Friday, October 31, 2014

Recent comments at Salon.com Oct. 31

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2014 9:17 PM
Rex Harrison contessakitty SarahWestofToronto Maybe. But some art we've left by the wayside for good. Progressives have always wrestled with what you're wrestling with, and not always come to your conclusion. All great art gets produced during periods of latitude, where all of a sudden latitude, transgression, "the new" isn't just stomped on but allowed some life. This is why all great art sings so much ... it's all conveys human promise. 
But there is a psychological limit to how much anyone who feels the need to stigmatize and hate can realize, and eventually all their "truths" begin to seem insufficient -- "someone" is still watching over them. This could still be the fate of Shakespeare. 
And if he goes, thank you so much, Mr. Shakespeare! But along we go on this great human ride, embracing different voices!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2014 9:09 PM
contessakitty SarahWestofToronto I'm glad to hear of people giving up artists when they realize just what harm they did to other people in their lives. But the thing is, we get maybe a couple of periods every century where we allow enormous transgressive growth. However flawed, however angry and demon-possessed the people living during those times, they're going to go on a really productive ride.
Then it closes down. Maybe their children are healthier, overall more evolved, but their art may well be thinner. I'll wait to completely dismiss Cosby, Allen et al. after our sacrificial depression is over and we allow our society a restart. Otherwise, I'll be dismissing what we'll all just subsequently be using as our base. Remember, during the Great Depression Fitzgerald was wilfully ignored; you couldn't find Gatsby in the bookstores. That's the equivalent of the time we're in now. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recent comments of mine at Salon.com (November 2014)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2014 2:08 AM
HappyJack Interesting response. Seriously disturbed people are seriously disturbed because they were assaulted or apocalyptically abandoned, early -- when they were new to life, extremely vulnerable infants/children, and their brains hadn't yet figured how much they were going to allow for the conscious "you" to control. This means problems with an insufficiently loved mother -- because if two caregivers were heavily involved in a child's life, we're talking progressive neighbourhoods in New York, not locales for mental disturbance of the kind that lead to delight in raping and killing another human being.
So the pattern I'd recommend looking for in the various ways disturbance gets "expressed": one, someone who when revenged upon means revenge against the terrifying mother; two, someone when attacked means revenge against your own "bad" self, whose badness was surely responsible for your mother's hatred and lack of interest in you. 
This doesn't cover all you offered, which spread out in a way to insult and deny "conquest," and I'm sorry for that. But I think it's most helpful for tying things up.  
Cheers. 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2014 9:52 PM
 Now unless you are of the belief that men are wired to be violent (I am not), then talking about our culture, how boys are raised to view themselves and others around them, seems pretty important.
We raise boys abominably, still expecting them to be tough and manly. But the issue needs to be broadened so we explore how hurt, abused, unloved and disrespected woman raise their boys (at that point) instinctively. The maternal environment, that is: "instinctive" (loved woman don't do this) incest; instinctive (again, loved woman don't do this) distancing/emotional abandonment. 
Boys who go out and shoot women have problems owing far more than just having been spurned in adolescence and being taught the wrong sorts of things about women (our popular way of sourcing their problems). Owing to early childrearing, shameful experiences within the early maternal matrix, their brains can become wired to actually be capable of the psychically extreme acts of rape and murder, so to humiliate/revenge themselves upon women (i.e. their mother), and finally feel some satisfying sense of control. 
You do great stuff, but go there a little bit too, Katie.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Fury"



Fury

Very few people who find themselves on a battlefield are ever actually new to it. When you see in a movie like “Fury,” warriors that are having to function even as people by their side are being blown apart, where who they are mostly is crazily vulnerable to death, they are not people who’ve discovered some new capacity in themselves. These are not people who’ve gotten used to blight after having grown up in civilization. Rather, what you are seeing people who are paying part of their very familiar past a close revisit. 

That sense of vulnerability, that is, is what they knew as infants and as young children. Crazily vulnerable, obsessed with their own possible extinction, as they were initiated into the world by caretakers who are possessed of demons that have them simply unable to look at their children and feel only love. The child, so attuned to their moods, their intentions, takes in deep their sadism, their intention to hurt, to extinguish them. To survive, children project these monstrous intentions outside their caregivers onto outside monsters — monsters under the bed, trolls under the bridge. But the looming eyes that chase them down in their nightmares are theirs. 

So in war that early childhood environment that was foundational but may have lapsed away from conscious record, “blooms” back into view — menace, death is everywhere: black blight. That early nightmare environment is restaged … and it’s reassuring to have what was still nagging your life as a more mythic and relevant reality back into full view for your negotiation, your maybe-control. You survive it, you beat it, and somehow tight muscles will relax in you that had always been hard braced against … something. 

Since many of us still have had childhoods of this kind, as we watch “Fury” we’re in a hurry for the newbie fresh to war and the tank crew to become “acclimatized.” Even if we’ve already made our everyday life seem such that whatever we’ve been up to we’ve played the role of the veteran who’s seen hell, war movies are usually successful in fobbing onto us the new recruit who’s yet to barf at blood and gore as our way into the film. We want war to feel a world so different from our everyday — so to be a realm where fears and demons can be met and bested for good — and the film creators know and exploit it. 

So it’s not true that we’re aghast at the gore the newbie has to clean up in the tank — the remains of the veteran warrior he’s replacing. We’re relieved he’s encountered and soon about to best stage one of his initiation into warrior. And it’s not true that we’re aghast at him having to learn how to shoot a captured “kraut,” a man with a wife, a family, but relieved that he’s passed stage two where he’s shown that he’s at least got the base now upon which familiarity and competency can be layered on. And we’re not aghast that he beds the German belle, cooperating in making their visit into the two women’s home not an adventure (into foreign female company and sex) but conquest (whatever the preamble, the narrative will be one of spoiling), but relieved that he’s now at the point where his veteran crew now have nothing on him but having done everything he’s now done a lot more. 

The greatest danger the film shows is not being killed, but being killed in a humiliating fashion. A bunch of kids are responsible for a soldier’s death, and you know that not even all that warrior’s experience and war cred will cleanse him of being done in like that. When the six Shermans go up against the Tiger Tank — here’s where it would be okay to die. The Valkeryie picking up the dead will pick up every one of these, no matter how splattered everywhere on the battlefield. 

When their one Sherman prepares to go up against a squadron of experienced SS — to save a supply train that otherwise would be decimated — it isn’t their dying which is a concern but their being equal to what’s being staked. If they die quickly, it’ll come across as dying for vanity: a preposterously heroic finish … something truly Smaugish in stature slain, a whole supply train saved. Which would shorn them of all they’d accrued. Fortunately the movie lets most of them die … in the afterlife we feel them entombed with the moment-to-moment capacity they’d demonstrated in battle. The one that actually lives, the newbie, is the one told he’s a hero; but his escaping the tank and hiding in the ground is mostly how we associate him now. That battle belongs to the dead men … those that started in N. Africa, moved onto France, and now into Germany. What he can take back with him is that he met the war, his own childhood horrors, and made do pretty okay … with a guide. “Bilbo” when “Gandalf” was hovering all over him, not while alone succeeding in Mirkwood.  

Still, not bad. But he still feels like us in being only proximate to something we crave familiarity. Blown up towns all around us, and us acclimatized and surviving. So no surprise for us, ISIS, Ebola, blackouts, avalanches, Wall Street crash, and not so much the Paul Krugman assessment that, no alarm bells, people, we’re actually doing okay.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Elders, back into view

This past weekend, protestors and activists, including students, clergy, and concerned citizens descended on Ferguson, Missouri, for a weekend of marches, protests, sit-ins, and civil disobedience billed Ferguson October. 
[…]
Of course, many on Twitter, could not understand why disturbing the peace in a private business should be acceptable. The point is – we are no longer standing for business as usual. 
[…]
This nation proclaims Black America backwards, sees us as stuck in the past, declares that our obsession with race –not racism itself – is holding back progress. But really, Black people are the hands on our national clock, controlling the timing of America’s social progress. This time both hands are up, pointing straight to the sky. It is high noon in America. It is the deepest midnight in our hearts.  But, “from the darkness cometh the light,” Lucy A. Delaney proclaimed in the title of her 1891 autobiography. Until those hands move, no longer held hostage by a state-issued weapon, nobody is going anywhere.
Biblical platitudes don’t go far with this crowd, but I’m reminded of a verse: “it is high time to awake out of sleep. (Romans 13:11)”
In college, some youth government leaders used this verse with the slogan, “The Awakening. Don’t sleep.” These days, young folks have remixed it, proclaiming “stay woke.” I am sitting with what it means that we have moved from “Don’t Sleep to Stay Woke.”
For we have awakened from a long, fitful slumber. Lulled there by our parents and grandparents, who marched in Selma, sat down in Greensboro, matriculated at Black colleges, and argued before the Supreme Court, they convinced us to adopt their freedom dreams, impressed them into our bodies, in every hug, in every $25 check pressed into a hand from a grandmother to a grandchild on his or her way to bigger and better, in every whispered prayer, in every indignity suffered silently but resolutely in the workplace.
[…]
This Ferguson October, young people are on the ground dreaming new dreams, and in so doing, they are inspiring elders. 
[…]
They are lining up, linking arms, and being locked up for justice. They are listening to those who have something to say, and shutting down shit when forced to listen to anyone who doesn’t. They are choosing their leaders, their griots, their truth-tellers, their strategists, their elders.  Showing up matters most. Putting one’s body on the line is the order of the day. They are undignified, improper, unabashed, impolitic, unapologetic, indefatigable.
This weekend they took over four Wal-Marts, in solidarity with John Crawford who was murdered in an Ohio Wal-Mart. There, prosecutors have cleared officers of wrongdoing. Protestors took signs to the St. Louis Rams game, and confronted angry fans who yelled, “I am Darren Wilson.” Two weeks ago, they disrupted the symphony. Exploding dreams cause disruptions. They should be expected to continue.
More than 3000 new registered voters move among them (Update: This number has since been revised downward to 128). They have collected these new registrations like so many arrows in a quiver. Still they remain skeptical of the vote. And since the presence of Black faces at the voting booth scares white people they should be.  Take Tef Poe’s surly response to Senator Claire McCaskill at a PBS townhall in late September. She argued that we needed new pipelines of local African American leadership. He replied, “I voted for Barack Obama twice, and still got tear-gassed.”
[…]
And Barack Obama is a broken symbol, a clanging cymbal, unable to say and do anything of use. His silence is the sound of imploding dreams, his words mere distractions and detours from the future we want.
He has become a prime example that being the leader of the free world in a Black body is still no match for entrenched, local, systemic, committed racism.  It’s sad that it has come to this.  But this is bigger than Barack Obama. Just like it was bigger than King and his dream. We have awakened from sleep. We have been startled out of it by nearly 30 gunshots ringing out insistently from the heart of America. Jay-Z might call it “a moment of clarity.” In Obama’s place, Cornel West has re-emerged, the wise and fearless elder, the one who we tried not to listen to, as he screamed into the wind for six years, the one whose approach chafed my hide on more than a few occasions, the one who is — despite all of our collective quibbles and begrudgements – right.
This moment is about all of us. About what kind of America we want to be. About what kind of America we are willing to be, willing to fight for. About whether we will settle for being mediocre and therefore murderous to a whole group of citizens. About whether there are other versions of ourselves worth fighting for. (Brittney Cooper, “Cornell West was right all along,” salon.com, Oct.15 2014)
- - - -
Patrick McEvoy-Halston

Showing up matters most. Putting one’s body on the line is the order of the day. 
Young people are listening to the commands of elders, and what is paramount is that they be willing to sacrifice themselves. 
I'm sure this is all sane, but it is worth noting that this is exactly what goes on just before wars, periods of fusion with elders, repudiation of "weakening" commercial culture, and mass sacrifice of the young -- a period of total insanity. 
Before wars, periods of mass sacrifice, people begin to feel guilty for all the growth they've accrued. Here, that would be all the actual living of the "freedom-dreams," the spending of all the $25 dollar cheques, rather than the equivalent of the "marching in Selma, sitting down in Greensboro."
They begin to feel abandoned, like they've been rejected by their elders. 
These elders are unconsciously understood as not simply wanting their youth to be free and prosperous, but as demanding respect and attendance. When they haven't received it, when they've been forgotten, they abandon their children in turn. Here these elders would be the "Cornwell Wests," who as Brittney Cooper admits, the youth were "guilty" of forgetting while they danced merry with Obama. And they wouldn't be the permissive ones described here -- all the hugs -- but all the spanking ones Cooper described in a recent article, who saw children as sinful beings who needed to be beaten to be good. 
By showing they're ready to sacrifice themselves for their elders, and have rejected the younger, sexier Obama, they feel the "Cornwell Wests" -- their regressive spanking parents and grandparents  -- love them again. They feel a fusion high. 
The other version of yourself is the one who is a favourite of your elders rather than the one who had forgotten all about them, at some level even hating them for all their "chafing of your hides." 
Brittney Cooper's article dissing elder spank: 
- - -

Patrick McEvoy-Halston

Incidentally, here we have discussed a sudden awakening where a whole people who had been in a slumber are suddenly turning into a warrior culture, ready, eager, to put their lives on the line. 
Personally, those who want to counter the war impulse of the New Athiests better consider that their current defence -- 99% of a people are not radicals -- can become a joke in a hurry. Whole peoples who just a day before were simply ordinary folk enjoying all the freedoms, can fuse into a powerful, a seemingly enchanted group, in a hurry. 
You should expect it in any people whose youth have bypassed their punitive elders for a freedom-tolerant culture. It may indeed go around the globe. 


Recent comments at Salon.com

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2014 7:02 PM
@KaizerSozhe but I also know how to take care of business in ways that a lot of guys my age (I'm 36) flat-out don't.
You're establishing yourself as an alpha. And after you've done that, you can be a guy who's comfortable talking about his emotions; crying in front of his girlfriends. You admit this is all pretty safely macho. 
About the puncher's chance ... are you sure she wouldn't just prefer that you both come out of it safely -- something that might actually be at risk if at that moment you're thinking of the desired finish: he, storm; you, port that breasted him. 
The killer look in your eyes ... Hitler had those. He admitted himself that they were his mothers. The origins of male power to brag of, may owe to a maternal source. 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2014 6:46 PM
HappyJack Like it or not, we are animals first and humans in civilization second.
We are animals who are powerfully affected by our attachment to our parents -- remember Harlow's monkeys.
Most boys end up being more poorly attached to their mothers than girls are. They're looked at less, abandoned more, hit more. So as early as four years old they're already forming a defensive "toughness." It's not culture telling them to be like this, that is. Nor biology. And they're going to need to be like this ... owing to the particular nature of how they were attended (poorly) in their early childhoods. 
Change this, and we all end up seeing so disparate from "red in tooth and claw" that more experts will be questioned when they refer to the barbarism that is ostensibly an inevitable part of our DNA. The person who says that the civilized sense of man is most false, becomes the person who still needs to punish/humiliate the effete ... those who we want to contain our own vulnerable, defenceless selves. 
When he revers to the rape-prone alpha ape ... experiences a sense of re-assuring grandiosity, someone who stands above the other cowardly apes. And temporarily forgets the boy inside of him who knew plenty of shameful cowering to terrifying and overpowering parents, the boy who couldn't possibly be "resilient" but only frightened and weak. 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Recent comments of mine at Salon.com

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2014 2:39 PM

Alvin M Yeah, I like that your challenging the idea that ideas and context can somehow make a human being want to f**ck a 9 year old. It's total nonsense. If you were raised out of a loving household, no matter how much your culture's version of the media told you that children's bums are an alternative to your wife, you'd be the oddball that'd be repulsed by it, by your culture, and start finding others like you to begin reforms. Later historians would say you were influenced by a new way of understanding of children that began in the -- century, probably ascribing the change in view to economics or some such. 
What does is sexual abuse. And this doesn't mean you conflate sexuality with children, but since the perpetrator was your parents or relatives -- those you need to keep as protectors -- instead that you internalize their view, their voice, their personality (in your right hemisphere), periodically fuse with it, and go on the hunt for vulnerable children just like you to punish and humiliate.  
Original Article: Atheism, Islam and liberalism: This is what we are really fighting about SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2014 2:14 PM
Benthead It's not people getting used to modernity. If one's childrearing doesn't change, if you're still being abandoned in mass by indifferent parents, sexually abused in mass by sadistic and lonely parents/relatives, no matter how surrounded you are by other cultures' skyscrapers and empowered women, your God will be stern and strict, your role towards him will be deferent and meek, and the social sphere will be where you frequently re-stage your traumas, revenging upon some "other" you've projected all your own bad aspects and all the terrifying aspects of your parents onto.
If however your childrearing has gradually been improving, as happened in the West, the social sphere loses more of its demons, people start seeing the world more sanely, and the religious seem that much more disparate from the texts they're still not emotionally evolved enough just to stop worshipping and drop for good. 
They get there, though, the moment parents stop afflicting their children's psyches so, that the child sanely knows that bloody demons ARE real enough, even if for safety sakes their brains have to displace them away from their true source. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recent comments at Salon.com



MONDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2014 5:35 PM

@MyRealName, sure! I would hope perhaps we'd consider that being educated on the subject isn't necessarily so much the thing as is one's state of mental health. If Affleck reads a desire for righteous war amongst some liberals, even as much as they say they don't want to kill muslims, I'm glad he doesn't abash himself and not speak up. 

What's frustrating for Affleck is that liberals have poorly placed themselves to be able to defuse the influence of Maher and Harris. It is very possible that good numbers of cultures out there that historically have been conservative but which have begun to rapidly modernize, evolve, will end up feeling guilty for all that's been trespassed and accrued and suddenly turn puritanical in mass ... what happened to Germany in the 30s. Become a warrior culture of "knights" who've renounced their spoiled ways, now ready to die for their beloved mutterland. 

But liberals have had no way of admitting this to themselves, for they've only associated it with the rightwing perspective. So they insist it's "only extremists" ... when they ought to know that whole societies can suddenly turn extreme, especially when some within (the more emotionally evolved; the less abused/better raised) have successfully been pushing reforms, social/economic/political advances. 

I think Maher and Harris are aware of other liberals' deliberate ignorance, and are glorying in the fact that there is now no prepared way to show that those who are actually factually more correct are still possessed of the more perverse mindset. Good portions of the world might suddenly turn very conservative -- it was the change we knew in the 1930s from the Jazz Age 1920s. And someone pointing out in the late 20s what could possible develop in Germany is not necessarily more to be saluted than the liberal who wasn't as concerned. 

What's key is that one truly wants peace and ongoing growth. And the liberal in the 20s might have been one of the exceptional who could be truly favoring this, while still able to point out evidence that makes another culture you're actually rooting for seem barbaric. But s/he'd probably be one of those hoping for the growth to end by popularizing an opponent we'll all need to shed a sane culture for war trance, war preparedness.