Showing posts with label Another Thing You Take For Granted. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Another Thing You Take For Granted. Show all posts

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Random Barking Sunday: Cognitive Dissonance Division

How We Live Now

I'm the product of a middle-class white family from a small town, born not very long after the end of WW2; college-educated, male. This past January, in my small, lower-mid-tier level in my occupation, I went off to work daily as I have most of my life, and put up with whatever was necessary to pay for basic expenses; to get the pension, to maintain the healthcare. I dutifully set aspects of things aside for someday, and in the meantime for everything else, it's SITFU, and I enjoyed living as best I could. This has been my daily frame of reference for a long time.

Observing the world beyond, I generally tuned out politicians (politics = ultimately, lies and compromise, limited benefit to people), external wars (an obscenity; and I've had mine, thank you), domestic violence; mass shootings (no end), police shootings.

And no matter how Left my views might be, I did little beyond donations, attending the occasional march, to show my solidarity in the political stream: and I did these things, not out of anger or desperation or necessity, but because I could afford to.

And I understood my participation did little to acknowledge, and nothing to change, the disproportionate agony of people below me in the food chain -- mostly people of color, still taking the blunt end of the culture, 400 years after the arrival of America's first African slaves.

The High School Civics Class view of America: myths which, when assimilated, were reflected all around us in the culture, ensuring we grew up as compliant members of society, good consumers.  We accept a consensus view that things aren't perfect, but I'm getting by. But we know it doesn't reflect reality.

And we understand -- questioning the difference between what we've experienced and observed to be true, versus reality-as-consensus, is a Red Pill / Blue Pill situation that most people explore at their peril. Supporting the consensus model has been the chief feature of stability in America for as long as I can remember. Everything about our culture -- particularly corporate media -- echoed that.

In the mid-1990's, that changed. The FCC under Reagan had eliminated the 'Fairness Doctrine' in 1984; broadcasters were no longer required to provide equal time for opposing political viewpoints. Over the next twelve years, Limbaugh, Wiener, and thousand wannabes sprung up on radio in the U.S., and built a public vomatorium.

Limbaugh -- just a bully, but now with a megaphone -- spewed his hate and mockery into the air, to be eagerly lapped up by right-wing listeners. They, in turn, vomited the same hate to others around them. And, 'hate radio' caught on as an organizing tool for not only mainline, GOP conservatism, but a wide spectrum of Rightist causes. Limbaugh, Wiener and other hate hosts didn't care what damage they were doing to the culture; suddenly, they were popular. And they were getting rich.

Rupert Murdoch, whose tabloid newspapers in Australia, the UK and America used a 'tits-n-tattle' formula that treated its consumers like children, saw the trends in the U.S. A cynical, opportunistic right-wing type himself, Murdoch believed there was plenty of money to be made in television, pushing right-wing conspiracy theories to a disaffected, conservative audience. Lil' Rupert saw an ocean of 'Joe Six-Pack' Rubes in America that advertisers would pay handsomely to reach.

Murdoch launched Fox as a cable channel in 1996 as part of a broader business model -- to coordinate his media as the propaganda arm of the English-speaking political Right. Helping elect more Rightist politicians would mean favorable treatment to expand operations when the Right came to power. It worked in the UK, the US, Australia; and eventually, the model would make his family empire indispensable to the racists, white nationalists and neo-nazis growing in the heart of American conservatism.

We've suffered 35 years in an America where truth and facts are whatever The Murdochs -- speaking through Hannity and Carlson, and an endless stream of blondebots -- say they are. The Murdochs have done more to divide America, to make it easier to exploit and weaken us into tribes over three decades than any other aspect of America's recent history.

They have made America a place where they, and the political Right wing, literally just make shit up -- and there are no repercussions. In Steve Bannon's quip, the Murdochs "flood the Zone with shit", and facts are lost in a sea of confusing half-truths and outright lies.

It's easier to lead the Rubes that way. And the Murdochs have personally benefited from it; they're very rich; and they do not care what damage they've caused to actual human beings in the process of that enrichment. Ask the family of Milly Dowler.

Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Ogg Ogg

Comes Trump: The endless parade of MAGA, the triumphant apotheosis of stupid. Fox broadcast it all, like an endless Leni Reifenstahl film; flags and chanting (Lock her up! Lock her up!). There was nothing Trump could do or say that wasn't allowed. And he lied; constantly, daily, about everything. The right-wing media and its talking faces amplified Trump's lies, and presented them as facts.

People were stunned at his brazen racism, his craven love of authoritarian figures like Putin, his dog-whistling to white nationalists and 'christian' dominionists.  We watched America disintegrate in the international community as a result of Trump's personal statements and incoherent political decisions; Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller laughed and laughed -- destroying America has been their goal, and they feel proud.

We were horrified, and laughing. There seemed to be no end to it, and no repercussions -- not even impeachment; the fix in the Senate was always in. The intelligence community as much as declared Trump an active asset of the Russian government -- but it all meant nothing; Trump doubled down, tripled down. He laughed at us. He strutted and preened and capered, and just kept on: Teflon Don.

Additional Cute Animal Photo For Right-Wing Media

It requires a significant amount of cognitive dissonance -- between the facts we know, truth, our experience; and myths we accept -- in order to be American. To live and work in this culture. How much cognitive dissonance you deal with depends where you are, and who you are, in America.

Then, two things happened that couldn't be spun, dismissed, or lied about -- although the entire political Right, and Murdoch's propaganda, have tried:  The Covid-19 Pandemic, and the murder of George Floyd.

Trump, aided by the Right's media, ignored Covid, dismissed it. He ignored it for six weeks -- then, even after suppressing testing for infection, when the case rates and deaths began climbing; when Trump showed no leadership whatsoever and threw everything in the faces of state governors -- when the Republicans could see their political repercussions in a collapsed economy and 200,000 dead by July... they did an about-face.

They used the Joseph Goebbels - Murdoch formula. They simply lied.  They said they had too cared, they had too been prepared and taken decisive action, all along. They asked us to believe whatever they said, even though it was utterly false. Because they made it up, and said it was 'true'.

And they pushed for America to Reopen Again! The Leader said everything would be back to normal in no time. Inconvenient medical spokespersons who said it was too soon, that it invited another spike in Covid cases; that there would be a likely 'second wave' of the pandemic in the Fall and Winter several magnitudes worse than the February-May wave we'd just experienced... Trump ignored them, too. He suggested people drink bleach.

And, America went back to work. Beaches were opened; the summer weather began in many places. And Covid cases are beginning to rise -- but there was another reason for that.

A black man was arrested by four police officers on a street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, apparently for using a counterfeit $20 bill. One, a white officer, put his knee on the man's neck to restrain him. And, despite consistent protests from the man that he could not breathe, the officer (aided by the three others) did not relent and asphyxiated, murdered, the man, George Floyd. This took roughly twelve minutes, during eight of which the officer's knee was pressed down on Floyd's neck. And all of it captured on multiple cellphone videos.

If you were trying to find a metaphorical image for the black experience in America, an image of a prone black man with a white man's knee on his neck seemed brutally apt. That it was a white police officer was an added layer of metaphorical irony.

Weeks of marches and demonstration -- including rioting and civil disobedience and looting, but primarily peaceful -- followed. Their focus has been on violent actions by militarized police departments, primarily against people of color.

Videos from those demonstrations showed scores of examples of violent and brutal behavior, by police against those ... ironically, protesting brutal police tactics. As if many individual officers and departments didn't care what those optics would do, or the repercussions of their behavior in the broader context of This Historical Time.

It's a defining, fork-in-the-road, Moment In America.  It's a national consideration of Race in America -- and everything connected with it around the distribution of wealth, power, and privilege. Where all this goes, and what actually happens, is hazy -- but the moment has started. Each of us, as individuals, have some responsibility for where it ends up.

The single takeaway I hope for in all this is, that the burden of maintaining conflicting perceptions about our society and culture has finally become too much for the majority of us. That we can't tolerate the cognitive dissonance any longer, reject 'alternate facts' and demand truth -- in public affairs, in science, in our relations with each other. That we can't suppress our lived experience and accept lies in its place.

I hope that people reject being so grossly lied to and manipulated, treated like children, Rubes and Marks. I'd hope Murdoch's media, and its business model based on brazen lies and manipulation, is finished in America and around the world.

And a part of this Moment has to mean confronting automatic assumptions about people of other races, gender and identification; the assumptions of white or heterosexual superiority, or of wealth and ownership. Is it the truth that all persons are equal, or are some more so than others?

Because this is all intimately connected to the distribution of power, and inequality of wealth in America, I don't have any illusions of how quickly this dialogue can result in meaningful change. Or that what's been triggered by George Floyd's death is anything more than a single step; others will have to follow.

James Fallows of the Atlantic recently noted that the story of America is about getting out of trouble, of facing and overcoming crises. America's current crisis has both a Leader utterly unfit to lead, supported by an entire political party in the Republicans; this, he agreed was unprecedented in our history. The question, Fallows went on, was whether our country had a sufficient counterbalance to the harm caused by Trump and the political Right -- that the sum of all things positive in America would be enough to overcome the damage, allow us to find a better resolution than division, exploitation, despair and death.

I'd like to think this moment is a wild card in that equation. That the sum of our best intentions as people will contain the weight needed to swing us in a different direction. I'm not often positive about the future; quite the opposite. But I'm willing to suggest that hope is not a bad thing.

We'll see what does happen. Hang on.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Absent Friends

You Know Who They Are
Posted around this time, and on another in November.

Mozart: Concerto For Clarinet and Orchestra; 2nd Movement, Adiago

Sunday, May 17, 2020

From When We Thought It Was Bad, Before

Setting Fire To The Boat

The Best Blog
September 28, 2011

"Now is there any new business," says Giblets.
"Well the boat's sinking," says me.
"Giblets seems to recall that coming up at the last meeting," says Giblets, "which would make that old business." 
"Well it's more sinking-er than it was last time," says me. "That's kind of new." 
"But I don't know whether to try to put out the fire or try to bail out the boat or scream and panic and scream," says me. "Come to think of it this is really the kind of discussion that calls for a Boat Burning Committee."
"Well it looks like there's no other choice," says Giblets. "The motion is for the rye. All in favor?"
"I think the Boat Burning Committee's first course of action should probably be to figure out if we're on fire now," says me. "And if so, do we Stop Drop and Roll, do we See Something Say Something, or do we Click It or Ticket?"
"In that an abstention?" says Giblets. "Cause that makes it one in favor and one abstention."
"I think we should call for a floor vote," says me. "Any seconds? Anyone?"
"Now for the new business," says Giblets. "Why's it so hot in here?"

posted by fafnir at 9:09 AM

I  wish Giblets would pipe down. Doesn't Giblets know that there is a new television season? The newest one yet? Instead we get all this noise about sinking and burning and imminent demise. We're trying to tune you out Giblets! Do you mind?!

Say, before you drown and stuff, could you sign over the drilling rights to your property? Thanks, cheers, etc.

That may not be Giblets. I'd say you may have overlooked a small zombie problem there. Try shooting him in the head and see how he reacts.

Giblets is half right. You should use the fire to put out the water.  Also figuratively, if you insist.


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Climb To Humanity's Summit By Remaining Human

Free-Falling Elevator Edition Sunday

Let Me Tell You How It Will Be

Test-Trace-Quarantine. Countries that follow TTQ have lower death counts from Covid-19 – and their societies and economies have stayed open. For a number of reasons – none of them good, and some of them malevolent – neither the United States nor Great Britain have followed this proven method of tackling the pandemic. 
As a result, thousands upon thousands of their people are needlessly dying while their economies have cratered, leaving millions of people in dire straits even as their respective governments, especially the US, disgorge vast mountains of public money to protect the private fortunes of elites and corporations.  Lockdown without mass testing will not quell the virus; “re-opening” without mass testing will lead swiftly to further disaster, to second and third waves that, absent a vaccine, could be equal to or worse than this initial tsunami...
Every American should realize: the heavily armed groups – funded and organized by rightwing oligarchs – whom the president is now praising for protesting the lockdowns – WILL be out on the streets, threatening and very possibly killing people if Trump, despite all the GOP vote rigging, loses in November... that is absolutely where we are now. That's WHY these groups have been funded by the rich, that's why they're being mobilized ...

Trump is now giving up all pretense of fighting the virus or even trying to slow it; he actually seems to take a perverse delight in presiding over a world-historical disaster in which his own herd-culling policies have led to tens of thousands of needless deaths across the shattered land. 

The entire GOP faction of the power structure has lined up with goose-stepping servitude behind this murderous assault on the American people, while the Democratic faction dithers, cowers and chills on vacation, bestirring itself only to vote for “relief” bills that give literally trillions of dollars to the super-rich and corporations while leaving ordinary people with almost nothing — not even protection for their voting rights in a pandemic, not even that one small, pathetic say in determining their fate.

The pandemic has stripped away all facades. We can see the system and its leaders clearly now. After killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people in foreign lands during the last two decades of aggressive war and ceaseless “interventions” (most of which are not even noticed or reported on anymore), they have now turned on their own people. They sit and watch thousands of them die unnecessary deaths, happy to “cull the herd” of the “useless eaters”: the sick, the old, the vulnerable, the poor and the non-white minorities who are dying in vastly disproportionate numbers. 

And Then Something Else Will Happen

I’m starting to look at the current situation as ... not entirely unlike that of Western Europe and the Soviet Union during the Nazi occupation.  After the initial shock of conquest and the imposition of New Rulers and Rules, things settled into a routine struggle, primarily to get by as best one could under the circumstances. 

Oh sure, there were the daily round ups, deportations and executions, restrictions on movement, the lack of essential foods and supplies, lack of money to buy supplies with if they existed, the constant sense of dread of what was to come. The not-knowing what was next was perhaps the worst part for many, but for many others, life went on, not much changed — until it did. And when it did, things got worse, and they just kept getting worse until the bitter end.

So far, we’ve seen no vision of a better future when we come out of this. No vision of a future at all for most of us. We will struggle through as best we can — until we can’t.

The existential threats are piling one atop the other — for most people, it means that nothing is likely to return to “normal” in their lifetimes. They may or may not survive the pandemic and subsequent economic collapse and whatever consequences come from them, they may even live to see the transition into a much warmer climate, but the pre-2020 reality is never coming back for them or anyone. We’re in uncharted waters without a captain and without a vision of where we are or should be headed.

We should be past the point of blaming anyone; we never got to the point of actually doing anything about the existential crises we knew we would face. And so we drift along.

And Too, Also

the pandemic has compounded the legitimacy crisis in which the U.S. (but not only the U.S. — the Eurozone is not looking too good) is enveloped already with its clueless political class.

the politically-aware populi are still preoccupied with their “tribal” narcissistic narratives...  (will any historian be able to fathom “the war on Christmas” or “Russia,Russia,Russia” let alone Stormy Daniels or Tara Reade?)

the eruption of this volcano is building below the noise of the twitterverse and CNN and the foppish readers and writers of the New York Times or the Jeff Bezos blog.

We are descending Seneca’s cliff now. There will be plateaus where the remnants of disintegrating civilization may pause for as much as a decade’s respite, but descent is the future, every shock preparing the way for the next step down. It might take a hundred years or two to play out fully.

In the short-term, it is hard to see how the U.S. does not experience political upheaval. I do not know if we are likely to begin blaming anyone at actual fault. With the Dems pretending that 27 year old claims of sexual something matter, but dementia and corruption do not, it would require travelling a great distance in a short time to blame anyone in or near power for the consequences of policy choice.

the epidemic hit densely populated urban areas hard first — so blue states. But it is spreading out and there is nothing to stop it and no effective treatment to limit fatality rates or long-term damage to survivors of severe cases. everyone who is susceptible is likely to become infected at some point in the next two to three years. the economic damage so far has been more acute in red states. the effect on meat processing might mean early signals of collapse in supermarkets. A lot of the newly hungry and homeless are going to be young in a country near the peak of one of its historic cycles of increasing violence.

Everyone Sees The Spreading Stain On His Pants But Say Nothing

I have a daughter in her late twenties, I work with hundreds of college students between 18 and 25, I have friends with children between 15 and 40, and a significant percentage of that generation with fucks still to spend on damns they still have, ripe for faith and action, are SIDEWAYS NOW: they laugh at but fear crackers, despise GOP cracker-whispererism, and thoroughly loathe, loathe, loathe motherfucking Democrats, know that Democrats will not save them, know that Democrats see no profit in saving them, know Democrats (that is, our shitlords who own Democrats) offer only weaponized crackers as incentive to vote Democrat

Who Cares About That Art Crap Anyway

There is nothing inevitable to the way societies choose to respond to a crisis such as this pandemic. What we do however learn in our response is precisely what is valued in a society and what is less so. While there has been a managed politics at work between the dominant forces of power and the fading liberal left, behind the scenes there is a notable decimation of the arts and culture taking place outside of the corporate cultural institutions. 

If radical and independent presses are fighting for their lives, so it is also the case that critical cultural producers, who already occupied the margins, are being pushed into the abyss...

Speaking truth to power through their own grammatical interventions, they encourage more compassion, empathy and dignity in human affairs. We know the history of modern societies has resulted in the triumph of technical forms of thinking over the more poetic understanding of life. But do we really want to live in a world where art and culture are reduced to a virtual gallery visit...  our aesthetic preferences ...  stripped of any political claim and given over to the power of technocratic reason?

The Pyre Next Time

The implied terms of the racial contract are visible everywhere for those willing to see them. A 12-year-old with a toy gun is a dangerous threat who must be met with lethal force; armed militias drawing beads on federal agents are heroes of liberty. Struggling white farmers in Iowa taking billions in federal assistance are hardworking Americans down on their luck; struggling single parents in cities using food stamps are welfare queens. 

Black Americans struggling in the cocaine epidemic are a “bio-underclass” created by a pathological culture; white Americans struggling with opioid addiction are a national tragedy. Poor European immigrants who flocked to an America with virtually no immigration restrictions came “the right way”; poor Central American immigrants evading a baroque and unforgiving system are gang members and terrorists.

Look Over There As You Struggle For Air

Conservative media figures who spent months insisting on Michael Flynn’s innocence, after he twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, are taking a gleeful victory lap in response to the Justice Department moving to drop its criminal case against the retired lieutenant general and former Trump national security adviser. 

But the reversal is not enough to placate the right-wing media rabble, as they are now calling for Attorney General William Barr to prosecute members of the Barack Obama administration and its judicial allies for their roles in the case.

...right-wing radio host Mark Levin appeared on Fox News to boast, and to accuse Obama of conducting a vast shadow operation against the Trump administration. “You know what this is? This is Barack Obama’s blue dress. That’s what that is without the DNA on it,” he told Sean Hannity, referencing Monica Lewinsky’s infamous garment. “[The Flynn case documents] tells us that Obama knew…. Obama was working with the FBI and the intelligence agencies.” 

Levin also tweeted that “the perps responsible for trying to destroy” Flynn should be prosecuted, a talking point Hannity is now pushing too. “All this does is exonerate General Flynn,” the Fox News host declared on his Thursday radio program. “Now, it’s time to investigate Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Department of Justice…and what they did here is they targeted an innocent man, and they—this is prosecutorial abuse.”


Monday, December 16, 2019

Reprint Heaven Forever: Is It Wonderful Is This Life

Is It Wonderful This Life?
By I. Rabschinsky

(We are suggesting you view this in Web Version. Go. Now.)

George Bailey Guy Understanding How We Are To Being Completely Screwed

This is now usual standard hoo boy holiday good for you Internets Tradition. You should enjoy, since next time it may be costing you -- because in our Big Huge Nation there is becoming no room for little opinions such as these. They can make very hard to find you on the Googling. And when Internets are very expensive, Peoples will choose sites which load quickly. Like ZuckCo., Good News Tower Of Power, and Wholesome Musik For Children. You understand.

Ha ha ha. But, of course; if you have the money, you can see. If you are with the huge money, you can have opinions. How fast the Freedom goes, because Freedom. Ha ha ha!

Great-Uncle Yehudi, who is older, still, but strong enough to want to be hit by telephone book until falling down, refuses to be watching the television news. Little Rupert Fox, he never watched, but now he will not watch See Enn Enn, Big Mouse News, or Amazon News, or even BBC or the PBS Very Balanced. "I am angry, Isidore," he says from the big chair which reclines. "I would spit, if I was not in my own house, sitting."

But what if you are not watching, I say; you will be not the informed! Great-Uncle Yehudi says, "You are watching what somebodys are wanting to teach you. And their lesson is always, 'You have no power! You are betrayed! Love the Tsar! You cannot be fighting the Bosses! Obey the Cossacks! Shut your mouth and convert to be Christian kind of Gentile!' "

So what do we do? Yehudi makes a sour face. "I will be watching watch The Mister Ed." But what do we do if the Cossacks come? I ask, and Great-Uncle Yehudi laughs.

"Izzi, you are my favorite Great-Nephew (I am only great-nephew, I remind), but Cossacks are here. You have to choose between learning the lesson They are teaching now, or not learning. And if you decide not to learn, then you must be waiting, and when time comes, being ready to fight." 

Ah; Great-Uncle Yehudi: still, we love him. So we make this the annual offering of the Funny for you, hoping that it can remind of the Time Before and make a smile.

I, Rabschinsky, say this say this -- to Moldavish Guy; you also.

So always in the America there is at this time the fooding, and also the Sports Produkt on the television. Many people filling themselves with Holiday as if they about to be told, "Next year, you cannot eat!". I am thinking they are the hostage of their Hindbrain, which is still Neanderthal and wishes to fight with Mastodon. But, still.

And, I am noticing specific films which is only appearing on Amerikanyets television at these months between like maybe September and the time of your New Year.

My examples: At Passover, some of the television is showing The Ten Super Big Mitzvah Rules, with Charlton Heston Guy -- you know, movie where Moses stop making fooling around to pretend he is Big Guy of the Egypt, and decides to get real job saving People Of Israel.

This requires lots of people walking around, always saying "Oh, Moses, Moses, Moses" -- like, if they say this three times, they will be teleported by magik into better movie. Navarone Kind Of Big Guns, maybe, or Socialist-Colored Panther.

Place Which Is Gone Forever: Amerikanyets Driving To Movies:
"Moses, Moses, Moses -- What is happening with our Drive-Ins?"

At another time in year, they are showing same Heston Guy what is Moses in Big Mitzvah Rules in another movie, Ben Of Her. However this is basically film of Jewish guy who becomes like early Jesus guy, but by accident.

Movie is good; he is Number Forty-One guy in slave ship, rowing like animator for the Disney; there are becoming big boat battle, and he gets to be some kind of honorary Goyim. Later, there is an exciting thing with horses and carts -- but it is not the porn film, so too bad for you. Go to web sites where they have not blocked you.

Charlton Ben Heston Making The Ramming Speed, 1959

At finally, with the Christmas, every year since somebody discover the Secret Of Fire there is this broadcasting this movie, It Is Wonderful This Life, made by Frank Capra Guy in 1947, showing the kind of place which everybody wanted to believe was the Amerika. Small town, everybody knows everybody; values is good and everybody work hard and knows their places.

Just like village in the Moldova, except animals do not leave defecation in the street, everyone is speaking English, and most people have job. Plus concrete used in apartment buildings is better quality.

Every single year they are showing this film. It is now a classic also, like Wizard Of Odd and Potemkin Kind Of Battleship and Mister Hulot Goes To Beach Place. It is as big movie as The Tanks Know The Truth (Very popular Great Patriotic War movie made in the Russia. My Great-Uncle Yehudi claims he is in this film as Extra, but still we love him).

Big Scene From Tanks Knowing The Truth: Are They Knowing?
Well, They Are Tank; You Are Person. You Want To Be That Sure?

It Is Wonderful This Life story is maybe simple: Guy, George Bailey Guy, living in small town wants to die, because he thinks his life is shit. And there are the angels, who show us life of this Guy in the little town, and how he is The Good, and there is the Rich Guy who is The Bad. And George Bailey Guy never gets to do things in the Life because the Fate is not for him.

Then there is mistake with money (a problem made from the Rich Bad Guy), for which he is blamed, and he runs from family and goes to place of Publik Alkohol; finally he goes to bridge to jump in freezing water so his family will get small piece of Insurance money. Very Sad (There is also squirrel in another scene which is sad, but never mind). Also very Petit-Bourgeois.

So, Angel Guy comes to the Earth and shows this George Bailey Guy his life is maybe kind of okay, not so much the shit; and boom boom boom, problem with the money goes away in big scene at end when everyone gives him their money, and everyone sings. So happy, little bells on tree and big bells of church ring; America wins the World War Two and future is filled with television and freeway. The End.

But this is too simple, my friend. No way is actual life like this. So, maybe some of me thinks this is kind of the Propaganda about America, to keep us from seeing the Truth of the Things.

And, there is forbidden version of this film, which is other kind of the Propaganda. Please -- allow me to introduce.

борьбе за построение социализма во время Угнетение
(также называется "Любовь и революция" после 1991)

("Love And Revolution", Directed By Frank Kapronovich [1949]; Starring Pytor Chost, Gravnik Bolodorin, Irina Valutin. Special appearances by the Spirit Of Revolution, also Che Guevara, Samuel Beckett, and entire 12th Guards Motorized Infantry Regiment)

SO, movie opens with Guy, Georgi Edwardovich Bailey Guy, at the Bridge. He is unhappy, this Guy; boy oh boy he is like making the panic. He goes to public alkohol place and tries to think, but he only finds himself between the forces of dissent and confusion!

TROTSKYITE GUY: River not so bad, after five minutes.
EXISTENTIAL GUY: Wait, but no one comes. No one cares.

Hoo boy; Georgi is in big fix. This guy has family with SmallChilds, and tiny Policy Insuring The Life -- and he is believing everybody would be better off if he would jump and get it over with, already.

GEORGI: My life is steaming pile of animal things,
because the Rich Guy will always win. Now I am jumping.

But, Georgi is being watched at Bridge. Not by some angel Guy (none of this reliance on things which cannot be proven by good Socialist science!) -- but even better -- is Spirit Of Revolutsya!

(Spirit Of The Revolution Watches Georgi)

And, The Spirit saves Georgi! He takes him to place where they can speak of things, of the Truth -- and slowly, Georgi's eyes are opened to not only the forces of historical determinism, but the inevitability of struggle against the oppressor classes!

GEORGI: So you are saying that when the consciousness
of the People is raised sufficiently, that armed struggle
is not only necessary but inevitable?
SPIRIT: You got it, Comrade.

So, Georgi, now with eyes opened thanks to the words of the kindly Spirit, is seeing that the world is filled with inequality and criminal things so big your head feels like kicked soccer ball. It is like understanding that, not only are you living as Dog, lapping up the vomit of the Rich Guy, but you work in factory to make guns to force others to live like this (Also, the Rich Guy pays you in fake dog vomit and those X-Ray glasses which do not work).

For Georgi, this is whole bunch of dried fish to eat in one night (Like story by that Guy, Dickens Guy, Carol Burnett Christmas, or something). This is the Life? He is asking himself.

A World Of Things For Them, But Not Food For Children

Economy And Bad Fate For Peoples Means Nothing To Them

For Them, The World Is Something To Carve Up, Like Beef

While The Many People Lose Everything To The Illegal Foreclosure

So now Georgi is filled with indignant and bad feeling for The State Of These Things. He feels the pain of the oppressed, working masses, and is being filled with Revolutionary Fervor -- and he goes to talk with the People in his little village, to tell them what the Spirit had revealed to him -- and the Spirit sends along friend, Che Guevara Guy, to help.

GEORGI: We don't have to live under the heel of Potter's boot!
He's just some, bloodsucking animal! Feeding on all of us -- and I'm
tired of living on fake dog vomit! We have to run things!
CHE GUEVARA SPIRIT GUY: Ay, Yi Yi! You listen to this guy.

The People, moved by Georgi's words, march with him to the place of the Bad Rich Guy, to demand Justice, the chance to make something other than guns, and to be paid in actual money instead of rubber dog vomit and X-Ray glasses which do not work.

BAD RICH GUY: You realize that the manufacture and sale of
weapons around the globe is the backbone of our nation's industry?
GEORGI: You don't understand -- the days of taking your rubber
dog barf are over, Potter! We're going to run things!
MOB: No fake dog barf!! No fake dog barf!!

BAD RICH GUY: My family has run this town for fifty generations.
All I have to do is close the factories. How long will it be before
your little rag-tag mob starts to starve? They'll come crawling back
to work -- and for half the rubber dog barf I gave you before!

Then, Georgi takes the Big Step -- the one which all oppressed people are taking in these movies when faced with Oppressors who pay them with rubber dog vomit: He crosses line from intellectualizing his oppression to active revolutionary.

Otherwise, we would have no resolution of all this rising action; and only ending for this film possible is that everyone would go for Pizza. This is unsatisfying from view of the Socialist imperative.

GEORGI: You're wrong, Potter -- you, and people of your
class are finished. Now you're going to face Justice for your
crimes -- because the People own the means of production!

And so The Bad Rich Guy is taken away by the People; his house later becomes hospital, day-care center, and place where revolutionary theater troupes practice before going into the streets.

And, of course, there is a proper celebration at the Georgi Bailey house, with the Revolutsia Spirit and the SmallChilds.

GEORGI: Gosh, Spirit, I don't know how we can thank you.
SMALLCHILD 01: Spirit, can't you stay and have some Fair
Trade™ coffee with homemade whiskey with us?
SPIRIT: No, SmallChild; I must go. There are so many oppressed
peoples in a world beset by unspeakable monsters of Capital.
But I will take a shot of that whiskey -- neat, please.

Finally, after long discussion between Rich Bad Guy and the Organs Of State Security, he faces Revolutionary Justice and the verdict of The People.

RICH BAD GUY: Long live International Capitalism!

And, of course, Georgi and his lovely wife are pausing in their labor to build a New Socialist Future to share a moment's reflection on the plight of The Peoples, and also to suggest some hygienic sexual activity between them which may occur later.

...and in the background, The Internationale swells on the soundtrack, sung by the Sad Vlad Orphans Choir Of Greater Moscow! Please to show the credits!

This film has not been shown since its original release; big shame, also, because it is at least as good as movie with Bert Landcaster in it but of the name, just now, is escaping me.

Great-Uncle Yehudi likes Revolutionary Love. He thinks it is wonderful comedy, but still we love him. If you can find this film on DVD, then okay. If not, well then it is big world out there! Be That Guy -- go find!

I, Rabschinsky, say this -- to Moldavish Guy; you also.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Absent Friends

You Know Who They Are

Mozart: Concerto For Clarinet and Orchestra; 2nd Movement, Adiago

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Reprint Heaven Forever: Still Missed

John Lennon: October 9, 1940

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither while they pass; they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
Possessing and caressing me
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes,
That call me on and on across the universe;
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way,
Across the universe
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Sounds of laughter shades of earth are ringing
Through my open views; inviting and inciting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me
Like a million suns; it calls me on and on
Across the universe
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world...

Across The Universe (Lennon / McCartney, 1969)

We don't care what flag you're waving,
We don't even want to know your name,
We don't care where you're from or where you're going,
All we know is that you came;

You're making all our decisions,
We have just one request of you,
That while you're thinking things over,
Here's something you just better do:

Free the people, now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Free the people, now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.

Well we were caught with our hands in the air,
Don't despair paranoia is everywhere,
We can shake it with love when we're scared,
So let's shout it aloud like a prayer:

Free the people, now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Free the people now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now

We understand your paranoia,
But we don't want to play your game;
You think you're cool and know what you are doing,
666 is your name;
So while your jerking off each other,
You better bear this thought in mind:
Your time is up you better know it,
But maybe you don't read the signs

Free the people now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Free the people now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.

Well you were caught with your hands in the kill,
And you still got to swallow your pill,
As you slip and you slide down the hill,
On the blood of the people you killed

Stop the killing now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Stop the killing now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Free the people now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now...

Bring On The Lucie (Freda People) (John Lennon, 1973)

The Soul Of America reminded me that I missed the actual day. Normally, I put up a memorial on December 10th. Better, I think, to celebrate someone's birth.

... I can't say I listen to Beatles music too much myself, these days (though I did listen to the Magical Mystery Tour album last weekend, by chance, while padding through the Haight).

So:  Absent Friends. Happy Birthday, John.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Deepness Of The Sea Washes Up To Your Door

Random Barking In Multiple-Atmospheric Pressures

Last Week, In The Roundy Room Of Trump House
(Presidential Finland Guy Looks On: Whuz Up Wit' You, Man?)
Trump’s Defiance of Oversight Challenges Congress’s Ability To Rein In The Executive Branch: Experts and lawmakers worry the president’s hostile stance toward congressional oversight and Democrats’ flailing response are undermining the separation of powers and could have long-term implications for the democracy.
-- Washington Post, October 7, 2019; Headline and Sub-
It's fair to say America has never experienced the particular combination of political circumstances we're in now. It's a Constitutional crisis. It's the ugliest contest of power between the Executive and Legislative branches -- fueled on the Right by a witless, corrosive, ideological hatred. On the Left, Democrats can't seem to remember that they once were allegedly the party of People, and not of Corporations As People.

Meanwhile -- in case you forgot -- the Office of President* is held by a person who will sacrifice anything: lives (of immigrants, of Americans drinking tap water or breathing our air; of Yemeni civilians, or Kurdish troops), or fortunes (yours, or mine), or honor (manipulating others with lies) -- to feed his apparently bottomless appetite for satiety, validation, stimulation and revenge.

This is a defining moment in the future of our country. Are we (nominally) a nation of laws, a representative government that has some power, some checks and balances? Or are we more clearly an authoritarian political state where the only obvious use of a Legislative body is to rubber-stamp the will of The Leader?

After two weeks of whistleblowers and Rudy and threats and "BULLSHIT!" -- Impeachment is apparently the next stop on this Funhouse Highway. I'm not repeating details of the previous few weeks; things change, get worse; some new astounding revelation appears, almost by the day. One thing is constant -- the situation between Trump and his Base, and everyone else, will get almost inconceivably uglier.

I've already said: Articles of Impeachment will undoubtedly pass in the House. The votes are there. It will be referred to the Senate -- where the votes are not. A two-thirds majority is required to convict a President, but it doesn't appear likely the Senate will even vote on any Article from the House.

Republicans are so focused on beating the hated Liberals that they will continue to overlook whatever The Leader does. There may be a breaking point -- but after everything Trump has already done, what does that even mean?  Beating the Left, just to kick someone else into the dirt, has become more important to these persons than life, fortune, or the honor of all of us as citizens.  Nothing new there.

Yertle The Turtle has already saturated Kentucky with commercials, stating flatly that a Senate under his leadership and Republican control will protect the president*.  It's exciting to live in a country where you not only know the fix is in -- but where the Goons in charge actually crow about it, openly, in advance. That's a breathtaking example of exactly how broken, politically, things are.

Perversely, Trump will continue feeding on a 24-by-7 news cycle focused almost exclusively on him. He will bellow, preen, strut, and when his Toadies in the Senate quash the Impeachment, he'll celebrate with an all-night party at More-Lego, where he will be filmed having sex with goats and kitchen appliances -- and mention in the State Of The Union that real Americans should buy an exclusive boxed DVD set of the spectacle, through Trump Enterprises, at an 800 number.

Then, we will have an election.

Some believe representative government was created so that larger, poorer masses, with great effort over hundreds of years, might force the smaller number of Owners and their institutions to give concessions in their control of -- well, everything.

If you're one of them, then the 2020 election is less about overthrowing a tyrant, and more about casting your vote for a government which won't further erode what rights and protections we've fought for -- an erosion every president since LBJ seems to have contributed to.  The choices seem drawn in relief -- a path forward is about more collectivism, mutual dependence and regard. The reverse ends in demands for loyalty at the point of a gun, poverty, states of emergency; mass graves.

It seems strange to hope the result of elections in 2020 is only for less erosion, rather than progress. That, too, tells you how broken politically things are. But it isn't a surprise. And please, don't make any mistake about it: Impeachment is not the most important thing on the table.

This election, and any other we participate in for at least the next few generations, is about ensuring that bloated clowns and demagogues do not have any lasting place in our culture or politics. We can't afford them any longer.

The most important thing on the table is survival of our species -- and understanding that how we do that is as critical to our future as survival itself.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Reprint Heaven Forever: We're Whalers On The Moon

Yet Again, The Birthday of Big Marine Mammal Avatar Creators

Moving through life, we find ourselves on occasion in the midst of experience or the presence of a thing which resonates and reminds that something, more than what we think we know or can perceive (if we would just stop and shut up and pay enough attention to see), exists.

Principally, this happens when we're 'out in nature', but it also happens when we encounter some art -- in particular, when it's been created by someone who made deep and illuminating connections and Brought Them Back To Tell Thee. From August 1 in 2016 and 2017 and 2018.

There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.
-- Herman Melville / Moby-Dick, or, The Whale
Over at the Soul Of America, it's a celebration of Herman Melville's 200th birthday (!!!), and things of the Sea, and a Whale, and other notables which Herman brought back, To Tell Thee.

I considered writing a post from the viewpoint of the Whale just for the potential Yucks (because, god knows, We Need The Yucks Wherever We Can Get Them), but gave it up and settled for the Humorous Image.

The best thing about the post, and the reason I mention it here, is -- Herman tends to be overlooked in a culture whose highest expression is a Rhianna / Pitbull remix; it's good to be reminded that he is still there -- as he reminds us that we are chased by our mortality; and that sometimes the Form Of The Destructor is large, albino, and aquatic.  For me, it's a big lawn mower. Your Harbinger O' Death™, of course, may differ.

I was introduced to Melville when I was fourteen -- not through the novel he's most often identified with, but in the short work, "Bartelby The Scrivener" (1853), a classic in its own right. Ishmael's tale was next, and I was, uh, hooked. Later, I wasn't able to read anything by James or Conrad that didn't refer back to the narrative style I encountered first with Melville.

"Moby Dick: Or, A Whale" is ubiquitous. There is No Whale before He who populates a portion of that book (Yeah, okay; 'Shamu'  and 'Willy' are not the same thing). The Whale at least lurks, an unseen presence, in the background of all the on-ship action -- like Death, or Fate, or reruns of Three's Company. As if the Whale might chuckle and snicker in the dark during certain scenes:
" 'What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper, natural heart, I durst not so much as dare? Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is as an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. By heaven, man, we are turned round and round in this world, like yonder windlass, and Fate is the handspike.'   
" 'Heh heh heh heh,' " came a deep basso rumble out of the darkness which hid the waters. Ahab started, but did not otherwise acknowledge the presence of that upon which he had focused for so long."
That Big Marine Mammal is archetypal, now. And, aber natürlich, the moment something makes an appearance on "Family Guy", it's an absolute certainty that, whatever it is, it's now hard-coded into our DNA.

 Herman Left Out The Part Where Whales Like Raisin Bran

MEHR, MIT KEINE POLITIK: My Very Own Hillaryite Colleague asks, "So you hate music, too?" (This, because of the Rhianna / Pitbull quip.) And I would agree, it's absurdist reductionism to claim that the essence of culture in Eusa is rap music and movies like Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. I'm convinced that people (or, Whales; or very intelligent Honey Badgers) in the not very distant future will look back on this period as one of the most varied and vibrant in the history of our humanoid species -- until, you know, that thing happens.

UND NOCH IMMER MEHR:  Once I saw this, I could not un-see it. It is an actual book. Swear to god.

UND: WAS IST AUCH SCHON WIEDER LOS? MEHR:  At one point, if you had $39.9K, Jim Morrison's Moby could have been yours.

At that price, you'd think the seller would have provided free shipping -- but, remember: this is Aremica, Land Of The Free and Home Of The Hip.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Reprint Heaven: Edge Of The Volcano Edition


(Originally From 2016)

Cousin Ignatz, Asleep At Princip's Post: Sarajevo, 2014 (Matthew Fisher / Postmedia News)

Roughly twelve hours and 105 years ago, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Grand Duchess Sophie, were shot by Gavrillo Princip, a member of an assassination team sent to the Bosnian city by the government of Serbia.

Collectively, the team was the gang which couldn't shoot straight: armed with crude grenades, a few pistols, and carrying some form of suicide pill, they waited along the route Franz Ferdinand's car would take as it drove beside the Miljacka river, which cuts through Sarajevo (local Austro-Hungarian authorities had helpfully published the Archduke's route beforehand).

Most of the team either was poorly positioned, or chickened out at the last moment.  One conspirator did throw a bomb at the Archduke's car, which bounced off its folded-back fabric top and exploded near a second car traveling just behind. Several people in the car had minor injuries and it continued on to a local hospital.

The Archduke's driver, Leopold Lojka, continued to Sarajevo city hall. When Franz Ferdinand arrived, he effectively unloaded on the hapless administrators about the state of their local security ("I come to your city and am greeted with bombs!"). Meanwhile, back at the river, the would-be bomber had jumped into the Miljacka and swallowed his suicide pill -- which he promptly threw up. The police arrested him, barely managing to keep him from being lynched a mob of pro-Austro-Hungarian citizens, and so save him for later trial and execution.

At approximately 12:30 PM, having finally accepted the thanks of the Sarajevo city fathers, Franz Ferdinand and his wife got back into their car, planning to go to the local hospital to see those wounded in the bomb attack that morning. They used the same route, in reverse, that they had taken into the city, driving along the river. But when the Chauffeur, Lojka, came to a particular intersection -- to his left, a street; to the right, a bridge over the Miljacka river -- he was confused.

 The Royal Couple (Seated, At Rear) Leaving City Hall: Fifteen Minutes Left

Believing it to be the route he needed to take to drive to the hospital, Lojka slowed and turned left into the street.  Almost immediately, he realized he'd made a mistake and stepped on the brakes. The car came to a stop a few yards into the street, and Lojka moved to put it in reverse gear.

 The Intersection, 2014: The Archduke's Car Turned Left, Into This Street;
The Restaurant Where Princip Bought Lunch, Now A Museum (Photo: CNN)

At that same intersection was a small restaurant. Gavrillo Princip, last member of the Serbian assassination squad, had gone inside to buy a sandwich, angry and dejected after the team's failure that morning. Standing on the sidewalk outside the cafe, he saw a large, dark-green automobile turn out of the boulevard and come to a stop directly in front of him. In the very rear seat were the Archduke and his wife.

The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne had been delivered, less than ten feet away, from an armed assassin who had come to the city specifically to kill him. If you were writing a novel or screenplay, anything that coincidental would be branded as implausible. No one's gonna believe that.

Princip didn't hesitate. He dropped his sandwich, pulled a pistol out of his jacket and stepped towards the car, firing several shots, managing to mortally wound both the Archduke and his wife. Lojka, the driver, was ordered to rush the royal couple to the local military governor's residence. Sophie died on the way. A military officer in the car, checking on the Archduke's condition, asked the wounded man how he was; Ferdinand said, "Nichts (It's nothing)", and died.

Just over a month later, Europe was at war. Over the next four-plus years, the entire social fabric of the continent and much of the world changed, irrevocably. Monarchies ended; millions died; the map of the world changed as the victors annexed territory from Germany and Austria Hungary, and new countries were created. New technology was developed -- and in the Versailles Treaty, the groundwork was laid for a second, even more horrible war to begin by 1939.

(And, in 1918-19, the Spanish Influenza infected 500 million people, killing 40 million, worldwide. It was the largest number of fatalities due to pandemic disease since the 'Black Death': the coming of  Bubonic Plague to Europe in the 14th century [which killed an estimated 200 million].  In the U.S., millions were made sick, and 675,000 died [~0.6 per cent of America's 103 million population at the time]. It's often referred to as the "forgotten epidemic" -- just one more terrible event in an ocean of violence and atrocity.)

 Cousin Ignatz, Worn Out By All The History

Why the history lesson? We're living through history. When we read about events in Europe during the Interwar Years (1918 - 1939), there's a feeling of inevitability, of being slowly sucked down a drain -- the revolving-door failures of parliamentary governments in France; Britain's declining empire; the manic Totentanz of global capital leading to 1929 and the Great Depression; the rise and fall of Weimar; the apotheosis of Italian and Japanese, and finally German, fascism. Regional war and civil war. 

... and we know where the story is going. It ends in Nanking, the Anschluss; Kristalnacht, Dunkirk; Auschwitz; Stalingrad; the Warsaw Ghetto; D-Day; the Führerbunker; Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But we always read about the years leading up to all that with a mounting sense of horror precisely because we all know how it ends. 

And we have the same feeling, looking at major global currents in our own time. While Brexit may be not have been a "shot heard 'round the world", the Tories are still (unbelievably), in power in the UK. The Scots still wonder about independence. The Greek, French and Italian economies are still at risk. Putinland, the Great Bear, still pushes the envelope here and there -- in Ukraine, and Syria. As IS loses on battlefields in the continuing slow-motion atrocity that is the Middle East, suddenly they appear in a Philippine city, on a London street. Disproportionate numbers of Black people are shot in major American cities on a routine basis. Climate change is not fake news.

America, ruled by Babbitry, greed and illusion, retreats from the world stage. Its leader is Bloated, Raving, delegating the running of a government to corrupt, car-wash dilettantes. Other nation-state players are happy to rush into the vacuum we leave behind. The balances in the old alliances we created after WWII have been squandered, all but unraveled. 

A regional conflict -- between India and Pakistan; Kim Jong Fat Boy's Fun Republic Of Chuckles and South Korea; Iran and Saudi Arabia, almost seems like a sure thing -- 'of course that's where all this is going'; no one would be truly surprised if one started tomorrow. What we wouldn't be prepared for is what would happen the day after, and the day after that.

Kleiner Mann; Was Nun?