Friday, July 29, 2011

Meandering Thoughts

I read Studs Terkal's 'Hard Times' about five years ago.  Lately I've been thinking of his interview therein with one Stanley Kell, who was a boy during the depression and a middle-aged suburbanite at the time the book was written at the turn between the 60's and seventies.  Kell described seeing leftist protesters being beaten by police against jailhouse windows.  He led a neighborhood assotiation whose chief purpose for being was to keep black people out.  He fretted about the debts he was piling up buying a new color TV, a new stereo, a new washer, still he insisted that 'You have to keep up with the Joneses'.  This he repeats several times, and it becomes clear that if one were to ask him why he has to keep up with the Joneses he wouldn't know.  He had never asked himself why one needed to keep up with the Joneses, and would never dare to ask himself why.  Because people who ask why are deviants.  Deviants get beaten up against jailhouse windows, and to express any doubt that this is perfectly just and deserved will also make you a deviant. 

To understand the Tea Party, the debt ceiling standoff, and the general behavior of movement conservatism over the past sixteen years or so, you must understand that there are millions of Stanley Kells still out there, and that behind the exagerrated displays of power and masculinity these people are motivated by an herbivoric, all-consuming terror. 

This is why, as the US has grown more heterogenous and multi-traditional, the response of movement conservatism has been to dig in and grow more insistant.  Low taxes and light regulation have gone from a generally good idea in the Reagan years to the indisputible answer to all economic questions today.  A general support for a strong military and assertive foreign policy has grown into a belief that eternal crusade against evil is the only truly worthwhile and mature state endevour.   And as religious belief declines more and more a brand of fundamentalist Christianity that demands perfect obedience to a God who is gleefully described as awesome, powerful, and triumphant has gained favor.   And let us not forget the voodoo of  origianalism, the idea that the founders wrote the Constitution as an unbreakable command for what the policies and philosophy of government must forever be, and that this philosophy just happens to coincide with modern conservatism. 

The purpose of this increased absolutism is absolutism.  It is an existential reaction, a claim to paternalistic ownership of society, the exclusive right to define what the United States is and must be, the exclusive fatherly perogative to define wisdom, impose punishment and discipline, to at the spiritual level be the cop instead of the protester.  As America grows, and our perception of what is normal invaribly expands as a result, the right will only more and more loudly insist that everyone who is not a 'strong and true' conservative is unfathomably alien and radical; that it was only a short time ago in the hallowed past that some newly invented right-wing dogma was accepted as self-evident common sense by all.

It is only by securing a pemanent ownership of  and right to define normality that they can be assured that they will never be forced to ask why, never be the deviants who must be put in their place. 

When I saw stories of Sarah Palin attending her own cunnilating documentry and breaking down into tears during scenes showing the routine criticisms of her that all politicians must face,  I could well believe them, though they probably are choir preaching rumors..  This is a woman who is wealthy, has a husband and kids, is loudly Christian, supports hunting and the great outdoors.  She has acheived all of the checkmarks of normality in her own social environment and has been implicitly taught that to be perfectly normal places her perfect goodness beyond scrutiny.  Didn't these mean Eastern elitists know that they were violating a sacred arraingement?  Or think of the War on Christmas, of the various right-wing claims that to be subject to criticism is equivelant to the most brutal historical tyranny.  A large part of this, to be sure, is calculation, an attempt to be treated with kid gloves by the media.  But I also think there's some emotional sincerity here as well.  There is no greater nightmare to these people than to be viewed as outsiders.   And when they are subjected to public scrutiny they are reminded that there is  a large segment of their own countrymen who already do, and that worse the people who see them as strange tend to live in the large media and economic centers, with power to influence the tastes and perceptions of everyone else.

This horrifies them.  It fills them with a dread and helplessness that can only be expressed in the language of incoherent bigotry and cosmic struggle against unimaginable evil.  The Tea Party and official GOP policy of sabotaging the state are the primal scream of people who have been taught that weirdos deserve to be tossed against the window and beaten and now face the prospect of being the weirdos.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Saw A sign on In A Window


Pit Bull on Duty

No, your pit bull isn't on duty, he's just eating your dead grass.  And you are not it's fearless leader leading your forces to victory.  You're just drinking and listening to Bad Company.

My cousin had a pit bull for ten years.  It got loose one day.  The dog catcher found him, and the pound put it to sleep at the first sight of him.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm In North Platte, Maybe

For the funeral of an old friend of mine, Omar Jones.  Killed in Afghanistan.  We caroused together back in the day.  He would draw women as a military man, and I was the oddball who struck some of them as cute and funny.  The army has just today published some information about his death.  Non-combat related, under investigation, that's all.  He wasn't an in-your face sort.  The body is set to arrive in Delaware Sunday morning, maybe, and if if it can reach North Platte by Sunday evening the morticians may be able to clean up the signs of a violent death and have the funeral prepared for Monday, maybe.  I need to be back east by Monday night anyway.  He's survived by a wife and two kids.  His parents are good friends of mine. 

This shouldn't have happened.  I've never believed in a way things are supposed to be.  Still this is, sacrilege.  An impossible train of events and human vanity's response to them causing lives to disappear.  I can only grasp the strangeness of it and wonder what comfort anyone can possibly get out of seeing it as the natural order of things.   

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Well, A Few Notes

Bitter, bitter, bitter bitter, way for the US woman's soccer team to lose.  Two leads both blown in the last ten minutes of a period.  Complete meltdown in the penalty shoot.  Damn. 

Eat Bbay women are sort of odd, but not an obvious form of oddness that people are raised to expect.  Cool as hell though. 

On Sunday a man who plays his guitar in front of The Grand theatre  for change asked me for a smoke light.  He told me that the heat was more than humans should have to deal with.   "Fuck you God" he said.

 'Fuck you God,' the first words out of the mouth of every real man as soon as he wakes up in the morning.  If only there were more of us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What I Want to Know Is;

What the hell is the "Harlot movement".  Do they let men in the club?  Or do we have to settle for the auxiliary? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tales From North Platte

It was the night before the fourth and I was walking downtown.  My aunt Sue was also in town for the holiday and saw me walking.  She called my mom in a panic, because she knew that I had a car and knew that everyone of sound mind and body who has a car would never willingly choose to move themselves by any other means.  She knew that either my van had broken down or I had just gone insane.

She's one of the Democrats in the family.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zahi Hawass

Thank you, New York Times, for putting a name to the face of  'ageless guy who waves his arms around every time there's something about the pyramids on TV.'  I watch history documentaries, voluntarily.  And I had a National Geographic subscription for like twenty years.  This guy is a celebrity to me.  I love this motherfucker. And if you're wondering why I was never able to remember his name, well, yeah, that is sort of weird isn't it? 

Anyway, sorry to read that he's in a bit of a bind.  But he couldn't have done anything that bad because..... because he's just too fucking gregarious is why.  I'm sure the Nat Geo society could give him a new full-time job, if he needs one.  Failing that I propose that the US government hire him as official media pimp for our landmarks.  It would be grand to see this guy rhapsodize about the Sears Tower or the Jersey Turnpike.   This man could single-handily give us the sort of unmistakable cool we haven't had since the moon landing.  Make it happen. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another Quick Soccer Note

Say what you will about the ref in the USA/Brazil world cup game, and she was bad.*   But she did deal with the Brazilians cartoonishly obvious time-wasting and injury faking effectively; dishing out a yellow card to the stretcher girl and adding a generous three minutes to a fifteen minute period so to give the USA it's fair chance to come back.

The game raised the question in my mind of just how much strategic advantage soccer teams actually get out of flopping or other dirty tricks.  And I have a feeling that in the aggregate it isn't actually near enough to be worth it.  I think they imagine foul play to be more beneficial than it actually is because it gives them a thrill to think so.  Success in soccer depends on guile.  Virtually every goal depends on suckering at least one defender or two, and to be a good player one needs to take pride in being a trickster.   Think of how flopping is almost as serious a problem in basketball; where good results, particularly on offense, are also primarily a reflection of how clever the players are. 

In short, diving in soccer produces a smaller version of the 'got ya sucker!' psychic microorgasm that one gets after scoring a goal. Diving therefore isn't going away unless FIFA can think up a penalty severe enough to discourage this sensation.  And it's more than fair to wonder if such a cure would be worse than the disease. 

(*Though, in truth, other countries have gotten fucked over worse than us.  Hard as that may be to believe. There's no real compelling reason to suspect a New World Order conspiracy against Team USA)

You Know: Paul Simon Really does Get Better as you Get Older

What I'm Wondering is

Is this scam ad from WND intentionally evoking "Dune"?  Enough of the weird spice will make you a defacto god, you know.  Fuck yer piddling diabetes. 

In sort of related news.  Someone gave me a bottle of the new Rush Limbaugh tea on Saturday.  Not bad actually.  Not $2.50 a bottle good.  Not remotely.  But not bad. 

The lesson today then, in as much as there is one, is that people who are convinced that life is a constant test of loyalty are almost unfathomably easy to hustle in the most blatantly obvious ways.  Use this information as you will, but please be evil in moderation. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oh, And As something of a Casey Anthony Addendum

Because I Know There's A Compartment in Your Mind Wondering Who did This One

The name Redbone itself is a joking reference to a Cajun term for a mixed-race person ("half-breed"), the band's members being of mixed blood ancestry.[1] The band referenced Cajun and New Orleans culture many times in their lyrics and performing style. Pat and Lolly, who were a mixture of Native American and Mexican heritage, had previously performed and recorded under the stage surname Vegas, in part to downplay the Latin American association of their birth surname, Vasquez.[4] According to Patrick Vasquez, it was Jimi Hendrix - himself part Native American - who talked the musicians into forming an all-Native American rock group and so they signed as the band "Redbone" to Epic Records in 1969.[2] The band then consisted of Patrick Vasquez, Lolly Vasquez, Peter DePoe and Anthony "Tony" Bellamy. Their debut album "Redbone" was released in 1970.[2]
Redbone played primarily rock music with R&B, Cajun, Jazz, tribal, and Latin roots. Their first commercial success came with the single "Maggie" from their second album, Potlatch, in 1970, and two other hit singlesBillboard Hot 100) and "Come and Get Your Love" (1974, #5 on the Billboard Hot 100). "Come and Get Your Love", written by Lolly Vasquez stayed in the Billboard chart for 24 weeks, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. on 22 April 1974.[1]

Last Night

I dreamed that a woman driving on North 27th street sent me a psychic message asking where she could get a good iced coffee.  I'm reasonably certain that both the message and the woman were real, and that even though I was unable to give her coherent directions to the coffee house I was able to make her feel the true way there. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Had Never Heard of Casey Anthony or her Dead Daughter

Until I heard the verdict reported on NPR yesterday.  It was, a big deal to people, apparently?  I'm not trying to be callous here, especially after reading the NYT article today and learning that Anthony was subjected to the Mersault strategy of prosecution; her own outward callousness towards the death of her daughter being the chief 'evidence' against her. 

Whatever legal protections a defendant in any jurisdiction may have, the psychological advantage is always with the prosecution.  We want suspects to be guilty.  We want our selves and our own social groups to be the only creatures on Earth who are not monsters; so that we may be exceptionally good by essence, and therefore need not put any effort into actually doing good. 

True, Anthony's behavior was very much outside the norm.  There aren't many good reasons to lie to the cops about a copse's whereabouts. But the fact remains that it was and shall remain impossible to know how the poor child died.  Therefore it is impossible to prove that she was killed; therefore impossible to prove who specifically killed her.  That's the whole of the legal story.  The jury had to acquit.  And everyone on Facebook, Twitter, et. al., who expressed Shock, and Outrage that the jury made the only decision that honest adults could possibly make are not really concerned with justice or the law. They are concerned with seeing themselves as exceptionally noble for being anti-toddler murder.  They need to 'know' that that filthy slut killed her daughter and hate her for it so that they can pretend that not killing their own children makes them great parents.  And I would even go so far to say that they don't really feel any particular empathy for the late Caylee Anthony.  It isn't in human nature to mourn for dead strangers, even children.  We would go mad if we truly mourned for all of them.  No, what they love about Caylee is the pretense of being big-hearted enough to love a dead girls photograph and be filled with a sense of righteous vengeance by it.

I foresee a fresh batch of folk bullshit arising from this incident.  The same gripes against criminals getting off easy These Days because of weak liberals and demonically clever lawyers that were common in the eighties and nineties.  And of course to bring up the nineties is to bring up the unavoidable comparison to the OJ Simpson case.  Another instance in which the death of one or two people in a nation of three hundred million dominated the national media.  The great irony of both cases is that those who indulged themselves in these orgies of condemnation porn were in effect acting as free defense lawyers for their hate objects.

Recall that Simpsons preliminary hearing, which in most cases lasts less then an hour, took an entire week.  Whenever the national media sensationalizes a criminal case it creates an artificial air of sublime social portent that infects everyone involved; judge, jury, prosecutors and defenders.  This will lead the jury to think beyond the level of dry facts and at the level of grand moral statements.  They will think harder and give serious thought to every theoretical occurrence.  And every good defense strategy aims to achieve nothing more than this.  The  National Enquirer crowd should know that this ritual or proving themselves anti-murder is at least partially responsible for the continued freedom of several probable murderers. 

And finally I must say that I find it fitting that I learned the details of the Anthony story on the same page where I read about the 'News of the World' phone hacking scandal in the UK.  It seems that some intrepid reporter got control of a missing thirteen-year olds phone signal, for the sake of catching any juicy bits from worried family members, something to tug the heartstrings for the readers.  It turned out that the girl was missing because she had been murdered, and the intrepid reporter added to the families grief by deleting old messages and leading them to believe their still living daughter was still controlling her phone.

This is the sort of real life-pain that mindlessly grasping on to sensationalized criminal cases will invaribly lead to.  While you pat yourself on the back for having the horse sense to know that murdering children is just wrong and your willingness to hang the bastard that did it, you are also part of a giant heat lamp being shone down on survivors who are hellishly burdened and aggrieved, and would most certainly prefer some privacy to your cries of support through the t.v. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011


The case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn seems to be unraveling. 

Apparently the story of a woman from a poor former French colony being raped by the French head of the IMF is simply too metaphorical to be believed.