what with tripoli apparently also falling to the caliphate as israel continues to thrash hamas i would think that we are proceeding into wide-scale super-regional war, which might constitute the defining historical event of this era.
i'd say it's a bad sign for hamas that they are executing "informers". that's what you do in your bunker in the last few mad moments of your movement.
i cannot tell you how past beyonce and jay-z i am. it's inexpressible how too much of them there has been. also, i await eagerly the as it were end of the era of the butt, in which butts such as be's, nicki's, and iggy's were celebrated in art and song and in which specific butts were feared and worshipped the world over. one of my life goals - my telos - is not to die of auto-erotic asphyxiation; another is not to leave behind me any encomia to my own ass.
the little league world series makes it clear that the united states and indeed the world is still pretty racially organized. it was an all-black team from chicago against an all-white team from nevada for the us championship; japan v south korea for the international. now they're playing black against asian for all the marbles. i say whoever wins gets to be master-race until next year.
watching lindsay graham and jack reed this mornin on candy crowley's show. graham needs no more occasion to mount a ground assault on the is. reed needs 'a specific threat to the homeland': it's definitly the gear-up; it's like he just requested the intelligence community to produce a gulf of tonkin. scooter! get me some yellowcake and judith miller on the phone. honestly, though, i'm not sure you can permit a hyper-violent caliphate to sprawl across the middle east. shipping more and bigger weapons to everyone has unaccountable long-term effects, while a newfound alliance with assad and iran is interesting. lord knows what turkey does with a heavily armed kurdish force, etc.
anyway, we'll be quite a bit more at war, even this week i think.
the coalition of outside agitators assembling in ferguson is the best ever:
But the perception that they are among the visitors has shifted some scrutiny from police to the eclectic clusters of civil rights activists, anarchists, nihilists, socialists, hipsters, artists, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.
nihilists! say what you like about national socialism, at least it was an ethos. i've also heard talk of 'maoists'. we welcome all to our coalition of destruction! even hipsters! ultra-violent hipsters only, please. statement by ron johnson: "fucking artists shouldn't come here to our city, but if they do, they leave us no choice but an overwhelming military response. we will splatter the streets with their blood like neo-expressionists." it's ok, man! the destruction will ebb when the semester gets going at risd.
i've been out of pocket but obsessively following ferguson, too. the authorities certainly are behaving as though they are in an armed insurrection. i am not impressed so far with the 'outside agitators' theme, which sounds familiar from arkansas circa '63. also, i am not as convinced as the msm about who may be shooting whom.
While I'm not a big fan of the Daily Kos, I was pleased by this article. As things go from, "Damn, that's better..." to "What the hell is this guy trying to do?" ExPat Girl summed it all up well in her Diary Entry for August 18th, "The Dumbest Police Chief in America." Great catch, rescuing defeat from the jaws of victory for Ferguson Chief of Police who says Nihh...bring the boy a shrubbery.
as i understood the chief of police in ferguson in his press conference an hour ago, he was asserting that protestors fired on the police last night, that they were taking 'gunfire'. i have not heard anyone else say that or seen any evidence for it at all. but even as he was calling for peace, he was describing war, and justifying more crackdown. obviously, if people are firing on the police...
been trying to think of what to say about ferguson. maybe i've got nothing fresh, but (prodded by adam) i'll at least utter some sentences. i am on michael brown's side and the side of the folks who are resisting. one thing that the resistance has exposed clearly: what race and class mean there, and here, now: they've been militarized. there's an occupying army in missouri, trying among other things to keep people from reporting on what they're doing. good luck with that. obviously, this case is emblematic of things that are happening on the streets of america all the time. we've got to identify with the people being victimized and the people fighting back: this is happening to us, do you understand? to our children. whatever distance we might feel or even want to feel, from that neighborhood, that family, etc, we should work to collapse that distance. this cannot be tolerated in our society.
i was more mystified than most and more ambiguous than many on the trayvon martin situation. that wasn't exactly a cop, or even exactly a white man. this, i think, is already a far clearer case, though of course there's plenty to find out. the police response has done nothing but confirm everyone's awful misgivings or awful knowledge.
lauren bacall was my all-time screen crush. too frigging sexy to believe. that voice, for god's sake (voice is underrated as a dimension of desire). also i have always...appreciated the mini-bacall: veronica lake. more to scale.
the group with which i am familiar whose members have the very worst credibility index is the professoriate. it gets worse the higher you go, and you really do not want to listen to them harvard/princeton/stanford-type dudes. convenience-store clerks do a lot better, overall. they are more sincerely trying to find the truth. then there is the fact that the profs are constantly patting themselves on the back as particularly rational, which makes them (ok, ok, us) wrong in the sense of believing what's false, and also wrong in the ethical sense. fortunately i personally am very humble about making judgments like that, harhar.
laying down the smack in the atlantic today. but readers of this blog have been familiar with this approach since 2011. i like to call the cred indextm "arrow's extreme improbability theorem", not because kenneth arrow is involved, but because i like the word 'arrow', nicely combining the phallus, the nobel prize, and kacey musgraves.
I first encountered Campbell's "Hero of 1000 Faces" in one of Michael Moorcock's books, an introduction I think to one of the later Elric things where he talked of both the hero and Nietzsche's myth of the eternal recurrence or return. We desperately seek these guys, and they just as desperately elude us. As Americans, we expect them to arise -- when they do, great. When they don't, oh well...
Recently ecountered this where the artist seems to confuse Mencken with Hunter S. Thompson. Oh well, they both were bald. Mencken, by the way, was a mysogonistic, bigoted, racist misanthrope, and I think that both Crispin and I would enjoy sitting down for coffee with him. Given his coverage of the Scopes trial, I'd like to get his take on intelligent design, Sarah Palin and the Creationist Museum and Theme Park.
My piece has Washington, John Wilkes Booth, Maureen O'Hara and DickCheneythatmotherfucker make cameos. It contains a classic early rock song by a teen idol from the late 50s, early 60s who actually collaborated with Al Kooper, though not on like a rolling stone. I hope you enjoy it. If not, pogue mahone, which is appropriate because two Irish mythological heroes, one early 20th Century and one contemporary make appearances.
Part II is going to look at our mideast adventures or eastern misadventures from the point of view of why that guy would be a really bad idea. We need a coalition of those who want to help that guy...when John McCain who has always yearned for his "that guy" moment starts in on "this president," don't you just want Cindy Or Meegan to change him and give him his bottle?
just to continue the assault on high-end pubs: so, the way they operate depends on a star system, very similarly to the ways pop music in the 80s, say, or hollywood in the 40s operated. but in this case (as actually at moments in the others), this coincided with 'modernism' in the 'fine' arts. one of the features of that is the dogma of the genius: touched by god or madness, more than human, demanding worship. so, i'm not saying that knopf hasn't published many good books (man they published many a subversive screed by my man mencken, e.g.), or that i'm not glad that faulkner or fitzgerald got their books published or something. but on the other hand i think they tried to give this status, which no human almost by definition finally deserves, to many people whose work appears absurdly inadequate now when judged by the standard they tried to impose. but the god-touched transcendent genius is in this case a commercial strategy. and even with all the errors in this regard, you only get a few of them in any period. whomever they're trying to promote like that gets all the attention: they're on all the npr shows, reviewed everywhere, are up for the awards, and so on. and the publishers themselves, though they like now to portray themselves as champions of the mid-list, dropped you like a sack of shit if you didn't gain this status or show the hoped-for sales.
i have known a lot of people who write books of different kinds. and i say that they are made miserable by this. you start when you're 20 or whatever, aspiring to nothing so much as to climb this mountain. you spend much of your psychic energy yearning for it and envying the people who get it, and maybe feeling bad about what you're doing because it doesn't take you to these heights. this is true even of most people who get the fantasy contract, because it usually all goes to hell and remainder. in a way, all but 17 novelists working now are failures in this system. i might be somewhat happier if i were convinced that getting that contract or turning into the booker-prize-kissed super-genius correlated with quality. i do not believe that. knopf or hachette portray themselves as champions for authors. nonononono.
i keep getting stuff in my inbox asking me to sign various anti-amazon petitions, or sharing letters from people vowing to boycott, etc. i guess they're trying to get an author's movement going. but, first, i think the only authors really being hurt are the top twenty or something, and when i say 'top twenty' i mean people arbitrarily anointed into greatness in our insufferable little prestige pecking order literary world. i don't think prestige pubs like hachette or knopf or whatever actually do much of a service to literature: i think they are by and large a bunch of pretentious twits and that the whole thing is primarily about parties and status.
most authors can't even get to the point of submitting to a publisher like that: you need an agency and so on: it's like publishing novels is a mere hierarchy, a celebrity culture with added pseudo-seriousness (kind of oriented traditionally around high-end booze, cocaine, and who's fucking whom), and i am less impressed than many with the quality of the result. it's like a rotted aristocracy to which one is absurdly required to bow, and if that world is in danger, i'm happy about it. i don't think many people make a living writing books in this world, or ever did, so i don't see these as public resources of some kind. i want to point out that anyone can publish basically anything they want on amazon and charge whatever they think is fair or effective. i say that actually is a public resource.
also, hachette can take care of itself, and i tell you that the big pubs will reach an equlibrium with amazon. it's just a corporate dispute, like if gm was wrangling with its steel suppliers. it's not really worth worrying about. i take more seriously the way amazon is constantly squeezing small publishers, and i would hope that when they reach their modus vivendi with the big boys that that helps the smaller fry.
what hachette is fighting for is higher prices for ebooks. say you read ebooks. why would you want that? and it is quite relevant, as amazon argues, that it is cheap to produce and distribute an ebook. that makes publishing far more available to more people, and it has the potential to make books more accessible to larger audiences. and yet you're going to fight for absurd mark-ups and price-fixing cabals?
the disintegration of the recording industry has been a service to music, i believe. those five labels that controlled everything were utterly miserable, and they made most of their artists utterly miserable, and they created whole sahara-like eras of bad yet extremely expensive pop. and again, to fight for them on creative grounds was to fight for the top 7.2 pop artists, who needed no help anyway and were raking in millions, while almost no one else on the creative end really could access an audience for their recordings, or make a living as recording artists.
it's a near thing. this cloud comparing word choices by men and women on facebook, is very hilarious. the atlantic piece is about the femaleness of 'um' and maleness of 'uh', which is not necessarily as good as this bit.
i'm hoping that the forces conducting the war on women and the forces conducting the war on whites can transcend their partisan bickering, find their common ground, and join together in a war on white women. jihad jihad jihad!
one of the absurd features of the gaza war is that both sides spend most of their yaptime saying that the other side wouldn't accept ceasfire proposal x, or then that the other side violated the ceasfire. it goes on and on. it's completely impossible to evaluate if you're actually trying to figure out what is happening and not just trying to beef up your politico-ethnic prior commitments. it is so so obvious that neither side cares even a little about saying the truth. they're just trying to distract us.
i was listening to diane rehm today. they were talking about 'inversion', in which an american company merges with a (much smaller) overseas company, then officially moves its headquarters to avoid paying corporate income tax in the us. people calling in were incredibly outraged; one called it 'treason'. but very few people of any sort anywhere voluntarily pay more taxes than they are legally obliged to, and there is absolutely no moral reason to. taxation is merely coercion or extortion; by all means evade it if you can. oh we have to help those furthest down, pay for infrastructure, etc. yeah plus we are supposed to be morally obliged to pay under coercion to have ourselves surveilled without our own knowledge, for drones, to maintain a world-annihilating nuclear arsenal, for elected officials to yap at each other like parrots and try to manipulate us with jive, to intern tens of thousands of latino immigrants, for the prison-industrial complex. we are morally obliged pay for policies devoted to moving all the wealth produced by our society to wall street. we are supposed to pay to have ourselves put into fatal chokeholds because we are selling lillegal (=untaxed) cigarettes on the street, or to fund the abuse of our children.
but we are in this together! what about the collective? yeah what about it? because this sort of universal coercion makes any authentic collective action impossible by definition. if you believe yourself to be morally obliged to capitulate, i guess go ahead and pay all you have to realize the projects of the wealthy and powerful and murderous, which according to you embody your very identity. but you're operating with a moral code according to which coercion is cooperation, extreme enforced hierarchy is egalitarian, violence is order: in short, according to which evil is good.
one of the most conspicuous features of country music now is the influence of bruce springsteen. in fact 'springsteen' was a hit for eric church last year, though perhaps that song is more an imitation of taylor swift's 'tim mcgraw' than of the bruce. and indeed, bruce has been an influence - or has been thought to be an influence - for decades, and the first steve earle album was greeted as springsteeny (at the time the greatest compliment available to the sort of critic who is always feeling for the consensus), with the small-town south replacing the urban north. but now it's everywhere. and it may not surprise you - since as you may know there are few things in the world i hate more than springsteen's music - that i think the influence is entirely pernicious. here's an example on the current charts.
why do i think springsteen lies behind this? well, the pounding, basically tuneless 4/4; the hysterical bellowing, unmotivated by the material (he's really feeling these feelings incredibly deeply - they are seizing his whole person and making him bray and bawl in pain or ecstasy, but why or about what is mysterious); the anthemic/bludgeoning lyric that on inspection dissolves into emptiness. (admittedly, currington isn't being as extreme as bruce in these dimensions.) to experience all of these features at their maximum, spin 'bored in the u.s.a'. then work out the trauma in music therapy. never has something that sucks so bad been greeted with such incomprehensible ecstasy. ok, ok, there is david bowie.
i don't hear that song as very bossy, though it is extremely excellent.
when he first came out, i heard bruce as playing in the mode of van morrison. "the girls walk by dressed up for each other, and the boys do the boogie-woogie on the corner of the street": bruce pretty much derived his lyrics from those lines, if i mistake not. but i say that anything he's done compares very unfavorably to, say, the song below. they really used basically the same band set-up, the same soul influences, the same performance style. but van played with real soul, real subtlety, real variety, real melody. plus van was doing this long before bruce.
should john brennan be fired? i heard angus king this morning, expressing outrage that the cia was spying on his committee, but not willing to call for resignation. that's the sort of thing that all day every day in this situation has to make you wonder what brennan has on him. you should wonder that with regard to everyone else, starting with obama, who is really subservient to the intelligence establishment: a valet, porter, or house boy. now, surely the correct procedure is to arrest brennan and try him: don't try to tell me that spying on the communications of senators is not illegal. seriously, give it a try and see what happens. resign? if he had any decency he would resign immediately from the earthly plane. america has rarely had a more hostile foe of its basic form of government. like osama, he hates our freedom. few human beings in history have been more dedicated than john brennan to destroying everything he purports to espouse, or more effective in realizing that purpose. he is a traitor.
oh perhaps i've done this a time or two before, but it strikes me that people may forget my stunning insights over time, or a new little knot of readers might have gathered. but anyway, this thing about generations - boomers, xers, yers, millennials, or whatever - is just slop. people reproduce continuously, not all at once every twenty years (though we might think about a law enforcing the latter, in order to help columnists write cultural trend pieces imitating other columnists' cultural trend pieces). you could start and stop generations anywhere you like, and we should try a re-jigger if only to get people to stop using these unmeaning yet profoundly annoying terms.
if the israelis take this occasion to escalate significantly, or if further occasions arise, their actions might just edge into genocide. they have walled off a jam-packed ghetto on an ethnic basis, with a systematic policy to immiserate the people there. now those people are sitting ducks: as israel keeps insisting: right, we could just level the place. yes, indeed they could.
you've got to see that the cia putting the senate intelligence committee under surveillance raises the specter of an intelligence coup. there could be few more urgent matters, unless you think it doesn't matter who runs the us security state/defense establishment. the surveillance itself was an attempt to strongarm the committee staffs in the service of the cover-up of cia torture programs. from soup to nuts, from 2002 til now, the worst departure from the constitutional or free or democratic form of government in our history.