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 April 2019

SEMI LITERACY TRIUMPHANT

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ONE

Translating Shakespeare? I remember this notion having recurred time and again throughout my life, intermittently along with the mistaken idea that Shakespeare did not write his plays, or even more ignorantly, that he could not have written his plays. Even today, there are respected scholars who have taken up the cause of Thomas Middleton’s collaborations with the bard, something I will not dispute, for if I were to dispute this without examining the textual analysis and evidence as so purported, I’d be unforgivable to myself . . . bearing false witness, and all of that, you know.

Nevertheless, translating Shakespeare has been a recurring notion rooted, rooted, I must insist, in a general and pervasively degraded literacy . . . I do have no problem with there having been collaboration between him and Marlowe on the Henry VI plays; I do not wish to dispute Middleton’s contributions, not really collaborations? I do know that these collaborations and/or contributions by others do not extend to Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, MacBeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, A Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Henry the IV, Part One and Part Two, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III and Richard II . . . need I continue? A Bard-o-philiac? Of course, but then Shaespeare is Shakespeare, Middleton, Middleton and Marlowe, Marlowe, the latter who I loved when I was in my twenties, to the point of arguing his equality with Shakespeare and teching Will in his world to speak in blank verse . . . perhaps an exaggeration.

I do know that imitation is the greatest flattery, and I do not wish to underminethecertainty of contemporary textual analysis, but careers are made or broken on such ventures, and I always distrust academics in the West-west not to be sensationalist and bound up in the marketing of scholarship. This is not by way of disputation, no. I do know or feel or think that Shakespearecould have and would have immitated Marlowe to the point of becoming Marlovian in diction and style if he imagined that this would have let him convey what he knew he needed to convey in the play, especially as he built them . . . always the architect, master builder, stone cutter and mason?

Nonetheless, nevertheless, moreover, whatever, however . . . recently, I heard of a project, I think by a Portland Theater group, or was it somewhere else . . . I could continue to ask, but seems unimportant and not too relevant to the main points herein to be discussed, some contingent, some ancillary?How was this translation project imagined? I could ask. I could also wonder about the necessity as this, of course, has been imagined a necessity. I cannot concoct in my head without becoming condescending and just a bit Menippean—I have always loved satire that cuts–when I consider the lack of necessity. I do understand that there are those who want to translate Shakespeare as we do Chaucer and Beowulf.

The latter above was composed in West Saxon, at least that is the dialect of Old English in the only surviving manuscript that could be dated near the reckoned dates of first composition; the former, the author of the Canterbury Tales, wrote in the London dialect of Middle English, in the late 1300s, and is a lot more intelligible than Beowulf, being several centuries closer to Shakespeare and thus to us. A great deal more work is needed to get through Chaucer’s original than Shakespeare, though; but for the student or scholar of such, the link between Chaucer and Shakespeare is very interesting to note, and even reading Chaucer in what I have at home, and interlienear text, is compelling.

It is not entirely beyond the pale (pardon the cliche) to think there are those who could imagine Shakespeare as unintelligible as Chaucer, although I could never be one of them. The necessity for translating Shakespeare is not a matter of intelligibility, but one of intelligence and level of literacy, which does not need to be as remote from our common education as too many who have suffered from the corporate takeover of education (and the ensuing under education they have received) think. The imagined necessity for translating Shakespeare is something outside what was once common literacy, what was general in public education, for anyone who received a High School diploma. Yes, reading at a level that allowed intelligibility of Julius Caesar or Romeo and Juliet was a given, the expectation.

Shakespeare’s English is the beginning of our own, and possesses a link firm and binding. It is more a matter of idiom than dialect or language; those who cannot read him intelligibly are either under-educated or semi-literate or lazy—yes, lazy. An enforced laziness that masqueraded as more democratic under the guise of relevance in education became the norm, thus anything more became unnecessary.

 

TWO

I pronounced aloud, aboard a Brooklyn bound D that had been paused on the Manhattan Bridge for far longer than any normal, rational, intelligent human, that managing the trains in our metro presents a puzzle for dispatchers that their systematic under education and semi-literacy cannot handle. I stand by my outburst. Yet, a rather intelligent looking white man, from somewhere nowhere near New York City, said in rebuttal, with an inflection that might have garnered him a punch in the nose if it had been aimed at me twenty or thirty years earlier in any of the blue-collar Irish Catholic bars I mis-spent my youth in: What does literacy have to do with running the trains? Ah! Openly disputing a truth I knew be self-evident could only mean what? I needed to muster compassion fast or contempt was going to soon fill the momentary vacuum of sense and educated sensibility.

I then knew, as an immediate and emotional response to his rhetorical posture he was sure would make an impression on me and others, that we as a populus in this city were lost in a morass of confused, confusing and confounded thinking, more akin to rapidly passing images in the mind than anything organized, articulate, intelligent (or educated) could be. Literacy has everything to do with the advances made in civilization, and no, not the advances in colonialism or the greater savageries of imperialism.

I do understand that we sometimes have education without intelligence, as this White man showed–this White-white Protestant man from somewhere nowhere near NewYork City, as I have insisted, although here to gentrify black neighborhoods, was looking at me the way White people are imagined to look at others not of their paleness or Protestant-ness.

The maladies I see and hear in our thinking are the product of the very systematic under eduction and stunted literacy I had said was the cause of repeated delays in service that happen too often to be just about the alleged betterment of the subway. It surely is all-out men and women unable to handle the complexities of their job due to the fact that they are stunted in their ability to think. This collective stupidity we suffer is irrespective of race, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, creed. Stpid is as stupid does with some few exceptions is everywhere pervasive.

But then the subway in New York City is run, a man in a bar I was in the other day said, “by simians, all of them just three steps short of beating a baby baboon to death against a tree, something their cousins, the chimps, do without psychological disturbance, just as a matter of course, asserting one’s place in the social hierarchy of chimpanzees.”

Now, the latter, these chimpanzees, are 98% identical with all of us Homo Sapiens, what we remain more starkly the less often we choose the Human, which is never what it is without the humane or the civilized, or what we could call literate, whether through actual literacy or orality; the later being something we have severed our connections to, having allowed the Power and Monied Elites to attack the Folk, the People as themselves in a tradition of folk learning, folk knowledge transmitted through folk telling, folk stories, tales, wisdom. The People, with a capital ‘P,’ are a political institution; the Folk, are themselves, themselves culturally, socially. (After having first attacked the old Ecclesiastic order, the next line of attack of the Aristocracy, after which the attack was to come at the Folk, which waste be followed by a usurpation of the role of the People, politically, for the more docile state-serving Public.)

Now, this thing civilization, from which we order our civilized behavior, is an arrangement of society and culture along the lines and forms of a variety of metaphysical systems, but certainly begins to wane in the absence of all or any metaphysics; at least as far as an understanding and a consciousness of metaphysical systems and their elemental role in the ordering of what all of us would like to call civilized behavior, civilized organization, civilized management of social services . . . and don’t go talking stupid because it was a matter of the accepted anthropology of my days as an undergraduate that the Bedouin tent and the Lakota TeePee are manifestations of civilization, the word ‘civilization’ having been expanded from its etymology in the Latin Civis, which was a term for city, along with Urbs (the origin of ‘urban.’).

Now, unless the design is to dispense with civilization as an organizing term because it has been too loosely associated with colonialisms and various forms of imperialism, which not every colonialism represents (and there have been colonialisms without racism or slavery, as there had been slavery for thousands of years before the Atlantic/African Slave Trade, which did come after the African slave trade run by Arab Muslims for more than a thousand years since the fall of Rome and Roman control of North Africa . . . et cetera, et cetera); the term ‘civilization’ should remain as a definitive label for collective behavior.

The fact that there is a project in Oregon set to translate all of Shakespeare into contemporary English only shows me that my laments about the state of literacy over the last several decades has been valid–yet I do not object entirely to modernizations. I do object, though, that we pretend that Shakespeare is unintelligible without translation, which is grossly untrue. Only a glossary was ever necessary for anyone who had been standardly literate, at least at a time when the average High School graduate could read on grade and not at the seventh (which it seems most of those who are now running our city read at, if I am allowed a tangent–you do know that the fact we have undermined literacy and opted for a baser form of alphabetism, separating the advances of higher literacy from civilization and what it means to be civilized, has left us with mismanagement after grotesque mismanagement of our civil orders, as well as where we are at politically . . .).

The need for translation, as some call it, is not a necessity born of distance and mutual unintelligibility, but a product of our debased sense of literacy and what it means to be a literate person–and I am not talking about a university graduate or undergraduate level reading, but what used to be high school when persons needed to read at the 12th grade to graduate High School, more specifically at time when what was a 12th grade reading level had not been debased, devalued, inflated (in its economic connotation) in order to adjust reading scores by students who could no longer perform well enough.

I had noted this while teaching in the City University of New York when the University decided to move from the WAT test to the ACT test for admissions writing requirements. The latter called for a much different kind of essay. A much easier format was instituted, geared toward looser construction, lesser or limited complexity; and was graded through a series of recurring norming sessions designed to re-adjust the passing levels, thus requiring even lesser and lesser literacy . . . all in the name of a misguided attempt to democratize education.

The only problem is that all of this backfired and has only resulted in greater and greater elitism and more power for Power and more money for Monied elites. I noticed this while teaching for over a decade in a very well known ESOL program in Brooklyn, where language and literacy or what students needed to learn, and how, were as far from the supervisors comprehension as neuroscience is to the token booth clerk’s mind, not to disparage the token booth clerk or job she or he does.

 

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Written by jvr

April 29, 2019 at 10:28 am

IMPURE BLOOD

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Preface

More remarks after the fact. Everything before a story is after the story. What is a story–true or fictional, I hesitate to say un-true for fictional story. There are many kinds of fictional forms. I am not going to delineate them herein. I understand that there is a form of epistolary novel–that is, a novel in letter. How much of this novel mentioned here is actually in the leters; how much is in the narrative? There is always some amount of dialogue–letters are speech on paper? What is a letter in the manner of a liar lying–there is something of fiction there, no? I am talking of letters in our lives presumably true expressions of feelings, of ideas, of experiences, no?  What of the essay as a form? Couldn’t a character in a novel write essay after essay and the author weave the essays into the narrative to give expression to the character in a manner distinct from dialogue or interior monologue–first person narative is all monologic, no? Or are there other manners of first-person narrative? But expository prose is not narrative, is it? And it is not exactly dialogue as we see in novels inside or outside of quotation marks, or in the manner presented in plays, is it? I am not exactly certain where this preface is taking me–who am I speaking to you here–am I the Publishing-Editor, J.; or, am I the author J.; or am I the narrator or author-character who is created by the author me who then writes a preface to the story he authors with a narrator or narrators who are not really narrators but expositors–the essayistic novel I have tried and failed at–at least in my Schubert like manias, I have failed at what I would consider a success in writing an essayistic novel–but then the essayistic story–a story that is all or virtually all exposition, and essay that also propels a story of a kind . . . to write a fictional essay is the same as writing an essayistic story–maybe not? What then is this? Even if I say what I do herein, I make no wedding vows–this is a fictional essay, something I have half in mind all the time I am writing one or another personal essay–who does not use fiction in supporting his life’s tale, the one told by the idiot or idiots inside, full of every kind of sound and all kinds of fury . . . yes, I am satisfied at the moment with this: a fictional essay (I am a Satyr alive and well in the City of New York, 2015).

Impure Blood

The greatest trick the devil has played on us

has been to convince us

he does not exist. 

I

What then should I say, can I say, what do we say, do we do, can we–what is it then that I should think we can do–what can we do? Should, would or could–all conditions preset; all conditions established by a deeper sense of rhetoric. We know and we do not know, sometimes simultaneously, what other confusions can we breed from being . . . Questions do follow questions, do spawn other questions, do instill a love, or an aversion for them, asking or answering –do we say something, saying anything after a question asked? Do we actually answer questions and see what happens, what the responses will be.  We do only simply respond as we have grown accustomed to doing, after questions. More questions come? I come, she used to ask me to come inside of her, she used to say that the cunt needed semen to be healthy. A kingdom of questions for an answer. Yes, an answer, an answer, my kingdom for an answer. Ave vagina plena gratia . . . pro deo et vagina.

So then, what must we do? I ask, genuinely, I ask. Is it we? I am we here; I am we in the mirror;I am we in my soul; I am we in my mind; I am we in the Self of selves as I have said and said again and will say and say and say. You cannot–I used to read Luke, re-read Luke, the Gospel of Luke, the prettiest gospel, the best written gospel–I remember having said a long, long time ago, that the Canonical gospels–that Canonicity did have everything to do with the quality of the writing. The Canonical Gospels are better writing than the Gnostic Gospels. Maybe the Gnostics failed because as writers they were not as good. I stopped reading Luke, what then must we do? We must have a solution–there are no solutions. How can we make our problems solvent, to solve our problems we would have to kill the motherfuckers fucking every mother’s son under the sun–nothing new, we know, I knew then too, why there were no answers–I mean there were answers but none for the giving, none put into words any one of us could speak. I remember reading on a wall in a bathroom in a bar–or so I say . . . Kill the motherfuckers–yes, we must kill the motherfuckers, all the motherfuckers everywhere there are motherfuckers, and you know they are everywhere, that is, anywhere, and in this country, motherfuckers have elaborate spin to show how they are not really motherfuckers but what everyone else should want to be because if you do not want to be them then you belong with all the stupid motherfuckers because what the motherfuckers have succeeded in doing is showing you that there are no motherfuckers except those who do not want to be motherfuckers like the real motherfuckers who are the most dangerous motherfuckers.

Am I to believe that we must do as has herein been said, stated, pronounced–there’s that spelling again, how to spell is how to speak is how to pronounce the words necessary to make the spells work, no? Suiting word to action and actions to words. What is written on bathroom walls, subway walls, somewhere anywhere invisible people congregate in groups or alone, yes, with themselves, himself this one person invisible congregating. I am congregate; I am a congregation of one of many; I am we, again.

Hamlet is my father. What the fuck does that mean?I can hear you asking. I heard what has been herein said above, words following words–be careful what you wish for a girl friend had said to me, tha same who warned who I had affinities for . . . what could this mean to anyone today, kill, kill, kill, all of them, the mother fuckers? 

Simplistic? Confusing? We are always confusing the simplistic for simplicity. Never the twain, you know–the latter is the heart of genius; simplicity, yes. Love, though, is the soul of genius. Simplicity is but the heart of it.

You cannot allow yourself to believe that simplicity and complexity do not coexist, or cannot coexist, no, they do, they do coexist, simplicity and complexity.The simplistic is other than–it is something else, not even close to simplicity. We have to understand the difference betwen complexity and complicated, too. These are not synonyms either; simplistic and simplicity are exclusive. So . . . what then must we do.

Do we chop off their fucking heads? 

Yes, we must chop off their fucking heads, cut off their fucking heads in guillotines.

Of course we chop off their fucking heads, I hear another and another and another say in petty paced speech until the last syllable is pronounced for thee.

How do we chop off their fucking heads? I hear a young man ask, a boy, really, no older than my girlfriend’s boy, son.

We do not have to chop off all of their fucking heads, these motherfuckers who are real motherfuckers fucking everything up. And they are, fucking everything up. Eventually for themselves too.

Italics are a convenient veil, but are they an effective one? What else are we to do? I ask myself. Answers come to me in streams. The words fall off like pieces from a framed jigsaw puzzle. Who frames jigsaw puzzles–why do we have to make fun of people who frame jigsaw puzzles. Liberals at Harvard are too full of themselves, having let the barbarians inside the gate–yes, it is the fault of liberals, American liberals, another name for stupid liberal, semi-literate liberal, historically ignorant liberal, liberal who has stopped thinking except in bureaucratized slogans. American liberals today would have disgusted Shelley or Blake; would have puzzled and exaceperated Jefferson and Madison, but we have to question question question the validity of Jeffersonian mandates about freedom and democracy because in our ignorance we think we know better, another form of contempo-centrism rearing its ugliness over and over.

Power only responds to power, money to money, I have said, I have written–I write a lot and often, keeping one or another blog, literary reviews on line–no one reads anymore. I’m sure that most of the people who hop around on line are still mother-fucking stupid–yes, all the stupid motherfuckers who are really stupid motherfuckers because they cannot read or think, and I am not talking about what some teenage arrogant twit thinks he thinks how he thinks what he thinks when he thinks in the Yxxx–assholes, all of them, really.

This is not an over generalization anymore than saying chimpanzees are arbitrarily violent. But they aren’t afraid–power isn’t afraid. Money isn’t afraid. We have enforced a psychopathic sense-need-demand for politeness, always polite, unnecessarily polite, counterproductively polite–no one is allowed to be righteously indignant unless it is for some Zionist framed outrage over what is believed to be Anti-Semitism, or how endemically racist white America is. Machiavelli would be proud.

We have to make them afraid. We are not making them afraid. We don’t have to kill as many as the Bolsheviks or the Jacobins to make them afraid. We have the internet. We have video. We have social media. What else could we should we do to them who would and do subjugate us? I ask. Words that appear to have been asked–I am not asking. How fucking much like simpletons can we be? You ask. And we are just like simple-fucking-tons. Letting the barbarians inside the gate, neo-conservative barbarians, What’s wrong with the Ostrogoths or Visigoths, anyway? 

What is it here that follows–we follow, we bow, we bend, we succumb, we defer, we abdicate, we act irresponsibly with respect for our freedom–we have no respect for freedom–we do not have the literacy anymore to articulate what that freedom is or should be or is not anymore. The following herein has been thought by a simple man, not a simpleton. It was thought about and then written down in his journal while on vacation in Montauk, his favorite vacation spot in the world, perhaps, every summer going at least once if not twice to the east end of Long Island, the South side of the South Fork. I should speak about this, I should not bother to speak about this, I should speak for everyone, I should not speak for anyone, I could not speak for anyone unless–unless what? What is there that is unless?  I should speak for myself only; I have onl;y wanted to speak for me and for me alone.

Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? I am we. I am we the people too. You are we the people as well. How can this be? You might ask. It is the way there are an infinite of relative centers to the expansion of the universe. There are an infinity of possible we the peoples, I am, you are, he is and he is and she is and they are and you are another in this how many could you count is not nearly high enough.

II

Third person 

Without his trips my trips every summer to Montauk–what does any of this mean to me, to you, to us, there is no understanding of us, who we are, what we could be, what we have been politically, this We the People and this Public we defer our people-ness for time in and time again, bureaucratically derived security . . . he could not imagine being rejuvenated, invigorated, renewed, he hesitates to think reborn without his trips my trips to Montauk, Long Island. The entries herein collected have been transcribed from his journal that was left at a friend of his . . . the friend had it on his shelf. I had come across it staying at this friend’s house. A mutual friend. Everyone he knows, I know; everyone I know he knows are the same people he knows, what he knows I know what I know he knows mutually, reciprocally . . . who I am . . . but what, how many, I am many.

I should not have read it–but then, how could I not have read it. I would have had to read it. I was compelled to read it as I am compelled to read anything I have written in another time another place which is everywhere I have written in my life from the one, the place and the time I occupy at present.  But it was clear from the cover that it was not my friend’s journal,how many friends could anyone have; who are all these selves in my Self if not friends of mine, some of them, though, I am only acquainted with and have not become friends with. I made a space for me to violate the boundaries of the journal–are there things I think in one self I should or do keep from other selves, and is it natural for all of my selves to be curious about these other selves, and how does a self in the Self differ from another person outside the Self, not within but without, outside is without–that’s interesting. I had to remove the journal to get a book on the shelf I wanted to have a look at, not having had a look at it since college.

The journal had caused the books on shelf to be be more tightly wedged. The journal was protruding, and was easily gripped. I removed it and had a look at the cover and then decided to open it, and it was empty but for first few pages, a journal just initiated and other than the essay, the article, the something else that I read, that was it in the journal. I never did get to take out Hobbes Leviathan. . .

I am not going to list all the texts that I should read in the matter of our liberty and how it is waning–and it is waning, and it has been so for longer than we think, and it has been out liberals as well as our conservatives who have participated in this orgy of power–too strong–hyperbole, you say.

I have seven book shelves each about six feet tall with six sleves each and each of them is about three feet wide almost two feet deep . . . and the amount of books I have on shelves; no one has had as many books as I have had in my life, rading has saved me I could say, to read as I have learned to read is to begin to philosophize and to philosophize is to learn how to die–thus live? Or is it to truly die, the way we have learned to rationalize our way right out of rights–the completely stupid motherfuckers in their mother-fucking ignorance, as if it were a cultural marker to be so stupid, ignorant and semi-, if not completely il-literate . . . I am bouncing around inside my skull, not the literal skull you simpleton fuck, Johnny, why can’t you write a simple memo, you illiterate–yes, illicit–ignorant bastard. How we write like the many monkeys at the many typewriters tapping, tapping, tapping the keys in infinite time . . . the impossible-to-conceive really dumb motherfuckers who come out against Jefferson in the most knee-jerk of ways, reflex is not thinking, responding to the stimuli of media that sells the idea that the only way to be authentically black is either to be one or another from of gangster, or an overly emotional wretch who can’t think his way past yesterday–and this same media will point elsewhere to find endemic racism in America . . .  and so you can conclude for yourself what this means, the books and other . . . everyone, not only black people being sold the identity-images they wear, another Emperor’s new clothes for all of us imperial in our vanity.

Where then must we arrive . . . how then should he have conveyed, should anyone say, history? Every reflex these semi-literate motherfuckers have toward whatever half-baked notion of freedom and democracy they have wandering amid the images randomly passing in the mind that they confuse for thinking, comes from Jefferson and Madison, only incomplete, inconsistent, incontinent, diarrhea of the mouth, what we feed ourselves in the mind, junk-food thinking for the brain, diarrhea, diarrhea, diarrhea.

What can I tell you? What does anyone tell when they intend to tell, perhaps saying more by how they say what they do, as much by what they leave out, as anything said said, the way saying gets said in the words said . . . but don’t think I have any patience for stupid white motherfuckers either because I do not. It must be a special thing to live in a culture where everyone is in collective denial about all of these things to consider when speaking talking saying writing telling . . .

Hold this truth to be self-evident; I am we the people for if I am not then no one is–freedom is not something abstract but something real, tangible if not exactly tactile. It exists between you and me, and that’s first and last and a whole lot in between, the between–I have considered how so much of our lives is in the between, entering and exiting, to between or not to between.

But then this kind of assumed collective awareness demands that each of us be more alert, more intelligent, if not better educated than we are or are going to be by the way we teach, if not simply more literate than we are . . . how we are far, far too short, too little or too few . . . what we have endured . . .  we have endured one . . . one what? One media president after another for decades now leading us not . . .

Each man ascends this way in an effort to convince us package over product is the only intelligent way to elect or to govern or to rise from the dead; how we see the world, how we govern, how we think, what we say, when and where we say or think what to say, to say to think, more passing images in the mind.

Rapid fire montage after montage–we can’t even conceive of something as slowly turned as Eisenstein’s Potemkin montage. I don’t even have faith in our literacy to think that many of you will even get the reference, but then why should I assume this in this way, will I buy a rifle with my tax return.

We need to be better prepared–Jefferson was no stupid man, although he did own slaves–however, you know that the 13th Amendment was written using the words Jefferson had framed when he tried to prevent the expansion of slavery into the Northwest Territories. Do you imagine it is an accident that the Second Amendment is what it is after the First being what it is? Or maybe we should conclude that the Bill of Rights are invalid because Jefferson was a slave owner, and maybe we should look to our half-as-literate leaders to frame for us a more politically correct Bill of Rights.

III

Literacy for me does include knowledge and dexterity in interpretation and understanding cinema as it does for what is produced in an oral culture, what do we mean by oral culture . . . oral cultures and literate cultures and the differences between them, what it means for one and the other in the matter and manners of psychology–mentality too–the latter being what a People think, how they think, what they think, and psychology being that of an individual, what he thinks, how he thinks it and why he thinks it.

The Odysseywas transcribed, but I am also referring to products of orality that have not been transcribed, and I am not talking about sucking pussy, another kind of orality . . . and although this is a kind of orality, it is yet not the one we mean when we refer to the original composition of the Odyssey, oral, unless one wanted to recite it in Greek as one sucked a cunt, recitation with pussy in the mouth . . . a new orality–or an old orality versus literacy . . . they are not the same things, are they?

Nonetheless nevertheless moreover non-voting for President is choosing not to choose, not to pick a winner as I had done at Belmont or Aqueduct in the past . . . going to the polls to be counted but non-voting, pulling the lever one way and then the opposite way . . . non-voting avoids choosing one or the other candidate from an unacceptable status quo of choice.

Every vote cast is not really a vote for a candidate or for a party or a platform or change; it is only ever an endorsement of the status quo, a support of the business of business as usual in the business of politics. Voting for Obama or for McCain was a vote for the Status Quo . . . more on this at a later time . . . it is already too late . . . all these people going to the polls to pick a winner–we are fools, that’s what we are. fucking fools for the motherfuckers who are motherfucking everything up. Moloch, Moloch, Moloch . . . 

All politicians inside American ideology are unilateral and uniform in spite of the apparent irreconcilable differences the parties play at to ensure we continue to vote for one to ensure we don’t get the other. Obama and McCain, for instance, were both American bourgeois capitalists–their  brand of democracy first and last was the same . . . who wouldn’t rather fuck than vote or drink than vote or have a bar-be-que . . . the country’s entire shift to the right, making every one more conservative politically, has put the Republican Party in the position of being nearly reactionary all the time, everywhere everyone shoving a stick farther up the ass. Hilary Clinton is a cunt, and not even a functioning cunt; if she were a cunt for the purpose of cunt being a cunt with a cunt to use as cunt, but no. There is only the vulgar mataphoric cunt for her.

My hopes for political recovery have disappeared; no change will come; the ideology of the power elite is one . . . Obama is the banker’s bitch, no? Is this too much? I do not think so. I like the man–I do; but Blankfein’s bitch, he is.

Neither left nor right distinct from the other in that; Wall Street Finance or the Oil Conglomerates making one politician after another their bitch. Where are the people in this, fast disappearing. East is east is west and, west is west is east, the twain the same meeting three hundred and sixty degrees around the globe. Who said east and west do not meet? Republican and Democrats, one the other, heads or tails, flip the coin, the outcome is one. The metal’s the same. What metal were they made of, Obama, McCain . . . you have to know that the minting was singular; heads is heads is heads, and tails is tails is tails. One coin. So then what did I do when faced with this Obama-McCain dilemma? There are no straight lines in space; all space is curved, all lines, physical space and metaphysical space.

I went to the polls in O8 as someone who wanted to vote entering the booth and pulling the lever closing the curtain and setting in motion potential voting. This idea of the potentiality of voting could not mean much to anyone who wants to read this, or intends to even past what I am about to say, that is, more than setting in motion a potential vote.  What I did actually in the booth, after having closed the curtains, was not to pick either candidate; moreover, I was counted as someone who did not want to pick a candidate.  Yes, neither one of the two major candidates did I choose;  in fact, no other candidate did I choose either . . . and I cannot tell you how many educated men and women I have had to explain this to . . . no one gets it, and that’s no one educated, no one I work with, no one.

Obama’s charisma, I have to say, is extra-ordinary. It has been his salvation . . . too many educated are fostered by or formed by or molded by or influenced by or manipulated by the media messaging received ideas of culture right way only way to think the box is made manufactured by these media, oh, the channels between, communication channels between two people no less than the media channels of television of radio or satellite something out there of the internet . . . without the dimensions of his charisma, Obama, amabo, has charisma, a lot of charisma . . . and how these dimensions get drawn in society, and how charisma is political cache, how it gets negotiated as political currency–we do have more faith in Obama’s charisma than we do the dollar–without these, Obama would have been finished long ago, and I am not disregarding how low his approval rating has become. Now, his charisma aside–his demagoguery is also firmly set, securely established, tendered equally in the way criminals do counterfeit bills. Yes, even liberals can be demagogues.

Who imagines that the left and the right do not operate with power, for power, by power acting powerfully, differently? Who still thinks that inside the dynamics of power the Democrats are really any different from the Republicans? In how each is allied with money and power, one is like the other. Brokering their political authority and social influence is appalling enough, but as they play out their own version of ideologue versus ideologue, it is even more insipid as it becomes more and more sickening. All the time the people lose . . . banks are our temples . . . banks are fucking evil, are Satan’s outposts, and no one wants to see it the SAME way no one really wants to know that the Matrix is a lie.

IV 

Utopian dreams nightmares prophesies . . . politics always again and again the same kind of ritual actions supporting the dogmas of the status quo, there is no limit to how the simple separate person everywhere all the time will compromise ethics, morality, good sense, decency and any value that stands in the way of him making an extra buck–do not tell me Americans are greedy–there are no greedier people than the teeming masses here not yearning to be free, but yearning to make money, and able and willing to fuck their neighbors at any turn for yet an extra one . . . dollar, Russian and Chinese especially (Russian Ashkenazi most especially). Former communists now totalitarian capitalists. Everything is the same as usual, around and around it goes, this merry-go-round with us, all politics a menagerie. Totalitarian capitalist America . . . and do not tell me the Ashkenazi from the Soviet Union were not many of them former Communists doing communist things the ways communists cannot help but fuck people and try to ruin their lives, real pieces of shit these hateful motherfuckers . . . and right on with that, the United States is totalitarian capitalist in direct proportion and in constant ratio with how the Soviet Union was totalitarian communist . . , get with it, really, wake the fuck up, sleepwalkers. Republican and Democrat are both equally enemies of the people, We the People. 

The man who sees the Buddha on the road and does not know what the Buddha is . . . are you a god, are you a spirit, are you an angel, are you maybe a demon, what are you so illuminated as you walk down the road that I can see it surround you this aura, all a round him a special luminescence, what is it, what are you, question following question, to which the Buddha says one after another, no, no, no, I am not a god, I am not an angel, I am not one of hundred different spirits, anhy one of them, each one of them, no, not any one of those spirits you imagine I might be, no, no, no to everything the man asks, to which the man rejoins in exasperation, what are you then, to which the Buddha in Buddha slyness says, Awake! 

Friend of the banker Obama cannot be like the Buddha no matter how much those of us who love him want him to be saintly father Buddha-like or just the Buddha himself transfigured in the image of Obama, yet no one speaks out of the mouth of dissemblance better than he, so no Buddhahood for him I flip my Kennedy half dollars the man upstairs gave my boy how long ago now I cannot say should we have been nicer to the man whose overtures were only sad lonely alcoholic longing for maybe a friend, but what kind of friend can you have with alcoholic, especially alcoholic who doesn’t drink anymore . . . heads is different from tails I know.

We keep flipping political coins minted of one metal, but no matter how you flip Obama, his message and actions are checkered. You do know, though, that Jefferson had said that banks are more dangerous to a people and their liberty than any standing army. Obama is the banker’s bitch and has sold the Oval Office to Blankfein, America’s chief Pimp. But we like flipping coins and convincing ourselves we have experienced some substantial change. But then, we play hop-scotch with facts rather than pursue the Truth (always a capital ‘T’).Obama, tails, W., heads; flipping coins, flipping out. Hop-scotch is another favorite past time of Americans.

The point herein is that money comes to money to operate socially with money for money by money to make money more monied–big news! Right? This ever increasingly monied money funds our presidential campaigns, yes, even Obama’s, the prime governmental bitch of Goldman Sachs. The prime player in both the economic debacle of 2008 and the Great Depression was Obama’s biggest campaign contributor, Goldman; but that was carefully through many, many, many smaller than large-large donations . . . money, money, money, money.

Le sang impur. Yes, the new impure blood that must flow in the gutters of our streets because none of us farm as much as we used to farm, the furrows of our fields are not our fields but the fields of corporate America . . . let the impure blood flow, we could say . . . how many of us go to seeLes Miserablesand miss the point, people should read Hugo, but we do not . . . would you or I join the Jacobins? Where are the American Jacobins? We might ask. Do I really want this? Do you? Do we?

I sometimes imagine me an executioner, do we need a Jacobin-like revolution? Would the guillotine have any affect on how politics is played? I suspect that it would. Could the guillotine have an effect on ow economics gets handled? I am of the mind that the power elite have no fear; I am of the mind that the  monied elite have no fear. I am of the mind that they have only contempt for us. I am of the mind that power can only understand power as most English speakers only understand English. We are subjected to and subjugated by a a social need to be polite to a psychopathic degree or extent–yes, we psychopathically polite, avoiding telling anything like it is for the softer, gentler advertising version that mandates positive spin be put on everything. Either that, or news is manipulated by those in control of the channels in the media for their own purposes or the effects beneficial to those they support or are in allegiance with the media in America, particularly its press and its broadcast media have more in common with the old Soviet Pravda than anything else in the history of human existence. I still think that chopping a few heads off might go a long way to instilling fear.

There is no Golden Age to come in the future; there is only the Will to Power, now especially that we have subverted and undermined democracy or democratic probabilities from our potential solutions . . . to become solvent, to solve, to dissolve, to re-solve, solvency, solvency, solvency.

V

Kill some of the motherfuckers in power? Kill some of the motherfuckers who control finance? Yes; no; maybe’ perhaps; if so then what? Will this do anything? Of course some say yes and others say no, and yet others say perhaps but only if . . . How can we know? Can we know? Should we do it and see what happens? None of us have the convictions of the Jacobins. Is this the problem? It might be. It might not be. It could be, but. It would be, if. None of us have the political sense of French peasants in the 18th century. We are all of us living in our technologically constructed Matrices. Ah yes!

The Matrix is all around us, and there are many of us who would prefer to live in it knowing what it is . . . just look around you, listen to what people say about the things most important to them, what they say about relationships and love and freedom and democracy and how we speak and think in received ideas or the trite and cliche driven messages of advertising . . . we really are stupid motherfuckers.

Semi-literacy rules our world and has for so long that those in power now are frighteningly semi-literate to the point where narrow-mindedness wins every intellectual day whether it is on the side of liberalism or conservatism, neither one anywhere nearly as articulate as they once had been . . . and I have no optimism anymore for any solution to arise from  the people who have so thoroughly transformed themselves into a gigantic monolithic state serving public that Jefferson’s We the Peopleis dead, lost forever.

Do we, do you, do any of us really care who fucks who under the bed sheets? I care if it is a child abused by an adult; I care less if it is a sheep abused by a human adult; I care somewhat if it is a cadaver abused by a living person. I do not care if any adult fucks another consenting adult in any way he chooses she chooses to strap on a dildo and fuck her girlfriend in the ass–so what?

But I still believe that it exists, this we in We the People, and that it exists between you and me and only there between you and me because that is the only place it could be, between you and me . . . motherfucker to motherfucker? We are not the motherfuckers who deserve to die, and there are those who deserve to die–there are always some who deserve to die. Killing is not murder the Jews have taught us. I had a Hasidic student who made that clear to me; thou shalt not murder.

Power and greed can only respond to power . . . savage, brutal, bloody fucking screaming mess power. I want to lift blood dripping heads from baskets still moving their lips in half-asserted prayers under disbelieving and inaudible whispers. And that’s the horror of existence, that we have so allowed ourselves to be systematically undereducated that literacy and rationality and intelligence have been replaced with doubt, doubt and more doubt, a pervasive epistemological malaise, a deep metaphysical insecurity, a groaning pessimism about knowledge or the possibility of knowledge . . . we do believe in nothing, we do think we cannot believe in anything, we have undermined so much of what we have needed to maintain or fight for freedom in a mistaken effort to relieve ourselves what we misunderstood to be unnecessary burdens that the only thing we have left is the Will to Power . . . and the only response can be a savagely reaped blood . . . fuck the motherfuckers as badly if not worse than they are fucking us, and the motherfuckers who are really motherfuckers are fucking us as they fuck everything up for everyone else but themselves, the motherfuckers. I’d fist-fuck Blankstein up the ass to my elbow if I could, open my hand inside his colon, fingering my way to a grip of the inner walls, then pull it inside out through his rectum and anus.

Kill the motherfuckers on Wall Street. Kill the motherfuckers on Capital Hill. Kill the motherfuckers in Hollywood, the motherfuckers in Publishing, the big motherfuckers in Broadcasting, in Social Media; yes, kill, kill, and kill again every motherfucker that deserves to die. . . . and there are many who do deserve to die, again, how can we imagine that we do not have the right–the obligation to kill all the motherfuckers robbing us of our freedom and our livelihoods, beating us and our children down, down, yeah though I walk through the valley of Gehenna. . .

We know that this is not me saying what is being said herein. Fictional essays are just that, fiction–but even non-fiction essays are things made, as is everything that is fiction, but the fiction of a revolutionary cause with a revolutionary posture and revolutionary anger and hostility and violence is not to be taken literally except of course it will be by the impossibly stupid who now number too many of the low level authority of our society, too many who pretend to be defenders of liberty and democracy.

VI

Gehenna; the Valley of Fire; Gehenna, the Valley of Moloch; Moloch’s abode, abiding Moloch, Moloch’s table, Moloch’s satiation, Moloch’s hunger for our children . . . Wall Street is in the Valley of Gehenna, every CEO an incarnation of Moloch.

Moloch, the destroyer of our lives, He who devours our loves, our freedom, our minds; Moloch, the destroyer of worlds, the consumer of souls.

Moloch needs our fear as much as our children, Moloch and Mammon, Mammon and Moloch, alliance and allied, allies against us. Mammon is incarnate on Wall Street. Moloch, Moloch, Moloch . . .

I hired a carpenter to build me a guillotine, a purely functioning guillotine. I want to put it out on the front lawn next Bastille Day. I will have a number of effigies whose fake heads I will chop off while video taping the event. I plan to have extras in French 18th century dress cheering the heads coming off.

I might work out fake blood.

I can use it to chop my watermelons.

Written by jvr

April 26, 2019 at 11:05 am

CRITICAL CONDITION

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NOTE WELL: The following was initially written for The Falling Leaf Review, which was an on line blog/review, literary, published alongside several other literary reviews/blogs, notably this one, a Political Literary Review or a Literary Political Review/Journal (I would like to say of ideas . . .).

In place of The Falling Leaf Review, which is still current, but has been made adjunct the ISSUU.com magazine of the same name . . . yes, in place of FLR, read Now Politics, orang other literary journal or review I have published or will publish . . . such as the now private, FICTION ONE at revue1.wordpress.com, a literary review/blog published for over ten years, nearer eleven. The review was published in collections either monthly or quarterly, as this shifted back and forth over the decade. These have appeared elsewhere and in revised versions, perpetual or not, herein. The Falling Leaf Review, on line at fallingleafreview.org

The essays I have written. What is there left to say about them–or what is there at all to say about them that they do not say for themselves? There is never much in the way of prefacing or wording afterwards that can say more than there is to say about an essay, a play, a novel, let’s say, that the works themselves do not say. I remember Bill Packard in his play-wrighting workshops insisting that extended or extensive stage directions are unnecessary of the play is sound, is strong, if the characters have wants that are vividly portrayed on stage. You had to understand that whatever yoou felt you needed to describe in stage directions–if it were not necessary, take them out because what was superfluous to the action in the play was not needed and only served to distract or interrupt the reading if that was what was to be done with the play. Most actos ignore them, so if they are necessary to understanding the play, then the playwright needed to find a way to get what was in the directions into the play. The plays with the absolutely thinnest stage directions are Shakespeare’s, I do say this as if a whole 19th century American western town is supposed to freeze.

For as long as I can recollect having written essays, I have never felt the need to expalin them, and have often referred readers back to the essay. If the the clarity of meaning was actually the problem, if it were a problem of execution, then explication from me would less effective than revising or rewriting the essay. I have said that the job of criticism is not to explain a text. Let that serve as sufficient here because it is not my intention to say what the job of criticism is–fragmentation staved by criticism. Essays cannot be starved or killed by criticism if they are bountiful and performed adequately.

The duration of time involved is quite long already, myself a writer, how long I could say, but will not. It is not necessary for you to know, it will not help you in any way that could be called relevant. It is nearly the fourth decade of writing–does that help you more than if I were to say it has been foour months that I have been writing? At least help you gage what?

I have performed my tasks as a writer as if I were in solitary confinement. But then this is an imagined context I believe to be a valid one to perceive for the writer; in fact, everyone everywhere is in a kind of solitary inside their skin–we wear our skins like lunatics wear straight jackets, some of us do.

Tennessee Williams said as much–inferred as much in his Orpheus Descending. I am currently reading the latest biography of him. Condemned to solitary confinement in our skins. In many of the essays–certainly not all of them–I have written for as long as I have been writing literary essays, personal essays, social and political commentary, I have maintained a simple intension, and that is to examine our social interactions and the forums for those interactions. In this kind of social commentary, I have provided critique of these social interactions and their forums, how we speak to one another, especially when another person is one kind of other we figure cannot be another, inclusive or like, how this other must be different, mutually exclusive from whatever we find ourselves inclusive.

We do divide and subdivide ourselves, unable to reach any understanding of universality let alone manifest an attitude of universality, socially. I have no objections to the best intentions of what we call diversity, except where it is misunderstood and stands for another way of providing The People with one diversion after another away from themselves as The People, and instead provide one or another received idea about themselves that guides them to replacing their People-ness with being one or another from of Publican–the People and the Public are mutually exclusive in politically interactive social contexts.

Diversity, if not managed appropriately and carefully, can be diverse as in diversion or divergent. This can happen in a society by design or arise simply in effect. There is a compelling logic carried to its conclusion by the premise: This is a Literary Review. The nature of reviewing is to look again, to look at and to look  for become mutual and reciprocal in the art of reviewing–and yes, art, not soley act. It is assumed that by reviewing what is achieved is some kind of seeing again the world of politics, the world of interpersonal relationships, the world of commerce and economics, the world of citizenship as citizenship is a role larger than just political participation, but might just be all of political participation.

Seeing, we know from our own cultural habits of speech and contacts with other cultural habits of speech, is to understanding; yes, to see is to understand when to understand is to stand under, to hold, to fell, to carry. I do understand–and please allow me this gross assumption as to the matter and manners of speaking, themselves figures of speech–what does speeech actually figure, what shape or shapes does it take in our minds, our  mouths, our social interactions?

I understand how some may not understand this specifically drawn sense of understanding I am talking about or around herein–how understanding, as I have said before elsewhere, is quite literally to stand under–to hold up, to bear the weight, to carry and thus feell the pressure of . . . one must harness one’s inner Atlas. How is it that we have missed the point that Atlas is an exemplary model for woman?

But the purpose herein is explicit. We must become post to every lintel of knowledge, experience, communication. Ours is both the best of cultures and the worst of cultures, as any culture stands as its most enduring enemy, as anyone understands that he or she is his or her own worst enemy as well as a potential best friend. Social critique and social commentary are staples in any review that purports to be serious in its endeavors concerning freedom or living in a democracy–a society that actualizes democratic living, being and thinking–of course, speaking. Do we have this in our current America? Not as we would like to think, to believe.

Reviewing in the ways mandated by participation in a democracy, in a society purported as the freest society on earth, a leader in the ways of liberty and equality–I am not so sure that that’s what we are living today, not with a media as controlled by particular ideologies as it is, not with a media more concerned with delivering received ideas, dogmas and propaganda more than being committed to the Truth, the latter something it has entirely abandoned and does not even believe is valid, has valency, possesses veracity.

How we must be critical in the traditions of western intellectual critique, that is if this review is to maintain validity or relevance, is paramount. To offer any commentary without a critical edge sharp enough to cut is a disgrace to the memory of the traditions of reviewing, of any critical journal at any time in any place, any country, any culture, any political environment, any language. All of the former, human.

All social interactions are fair game (pardon the cliche) within the confines of the critical essays intended for social commentary. Responses herein to the questions that arise, or the questions I have anticipated some might ask, are not in themselves answers. The distinction between answering and responding ad which is enaged when and how and to what result or for what purpose is the subject of another essay herein included in its Pages section, the chief section of this review, not the blog, although the later has as much to do with critique, often in other forms, mostly, another length (but where length dictates form and style, this is significant).

The Falling Leaf Review has offered, does offer and will offer criticism, explication, commentary, exposition, even Jeremiads, which do not chiefly answer as much as they address, perhaps by redressing grievances or making pronouncements, perhaps grandiloquent ones, on social woes. I do acknowledge that as the Publishing Editor of this review, I cannot help but shape what this review will sound like, or what it will appear as, when readers access its texts. I am the chief writer–I am the only writer–everything herein is I. The Review, c’est moi, I think have already said.

Jeremiah’s Lamentations on the woe and misery and decadence of third century BC Jerusalem is never too far from our social and political critiques; the energy behind Jeremiah’s pronouncements while lamenting the political and the socio-economic conditions of the Jewish people in Jerusalem is informative of our commitment. What more do you want me to say–perhaps an anecdote, one that purports access to my mind, my thoughts, the kind of person I was am have been will be . . . when I was a boy, my favorite prophet was The Baptist; I later included Jeremiah among my personal collection of spiritual kins, the likes of Shelley, Byron and Blake were also granyted access to my inner circle. I am not saying that thses are the only poets included in my inner circle of spiritual kin, but an appreciation of their critical positions was paramount in my development as a writer of critical essays.

Written by jvr

April 24, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Of the Elites, by the Elites and for the Elites

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There are many nations older than America, of course; there are many traditions far longer in their current continuum, certainly. The United States is relatively new in the world as the world stands in its historical record is not something too many people need to be told. In what the world is becoming, however, how the world is transforming, how a few of the better to best ideas and/or ideals for the future persist, the United States of America just might be the oldest example. So, when considering the points made by the former assertions, it can be said that the United States of America is the oldest society in the world, right? Yes, not, otherwise? The United States is older in how the world is going to be nothing like what it was for millennia. Need we look to the back of our one-dollar bill, novus ordo saeclorum: The New Order of the Ages . . .

In matters of a combined, or a collective, or a unilateral–if not a uniform–futurity, America is the progenitor society; the primogeniture of our combined future. In matters of world Modernity, then, we are the prototype. That, moreover, requires great responsibility, a responsibility we seem too immature to bear?

In a society so in love with determinism after determinism as we are, responsibility is to the future is fumbled along with our responsibility to ourselves. Responsibility is enmeshed with free-will. Our obsession with determinism leads us to displace free-will from discussion, from articulation thus integration in an organic wholeness of the simple separate person. These truths held to be self-evident require a broader understanding of social and historical dynamics, which are never handled by how contempo-centric we are, and we are horribly contempo-centric. Now is not the only time. 

By adopting and integrating a more broadly articulate conception of time, of continuum, of historical processes, we avoid sticking our heads in the sand of now, but also in the sands of a future disconnected from contingencies, or the sands of the past . . . we are solving nothing for ourselves socially, politically, economically because too much of our social order asset against us, and the current hegemony in education and thinking in itself thinking is designed to undermine individuals, thus undermining the People as an institution that can counterbalance the weight of the State. It is not simplistic to think that adopting one set of determinisms after another, in whatever explanation or definition of our conditions that gets bandied about, is not only intended to displace the notion of free-will in the minds and the spirit of the People, individually and collectively (yet collectively in an amalgamation of individuals), but is also set against us by getting US used to the inevitability of these determinisms which become binding and inescapable, if not socially, then virtually socially by cementing themselves in our minds. Our responses are not born of freedom or free-will but remain determined and predictable, one ping pong match of received ideas or slogans born of swallowed dogmas disseminated by a media in alliance with Power and Money, all to the greater and greater benefit of Elites.

Written by jvr

April 22, 2019 at 10:27 am

WIFE, MIDWIFE, WITCH

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I am not here to moralize about sex. The idea that there must be two sides to any issue  is a dogma we enforce socially, except where and when there are not two sides, but one. There are still too many of us in America who are puritanical enough to moralize about sex; we almost cannot help ourselves, and almost in direct ratio to how much our popular culture also cannot handle sex or sexuality in a healthy way. Have we watched television lately?

For all moralizers there are never two sides to an issue, but one. There are far, far too many Americans who are closer to Salem and the Witch Trials than to a full understanding of human rights and equality for all when issues like abortion or gay marriage come up. Two sides to any issue does not mean that one or the other have to be true, or right, or accepted, or of equal weight, or equal quality–and we are talking about quality when we enter into any discourse. Let us focus on Truth and not whether there is arithmetic correctness in there being two sides presented. A rock and a hard place are two sides. Opinions do have quality, reason and argument have quality, ideas have quality; we cannot reduce morality, ethics, epistemology, other branches of ontology and metaphysics to arithmetic, the quantifications of counting, adding and subtracting our way along the lines of our civilization. Never mind what the popular culture says, it talks out of both sides of its mouth, thus the two sides of any diametrics simultaneously. How we think we are liberating ourselves by how pop culture responds to sex and sexuality is beyond me. We are no more liberating ourselves than Weimar liberated Germany; Weimar excesses were responses to a collective unconscious fear of sex and sexuality. German license in the 20s was the flipside of the Nazis who followed and were just as repressed if not more so. Every coin has two sides while remaining one coin.

Theocratic Christian fundamentalists are the flip side of our popular culture’s inability to handle the power of human sexuality.  Each side feeds the other; a policy ping-pong about the only game American politics can play. The same was true for Weimar in the 20s into the early 30s of the last century. As for me, once more I must announce that sex is normal, but who doesn’t really know this? Yes, sex is healthy. It is natural for sixteen year olds, for instance, to want to have it and to doit. Just say no to sex does not make it, no pun intended–no, the pun was intended. Nevertheless, there are other ways to manage the sexuality than complete repression, but in our culture, we still fear it so much we are far from liberated about it in our minds, let alone our actions. Bodies do feel more deeply than minds, but we have no clear idea what we are feeling without the words we put around or beside our feelings. Salem is almost now; it recurs again and again in variegated forms.

Where we fear something, anything, we recoil, but then unconscious drives and motivations do rise like Abel’s blood to God. We make of sex a dark force when it should be a force of light. We fear it and in that fear reject it as soon as we embrace it. We throw it off, we do not hold on for the ride. We must denigrate sex as something other than love rather than take the responsibility of sex being love because when anyone anywhere wants to fuck another human being, that is in itself love and must be handled as such. Instead, we take the word fuck and make it vulgar, respond as if it were vulgar, to fuck or not to fuck should be everyone’s question, but it seems to be more what is done on Wall Street than in our beds.

We take the word for sexual intercourse and use it as a word to do harm to someone, financially, emotionally, professionally, et cetera. We confuse sex and harm, and sex as something other than love and wonder how men can still use the penis as a club as a weapon in the act of rape. To fuck becomes, when rape is the concern, to do violence to another; and that there tells us everything about us we need to know. But knowing in itself has come under attack, and the possibility of knowledge is in doubt. So, the highest wisdom any of us can achieve is now to doubt what we know, doubt that we have learned, everyone faces a tabula rasa every day they greet the world anew, and we think this blank slate is something we should want rather than have tablets carved atop Sinai. It’s as if we are the Israelites waiting for Moses and down the sides of Sinai he comes with smooth uncarved tablets and says By the hand of God to your hand, carve upon these your commandments, but tomorrow you will have to do it again as you will all the days of your lives and your children’s lives and so on and so on and so on.

I am not here to consider the psychopathic, whereby a woman’s, or a girl’s, life or limb is in jeopardy from those who say they love her when she becomes pregnant without marriage. Supporting a woman getting married and having a baby she does not want to save her from physical injury is not an argument. Situations where she would be shunned by family or community for getting pregnant out-of-wedlock are not rebuttals for abortion.  We do know of too many instances from our world thesaurus of emotional response and variations on violence, that women suffer for their choices and for their lack of choices. There have been too many girls who had to suffer the compound disaster of going through an abortion without emotional support and the psychic trauma of estrangement from family and friends. These circumstances should not be fodder for either side of what we call a debate.

There have also been those girls pressured to get an abortion when they thought they might want to have a baby. There are still forced abortions in China, but that’s almost invariably when the fetus is female. There are 37 million more men in China than women. Boys are worth more than girls in China, unless it’s into prostitution the girl can be sold. China remains one of the world’s largest marketplaces for women as sexual slaves. Five hundred women kill themselves every day in China. Misogyny could seem to be Chinese, but politically incorrect assertions aside . . . we should look at China the next time we want to stereotype Islam as being misogynist. In fact, muslims everywhere can attest to how Islam has always represented an improvement in the treatment of women, which in turn tells us how horribly hateful toward women social history has been. The Koran is a giant moral leap forward.

A woman’s decision to have a baby in face of a family who wants hernotto have the baby must be entertained in any argument that supports pro-choice. It is the flip side of the singularly minted coin of pro-choice. A woman has the right to have a baby even if she has no spouse or the father is absent. Family or peer pressure not to have a baby when a woman wants to have a baby are equal to any anti-abortion supporter wanting to block a woman’s access to a safe medical procedure should she need one in the event she wants to have an abortion. In other times, a woman’s human need to control her body was labeled, as were other normal and natural impulses on the part of women, witchcraft.

Witch in fact is another term corrupted.  Midwives were always somehow suspect, and any miscarriage could become the work of the devil, the midwife one of Satan’s helpers. Either carrying to term or having an abortion; these are the beginning and end of Pro-choice.  However, I make no assumptions for how progressive we are. As far as I can see, opposing abortion in itself is a giant step backwards. I am for supporting universal Human Rights irrespective of gender, of sexual orientation, of religion, of race, of ethnicity, of class, of caste, of whatever we have in the ways of dividing and adding, subtracting and multiplying our human existence or existences.

 

Written by jvr

April 19, 2019 at 10:26 am

CURRENTLY POLITICAL, WINTER 2018, THE FALLING LEAF REVIEW, ISSUU.COM

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Written by jvr

April 17, 2019 at 10:16 am

OFF STAGE, OB-SCENE [Fiction]

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PREFATORY REMARKS

by a Sub-sub Librarian

A few notes on obscenity, toward a better understanding of what it is, how its has been, what it once had meant, the etymology it contains in its current usage, the mores surrounding it, sometimes hijacking it; the ways it might be used by someone in his personal opinion or her politicking if not her politique . . . all of these pertinent to any discussion of what is obscene, especially in a culture as Puritanical as ours, as closeted as that Puritanism remains when it is not pronounced overtly, announced as a rallying cry of and for far too many uptight Americans chained by their fears and neuroses; or as often as we run the gamut of reactionary, that is, again, uptight conservative politics that we cannot help but envisage, enact, mostly because we are metaphysically, at our cultural core, Protestant, every single Protestant reformer a social, political and ethical reactionary.

The reformers chief objection to the Church was how lenient on sinners and their sinning the Church really was; of course, the Reformers objected to how the Church responded to Heresy, but then Protestant Witch trials . . . and they did proliferate after the Reformation, killed more women than the Church did Heretics. In 1258, Pope Alexander IV prohibited the persecution of witches. However, after the Reformation was in full swing, the Church reversed its position. Nonetheless, more than 80% of all persecution of witches between the years 1550 and 1700 took place in Protestant regions, under the guidance of the Protestant Churches,themselves perhaps more willing to pander the fears and anxieties of the masses than the Church ever was willing do, pander, that is. The Protestant Churches persecuted more woman for witchcraft than the Spanish Inquisition persecuted anyone, the latter an inquisitional fury that had detached itself from full sanction of Rome, in the Inquisition’s alliances with the Spanish Monarchy.

I do have to say in response to the latter that America’s love affair with conservatism, politically and socially, is rooted in how Protestant we are in our dominant metaphysics; Protestanism being the Spirit of Capitalism, yes (and this is ripe with a number of prejudices I have held from Irish Catholic Aunts, all them real, true and visceral); yes, as much to do with Protestanism as it is at the core of our particularly virulent brand of totalitarian bourgeois capitalism (and Protestants are much moyeintersted in policing your life morally than are Catholics, I know); Protestanism has become entrenched in our lives, our perceptions and actions in ways it has been rooted for a very long time socially and politically and economically.

Again, there was not one Protestant Reformer (itself a misnomer) who was not a reactionary, hating the sinner along with the sin, lambasting the Church, not for being too excessive or too punitive but too lenient with sinners and the state of sin in individuals.

The Protestants also objected to the Church’s response to their Heresies; but then, note well the Rabbis responses to Spinoza in Spain . . . God in other words Nature? That is heresy as it is in all of the three great monotheistic religions. The Priests of the Temple found Yehuda Ben Miriam not guilty of Heresy, Heresy being a capital crime, the Priests needed a unanimous vote. They could not get it. The Romans, however, found him guilty of sedition, and not being a Roman citizen, he was subjected to Crucifixion. But Heresy everywhere results in the same thing; did not Buddhism begin as a Hindu heresy? What was the result from Hindu toward Buddhist in India?

 

ONE

“Obscenity begins when there is no more spectacle, no more illusion, when every-thing becomes immediately transparent, visible, exposed in the raw and inexorable light of information and communication” (21-2) Baudrillard, The Ecstasy of Communication

Obscene is from the Greek Ob Skena, or off-stage. Skena is the origin of our scene, coming from the French scene for the Greek that meant stage. In theater, Mise-en-scene is the blocking of the play, is everything placed on stage, put on the stage for the audience to view; in cinema, it is the arrangement of everything that shows up in the frame.

Scene is on stage; ob-scene is off-stage, whatever is not put on the stage, whatever is not for the audience to see, whether incidentally or intentionally, that is, consciously (the latter which may or may not have anything to do with intentionality).

What is decidedly obscene in our minds seems to depend on the period we are discussing, Hollywood censorship after the onset of the Hayes Office impositions was an example of determining what was obscene and what was not. Pre-code films from the early thirties in sharp contrast with those after the code–seen and ob-scene. Even those things considered obscene in only a few minds today, and things that are often viewed, were things the Greeks would have kept off-stage. All killing in the plot of a play was off-stage, ob-scene. Passolini’s film SALO comes to mind.

We have film ratings for this purpose–in as much as we have a First Amendment; we defer this notion of freedom of expression with determining obscenity by age. What is age appropriate, let’s say with an R rating, amounts to saying announcing the obscenity of the content for certain ages, although further modified by the inclusive, “unless accompanied by an adult.” So then obscenity has a lot to do with notions and attitudes about childhood and what is appropriate for children. But then, free speech is always something that is limited. To take Brandeis’s infamous example, No one has a First Amendment right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater.

TWO

There is something of the etymology residual in all uses of the word ‘obscenity,’ what we call obscene is simply put, off-stage, not in view, it does not matter if like to fuck goats, just do not do so on your front lawn, especially when I am walking by your home with my children on their way to school.

The Obscenity trial of Ferlinghetti for publishing Alan Ginsburg’s “Howl” comes to mind when considering just what is considered obscene in language in print, what can and cannot get published.

Irrespective of what the gray areas of obscenity are, what would generally be called obscene would never have made it onto the Greek stage. It is what would be given a X rating, something, of course, we reserve almost entirely for pornographic films. But then pornography is obscene in differing ways.

This then could eventually raise questions of what is on stage and what is off stage in our minds–what we entertain to think and what we do not. This could then lead us to conclude that what is obscene in Public Space would not be considered so in Private space, unless the private viewer were to make such a conclusion himself, for himself and his space.

 

THREE

This is all I’m going to say for now, or however you allow yourself to imagine all-ness, completeness? When is something complete? At the conclusion?

A conclusion is what comes at the end, coming to an end, the end, The End, Finis, it is finished. A conclusus is a wall at the end of something in Latin; there is no room without its walls, all rooms therefore are quite conclusive, aren’t they? No?

Completion is complete, another truth in tautology; it is perfection, that which is perfect, of course; perfect in Latin meaning complete. however, we must sidestep this hyper-idealized sense of perfection. Perfectum in Latin meaning just that, what is complete.

To end the story is what? How? We think we must deliberate, deliberate deliberation while deliberating about how to go about ending the work deliberately . . . you get what I am doing here, don’t you?

Just end the fucking thing and that becomes its conclusion, what we arrive at after the organic representation–and herein lies the crux, the rub, if you will allow me another pretension . . . what then is all art but pretense, artifice, either badly done or well done, done well should never be reserved for use on how to cook meat.

Organic wholeness infers completeness which is in itself perfection. You do see the relationships, no? I think I do, now and then know I do.

Written by jvr

April 15, 2019 at 10:25 am

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