History, Truth and the New American Way

What do we mean by the  history of history? Is it closer to the history of historiography? The history of history writing is an important history to be told, yet the focus on historiography has often been asserted, in recent decades anyway, to imply (for no inference is clear) that history is only the writing of it (the telling) and that there is no possible objective truth of history, and there remains a perpetual ambiguity about the past, one that leaves opened for all examiners of the past to chant the more comforting mantra, anyone can say anything? I do understand the idea that all ideas competing for acceptance must have no censor, but is this what we have when everyone everywhere must say something about anything that arises as a trend? It is not only the fact that everyone must form some sound bite bit, in a new social grotesque, for our ears to chew, yes; but that we must entertain whatever inanities exit the mouths of many who do have nothing to say, if we were to be honest about the quality of people’s thoughts and not be bound by a new and psychopathic sense of politeness that forces us to consider things said by others far longer than is necessary.

I remember when some people everywhere would say, Who’s to say? Yes, who’s to say? was frequently said, most often by many who should not have been saying anything. We do love rhetorical questions in this culture, and this who’s to say? was set in opposition to just about anything said that required inquiry, examination, research, thought, the tranquility of sober reflection, any of these independently, or all of them collectively, too much for any of us to think about. We did not want to devote our time to such matters or manners. The rhetoric was positioned to reinforce the notion that the fore mentioned devotion was unnecessary. Of course it was unnecessary, our culture had been burdened, many in the academy had begun to assert, by a sinister conspiracy of white males, by white males and for white males, and only this. We had better, yes, more important things to do. Our time was precious, especially when devoted to spinning our wheels.

Who’s to say? was a question posed by those who did not know and had no determination to find out, and so pretended that no one could say anything about what they had no patience to learn. The horror of our existence–one of them, anyway–was that this crept into not just the public schools in matter of teachers teaching–necessitating that the teachers become more bureaucratically correct rather than educated at the university level, actually learning a discipline and knowing something was no longer required. Having a master’s degree in English Literature and Language became less than having a master’s in teaching English language skills from an Education Department. We had to lower standards  in the matters of teacher achievement to include more people who could become teachers. They did not have to know as much in the matters of knowledge, actually qualitatively expressed, and instead only needed to  jump over a few more low standing hurdles in a counting exercise for bureaucrats. Anyone who wanted to be a teacher could have these bureaucratically conceived requirements totaled on a check-list. As the check-list was filled with checks, the final analysis left a person a teacher. A license was offered and the person made bureaucratically correct, verified by addition. This of course was closer to what the Wizard does for the Scarecrow at the end of The Wizard of Oz (itself an anti-intellectual critique). We needed a pedagogy that could align itself with the just add water, just add milk lives we were living. Instant something became instant anything in turn becoming the need for instant everything. Bureaucracy managing everything including our epistemology–the horror.

There were significant and detrimental side effects of our culture persisting in this need for instant gratification, a necessity to undermine values of achievement while insisting on revising standards to include more people in matters considered intellectual and academic, believing all the time that we were spreading democracy more broadly by deflating previously established and unnecessarily elitist standards of intellectual achievement and academic investigation–another form of America’s love affair with anti-intellectualism. The idea that there are no experts spread as people clamored for the attention once denied to them because they in fact did have nothing to say on so much of what they now had an opinion about; and the reason there were no experts was because expertise was lie (itself the greatest lie in our contemporary epistemology), therefore mostly unnecessary to pursue. We could reduce standards of achievement to make lesser minds more comfortable, and anyone was then able to say anything because opinions had only quantity, not quality, something both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis taught the world.

Repeat any lie enough times and it gains validity, momentum, yes, believability, of course. Something can be valid and not believed. Our media manages to get most people on board with programmatic behavior and thinking in a way the Nazis would have loved to have achieved; that is, the way the media manages both its advertising and its propaganda–and America is rife with propaganda. If anyone gets enough people repeating a lie, it will gain believability faster than if you alone continued to repeat the lie, which of course also gives some validity to the lie, at least from the point of view of how advertising or propaganda works successfully. Revisionism ad nauseum is what we have in the academy, lies and more lies repeated not only about facts from the past which would always need reexamination–and in fact were reexamined throughout successive stages of historiography–but the idea that there is no Truth at all, or that there are no absolute values, or even minor ‘t’ truths.

Of course, what we now have is a new brand of the will to power, and those who go along are carried by the force of the new Truth as power, or by arithmetic, the addition of dollars or of people as popularity. This is the magic additive power that makes mediocrity a success, and transforms ethics into accounting, The rich getting richer is the first and last in our social ethics, espoused by President Obama as he convinced us we had to save the rich to save ourselves. Something like this happened on the Titanic when steerage was told there were no lifeboats for them, and that they should wait patiently to drown in the icy Atlantic waters, comfortable in knowing that society’s betters were going to be saved. (Long live the British, and of course this is a prime example of white privilege at work–wait! No. It was a power elite managing the lives and deaths of white Irish in steerage. A Titanic today in the American scheme of things would drown white and black poor and save the white and black rich.)

Social media help reinforce this idea of additive truths and Truth as a matter of addition, another side effect of the bottom line of everything being the bottom line. America’s Book of Life is the ledger book.

Dawn by Hither Hills, Montauk

photo by JVR
photo by JVR

Sun rise from the beach in Montauk. Getting up before dawn to wait for the sun. Waiting for the Sun was an album by the Doors–my favorite group when I was . . . how old was I then the first time I listened to the Doors, still played by the crew at WNEW when I was . . . how old was I listening to Alison Steele, the  Night Bird–I’d stay up to listen to her  . . . They are now, the Doors, from then, what remains–the most enduring group from my youth? What does that mean? What could it mean? What does it mean–not just the truth of it, if it is in fact true–but to say it, to think that I need to say it, or that it might say something of me to say it?

Morrison died before I was fourteen or ever a fan of their music. Fan from fanatic–was a I Doors fan the way I am and was a New York Rangers’s fan? Probably not–maybe, though, I was. What means this–could mean anything remotely akin to having a favorite band, or how a band could express something about my being, my personality–yes, to say I liked the Doors did say something about me. We wore our fandom as badges of personality. We allowed their cult of personality to transfer onto us at a time in our lives when we could’t have been less sure who we were, what we were, when we were what, whom, the where was everywhere; the when was actually twofold. It was all the time and it was whenever . . .

The list of conditions we underwent to undergo personality selection is too long. I had no idea and yet I was sure I was the only one who could ever know what I was or what I was going to come to be . . . the sun up over the line of horizon, the squid ink sea growing lighter and lighter with each inching of the sun over the horizon. How many poems has this figured in?  I could go back and count, having all my MSS at hand, along with many of the earlier drafts of the poetry manuscripts with their previous titles when different?

A page in caption. Every page I write is a caption for an image of me I have hold keep . . . words and pictures, every picture worth a thousand words, we used to say. I do not understand that. I think it is more accurate to say every right word is a thousand pictures, no. To write or not to write for me has ben my to be or not. There is no getting around that, escaping the import of this fact–facts are not knowledge, though. What knowledge is in this will determine what or how much wisdom can be extracted? Wisdom does not come by extraction, though. Wisdom is revealed; it is an epiphany moment. It is sudden as in Satori, no?

The Floor [A Short Story]

Je voudrais dire la vérite´ J’aime la vérité.

–Jean Cocteau,  “Le Menteur”

The Opinions of Anonymous

Prologue

To kill or not to kill, that is the question, whether it is nobler in the mind to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous morons around you, or just to end them by cutting their throats, slashing them to pieces, chopping them up with machetes or chopping off their fucking heads—but in guillotines; I wouldn’t want to be confused for some fucked up Islamic Terrorist aligned with Isis. 

–words transcribed from words in marker on the wall of a public bathroom stall

i

Chimpanzees raid baboon nests. They then chase off the adult baboons, beating them up and running them off, chasing them away from the babies of the baboons. The chimpanzees then capture the baby baboons, which they then beat against trees until the baby baboons are sacks of mushy pulpy flesh and broken bones. The chimpanzees then, after beating the baby baboons to death, stand in a circle, where they then play catch with the sack that was once a living baby baboon. This is not a response to any aggression by the baboons. This is not a fight for food or for survival. This is only because the chimpanzees had nothing else to do, which is a behavior that can be determined through observation. I do not want to venture an inquiry about who watches chimpanzees do this. I’m sure naturalist observations of animal behavior  must have no human intervention. The naturalist cannot feel bad for the gazelle that the lions take down and eat.

ii

The chimpanzee is the species of animal whose closest relative is us, Homo-Sapiens. We are Homo-sapiens first and often times in the final analysis, so what I have to say about Homo-sapiens is relevant to everything we suffer as a species, that is, everything we suffer by our actions as another species of animal on this planet.

We are 98% identical in our DNA with our chimpanzee brothers. The chimpanzees can kill for no discernible reason related to their survival; we too have this specialization in for killing for no reason. We do the like as the chimpanzees do to the baboons, only we do it inter-species. We do blindly and senselessly kill one another—the chimpanzees do not do this to themselves as we do, so who then is better? Maybe this is not a question to ask. I knew an imbecile who used to say that the Nazis were not as bad as the Soviets for this very fact: Germans did not kill Germans the way Russians killed Russians, but then Stalin starving millions of Ukrainians to death was not Russians killing Russians, but I do understand that there were differences in the targeting of the Nazis and the targeting of the Soviets. Whatever, however, wherever, whenever, whichever forever and ever . . . people kill people like rats in a closed box.

You might think that we do this because we view our diversity the way chimps do baboons, but this is not the case. If any examination of the murder statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Justice is made, anyone can see clearly that African Americans kill African Americans and White people kill White people, the former at rate of 96 out of every 100, the latter at a rate of around 80 out of every 100 . . . there about, year by year the United States Department of Justice. For every 100 murders where an African American is the victim, the perpetrator is another African American.

For every 100 murders where the victim is white, the perpetrator is white around 80 times. These are from the 2012 Department of Justice statistics on murder broken down by the categories of race, gender and  ethnicity. I am not putting forward a conservative argument, but a liberal one–murder is murder and the facts are what they are statistically–what then do these stats for murder show us and how are we to use them when the media attempts to drive a Machiavellian wedge between African-Americans and White people by suggesting that we are an endemically racist society whenever it happens that a white person is the perpetrator against an African American who has been murdered? And let me say that I have already taken as a given that truth and accuracy in journalism in America takes a back seat to sensationalizing the news and pandering to received ideas on race and racism.

iii

There are reasons to kill, of course, we should understand this. I was once reminded by a Hasidic Jewish ESOL student that the commandment is not, Thous shall not kill, but Thou shall not murder. And this is the point here. The above ratios are for murder, not killing. We murder not only our own, Homo-sapiens to Homo-sapiens–and I still insist that human is a choice, that human is something a Homo-sapiens can become, is not something he is born, except in potential . . . remembering your Aristotle and how Aquinas used Aristotle in his rationalizations for the existence of God?

We murder more often those who the bureaucracy tells us are our own, yet the media makes the rare occurrence when an African American is murdered by a white person as something seething in our society and indicative of a disturbing problem, which has the effect and perhaps is driven by the only purpose, to divide We the People. African-American murders African-American, Asian murders Asian, White murders White, each murdering another of his own at a rate significantly higher than another other not of his own.

But let me say that I get it, that Black lives matter because Asian lives matter because White lives matter because Italian or Irish lives matter because Muslim lives matter because Hindu lives matter because Sikh and atheist lives matter because guinea, mick, nigger and spic lives matter; Jewish lives matter. Polish lives? Do we want to say that Communist, Fascist and Nazis lives matter? I might hesitate when people say Russian lives matter, but I have to be humane if I am a Humanist. Do we want to say pedophile lives matter? Homosexual lives do matter–and I am straight, at least in sexual orientation. Married and unmarried persons’s lives matter. Children’s lives matter, even bullies? I’ll let it go that cab driver’s lives matter and even snotty waitresses’s lives matter. I’ll even let it go that French lives matter, even the French in Paris, even Parisian waiters (who I did not find as surly as most asshole American tourists say they have—and I’ll even say that an asshole’s life matters). Enough?

iv

Of course, this idea of his own my own our own has to be spread across the bureaucratic and other social barriers built between races and ethnicities, gender, religion, and class. Nonetheless, although I support such moves by our society, I do not have the optimism that others might have. The day we have no consciousness of these distinctions, however, is the day we might have free-for-all murder across all former barriers. The horror of existence might be that as soon as we eliminate all distinctions, we will then broaden the pool from which we choose to murder. Perhaps then we can address hate and murder for what they are, dealing with the place from which they arise; what homo-sapiens motivators are there in our nature—yes, our animal nature as we can talk of a lion’s nature . . . I still cannot understand that if black lives are human lives why I have been told for so long that I do not and cannot understand black people because I am not black—and that I have gotten mostly from white middle-class liberal chicks in academia.

This herein piece is not a corrective against any forward movement toward a less racially and ethnically divisive society, but a satire on our nature as Homo-sapiens, and how feeble our humanity really is in face of the nature we misunderstand and mismanage day in and day out, mostly in academic circles, at least the academic circles I used to move around in; I do hate to say that I have found no one more out of touch, with some few exceptions, than I have in Academia; I know it is a cliché, but sometimes the trite is true.

You take from this what you need, what you can take and use; but then utility must not be the only barometer by which you measure need or is it necessity; de necessitas, I remember from my classical studies, or do I? I think I remember, at least I can say I imagine that I think I can remember, but what then is it to remember as opposed to recollecting? They are not the same? Is that true? Does it not depend on how we define our terms, or is there a tradition of definitions and defining that must be accounted for if we are to accurately say anything at all? How do I recollect this is not with any, what I would call, accuracy—is there any such thing as precision in memory, a morass; memory is at best a morass? Is that true? I cannot say this with any certainty either, although there are things I can know, things I can understand and understand that I know, things I can conclude, logic I can hold and use as others do hammers and nails, screws and screwdrivers, saws, lathes, what else would you need to get something of what I am trying to say? I don’t know what you think independent of what I imagine and I do imagine that you think other than what I expect you to think, my audience is always somehow tethered, in the least, to what I think, what I believe or do not believe but hold as an object of objection or subjection, what it is that I say either for or against or neither for nor against but about, if saying anything about anything or anyone is possible in this world of perpetual doubt, doubt and more doubt. I do not doubt my audience, although I do know that the individual reader is always an exception to the rule of every audience.

Another Morning in Montauk

A doe, a deer, a female deer.
A doe, a deer, a female deer.

Me, a word I use in French sometimes, moi. The rays of the sun from behind the clouds one day on the beach lying and reading and sipping the beers we brought from our room, the beers that we bought yesterday in town, a summer ale, I think, or was it the Lobster Ale I’m thinking about. I want the fried fish platter at the Shagawong, a pint of Blue Pointe Toasted Lager alongside. Enough said; what more could you want to be said or could I need to tell you? Nothing, something, anything, what?

Greed and the Margin of Self Absorption

Giving thanks is other than getting them. Do we give thanks or expect to get them? Do I? Have we? Which one when? To give rather than to get–this is the fundamental difference between forgiving and forgetting, the former a step in the spiritual path of redemption and transcendence. The latter is simply another step in the widening margin of greed we have accepted. I do have to forgive more–the way of Christ or Lord Buddha is troublesome for me. For example, I know what Jesus would say about the Second Amendment, but I do understand why Jefferson placed it behind the First. Turning the other cheek is difficult when there are so many young men raised to be assholes or punks. I would relish a return to a time when I could punch a man in the nose for being discourteous to my wife without any jeopardy of my being arrested.

Last night I witnessed an extension of this greed we have been subsumed by socially, a broader margin of greed for space, for position, not only for money, but also self-absorption than we should allow ourselves. No give and take from an Asian kid–in his 20s–who if he moved his table one inch away from him and shifted his sitting posture, he could have accommodated my wife, instead of continuing to sit in his posture at his table, encroaching the one we were attempting to sit at to have dinner. Why should we be able to sit at a table we could have sat at if this kid would have extended courtesy and imagined a world where he would see courtesy as a mutually co-extensive form of behavior, instead of what seemed to be his first-come-first-serve attitude, one that was rationalized by I am sitting in a way my whim dictates, and because you were not here before me, to sit at the table you only imagine you should be able to sit at, I am not going to budge one inch. This, of course, he did not understand as wrong. Both his mild manner and reptilian instinct joined in a confusing coupling are enough to set him crooked in social manners.

He did not budge an inch–he even pretended not to understand when we said excuse me. Maybe he did not want to accommodate us because we were white, as one man said later in another bar when I told him the story–if the shoe were on the other foot, this man nearer my age said, he would likely think that the reason a white person would not accommodate him was because he was Asian. I am not going to feign ignorance of how racist America is and has been and interestingly has become in ways we are not permitted to acknowledge in our received ideas on race and racism–particularly how we view the world of tribal politics in New York City.

There is no space in a media informed mentality about racism where a Chinese young man can be racist against white people. You can extend this observation to any other group and see clearly that the only people in this media represented America who can be racist are white people. Everyone else is virtually allowed to act with impunity without fear of any repercussions concerning hiring practices or the extension of courtesy. The desire to provide services either in State bureaucracies or in retail are unusually fragmented and compartmentalized. Our perceptions of murder rates, particularly when inter-racial, are especially skewered. The received ideas are clear–white people are racist and those who are not are exceptions that prove the rule. Even my response herein is likely to be attributed to a latent or closeted racism, something akin to how in the Soviet Union dissidents were brought to the insane asylum (mostly because ideologically incorrect thinking was in effect a mental illness), and when the dissident protested, the increase in volume coupled with his indignation were all used as proof of his lack of mental stability. The interesting thing herein is that if the kid were not Asian and he were white, I would have been quicker to point out how wrong he was and might even have felt more eagerly, the desire to punch him in the nose. I am actually sensitive to how hyper-sensitive we are and how quickly we turn human to human interaction into something it most likely was not. However, the interaction herein might be understood better as Homo-sapiens to Homo-sapiens.

Perhaps the reason he did not make a very small accommodation and entered low volume taunts was because he was an asshole, caught up in the greed of self-absorption and the greed for space. This is how I imagine it. I’ve seen young men feign not understanding what I grew up knowing was common and mutual courtesy, something that was always an immediately recognized give-and-take. I’ve noticed this from white kids, asian kids, African-American kids, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish. But from this kid who just happened to be Asian–no. Nothing from this kid who is probably not older than my son who is in college. His being Asian, I’m almost certain Chinese, has nothing ultimately to do with his resistance to extend courtesy. No matter how much he might be filled with resentment for how much Chinese Americans endured stereotyping from our media in the past, I think maybe his parents are assholes and could not help but raise an asshole. I am herein using a particular sense of asshole I understand that most under forty do not get, even when articulated for them.

In my day–when I was his age-I could have punched him in the nose for not extending courtesy to my wife, and the fact that nothing would have happened to me for doing so, went a long way in policing our behavior, I am convinced. Today, if I punch him in the nose for being a punk, I get arrested for assault, and he knows that. But he is still gambling because in another circumstance, one without my wife present, I do punch him in the nose and leave the bar forever. The opposite tendency, however, is also what has made us increasingly docile in face of extended greed from both Power and Money. You cannot separate how we interact individually with how we might respond collectively.  It’s all of a piece. It was not the individual refusal to engage an exchange of courtesy but how indicative it is of a mentality that I see pervading his age group. The waiter and the bartender were either both oblivious or not willing to mediate–another cog in the mechanism of general discourtesy. Perhaps, though, I need to consider how digital and social media has gone a long way in policing our behavior, only in a way that meets the demands of control by the state. I still can’t get over how many punks and assholes in their 20s and 30s are parading around as models of male behavior. There is a huge distinction between being non-violent and using the cloak of non-violence to cover a greater impotence, intellectual, spiritual, moral.

I do miss the time when two men could punch each other in the nose. I would have done so with this young man-punk-asshole but for the fact that my wife and I would have had to leave, never come back and myself risk arrest. The absence of a space where two men can engage this way is another way we have changed the rules by which we play at social interaction, a change that has left the assholes making the rules–an influence from those who think this boy has done nothing wrong, the influence from an increase number of the punks that are now in power and authority. The refusal to acknowledge mutual courtesy grows out of the same mentality that has given us the power we see increasing its power and money growing more monied, and Wall Street with its corrupted attitudes toward people leading the way to the White House in the form of Barack Obama. This is why this young Chinese man was able to be the asshole he was; I would not be surprised if he worked on Wall Street. The bartender–she was an idiot until she realized that we tipped better than most of the dregs of the East Village she is used to, or this Asian kid did. Right and wrong determined by the dollar–another corruption of our basic values of social interaction.

Mega Millions Update

It appears that the State has fixed its website. I can only hope that the previous post had something to do with it. Perhaps not. Perhaps so. I will flip a coin to find out; I will collect my five wining dollars today from yesterday’s Mega Millions.

Mega Madness, New York State and Other Malevolent Designs Imagined in the Mind of One of Its Residents [Flash Fiction]

If you type Mega Millions into your address bar and click the Mega Millions link that pops up, you will be directed to a Mega Millions official page, only one that’s been frozen at 11/4/14 for two weeks–two weeks. Why, you might ask, would the home page of the State of New York’s official Mega Milliions’s page be stuck like that? I might be able to find what many of you would consider a rational explanation if I did not, in my assumption, believe that it has been planned for the website to respond this way, responding this way is meant to confuse potential winners into tearing up their winning tickets after seeing the numbers from another day. You know how most people look, and I am not trying to take away from them their responsibility to examine more carefully, although not their ticket, but an implicitly trustworthy State website. This is the principal point: it’s not that the individual is made less responsible as much as it is the State that should be recognized as complicit in this subterfuge.

Of course, everyone should check his ticket carefully, and I do, as I did, which is why I noticed that the site has been frozen for more than two weeks. There is, though, no warning from the state. The State might be assuming the people of the State trust the State and thus the State could get away with not having to pay winning tickets, that is, if the lottery tickets have been torn into pieces or irretrievably thrown away as some people do with losing tickets, the state, then, is evil, of course. Yes, the State of New York is evil if this is what they are doing, hoping that winners become losers. Any state in the union has this potential, established, we might assume, to serve the people, the common good, but actually only itself, everything it does toward its own ends and no longer the ends of the People. Any state anywhere on any continent, as every government, is in this way evil; that is, if we understand evil as not something supernatural, not exactly what we mean by the Devi, but devilish, profoundly malevolent. Are states satanic–not exactly. Evil is immoral and depraved, and in this way states can be evil in as much as depravity can come from the state, its administrators and bureaucrats, and I am not talking about individual actions where politicians are caught smoking crack or visiting houses of prostitution. I am not sure that a politician using the services of a prostitute is as depraved as the President handing out tax supported welfare to Wall Street. Specifically when organizations established to serve the People do not and in turn only serve the interests of elites or itself ahead of those of the People, or instead of the People–this is depravity. You do not still believe in Good and Evil; have we gone beyond good and evil?

In the least, I could say the State of New York is less than on the up-and-up in the measure of its alleged oversight and therefore criminal. The state is, by design or in effect, complicit in tricking the people when its website has been frozen on a past date  for a couple of weeks. But let me return to my point. It is not an exaggeration to say this complicity on the part of the state is evil. It is not more so and is quite in line with how we used to say McDonald’s was evil when the news had come out nearly thirty years ago that if you lived on nothing but McDonald’s food you would suffer from malnutrition.

Corporations are not your friends–the state is not your friend; the state only another corporation meant to serve the monied elite.  The state at no time is our friend; it is not your family; it can only at best be less the enemy of the people than many states have been. I wish it were different, but then we only get the government we deserve as systematically under-educated as we are and as semi-literate as our prizes of literacy are–everyone is special, though, a thought which keeps us buying lottery tickets, lottery tickets New York State seems not to want to pay.

I don’t expect any better than this assumed subterfuge from Cuomo’s New York; how can I think otherwise, thinking of the state as I do, seeing the state act or not act in this matter. I would, or I should, expect nothing from any fast-food empire, and by expecting nothing, its attempts to con the people do not surprise me. I should not expect different from anyone’s New York hereafter. I have stopped asking the government what it can do for me a long time ago because it has abandoned most of the sense it used to have concerning how to serve the People.

Hyperbole is as it has been intended. This need not be said, although, restatement is a sound rhetorical strategy, so, for as long as the repetitions are not too many, let me continue to make them. The exact number would be absurd not only to calculate, but to think that you could calculate, or that you should.

Ambiguity and Me [Flash Fiction]

Humanity is an entrance. Humanity is a portal that opens on two sides. Each side of the portal there is a human being. Now ‘to enter’ in French is ‘entrer.’ ‘Entre,’ in French, is a preposition related to the verb. This French preposition translates in English, ‘between.’ Yes, every way we enter is an entrance, every entrance thus a “between”; herein a noun, a thing, a state of being: the between. The act of entering is one of betweening; to be between is to be in an entrance of a kind visible or invisible, again, something that lies between one here and another there.

The between that exists for you and for me is this thing humanity; humanity only exists between you and me, only between two people is there any hope of humanity, of acting humanely. This is where our humanity resides, lives, inhabits–the habitat of humanity. Humanity is the between of being humane; you and me are the limits of this being between.

I once said in another essay that to enter is to between; yes, simple enough said. Herein, to between is a verb: I between, you between, everyone betweens. Rimbaud said in a letter to a friend,  Je me deux, or, I two myself, another kind of tearing asunder, of splitting the self and thus creating an internal between-ness inside.  Je me deux is also the reflexive of douloir. Douloir is to feel sorrow. Je me deux is thus a way to say I feel sorrow or I feel myself sorrowful? Jacques Lacan had used this in an essay on Marguerite Duras as I am rent, torn asunder, as I have alluded to herein above . . . Rimbaud’s poetics were in this two-ness. Everybody does do this to himself; everyone’s in the between; I am between here and there, now and then; my humanity journeys from me to you. What then do we say about the journey that is life, this living.

The self has one as well, a between. We double ourselves in every meeting; every face we face another mirror. All journeys are between; your life as it is lived is between. To between or not to between, that could become the question.

Between me and you, between me and another; therein lies our humanity.

Merrily or Merely Going Along

Government-management and state-education-department control over ESOL across the country have delivered to ESOL teachers the kind of protocols that do not necessitate educating or learning (not exactly the same thing, but related enough for both to be achieved without contrary effects), nor do they necessitate quality or experience be present in those who are hired. Teachers are pitted against one another in program after program across America as management reminds teachers that their jobs are not secure. Good-enough will replace good which certainly has replaced great; less-than-good-enough will soon replace good-enough, and there we will have our version of the Orwellian nightmare become our dream.

Environments across America in teacher workplaces are hostile, although all impositions on teacher integrity are always with a smile and semi-polite request, variables in the intensification of fear. The classroom, but the ESOL classroom particularly, has become adjunct to other offices of the state bureaucracy. Of course, we endure and wonder why democracy is waning. We help the state undermine education and question how the power elite has become more monied and the monied elite more powerful. What then must we do? Go along to get along has been the national mantra for as long as we have been able to get half of every set of workers to screw the other half for a little more money, if that and not some other reward that makes even less sense to anyone who might be hyper-pragmatic in matters of social advance or garnering what we like to call security–although we have little idea what the word means let alone how we use that word and what contexts we place it in giving rise to connotations we can barely understand let alone articulate for others to comprehend.

Mediocrity and Success

This is not an argument against quotas; I understand the use of them, not the necessity of them. I accept the function of them, but only when appropriately handled. I will address this appropriateness latter in the essay. My argument herein is not a tacit defense of eliminating quotas. It is an attempt to cite the problems and inadequacies of quota systems, as it is also a means of addressing the unavoidable social impact of any privilege system.

Quotas can function within a meritocracy; this is not impossible.  I do understand that meritocracies can also suffer as many problems as any system of hiring based on quotas and privileging. We have to understand that privileges in a society are given to the oppressed, not the elite. That is, societal privileges are doled out by the monied and power elite in America to one or another repressed or oppressed group identified by gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity (African-American is a distinction of ethnicity, although we still prefer to identify this grouping as one of race). Privileges are licenses not liberties; they are set in place for those in a society who do not enjoy equality before the law or in the socio-econoomic practices of the society. Affirmative Action is another way of identifying this form of privileging. Privileges can only exist within systems of inequality; but where inequalities are not tangible, they must be fabricated, or at least exaggerated, or produced in the imagery manipulated by the media.

Let me say it again, quotas in hiring are privileges. This privilege is offered by the power and monied elite to any covered oppressed or repressed group in our society. This privilege to the oppressed is established to address actual or perceived or media received inequalities, or so we have been lead to think. What the privilege is supposed to do is allow members of the repressed group receiving the privilege to turn their heads to their oppression or repression the larger group experiences. For others, quotas are supposed relieve the stress of repression; but it often has an opposite effect.

Quotas as privileges only add to the stress of inequality; they do not eradicate the inequality; they cannot. A privilege is never intended to do so. Quotas do not address the inequality appropriately; they act on the inequality topically, superficially. In fact, quotas help reinforce the inequality they are meant to help eradicate. They do oftentimes cause us to look for or create the illusion of inequality if it an inequality does not persist. Yet inequalities do often persist; they have persisted. There are tangible inequalities and examples of injustice. Yet, the media often creates inequalities as it might create opinions or foster perceptions it needs to garner more viewers or readers, thus more in sponsorship. But it also exaggerates or blows up out of proportion the image of inequality where that inequality is not a media fabrication.

This kind of privileging present in quotas in hiring does not demand quality of the kind we might want, and therefore, it lessens the need to acquire quality in skills or talents. People just do not need to be as good as we now frame in an ideal both unrealistic and unnecessary.  In fact, there is an assumed and conformed to mediocrity that passes for qualified in our culture. Furthermore, quality–actual quality–is ignored, and is rarely hired, except in elite structures, and only from the who-is-known-by-whom network of job marketing.

The preference in hiring is for the less qualified man or woman from among the established quotas because  the man or woman of quality from among the group designated by a quota is only going to think of his job as a right and not a privilege. Hiring practices within a quota structure do not insure that the best and brightest from among the groups covered by hiring quotas will be promoted, but that the middling talented, the middling skilled, the middling qualified will progress. This reinforces the need for the quota in a two-fold way: one, less talented or skilled reinforce the rationalization for a kind of affirmative action; two, if less talentend and skilled from among the group covered by a quota, the likelihood of having employees hired under the quota that are equal in talent and skill from among employees not covered by quota will ensure the image of the covered group needing the quota. If all hired under a quota umbrella were of equal or greater talent and kill than those not hired under such an umbrella might reinforce an argument for meritocracy to prevail over a quota system.

People hired under a quota system have to be conditioned to think of their jobs as a privilege, and quotas reinforce this idea brilliantly. It is the triumph of the democratic averages advancing and entrenching themselves. Yes, mediocrity progressing to the forestalling of Progress.

Poet, Maker, Wrighter, Builder

To be a poet or not to be a poet, I’ve been stealing from Hamlet for a generation in time. I am a poet. I am in the middle of designing the cover of my upcoming collection of poems  . . . poet, poeta, Greek for maker. Aristotle’s poetics relevant for all forms of fiction, itself from the Latin for a “thing made.”

[see the essay in the pages herein, “Fee, Fie, Fictio, Historum.”]

Vox Populi (The Commentary of Blogger [a short-short story])

. . . and then she says:

Now that street thugs have cell phones they are not going to destroy the new terminals for charging cell phones–what, they did not have quarters when the cost of a pay phone was twenty-five cents? Of course any fear of the dregs of our city destroying community property is not to deter the city from offering this service to the community. Yet, does anyone remember trying to find a pay phone, especially in poorer neighborhoods? It was nearly impossible with how many were broken or trashed.

I am not maligning poor people, but saying simply that community property suffers greater damage from the public in poor neighborhoods than community property does  in more affluent neighborhoods anywhere and everywhere in America. People with greater livelihoods feel more invested in their community, it seems; but then this is not news, is it? Are we really only about money? It might seem this way. This is one way to understand this conundrum in our society. Do poor people in poor neighborhoods have less respect for what is communal? It does seem so, doesn’t it? They do, though, have a savage, nearly reptilian response to any affront to their own property, personal belongings. Step on some poor city kids sneakers and apologize and see what happens.

I just do not get poor people in city neighborhoods trashing their neighborhoods the way some of them do–and it’s true. They do trash their neighborhoods. They do shit where they eat and sleep. They are jackals, some of them. If you were to examine the amount of waste and refuse left in the gutter, on the sidewalks, in the halls and vestibules of their apartment buildings–what? You do not see that poor people litter their neighborhoods not only with paper but refuse that leads to more rats and roaches. Look at the buses and the trains that mover though these neighborhoods. What gives with poor people taking privilege with what they can do to community property and public spaces? And it is a sense of privilege–unless they feel so inferior to rich people that this is the only license they can come up with indulging in the matter of their liberty.

It is a privilege they take when they think they can leave their food refuse on the busses and the trains and in the hallways of their buildings. I have members of the poorer communities moving into my rent stabilized building and I am seeing chicken bones in the vestibule, sneaker boxes in front of the door, coffee cups half full on the stairs . . . the front door lock being repeatedly broken. There isn’t even the good sense enough to understand that they make themselves and their loved ones less secure by breaking the door lock when they insist on remaining too stupid to remember to take their key or too cheap to spend the dollar to make a copy ozone to take along–no! Let’s break the lock so I can spend my dollar on what I would like to know. You can’t imagine I would not want to beat any one of these dregs of humanity with a stick.

Teaching, the State and Merrily Going Along

Letting bureaucrats manage pedagogy is a lot like letting them and lawyers manage health care. But, diatribes herein restrained, I know a woman who is currently in a position teaching ESOL where the new mandates from the state, and the newer administration where she is employed, have the program she works for under fire from bureaucracy. There may only be normal shifts and turns as a new leadership makes itself felt, but there seems to be a disregard, or so she claims, for matters she thinks management should respond to: like years of service, thus experience–everyone looks to his or her seniority as a part of her or his security; or like the rate of student retention, which points to the number of students who finish and perhaps indicates something positive about her teaching; or like higher post-test scores on her students’s exit exams, which the government and management would immediately point to as indicative if they were low and wanted to sack her. I have little to no trust of management until it proves it has respect for service and quality, which often times it does not. There isn’t a new and perhaps inexperienced manager, in my prejudices, who does not imagine that if he fired everybody and hired all new employees it might not be better for him.
None of these fore mentioned qualities, though, seem to matter. Management is arbitrary, she says, and it is governed by resentment–the new management has some mid-level management off the leash, if you will. Vindictive responses to legitimate worker concerns have some of the employees wondering just what form of bigotry is being used to dole out assignments. Fear is the prime motivator for teachers, and policies and rewards are managed by staff governed by petty authoritarian control, a mind-set for those who work from the premise that teachers must defer  to the authority irrespective of irrationality and arbitrariness from management. Any concern expressed by teachers that perhaps they are not being respected or that individual skills or qualities are overlooked will be met with accusations from management that these teachers are not team players or that they are putting themselves ahead of the program or above. In this double talk an amazing bi-oral dexterity is developed and both sides of the mouth can speak differently at the same time. Integrity, quality, seniority are all disrespected.
Government-management and state-education-department control over ESOL across the country have delivered to ESOL teachers the kind of protocols that do not necessitate educating or learning (not exactly the same thing, but related enough for both to be achieved without contrary effects), nor do they necessitate quality or experience be present in those who are hired. Teachers are pitted against one another in program after program across America as management reminds teachers that their jobs are not secure. Good-enough will replace good which certainly has replaced great; less-than-good-enough will soon replace good-enough, and there we will have our version of the Orwellian nightmare become our dream.
Environments across America in teacher workplaces are hostile, although all impositions on teacher integrity are always with a smile and semi-polite request, variables in the intensification of fear. The classroom, but the ESOL classroom particularly, has become adjunct to other offices of the state bureaucracy. Of course, we endure and wonder why democracy is waning. We help the state undermine education and question how the power elite has become more monied and the monied elite more powerful. What then must we do? Go along to get along has been the national mantra for as long as we have been able to get half of every set of workers to screw the other half for little more rewards.

Totalities are Totalitarian [Flash Fiction]

Any-man not every man, that is Any Man is who should speak here; we are too far removed from the Medieval Everyman. How is it that we do not see that this is true here, there and everywhere, thus of course the rhetorically preferable anywhere.

Bureaucracy is always pedantic and always impersonal. It only functions by totalities, never individualities, without exceptions. This management of totalities by totalities and for totalities is why Totalitarianism is a bureaucrat’s dream and every society that wants to remain free must free itself from any overarching bureaucratic control. This is of necessity in the ways there are natures for things of society.

Who is it that speaks these words, again, any man can, any woman can, whoever, wherever, whenever? This is the nature of the beast Government, the nature of the beasts who administer; administration of government being the like habitat for the common beast Bureaucrat

I know you have questions and would like to know more, that you crave more information, but this is all and this is not information, and perhaps you should be wary of information and how it is disseminated. All information is In Formation; everyone of the People in neat columns and rows of a new Public.

Quantity Trumps Quality; Racism and the Privilege of Quotas

Non-profit or virtually non-profit organizations do not need to seek quality workers for any of their positions. Good-enough is the marker of determination, more specifically, what racial or ethnic quota can be filled from any of the semi-qualified to quantify that they are not racist or prejudiced, except in how many people of color they hire and promote. Qualified people of color need not apply. It’s not that qualified people of non-color get hired either–mediocrity is sought to rationalize or even silently justify the lower rate of pay.

The inefficiency or even the buffoonery that arises from time to time in policy decisions–but mostly decisions by race, by ethnicity or by gender that get made are primary in an organization that does not have to show profits to survive. In the marketplace, presumably, the more qualified should get hired irrespective of race or gender or ethnicity, but oftentimes even in the marketplace, quality coupled with bureaucratic quantifications is primary.

Waste is managed, not eliminated, except where government grants fund the operations. Then a pseudo-marketplace mentality is assumed, and administrators get to play in a pretend big-time world where their decisions are judged as they would be in a for-profit company, at least in so far as the bureaucracy manages its quotas for performance evaluation.  There is generally no regard for time of service, seniority, or for quality of work because again, less qualified can be manipulated into good enough to meet the government’s numbers at the the end of the fiscal year. This we see in our education across America–particularly in ESOL where for sure, less qualified seems to be rewarded more greatly than qualified, particularly if it is in New York City and the less qualified or those with less seniority are people of color, better, women of color, even better, African American women. If you are a Jewish woman, then this is better than being a white Catholic male, Italian American, absolutely.

There are enough people who can turn a blind eye to this, enough who will deny that this exists, some who might even say it is about time, and others who to themselves will say you don’t like it, do you, as if two contrary wrongs make a right–actually they would only result in a zero for everybody, including the people who the organization serves. But let this not sound like sour grapes from a white catholic Italian-American man, and only like a genuine critique from a citizen who sees quantity again triumphing over quality and race centered hiring and promoting and rewarding on the job for what it is, racist, racist, endemically racist. So, I do understand when people of color say America is an endemically racist society. Of course, we are, and everybody, I mean everybody, participates.

I do understand that there are qualified people who want to serve, but mostly they get weeded out by the petty authority that usually gets promoted because petty authority is more easily managed and gets on board with the less-than-qualified-good-enough mentality. Also, they are less inclined to promote people who are as qualified or more qualified as they are; their positions most likely have been secured by what quota they fill. But this is in part integral to the general inefficiency anywhere hiring and promoting practices emulate this pattern.

Quotas in hiring are privileges established to address actual or perceived or media received inequalities. They only add to the stress of inequality; they do not erradicate the inequality. In fact, they reinforce it, oftentimes causing us to look for or create the illusion of inequality if it did not persist. This kind of privileging does not demand quality and therefore, there is a lessening of the need to acquire quality in skills or talents. Furthermore, quality, actual quality is ignored. The preference is for the less qualified man or woman from among the established quotas because  the man or woman of quality from among the quotas is only going to think of his job as a right and not a privilege.

A Place in the Sun

How many more places in the sun are there for the super rich and powerful to frolic in before they conclude that everything about the global economy  turning around depends on them making a lot more money?

Obama Cares; Reforms Policy on Deportation

Is Obama clutching at the reeds–we do think he is drowning, don’t we? Are we to believe that the Obama Administration’s rate of deportation–the highest in US history–was because there was staunch opposition to his more benevolent policy decisions that were not allowed to come to fruition???????? From the start, Obama came after immigrants with a vengeance, assumably because the single most significant correlation anyone can come up with for the high rate of African-American unemployment is that non-natives often take a good number of the jobs that African Americans might otherwise have if there were fewer–or zero–non-natives to fill them, more significantly, at an even lower rate of pay. We are only talking about the rates of unemployment from 2008 to around 2013. Moreover, this assault on the non-native populations of the US has left many–too many?–chilly to the Democrats. If the Dems do not want to suffer an ignominious fate again–having already lost the Presidency to the Republicans back in 2001, squandering a popular incumbency–they need to spend the next two years garnering popularity at least approaching what it was for them during Obama’s first term. I do not see this happening–there have been too many fiascos, including the Secret Service’s theater-of-the-absurd last week. He can’t even protect himself. The horror; the horror.

Maine Judge and Maine Nurse are Maniacs not Mainers

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

Hickox is wrong. There will be a period, if she does develop symptoms, when she will have been contagious before she learns of them from monitoring. Unless she monitors her temperature several times an hour, there could be hours between the times she monitors and hours of time when she has been contagious before learning of her symptoms. I do not understand the limits of idiocy present in educated people today; she talks about science but only incompletely–she plays hop-scotch with truth and the science. What do we actually know bout the incubation period and why has the CDC set the incubation period at 21 days. She can go to West Africa to fight EBOLA but not stay in her home for 21 days because it is a hardship. It’s not the order from the state that is the issue here really; it’s her unwillingness herself to stay in her…

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Congratulations Mr. President

Has President Obama single-handedly given the Republicans a two house majority? Could there be a less competent intelligent man for the Oval office? What did we imagine was going to happen with Obama having been bought by Goldman Sachs, priming their bailout from the Feds by having gotten behind the first African-American President of the U.S.? Power politics being what it is, money comes to money, of course; power becomes more powerful. Obama has sold us down river–he was never ready to be President. How naive did we have to be to imagine that the only qualification he needed to be President was being half-black? That speaks to a segment of the population who believed in earnest that the only reason most Presidents became president was because they were men and white. We still think in patterns similar to this. We are in love with fallacies. Chickens will always come home to roost. They have now on Capitol Hill. We have to wait and see with baited breath what will come.

When are we going to get tired of playing rhetorical ping-pong with our politics?

Shadow World

We have collectively walked back into Plato’s cave preferring there the shadows to the light of day we retreated from.

Attending Not-thinking [A Short Story]

To essay or not to essay, that might be a question in a flash, another thing made in non-fiction is still a fiction of a kind, no? All philosophy is another endeavor in fiction, or another fictional endeavor in thinking? To endeavor or not to endeavor; oh the intrepid thinker, the intrepid defender of democracy. Democracy does need defending, she does need support, words, words and more words, articulate, words intelligent, words passionate . . .

To essay a subject is to put that subject on trial, to test the ideas of the essayer on the thesis therein. Yes, essay is a verb as well as a noun. An essay essays, you could say, and perhaps I might be bold and say you should say that I essay, you essay, she, he or it essays–how does an it essay anything? Persons essay subjects, maybe objects? None other than a person philosophizes, of course. A pig does not philosophize, nor do chairs, tables or rocks; raccoons, bears, lions and scarecrows do not philosophize, therefore they do not learn how to die. I am bold, am I not in asserting that it is a human thing to wonder about dying? Only humans learn how to die, unless we are going to say that whales and dolphins do–maybe I should refrain from generalizations we fear making, mostly out of our fear that our own opinion might not be accepted if we do not perpetually doubt what we collectively think–mostly out of the need today to imagine we cannot think, that thinking itself is doubtful, that knowing anything is also doubtful, which is why the essay, as a form of writing inherited from Montaigne, is dying. To die or not to die on the pages of my essays; to essay my dying;I tried to my mother’s after I had failed nine months before to essay my father’s dying.

We don’t believe we know anything therefore how can we write about doubting the assumed limits of our knowledge? I understand that the culture that gave us the traditions of the essay over the last five centuries is waning fast. But we do not recognize that it is our adopted guiding metaphysics of thinking that has lead us to near ruin–yes, near ruin. Our epistemology–our theory of the limits of knowing, of what is knowable, of knowledge itself–is one that has undermined our ability to manage democracy effectively for the People, finding itself more in line with making everyone a member of a state serving Public, not the am as the people. Public and People have never been synonyms except in the results of degraded literacy. This has lead us down one or another lost paths toward a society ruled by more monied money leading to more powerful and far reaching power in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Why do I use ‘we,’ when I could use ‘I’ to similar yet quite different effect, effects, how does the I affect me and affect you differently than the we I use; I am or we are?

Yes, Mr. Frost, thinking has come to mirror voting, voting in place of thinking; one not supposed to be the other, but now as close as any two mutually and contingently synonymous terms can be–the action of voting being exactly what we have made out of our thinking, or what we believe is thinking. Voting without thinking, or thinking that has become like voting is to vote based on what is no longer thinking but in itself voting–circularity intended tom illustrate, but unavoidable due to our own convolutions we like to parade as thinking seriously, another way we reinforce not thinking or unthinking or de-thinking. We wonder how we get the politicians we get, chosen in the way we chose our lunch, or how we may want our hamburger cooked, today medium well, tomorrow medium rare with cheese.

I do not expect anyone on-line to read this past the one hundred word count without fading away, drifting away–attention is not what it used to be and yes, it is true that it used to be better. It is one of our greatest fallacies, used to support a cult of the new, that there is no other time than Now, to assert that every age has been opposed by the time that came before, most specifically to lend validity that whatever is new is not only good but best. It’s amazing to me how in and by this process of what we might call thinking, no matter how limited, history would have to be progressive. Do you think history is progressive? To say that history is progressive is like saying the ocean is progressive–it is not! This should not be a post, I know. It should be one of the pages entries. I think I will transfer it after posting it. Two pages is too long for our attention span, and I assume that this can be generalized in a non-specific, non-scientific way. The latter is for another essay–one where the dogmas of science or scientizing have dominated our thinking and have lead us nearly to mishandle Ebola (and I still insist that managing fear and erring on the side of extreme caution should mandate that anyone who has had contact should submit to quarantine without court order. Yes, Hickox is wrong. There will be a period, if she does develop symptoms, when she will have been contagious before she learns of them from monitoring. Unless she monitors her temperature several times an hour, there could be hours between the times she monitors and hours of time when she has been contagious before learning of her symptoms. I do not understand the limits of idiocy present in educated people today.) I do not want to suppose that you are idiots.

It’s interesting that when we use the internet we get on line, all of us waiting, attending to the perpetuation of standing still frozen in expectation. Yes, the internet–all of us have become like Didi and Gogo, waiting for something, someone who never comes. Yes, Mr. Beckett, the myth of Sisyphus has been revisited.

Pots and Kettles Tell It

Pots and kettles must fill our dreams. Typical–we’re caught in the PoliticaL Party Ping-pong that is America’s favorite past time, not baseball. Hop-scotch with the truth of America’s power dynamics played. You do assume that there are ideological differences between Obama and Bush when they are flip-sides of the same coin. One is the oil gangsters’s baby and the other the bitch of the banks; one metal, heads or tails.

Humans, Chimps and the Creation of Adam

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

A good degree of what is behaviorally characteristic of the chimpanzee would be relevant to a definition of myself as human if the homo-sapiens were the first, the last and the foremost in my definition of myself.  I am 98% identical in DNA with our primate brothers, the chimps, as are all homo-sapiens. I would mark nothing distinct by being human from being homo-sapiens.  The terms would be synonymous, and with the way our culture  thinks rhetorically today, these synonyms would be interchangeable in all contexts.  What is good for homo-sapiens is good for human.  Do you think all those missionaries who were propogating the missionary position had any idea thay were also sponsoring the monkey way?

I once saw the Sistine Chapel depiction of the Creation of Adam.  It was a revelation to me in the critical distinction between human nature and homo-sapiens nature.  The homo-sapiens is an evolutionary contingency from the…

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Contingent Points

Bullets on target.

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

  • To choose is essential to human freedom. 

  • Human freedom is a result of an active respect for human rights.

  • People must choose to respect human rights to insure that they live free. 

  • The right to choose is an essential right a woman has whether the law supports it or not.

  • To uphold the law that supports women’s rights, civil and human, is the only sane choice a free people can make. 

  • A woman’s right to choose her fate is contingent with the right to choose to have an abortion or to give birth.

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Leiby Kletzky and God the Ungodly

A reissue from three years ago, July 14th 2011, nearing now the anniversary of the writing. I forget exactly when the news struck of little Leiby’s death. No parent can or could be indifferent. This I take to be self-evident and universal, yes, a transcendent truth we must know, must hold, in order for our humanity to remain in tact. Yes, humanity is a state of being, one of being human when being human is to be humane.

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

I did not know Leiby. I did not know his parents. I am not Jewish. If I were I would not be Orthodox. This is not a condemnation of orthodoxy. If I were Jewish I would most likely be like the friends I grew up with in East Flatbush Brooklyn, reformed. I am merely filtering this conception through the prism of my secular Catholicism. I am Catholic, most surely on Christmas and Easter as most of my Jewish friends and classmates at PS 208 were Jewish at least for New Year and Passover, or Pesach as 1 in 3 of them said. Belief was of a different order for us in East Flatbush, either Jewish or Christian, really Catholic because you were not likely a Protestant, yet of all my closest friends before I was eighteen, one was Lutheran and the other Anglican, Episcopalian.

Leiby’s parents have a different take…

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Misbirth

Misbirth: Pendulums and Curtain Rods

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

There have always been ways to induce miscarriage in every society for all time. Medical advances may have insured greater safety; the “industrial” world, or the techonologically advanced world we live in, may have made an abortion one of the safest medical procedures, yet more women die of medical malpractice every year than they do of breast cancer. And that’s a statistic for the United States.

It’s in our contemporary society where traditional herbs or teas have been forgotten. Every midwife in every village in every country is or was also the abortion lady. Abortion has always been an option, and homeopathically, probably a lot safer than in cities in industrial advanced societies. Do we imagine that an abortion for a black teenaged girl in backwoods rural 1930s Mississippi, the daughter of a sharecropper, was more dangerous than an abortion for a black girl in 1950s Detroit? Pre-Roe-vs,-Wade. Women in…

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JFK, The Prophet of Contemporary Government Contempt for The People

So you imagine that JFK was a great champion of freedom. You believe that he had a moral center, that he was not both a security risk to the US and a travesty as a leader of a free people. You must also think that his most famous quote about not asking your country to do for you, what it can do for you –because it can’t and won’t and has insisted we believe it shouldn’t do anything for us–was not the prophecy of a future America where government controls through media manipulation has sold us down river at the behest of Wall Street. You must then imagine that greed and corruption are not greater today than they were at his time, that the rule of law has not become an inside joke on Capitol Hill and in the Oval Office and especially at the NSA, or that Obama is not a puppet of Goldman Sachs???????? You believe that none of these things are true? And we then wonder what has happened to democracy.

Ask not what your country can do for you–and it can do things for you, it just doesn’t want to–yes, ask not what it can do for you because it figured out how to get you to do more and more and still delude yourself you are free. With semi-literacy masquerading as literate enough to manage the affairs of democracy for the people and not just for the elite has persisted long enough for most of us not to have a clue that we are genuinely less free than we were. Politics has become so horribly corrupted by Power and Money that I fear the only response we will conclude is appropriate at some future date is a horribly violent one, in line with the responses of Les Jacobins a little over two centuries ago in France. Don’t waste your time trying to imagine that that cannot happen here. We do need to wake up . . . sleepwalking around at best, others of us just walk back into our caves, in love with shadows in opposition to our contempt for Truth in the light of day.

The Allegory of the Cave was once universally understood by those who had received a university education, and not because white men said it should be known but because it revealed something inherent in our nature–and yes, there is a human nature, even if I also believe that that nature cannot be generalized in the ways it has been, grossly and even grotesquely–but more specifically inherent in our social nature, if you will. There is a nature for society–not the nature that stands in contrast in some arguments for civilization, but in as much as societies form similarly, we can note how they do and in what ways they do. There are appropriate analyses to be made. Our society is on a precipice and Democracy hangs there barely. We can irrevocably change the course of Democracy, destroying it through ignorance, narrowness and a horribly degraded sense of being literate enough when in fact most of us, even those of us managing, are no better than Alphabetic, having achieved not advanced literacy in our universities, but a more complicated alphabetisme, great negotiators of the alphabet so we can at least spell the received ideas we live by.

The Lamentations

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

 We who oppose contemporary politics as it has been played in the arenas of states across our globe have also helped create a cultural weakness in itself a strength only in its power to debilitate.  We do not write; we do not read; we cannot. We have been engaging the ritual practices of the dual cults of the Now and the New for so long that there is no other time than now, there is no future and there is no past. Ours is the best of times or in other words, the worst of times. Ours is the season of light or darkness depending how you flip your coin. We do love to flip coins as much as we do playing hop-scotch with the truth. We no longer serve the subjectivity of little truths, let alone the once assumed objectivity of larger ‘T’ Truth.  We instead preach the salvation of…

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Being Wary of Russia Would Have Made Sense All these Years; or, Tirade, Diatribe and an Otherwise Imaginary Polemic [Flash Fiction]

The truth in short from a man who spent most of his formative years the son of one of America’s foremost Cold-warriors. Of course you know that it is a truth self-evident that is always better to be dead than to be red. Don’t think that Russia is not still a little red. 

Please don’t imagine that we should not be careful whenever dealing with Russia in any way anywhere at any time because we should, and this is not fear mongering or some knee-jerk conservative response to geopolitics as Putin would like to play it, map as chess board—please don’t imagine that we can be too careful. And please don’t imagine you understand Putin or Russians or Russia with your contemporary American acumen about history or European peoples; but also do not imagine that the Central Asians we have been using to gain leverage against Putin and Russia are anymore our friends than Russians are capable of, especially if they are Putinesque actors on the world political stage, that is, Putin’s people in their role as passive assenters to a refashioned old-line hegemony.

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FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

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Koch Bros. Exposed

Koch Bros. Exposed.

via Koch Bros. Exposed.

You have to watch this documentary. Koch Bros. assault on safety net, how they pay think tanks to create dread for the future, trying to convince us through echo chamber reporting, that Social Security is going bankrupt, when it has a 2.6 trillion dollar surplus. Raising the retirement age is another criminal suggestion by the Republicans, supported by the disinformation the likes of which would make the Kremlin proud.

Finland Surgically Removes Russia’s Offense

I do not know why there is such surprise at Russia’s weakness in the Olympics. Russia has not nor has it ever had a monopoly on producing the highest caliber hockey players in the world. The Soviet Red Army team were the bullies of international and olympic play. Iron Curtain refs let them get away with too many penalties and a lot of dirty play. Did you watch Kovalchuk and Radulov and Markov in these Olympics. Always behind the play, always when the refs are lookinbg the other way, elbows come up, sticks get used on ankles the back of the knees etc. Kvalchuk is 30 and left the NHL because he can’;t be a bully in NOrth America. In the NHL, Russians aren’t always the biggest players. In international play, Russian players are bullies. The Soviet Red Army team were professionals–no question. Lets call diamonds diamonds and clubs clubs. Paper Tiger. Russia is not the worst of International Hockey, but it is far far from the best, not even among the best. Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, Canada, the US are all of them superior to Russian hockey.

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

Why is it a surprise? The Soviet Union dominanted at a time when they were the only professional level hockey players playing in the Olympics. All American and Canadian and Swedish and Czech and Finnish professional level hockey players were playing in professional leagues and ineligible. But because announcers are sycophantic, nobody calls the Russians on how full of shit they are. A Russian hockey player playts for the Red Army team for two decades and is called an amateur? His only job in the Soviet Union, the Spartan State it was, was to play hoockey. Wayne Gretsky was plying pro hockey at 16 in the WHA and the NHL had to bend rules to let him play under the age of 19 when the WHA merged with the NHL. Terry Sawchuk never played in the Olympics, Bobby Orr never played in the Olympics, Mike Bossy, Phil Esposito, Guy LaFleur…

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