Politics Archives

I wish this category did not exist.

Cuddly Communism

When I think of Vietnam, my first thoughts tend toward the Vietnam War (which I’ve taken a liking to calling the “American War” as they do locally), and not that they are one of the few remaining communist states. This fact was immediately brought home as we left the airport and were greeted by banners displaying the hammer and sickle draped from every lamppost. I laughed to myself.

From all outward appearances, it’s “communism in name only” after the market reforms of Doi Moi (similar to perestroika in the Soviet Union) that occurred in the late 1980s. Vietnam today is booming. That said, they still go all out with the communist symbolism, albeit with a warm and flowery kawaii-esque makeover. I’d call it “pastel propaganda”—much of it related to the Tet Festival that was happening while we were in HCMC.

Communist billboard in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during Tet Festival 2011
Communist billboard in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during Tet Festival 2011
Communist billboard in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during Tet Festival 2011

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Me and rms

Justin Watt and Richard Stallman
Justin Watt and Richard Stallman, aka rms

At the San Francisco WordCamp today I got to see Richard Stallman give his free software talk and then perform his crowd-pleasing St. IGNUcius bit. I don’t usually do this, but afterwards I stuck around so I could get my picture taken with him.

Shalom Salaam Peace

Shalom Salaam Peace
Source: Wikipedia: Peace symbols

I was taken by how similar the word for “peace” is in Hebrew and Arabic, not just the sound of the words, but the very letter shapes themselves.

It’s not a choice if you don’t have one

In Touch Weekly cover for January 5, 2010 with Sarah and Bristol Palin and the quote, 'We're So Glad We Chose Life' superimposed lolcat-style with the classic Inigo Montoya line 'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.'
Source: In Touch Weekly cover for January 25, 2010

We’re glad we chose life. –Sarah and Bristol Palin

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. –Inigo Montoya

Hu Jintao is one Badass Motherfucker

Chinese President Hu Jintao standing in a car in front of four microphones
Really nice photo by REUTERS/Joe Chan, (via The Big Picture)