Monday, February 21, 2005

A Shocking Story with Few Details

Well, it appears that the good Doctor
Thompson has been... I mean, has
committed suicide.

Almost no details, and as far as
Morning Edition is concerned
(7:41 CST) it isn't much of a story.

This leaves me with a very uncomfortable sensation.

More to follow, let's hope.

Friday, February 18, 2005

I know I screwed you over last game, but I PROMISE not to Fortify South America if you don't roll the dice against my men in Asia.

Should one be a Jensenite?

I think so.

I am calling on everyone to step up to the
edge of the cliff and take a long metrical
piss over the side! As for me,

A Planned Manuscript:

1. Start off with a poem that doesn't jump
out (that won't be hard) at an editor, that
also uses antiquated devices and begins the
first three lines with "I".

2. Use the word "beauty" twice. Per Frost's
dictum, one would have one more "beauty"
left -- now that's danger.

3. Use hate speech liberally. (In quotations,
naturally. I am a Green Social Democrat after
all.)

4. Abstraction after abstraction!
(To be fair, nothing is really an abstraction.
That is a function of a small mind. We must
consider Hamsun's comment that
Dostoyevsky's writings weren't strange at
all... he saw things like that all the time.)

5. Tell the Muse to get off her ass and do
the rewriting! I don't have time for that
shit. I gotsta go to my jobby job!

6. There are hundreds of approximate
words in a poem, actually. My manuscript
will contain at least ninety of them.

7. At least thirty-five epigraphs. Some from
guys playing chess at the corner of 12th and
Mass. Some from John Negroponte and other
war criminals.

8. And there is the "Poet's Handshake."
I will present my dick, thanks.


Thanks, Charles.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hitler und Jensen

Two things seem quite certain:

Mr. Jensen (link at left) is this week's
Most inspiring Ploggist.

&

Ted Hitler is the best thing going for
American journalism.

Huzzah to both!

Notes

1. No more Sea-Camel. That is a disappointment.

2. I believe I have discovered the only foolproof
method to quit cigarettes: A respiratory illness!

3. Bargained with God last night to break a fever
and let me wake up at least partially relieved of a sickness.
So, all praises due to Him, as they say. Thanks.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Compartmentalizing

What is one to do?

I watched Tom and Viv last week, and soon after
got a nasty chest cold. (Coincidence, I'm sure.)

Though the portrayals in the film are surely a bit
exaggerated, one can't deny the total lack of huevos
Mr. Eliot exhibited in life.

I must note at this point that leaving Ezra Pound out
of a story that even brushes against The Waste Land
or, for that matter, Eliot's life is somewhat like telling
the story of World War II. without mentioning F.D.R.

It didn't take long at all for me to dust off Apes of God
(which goes nicely with the recent Iraqi election's
companion book The Art of Being Ruled) and look at
Lewis and the Bloomsberries in a new light.

My primary trouble is that I have always liked Lewis,
identified with him and with those who defended him.
I love the idea of a man following in the tradition of
Swift and Pope. And I suppose I have a thing for what
the zeitgeist would refer to as "fascist sympathizers."

Among my favorite authors are Pound, Lewis, Hamsun
and Celine. For most of my young adult years, one need
only add Conrad (who had received the same sort of
criticism) to round out my top five.

By now, we can see well past the political proclivities
of great artists. It wouldn't be so easy with, say, a current
Bush supporter. My, how the times change! It is hard
to imagine Pound, Lewis, Hamsun or certainly Celine
jiving with the American Crusade, but all were certainly
involved with the last major outcropping of fascism in one
way or another.

Meanwhile, the Bloomsberries (not necessarily a field of study
for me, apart from the work of their detractors) seem to
be right honorable socialists, pagans, &c. As they say at FoxNews,
Some Say Roy Campbell disliked them in large part because
of their promiscuity and anti-Christian attitude.

And here we get to the split.

One needs the devices of a literary Schrodinger to come to
terms with the divide...

The two teams:

1. The writers one likes because of their personal
and professional existences, yet fall short on
the "public morality" scale because of some rather
unfortunate political allegiances; and

2. The writers one doesn't necessarily like (nor even
make an attempt to like) even though they seem
to fit one's weltanschaung relatively well.

And I am not speaking of literary content here. Purely
based on personalities.

I cannot possibly dislike Lewis, because I identify with
the outsider, the Enemy. In some ways, the infamy of
his politics enhances this.

I don't ever see myself becoming keen on the 'berries,
because they personify cliquishness, snobbery (the social
rather than intellectual kind, which was quite the
opposite of Wyndham's -- who was rather snobbish in
his own way... one which I find appealing) and a sort
of personal decadence which is in many ways distasteful.

Of course, Burroughs and Ginsy made it easy for me, because
that generation fused aesthetics and outlook.

The historical prism shades things. In the case of the
1920's-1950's politics seems somewhat black and white,
while literature had only grays.

In these times of tumult (which are beginning to resemble
the 1930's in more ways than I care to mention) I hope
that the world of literature is provided with a worthy
antagonist such as Pound or Lewis. Indeed, the
Professionalization of writing has left us wanting for
such characters. And of course it is much less likely that
such an intellect could be born in the late twentieth
century... and that, if it has, we may never know it.

It seems that the "Beats" were exceptional in that they
served as antagonists while maintaining a political
philosophy that is in step with a good portion of the
artistic intelligentsia throughout time. Beyond them,
were I pressed to select an author that hasn't a chink
in the armor (i.e., is both a great artist and political
thinker) I would immediately offer both Neruda
and Hikmet.

Within Anglo-American society, it is hard to imagine
any of the possible combinations ascending to the
statures enjoyed by Ginsberg, Pound, Lewis, Neruda
or Hikmet.

In England, it is possible. Say, a great Poet with ties
to the National Front. (They aren't all bad, philosophically
speaking, as they at least advocate organic farming.)
In the United States, I can only envision someone like
Podhoretz.

Podhoretz could write a new Dunciad and I would be
hard-pressed to recognize it as such.

I guess one can always dream of the "Ideal Outsider."

Qualifications:
1. An immense reading list (obviously);
2. A new style that is not so new as to be LANGUAGElike;
3. A devotee of Chavez, and the Bolivarian Movement;
4. A smashing outfit.

Wait a second! Didn't Subcomandante Marcos publish
a book recently?

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Petroleum Broadcast System Brings You Pledge Week

Capping off the festivities will be the Republican
Wayback Machine, a concert event featuring
performances from all the favorites:

"Do the Creationism Rag"
We all miss those pre-Snopes trial days! Now have
'em back! Special appearance by Pope Gregory XIII.

"High Sheriff (of Nottingham's) Blues"
A new spin on the old Patton classic:

"Let me tell you people, what the Sheriff did for me,
(Mmmhmm)
Let me tell you people, what the Sheriff did for me,
(Mmmhmm)
He took taxes from the workers,
gave the money to my wealthy family."

"Phenomenology"
The little-heard follow-up to Marvin Gaye's "Mercy
Mercy Me (The Ecology)" brings back those fun
medieval thoughts we thought we'd lost!

Who doesn't reminisce fondly of the concept that
history has two points only! Jesus the first time,
and then Jesus the second time (rapture time) and
everything else in the middle is bollocks!

With special guests: The Coca Cola Chorus of Bhopal.

Other classic hits scheduled for performance:

"The Crusades (So Long, It's Been Good to Bomb Ya')"

"Tiny Hands make for Tiny Stitches"
"Make me feel happy, they don't have no unions."

"Reprise of the Sodomy Laws"
A tinwhistle favorite!


Scheduled artists:

The Fourth Amendment Brass Band
The First Family Choir (feat. their Gay Bash! Percussion section)
Toby Keith
Pope Pius XII and his Plate Spinning Yorkie
Margret Thatcher
"Phony" Tony Blair and the Ass Lickers

and a very special duet performance by
George and Condi of Randy Newman's
"Big Hat, No Cattle."

Condi will then perform a solo rendering of
"Rednecks" by Mr. Newman.

Your pledges are appreciated! No need to see if
operators are standing by... we'll take it out of
your paychecks or 1040's automatically!


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

From Flatlands to Flat Earth

Why is it that we have not evolved as a society
enough to have Buddhist fundamentalists protesting
the teachings of economics classes, pointing out
that desire is the cause of suffering?

I post this in the interest of those who have to
be around me on a daily basis... In an attempt
to refrain from randomly cursing.

The Creationists are at it again. It is hard enough
to be a Kansan. Let's see, there's the topography
(though not "flatter than a pancake" if one wishes
to venture outside of I-70 say, three or four miles)
and the perpetual "redness" of the state (I will
maintain, if only for self-delusional reasons, that
this is a holdover from the Civil War days) and
the economy, and the fact that the best time to
be here (basketball season) happens to be fairly
dismal and schizophrenic. (One can go from having
a cigar and an Urquell on the porch one day to sliding
all over the highway the next. Though I've
buckled to the temptation of saying "If it would
just stay cold awhile instead of teasing us" I must
admit that the respite is welcome.)

It is hard enough to be a Kansan, to have relatives
and friends from other countries stare blankly
as one mentions that there are other places in
a country as vast as the U.S. besides Chicago,
New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston.
To attempt relating to folks from these cities:

"So, what was that like growing up (insert Wizard
of Oz reference) out there?"

"Well, it was alright."

"What'd you do for fun on a Friday night?"

"O, we'd get a case of beer and a bottle of whiskey
and drive around."

"Drive....mmm....where?"

"Nowhere in particular, just drive around until the
motor skills collapsed."

Though it isn't like being from Alabama, there are
numerous myths and misunderstandings. (Admittedly,
drunk driving as recreation doesn't fall under
either of those.)

So why in the bloody hell do these Creationists
have to make it harder?!?

First off, the issue of calling it "Intelligent Design."
This from the people who rail against "Political Correctness"
and the artless euphemisms it has given us.
If you decide to re-name your cat "Spot" that
doesn't make it a dog. As far as I can ascertain,
the Creationist viewpoint hasn't evolved (ptp)
beyond its auld footwashin' roots. Still the same
nonsense, scientifically speaking.

So, for our media to call it "Intelligent Design" just
because the troglodytes in the far out
religious minority want them to is a disservice.
"ID" attempts to give it an air of authenticity,
to make it sound like a viable theory. I don't
give a good goddam what you like to call it,
the idea that this planet was literally created
in six days, about seven thousand years ago,
replete with raptors chasing Adam and Eve
around and birds (I am not kidding with this!
Thank God I don't live in Kentucky... read
Mo Dowd's column from last week) predating
reptiles -- well, it is just plain fucking stupid.

And this morning I wake up to NPR doing a
national story on my state of residence again
debating whether or not to teach evolution in
science classes.

You see, at one time these dingbats were content
to pull their children out of science class
and let the rest of the population join in on
the twentieth century party. Now, they've
got "up'n above they raisins" as it were, and
are insisting that either: a) Creationism be
taught in science class as a viable counter-
theory; or, b) we just scrap scientific theory
as a whole.

On a positive note, I can for the first time say:
Think of the chur'n!

Most rural schools in the state of Kansas
don't have the means to adequately educate
in the first place. They try, it is a matter
of money and resources. (Seems Social Darwinism
is just fine in the state, as most of the
resources are concentrated in the affluent
suburbs of Johnson County.) Add to this
the number of brain cells that will take
a pounding throughout high school thanks
to Coors Light and Jim Beam, and these
poor bastards won't stand a chance in any
reputable university. As of now, our colleges
and universities still hold scientific accuracy
sacrosanct. How will a college freshman do when
he asserts that: "No, indeed the earth is spinning
on the back of a turtle -- and what is this
Global Warming you're speaking of?"

In no time, it will either take a student six years
to complete a degree, with all the remedial
classes one must catch up on or the state
will have to further dumb down the curriculum
to accommodate.

It doesn't stop at education. This world view is
in large part responsible for the impending
ecological disaster we're facing. The whole
"Dominion" bullshit. And on a cultural level,
it is one front in a war. If they succeed, they
will continue (and not just in the red states,
this has national implications) to drag us
backwards until the advances of the last
three centuries are a fond and distant memory.

It is surreal. And there is no other way to
put it: it can only come to be if those with
some intelligence are complacent. Stupidity
has fired a shot, and must be fought.

Why NPR and other reputable media outlets
(of which there are few) see the need to
present this as anything other than the
March of Idiocy across the land is beyond me.
We don't have to respect all viewpoints. Some
viewpoints are moronic and don't deserve
to be treated as equivalent to others. We don't
give a microphone to white supremacists in
the respectable media. We don't let Phillip
Morris (sorry, Altria) present an actor in a
doctor's suit telling us that Marlboro cigarettes
are part of a healthy lifestyle. (We do, however,
allow the USDA to pimp meat and dairy
despite mountains of evidence that they are
quite undesirable in a person's diet.)

There are a lot of voices we don't let on the
air, at least we don't present them as viable
alternatives to objective facts. (The
following is intended to be read in the voice
of John Cleese) And let us be perfectly clear:
Creationism as a scientific alternative is
fucking nonsense.

It should be treated as such.

In a sense, there is some irony here. The
deconstructionist attitude of the (cringe)
post-moderns sort of allows for this. It is
well-played chess, using the permissiveness
engendered by respecting competing viewpoints
to sneak back into the system and lay the
groundwork for our future Taliban-style
leadership. (I have heard many say that
comparing Christian fundamentalists to their
Islamic counterparts is balderdash. It is, in
a way. Most people in Afghanistan weren't
afforded the opportunity to attend modern
schools. Our little band of imbeciles can see
a duck walk, quack and float while calling it
the Ringed Jesusbird of Jerusalem.) Make no
mistake, the agenda is to have us tumble
backwards all the way into the fifteenth
century, which in the Christian world resembled
the intellectual poverty of today's Taliban.
And the promulgation of nonsense in the academic
world played no small part.

The irony is that the Christian Radicals of
the country are using a sort of jiu jitsu on the
permissiveness of our society. We allow
conflicting viewpoints in the public sphere, unless
one shows the poor judgment to point out Venezuela
and Brazil as the only actual democracies in
the hemisphere (which they are) or that the road
goes both ways in Israel and Palestine. Aside
from those contentions, there is an open debate
on most issues within our society, no matter
what type of affront to historical fact or common
sense an argument might make.

Using that timidity exhibited by the intellectual
class (the Times, NPR et al. -- title doesn't dictate
behavior, mind you) the Christian Radicals are
worming their way in. Once they gain a foothold,
they won't display the same type of tolerance.

Intolerance can advance an agenda. Possibly we
science-loving, peace mongering, animal liberating
hippies should exercise some of our own. I'll paint the
first sign:

"God hates idiots"

An anecdote that I feel deserves mentioning:
My sister used to live in Topeka, right off 14th and
Polk. It was just a few blocks from Fred Phelps and
Family's Headquarters. His Klan had just protested
the funeral (I'm not bullshitting here) of a dear friend
of mine. It wasn't in Lawrence, Topeka or Kansas
City, either. It was in a remote Lutheran cemetery
thirty miles from the nearest town with a population
over 500.
Seeing the opportunity, I took it upon myself to go
inside and inform them of my displeasure.
Knowing that this was a family of lawyers, and
knowing that one doesn't create a meaningful
dialogue by offending a person, I was quite respectful.
Mrs. Phelps (the matriarch) was at the front desk.
She greeted me, and I her.
"May I help you?"
"Yes, ma'am. I just wanted to let you know that
insulting a dead man in front of his family at a
church is a funny way to go about being a Christian.
Doesn't seem that Jesus would approve, at least
if one has read the Gospels. That is all, thanks."

I walked out of the building, and one of the Sons
of Phelps came to the sidewalk. I crossed the street
(he was a big, fat fucker) sensing his aggression.

"Hey, fucker!" he shouted across the street, "if you
ever come near here again we'll have you prosecuted
for trespassing, and before that I'll kick your ass,
you little faggot son of a bitch!"

Tension, tension.

Lamentably, I wasn't quick on the draw enough to
suggest he might like a handjob in the parking lot
to let go of some of that self-loathing. I did, however,
make it a point to stand on the sidewalk in front of
the building for the next three days. (Off and on,
of course. I don't have that kind of stamina.)

When you get the privilege of speaking to a Fundamentalist,
you have to wonder why they're so upset about
language on television.

Since fundamentalism is all the rage now,
I guess I'll write the local school board and
demand they serve only vegan lunches. Also,
since science is on the back burner, this
dissection business has got to go. I'll have to
get a reading list and find all of the second-rate
literature being pawned off in the high schools
as well. History started with Castro, damn it!

Hell, this could put the "fun" back in fundamentalism!

I encourage all to hassle local school boards
with a pet cause. Obviously volume is more necessary
than educational merits, so you never know until
you try!

I'm serious about the vegan lunches, though.


SPELLCHECK UPDATE: I AM STARTING TO FEEL SURROUNDED.
APPARENTLY, SPELLCHECK SEES KANSANS AS "KEYNESIANS"
AND ON A MUCH LESS COMFORTING NOTE, RAPTORS AS "RAPTURES."
CUE THEREMIN AND OTHER SCARY MUSIC.