At a press conference Tuesday, the World Heritage Committee officially recognized the Gap Between Rich and Poor as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” describing the global wealth divide as the “most colossal and enduring of mankind’s creations.”"Of all the epic structures the human race has devised, none is more staggering or imposing than the Gap Between Rich and Poor,” committee chairman Henri Jean-Baptiste said. “It is a tremendous, millennia-old expanse that fills us with both wonder and humility.”
“And thanks to careful maintenance through the ages, this massive relic survives intact, instilling in each new generation a sense of awe,” Jean- Baptiste added.
The vast chasm of wealth, which stretches across most of the inhabited world, attracts millions of stunned observers each year, many of whom have found its immensity too overwhelming even to contemplate. By far the largest man-made structure on Earth, it is readily visible from locations as far-flung as Eastern Europe, China, Africa, and Brazil, as well as all 50 U.S. states.
According to anthropologists, untold millions of slaves and serfs toiled their whole lives to complete the gap. Records indicate the work likely began around 10,000 years ago, when the world’s first landed elites convinced their subjects that construction of such a monument was the will of a divine authority, a belief still widely held today.
Though historians have repeatedly disproved such claims, theories still persist among many that the Gap Between Rich and Poor was built by the Jews.
While numerous individuals have tried to cross the Gap Between Rich and Poor, evidence suggests that only a small fraction have ever succeeded and many have died in the attempt.
Its official recognition as the Eighth Wonder of the World marks the culmination of a dramatic turnaround from just 50 years ago, when popular movements called for the gap’s closure. However, due to a small group of dedicated politicians and industry leaders, vigorous preservation efforts were begun around 1980 to restore—and greatly expand—the age-old structure.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, a longtime champion and benefactor of the rift’s conservation.
Posts Tagged ‘The Onion’
NEWPORT, RI—Audience members at the Newport Rock Festival were “outraged” Monday when rock icon Bob Dylan followed up such classic hits as “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Maggie’s Farm” with an electronica set composed of atonal drones, hyperactive drumbeats, and the repeated mechanized lyric “Dance to the club life!” “We came here to see the authentic Dylan, the one with the Stratocaster guitar and signature wild blues-rock band behind him,” audience member Robert Hochschild said. “Then he walks out with these puffy headphones, some turntables, and a laptop? The guy’s a Judas.” When asked later about his musical transformation by reporters, Dylan said he had nothing to say about the beats he programs, he just programs them.
Hailed as a sign of renewed government transparency when they began airing last year, President Barack Obama’s weekly video addresses have grown increasingly experimental in recent weeks, raising eyebrows nationwide.
Obama, who sources said has been more introspective and isolated in recent months, made his first foray into the avant-garde last March, when he posted a video titled “Red, White, and Doom” to the White House website. In it, the president, seated in the Oval Office with a skull-and-crossbones banner where the American flag would normally be, stares unblinkingly into the camera as the phrase “in God we trust” loops for four minutes and 33 seconds.
While it was initially dismissed by the public as a technical error, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer was quick to clarify that the video in fact reflected Obama’s changing vision for the country.
“The president still wants to continue his dialogue with the American people,” Pfeiffer said. “However, he’s been getting really into Nam June Paik lately, and is passionate about using new technologies and techniques to communicate his message of hope and progress.”
“And if he smashes the very foundations of modern consumerist culture while he’s at it, then all the better,” Pfeiffer added.
Though the videos are a continuation of the fireside chat tradition begun by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, they mark the first time a president has used weekly addresses as a form of artistic self-expression.
Obama’s early pieces primarily played with structure: Our Long-Term Strategy In Afghanistan employs Brion Gysin’s cut-up technique to reorder the words in a major speech on foreign policy, eventually creating a shocking sound collage that, according to the White House, reveals “a truth previously buried beneath layers of intent.”
Since then, the president’s work has grown more abstract and drawn mixed reviews. Citizens reacted favorably to the absurdist slapstick of Reshaping Wall $treet, which features a man in a pig mask rooting through a garbage pail filled with currency, but were less satisfied with (S)Mother Earth, in which Americans ranging in age from 6 months to 90 years are submerged in oil and found guilty by a clown-faced judge for their role in the recent BP oil spill.
Nonetheless, a number of critics have embraced Obama’s edgier productions. Artforum magazine referred to Obama’s oeuvre as “a winking indictment of the institution of the presidency from none other than the president himself,” and cited in particular his wildlife conservation video Meat Play as “the direction the office needs to go in if the executive branch is to remain relevant.”
Describing himself as “terribly exhausted,” famed linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky said Monday that he was taking a break from combating the hegemony of the American imperialist machine to try and take it easy for once.
“I just want to lie in a hammock and have a nice relaxing morning,” said the outspoken anarcho-syndicalist academic, who first came to public attention with his breakthrough 1957 book Syntactic Structures. “The systems of control designed to manufacture consent among a largely ignorant public will still be there for me to worry about tomorrow. Today, I’m just going to kick back and enjoy some much-needed Noam Time.”
“No fighting against institutional racism, no exposing the legacies of colonialist ideologies still persistent today, no standing up to the widespread dissemination of misinformation and state-sanctioned propaganda,” Chomsky added. “Just a nice, cool breeze through an open window on a warm spring day.”
Sources reported that the 81-year-old Chomsky, a vociferous, longtime critic of U.S. foreign policy and the political economy of the mass media, was planning to use Monday to tidy up around the house a bit, take a leisurely walk in the park, and possibly attend an afternoon showing of Date Night at the local megaplex.
Sitting down to a nice oatmeal breakfast, Chomsky picked up a copy of Time, a deceitful, pro-corporate publication that he said would normally infuriate him.
“Yes, this magazine may be nothing more than a subtle media tool intended to obfuscate the government’s violent agenda with comforting bromides, but I’m not going to let that get under my skin,” Chomsky said. “I mean, why should I? It’s absolutely beautiful outside. I should just go and enjoy myself and not think about any of this stuff.”
Added Chomsky, glancing back over at the periodical, “Even if it is just another way in which individuals are methodically fed untruths that slowly shape their perceptions of reality, dulling their ability to challenge and defy a government bent on carrying out its own selfish and destructive—no, no Noam, not today, none of that today.”
In a decisive and vulgar 7-2 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court once again upheld the constitution’s First Amendment this week, calling the freedom of expression among the most “inalienable and important rights that a motherfucker can have.”
“It is the opinion of this court that the right to speak without censorship or fear of intimidation is fundamental to a healthy democracy,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. “Furthermore, the court finds that the right to say whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want, is not only a founding tenet, but remains essential to the continued success of this nation.”
Added Ginsburg, “In short, freedom of speech means the freedom of fucking speech, you ignorant cocksuckers.”
During oral arguments, Charleston’s chief counsel Dan Roy said his clients could restrict any public speech they deemed offensive, an argument quickly dismissed by Justice John Paul Stevens, 90, who turned to his colleagues and made a repeated up-and-down hand motion intended to simulate masturbation.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who voted with the majority, wrote a concurring opinion in which he made little mention of established court precedents but emphasized that he himself had viewed materials “way, way nastier than this stupid play.”
“I don’t know what kind of bullshit passes for jurisprudence down in the 4th Circuit these days,” Thomas wrote. “But those pricks can take their arguments about speech that ‘appeals only to prurient interests’ and go suck a dog’s asshole.”
Writing in dissent, however, Justice Antonin Scalia contemplated the limits of the constitutional guarantee of free speech.
“The court has an interest in protecting meaningful human communication, which is jeopardized when every other word out of someone’s mouth is ‘F this’ or ‘F that,’” Scalia wrote. “In practice, such an expansion of free expression becomes far too unwieldy and large to accommodate.”
To which Justice Ginsberg immediately replied, “Yeah, that’s what his mom said.”
“This is a historic victory for free speech, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, a hundred years from now, the hallowed walls of this court bear an inscription taken from the eloquent decision handed down today,” lead defense attorney Carl Huddleston said. “Particularly the phrase ‘That which erodes human rights serves to erode humanity, fuckface.’”
In an effort to reduce wasteful spending and eliminate non-vital federal services, the U.S. government announced plans this week to cut its long-standing senator program, a move it says will help save more than $300 billion each year.
According to officials, the decision to cut the national legislative body was reached during a budget review meeting on Tuesday. After hours of deliberation, it was agreed that the cost of financing U.S. senators far outweighed the benefits they provided.
“Now more than ever, we must eliminate needless spending wherever possible,” President Obama said at a press conference Wednesday. “When we sat down to go over our annual budget, we asked ourselves, where can we safely trim back? What programs can we do away with without negatively impacting the American people? Which bloated and ineffective institutions can we no longer justify having around?”
“The answer was obvious,” Obama added. “The U.S. Senate just needed to go.”
Established in 1789 as a means of overseeing the passage of bills into law, the once-promising senator program has reportedly failed to contribute to the governing of the nation in any significant way since 1964. Last year alone, approximately $450 billion was funneled into the legislative chamber, an amount deemed fiscally unsound considering how few citizens actually benefit in any way from its existence.
An analysis conducted last week revealed a number of troubling flaws within the long-running, heavily subsidized program, including a lack of consistent oversight, no clear objectives or goals, the persistent hiring of unqualified and selfishly motivated individuals, and a 100 percent redundancy rate among its employees.
Moreover, the study found that the U.S. government already funds a fully operational legislative body that appears to do the exact same job as the Senate, but which also provides a fair and proportional representation of the nation’s citizens and has rules in place to prevent one individual from holding the operations of the entire chamber hostage until he is guaranteed massive federal spending projects for his home state of Alabama.
Not only have U.S. Senators cost the country billions of dollars in misspent funds over the years, but Washington insiders claim they have also derailed a wide range of other government programs, from social welfare to job creation to environmental protection.
Still, a small pocket of the nation’s populace vehemently disagreed with Tuesday’s decision.
“This is outrageous,” said Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut-area resident and concerned citizen who makes more than $150,000 a year, enjoys full health care benefits, and lives comfortably in a large, non-foreclosed home. “The U.S. Senate has always looked out for my best interests. It’s always done right by me.”