Archive for writing

4 Sep 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 4, 2013 by spinoza1111

30 minute workout first thing at 6:00 AM: warmup (100 motions), 250 lowrise steps, walk and 150 very-low-impact dance movements (the old soft shoe) which are getting aerobic but without impact, (note to self, increase the count and recharge the iPod for further advances on the dancing front), 50 supine weight movements. Will probably do 20 minutes physio later today, so that’s two workouts and a total of 50 minutes (five mile equivalent by my old metric in which 10 minutes of most exercises = one mile of running).

A Note on Stupid Errors!

On Facebook, WordPress, and other facilities I am very careful about proofreading for two reasons.

One is that the sheer volume of my postings mathematically increases the probability of stupid, foolish errors in spelling, grammar and even logic. These errors as made by an unknown person like me cause my credibility to drop to a negative range. Computers only seem to make many errors; the rate is low but perceived to be high because computers execute so many operations (for example, in a modern spreadsheet such as used by Harvard researchers to call for austerity in the infamous Rogoff/Reinhardt brouhaha).


Example: I wrote “One is that the sheer volume of my postings mathematically increase” which only sounds right. Logically and syntactically it’s very wrong: do you know why?

It’s an example of thinking that the closest noun to the left of the verb controls the “number” of the verb, and that because the closest noun is “postings” I must use “increase”.

But in fact the controlling noun is “volume” which is not in the scope of the preposition “of” as is “postings”, and “volume” is singular!

Explaining grammar is so much fun and I miss teaching ESL. I could do so on Skype or in my jammies from my Grantham hospital bed. I could be “bound in a nutshell, and count myself king of infinite space”.

But I miss work per se. I love watching the nurses do things right, and I love helping the sweepers sweep up the crap from under my bed. I miss The Great Chinese Fire Drill in which we all hustle to get to work on time and work hard once we get there.

These digressions are pretty obvious as italicized interjections but I also miss the ability one has in Word: to create light grey sidebars with marginalia, for marginalia usually contain your best work, such as “I have discovered a marvelous proof that for n>2, there’s no solution to x**n+y**n = z**n”. This ability may exist in WordPress and I will research WordPress to see if that is so.

One woman complained about my “frequent” spelling errors. She’d found one or two. They stick out, I believe, because of their rarity, as Homeric Nods. At the same time, despite having taught “its” versus “it’s” (neuter possessive versus a contraction of subject and the head of its predicate) I can make, in the heat of writing, that very confusion. When other strangers on the Internet make that error I think of them as rubes, Yahoos, and worse, for I have some really choice things to say when I get in a rage about the general degringolade. When I make it, it’s a case of “even good Homer nods”. Yeah, right.

The problem is, as I learned when I had the services of one of the most notable authors of computer books internationally (Dan Appleman) and subsequently of a less well known but brilliant man at Fawcette Technical Publications, nothing replaces a separate set of eyeballs connected to a giant brain and good heart. Dan is the reason why I had few errata in my computer book and the Fawcette guy helped me with a number of articles when I was living at the YMCA and desperate for cash, mostly to buy donuts and coffee and Bennison’s and Italian Beef at Gigio’s to be sure. I was willing to work all night to get away from Korean noodles in a styrofoam cup, fueled only by the remnants of that morning’s coffee, nursed until four AM.

Well, “name” celebrity bloggers like Paul Krugman (Princeton prof, courageous Keynesian) and Stanley Fish (slowly reforming neo-con, retired English professor, writer on language aspects of the law) have nameless editors such that, when unknown people with good qualifications (formerly tenured professors et al.) make stupid errors in the Comments zone, it makes them look bad…whereas Fish and Krugman (outside of Krugman’s personal blog as far as I can tell) sail on, looking good, lookin’ “fly”, because one doesn’t find stupid spelling, grammar and logic errors (“I have read Socrates’ and Homer’s writings” eewwwww you pompous SOB) in Fish or Krugman at all…their interns eradicate any similar howlers from Fish and Krugman’s own posts. People who recently went to college retain more, such as the use of the apostrophe in the neuter personal pronoun and who was Socrates, dammit. People including college professors retired or not forget what they learned in school. So an intern is nice to have as a proof-reader.

“Fly” – outdated African-American slang as in “you look so FLY in that suit” to mean you look good, eg., like SuperFly or John Shaft. Canya dig it. Not really because it’s really OLD slang.

I will find stupid errors months, even years after posting an entry in my blog, so I often reread old postings and make corrections, documenting them (as I learned to do when correcting software code) in a “Change Record” at the end of the posting.

Dan Appleman repeatedly encouraged me to “read your work aloud” because he didn’t have much spare time as it was yet he was up all hours finding stupid errors in my drafts: likewise some PhD types who tried to clean my essays on computer science up for an ACM conference in 2005 (they never were published because I could not financially attend the conference). It is especially important in writing poetry because poetry, even “free verse” (is there any such thing?) has to sound good, period, no exceptions, because as the brilliant editors of the Norton Anthology of English poetry assure us, poetry is writing meant to be read aloud. Very few exceptions exist to this.

Finally…that “red squiggle” you now see ubiquitously should be taken seriously. Correct red squiggles (sometimes they are a different color). What’s happening? An Open Source code has been developed to do really thorough spelling checks in all cases where you’re entering text. It even highlights unfamiliar given names (as opposed to surnames) which takes some non-trivial syntax analysis. Might as well pay attention to it although it does NOT avoid all errors (spelling checks never do, and never will).

Notes On Having an English Professor in the Family

My sister, an English professor, constantly beats me up, figuratively to be sure, over my careless writing. Makes her look bad once people make the connection.

On Nipping “Budding Writers” in the Bud

People who use the phrase “budding writer” as in “I yam a medical billing specialist and budding writer” are probably great medical billing specialists in a world that needs such specialists, especially when they can advocate for patients, tell us what we have coming under ObamaCare, and teach classes in their profession at community colleges. As a retired computer programmer I think that the sort of skills that are taught in community college build employability and hence self-esteem…not being an unpublished writer, or a writer like me, with a rather disappointing record of sales. That lowers self-esteem.

People who can drive trucks with 17 separate gearshift settings, program in object-oriented C++, and advise sick people about their rights under ObamaCare don’t live with their Mom and Dad after graduation. Their salaries pay the rent. They do not max out their credit. They make extra money by teaching and consulting on the side, becoming later on full-time consultants owning their own business. They get jobs that pay into their Social Security for their retirement.

Their salaries pay the rent and support Mom and Dad.

The people living with Mom would be Princeton PhDs who know why Saul Kripke crashed and burned. This group needs to go to South Korea’s DMZ (that part that will get nuked if a war with North Korea breaks out) and use that Master’s degree that comes with the PhD to teach South Korean kids ESL. They are great kids, much less formal than China’s equally great-in-their-own-way kids, for PJ O’Rorke (the conservative humorist) was right: South Koreans are the Irish of Asia, and Pyongyang is its Belfast. Don’t worry, North Korea probably won’t nuke you, and if it does, it will all be over in a flash.

But the former group, of honest hard working skilled people, should not be writers, both because of the hackneyism “budding writer” which occurs too often in the corpus to be anything but lame (6 million hits on Google) and because “writer” is too abstract: the reader wants to know, about what?

Heck, I am a published writer of one book…a nerd book which is sad and lame when you think about it, and the smallness of my royalties: I try not to, it makes me weep.

30% international tax withholding and 13.00 USD charged by HSBC merely to credit 100.00 USD net to my account. Boo most assuredly hoo.

As a startup, not a budding, writer, you need to decide on your genre: if you love mysteries, crime and noir you need to decide what type you shall write about (Downton Abbey, Elmore Leonard, Dashiell Hammett ). Before you set pen to paper or switch electrons on in your computer, be prepared to write about whatchoo wanna write about. Eliminate mention of any other writer. If you write “I want to make millions and be a writer like that woman who wrote Harry Potter, whatsername CK Rowling”…boom, there’s the door, both because you are engaging in “me-too marketing” (“I sell the same product at a discount!”) and because no one will read it.

I mean: I love writing. It should be obvious, one never has seen such a flood of words since Edward Gibbon as one finds here. But I also love proof-reading. I love proofing my own work, it looks so nice (which means I don’t do a very good job on my own work). I also love editing and proofreading others’ work, it’s remarkably easy and avoids the commitments of writing. This love of the nitty gritty of writing helped me get published three years after starting to write (in 1976).

“Nitty gritty”…hackneyed phrase or Nod Homerique? You decide! My rule: if it’s something that would be said in a boring and vicious office, don’t use it. “Nitty gritty.” “We’re going to have to let you go.” “ring a bell?” “Productivity.” Don’t use these words and phrases.

Dream

…wandering around my home town (Evanston, Illinois) on the southern side near the lake, a neighborhood of big homes and flat blocks built in a false mediaeval style (with turrets and gargoyles) in the 1920s which have retained their value and are used as investments. I go to the Orthodox church there (in the dream: there is no such actual church), the one with very steep and missing stairs to its main entrance that must be negotiated by worshippers and wedding parties.

I am in my flat next to the library and hotel (Orrington) but the electricity is failing. Some things work, others do not. I had this experience in the waking world in China but never in America. You get confused: what is the ON setting on this thing? How long should I wait after turning the device on or off, that is, how long does this complex computer take to execute power down instructions in firmware?

At the end of the dream I had a whole room of Northwestern students trying to help me, switching various devices on and off.

In darkness, then, I seek the light. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light”. I know more Scripture from good old Handel than actually reading the Bible. It is well known that just as Tea Baggers never read the Constitution (its reading level is pitched way above grade school) they cannot name the four Gospels whereas their Protestant ancestors could. But I seldom read the Bible, just listen to works including the Messiah and Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

But here I go spreading religious hatred. I need to stay away from that stick of shitfire with a wick on it, it’s ruined Belfast and Glasgow. I shall leave it here as an example of how religion so often becomes hate, and if I find myself becoming overly compulsively Catholic I will leave the Church again. I just find prayer calming given my situation.

Study

Grand High Re-read of Kant’s Critique: did a long review of PF Strawson’s Bounds of Sense (a reading of the Critique) with academic footnotes “and all”. It’s been bounced, I now realized by an automated scoring tool that measured its size and…the automated tool “was like, WTF”. In addition, an automated tool can detect one or more external Web addresses which might indicate spam and/or promotion. Finally, there may also be “bad language”. Good people, I feel, use bad language in a bad world.

Not really up to revising it, replied (like a silly man) to the automated tool saying back off: need instead to contact a Human Being at Amazon. May say heck with it. It’s published here on my blog. It’s really just part of my Kant study. I’m not even happy with its contents as opposed to its outside references. I never deeply read Strawson who is a great analytic philosopher. Perhaps I need to do a quick re-read and then rewrite the Strawson review.

“ESF Shocker??”

ESF stands for the English Schools Foundation whose charter seems to be “reserve places in good English medium-of-instruction schools for wealthy parents”.

The “shocker” is that the fee merely for applying for your child to an ESF school has gone from 150.00 to two thousand Hong Kong dollars. The fee doesn’t guarantee admission and is not refunded if your kid doesn’t get in. Whereas the parents of the kids that I teach balk at paying much more than one hundred fifty per hour of my teaching.

This unconscionable charge, together with the facts found by the BBC about millionaire “super star” English and test prep tutors, primarily young and sexy Chinese with English names who dress fashionably, alarm me.

See the BBC documentary here.

I have these questions.

Why is such an important social task, the preparation of children for life, such a sordid, almost gangsta affair and what sort of message does it send kids when they and their future are bought and sold…on dat ole cross of gold?

Why does the millionaire star tutor of the BBC documentary get away with merely feeding kids, whose parents pay him thousands, lists of words he thinks will appear on the exam merely because they appear on past papers available on the Internet to his students?

Why does he use Cantonese as his medium of instruction when we know that learning a new language demands that that unfamiliar language, in this case English, be the medium of instruction from day one?

Why does he fail to teach grammar, for all I can tell, and then smirk when the student tracked by the BBC fails the trial examination because he doesn’t know grammar???.

And finally, why is it that I am retiring on US Social Security and an MPF balance where MPF is Hong Komg’s limited retirement savings scheme, also known as Mandatory Provident Fund, whereas this clown Lam, the so-called “tiger tutor” is a millionaire? I hammered the Oxford Reference Grammar cover to cover, I created charts for verb phrase analysis using my knowledge of formal grammars in computing …

I used YouTube movies to get the students’ attention: at several schools I reversed deep alienation by taking the risk of showing kids bored to tears by the pap they were being fed, the film I Not Stupid about the system in Singapore, which is very similar in intensity and cruelty to Hong Kong’s system …

… and, as I have said, I am on Queer Street financially …

… Why? Am I just a wanker, or does the system manufacture wankerdom when you don’t choose to be a shark? When you’re not an American Psycho of any nationality? Just askin’. …

… BTW, “Queer Street” doesn’t have anything to do with homosexuality: it is a British English phrase that means “the poor house” …

The rest is silence …

Change Record

7 Sep 2013 Correct “nuked if a war with North Korea”

9 Jan 2013 Workout Log

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 9, 2013 by spinoza1111

20 minutes arm motion using balanced weights and use of the primitive homemade rowing machine in the workout centre. Tired afterward and used oxygen for mild nausea.

Had gone as I went yesterday on foot to the Circle K convenience store but as was the case ((der Fall)) yesterday could barely make it. Must improve ability to walkabout by way of daily physio as is offered and sleeping through the night.

Asked by Dr Wong today to write a patient’s perspective article for the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal and happily beavering away in my cozy hospital bed…too cozy. The Mountain in my window, a genuine New Territories Shan, rebukes me, saying, Old One, you can climb me.

Listed by blogger TLN this past week as a WordPress Blogger Who Defies Description in a surprisingly kind review in which I am renarrated as a highly educated Jack Kerouac who’s never heard of rough drafts. In reality, of course, I have, but find the concept meaningless on the computer: in a world of typewritten final drafts it makes sense to write a draft on yellow lined “legal” paper with a set of sharp pencils, and far less to send the resulting mess to a publisher in Beatnik or Gonzo style but none at all to type two or more versions. Of course, you change the rough draft, perhaps keeping a copy for some silly reason, and then it becomes the final draft.

As a quondam writing teacher I don’t think the limits of the former technology should determine the use of the new technology.

I prefer the immediacy of first==final although this approach does not mean one may forget about correcting errors and bad style. Like the John Nash of the Ron Howard film A Beautiful Mind, Nash wanted people to know what he was doing as he did it so he writes on glass.

Low self-esteem: depression: alcoholism are fostered in writers by the absurd economics of the book trade, economics exacerbated by the Web and readers like Kindle. The wannabes are not satisfied, as I am satisfied for the most part at my age and in my decrepit state, with the fact that posting on the Web is publication, the holy Grail of previous generations of writers. The bar is forever raised and moved.

But “I am not made for sportive tricks”. The idea of publishing a book about some topic, about a topic I was interested-in galvanized me (into writing Build Your Own .Net Language and Compiler, for example) but the idea of pure writing leaves me cold. I like writers like William Langewiesche and Siddharta Mukherjee who have something to say about aviation or cancer; I believe that subject matter can organize writing for somewhat the same reason a sailboat owner without drawing skills can draw a sailboat.

A Note on Writing Like a Man

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

Both men and women artists and writers must, in my opinion, sort out motivations.

On the one hand, there is the sheer pleasure of making something from a well constructed and bigod, grammatically correct sentence above a low upper bound of complexity, to a limning on a gesso ground of “the nimbus of the baptized God” in tempera, to a musical improvisation of serenity power.

And then there’s the thought of Recognition which sounds cool unless you happen to talk to a real “celebrity” or a therapist who specializes in their care. Ponder upon Lindsay Lohan.

There is in other words a tension in Hegel’s chapter on “Lordship and Bondage” in his rib-tickling and almost, but not quite, incomprehensible Whopper, The Phenomenology of Mind.

The chapter as expertly boiled down by Alexander Kojeve is nothing more than a story about a boxing match, a Thrillah in Manila, at the dawn of history. The Master and the Slave fight for mutual recognition but fighting is not, as Mom would know, a way to get it. So the Master puts the Slave to work, and history starts.

The slave, however, gets the last laugh because like me, like my brothers or my Dad he learns the anhedonic yet real satisfaction of working his ass off, and seeing his Humanity reflected in a well-wrought computer program, a brain free of cancer, or cars delivered without a scratch (harder than you might think) in a blizzard.

The Slave makes the World while the Master is kickin’ it.

So…as an artist or writer or musician, ask yourself. Do you seek Recognition or Work?

OK, now, as to writing.

I discovered that my writing when I was 13 got Recognition, a scarce good in my family of origin, from Mom and Dad. But I also discovered what most poets know.

You can’t sit down and say, time to write a poem. Yes sir, let’s get to work.

You need a Form, a daemon. And that can be anything from Alexander Pope’s bright idea of completely transforming Homer’s sea-washed, wine-dark Greek to trumpet and drum 12-syllable rhyming couplets, to a sudden association of words, like the French word for bread, and the English word for pain.

Or some irony, such as the Brits meekly sailing away from Hong Kong after having left a pearl of great price in the form of the rule of law, dammit.

It can also be a sudden need for spare cash and a demand from a Shickander for a low entertainment involving a Magic Flute.

Now, my own daemon was I only wanted, after my early experience, to write ABOUT something. I found it uniquely hard to read most quality fiction because in my imagination, the authors of quality fiction were creating worlds ex nihilo, worlds of feelings and I couldn’t connect, I wouldn’t give myself the time.

A work of fiction had to reach out and grab me in the manner of Pop fiction. In my twenties, I encountered Frederick Exley, a drunk who was too, well, drunk to write more than one good book, A Fan’s Notes, and I connected with his half in the bag celebration of drunk-assed Chicago and the Near North side of the 1950s for I drank in its ruins.

Or George MacDonald Fraser who failed, just barely, to be Pop. He was too smart and his books never made it to films, there being only one bomb made with Malcolm MacDowell as Flashman at the Charge. And there is addition to great scholarship a darkness in Flashman which makes it hard for Pop audiences, who want clear cut good and evil.

Writing made no sense to me unless it was about something outside writing. I could write huge reference manuals for the software I created, and beautiful comments inside source code.

But my book, “Build Your Own .Net Language and Compiler” (Apress-Springer 2004) hasn’t been commercially successful, and there were times when my ability to write good manuals got me in actual trouble.

Back in the 1970s, software and hardware came with great whacking books. I found it amusing to study the book before taking the machine out of the box or installing the software.

But in 1984, I bought an early Macintosh. I was guided not by a Book (I cannot even remember if a manual was in the box) but by simple sheets of paper and clear images on connectors that either fit or didn’t, and when they fit, they did so nicely. It was almost a religious experience.

Today and as a result, you get images and a few words (in many languages) when you buy an iPod. It can be rather frustrating to wait as most new iPods charge up and Apple, rather blithely if you ask me, expects you to have Internet access. D’oh.

Everything comes down without words from the Cloud.

This was a general tendency in software. My 1970s “vision”, if that is what it was, was more me as the Scary Guy on the Monitor in the 1984 Mac “Super Bowl” ad. I’d be the writer of the Law. But precisely as the ad came out, I myself was changing, and looked more like the girl runner in my red shorts running around what’s now Google Headquarters, and identified with her. As I learned real customer service working with Bell-Northern Research engineers, I gave up my dream that software was a form of dual writing, both code and verbose English.

The best software self-documents.

But I still like to write practically and about things, starting with things. In teaching writing I teach the five senses approach. It’s hard to teach writing in China! Students are told to suppress their voice, and then thrown into required classes in writing and many teachers want to blow their brains out after trying to teach writing here.

I have had, on the fly as it were, to create a distinction between adjectives that only seem to be sensory but have a high “judgmental polarity”. For example, “beautiful” is a word like “good” such that it’s good to be good, and almost always good to be beautiful (save in a tragic fairy tale).

But try, I say, to assign a tertiary color to morning. It’s more “evocative” (explain that word!) to speak of a BROWN morning than a PINK morning. I don’t tell the kids what’s lurking in my brain, that this has a reason in information theory, for the very good reason that I confusing enough as it is, and my reading in information theory is out of date.

The mistake most teachers of writing is, then, not finding something for each student to write with passion ABOUT, and not extracting hard information-theoretic information. What color is the morning? OK, she’s beautiful, so what? I mean, is she Alice in Wonderland beautiful or Mulan beautiful.

It is stepwise refinement whereas educational “authorities” in Hong Kong and world-wide expect us dregs to throw the whole thing out at once. This is because most ESL teachers and education majors have no mathematics.

I have just enough to irritate most mathematicians save John Nash, who was beyond being irritated by much at all, and to whom I spoke minimal words, having been admonished by my boss at Princeton to watch my ass.

Mathematics (especially in the Intuitionist tradition of Brouwer and Heyting) is about stepwise refinement to any scale including infinity. The numbers in a calculus sequence converge to something that drives you crazy because you have to understand it as “the smallest real number that is greater than zero” (don’t try this at home).

The software program is in the words of the late hero computer scientist Dijkstra “a cloud of mosquitoes buzzing in harmony”.

Likewise, you can teach kids to write like Shakespeare: have them write a thought such as “school sucks”, “Bruce Lee”, or “kill teacher”.

Then show them how to add connective, adjectives or nouns stepwise to get

My school doth suck so much that I could spew

The Dragon kicks the ass of triad guys

etc. You have to teach that a verb can be strengthened with “does”, etc.

It is stepwise, and it works better in one on one tutoring as opposed to classes, but one on one is too expensive for many parents. In a classroom I use the projector to walk the kids through the process.

But the bottom line is that writing, especially for boys, has to be about something out there.

For example, US Grant, the Union general who won the Civil War by turning it into a meat grinding prototype of WWI, was a very good writer. But the only reason Grant wrote was, during the Civil War to draft accurate instructions that he knew could get people killed, and later in life, to write his best-selling Memoirs while dying of cancer so his family would have some money after he passed.

There’s a rather touching story about this. Grant, in many ways always a holy fool, accepted Charles Scribner’s standard contract without change, doubtless to the amusement of the flash chaps at Scribner’s, for it was tacitly a baseline designed so that Scribner’s wouldn’t get screwed by greedy and less competent authors.

Mark Twain, a friend of Grant, read the contract and marched down to Scribner’s, threatening Scribner with mayhem. Twain got a much better contract for old Sam.

The result? Grant’s writing, like that of another writer for the workaday world, the holy traveling salesman John Bunyan of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is hard and solid like a rock.

His dispatches during the Civil War, wrote under great pressure, are in their own way works of art. Hegel saw Napoleon at Jena, and wrote, “the world spirit on horseback”. Well, here’s the world spirit at Vicksburg:

“Sherman’s advance has reached Bridgeport. His whole force will be ready to move from there by Tuesday at farthest. If you can hold Longstreet in check until he gets up, or by skirmishing and falling back can avoid serious loss to yourself and gain time, I will be able to force the enemy back from here and place a force between Longstreet and Bragg that must inevitably make the former take to the mountain-passes by every available road, to get to his supplies. Sherman would have been here before this but for high water in Elk River driving him some thirty miles up that river to cross.”

Note that old Sam could write a conditional sentence. Here, he knew damned well that a second rate general like Ambrose Burnside might not be able to hold a first-rater like Pete Longstreet.

Perhaps, and I’m going out on a limb here. The usual military leader, such as the clowns who got men slaughtered in World War I, may not have been able to construct a sentence properly that starts with “if”, and the arcana of the subjective, of possible outcomes in the dark rain, may have given them the willies as, in the rear with the gear, they’d wrestled with the fact that you don’t use the present tense in a subjunctive, you use the infinitive.

So they write “hold the line”. Their syntax consists of sentences that start with the active verb which means that the men under them are given no choice, like the second wave at Gallipoli in Peter Weir’s film of that name.

CEOS are in my experience the same. They arrogate to themselves “simplicity” as if they are gurus who’ve learned so much that they now know It Is All So Simple. But they do not.

I teach girls as well as boys, of course, and am guilty of focusing too much on the bright and attentive girls in the front row while letting the gangstas in the back do their gangsta thing.

But. Identity politics and being of a fashionable age, race and gender takes you only so far. I love reading and teaching nonwhite non male and young authors but this is not enough, any more than being a white guy was enough in the nineteenth century. You have to write ABOUT something.

Amy Tan writes about the reality of being ABC (American Born Chinese) which is unique, of course, since the basic problem is that while you might get Chinese language lessons, there’s no opportunity to use it except to fight with your Mom. This is parallel to the problem of my students in “The City of Sadness”, Tuen Mun and Tin Shui Wai: they get English classes but no opportunity to use it.

Xialu Guo had the marvelous idea of using Chinglish, while learning English herself, to write a novel (A Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers) and make some money, for she was already a successful author in Chinese: “Immigration officer holding my passport behind his accounted, my heart hanging on high sky”. Bingo! We understand it since we’ve all had that experience as expats: your heart does hang on high sky as the plane comes down, low and slow, over increasingly lower buildings, industrial buildings, pools of green slime, and then the runway, or the immigration officer, a half hour later, holds his stamp hovering above your passport (sometimes I think they do that for fun).

A very literate and highly intelligent Chinese friend loved that book when I showed it to her for its Chinglish replicates Chinese thought and language. The way it comes together is completely different from English and its Latin based complexities. It is thought more “down to earth”, but that is wrong. In fact, it can be more subtle and refined than English because its monosyllables and ideograms are what might be called Chomsky Type Zillion, very, very sensitive to context and ever changing for that reason. As best as I can understand in my ignorance of Chinese (I really should try harder to learn it) they are like pools of water that reflect each other. Is that right? Damned if I know.

But … as a white American male I have to write as such while also being a human being (reconciliation of levels). I don’t pander to women; there’s a very amusing, and very vile article about this in Taki’s very amusing and very vile webzine: pity I was booted out after nuking John Derbyshire’s racist garbage, I’d be coming in low and slow with snake and nape on the former article. Boom. Mushroom cloud.

The article about men who pander to women say they do so in a last ditch effort to get laid which is amusing and in a way true. We do, and we need to purify our hearts as artists and do art as a final end in itself (next stop the ding an sich: next stop eternity), a Krapp’s last tape.

Note: John Derbyshire ain’t my friend. But he also has cancer. It’s not as if I should have been kinder to him; he was wrong; fathers should never counsel sons to run away from anything. But, if he ever makes it back out to Hong Kong I would be honored to buy him a beer at the Island Bar on Lamma Island. For we are all mortal and we all treasure our children’s future, as Kennedy said.

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).

Roundelay for the Dickless Wonders

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 8, 2011 by spinoza1111

Dickless Wonders, wonder on
As we dance your head upon
What the hell is going on?

In the better restaurants
Where gather both brokers and their servant quants
The fear is palpable indeed
Could the jig be up on fear and greed?

Dickless Wonders, wonder on
As you sing the death song of the swan
Honking tunelessly: it ain’t your dawn

Fee fi fo fum
You smelled the blood of an English “mun”
Predatory credit offered to the desperate
False hope and lies, you dirty rat

Dickless Wonders, wonder on
You are men of sin: we’ll never fawn
Upon your false wisdom and your filthy lies
You murder what you touch you kill surprise

Fee fi fo groan
She cannot pay her student loan:
So she puts on her dancing shoes
The loser wins and the bankers lose!

Dickless wonders, wonder on
Why there’s no payments on the loan
Or maybe why I am able to
Either way, the world made new

You wanted to be the first mover
Of all women, the unflagging lover:
But how does it feel to be the loser
Your bespoke is sticky it needs a cleaner.

O Dickless Wonders, wonder on
Your Brooks Brothers suit has been spat upon
Out damn’d spot, down o Dog
Someone’s stolen your London Fog

You thought to be Uranus, old gods
Up your ass you silly sods:
You are Saturn eating his kid
A bundle of greed unholy id

Dickless Wonders, wonder on
Limbaugh rants we but yawn
The well funded hysteria of the Tea Bags
Is defeated by a buncha “fags”

You took away their microphone
To silence them you did dispone:
But in the silence came a Voice
By your Petard shall ye be hoist.

Dickless Wonders, wonder on:
As you gaze upon your filth strewn Pond:
You are mad and crazy and you are fond:
If you think we gonna pay that “bond”.

You marshaled marching morons who cudn’t evenn spel
To further your goal: to make this happy earth thy hell
Hark, the dark angel! Ding dong bell:
Raving men with a pedophiliac glitter in their eye
Hungry hags havering with havoc
Mad men with the universal solution and panacea.
You had your Tea Party and we had a laugh
The people now awake, go slaughter a calf.

Dickless Wonders, wonder on
As you rage in throes of death
The matador I! Come on!
You have money I have breath.

Edward G. Nilges 9 Oct 2011. Moral rights have been asserted. Nyah nyah.

The image is world-historical because that damned bull has been on Wall Street since the Eighties, since the time when My Generation has had to struggle to fund lives of a small amount of beauty, truth and fun by selling our soul to the devil.

The bull said “I AM CULTURE I AM ART YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A FART” But Antigone, Cordelia, Rosalinde hasn’t got the email so she mounts it. The rapist Jove is raped in turn, and Europa has the last laugh: you shall not destroy Greece, and turn the Acropolis into a theme park, especially NOT for a bunch of cabbage eating Krauts, can you dig it…

I could have drawn that image since my latest work has been haunted by the idea of representing new life by young gals dancing. Which is pretty lame as an idea, redeemable only by my graceful line you ask me. But in all sincerity I honor whoever cooked up that image. It is Picasso’s Minotauromachia, in which the young peasant girl lifts the lamp of laughter and of light. It is also like Italian anti-fascist posters.

Dang, this is theater…the nice old couple, who met at a commune and is now up to their ass in debt, see their daughter, lost Perdita, tap dancing on the bull. O brave new world indeed.

Capitalism has turned on civilization. The image is the answer. My poem as a roundelay is intended merely to be very annoying, because a roundelay keeps repeating the central idea, even as the protestors replaced the microphone with the voice, repeating the lesson.

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.

On publication

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 9, 2010 by spinoza1111

Many people are frustrated by their lack of access to publication even today, when they can set up a blog. Access is given to all, and because attention is scarce, all the new freedom dialectically becomes a scramble for attention, characterized by denunciation of competing atoms and what Jaron Lanier calls “digital Maoism”: a Cultural Revolution in which the “weakest” and most principled are trampled by the mob.

This is because social capital and attention remains scarce. David Mamet can submit psychotic doodles to The Huffington Post and everyone goes aaaaahhh (as if they’d received, like Madeline, “toys and candy from Papa”) but some unknown has the traditional frustration.

One of his frustrations is that moderators at prestige blogs won’t copy edit his work. Check out comment #6 at Stanley Fish’s blog

The commenter claims to be, and indeed probably is, passionate in the old-fashion curmudgeon register about language whilst having his thunder stolen, in his view, by teachers of “critical thought” and other notions which he probably considers louche. Indeed, Marx failed to foresee that the first reaction, on being proletarianized, is not identification with one’s fellow victims in the form of “consciousness”. It’s what guys in American prisons say: I wuz set up, I ain’t like dese udder guys, I wuz meant to be culled out, it’s a racket, and a Communist conspiracy.

But sadly, the commenter makes two self-defeating errors in English, neither of which the moderators at the Fish blog, alert for threats to the Great Man and “offensive” speech, caught, or felt moved to fix.

He caught his second error “I might ad”, which is especially embarrassing for him since it is an attempt to sound academic as in using a grace note to express that condign courtesy whose dignity invites a similar response in Habermasian civil discourse. He posted a correction.

But above he wrote “we need to trained”: the to be required in passive voice was alas not to be.

Stanley Fish’s posts are copy edited, but the moderators won’t copy-edit simple mistakes in responses, exposing decent people to shame. This is a disservice meant to preserve Fish’s social capital.

I was first published in 1976, in a computer journal (Computerworld). In addition to celebration, my former wife expressed envy. The next week, the letters column contained some dismissive remarks which disturbed her. One aspect of publication, even then, that private persons do not like is the exposure, not to Blanche Dubois’ “kindness of strangers” (real but rare) but to their hatred.

Based on an essay that had been presumably reviewed and online published several years ago, I received the other day an invitation to publish a book.

VDM Verlag prints graduate dissertations. The author is responsible for most of the editing and even the cover design, which she does online. The books are marketed through Amazon at high prices and the author receives royalties in the unlikely event that someone is nerdy enough to be curious about Lossless Quantum Data Compression undt Secure Direct Communication, and, has money.

It’s all on the level and some of us, unlike David Mamet, think German names sound scholarly, and cool. “Verlag” sounds like Springer-Verlag, the parent of the publisher of my real book but it just means “publisher”.

It’s ethical in the financial sense, and, in terms of academic morality, the dissertations look interesting if you like me are a nerd. It seems all very … German, everything perfectly laid on, like the Schlieffen Plan.

But it’s a disservice to and exploitation of Asian, African and minority people, and German students too, who struggle through harsh and old-fashioned universities (where, in India, students are sometimes treated like children by professors). This is because VDM won’t edit the books. The result? One book had “Eeconomics” on the title page, and this wasn’t about EU Economics…it wasn’t a clever neologism.

In the Hong Kong Public Library (where selection by a library gives a book a small amount of social capital: my book is in several libraries) I found a scholarly book with a typo in a chapter heading, but the VDM edition has it on the title page? WTF, as my kids might say, I am not sure.

The book appears to be about fishermen and their struggles to earn a living by a Vietnamese. I imagine he might have a father who is a fisherman and he may have presented the dissertation, proudly, to his father.

In “The Chinese Laundryman“, by Paul Siu, a dissertation selected on the level for publication by a university press, the author based his field research on his own father’s lonely experience as a Chinese immigrant, forbidden by racist US immigration laws from bringing his wife over.

I can see how VDM Verlag provides a service, but it also exploits a natural desire for social capital.

In 2005, I was rushing about Hong Kong, locating rotting buildings and arriving to teach English. I was struck not only by the contrast between this and the campus of Princeton but how, in fact, the same Concept covered both.

Cynical irony would have me use different names; Paul Fussell doesn’t feel that my alma mater, Roosevelt University, should be called a “university” like Princeton because it is in some part an exploitation of a desire of minorities and the working class for opportunity.

But: a Concept, and Idea has broader range than we might imagine.

The Idea of the University, and of the disinterested search for truth, exists even in its simulation when a graduate student at Roosevelt or Northeastern gets genuinely passionate about her thesis in spite of all the fashionable cynicism of her friends in Logan Square, or an Asian mom working behind a shop counter at Sogo decides to study English.

Likewise, its evil sister, the Idea of using Distinction for personal advantage, and to lie, cheat and steal for Distinction, exists at Princeton in its sordid struggles for tenure and advancement as of old. In Stanley Fish, who won’t read a poem unless you pay him, it has become an official ideology justified by a misreading of Continental philosophy…but Mom! Those French guys think there’s no justification!

Someone learning English in Mong Kok has to be passionate and disinterested in the result to make the effort. Indeed, students from “inferior” universities and Asian males with perfect SATs and low social skills are marked by this passion and disinterest in material results, simply because such passion and disinterest is mental Red Bull. To pass a course in “compilers” at Princeton or Stanford, you have to get interested in “compilers” in excess of a minimum.

You have to dweeb out.

Making money is one thing, and members of my family have always made money the old fashioned Cleveland Plain Dealer way, by showing up on time in some office or factory and doing what the boss says, or by starting a business building homes that people could afford. We might occasionally publish, in some Practical How To Do It Journal, but it will not pay the rent.

If we get into print in other than police reports, civil judgements, the getting married pages or the obits, it’s going to be in Letters to the Editor or a trade journal or a blog…like my Dad grumpily writing about cacophonous modern music to the New York Times in 1949, my Grandfather holding forth on pure (reine: zuivere) home building (beelding) like the thick headed “Dutchman” he was, or I, writing here, or for the Awesome .Net Journal of Awesome .Net Tools.

Anything more is gravy. PJ O’Rourke, the occasionally funny American political humorist, came from a poor family and for years wrote about cars for an Awesome Car Journal. William Langiewiesch honed his craft, I believe, on writing simply for oxygen deprived aviators as in “I fly plains er playns er airkraft”.

The real satisfaction is in reaching across time and space to make a single contact with a Reader.

You want to be a Star? Nothing wrong with that. If Kojeve’s reading of Hegel is correct then deeper than economic motivation is the Fight to the Death for Pure Recognition, starring, in America, Pumpernickel, Kid Irish or The Brown Bomber versus Princeton and Harvard as of old. It’s a Set-up? Get used to it, because it’s the only game in town.

And when you make contact with the single reader (like me and my Dad made contact in the preceding post) that’s all you need, just like the Boxer need only make contact with one sucker punch.

And when your star throws down its spear of light you can water heaven with one tear: you may smile your work to see.

He who made the Lamb, made thee. Go get ’em, Tyger.