Debate on Capitalism Continued

The debate on what capitalism is and what are its merits go back way before the 20th century. With regards to our own country, debate on this issue existed right at the founding of the republic, between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

Get one thing straight: Both of this men were lovers of liberty. Both, in my opinion, would have ardently opposed socialism and the bureacratic nanny state of the 20th century. Nonetheless, there were substantial differences between the two men when it came to economic issues.

Jefferson was a believer in agriculture. Agriculture, according the Jefferson, kept man close to nature and made him sweat and toil. This process of working hard developed man into being a self-sufficient being capable of liberty and self-sufficiency. Machinery, on the other hand, was very "mechanistic" and "dehumanizing." A good example of what Jefferson was worried would be factories. Instead of man sweating and toiling with the farm, man tied a widget together or screwed a cap on a piece of steel. In other words, industry sapped man of his initiative and thus dehumanized man.

Hamilton took almost the opposite view. First, he opposed Jefferson for pragmatic reasons. If the United States was to remain independent and compete with its European counterparts, the nation would have the industrialize and develop its industry. The Republic would not remain independent by ignoring progress and development for some idealistic Jeffersonian Fantasy.

Yet Hamilton had other reason's for opposing Jefferson. Industry, Hamilton contended, had several advantages over agriculture.
1) It allowed women (and children, but we don't like that one anymore) to enter the workforce and earn a living (feminist movement, anyone?)
2) It allowed workers to work all year around, and not just half the year as with agriculture
3) The same dangers that exist with industry exist with agriculture. Since farmers do not work year round, they are just as capable of laziness as the industrialist
4) Industry unleashes that which makes man human and not simply animal: his intellect. Industry requries education, intelligence, wit, and patience. It is not nearly as dehumanizing as Jefferson asserts.

Hamilton won this debate back in the late 18th century, but the debate still lingers today (note the environmentalist movement). It would also be wise to note that there were significant criticisms of the capitalist system stemming from conservative Catholics, most notable that of G.K Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc, in the late 19th and early 20th century. Both of this men thought capitalism (and to a GREATER extent, Socialism) a bunch of hooey. They advocated a system called "distributism," which is close to the type of economy Jefferson wanted.

So who is right here?

Having studied enough economics, I think I can say with fair confidence that Hamilton has the EDGE over Jefferson here, but with caution. Almost every criticism against the economic merits of Capitalism have been disproven. Capitalism is the best system for alleviating poverty, for allocating resources, for maintaing peace and order, and for limiting the size and scope of government. Can the same be said for socialism? phhh

But it is important to recognize that Capitalism is fundamentally distinct from libertarianism. Granted, libertarian capitalism has plenty of supporters in academia. Yet there are plenty of Capitalists that believe in a positive and active role for the government, rightly understood, and work to help the government achieve this objective (cost/benefit analysis, public choice theory, etc. etc. etc.). Believing in private property, markets, and efficiency does not make you an anarchist. It just means you have a brain.

Yet it would be folly to argue that there are no problems with the system. It is not the ideal that is can and should be. Keep in mind that Capitalism, the system that brought us penicillin and indoor plumbing, also brought us Brittney Spears, Jon Peter Lewis, and Gigli. The main problem facing America today is cultural, not economic. The serious economic problems that ARE faced by the poor in the country every day is a failure of the culture, not the system. The system is reflecting the culture, which rightly shows us that there is a problem.

How do we fix this? What solution can allow us to keep our tylenol and plumbing but avoid the dehumanizing soma of the culture. As I just said, the problem is cultural. True, but if thats all I said, than I am missing something. The culture is infected with bad morality.

Technological progress combined with atheistic humanism (the autonomous individual) has been the root cause of every tyranny, large and small.

For the sake the republic, we must abandon the atheistic humanism.


John Kerry is Catholic?

"One wonders at the candid conversation Mrs. Heinz Kerry might have had with Rebecca Porter, Florida director of Operation Outcry Silent No More, who recently attended a Kerry campaign event in Tampa, Fla. Porter quietly held a sign that read, "My abortion hurt me." Candidate John Kerry stared at Porter's sign while working a handshake line, but did not address her. Instead, a Kerry campaign staffer grabbed the sign and tore it to pieces."

What ever happened to the Democratic party? FDR once called his party the "big tent" party, but obviousely this does not hold anymore. When a woman's sign is ripped up because it doesn't pass the campaign minders then I have a serious problem with party of my family.

This is, in essence, what finally turned me from Democratic party. When I began high school, I was considered one of the more "progressive" students at the school. No longer. I will never vote for a candidate who supports such a brutal and offensive act against human life.

I am being perfectly honest when I say this, how can "liberal" Catholics (whatever that means) remain in a party that will not concede one iota of ground on the abortion debate?

Furthermore, what should the Bishop's do about this? Is it prudent to act or not to act, considering we are all sinners? Would it do anything? According to canon law, the politician must be a public sinner, and it is up to the individual Bishop to decide whether or not to give communion to the layman. This is a tough sell as it is tantamount to excommunicating a public official. Perhaps the best argument is that once you do it for this, then you have to do it for other dissenters.

I am not so sure. Abortion is a special issue. The Pope has, at the chair of Saint Peter, claimed infallibility in his arguments against abortion. Thus, there is no "natural reason" wiggly room like there is on capital punishment or contraception. If you are Catholic, this is a command from God and it demands your assent as a practicing Catholic.

So I return to my original question, what should the Bishops do? It doesn't seem like they have much of choice here anymore.

Side note: Perhaps this is just more modernism run amok.

In the Good ole days, one could say "X is wrong."
Now, it is "If you are not tolerant of X, you are wrong"

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.


How to Criticize Capitalism

I have just finished presenting my thesis for my Jane Austen class on the relationship between economics and Jane Austen. My argument was the Austen held to the means between the extremes when it came to the realtionship between economics and society (and love), rejecting both materialism and blind passion. Furthermore, I argued that Austen's economic ideal was closer to the capitalist instinct than to the mercantalist instinct. (The former defines wealth in terms of intelligence and wit, the latter in the amount of goods one owns).

Most critical responses focused on later critiques of Capitalism from anti-capitalist authors. The main thesis of their criticism is that Capitalism, with its focus on efficiency and mechanism, is antithetical to true human love and virtue. Fair enough, but such a criticism is missing the bigger picture.

A substantial number of these criticisms against the system fail to understand or grasp the alternative system they are proposing, namely socialism. If capitalism can be a bit "cold" around the edges, than socialism is at absolute zero.

Socialism shares many of the same presuppositions of extreme capitalism. It desires to master and vex nature, subordinating it to man's needs. It believes in economic progress, growth, and development. Socialism wants to alleviate poverty and create a substantial income for all. To do this, bureacratic accountants (as I call them) use mathematical theories to allocate resources...yada yada yada. In other words, same end...

But different means. Socialism, whether the critiques will admit it or not, is nothing less than complete and total tyranny. In order to get socialism to work, one must first empower a government WITHOUT any regard to its limitation (how can you? Who are the people to decide they do not want this progress...). The people, being divorced from any individual incentives, must now be forced at gunpoint to do whatever the government sees fit to develop the economy. Socialism, anyway understood, is not the answer to the problems facing capitalism.

The answer to the problems facing capitalism is to read Jane Austen and John Paul II. Both recognize the legitimacy of the discipline, argue for its importance, yet recognize its limitations (Austen: economics in the service of (fill in the blank). The Pope, and Austen, argue that divorced from morality capitalism leads to misery (note Sir Thomas and Lady Catherine De Bourgh). Thus, the solution to problems associated with capitalism is to to recognize that the economy exists for man, not the man for the economy.

This is the key point these writers are missing.


New York Slimes

I quote: That's the lesson of these trials. For years, Republicans have used Congress and the White House to showcase the ugliness of late-term abortions. The public, naturally repelled, endorsed the so-called partial-birth ban, and Congress enacted it.

But an abortion ban isn't just a moral statement. It's a pledge to prosecute, and prosecution introduces a different kind of ugliness: the public investigation of personal tragedies. That's the ugliness that lies ahead. If Americans won't take that warning from today's marchers, maybe they'll take it from John Ashcroft.

I hate the New York Times. I really do. For the sake of clarity, lets go through this so called partial birth abortion procedure, dialation and extraction, whatever. Lets:

The baby is forced delivered like it would be if a normal birthing process is taking place. He is delivered in all sense but the head. However, instead of delivering a viable human life, the doctor takes a needle, punctures the baby's brains, takes a vacuum and sucks them out, and then chops the baby up piece by piece. This process ends by throwing the baby in the garbage can.

Medical necessity?

Ok, a_____hole, you justify this procedure as a medical necessity. Go ahead, try me. If this was three seconds later and the baby was fully delivered, we would use the force of God to throw this doctor in jail and pray to God that his murderous sickening ways could be forgiven before he dies. No, instead, we get the New York Slimes writing a stupid article whining and moaning about how medical records are going to be declassified so the Justice department can "prove" to the court that this proceedure has never been needed medically.

Over 1 million innocent human lives are aborted each year. To think that the richest, most advanced nation on the planet resorts to this type of barbarism daily is a sickening display at how disgusting some aspects of our culture really are.

God save the New York Times.


Emergency Festa's Rant: American Idol

I am a firm believer that the phrase "all men are created equal"
1) applies to both men and women
2) Has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence.

Hericlitus once asserted that "apathy can be cured, ignorance corrected, but STUPID is forever." What happened on American idol tonight was nothing but complete and utter SHEER STUPIDITY on the part of the Amerian public.

As I mentioned in my post below, the only reason Kim Bauer has not been killed off on 24 is because of her "bouncy bounce" (not my phrase). Males aged 18-24 love that "bouncy bounce" and they want to see it week in and week out. Mind you that these are the very same people who forget that she was MAULED BY A COUGER because she got caught in a COUGER TRAP when a NUCLEAR BOMB WAS ABOUT TO GO OFF. These men are what Aristotle calls "talking vegetables," they are so incapable of reason that they ontologically have the same reasoning powers as a carrot. (OK OK, I enjoy Kim Bauer. I want her to die, but I love seeing that "bouncy bounce." Why do I do the evil I abhor?????)

Well, apparently the women are capable of pretty much the same thing, as evidenced by American idol. First, this John Peter Lewis business. For those who are unaware, JPL is a hideous singer, a bad dancer, and a moron. Yet because of his "dark eyes" and spasmic "belly pushes" he somehow managed to make it not only into the American Idol Top 12 but survived for 5 whole weeks tormenting every good natured and decent living creature in the known universe. The day of his release from the show was pure ecstasy.

So one would think that people finally came to their senses and would actually vote for people with talent greater than a screeching cat on heroine. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, the very same people who voted for the moron turned around and voted for the single WORST FRANK SINATRA IMPERSONATOR in the history of civilized humanity. As a result of this Jennifer Hudson, one of the 3 (or 4) best singers in the competition, was voted off and the American people now have to listen to a mediocre Frank Sinatra impersonator sing "Baby, why don't you be mine" for another week. God, give me justice!!!!!

Anyway, back to the assertion that all men are created equal. As I said before, this phrase applies to both men and women. BOTH men and women are capable of being talking vegetables.

God have mercy.

Book and Movie Recommendation: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

"The Elder Days are gone. The Middle Days are passing. The Younger days are beginning. The time of the Elves is over, but our time is at hand: the world of Men, which we must rule. But we must have power, power to order things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see."

Saruman (LOTR, The Council of Elrond, 252)

It has always been my contention that if modern philosophy is correct, then Nietzsche is correct: there is nothing but the will to power. Descarte Knew it, Hobbes Knew it, Locke knew it, but Nietzsche was honest about it. Yet it has also been my contention that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings shows the absurdity of the "will to power."

The two main villains in the Lord of the Rings, Sauron and Saruman, are nihilistic. They believe in nothing but the will to power. Saruman admits it when he says that "we must possess power" in order to "order things as we see fit." This is no different than what has been the prevailing theme of modernism, that people due to their intellect can and must "master and possess" the universe and conquer it to fulfill man's needs.

"But Festa, why is this such a bad idea? 200 years ago people died of colds, 2/3rds of the population had toothaches, and people used whisky as an anesthesia (sic). Hasn't this outlook on life helped us?" To a certain extent, yes it has. But it has also been the prime mover behind every single atrocity committed in the 20th century (I believe the count ended around 100 million people, but I could be low balling it). If there is no truth beyond the will the power, then there is no reason why my will to power (or self-preservation, or whatever) should prevent me from enslaving or murdering you.

It is in this context that J.R.R. Tolkien was writing. Noted Tolkien critic Tom Shippey claims that Tolkien was one of the great "traumatized" authors of the 20th century (others include C.S. Lewis, T.H. Eliot, and George Orwell). He was a Captain in the first World War, saw all his friends die, almost died himself from typhoid fever, and lived to experience the holocaust, the Atomb Bomb, Fascism, communism, and bureaucratic despotism. As I said: traumatized.

"traumatized authors" like Tolkien sought an answer to the following question: What is evil and why do I and others do the evil that I abhor? Curiously, however, Tolkien discovered the following
1) A proper explanation of evil was already explained through ancient texts
2) There was no way to re-explain evil without resorting to myth

The Lord of the Rings centers on a ring, about O big that was created thousands of years ago out of malice and greed. This ring confers upon its wearer both the desire for power and the ability to actuate it. The degree of "magic" that is conferred upon the individual depends on the individual, for a simply hobbit it makes you invisible, for a powerful wizard it makes you invincible. But there is no doubting that the ring creates a desire for power, increases greed and selfishness, and if used enough destroys you.

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" was the famous maxim from Lord Acton. Since the ring brings power, it does nothing but corrupt the wearer. That's Tolkien's answer to Nietszhe: power breeds selfishness and since selfishness is anti-human, it destroys the human.

Take for example the creature Gollum. Formerly known as Smeagol, Gollum was once a hobbit who discovered the ring along with his cousin deagol. Overwhelmed by his selfish desire to possess the ring, Gollum killed his cousin, worshipped the ring, and watched it destroy him for over 500 years. After a while, the ring became his master, he became a slave to his selfish desires and was totally incapable of self-sacrifice and friendship. His life was miserable and he knew it. Yet because he was so overwhelmed by his selfishness, he could do nothing to stop it.

Also consider the ring-wraiths. These 9 greatest servants of the Dark Lord Sauron were given 9 other, but lesser, rings of power. They, like Gollum succumbed to their selfishness, greed, and desire for power. Yet they are worse than Gollum. While Gollum still has a little corner in mind all to his own, the Ring-wraiths are totally subservient to Sauron. They no longer possess free will and are incapable of making any rational or moral decisions, they are no longer men. Their "wrath" (derivative from "wraith") destroys that which makes them human.

Tolkien's answer to evil, as mentioned above, is rather ancient. Evil is the privation of the good. It is not not a substance in itself, but rather a substance killer ("the shadow that mocks cannot create.") Evil destroys that which makes us who we are.

In order words, evil is a being acting against his nature. By attempting to conquer nature, man is actually enslaving himself to the very nature he is trying to overcome.

Tolkien saw this everywhere he looked. He saw it in fascism, in communism, in modern warfare, and even in democratic cultures. He saw it eating away at his fellow humans and he wrote an entire myth to show how to resist it.

Tolkien's answer to overcoming this is the following
1) You cannot fight evil by being evil, you must fight it retaining goodness (You cannot wield the ring, you must destroy it)
2) At the end of the day, everyone fails, even the most virtuous of us will succumb to the will of evil. (Watch the detrioration of the noble Frodo, it is sickening on both book and screen)
3) one should fight on anyway even if evil is guaranteed to win, because living as evil is worse than dying as good ("This war is but one long defeat, but fight we will)
4) Evil destroys itself because it cannot see the Good. It can only see evil and cannot understand nor even contemplate good motives (Sauron cannot comprehend that the fellowship should attempt to DESTROY the ring)

If you thought this review dry: good, it is supposed to be. That's why Tolkien wrote his book. People don't respond to philosophical proofs and rational arguments, they respond to good, well written stories.

Tolkien's book is magnificent, if not for everyone. But if it's not for you, go and see the movie trilogy. Before the movie was released, The Lord of the Rings was the best book no one read (or at least not as much as it should have). After the movie was released it is safe to say that there will never be another movie like it and the book has now risen to the level of immortality.


Movie Recommendation: Master and Commander

I want to admit the following before recommending Master and Commander, newly released on DVD and video: Do not watch the advertisements. Those advertisements got me to see the movie and I hated it at first. They mislead as to what this movie is actually about. (I think I disliked the movie at first because Dominique De'Villipin was speaking on TV and the Matrix creators were citing Simulcra and Simulation as the primary influence behind that thing they called a movie trilogy. In other words, Russell Crowe sceaming "DO YOU WANT NAPOLEAN TO BE YOUR KING????" leads one to believe there is going to be lots of French bashing and there wasn't much French bashing)

Master and Commander is much more than that. First, it is an excellent depiction of naval life in the early 18th century, the time of the Napoleonic wars. Second, the movie is about friendship and specifically about the relationship between the Naval Captain and his naturalist friend. Third, the movie is a philosophical reflection on the nature of politics and raises serious questions about enlightenment assumptions that were started by a favorite frenchman, Descarte.

Enlightenwha Festa? What are you talking about?

As a Captain, Russell Crowe is the "master and commander" of this ship. His people idolize him and do anything he says. Crowe encounters a French naval ship that is both stronger and faster than his ship and Crowe is determined to destroy it. Yet his very desire to "master and command" is called into question by his naturalist friend, who begs him to follow the rules of society and not get too over-confident. Yet our naturalist friend, though only a surgeon, is not himself devoid of the same conquering tendencies that Crowe is. The naturalist is man of science and he wants to use science to advance mankind. He too, if the situation were a laboratory instead of a naval ship, would possess the same determination that Crowe does.

Yet although the movie acknowledges (and even in some respect symphatizes with) Descarte's programmatic aim to "master and vex nature," it displays some fundamental ambiguities with the project...ie, it does not agree that we should lose our humanity in the process. There are two scenes that challenge the main characters to choose between their friendship with eachother or their desire for conquest. The reactions show a fundamental tension with the desire to "master and vex".

If you are looking for a forgettable movie with lot's of French bashing, this movie is not for you (take the money you would have spent on the movie and buy a nerf gun to shoot at the TV everytime Jacques Chirac says "peace.") But if you are looking for an intelligent movie with a good story then Master and Commander is for you.


When 24 is firing on all cylinders, it is the best show on television, hands down. Its gripping premise (each season is 24 hours long with each episode being 1 hour) combined with contemporary topics (terrorism) make it a wild ride.

The tv show does have its flaws though. In its first season, they ran out of ideas for Terri Bauer (Jack's wife) so they gave her amnesia and had her run around town for a couple of episodes. They eventually rectified this solution, however, when they had Nina Myers, Jack's trusted confident and ex-lover, betray him and kill her in the single best episode of the series.

Season 2 had two glaring problems. One problem is that they ran out of ideas half way through the season. The first half the season saw the hunting down and the eventual stopping of a nuclear bomb in the city of Los Angelos. In the second half, unfortunately, the writers resorted to the "its those evil oil men who want to rule the world" nonsense and the series suffered immensely (it's ratings have never recovered).

The second problem was Jack's daughter. Kim, also known around the internet as "bouncy bounce," is a stupid, dull, dimwitted yet incredibly "hot" teenager. In season 1, they had Kim kidnapped 3 times, had her arrested for being in a drug deal she had nothing to do with, had her get into a catfight, had her almost raped 4 times, and well, you get the idea.

So in season 2 they tried something different. In that season she was mauled by a couger, almost raped by two people, got herself stuck in a convenience store with a crazed loonie, and had her shoot her first rape assailant because she was dumb enough to go back to his apartment to "pick up her clothes"

Clearly, 24 had to things to work on for season 3.

So far they have delivered. The terrorists are the bad guys, not the oil men (at least so far!). They are clearly presented for what they are, cold blooded killers, and the series does not play the PC game. (I can't remember the last time a network show had its main character say "Your constitutional rights no longer exist.")

Kim has been banished to a desk job at CTU and has barely been visible (Except, of course, for the occasional bouncy bounce every couple of episodes.) But now the series creators have decided to give her something to do with the actual plot. I don't mind this (if her good looks can be put to good use, well, Good), but I do suggest one thing:

Kill her and kill her painfully. She is so dumb that I just don't care if she survives or not. "Festa, does this mean you don't like the short skirts and blonde hair?" No it doesn't. But I know plently of short skirts and blond "hairs" that also have a mendula obligata to go along with their more "material" features and I don't need her taking away from the real object of the story: stopping the virus from killing millions of people.

For the love of God, please kill her.

24 is on Tuesday nights at 9pm on FOX.


How binding are Economic Laws

I want to respond to a major criticism laid my way in full. During a debate over the relative merit of living wage laws, I made the following points.

1) living wage laws have massive negative externalities associated with them (ie they create unemployment).
2) Supporting living wage laws do not make much sense when you consider that there are alternatives such as the earned income tax credit which deliver similar benefits at a lower cost.

This point was met with both acceptance and derision. I want to focus on the detractors. There are two counter arguments laid my way and I will respond to them sequentially.

The first skeptic called into question the validity of my economic analysis. He says,

""The economic effects of just wages do not proceed the way gravity proceeds from matter. They depend on further human choices about how to use our money. Social-scientific "laws" like supply and demand are not meaningless, but neither are they the same sort of thing as, say, physical laws. Social-scientific critiques of Catholic doctrine need to take this into account, and more broadly they need to take into account that popes from Leo to John Paul have been calling for a comprehensive reformation of culture, of which wage justice would be but a - necessary - part."

I will abbreviate my response as follows
1) The extent to which arbitrary controls on the wage rate effect unemployment can be empirically quantified. Almost all empirical studies show a strong negative effect on unemployment. The effect mentioned above IS taking place, regardless of any philisophical critique of the law's in question
2) While it may be true that the laws of economics are not the laws of gravity, it is absolutely true that the laws of economics illustrate incentives, and incentives are a huge factor in any decision making. Ignoring incentives is asking for major trouble.

After that argument was critiqued, my catholicism was called into question. I quote my detractor in full:

"Popes aren't economists. They're popes, which means they teach the faith. If A pope teaches something that touches on economics, it is then up to Catholic economists to integrate that teaching into their work and to work out its reasons and its applications. Just as it's a theologian's or philosopher's job to do the same. If you aren't doing that, then you have a bad case of faith/reason separation and perhaps should seek to be more docile to the teaching of the Church"

After this people jumped to my defense (thankie). I will quote one person before offering my response

"Um, Tom, I don't want to speak for Festa here but I have a feeling that even if he becomes as docile as Bambi to the teaching of the church, minimum wage laws will still be price floors, and scarcity (in this case of employment) will be exacerbated.
(I note only in passing that the current Pope has nice things to say - with qualifications, of course - about the ability of the market to help the poor).
And there's old Festa, trying to reconcile the data while you question his committment to Catholic teaching. I know! Let's all chant "Living wage, living wage" and that'll help the poor! Festa, give up now, bud! As long as we all chant living wage your empirical evidence counts for nothing."

My response: my opposition to a living wage law does also mean I am in opposition to the stated objectives of Catholic social thought. The end goal here is to alleviate poverty and create a just working environment for the poor. This environment, as the Church correctly states, should include an adequate wage. Living wage laws, however, do not achieve the stated objective the Church is asking for. As a Catholic economist, I must deal with that and find some other way to achieve the objective I am called to achieve.

This "some other way" is much more complicated than any simple law or any two bit sound bite, which is probably why it encounters so much opposition. But let me at least offer a few alternatives.

1) The earned income tax credit, provides income to the poor
2) improved education-the best way to increase income for the poor is to increase their level of education. All the evidence shows that the more education one has the more potential income they can earn. Education reform is a must, though it is hard. The money saved from the negative effects of the living wage laws should be used to helping the poor achieve this objective (possibly through some sort of scholarship fund, voucher plan, or school reform
3) Crime must be brought under control. Businesses do not go where crime is high.
4) The breakdown of the family structure must be reversed.

But to advocate for such policies is to implicitly admit that the solution is no where near at hand. To complicate this issue even more, I readily admit that I am probably missing 6 or 7 thousand other points, all of which require unique and often difficult solutions.

However, I am called to nothing less.


Rant on Love Letter's

My opinion on this is not final, but I think I have come to the conclusion that Love Letters are everywhere and anywhere a VERY BAD IDEA.

Why bring up this topic? Well, for numerous reasons, only one of which I will mention: someone just sent me one to proofread. The following is a fragment of the letter followed by comments and improvements by me

"You met her a few months ago, and somehow she managed to seep into your subconscious like that "Suga how you get so fly" song. Just like you have no clue who the hell sings it, you don't know why she's there. But she is, whether you like it or not."

Festa: alright, this just doesn't get much worse than this. "slip in your subconscious" like a suga what? Huh? Contrast that with something like "I was in the middle before I knew when it began" and you can really see the decline of western civilization taking place.

"She's it. All right, so maybe not "it" it. Not necessarily Ms. Right, but closer to Ms. Right-up-there-with-Anna-Kournikova-and-Lizzie-McGuire-on-your-list-of-people-you'd-give-anything-to-be-stranded-with-on-a-broken-down-elevator. But it's about more than that."

Festa: Good God, what is this kid doing? It's really nice to know that this kid's version of an ideal woman is Anna Kournikova, a hideous tennis player, and a fake mediocre literary figure. Why not just be open and honest? Why not just say what is patently obvious? Instead of comparing someone to dry paint, why not just say "You are the most intelligent, witty, funniest, and beautiful person I have ever met in my entire life. Anyone who disagrees with this doesn't have a pulse"

"She's gorgeous, but gorgeous is an understatement. More like you're startled every time you see her because you notice something new in a "Where's Waldo" sort of way. More like you can't stop writing third grade run-on sentences because you can't remotely begin to describe something ... someone ... so inherently amazing"

Festa: Ok, this one ain't that bad, it gets the point across, even if it uses a boardgame metaphor. But why the need to resort to third grade run on sentences? Can't one control themselves and do something more constructive: like ranting and calling people stupid when they disagree with you?

"Sure, she's pretty, but it's about more than that. You two connect. Anything you throw at her, she can throw right back. You figured out what's going on in that predictable head of hers in under five minutes, but something tells you her heart would take about five years. "

Festa: Half good, half insulting. It's nice to know that this guy isn't the slave to the siren, like many of Odysseuses (sorry for the spelling) companions were. But the idea that that you can predict whats going on inside her head in under five minutes is quite frankly stupid. Personally, I wouldn't go near a person who I could "figure out" in such a short period. Isn't the WHOLE POINT of "connecting" necessitate something more than a glorified fashion model?

"But she has a boyfriend. The kid is a tool, and you are not. He has no redeeming qualities, and you have about 38, even when you're hung over"

Festa: It is a truth universally acknowledged that every smart girl has a stupid boyfriend. What's your point? (hint: that was "ironic")

"Now cut this out, fill in her name, and give it to her, coward"

Festa: Many of us may be cowards (hey, its better than a wimp, right?). But there is one self-evident truth that I can safely claim.

What Festa, that all men are created equal?

No, that I will never ever send anyone I like this 2nd grade clap-trap.


Festa's Rant: The death of dating

Well, anyone who wants to deny that the world is heading towards damnation fast might want to take a look at this David Beckam situation. It's quite pathetic.

For those who do not know who David Beckam is, don't worry. He is the generic dope who people find attractive because he doesn't shower, grow's a half beard, can kick a soccer ball fairly well, and says "yo" with a British accent. He possesses next to no intelligence, no sense of humor, and he is about as fun to talk to as a goldfish. In other words, he is your typical male suitor.

Well, anyway, this Beckam character is married to some former spice chick (you remember them, right). Unfortunately, this "spice chick" wasn't exactly doing it for him so he kinda went behind her back and messed around with another girl.

Woopie, what's the story here Festa? Well apparently this is a newsworthy story that has been plastered all over the front pages of Britain (apparently freeing enslaved cultures in the middle east is page 2 news now). The following is an interview with the mistress with commentary from your's truly.

"The woman who claims to have had an affair with David Beckham says he was an "amazing lover" and the pair "couldn't keep their hands off each other" in the bedroom."

Festa: Well it's good to know these people have the maturity of a couple of infants. What a wonderful effect the death of dating has had on our culture: people revert back to their crudest most basic animal instincts in order to justify whatever abusive evil that is associated with the rejection of courtship and respect. I betcha these two are really good at sustaining relationships!

"Rebecca, 26, said they started kissing passionately in a chauffeur-driven car on the way back to the football star's hotel room on September 18 last year.

Asked about whether she was aware of the driver, she said: "At that stage the feelings were so strong it didn't matter where you are."

Rebecca said the married father-of-two was an "amazing", "generous" and "giving" lover.

"He knows how to please. He's not afraid of a woman's body. He seems to know what he's doing," she said."

Festa: imagine life like this. You hook up, drop like a bad habit..hook up, then drop like a bad habit...then you abuse, and drop like a bad habit... then you impregnant and then pay alimony...then you grow old, take viagra, hook up, and drop like a bad habit...then you die. If I am 26 and even consider doing something like this, please shoot me.

"In the interview she said the pair had slept together less than six times but he left her "very satisfied" every time.

But she said their final sexual encounters were more about sex than love.

"It started off tenderly and became much more sexual towards the end," she said."

Festa: I promised myself not to use to word stupid when characterizing someone, but I grant myself a dispensation here: This woman is STOOOOOPID. Oh yeah, I am sure he really "loved" you and "cared" for you in the beginning. Let me take a wild guess here and make the claim that if you did not "bang" him (what a great word we moderns came up with) he wouldn't have given you the time of day. Here's a hint, get a clue.

"But she added: "I think the problems were in their marriage long before I came into the picture."

Festa: wow that is the shocker of the century.

While I am in the mood to rant, let me stretch this argument out further. This represents the triumph of bad feminism (feminism B) over the good feminism (femisim A) to the point where the people who are getting hurt the most here are women.

There was a time when feminism was associated with overcoming the unnatural hierarchy between men and women, recognizing the equality between the two sexes, and yet still retaining a sense that the two do have differences (which do not make them less equal!). Women were equal to men and men were equal to women. Yet this feminism recognizes legitimate differences between the two that in no way contradicted the fundamental tenents of feminism (take for example a mother's love for a child versus a fathers love for a child. They are both equal, yet there are still somehow unique, which is good)

Yet for some reason the radical ideologues had to come along and ruin what was otherwise a good cause. This feminism saught to "liberate" women from oppressive sexual ethics, deny the legitimate need for males, and deny that there can ever exist any sort of love between a man and a woman.

This of course, enslaved the very people it was trying to free. By advocating the complete subjugation of reason to the passions, women became enslaved by their emotions and feelings. So did men. Yet I mention women because it is my firm conviction that it is women who are hurt more by this. This poor woman really doesn't have clue... how could she? she was never taught what a "clue" was. Becuase of this, some nihilistic brit names "Beckam" (rhymes with Wickam...har har..ok no one got that) with a bad shave can come along, say "hey look at me kick a soccer ball into the goal," abuse her, and then walk away. And this poor girl is justifying him?

How dare he do this?

Maybe there will be a day when feminism is returned to its proper roots and doesn't associate itself with people who think that candlelight dinners and treating women with respect are a form of rape.

If I didn't believe in an omniscient merciful God, I would be pretty skeptical.

Festa's Rant: Te