Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Egregious

In Kansas identical twin boys were once forced to fight to the death barehanded. The winner would eat the loser’s brain, be granted two wives, and appointed sheriff of whatever county he chose while his mother sang the old Mayflower hymn "Life is the Seed of Death and we Come to Sow anon anon."  The practice was banned in 1983. No Kansas Democrat has been elected to statewide office since. "Old Twin Killer Two Wives" remains common slang for "sheriff" throughout the Great Plains.

No culture is innocent of the Martyr's fallacy. That old movie "Quills" for example has it all wrong. The Marquis de Sade actually lived as long and comfortably as most Marquises and died in his sleep not quite a day after having buttsex with his teenage girlfriend.  So I've read anyhow.  I haven't really looked into the sources for this and can only guess that one who'd have Sade for a boyfriend would be the sort to write a thousand pages on "The Last Buttsex of Sade". "The 120 Days of Sodom" is ridiculous by the way and I don't mean in the sense of a good basketball player.  It may feel heroic to presume that anything conventionally shocking must be liberating by definition but the actual work of Burroughs lower end Von Trier or Pink Flamingoes etc., is just a deadening stream of shit piled on top of shit literally or otherwise. That one movie from Europe I saw for example; either Spain or France I'm pretty sure. A teenage boy comes across his newly dead father's porn stash and responds to this discovery by throwing the mags into a trashcan, pissing on them, masturbating on them, (not to them by any means just on them) and then dousing it all in butane and setting it alight. The kids mother flirts with him repeatedly while referring to herself as "a bitch and a slut."  Later a group of men at a touristy restaurant have a spontaneous jerkoff contest.  No one asks them to so much as keep the noise down.  At last the kids mom french-kisses him while fondling his junk and then immediately slits her own throat. Roll credits. One may compare all this shit to Herzog, for example, who while intentionally shocking himself also has something to say about authority, masculinity, the illusion of triumphing over nature vs. the just as illusory romantization of it and how all of this blends together to make people stupid.

The Chili Peppers' "One Hot Minute" isn't as bad as people say.  "Aeroplane" is one of their best songs straight up and overall I'd say this desk is the best of their Currently on Drugs Right Now work.  Most people haven't heard a bit of their leering, dope sweat bro music from before Mother's Milk and this is for the best.
 
I would trace my immunity to bad trips to a point at age twenty or so when I watched Apocalypse now alone on mushrooms. It was orgasm-level stimulation as you may well assume and unqualifiedly positive. After the movie I went outside just to be outside. Across a church yard from my apartment there was a pink house with purple window frames where a woman in this I swear to God Ms. Gingerbread style getup was watering her plants. I stared at her and her house for a time, maybe an hour. Then I went home and watched Apocalypse Now alone on Mushrooms again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Affect is All There Is

The US isn't actually filled to the brim with creationists who dropped out of grade school to go to church more. I know that's what we claim out loud on surveys but never mind. Fundamentalists have influence beyond their numbers, generally white and well-to-do.  They are also of course very loud and because of this have planted a common idea that fundamentalism is the historic Christian default. I emphasize that they have not 'brainwashed' anyone but have planted an idea of what's normal. Humans do not commonly give much thought to religion. By that I don't mean to say that no one who gives it any thought could believe. Their are genius believers. I mean that it is actually quite rare for any culture at any time to be overflowing with piety. (Iraq has the same percentage of avowed atheists as we do for example.)  We've been led to believe that this has been the civilizational norm until just yesterday but no, it never was.  We know that the culturally prevailing religion we happen to have is "normal" so we "believe" it; and it's been planted in our heads that creationism is elemental to the normal religion and thus to being normal. Still in the end we mainly sleep in on Sundays and of course we know that there is a far less profound difference between apes and ourselves than between apes and jellyfish.

Homophobia and hostility to abortion are indeed the historic norm in Christianity, but were not considered to be all that vital to it for nineteen hundred years. It is was only after these positions came under public challenge that they suddenly became Very Important.  But let's talk about facial hair now. The dogmatically bearded Greeks and the dogmatically shaved Romans.  The facial hair that was countercultural in the 1960's or hipster today was standard for the mecha-WASP presidents of the 1880's.  The idea that "our" customs are eternal because they are exclusively ideal or otherwise inarguably good. We must all know that this is shit deep down.

I've met the Kline who had the corner of 11th and G named after him. He was a good man or maybe a serial killer. He was civil to me for the thirty seconds we interacted and then he did other things for a few years and then he died. The block is now Lincoln's main Latino hub. Those who may be existentially unsettled by the very existence of such a thing need to understand that it doesn't matter and I mean that in the plainest possible sense. Kline is dead and there is only one degree of Not I. Your first-born son conjoined twin or partner you are cumming with right now are all the same degree of Not I as an anteater. The Unicameral man for my hometown wondered aloud "what's going to happen to Nebraska if we keep letting all these (ILLEGAL!!!) immigrants in. What's going to happen to Nebraska is that it is going to go dark for you and me and then stay dark. There shall be no taking America back but it will take us back. America will eat us. Wyuka will eat us. After that somebody else, whoever else, shall have not our thing but their own.

When I reflect upon the motives towards bigotry, especially the brutal things done to prevent "miscegenation," I conclude that the fire is driven not by fear of the unthinkable but by knowledge one finds intolerable. The knowledge that of course white and black could combine sexually socially or in any other way whenever we like. The knowledge that ethnicity is a byproduct of archaic transportation, that our ancestors fell in love or lust with whoever was in the same place and that's it.  There is no self-definition to be found here, neither any transcendence of temporary self.  There are only artificial We's. We are of no natural particular kind that we can continue existing through after personal death or of any intrinsically good kind that we can feel assured of being good through after we personally fail.

There have been several efforts to classify humankind by "race" basic units larger than a nation but smaller than the species itself. The lines are drawn by bigoted criteria though sometimes rational ones as well. But the paradigms still never of course quite work and never will. One such recentish attempt was Samuel Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations: Remaking World Order" Huntington divides our species into nine basic civilizations. He uses NATO membership to mark the border between "The West" and Russish "Orthodox" civilization. He distinguishes Latin America as separate from The West but not Iberia. China and India are given their own realms which makes sense.  Also Japan for I don't know why, of course they're different from the Chinese but more so than the Poles vis-a-vis the Scottish?  Israel is grouped within the Middle East even though they quite famously stick out. Huntington states that the Middle East is simply wired for hostility towards the West. He states the Muslim countries have a history of making war upon their neighbors; which is of course true; and something that the man seems to truly consider more remarkable than the English making was on the Scottish and the Irish and the French or the French making war on England Spain Germany and Belgium all alike or the US marching on Toronto and Mexico City both in turn.  Muslim culture is unique for wearing clothes and eating food.

It can be just as easily argued, because it is true, that Europe, indelibly Europeanized former colonies and the Middle East are all of the same 'cultural continent' or phylum.  The Mediterranean can be crossed in a not-very-technical boat, to say nothing of the Bosporus. It is the Sahara, Siberia and the Himalayas that marked the effective end of a world for a formatively long time. "We" have the same civilizational roots in Egypt and Mesopotamia and being "all children of Abraham man" is only one sign of this out of many. Before the one true jealous god there were analogues between Greek and Babylonian gods. If anything one says about the inherent barbarism of the Middle East happens to be true then so must we be inherently barbarous.  There is no way around that and there are those with cause to think so. I am a Caucasian in the middle of America; not to put too fine a point on it.   

Friday, June 24, 2016

Attention All Planets of The Solar Federation....

I've been reading a bit on Reagan's ruinous policy or rather attitude towards mental health infrastructure. The way he gutted funding as both CA governor and president; leaving those who were medically known as unable to bootstrap themselves out on the streets to fucking ay try to anyhow. Reagan was fixed on the idea that there was no true mental illness as such but only disobedience. It stands to reason that a conservative mind, one with an especially deep need for predictability and control, would be loathe to accept the existence of illusions from within that can't be controlled. And anyhow Marx did say something about false consciousness once.  There's the fire escape. It is wrong to suggest such a thing as one's brain unchoosingly misfiring because Marx.

Javert, the narc from Les Miserables for whom 'all crime was in the foremost rebellion.' (quoted from imprecise memory) The guy who killed himself rather than accept the unavoidable need for gray morals. Real-life authoritarians do not generally do that and it was too much. Too Much is just what Les Mis is as a story. It is all-caps 19th century ROMANTIC.  Everybody is just more more and suicide is the go-to option for anyone who feels any degree of bad at all. A dude on the barricades giving an impromptu six-page speech on the glories of martyrdom.  Still it does have its points. If crime is primarily disobedience, if the very existence of murder rape or general mayhem serve as proof that these crimes are over-lightly punished then in theory at least there is a clean formula and structure for placing all fires of the human heart under control. That is the authoritarian appeal which poisons our real-world politics. It is the appeal of 'toughness' for the sake of toughness.  The convenient notion that the pleasurable rush of having just won a fight is in itself of vital social benefit.

Political correctness is no more than the utterly practical knowledge that if I were a singer who put out an album called "Control" and the cover was me in a militarish costume staring you down the message conveyed would be very different from Janet Jackson's.

My stepdad is in Vietnam.  That much is established fact. He says that the reds shot his plane down and captured him three different times and that he escaped three different times or was it four?  I don't think so. He says that on his return to the Seattle airport he was accosted by a hippie who called him a baby killer until a fatherly wise sheriff intervened.  Bull Fucking Shit Dad. The John Wayneish tone that he gave the sheriff was I don't know pathetic and awesome at the same time right? He says that after the war he worked as a sheriff's deputy in interior Oregon and personally killed a pair of infamous murderers and thieves.  I don't think so again but hell maybe. He says that on 9/11 he was across the river in Jersey when 'hell came'.  Nope. I happened to be home in North Platte on that day and he was the one who woke me up to tell me. I recall him trying to make talk with me in banal slogans while I ignored him trying to gather this thing that I had slept through. He said something about "America having learned a lesson" meaning, so far as I can guess, that the very fact this thing happened was proof that we had been softhearted and blind. 

Conservatives take it on faith that of course they are stronger more vigilant and in all ways Just Better on national security than the left. But I remember 1999.  I remember that right-wingers, my stepdad included, were no more concerned with Al-Qaeda than anyone else. In their eyes the threat we were foolishly ignoring was Russia or China.  Even so it is a crucial plank of Dad's self-esteem to view himself as manfully protective where others are naive. I would even say that he would rather die and get it over with than accept that there is an inherent mortal vulnerability that cannot be escaped with any level of power strength or courage.  The man Needs to believe that the possibility of the US being harmed is not a given but only ever explained by our own failure of courage.  He Needs to he is perpetually wise to a dire and immediate threat that the nation is perpetually ignorant of, and gives no thought to the simple impossibility of national survival if this were so. He is of course a thoroughgoing  member of the 'guns for everyone everywhere' crowd.  He spoke in disapproval of my grandpa 'giving up' and becoming fatalistic just because he was an 83-year old with stage IV cancer. Only Russian poets would ever die if we had the degree of willpower over death that this man 'believes' we do.

The US is not more intrinsically chauvinistic than other countries.  We just haven't been well and truly kicked in the ass for it yet. (Unless you count our civil war, which I definitely should come to think of it.  Call it 'not enough yet' then.)  Our jingoistic mania after 9/11 has been compared to that of Europe at the start of World War I; which some people alive at the time have described as 'like being in love'.  In Paris during August of 1914 a man in a cafe was beaten to death for not joining in a spontaneous signing of "La Marseillaise".  He may have approved of the war for all anyone will ever know but he didn't join in the song because it was a coffee shop and who the fuck does that?  The man died for failing to realize that he had woken up to a world now operating by Monty Python rules.  If national survival magically depends on our personal approval of a conflict then suddenly we are Very Important.  There is no longer a 'lightness of being' but a fucking epic gravity to everything about us and all that we do. If one buys into the idea that "we" are characters in history's climactic chapter than we are never alone. We can be constantly larger-than-life emotional with everyone around us; as if everyone were everyone else's mother child or lover. Accepting all of this as nonsense is theoretically easy.  One only needs to go back to seeing oneself as a small person aging to death quietly with no masterpiece opera soundtrack behind them.

Our response to 9/11 and defeat in Vietnam has also been compared to Germany's "stabbed in the back myth" used to convince themselves that their loss in World War I was a matter of their own controlling. We and Germany are both rich countries whose people are accustomed to having our way. Getting what we want is How The World Works to our own eyes. Beyond final illness many white Americans need never face any more jarring reminder that this isn't so than a Democrat in the White House. Even this is too jarring to handle for some. We could do worse so far as empires go. We don't stack every head of a conquered city into a pyramid or crucify people.  Still being rich and strong without being dicks about may simply be beyond what the human spirit can do. A rich man's dog doesn't care if it deserves its feather bed or not. Humans are obsessed with justice. We cannot stand to view the good things in our life as plain luck, let alone as gained by foul means on our behalf however far personally removed from ourselves.  If white Americans are not the light of the world than what are we?  Tyrants? Decadents?  If we are not the eternal standard for what Americans are and should be than what? Country songs about how country the singer is and how being country is by far the greatest of all human glories. One Goodoldboysploitation reality show after another. From the nineties through today we have grown first obsessed and then outright manic about having our identities affirmed. We demand it from everyone and everything.

We greatly overestimate the level of control required for survival and basic comfort.  We are liver-poisoned by our privilege. Most people of the world recognize, however grudgingly, the need to assess where they are and take whatever step they think fitting with no promise of success. Not because they are closer-to-the-earth wiser but because they just have to. This crucial survival skill has atrophied within ourselves. There was once a crash-test driver who needed years to truly learn in his muscles that gripping the wheel on impact would only hurt him worse.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

It's The End of The World.

I was recently at a discussion of sexism in the media where the new "Women's Ghostbusters" was brought up. I wondered aloud about why even avowed anti-feminists gave a damn.  I made some crack about Hemingway having never written about the manly bonds of ghostbusting on the plains of Andalusia.  Why was Ghostbusting gender coded?  Ghostbusting plays no role in domestic life or reproduction. Ghostbusting is not real. Just as I was starting to have a similar thought the moderator pointed out that "aggressive heroism" is coded male; and I realized that yes, that's it.  I recalled the climactic scene of the Ghostbusters strutting up to the Gozor hotel while priests and rabbis led chants of "Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters..." whilea song called "Saving the Day" played on the soundtrack.  It is something a a bachelor fantasy too.  Bros with a fire pole. Bill Murray was a long damn way from sad old arthouse Murray he was still frattish drum role Murray.

The tellingly labeled "dickless" EPA man was completely in the right now that I think of it. Am I supposed to be so enthralled by glorious private enterprise as to trust drunken academic frauds with a nuclear reactor in Manhattan? And shouldn't sentient beings have some kind of civil rights instead of being summarily hunted down and crammed into a 6X6 inch nuclear jail?  What about that jogger ghost who was just jogging but got sucked in to applause anyway?  That's fucking livism.  If simply existing after death is unacceptable then go blast the first church down the block with your atomic plasma sperm you tyrannical fucks.

Whenever I come across an internet thread about woman's basketball there is always without fail or prompt those who must point out that women's basketball is Just Worse, will always be Just Worse, that its mere existence is a PC affect of pretending that women can play basketball. Arguments against no actual opponents but ghost feminists, ghost liberals and ghost hippies while everyone else tries to discuss the Tennessee/Notre Dame game.

In reality the NCAA rents domes or big pro arenas for the woman's Final Four because crowds require it. Enough people sincerely care about women's basketball to require it. When Husker women's volleyball wins the national title we don't orgy on O street like we did for the football team in the nineties but its still a plaque we care about winning pretty strongly.  When Title IX was passed in the seventies and high school girls were "allowed" to play sports there were some grumbles here but it was soon learned that this was actually a neat fit with our established rural jack-of-all-trades culture.  In the Nebraska Sandhills there are muscled women who drink Busch wrench trucks and do not see themselves as the least bit gender rebellious. Anyhow it's one more team that might be good enough to make state giving everyone a party in Lincoln and a reminder to Omaha that they exist. The trolls carry on as if the legitimacy of women's sports is still in hot dispute when Nah.  Not for many decades and not in the most conservative by-the-way place imaginable.

Even if it were somehow known that the realm of sports Belongs to men by dictate of God nature etc. then what of it? How would this make my own male being in any way grander? What meaningful validation could one suppose there to be here? I am led to think of the old hagiographic sports movies about Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Knute Rockney, the neverending ripe personality cults around quarterbacks, Charles Barkley's "I am not a Role Model" shoe commercial & the indignant replies that only dangerous fools could think they have the option of being athletes without being models for strapping young Lads. To this day we continue putting on the act of being shocked when a pro athlete gets caught acting like a twentysomething with money on a Friday night. There's no small amount of racism against "thug" athletes here and also a bullheaded persistence of Nike worship. The bizarre sense of obligation to presume a link between sporting victory and moral character. We have the sense that every contest between men that entails a bit of sweat is a symbolic Bunker Hill; a confirmation of the old idea that men do the most strenuous and dangerous work and are thus entitled to rule.

The sight of two near-equal opponents matching each other move-for-move while daring the other to do likewise in the very same act is indeed inspiring; be they women or men or dogs playing tug-of-war. It brings about a deep patriotic feeling for life itself and being of it.The intensity of this feeling can be sublime but that's not to say it is a feeling of great moral edification. It is only just fun.  I say only just but fuck any righteous ass who doesn't think that's enough. We do not live to serve morals. Morals are servile to fun. We only have morals so that we can live longer and have more fun. We are born with a certain set of genitals not to command us who to be but to have some damned fun; or perhaps to have some kids so they can have fun if we think that would be fun. Womanhood is a hat. Womanhood is product placement for Kinky brand soft liquor in a late season episode of True Blood.  Manhood is a hat. Manhood is an orphaned boxing glove at a garage sale that's marked for ten bucks but fuck that I'll give you two in quarters and you know you'll take it.  Fun is God.  Fun is Truth and it is God.

Fame Is War

I once flipped through a book in the library called "The Top 1000" or some such. Its premise was a new algorithm using internet searches etc to determine the thousand biggest names in history.  Jesus was number one as he always is for such things. I'd hate to be one to carry on about 'Eurocentrism Man" but second place went to Napoleon and he strikes me as a bottom half of the top ten guy maybe. Mohammad came in eighth as I recall and I don't see how he's anything less than a dead lock for second unless you place Abraham first, which one could make a good case for. And as for Glover Cleveland being in the top hundred at all (98th) get the fuck out with that shit.

I wholeheartedly agree with the left-wing consensus that reverence for the "founding fathers" is mainly bad. Yet when I read sociopolitical works from the mid twentieth century it becomes strikingly clear that Washingtonismo is a fraction of what it was when my parents were in school. This tells me among other things that we need not despair over the civil/rights identity movements of the sixties & seventies having plowed the sea, having accomplished nothing but inspire a brutal political thermidor against them. The risings have had real and lasting effect on general American thought patterns. We are less hierarchical now.  There's a monarchical/great man impulse hungover from feudal Europe that's been permanently weakened. The Cult of The Founders, rebels against Britain, is a thing that has been intentionally cultivated by those who wished to permanently cement US culture as not just fundamentally white but specifically British for all eternity. (There are still living people, if not for much longer, who remember the DAR being a force) This effort has in the main been abandoned for the futility it has always been. Though I have recently glossed through a right-wing column which said that we once revered the founders and were now more inclined to dismiss them as slavers. That for reasons not quite spelled out this was not only bad but apocalyptically bad. Precisely how society benefits from revering Great Men is never spelled out. Some people would simply instill a general habit of submission for the sake of having it.  Some well-to-do white men would have such a habit be the norm so that they themselves are submitted to,  or at least by their own families withing there own homes.

We are an Anglophone nation who are markedly less English than Canada or Australia.  I am glad for this though I have no contempt for either them or England. It gives me hope to see us perpetually evolve into a new thing, in vivacious defiance of those who demand One True Eternal Culture and system of values. It is largely our non-European marginalized who make us particular in spite of all and I am thankful.  I love particularity and being particular above most all else.  I hope not to come across as condescending with praise but teenage Jagger and Lennon thought America was cool mainly because they thought African-Americans were cool.  That's just historic record.

I am of the post-imperial European diaspora and I am not whatever the fuck a Westerner is supposed to be. I am American and I am Nebraskan.  My compatriots are the Natives African Americans and Latinos among me. It is no longer hidden from me that this is who we are among and are of.  London Prague and Tehran for their part are all the same single degree of foreign who I strive to view with all due benevolence.

There are still those who bemoan "The Downfall of Western Civilization." (tm) Who claim either obliquely or directly that the light skinned can only either feel superior or suicidally self-loathing. Who damn the political correctness that has led to the decline of western civ courses at universities. Shakespeare Goethe and Plato are not actually being taught any less than ever but binding them together into a bullshit Westerness is apparently all-important. The mourners may speak as if they have common sense and ancient truth on their side but really it's all about wanting to believe that a generically similar appearance to Shakespeare or Goethe magically makes their accomplishments one's own now isn't it? ("How many slaves do you think I owned Mr. Hates America?"  Well; how many airplanes did you invent motherfucker?)  Let me shun political correctness myself and speak straightforwardly in pure simple truths. I agree with those who insist that Western Civilization is not inherently evil; because a thing has to exist before it can be evil. The Dead Meat Boys of the Western Front were able to see each other as intrinsically alien well enough now weren't they?

Rutherford Hayes came to the White House in a very shady manner; and in order to stave off violent challenges to this he ended Reconstuction in the South among other things.  This made way for a savage regression to white dominance there and helped influence what would become a near genocidal mania against black people nationwide by the 1920's. The story of how Hayes came to power is important to our greater national story, yet for what he actually did with this power well; this was a time when presidents just didn't matter as much as we're accustomed to. Three got shot in thirty five years before anyone thought they should have a permanent bodyguard.  Hayes signed tariffs and he had a beard like Grant and Garfield and Arthur did.

Rutherford Hayes is no one's Great Man, no one's top one thousand. Still his presidency happened to coincide with white settlement of the High Plains so there are things named for him out there.  The last sizable town in westward Kansas until all the way to Denver itself.  A county in southwest Nebraska, its borders absurdly drawn by Great Lakes standards of ideal size, as is so with many western counties.  It is settled to the degree of not quite a person in a half per square mile for a total population of not quite a thousand.  One more nonsense county removed from McCook, the nearest town conceivably big enough to ever seat an impartial jury. One who has seen the Plains from valleyed interstates may be shocked by Hayes Counties' ruggedness, its rocks, dunes, pine trees and stone age "roads" occasionally vertical as canyons demand and on which high school kids casually make their thirty mile commute to school at 70 mph, dreaming of being ranch lords themselves one day or maybe the swinger's life in Denver if they've been turned on to Kanye Sublime or whatever time-defying mismash of non-country music.

As you may guess Hayes County has had almost nothing in the way of true sociohistoric happening in its time. The one exception to this being the Great Buffalo Hunt of 1872.  A junior Russian prince was touring the US at the time.  He had already done New York Washington Chicago etc and then headed out west to kill a bison; because if one was visiting the US at this time they simply had to.  It was like a hitchhiking foreign exchange student eating a cheeseburger and putting it on Instagram today.  It simply wasn't not done.

So Prince Little Alex Son of Alex rode a train to North Platte where he was met by Buffalo Bill, (Who lived there at the time.  You've no idea how weird it is to recall that most people aren't from NP and need to be told this) General Phil Sheridan (Grant's old Hard Man) General Custer (Yes that one) and Spotted Tale of the Lakota now reserved at Rosebud.  One may add a priest a rabbi Wyclef Jesus Christ and Haile Salassie if this were a joke and it is but it really did happen too. They rode south out of the Platte Valley and into the hills, eventually finding a herd that had taken apocalyptic refuge as far from people as it could in not-yet Hayes County. There the men camped drank and killed.  Custer and Cody trying to outfab each other to a nuclear-obnoxious degree I'm sure.

I look back on this with a vague sense of anger. Or rather a conceited sense that I should be angry at this God-Damned European crowned head who had his way with already badly-stressed American wildlife.  Becky once told me of an African she met in France who went on a prolonged rant against safaris (Yeah they're still a thing) "Do you think that's normal!?" he said, "go ten thousand miles and spend a hundred grand just to blow away an elephant?"  I feel this man's sense of insult in my own way. My own home turf has been Safarized, which is to say treated as if it were not quite real, as if it could not truly be a matter-of fact home of birth sex lunch and death for anyone, was rather a toy to be used by the actual real world. Though some of this to be fair might be benign; the tourist's natural rush of joy at experiencing a new world.  Andof course I am not a colonized person myself, I no nothing of what it's like to be an indigenous African or American and being asked what it's like to be so damned exotic. I am not cut by the rub directly as others are but I do perceive it.

I think "Buffalo Commons" is a bridge too far but I do believe that the Prairie needs its own Yellowstone A fifty mile square of the Nebraska Sandhills would be ideal for this. Private enterprise can survive that one bit of ranch land reverting to federal commons.  And so long as you leave out the tree-pissing conquest angle of hunting I'd be happy to see visitors get their fucking LARP on with white pioneer stereotypes. Bonnets, straw hats, beards, denim suspenders, hoop skirts, Jebidiahs, playing dead form cholera. It'd be beautiful. I shall never have the option of identity without baggage.  There are worse things.  From Iowa to Piedmont my land shines from indulgent rains.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Disco Inferno

I was recently reading Thomas Sowell, the Stanford economist who for whatever reason chooses to ass to his comfortable income by also writing as a syndicated right-wing hack.  Sowell wrote of being a young Marxist as a 1950's undergrad and while such conversion stories are suspicious sometimes I can take him on his word here. There are plenty of Marxist economists.  There are plenty of hardcore laissez-faire economists. Those who have been both are a great deal more common than those who do not believe that their own field is the One Great Truth that all others flow from one way or the other.  Never tell a baker that you don't like cookies.

In the first chapter of Europe Central there is an actor who pretends to be Lenin's already dead failed assassin in order to appease Lenin's mercy-inclined wife. (Yes this really happened BTW) Lenin's wife accuses the fake shooter of being "in the middle." She assumes that no one could prioritize free elections or civil liberties over controlling the means of production unless they were cravens who'd been intentionally seeking out the safe middle ground. I think this reveals something about how some come to believe that paradise is a place where mass executions are routine. Extremism is not bad Because it is extremism; and there's no truth to the notion that the right answer in a conflict is inclined to be in the middle. The middle position is neither more or less likely to be correct than the extremes. Indeed the very act of framing the spectrum its center and its left and right frontiers is itself an arbitrary choice. Nothing at all is inherently moderate or extreme independent of necessarily artificial paradigms. The possibility for using belief as a vehicle for being reasonable or bold does not exist. Whether you or I are bold enough to be radical or sober enough to be conventional is of no consequence.

The fundamental truths of humankind cannot possibly be about you or I in particular. That I suppose is the main thing that makes the fanatic wrong. I do not doubt that they are highly sincere in wanting to improve the world. (and violence does 'sometimes' make the world better than leaving what it destroys intact would have) But ultimately they are less concerned with improving the world than they are with personal identity, with seeing themselves as worthy, brave, strong and of unique generational importance. Nietzsche did not mean "God is Dead" as a taunt. In fact he correctly predicted the near-term hazard; that as religion declined the mental habits of a Europe accustomed to dogmatic grandeur & a view of itself as historically and civilizationly central would remain; that nationalism and other ideologies would become violently insistent. The easiest way to feel assured that we are not wasting our timebombed lives is to feel assured that we spend or lives doing universally mandatory things; and the supposedly ultra-group oriented Soviets were in truth eager inheritors of the Christian assumption that ultimate truth must define individual purpose before all else.

Commenters sometimes describe the modern Jihadists as "nihilists".  That's a famously overused word on this matter and others.  But I do agree that there is some level of a "fuck everything" impulse behind violent dogmatism.  The idea of a truth more important than life can be a platform for vengeance against a world that dares continue being a place where enjoyable things happen after we die. The deliberate eagerness with which fanatics destroy entire human worlds, cities, parks, monuments that have stood for a thousand years. Whole communities of people murdered with orgasmic joy; their bonds to a century and a half through memory and relationship destroyed for that very sake. It's the Year Zero idea; everything that came before me was either meaningless, contemptible or there for no other sake but to bring me about.  While everything that comes after me shall be as I invented it in all details forever. It goes beyond the obvious fact that we all want to be important.  It is about becoming convinced that Warsaw has always been important Because I am destroying it right now, that my murder victims are important because I am the one murdering them.  The obvious thing to say is that it is like being a god but not quite.  The impact of being a nurturing Christ is problematically quiet though it may be vast. The impact of Burning Everything The Fuck Down is much more immediately obvious. It's the messianic impulse gone sour in the sun. The wounded feel of something one expected from life not being there. Not necessarily poverty or repression or desperation or injustice. Perhaps some wholly irrational entitlement born of false gender or ethnic superiority.  But some wounded absence even still. 

And of course the apocalypse impulse can linger at a slow burn for a long time before blowing up in self-fulfilling prophecy. The USA; which is in truth exceptionally calm at the moment, all things considered, has a famously robust Armageddon industry.  One that is most popular not among white rural "rednecks" but white well-to-do suburbanites who find that the nation is not quite so literally "theirs" as they were led to expect.

Toward the end of Europe Central a doomed Warmacht soldier speaks of the books of Goethe becoming cosmic dust in a thousand years while he fires at the Russians. I like to think that in his last moments the scales had fallen from his eyes to reveal the true enemy. That he was now at war with the pompous spirit of early modern Europe that had murdered his world and various others beyond Europe in the centuries before.

ADD ON:

In the "Feminine Mystique" Betty Friedan writes that while Freud made important insights about hidden sexual desires he also went overboard in his impulse to tie all vagaries of the mind to the "hard science" of the body. This seems to be the consensus on Freud today.  There are endless onion layers of irony in his neurotic need for 'Hard Truths' but save that for some other time maybe. The Ivy Tower and Ground level world have both long been infected by a notion that to proclaim objective truth is to be a priest-like authority entitled to deference and admiration; while to argue theory is to be some guy. This notion is exacerbated by the false authority that societies place on whiteness, maleness, Brahminess, any number of things in all the myriad cultures. Socially favored people are under special pressure to Know. Friedan states that Freud was influenced by this pressure. I would say that its mark can be found in the insistent universality of Marx and Hayek both.  Which brings us back to old Thomas Sowell.

Sowell is a black conservative; such as there must be more than none of and is not my own place or dare I say anyone else's to damn him for. It is however clear that the man resents with a new lover's passion. I would guess that he imagines himself in a contest for prestige with other academics like Toni Morrison or Angela Davis and resents that he is not viewed as the inarguable victor over those he sees as bubble-headed deviants. I've said before that dogmatic zeal remains the norm within economics. These are people who want very badly to be Hard Scientists yet to study economics is to study a realm of subjective human behavior; and the history of thought in this field is one of epic denial that they exist in the same realm as the hippies off in English and sociology.

Sometimes a black public conservative will take on the task of calling out liberals as The Real Racists and this tawdry business is one that Sowell takes on with glee. In one of these columns he mentions that Milton Friedman, the famous laissez-faire economist and Sowell's old colleague, could not have been racist because he had a black secretary who stayed at his side for decades. As for the fact that Sowell seriously made the argument that a white man who has a black woman in his employ can't be racist, never mind for now.  What I'll point out here is that Sowell clearly feels entitled to have people amazed by the fact that he totally bro'd out with Milton Friedman and chooses to blame political correctness or some other artificial wickedness for why he is not as widely admired as Scottie Pippen Vin Diesel or what have you.  He will not accept that he cannot hammer home standards he considers universal by force of will and cannot make people be impressed by himself.  Not through Republican political victories or any other means. So he slides still further into resentment.  Here and there one comes across flammable bogs in the earth.  A million small angers at the world for not playing by what one imagines the rules to be.

ADD ON 2:

I don't think that some lower-class people are economic conservatives or otherwise conservative because of 'false consciousness.' Some people just choose to believe that some people are better than themselves over accepting that there are no objective means for knowing oneself to be a boon to the world. The notion that serving power is the ultimate good is a comforting blanket, an ancient and spontaneous blanket that need not be invented from on high. The enduring appeal of chivalry tales is nothing more than this. Once one is free there is no blanket no protective arms but only one's own cold embrace forevermore.

There's also the fact that if social hierarchy is opposed, (Whatever that hierarchy may be in time and place) then personal hierarchy must also be scrutinized. Husband over wife, parent over child, the small grace notes of agency control and assurance of mattering that a common person has in daily life. The old chair that isn't actually any better than the couch reserved strictly for grandpa.

Finally the fact that those who hold the levers of power may be very smart but are not Wiser by cosmic orders of magnitude than you or I is obviously frightening.  Those who control nuclear bombs or millions of livelihoods are just creatures with fetishes phobias drug habits etc. The motive for denying this fact is easy to grasp. Think of the wild demands for submission and acquiescence that followed 9/11.  One always sees the same knee-jerk towards kneeling among threatened people anywhere. If the magical thought that power knows how to handle crisis better because it is power is untrue, and of course it is; well....  It is the ultimate impossibility of control that gets people.  The absence of any means to be safe. The lack of any means to know you are doing the right and true exclusive to your own kind, the absence of any inherent reward for doing good, or to save you from having a coronary and blacking out forever while straining to lift a box.

I do not think the ultimate human conflict is between the classes or otherwise external.  The struggle is internal. It is the primal fight between the longing for autonomy on the one hand and  longing to believe that Everything Will Be Alright If I Get With The Program on the other. The solution to this conflict is not to offer an opposing program, as the Marxists do.  The solution is Fuck Every Program.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Sight of Human Groups Drawing Energy From Each Other is Sickening.

I took the tab eighteen hours ago. I have slept, woke, groomed, eaten, errened. Everything is still just a little more more. An extra gravity to all I sense that may last the weekend entire for all I know. It's good acid.  This morning I used instant coffee to create an espressoesque effect by simply filling my cup halfway with rocks before pouring the hot water in.  I did it for the YES. There may be some day drinking in order. Perhaps I'll go watch baseball first but the thing is that baseball doesn't matter.

I biked home at four AM. Still quite high. At the 14th and D stop sign a cop pulled up next to me and said hello. I said "well hey there". Drug street eyes I picked up in Chicago and other places. Expect everything. Let all around you be aware that you see them and saw them coming before.

The cop said that I had no helmet and my bike no lights. I would have to take my bike off the street at this time of night. I replied that this was fine and I would simply walk it home. I felt the understanding that if I complied on this he would not inquire or examine me further. "Alright man. Sorry to bother you" said the cop.

I can affect alertness pretty well like I said.  But the truth is that the cop may have saved me from getting myself hurt by going all Night Animal on a lightless bike and my feel for the ground belief me very unsure. I could have gotten sideswipe killed or found myself in Beatrice at dawn. I would say the meeting went exactly as one between a citizen of a free state and an officer who sees a hazard should go. I course I knew immediately even in my state that I would have been in the drunk tank until sundown if I wasn't white. That does put a damper on things. Still I accept his leniency in good conscience. The privileged treatment I received is not the problem as such. The faqct that it's a privilege when it should be the norm for all is the problem. I cannot magically give my Butler Cop powers to a poor minority by denying them to myself after all. This is both a critical fact and a dodge. I am aware that over five hundred years some variation of it has been said innumerable times in regards to a million Herrenvolk comforts.