"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Apr 20, 2012

Make Me A Sandwich

"Make me a sandwich."


"That's the new bro thing, dad."

"At school?"

"Yeah. And elsewhere. It's the new put down."

"Like, 'make me a sandwich' is a dismissal? Why? Is it because..."

"...girls make sandwiches for boys, Dad. It's a 'women belong in the kitchen' and 'bitches make sandwiches' thing, Dad."

"But it's said by dudes to other dudes?"

"Yeah, Dad."

So, yeah. Let's be clear. These are fifteen, sixteen, seventeen and eighteen year old boys. Future grown ass men. Future boyfriends, husbands, bosses, rapists and abusers. And just like last year, and the year before, and all the way going back to the first Sumerian priest-landowner's decision to mark a symbol for cattle in clay and trade out his daughter for the right to own more cattle in the future...it's the same as it ever was. And the way boys reinforce their place in the hierarchy is by treating their presumed inferiors...

...as women.

No surprise in that, of course. But it is nonetheless amusing to read, witness and watch men, dudes, broheemers and anti-feminists deny the pervasiveness of a nearly ubiquitous idea, that "woman" defines "inferior," and in doing so, sets the value for "governable."

Apr 19, 2012


To answer the questions and responses given in reply to the "Interrogatives" post below:

What differentiates victim and victimizer? The violation. It's a clear enough demarcation that we have separate words for the two poles of the relationship.

What justifies revenge? The choice to seek it.

What limit should a victim have imposed upon vengeance? None. There is no spiritual component to the universe which demands proportionality in retribution, or which punishes an over-reaction. If a person does not wish to have his dick chopped off for being a raping raper, for example, he should (a) not rape, (b) throw himself into a wood chipper, (c) self-defenestrate from a tall building or (d) drink a gallon or two of antifreeze, and then chase it with a glass or three of methanol.

Of course, this may seem to imply that victimizers should know better, but it does no such thing. A person does not have to know that others believe his actions to be characterized by wrongness in order for those actions to have consequences. In fact, I would submit to you that intentionality is a useless bellwether for judging the outcome of choices. Observationally, a rapist has raped regardless of his reasons. He doesn't have to know better. He has only to not rape. He has only to choose not to inflict harm.

And if that's the case, retribution is justified not by any urge to punish, correct or edify (which are silly Judeo-Christer obeisances to notion of sin)  - but by the simpler, cleaner and more manageable desire to requite harm because the original violation hurts.

Pain makes valid the victim's response, so long as he or she refuses to accept that pain should ever have been inflicted. Pain, in a cosmos where life is brief and nerve endings tuned to suffering, is the only justification a victim ought to require for herself.

Did he hurt me?


Then I may and perhaps even ought to hurt him back...


Can ethics be collectivized without compulsion?

If not, what's the point of them?

If so, how? As in, what are the mechanisms?

Apr 13, 2012


As a rule:

Conservatives see banks and financial institutions as rightful stewards of wealth, capital and currency. Unless they are run by Jews who are, sacrosanct Israelis excepted, liberals in good standing. Then, banks are of course institutions for the promotion of social decay. George Soros demands it...

Otherwise, for the run of the mill conservative, a bank is a force of nature, by which he means, immanent supernatural imposition. God ordained banks, in order for the rich to save up their hard work and rugged independence. How else will they "create jobs"?

Liberals understand banks as fundamentally necessary, but unfortunately prone to corruption and mismanagement; if only enough money is moved from banks to credit unions, the managing partners of banks and financial institutions will, obviously, come to their good senses and begin to make choices within the parameters of good corporate citizenship. The problem with a bank, for the average liberal, is not so much the concentration of wealth, but the temptations which that concentration brings to bear. For the liberal, the solution is to be found in struggling against temptation.

For the Marxist, a bank is a future instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat, brought into existence by historically bound human efforts which couldn't violate the Mystical Dialectic, even if they tried. During the (duh, brief...) transitional phase from state socialism to blessed holy communism, the banks will be subject to strict five-year planning. Then, as if by magic, everything will become horizontal and the banks, along with the state, will "wither away." If you believe otherwise, please report for re-education.

For the anarchist, there already are no such things as "banks." What you see is a building, and people inside of it persuaded by their own business in fiddling with screens, ledgers and imaginary numbers to believe they are doing something, anything. What you see is really what you get, though. Everything to do with a bank is pretense, self-deception and fiction, however deadly.

Apr 5, 2012


When we - and by "we," I really just mean "anyone" - speak of social structures, what's being discussed are patterns of memory in the brain coupled with effort and labor. That this applies to structural racism, patriarchal relations, capitalist institutions and the like may or may not seem obvious, depending upon your temperament and ideology. These patterns of memory are acted out in material circumstances, and shaped again by those same interactions, so that society (what a loaded term, eh?) is a set of disproportionate feedback loops between belief and labor. It might not appear immediately clear that the abolition of the end-user material expression of these patterns - the kinds of labor which tend to reinforce beliefs - does not necessarily result in the abolition of the patterns of memory and thought. Work and effort reinforce, but they do not automatically and fatally determine the existence of beliefs. (I submit, for your consideration, the persistence of evangelically Christian beauty pageant parents, who make choices which routinely violate the tenets of their beliefs, without in any real way abolishing those beliefs as the lens through which stimuli are interpreted)

Social structures also persist in memory, despite the fact that the multitude of those who believe in their efficacy and concrete reality are not gainfully employed, devoted to, or in any way bodily attached to the actual, physical and material maintenance - to the labor - of their repetition. And it is repetition which gives the illusion of permanence or durability to these so-called structures. Observationally, there are no social structures to speak of - since these "structures" don't exist in the same way as even a rudimentary temporary cardboard shack exists, stands out and has tangible form.

A social structure - Congress, the nuclear family circa 2012, a corporation, the Marines, et cetera ad nauseam ad infinitum - is not a thing, despite the beliefs* usually associated with the assumption of its concreteness. A social structure is repeated behavior, and that repetition follows from the labor of performing in concert with others rituals, obeisances and shared work. And, no less effectively, accepting as true that the repetitions and rituals actually make a thing; passivity is not bar, here.

To attack, corrode, degrade or otherwise challenge the effectiveness of these repetitions of conduct and ritual, it is not enough to assume that a plenary future equality or revolution will do the trick. The presumed revolution is not an act of abolition. Revolution does not abolish. Revolution can only disrupt, and judging from the success rates of revolution the world and history over, not generally with significant lasting effect; even revolutions which re-assign the ownership of resource bases.

Personal and social memory continues and endures because it is repeated. Memory replicates. Since social structures are fundamentally the acting out of beliefs about the world, and since we are mammals who must learn how to become human**, social structures act as replicators. They capture the matter in a developing brain and convert it towards a use value, towards labor. It is not happenstance that those hierarchies which place a high premium upon education, religious instruction, familial edification and the development of children as future labor resources also replicate themselves over and over again with greater continuity and success. Furthermore, subcultures and demographic groups serve as reservoirs of beliefs which can, in short time, emerge out of relative isolation in order shore up, salvage or reinforce degraded social beliefs and rituals. Should you doubt this assertion, I would ask you to consider the rapid promulgation of anti-contraceptive beliefs (and organizations) in the face of alleged social progress for women, expanding outward like a moral pandemic from, until recently, isolated pockets of maximalist Catholic communities.

Against liberal, conservative and Marxist strains of thought - it might be wiser to premise any lasting change in human relations not upon the production and cloning of hierarchies, but upon the sustained disruption of the rituals, relations and repetitions which, when taken together, socially structure human behavior.

In other words, it is not the seizing of control which will break these chains. It is the breaking of the chains themselves.

* - or epistemes, if we want to get unneedfully fancy

** - "human" is not a value-neutral descriptor; it is perhaps the most loaded term in use