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Sunni's Salon, June 2005

What a month! It seemed that each time I ventured out to check the news, I found that the self-appointed ruling class in this country was speeding the descent into absurdity. Not content with foisting the Real ID Act on us, Wisconsin congressthug James Sensenbrenner has authored a bill that would compel all individuals to become snitches in the state's war on drugs. The FDA is seriously considering approving a nerve stimulator implant as a depression "treatment" that has an abysmal record of effectiveness. A Minnesota court has begun the demonization of encryption software. The Commerce Clause has officially given the fedgov complete dominion over the states. And the Dept of Justice is pushing for ISPs to keep records of customers' online activities. Orwell Today must be working overtime to keep up with it all.

Can it get worse? Wait, don't answer that -- I don't want to know. It is mind-boggling -- but sadly, no longer surprising -- that such things can be happening in the United States. Whether conceived in liberty or doomed to fail from the outset, it still remains that this country was once the brightest beacon of liberty. It was so because of the actions of individuals -- those who birthed it, yes, but more so those who believed in freedom and breathed life into their grand words. For every Samuel Adams, Tom Paine, and Thomas Jefferson, many more were quietly going about their business, minding their own business and enjoying the freedom that results when individuals do those things unfettered by others. When "we, the people" began to falter is not easy to discern, but it's shameful that so many Americans can read the news stories I mentioned above, and fail to see that the state has destroyed our liberty.

So, how have I been dealing with all these absurdities? Largely, by delving into absurdities of my own choosing. That's most evident in my musical maunderings this month. I'm also looking for antidotes to the increasing levels of insanity -- and you'd be a winner if you bet that I don't care what the FDA thinks of them. This month's interview, with Australian psychologist and novelist Shaun Saunders, ranges through consumer absurdities and antidotes alike. My webby wanderings encompass escapism and enlightenment, on the off-chance that the people in this country can redeem themselves. And last (yes, I'm actually suggesting an order to your browsings), the strongest antidote I've yet seen ... I review Butler Shaffer's recently re-released Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival. In all honesty, I'm not sure that I'm up to his antidote ... but I'm willing to try it. Tom and I welcome you back to Sunni's Salon, where summer is in full swing, and your chaise lounge can be moved to enjoy the heady aroma of the peonies or not, as you like. We hope our absurdities are entertaining, and our antidotes healing for you.

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