Skip to main content

Recent postings on my Facebook site

I gather at some point in "Harry Potter" I'll get some explanation as to why the hierarchy at Hogwarts is so intentionally obtuse as to how horrible the family situation is that they keep on insisting Harry go back to.
The third book begins by their insisting he get an approval signature for field trips from them, something they obviously wouldn't agree to unless he find some way to further prostitute himself ... truly, I'll do anything for you, uncle, just let me go. Everyone in the family taunts him about his silly parents and how idiotic they were to get themselves killed in a car crash, and if he uses magic in retort ... if he gets angry and uses what he's best at and ritually trained at in response, Hogwarts has cued him that it's expulsion for him, and maybe Azkaban prison. Brutal. Voldemort is an orphan. Did he eat every authority around him? If so, how in this universe could this not be sane? (april 10)

- - - -

Whatever one thinks of his politics, Thomas Frank's new book is a vital read. I tend to think that the kind of growth (and we have had plenty) we've seen over the last number of decades, is the only kind we were going to allow for ourselves (has to do with the quality of childrearing in the working class, and fear of seeming spoiled, but I won't get into that now). But it is a paltry sort of growth compared to what they were conceiving of in the 60s, where all boats were supposed to rise, and where it wasn't cool to look at everyone outside of the ivy leagues and think -- this lot has got to be controlled. Anyway, here's a quote:

Thomas Frank: [responding to a question] Is it? Or is it that people would work their way up? People used to find opportunity in all sorts of places. But beginning in the 1960s, Americans decided that the right way to pursue opportunities was through the university. It’s more modern than you think. I was reading a book about social class from right after World War II. And the author was describing this transition, this divide between people who came up through their work, who learned on the job and were promoted, versus people who went to universities. And this was in the ’40s. But by the time Bill Clinton was coming up in the ’60s, university was essential. And you had that whole literature about the youth and the now generation and all that stuff in the ’60s — the counterculture. It was always taken for granted that you were talking about college kids, or kids that were going to college. And Bill Clinton really represents that. And you look at Barack Obama and it’s the same thing: plucked from obscurity by first Columbia and then Harvard Law and Harvard Law review. And he is famously a believer in the educational meritocracy. You just look at his cabinet choices, which are all from a very concentrated very narrow sector of the American elite. It’s always Ivy League institutions. (april 21)

- - - -

The very first English professor I encountered who warned that reading many past works of literature can actually cause you psychic harm, was the progressive, Albert Mordell. In "The Shifting of Literary Values," written in 1912, Mordell applies his own trigger warnings to many past greats, saying, essentially, that many past ages are now to us morally repugnant, and that these books got popular in part because they reflected, not the actual human universal, but rather accepted truisms of the time that now strike us as barbaric. Are we really sure that any progressive today who finds such things as royalty a gross hanger-on of Medieval mental deference/slavery, is not going to incur some mental damage as they edit out all Shakespeare's (and Elizabethan's) attitudes towards royalty and just enjoy the show? I myself am not convinced, and think it might unconsciously add strength to parental demons still in their heads, telling them that it is proper to bow down to a great ruler, whose wisdom could save a land. (april 24) 

- - - -

f we don't understand that people who do crimes like these were psychologically abused by their caretakers as children (which I think is always the case), I think it's hard not to think of Norway's attempt at humane treatment of prisoners like Anders as something other than an affront to victims -- 69 teenage victims, and he's complaining about only getting a Playstation 2 rather than a 3 to play with in his cell! as well as not enough bloody decorative art!!! We've been tender with recent mass murderers in suggesting that it was their mistreatment from caretakers that was ultimately responsible for their actions (not caretakers "fault" either -- they too were abused by their parents (and so on)). I think we're coming to prefer the idea that, ultimately, rather normal parents can just innocently begat demons who delight in mass terror (and thus the popularity of recent biographies of parents, saying, 'look what I've had to deal with; but aren't I admirable for still loving my troubled son'). And I think from this humane treatment of prisoners comes to see more like highmindedness (we don't torture! we're not barbarians ourselves!), or an effort not to extend a public wound, than decency and empathy for an obviously severely abused human being. (april 26)

- - -

There's a writer at Salon.com, Amanda Marcotte, who noted a while ago on her twitter feed how many of her male feminist friends were displaying an astonishing amount of woman-hate under cover of just supporting Bernie. Personally, I think we'd be wise at this moment to notice how anger and hate and prejudice can be transfigured so it surely isn't that at all!, but rather something ostensibly legitimate, so can be applied now, guilt-free. For instance, the only thing people remember about the last Oscars is how Hollywood tried, at least, to do something to make up for the lack of black nominees. Yet the venue also proved one where hatred towards Asians was actually given some legitimacy -- by Chris Rock himself (you going to hate on him? the guy white america absolutely required to be the priest applying punishments so white america could feel somewhat absolved of guilt, and as well closer to an eventual fusion with a brother that will close all history down and be their Nirvana?). Will we, for example, see an America that becomes united in some black and white conception, a union of its three ostensibly fundamental, definitive events --- 1776, 1865 and the Martin Luther King march -- but also see the legitimacy for seeing a multicultural country sort of fade away, get lost or disappear in the headlines, thus making it somehow appropriate to see, when orientation is fixed anew, Asians, Muslims -- heck, maybe even Native Indians -- as befowling the "narrative" purity of the U.S.A, even as it is now, not just white but black AND white? Will Canada become about healing pains amongst its Anglo-Francophone divide, so somehow Canada gets brought back to its sense of itself from 300 yrs ago -- a bunch of hairy-faced, rugged, fur traders, and dispatches from ranging mercantile companies -- and begin to see multiculturalism as without any cogency -- an undistilled mass, a wild upon which partitions must be installed for civilization to take place. (april 27)

- - - - -

We've heard a lot of sophisticated people explain what neoliberalism -- broadly, private sector over public sector -- has done to middle america over the last, what, 40 yrs. They explain that those who qualify as the professional class -- basically our most affluent 20 percent -- have done awesome, but the rest have been sundered to a precarious existence, meaning lost incomes, lost opportunities, and literally loss of lives (shortening of life span, owing to alcoholism, depression, untreated or insufficiently treated illnesses). All true, which is why the last 40 yrs are a kind of disgusting kind of growth -- it's tougher than I like, for example, to cheer for tech geeks at Google when you know all the countless people who can no longer afford rent in the cities these geniuses have come to make their own. This said, what is disappointing in these writers is they seem to be looking aglance at exactly who Middle America is/are? If I were to write about them during this period, I would focus mostly on their masochistic streak -- how THEY, in the late 70s, grew anxious about their unprecedented incomes and actually called forth Reagan, Thatcher, Mulroney to curtail it so vindictive, angry parental gods wouldn't just fuckin' obliterate them for their spoiled indulgence (for real; I do think this). But here is someone else, reminding you why many people away from the 20 percent entitled, are actually pretty sick people, and if neoliberalism has now died and a kind of nationalism and worker empowerment comes to our countries again, it might dissolve class disparities, yes, but also might mean gobs and gobs and gobs of entitled prejudice and bigotry. (Actually the article/satire doesn't quite express this, but does capture some of the thinking of middle america.) (april 28)

———

The reaction I'm seeing on twitter to this story is exactly why we should be wary, not just of renewed American nationalism -- America first! -- but also Cdn parochial regression. If Earls is correct, Alberta is a bit retrograde in its beef industry, and so for Earls to upgrade to a more "humane" serving of beef it has to source from the U.S. The preferred reaction would be to see if Earls is correct, and if so, for it to serve notice to the Alberta industry that practices need to be changed. What we seem to be seeing instead is just -- down with Earls, for favouring the politically correct, would-be global set, who secretly hate the intrinsic parochialism of their country. (april 28)

———

Was anyone else a bit grossed out that the Hogwart professors readily conspired with Hermione (the most specialist intelligent person alive), giving her the powers to attend every class available and thereby get way ahead of everybody else? It's like she and Potter are fetish objects the rest lick and suckle close to to gain special nurturance from (later of course to eventually discard, when someone else young and promising comes to the fore), and the only one who actually focuses on them with some genuine acuity is Snape. And perhaps also that Hermione and Harry actually sense this, but are trapped with insufficient self-esteem to eschew the attention -- fuck off about me balking Voldemort as an infant already! stop applying A+s to absolutely everything I do! -- and just start experimenting and figuring out what gives them pleasure. It'd have been awesome if Hermione actually flunked a couple courses, but in the process figured out some new spells that would eventually be seen as innovative in the field, but which in the meantime nobody -- other than her -- would perhaps know the implications of. It'd be awesome if Harry reminded everyone that the fact that he was born with the ability to naturally defeat Voldemort and also to be a natural at Quidditch, is no more exceptional than a bear being born with flesh-rendering teeth, or a cheetah with legs that can outrace a train: it's not an actual fuckin' accomplishment! So shut up already! And if you're going to marvel at me, marvel over something I've worked hard at and personally discovered I give a shit about, whether I was born with any natural aptitude or not. (april 29)

———

Another thing: Would Harry, Hermione and Ron do anything that would perhaps permanently lose them the respect and favour of Albertus Dumbledore? The guy's a fuckin' leech. It'd have been interesting if Rowling had written the books knowing just how many attention-denied kids were going to vicariously identify with these characters and bathe in Dumbledore's warmth, worked to establish it, then slowly had Dumbledore find support for things kids would normally find appalling -- like actually agreeing the Hippogryph needed to be destroyed, and perhaps sticking a spear through its skull himself. And then afterwards provide no easy resolution for her audience: you can continue to identify with these main characters and vicariously collect Dumbledore's unshakeable support; or stand apart appalled, knowing in some sense that thereby father Dumbledore would find your aversion a real disappointment, as he thereafter permanently overlooks you for those who never allowed themselves to consciously register he wasn't the all-good alfather every true "Potter" fan knows he is(!). (april 29)

———

This article is not for everybody. But it does get at why we're seeing phallic figures like Putin and Trump emerge that seem ready to pay back in heavy violence for years of suffered humiliations, in a way that I think that is much more accurate than just talking the effects of economic suffering (which this article, as well as I, suggest is actually self-willed: an attempt to ward of worse punishment/abandonment, for previous collective societal indulgence). People are re-experiencing the earliest and most damaging humiliations, and want a Phallic Presidency in defence and for revenge. Those of better childrearing will be feeling none of this, and will be looking about in horror as the rest of the nation -- including many liberals (whose childrearing is significantly better than regressives, than conservatives) -- are apparently going mad.
I don't know how long we're going to allow Trudeau to be a globalist, either, btw, our version of civil Obama. We may soon start wanting him to go Putinish as well. Ask him to stand tall for a Canada that has been asked to play limp and emasculate for too long, while gorging obnoxious 
predators had their free way. (april 30)



Chapter 6: War as Righteous Rape and Purification The Emotional Life of Nations by Lloyd deMause Chapter…
PSYCHOHISTORY.COM


———

The liberal website, Salon.com, has suggested it might be better to go Trump than Hillary. Gloria Steinem has argued that the aversion many people feel towards Hillary owes to experiencing her as their own (enveloping/sometimes terrifying) mother. Of course this is what I too believe, and so we see even some liberals secretly desiring the Phallic Presidency over the Vampireress in chief, Hillary Clinton. (april 30)


MURDERRRRRRR. The granddaddy of liberal internet news sites, Salon, has taken time off from begging the FBI to put Hillary Clinton in email jail, and urging young folk to skip voting this year if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, and is instead…
WONKETTE.COM|BY REBECCA SCHOENKOPF


———

n the 1930s, all of a sudden people discovered "the poor." Something similar is happening now with David Brooks. Interesting thing about him, he just wrote a book about our need for character, specifically, "the Road to Character," and here he's calling for men to become acquainted with the emotional connection and verbal expressiveness because the economy apparently calls for it. Is he saying it is best for men, period? That this can be a path to character too? Or just that you can't afford to be "a man" anymore (someone with backbone/character, I suppose), and have to settle with being part of the social hive in order just to survive? I'm asking because it's hard to imagine the man he puts forth who adjusts simply because the economy tells he has to, and who would abandon his intention on being distinguished for becoming part of a collective busily huddling together, attending to one another's pains, as on any exulted "road" at all, and rather as becoming some kind of sad debris you pass by the wayside of a road if you were the much more genuinely grounded cavalier. (april 30)


It’s time to step back, take the long view and begin healing the pain that the campaign has illuminated.
NYTIMES.COM|BY DAVID BROOKS


———

In the interview, Peter Salovey said this: The debate about the name of Calhoun College has gone on intermittently for many years. [John C.] Calhoun was a defender of slavery, and he defended it not just as a necessary evil, but as a “positive good.” So this was not an easy decision. We listened to students, faculty, alumni, and staff. We’ve had multiple conversations among the trustees. But this isn’t the kind of question you can put to a vote. You have to decide what is the right principle for an educational institution. To me, the principle that is most compelling is that we shouldn’t obscure our history, and we shouldn’t run from our past. There is no doubt that Calhoun’s views on slavery are repugnant. But the appropriate response is to ask what we can learn about the history of racism in this country, and thereby motivate ourselves to work toward a better future. We do that by learning about Calhoun, by confronting Calhoun, not by pretending that he didn’t exist.
My opinion: This is garbage. The only reason Salvoes didn't change the name is because it keeps the college linked to the PRESTIGE of the past; it's a constant reminder that Yale is one of America's oldest universities, home of old wealth, in other words. They weighed that enough people still got a kick of their kids becoming seemingly more biologically entwined with America's aristocracy, that it would outweigh Calhoun's outrageous overt racism -- which, after all, is further reminder that this American cavalier had to be from way in America's past, so maybe not so uncomfortable. If he changed the name of every college named after a bigot, Yale would seem eagerly responsible to new trends -- so at best, New Wealth, or sorta Californian -- and not a venerable institution that mostly lives through contemporary excited fashions in thought, and when it turns, only every does so slowly. An Oxford, not a Cambridge (or some other, farther down the line). (May 1)


Why are students across the country protesting about race? Peter Salovey: There is no doubt that social media accelerated the sharing of information. But more…
NYBOOKS.COM|BY DAVID COLE


— — —


I reminded myself the other day that Tuesday is actually named after Tyr, the Norse god of war. Since I grew up totally involved in these ultimately ill-fated (Ragnorok!) gods, I imagine I never really forgot about the link, and if I've ever been a bit more aggressive to you on a Tuesday, it may explain why: subconsciously, I might have been wired to do my part. Still, I expect for most people the Norse gods haven't had as much influence on their subconscious... but perhaps the same can't be said for the Greek.
What I'm getting at is that with all this attention given to the planet Mars recently, I'm wondering if we're also inadvertently subtly reving up our war appetite; for everyone knows that Mars is the Greek god of war, and know it so well that Mars' redness bespeaks not just aesthetics but also some of the Greek god's bloody carnage. Mars' circular structure are the fallen bloody heaps bequeathed around and by the Greek God's manic desire for death.
What I am suggesting is that we consider renaming the planet. I was thinking about it last night and I thought planet Tomato would suit. Tomatoes remind no one of war and war carnage. Tomatoes are healthy -- and who doesn't need a reminder to be more of that! Tomatoes are round, like the planet. Tomatoes are juicy inside, and Mars has been discovered to one had water. Planet Tomato. Eon Musk will set off for Planet Tomato, and alleviate the sense of him as on another phallic conquestorial individual quest for mankind. He'll be a pot plant voyager. (may 1)

— — —



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Superimposing another "fourth-wall" Deadpool

I'd like to superimpose the fourth-wall breaking Deadpool that I'd like to have seen in the movie. In my version, he'd break out of the action at some point to discuss with us the following:
1) He'd point out that all the trouble the movie goes to to ensure that the lead actress is never seen completely naked—no nipples shown—in this R-rated movie was done so that later when we suddenly see enough strippers' completely bared breasts that we feel that someone was making up for lost time, we feel that a special, strenuous effort has been made to keep her from a certain fate—one the R-rating would even seemed to have called for, necessitated, even, to properly feed the audience expecting something extra for the movie being more dependent on their ticket purchases. That is, protecting the lead actress was done to legitimize thinking of those left casually unprotected as different kinds of women—not as worthy, not as human.   


2) When Wade/Deadpool and Vanessa are excha…

"The Zookeeper's Wife" as historical romance

A Polish zoologist and his wife maintain a zoo which is utopia, realized. The people who work there are blissfully satisfied and happy. The caged animals aren't distraught but rather, very satisfied. These animals have been very well attended to, and have developed so healthily for it that they almost seem proud to display what is distinctively excellent about them for viewers to enjoy. But there is a shadow coming--Nazis! The Nazis literally blow apart much of this happy configuration. Many of the animals die. But the zookeeper's wife is a prize any Nazi officer would covet, and the Nazi's chief zoologist is interested in claiming her for his own. So if there can be some pretence that would allow for her and her husband to keep their zoo in piece rather than be destroyed for war supplies, he's willing to concede it.

The zookeeper and his wife want to try and use their zoo to house as many Jews as they can. They approach the stately quarters of Hitler's zoologist …

Full conversation about "Bringing Up Baby" at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club

Richard Brody shared a link.Moderator · November 20 at 3:38pm I'm obsessed with Bringing Up Baby, which is on TCM at 6 PM (ET). It's the first film by Howard Hawks that I ever saw, and it opened up several universes to me, cinematic and otherwise. Here's the story. I was seventeen or eighteen; I had never heard of Hawks until I read Godard's enthusiastic mention of him in one of the early critical pieces in "Godard on Godard"—he called Hawks "the greatest American artist," and this piqued my curiosity. So, the next time I was in town (I… I was out of town at college for the most part), I went to see the first Hawks film playing in a revival house, which turned out to be "Bringing Up Baby." I certainly laughed a lot (and, at a few bits, uncontrollably), but that's not all there was to it. I had never read Freud, but I had heard of Freud, and when I saw "Bringing Up Baby," its realm of symbolism made instant sense; it was obviou…