Now Politics: the Political Opinions of Thomas Sarebbononnato

A Friend of the People Opposing Elites; Social and Political Commentary of Thomas Sarebbononnato; Publishing and Contributing Editor, Jay V. Ruvolo [Copyright (c) Jay Ruvolo 2018]

Archive for October 2018

DICHOTOMY, DUALITY, WHAT IF?

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Duality is two-ness connected, perhaps even contingent. Connection and contingency are not identical; they do not share absolute synonymy, no, perhaps only a loosely tethered connotation. Things in dichotomy are too disconnected, perhaps even without the ability to connect or re-connect. There is distinction in these terms we need to understand, that we need to define whenever discussions of our humanity arise. We face, confront, create, manipulate, examine, analyze, talk about many dualities and dichotomies throughout the course of our lives. One such duality, or is it a dichotomy–and this is another very interesting and important fact in our discussion of duality and dichotomy; through one lens, things under examination might be seen as a duality, through another, as a dichotomy. Two such things are mind and soul.

Mind and soul are dichotomy in English. In French they are a duality, l’ame is the one word for both in French, in English–it is clear they share no etymology. Closing one’s mind in French is closing one’s soul. I remember having missed this once when a French woman had asked me about a book she was looking for, The Closing of the American Soul. I did not know what book she was talking about although I knew, somewhere in my mind that day that there was a book which had been recently published, The Closing of the American Mind.

Thinking in the English language, we imagine that we can close the mind and keep the soul open, or vice-versa, close our soul, as we sometimes mean when we talk about opening and closing the heart. We do imagine we can keep the mind open and the soul closed, but we also imagine that closing the soul narrows the mind. We say things like, keep an open mind about keeping your heart opened to love, for instance. But soul as something deeper? bigger? whatever have we in words that can handle the theological construct that is soul, soul in the religions of the world, and herein I am not going to go in for a closer or more articulate examination of the differences or the similarities between spirit and soul. Her we are examining the words in English, ‘soul’ and ‘mind,’ and how they  are related, how they are even a duality in other cultures, read languages, namely here, French. Again, in French, there is one word for both, each one never veering too far from the other. In English at best they are a dichotomy, otherwise they stand as mutually exclusive categories of mind, each one what Kant would call noumena. Interesting how the mind conceives of itself not as phenomena, but as noumena, at least as I understand this. Soul is an idea in the mind as mind is an idea in the mind.

Linguistically splitting mind from soul into a dichotomy has had dangerous repercussions for our humanity, how we elect to be human, or what we call being human and thus set as a choice to be fulfilled in determining the human.  I’m talking about meaning, not what the French practice. We too have to connect to the meaning of our humanity, of our being human because we cannot set our sights on our practice alone, we’d drown in the hypocrisy.

Mind is the cognitive faculties that allows for consciousness in itself, allows for perception, judgement, thinking, memory . . . many of the characteristics we associate with humans exclusively or predominantly or in hierarchy within. We are not going to discuss the mind of dolphins or collective mind, which we could call mentality, as I have always separated mentality from psychology. The former is what a people have, the latter, an individual. Soul is an incorporeal essence of a person, it is in many traditions, the immortal essence, in some, a transmigratory one. Both in duality leaves each contingent with the other, both mutual and reciprocal. For French, for example, there is no soul without consciousness; in English, we can soul without what we call consciousness, or so it seems. Higher elections in thought do not directly affect the progress of the soul, at least as far as their existence as a dichotomy goes. Where mind and soul are a duality, higher election in one directly affects the other; this is unavoidable through their duality, their contingency, their mutual and reciprocal metaphysical state. One is not better than the other, one can only be preferable in a subjective way to anyone disposed to thinking about mind and soul and the existence of these non-locatable essences. The most intelligent way of handling these ideas is the most articulate way of handling them, and is to employ the What if. What if mind and soul are a dichotomy, then what? What if they are a duality, then what?

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Written by jvr

October 31, 2018 at 11:34 am

STAGES: ON, OFF, AGAINST

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Without being a Marxist, I can say that virtually everything about Capitalism is obscene. I can say this without concluding that Capitalism is in itself evil. I am not going to venture an analysis of socio-economic systems, nor will I compare communism and capitalism, which so many Americans still like to do, nor am I going to contrast western bourgeois capitalist civilization and Islamist civilization(s). I do not assent to Capitalism being an evil, nor do I agree that Capitalism is a good, and neither do I assert that perhaps it is neither good nor evil, some neutral or neutered system of organizing an economy. Many might prefer to conclude the latter when a discussion of the economic basis of. and relationships within, a society neither affirms nor condemns. What is is, but I refrain from concluding that what is is right.

 

I avoid asserting what most ideological Capitalists like to assert, and that is that Capitalism is natural, more organic to humans and their interactive needs than any other socio-economic system. No economic system is more organic to humans than another. What is inevitable for humans in their social interactions is to develop an economic system, whether that is a complex one or simple one. Any economic system in particular is a product of culture; culture being whatever is done by a people in a time and in a place among themselves. Culture is anything produced including ideas and systems of interaction. So, any economic system is in itself a cultural product and thereby adaptive to the needs and the negotiations of the culture.

Capitalism is not more natural to humans than Feudalism, feudalism not more organic than communism or varieties of socialism. Capitalism and Feudalism serve different social ends, if not because of this, different social needs for those whose ends are not directly or principally served. But a society develops the system it needs (necessity is also subject to social negotiations, but not always equally or with a balanced effect from all of its members);  or a society allows a system to grow in a way that serves the needs of those who control power, who stand in authority or disseminate influence. In America, Capitalism,  more specifically, finance capitalism, serves the need of the monied and power elite.

To perpetuate the kind of elitist control of society, where 1% if the population controls  more than 50% of the wealth, yes, capitalism is more suited. Humans are always confusing their culture for nature, so economic systems being the product of cultures, it is inevitable that we will assume the socio-economics are facts of nature. In America, the socio-economic system that binds Americans financially is understood to be more natural for humans because what is more natural for Americans, Americans will assume is more natural for all people in the world. This is how the ideas behind or within discussions of human freedom and democracy are always bound up with the advance of corporate capitalism in its financial control of the world, at least from all who have sworn allegiance to Western Bourgeois Capitalism. It becomes the new colonialism in the world.

Nonetheless, Capitalism creates obscenity on an unparalleled level (forgive me the cliche). Obscenity, Baudrillard reminds us (and I do understand how quickly even many educated Americans [especially educated Americans] might recoil from any critique of their most fervently pursued and defended faith from a French intellectual)–yes, Baudrillard reminds us that obscenity is not restricted to sexuality. Obscenity (herein consciously repeated as one might hear in advertising or political campaigns or in totalitarian propaganda that our own advertising mantras parallel) is pornographic; but then there are applications for what is pornographic other than sex and sexuality. Pornography has permeated everything everywhere in our society including the sex trade (as we like to call it when we want to soften what we think about trading in sex, buying and selling human beings and what we call sexual gratification. Yes, if sex is included in trade, then the obscene must be okay–whatever is sexually pornographic has to be good. If it makes money, how can it be bad; or, whatever is bad in it is counterbalanced by the money one makes. We do prefer our criminals who make a lot of money and make money for others, usually corrupt politicians–yes, we prefer these money-making criminals to the decent man who makes little money. I am not herein asserting that all pornographers are criminals or that pornography in itself is criminal. Nevertheless, there has to be something wrong with the man who is good to a fault in the marketplace). Of course, I understand that I am using ‘obscene’ in a restrictive sense, one that has been given to us through a prolonged negotiation in our society. In its etymology, ‘obscene’ comes from the Greekob skena, which literally translates, off stage. There are other meanings applied to the prefix ob. Another appropriate one is ‘against.’ Scenes of violence and sex were to take place off-stage in Ancient Greek theater. Orestes’s revenge does not take place on stage. Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon ob skena. Moreover, what then is obscene if everything is seen? But then, the removal of our stages, the elimination of the theater of society does make everything we do, ob skena, acquiring the taint of former obscenity for everything we do and say. Obscenity is also that which can be called against staging; therefore, all that is confrontational in its presentation, all that is against the conventions of social staging–all the world again . . . .

The pornographic, which is the prime connotation of obscenity, if not the most widespread synonym, permeates all commodities, all communication, all interactions. Public space shrinks and becomes oppressive, almost as if everything and everyone were in extreme close-up, as are sex acts in a porno film. At the same time, the boundaries of our private spaces are being erased, re-defined, made transparent for the voyeurism of the public who need to observe ever more microscopically because the spaciousness of space has been eliminated and revised not for our our vision, what we see with our physical eyes, but for (ad)visory claims, what is taken under advisement (notice we are under as a female porn star in a gang bang film). What we see has been refocused for us. These changes in the conditions of the Public and the Private are confrontations with our conventions of Public and Private staging.

The duality of public and private space, public and private selves with a many-selves Self has been shattered. Am I too quick to conclude hyperbolically? Overstatement and understatement are broad and contingent categories; they are often mutual and reciprocal in their intensities in spite of their broadness; their dynamic energies have co-influence. The bull’s eye of expression is a narrow band and more times than not we writers find our critiques in one or the other, hyperbole or litotes. Of course, there is a willfulness to either of the latter two Greek terms when applied tom speech or writing. What I am expressing here is not a willfulness but an unavoidableness, an inevitableness to one or the other. The world Shakespeare understood to be a stage has been dismantled. The theater of our lives, of our world, of our selves is no more. What is filling this void is something for which our traditions of communication and communicating have little facility.

Written by jvr

October 29, 2018 at 4:35 pm

DUALITY OR DICHOTOMY

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TOWARD ANOTHER UNDERSTANDING OF THE SIMPLE SEPARATE PERSON AND HIS OR HER REALTIONSHIP TO THE GREAT SOCIAL EN MASSE

 

Duality is what it says. Dual is two. A duality is something in two; there are two parts, perhaps of one whole, but if one whole, the sub-parts must be exclusive. When light can be said to maintain the properties of both wave and particle; this is duality. Duality focuses on the twoness of one thing. Duality is an expression of parts. Dichotomy is an expression of distinct entireties. They are two separate whole things even if they are related, maybe even contingent in some ways, connected by something physical or metaphysical; but they remain apart in other ways, under other analyses. When this is the case, as drawn here, this is dichotomy.

Dichotomy is the contrast between two things that are either different, as in distinct, or related in some way, yet maintaining a distinction that is contrastive. Delineating contrast, thus revealing dichotomy, might have the effect of placing two things under analysis in juxtaposition. Yes, two things represented as being opposed or distinct is what we mean by dichotomy. And here “representation” is key. How things are presented again in the process of comparison is also part of what appears to be duality and what seems to be dichotomy–comparison, here, is used in the fullest sense, that is, predicating contrast. Any comparison that does not contest is a limited and restricted way to compare. The language we choose is implicit in the representation of dichotomy and the representation of duality.

Can two parts of duality be made to appear dichotomous? I imagine this might be possible–probable, even. For Americans, mind and soul are a dichotomy; they are two separate things, perhaps related, perhaps cross-functional, but separate and distinct. For the French, they are a duality. Mind and soul share one word in French and therefore are expressed by different connotations, not separate denotations. In English, mind and soul have separate categories of inclusion and therefore remain, under some analyses, mutually exclusive; they possess different denotations. In other analyses, mind and soul in English language explications might share overlap, as one could express using one of those Venn diagrams teachers in Middle Schools across the United States are so in favor of using to show contrastive states and mutual states, states where conditions for one or the other thing are separate and where they might overlap or share mutability. Articulation in explication is not  denotation.

Mind and body in most understandings are a duality; so much more the suffering of a person if they are in dichotomy. The twoness of each is distinct from the other. It is only in this twoness that they share any likeness, but it is not enough for them to share any synonymy. There is no synonymy for the two. In the sense that mind and soul share categorically defining criteria, they are in duality. Where they are separate, mutually distinct, they are dichotomous.

The answers to the questions that arise lie with the process of analysis, the analysis itself being the lens of refraction, the boundaries of representation. Nonetheless, in the French language, mind and soul are a duality, their mutual category of inclusion announces this; any distinction between the two is expressed by the one word having different connotations in distinct contexts of meaning. In the English language, the two ideas begin in separate categories and come together at certain or less than certain points where we can express likeness, similarity, something mutual and perhaps even reciprocal between them.

Written by jvr

October 26, 2018 at 4:38 pm

WHAT I LEARNED FROM WOMEN IN MY LIFE; OR, OTHER NOTES ON CITIZENSHIP?

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. . . for my mother, grandmothers, aunts, great aunts, cousins, friends, girlfriends, lovers, mates, whatever else have we in words to name woman, she, her, hers

Soul is what we say someone has when that person touches us in a previously unimagined way, in a manner that moves us, whatever that means; when another person touches us in a way that transforms us, we think we understand; that sends us to regions of experience otherwise unattainable with persons who are soulless or whose depth of soul is far shallower than the person for whom we have bestowed the title, soulful.

Ah! To have soul then is something other than being a person for whom the precondition is having a soul. To have soul in this sense is to have done something with one’s preexisting soul that enlarges it, enhances it, increases its capacity for what soul’s can do? Or is it to use what the soul provides the mind, herein soul and mind must be separate even if we have not decided whether they are a dichotomy or a duality.

A soulful person is a singular one, exceptional, of course, in the art of being soulful. To be mindful would be something else entirely. A man or a woman is apart from any grouping other than that of human, more specifically, that of humane, whenever we speak of him or her as a soulful person. I’m not sure exactly what we mean when we say somone is mindful–we would have to say mindful of what, unless we were talking about his ir her ability to have presence of mind, do we mean focus?

We like to use this idea of being soulful as an example of what it means to be humane, no? The soulful person is a model of what it means to be a human-being, a real human-being, we like to say. We do say things like He is a real person. But words cannot express these ideas adequately; words are though all we have to say anything about anything, although saying just anything often does not make it in our minds. We must try to say what has always been said just better than ever before. Even what we know we cannot ever say can only be said in words, by words, so it is our obligation to make these words a form never before formed.

Words are in themselves only words, only the symbols of things other than words. We would certainly have fewer misunderstandings, as Locke had advised us more than three centuries ago, if we did not take them for things in themselves but as only the symbols of the ideas that they are. Each person to his or her own integral mind, and is mind, soul? Each person to his or her own idiolect, his own variety of saying what has always been said or never been said.

Language is the glowing example of our humanity, what really separates us from all other creatures. Language is the shining star of all cultures; the greatest product of any culture is its language. In this way, all cultures are advanced. How then does this expose soulfulness as humanness?

All cultures have had the notion of soul. Soul is another of those polygenetic ideas humans have clung to in order to explain much of the inexplicable in human experience. How it has been drawn and articulated by mythology, by theology, metaphysics, ontology, and other branches of knowledge are found in myriads of expression. Soul is non-locatable in a term that succumbs to physiology and biology.

Again, in defense, psychologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons and biologists have not located the mind, and they are no closer than theologians are at locating the soul, although, if we are looking for a physical place for the soul, why would we ask a theologian?

Faith seems the only reasonable course for understanding soul, in fact for understanding mind. Belief goes a long way in helping to understand what we have a sense is present although absent from all attempts to pin-point its location. Where is the soul is a question similar to where is the mind? The lack of evidence for their location is not proof of their non-existence. That is what I rest all discussions of soul on; I have faith that soul exists.

 

 

Written by jvr

October 22, 2018 at 4:23 pm

THE BLUD OF AN ENGLISHMUN

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Fee, fie, fo, fum, have said many an Englishmun, or men or women or children who speak the language of Jack the Giant Killer, or, as we could say,  the language of Thomas Nashe, who determined more than four centuries ago that it would be only a great pedant “who will find matter enough to dilate a whole day of the first invention of Fy, fa, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.” The antecedent folk stanza Nashe had alluded to in his pamphlet Have with You to Saffron Walden was of antientorigin. The inference was clear–no one knew where it had come from even in his day when literary connections to folklore and folk traditions were premium. Ah, the story’s the thing, what then do I bring  . . . to be a story or not to be a story, that might be a question, but only one among many to ask, and then if it were a story, and a story, and a story that creeps in petty paces from scene to scene, this too would be neither foul nor fair, but fiction. All fiction is something made, from the Latin fictio, from the nominative singular third declension noun for ‘fashioning,’ ‘forming,’ often times with reference to language use, as in ‘an invented statement,’ as sometimes in the maner of false statements known to be false. If someone were to speak falsely and not know, this would not be fiction as we sometimes say. Truth value, though, is also a consideration of verisimilitude; yes, similar to what is true, how do we verify the facts of fiction? Verity, which comes to us from the Latin veritas, what is understood to be other than vanity, from the Latin vanitas, as in Vanitas non est Veritas. What is like unto Truth? How are fictions not vanity, some concerned for propriety beyond the measure of appropriateness could ask? What is true and what is the Truth are twain that might never meet. Let us continue . . .

When I talk about verisimilitude, I am speaking of fictional truth, something we used to understand more clearly, or for which we had a more highly articulate comprehension, a greater dexterity for its use. To tell a story or not would be any man’s dilemma, his life in story, the history of his life, what to tell and how to tell it, considerations of form, of style, what words to choose, but also in what manner, for style is not a passive outcropping of one’s over-indulged subjectivity. We love to talk about a writer’s style, when in fact what we have done is identified a style of prose writing that could be categorized if one wanted to, but would in no way be necessary to do, except when one wanted to identify like prose styles or verse styles from among other storytellers. We must only understand that a category is in effect a tool in comprehension–they have never been understood to be facts of nature exceot by those who have so misread them, misunderstood them, to be beset by them in way more of their choosing than from any imposition by any imagined academic hierarchy. A category is not a fact of nature, it is not a fact either phenomenal or noumenal except in itself as a category in our understanding, that tool that helps us build meaning, yes, we are the wrigthers of our semantics.

Fee fie fo fum, I say again, fee fie fo fum . . . I might smell the blood of an Englishmunas did Jack’s Giant when pondering on how he was going to make his bread, grinding bones to make it. What do I do to make my story? What do I use to make it, the makerly text? What should I ponder? Should I wonder how to make a text from the matters of memory? What pieces of the past should I use if I should use them at all? I do collect thus recollect; I put these pieces together, the puzzle of the text? there are puzzles to modernist texts, a degree of puzzling about all texts, something of this less intentional in historical writing as we had assumed historical writing was when we were in university.

One does not read Virginia Woolf without understanding the fictional text is a kind of puzzle; who has read Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury or his As I Lay Dying without having to piece together meaning, although this piecing together is not the only role of the reader in the engagement between reader and text. What is it that I arrange, should, must, could, in order to achieve . . . achieve what I intend or might not intend, trusting my intuitions enough to follow courses or make choices less than conscious.  Memory is the treasure chest of telling one’s story–this retelling that is one’s life story or a story from one’s life. Everything is autobiography? What kind of stories are we talking about here? My story–as alluded to above–how to tell it, when to tell it, where, to whom, for what end–there is always an end, a conclusion to a story, even if it is only as the etymology of conclusion suggests, the building of a wall to stop the flow as a dam does the flow of a river.

What is it to go back through memory–my own selva oscura, as Dante says at the opening, nel mezzo del camin . . . all this about memory, the labyrinth I walk through, an amazing journey to the center of me. We could ask if memory is a sea or a forrest or a labyrinth . . . we only need to choose one and understand this one to handle our making. I remember a lot, but what do I recollect and how is the recollection managed–these are questions that determine the outcome of my telling. Entering memory is a journey into the labyrinth, I have decided. Yes. Now it is a journey into the woods, I too have concluded. One for one story told; the other for another telling . . . minotaurs, witches and grails. The soul is my labyrinth now. I am Theseus. The soul is Hades–rescuing me my from my own underworld is always an appropriate project. Telling our stories becomes an act of salvation, one could understand. Orpheus tries this, a journey into Hades, to save Eurydice which is to save himself, no? Will I fail me as he failed Eurydice. I am Orpheus and Eurydice in every one of these journeys.  My soul is also my dark wood, the selva oscura above of Dante, thus another comedy of other manners, other forms, different styles: the selves in the Self of many selves are the characters peopling my tales. I must go inside, deeper inside, further, farther which or both, distance in space and distance that is time or labor. If all the world is a stage, then the soul too is a stage for the selves of my Self to perform on. We are always acting; it is not the acting that is false, unless it has no connection to Truth, unless it eliminates Truth as its target, as its goal, as part of the organic presentation. Everyone one of us are the players in this drama of selves in the theater of the Self . We are certainly players on the stage that is the world. We all of us wear many masks, one dramatis personaeafter another for us to perform on this stage, the world, one scene after another, everything about our lives is an ever changing mine-en-scene. We do build our character(s) as actors do in their theaters of boards. The real story of my life would be for me to travel deeper, more inwardly and get to the selves and the masks they wear; yes, it is not the masks I wear in the world but the ones I wear inside that I need to uncover, recovering g yet other faces I might use to face myself, the Self, what is it that I see in the mirror? I need to get behind them; I need to take them off and reveal what is behind them; an apocalypse of the Self.

Fee, fie, fictio, historum, folk tales, fiction and history, what do I smell in the form of another story to tell? I am hounded as I am haunted; I hound as I haunt. How has most of human history not been molded by the hunt. Narratives short or long; short naratives handed down orally; short narratives written, published and unpublished, read aloud or printed and read silently off the page; narratives short or long in verse; prose poems, ballads.

We have come to understand that ‘fiction’ refers to narratives that are imaginative, or so we used to like saying–imaginative writing. We still say this in our elementary schools to children because we believe that the word imaginative has magical properties for children, and that children must be exposed to things imaginative and magical because it will make them better persons, or so we must think, either consciously, or unconsciously collectively, because we say it so often, another received idea we use without thinking about what it means or where it comes from.  Folk-tales that are handed down orally are not written; the teller of these oral tales where they are still conveyed orally does not worry about these imaginative considerations, at least not in the way we use the word imaginative. Originality is not the mark of a good teller in any oral tradition, and the material handed down from generation to generation is good enough and does not need to be changed. It does not matter that the story is not original to its teller.

We are not talking about the myths of ancient people or a people in their antiquity, or a people closer to our contemporaneity who still maintain an archaic metaphysics, because for these people their myths are true stories and therefore are not fiction, although the telling may be quite similar, the form and manners used by the teller to tell the tale very much the same; each are orally conveyed, or later transcribed, as the cosmogonic myth of the ancient Hebrews was in the form of Genesisin the Jewish or Christian bibles.

Original, imaginative, traditional, handed-down, or how many other words we have for what kind of story is being told or read, either aloud or inwardly to the Self by the self (I often read aloud to myself when I do, read a story, weighing the words, walking the line, so to speak); moreover, do we bleed for our stories? There are more than more than one way to bleed. What a question to ask, though. There is always one kind of blood sacrifice after another throughout our history bearing determinations culturally, whether they be actual or theatrical, dare we say symbolic, or all three? I have understood for too long how we have dis-understood this word, ‘symbol,’ relatedly, ‘symbolic.’ Do we bleed for them, I am asking, our own stories, our auto-biographies, the way we must probe inside, we do cut ourselves opened, don’t we? Biography a branch of historical writing, of course; autobiography a form of auto-surgery? I know I have bled for them, the way we could speak; the stories I have set myself the task of telling and not just in the flippant way we do when we just as often wish to divert the attention of others away from what we fear they will find out about us, all of this fear working its magic spells on us unconsciously. Making things up as we go along, a kind of internal improvisation, the unconscious will exerting its power over our choices. I know that others have said as much about this special kind of bleeding. I understand that some authors might bleed more than others, those that do, as they tell us . . . there is a kind of internal bleeding that allows you to live nonetheless. We do love our stories. We do love the ones who tell them, who can tell a good one, orally or on the page. I will not list the delineation of good and bad storytelling. To tell a story or not to tell a story, that is the question for all storytellers.  Choosing to do so or not is more than the first step; it is the giant leap for all of us. Storytelling is humankind; we are the storytelling animal. What is history, though? We have the word from the French, the French from the Latin, the Latin from the ancient Greek. In French it refers to both what we in English mean by History and what we mean by story as in fictional story, or sometimes by non-fictional story. This latter idea that seemingly stands opposed to what history might be could be is does much in the way of confusing this relationship of story and history. If I tell the story of my life, how is that separate from history? It is not. This is what gives us mistaken received ideas about history, what it is. History, in any understanding that separates personal story or anecdotes from history, becomes something apart from people, that is, people as a collection of simple, separate, individual persons. In this kind of understanding of what history is, we the people cannot make it, or participate in it. History then, in our minds, is a river we never swim in, an ocean we never sail, a land distant and remote, an undiscovered country of other events by and with other people. These other people thus remain separate from us, different from us, grander than us, perhaps?

All language is metaphor. Language is a social trope. We are creative in the simple phrases, the sun has risen, the sun rose, the sun rises. When things are good, when your life is pleasant or happy you say Things are looking up. Up is goodis a metaphor. Any narrative could not help but be creative.

Narrative is a method of storytelling, in fact, it is storytelling. It is also a way of conveying both fiction and history–it orders things chronologically or a-chronologically, the latter itself indicating that there is a chronology of facts, themselves, perhaps, productions of memory or recording. There are facts in fiction, the facts of the story, the events, the places, the scenes as they are set, whether this be a short story as in fiction, a true story as in myth or journalistic reporting (the former framed by the archaic mind, which is not a psychological judgment but a fact of metaphysical mental construction), or biography, or an oral folks-tale or a verse narrative as in epic, for example, theIliad. Any history itself becomes a story, just by the telling. I tell my story, whether I tell the truth or I lie. But even if true, the story is invented, no? The inventiveness is the fashioning itself, and this is true for one kind of story or another, true stories or stories all made up. How is a woman leaving her home with make up on not her own fiction? We seem obsessed with facts; facts, facts and more facts, disregarding that The Earth is flat was once a fact.

The French use one word for both history and fictional story, l’histoire. I guess every fiction has its history; the novel Tom Jones, as we call it, is a history of Tom Jones, as the novelist Henry Fielding insisted when he gave it the title: The History of Tom Jones. We lose the reference to the novel as a history, or at least we had and thus we have for a time long enough to become entrenched in our referencing, a matter of custom. Every history, then, must have its fiction, this something fashioned, the story out of the material collected by the author’s inquires; in the mater of Fielding’s novel, the history is invented. History, as mentioned above, is from the Greek;  Istoria  meant investigation in ancient Greek. This is why Herodotus called what he had written The Histories. The novel Tom Jones is an inquiry into the life and times(?) of Tom Jones? Yes. How then is this novel that tells the story of Tom Jones different from the biogrpay I have on my shelf, Keith Richards, A Life? The latter is a first person account and the former is a third person omniscient account–but then how do first person accounts not share some of the omniscience of the third person narrative of the kind that is Tom Jones?

There will always be more in the heaven and earth of one man’s life than could be found or dreamed by any teller of his tale, including himself. Choice is essential; everything that becomes the story is in the choosing. These choices are in themselves creative acts.  So, what is it then that we mean when we say story and when we say history? Any story is a kind of history, as we have noted above. Yes, many of the early novel writers in 18th century England attempted to blur these boundaries or avoided making them clearly distinct, those between history and fiction. It was not only Fielding. There is something easier to understand in French than in English when we confuse history and story–although the French really do not suffer the confusion we fear. Having one word for what we mean by ‘history” and what we mean by ‘story,’ fictional ones, is not more confusing than having two words for two distinct concepts. The Anglo-Saxon speaking peoples of the world separate history from story, as such. Istoria in Greek was an inquiry or knowledge acquired by investigation. This does not by itself allow for categorical distinction between history and fictional story. I imagine that a story like Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is an investigation into the life of Goodman Brown, some of the life as it is chosen in the presentation, the effect of the narrative being both historical and historicizing, at least in the way that fiction can be a made up history, what we mean by fabricated as what we have conventionally meant by the term story. In antiquity, those who wrote what we would call history today were often those who had participated in the events, their making. This made history writing very close to biography, or more accurately, memoir. The role of testimony in inquiries could be used to understand what then fictional history is–“Young Goodman Brown” is the testimony of the narrator in the inquiry of who what when, where and how Young Goodman Brown.

We do separate the two, though, keeping our history apart from our fiction, at least we still maintain the illusion that we do. The latter about illusion is not an attempt to subvert faith in the possibility of knowledge about the past or to undermine belief in the truth value of historical writing. Yes, Mr. Coleridge, we do have to suspend our disbelief for historical writing as we do about our fiction. In a more traditional sense, history is the true story of a people or a person or a place, a country, a city, an empire, whatever have we in the focus of history writing, the product of what was once thought possible, objective historical investigation. In this, we have as mutually exclusive, fictional story and true story–that is, until we confront, as fore mentioned, that all mythology, apart from our Judaeo-Chritian prejudices against any mythology that could not be corroborated by the two Testaments, are the true stories of a people in as much as their stories of origins, all cosmogonic myths, are true for the people themselves living with these exemplary models, something we have to understand in way differently than we do or have done. Of course, as fore mentioned, the fiction writers of the 18th century tried to blur the lines between the two–what was the novel then anyway? The Preface to Defoe’s Moll Flandersspeaks more on this than I could here. The same author presents a shorter set of inferences in his preface to Robison Crusoe, whereby he calls himself “editor” of this “private man’s adventures in the world” and where he then says near his conclusion of the preface that he “believes . . . [Crusoe’s tale] to be a just history of fact.” History here a “story,” yes, as all history is a story, facts as we receive them by history re-enforcing what we understand about the past. The factory of culture makes its history, as Ivan in Russia hired chroniclers to write a history of Russia that favored him and the Romanov family, much for a similar reason the Emperor Augustus favored the poet Virgil. Fiction and History win separate prizes from the Pulitzer committee. But what is it that they share in form–narrative, as we have said; verisimilitude in fiction being parallel to the historical facts able to be corroborated. I imagine, though, that verisimilitude in fiction is easier to maintain than veracity for facts in history/historiography that countermand a society’s received ideas and dogmas. Ah! Facts; facts, facts and more facts, Mr Gradgrind. There is a Mister Gradgrind in all of us. Yet how many of our facts, both personal and public, both individual and collective do we accept without inquiry. How many of the facts in our media are fashioned as in factory made. Yes, our media is a factory of facts.

We understand by representative examples over time that history and fiction were not distinct in antiquity or even the 18th century in the way we have subsequently made them–and they do remain more closely linked in cultures that still use one word for the two, as we have seen in French. They were not yet set as they seem to be today, or as they were some time not so long ago, still in my lifetime, even around the time I started college (yes, university). History as a discipline had come to represent the verity of verities, at least in my time in the university (at least in my mind, how I conceived history and its purport); this only residually so today. There was still a belief that objectivity could be maintained or at least pursued, which is the most vital ingredient in the notion of objectivity in historiography, that it can be pursued and that a vigilance in this pursuit could be fruitful in the ways a belief in its possibility make apparent. This belief is something leftover from an earlier part of the last century where history was the pursuit of truth about the past, the little ‘t’ truths and something of the larger ‘T’ transcendent Truth we must never get rid of, anymore than we would dispose of our compass in a wilderness. However, the ideal history is one that aligns itself more or most closely with facts as they were (not as they can be manu[fact]ured), truth as it can best be discerned in its lowercase variant. This was not something as open to revision in the way it seems to be now, for better or for worse. There are the times I still hope not to lose sight of what I had pursued for so many years, as a philosophy major under the tutelage of a wry-humored Platonist, when I was a philosophy student in university. Yes, I held the belief that I was pursuing the Truth; and even if that were foolhardy for many of my former friends from among the Catholic proletariat I grew up with, it was still a steadfast creed among those I counted as friends and mentors in the university. It seems just as foolhardy for too many of those who count themselves among the educated class of Americans, any one educated in the university over the last twenty-five to thirty-five years has a radically different understanding of what we call now Truth and what we understood the Truth to be. Doubt today has become the highest wisdom, and that is not a doubt that we begin with, a Socratic doubt at the onset of our epistemology, but an end in itself an ending of all epistemological inquiry. We have become very religious about our knowledge; atheistically religious in as much as we have concluded once and for all that Truth does not exist. The only thing, though, we are left with in this anti-metaphyscal metaphysics of culture is The Will to Power.

This belief of mine notwithstanding the current critiques of Truth or minor ‘t’ truths–for want of a better understanding of today’s critique of knowledge (the latter which sounds off more in tune with received ideas and new dogmas by the new intellectual hegemony than any sound basis for reforms in thinking) what is has been will be history and more importantly acceptable historiography is of paramount importance to how we understand our role in the politics and economics of today . . .  fee, fie, fictio, historum. We have no giant killers. Those who do not remember history, are condemned to relive it, or so I recall in paraphrase of an inscription from George Santayana in Will Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Of course, in that book, history was still the objective discourse on the facts of the past as they were verified through a methodology that considered the quality of the sources, the validity of them, how even they were collected, complete with follow-up critiques of the conclusions, not something we are entirely without today. Objective was not as laughable as it seems today by those who imagine their critical acumen leaves them able to dispose of critical terms they misunderstand–often, dis-understand. There was a distinction drawn between the kind of history Herodotus had written and the one that Thucydides did afterward, although we did take too closely Thucydides’s assertions concerning all the supposed historiography before him as being of a lesser class of historical writing. There was something of even greater validity in the subjective (???) history Caesar had written in his Civil Wars, the latter falling under the rubric one history professor of mine called memoir, in spite of the diction chosen and rhetoric of objectivity employed. The rhetoric of objectivity not in itself the thing it purports to be. Witness to history, as we liked to say, was part of what qualified a person in antiquity to write a history of anything. Narrator as participator went a long way in validating the truth value of the inquiry, or the conclusions or the perceptions presented in the history.

The word ‘fiction,’ once again, comes from the Latin fictio, which means a thing made, fashioned, invented, as sometimes it referred to “invented statements,” once more, those that were false and known to be false. The artful liar was engaging in fiction. I often said back when I was an undergraduate, that if most people were in touch with their bullshit, how much they bullshit themselves and others, and just put it down on paper, they’d be fiction writers, and perhaps more of them good ones than bad ones. So then, in this sense of fashioning, making, inventing, everything told is fiction, even history, as asserted above. Just how much of memory is fiction, though, I am not herein going to discuss, but the gaps in memory are always filled in by the one recollecting–even a passive remembering has this filling in part of what takes place when remembering happens. how is it we fill them in, or with what we fill them in is the invention. The way a history gets told is a choice, this choosing is fashioning–all matters of style are matters of fashion in its broader sense as it also applies in its restricted sense. But then facts are themselves made in the sense that they have a context within which they function as facts; we do recall that the Earth is flatwas once a fact for a great many people;the Earth is the center of the solar systemwas a fact for many centuries. I mean, nothing is told that is not first made. Again, the idea that history and story are linked is evident in the one word for both designations in the romance languages and the mother of them, Latin. The francophone world, though, for want of more acute focus, does not confuse what we fear is confusing, as I alluded to above. The single word demands more articulation; the divergence of the different words does not always insist on articulating their distinctions, even though everyone understands at one time or another that there are links or similarities between history and story.

Nonetheless, every story is a history of a kind, and every history is certainly a story of what was, at least what purportedly was; this latter distinction bringing us closer to what Herodotus had intended by his Historiesand Herodotus brought many disciplines under the rubric of history. But then any method adapted to his inquiry he embraced. It is not the design of this essay to venture into what Herodotus’s methods of history writing were or are for us, not even in passing; but let it suffice to say that Herodotus was a masterful storyteller, and today he is more highly valued as an historian than he was in my days in college, just for bringing many stories into the mix. Historiography must be a mixture of styles, of forms, of methods, no? Thus many voices are brought to the page, which is good, but which also meets the demands of diversity’s dogmas as much as earlier histories met the dogmas of their ages.

What is history, though, is not the same question as what is historiography. Herodotus engaged in what he and the Greeks after him called Istoria. As aforementioned,  Istoria was an investigation and what comes to be called history is the report on this investigation. To say “historical investigation” is thus a redundancy. In Herodotus we hear and thus see how others understood the past he speaks of, how they chose to tell their story, or how Herodotus chose to tell how others chose to tell their story, how they understood what history was. But when we discuss historiography, we are discussing the writing of history and any discussion of writing must address writing as form, writing as style writing as rhetoric, rhetoric as suited to its purpose or not, rhetoric as something the author has a handle on or not, rhetoric as either effectively presented or not. Writing, even historical writing, that is, historiography, can be judged according to aesthetic standards, as all writing can be.

We do the same as Herodotus today as well when we look for anecdotal evidence, when we look for the story of the simple separate person from among the many who lived. This of course fits our dogmas of individualism and exceptionalism, but then this is what marks American historiography from others. The history of art, the history of automotive sales in America, the history of the samurai, the history of science, the history of sailing, et cetera are nothing without the individual’s story, perception, observations, or opinions. When we speak about history in a multidisciplinary way, which to me was always what history was, even when history was supposed to be about revealing some quota of truth, or be aimed at Truth–and I do understand the inferences herein from using the word ‘quota,’ as well from referring to truth or Truth. What arewe saying, though?

Is history one of the Humanities or is it a Social Science–and in my time, history was in the School of Social Sciences, and this spoke to a methodological distinction from history as a humanity in the School of Humanities. Focuses shift; of course they do. The dominant or most frequently employed methodology will also change, as will persist many examples of multi-methodological texts. This essay does not pretend to resolve these issues within the discipline of history or within or between any two of the sub-disciplinary approaches to historiography. These are endless? We could have history that is social science and history that is a branch of the humanities, no? They could not co exist in one department? I’m not sure why not. I do understand that History as a discipline in the university could benefit from a study of historiography in the way historiography gets analyzed in Literature Departments, although this is usually reserved for histories that have been assessed as possessing great literary value or appreciation. (There is such a thing in writing called the literary, and this cannot be made popular or democratized the way we imagine in our city or state colleges, the way we misunderstand in our public schools or any school or program that defers to the mandates of the state. Literary excellence is what it is: the literary in itself means excellence in letters, the kind of writing that is adjunct to a reading that is other than, more than, and beyond mere alphabetics. It is the kind of writing that demands a kind of reading that is in itself an exercise in literacy that increases literacy, makes literacy stronger, with more vitality.)

To tell or not to tell, that is the question in every culture, and in cultures that write, what is it that gets committed to paper determines what history gets remembered; we are not an oral culture, no matter how much we believe and fear that literacy is waning, or how much stock we put into the idea that ours is a culture transforming into an oral one. Every supposed oral forum is determined by literacy, by writing. But then this is the horror one gets from appraising the current state of literacy in America; we are still a literate culture, not an oral one. Very few of us even know what we are referring to let alone what we are trying to say when we speak in platitudes about our culture becoming an oral one. The differences and/or similarities between orality and literacy is non-existent in the understanding of most university educated anywhere, even in the United States.

Of course, in what we used to call a democratic forum, all ideas, thus in parallel, all stories competing for acceptance must have no censor. This of course is not exactly adhered to by the most ardently politically correct in our publishing establishment, certainly not in our universities, themselves having succumbed to the demands of the ledger book and the marketplace; the idea that we have multicultural slots to fill in our publishing is merely a way of increasing profits by subdividing the market, a basic tenet of microeconomics, learned by every undergraduate who takes Micro and Macro Economics as either a prerequisite or as an elective. However, even where all ideas competing for acceptance, there must still be competition, which means some form of discerning, which in turn means some form of discrimination, which does not mean blindly to prejudge. Historiography has succumbed to a crisis in epistemology whereby attaining knowledge has become impossible. This leaves historiography opened to a methodology that employs the narratology of the fiction writer, which, in an abrupt turn around, must never be entirely absent from even the most objective of history.

To prejudge blindly is not to be discriminating, which is what is so heinous about things like racism and sexism; there is often little to no discriminating involved. I discriminate between fresh and sour milk, very good and cheap wine, well made products and poorly made ones. If the wine is “corked,” or the wine is fine; I discriminate. But what we mean mostly about all ideas must have no censor is that we must not discriminate and thus must accept all ideas as possessing some validity. As children, we want what we think to matter to everyone we speak to independent of whether or not our thoughts are worthy of respect, and yes, respecting a man or a woman enough to listen to them is not the same thing as respecting and accepting what they say. We must have open forums of disagreement, and opinions must have quality otherwise we are in a situation where they only have quantity which leaves us open to an ethics numerically determined, which in turn only respects the rights of the current majority. This of course is similar to, but not identical with, learned consensus. And yes, there are intellectual elites, at least there used to be in our academies of higher learning. The church and the monastery have just about fallen below the horizon of history in determining the metaphysical energies and driving forces of the university system in the west; universities have become virtually fully bourgeois, and by this have fallen under the auspices of the ledger book. In publishing today, moreover, what gets published is as dogmatically colorful as it used to be white and male only; it seems we only ever flip the coin, which leads me to be cynical in face of others believing that history is progressive. But this also results in having to maintain this dogma. The fore mentioned coin-flip is, of course, a social corrective, yet aren’t laxatives also called correctives?

Social laxatives or laxities notwithstanding, narrative must be made, it is made, it is at the end of a creative process, or so we have come to say without actually knowing what we mean. A narratology of recounting the day–or should I restrict my diction to ‘retelling’ the day–would reveal the creative process, as it uncover what we mean by inventiveness. Diction is the choice and use of words in writing as well as speech. This choosing words is part of the fashioning, the making of any story. There is always present a wrighterin every writer, every teller of a tale. This wright has the same sense as used to be present in the word, playwright, one who builds a play, one who constructs, who makes . . . the thing made, again; a wheelwright makes wheels. Humans when they were called Man used to be the tool making animal; chimps chewing leaves to soak up water from knots in branches, or stripping branches and licking them to put into the holes of termite mounds exploded this and turned anthropology on its head. Humanology has struggled to recover in the last three decades since.

The past I have spoken of here was no golden age; it would be contrary to my ideas about adhering to a sense of Truth or would be indicative of an inability to be objective in weighing facts, in presenting the past, which is what history should do, present the facts as objectively as possible, restricting the sense of fact to some verifiable evidence of a true occurrence. History presents the past, I know, and in this, it is representation, which is what Shakespeare’s King Leardoes, represent, each performance a multiplication of the representation. We are not here going to venture a discussion of truth on the stage, truth in acting, verisimilitude in theater. What was, becomes another form of is. Is all presentation a matter of re-presentation, thus a matter of delivering fiction? We could say yes and remain confident in our objectivity.

Implications and inferences seem beyond us in our culture of ignorance–ah! here comes the diatribe I have been sensing all along, one might say; I will not ascent to ‘could.’ Things do though have to be spelled out for us. We have succumbed to a mountain of critique of our civilization: thinking is not something we believe can be taught or should be taught or needs to be taught because somewhere we imagine that thinking is what we are capable of by nature. But thinking is not randomly passing images in the mind, or becoming thrilled by our own brilliance because we have divined meaning without verification. Verification itself is mistrusted; the ability to verify has successfully been undermined–and we wonder why we have the media we have, the power structure we have, the politicians to we get to vote for, almost believing that what is, is right; the Status Quo as it is is forever.

Nonetheless, nevertheless, moreover, however, although, but, so and yet . . . narrative is a thing made, and History is narrative, for the most part, at least traditional histories have employed this method of presentation; history is, yes, a thing made, this fashioning and making being the core of what we call fiction, and in as much as all the fore mentioned references to the Latin fictiopoint to this thing made, history is a kind of fiction. All stories also include some narrative, at least the kind we have in conventional fiction. But then we do say narrative fiction as opposed to non-narrative fiction; the latter being the kind of short stories that have more in common with prose-poems, or other lyric expressions, as we sometimes find in the fiction of Virginia Woolf, to provide at least one representative example of such writing and certainly not the only. Yes, there is lyric fiction. Lyric, narrative and drama are clearly distinct forms of expression, those distinctions are not going to be drawn; nor am I going to discuss exposition, expository writing, the likes we find in the essay form, a genre of literature I will only pass over in the ensuing discussion. The separate names of these forms of expression, principally writing, might imply inclusion in clearly drawn categories. These forms of expression  are not mutual in their categorical forms, but may be mutually employed by the expression chosen; narrative fiction as opposed to narrative non-fiction, let us say. There is of course narrative fiction and narrative non-fiction, and the traditional notion of history resides in the latter, narrative non-fiction. Is there lyric history? This is another essay.

Narrative, however, is simply the product of narration; the act of narrating makes the narrative. This act, of course, is the subject of all narratology, whether it is the Odyssey, Moll Flanders, The Great Gatsby,Caesar’s The Civil Wars, or Gibbon’s The Rise and fall of the Roman Empire. We only have to reflect on our telling to know that narrating anything involves choices, many of them creative, others biased, still others perhaps short-sighted, others yet limited by available documents. Certainly rhetorical choices are involved, thus making the telling of any story not only a reflection of the teller’s style, the teller’s idiolectal variations on his native or non-native sociolect, his speech community’s negotiated and negotiable discourse, but is reflective of his creative ablity, his makerly relationship with his text. It also reveals his politics. All history writing is inevitably political and politicizing. I am taking my notions of politicalizing, of politicized discourse, or discourse in the act of politicizing (not the same things) from Aristotle–anything anyone does is by design or in effect political. Human beings are political animals; we are also storytelling ones.

Since all history writers are in effect makers of their texts, and all makers are poets, as is predicated by the Greek poeta, that is, maker, all historiography has its poetics. Now not every one can tell a story well, or even tell what has happened adequately, this we seem to know without having to say it. Bearing witness without prejudice; but what about the prejudices of memory, the prejudices of our culturally received ideas, its accepted dogmas? And any institution of state, or of religion, or of finance, as well as any State has its dogmas–your family has its dogmas, too; but then, the family is an institution. Now most people rarely pay attention to the difference between the expository and the narrative, let alone possess the good sense when to use either. I am not so certain that everyone needs to be able to do so; however, I am fast realizing that even among many of our educated elite (and successful completion of a graduate school program makes one a part of an educated elite, or at least it should; yet perhaps not the master’s anymore, but let us leave that alone for now), a distinction between the two forms of expression is absent. Even a rudimentary understanding of the two as categories of writing would go a long way in helping to manage one’s critique of history, historia, historum, fee, fie, fictio and all that.

Nonetheless, one still makes a text when he or she says anything about some event, some experience, some occurrence. The competence to tell a story well, of course, goes beyond mere grammatical competence, at least how we limit our understanding of the term grammatical. But there is some truth in the maxim, teaching grammar will not make a person a better writer. This of course points to a number of seemingly divergent things, but one is essential, and that is that no matter how a story is told, it is creative in the aforementioned ways someone is creative when telling any story, even a story about what happened at work or the token booth in the subway, The story-teller should know the differences between narrative and exposition, although this knowledge in itself will not a story-teller make.

Fee, fie, fictio, historum . . . all of us are storytellers, telling stories true and stories made up, stories in one form or another all of them sharing the makerliness of the text, whether that be oral or that be written, we grind the bones of memory to make our bread.

Written by jvr

October 19, 2018 at 4:40 pm

BLACKFACE FOR THE ELITE [FICTION]

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“Americans are not very bright,” she said. “No, really, they make up the stupidest liberals in the world, if you can even call them liberals? Liberals, I guess, only when compared with the reactionary lunacy of her conservatives, this America that once stood as a beacon of liberty?” She asked.

“John Lennon had said that woman is the nigger of the world. Was it appropriate or inappropriate to draw this analogy, house this term? We are too often concerned for the appropriateness or inappropriateness of language that have little to no adherence to literary value, rhetorical necessity, semantic need in a deeper understanding of action  no,” she said.

“Did Lenon understand the universal plight of women correctly? Did he appreciate the plight of women internationally and the economic and sometimes social inequality faced in the world’s foremost democratic nations? His was an awareness of what the word nigger had meant and applied it to another group equally deserving, right?” She asked.

“Are we not to see points of contact, paradigms in repression? Yes, no, maybe? It seems instead as if we will talk, talk and talk endlessly needlessly about the appropriateness of using the word without ever getting to the what if of it, which is to say, what if women were niggers, what then does that say about women; and if they are niggers, what then does that say about African-Americans?

If you could appreciate the irony of women being called niggers, allowing for the many ifs that would ensue rhetorically if nigger were held appropriate in the place Lennon had put it . . . what then would we say?

Agree, disagree, understand, misunderstand, disavow, whatever have we in words to express what response you had, do have, could have, will . . .  I say that anybody at any time anywhere can be a nigger, not in the way blacks have been the niggers in America or any of the colonies or countries where they were slaves or subject to other forms of oppression, nor exactly in the many ways women have been treated in kind with their brothers and sisters in oppression. No? Again, incorrect; again, inappropriate?” She asked.

“Agree, disagree . . . you do not need me to draw up another litany of words that could represent any one of the many responses anyone might have to using the word nigger at all, let alone as a term to describe a group that may or may not be black,” she said.

“When subject to the whims and the will of power and money, anybody anywhere can be a nigger. In fact, everyone is the nigger of multi-national power and the corporate elites who rule through an oligarchy of like interests moving in the same general direction as they move about in the same circles, as they are inclined to support like policies, thus like candidates, who get closer and closer to one another in the Two Party system, themselves getting closer and closer as they become more and more alike. Yes, the niggers of money are subject to a corporate elite who have subsumed an oligarchic function, including those corporations of finance on Wall Street,” she said.

She said, “If Obama can be the bankers bitch, how is that we are not the niggers of American Totalitarian Capitalism. How have the Chinese people not been the niggers of the state, the niggers of the Communist Party power in China. How were the serfs in Russia not niggers? Blacks under Jim Crow were niggers,” she said. She said, “No one rational is going to compare our economic and political oppression at the hands of a power elite more monied and a monied elite more powerful than any at any time in our history with the brutality of chattel slavery; nor would any sensitive person connect our oppression point for point with exact dimensions of oppression blacks felt and suffered under JIm Crow. However, power is power is power and for power to continue, it adapts,” she said.

“Power elites and monied elites are more sophisticated than they have been in the past,” she said.

“Mike Bloomberg increased his wealth nine times since he became mayor. The Justice Department did not investigate him. I am still wondering why, but not with sustained earnestness. Politicians, when they are not themselves members of the monied elite, serve the monied elite, for that money is power because it is the base from which all political campaigns are waged,” she said. “The government thus serves the elite; but today, so then does our press. The media, another set of corporations ruled by profit and thirst for more of it for fewer and fewer people, are aligned with Power and Money–only several corporations run all the major print and broadcast media in the United States,” she said.

“News in America,” she said, “in a restricted way, resembles the old Soviet Pravda, an irony lost in the good marketing of news . . .  the old totalitarian propaganda machines resembling and even mirroring advertising in the US, advertising in America informing State spin,” she said.

“How had Bloomberg used the office of the mayor to increase his coffers at the same time the city cried poverty and services for the people were slashed?” She asked.  “Like Bloomberg, Obama will have us abdicate our responsibility to ourselves as a People who are free  in order to become a public a bit more dependent on the state, a public who receives a few more crumbs from the dinner table of the elite,” she said.

“We were once horrified at the historical existence of minstrel shows, of white men wearing black face imitating in derogatory, racist ways the supposed manners of black people. I am from the age of James Brown, Black Power, Black Panthers and the Mexico City Olympics when I was boy, so forgive me if I say black and not African-American,” she said. She said, “But what then is Obama’s Presidency but a half white puppet of the monied power elite wearing blackfaceto inverse effect. How can Obama be supporter of the Monied Elite, how can he be deeper in the pockets of the banks than any President in our history, owing them more because no one in Washington owed him anything.?” She asked rhetorically.

“But as formed by the selective dissemination of information as we are, we were primed to think that a black man had to speak for the People, that a beck man in the Oval Office could not be a friend of the corporate elite, would not be the closet conservative that the elite needed and wanted,” she said, “was never going to deport more people than all other Presidents,” she said, “expand the drone assassination campaign to all quarters of the world,” she continued, “would never violate the air space or the sovereignty of other nations, could not have spent one trillion dollars on upgrading our entire nuclear arsenal, thus making fifty ormolu years of arms talks irrelevant,” she said. She said that he was not going “to try to worm his way into Ukranian politics, tweaking Putin’s nose and causing a horrific civil war; he would not be laying hands off ISIS, letting us then think our intelligence community had under estimated them, perhaps thinking they were not what they were from the beginning . . . yes, laying hands off ISIS in its move toward Syria in an attempt to play geo-politics with Assad, hoping to get him to leave,” she said.

“It could not have been Obama who allowed ISIS to gain such steam causing a terrible situation in Syria to explode into a human right’s disaster. No, all these couldn’t be possible because he is black. And that’s what the closet and agent conservatives in the Democratic Party and among the Power andMonied Elite understood. I am not even going to discuss his diplomatic disasters when leaving Hilary off the hook. But then none of this is measured by mainstream political analysis and remains perhaps too visceral, too much in line with diatribe and tirade, all of it akin to the polemics I sometimes engage,” she said.

Rosalind said much and wrote much, published here as she has been and will be.

Written by jvr

October 15, 2018 at 10:31 am

ISLAM AND ILLITERACY

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Is Islam in itself an impediment to democracy or is it the village mind of hundreds of millions of muslims living in third world poverty around the world, barely literate enough to read even Holy Qu’ran, let alone anything that would foster democratic thinking?

We have to be better educated about history and more honest about what literacy is and should be, and how much our freedom is dependent on an advancement of literacy that our pedagogy dosn’t seem able or willing to pursue. Of course I see the women in my neighborhood wearing burkas and I do sometimes wish I lived in Paris. I still insist that we have to manage our democracy and freedom much better in face of what we think we afre protecting in the matters of cultural diversity.

There is no issue or question of disrespect of cultural diversity that must tolerate impediments to issues of gender equality, or matters of constitutionality. Sharia law has no place in America where it violates our laws and our commitement to equality.

Impediments to the spread of democracy may also be found in the United States acting less than genuinely in maters of treaty, policy, foreign affairs of several kinds, whether economic, military, geo-political, et cetera; although I do not oppose the United States violating Pakistan’s sovereignty to kill Bin Laden. Connundrums will always ensue anytime anyone considers any policy or politics as either the former or the latter is implemented or engaged in the world. There is something universal about politics irrespective of country or relgious hegemony or ethnic unity or diversity, whatever have we in the forms of the contexts within which policies are set or politics arise.

Being Muslim in itself does not impede a society’s growth, democraticaly, not nearly as much as entrenchd cultural attitudes that have nothing whatsoever to do with Holy Qu’ran, but have much more to do with human inequality and human narrow mindedness and prejudice, something exiting to a greater or lesser extent depending on the historical experiences of the people concerned. These we cannot mistake.

Misogyny is not a cultural diversity. But enough on the bandwagon of assumed Islamic misogyny. The existenc of such must be addressed by Muslims but never tolerated by us. This is not a privilege for Muslims: to violate the law because of their assertions in matters we confuse for religious freedom. Yes, privilege is not for the elite or the power structure but always for the marginalized.

Democrats are as much to blame for any of our geo-political problems as are our Republicans, neither one more diametrically opposed to the other than let’s say heads is diametrically opposed to tails on any coin you hold in your hand. Do I still believe as Lincoln once thought that The United States is the last best hope for humankind? Yes, I do. But that is going to take greater literacy, and not just the alphabetics the corporate world sponsors through their control of education in America.

We must be clear with Muslim Americans as we have been clear with Orthodox Jews, who do not practice entirely in America what Jewish Law would permit them to do. This necessity for clarity is not practiced by either party and seems endemic to all politicians. But the level of education and real cultural awareness and a literacy that could handle the complexities of the legal and social issues that arise when cultures do clash within a society, when religious freedom comes up against violations of laws or maintaining impediments to the free exercise of a person’s rights, is lacking in our society. The government bureacratic management of education has left us at a great disadvantage.

The feds make no policy in education apart from corporate lobbies. These are the same corporate lobbies that could care less about the hundreds of millions of muslims living in third world poverty, again in illiteracy or semi-literacy, the latter two being soils within which many fanatics and terrorists grow. No. These are the corporate lobbies that throw millions at politicians in Washington, in the White House, in Congress, and care little to nothing for the American worker and his family or their economic plight.

Capitalism is responsible for the  worst slums in human history, some of the direst poverty, the greatest inequitable distribution of wealth, and yet, like most Alpha gorillas, we beat our chest in pride, but a pride based on a lie–we are freer than any people have ever been, or so the propaganda continues, and we have to be grateful for our lives in America because we could be living in China or Afghanistan.

We have to stop comparing ourselves to the third world and start comparing ourselves to what we should be and could be. We’ll see, with the new mandates in education being a way to wean American off the notion that there should be a safety net at all.

Written by jvr

October 12, 2018 at 10:38 am

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