A Fictional Essay by a Fictional Essayist in a Fictional America [A Short Story]

 

Pre-prefatory Remarks

Diatribe. A forceful and bitter attack against someone or something, ideas, maybe; unwanted presence, perhaps?

Tirade. Invective. A long, angry speech of criticism or accusation, probably both.

Polemic. A strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.

Preface

Hallucinating Van Gogh crows on a canvas I dreamed, I think I dreamed, I remember it as if it were a dream, so much of what has passed has passed without proper citation, I cannot arrange the facts of memory in an order that determines their origin . . .  and Theo’s wife told him she was pregnant in July 1889.

In this cosmos of our creation, the third eye of everyone is his asshole, the anus there looking at the world through its shit flecked stink . . . all of us–all of our wisdom comes from the receptacle of our colon.

I do not wish to be crude, and I am not placing my tongue in my cheek at the moment. This is what I mean, the words saying what I mean, I hope, do they mean what I say at? That is not for me to decide–I am not being facetious. It really is not for me to decide. Just asmy intentions cannot be the the be-all and the end-all of everything there is to say about any text I write-=-do I write text. When is my writing a text? Is it when it is completed or when it is published.I have said what I needed to say about this in other pieces.

I

You will always know the names of the Israeli Soldiers who are killed while invading Lebanon, but you will never know the names of the Palestinian children murdered by State sponsored terrorism at the hands of the Israeli Military. Or so the thinking went, continues to go, politicians love rhetorical ping-pong as much as they do playing hop-scotch with the truth. Why is this? (Why are these?) The media is as complicit as politicians in this. How is the media in Israel and America (worse here than even there) not a flip of the coin from the worst image of Al Jazeera we hold in our prejudices and endemically drawn bigotries?

Take the 10 largest cities in the U.S. and examine their print media and broadcast media and see who the CEOs of the corporations who run them are and what they all have in common, politically, rhetorically, financially . . . what are their opinions. And in those ten largest cities in the richest and most powerful nation in the world, how many newspapers are there and who are their publishers? It is important to know who the people are who control the sets of images and the ideas we receive–does our media not sell us our values? I thought they did. I thought what we think the media have told us to think . . . sold us to think. We pay them for our ideas not our own, spit back for the media to recycle as newer and improved versions of what we should say, what we should hear, what our minds must wind themselves around and around . . . always everything in the world going around and around. What do these publishers of our most respected newspapers have in common, if they do have anything in common–do they? Look and see is easy enough to do. What do they have in common politically, economically, ethically, editorially? Opinions again opined. Where do their donations go? Yes, how do they spend their money on Presidents and Senators and Governors and Mayors–no?

A pack of wolves, all of piece, the media and the messages. We must be cautious in our determinations drawn by what we find because Zionists are really everywhere white, black and other; they are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Animist and other; they are men, women and children; they are kind to their children, they are kind to dogs and other people’s children, and they are none of these too. They are rich, they are working-men and women; they are poor, they are intelligent and some amounting to very many are narrow minded. Their politics are the great unifying mass-commonality we all adopt as our own. Their politics?  Reactionary, of course. Could it be of course. The great reactionary politics of today is Zionism.

All reactionaries will coalesce. I do not understand, but am not at all surprised by the seeming resurgence of ultra-conservative politics–and is it really ultra conservative, Trumps buffoonery? Is it not better to give space for subversion, even conservative subversion, in order to control the subversives . . . we are some how using the First Amendment to give them enough rope, no. Weimar suppressed the Nazis and look at what happened. Is that what we are doing? We are letting them have enough rope to hang themselves?

What kind of people, though, are they who control the media because the media controls all information, and information is not just the sets of facts we need to make informed decisions; the decisions themselves are in form, formed by the media, forming in their dissemination. The Media does form the images that then shape us, the molds we fit ourselves into, receptive are we to this shaping of our ideas, or the ideas we will spit back, pass along, toss about. Who is it behind our broadcast and print media? Is it that they are all reactionaries? I do know that America has shifted monolithically to the right. There are far too many Democrats who would have been moderate Republicans forty years ago. Now, let me ask, What ethics do these media leaders have? We see just where Mr. Zuckerberg feels at home. He could become a new minister of propaganda or director of a new State Police, if ever there were a neo-fascist push. Never mind what he has said afterwards in a scramble to put the correct spin on what he would have liked everyone never to find out. I have written how he is one of the great enemies of the People and that is an enemy of Jefferson’s We the People, as much so as Jefferson had said banks were, more dangerous to a People and their Liberty than standing armies.

But where is their morality? The morality of the Monied Elite, the Power Elite and the Media Elite–has the media become a new Estate in the oligarchic control of America–who still believes we live in a democracy? What is their morality rooted in, these men and women who own the media, control the dissemination of ideas by choosing what gets into print, what gets presented in the images that permeate our society through the many media conduits? What traditions of control or contempt are We the People faced with when we turn on the television, pick up one of America’s leading print newspapers, tabloid or not? Where do these owners, shareholders CEOs have their center? Is there a single center? What politics are behind our media really because it seems as if it were very sympathetic to the most heinous and horrific of reactionary politics, the most heinous of Statist policies meant to transform the People into a more docile and a more greatly State-serving Public? No? You disagree?  Fascism is a reactionary politics as was Nazism. I am not saying that it will happen here, only that It Can Happen Here. And beware we must because the assault on Truth is one thing for us to monitor carefully, but the assault on literature and literacy is yet another more dangerous trend for us to take care against.

Like people have like politics–not necessarily in the policy ping-pong we confuse for ideology in our degraded sense of what politics are . . . but media moguls do have like interests, as their commonality economically, and in their common class, determines their values and the values they sell.

Who does their money support, though? Ad Men Mad Men–yes, mad men, all of them the ministers of propaganda, ministers of observation? There is a method in the madness behind creating a context for voyeurism to emerge, for selling the idea that we need to be voyeuristic, that we need to be perpetually online, hooked up, befriended by strangers in a manner no normal–yes, normal as in healthy, as in psychologically and emotionally healthy person–yes, in a manner no normal person would endeavor. The American media is a tool of propaganda as it is a tool of other kinds of dissemination. What then is our social media. Not everything about advertising has a one-to-one correspondence with the form, content and effect of propaganda. There is association, though. And American newspapers today, when the State of Israel is concerned, have a lot more in common with Pravda from the days of the Soviet Union, than we would like to admit, or are permitted to say openly. Of course we cannot say so because to do so would be to leave one opened to accusation of Anti-Semitism, which has become another cliche in the arsenal of rhetorical ping-pong played by most members of the mainstream; however, cliche or not, the accusation carries weight enough to crush, and thus be feared. Fahrenheit 451 is today, is here, is now, is in us–political correctness has its impetus in both the Soviet Union and Mao’s China, and the fact we do not see this, or fear tagging this as such because we once jumped down a rabbit hole of anti-communist fear mongering in the fifties is another absurdity we have fallen victim to in this Absurd Cosmos.

When news and editorials meet with police PR in rhetoric, then I know I am living in the new Soviet Union. But, but, but . . . listen to the news on the networks and cable; read a variety of the newspapers from across the country . . . all of piece. And here in NYC, the hottest bed of lies and deceit . . . who runs our media? What are their interests really–how aligned with Wall Street CEOs and their boards of directors. Nonetheless, when I have examined elementary school reading lists, I know I am in a society that has so degraded its sense of literature, the literary as never again in all probability to understand what literacy is, means, could mean.

Where do their sympathies lie, though, I ask; and sympathies almost always lie? And in every other major city in America . . . What is their agenda? What allegiances do these of the Media Elite have? How have they transferred their influence into power, their money into influence, their influence and power into control? Who do they protect? And they do protect many who might otherwise come under scrutiny and critique if not become answerable. Who do they promote? And promote, they do. Without media support, no man becomes president, and a nobody man can become president with the aid of media packaging. The media in America and in the Soviet Union have had a lot in common for many years. The State Department is nothing other than an American Totalitarian Capitalist Politburo. And this is not hyperbole.

Yet I ask again, who are these men and women controlling our media? The media is controlled by its owners as well as its sponsors who are all of them men and women. What is the common bond that binds them? And that binds us with what they promote through their images and slogans and jingles and other sound-bites? What corporations own, run or control our newspapers, magazines and broadcast media in a great overarching conglomerate that is able to determine the dissemination of ideas, choose the correct received ideas, manipulate opinion and decide who gets elected?

Who are the publishers of our newspapers we read with nearly biblical deference. . . the hundred largest circulating newspapers are owned by just sixteen conglomerates that also have their hands on broadcast media as well? Why do we not see this as a danger to democracy–because these media organs are very good at disseminating contrary images and received ideas, the correct and efficient sound bite or reading blurb. (Couple this with systematic under education and a severe decline in literacy, and you see what we get.)

All media sell sets of values, they control perceptions by controlling the stream of images, by manipulating the ideas that are received through their organs. Control the organs of information and control the stream of images and the received ideas of the culture–anyone in control of the Media can control information and manipulate public opinion, public voting, determine elections. Manipulation of opinion is key; selling audiences to sponsors paramount for profit. Remember, in a cholesterol conscious society, Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC.

Controlling images and ideas is to control what the truth is, to control how Truth is defined. Most post-structuralist critique of Truth is rooted in how much the media control our reception and perception of the truths of our world. They themselves confusing the facts of the media for a kind of nature that determines.

We wonder because we are convinced that news as propaganda can only exist in a place like the former Soviet Union or a place like Nazis Germany, or certainly Al Jazeera. You were not likely to see anything in the mainstream media concerning Police Officers bullying protesters during any Occupy Wall Street demonstration. You might never see the atrocities of the Israeli Military against Palestinian or Lebanese women and children, hospitals and schools. Israel’s use of White Phosphorous against the Palestinian People has gone unreported. Our media is complicit in the atrocities of Israel at the behest, or the condoning, of the United States. Nothing in the media about Israeli crimes against humanity will be disseminated, but every Arab Muslim Terrorist Organization’s retaliation or crimes will get the fullest treatment in all organs of America’s media.

Arab Muslim, bad; Israelis, good. The Jewish State is lauded as a model of and for the future of democracy in contrast with Arab Muslims who are presented as horribly degraded, endemically anti-American, hopelessly brutal and stupid. The horror of the image mongering is that Jews are presented as virtual Ubermenschen while Arab Muslims are shown skirting the border between human and subhuman. How much has Jewish self-image-making been learned from the Nazis that placed Jews in a position similar to the one Arab Muslims are placed in today. Einstein himself had asked in the late 40s of the former century of the Jews were going to do to the Palestinians what the Nazis had done to them?

The only possible conclusion one can draw from the premises as they are arranged in the media is this: Arab Muslims are to Jews what Jews were to Nazis; Palestinians are the people who, in the State sponsored propaganda of Israel, have created a state within the state of Israel. It is in Israeli propaganda that Palestinians are a virus in the body politic of Israel. It’s almost as if the Palestinians are perceived as having always lived as a foreign body inside a Jewish State–this land in the common Zionist rhetoric is something that by inference has always been Jewish and not Palestinian or Arab Muslim and Christian. The Jewish State for Jews, as Germany in 1933 was certainly only for Germans, seems the unofficial slogan of the State of Israel? And I genuinely ask, more out of fear of being called an anti-semite than for other reasons; however, the use of the question mark would have been good rhetorical form when I was an undergraduate, at least in this place.

This cannot be what is being said, though, even if there are some who do say it. I am unable to believe that this could become a unilateral opinion, but then am I really in a position to say anything about this opinion either way? I am sure there were many Germans in 1933 who were not Nazis or even Nazis supporters. I am unable to make everyone in the Soviet Union responsible for the policies and actions of the Soviet government, even though I do agree that more are complicit than outrightly responsible, although we do have to agree that it could not be everyone. No, not everyone; never everyone; everyone is singular, though. How does that affect what we say about all of us?

Not all Jews in Israel are with the policies and the protocols of their government; you would have to be idiot to think that they were. Nor could anyone say in good conscience that all Jews believe this should be, and how many do assert this or promote this or support this idea of a Jewish State for Jews and only Jews in one or another manner is not easily accountable–but the idea that the Jewish State is for Jews and Jews alone gets accomplished where no opposition is mounted.

By omission, reactionary zionism has achieved many of its goals, has reached hegemony among American Zionists, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim–and the politics of Zionism is adjunct to the power politics in the geo-politics of the Middle-East and the Eastern Mediterranean; there are many strange bed fellows between the sheets of the politics involved.  We do have to look more carefully, read more deeply, think more clearly, feel more rationally and less hysterically. If not, we could wake up in the next Soviet Union; or, we could go down a road for lost maniacs amassing in one mob ruled by yet another mob.

Some of my life–where is it herein, this thing called my life, represented as lives are represented, in short, brief, something partial always less than total–and a few of the opinions–there is another someone fictional, the child of the great Laurence Sterne’s brain, Tristram,you know him, no? Yes, everything about anyone–or is it anything about everyone is the life and the opinions–how many are not by necessity. What more could be offered, may not be offered if it were possible, but then that’s what could means, no? Only possible. But we should deal in probabilities, impossible probabilities rather than possible improbabilities, no? Of course, you remember this.

 

II

The exchange of our personal facts is too free and too easy. The kind of information exchanged today is the kind we kept close or offered only to our kin. Now we open the book to those who are not kin and a lot less than kind. But then facts are in themselves things made, thus fictions of a kind. The truth of us is not in our facts, is it? Then bureaucrats disagree, and will always help police to use them against us. “The Patriot Act” is one more heinous attempt by police agencies to circumvent the Bill of Rights. If businessmen only agree on one thing, the restraint of trade (think about it and figure it out), then police come together in agreement only on the violation of the four freedoms. Not very many men who want to wear a uniform and a badge and carry a gun can respect the Bill of Rights, even if they think they do. And all of them would balk the second the screws were put to them, of course. But he lives by the sword, by the usurpation of the people’s rights a thing a lot less than beautiful, a de-formation of Beauty, of Truth.

We are convinced that beauty has no part in truth, but that’s because we have no idea what beauty is. In fact, we have no belief system to sustain the idea that Truth is valent. We’ve debased Truth and in turn have de-formed Beauty. We have made it common, perhaps in order to be less elitist, whatever that might mean to the mind who thinks its valid and valent to think so. It has become less than common; our new rhetoric of beauty champions the ugly in order to advance political programs rooted in resentment and the vindications of new hegemonies. We have no idea that this effects all notions of Truth, which have come under a like intellectual assault. We did miss the point when these intellectual maladies have affected our politics and our socio-economic well-being. Our media advances the base in order to control the debased populus, turning free thinking selecting people into a new Pavlovian consumerist public. Popularity always become publicity in any campaign to undermine the people in favor of monied elites. We have given up on ever perfecting this special acumen as We the People of the United States in favor of All the Public of the United Oligarchy of Monied Corporate Capitalist Power. Hollywood is no longer of any use, not that it ever really was; very little of Hollywood did otherwise than sell escapist fantasies for Americans during the Great Depression. It remains grotesque for the set of values it sells, power creates subversion in order to control it.

We are subject to too much permeation, infiltration, from institutions wanting information about us, on us–always on top of us. I’m not so certain today we even know what exchanging information means, anything akin to a philosophy of beauty would be lost on us. Aesthetics has long-lost its influence in the academies of learning in America, somewhere now in an intellectual graveyard with philology, words, words and more words we do not think of words, the form of words, the sound of words, deeper sound in words, the way the Word is beginning and how all things in the beginning come from the Word . . . with our acumen and with our love being what it is, how could we hope to love language in the way too much in order to love it enough? We do not love anything enough, unless it’s a prepackaged notion of who we are, what we could be, always ever-living in the conditional.

I only wish we were able to handle articulating what we mean, what we want to say, in forms appropriate, forms suitable, forms necessary, and  that means often enough forms with the needed complexity . . . we must stop dumbing down, as the cliche goes, what we have to say and too many times fail at saying because the saying gets said in what amounts to the simplistic, not even the simple, the latter which can always coincide with and often times support and sustain complexity. The opposite of simple is not complex, but complicated, a ball of yarn that cats with paws of indifference toward  literacy cannot unravel.

III

I am not trying to assert that the etymology of a word in use today should be ruled by its etymology; I do, though, believe that it can be and might even fruitfully be informed by the meaning it held in the language of its origin in the time of its origin. I also believe that language is not cut off from its source or sources, and that there remains residue of the past in its currency today. This said, I will venture a small etymological investigation to unveil some of what I understand about some words, particularly those involved in certain discussions of beauty, form and how they relate, connect, detach, reconnect in a philosophy of form and/or beauty, the latter particularly in its relationship with truth.

The word ‘form’ is from the Latin forma, I remember having been told, I think I can recollect where and when, but do not need to say so now–I cannot imagine you would want me to. Forma also translates, beauty in some contexts. In the Roman mind, as in the Greek, beauty was always in form. It had to be in form. Only in form could beauty exist. Therefore, form is beauty, beauty form–should this be a question. I know where you imagine this is going; I suspect anyone could, as I would have to as well, even if I were not the essayer here, the Grand Expositor . . . I do wish I were the Inquisitor, have imagined a fiction where the Inquisitor questions citizens, members of the higher rungs in the social hierarchy . . . do you remember The Brothers Karamazov? My Inquisitor would question Moses and Mohamed as well, perhaps even the President of the United States, maybe even Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln . . . ?

If this form is beauty, beauty form, then we could say that truth–that Truth we have heard Keats speak so eloquently of in his “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” as well as in a number of his letters, is also in form; yes, if truth is beauty, then truth is form. If beauty truth is the result of truth is beauty, then beauty form is also inferred. Yes, without form, truth cannot take shape as idea. Truth has a shape in idea, it must seek its form. What then does this mean for us in the maintenance of beauty, the maintenance of truth? It is my responsibility to bear truth, even if to do so is to bear it as Francis bears other wounds; yes, to carry this idea . . . there is a Truth that is absolute, and It is an irony supreme that a culture so lacking in dexterity when it comes to carrying truth, bearing its pursuit to whatever term necessary, can persist in making abortion the issue it is in America, and insist that women must carry a fetus to term. We have aborted truth and jettisoned every notion of how form plays and interplays with beauty, the creation of beauty.

The link between beauty and form and beauty and truth links form to truth. To inform then becomes a kind of bearing of truth; the idea behind the act of informing is to place in/form, thus, at least residually in our traditional semantics it has something to do with maintaining beauty, what is beautiful. The aesthetics of Keats aside, whereby the pursuit of beauty is a pursuit of truth, there is too much exchange of information today, a thing a little less than beautiful, or so we could have assumed if we were awake, eyes wide opened. We are subject to much permeation from institutions wanting information about us, on us–always on top of us.

What we call information and the act of informing, what we mean when we say we want to inform, is quite separate from making or maintaining the beautiful. There is no beauty in the superstate’s obsession with information. The process of information is to put things in form, to have all things subjected to a kind of formation that resembles those in the military, whereby we find ourselves in rows and columns and other kinds of formations. We know of this from our experience with American football, not so unlike those of warfare. When the guardians of the prison told Patrick McGoohan, in the TV show, The Prisoner they wanted information, it was quite simply–they wanted him in . . . formation.

I’m not so certain today we even know what exchanging information means. Anything akin to a philosophy of beauty would be lost on us. The idea of truth is lost on us. Aesthetics has long lost its influence in the academies of learning in America, somewhere now in an intellectual graveyard with philology and metaphysics. We have given up on ever perfecting this special acumen; even if the possibility of perfecting them in our lifetime or all of our lifetimes did not exist, the pursuit was what was important. It was the realization that truth was perhaps a construct that misguided us. But it was not the transcendental truth that was a construct, but the forms that truth took or could take that were constructed, were things made. We lost our ability to speak metaphysically. We convince ourselves that metaphysics was bullshit and a power game played by men who were white and thus naturally determined to be racist oppressors.

We no longer believe in truth–of course we do not. We cannot be seriously critical of our culture and not know that doubt has become the highest wisdom, that knowledge has become impossible, that what we know is that we might never know, and not the once believed we can never know completely, but veracity and validity themselves have become the question, and not either in the Socratic, I know nothing as an emptying point whereby we can get to see what fill our cup with . . . yes, it is beyond pessimism; it is deeply and broadly pervasive nihilism, the only escape from becomes solipsism.

But we have in turn lost our ability to build any truths rooted in an ideal Truth, or set against the ideal. Where has this left us but at the mercy of the Elite: all elites, Monied, Power, Media, whatever have we in terms to modify the Elite. We are like the character in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons who would cut down all the trees of law in the forest to get at the Devil, but when the Devil turns to face him, he is asked, what have you to hide behind, what is left to come between you and the Devil. Like ourselves wandering in a wasteland that was once the forest of truth, nothing.

Epilogue

A Cup of Tea

There was a professor in Japan who wanted to know all he could about Zen, so he came to a Zen Master and asked the question, Can you teach me all there is to know about Zen? The professor imagined he was asking an intelligent question.

The Zen Master invited the professor into his home when the professor arrived to receive the answer to his question which the professor had sent in a letter introducing himself and making his request. The Zen Master had responded to the professor’s request.

The two sat down to have tea before they were to embark on this quest for knowledge on the part of the professor.

The Master began by pouring tea into the cup he set out on the table for the professor who was already seated at the table. The Zen Master had brewed the tea as the professor patiently waited. What the professor did not expect was what was to happen next, which was that the Master continued to pour the professor’s tea into his cup even after the tea had reached the lip of the cup and the limit of what would go in. As the Master continued to pour the tea, it spilled over the rim and onto the table and eventually the professor stood in desperation and shouted for the Master to stop, to stop pouring the tea, then adding, Can’t you see that no more will go in!

To this the Master replied calmly and succinctly, Like this cup, you too are full, full of your own opinions and preconceptions. Before I can teach you what you seek, if not what you need, to know, you must first empty your cup.

 

Post-epilogue

You–that is ‘you’ plural–are so fucking stupid. I should say we, do mean we, but cannot help myself, and mean at the moment–however long frozen this may be–you, yes, all of you are so fucking stupid and seem unavoidably headlong for our demise, every attempt to save us another stumbling block on the path to what you have imagined in your lumpen stunted imaginations is greater freedom, our future universal liberty and equality as naively as you have conceived these, the latter of the former final two yet another idea you have completely fucked up in your mis- or dis-understanding, as confused and confounded as you have been in your comprehension of what thinking actually is, not some hop-scotch with Truth or semantic ping pong, randomly passing images or words through the mind, if that is in fact what you have there in your overly determined brains    . . . the lintel will fall.

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