Thought Pollution

Dirty Thoughts: Pollution of the Symbolic Environment

Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Survival /
@ K. 1998 06 17

Mission: to stimulate people to distinguish between integrated and corrupt symbols

You’re driving down the road. Route 66. Or Any Road, USA. You could use a refill, a pit stop. Up ahead there’s a store with a pump. But long before you you’re abreast of it, you can see that it’s nothing but a charred ruin. Burned at least a decade ago. The windows are broken. The ruined door sags from what’s left of one hinge. There’s a weather as well as fire stained sign in the window frame, It says:

Open.

Let’s imagine that the owner couldn’t take the sign down because he was killed in the fire. You can bet that the health department, the firemen, the police, his family, any number or persons or departments would have seen to it that his remains were removed and disposed of in accordance with some standards of sanitation. Then why did they leave the sign there? After the fire the sign becomes a twenty-four hour a day lie. Don’t we care about lies? Aren’t lies, like microbes, also dangerous?

In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl sailed his balsa raft, the Kon-Tiki, from Peru to Tuamoto I, imagining himself to be seeing the Pacific the way the first Polynesian explorer/refugees saw it. By the ‘Seventies he swore he’d never raft again: the oceans were so conspicuously polluted with rubbish and sewage.

An old friend and long-time world traveler just came back from Bhutan in the Himalayas (June ’98). “I’ll never visit any more third-world countries,” she announces. “The pollution is unspeakable. The air was so thick with smoke we could hardly see anything.” But that’s pollution even the man in the street is concerned about by now. Forces related to what fills the air with soot and the oceans with filth have also blackened our minds and our souls. Who speaks out on the pollution of the symbolic environment?

Well, Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op started to. The Golden Horseshoe places the op in a bar in Tijuana. A sign on the wall read

Only genuine pre-War American and
British Whiskeys Served Here

The op narrates: “I was trying to count how many lies could be found in those nine words, and had reached four, with promise of more, when …” he’s interrupted by a confederate’s clearing “his throat with the noise of a gasoline engine’s backfire. Gooseneck was edging down the bar, a bung-starter in one hand, his face purple.” note

Ain’t it the truth? There’s always some emergency close at hand to distract us from the bigger one behind. We laugh at Harold Lloyd’s antics to save himself while hanging from a flag pole or the hands of a giant clock: the more uproariously because we see what he sees plus something he doesn’t: the steel girder within half an inch of crushing his noggin.

2000 06 18 I’m recalling a cartoon in the New Yorker from decades ago: men in hard hats lounging on saw horses painted as signs: the signs all read “MEN WORKING.” The recollection was triggered by my sitting at the phone, 7 AM, Sunday, Father’s Day, a double holiday as it were, listening to the telephone company’s repair line recording: “We are working diligently to satisfy the requests of all of our customers. Please stay on the line … Music: ta dah! …” New Comments follow below.

Now we have a law, probably a whole set of laws, referred to as Truth in Advertising. Oh great. We can relax now. Ads have to tell the truth. Do they really now?

I allow myself to be exposed to as few ads as I can manage. But if I want to watch the basketball or tennis or golf I still get more than enough. Watching the Bulls deny the poor Jazz still another year, Sun America tells me for the N-dozenth time “a true story: a man was prospecting behind his trailer home when he found a sixty-one pound gold nugget. … When it comes to retirement … Don’t leave your future to chance.” Excuse me? Prospecting is chance? Are they also saying that he had no other prospects? No Australian version of Social Security? No savings? No pension? They tell another story of a guy walking his dog and finding a bag with so many million dollars worth of jewels which no one then claims. Another guy buys a $4 frame in a flea market and finds an original copy of the Declaration of Independence worth $2,000,000. Those were chance. How is prospecting with a metal detector anything like them? Certainly some degree of chance is involved in any pursuit. Mining companies employ engineers, geologists and so forth. They study an area. They choose the most likely combination of elements. They dig or drill. Maybe they come up empty. Striking whatever they’re looking for is not guaranteed in any particular spot. Isn’t that what “looking” means? But the guy with the metal detector was looking; the guy with the frame (or the guy with the bag of jewels) was not.

Worse, the same company has another tactic: “contrasting” Sun America with meteorologists, the ad says, “We are not in the guessing business.” Fine. And are we supposed to believe that the weather men are? Predicting the weather used to be something akin to reading tea leaves, but not anymore. Not since Edward Lorenz and chaos theory. If I had money; and was willing to invest it; but wanted advice: I’d sure think twice before seeking it from that company.

The actor guru of Dean Witter’s ads informs me, “We are not born with an instinct to trust. … Trust must be earned.” However true the second part may be the first part is certainly false. Where did he study his biology, this desk potato? In Hollywood? A mother puts her infant to her breast. The babe pushes her away till he sees her health certificate? Why trust the certificate?

Because we’re born to. It’s skepticism that must be learned.

Now there’s another investment firm to avoid. The aspect which is dishonest doesn’t of itself disqualify them. When it comes to making money, dishonesty may well be a huge plus. But don’t you want your colleague in crime to be at lest intelligently dishonest? Bent, but knowledgeable?

Back in the ‘Fifties a dentist told me he had examined the teeth of a girl from Australia. “No cavities! They don’t use sugar,” he explained. Once upon a time, a time-traveling X-rayer would have found clean lungs on most people. A few decades into the mass production of tobacco products, smokers’ lungs started showing black. A few decades more and everyone’s lungs were showing black. But tobacco ads didn’t tell lies: they didn’t tell anything. They sidestepped the issue of truth by talking nonsense. Highly suggestive nonsense.

Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should!

My eighth grade English teacher proudly informed us that she’d had her letter read by some quiz show. Her letter hadn’t challenged Winston for making cigarettes. She hadn’t chastised them for driving us crazy with jingles. She’d corrected their grammar! “You should say, ‘Winston tastes good, as a cigarette should.'” It was a chagrined Ms. School Marm who told us that they’d followed the reading of her correction with the same unrepentant jingle! Well, of course. “Winston tastes good as a cigarette should” is intelligible. It can be argued: yea or nay. A case could be made that “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” is meaningless. You can’t hold them responsible for anything.

But no wonder people hold English teachers in contempt (“the poverty of their minds matched only by the poverty of their bodies,” as a fellow English instructor and office-mate once said).

Actually, the Winston ad was relatively innocent in this regard. note for a few more words on other candidates.

I’ll resurrect Noise Pollution soon


What if this whole universe is some other universe’s toxic waste dump?


2003 12 17 Lies supported by threat of violence

I stick this perception here while I figure out where it might best go:

“I cannot tell a lie,” meta-lied George Washington. Ask a Mohawk if George Washington never lied. (don’t bother to ask a kleptocrat: they’re brain dead (including all lawyers, most teachers, and most citizens). (Note that formally that famous utterance relates to the liar’s paradox: it’s a statement making a meta-statement within itself: logical nonsense: the grammar scans but not the epistemology.) George Washington marched around with an army. He didn’t have to pull his own trigger. Who’d dare call him a liar?

The missionary comes knocking, Bible in hand. “It’s true,” says the missionary, “every word of it.” This is not an invitation to a rational examination of the assertion; this is a warning, a threat: accept my authority without examination: I’m the one holding the magical mojo. (It’s magic — being “truth” while manifesting error after egregious error — rubs off on me, the talisman-bearer.) (The only correct response is to pick up your own Bible and shove it in the missionary’s face, each striving to hold his Bible higher: like bull walruses battling for harem dominance. pi = 3! pi = 3! Not 3.14 … to infinity. The book of Kings says so!

These days the George Washington liars come in packs. Don’t let them in without counting them and calling a greater number of allies: three missionaries; four defenders of your home: or you won’t have a home.

And that’s exactly the problem. George Washington had more fire power than the Mohawk: or we’d be quoting some Mohecan never telling a lie. Livingston pushed the Africans around with sheer chutzpah: though maybe the Africans sensed the war ships behind his confidence and knew when to bow.

Once upon a time the Church had all the chutzpah and all the fire power; but now it’s the state. Why don’t these missionaries just become cops?

In all cases, the true truth-tellers have no allies. So long as there are six billion seine-fishers, reef poisoners … the truth doesn’t have a chance … in the short run. In the long run, there won’t be any seine-fishers, reef poisoners … The question is: will there be any reefs?


2005 12 20 I realy must subdivide and expand this module, creating a section of pollution, not just symbolic pollution. When I do I must cite this Reuters piece: Breathing polluted air found in urban areas promotes heart disease, especially when accompanied by a fatty diet, researchers who tested the theory on mice said …


Notes

Purple: Dashiell Hammett

Steven Marcus’ edition of The Continental Op features this vignette in his introduction, treating Prohibition America as “a vast collective fiction.

… This fiction was false not merely in the sense that it was made up or did not in fact correspond to reality; it was false in the sense that it was corrupt and corrupting as well.” America practiced “collaborative illegality.”

My own reading of Hammett was always at least in part through Marcus’s lenses. I’ll never forget a classmate’s iterations of the Flitcraft story Sam Spade tells to Brigid O’Shaughnessey in The Maltese Falcon. My buddy proclaimed Hammett to be the world’s first Existentialist. I knew he was in one of Marcus’s classes, but it was only later that I discovered the point to be Marcus’s. He may not have yet made that point in print, but I don’t doubt he was making it in class!

After my final exam for Lionel Trilling a guy came up to me and said, “I liked your paper on Faulkner.” “Huh?” Indeed I had perpetrated some kind of fraud involving Faulkner in answer to a Trilling assignment. What would this guy know about it? And what could I possibly have said that was any good? (I couldn’t know at the time that in another ten years I’d really get into Faulkner.) “Don’t you know who that was?” a buddy asked, rescuing me: ” Steven Marcus, Grad student. Trilling’s reader.”

The next thing I know, Marcus is driving around in a Mercedes. I presume he got his union card. I believe he published a book on Victorian pornography that may have made him a couple of bucks. But to me, if Marcus had never done anything but emphasize the Flitcraft story and point out that sign in the Tijuana bar, he’d be permanently Class A.

In founding FLEX, I knew I needed some trustees. Marcus lived upstairs and I asked him. He joined Ivan Illich, Roy Innis, Everett Reimer and others. FLEX might have done better had I tried to involve them more. On the other hand, I think they should have better seen what it was without my prodding. (Illich knew. It was his program. Though I’m the one who added the ambition to make all public information easily public.


Other Candidates:

A Hartford Insurance Company ad asks, “Can you get insurance if you’re already dead?” The ad proceeds to portray the transportation of a 600 year old mummy from Peru to the Smithsonian. It sounds to me like the museum administration arranged the insurance, not the mummy. I’ve heard of the breasts or legs or nose of a film star being insured. Does the insurance company claim that the breast did the negotiating? Had the company asked if “goods and chattel” could be insured we’d all know the answer without hesitation.

OK. It’s a joke. We’re all supposed to see the absurdity. We all do see the absurdity. (I hope: but I wouldn’t bet on it).

I was surprised recently to see Wilson Bryan Key’s book, Subliminal Seduction, attacked by the “skeptics” of CSICOP: the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. Or was it by their allies, the Council for Secular Humanism? Are Key’s charges uniformly true? They don’t have to be for his thesis to be instructive.

A good theory may have no exceptions. But I don’t see Key’s thesis as a theory; it’s rather disproof of the hypothesis that ads are innocent. One disproof is all you need to kill a giant. Prof. Key offers more than one.

Key contends that ad agencies retouch graphics such as photographs for ads. The cover example was a Gilby’s gin ad that had hints of the letters S-E-X emphasized till they were as dramatic as the poster for Ben Hur. I see the “sex” there as I do in any number of other such ads. I could similarly point it out to you in paintings by some artists I represent. Could I be seeing things? Sure. Could Key be seeing things? Ditto. And ditto with the entire population. “Seeing” it doesn’t prove it’s there. Proof is hard when the agencies own the keys to their offices. Doubly so since one department may take the photograph and one or more different departments rework it. Closed doors and reason are incompatible. But I’ve known some of the retouch artists. They’ve admitted in private what their job was.

Does that “prove” it? No. It doesn’t have to. All that should be needed is to call into reasonable question the innocence of the advertisers. Everything is against that innocence: the closed doors, the different departments, their bottom line mentality …

My son and I once studied a mentholated cigarette ad in a magazine. Newport or Salem. A guy streaming with water stood trunks deep in a lake, a shit-eating grin wrapped around a freshly lit cigarette. They must have had some gofer in a cherry-picker boom down and stick another virginal smoke in his kisser every few seconds throughout the shoot. But that’s just the “photograph.” What we were prospecting for was retouching: little icons, three and four letter words, a big picture hidden within the ordinary picture. I was striking out. And that was OK. Some ads being retouched for subliminal messages doesn’t dictate that all are retouched. Then Brian found water oddly beaded around his biceps. Sure enough: a sea anchor, common as a tattoo with sailors. Then a pattern fell rapidly into place: the streams of water naturally coursed over his body like the letter M. We see Ms all over the place when they’re not really there: the “constellation” Cassiopeia, for example. But these huge Ms weren’t streaming altogether naturally. Then I saw the little As and the little Ns. M-A-N. They were selling cigarettes masked as masculinity.

Could we be wrong there too? Of course. Suspicion isn’t proof. The “evidence” by its very nature is imaginary. But these things together are more than enough “proof” for me to believe that we are not slandering an honest industry when we decide that contemporary advertising is incompatible with the public interest. Unless you deem the public interest to consist of nothing but making money at any cost.

Driving through west Philadelphia a decade or so ago my son and I saw a billboard for Newport. The graphic was of an extreme “landscape” orientation, much wider that tall. A girl had water streaming from her hair. That guy in the lake can’t have lit his cigarette with his wet everything; here the trick was that the girl’s hair was cantilevered perfectly on the horizontal. OK. That’ll make anybody look for two fractions of a second rather than one. But that’s all the time a good ad needs to put its virus into your head. So what was the virus this time? We parked and studied.

Nothing. I went back alone. I parked and studied. Finally: I could be wrong, but I’m satisfied: it wasn’t hair streaming with water. It was neither water nor hair. Or if water and hair were there, they were nearly irrelevant. And the flow didn’t issue horizontally from the girl’s face at the left. On the contrary: it was a bill-board-size dick jamming up against her ecstatic face, a god’s dick, and coming from the right. Maybe all that flow was liquid, but it wasn’t water. Now the “flowing” “water” made sense: it delineated the veins and ribs of a wickedly feral, far from virginal, penis.

Who were they selling to this time? Not women, I wouldn’t think. Modern ads are precisely targeted: unhappy housewives; blue-collar or non-com types, male, 18-27; women torn between liberation and convention; young men who lack confidence in their heterosexuality … I’m a guy who likes a nice kiss as well as anyone, but there had been nothing erotic about it to me, not that I was conscious of. And once my hypothesis formed, I found it anti-erotic with my conscious mind.

Oh well. Maybe the ad studs aren’t merely Machiavellian but occasionally loco as well.

One thing they’re dead right on: they can trust, nearly absolutely, that anyone who notices what they’ve done will keep mum about it. Most of us know better than to notice when the emperor is naked. The protagonist of that tale was a child. Madison Avenue is safe from the pre-pubescent. And safe from the socially adjusted after puberty. We’ll always blame our own dirty minds and repress the insight.

Knowing us so well, maybe they should take all the money.

CSICOP: organized skeptics

I am not a member of CSICOP. I am not a member of any group that has to be joined. I do share sympathies and concerns with any number of groups including CSICOP and the Council for Secular Humanism. In the case of the former, however, I do find their skepticism to have tunnel vision: they’re very good on UFO’s, miracles, poltergeists and so forth, but totally blind, the best I can tell, on mainstream superstition: democracy, the law, US rights and freedoms … “Secular” and “Humanism,” as I once corresponded with Carl Sagan, are nearly redundant. The original “Humanists” were the scholars of the late Middle Ages who studied Greek: at their peril, as I point out in my History of Schools. They were the “monks” who studied the newly discovered literature that was totally outside the traditional sphere of the Bible and the Patristic Fathers. I was astonished to learn of the existence of a group that actually identified itself in those terms. I’d thought secular humanism was merely a name that fundamentalists and Catholic reactionaries called their perceived enemies, something one was called rather than something one called oneself. But now I know they exist and have read a year’s worth of their publication, Free Inquiry. I think they have the same tunnel vision. Moreover, I think that they’re using “secular humanist” as a euphemism for atheist: a competing faith!

On the one hand I believe that getting rid of god is as ill-advised as it is impossible. The word “god,” like the word “love,” however meaningless both would have been to our distant ancestors, is with us to stay. However my own intellect has developed and changed my perception of key thing after key thing, my emotional response to that word has changed hardly at all. On the other hand, I see the Council as being just as superstitious, just as non-rational, as any simple Christian when it comes to the true Church of the Twentieth Century: the State! note

But that’s not all. Secular is one of those words like war or peace which have little meaning apart from consideration of their complement. “Secular” carries heavy connotations of “distinct from church governed.” Separating state from church was a good, indeed, an inevitable, idea when the church was big, bad, and powerful and had nothing to do with any god I’d want to honor. But now it’s the state which is big, bad, and powerful. I don’t know of any states that represent the order which I believe we need for survival. Neither do I believe that any state will ever be capable of administering such order. (People can; states can’t.) With respect to the Catholic Church of the Renaissance, I am completely secular. I am likewise secular with respect to what the fundamentalist Protestant churches of late twentieth-century America seem to want to become. But with respect to the government of the United States of America, I’m neither secular nor religious. I don’t buy that faith; neither do I honor what we’ve allowed to be done with what started out as a couple of good laws note and concepts. I’ll soon add a section streamlining some of the things I would like the earth, the world, and society to become. For the moment I’ll just iterate that I want us to get rid of both church and state, preferring to study and honor the true laws, the laws of nature (of the universe, of the cosmos) and the true god: the one perceivable only through reason and the scientific method. As far as human laws are concerned, leave any group of people alone for a while and before you know it they’ll have a whole set of customs, laws, and taboos.

With regard to the label “humanist” let me recall the lapel button I saw at the first anarchist meeting I ever heard of let along attended. It was around 1971. “Stamp out male chauvinism” buttons were legion. But this one said:

Stamp Out Human Chauvinism

Right on. Man certainly has a place in the panorama of life, but is it as an example? or as a cancer? Right now we seem to be a cancer. I’ll like us better when we cease to prefer ourselves exclusively.


State:

In my Chronology I state that “education is the catholic church of the Americanized world.” In the opening remarks to my biographical narrative I refer to Illich’s perception of schools as “the reproductive organ of society.” Here I say that the state is the true modern church. Contradictory? No: supplemental. Contradictory only if you take my rhetoric with narrow literalism.

I was extremely pleased with myself the first time I noticed some of the formal parallels between Marxist communism and religious faith: neither is based on satisfactory evidence, both promise future “justice” of one kind or another, both have “prophets” who make believers the more adamant the less their prophecies come to pass, and so forth. I now know that many others have had, and in some cases, published, the same perception, both before I had mine and since. I have not yet noticed, however, anyone else sharing my perception that the same holds for the American secular faith I was taught as a child.

It shouldn’t be too troublesome to imagine the reaction of a Jew in King David’s time had anyone suggested to him that their God was imaginary. “How can you possibly doubt? don’t you hear all the prayers? don’t you see
the Torah in the Temple? And God’s promises have come to pass: look at our empire.”

Take a time machine note and try it with any peasant you find in the newly constructed Chartres Cathedral: “don’t be ridiculous. Look in the stained glass. There He is: praying in the garden, suffering on the cross …”

We too offer “evidence” in support of our beliefs; and turn a blind eye to the riches of the refuting evidence. It’s true that the United States demonstrates an interest in justice … sometimes. But before we can call ourselves a just society we should have to satisfy any responsible skeptic that there are no counter examples. In the meantime we should limit ourselves to the true claim that we are a society that sometimes pursues justice. (Has there ever been a society that didn’t?)

President Clinton is in China arguing for human rights. Did any of the Chinese students ask him about Fred Hampton?

How dare we criticize the Nazis for a merely attempted genocide when Hitler took his ideas for the Nazi concentration camps from United States “Indian” reservations? There we practiced actual genocides.
It’s true that there are still a few Mohawk and Cheyenne around. So some of our genocides were incomplete. But there are more tribes than I know the names of who have had no surviving members for some time. Sure, some could have died out on their own and would have had we never existed. Mortality and life go together, complement each other. Neither is possible without the other. But all
of those lost cultures? No: we’re not one simple single “cause”; but we were deeply involved.

OK, that was in the past. Let’s even pretend that the United States has honored its treaties recently. Let’s even bar the door against contemporary evidence so we can hold that belief for the length of this paragraph. So how come we haven’t spoken out against the genocides of the second half of the Twentieth Century being carried out by our neighbors in South America?

Context


Good Laws:

I do obey
our laws, better I am sure than your average citizen, but I honor few of them. I respect much of what Jefferson said (not what he did). I honor much of what Thoreau wrote (and what he did).

Context


Time Travel:

That’s the second time in recent weeks I’ve made reference to time travel. In 1950 or so I was much taken by an EC comic which had a story where a kid is so sorry for his unhappy, single mother that the first thing he does as an adult is build a time machine to go back, find his father, and shake some sense into him. He’s distracted from his purpose when he meets a young woman and falls in love. Then he’s yanked back by his own preset machine. Yep. Turns out he’s his own father. A sci-fi version of Oedipus: not only is he his own father; he’s the villain! However well-intentioned. The mid-’80s did a fun job with Back to the Future. By 1986 I tried my own version. But now Ilya Prigogine has convinced me, I predict permanently, that time is one-way and irreversible.


Both CSICOP and the Council for Secular Humanism have their own web sites.

Context


Men Working:

The Men Working cartoon I now see as more complex than I’d thought as a teen. Not only does the “action” depicted contradict the normal sense of the words painted; there’s something more. The magazine’s readership was white collar, not blue collar. The white collar’s attitude toward the blue collar is that his servitude should be unceasingly efficient. Labor is the slave of management. The blue collar never looks in on the executive to scold about goldbricking. Another class of being we think of as unflaggingly diligent in its labors on our behalf is God. We never think of God as goofing off with a White House intern kneeling between his knees. We pretend that God is our owner and boss, that we’re accountable to him; actually the opposite applies: he is our slave, and if he doesn’t shape up, we’ll just find us another God.

Other New Yorker cartoons showed executives practicing their golf swings in their office, or talking about the family, talking to the wife, planning a vacation … the guy in the hard hat can plan his vacation on his “own time.” We see a cartoon of a cave man: we don’t think why isn’t he “working”? We see a cartoon of a guy in striped prison pajamas and we think, why isn’t he swinging a sledge hammer? why isn’t he in pain? We want him to be suffering and the suffering to be visible. Again, the non-citizen of the kleptocracy bears an uncanny resemblance to the common depictions of the common religion’s God, Jesus: Work (for me)! Suffer (for me)!

During Watergate the press worked hand in glove with the White House to depict the Executive Branch and its Executive as too busy “working for us” to be bothered by what the pinko intellectuals or malingering malcontents thought. Nixon was diligent twenty-four hours a day saving us from Satan. Down came Nixon, out came Bernstein’s book: the White House did little but read the papers and connive about its image (already having connived about everything else).

The main theme above is lies and thought pollution. The painted saw horse is designed to warn motorists to be cautious about workmen in or near the road: their job should have their attention: you should be cautious and look out for them: they’re serving you after all. But a true statement wouldn’t or couldn’t be read as you speed by. So the message is telegraphed as two words: men working. Of course they have a right to a coffee break, to lunch. (And as human beings, why shouldn’t they have the right to goof off? don’t the rest of us?) The problem is that the sign can’t distinguish. What we need is cybernetic signs with a built in AI. The AI should be unbreakable, incorruptible, and as indefatigable as we imagine God to be. The Open sign should flip over to Closed when the store burns down. It should flip over to Gettin’ Pussy when the cook is in the kitchen with the waitress. The saw horses should blink Men Working when the men are working and blare Goof Offs, Run Them Down when the men are goldbricking. The phone company’s robot should be honest: It’s Sunday morning of Father’s day: what kind of a crew do you expect us to have here today? We’ve already got your money. What should we care? And it should simulate Lily Tomlin’s operator character’s voice as it does so.

My style, as you have ample opportunity to recognize, mixes jokes with philosophy, mixes personal incidents with public, mixes dignity with questionable taste …

We don’t have any such AIs. Should we ever actually achieve an intelligent synthetic, we should remember Stanislaw Lem’s point that it might well have its own mind and not be our slave. Maybe a better theology would see God’s supposed silence as “proof” of our deafness: or better yet, evidence that God is his own God and what does he owe us? In the meantime, we’d do best to see the Men Working sign for what it is existentially: painted wood. We’d do well to see the recorded message, the sign in the burned out window, the printed promise in the Tijuana bar, the ads in the magazines, on TV, the print in the history texts … for they are: bullshit from bullshitters. Bullshit for bullshitters.

Context

Social Survival

About pk

Jesus symbolizes institutions' stagnancy of learning: the temple didn't get it, didn't want to get it. The whole society still doesn't.
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