Sunday, March 28, 2010

Death Bear, from the LA Times


"Reporting from New York - A biting wind whipped down a dark street, where a man crouched in the shadow of a building. He pulled on black gloves and glanced up and down the avenue. Satisfied that no one was watching, he pulled a mask the size of a beach ball out of a bag, pulled it onto his head, and wriggled it into place: snout in front, eye holes over his own, rounded ears pointed skyward.

Death Bear was ready for his mission.

A man in the second-floor unit of a nearby apartment building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn was desperate to get rid of something that was too torturous to keep but impossible to discard.

The anguished individual had turned to Death Bear, a macabre performance artist who silently walks the city streets in a one-man quest to relieve people of painful remnants of the past: love letters, photos, gifts, dog tags, underwear -- a lot of underwear, it seems -- anything that might reduce an otherwise well-functioning person to a sniffling wreck. "

You have to click through to see the mask, but it's particularly good, reminiscent of the bunny mask in "Donny Darko". Here at Lost Highway we approve not just of Death Bears but of all sorts of death entities. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

"The Mad Tea Party and the Cloward-Piven Conspiracy Theory"

Here's a good overview of an issue that's just broke in the progressive press, that of Francis Fox-Piven, a poor people's advocate and sociologist, being targeted by the right as the originator of a vast conspiracy that now includes the White House, includes Barack Obama specifically.

"Leftists like to say that another world is possible, but I was never quite sure of that until I started reading tea party websites. There, a government of leftists is not only possible, it's on the cusp of seizing permanent power, having broken American capitalism and replaced it with a socialist state. Down that rabbit hole, Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are communists, and "The Left"--which encompasses everyone from the Democratic Leadership Council to Maoist sectarians--is a disciplined and near omnipotent army marching in lockstep to a decades-old master plan for domination called the "Cloward-Piven strategy" or, as of January 20, 2009, "Cloward-Piven government."

More incidental observations.

That may or may not be valuable. I was sitting in a coffee shop here in Seattle, a not too exceptional occurrence, listening to the store's music and reading when an African-American man sit down across from me. He was the only one in the entire coffee shop. Coffee shops are pretty white in general. The music being played was all '70s funk and soul, and it came to me how much popular music is composed of songs written by black people for white people. Not just hip hop and rap but whole genres. Minorities seem to often be pushed into a place where their talents are recognized if they can serve the majority culture. Think not just of music but of sports. How I'd like to have gotten into the head of that guy to see if he had any opinions about being the actual type of person that the music was first intended for, listening to it in this particular setting.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"The Right's Conspiracy Theory Attack on Frances Fox Piven"

Here. Piven is an academic, whose writings are often published in The Nation, who wrote a paper advocating for welfare recipients to organize themselves and who was involved with the formation of ACORN, if this article can be believed, muah ha ha ha. The right has spun some sort of insane conspiracy theory around her and is now marketing excerpts of an interview done under false pretenses as being the latest proof of this horrible plot.

"In their 6,327-word Nation article, Cloward (a professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work at the time ) and Piven (an anti-poverty researcher and activist who joined the Columbia faculty later that year), proposed organizing the poor to demand welfare benefits in order to pressure the federal government to expand the nation's social safety net and establish a guaranteed national income. To put their strategy into practice, Cloward and Piven worked with George Wiley to create the National Welfare Rights Organization, which at its peak in the late 1960s had affiliates in 60 cities and had some success increasing participation in the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program by organizing protests at welfare offices and pressuring politicians and welfare administrators to change the rules.

Because it focused exclusively on welfare recipients, however, NWRO's narrow constituency base guaranteed that it would remain a marginal force in the nation's politics. In 1970, NWRO organizer Wade Rathke moved to Arkansas to start ACORN, which he hoped would build a broader multi-racial movement for economic justice. In its early days, Cloward (who died in 2001) and Piven served as unofficial advisers to the group. ACORN eventually grew into the nation's largest community organizing group, with chapters in 103 cities in 37 states.


Beck first mentioned the so-called "Cloward-Piven Strategy" in March 2009, three months after he began his nightly Fox News show, and 32 times since. On September 18, he used his trademark chalkboard to connect Cloward and Piven to Woodrow Wilson, Che Guevara, Bill Ayers, ACORN, the SEIU, the Apollo Alliance, the Tides Foundation, George Soros, Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, and Obama -- some of the right's favorite villains.

Beck, like his right-wing colleagues, view Cloward and Piven as dangerous radicals masquerading as reformers. Earlier this month, Beck claimed that SDS, the 1960s radical student group, believed the road to change was "Let's blow things up," but Cloward and Piven counseled, "No, no, no, let's try to just collapse the system."

Last Thursday, Beck said that Obama's health care proposal followed the Cloward-Piven strategy to "melt the system down and have it collapse into a new system." "

More niceness from the anti-health care people

Here. Bart Stupak, the Congressman who first stood in the way of the bill being passed and then supported it in exchange for the executive order banning federal health care subsidies from funding abortion, is now the subject of an intense virulently hostile campaign by pro-lifers. As the article says, it's not like it's the most outstanding thing to block a bill over abortion, but still he doesn't really deserve this.

From CBS News via Crooks & Liars:" "Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother f***er... I hope you bleed out your a**, got cancer and die, you mother f***er," one man says in a message to Stupak.

"There are millions of people across the country who wish you ill," a woman says in a voicemail, "and all of those thoughts that are projected on you will materialize into something that's not very good for you."

CBS News also obtained copies of faxes sent to Stupak, which include racial epithets used in reference to President Obama and show pictures of nooses with Stupak's name."

Ten incidents of assaults on offices and houses associated congress people, in relation to the health care bill

"Bricks have been hurled through Democrats' windows, a propane line was cut at the home of a congressman's brother and lawmakers who voted for a federal health care bill have received phone threats in the days before and after passage of the sweeping legislation.

Authorities are investigating incidents in Kansas, Virginia and other places, including Rochester, N.Y., where a brick tossed through the window of a county Democratic Party office had a note attached that said: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice," roughly quoting the late Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential nominee.


Sometime from late Saturday or Sunday in Rochester, N.Y., a brick was hurled at a wooden-framed glass door of the county Democratic Committee offices. The county party's spokesman, Sean Hart, said the glass "only spider-webbed" but didn't shatter, and the brick then appeared to have been picked up and thrown through the adjoining glass door.

Attached to the brick in Rochester was the note scribbled with the Goldwater quote."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The real fear motivating the extreme voices on the right

like those on Fox News, is that health care reform will lead to progressive change that will threaten the bottom line of the folks who they work for. Progressive change may in fact be somewhat, somewhat, legitimized by the passing of the health care bill, and corporate power is doing its best to characterize what may happen as Maoism, Stalinism, or even Naziism. It's naked self interest masquerading as something having to do with actual concern over the direction of the country. If health care passes, which it did but you know, if health care passes next thing you know CEOs and talk show hosts will have to smoke a few less cigars when celebrating and kicking back.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"It's a Waterloo all right, ours" by David Frum

Ok, here is an interesting article from a conservative talking about the health care bill that just passed and some of the flaws in the Right's actions that lead up it's becoming law. Frum puts the the blame on folks from the radical side of the Republican party who were fueled by talk radio and Fox News. Here:

"No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the "doughnut hole" and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents' insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there - would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or - more exactly - with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?"

Did Howl have a precursor that Ginsberg was writing in the vein of?

That's what the "Portable Beat Reader" seems to suggest, both in commentary and in the reproduction of the poem itself, Kenneth Rexroth's "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Both poems deal with the same topic, that is to say capitalism's impact on artists and on individuals in general. Since this is a review, and I'm keeping the quotations brief, I think I'm in the right to use some of the text of the two poems in order to make a comparison.

for Carl Solomon

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving
hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for
an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to
the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up soaking in
The supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across
the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedam
angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating
Arkansas and Blake -light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene
odes on the windows of the skull,"

"Thou Shalt Not Kill


They are murdering all the young men.
For half a century now, every dar,
They have hunted them down and killed them.
They are killing them now.
At this minute, all over the world,
They are killing the young men.
They know ten thousand ways to kill them.
Every year they invent new ones.
In the jungles of Africa,
In the marshes of Asia,
In the deserts of Asia,
In the slave pens of Siberia,
In the slums of Europe,
In the nightclubs of America,
The murderers are at work.

They are stoning Stephen.
They are casting him forth from every city
in the world.
Under the Welcome sign,
On the higways in the suburbs,
His body lies under the hurling stones.
He was full of faith and power.
He did great wonders among the people.
They could not stand his wisdom."

I there's a connection there, but not one that does Ginsberg any sort of real disservice. Instead, Ginsberg appears to have taken a similar format and fleshed it out to an extent where it becomes an improved stand alone work of art and not something derivative. But it is interesting that the cosmic beatific spontaneous prose wasn't all cthonic, coming from the depths with no sort of precursors but just blowing like jazz. Yet I don't think that Ginsberg claimed that same sort of independence, the same that Kerouac claimed. Anyways, the notion that this stuff didn't come out of nowhere is an enticing one.

Man, the things that people are attracted to

I look through my site statistics pretty often, and one of the pages that always gets lots and lots of hits is this one where I satirized the poster for "Kitt Kittridge, American Girl" by putting up for comparison a poster from the Bund of German Maidens, and some swastikas. It had zero to do with the film itself and everything to do with the advertising campaign, particularly and mostly the juxtaposition of this sort of blue eyed blond haired girl with the words "American Girl". Immature? Sure. I blame it fully on the Bush administration and take no responsibility for it whatsoever. Just kidding. It was purposely as over the top as you could get. Anyways, the poster for the Bund of German Maidens shows up again and again through image searches landing on my site done using Google. People keep searching for it, and people keep finding my page. I've learned through watching how I use image search that the folks who find images via Google rarely check out the page that the images are on, though. I personally just click the link that lets me view the image alone and dispense with the page altogether. So it's not like they're sticking around to see either the questionable humor on the page itself or the commentary and discussion on the other pages around it. Which, considering that they may be neo-nazis, might not be a completely bad thing.

The other big page that always gets hits is one where I posted a picture of Matisse' "Lady with a hat" after seeing it in person at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. That gets lots of hits that I'm sure don't translate out into more folks checking out the site itself.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reading the Beat Reader reminds me

Of how I really detest poetry that's too conversational. Not that all of the Beat poems are like this by any means, but there are enough in there that it triggers the old response. What I mean by too conversational is poems that could be rewritten as paragraphs from a short story or novel, that don't have much of the dense imagery and tricky poetic structures that I personally like. The 'I like' vs 'Is what good poetry is' distinction is important here. Some people would no doubt see a lot of subtle differences between stories and that kind of poetry, would voice the opinion that what's going on isn't just prose turned into prose poetry with little else. That's fine, it's just not what I believe.

More niceness from the Tea Party protest today [March 20th] via Huffington Post

I don't think I've ever anything approaching "If Brown can't stop it [health care] a Browning can" at left demonstrations.

Photo Source Here

Tea Party protesters shout the N-word and 'Faggot' at members of Congress

Here. The happened on March 20th, by the way:

"Preceding the president's speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) relayed word to reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-M.D.) had been spit on by a protestor (the protestor was reportedly arrested by Capitol Hill police). Rep. John Lewis (D-G.A.) a hero of the civil rights movement was called a "n----r." And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident.

But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s. "

Still think these people are somehow just confused and misguided anti-Statists? They have more in common with fascists in my opinion than any sort of sustained movement against the establishment of oppressive power structures.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Well, Seraphita proved to be a wash out

I'm sure that it's not the book by Honore de Balzac itself that's bad. Instead it's the translation, done at least in 1901 and possibly before, and in the UK, that makes the book unreadable. This is what you get for using a print on demand feature from Google Books, at least this is one part of what you get. The Espresso Book Machine at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park near Seattle is wonderful for making books that would otherwise be out of print beyond belief accessible again, but since you're picking what out of print books you want yourself, there's a danger that you're going to pick wrong. Of course, all of this is based on PDFs that are widely available on the internet for free, with an entire online program built around them, so I suppose I have no one but myself to blame for not looking at it first. I'd probably have seen that there was something really wrong with the text and would have decided not to get it printed.

But hark, something good did come out of it: at Third Place Books I got "The Portable Beat Reader" for a class I'm taking next quarter at a local community college. It's one of three texts we're using along with Naked Lunch and On the Road. I'm already enjoying it even though it's at the opposite end of obscurity from where I usually swim. And reading Naked Lunch means that I'll likely end up discussing metal man eating dildos with people who were only a few years old when I read it the first time. It's strange being old.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh, and if you're someone who called last night wanting to talk

You reached the right number and should call back.

Colbert takes on the Census

Now for something, well, not completely different actually, but Live, with moving Pictures.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
United States Census 2010
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care reform
And notice the part about Glenn Beck where he mentions that the government sees minorities as worth more than white people.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The story of General Tso's

From Salon.Com:

"Here's the first thing you should know: The general had nothing to do with his chicken. You can banish any stories of him stir-frying over the flames of the cities he burned, or heartbreaking tales of a last supper, prepared with blind courage, under attack from overwhelming hordes. Unlike the amoeba-like mythologies that follow so many traditional dishes, the story of General Tso's chicken is compellingly simple. One man, Peng Chang-kuei -- very old but still alive -- invented it.

But what's "it"? Because while chef Peng is universally credited with inventing a dish called General Tso's chicken, he probably wouldn't recognize the crisp, sweet, red nuggets you get with pork fried rice for $4.95 with a choice of soda or soup. All that happened under his nose. It all got away from him."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It was eight years ago today that I established this website

Strange how time flies. Back then it was just over six months after September 11th, and the man child was doing his jingoistic thing in the White House. Now, democrats are back in power and, well, I don't know what. The point is lots of stuff has changed, lots of stuff, even though the pace of things sometimes feels glacial. Man, this has gotten off track. Let me start over. Back then I was young and idealistic and felt like I had the world in front of my. I had just turned twenty two. Now, I'm thirty and still idealistic but a little bit more worn down. I also find stuff is not as newsworthy as I used to. Used to be that I'd talk and talk about anything and everything, constantly, but now I scan websites, read article after article, think about the news, and more often than not conclude that not enough of it rises to the level that I'm looking for. Strange, maybe I should go back to writing about anything and everything, making manifestos, going back to root questions and trying to come up with new answers.

But, going into year eight I feel that there's still room for improvement and much reason to keep on going forward, no matter where it leads me.

As pointed out by Robert Kuttner, getting a health care bill passed may be the best thing to happen politically

Not because the health care bill is intrinsically super far out groovy but because so much air right now is being taken up by the debate on health care that all other issues are taking a back seat. We have a financial meltdown, people out of work in record numbers many of whom are also losing their houses, wars on, yet compared to health care not much of that shows up on the radar screen. It's there, but the attention isn't there at all. If health care is passed all that could change, plus we'd have an objective stick to measure right wing rhetoric by. Death panels? The best way to see if they really exist or not is to pass the bill, and when they don't show up anywhere the validity of that argument will show itself. In fact so much of the right's health care rhetoric is taken up by references to future events that may or may not happen, fear stemming from promises that we're going towards death camps within a year if reform is passed, that we're stuck in a kind of holding pattern, circling over the airport waiting to land, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Palin Palin Palian Palin, uses "death panel" references when the existence of such would be impossible in the current bill.

So says Raw Story. I've got to hand it to these folks for being able to report on this with a straight face. The deal is that Palin's claiming that under the health care bill there'll be government ordered rationing that will kill the old first, because they have high health care bills. Raw Story points out that in the bill as it stands now there's no public option whatsoever. It's all private insurance companies administering modified plans that actually do things like guaranteeing people with expensive preexisting health problems coverage. I'm getting this all from the Raw Story article so bear with me. The point is that the government can't ration health care like that because it won't have any structure in place capable of doing so. Sure, there's regulations, but just pointing to general government regulations and saying that, in some invisible unknowable way, they're an indication of a government plan to kill the elderly is beyond what folks would normally term sane.

I see those government regulations, Glenn Beck style, against things like polluting the environment or preventing banks from crashing down, and I see Mao, Chairman Mao, staring back at me. And I see Hitler too with the Death Panels every time I find out more about the health care bill. Then I see Stitler, a Stalin/Hitler hybrid created to promote Soviet forced eugenics program designed to create the master worker race.
It's those combo Communist/Fascist/Nazi/Fruit Bat/Ding Bat/Mule Sack people you have to worry about.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The former editor of the New York Times slams Fox News

Here. "Howell Raines: Why don't honest journalists take on Roger Ailes and Fox News?"


"One question has tugged at my professional conscience throughout the year-long congressional debate over health-care reform, and it has nothing to do with the public option, portability or medical malpractice. It is this: Why haven't America's old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration -- a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?

Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence as Ailes tears up the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations, from the civil rights revolution to Watergate to the Wall Street scandals. This is not a liberal-versus-conservative issue. It is a matter of Fox turning reality on its head with, among other tactics, its endless repetition of its uber-lie: "The American people do not want health-care reform."

Ok, the Supermale, finally a review

The Supermale by Alfred Jarry, reissued by Exact Change. It's about a guy who can have sex over and over without getting tired as well as run really fast and being really strong. The book starts out strongly enough, but gets bogged down halfway through. There are four major events that it's centered around: first, a dinner party where all of the characters are introduced, secondly, a race between a train and a group of cyclists eating perpetual motion food, thirdly, a contest to see if the Supermale can beat having sex seventy times in twenty four hours, and finally the Supermale's death. Section one and two are great, with the first section really standing out for its literary style and humor. Section three sees the book start to lose steam. Actually, it not only starts to lose steam but runs out of it so much that its speed becomes glacial. It's a large section and one so big that the actual sex takes up a small amount of it. Nothing happens and Jarry writes paragraph after paragraph that say nothing very slowly. And that's that, mostly, section four being pretty much an epilogue.

I think the problem is that Jarry had a good concept in his head, but was unable to sustain it. Pure and simple. And then he tried to cover up not being able to sustain it. It's never bad, but it's not always good even though when it is good it's very good.

A fun read but not worth $15. Don't let Jarry's genuine genius make you feel that you need to buy this book if the story doesn't really grab you.

*on edit: I just realized that this is potentially the worst book review in history. I said next to nothing about the book itself in specifics, didn't give you guys and gals anything any nice flowing descriptions that would give y'all a sense of the spirit of the book, and I didn't give you any quotes. However, I'm really not motivated enough about this book to put all of it in after the fact. Maybe on the next one.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I feel bad about that headline saying that Glenn Beck compared Obama to Mao and Ahmadinejad

Because while he linked Obama and the Obama administration to Mao and to Maoism, and to Communism, he didn't link him to Ahmadinejad. Instead, the Ahmadinejad thing came up in a discussion where Beck talked about the danger of a person like Mao or Mr. A coming to power and doing big damage to the country via big government. Not the same as saying that he's linking him to Obama.

Man, the whole having to finish a book before you can review it thing is getting to me

I'd like to write up "The Supermale" but I'm still not finished with it.
On the horizon after Supermale is Seraphita by Balzac, his metaphysical novel that has ideas from Swedenborg in it. I knew of Seraphita but it was the recommendation that August Strindberg gave it in "The Inferno" that really pushed me over the edge. I think it's in print but impossible to find outside of Amazon or Powells. Anyways, strange to see Strindberg recommend it. I guess that he came into white light religion later on, but directly before the Inferno period in his life he was very much into 19th century Satanism, along with Przybyszewski who I've also written about a lot here. Reportedly, they even organized small Black Masses in southern Norway for friends while they were there. Oh well, I guess you can't keep them all on the right side of the curtain.

Wow, Glenn Beck compares Obama to Mao because he wants to regulate banks owning hedge funds

And then launches into a five minute tirade about the dangers of concentrated government power, using both Mao and Ahmadinejad as examples, basing it on a 'push' and a shove. First he starts out with a vague reference to a head of regulation under the Obama administration who talks about giving incentives as a 'push' for implementing regulatory goals. The reference is vague because it doesn't say anything about the actual context in which this guy made his statement. But Beck takes it and runs with it, making hay of a headline of an article saying that 'push' has given way to shove, again not telling us anything about what the article actually said. Shoving gives way to Mao, to the Soviet constitution, to Beck using his hands to simulate a machine gun, to high and lofty thoughts about big government and the imperfection of man where insults to Rosie O'Donnell and to Islam co-exist with Jesus' purity.

Interestingly enough, Beck seems to have missed the boat on the Soviet Union here since while comparing the '36 constitution (good) to the '77 constitution (bad) he neglects to mention that in '36 people were starving to death because of the forceful implementation of collective farming, were being sent to prison and executed in huge amounts, and that freedom of any sort was practically non-existent. '36 was the year that the Great Purge and the Purge Trials started, where old Bolsheviks were tortured and either made to confess and executed or convicted anyways and executed. It was hardly a time of liberty and comparatively limited government. But, I suppose, Beck didn't get that memo, or didn't look at the Wikipedia article for Soviet history during that time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reading "The Supermale" by Alfred Jarry

Author of the Ubu plays. Supermale isn't homoerotically named whatsoever, since the object of the story is a heterosexual man who can perform sexual services over and over again without fading. Entertaining book, short but vigorous, and I'll probably finish it tomorrow and render my verdict.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So let's take a look at this idea that the Nazis and the Communists had this one idea in common: social justice

Which is what Glenn Beck asserted recently. It's a really strange argument to make, I mean really strange, because on the one hand you have the Nazis ranting about Jews oppressing the German people and on the other you have Communists talking about economic inequality in society. Those two don't seem to really have that much in common. That the Communists undermined their propaganda with their actual deeds doesn't change the fact that it's awfully strange to make conspiracy theories about Jews controlling Germany statements about social justice.

Incidentally, I think the reason why Beck compares Progressives to Nazis is because say what you will reference to Mao's crimes or to Stalin's doesn't have the same immediate pull in American society as that of the Holocaust. Americans know what evil was in the Holocaust. Mao probably has more resonance than Stalin, but still most people who would know it would know the Cultural Revolution rather than the Great Leap Forward, or at least I'm guessing that that's the case. In any event, the whole Nazi idea for people who like universal health care, like the majority of Canadians by the way, is odd.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Glenn Beck Urges Listeners to Leave Churches That Preach Social Justice -- Politics Daily

Glenn Beck Urges Listeners to Leave Churches That Preach Social Justice -- Politics Daily
Man, how about that? Glenn Beck apparently held up a swastika and a hammer and sickle and declared that Christian churches preaching social justice had an agenda of Nazism and Communism. Strange, because, like, the whole thing about helping the poor and the sick that Christianity believes in would seem to argue against it all being a front for authoritarian ideologies. Yes, don't help the poor, it seems. Shut down those soup kitchens, don't help out with food banks or with distributing clothes to the needy, it's all Communism. Either that or it's a step away from raising your arm, clicking your heels, and saluting Das Reich. But maybe Beck is just operating within his own religious tradition, that of certain species of Protestant Christians who have so much emphasis on the 'I', on personal salvation, that they don't pay any attention to other folks out there. God it's entertaining, go listen to the audio of it.

A final highlight is that he in fact advised church goers who object to social justice to go talk to the higher ups in their church about it, to 'illuminate' them about what's going on. I can only imagine how those conversations would go. The Hitler Youth of the Beck army would likely be given a polite brush off, the same one likely given for accusations that the churches are fronts for the Illuminati.

Monday, March 08, 2010

What people who talk about instant gratification in relation to the Internet don't mention

Or don't know about or don't think is important, is that it didn't start with the internet. Television is instant gratification too. Think about it; you can turn on the TV at any time of the day or night and find a program on, and if you don't like the program you can change the channel to another one that hopefully has something interesting on. No one charges you for this, unless you have cable, and even then the service isn't pay per view. You can watch it for as long as you want, as many days a week as you want. Compare this to having to buy tickets to see shows, to either going to the movies or going to plays and concerts. The situation that we have today is saturated with instant gratification. I would argue that the internet's gratification standard is an extension of the gratification gotten from the now 'old media'. Sure, there are some aspects of life on the internet that aren't completely codified as being about consumption while being oriented towards instant gratification, like Google, with knowledge at our finger tips feeding gratification, but it seems to me that sites about stars and about life styles, and about buying stuff proliferate while the non-traditional instant gratification stagnates. It would be interesting to see where in fact people go on their internet journeying, to find some studies that talk about it. I'm sure there are tons. In any case the 'net didn't start the fire, it was burning since the tube started turning on.

'At least five hundred dead in Nigeria religious attacks'

article. But the strange thing is that as terrible as it might be it doesn't look like it was religiously motivated. True, the people who did it were Muslim and the victims were Christian, but according to the article itself the attack followed increasing hostility between the two tribes that the people involved belong to, hostility that started with cattle theft. Stealing cattle in a pastoralist society does not a religious war make. The attacks were brutal, with the victims both being hacked to death and also mainly being women and children, but there's always the context that they exist in that gives or doesn't give confirmation to our perception of the story.

What's new?

Tarot, tarot is new. Experimenting with a new deck of the Lenormand system, that's quite different from the normal decks that you can buy. Is less esoteric and more down to earth. Yes, a person who opposes the division of labor in society as it currently exists believing in the tarot, terrible. It's just another bourgeois diversion into weirdness and interestingness that I indulge in. And it's helpful for planning demonstrations. Just kidding on that last one.

Discussing Falk's nihilism, from Homo Sapiens by Przybyszewski

Falk is the main character in the book. He discourses on nihilism, has affairs with lots of women, and finally meets his end when it all falls apart, his wife leaving him and his life destroyed. But the end isn't so cut and dry moralistic as all of that. Falk believes in the sort of 'I am nature, nature works through me, I am the 'I' who is sovereign, what destruction that I inflict is inflicted according to the will of amoral nature and therefore beyond good and evil' nihilistic worldview. The question, or at least one of the big questions in the book, is whether or not it's possible to hold those opinions, to declare that your impulses are holy and follow them no matter what the consequences, and still successfully live in society in some non-destructive way. Falk tries to make it work, he entertains guests at dinner parties with his philosophy, keeps it together, but ultimately it fails him when the consequences pile up. But do they really pile up because of the nihilism alone? At the very end, after being left by his wife for his actions, he signs up to go with a political friend who believes absolutely in the goodness of humanity, but he does so with an ironic turn of phrase that makes you think that he doesn't quite believe in it. If he doesn't quite believe in it could it be that it was living a lie, living or trying to live a somewhat conventional life while having successive affairs in which he created more lies, that was the cause of all of it? The person he goes to believes in truth in a radical way. So much happens that's indeterminate, so many strands of thought are left unwoven, that Falk's worldview still endures somewhat even though his actions may not.

There. That's my twenty five cent college or high school essay on Homo Sapiens. I hope everyone enjoyed this little excursion into a highly stilted and stultified form of writing that, while valid in what it aims for, is nonetheless the antithesis of nice open flowing, moving, smooth, funny, creative, writing.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Love it Love it Love it, the song of Homo Sapiens by Stanislaw Przybyszewski

I love it oh yeah, I love it it makes me great. I am the will to power, oh yeah, the superman, no not quite that. Nature manifests her destructive powers through me shaboo shaboo, and I am just a vessel of instinct and raw desire, woo oh. Nature is immoral, amoral, and the will to destroy and to create is all the same to it irrespective of what human society would think of it. I am I, a law unto myself, and the realization of my desires are valid and worthy because they are my desires and no one else's. In attaining purity unto myself, through myself and my will and my desires, nature finds its expression of goodness.

I came in from the east with the sun in my eyes

I cursed her one time then I rode on ahead. That's from "Isis" by Bob Dylan.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 the whole ACORN pimp thing was mostly a fraud

According to This article the guy didn't go in there dressed like a pimp, instead he went in there conservatively dressed and then edited in a section of him standing outside wearing the outfit. Then the conversation didn't start out with him asking about how to shelter tax money but about how to help his girlfriend, who he said was a prostitute, get away from her abusive pimp.

Quite a difference between the story that launched a thousand right wing cum fests of joy over evil liberal corruption in the flesh.

The Body as Shadow

The concept comes from the book of the same name: "Jung and Reich, the Body as Shadow" by Joseph Conger. So what does it mean, the body as shadow? First of all what Conger's does is put together Reichian therapy, centered on the body, with Jungian concepts of the unconscious, that take a little explaining.

Reich believed that there were three levels in the human psyche. The first was the surface self or ego, the second was the level of repression dominated by character armor, and the third was the core self. Jung's ideas can be similarly divided into three areas, although the overall structure is more complex. The first layer for Jung is the Persona, which is the face that we show the world. The second layer is the Shadow, the parts of ourselves that we repress because their nature is perceived to threaten the day to day consciousness, and the third layer is the collective unconscious, the repository both of the real self and of the realm of positive archetypal ideas about the world.

In Reich specifically, the inhibitions of the second layer are literally embodied in our muscles, that hold neuroses within them in the form of muscular tension that never fully dissipates. That tension is also thought to distort the flow of biological energy around the body. Conger makes the equivalence between the world of character armor and the world of the Shadow, saying that that the two concepts refer to the same underlying reality, which is interesting not just in itself but also because Jung's ideas are often accused of having no anchor in the real world, as being abstractions floating out there. If the Shadow can be anchored in musculature, at least partially, this could lead to the Jungian concept being taken out of the stratosphere and into reality.

Not only is the concept of the body as Shadow interesting, but the equivalency between the third layers, between the orgonomic core or core self and the collective unconscious, is fascinating as well. In Jung this realm is a realm of purity beyond the negativity of the Shadow and our neuroses where the mythic archetypes that we use to live our lives and think about ourselves live, a sort of repository of meaning . It's where the true, positive, features of the Self, with a big 'S', exist in and forms the undergirding of our world. Reich's formulation the orgonomic core is also a repository of the true self, the inner self that exists in harmony with the nature of the body and with the natural flow of orgonomic life force in both the outside world and in the universe at large, in a sort of sea of energy. It exists below the level of character armoring and nihilism, that Reich associated with Nietzsche's evaluation of humanity. Both conceptions reference the true self as something hidden within us that has to be discovered and brought to the surface. Maybe the archetypes hook up with the field of orgone in some way, shape, or form or are present in some way in a physical collective unconscious that's based on energetic forms?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Now back to our originally scheduled programming: an individualist anarchist inspired rant from "Homo Sapiens" by Przybyszewski

Specifically from part II, "By the way"

" "My opinions, convictions, views are of significance to me alone of course, not to any one else. TO myself I represent the whole world. Whether anybody agrees or disagrees with me is absolutely immaterial."
"Ha, ha! You seem to have an extremely high opinion of yourself."
"Of course. It's every man's duty to have a high opinion of himself. Listen. There is a certain man living in Dresden, Heinrich Pudor, who, while enjoying a good reputation is looked upon as a charlatan. He does happen to have a few eccentricities, also unusual force. A while ago he arranged an exhibition of his own pictures in Munich. They were ridiculous things of no values, but the catalogue, which he himself drew up, was interesting. 'I am I,' was in it. 'I am neither a painter nor a no-painter, and I have no other attributes than this one, that I am I.' That was well said. You are wrong, doctor, it's by no means professional vanity. Once I am a man, then I am also a secret, mysterious and extraordinary part of nature. Therefore I have the right to say, 'Look, here are my pictures. They may be absurd but they are mine. Once I have created them , and created them under the influence of an unconquerable inner urge, then they form a better image of myself than all my vices and virtues. This is the image of my individuality. Whoever is interested in it, let him go to my exhibition. This is I, and there is nothing in me of which I need be ashamed. "

Next thing you know a Senator's dog will be able to stop all procedings

It's a logical step from one lone Senator preventing bills from being passed. Senator Jim Bunning stepped up to the plate last Thursday and refused to cooperate in giving his approval to the unemployment extension bill coming to a vote. Stand up guy indeed. Because of his action the benefits of several hundred thousand people are potentially in danger. I say potentially because it now looks likely that a compromise bill will be passed soon that will save some of those benefits.

But what point is there to having a chamber of a congress or parliament where one person can stop the entire process? Some have suggested that all of this is possible because of the Framers' dislike of majorities imposing their will on minorities, but when the minority who can object is a single person you've reduced the notion of democracy to a comedy.

Monday, March 01, 2010

They say don't trust anyone over 30

Or at least they used to back in the day. Well I've crossed that boundary point and am now officially someone who is totally and completely an adult. Completely.

Ok, leveling with people about this site.

Which is to say that truth in intent has always been something that's important in my writing. Basically, I don't know how much of a pure or even purish anarchist perspective I can provide these days because I've grown increasingly sympathetic to Progressivism that's somewhat statist in that it favors stuff like government intervention in the economy and general social democratic programs. I don't believe in the dictatorship of the proletariat, at least not in the sense that the Bolsheviks did, and am not crazy about the power of the State, even a social democratically tinged state to oppress people. I know my blog is listed in a few places, most prominently on anarcho blogs but also on Infoshop, and I'm happy to stay on there if people will allow it, but I'm probably going to post more stuff that's both more partisan, i.e. dealing with the Republicans or the continual failure of the Democrats, and more in favor of the Obama administration putting programs into practice.

I think the thing that really brought this to a breaking point is the extreme opposition of Republicans to any sort of mildly progressive change in Washington in the wake of the biggest crisis since the Great Depression.

So, there you go.