Now Politics: the Political Opinions of Thomas Sarebbononnato

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

WHAT SHE SEES IS WHAT YOU GET; ROSALIND DISCUSSES HER ESPRESSO POT, DRINKING COFFEE AND THE VEILS MUSLIM WOMEN WEAR [a short story]

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It does not matter where Rosalind is from, or what her background is, or what she looks like, how she looks quite irrelevant; all of these are true in as much as what she says and how she says it should tell you as much as you would need to know about her. This sentiment is something she would agree with, and in fact is something she has herself said: how she says what she says when says it, as I say she has herein ensuing, should remain the first and the last in whatever conclusions you the reader will make concerning all you need to know.

Thus, Rosalind says:

I hear the pot in the kitchen. It’s almost ready. It’s a pot for espresso. I have an espresso machine. I also have a pot from Italy. The pot’s for the stove and brews espresso on the same principle as volcano’s erupt. My little Vesuvius, I call it.

I love coffee, drinking coffee, smelling coffee, before and after, almost certainly while being brewed. Ilove the ritual of coffee making; of coffee drinking, the assurance of something that makes me feel better than I had been feeling.

I’m discussing coffee and the coffee pot, and my drinking coffee every day, without fail, because you, my readers, will insist that this tells you something, that you need these kinds of details in  order for you to know that you are experiencing a human telling of a human experience, otherwise you might not understand my humanity or yours, or what I will come to say about what it is that will decide to talk about, talking about, talking to, talking at . . . how I manage my story determines how you think we manage our humanity . . . what is it in our interpersonal relationships that has everything to do with how humanity is endeavored, how it is engaged societally, not what you imagined?

Of course it is everything and nothing and entirely something else, as it could be anything else you or I decide to say it is . . . there isa degree to which saying anything makes it so.

How is it that you and I do not see that much of what we have concluded for us depends on how much we have allowed determinism upon determinism to displace the idea of Free-will from our minds. You should be able to get this. I don’t see how you can’t.

Detailing in this way just what your humanity or my humanity is  insures that you and I should be able to imagine . . . what is it that we should be imagining, telling ourselves about ourselves, who is it that knows us better than we know ourselves? No one knows even the least self-aware person better than that unaware person knows himself?

What is it we should be able to imagine, or I should be able to?

Imagination, we hope, is not yet dead. I know mine is not in the ways too many of my contemporaries have of abandoning imagination, the imagination needed to understand Truth, the imagination necessary . . . hoping and wishing are not now; they are not present tense realities, no; nothing indicative about them, always projected into a past or a future. 

I have been hoping against hope for many things, for a long time. We must allow ourselves the room in our minds to create a different space, a new spacer more space, to understand space in the mind . . . do you understand this space in the mind, metaphysical . . . just what metaphysical space is? I know that there are too many who have abandoned traditional metaphysical thinking. Do you know just what could be embraced by this metaphysical space I am referring to here?

What is it we do with our minds when we think, when we imagine, when we understand? What is it we have done to the space that exists in the mind, and please do not tell me only about brain function? What we do or do not have, can or cannot expand, the space in our minds by what we have done to metaphysics, the conceptions we no longer conceive, no longer can contain in our or by our thinking?

You are receiving a representation of human being herein articulated as I have known how to for a long time already; however whatever moreover . . . in light of your prejudices, your preconceived ideas that you have been accepting for as long as you have confused parroting for speaking, randomly passing images or words in the mind for thinking—what?

Do not tell me that women do not think this way because in a world of seven point five billion people where more than half of them are women, who are you talking about or for? That’s the biggest problem with our deterministic tendencies; we are forever and perpetually short-sighted in our convictions; our data and statistical analyses amount to faith, a new religion for the insipid. Pronouncements of facts based on data under the aura or umbrella of statistics, this in itself a cultic following, become new dogmas of understanding, determining just what we should think or say or believe, every bit of information itself part of a larger system of propaganda, something every State needs, every State manages, maintains, promulgates and perpetuates.

What is it that I do doubt sincerely concerning your ability, my ability, anyone’s ability to say what it is that is real for the simple separate human, man, woman, child; Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish; black, white, other, whatever . . . ? What? I doubt that you or I or anyone has the patience or the love–yes, the love–necessary to perform what I might call higher literary election, a higher literary interpretation, a deeper method of deciphering our humanity, the great human humane I have been talking about and talking about on and on as I will until the last syllable of all my recorded speaking, writing, saying, telling whatever I have in with by the words I use . . . 

I’ve come to question the certainty of my doubt. Yes, find me at the end, shouting, speaking, pronouncing, articulating and laughing into the void, right there at the precipice of the abyss. Why shouldn’t a woman speak for a collective humanity, a universal humanity instead of allowing herself to be ghettoized into gender or sex or sexuality, just  newer ways of de-vindicating the rights of women which are the rights of humans everywhere for all time, past, present and future as one. My sex, sexuality, sexual preferences, gender identity are all a part of my being human; but none of that is the first or the last of me.

I am going to go to the kitchen and shut the pot off and have the coffee I need because if I don’t have coffee in the morning first thing after the first thing I have, fruit juice, I am just not myself, whoever or whatever that might be. Who I am that others imagine they know and can tell all about by looking thus seeing thus understanding at times persists as a mystery, but mysterium mysteriaeaside, who stands under me, I wonder? Who has, who is willing, who can?  

I’ve had men who have laid themselves down under me, along side of me and themselves on top of me, yet the kind of standing under we need to perform gets lost on the stages of life–on, not in. I know women who imagine themselves more understanding because they are women and women have always laid themselves down under men, whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean. Women are more interior than men, why? Because they have vaginas? Identity epistemology and identity ethics have been messing us up for a long time. 

To understand is to stand under, I become post to a lintel when I do. Simple. One is better at this when one is better at this, not because one is a woman or a man. So I should understand Cordelia and not Lear?

She continues:

I remember thinking about why the veils Muslim women wear upset me so much, and they do upset us–they do upset me. I’m tired of looking at the medieval ghosts of women walking on invisible leashes of misogyny . . . and do not tell me most Muslims are not backward because you would be lying to yourself if you did. This I am sure of . . . as I am at times upset by the apparent backwardness of all of us,  just not as I am when I see muslim woman after muslim woman walking with an expression on her face that bespeaks an unhappiness she dare not express . . . a closeted unhappiness like that of closeted sexuality or identity . . . and there are times I am certain of the backwardness of women who cover themselves entirely, all but for a slit for the eyes. Why are these assholes even here?

I’m still confused how hair on the head is sexier than hands or eyes? Yet, as I do understand, Muslim women might be either more overt than we are willing to be about our mask wearing, or they hide the masks they wear in the world and only reveal their masks to their husbands or family. Veils hiding faces which are the morphing masks we wear, no?

I am sure, though, that the day they bridge the gap between themselves and Evangelical Protestants is the day they will vote your rights away as a woman–no doubt about that. I, as a woman, fear this. And don’t be a stupid liberal as most of you are going to be; be strong, be intelligent, be passionate, control your emotionalism, be literate, be educated, be better read, be more fit in your ability to articulate your defense of liberty, of democracy. You have have been chasing the Devil in a forrest of Justice cutting down all the trees of law and knowledge and Truth to get at the Devil and now that he has turned to face you, you have nothing to stand between you and the Devil.

The stranger is strange, always estranged. I do, though, think it is almost other-worldly for them to be wearing niqabs here in America, but then I am not an apologist for Western Civilization, nor am ever going to experience White Guilt, not that I think I should because I should not and do not, sop really, a special fuck you to anyone who insists that I should. What most people of color and black people virtually entirely mean when they say White, I do not; instead, I use  Bourgeois and Protestant, not White. And that’s the most offensive of remarks, I’ve learned–to say that I have none of the insipid white bourgeois liberal’s affected guilt over the past, especially if he or she is Protestant from somewhere nowhere near New York.

I am neither a supporter of Affirmative Action, nor am I an opponent. I always suspect any measure meant to improve anyone’s lot once it has been subsumed by the bureaucracy and managed by it for as long as Affirmative Action is always going to be a lot less than it could–or maybe that’s the point, bureaucracy only does what it can even if it can do more and does not.

When we not only look to but receive all our clues and cues about Affirmative Action from the State, I can’t help but suspect its design, its motives, or that its results will be other than what we imagine they should be, or even are. I’m sorry, but I really do not give a shit except in as much as it is integral to any discussion of freedom for all people to examine just how people of color have been screwed by European Colonialism; of course I am of the thinking that most of the descendants of those fucked by European colonialism also do not give a shit either. I have never thought that an under-qualified black man is going to be given a job over a more qualified white man; but I am certain that after a period of adjustment when Affirmative Action was used to separate the Black Bourgeoisie from the Black working poor and poor, that now we have a situation where lesser qualified black persons are given jobs over  more qualified African Americans, for sure . . . and it is almost counter intuitive to think otherwise. 

We do not live our lives with a persistent or virtually constant historical consciousness. We are incapable of discerning the Truth, which is why we abandoned truth as a verifier, how it could be managed, maintained, articulated by literate intelligent persons; we were bold to declare that knowledge is impossible, that Truth is a simplistic fiction, that truths are all of them relative . . . we did do this in one Post-Structuralist and Post-post Structuralist attack; and now we have what we have. We could not imagine in our stunted literacy and our narrowed historicism, our naiveté, our grossly adolescent metaphysics that we could get to what we have in our politics.

But even with all of this or that, these and those, I do not hear Americans disrespecting Muslim women as often as I have heard in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, in the past, for instance, Arab Muslim men disrespecting American and European women day in and day out. You would hear it every day if you were inclined to stand about and listen obliquely because there are enough young men in a place like Bay Ridge who hate Americans and America, and do so every day, and yes, they are virulently Anti-Jewish, which is not to say that I think the politics of American Ashkenazi or the politics of Israel are blameless–there is plenty of blame to go around. Now I sound like one of those crazy Republican Nativists?And yes, I do feels if I should be vindicated, and yes, in the past, they would have been beaten for it,astheyshould be, and yes, they would adjust becasue the beatings would be severe enough to instill fear in a people who you know hate us and everything about what we are and what we do . . . they are not here to be free along they insist their women wear what I see them wearing.

My skin crawls.

Yet, I wear masks as well. All the world, you know, the stages we find ourselves on, everywhere, every-when, performing many roles . . . the masks I wear are many: the masks at work, the mask in the classroom, the mask with colleagues, the ones I wear with friends, the ones I wear with my lover, the ones I’ve worn with family, father, mother, aunts, uncles, cousins, where, when, what clothes I wear, the parties I’ve been to, the strangers I meet, yes strange, less strange the more I get to know them–do I get behind their masks, there are the masks I wear inside. Yes, Eugene, I know about the masks I wear inside.

And so, what about the masks I wear inside–the masks on the selves in the Self. I do capitalize it for a reason. I am we; we are, I am, how so the other who I might become, there are many. Estranged? The masks I wear inside are plural too, many selves in the Self to wear within me their own masks. Yes, to get behind these masks I wear inside, now that would be revealing.

The covering of the face Muslim women do does affect me; it bothers me; it offends me as a woman. Yet, being a woman anywhere means wearing masks on the masks that humans wear outside, often on the many we wear on the selves inside, masks on masks on masks on the many selves we are; yes, I am we, for sure, themselves another kind of plurality. Mascara means mask, another and another and another way to make things up, all of these giving new connotations to make-up or what we do make up when we compose fiction, itself, a thing made. Check its etymology. A woman is a maker of fictions every time she opens her pocketbook to take out her lipstick, even if only this.

I have come to the kitchen. I have turned off the espresso pot. I wait for the erupting to subside. After, I pour a cup half full of steamed milk–I sometimes havecaffe latte. (All double letters in Italian are pronounced, are in separate syllables.)

All the world is stage and each of . . .the players we are.

Rosalind keeps on saying what she says, has said before, will say after and continue to say again and again as she had said what she has said what she is saying and will continue to say and say and say, keeping her mouth shut is not what she is about, and you can be completely opposed to what Islam represents for women, to women, against women, now, historically, in the world and here at home, yes, the United States of America is home . . . of course, how could this not, any woman who calls herself a feminist, a defender of freedom and democracy for women, has to be opposed to Islam, has to be opposed to everything these people stand for, wearing f-in niqaabs in New York, I say too, a woman who is likewise as offended as Rosalind du Jacque (what I say herein as much as you need to know about me, what is it about my back story you want to know? As if that were going to be conclusive for you, help you better understand what it is I am saying, the words themselves all you need, if you can read, that is, at level higher and deeper than you have been trained to perform in your all too perfunctory education, designed to ensure a high percentage of failure in matters by manners already lower in the level of attainment than previously maintained; as they will be lowered again, as they have been each time failure comes to be too high . . . lower the bar, and more can jump over it, right? I, Alice Buconiglio, ask rhetorically, as I do with most questions I use in my expository prose); yes, Rosalind says:

How many of us imagine that the things we do habitually define us, how many of us need to read details, details and more minutia in the fiction we read in order to believe we are experiencing something real, something tangible, something at least consistent with traditional values of verisimilitude?

We are mostly full shit in this way, and most of us have no clue what we want from fiction, or need from fiction, or could accept from fiction, most of us reading as badly as we do, needing more and more description of familiar or de-familiar places in conventionally framed presentations of the de-familiar in order to think we have read something meaningful.

But then we are the kinds of readers who more often than not skim the pages we imagine we are reading, never performing a deep enough kind of reading the first time we read, so that if we ever do re-read, we might just come closer to full enough first read. Not likely though. But then we look to Hollywood to teach us history lessons–that’s a joke, isn’t it?

The veils we put on memories, the veils we put on Truth, the veil of Maya everywhere– the veils we use to hide one thing or action or word or trait or manner or feeling or whatever have we in the universe of being human, of having human emotions . . . what do they cover or discover? Is there a way to discover by veiling? There is no truth or nearness the Truth in a Muslim woman wearing a tent and covering her head and face, none. And that’s my conviction, mine, Roslaind’s, and you can disagree if you want; but beware your simplistic assessments, beware your naiveté. I do warn you now.

I used to take photos with various kinds of stockings over the lenses to capture varying levels of opacity, a photo I have of the old Jefferson Market now a branch of the New York Public Library through a thunder storm from the second floor window of the former B. Dalton Bookstore at the corner of Sixth and Saint Mark’s Place: a building’s tower veiled by the rain. It’s a beautiful photo in shades of gray, a charcoal sketch in photography. Da Vinci’s sfumato technique reminds me of a form of veiling as does the singularly greatest advancement of the Impressionists: the painting of air, of atmosphere, of atmospheric effects.

To repeat myself–is that what I want to say?

At the risk of repeating myself . . . ? Risk?

I repeat myself: What then must we come to understand about these veils they wear–yes, they, those people, those women, them, who they are, burdened by four, five and six babies that they feel free to have here because we give them welfare to multiply their stupidity. Do you need to ask why I think as I do?

Honesty? Is it about this? Overt? Is it more overt what they wear, more overt about a pan human condition, the masks we wear, and all veils are forms of masks, and everyone wears a variety of masks in a variety of social and interpersonal situations. Then there are the masks we wear inside; inside the Self of many selves we wear masks on these selves: masks that we wear by nature or by civilization are then covered by other masks personal or oppressive, imposed by conditions peculiar to one’s state of oppression.

I am not one that imagines the new arrivals love us–I see, I hear, I feel that more of them have contempt for us and condescend to us, as they also must arrogantly assume they are better and smarter than we are here in the United States–I have no illusions that people from everywhere else are here because they love us, want to love us, want to be friendly and not just make more money than they would otherwise be able to do in their country–it does not matter where anyone is from, and this shit that there are good and bad people in all peoples is another trite way of trying to believe that most immigrants to America do not despise, consciously or pre-consciously, everything about America and Americans. I see how arrogant, how racist, how ethnocentric and xenophobic most immigrants really are right here every day in my multi-ethnic neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Nobody feels himself in a position to act violently on their manner, perceptions and beliefs, but if anyone of these groups had hegemony, they would be violating the rights of every single other person not of their own.

So, enough about how racist whitey is, because if African-Americans had hegemony, all immigrants would be in camps. If the Chinese in my neighborhood had hegemony–I do not want to imagine what would happen to African-Americans, or so I do imagine, and so I think enough times for me to believe, which insures I will feel it and thus hold convictions greater than believing. ( I am just puzzled how too many who speak of the real and trenchant plight of Black America have enclosed themselves in and off from a greater understanding or articulation of how their history is part of larger historical continuities of Power acting everywhere for all time pretty much the same; or how the rhetorical strategies used see to mis-understand or dis-understand  how Power has always operated in America on all people and the various ways it has enforced itself on the many distinct peoples of America . . . any understanding of these greater than what tends to get shown in one or another context, or generally, would be fruitful in developing newer more effective rhetorical and political strategies going forward; understanding race in terms of how Power has done what it has to Black America in ways strikingly similar to how it has operated on poor people and politically disenfranchised people everywhere for all time. Too much of the rhetoric meant to serve the interests of Black America has found itself cut-off, separate and in effectual in direct proportion to how isolationist it has the tendency to be or to become when it is not so at its onset.)

I wish there was a resolution to provide for the Tower of Babel everywhere in every city of America. There isn’t. What I have herein said about veiling and masking, covering, uncovering, discovering–again all discovery is a way to keep anyone from covering or re-covering. If the westward Atlantic voyages of discovery had only uncovered this Hemisphere, there would have been re-covering. But discovery disallows recovery, and in this we have our world.

But you do have to listen to Pakistani girls in my neighborhood taunt and insult western girls as these western girls pass by allegedly dressed inappropriately . . . I heard it for years; I hear it less today. It has lessened greatly, but it was there and extremely offensive as is the presence of the Niqaab in my neighborhood.

These taunts I clearly heard from young Pakistani girls spitting out at women the venom they have been taught was disgusting enough; the glee and happiness exhibited by these girls in group taunting another girl walking alone was horrific, but surely would have made their misogynist fathers and mothers, delighted . . .  here in New York!

Where these girls are from . . . it is a horror story too grotesque and offensive to tell how endemic Islamic misogyny affects women and creates in them a condition where they oppress other women to incur favors from men.

I had to stop a group of Pakistani teenage boys harassing a young boy and girl who were kissing on the bench in the courtyard below. I told the boy and girl that they were doing nothing wrong, and my boyfriend came too and told them that they shouldn’t let these fucked up people intimidate them.

I took a few of their pictures and told them their parents would not be very happy if they got a visit from Homeland Security because if they were as openly Islamist here, there must be some pretty vehement and anti-Western diatribes at home . . . the diatribes . . . I should have sent the photos to Homeland Security. I did not. That was a mistake.

I (Alice) say Rosalind says:

Can there ever be peace for the West with Islam? No.

Rosalind continues:

There can be none. Islam is an offense to me as a Western woman. I really do not think they can enter into our democracy without incurring great revision . . . even sects as fucked up as the Mormons have had to adapt; even the Amish?

Rosalind asks. Rosalind continues:

Now the Evangelical lunatics and Pentacostal assholes are only right inline with traditions of Protestant reactionary politics and socioloigy; I mean, there closely you examine Luther, the Nozis only appear as logic.

Does anyone know anything of Honor Killing in Pakistan? I am starting to play hop-scotch . . . but I also imagine that many people are here because they know how fucked up things are where they come from . . . why would anyone want to go back to stay–I also do not think so.

To think or not to think, this would determine my to be or not, what I am I become, to become is a very potent way not to be . . . therefore, I am that I am because I think? Or is it true that I am, therefore I think–to be is to think. This man of action shit people are in love with–brutality wins over tenderness? But neither do I want to live in a world of pure and excluding contemplation.

I reheat the remaining coffee in the pot to have another cup. I use regular sized coffee cups. I bought the coffee cups decades ago in Fish Eddy on Hudson around the corner from HB Studio.

I do wish there were not so many Muslims who have moved into my neighborhood, and my mate’s friends would change their liberal views if they had to live with the endemic Pakistani-Village-Mind I see and hear every day; the more of them that have come into the neighborhood, the less nice all of them become: ones who would say hello do not any longer; ones who would smile do not or turn away; others who might have nodded then, now look with hostility (and do not tell me that white people cannot tell this, but that people of color everywhere have this as a highly developed sixth sense), and others make no bones about looking at me with disapproval, one woman shaking her head at me for host of reasons I have only imagined were negative and bigoted and metaphysically hostile . . .   the ways they have been made even more backward by their medieval attachment to a Koran they cannot or do not read.

Rosalind says as I have heard her say before:

I live with this daily, with the palatable misogyny . . . my boyfriend had to tell a group of Arab men who were pointing at me that if he catches any of them bothering me, he’ll beat them with a fucking bat. But then he is a bit crazy, taking their pictures and telling them if anything happens to me or to him, they will of all them be found and they and their families will suffer, either bodily harm, or the prison where big niggers will fuck them repeatedly in the ass until they come out of it loving cock . . . I have seen them around and they turn away when they see me. 

But then there is still enough humanity visible to keep me from ever becoming one of the lunatic conservatives. Never have I seen, though, to my horror, stupider, more systematically undermined, infantilized women–it sickens me as a woman, and I do teeter between contempt and deeper compassion. Which side will I be on when the the shit inevitably hits the fan?

Rosalind pauses. She does not go on like this. She stops. She readies her laundry and takes it to the laundromat where she will go on a tirade in her head about the people putting their dirty clothes in the clean clothes baskets and how hostile they get when she says something to them, trying to explain how unhygienic it is, how contrary to collective health it is . . . how there cannot be any way of explaining this except by infantilization, lack of education or illiteracy, or maybe arrogance and contempt for anything and everything American because from my experience, and not even Rosalind’s experience, everyone from everywhere in the world comes here with a host of prejudices, chauvinisms, ethnocentrisms and bigotries that they do not need White people to think, feel or indulge.

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Written by jvr

June 2, 2019 at 9:56 am

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