirayuth -- a political science professor who considers
the Soviet Union part of the West, believes realism is about
promoting clashes of civilizations and doesn't know about
neo-conservatism -- can only be described as the composite of a
fraud, an idiot and a madman.
That is, of course, not how he was portrayed in the Bunkum
Post's nauseously fawning feature
story. The piece is titled "Thinking is beautiful" and ends
with "his advice to younger people... shows that the teacher
in him is rising."
If whatever it is that's in Thirayuth (I wouldn't call it
"teacher") is rising, then Thailand is
sinking, like that brown stuff in the bowl, waiting
for his "beautiful thinking" to flush it all down
Which might very well be the case, given the alarming
frequency with which Thirayuth's drivels
swamp the front pages of Thai newspapers.
But no, that's NOT the case as long as Thirayuth is still
ranting away on a soapbox while the bully pulpit is occupied
by the two entities for which he reserve most of his
That would be America (of Planet Earth) and PM Thaksin (of
Please support them.
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