Monologue Alone [short fiction]

A room, sparsely furnished. A desk and chair facing a window, from our point-of-view, upstage, exposed by open curtains. It is afternoon sometime in a future always near. It is raining.

A man, sitting at the desk looking out the window onto concentric circles forming and reverberating on the surface of the puddles two-stories below. The puddles have accumulated here and there along the paths that wind in a snake between the lawns mis-kept on purpose by the sought-after incompetence of the maintenance workers hired by the landlord’s managers who consciously or unconsciously impose the will of the landlords.

The landlords remain invisible to the tenants and many of the managing agents. They have little or nothing in common with the residents. They do bear an oblique resemblance in their manners with many Wall Street CEOs, at least insofar as the residents are concerned, that is, by the contempt they have for those their greed allows them to condescend to, these owners of the building complex where our man lives. This notion is a certainty in the imaginations of the residents, or so the owners think and say to those they know as an attempt to deflect bigotry but remaining a protestation too much.

As far as anyone concerned for minor truths could find, if he would only open his eyes, as so many who do not question what others in their imaginations have concluded for the landlords . . . yes, if he would only open his ears, but what then is gained by opening one’s eyes and ears in a manner dictated by some very special or specified conventions?

Our man has special concerns for the capital ‘T’ version, Truth. Any other anonymous man would say, as our man sitting at his desk then might say, “Truth does not meet in a one-to-one correspondence with the received ideas of a society. Truth and what is true are often at variance, no?”

What then does this mean or say-at, by intent or by accident? This society is now no different than any other has ever been, or that any other is now, or then might be in any future, there are universals, there are generalities, there is a human nature and thus a political nature, irrespective of what too many idiot Americans conclude from mis-reading (or dis-reading) in their second, their or fourth hand reading of French Post Structuralist thought, if the successive regurgitations of some other ejaculatiobns could be called thinking?

What the landlords are is of little factual concern for those intent on playing hop-scotch with the Truth, or anyone so formed or framed by contemporary received ideas, the propaganda disseminated, as our writer might think, by our media, meant to keep power and money in the shadows, as well as maintaining marketed images of people and peoples to suit the interests of Order for the sake of order kept in line with the demands of Money and Power, never the People, always now functioning as a Public, the latter always the people in service of the State for which it always stands in support of Power and Money . . . landlords are landlords are landlords, especially the kind you meet in New York, most of the worst kind of landlords.

He sometimes let’s himself imagine what murdering them would be like, the landlords of his building complex, understanding that the Good of any society are those content to dream what the evil ones actually practice. No? Not very Christian, I know, and I am talking metaphysically, not the everyday Christian who is not in tune with Christ.

He sits watching the rain drops dropping in the puddles outlining the path. He seems intent on continuing his gaze, watching, looking, at least until he feels the spark to write. He does for a very brief moment think about having walked the other day in the sunshine on the path outside his window below; yes, on the path to the laundry with his laundry cart full to the brim. He would not go to the laundry on this day; if he were to need clothes to wear, he would dress for the rain and go buy the clothes he needed rather than wheel his laundry cart full in the pouring rain.

The man begins to type on his laptop on his desk facing the window with the curtains opened. He is writing in his blog. It does not matter what political affiliation he has in this America. He writes a political blog for anyone who understands but most especially for those who never will.

The window the man is looking out of onto the rain, again, is upstage from our point-of-view. The curtains of the window are parallel with the curtains of would be the proscenium if this were a play, his room then the mise-en-scene of the stage. There is nothing down stage, there are no other objects on stage–the property is scarce, sparse is what it is. There are no other suggestions of a room or an apartment that we see, what we are looking at in imagination as we read. There are only these curtains, this window, this desk, its accompanying chair and the man with his laptop. That is all. One must never allow oneself completely to suspend disbelief, yet one must never persist in concluding that this is only a story or that this is only a play, if it were a play, as the exposition here could allow you to conclude.

He, typing; speaking out loud as he does, says:

“Only in America can the People be co-opted into serving a propaganda function for the State through social media while being lead to believe that they are furthering democracy in their continued dependence on social media for most of what they think they need to think, most of what they imagine they should imagine, too much of what they have habituated, addictively, as necessary for connecting to other people, thus what each of them needs to be complete.

“American pluralism is where being American now means the people have lithified, where they have become a monolith of the most massive proportions. Pluralism here is a brand of politics seriously devoted to praying before the icons of our mass media, in imitatio de stelle. And we do look to our media icons to pray to devotionally; what then is TV than pseudo-live-motion saints, chapels in a box with an aerial tuner.

“There is a ritual life in our entertainment world aligned secularly, one we gratefully participate in. True enough, for sure; but then there is often nothing more difficult to see than the truth. The media president is no different in this way; he has been one thing every four years–perhaps we believe she will differ?

“President Obama is as much a media president as any other, if not more so than any other, including Reagan. But what about the media man and the media woman, the media American; the media person complete with media personhood, a media sense of self, a media informed sense of duty of obligation of freedom of liberty of pedagogy of voting behavior of ethical conduct et cetera . . . television has been ruling our minds, almost as near to how people feared the medium in the fifties . . . we do take too many history and political lessons from Hollywood, as heinously complicit in the degradation of the American people as a public as any media institution. Flip the coin of greed and manipulation and see the faces and tails of Hollywood and Wall Street; other denominational coins will reveal the White House, Capitol Hill, Major League Sports, Oil, and so on.

“TV evangelists have always bugged the American liberal establishment because the former are simply more overt forms of what the latter is politcally, secularly. Obama is none other than a new Billy Graham of the contemporary secular liberal establishment. True enough, we might know if . . . ; enough truth, though, we wonder in exactly that way doubt has become wisdom.

“And this is for mass media, particularly the designs and the in-effects of TV, but then what of social media, now come into its own? If Kennedy was the first TV President, then the Donald is the first Social Media President, as scary as that might be, and I cannot stand too many of those who have fallen in love with the antics of dismissing critique as a way of not being real or as an inability to cope with the painful president–yes, those of you who critique our government, our system, our Democrats and republicans, our epistemology, our ontology, our metaphysics are often ridiculed, especially by recent or a little more than recent graduates of four year colleges across America, no demographic group less independent in thinking or voting behavior . . . exactly the ones the Media has been proposing will be the ones to save us, as our politicians now get on board, especially Democrats, yes, oh, yes, let’s allow the Millennials to save us . . . as baldly false as accepting that age must equal wisdom, unilaterally and universally. Yes, there are critiques of critique that sharpens its rhetorical edge on the whet stone of Adulthood–it is adult to deal with the painful present as it is, but  mostly as if everything has always been exactly as it is today, just those of us without historical consciousness, or the correct social and historical consciousness, have misread this heinous present. And this notion that things have always been as they are usually accretes around the center of one or more differing ideas, one of them being that anyone who critiques the system is Naive–go ahead, try to critique the Democrats and the Republicans ands where you get with the mass of the other’s supporters . . . and I a mass because there are still far too many people supporting one Party or the other, and I have been saying since the late seventies through the eighties that Party realignment was necessary, but I will not get into that here, not now, it will take too long and I want wind up, finish, conclude–did you know that ‘conclusion’ comes from conclusus, which is Latin for a kind wall, thus only a damning up, stopping of the flow.

I no more believe in a Golden Age than I think that Now is the only time, any more than I imagine that there is a Golden Age in our future, any more than  I do in any other way of thinking about time, history, its progression or regression or  . . . time and history are not rivers as I have read recently in an essay by my friend Jay . . . history as time is an ocean.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Text as Self-Image [short fiction]

 

The need for self-distance has always existed? I sometimes doubt that vehemently; at other times I question simply, even softly, whether this is so or not, the always-ness of the need for self-distance. There are times I could not be convinced of the contrary, ever, this need is so; or as I imagine at the moment this overcomes me with a sureness you might only get from characters in fiction, or from people who have so characterized themselves as to have presented everything about themselves as if they were writing the fiction  of their own lives–what is it really about telling in fiction and telling in non-fiction that differs so greatly? I have done so for myself, to think or not to think of this for me, one question of a kind, and more questions come. Yes, responses go. Of course, to respond is not in itself to answer. I swear to one and not to the other, whether I realize it or not, whether I intend to or not. This of myself for others, who am I now? And what is it about writer, author, narrator/expositor, character . . . for reasons that remain obscure to me . . . in me? I am, therefore, I think, as I have said before, heard before, another me speaking from where? I do ask half rhetorically. I never quite as fully as too many I hear today, in love with the questions that question themselves, the questions, not the poser, to pose a question, we do pose our answers, do we not?

Who would not assume so about himself, about his writing, about why he writes? But then this idea of self-distance means what for what senses of Self that a person can have–I essay myself when I write fiction as well as non-fiction. What then are the differences between some short stories and some essays. Don’t some stories employ the expository–are there not stories, fictional stories that are overly determined by the exposition, the prose, expository, what am I saying? I hear you ask.

We have been on a tangent. Let’s return.

Inside the circle.

What is the Self? I ask genuinely. Is it so that this upper case Self has many selves, as I believe? As I have also found elsewhere, read elsewhere–have written too elsewhere? I am sure my friend Michel must have imagined as much; I am sure my friends Christopher and William did as well, if not my friends John and Laurence and Daniel, yes, no, maybe, perhaps even something else? All as if there could be more than this yes, no and maybe?

There should be more. I have not subscribed to the cliche that more is less in a very long time. They do wear masks, you know, these selves . . . personas on personas on the person we come to be, when?

What then should be said about time, about ages, about custom, about genre, about the idea that the literary is a valid branch of epistemology–and it is, you know. What then must we say . . . I say, et cetera, et cetera, all about how people wrote and what they wrote when and where they did write. Do we really discern the why of any writing. All writing is alike to me, as all cultures are in effect alike to me, all peoples–to be a citizen of New York City is to be a citizen of the world in a way no one from anywhere else could ever be, or ever have been or think of being in some future time.

The writer–yes, of course, who he is she is it is–to write or not to write has become my to be or not, and this latter has been made in the image of whether or not I am or I become, what is it to become, to come to be, being something quite other than existing, no?

My advice to you, then, is, Avoid the search for author intent at all costs. Author is not the mask of the writer. Writer, which is what society says you are when you are published or serious, whatever that is supposed to mean, but I have heard as much said . . . an author is the one with authority over a text? Yes, I have said this before and will come to it again, I know me well enough. I am the author.

We have undermined the notion that any writer of anything has absolute authority over the text, a text, what text, the laundry lists of our lives, shopping, shopping . . . but there is a diction, a form, a content, a layout structure of a list that is idiosyncratic, no? Who should be allowed, permitted to have first and last authority over a text, I mean, if not in interpretive matters or manners then at least or at most in what gets done to the text before print, before being published–who retains what rights over the text and how much is made from its dissemination, right? Wrongly done rights protections? I am the author of my shopping lists.

If I am not the first or the last to say what a text I write means, I can go along with that. I have never wanted to know what a writer thought about a text he had written. Hawthorne’s extra-textual commentary on The Scarlet Letter . . . :Ah! Nathaniel, the great deceiver, no? “The Custom’s House” is part of the text, attached to the text, prefatory to the text, explanatory of interpretive strategies to take, make, build on, conclude from, right? Who am I not, though, to offer an opinion about my text or texts, this one or that one, here or there, now and then, whenever we come together, as we sometimes do, and we do ask writers, that is, authors questions about tests.

Even if my assertions are only some that is a few from among many many more, they must or should be included, even, again, if only one of several to be used in determining what gets said at some moment in some place, now or then, past, present or future. The author is not dead. As usual, some of the French are wrong, and most resentful people going to college today in America from among Americans like finding the French who are generally wrong, critically, rather the the ones who are right, or close to being right, or who are just not as glaringly wrong as someone like Foucault–not like him, but him, actually him. Reading him is like an experience of Death.

I betray prejudices I have held for a couple of decades already, or more, perhaps, if I were to think about this more closely, but only in a way I am certain I will not. My Selfhood in dialectic–something I learned from Montaigne, but only learned how to say, express, in these and in other words used to paraphrase them, from my friend Frederick.

How so I am that I am or I am who I am when I am where I am with whom or for whom or at whom or to whom . . . I say so much, have said so much, will continue to say even more?

I say:

What happens when I approach the other (an . . . other, not yet another?), this other outside of me? There is an outside of me as there is an inside of me, as there is an outside and an inside to the expansion of the universe . . . and it is space itself that is expanding, not space expanding into something.

I have asked many questions about me, about my nature, our nature, the universals observable by understanding after determining just what is or has been polygenetic in our cultural histories–yes, the many histories as well as the many, many more historiographies–over along, long time . . . Herodotus called his work, The Histories, or, in other words, The Inquiries. But history, as we mean it most of the time when we say it is something that happens independent of who writes it, tells it, affirms it, confirms it.

Is there someone inside of me who is another other? I so ask genuinely, less posture than the pressure to know myself, yes, my fellows, Know Thyself. But what does happen to me in my connection to me, there are many connections, are there not? I ask rhetorically. How could I not know this? The history if me would at least be this duality of exposition, explication . . . what have I now in these words here to express what I mean by The History of Me?

I was supposed to make them, these connections, they were to help me in my future.  To connect with people, persons of interest? Yes? Networking, we used to say, might still say, the word is overused, is trite, is cliche, meaning, again, is made in the mind as sound is in the ear? What is that supposed to say?  The deadening of language, or the emptying of vitality from our use of it . . . and it is important how we use language, it should not be used so flippantly as if anything that arises in any mind is worthy of being appreciated in a way that speaks to its hierarchically ordered ascendancy . . . now that is a mouthful, something I have been saying a lot lately, about my diction, word choice–choose your words carefully. I agree that all ideas competing for acceptance must have no censor, but do not imagine that that means we must remain indiscriminate in our acceptance of anything competing as if the competition must be flattened in our overarching sense that the field must be leveled.

What abilities do we have as a species for language, with language? This is not only for English–or what some more than arrogant pseudo-intellectual not-nearly-as-educated-as-they-imagine Others think about America and Americans and American English . . . no people ever from anywhere at whatever level of education or native intelligence who know less than what they believe with conviction they know as too many of these Russians (as Americans like to call every non Russian who speaks Russian as if he had his foot in his mouth . . .) always trying to bullshit you because he has already fully bullshitted himself, in one way or another, something they learned from Ashkenazim and how the latter behaved in the Soviet Union, out of convenience or necessity, not always the same or simultaneous . . . themselves doing it better than anyone from anywhere the Soviet Union, bullshitting themselves, that is–where was I? Humans wear masks by nature; history has necessitated that Jews wear masks on the masks worn by nature. No? You think otherwise? I do not hate Slavs or Jews so do not try to make me out to be a Nazis . . . more foolish endeavors by American Liberals who imagine they are not closet Puritans or Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalists behind the facades they keep.  And do not imagine that Bernie is an answer for anybody’s future–he is just a hell of a lot better than too many of what we have, which is a sadness unto sorrow leaving us in this sorry political state.

What are those abilities we have that are derived from our choices as humans? To become human or not to become human? The choices we make make us, no? I imagine now you might think otherwise. Today I want to remain an animal, I say; but then I am an animal always, as every human is in his fight to choose the human, to be human or not to be human was Hamlet’s dilemma, as well.

This wisdom I speak of obliquely–stop! What is there in my understanding of me that allows me to continue being this me that others recognize? That is what seems most important to most people, this being recognized by others. I am not myself when others do not recognize me by whatever current behavior confuses them, confounds the image of me that is expected, all people determined by their have been, each has-been is what each man or woman or other needs to project?

Of what is mine, I might wonder, consider for a time, how long might even be an additional consideration, why would anyone stress how long they should think about anything? To think or not to think becomes every human to be . . . of course–of course? A matter of course, following the path set? Who then am I following? We cannot speak the truths of history, the Truth as a transcendent compass heading, any truth of our lives, the facts confound us, we hide them, avoid them, side step them because we do not live and meet in a open market place, but remain apart and the passive recipients of marketing. We are no more interested in an open market where we exchange ideas and words and opinions than Capitalists are about free trade and open markets. We continue to fail at understanding each other, each group of others because everything we do points to an unspoken fact–we do not want to understand freely, openly, with everyone’s checkered past not an excuse to vilify and vindicate in our hubris, but as a means to really stand under one another.

What are the delineations of my attributes, of my characteristics, what then this personality made up of traits? Ah! The many masks I wear? I do wear them, outside and inside, the vastness of the Self, she said. Yes, I am we, as I have read in an essay my friend Jay had written how many years ago already. Nothing new, though–Milton had already outlined the Self as one of many selves.

The many selves in me wearing masks to hide behind. I need to uncover them as well as the one’s I wear in the world. Everyone wears masks in the world by nature, yes, it is in the nature of the Homo Sapiens to wear them. It is thus a problem when we then wear masks on the mask . . . I have explicated this elsewhere, she says.

Everything about personality is maskality, no? But these others do recognize what? If they see only what I present, then they cannot know what I hide, unless suspicion leads them to it near enough for them to convince themselves they know something that others do not, know something we would call hidden knowledge, knowledge hidden from others that they are then privileged to know, hidden in a way they keep to themselves and reveal to no others, maybe even not to me. This could be as much an extension of madness as intuition, does not madness have its intuition?

I am genuinely asking now. More questions. But then, yes, I say, as I have also said for some longer than able to measure time–what is time, is there a larger ‘T’ variation? Any or all of the former variations of me by me, with or without a discernible for me, What is it that is by me, thus made by me, created by me, adopted by me, adapted to me by me? How so? And with what degree of intention? I ask. She asks. Who asks? Anyone could ask? How about everyone–I am Everyman?

Another question forms, is formed, informs . . . what is molded in me by the questions I ask, never mind the ones that I answer, are there always answers? I often simply respond whether answering or not. I have always thought that author intention was the most useless pursuit of any literary criticism.

Do I ask these questions in earnest, and if so, how much of it is in earnest? Is there always present some rhetorical strategy, some rhetorical edge, cutting which way my questions? As I say this now, I think perhaps that I might need to ask other questions, what allows me to ask the questions I ask and disallows me to ask the ones I need to ask?

What is it about me that I see in the mirror? I do look sometimes to my reflection, an attempt on my part to root myself in me. I am sure that there are enough of you who do the same, who have done so for longer than I have. What is it that I see in my mind thinking about me, of me, on me, to me, the image therein held? What can I hold of me in me . . . something of me contained? maintained? once again, formed? We make ourselves–I do, as I have, as I will again.

What then do I say about how I see myself, how anyone does, could, would, will? What is it that I see in the eyes of this other looking at me, looking to me, gazing, hazing, what is actual, what remains potential, what is thrust upon this other by me, forced upon, everything through a lens, no pure undiluted unadulterated seeing. I am, therefore, I think. Now that’s a first philosophy, no? A new anthropological first philosophy; the anthropological metaphysics of knowledge and being.

To think, to see, to understand; to know believe imagine extrapolate; to add to, subtract from, then thus to interpret, rightly or wrongly, to misinterpret, usefully or not, by adhering to or disregarding utility? How effects affect? Wherefore art thou myself, a load of dog shit by the name rose still stinks.

To be a big piece of shit. We are . . . mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

The opinions of this other having a trans-formative effect on me–and the opinions of others do affect us, they are the many effects in cause of our own happiness or unhappiness–the origins of which are where? deep inside of us? Inside me. Yes, some have thought to say there is an inside to each of us. Do we really have a grip on Freud’s metaphors for the mind? Does it exist? I have not lead me to suppose that mind is a substitute for soul any more than I have allowed brain to stand in place of mind. The multiplicity of gaze after gaze after gaze, and so on . . .

What happens when we think, perceive, imagine? What else is there for me to understand who and/or what I am? To be me or not to be me; to be then another and another and another, always this notion of creeping here and there throughout the hours passing by hours into days into weeks until the the final tolling of the bell, my bell, the bell that rings for me is the one that rings for you, we have believed, what is it we share in common as animals as other animals do, share traits in common? We do not think until the last syllable of our thoughts, inward words telling tales, how the telling gets told, tolled.

In me–in the mirror–what is in is on, what is on is in? In the mirror is on the mirror; on the person is in the person. Do these opinions of others have an effect? Of course, we say. All of this true and of great import to, on, with and for the political animal I am–even Aristotle had told us clearly in the Politics that man, of course then we were to understand man and not human, that is human as we imagine human, say human, man and woman . . . who is this political animal, with then a political nature? And what is the primary political unit? Aristotle tells us that this primary unit politically is the family, yes? And this tells us, as he tells us, that we are engaged in politics and political relationships, the acts and performance of politicking, from the day we are born.

What must I say to me, to my opinions of me–what opinions of others do I hold close to my imagined Self. I must speak to them, for them, of them, about them . . . what then do I say in conference with me, many me(s) make up a larger me? When I hear, when I meet, when I confront, try to understand contrary opinions . . . the various and varying assessments from others, when by others these others profane the sacramental Self? For whatever reason or un-reason there may be, implicit or explicit or veiled, in one way or another, to whatever degree of veiling is completed . . . how so do I recognize myself? Would I not still be me even if I did not, recognize myself . . . right? Wrong? But that is not so, someone says, I thinkI hear. However, amnesia is simply to forget; it is not a dis recognition. I look to me in the mirror under the affects of amnesia and I still recognize who I am, no?

Moreover, how do I handle, understand thus come to know(?) those opinions that flatter, support, stand-under me to hold up what I have thought of me, accurately or inaccurately does not yet matter? What todo with flattery? How does flattery help, how does it hurt–it does do harm. But then how does flattery hold anything up?

Commerce, communication, community, interchange, exchange, contact, discourse, dialogue and dialectic, not necessarily the same or mutual. How is it that I am to understand these as a bulwark against madness?

Isolation is alienation? But then alienation is something divorced from community as well as from one’s Self, whether the latter is integrated or not within a social nexus?

Questions continue their questioning, their probing, to inquire–inquiring minds, we used to think was good, a good thing to have an inquiring mind, but what then happens when all we do is ask question after question in perpetuity ad nadeem? Producing more and more questions to form, to pose, to ask, to entertain, to respond to and/or to answer? Is that a question? Was it? Yes, no, maybe, otherwise? Yet again, whether with or without gain should I continue?

How am I as I am? Where and when I am? Meaning what for me? To what I say about me? What I think without saying about me? What am I? Who am I? How am I? Where and when again am I? Who is for persons, we know; what is for things. Who are the persons I am? What of these selves I discover, uncover, find, know, contact, talk to, nurture in me, as a Self of many selves? Upper-case value intended and necessary.

What am I? Again this question threads what kind of needle’s eye? What things am I? I have not yet begun a discourse on becoming, to become is not too be as well as ceasing to be is not to be , , , method and madness? To be mad or not to be mad–I praise this special madness i have . . . to praise folly, I have in my time, sitting before a blank page.

More method in my madness than none or little? I wonder how much more there is to say about me. Wondering what is missing from our philosophy, how to philosophize, which is to learn how to die does begin in Wonder. What more can be said? To say or not to say would then be my question . . . writing is of course a kind of saying.

I really do not know what I think unless I write. Another other to become other than each another I am from time to time in place to place each one of me merely a player on this stage the world.

All Good Reading is Re-reading, Says the Philosopher King [short fiction]

In five days, on April 23, we will commemorate the 402 anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. I know that this means a lot to many people, and that it means nothing to too many others who have come across this fact. I do know that there are many, many others for whom this would mean something but for whom they nothing of it. I also understand that there are those for who tis would mean nothing even if they would come across this fact, mean nothing mostly because this Will Shakespeare has not and perhaps could not touch their lives at all in any way, and that for a variety of reasons or causes. But anyone who tries to tell me that social forces wrote Shakespeare’s plays–which is not exactly what any of his detractors are trying to say . . . let me now praise an exceptional Man, and I am not going to try to imitate an interview with him, although I will say, In Memoriam, Will. Am I being presumptuous? No? Pretentious? This I have heard. But then too bad for those who think commemorating Will’s death date is pretentious. Imagine the kind if thinking that would comets that conclusion, what would be going on in that mind, what that mind would think was important to think?

Yes, April 23, 1616 was the date of Shakespeare’s death. Will no longer in the world . . . but what of this world can we associate with his plays? If all before him were lost, what would the cost be? We could rebuild civilization based on his oeuvre? A question? Did I not say this in hyperbole once?

Of course, this date above is an Old Calendar date. In 1616, England was using the Julian Calendar. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced to Europe in October of the year Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, The Gregorian Calendar was not introduced in England until September 1752. I am not going to get into an explication of the differences of the Julian Calendar and the Gregorian Calendar, why and when and where they were used, when they co-existed, what calendar we use today, who used the Julian after the introduction of the Gregorian and for how long and  the possible whys that accompanied that.

When I say Europe, I mean to say Catholic Europe, which of course is not Protestant Europe or Eastern Orthodox Europe, all of them different ways of seeing more than just the religious in these distinctions–metaphysics is everything, you should know and would know if you weren’t so pathetically contemporary American. Metaphysics is not counting how many sprites fit on the head of a pin; and most of what you have called science is nothing more than another religion with its religiosity and one or another brand of mysticism instead of rationalism.

In a way we have forgotten about metaphysics, or should I say, have abandoned it, arrogantly assuming we have graduated beyond it, have advanced further than its once necessity could keep up with, being something someone might assume were . . . I have lost the train, here. And this being said without judgement, without rhetorical edge, if that were at all possible at any time anywhere; yes,  to say or not to say what I have herein and elsewhere about Catholic Europe and Protestant Europe, the Thirty Year’s War ongoing in my un-conscious?

I am not Protestant, thank God!

The Anglican Church is not a Protestant Church, if you want a note on what I am saying, trying to say, have tried to say in other times when saying something about Protestanism was necessary. Although there are many who might imagine the Anglican Church is a Protestant Church, it is not. Just because it is not longer a Church of the Seven Sacraments, as are the Catholic, the Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Churches, let us use as examples; the Anglican Church is still a Church of Four Sacraments.

As if anyone listening wants to continue to think about this, about any of this–what then is the next point to make?

Let us come full circle or fully elliptical, in a couple of days we will be commemorating the 402nd anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. And I have no problem, as we should have no problems in understanding that Shakespeare wrote his plays. And why would this be of concern here unless it has come up again, as it has before in the popular imagination, that Shakespeare could not have written his plays, or simply did not write them, but then why do we imagine this yet again and again without any gain or fruit from this tree of dis-knowledge. And I have no issue with the existence of a Canon, the rejection of which is as blind as any detractor asserts was the efforts of Canon making, a lot less blind and arbitrary as the detractors would like to believe, their detraction often just as blind as they claim in classic projection syndrome.

There is no less known of Shakespeare than any other writer of his time; and we surprisingly know more about him than we do many others we have no questions about. I have always dismissed elitist critiques, as if he had to have been a university educated man–and my prejudice, having spent as much time in theater as I have, tends toward believing that if he had been university educated, would never have written as he had.

I have no patience for stupid people, I could say, do say sometimes; but then I often have more patience for those who are organically stupid as opposed to those who are ignorant in spite of their education, or who have allowed their limited education to eclipse everything they do not know, or can know. This is also a stupidity, maybe of another kind. Hubris? Let us not get sidetracked. Another way of saying let us not go off on another tangent?

Intellectual hubris is very annoying. I have zero patience for those who assume because they know nominally of what I know they know the same as I, like students in my ESOL classes who want to debate facts of the English language as if we were equals in knowledge . . . and then that says something too, does it not, of them, of me, of unqualified supervisors who spend most of their time co-opting subordinates in doing his job, and other managing what he should be doing while he gets paid for his un-job to do his own work for his own on line companies, all in an ever growing self-delusion that no one sees what he is doing or has done.

What then must anyone say about anything he knows–humility always, yes, no, what then does perhaps really mean? Yes, just be humble and try not to pull the intellectual rug out from anyone, especially those who do not know what they should and have been either faking or have been put in the position of authority for reasons completely unrelated to anything that has anything to do with the job to fulfill–but is that what I do when I show someone he really does not know what the fuck he is talking about when he talks Shakespeare?

Too bad, but I have read Hamlet six times, and everything at least once.

All good reading is re-reading.

If I could only be Philosopher King of the World.

Reflections from the Coffee Table [fiction in a flash]

I used to spend so much time reading what I hated in order to hate it with authority. I don’t know if we do that. I know after years of having done it, I cannot do it with the same fervor, no. I’m tired, I don’t have to guess. I am just asking if anyone does this as a matter of course in his or her critique. No responses. It is a response that I am looking for, respecting? I am not looking for an answer. An answer is something else. One does not fore-swear every response.

What Fortune Can Effect [Short Fiction]

Hugo Ball died in 1927 at the age of 41. He was born in 1886. I am not assuming that you cannot add and subtract dates from dates, years from years to determine age. Hugo Ball was one of the founding members of the Dada movement . . . DADA was a bomb!  Who said that? I think I once knew. What then do we call movements in art history–isn’t it history, everything that has ever happened whether it receives historiographic re-presentation or not? There is no writing of history, really. History is something that happens independent of whether someone writes it or tells it or shows it. Historiography is what we support or have a problem with or question or critique when we do not like how history has been handled; but not the conclusion that some of us draw when we say that history is only in the telling, or that history is only what this leadership or that leadership get to say . . . it is not a matter of their being no Truth–there is Truth–but so long as we conclude otherwise, soloing as we allow ourselves to say, to teach, to preach that Truth is false that Truth does not exist, we will continue to confuse historiography for history.

Ball left the Zurich centered movement, revolving around the Cafe Voltaire in that city, citing that Dada and Dadaist antics were only flirtations with what was seriously wrong with European Bourgeois Civilization–and the Bolsheviks had their own response for that. The Bolsheviks were not wrong, you know. I understand how some of you might want to entertain that latter statement of mine, only with the anxious rejoinder, but they went too far. If any one of us were Lenin, we most certainly would have done the same. That is what the Stanislavski What if demands us to know. The thing is, if Lenin were I, he would have murdered more–and I make no equivocation between killing and murder–the kind of slaughter the Russian Bourgeoisie deserved at the time of the revolution was much more than they received. Yet, if I were a Russian upper Bourgeois or lower level aristocrat, I’d be just as bad. If any one of them were I, they would be worse than they actually were.

Deeper troubles, of course, Hugo imagined he had mined. He was a savage critic of the German Intelligentsia–but we must not be too hard on any intelligentsia, being as useless as they usually are everywhere. His critique did criticize even the likes of Brecht. Sorry, Brechtian fans (for whom I am among). I am not ascribing utility to intelligence, or utility in one grossly overdetermined social way for the need of an organic and vibrant intelligentsia. The need for them opposed to their virtual uselessness in all matters and manners of societal utility . . . the utility they serve, Power and Money can do without, as the Thirty Tyrants of Athens could do without Socrates. Does this Oligarchy seem familiar?

Power does manage, always, all the time, everywhere, to give space for some amount of subversion to arise in order to control it. I thought I was dis-enamored with Foucault? I still think he was mostly an Idiot, and I am not evoking Dostoevsky, so do not allow Michel to be flattered in your imaginations. However, Fyodor is creating a special kind of idiot–one without general and social concerns in a throughly decadent corrupt social system is obligated to be an idiot in the Aristotelean sense? But then Socrates is and is not Aristotle’s idiot. To the Oligarchy, Socrates is definitely without social concern, but Socrates’s pursuit of Truth is the highest concern for society.

Our particularly virulent strain of the Bourgeois Capitalist virus infecting the body politic allows the illusion of subversion to stand for actually subversive impulses. Nothing more evident of this than X     : And that X  stands for whatever it is you imagine in this contemporaneity speaks Truth to Power instead of helping to keep it in the shadows, which of course is what most, if not all, of our rebellious impulses wind up achieving, helping to keep Power and Money in the shadows  . . .

Yes, news is not Fake, but the media do help keep P and M in the shadows, which is of course the heinousness of Trump–whether by design or in effect, this latter most likely, Trump has helped the media gain ever increasing credibility by presenting the most extreme counterpoint for what it is they do, by saying it is Fake all the time, he has most of us looking to it for Truth–Power wins, the State wins, Money wins . . . of course, real Power and Money love Trump because no one divides us more greatly and serves the interests of the elite against the People more fully . . . you fucking boobs!

We really are not literate enough to see because we have disaffected ourselves from literacy and the hierarchically ordered levels of  appreciation for the literary, as well as any ability to evaluate or perform the literary–and I am also most surely talking about all the Russian, Arab, Pakistani and Chinese immigrants in my Brooklyn who imagine themselves so much smarter than Americans–but then, the level of stupidity among the educated from the former Republics of the Soviet Union has left me with only wanting to beat most of them with a heavy stick.

Insipid is the only word that comes to mind when I think of bourgeois culture as it has arrived where it has gotten in our contemporaneity. Insipid. Deserving of the most savage of beatings, most of us–there was a time I would have said all of us, a posture I used to take editorially. Forget that now. I am not among the mass of those without truly social or more largely general concerns. That is the Aristotelean idiot, you now know if you had not before this. Be it as it may . . . whatever that means, what is there for me to say or not to say, thinking about what is nobler in the mind that imagines enduring the slings and arrows, or police bullets . . . you do know that more unarmed white men were shot by the police in 2016 than unarmed black men . . . Machiavelli would be proud that his formula . . . Nicky was writing satire, you know. His genius was in that while writing satire for those who got the satire, he kept his head and offered Power just what it needed to flatter itself.