July 02, 2008


Tlaloc!, courtesy of wikipedia.

While traveling in Mexico recently, El Cabrero made a new acquaintance and renewed an old one. I encountered the new one while visiting Aztec and pre-Aztec ruins around Mexico City. It was none other than the rain and water god Tlaloc, who had googly eyes and was kind of big on earrings. Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent god, gets all the press, so it's high time my wet friend got his due.

I'm not sure why I bonded with Tlaloc, other than the fact that I think water was one of the universe's better ideas and that his name is fun to say over and over again. His abode was the fourth layer of the heavens, where eternal springtime and lush greenery prevailed. He did however have a certain unfortunate fondness for human sacrifice, a custom to which I am generally opposed. I guess we all have our foibles...

I also paid a visit to the Leon Trotsky Museum in Cocoacan, the site of the fallen Russian revolutionary's last home in exile and of his murder by Stalinist agents. (Leon in his glory days was no stranger to human sacrifice either.) One thing that El Cabrero has in common with Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens is that we all were impressed at one time by Isaac Deutscher's three volume biography of Trotsky, The Prophet Armed, The Prophet Unarmed, and The Prophet Outcast. While I'm no Trotskyist, one thing I got from those books was an understanding of and a visceral hatred for Stalinism and anything that reeks of it.

And finally,

here's a lizard from Leon's garden.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF EVIL is the subject of this NPR story about the work of psychologist Philip Zimbardo, designer of the classic Stanford Prison Experiment and author of the excellent recent book The Lucifer Effect. You can expect lots more about the latter starting next week.

THE CHANGING OF THE EVANGELICAL GUARD is the subject of this abstract from a longer 6/30New Yorker article. The full article wasn't anywhere I could find it on line, but is definitely worth a look if you find a print copy.

NEXT STOP...IRAN? Here's Seymour Hirsch's New Yorker piece on the Bush administration's mad fixation on starting another unnecessary war.

HOW DOES YOUR LIST COMPARE? Here's an item from alternet about the 10 worst moments of the Bush presidency. Jeez, where do you start?

ANOTHER LOOK AT WEST VIRGINIA from the outside. This one is from the UK Guardian.

IS THAT AN AZTEC DEATH WHISTLE IN YOUR POCKET OR... Speaking of meso-American antiquities, here's an interesting item about an eerie musical instrument.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you and all your readers are aware of a very important program being broadcast live tonight on the internet by Brave New Foundation. It's a film title, "in Their Boots" and you can read all about it at www.InTheirBoots.com. It is about how our soldiers who have returned from duty in Iraq & Afghanistan are being treated. It's a disgrace.

Thanks for reading this. Would love to read El Cabrero's assessment of the film.