Archive for poetry

6 April 20: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 6, 2013 by spinoza1111

Good congee (great texture), tasty strawberries from friends, Hamlet re-read.

If you are local, stop by for strawberries and chocolate: can’t finish.

I need to moderate the chocs, with these chocs being Lindt white chocs and excellent it’s hard to resist just hammering them, so in the next day or so I shall offer these exceptionally delicious chocs to visitors. The probability being that I will hammer them alone, for ever since I was a lad, I enjoyed sneaking off with sweets of my own, away from my brothers and sisters, and eating them while reading a book.

But the strawberries are also good. I guess they were grown in Korea. I also push them on the doctors and nurses.

Rereading the start of the “Player King” material in Act 3 of Hamlet. The scene leading up to the entry of the Players is increasingly tense because of Hamlet’s impatience with Polonius and Rosencrantz/Guildenstern.

Trying to get the image and voice of Ken Branagh out of my mind’s eye

Hor.: Where my lord
Ham.: In my mind’s eye, Horatio

in re-enacting this in imagination.

S. not JUST (just) a “practical man” for where’s it writ that a practical man may not be a dreamer, indeed must be?

That is: das ist. It was more and not less needful for me, when struggling in Silicon Valley to survive, pay my child support, and succeed, to take a little time at day’s end to read a poem or more out of my wondrous 1913 Morocco leather Oxford Book of English Verse.

Today’s OBEV strives mightily to be PC, I wonder why they bother for there are those of us who like the old rip-roarers that had naught to do with PC: “On the Burial of Sir John Moore, After Corunna“:

We carved naught a line, we raised naught a stone
But we left him alone with his glory

Don’t misunderstand me. I like the new, global and PC stuff and at my longest job in HK, teaching amongst many other things English Lit I taught world English and feminist lit with enthusiasm. But I also like a good chunky poem like Sir John Moore where I can speak and glower and pout like Churchill.

At one point a few years ago, a lad or chap read Sir John Moore for YouTube but cried with genuine anguish at the end, “but I don’t fookin oonderstand it!!”. My own surviving kid has rebuked me from time to time for my linguistic praxis and I thought, three years ago, that I had a shot at getting a teaching job at Hong Kong only to learn that words like “logic” were verboten in the modern academic job search. The professor who told me this (also my director in Glengarry Glen Ross) meant well, but also said she understood why my former wife rejects me based on my prose style.

The style being hypercorrect and more elaborate is in all contexts today a mistake, one of fashion but precisely for that reason far more serious than writing full of solecisms or even pompous administrative BS.

Look (I tell myself) at the way modern British men dress. Even more than Americans, British men are aggressively informal, at times in proportion to their academic success: today’s Oxonian don will look like a mad gardener whilst staff will be expected to conform to a dress code. Even in politics, while Cameron and his rather disgusting ilk will go tieless only reluctantly, there’s been a slow reduction in formality, while the Tory politicians still prefer the expensive shirt even if tieless.

My style might likewise offend by violating the new regime of informality. My use of “attributive” adjectives that front the noun (“poor Yorick”) in proportion to “predicative” adjectives that follow linker verbs like “is” (“Yorick is poor” [in the sense of to be sympathized with: the attributive cannot here be translated directly to predicative]) may strike readers as feminine in a tabu way: when reading late 19th century literature with a student a few years ago (Edith Wharton: Henry James) I compared their greater frequency of attributive with Hemingway’s greater frequency of predication.

A typical Wharton or James sentence might at least be parodied as “the serene Hotel by the glassy lake”. Hemingway might, I think, prefer “The hotel was serene, the lake was a reflecting mirror until the barrage”. His style, and its change from that of the 19th century, reflects a “hard boiled”, 20th century attitude that was no more, no less natural than that of Wharton or Henry James.

Perhaps (and only perhaps) this is part of what irritates my kid and the HKUST professoriate where modern professoriates are IMO too eager to embrace, to pander-to, to celebrate the destructive anti-intellectualism of their ill-formed students.

Today’s professoriate, still stuck in the groove of the 1960s, is like Justice Shallow a bit o’erhasty to reassure today’s students that they heard the chimes at midnight as if the student cared. And I certainly heard the chimes at midnight circa 1969 but was a more interesting person in 1963, a more interesting and fecund year in which Pope John XXIII told us Catholics we might yet be able to keep our faith without being throwbacks (“nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”) and President Kennedy reassured us we might not die ablaze. I was reading Greek and even Roman drama. I lost my way in the summer, finding too much pleasure in collecting used books as opposed to actual reading, and Kennedy’s assassination cast a backwards-reaching shadow over the entire year, whose hope was thereby forgotten.

As the older cohort of my generation started to teach as graduate assistants, I found myself shambolic, unable to express myself in person. A superficial political correctness, which I could not project, became de rigueur: du jour, like soup.

“And so as in many ways he lost his way.” That’s a sentence that would, I think, have appealed more to Scott Fitzgerald who had a musical, almost dancing prose style (“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”) superior to either Wharton or Hemingway.

The only real education left today was, perhaps (and always “perhaps” in these tentative speculations) a period in one’s youth where one reads “classics” for a good reason (genuine passion), a bad reason (my desire to connect with Dad) or no reason at all, and exposure to a classical or in-depth education where for me this was a fucked up Catholic secondary education and five years working at Princeton whilst absorbing/inhaling a second education.

I shall workout around 2:00 and then attempt a short walk to counteract this blasted atrophy.

George of the Jungle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2012 by spinoza1111

Jenny Holzer Truisms

Remember to laugh! Listen!

“HOW COULD YOU MEESE HEEM?” “He moved.”
“No, you’ve got to look down that bit [pointing to gunsight]”

Complete complex sentences above a low upper bound of complexity are all very well but sometimes you have to zip it, like Dr Evil admonishes his son, Scott Evil, in Austin Powers. Watching Scott Evil helped me to understand my younger son. His name is Peter and I called him “junglee” Peter when he was a little kid, unconsciously transmitting Kipling’s Indo-British use of “junglee” to mean wild.

Hugo Chavez is one of my fellow sufferers and he Tweets (tweet kamunkle). But I am conflicted about 140 character limits.

It is a severe formal limit and my experience in writing traditional verse, and painting in a traditional style, is that contrary to hipster wisdom well past its sell-by date, the need to conform to a Rule is a pathway to the subconscious. For example, ever since starting to teach English in 2005, I have noticed new connections between words, in a way that not only shows me how to use a globalized language (where I’ll be using a British mode of expression and, to find a metre or rhyme, transit suddenly to a Chicago argot or false French), but also accesses my subconscious.

For example, I was looking at a photo in DeliFrance in Queen Mary and thought, hmm, the French word for bread is the same as the English word for pain. Wow.

For everything is connected with everything else, the only question is how much and it what way. When we’re under stress, we’re like the dwarves in that movie Time Bandits, or George of the Jungle: we sometimes feel like we’re suspended in a dark web, like a jungle where we’re in the canopy and cannot find the ground…or cannot literally walk on it since, like the ground in many parts of Lamma Island, it is too overgrown.

Where the wild things are. We need in a wildness of possible connections (vines, tendrils, creepers, Banyan branches) to find a handhold and get a grip, so, like George of the Jungle, we grab something, go aaahhhhooooooooohh and launch ourselves into the void.

Listen! “George, George, George of the Jungle: George, George, George of the Jungle: friend to you and me! Look out for that tree!”

But note something remarkable. The “jungle” is a map or mental model of our brain which is ALSO a general web in three dimensions, mathematically, a general graph, which is always creating and destroying new connections.

I didn’t want to start bullshitting online this morning. I had a rugged day at Queen Mary yesterday (nothing in comparison to most cancer patients, really) and a good workout first thing at the beach. But this is important.

Moments of insight can be in sudden connections of words, for possibly the same reason that we best remember our dreams in words (cf Lacan if you can understand him, my kid can, I cannot).

The simultaneous physical event might be the reaching-out of delicate and gracile strands of DNA in the chambers of the brain and plugging into another strand.

Whereas a good night at some bar might rather be the breakage, the Vandalization, of these delicate connections, leading to that generalized good will which is a feature of the early evening.

The complicated man may be a pain in the ass but if you give him Lithium or the wrong sort of wife the simplified complicated man is a Dork or a veg. Perhaps we need to become more complicated.

I write as a man, and a white man in my comic verse playing with racialism in some of the phrases. My kid once told me that my use of “Chinaman” is real, real dumb. Homer Simpson d’oh dumb. It’s not that I don’t mean it. It is that I am quite aware that I have believed that my shit doesn’t stink because I was brought up in a family that preserved many aspects of the haute bourgeois of the nineteenth century without being descended from that class. I am also quite aware that “the trumpet shall sound and we shall all be changed”.

There’s a very good article in the New Yorker this week (probably last week for I get it late). In “Raging Arizona”, by Kalefa Sanneh, the author suggests that Arizona’s gaudy racist politics may be simply a last demographic gasp as whites all over the USA are simply out-numbered by non-whites. And given the obscenities of last-gasp white politics not only in Arizona but throughout the USA, this is good news.

For I ain’t so much a white guy as a guy. And not so much a bloke as a human being. And no so much a human being as, down deep where the wild things are, an animal.

Not so much, deeper, as an organism, and ultimately the stuff of which stars and God are made.

That is (das ist) there are levels of reality. Which doesn’t make the lower levels unreal.

Here I am last year with my theater mates on a hot night in Hong Kong. I’d remark that I am like Nixon or Dad remembering to laugh which creates a sort of rictus, but that’s my favorite shirt, my helper’s despair since it’s quite ragged.

Some jerk on You Tube said of this image, which appeared on a video I’d made about wikipedia’s racism, ha ha you look like a cancer patient.

And the Wall Street boys went nuts when Steve Jobs presented early iPads looking gaunt.

My male role models of the 1950s, however, all looked like that, not like the sleek prosperous older men of today, not like Romney. You know, guys with gold health plans?

No, Edward Murrow spoke truth to power and he looked it.

Bertie Russell spoke truth to power and he looked like an aged eagle.

Edward Said chucked stones at Israelis and looked like Byron. Met him in Chicago.

And above all, Oppenheimer. You know, I made a large grisaille painting of Oppenheimer in 1970, it’s lost, it was last in a storage room on “pill hill” in Seattle where the hospital is, in an apartment building, I’m too lazy to find its name on the Internet.

His hawklike visage, as opposed to the sleek Ed Teller or Von Neumann (who nonetheless also died of cancer).

A sort of rebuke or question aimed in the general direction of Dad. Both my ex and I loved the films made during a brief period of Hollywood maturity right after the war: The Best Years of Our Lives, Gentleman’s Agreement, The Lost Weekend. I wanted to find my young and idealistic parents, my Dad in residency at Harvard, my mom head over heels in love with Dad, and them meeting Norbert Wiener and Chao Yuen Ren (I think).

Romeo and Juliet: A Cautionary Tale

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 18, 2011 by spinoza1111

ROMEO AND JULIET, OR, A CAUTIONARY TALE

William Shakespeare spent a night
With a Lady, ’twas the fairest Wight,
And Romeo and Ethel (the Pirate’s Daughter)
Became the Play that he thunk it oughter:
‘E got rid of Missus Porter, who with Tybalt, washed ‘er feet in soda water,
And ‘e added a fine old Friar,
Full of many a potion and many a Spell
That had a tendency to go to hell,
And from the stuff of Comedy,
Old Bill ‘e made a Tragedy:
Aboot the Montagues and Capulets,
Which down the ages has produced in any number of grammar school productions with any number of young would-be Romeos and fair Juliets,
Who have to be educated to saw “wherefore art thou Romeo”, and not “where art thou Romeo”,
Because the student has to know,
That the former means “deny thy father and refuse thy name”,
Whereas the latter means “if there are any stalkers out there, I’m game”.
Usually the master is well advised to select for Romeo a boy who is gay or shy or maybe both,
Because if he isn’t he’s gonna get Juliet pregnant during the rehearsals before she can say forsooth,
But what the hell,
Let’s all cheer and yell,
For good old Bill,
Whose plays butts in seats will fill.

Edward G. Nilges 18 Dec 2011. Moral rights have been asserted by the author, see if they havenae oor I’ll roar oop yer lobby.

With apologies to Ogden Nash, and Thomas Stearns Eliot (“o the moon shone bright on Mrs Porter/And on her daughter/They wash their feet in soda water/Et ces voix d’enfants, chantant dans la cupuole!”- Waste Land.) American English, properly used, is the best thing ever happened to British English because without Ogden Nash’s flip disrespect for a fixed as opposed to harmonious metre, and without Tom Eliot’s midwestern-expat unique voice, English poesy would have dissolved into its margins and become ONLY Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, two fine poets, but not representative of world English.

What is My Nation?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 21, 2011 by spinoza1111

Listen!

Capitaine MacMORRIS

Of my Nation? What ish my Nation? Ish a Villaine, and a Basterd, and a Knaue, and a Rascall? What ish my Nation? Who talkes of my Nation?

Shakespeare, Henry V

I mean, dude, where’s my country? We no longer see Abraham Lincoln in the motion pictures any more, and Washington is a tall fool: that homunculus John Adams replaces him: I know that Adams was the little smart guy and George Washington was the big dumb guy (“duh, tell me about the rabbits, George”): but myths tell the truth widdershins, and I grew up wanting a white horse with which to ride.

George Washington at the Battle of Princeton

John Ford created another big dumb guy who was really a smart guy, for they only thought Lincoln was slow bee-cuz he-un prolly tawlked lahk this. But who watches John Ford anymore? Edward R Murrow (the last talking head on TV to talk anything like the truth) said that “today” (1959) Lincoln would have been sent to remedial trade school, and given no credit for reading Blackstone. I read the collected works of Shakespeare in 1962 (except for The Merry Wives of Windsor) and they told me to get my trouble-making ass into the programmer trainee class at Time-Life Books.

A fatherless generation cathects today, in Spielberg’s HBO miniseries, to the false midrange fathers. As we say in Hong Kong, “the mountain is tall, and the Emperor is far away”, so the top brass in contemporary war pictures, except Malick’s. are Pete Longstreet or Stonewall Jackson to Martin Sheen’s ineffectual Granny Lee, and Chesty Pulller on Guadalcanal.

(In Malick’s Thin Red Line, all the fathers, they’ve gone down, and the commander is a monster out of WWI).

(Richard Yates, who served in WWII and wrote the novel Revolutionary Road that became the recent film, said that WWII was the father you could never please.)

What American kid even learns about Walt Whitman these days? Heck he was gay and probably withdrawn from the shelves, yet, one hundred years before I could chase the sun, flying from New York to San Francisco as the slow sunlight moved through the darkened murmuring jet plane, and see my country like an angel, Walt Whitman penned these lines:

Lo! body and soul! this land!
Mighty Manhattan, with spires, and the sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships;
The varied and ample land—the South and the North in the light—Ohio’s shores, and flashing Missouri,
And ever the far-spreading prairies, cover’d with grass and corn.

Lo! the most excellent sun, so calm and haughty;
The violet and purple morn, with just-felt breezes;
The gentle, soft-born, measureless light;
The miracle, spreading, bathing all—the fulfill’d noon;
The coming eve, delicious—the welcome night, and the stars,
Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.

Who reads this shit anymore? These lines, however, created a nation even as the County Roland was said to lay himself down “sous en Pin” in the high Pyrenees and this made France, even as the Cid *Compreador* made Spain, even as Beowulf and Arthur, and their story, made Britain.

Saints and poets make cities and countries even as a saint fished for salmon in what became Edinburgh, and the “smart guys” can only destroy them…from Obama to Rick Perry, they are too clever by half and neither wise, nor intelligent, or even all that cunning.

DUMB QUESTION

Dumb question: why is there something rather than nothing, and where do you draw the line in the sand? Is Texas a republic again? As Steven Vincent Benet said of Daniel Webster:

“Yes, Dan’l Webster’s dead–or, at least, they buried him. But every time there’s a thunder storm around Marshfield, they say you can hear his rolling voice in the hollows of the sky. And they say that if you go to his grave and speak loud and clear, “Dan’l Webster–Dan’l Webster!” the ground’ll begin to shiver and the trees begin to shake. And after a while you’ll hear a deep voice saying, “Neighbor, how stands the Union?” Then you better answer the Union stands as she stood, rock-bottomed and copper sheathed, one and indivisible, or he’s liable to rear right out of the ground. At least, that’s what I was told when I was a youngster.”

DUMB ANSWER

Dumb answer: science and business have no answer, but poets do, but poetry today can hardly be heard inside rock and roll tunes. And if you don’t know poetry, then to fill the hole and to make your country whole, you join the Marines and go to Cuba, France, or Guadalcanal and get your fool ass blown to Kingdom Come fighting Spanyards, Germans or Japs mostly to make sure that bond-holders get paid on time.

Or you leave your wife and children or something stupid like that because you won’t open the door in you.

O we’re in a fix, for the Matter of Britain has become what’s the matter with Britain, the man with the head of an ass is no longer loved by the Faery Queen: the Germans with the blue eyes of heaven scare the shit out of us because of Hitler, China has lost the way to Heaven and the last legend, the United States, a thing both of the time of legends and the Enlightenment, is falling apart at the seams, and at the Mason-Dixon line.

Carpet Bombing Pamela Geller

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 7, 2010 by spinoza1111

When I learned about this insane rich woman, a new Anne Coulter, and her “Atlas Shrugs” blog, I went in low and slow with snake and nape, posting several anti-Geller essays and original poetry before being blocked based on IP address, name and email. These are collected at the bottom of this post.

This is considered bad behavior even by “liberals” and “nice” people.

But it has been my experience in office and general politics that if unprincipled psychotics are not confronted, good people get hurt.

I’m tired of the emasculation of the so-called left. And I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

I remark as you can see at Geller’s blog, that it is said that the poetry was a cut and paste job when it is clearly for the occasion. But I find it easy, when replying to the insane, to use poetry. Whereas the problem is that even before 9-11 most Americans labored to put the simplest independent thoughts or genuine feelings into words. When life was fat this didn’t matter much, but now we can expect precisely the sort of explosions I had to witness in my own family of origin, and that I visited on my former wife in the 1970s, that are caused by the inability to access one’s feelings through language.

TV has long normalized what can be said and what cannot be said in the USA. Pam Geller found in the 1980s that no matter how “tough” women think they are, they still can’t cut the mustard in New York journalism, a boy’s game, and, enraged, she decided to play the Anne Coulter Fascist Bitch card, starting with YouTube videos of her so-so bod in a bikini. The rest was history, or perhaps her-story, or then again it may have been mystery as seen in Dostoevsky’s tale of the Grand Inquisitor.

Pam Geller is in fact the monstrous return of the mid (20th) century liberal like Susan Sontag who, after the collapse of American socialism and communism courtesy of Joe McCarthy, used fashion and the image to advance what were ideas of course superior to Geller’s “ideas” or more precisely, ideation (as in mental illness diagnostic language). Born rich, Geller will do anything to stay rich when it is so clear that the only way to do justice to the Earth and its Wretched is for the rich to get less rich…far less rich, in fact.

The gesture is to acquire millions of deluded followers by proclaiming that you are one tough cookie, undeluded, self-interested (Randroid, usually) and good in the sack. Even the Jewish left of the USA in the beginning (roughly, the 1930s) shared this overall approach.

A Note on the Failure of a Coalition

Pre WWI, the Jewish left was also the German-American left, because pre WWI, a critical number of educated Jews were still German. The younger generation of East European Jews were busy working to advance themselves out of the lower East Side, but hadn’t taken control.

It was therefore natural before 1917 for German-origin Jews to ally themselves with German American gentiles, in fact it was a fulfillment of the German Jews’ vain hope that Wilhelmine Germany, the first welfare state, would outgrow the vicious anti-Semitism of the German peasant. Gustav Mahler fled Vienna for New York in 1912 in hopes of finding this aufhebung.

But, tragically, it was not to be. German-American Gentiles, who were before WWI left-wing, were brutally persecuted during the run-up to America’s entry into the war, being in some cases lynched alongside blacks. This silenced them and made them use their physical racial characteristics to subsequently become just “American” like my uncles and aunt born starting in 1915. It made them authoritarian and willing to focus, apolitically, on careers in engineering and business-friendly law.

And, understandably, the “new” (born approximately 1915) generation of Jews wanted little to do with the Germans. US social mechanisms and history itself destroyed the pre-WWI coalition between German American gentiles and Jews in somewhat the same way as the 1960s destroyed the black and Jewish alliance.

This made Jewish-American culture superficial and overinvested in the image even by Susan Sontag’s time. Herbert Marcuse was coded as “verbose”, which is usually a name for the lack of flashy images whereas the culture of style (image) remained popular, and is now used by Geller. And it is for this reason that Paul Krugman can warn repeatedly that Obama hasn’t been Keynesian enough without being heard by policy makers: in talking about a negative, Krugman cannot give the policy maker an image.

We the Undeluded

In a caricature of Enlightenment, the adept proclaims that she’s undeluded, but not, as in Enlightenment, by nature’s appearance, but by a vast conspiracy. And of course, Pam Geller’s conspiracy thinking is an isomorph of anti-Semitism.

Ah Bartelby: ah humanity. In such a society, in which such fame exists, fame’s inverse, which can no longer be criminal notoriety (which has become just more fame), but is instead my situation right here, is honor. My situation right here is low traffic and the occasional hate-filled comment based on my sexuality and that is just fine. One simply does not want the mob to approve of one for this would mean that one is evil and a dumbass to boot.

The Woman, Aristotle, and the Beast


And the woman angle must at last be addressed, for let us not speak falsely now the hour is much too late.

Around the time of the Reformation, a popular theme in cheap prints and as here knick-knacks was the theme of “the woman riding Aristotle”.

For Martin Luther’s 1519 “theses” triggered not reform of the Church as he had hoped but explosions of popular anger including peasant Jacqueries which Luther worked with German princes to suppress, fearing the consequences of his own rebellion.

One such Jacquerie was the time out of mind irritation women feel with men.

But what is little realized about the Reformation, studied by half-literate “specialists” moronized by graduate school, is its relationship with the Renaissance.

Let’s see. Reformation up here, in Germany. Renaissance down there in Italy. Ver-y good, it becomes “unfocused” to link the two phenomena, especially because Luther and his followers did not read Erasmus and were in fact uninfluenced by them.

However, Benedetto Croce found the two movements related after all. You see, Croce felt that the Renaissance was the upper class theory and the Reformation the practice on the ground. The Reformation was overtly for Luther a response to Church practices that had nothing on the face of it to do with the Renaissance, even though scholars concur that there was indeed a “Renaissance Catholicism” constituted in Pope Julius’ building and artistic patronage, the use of the sale of indulgences for financial needs which were in turn caused by the primitive capitalism of the Italian and Flemish bankers, and the new interest in ancient learning.

The problem was that this was a closed book to Luther and even more so his followers, but they wanted to get in on the fun. So instead of the reforming, new thought, proto-Enlightenment of the Renaissance we have its proto and Ur-Fascist mockery, the woman riding Aristotle (or the Beast), the Reformation. Luther’s vicious anti-Semitism and his mockery of celibates, his suspicion that in all or most cases, celibacy hides perversion, a meme which persists today (Catholic male priests falling under suspicion but not nuns).

This dual structure is astonishingly repeated in the way Fascism aped and perfected Left gestures including political satire and revolutionary violence.

The “woman riding Aristotle” is the woman, like Anne Coulter or Pam Geller who genuinely feels abused by male intellect and male power, and uses her sexuality as a Final Solution, for Aristotle, who so foolishly thought that the end of “man” is to know, like Erasmus, must learn in the domestic economy that his real end within the domestic sphere is to beg for pussy.

That’s brutal. That’s harsh. The truth usually is. Pamela Geller is in fact enacting a family drama in order to further her pathetic search for money and fame. It is the game of

Buster, all of your high-falutin thought is clearly for nought
Now get outa here and get me some money too

Saul Bellow’s Torah-based response was “woman, what art thou too me?”

The Posts at Gelller’s Hideous Sight

Here are the posts at Geller’s site, so you don’t have to give her traffic.

I.

Sorry, lady, but the USA is a “liberal” country all the way back. You see, in order to avoid the sectarian wars that had torn Europe apart especially in the Thirty Years War, the founders (many of whom were Deists or non-practicing Christians) instinctively developed a political philosophy that can be separated from other political philosophies such as Islamic sha’aria and Catholicism’s political philosophy.

This form of enlightenment liberalism is free-standing and necessarily unlinked to any other political philosophy. It seeks an overlapping consensus between the major world religions that is the way in which they think some sort of tolerance is a virtue, and most of them do because their founders (including Mohammed) believed that forced conversion as a result of intolerance is not conversion at all.

This liberalism need not compete with any other world view because it’s necessary to any multi-confessional society. That it works is proven by the existence of multi-confessional societies such as the USA, in which your silly ideas have usually been laughed at.

You see, a form of your silly ideas, a striking parallel, was the “Know-Nothing” movement of the 1830s. These early Tea Bags believed as you do that there was a world religion, preaching intolerance, that was stealthily building places of worship in sacred spots, sacred that is to the one “true” religion of Protestantism, and that the sinister leadership of this world religion planned to dominate zee verld.

And this religion was, of course, Roman Catholicism.

In other words, lady, you don’t really give a fuck because you do not know shit. When you were a nobody, you found that by mythologizing your rage and making your personal problems the fault of a world conspiracy you got attention and started to get traffic, which earns you as I can see ad revenue right here. So you’re riding the tiger and you will do so until you fall off and go boom.

There is of course not the slightest chance that Muslim hordes will conquer the USA and impose Sha’aria law. For one thing, the incoming Moslems gotta go through TSA. For another, it’s always been a fantasy that another country could mount an amphibious invasion of the USA. For another, converts to Islam will forever be in a minority.

The various lawsuits by Moslems for their ability to practice their faith are nothing more than their exercise of their Constitutional rights. For example, the First Amendment to the Constitution means that the moderate Moslem who seeks to open a Moslem centre near (not at) the World Trade center need only satisfy secular city codes and the criminal law. The Fourteenth or “equal protection of the laws” amendment means that no separate test may be applied to his religion.

If that religion preached child molestation or murder, then of course it would fall outside the liberal’s overlapping consensus, but not as a religion. Instead, it would fall under state laws applicable to the Mafia or Tony Soprano (criminal activity and criminal conspiracy).

Now, I know I’ve used a lotta big words and complex sentence structure. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Maddened by false promises and soured by true miseries, people regress and become inarticulate, and start throwing temper tantrums.

“With hearts grown brutal we have fed ourselves with fantasies” – WB Yeats

“We don’t say much but we say it loud: o come see the boiling cloud” – Edward G. Nilges

II.

Conservative Islam preaches tolerance of “people of the book” which are Christians and Jews. The Bible, preaches violence against masturbators (Onan) and ethnic cleansing against unfortunate people like Ham who accidentally see their nude father and seek out their brothers for help. If the God of the Old Testament is a role model, then the Christian can slay not only pagans (which Muslims are commanded to do in a text not considered acceptable by non-conservative Muslims in a religion where there is no final authority, only the interpretations of *Imams*) but fellow Christians if they disagree (on the nature of the Trinity, on the “real presence” of God in the Eucharist, on abortion, and so on).

The Moslem leader who wants to create the cultural center near Ground Zero is a moderate Moslem who like a moderate and liberal Christian, does not interpret all texts of Qu’ran literally: cf. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/nyregion/22imam.html.

I’d also suggest that you read Hans Kung’s history of Islam. Even the Know Nothings of the 1830s had a point, for the Vatican, their enemy, does have a centralized *magisterium* and in that centralized *magisterium* the state is required to enforce what the Vatican considers the natural law, which Catholic theology considers applicable to Catholics and non-Catholics. Therefore Spain prior to 1975 and Ireland until the 1990s had a form a sha’aria including bans not only on abortion but also on birth control.

In 1870, the Vatican defined “modernism and *Americanism*” as heresies, where the latter was the belief by US Catholics including some bishops that the church in the USA should reconcile itself to the USA’s failure to enforce what Catholics thought the natural law, and should stop praying and working for the conversion of the USA and the world to Roman Catholicism.

Whereas precisely because Islam doesn’t have a Vatican, Islamic countries vary considerably in their interpretation of Qu’ran, from Morocco and Turkey (quite flexible) to the US ally and client Saudi Arabia (the preservation of whose monarchy is a key US goal). They do so far more than did France before 1789, Spain before 1975, or Ireland before the 1990s.

Get off the Internet and go to the public library. Read the Qu’ran, read Hans Kung, read Edward Said or even Bernard Williams, who is anti-Islamic. Even he would not substantiate your wild claims.

III.

People who do not read newspapers or books are typically deceived by something that is obvious to many software technicians, which is what I was (Princeton, Bell Northern Research).

It is that if a Web site “cites” another Web site, which “cites” a third, and so on, one usually never finds a reference to a primary or secondary source outside the Web. Often, the last cite will cite the first in a magnificent self-referential loop.

Slobs and the truly insane are completely unfamiliar with the real tasks of editing and production of intellectual content, and typically unaware of the historian’s distinction between levels of sources for claims.

One so often finds that references to paper sites completely distort the material at the paper site.

Even if Rauf has made statements at variance with his pronounced moderate views, this only means that he’s changed and/or is willing to live with USA laws and mores. The same laws that protect his practice of his freedom of religion (which allow him to create an Islamic center as long as it is conformant to city and state codes applicable to any church or shop) also prevent him from imposing sha’aria except in the (extremely unlikely) event Moslems became a majority in Congress (ROTFFLMFAO) or got elected President.

To do so under the Constitution, a Moslem government would have of course to repeal the First Amendment. The only way to do this would be by way of two super-majorities (2/3), in Congress and amongst the states.

Even if ALL Moslems resident in the USA were to vote to change the Constitution (highly unlikely) the USA would have to be 2/3 Moslem for this to happen. Now, I know that people who feed on garbage (horseshit Internet sites like this one, junk food, drugs, alcohol and trashy fiction) can be so dazed, so drugged, so out of it as to be preyed upon by bunkum-steerers, patent medicine men, real estate agents, and here Pam Geller. But a USA that has turned towards Allah is one for the loony bin.

IV.

The Know Nothing movement of the 1830s means that if you were to eradicate Islam, you’d then turn (using Samuel FB Huntington’s ravings as your text) on Catholicism for it too, in the last analysis, is a religion that seeks to convert all nations and has a secular legal programme (such as the prohibitions on abortion and birth control that used to be in force in Ireland and are being reintroduced by right wing parties in Poland). A sha’aria, if you will.

Then you might turn on the Jews, and their plan for world domination. Or, the remaining Protestant sects and perhaps the Randroid fundamentalists might turn upon each other even as New England Congregationalists would not tolerate Quakers or Roger Williams.

Even as today’s “Jew” is the Palestinian, and even as, as Sartre pointed out, haters like you don’t really know much about the target of their hatred. This is logical enough, for if Islam makes you puke, it would take the strength of an Heydrich (the Nazi *gauletier* who studied Yiddish) to learn Arabic or read the Qu’ran. The important point for your followers is to have somebody to hate as opposed to doing anything constructive about the reality of economic and environmental breakdown such as getting to know their neighbors or starting to grow their own food. That way your followers can continue leading their meaningless lives, ’cause it’s someone else’s fault.

The important point for you is ad revenue and speaker’s fees which funds your lifestyle, your lie.

V.

And so it comes to pass
That my head is up my ass?
Well, I ain’t no spring chicken,
And I wasn’t born yesterday,
And I know what you will do
When you do not have a clue,
Nor have read a book
Stuck inside your internet nook:
You will turn to the Nazi and the fecal,
Start making threats to have my job,
Hurl abuse, seek to wound, seek to harm
In the time honored way of the Internet slob.
Seethe o seethe with hatred
Drink tobacco dust and the entrails of a bird
Vomit forth all you have
Because in the beginning was the word,
And that word is called the truth,
And it is well known from Esther to Ruth,
That the truth is on the side of the powerless unfree
Whom you persecute in a vain attempt to alleviate your own misery,
Mock and scorn the Moslems here in this the alien corn
Single them out, cast the first stone,
Make yourself carrion, the truth will be born.
Congress shall make no law
Respecting an establishment of religion
So dry up and blow away
You shall not have your evil day.

VI.

What is this ‘self-importance’ of which you speak? Using complete sentences and appropriate references? You wish to seriously change the policy of the United States to target a religious group but you don’t wanna do your homework. That is Fascism.

VII.

Oh there is a blogger named Jane
Who may be clinically insane
She is foaming at the mouth
And is clearly heading south
That uninformed blogger named Jane.

VIII.

Your poetry sucks I give it the bird
“Bilges” may rhyme. Trouble is, it’s not a word.
And as to being a Misogynist
I gleefully confess to being, Miss, your antagonist.

Of course you can play that bimbo card with me
I’m a “misogynist” because I do not agree with thee:
But you better call it down and ring, you better pawn it, babe,
That shit is long past its sell-by date, it’s older than Methelusa was, or Abe.

And wherever I roam, wherever I go,
I’m labeled a nutcase, let it be so,
By the ignorant enraged the subhuman and the Troglodyte
Who would call Night, Day, and Day, the darkest Night.
Who move their lips when reading which is almost never
And out of their ignorance the crawl in a fever
With a hair up their ass ’bout someone to blame
For their stupidity, darkness, brutality and shame.

IX.

No, when Naziism first appeared in Germany, at the time of Hitler and Ludendorff’s failed “beer hall Putsch” in the early 1920s, nobody (and I mean nobody) described it as the New Islam. After the collapse of Turkey’s decadent Caliphate in World War I, Islam was not considered a threat. Most Islamic countries were part of British and French empires and their mandates.

Hitler rather admired the more warlike Islamic societies when he thought about them, which was almost never, because he hoped they would be his allies in his struggle against the Jews. As it happened, in a world that was far less global than it is today, his territorial ambitions only went as far into Islamic lands as the Moslem Soviet republics around Baku, and this because of oil.

Hitler enlisted Bosnian Moslems in his struggle as a racially segregated SS unit primarily to fight the Serbs.

But basically, to Hitler, Moslems were inferior and brown. The admiration rather more extended from certain Moslems towards Hitler, notably from the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was anti-Semitic and felt betrayed, simultaneously, by the Balfour Declaration (a promise to give Moslem land to Jews) and the Sykes-Picot agreement (in which Britain undertook to ban further immigration of Jews into Palestine, where they were basically legally stealing Moslem land).

But it’s all realpolitik and “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” rather than any closeness of ideology.

Islam is one of the most RACIALLY tolerant religions: Christianity less so, Judaism, even less. When Malcolm X broke with Louis Farrakhan’s demi and relatively insignificantly in context Fascism and became a “real” Muslim, Malcolm X made the *Haji* to Mecca and was struck, as one who’d endured the vicious racial prejudice of Christians, by the unity in diversity of Islam.

There were Moslems of ALL races and religions. Islam may be more religiously intolerant than, say, modern Anglicanism (and these ultra tolerant religions lose the name of religion eventually becoming strictly social-eleemosynary). But it’s always been the case, since at least the 9th century, that the original equation Arab=Islam has been erased by Islam. Anyone can become a Muslim.

Nothing less like Naziism can be imagined.

X.

Did someone say Fascism?
Did someone say the F word?
In fact I did, and you’re a fascist
One that is ass-kissed,
If your hatred and stupidity
Can be so marshalled by Pam Geller’s cupidity
To lead you so Satanically
To beliefs of such utter falsity.

Stripped in the stockade,
The unveiled one who studied in Paris,
Must endure the humiliation parade
As you jeer at her. Stones do not miss
As you howl that what you do is right
Night is day and day is night
This is my ass and that is a hole in the ground
She falls to the earth and she makes no sound,
A sacrifice to your ignorance
This is your grand Remonstrance.

Her last thought is the sort of thought that comes when pain is too much to bear as the body’s last line of defense. She remembers when you welcomed her to Starbuck’s when you had that job and complimented her on her veil, before September 11 and before you lost that job and your house. Her last thought was that was this too much to ask for, this moment of grace.

Then darkness.

XI.

Sarai, I would remark that the slaughter to which you refer was not the act of a government any more than the Manson murders or the post 9-11 murders of Sikhs who were thought to be Muslims. It was the act of a group that had been empowered by the illegal US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Prior to that invasion, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, was a Christian. Both Judaism and Christianity are tolerated and practiced not only in Iraq but all over the Muslim world. More than that, Hindus (which are considered not “people of the book” but pagans by conservative Muslims) are tolerated and practice in the Islamic state of Pakistan.

Since the US invasion, which was the CAUSE of today’s non-state *jihadis* including the men who attacked Christians, Iraq has alternated between Sunni and Shi’ite and as a result of the United States’ failure to install martial law in May 2003, its disbanding of the Iraqi army and police, radical *jihadis*, who are not led by *imams* but by warlords, and who are less interested in religion than in lining their own pockets in the US-created chaos, have attacked mostly their brother Moslems, not Christians and not Jews, both of which groups continue to practice in Iraq mostly unmolested: had this not been the case there would have been no Christian church to attack.

In the United States, Emmett Till was brutally mutilated and murdered for whistling at a white woman. Lynching continued until 1983 and symbolic lynchings continue on college campuses. A black CHRISTIAN church in Birmingham was fire bombed with CHILDREN inside of it by CHRISTIANS who believed that racial integration was against God’s law.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

XII.

That’s as good as it gets. “Toleration” is in fact a beautiful virtue, like Portia’s “mercy” in the Merchant of Venice. You think it’s weak tea because you want madder music and stronger wine, having fed yourself with fantasies. You’re intolerant to a Fascist level of the Muslim getting, in the United States, his human rights under the Constitution. You want to deny human rights to the Muslim because his religion shares precisely the same goal as most other world religions including Christianity: the elimination of other religious world views and the support of the favored religion by the state.

Roman Catholics pray for the conversion of the world to Catholic “sha’aria” and when a majority as in Spain until 1975 and Ireland until the 1990s, Roman Catholic sha’aria was the law in those countries.

Protestants want free-market capitalism and its sha’aria extended to Latin America and on their behalf the United States has intervened many times militarily to reduce the influence of Catholicism (especially liberation theology) and support Protestant ways in Protestant religion.

Israeli politicians define first class citizenship of Israel as being Jewish ethnically and religiously in violation of human rights as commonly understood.

However, decent Catholic politicians like John F. Kennedy and Mario Cuomo have realized that Christ’s command to love one another means active toleration of other faiths and that they could expect to be actively tolerated, the issue of their religion not made a campaign issue. Individual Protestants other than fundamentalists practice active toleration. Individual Israelis protest their own government.

Real toleration of Muslims happens to entail allowing them access to courts when sent vile emails, to create churches and to enforce their family laws as long as they don’t conflict (as did Mormon polygamy until the 1880s when the Mormons agreed to end that practice) with basic rights and freedoms.

XIII.

I’m not a troll. That’s a person who posts things he does not believe. I happen to believe that Pam Geller is a fascist thug and you are deluded fools.

A note on using poetry to answer the Internet thugs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 17, 2010 by spinoza1111

The vile male “logic” of the Internet (you know, that minatory complaining judgemental American voice that is forever trying to get us to shape up by blaming us for our problems) can be confronted directly, logic on logic, references and citations. But you often end up wasting mega-time battling some guy and unavoidably resembling him, like “monsters of the deep” in Shakespeare’s King Lear, or Godzilla and King Kong, battling it out in Tokyo while stomping international schools.

If you can write poetry, try it! It’s easy. Don’t worry about rhyme but worry about the basic beat of English or your own language. The basic beat of English is the iamb of Neil Diamond’s cheesy yet affecting song: “I am I cried”: the word “iamb” is an iamb, the basic cry, a weak beat followed by a strong.

Five of these “feet” form your basic ascent:

From this day to the ending of the World,
But we in it shall be remembred;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers:

King Henry had the lads ready to fight the French with the strong iambs of the last line above.

So here goes. The crap posted at The Young Turk’s quote of Rush Limbaugh’s vile ravings in support of Rush breaks yer heart. So, this clown named YeahOKterrific says:

“disasters when a real crisis like Haiti comes along they try and use that to prop up their worthless causes and we are sick and damn tired of being told we need to be in crisis mode and that the only is more of us working classes money.”

Instead of asking this bozo if he’s really working class (as in not being an unemployable bum living with Mom), I posted this:

We don’t say much but we say it loud
Oh come see the boiling cloud
We’re an individual lost in the crowd
Oh come see the boiling cloud
We are sick and we are tired
To nothing we have aspired
And nothing is what’s given us
So we kick up quite a fuss
Says the voice from inside the shroud
Come with me oh bourgeoisie
Come and see the boiling cloud.

And when there is an earthquake
And when the children die
Pat Robertson will be there, with a grin and stare,
To tell you the people, why.
And Rush will say you gave
And gave and gave and gave
At the office through the orifice
Of the coprophage corporation where you pretend to work.

Here is more:

The complaining voice of Rush Limbaugh diminishes to a whimper
In the vastness of outer space. Tectonic
He’s ground, fat and blubber,
And rendered rending rent as America goes down the white hole
Mumbling while stepping on yesterday’s pizza,
It’s not fair, why is my refrigerator full of insects.

If you don’t want to write poetry, quote it. Here’s William Butler Yeats on his countrymen who spread rumors and hated behind closed doors while Michael Collins got shot for trying to create a nation:

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart’s grown brutal from the fare;
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love; O honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

WB Yeats

There’s also the more adolescent genre, with which I started at the site:

When Rush gets laid
(Which is almost never)
Someone gets paid.

Sexless spineless big of mouth
Wasted shameless drug addict
Possessor of a pencil dick

Also, your basic limerick. Don’t pay no attention to formulae, but try to use a lotta anapests. An “anapest” is weak weak strong, and the word “anapest” (like “Who’s a Pest”, a kids’ book) is itself an anapest.

There is a pig named Rush
The liberals he would crush
But whenever he opens his yap
He sounds like an egregious sap
That useless pig named Rush.

Or your basic scurrilous doggerel. Verse like the, I believe, would have gotten me challenged to a duel back when men were men, women were women, and the sheep were nervous, but Rush is a coward:

Rush he hates the people of Haiti
He “knows” they are black and lazy
On Haiti he’s real hip
He visited Port-au-Prince on a cruise ship
Which makes him an “expert” on Haiti

Rush loves America and the U S A
Our country makes his sphincter stiffen
He raises a colostomy bag
To the stars and stripes, the grand old flag.

Tough Baby

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 3, 2009 by spinoza1111

When will I learn my lesson?

Internet “chat” rooms are for losers. In my experience, they tend over time to become dominated by failed pedants and people who tend to read the pedant’s opinions and find isolated and outlier targets, mindlessly repeating the most pedantic views. The isolated-outlier, especially if she manifests originality or creativity, is then forced to dance herself to death on multiple fronts.

At this and this link, I’d decided to defend a target of bullying, an older gentleman with a strange, but harmless Swedenborgian theory about Masters who throughout history have shown us the way.

I decided to reply almost completely in verse, roughly but not completely following traditional forms.

One of the pedants, distinguished only by publishing some obscure work analyzing Shakespearean metre using questionable and post-hoc rules, made the all-purpose claim that the poetry didn’t “scan”, which was picked up by the cybernetic mob.

However, when a few mob members tried to post some hatefilled poems in return, they were laughably short and unrhythmic owing to the limited vocabulary and aliteracy of the posters.

I kept on posting more and more pastiches of Pope et al. without bothering to do much technical analysis of scansion, rather reading the poems out loud to make sure that when read by one with a literate and global-English accent, they had some sort of beat, even if that might change with the meaning-direction of the poem.

For example, here’s a response to the all-purpose charge that Adorno, writing on reversal of subject and object (in the context of showing how “objective” and administrative rules replace engagement with substance as in the case where some post-facto “rule” is mechanically applied to poetry), was a left wing verbosenik.

Let me see if I can your logic haruspicate
And Ignoto, I think I can your “logic” scry.
If a text an issue doth in any way complicate
Of course this must be a left-wing conspiracy.
My words offend the Common Man
The self-appointed leaders of the gang:
They cannot parse can only scan
And favor violence as in bang, bang, bang.
Clearly we cannot have this,
It is not at all an entertainment
We need our pitchforks and our torches we miss
And someone needs his punishment.
“I am Cinna the poet” was Cinna Minor’s cry:
“Kill him for his bad verses” was the mob’s reply:
For to a mob, whether Roman or cybernetic
ALL poetry is bad amidst the universal wrack.

Now, Houston, we may have a problem, because in the first line I use a word I’ve never heard spoken, and have seen only once: meaning, “to determine the future by occult means” it occurs in TS Eliot’s Four Quartets:

To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits,
To report the behaviour of the sea monster,
Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry …

The first line’s metre assumes that the stress on haruspicate is on the second syllable, not because I wish to conform to a predefined metrical pattern (one that on first use was “free verse” in the sense that the great poets who invented, for example, the “Shakespearean sonnet” did so by violating the rules of the previous form) but because it sounded right when read in an urbane voice.

But, of course, this is not the typical sort of person you’ll find on Google Groups, whether he’s a thought-leading pedant or a mob-following thug, the two predominant groups. He may have never seen the word.

For this reason he will use, following the leading pedantic thugs, a pastiche of academic language to mask his ignorance and find the most apt rhymes and the best metre unpleasant, either because he reads it wrong or skips reading it because of its density on the page…something even the “educated” classes today, perhaps especially the “educated” classes since so much of “education” today is mere certification of docility. His pastiche will claim that it’s wrong to rhyme “Pindaric” with “satiric”.

In the demi-sonnet, I refer to Cinna the poet, fully aware that this is a detail of a Shakespeare play which even British A-level students might miss: in search of Brutus and the conspirators, the Roman mob come upon Cinna who they suppose the conspirator, Cinna:

Cinna: Truly, my name is Cinna.
Mob: Teare him to peeces, hee’s a Conspirator.
Cinna: I am Cinna the Poet, I am Cinna the Poet.
Mob: Teare him for his bad verses, teare him for his bad Verses.

All poetry is bad, and it seems a fraud to rhyme Pindaric and satiric. So, Cinna the Poet’s verse is bad to a mob.

My verse wasn’t good: I merely write in it as an experiment in communication (one that I’ve decided to terminate) and also because in my writing classes I make students write verse, and I refuse to be like one of those gym teachers who’d make us run a mile, and sic the bullies on the laggards, who themselves were unable to run a step. But it was much better than the vile doggerel that was fashioned in reply.

Astonishing levels of ignorance in other words existed, and I bailed when the most vicious and out of control respondent posted a crude “poem” claiming I teach “Engrish”, of course a racist slur on my students.

The crudest kind of language and threats were pure projection, for anyone (and I do not except myself) who participates in Internet conversations is a subaltern victim of social anomie and isolation. Therefore I was characterized as what the posters obviously feared and felt themselves to be: the male horror-figure, the “loser” that most men today feel themselves to be owing to the objective fact that people in developed countries are being steadily deprived of economic and social rights.

Adorno keeps on coming back because he encountered early forms of this phenomenon, which is unnoticed because it lubricates dominance and subservience in organizations, but in “tough baby” in Minima Moralia he saw the character armor of 1930s man as constituted by cigar smoke, shaving lotion and leather, whereas today the character armor is of course completely different.

It is the presumption that

(1) Any question can be resolved by mathematical rules that can be administratively applied

(2) However, smart cookies and tough babies know how to game these rules

(3) If the rules are shown to be phony, someone must be bullied to preserve the applicability of the rules

(4) Above all, no-one shall claim special insight in this country of the blind: the one-eyed man isn’t king, but he is the Chosen One in a reversion to barbarism (started in Modernism by Stravinsky): he shall dance himself to death while we watch

The mythos is one of freedom, the reality is one of slavery. The Internet enables widespread theft of intellectual production (as opposed to Holy Private “intellectual” Property) and norms the deviant as long as the deviant directs abuse down rather than criticism up.

Because of corporate surveillance, where people who lose discussions on points are certain to search for the company employing or contracting with the Chosen One and threaten to get her fired, the “safe” personality on the Internet is the anonymous Tough Baby, the normed Subject who in order to be certified as a Subject, has made himself into an Object by any one of the universal processes of apprenticeship, in which Tough Baby learns to game the rules, not questioning them in any case, but cynically conforming.

It fucking breaks my heart to see my own sons effectively conforming to the Tough Baby code, especially the younger, who never blogs sincerely. He’s a music lover, but we know this only because of his rather perceptive comments on bad or commercialized bands.

Nothing can be said seriously, least of all anything like “I miss my father” or even “I have a father”.

It reminds me of the thought-leaders in a university bookstore where I worked to help my own father pay for my schooling. One had lost HIS father because his father had asked to speak with him: he couldn’t be bothered: so his father went into another room and blew his brains out.

He was a thought leader because he could take nothing seriously, or so it seemed. Mere humanity to him was a joke, and more human individuals admired his “cool”, not seeing (or seeing, but not caring) that even in 1971, corporations were preparing to use coolness to keep people in line; coolness today is a new model form of what Fromm called character armor and the inability to love.

We are, I understand, supposed to use irony to understand that Tough Baby “really” has a heart of gold, merely “talks that way” because he’s been wounded, and that we should just reverse what he says in a logical operation to discover his essence, his humanity. Women do this all the time, and it gets their ass kicked. Of course, the Nazis proved, as the ultimate Tough Babies, that this doesn’t always work, even though they were interpreted in Weimar as speaking hyperbolically and ironically.

Mike Godwin thinks it’s some sort of hoot that on the Internet the probability of being compared to Hitler converges to unity, and if it’s a joke and a fantasy that if Fascism keeps coming back as a perversion of socialism, and domination is delegated to the dominated, we should not all become either Hitler, or else Stravinsky’s Chosen One in le Sacre who dances herself to death rather than become part of the mob.

But that’s what people become, in my experience, in open-access chat on the Internet. Because of corporate surveillance, they mask themselves as the Tough Baby without illusions who never makes mistakes, and who knows all the administrative ins and outs. By finding the Chosen One they reassure themselves that they’ll survive by ensuring that others go to the gas chamber first.

One winds up being stalked, obsessively. You represent the vulnerability people fear, a vulnerability that only starts with fear of physical death but ascends to eternal damnation (where God himself becomes the biggest baddest motherfucker on the block, who’s set his face against all the little losers). You represent ultimate risk: of being the one-who-is-wrong, the Chosen One, the Isolated One, the Blasphemer, in a society regressing past the memory of William Blake’s realization that we must take the risk of living on its terms. God hates fags, and he hates you. Plus you’ll never get a job.

I am hounded by people who see in me a broken Coriolanus with a residual humanity who’s not afraid to be vulnerable, to make mistakes, and to learn new things. I am abandoned by my children who are being made victims by a sick and dysfunctional society which never gave them a fair chance because they were raised by a single mother. But ten years ago, I stopped drinking and traveled to Springfield to see Lincoln’s grave, and this is what Lincoln said:

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.