Now Politics: the Political Opinions of Thomas Sarebbenonnato

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

Archive for June 2019

AOC is as white as white is

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OCASIO CORTEZ IS MORE WHITE THAN I AM, IF we use white in the way we do rhetorically in this socio-political contemporaneity, which in another age, another mentality, perhaps another political conception, we would say bourgeois, perhaps Protestant Bourgeois. Of course, in these here dis-United States, Bourgeois and Protestant are synonyms, in as much as everyone becomes metaphysically pseudo Protestant in as much as he or she becomes fully bourgeois, if only in mentality, allegiance. Apartfrom mentality or allegiance, most assuredly most Americans having adopted a metaphysically Protestant Bourgeois mind they help support a Totalitarian Capitalist State, which of course America is because Totalitarianism can coexist with Capitalism. This is a mistake we continue to make in America, equating democracy with Capitalism.

We use White instead of any of the other terms above because we need race as another red-herring to divert us from the more pressing issues of class, which by never addressing, we always miss the opportunity to address race.

America is multicultural only in so far as we remain over archingly bourgeois; multi-cultic accented in a kind of pseudo-authenticity used as costume for the real bourgeois character to be played and replayed on our socio-political, more pronouncedly socio-economic, stages . . .

Yes, Ocasio-Cortez did grow up more white than I had . . .

A do not support a border wall; but it is Isolationsist; not in itself racist, unless someone attaches to the border wall for racist reasons. And if she imagines that Post World War II Germany and Merkel’s living a perpetual political lie having healed, then she is delusional. She is so pathetically naive.  I do not need her neo-neo-liberal globalizing (essentially the same neo-liberal that Clinton would be if Clinton were AOC’s age . . .) shell game to inform me that Trump is a dangerous demagogue; but let us not think that she or Obama do not and have not also used


Written by jvr

June 30, 2019 at 2:47 pm

Wherefore Art Prose; a discussion of writing for the purpose of critique as well as self knowledge and discovery

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What is the meaning of narrative? What does it endeavor? What is the meaning of where it aims, of what it intends . . . how to take account of the function and purpose of narrative–could narrative be said to have a purpose?

Narrative, narrative, wherefore art thou narrative . . . this here passage is not narrative, but expositive, exposing itself, one’s self, the writer does, he does take down his pants as he puts out onto the blank page, no? Exposition versus narration, what then do I say, how? When is narrative? When is expositive . . . prose pieces we are talking now.

Fiction or non-fiction is of no never mind in this . . . what is it that is fiction inside the fiction is not. I am not going to take this further or ever farther in the lines themselves . . . farther is linear in distance; further is what it is in some unquantifiable progress . . .



History is not progressive I have learned, have heard, have read, a friend of mine had become comfortable with repeating this: hsitory is not progressive; it is not a river, as he used to like saying . . . to say or not to say, what do I do when I narrate, tell the story of one or another and another creeping in petty paces or moving at any one of any other kind of pace . . .

The story of me, of you of her of whomever else . . . yes, what is narrative that I should subject myself to a narrow proscription of what gets to be called a story and what does not get to be called a story? How should I write a story? What is it about form that editors know better than I do?

To story or not to story, that might be a question? Inquiry itself questioning upon questioning and so on until the last syllable of the final spoken quest–they are quests, you know, this questions . . .  especially the ones we answer, swearing oaths as do knights errant, knights who are committed to keeping up codes and a lot more than just appearances . . . now, whether it is nobler in the mind to endure how we dance around asking for the Truth; is there such a thing as a Capital ‘T’ Truth? You ask.



Questions are inquiries which should be searches for the truths of our lives and for the Truth, if not a setting of the compass-heading to that place on our metaphysical horizon, ah navigation! Narration is navigation. Inquisitions are yet other manners of approach. I am who I am when I am on the page, as I sit with ready pen before the blank page, I settle what I write in the writing;  I have often not understood what it is I think about an issue, a topic, a question, unless I write. My first excursus into writing . . . all discourse is an excuse of a kind, no? Getting out of the head. The essay was a form––the form?

Expository prose was once my forte in writing, or so used to think I had to say, or come up with something similarly to say about what it is I do when I set pen to page, sit before the blank page . . .

I had come to a point where the journals I kept were blank-paged journals, notebooks . . . after the time, how long I remain uncertain, when I used to keep my journals or notebooks in composition notebooks . . . you know the kind, all notebooks are kin, of a kind, type, mode, what have we in words to express the categories of notebooks?



We do want to inflict harm . . . all meaning, as I have said in another essay, another story, perhas even a poem . . . to mean is to be mean, in a way, all meaning is mean in more than one way, several, if you have not paid attention . . . what am I trying to say to mean . . . words saying at meaning, meaning at saying, the shapes of words, the look of them, the sound of them as well . . . we are hypocrites this way, every way, many ways, my likeness, you.

We do hate too many too often, as easy as it is to do, and a lot easier than those who insist they do not hate are able to admit. We cannot love appropriately even those we say we love. We are, as suspected, very, very stupid? Narrow minded? Insipid? That’s a good word for us. Too afraid? Fear rules us. Fear has ruled every attempt to correct our behavior and police our freedom. The human psyche is masochistic, no?

So, who gets to tell his story, her story, mine, this story I tell, have begun as I have in a way you–what do I know of you? I should know something. Know your audience was a mantra from Freshman Comp. Who does not get to tell his story? Another question that should be asked that gets asked too often without the appropriate acumen behind it to defend it. Who is not allowed? Now that one’s rhetorically placed. Permission not always a thing we ask for, think we must, know we can, give freely. How do we prevent others from telling?

We do prevent some because we do have preclusions/pre-conclusions; conclusus is a wall, a damming up of the flow. What flow?



The stream of words . . . but then I have already said that history is not a stream; so then what is story, if history is not a stream . . . I do not want to insist on plot in itself plot, plodding along as plots sometimes do . . . what refinement of impiety is there in the desire to write, to tell one’s story, to tell anyone’s story . . .

Telling a story is what history does, is, should be, how could it be not? But then is not history all about historiography? To write or not to write . . . what of our oral histories? Is that not how most of us do tell what we tell. Lions have no story-tellers, you know, without tellers . . . how much of history has not made it into any historiography?

Orality is dead. Non-literate has become illiterate. The Folk has been crushed by a savage Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalist Tyranny. But then, what now do I say, can I, would I if . . . if, if and if again, never with much to gain? Inquiry in the form of conditionals . . . what are the conditions for narrative–there are no particular conditions . . . the defining elements of narration are in the act itself, however it takes itself up, manifests itself, becomes what it is as it is when it does or where.



Historiography has been what we call history in itself since the dawn of writing, and even before, really. Orality had its official versions, anyone could know. Yes, what then is fiction because a story that I tell you is true before I tell it, even if all of it is a lie, is accepted as non-fiction. Now, vice-versa, if what I know to be the truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me, I tell you is a fictional story, and I tell you so you can have no equivocation over accepting it as a fiction, what then does that make it? Fiction, of course.

What I tell, I tell as I do; to tell a story is to narrate? Narration is to tell a story, is to give a spoken or written account of something that happened, but it is also a set of choices in the saying. Perception is not the only verification of the real, but it has an awful lot to do with what we think is real, what we think is true, what we accept without question as the only thing to believe.

Now what is true and what is the Truth–and note the capital ‘T” here, which is important, yes, it is significant because it denotes something for which far too few today in Academia have any trust . . . in its validity . . . but back to it signifying . . . what does it signify? How many want to conclude that it does signify nothing?  And you should be able to get this without much explication. Of course, we could ask ourselves just where memory fits in this explicating fiction and non-ficfion? How much of non-fiction is after all fiction, is after all constructed after the fact, no video tape to go to, huh? I am not trying to be coy. Even a video tape is not the everything there is to say or hear.



Fiction, from the Latin, is anything made. Memory, being mostly a construction of the mind in the process of recollection or the happenstance of recall, is thus a fiction, as I have said elsewhere many times and will likely say again this way and other ways, other words. Whether you agree or not is not the issue. A thing made, I think I have said about memory many times is what it is, made, created, whether creatively or not. Yes, nothing but the facts, right? Yes, it is important that we should consider how much of memory might be fiction, just as it would be to understand how beside the point it is that it is mostly fiction at times.

What most people remember comes straight out of their asses; the shit they tell and say about what was is appalling to listen to because what is most disturbing to me is just how bad most people are at telling stories or just remembering them. I used to think that storytellers probably remember things better than people who do not tell stories, whether the stories are categorized as fiction or non-fiction. It is not appalling because it is mostly fictive telling, but because too many insist that their mostly fictive telling of what it is they are remembering not necessarily recollecting is without doubt or hesitation exactly what happened, that what they imagine they have recorded faithfully as would an audio recording device is the word, every word . . . you get what I am driving at here.

But what is this with respect for objective truths . . . how facts, facts and more facts . . . and what is it about facts that has so many of us foaming at our mouths, like salivating dogs? Just what is it I am saying? People remember what they think they remember, what their emotional baggage allows them to carry with them, what room is left for truth when all space is filled by our emotions . . . images in the mind, events as recalled lead to what in most heads? Objectivity is a direction,. not a place, the same is true for Truth, for Transcendence, the Absolute . . .



With all the stinking refuse that streams out of mouths today, tomorrow, yesterday, all time I know you know you should believe is one, all of it singularly comprehensive . . . they drop the ball on telling. If this appeared on most social media, you would have no idea how many impossibly inane comments there would be . . . if you were anyone who read and read deeply as if a text were a multi-dimensional journey belied by the flatness of the page, the linearity of the text in words printed in lines, you would have to conclude other than what most persons who regurgitate across all social media think about what they say, if thinking about what they say were really possible because the hop-scotch most people play with words or with the Truth . . .

I do want you to tell me, though, just what memory is, yes, what is it, what do you think it is, know it is. I do not want you to tell me what you think I think it is, or what I imagine it is, what I know it is and what I do not know it is, but you, my hypocrite reader–all readers are hypocrites, my brothers, my likenesses, all . . . and so again we return to What is it but fiction, this thing memory?

Yes, a fiction, a thing made, gaps between the images, fractured events as they happened? Nothing is as it happened when in the mind we see it. Is it a thing or is it a place, or is it an entity? Is it alive? If not entirely fiction, then partly, right? Although, how much partly we do not ever consider, do we? How many conflicts do you have in your life with others very close to you when facing contrary accounts of what you are so sure you remember? You know what I am talking about. Do you let it go? No? You go to the video tape you have in your head, don’t you? Of course you do, and most of all, most of us do too.

We are not fools, right? No? I know I am not, so what then do you think?



The one you have assumed is your mind remembering, recollecting, recalling—they are all not the same things, you know, the three of them: to remember, to recall, to recollect. What do you know? How much do you know with certainty? What is it that I know? Can I know something? And I do not want to culminate with doubt, doubt and more doubt. I do not want to end with doubt, doubt and more doubt as we do, as we have done for so long now. You are supposed to begin with I know nothing to be able to determine what you do know, what the limits of knowing are, where knowing begins or ends, what it is we can call knowledge. I am sure that knowledge is possible, and I know this only because I have not succumbed to the mandates from the Cult of Doubt pervading our culture; a place where doubt, that is, doubt first and ultimately doubt, is the highest wisdom.

I can remember without recollecting; when I recollect, I am remembering . . . and so on, I say, cutting short this tangent.

Fiction is fiction, right? Non-fiction, non-fiction, of course? So then, the essay—what is it we call the essay? To essay is to try, to put on trial in the mind with thought. Speeches are essays; letters as essays; journal entries as essays? Not always. Sometimes? How often?



Essays in fiction, fiction in essays, essayistic fiction, fictional essays. I am not going to sort this out for you; I have not sorted it out for me. But the fact that I am writing an essay does not mean that what I write is not fiction, and here I mean the traditional or conventional notion of fiction. You do know that I am a fictional narrator or expositor or both–and so who I am here on the page or screen for you my readers becomes a question to ask, to answer or at least respond to, not necessarily the same.

If I were to examine what gets said by most reasonably intelligent persons, I would cringe; if most persons speaking or writing were to examine what they have said or written, they too would cringe. There are days when I come to a place where I can accept an old notion that philosophy is another kind of fiction, no? But then, that would not subtract from it as philosophy, would not subtract from its veracity, its Truth-value, right? You know that proving God does not exist–and let’s pretend that you can do so (just as I let the devout think that they have proof of God’s existence)–if you were to find proof that God did not exist, that would do nothing to the veracity of the Gospels . . .

What’s it going to be, then? I could ask.

Homage is homage wherever you find it. Successful or not is another question; relevant? Appropriate? You know what you know as I know what I know as another and another and another also know what they know, don’t we? Even if it is what we call non-fiction, a true context, it is a persona I wear as the writer, narrator, expositor, teller–who am I for you? Even if it is me the editor of the in-the-world review I edit and publish, but this is not, and now the the person and the persona have been conflated.



Persona is person, of course . . . and in a way, yes, personality is maskality, or so you copuld say, as I do, have . . . the masks I wear, the many,many masks I wear on this and other stages around my world. The many you wear as well. I have said this before and I will say it again, and again, one story told after another story told, narrators conflated with other narrators; one narrator the same unnamed in one text after another after another together speaking in motifs. Wearing masks is not what makes you phony. Sometimes I wear masks in my essays,the non-fiction pieces I write. Does it matter, really?

Here then is the story as entitled above. All titling an entitling; what is this story entitled to, for, as . . . yes, everything about personality is all about maskality. You do know that /p/ and /m/ are minimal pairs, don’t you . . . I am not going to insist that you should.

So then, bailing out, what is this bailing out? The plane’s going down in flames?  A parachute or a bucket? What then do I use to bail myself out? The President had other ideas, didn’t he? Bitch of the bankers, no?



The current election is a sidestep into side-show to confuse or confound the American voters and make them believe again that there are ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats when there are not and have not been for too long. I cannot trust the sincerity of the Donald. We were just about to arrive at a place where neither party served our interests and along comes Donald T. and confounds and confuses with his carnival barker show. And this is even more appalling or appealing to too many than Obama’s Minstrel Show. Black men in blackface is not a stretch. I haven’t gotten to White men in white face, the many minstrel shows of the American socio-political stages we erect everywhere we want to pretend to be free.

So, whatever it is we think, if my airliner were going down in flames, I’d most likely be dead soon. Airlines never think parachutes are practical. I had a friend when I was a teenager who never went out in his boat without buckets. Maybe parachutes are not–what did I mean maybe? The White Star Line did not think it needed enough life boats for all the passengers–is that what I am trying to say about airlines and their policy of no parachutes for passengers?

Having enough lifeboats too was impractical . . . why? Because of space, because of greed; how is it we do not see that the flip side of greed is being cheap.  Poor people who are cheap are only wishing they were rich so they could be greedy. Being cheap is the only way poor people get to be greedy. But that’s not why White Star Line did not have enough life boats on the Titanic.

It did not have enough life boats on the Titanic because very simply, Money has always said “fuck the poor,” and the British especially so when the poor were Irish Catholic. Yes, the British have always sucked if you are Irish and Catholic–and I do know that there are many (too many?) Protestants and Jews in America who are saying right now that this is too much, that this is not a fair assessment of British policy and history because when it comes to struggle or suffering, oppression or repression, everyone is fucking greedy. I have as much love for the poor in America as I do the rich, and as much for the rich as I do for every other fucking neo-conservative working man who has been streaming beer-shits out of his mouth for so long he’s drowning in his diarrhea the way some drunks or junkies do their puke.

So now the shift . . . How are women in the world in a better position than Irish Catholics were on the Titanic; black women, white women, Asian women, Latina women, Muslim women, Hindu women, Catholic women, Protestant women, Slavic women, Jewish women, Native American women, Indino women, Zoroastrian women, these women, those women, fat women, ugly women, beautiful women, stupid women, thin women, hateful women, loving and caring women, motherly women, mother-fucking bitch women, saintly women, devilish women, generous tall women, tall women with hideous legs, tall women with long gorgeous legs, sexy women, funny women, sexual women, women with big tits, women who laugh a lot, women who cry a lot, women with small tits, women with medium sized tits, women with tits too big for them, women with huge tits not too big for them, women with small tits just enough, mentally fucked up women, sensible women, rational women, sensitive women, reasonable women, rich women, educated women, poor women, uneducated women, hard-working women, cheap women, highly literate women, whatever women you find, intelligent, articulate, talented, creative, successful, tenacious, violent, peaceful, passive, assertive, aggressive, what do I see, meet, know, befriend, fuck and love; women. I love women; I have wanted to fuck far too many women. My problem or proactive favor is that I do not have a type.



Women are women, have been women wherever they have lived, have loved, have been abused, have been contracted for as breeders of men’s brood, a brood mare, yes, women become domesticators because they have been domesticated? I question the accuracy. Women will be women remain women as women have always been women everywhere for all time the only way women have been allowed to be women which might not have anything to do with how women have wanted to be women. Did I forget lesbian women; all or any of the many kinds of women above applying to those who are lesbians. Brood mare for what? How have women not become their own nightmares.

The British are real pieces of shit? Need I single any people out? The Japanese are real pieces of shit; the Chinese, the Russians, the French, the Polish, the Arabs, the Pakistani, the Germans, the Italians, the Swedes, the Canadians, the Australians, the Americans, the Mexicans, the Brazilians, the whoever else you want to list from wherever else they may be from.

Human is human enough when homo sapiens is what most people believe, everywhere in the world. Cain is Abel’s brother. So just what do you think I think the Russians, the Chinese and the French are? Can you imagine what I think of Americans? What do you think, if it is thinking that you do . . . because randomly passing images in the mind is not thinking, nor is playing ping pong with the pros and cons of ideas, nor is playing hop-scotch with the Truth. Yes, what do you imagine I think of Republicans and Democrats. If you really need me to explain this to you . . . how is it we keep playing the political ping pong we do and not tire of it? Alice asked, I remember.

Don’t imagine I think the Irish are not also big pieces of shit. There’s nothing like a real piece of poor Irish Catholic shit in the ghetto of Belfast or Boston for trying to fuck-over and keep down another Irish Catholic. Muslims kill more Muslims annually than were killed throughout all of the Crusades by Christian armies. Christians kill more Christians every day than all the Islamic terrorists have killed Christians since 9/11? I feel as if I could think that this is true for you in your mind, but what is in your mind I do not want to find out about, no, not really. No one wants to be in another person’s head. Prefatory remarks made by a man who has been made to stand for a chorus in an imagined play in an imagined theater? All the world, you know; my hypocrite brother Jacques is with me more than I realized.



I do recall the medieval Everyman, but then that, I have assumed from time to time, but never persistently past the time of its arising, that Everyman should really have been Any-man, as I have alluded here above in the reference to anywhere. But even more specifically, it should be any person, even if the woman contained by the boundaries of any text were to bleed to death from a botched abortion, presumably an illegal one, thus one that was not medical practice but some other form of bodily invasion more akin to alien probing or rape of one kind or another—and there are many kinds. This would be about any person, as it is this anyone that I have attached myself to, here, the presenter, the speaker, the writer, who he may be is what he is by context given, the one who does. I am not apologizing to Protestant or Jewish friends or colleagues. If they do not understand what is present here, no apology is going to help that level of semi-literacy.

Yes, everyman is any-man, is any-person, woman is person, the compound is imperative here, and we must note the connotative distinctions between ‘man’ and “person,” although in Anglo-Saxon, ‘man’ meant what we mean by ‘person,” so then we have man and person and mask, what ‘person’ means in Latin, ‘persona,’ as in “dramatis personae.” My mask, my character, my personality; my manhood or my personhood; what then is a person if all of these or only some of them, any one of them at any time—I go for all, all at once, every day, any day, all the days of the rest of my life have been affected by what I am living what I have been living.

The day and date are no longer important; in fact, they never were important–except, perhaps, they could be important to someone somewhere at some time, concerned for the historicity of what is said and how and to whom, when . . . time is and is not of the essence–I never knew anyone who ever knew what he was saying by half of what he said. There were many who had no clue of more than half of what they said. There were some who still have no idea what they were saying anytime anywhere to any-whom.



Everyone is talking to himself–no? What she used to say, I can still hear her say. Is historicity in the date, in the hour, in marking the calendar? When anything happens in any story told is notsoley in the date marked or the hour spoken, or the year mentioned . . . and what these actually do for anyone reading or hearing the story . . .

Shouldn’t we be listening? What then should I say about what I am about to say, want to say, herein in reference to the title offered, given, what are the givens? To write or not to write is a question, I’m not sure if the question, but one among many, yes, as they do have a habit of stringing, being strung, what is it that I say when I say what I say when what gets said should be said in how I say . . .

How to say what others might not want to hear, or just not want to hear me say? I talk when I write, write when I talk, each together mutual and reciprocal in each other. I would like it if you were to sit a while and listen. Oral culture today is all about how well you suck.

And so . . .


Written by jvr

June 29, 2019 at 1:17 pm

In Some Dictionaries, ‘Martyrdom’ Follows ‘Marriage’; a Fictional Essay on the Truths of the Matter [by an Anonymous Author]

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Who I am is not important to know–yes,I have chosen anonymity and not out of deference to Virginia Woolf’s assumptions about Anonymous as an author. What my name is could not be less important; where I am from also could not be less significant for what you need to learn, to understand, to know. These facts, unfortunately, do have influence over what we think, what we say about, what we learn or allow ourselves to understand. For this reason I have left them out–what I am in the matter of gender, of religion, or political persuasion, of ethnicity or race–these are as useless to the ascertaining of Truth–what do we need to know except the words of an essay when the trial is to bear upon our reason some conclusion we might want to call human and humane?  Yes, anonymity is a mask I wear, the expositor himself or herself or other-self does wear a mask; the role is a mask as the one’s we used to wear or could again wear on our theater stages,  but then  what is life but a theater, all the world we must remember, the stage upon which we perform many roles, embodying how many characters–and where we reenact the same character, time has in its passage transformed the role because we do know that role and character are not identical. The page too is a stage–the proverbial page which may be one or a hundred in the writing written by the writer; every writer is an actor; the role of author, the role of expositor, the role of narrator . . . I am beginning again to confound the terms character and role. I do not want to revisit Stanislavski here, as I had visited him in my time spent in the theater–yes, I worked in the theater, off-off broadway, how long ago now I will not divulge.

In this essay concerning gay marriage, a redefinition of marriage will be broached.  How this redefinition of marriage is a long overdue reexamination of the institution, as well as a necessary adjunct to addressing the basic human right of choice and full sovereignty over one’s body, whether a person is a man, a woman or other, whether gay or straight or other, will be addressed and proved. Proof, of course, in our contemporary forensic sense of proof may not come to fruition, but proof as we have understood in the literary sense is intended and if I may be bold and a bit egoistic, resolved. I now offer at this inception these remarks in essay which will stand as the trial of the idea that gay marriage is a human right as well as a civil right, although only remaining an issue for those who do not understand the human right at the heart of the matter. Marriage–as it has been discussed by persons in various cultures, codified by laws and/or customs, ritualized in religious practices and understood by how a people anywhere define it, giving it specified and special resonances in the words used–must be opened to investigation. This essay will attempt a re-definition of “Marriage,” at least with respect for and cognizance of how it has been articulated socially in English speaking countries over the past millennia or more. An examination of diction concerning the institution will be helpful in understanding how mentality formed over millennia concerning the institution of marriage affects how we understand and respond to gay marriage today. These measures toward defining marriage or articulating how marriage has been defined will show us where we can go and how we can get there. This redefinition with respect to where gay marriage fits–all of which will be based on how all discussions of gay marriage have inherited the archaic way of phrasing what marriage is and who the players on the social stage of marriage get to be–is necessary.

Traditional marriage, for a long time coming, has needed a re-examination, an articulate re-definition. The institution of marriage has been stuck in an archaic understanding of men and women, and has suffered the subtractive legacies of patriarchy, and the power plays politically that men have enacted over time to control women, most specifically, their bodies, their sexuality, which extends to the reproductive rights of women as well, which in turn has affected how men-centered societies have legislated against a woman’s right to choose a safe medical procedure when induced miscarriage is the preferred option during her pregnancy. Witch trials have often been an extension of this control, even when they have been coupled with or gathered among other impulses and drives quite distinct from socio-political control and repression. Witch-trial mentality and the individual psychology developed within has much to do with how gay marriage is perceived and understood in our contemporaneity. We are all a little bit the Puritan in our manners and concerning the matters that do not reflexively follow traditions or conventions, whether we understand them well enough to support them intelligently or not. Let it then be said tat gay marriage is marriage, and that there is no contradiction of the traditional facts of marriage by admitting this. The protection of everyone’s basic human rights is of supreme importance in the course of all human events, and the civil and human rights of homosexual couples demand that we articulate just what we mean when we say that gay marriage is marriage, or that gay marriage is marriage redefined, or even when some of us say that gay marriage is an abomination of marriage, the latter I have never been quite certain is as holy or sanctified as many conservative opponents to gay marriage suggest. Any society that does not support and defend the civl rights of homosexual couples is a society insufficiently liberal and less than democratic. Americans do not hold a monopoly on hypocrisy, yet hypocrisy in manners and matters that contradict democratic principles seem glaring enough in our society, partly because we are the last best hope for humankind to live democratically and in peace, if I may expose a prejudice I still hold in spite of how many examples I have from our history that fly in the face of an affirmative commitment to democratic living.

If marriage is a ritual contract that can be sanctified, I am not sure why it cannot also be sanctified by gay couples? Unless this is the polemical position many opponents have opted for; that is, gay men and gay women cannot be holy, they cannot enter into sanctified unions, they themselves are contrary to all things sacred, and they are therefore for-always restricted to the profane. But then if all of this is true, why are the secular avenues to gay marriage closed? I mean, I would understand better if traditional religions stood opposed to Gay Marriage and did not want to sanctify the unions based on this anathema position; but, I am puzzled by the secular avenues being shut. There is no valid reference to any religious text in shutting the doors to gay couples when it comes to marriage or marrying in one or another conventional ways secularly. We do not shut the door to secular marriage when a couple might be professed atheists. Belief in one or another interpretation of God  or gods is not a pre-requisite to marrying, nor should the presumption of man and woman uniting to legitimize their children be the sole reference for what a marriage is or should be. I do stop at a living person wanting to marry a dead person, a child, or a goat–but facetious responses aside, let us continue. I am not offended by Jewish marriages or Hindu marriages–and I am not herein being facetious. The metaphysical differences between a Jewish and Christian marriage are not as glaring as some might assume from the topical or superficial distinctions they might innumerate. But the metaphysics of Christianity and that of Judaism are discrete. They are not one. A ritual Hawaiian ceremony or one from Papua New Guinea also does not offend my sensibility of what marriage is, although it might–it could. Nonetheless, how it offends me is my choice, not my obligation to interfere in the lives of others.

Any move toward a redefinition of marriage that would include gay marriage is not an impulse born of the desire to undermine the significance of the institution, nor would it in actuality shatter the institutional valency marriage has held for millennia. Marriage retains valency for heterosexual couples even if homosexual couples are granted legal access to marriage.  I am puzzled by trying to imagine that if we allow gay men and women legal access to marriage, my marriage is somehow lessened or inflated or undermined . Religious freedom means religious toleration; however, theocracies are not about religious freedom. Theocratic pressure on government has nothing to do with the freedom of religion. Islamic Fundamentalism or Christian Fundamentalism find themselves on opposite sides of a singularly minted coin of intolerant motives, gestures, influence and power (where either is powerful) and authority (where either has authority). Both are notoriously homophobic. The issue of gay marriage and the issue of a woman’s right to choose are both part of the larger human rights issue of choice and self-determination which will become apparent as we progress in this essay. It is from this place that religious fundamentalism must be addressed, We cannot remain silent in face of pressure and postures from the conservative religious right. Fundamentalist pressures that arise out of ignorance and a want of experience, coupled with a decline in literacy and a general [humanist?] education have only manifested themselves in America and around the world in one or another grotesque reactionary monstrosity masquerading as free human expression or righteous defense of God, as if any one of us can know the mind of God.

A revision of what marriage was, what the expectations were, and how it fit into the mentality of ages past, was necessary centuries ago, and had even been broached by Mary Wollstonecraft in her seminal treatise, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. It was (is) in the later treatise that Ms. Wollestencraft sought to “effect a revolution in female manners . . . and make them as a part of the human species,” for woman had been considered in her time, and for centuries prior, as a sub-species of man, a thing of modified personhood, someone sent into the world, “half made up,’ if you will. And perhaps we can better understand the associations of woman and her make-up if we pay closer attention to the ways women have been expected to present themselves socially or in the bed room; and the ways men have rhetorically carved her up. What does it say about a society when a woman in public without make-up is seen as somehow incomplete? But then what does it say about a democratic society where a homosexual man must wear the mask (dis-guise) of the heterosexual man?

The residually primitive ways we have understood marriage over the centuries has affected how we think of it today–how could it not. The way we have thought about many things over the last millennium that persist in our discourse affects how we think about them today. Just what the implications were for women in marriage when framed by the language of the past has left its imprint on how segments of our society define marriage today, and even residually refer to women in that institution. It certainly affects how we argue against gay marriage, and it has even left its mark on how supporters of gay marriage confound their own defense. We actually hear gay men using the term husbandand lesbians using the term, wife. This just might have to change after reading this. Words never lose their original potency, and the effects of language use are not restricted by contemporary connotations of words. More on the etymologies of the words used in the marriage ceremony, or how people talk of marriage, refer to the persons in a marriage, upcoming; but allow me to reiterate that the current absence of any astute, rational and intelligent re-imagining of marriage and the language of the ceremony and the contract, how it is still affected by an archaic world view that was useful to reinforce patriarchy and the continued repression of women, has impeded social progress toward how Gay Marriage could be accepted and thereby permitted; that is, without any further attempts through courts or legislation to impede this acceptance. How the rhetoric of marriage had been articulated over the centuries has not much changed throughout those centuries—and I am focussing specifically on the English language, particularly how the etymology of the diction used in contemporary ceremonies (as well as in common parlance irrespective of social or economic class or one’s politics) has informed the rhetoric used to defend the status quoof marriage. This diction has been woven into the laws used to support the customs of marriage, and has shaped the opinions that the successive mainstreams of our society have held and have used to express their concerns about marriage that inform what we say currently. Bride and bridegroom; wife and husband; the etymology of these words is integral to several points to be made upcoming. How these words are ubiquitous in all English speaking cultures, repeated by virtually everyone at some time when discussing marriage or married people, in all preparations for marriage by wedding parties–yes, all around everywhere we go, irrespective of class, race, gender, sexual orientation even.

We must not miss the diction of marriage, whereby a husband, as in husband and wife, is exactly the husband as in animal husbandry, the science of animal breeding. The husband is the manager of the breeder’s brood. Human marriage must be taken out of the concerns for and management of animal husbandry. Agrarian societies manage human affairs much as they manage the affairs of their domestic animals. Human, though, is not animal, even though we are all of us Homo-Sapiens, another species of animal in the world. We must articulately address these salient points concerning our humanity if we are ever to understand that humanity can only flourish when it is a humane endeavor. In traditional marriage, throughout all the English speaking world, a woman becomes a wife; a man, a husband. In English, these titles, if you will, reveal something intrinsic in the traditional mentality concerning marriage. ‘Wife’ comes from the Anglo-saxon word for female, not woman or spouse. In this context, female is equal to breeder, as the female of any mammalian species is the breeder of her brood. The distinction of female in any species is a sexual one, and that is without any of the neutral connotations we assert in our identifications with gender. Gender is a grammatical term and one of sociological reference when talking about women and men. Male and female are the two sexes of any species, distinct for their roles in breeding, primarily. A man becomes a husbandin marriage, and in effect becomes the master of the union’s breeding; he is the one that manages the brood of the breeder, the female, or the wifein this instance, the Anglo Saxon wif.The latter is also part of the compound wif man, or, ‘woman.’ Before marriage a woman is a female person (what we mean by ‘person’ is contained in the use of the Old English word ‘man;’ what we mean by ‘man’ was contained by the Old English wereas in were-wolf, man-wolf or wolf man; the Old English werehaving nothing to do with the contemporary English past tense form of the verb ‘be’ ‘were,’ nor is it restricted to use in the former connotation). After marriage, she is only a female. Note the deletion of her personhood. Moreover, as mentioned above, the word ‘husband’ is contained in the origin of the word ‘husbandry,’ the science of animal breeding, which  is exactly what traditional marriage reduced woman to, an animal, perhaps a pet, domesticated as were cows, horses and pigs.

You do also know that bride and bridal are related, and bridal is the adjectival form of the noun ‘bride,’ and ‘bridal’ is exactly the word that had been used in puns based on ‘bridle bit,’ what a horseman puts in the mouth of his horse. The husband muzzles the wife in traditional marriage. Has this not been a recurring cry by women for decades and in hindsight over the centuries. Now we know that jokes permeate the psyche; common parlance affects mentality, mentality shapes common parlance. For centuries in English speaking societies where horses were used, ridden and bred, bridle bits have been used; and in as much as homophones are often the root of puns, bridle bit gives rise to the puns about marriage, how the bridal bed is a symbolic bridling of the woman, her bridal bedis her bridle bit.

Perhaps Gay Marriage does not make sense to many people because they still imagine, by some collective unconscious framing, that marriage is primarily man shackling woman; that is, marriage remains a social contract between men and women whereby women give up certain rights over their bodies for the privilege (and you are to understand this in its traditional meaning) of “being taken care of” materially and monetarily, which is why both the Romantics and the Modernists later equated marriage with a form of prostitution. (Privileges are always reserved for the repressed or oppressed, never for the elite–the elite have rights in a society protected by law.) Could Misogyny be at the heart of opposition to gay marriage?

Regardless of how much the thinking about what constitutes marriage has changed, regardless of how we have modified or qualified our roles in marriage, much of the traditional views and expectations remain residual. Of course we have evidence to the contrary in our contemporaneity for this view, which is just the point I am making. We have already been in the process of revising our thoughts on marriage, tailoring our actions accordingly; however, we still remain confused when asked to define and articulate what we mean by the institution of marriage, and this has left us unprepared to deal with the issue of Gay Marriage–so, not to beat a dead cow . . . most of what we need to say, need to articulate, to define, in the matter and manner of our freedom escapes too many of us, and I am talking about the educated who should be able to do so, at least those who need to support the idea that we should do so.

The lack of any articulate examination of the history of marriage may run parallel with our continued absence of a healthy historical consciousness concerning virtually everything that happens in our lives, but the way marriage has been maintained over time—that is, culturally, interpersonally, customarily and legally— has forestalled how Gay Marriage could be–should be–included in our definition of marriage today, one apart from contractual agreements on the part of woman to be a breeder. This absent consciousness of our traditions and our language has prevented us from seeing how Gay Marriage as a variegation of the accepted norm could even liberate marriage as a social institution for everyone, particularly in how the role of women could be altered from the one framed by the narrow parameters of traditional marriage, itself informed by agrarian animal husbandry. Marriage is bound to change more positively for women with a universal acceptance of gay marriage as a human right. Again, let me say that this human right precedes any law granting legal access for gay couples to the institution of marriage. It is not the law that gives anyone a human right. It is the law that respects or disrespects human rights.The acceptance of gay marriage will change how the traditional role of woman in marriage has been and continues to be defined against her personhood. Nothing as archaically constituted as traditional marriage should have endured for as long as it has without addressing the way marriage has been understood by our culture and most specifically in our language; or how it has been presented through one or another channel in our media. So it does not take much to see that gay marriage is inevitably bound up with Women’s Rights issues, as I have already said. Thus it is bound up with the Human Rights issue of sole proprietorship of body, thus it is part of any discussion concerning the human right to choose, which, as mentioned above, is the right of self-determination, which again is the unalienable human right of sole ownership over body, which extends to a woman’s right to choose an abortion, as it also does to a gay man when he chooses whom he loves or even just fucks; all this true for lesbians in their choices as well. But why others are concerned for who another person has sex with is beyond me; any imagination that sees sexual expression as demonic or evil says more about the person thinking this way. Yes, Evil to him who evil thinks. I do draw the line between sex and violence, what happens when the inter-course ceases being human sexuality, in the broadest possible definition, and turns into violence and brutality. They are not the same thing, but a man having anal intercourse with another man is not different than a man have anal intercourse with a woman or a lesbian strapping on a dildo and having anal intercourse with another woman. Getting your kink on and violating another person non-consentially are not the same thing.

There are only two main points here in this essay to understand: the one, marriage is a contractual and/or ritual union in love between two adult humans; the other, that is the traditional one, marriage is a cover by law for the rights of animal husbandry. The former is a move toward greater civilization, the latter, a move toward darkness and an archaic way of conceiving human rights. And we must not miss the point–yet again–this is a human rights issue. Human Rights are inalienable for all members of the human family, if I may paraphrase from the opening of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  a proclamation from the General Assembly of the United Nations, 10 December 1948. I am approaching the idea of gay marriage from more than the position of civil rights, which is how it wound up in the Supreme Court, which is a very good thing to have had happen. We must understand, though–and I am asking for patience if not indulgence for repeating myself–that it is not the Court that gives Gay Couples the right to marry. It is not even the law that can do that. Human Rights precede the law, and Gay Marriage is a Human Right. Yes, again, we are talking here about Human Rights (as in other essays, Human Rights must be capitalized to signify its capital place in our hearts and minds).

When talking about Gay Marriage, I take this to be self-evident and not a point for debate, gay marriage is an issue only in the minds of those who seek to separate this idea from Human Rights. If it is understood that we are addressing basic Human Rights when we discuss the issue of gay marriage, perhaps the opposition could not be as vehement. They would have to admit that what they are saying is that gay couples are somehow less than human. Is that where they want to go? Is that what they are wiling to say? Watch the hop-scotch played when this is raised.

Where Human Rights are concerned, the law can uphold a right, the law can protect rights from abuse, the law can even get behind them and ensure that they are maintained in a manner that impedes future violation—and this is where the Court comes in—; but a basic Human Right is an unalienable right, and the denial of legitimacy by standing laws does not eliminate the right. I know that this is difficult for too many to understand or accept. But it is an integral point in any defense of Human Rights. The Human Rights of a slave exist and persist irrespective of the slavery. Slavery certainly disrespects and, more so, violates the Human Rights of the slave; but the slave has Human Rights in spite of the violation. The law in such a society legally enforces the perpetuation of the slavery; but the slave’s human rights are absolute and universal, most especially at moment of their violation. Our acceptance of the dogma that there is no universal human nature–valid in the extent where it remains valid, invalid where and when it becomes invalid–has affected how we understand universal Human Rights. I hope they are herein addressed.

Addressing gay marriage as a civil rights issue is a necessary adjunct to addressing gay marriage as a feminist issue, which it is, and not because lesbians are women. Gay marriage is a feminist issue in as much as gay marriage, as I have asserted above, will forever change how partners in the marriage contract look at each other, are looked at by others (including the society within which they reside), are talked about or referred to; all of these apart from and forever distinct from how tradition has engaged these roles and used restrictive terms to name them. Addressing the civil rights of homosexual couples is correlative to addressing gay marriage as a Human Right’s issue, so the Supreme Court was correct in addressing this case now as it has. I cannot stress this enough, though, about the Human Rights of gay couples being bound up in the legal sanctioning of gay marriage. Let all repetition become motif; the motif here is universal Human Rights; all in the cause of Human Freedom. The interesting thing about the Supreme Court decision, though, is that it declared that any State’s attempt to block civil marriage of gay couples is unConstitutional. This shifts the focus of gay marriage from a Human Rights issue, universal, absolute and transcendent, to a legal matter, one where civil rights are specifically if not solely addressed, and not necessarily in conjunction with a discussion of Human Rights. This shift in focus does not eliminate–or should not be allowed to eliminate–from our view, just how much we need to keep our eye on gay marriage as an issue fully lodged in the fight for universal Human Rights. To say I agree with any legal decision that ends with the Constitutionality of gay marriage sounds silly to rational and intelligent ears, but it might not seem superfluous in the debate when we understand that sometimes in a democracy, power is numerical. I add my voice to the sum of voice, an extension of adding light to the sum of light.

Now, if marriage is a bond between two people who love each other–and we have come to say this about marriage, sometimes obliquely–then how is it that gay marriage offends anyone. It should not be offensive in the least, unless we are saying that gay men and lesbians cannot love each other. I do not know if anyone, even many opponents, would want to, or need to, argue this nearly un-winnable position. Why would anyone say that gay couples are not in-love, if homosexuality is no longer considered a mental illness, mental illness still a criterium that prevents marriage today? Of course, there are still those who imagine they are being kind or progressive by opposing gay choices in lifestyle as indicative of mental illness, but I am not here to address the profoundly ignorant. Okay then, if gay men and lesbians are not mental defectives, then their sexuality should not be raised as a point in asserting they cannot love. If they can and do love another gay person, and this love is reciprocated, then gay couples can create a union of love, a relationship nurtured and fostered by love, a relationship that grows in love, a relationship that receives all the benefits and extensions of this loving union. If so–and I believe this to be the case–then how can we in all rationality oppose gay marriage?

I am not joking when I say that I am sure there are people who consider homosexuality a mental illness–we are a country of three hundred million people; the world is a world of seven and half billion. But I am addressing sane, intelligent and rational people, not the lunatic fringe of American society–and those I am calling lunatics are not lunatics because they disagree with me, but because they disagree with intelligence, rationality, sobriety, facts, science, education, and enlightenment. I am also sure there are those who consider homosexuality a moral illness, and I am not talking about fanatics or zealots in the cause of a fundamentalist Conservative hegemony, as scary as that sounds to me. I am sure there are still people who think homosexuality is a sin. Sin or not; moral disease or psychological malady or not–being gay is a variegation of human. I am not herein, though, advocating a Leave them to heaven position for us.

To have a look back at the idea of breeding being bound up with our notions of marriage, I have known many heterosexual couples,  who were fruitful when they attempted to multiply, but did not love each other, and should not have gotten married, and were even ill-suited as parents. I have known homosexual couples who were great and loving partners although they were not fruitful and had no intentions of being so. I have known heterosexual couples who could not have children, although they would have made excellent parents, or at least the general consensus in assumption was made by many who knew them.

Heterosexuality does not have a monopoly on love, caring, compassion, adequacy in parenting, and so on in the manner in which we do parent in this society. Fifty per cent of heterosexual marriages end in divorce; what does that say about heterosexual unions? I do not know anyone who would argue that a heterosexual couple is ill suited to be married since heterosexual couples have a 50% chance of winding up divorced. There are a number of reductio-ad-absurdumarguments the opposition of Gay Marriage has not and probably cannot address intelligently. If love is a pan-human condition, then it is a condition that lesbians and gay men can enjoy or falter within. Unless we are saying that homosexuality is an inhuman condition? I am not certain that any opponent wants to venture into this position, although it would be interesting to hear, allowing the contemptibility of the opinion to air and not fester sub-socially. But the objections to gay marriage, I have suspected, are other than this.

Perhaps it has been made clearer herein that many of the objections raised against  gay marriage as not being legitimate marriage are be founded on an unspoken premise, and that is that gay men and lesbians, within their sexual practices, cannot be breeders. We must come face to face with how traditional marriage has coalesced and initially accreted around the gravitational center of husbandry, that is breeding rights, contractual and codified as such. What this points to for us is that what we call conventional marriage has been held captive by not only the traditions and contractual agreements surrounding human breeding for too long, but the residually effective diction from these arrangements made in marriage. An ancillary view concerning the preoccupation with breeding, producing a brood, extends to the ways laws and opinions have sought to manage a woman’s pending reproduction when pregnant. There have been states in this union that have passed laws forbidding a woman access to an induced miscarriage even when the pregnancy was the result of rape. These are societies that take breeding seriously enough to codify pregnancy and birth out of the hands of a woman’s choice. These are societies that have legislated in opposition to universal human rights. These are also societies that could reflexively legislate against marriage that has nothing to do with breeding or the potential to be fruitful. It does not take a great deal of thought to understand that homosexual unions in and of themselves do not produce children, and as such, do not qualify as rightful marriage in the mind of many objectors. Again, neither does a heterosexual union produce in this way when one or both of the spouses are sterile. Furthering the assumption on my part that traditional marriage is firstly and lastly about breeding is the fact that being unable to produce children is grounds for the other spouse to petition for divorce. Society recognizes as grounds for divorce the inability to produce a child. It is then safe to assume that most objections to gay marriage are a reaction, mostly unconsciously, perhaps even collectively-unconsciously, to a non-productive union.

For our society to remain consistent in this way of thinking, we would have to have enforced divorce for couples who cannot have children, and for couples who decide not to have children too, perhaps; that is, if we are going to continue to say that Gay Marriage is not marriage in the traditional sense. Do we want to annul marriages that cannot produce children–some still do in the course of finding out that one of the couple cannot help produce a child. Perhaps if one of a couple still wants a divorce under such circumstances it can become the choice in a personal argument of expectation and not ade factodecision based on marriage being primarily about breeding which most people do not even believe anymore. What Gay Marriage offers us, as I have iterated above, is to free marriage from the shackles of breeding and breeding rights and the legitimizing of the brood. Remember that a brood mare is a female horse that is set aside for breeding. Traditional marriage sets aside women for breeding. Gay men and lesbians cannot be set aside for breeding–unless there is some form of surrogacy, which we still seem to have problems with, irrespective of there being surrogacy in the Old Testament. I suspect that this is an aspect of the Old Testament that even some fundamentalist Christians cannot abide? Or they are then horribly inconsistent. Perhaps their ethics belong in a cafeteria and not their churches.

If it is no longer de factothat marriage entails the expectation of having children, and if one decides to divorce for the inability of the union to produce a child, then the decision for divorce must be made on the grounds of personal expectation, since the contract was between the two under consideration and not all marriages as in effect or de factoevery marriage was. If this is the case, then marriage is no longer about breeding and is now about love? It may or may not be about love–it could be for economic solvency too. But if we are to examine what else is said about marriage, for marriage, how we have sought to define (re-define) the institution, we will see how marriage has already been under revision, even though it has persisted in maintaining contrary rhetorical structures and arguments. Breeding then is no longer the prime or overriding reason for couples to get married today; thus there is no sensible reason for gay men or lesbians to be excluded. We are not herein discussing adoption, which is always the religious answer for a heterosexual couple that cannot have children. Adoption, though, is not breeding; and still, if one examines adoption practices we see that to breed is still a big part of marriage. But then this is just what gay unions address. We could come to a place where we allowed homosexual couples to be adoptive parents, thus the members of this non-fruitful union could be parents, although not breeders. Again, this would make parentage about love and presence as opposed to paternity and maternity. Marriage is no longer ruled by the processes involved in insemination (unless we want to address the ways insemination in surrogacy could be used by homosexual couples); marriage is now and forever only about love or the choice to join in a ritual contract binding two sane adults–let us not forget that homosexuality is no longer a mental illness (and do I really have to tell you that my tongue is firmly in my cheek?).

So again, gay men by their sexual practices cannot produce children, which underlies, as I have said, many objections to Gay Marriage. A man’s colon or rectum or anus has none of the functions of the female uterus, cervix or vagina. But then anal intercourse between heterosexual couples does not produce offspring. I do not doubt that many who object to Gay Marriage might also object to heterosexual anal or oral copulation because they violate the Biblical proscription against sodomy, or because any sexual act that might not result in a child is perhaps demonic or simply degenerate (itself a term used to denote prurience but has its origins in actions that do not generate, and even when used to reference a metaphorical generation, as in art, for instance, that is, what does not generate is degenerate [something the Nazis had an affinity for identifying].The origin of the word’s use is for something that is progenerating-like, as in producing children who are our progeny). I am not going to discuss masturbation as it is understood in these minds; masturbation being the greatest metaphor in parallel for the kind of thinking that takes place in these minds . . . I am not going to venture any psycho-analytic diagnosis. Sexuality in itself, let us say, as well as the practices therein, whether hetero- or homo-, is freed by the acceptance of Gay Marriage.

All of these points notwithstanding, we still see attacks on abortion clinics and a savage opposition to the availability and distribution of birth control, both of which run parallel to the sometimes savage and even violent reactions to the idea of Gay Marriage or homosexuality. Another point to make concerning our responses to the idea of gay men and women wanting to marry is rooted in our collective unconscious fear of sex–and we are afraid of it, and what we see in our popular culture’s expression of sex and sexuality often has inscribed in all subtext, fear, fear and more fear. Sex is certainly not for pleasure in our culture. If it is for pleasure, the pleasure is marred by obsession or at least identified as obsession whether it is or not. This of course is for the most part and not in every instance. If we examine our popular culture and its entertainment, we would see clearly that when sex is for pleasure, it must be framed as grotesquely as possible. The proliferation of pornography can tell you just what the collective unconscious of America thinks about sex. And I am not herein trying to proscribe or prescribe for anyone’s bedroom, or anyone’s erotic journey’s, interludes or affinities–I will not address fetishes. But what we do in our bedrooms and what we see on the stage of our social interactions, the platforms we perform on as we know this world that is a stage, exist in different categories, whether associatively or dissociatively.

If we are opposed to Gay Marriage because it stands outside of traditional marriage’s link with breeding and breeding rights, then we are on shaky ground. Moreover, as I have alluded above, anyone who is infertile must also be excluded from the right to marry, if we are taking the position that gay marriage is not traditional in the sense that gay couples cannot breed. If we allow infertile couples to marry and stay married then perhaps we are moving in the direction toward marriage as a bond of love and not the breeding contract it has been traditionally. This, of course, is not the first time we have heard that marrige is a bond between two people who love one another. At least idealistically, marriage is this. Cynical attitudes about marriage being a bond in love notwithstanding. If marriage is open to contractual agreements more economic than amorous, then there is even less reason to oppose Gay Marriage. Until we change the diction of marriage, though, the rhetoric cannot change. If we do not change the rhetorical constructs we use to refer to marriage and persons in a marriage, then the mentality about marriage will not change adequately enough. If mentality does not change, individual psychologies will continue to be shaped according to an archaic framework. If it is true, though, that marriage is about love and not about breeding, then why is infertility still grounds for divorce? If marriage is exclusively adjunct to homo-sapiens animal husbandry, then gay marriage makes no sense; if marriage is a union between two humans who love one another, then gay marriage reinforces this notion by taking out of the equation of marriage once and for all the conditions of breeding. Heterosexual marriages that do not produce children for whatever reason, by choice or by biology, are as fruitful as those that are fruitful and multiplicative.

Gay marriage is therefore marriage liberation only if we allow it to be so. To disallow it is to walk hand in hand with misogyny. Once more, it is not only an issue of gay rights but of women’s right, of human rights, the rights of heterosexual men as well–in as much as gay marriage removes women from the yoke of traditional marriage or the contractural obligations in husbandry, both men and women are liberated. The issue of Gay Marriage, being a Human Rights issue, in as much as it is an issue of the right to choose, fosters a broader understanding of everyone’s basic Human Rights, men, women, transgender, transexual, black, white, Asian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian or Atheist–even Republicans and Democrats, politicians, lawyers, bankers and bureaucrats. Yes, Gay Marriage liberates heterosexual marriage, and once and for all, as I will repeat again here, removes the definition of marriage from the legacy of breeding, although certainly not parenting, which it will thus redefine, as it has been redefining it for us in our society for the last quarter century. A redefinition of parenting will also bring about a redefinition of the roles of mother and father; it will have an impact on paternity claims, and child care, especially in places like Family Court. Could we be leaving our Puritanical reflexes behind? I would hope so.

Now I used to think that it was naive of us to expect the mainstream of our society to accept homosexuality coming our of the closet, when heterosexuality had only been out of the closet in our culture for about fifty to sixty years, and poorly received at that by the turns in how popular culture deals with or represents sexuality. You do understand that this is not hyperbole. Sexuality, in our media and popular culture is always in need of being marginalized or of marginalizing itself. This is changing, but there is still far too many examples of sex and sexuality that point to a collective unconscious fear of sex and sexuality. I cannot watch television or mainstream movies without repeated hints at how negatively we feel, think and speak about sex; how sex is too often nasty or dirtyor some other  word pejorative. We create an unnecessary dichotomy between lust and love, separating them in a way that creates confusion, that confounds their mutual and reciprocal shared necessity. Being overwhelmed by a desire to fuck is almost invariably referred to in metaphors that speak of the demon nature of this desire to fuck; it is almost never referred to as godly. This fear in America is repressing our attitudes about isues concerning gay marriage, as well as abortion rights and gender identity. Our notions of personhood are also stunted by this notion of how sex and sexuality is first, fore-mostly and lastly about breeding. No one can fuck for the sake of fucking and call it love. Issues concerning the nature of personhood and transgender persons and how they are persons first and last is confused and confounded by this inability on our part socially to deal with sex and sexuality in a healthy way. They are all of a piece.


Written by jvr

June 28, 2019 at 11:08 am

PASSING THOUGHTS ON THE PASSING OF DEMOCRACY [a fictional essay by an Anonymous essayer]

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We the people is never realizable, never totalizable as we. We the People has become a non-totalizable number in our politically collective consciousness. This is an error that needs correction. Politically, this we the people of ours has been managed by an oligarchy of economic and power elites as we have today in America, administered by those who call themselves Conservatives and others who name themselves Liberal, those who are known to be Democrats and the rest who we hear speaking Republican idiocies daily. We are today a land of the rich and powerful, but soon becoming a government exclusively of the rich and powerful; no democracy for the People, but then war is peace inn our rhetorical strategies, and each of us aspires to be everyone’s big brother in a naieve masquerade of the kinder, gentler nation. There is, though, another way to understand Jefferson’s We the People. This understanding requires a minor stretch in our categorical constructs, our observational provenances, our own attention to or deference to the logic of space and size.

I am We the People. I must be We the People, as you also must be We the People, as she and he too must always be We the People, if in turn the aggregate is to be significant. Yes, you heard me correctly. I am we the people; I am this unique plurality; moreover, I am this because in a re-newed sense of liberty for all, we must insist on that Liberty for each and every one of us.

In the metaphysics of this renewed birth of freedom, respecting fully the ideas that there is a free-will to counterbalance determinism, I am macrocosmic to each and every category of social or economic or political inclusion. Again, yes, I have to be We the People because if I am not We the People, than no one can be We the People, and the People as a political institution in counterbalance of the State loses its valence. We cannot be a totalizeable sum in the workings of democracy because the enumeration of populations is always on-going, populations ever increasing their numerical value. There must then be proxy relationships with this We.

If we ever came to a place where we could embrace the idea that I am We the People because you too are We the People as he is as she is, we would possess a different understanding of our Liberty and our responsibility, rather than each one of us becoming fractionalized in one to one correspondence between the total number of voters and the political institutions of government and the State–and government is only one part of the State apaaratus. Everyone is we because only then is Democracy respected and fulfilled for individuals, only then is Democracy a power other than that associated with addition and subtraction, that tethered to numerical evaluations of Power.

Each of us is macrocosmic to this we, to the nation, to our freedom–as each one of us is macrocosm to the categories of race, religion, ethnicity, economic status, level of education, gender, sexual orientation, political association, et cetera. But only this, if each and every other I in the world is also macrocosmic in these ways.

The universe has an infinite number of relative centers to the expansion of the universe; in  this way each of us is central and macrocosmic to all Politics. Irony, paradox, conundrum? Of course, but never in rebuttal.


There are millions of people now willing to work for less than what anyone in such a country as ours should work for–what does this have to do with what I am herein asserting for myself and my own political reality which is contingent to and corrective with any notion of what We the People could mean in a democracy such as yours, mine, ours; or for any democracy that comes into being. We the people is something tangible in me, but not in the minds of those who administer our livelihoods or our freedoms. We remain for the Elites only a numerical reference, every one disjointed, reduced in his or her relationships with State, with race, with ethnicity, et cetera. Every category in our social and political existence is given rhetorical supremacy over us in every argument used to support institutions over the People.

We are fast becoming a democracy of silence, without any of the attributes of Sartre’s infamous “Republic . . .” .  We’re not educated enough to understand the thesis of Sartre in “The Republic of Silence,” whereby he asserted that the French were never freer than under the Nazis occupation. Ridiculous, paradoxical, a conundrum for the ages. What do we have in our thesaurus that could help us? But the freedom he was referring to came in the guise not exactly in our American brand of choice, but in the more tactile manner of existential choosing, but then for the Existentialist, choosing is crux, not choice. We have a multiplication of choices of chicken dishes at the Chinese take-out restaurant, and we have adopted this theme in replication over and over in minute variegation as our freedom, or where our freedom resides, or what precisely our freedom is. But these multiplied choices have the side effect of paralyzing our choosing.


We have been controlled by our enculturation to our contemporary notions of freedom, themselves peculiar to America, and ironically more manipulative of the individual in the expression of his Self, and less supportive in the actualization of his freedom. Going to hell in a handcart is our way of being free; hedonism being the foremost manifestation of our freedom; a reactionary ascetism in response our only alternative; both of them having been no more than exercises in futility.

We are less free than we have ever been, just at the time we assert infinite possibility for all of us, socially, economically, politically–and yet, the rich are richer, the monied more monied, the powerful more powerful and the influential more influential through a media deference to pseudo-experts as experts; in turn, each of us is more greatly suppressed in his individuality, more disjointed in her political responsibility, every one of us becoming more fully a state serving member of a Public set to displace the power and weight (density) of the People. The People gain density by the macorcosmic status each one of us has in the numerical weight we bear. If we were only fractured and separate in an over-simplified individuality, we become no more than political confetti.

Every you and I that happens to be interactive in the arena of freedom has found that that arena has no longer the spectators it once had, but remains a demonstrably prohibitive freedom to perform.

Bureaucrats and politicians recite the hymns of state by heart, no matter how many of them rationalize to the contrary just what is happening to We the People. Too many of them enact policies that put our civil liberties in jeopardy of being taken away by the state; individualism, to the contrary, has only increased its ismistic referencing in our rhetorical strategies concerning the package of individuality over the product of individuality, and all to the detriment of the People as an eternal force to counterbalance State.  Senator Schumer, for example, is an enemy of We the People, a snake in the political garden for the satans of power and money he actually serves. He is a servant to the idea that we are a Public that must, in its turn, serve the State, all the while masquerading as a representative of the People who must make the tough compromises. He is no different than the other members of the Democratic Party who abandoned their once commitment to liberalism for the more lucrative Wall Street Whoredom they have been pimping to the Public since Clinton. But let us not imagine that Trump is an answer. Only the most horribly dis-informed, marginalized and manipulated could imagine that.

Individuality has become an abstraction on an abstraction; thus the People have become one kind of public or another depending on what the social context demands.  How can I or anyone hope to understand what individuality means when true political and social individuality is so countermanded by one pluralism after another, one determinism in assault against any or all notions of free-will, an assault backing up these pluralisms. A better understanding of the limits of free-will and determinism, how one affects the other, or how free-will stands as counterweight, counterpoint, to determinism, often times in spite of determinism.


Free-will (which is the power to act separately from the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion) versus Determinism (which is a doctrine that asserts all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes external to the will) remains one of the most persistently relevant philosophical questions for us to consider, understand, comprehend, articulate. We must wonder about it ontologically, but especially epistemologically as well as ethically.  A greater articulation of both of these concepts would go a long way in helping us to manage our freedom, but we fear anyone who shows an expertise in language beyond what Hollywood or Publishing can package for the purposes of making it popular.

Popularity might not be the worst of it, but popularity is really the packaging of what is made popular through the media by publicity–there is no popularity except media sponsored publicity about what is popular. This is a horribly deterministic imposition on what could be an expression of free-will, coming closer, thus, to what is at the heart of We the People . . . yes, in the horribly deterministic mind that frames too much of our discourse, freedom wanes because we have lost faith in Free-will.

I do remember that I am We the People, as you must also remember, for Freedom to survive, that you are We the People, that each of is, but not to the detriment or exclusion of this validity for all. There areas infinite number of relative centers to our freedom, in our democracy. This is how the individual remains free, exists as a respected member of the Demos.

Free-will versus Determinism is a struggle every individual is forced to engage. No one is exempt; you have to choose simply because you cannot avoid choosing. Not to choose is also choosing, a passive choosing that leaves you open to repercussions and consequences you could not have suspected in the whatever it was you did that you imagined was passing for thinking

Written by jvr

June 27, 2019 at 1:10 pm


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I have always imagined Alex in A Clockwork Orangesinging “London Bridge is Falling Down.” I do not think about why I have imagined thus. I have not asked the questions I would need to be able to–I have no questions ready.  I have an idea why I imagine I see Alex singing falling down, falling down . . . London Bridge’s falling down, falling down, falling down; London Bridge’s falling down . . . my fair lady, clealy and distinctly I hear Malcolm McDowell in my mind’s ears crooning this nursery rhyme, similarly crooning “Singing in the Rain.” 

I understand why Burgess’s book might have been disturbing to readers when published; I know how the movie was and is disturbing to many who have seen it, who still view it on DVD, as I myself have several times already. Midnight Cowboyreceived an X when it was first released. I do not know if anyone who finds this film equally disturbing from among those who are upset by Kubrick’s film. Malcolm McDowellmanaged to be menacing and charming simultaneously and I still think it is one of the top five performances never to receive an Oscar. Midnight Cowboy adjusted standards–by the time Kubrick’s Clockwork had come out, ratings had shifted. I was twelve when In saw it alone at, I think, the Marine Theater on Flatlands Avenue, just off of Flatbush; there was one around the corner on Flatbush. I am fairly sure that the Marine was the one on Flatlands; I had been at my Aunt Eleanor’s house down the block from King’s Plaza. My mother had given me money to go to the movies if I wanted–we all were watching movies perhaps we should not have been watching.

I do see why some are disturbed by the film–I can see that a film might be or in fact is disturbing without myself being disturbed. There are of course films that have disturbed me to no end. Perhaps I do not actually suspend disbelief when I re-watch the film–how many times I have I cannot count. I can watch it re-watching it while my spouse has barely been able to manage a complete first see without turning away. The thing I have found the most interesting is how the Ludovico Techniquewas used, what it enabled and how, and just what our media world does to each of us its viewers; spectacle and gaze. All of it amazing and amazed–the Labyrinth awaits, or is it the Abyss?

Who can watch Alex hooked up during the technique, and how can we not be revolted by the results–effective was McDowell’s ability to gain our sympathy–Burgess, Kubrick and McDowell all have a hand in readjusting our sense of sympathy and revulsion–our sense of social responsibility and our ever changing sense of our place in the world, in our families, our relationship to authority; and our perpetually shifting and projected sense of our selves to our selves, our individual responsibilities to others and ourselves . . . 

London Bridge is falling down, falling down–of course it is. Of course they were, the towers, one and two, the tewins attacked in lower Manhattan–how the media spent a few wekks bombarding is in one Ludovico moment after another, montage, Eisenstein had shown us, intensifies experience, intensifies images, imagery, the significance of the signifier and the signified.

The Twin Towers have been absent for almost fifteen years.  There used to be a hole  in lower Manhattan’s skyline, one that smacked me in the eye every time I looked over from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade or the walkways of the Brooklyn Bridge or out a subway car picture window clink-clank over the Manhattan Bridge, or so I wanted to believe–that is, before the Freedom Tower reached a certain height, and has subsequently been completed. I had already noticed that the feeling of being pierced had waned, that the stabbing pain in the eye was fading fast. [I wrote this at least seven or eight years ago and had even revised it several times until 9/11 was ten years old. Since then the Freedom Tower reached completion and the content of this paragraph needed revision . . . vision is one thing, vision again, another; to see and to re-see, look again, what vision did I have for this essay . . . to see or not to see depends on how we stand under what we want to understand].

Nonetheless, this hole, this absence, I speak of here, was still bigger than the Towers were to my eyes, a paradox, perhaps, something about the size or displacing power of absence; that the absence might have greater density in our perception than does the sight of the object as a thing in space.

London Bridge is falling down, falling down . . . 

We sometimes see absence more clearly than we do presence. I know I took them for granted when they were there, persistently there, agreed upon by all, forever. How could things so large, so big, so humungous, gargantuan beyond gargantuan, how could buildings so immense–the largest buildings ever built even when they were no longer the tallest–how could they be toppled.  Who could have imagined their absence? I would never have thought of it–I do not know if anyone could have–the scenario was never imagined, except maybe by some firefighters that bureaucrats and politicians in Manhattan and Albany ignored?

Don’t trust the truss was a firefighters mantra; it was also the subject of a video broadcast on television soon afterwards, one that had quickly disappeared from anyone’s rebroadcast list. You cannot even find it on the internet. I do find that suspect, yet without surprise.

There came a time when their absence was less than imposing, yet they were never minor in their absence. The initial absence I speak of imposed itself on me with a force their presence could never have had.  Even with that absence fading in presence, what exactly was falling down, falling down–all media in America is a variation on the theme of the Ludovico Technique–how we are conditioned to respond through a manipulation of images and a repetition of sound bites. Over and over–maximum effect. How are agents of the media not agents of propaganda–how have the lessons of advertising through broadcast media not informed how news is presented; how has Hollywood filming and editing not also informed how news items are presented or is it re-poresented, or should I say created.

What then am I saying about our media? That they are less than what they are purported to be, that they are not the beacons we have assumed for them, their role in our society, our protectors no more. The media manipulates for power and corporate money. Only in dribs and drabs do we get truth or some sense of standing up for the little man, standing in support of the People–really standing for a state sponsored and media managed Public. But even the Nazis did not lie all the time–there were lies, but mostly half-truths with a sprinkling of truth in the Nazis propaganda machine.  Our current media has more in common with Soviet or Nazis propaganda than it does to the media being any imagined defender of democracy and freedom.

Do you recollect the images set in one montage after another montage after yet another and another and another–deadening the effect or reshaping our sense of doom, alienation, fear?  Then, after this deadening, the videos disappeared entirely, thought to be too painful for us to see again. Just in time because maybe we would look for or find by accident inconsistencies with the reported facts–the is flat was once a fact.

I cannot say anything about their absence now, the Freedom Tower has replaced them in space–I do not know if they have replaced them in mind. Certainly they have not been able to replace them in memory. I sometimes, though, wish I could; but then, how much do I actually wish this, another posture set, a pose imposed. I must be content with a certain measured silence, a quiet that also signals for me a time to be self-conscious. All the world’s a stage implies we must be aware of our presence on that stage, at least aware enough to keep our performance organic, what we like to mean by saying more natural. But we must always be careful about what we want to make more natural–nature and civilization are at odds; the former is red in tooth and claw–just look at Wall Street.

But what does it mean to be self-conscious? Is it a reflective pose, but if so, then mirroring what? To be self-conscious or not to be only instructs myself; I impose on myself as much as I do others by the poses I take. How do I take what it seems I am giving? All does fall down; the house of cards we build out of our selves. History; social science or any  one of the humanities–how do these help us understand–there was no steel box construction for the Twin Towers–do not trust the Truss, the firemen were sayinbg after the collapse ofd each building–Don’t trust the truss, is a mantra in the New York Fire Department.

Ah, the humanities, the study of humanity without the science purported by the social scientific community–where was the humanity in those heinous acts. Osama Bin Laden’s father and family run one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East. He knew how vulnerable those buildings were. It was no mystery. It was something any Fire Marshal could have told you who had ever inspected a warehouse fire or a supermarket fire. Warehouses and supermarkets are built to maximize interior space–the roofs of these broad and horizontally super-large buildings are attached by trusses on the walls and only an aluminum brace underneath–in the Twin Towers there was no steel box that was the initial innovation and greatest security measure against collapse in skyscraper building. The Twin Towers were the largest warehouses ever built, stacked one-hundred and ten times high, twice. Collapse under those fire and breach conditions from the crashes was imminent. It was inevitable–and that is what no one in power or authority wants you to know. And the pigs who made billions on the collapse may not have known about the planes and the plan for them that day, but they could have known the possibility of ultimate failure because it was far too easily accomplished for people who could have known about their vulnerabilty not to have known they were vulnerable. Unless there was access to messages from foreign intelligence agencies that alerted the owners of the Twin Towers to imminent threat which allowed then to establish a building implosion under the cover of a terror attack–maybe this information could have been received by the owners as possible and not imminent and the explosions that fire fighters swore they heard in succession as the buildings collapsed were set just in case something like this possibly happened? Questions beget questions; paranoia begets paranoid questions; just because a question is rooted in paranoia does not mean it is not true, we used to say as undergraduate political science majors.

History is the self-consciousness of a culture, a people, a nation, its intellectual elite? Can history be populist without necessarily becoming popular, then subject to the demands of entertainment? What kind of history is a history that is entertaining in the way we mean entertaining in this culture?

Childhood was revisited that day into the next and the next one and the next one, each of them creeping in their petty paces as do all the days of recorded time. Chicken Little was I, was you, the sky is falling I said. . . the television screen another theater of a kind, and as in all theaters, we do become children once more, and the sky can fall on our heads.  Chicken Little was a prophet. What more is there to say about me, about them, about this day, the event? The impact was the impact; but do we still feel it.  I couldn’t say what it was I saw as I looked at the hole in the lower Manhattan skyline about a week after they fell; I couldn’t even say what it was I saw watching the Towers fall over and over again on TV, already one or another cut and paste montage for maximum effect–this effect being how horror-stricken we could become. The image was replayed in mind as on tv. London Bridge is falling down, falling down. My son’s kindergarten teacher talked about it ad nauseum, as far as I was concerned.

The Woolworth Buildinghas not imposed at this angle in almost forty years, I remember having said after the facts.  There was a time when it was the tallest building in the world; the Empire State Building was for a time again the tallest building in New York. I was in lower Manhattan to get a birth certificate so we could go to Canada, Montreal, our hostess from the hotel we were going to stay at extending her heartfelt sympathy over the phone, a solidarity she expressed to me in French and English. I cannot however forget the smell, yes, the smell, the horror of burning flesh for a week still recognizable I imagined in the nose, my fellow New Yorkersand I walking the streets around City Hall, Chambers Street and Broadway as the fires below the rubble continued to burn the missing bodies or their parts.

London Bridge is falling down, more rhymes for the nursery, I recollect having hummed then sung the words from childhood, soon after the day they fell, another day that will live in infamy, or so we believe, all the former days of infamy falling below the horizon of memory. Soon after that apocalyptic day, we said how we would never forget. This current revision is nearly fifteen years later. Fifteen years after Pearl Harbor was 1956. What did this day reveal? TheBook of Revelation in the Christian Bible is one and the same, The Book of Apocalypse. Apocalypse is from the Greek and means ‘revelation,’ but today means something else because what John revealed was the Chrtistian End Time; his prophecies represent the teleological myth of Christianity. What did we see in those planes crashing into the Twin Towers, the largest buildings ever built, even if they were not the tallest. John’s book owed everything to Hebrew millenialist teleologies; how do we not learn from our mixed cosmogonies and myths of the End. Osama Bun Laden was paying Western Civilization back for the Crusades; I remembered how Milosovich in the fragmented Yugoslavia of the Serbian/Bosnian conflict in the 90s blew up a mosque because the Ottoman Turks had destroyed a church on the same site 500 years before.

The clouds dividing on Patmos; the smoke eventually clearing over lower Manhattan; the smell, the acrid taste in my  mouth and residually evident in my throat as far from the site as Chambers Street at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. I looked to the medieval arches of that bridge, evoking for me again the image of the Crusades. I looked for John the Divine’s Horsemen in the sky when the Towers were falling down, falling down, replayed on the television all week. What do I remember having said? Words never mean what they say at, I recall Addy saying at the close of her narrative in As I Lay Dying. What did we uncover there then? When will we know? Can we?

There were four of them that John saw in the sky dividing the clouds; The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  What then did I say in diatribes unfit to print? I later said their absence was almost as big as were the towers themselves, again, the largest buildings ever built, even after they were no longer the tallest, the debris covering how large an area? We once knew. I forget. We will no longer remember, forgetting more and more of this event. It is natural, I imagine. I felt something I could not name for weeks,  for months, how long did it last, this inability to suit word to action? I noticed for a time we shared more camaraderie in our travels  about town; I imagined we had become friendlier. Was it myself who had become so and others did not change? Does it matter who changed and how?

It is now nearly fifteen years ago, soon to be more. There are children born after the fact who are now fourteen years old. Will we remember? I ask rhetorically, as if you know what the answer is–no. I doubted it immediately, knowing how we have forgotten so many days that were destined to live in infamy, days I had lived through, only to see them fade. We have not completely forgotten but there are children ready to enter middle school this fall who were born after it happened. Children who were alive that day but who could not possibly have any recall of the facts as they happened as they were made are themselves perhaps entering high school. . . I am not a skeptic; in fact I have been considered by many to be an optimist. The fact is, do we really remember anything? Do we realize a decade and a half has passed. What was the difference between 1941 and 1956; 1961 and 1976; October 1991 and October 2006? It would be other than optimism if I avoided the facts I use to infer our future lapse in memory. I am sure there were atrocities of the Franco-Prussian war that were infamous to never forget. The Reign of Terror was sure to live in infamy forever–how far have the French come from the lessons of les Jacobins. The further they get away from the blade of the guillotine, though, the less free they are in face of new power and new elite money vritually fearless in their contempt.

We watched with deadening rapidity day after day, in and out and out again, one montage after another, how many angles, how many cuts, the media trying to rival Eisenstein or Hitchcock. The North andSouth Towers of The World Trade Center were falling down, first one, then the other, then the first again and the first from another angle, at what range were they taken the videos that the media had in how much footage? The towers were falling down in front of us, over and over as if no one could have seen it however many times they watched. This is the footage that will reveal something true–Revelation. Repeatedly on the television news, one station and another and another in a special pace. The only real gain was our deadened sensitivity.  The Ludovico Technique was never so effective.  My brother Alex’s forays into redemption aside, and for you, my hypocrite reader, I assume, as I do for myself, we will not long remember.  How many people lose the memory of horror? How many people’s minds enforce forgetting on them for things too terrible to remember?

Will we come to forget this day, but not through the processes of a collective unconscious amnesia, no.  I am sure the answer is yes that we will forget, as certain as I am that we have forgotten Pearl Harbor.  We have also forgotten Hiroshima, not a special roll at your favorite sushi bar. I try, though, to remember this day, September 11th, 2001, but the recollection is fractured, fragmented, fading in color, intensity, definition. What I see I am not certain I had seen; what I saw is somewhere I could not go to as I do a dictionary, the internet, an old tape recording or video record of a vacation. Searching again the lost recesses of mind, or is it time–time is only ever a state of mind, at least as far as we have dogmatically construed it. Success in recollecting has become difficult to gage.

To see is to believe, of course, and then it is to know, it is a special kind of understanding, one where standing under is imagined although not really enacted.  Of the body, of the mind, of course, we only learn through the crucible of recollection.  How we remember today though is equal  to being blind.  Oedipus set himself on the road to truth after he gouged out his eyes; in blinding himself, Oedipus proclaimed a life of blindness needs no eyes.  Eyes were wasted Oedipus.  What are ours for? Would you or I have his courage? Could we be as just? Ah! The tranquility that recollection requires–I remember my Wordsworth. What then is this language of men, which we must extend to women, and to men and women not privy to our language, our sociolect. Can we do such a thing, take Wordsworth’s maxim for poetic expression and make it apply to those who do not speak our language? We must know that Shakespeare spoke to both Kurosawa, the great 20th century Japanese film director and Dostoevsky, the great 19th century Russian novelist. Did he speak to them the same way he speaks to me; he speaks to me in a way differently than he speaks to every other native English speaker.

Anyone born on December seventh nineteen forty one is now nearly seventy-five years old. The youngest possible person alive on that day is a certain member of the elderly.  Ask any incoming freshman in college to tell you what happened on that day–ask any one of these freshman to tell you what the significance of August 6th is, what happened on that day in 1945.  I have, although I know that I repeat myself.  The responses were frightening from my students in Freshman Composition classes in The City University of New York; what was most frightening was how human they were, all too human, in their ignorance, which is dependent on a culture’s forgetting or its amnesia, which amounts to the same thing. Historical awareness in a culture as tempo-centric as ours is terribly foreshortened.

What did happen on that day, though?  We know the physical facts of the day; the conclusions to draw from those facts are other things. What lessons can we learn from this event? What lessons do we usually learn from history? Very few, right?  This history is one that has been conveyed through a historiography too susceptible to the backspace key.  We love the eraser; educated people who resent usually do. Wilde was right when he said a fool can always ask a question that a wise man cannot answer. We imagine ourselves geniuses because we do so on and on and on as we have now for several decades; intellectual hegemony won by those who are no better than that famous emperor whose new clothes were so shocking to everybody’s fashion sense. We all have a new set of intellectual clothes to wear on parade or promenade.

We do not study history as much as we imagine what history might have been as if there were no way to discern facts, to weigh accounts, to manage our research, if we were even to attempt such a thing. We are too in love with doubt as the highest form of wisdom, articulating an epistemology where there are no truths let alone a capital ‘T’ Truth, where all opinions are special simply because they are opinions. But then they are no more than opinions. No one corrects anyone’s opinion because then anyone would not be able to say anything about anything the way they want to be able to say their opinions, off the top of their heads? We would have to know something to be able to judge opinions in their quality, but we do not believe we can know enough for any of us to do such a thing. Knowledge has become impossible, so why endeavor at all. There is no knowledge; there are only an infinite number of opinions which leads us to imagine things like infinite possibility. However, infinity is unreachable, not knowledge. One billion is equally far from infinity as is one. But then knowledge today is confused with facts, facts themselves never knowledge, but who’s to say remains our favorite rebuttal.

All historiography is more l’histoirein one sense of the word, a story told, something to tell, perhaps; or, it is most likely a fiction, again, a thing made. I don’t have as much objections to the makerliness of historical texts as I do to the intellectual dilettantism that rules our social discourse, sometimes, even, discourse in the Academy. Anyone can say because where anyone can say no one can say you can’t say. Everyone respects another’s opinion no matter how ludicrous because he wants his opinions respected whether they deserve to be or not.

On any of the days that fall below the horizon of history, what will happen, what could, or would or should happen?  We love saying we do not know; but then, what kind of people draw comfort from perpetually saying I do not know; I cannot know; I will not know; knowing is impossible; knowledge is impossible; my doubt is the highest wisdom I can attain. The horizon of memory, the horizon of time, the one of being too.  9/11 will converge with December 7th andAugust 6th in a metaphysical parallax. It is inevitable.

One difference today is how few monastic oases of learning, of knowledge, of cultural memory we have in the desert of our waning civilization. As concerns the parallax, there are metaphysical ones as well as physical ones; the railroad tracks converging on the horizon is not an illusion, though; it reveals the curvature of the earth, which we see as flat on the ground we walk on. Perception  cannot always be the sole verifier of our reality, but it can aid in gathering information; empiricism has its limits; doubt is something a genuine First Philosophy can start with, but to end with it is a disingenuous philosophy perpetrated on a people in the name of other hegemonies, The Will to Power has everywhere been the will to power.

Soon this day, 9/11, will be below the horizon with all the other days that were once days that will never be forgotten. Who remembers Gettysburg? Who remembers Lindberg? Do you remember when we still called Veteran’s Day, Armistice day . . . the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month? Do you remember anyone using the phrase, the eleventh hour? That’s where it came from. Do you even know what I am referring to when I say the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month? Who remembers 1918? Do we remember Europe’s armies rising at dawn to bombard and shell into a final submission until the 11 AM ceasefire, when all fronts went still. How psychopathic could they have been?

There were limits that day in the skies above lower Manhattan, the limits they set, the ones we had put in place prior to the event, the result had set another set; each differing by varying from the others in ways we have lost to inevitable forgetting–but then forgetting is just that, something for  getting, but do we look for what we should be getting?  The limits of remembering had been set too, much by the way we think, by how we react, not what we do, or how we do it, but by what and by how we determine ourselves capable of doing anything.  What is thinkable will always determine what gets thought, and in this we have no sense of our limits or our limitations.

A clockwork Alex, I am; what more can I say when I know that this is true for each of us.

Written by jvr

June 26, 2019 at 4:42 pm

The Need for a more Articulate Political Science is Demanded

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The Capitalist Class is not firm, monolithic, congealed;  it does not control the State, but needs the State to coordinate, fuse, if you will, at least from time to time, interests, direction, cooperation of like or near like values . . . the one overarching being private profit.

If Roosevelt or Sanders are Socialists in your mind, then you are already lost or an advocate for the kind of State Capitalism we endure, we suffer, and we do suffer this, from this, under this. Yes, you are part of the problems we suffer directly from the persistent wrangling from our Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalist American State.


Post Script:

The State is a field of class struggle––an arena of class compromise?


Written by jvr

June 25, 2019 at 11:48 am

Ralph Miliband and his The State in Capitalist Society; Leo Panitch talks

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Written by jvr

June 25, 2019 at 11:37 am

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