"...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

Sep 27, 2010

"Elect Me - I Kill People"

Well, at least Ayotte decided to go for some truth in advertising:

And the copper union likes it fine:

"...Killing a police officer in the line of duty ranks among the most serious crimes an individual can commit. That's why state law specifically allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty for this crime. Ayotte, in her capacity as attorney general, made a decision to seek that penalty - then she prosecuted the case herself. Thanks to Kelly and her team's courtroom expertise and strong commitment to obtaining justice, Mike's killer got the highest penalty under law - justice was done...

...I know this personally because I worked directly and extensively with Kelly on the Briggs case as the lead investigator. The night Officer Briggs was fatally shot in 2006 was one of the darkest times in the history of our city and state. During this extremely difficult time, our department was in need of strong leadership to see us through..."


Television shows sell Cymbalta, Viagra, Budweiser, US Army recruitment propaganda, cars, gas and shit that makes you fat if you eat it.

A twenty-two minute comedy carries eight minutes of commercial programming to fill out a half hour slot. Twenty six percent.

One out of every four minutes devoted to ensuring that you hear the words they want you to hear a hundred times a day. Not including the product placement and ads embedded into story lines. Drumming away at your memory with yogurt and Toyota family transport.

But, if you want to get your druthers up about something, by all means rail at 30 Rock for showing a guy possibly fucking his sleeping wife. At best, it shows a classless dude. At worst, it depicts rape. Okay. Sure. Go with the "it must be rape" thing. That's the answer.

That's the real awful, here. The fictional depiction. The pretend.

Not the real exploitation, not the world consuming degradation of environment and human relations. Not the world bestriding military colossus, enforcing the the capitalized occupation of human existence. Not the power. Not the courts and the law threatening violence to those who don't have property fetishes hardwired into their memories.

Worry instead the plots of comedies. That'll show how serious and concerned with human suffering you are...

Dick, Tit, Pussy and Asshole

How does the sight of a penis harm another person? How does a child suffer harm from seeing a dick? Another man? A woman who didn't specifically choose to see it, but who has no actual contact with it? What about the phallic member generates so much wrong and evil, that removing it from its cloth confinement will result in a lifetime of condemnation and ostracism, if not prison and the sex offender registry?

How does a publicly exposed breast harm the person(s) seeing it? Assuming for a moment that ten people walking down the street see an exposed boob they don't want to see, what exact part of this experience causes them so much damage that the State must prevent it, or punish the alleged offender?

Why does the attachment of a hungry baby polymorphously perverse little shit and vomit factory to the tit magically transform it into a legally viewable body part?

What about the naked vagina so degrades public morality that the mere sight of it must meet with puritanical jeremiad (religionist and feminist) and punitive complaint? Why must the public protect itself from the advent of the pussy, liberated from pants and panties, open to the warmth of the sun, or the chill kiss of ice and snow, if that fancies the possessor of it? Will the universe rend itself asunder? Will the gods fall from their thrones? Will every man become, of a sudden and without recourse to self-control, a heartless and immovable rapist?

(Unless someone has brought a camera into the room and wants to make a dollar off of it, of course...then, it becomes a matter of economic ideology...)

And what of the anus? Why so much disgust and sophomoric humor associated with the end point of the digestive tract, and what comes out of it - or goes into it?  Why not horror at all the filth that goes into the beginning of that tract, so much that people ought to wear down their teeth, or break them, before they ever get as fat as they do? Why must we have "fat awareness," but shy away from the asshole through which we waste what ought never have gone in in the first place? I mean, if you have to obsess about the asshole at all, why as a society do we care what gay men or "kinks" might or might not do with theirs - when so many straight people use it to squander half the world's food, and most of the world's consumable wealth?...

Is it possible, perhaps, that the harm and trauma don't magically arise from the exposure of the organs, but from the morality, belief, concealment and reactions to them? That the prurient-prudery of nannies, scolds, grundies, dworkins and pastoral meddlers provides the real harm - rendering the concealed flesh in sin tones and salacious detail, depriving it of both the light of day, and the banality of everyday exposure - of the harmlessness of visible hairlines and cheekbones, of fingertips and neck fat?

Sep 25, 2010

Passing it on...


"Then again, it might've been more a display of solidarity with the previous US President than an admonition of the current Persian one. In his speech to the same assembly in 2001, the former preznit implored members still assembled to christen as intolerable alternative suppositions about the crime his government failed to prevent, but solved within three days and with the information they already had at their disposal."

(colored emphasis mine)

Best summation, yet.

Sep 22, 2010

The Ass Clown Spake

Has this clown ever worked a non-legacy job in his miserable, air wasting, fat cheeked existence?

He "muses:"

"Voicemail, cell phones, and email mean you don’t need as much administrative support staff to run an organization so the people formerly employed filling out little message cards go do something else with their time and overall production increases."

No, no, no.

No, you assclown and hipster bespectacled ignoramus.

"Voicemail, cell phones and email mean" that your nepotism and ass kissing promoted gang of martinets and harridans administrative staff get to harass you by "Voicemail, cell phones and email" as well as in person. The boss group doesn't get smaller. It gets more ways to make life miserable for those who work under them.

You fucking nitwit shit head.

Get a real job, already. Get dirt on your hands, or something. Get fucked, for all I care.

Not wasting

If I belonged (by official assignment, or accident of birth) to a debased or bogeyman minority (no one really holds Sephardi or Indian against you, these days) I would not want to (a) fight for the ruling factions, killing other debased minorities who accidentally exist atop resources the imperial powers want, (b) take their dollar, and therefore their orders, (c) waste precious percentages of my very limited life allotment struggling for the "right" to do (a) and (b), or (d) attempt to persuade all the fuckwit bigots who don't like women, homosexuals, blacks, hispanics - or whatever - of my own claims to liberty and freedom, which of necessity must include freedom from their very presence, and liberty in the face of their customs and laws.

If I don't get to live forever (and who'd want to, anyway), why would I want to yield up any of my time serving the needs of cowards who live very full lives on account of the rest of us not living fully?

Kyrie Elision

What I find most telling about the Obamanoid argument, regarding the prospect of Republican health care shenanigans, rests not in what they dispute:

"In a conference call with new media reporters and bloggers, Nancy-Ann DeParle, the president's top health care adviser and the White House official most intimately familiar with the bill, acknowledged that there were a myriad of ways to choke off the legislation's revenue streams.

'Through the appropriations process, what [Republicans] can do and something they've done in the past with reforms, they would de-fund them in the appropriations bill... Any aspect of this could be de-funded. There is funding in here for insurance authorities to do a better job of rate review. They can take that away. So there are things they can do." 

'We should all know,' she added, 'that those who seek to de-fund and repeal this law will take us back to the days when insurance companies were in control of our care instead of consumers and doctors.'"

(emphasis mine)

It resides in what their argument does not state.

The ellipsis tells the story.

First, as to generalities - laws don't fix problems. Because, as the sage counselor to power casually notes, the people who make laws can unmake them. Or fuck with the money.

Laws don't fix human conditions in any sort of permanent state. A law approximates. If it provides for enforcement, it still does not and cannot do anything, of itself. People might really want to believe in lexical magic, but the law itself lacks any sort of power. Words which no one reads, believes and enforces don't do anything. A law can only justify conduct. It gives cover. People - especially those with power - will do as they please, and what they can get away with, so long as the slap on the nose hurts less than the reward on the plate.*

The law sacralizes their endeavors, before and after the fact.

Second, as to the specifics of this case - the authors of this law could have written in anti-defunding language if they wanted. Or tied the funding to percentages of any number of bellwethers. Or established a funding mechanism, with enforcement, that modeled something like Social Security, or Medicare - which legislators cannot tamper with, without actually passing new laws and opening themselves up to the rage of angry hordes of mobility chair bound Abraham Simpsons. Obama and the Congressional Dems did not code these defunding protections into their legislation. To do so would have exposed them to the distinct possibility of actual changes to the health care regime, in this country. It would have actually given the iatrogenic corporations a government opponent. The exact opposite of what they actually received in exchange for their campaign small change...

The health care guru (heh) elides these key notes, of course.

Her boss's narrative requires it.

How else can they blame the Republicans for all the bad shit that happens, when the enforcement of this law ramifies throughout the body politic, and people start to realize that yes, really and truly, the United Democratic Congress gave the insurance companies legal sanction to treat them as a medical corvée?

And a final programming note: the health care combines still fucking control health care. And most doctors (at least where I live) belong to one...

* - let's have a moment of reflection: sometimes the slap on the nose is part of the reward on the plate; martyrdom and all...

Sep 20, 2010


My home state may very well fill all four of its congressional positions with women, come this November. One (Shaheen) seat doesn't come up for competition until 2014. The other three showcase a Democratic incumbent with a large support base (Shea-Porter) and two newcomers. Democrat Annie Kuster goes up and against former congresscritter, Charlie Bass. And the current holder of Bass' former seat, Paul Hodes, will face Palin backed Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte, mostly known for prosecuting cop-killer Michael Addison in a capital case (which sent a black man to the death house, as the first likely execution in the state in nearly a hundred years*) also has the backing of the GOP establishment.

Each woman currently runs either even, or better than her male contender. In a state which propelled Clinton over Obama.

Somehow, I imagine, my wife will gain "empowerment," should this occur. By magic, I guess...

* - I knew the man Addison murdered. In a strange twist of fate, the man he murdered had once saved his life, several years prior to their fatal encounter. Briggs was a good man. Not something I'd usually let myself write about a cop. Ayotte's fame was made, on this case. She got an easy sell:  poor, hard-case black man, with a history of violence versus white "hero" cop, in an alley in the only minority neighborhood of the state's largest city. In a state with a very few non-white people, with a not-insignificant skinhead and race group presence, and a population far more amenable to "dirty Hispanic immigration" arguments than one might expect several thousand miles away from the Mexican border, but snuggled up against an uncontrolled, poorly managed and porous Canadian one...

Sep 18, 2010

The Order of the World

Cowardice governs the earth. Cowards send the morally courageous and the physically brave to hack at each other, to cut throats and end lives. To give up their own.

Cowards cut deals and write laws to cover the evil that they do. They move numbers or push buttons. They use others as extensions and instruments of their own lives, keeping their flesh as far from death as possible. They consume others. They live at a distance.

The nobility of flesh, or mind, that resides in those who own their fears, who can stand their ground and shit their pants with fear, can defend something or someone worth safeguarding despite the terror, because of it - this does not belong to the ruling castes, classes and clans of the world.

Look for the powerful, and you will find a mass of cowards, huddling in their buffered zones, trading stolen lives and loot for their own sordid safety. Justifying it, selling it - because cowards need the myths by which they pretend their nobility. An ersatz life, for all its benefits.

Cowards rule. Cowards need power.

One day, we might really understand the truth of this.

Feel it deep, in marrow and bone.

Feel it in our own flesh.

And have ourselves a reckoning...

Sep 17, 2010



Punk fuckwits who harass a disabled girl have no standing with me. This dad does.

What kind of terror?

Five men of indeterminate ethnicity or affiliation, "between the ages of 26 and 50," have met the claw fingered grasp of the British security apparatus, arrested under the aegis of the Terrorism Act of 2006.

I don't have any details of their alleged offenses. But, I did have a gander at the piece of legislation under which they British security state has detained them.

Have a taste yourself:

"Encouragement of terrorism:

(1)This section applies to a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom it is published as a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism or Convention offences.

(2)A person commits an offence if—

(a)he publishes a statement to which this section applies or causes another to publish such a statement; and

(b)at the time he publishes it or causes it to be published, he—

(i)intends members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism or Convention offences; or

(ii)is reckless as to whether members of the public will be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate such acts or offences.

(3)For the purposes of this section, the statements that are likely to be understood by members of the public as indirectly encouraging the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism or Convention offences include every statement which—

(a)glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences; and

(b)is a statement from which those members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated by them in existing circumstances..."

I wonder what these faceless, nameless men did? Did they "glorify" their hatred of the Roman Rape Cult? Did they, with "reckless" disregard for public safety, "encourage" others to oppose the mobbed up, women hating hierarchy of the Vatican?

Or did they represent a different cult - perhaps one of the face burning, head stoning death sects - eager to declare open season on a rival with the wrong god?

Did they present the sort of existential threat that any sane person ought to offer to a death and rape cult?

Or something less sublime, more ordinary, more feebly symbolic? Like, I dunno, blogging about a protest?

Sep 16, 2010

As The Play Moves Off The Stage...

Over SMBIVA way, the good Mr. Smith has hit upon the latest Democrat rebranding scheme:

"The Democrats have an interesting approach to marketing. I've said for years that their marketing pitch is that they're the un-Republicans. But they seem to have taken a step or two beyond that. What the new logo seems to suggest is that they're the un-party -- not to say the non-entity." 

You might sum up the collective Dem mode as "Don't blame us, we're staid, sane and boring. We compromise. We're civilized. We pay our dues. We like libraries and seating charts. When we bomb people, we apologize and wear contrite grimaces. Unlike those nasty Republicans, who bomb people and brag about it. But, you do have to blame someone for your woes, so blame the crazy, angry people with interesting lives and off center ideas."

And it seems that they have decided to take this anodyne approach to its logical conclusion, in dealing with the "Tea Party" phenomenon, especially in the person of its latest star, a delightfully uncouth and astroturf-free firebrand by the name of O'Donnell, who has begun in earnest her quest to Scottbrown the Biden Seat.  Instead of addressing the concerns which compel people to take Movement types seriously - a pathology in its own right - the poobahs and panjandrums of the Other Corporate Party insist on attacking her...


Now I don't profess any belief, don't believe in any god, and don't care much for faith or theology. I also know that this places me in a distinct minority of Americans. Obviously so.

Americans do religion with gusto.

Americans also have a number of stupid ideas about sexuality - a range of idiotic and regressive so broad as to positively define the term "all encompassing."

GOP Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell (who, as of twenty four hours after her primary "upset" claims to have raised nearly a million dollars in donations) appears to have that oletimey American gusto for religion. And for stupid ideas about sex. Let's get that out of the way, right now. Her Jeebus doesn't approve of masturbation and he might even think Teh Gays've got the AIDS coming to them. Admitted. Noted.

As a barely read, pseudonymous blegher with no interest in campaign outcomes, except to note that the nameplate change on the Senate door does not result in a policy change, I still feel a wee bit dirty airing out my disdain for O'Donnell's faith assertions.

From where I sit, I can plainly see that my atheism and sexual flexibility stand outside the norm. Full stop. The majority of Americans have prurient-prudish sexual views and get hopped up on some sort of God with a grudge.

An obvious thing. A no brainer.

So, what do the Democrats and professional liberals decide to do, with this available data set? Do they choose to play smart moral judo, and turn their opponents momentum against them?


Do they opt for a narrative steal - taking more seriously the ills and concerns of the people they would rule, the better to undercut the appeal of outsider firebrands armed with passion and an uncompromising hatred?


Because they can't.

In much the same way that institutional Republicans cannot violate their public commitment to the "free markets and small government" myth cycle, despite their repeated policy betrayals of the same, the Dems cannot discover passion, fury and rage in their own bleak, managerial, pliant selves. If they had it, they wouldn't join the Democrats and compete for electoral power and corporate sinecure. They wouldn't agree to the terms of the Arrangement,* in the first.


Politics dramatizes reality. 

Republicans do berserker, bloody handed slash and grab. They go a'viking. The Dems sail the ship back home again, guard the loot, normalize the law, sell off the captives, and repair relations with the viking victims, in preparation for next year's summer season of Republican looting and rapine.

Politics - the law, media production, campaigns, embedded entertainment, the high courts, public scandal, public redemption - reproduces the hard reality of government, rule and power as theater, as stories for public consumption. As the play that takes attention off the king.

And this production has an iron clad contract: No one improvises. No one goes off script. The Republicans play expansionist, business friendly conservatives at ease with casual violence. The Democrats play solidly civilized bureaucratic incrementalists with inclusive and United Colors of Benetton notions about all the people Republicans would casually violate.

They stick to the script.

Until someone doesn't.

And then, like good employees, the players band together to enforce the rules of the play.

And this means that the Democrats and their professional progressive allies will approach people like Christine O'Donnell (or Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney) according to the script:







The message? Christine O'Donnell is a dangerous, flighty, moronic, unkempt, ill governed chick with bad habits and questionable finances, probably at best a semi-skilled waitress who has forgotten her place. She makes scary noises to top off her funny faces and thinks masturbation is icky and offensive to Jesus. She probably even farts in front of men. Or worse, she doesn't fart at all, because her Jesus hates flatulence. God knows she doesn't appreciate Proust or the angsty anti-irony of the Kierkegaardian Pose. Like Sarah Palin, she has no respect for the fourth wall. She even gives asides to the audience. No doubt she spanks her children...

You know - what they tried on Sarah Palin.

They can't help themselves. They don't have any choice.

Or - they do have choices. But, they'd pay too big a political, personal and financial price if they actually made one. They'd lose access. They'd get booted off the stage.

Not that it matters, really. Once someone goes off script and successfully holds the attention of the audience, the rules of the play have changed. The play has changed. They story itself mutates. Once a player crashes the fourth wall, and invites the audience to participate, even only as wider eyed spectators or an ad hoc Greek Chorus, those who inhabit the formal roles either adapt and improvise - or they lose control of the future of the story.

The producers - to push the analogy further - have lost control of their production. Instead of adapting and riding the momentum (as the Republicans seem ready to do), the Democrats and pro-prog allies stomp their feet and insist instead that everyone follow the script.

And when some of the jumped up extras refuse to get off the stage, the Dems do what the script requires. They stick to their roles. They scoff and posture and sneer, exactly as privileged and skeptical courtiers might do, armed with the Western canon and a civilizing mission, when faced with a bumpkin who doesn't know that court politics is theater, or that the audience ought to stay in their seats.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want the Sarah Palins and Christine O'Donnells of the world running the show. I don't want anyone who actually wants the job to ever get a shot at holding it. I don't want the job to exist at all.

But, if someone has to have it, it tickles me to think that the Democrats face real problems because the Republicans lost the script and got gate crashed by a cast of extras who don't know that angry Jesus is a stage prop, or that they're in the middle of the third act of a staged production...

* - see MJS'  "The Ratchet" for a fuller explanation.

Sep 15, 2010



I just finished reading the August, 2010 issue of Glamour, which my wife inexplicably brought into our home. The cover has a twelve year old looking little girl, clutching kittens, sporting a plastic smile and a lot of eye shadow - someone I guess I should recognize, but don't.

I don't have the time or the inclination to go into all the shit that my middle age brain found wrong with what I read, so I'll keep it brief.

I doubt Larry Flynt never hated women as much as the editors and publishers of Glamour do. And, he never tried to sell them paint-on jeans across the seam from an article about taking it easy and letting go of bad habits...

Sep 11, 2010

Magic Spells for Hubris

So, about half way through Shock Doctrine* (bathroom reading spreads it out, a bit) and I have to take a moment to comment on Hayeko-Randroidish Friedmanism:

That anyone, anywhere could ever think that they could dream up a science of human behavior will amuse me to no end, right up to my own end.

Don't get me wrong. I've long had a not-so-secret affection for Aurelius, Gracian, Montaigne, Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Ibn Khaldun and Chanakya. What do you expect from a Nietzschean anarcho-agonist?

But - and yeah yeah yeah, this one has caveat written all over it - the above mentioned ancient, medieval and pre-modern sophists wrote of the art of human conduct. With alacrity, and no small measure of durability. Whether or not you prefer the world of rank and power that Gracian assumes, he understands human relations within that realm far better than Friedman could ever have done about our own, or the imagined one of his utopian futures. And Gracian - alike to the others above - never plied his craft colored by shame, as any halfwit observer can tell about Friedman. Gracian - like no small number of past observers - knew the dangers of hubris. Friedman did not.

He had too much faith in himself. Too much plodding forward elephantine self-regard. A prophet. A missionary. A true believer.

Like all paladins, strong belief required Friedman to euphemize his faith, of course. He and his believers euphemize(d) everything. Part of the hubris of their myth cycle, I imagine. Also, they have to. Or no one would buy it. The whole mythopoesis of the "free market" adds up to one giant, bloody fucking euphemism for "kill the natives, hold down the locals with violence or threats of violence, rig the deck and the game, and lock up or rape to death anyone who gets testy about it."

The free marketers, the Austro-Chicagoists and the Randroids gerrymandered Smith into an advocate of a moral and political economy that Smith himself loathed.  A cursory of reading of TWoN will convey that to anyone not afflicted with even the worst possible case of missing brain disease. Kind of like Glenn Beck taking Citizen Paine and transforming him into a flat, antidimensionally earnest, irony free inhabitant of a seventeen year old pimply virgin's Ayn Rand fan fiction.


Friedman assumed some stupid shit - right from the beginning of the mystico-moral argument onto which he glommed so long ago (the diamond on the beach, and subjective value**). He assumed that economics represents a science of human behavior. That economics can predict human outcomes, could model future behaviors with a repeatable degree of certainty.

That stupidity doesn't belong to Friedman alone, of course. Anyone who has ever thought, uttered, typed or  written out the words "natural monopoly" shares the stain of the shame, as well...

Which amuses me, without fail. If you narrow the field of study sufficiently (see Gracian's world of courtiers and kings; or Sun Tzu's, of soldiers and generals; or Machiavelli on principalities and factions) you might develop a few decently predictive models.  You might anticipate.

But, if you think that the Hari Seldon powers (yes, you too, Krugman) can embody themselves in your own person, you will get people killed.

Because, accounting for billions of connections in the human brain, and billions of human brains, only a fucking idiot with a god complex would think that price points and other numbers on a page, half conjured out of puerile fantasy, represent a science of human behavior. With all the permutations of possibility (and this treating only brains, and not all of the other complex factors, such as disease, natural events, food supply, et cetera ad infinitum) available to the impenetrably dense number of human connections and choices, a "science" of human behavior smacks of the sort of hubris that blinds the believer in it.

The very hubris currently impoverishing and murdering the human and non-human inhabitants of the planet.

* - I know, Charles, you don't like this Naomi...[cue appropriate smiley face]

** - the diamond found on the beach does not have "subjective value." If the person who wants the glittery lump of carbon doesn't expend calories to pick it up - you know, labor - that damned thing has no value. Even the feeling of desire occurs very, very physically. To feel desire, sugars must burn, hormones release, the limbic system engage. Calories get consumed. Which a person replaces with labor, even if only by picking berries, raising hand to mouth, and chewing them - or dies.

Sep 7, 2010


That's my mother's younger brother my ridiculously awesome wife mentions over her way, to the right of this column. Uncle Charles.

Charles lived hard. Then he broke down. He ate too much. He smoked, whatever. Then cigarettes. And finally the cigars. He never gave up the cigars, not even after a couple of heart attacks.

Congestive heart failure. Diabetes. A family curse. Men die young, in my clan. I grew up with aunts and great aunts, grandmothers and cousins of cousins, almost all women. Matrilineal as all get out. Fucking proud, too. I love that.

Hearty. Handy. Mothers. Stregas, when it came to food. Craftswomen of taste.

My Uncle Charles, the only son and youngest child of a Mediterranean mother.

He ate well, so...

First, his physicians chopped off a toe. Then, on the other leg, all the way up to his knee.

He went blind, or mostly blind. His girlfriend went away, and he really loved her. He did right by her, and her son. I don't think she could handle it. But, he never held it against her. He didn't try to save her. And he didn't try to keep her where she didn't want to stay.

Her self-destruction weighed him down, but didn't give in to the filthy urge to lighten his load by making her behave.

Many, many, many years ago - when my grandmother proved once and for all that schizophrenia and alcohol didn't go so well together, at least in her case (and my Nana is a really sweet and amiable schizophrenic...I mean that), Charles poured all his liquor down the drain and went dry at home so my mother's mother wouldn't have her poison so close to hand.

He didn't try to save her, either. He just did his own part. A son's honest felt obligation to a mother who loved him.

They lived together almost all of his life, and most of hers. They didn't pull punches and they never used shame. A good house, that one. I loved going there, even when Charles scared the hell out of me, before I hit my teens and my own taste of rebellion. Later, he told me he just didn't like me. He was young when his father died, not long after I was born. My grandfather's death hit him hard, and my birth took his older sister away at the worst moment. It took him a while to forgive me the accident of my birth.

We talked, then, about my mother, back before life turned her into a deeply fanatical Beckian proto-fascist.

About my grandmother, too - and how she climbed out of that dark place and learned to live without the man who'd loved her so fiercely she could handle her affliction.

My grandmother could cook, and Charles could really eat. And they made a feast out of survival.

He ate, and it killed him. He ate his way to an early death. But, no grubby MacDonald's road to death, that. Real food, from the ground. From the seasons. From Lebanese bakers, Polish butchers and Italian grocers, the gatekeepers of pleasure in a cold New England city.


Last winter, two years into borrowed time, I asked him about his looming death. A pious man, in his own way; he felt only gratitude for the extension on life.

Charles didn't fuck around.

He didn't paint it pretty, or himself the victim.

We talked, that time, about a month before he died. "I did this to myself, " he said in his rumbling whisper.

He owned it, right up to the end.

He owned his joy, his pleasures and his suffering. He owned his choices.

I wish I knew more people like that.

And that they did not so often die too young - that the cosmos rewire itself and curse instead the grasping sycophants, the lying liars, the adherents to power and the petty and not-so-petty tyrants.

Not those who relish their lives, and do little harm to others.

But, then I know I have to abandon the sting of that wish, and its ersatz and too-sweet pleasure. I'd rather honor Charles and do without even a hint of resentment or bitterness.

He owned it. So can I...


My politics funny bone has taken so many hits over the last year, that I don't even chuckle at the impact any more.

Sick of politics. Sick of factions and groupuscular muscularities pretending that their power grabs really mean that the [insert social cause] will soon come to fruition, delivered like Juan Bautista's head, and always to a Herod.

But, super wicked mint and awesome earnestness can do the trick, in a pinch. Me had me a laugh at this:

"...It [the idea that Rahmbo might run for Chi-town Headman] also quickly produced the reflexive Rahm-bashing that has become a staple of the progressive community, which increasingly views him as the point person for the ills that have beset this White House...."

Get that, hepcats? If the "progressive community" (and what the fucknow does that mean?) has a gripe with whatever Barack Fucking Pendragon Obama's mafia regime has lately done, or not done - well, folks, chalk it up to "reflexive" twitches and twitters.

" 'Rahm is unfit to represent Democrats in office,' Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green said. "He's a cancer on the Democratic Party. Democrats' current 2010 situation is due to a weak Rahm Emanuel mentality that says water down real reform at the urging of Republicans and corporations, thus making Democratic reform less popular with voters than the real deal would have been. If Democrats had passed the overwhelmingly-popular public option and broken up the big banks when they had the chance, they'd be cruising for a landslide victory right now."

Hoo hoo hah [knee slap, spit your drink upon the monitor] hah, hee hay. You get that shit, fellow travelers? The problem with the "Democrats in office" has nothing to do with them pillaging the Commons, pledging bodies and loot to unending occupation and warfare, banking bailouts, the Drug War, the expansion of the incarceration racket or neoliberal hegemonism.

The problem, according to the ever so earnest and noble Progressive Change Campaign Committee, all comes down to the son of an Irgun chop chop man. He alone represents the evil that men do. The "weak watering down" doesn't occur on account of powerful folks holding on to their power, what with having power bringing a whole lot of perks to them as use it. It happens, says the earnest man, 'cuz the son of an Israeli terrorist got himself one of Barack's ears in his toothy mouth grip.

What next will these paladins of glum sincerity tell? That if only Hill and Bill had got themselves a second go at the Oval...?


In any contest, victory depends upon defeat. That may seem like a simple enough assertion, but the meaning appears lost (as I see it) to those who assume that the use of power can remain compatible with freedom and liberty.

For the victor to actually win - and this follows as much with a rule bound game, such as football, chess or traditional courtship, as with more flexible competitions, such as warfare, marriage and criminal enterprise - the defeated party must know it has lost.

And must admit as much.

In a rule bound game, this outcome follows certain prearranged agreements which not only mark the extent of the contest, but the limits which apply to all contestants. Victory occurs when one party concedes that, according to those agreements, they have in fact lost. The other team or teams have met the conditions which mark the end of the match, fixing the outcome in memory.

In a contest where the rules have less certainty - or where the enforcement of those rules meets with the hard facts of actual existence - a defeated party secures the victor's assertions to victory by giving in - by making some sort of obeisance, usually followed by the yielding of concessions to the victor.

In short, a victor cannot have victory without the surrender of his opponent(s).

A person or party does not have victory without first having a victim. Someone must yield, this to demonstrate (often rather publicly) to all who matter that hostilities have ended and the winner may now take some portion of the prize which he can claim has his due.

Power depends, fundamentally, upon these acts of obeisance. Because power depends upon the repeated demonstration of victory.

Wherever you find power, authority, sanctity, claims to victory or arrangements for memorializing and securing the same, look for the victims.

Without victims, no power. Yes, this even applies to noble and enlightened communists, feminists and oppressed tribal nations.

If you have a revolution, or a sea change, or a transformation of society and want to win out long enough to hold on to your gains - you will need to punish. You will need victims.

Sep 1, 2010

A Shiny Good Question


"...does perfection require authoritarianism?"