Monthly

Monthly: scrapbook: reborn each month
(Monthly Note follows below)

Like & Dis
2017 12 06 Met Refuses to Chuck Balthus
https://www.yahoo.com/news/nyc-museum-refuses-remove-controversial-painting-girl-230117969.html
So funny to see that headline today, Wednesday, the Sixth: Yesterday morning I’d never heard of Balthus. However I was looking at an unusual number of painter docs at YouTube. I was mixing visits with favorites with investigating artists I didn’t know at all: Hammershoi, Balthus. And I was grateful to YouTube for including links to guys I was in the dark on, expecially when I see that Baltyhus is like ’50s porn: he likes girls in puberty: so do I! He likes girls with their legs open, their boobs perky, low probability of underwear … So do I! In the 1950s I had Esquire calendars on my wall. Drawing were even more sexy than photographs.
So: how did it happen that Balthus had been sanitized from my life?
I don’t know, but I can guess, and I insist: all probabilities that I see are No Accident!
Dec 4: never heard of him. Dec 5 I hear of him for the first time: instantly recognizable: man, if ever there was a style transparent for instant recognition … Dec 5, I hear of him:

Balthus
thanx glasstire

Dec 5 I watch a doc or two: and Dec 6th there’s a Yahoo headline: public demand for censoring Balthus!
It’s a riot, the censors censor, pretending they don’t.
Now I know Balthus well enough, I’ve a glimpse of his life: he lived and worked with two young girls in constant attendance, also, his wife, Japanese, beautiful, indulgent, and a Japanese koto player, knife obsessionist … The girls readily adopt odd poses: tits perking, pussy agape; but they not candid; they’re posed.
And clearly Balthus gets big bucks for them.
Does he molest the girls? Other than in the senses already displayed? It would seem not. No, he’s a real porn master, a strict and literal Catholic, sinning, forgiven. Porn 24/7.

I love it. These imges stimulate my memory of an evening providing a high school griend with some pizza. Dian was a dancer, I’m a dancer: all my girlfriends were dancers, no accident. If Paul stops a girl on the street, look at her legs, look at her bottom: she’s a dancer, probably a good one. Anyway, Dian waned me to feel her leg muscles, see how strong she was. She indicated where she wanted me to squeeze her: way up high on the inside of her thigh. But her directness stymied me. She was leaing; I needed to leadQ Yes, I wanted to feel her upper thing, palpitating her leg with my fingers, feeling her labia with the side and back of my hand. Of course I didn. But I was frozen. I never did touch her And now, Balthus setting a strong context, I fantasize that I had touched her, and had fondled her lips as well as her thigh, had buried me face against her snatch, had breahted deep. … Ah!
more in a min

Harassment Victims
2017 11 28 Angela Lansbury said that women should share some of the blame for sexual harrasment (rape, etc): they worked at being attractive, now they pay. The Yahoo world went bananas, Lansbury is accused of “blaming the victim” (a real pattern, a real problem). I say Angela Lansbury is speaking wisdom on a difficult and complex issue. If we were smart we would listen: and if frogs had wings, they’d maybe fly. I want to repeat a point I’ve been making online at K. since its inception in the mid-1990s (and by other means before then): VS Naipaul wrote a novel in which a woman walking wherever she wanted to go in Africa, repeatedly traveling cross-continent, routinely without trouble. How? Simple: she A) kept her gaze down, B) brushed nettles into (not out of) her hair, 3) smeared herself in stinky stuff — excrement, what-have-you … and walked from east to west, north to south, coast to coast. No problems.

Listen to Angela. Listen to VS Naipaul.

2017 12 01 Naipaul’s African woman subtracted herself from the ranks of easy female victims: female here suggesting weak, vulnerable. Rape etc. is far more about power and abuse-there-of than about erotic relief. Of course to some measure all rape and much harassment is about power. We heard about Bill Cosby and about arvey Weinstein, then we heard also about Kevin Spacey where the rapes were of jeuvenile boys, just around puberty. The adult rapist is bigger, fully developed as an adult, but also vastly more experienced, wily. Regardless I woke up this morning with a memory of harassment in the army: a kind of rape that could easily have spilled over into conventional (sexual) rape:
I was drafted into the army in the early 1960s, trundled off to Fort Dix, NJ. Basic Training. Way after lights out, they guys asleep, the lowest ranking sergeant, Sgt Eton, drunk, loud, and beligerant bulled his way into the dorm and began bellowing for us all to get and and stand to attention. Sgt Eton had a testosterone-outline jaw, very male, but was a shrip. I doubt that he was much more than 5’2″, eyes of blue.
Fortunately for us men of K Company there was one guy, Pvt Yager, who had some prior military training. Yager out-bellowed Eton, “You guys stay right where you are, in your bunks: Sgt Eton has no right to give you any orders!”
Eton was transparently a moron, Yager was the natural leader under the circumstances. Somebody slipped out and came back with our testosterone-replete Sgt Bradly, a great cadence caller, a gorgeous full-throated man’s man. Eton blanched. Bradly led the now meek Eton into the latrine where we heard Bradley whisper humiliations to Eton who quivered like a fish on the deck.
Eton reminded me unpleasantly of Sgt Lyons, the sergeant who put draftees on the bus to Fort Dix. He too was short: and powerless: except as he could abuse the army to give him the illusion of power over the helpless.
A combo of the US military and the draft board conspired to socially rape us draftees. Lyons got to push people around all day, every day.
Here’s a story of Lyons abusing his power over me:
I met Hilary when I was anticipating being drafted, she was my pre-draft girlfriend: then my girlfriend while I was in the army (then my fiance, then my wife, then the mother of our son (then my ex-wife …) Hilary was beautiful, shapely … had a world-class bottom, fabulous legs: and she was totally addicted to me. The First Army had no barracks for Whilehall Street personelle, no mess hall: I lived uptown with Hilary (or I commuted some days to Long Island and my mother’s house. So, end of day, time to go home, there would be Hilary, waiting for me on the front steps. And there would be jig-a-shrimp Sgt Lyons, looking at Hilary with lust and at me with loathing. One day he said to me, “You bring that girl about here any more, I’m going to fuck her!” I looked at him, I laughed. The idea of lil’ jerk Lynos being found attractive by the fabulously sophisticated Hilary was a scream. I didn’t counter him back, mano-a-mano: my laugh just dismissed him as a mosquito. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t have to say anything.
There should be a place in hell for Sgt Eton and a similar place for Sgt Lyons. But that would be if there were any justice possible for homo saps. We don’t deserfve a god, we’re probly just shit-out-of-luckl
You know Julius Caesar’s troops were fanatically devoted to him: the other JC. JC would rouse his troops the eve of a battle, entice them to imaging the next day humiliating the enemy, making them bend over, bucking them in the ass. Right: HSS. Harassment. Rape.

Politicus Interruptus
2017 11 26 email to bk
Yesterday I was watching YouTube, George Carlin carrying on about something, when George is blotted out and some refute-and-insult-George guy has the floor!
In this political dont-let-the-anarchists-speak-without-interruption cosmology some clown I’d heard of but never seen was equated with George: Cooper? or that white haired guy?

Anyway, imagine going to the library, wandering the stacks, finding Nietzsche, and in the middle of Beyond Good and Evil finding the Gospel of John!

Furthermore the interruption was louder than the skit interrupted. (When I was in high school the ads were always deafening while the show was normal.
So I really should say “They’re back!”

Recently Carlin seems to be getting some of his material from K.
and also yesterday I saw a doc that got its material from my second 80s oeuvre, Beginning!
Ah, it was Terry Jones on The Invention of Sex.

Rose Up Dead
2017 11 21 Charlie Rose has joined the skewered list. I want to tell an ugly story, I’ll atributre it to Rose, kick him while he’s down.
I first heard of Rose in the mid-1970s. Israeli artist David Tamerin told me he liked him: I didn’t know him, kept mum. Then one night I heard that Tom Wolfe, out with another great new book, was to the the PBS interviewee, I made sure to watch. Wolfe looked sharpe, absurd, but I soon realized Rose hadn’t done the homework, he hadn’t read the book, didn’t know what he was about. Wolfe bravely soldiered on. I was incensed. Then I realized, He’s drunk!
I had already disliked him, thereafter I hated him.
I remember David Letterman cutting n o corners in throwing Oliver Reed off his show and onto his ear; but here it was Wolfe who was sober, Rose who was drunk.
But you know Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole, Irish and Irish, and Oliver Reed … These guys are crazy, they don’t have the same standards. Rose has long been disgusting in full view.
I hope I have the names right. For Wolfe I’ll guess the occasion was the publication of his second or so novel.
Something about Rose was really getting my goat when I saw him grinning at Jesse Graff: I know: he’s had his face peeled! Grotesque.
I will forgive Oliver Reed, what a voice; but Letterman needn’t.

Political Resistance
2017 11 21 There are three requirements for technological invension, says the great Terry Jones in his BBC documentary series Ancient Inventions.

  1. Concept
  2. Technological Capability
  3. Political, Social Motivation

BY 1970 II was ripe to develop “the” “internet” when Ivan Illich proposed it. He was “inventing” the internet as an alternative to state (or church) controlled “education: schooling; use the societies’ digital capacities to construct data bases of human resources. Modern markets map the store’s contents with signs above the aisles: soups, bread, cookies … chicken, pork. An “educational” internet could network the learning resources: math teachers, English teachers, history teachers: math books, math articles … English books, history books …
I had already conceptualized the internet before I heard of Ivan Illich: in the later 1960s I was writing short stories in which banks coordinated human credit over a satellite system via voice recognitions software: order a martini, the global credit data system recognizes your voice, debits the person’s cash account: the bartender sees that the drink is paid for, makes the martini, serves it. That was in one story. In another student strikers get together and use a card filing system to organize after hour orgies: penetrative sex Line A, oral sex line B … Banks had long networked their resources, put types of clients in different “aisles … Thus, there was the concept: Ivan Illich was inventing it, had already been thinking about it, I too had already been inventing it, was thinking about it … I told Illich, by mail, to Mexico, I wanted to help: he told me I was on my own, but as soon as I’d distributed a flier offering a leaning network for Manhattan’s uupper West side, people were knocking on the door, calling on the phone: “I can teach guitar”, “I want to supervise scream therapy groups” …

Prescribed consumption is fascism.

People were ready for it, the concept was aborning. The society had the technological capability in 1970, we had telephones, we had a postal system, we had halls for rent and public parks. We wanted access to mainframes: I had an introduction to a main frame in Princeton, my Columbia had a main frame, all I had to do was walk up and state my need: then I could pass on the offer to the public. We wanted to develop data base software, but in the meantime we had 3X5 cards, shoe boxes, loosleaf paper and labelable binders … A growing number of persons were trying to use the system. Millions were needed but a few dollars were trickling in, all volunteered. I was talking about how every neighborhood could have a modem to a mainframe. Big neighborhoods could have a learning library; small neighborhoods could have at least a booth like a FotoMart. People wouldn’t need their own computer (there were no PCs in 1970), but every booth could have a 9-5 programmer who knew how to register and extract information: even information clerks could get guidance. …
We had #1, the concept; we had #2, electronic intormations systems … We could have millions of experts register, we could have millions of “students”, practice buddies … We had part of #3:; but #3 lacked a quorum: our society is not run by democratic will, not run for the people, or by the people. No, alas, we have “experts”, “professionals”: who prescribe consumption of educational packages prepared by the state for obedient statlings.

Prescribed consumption is fascism.

My FLEX invited people to fund their own freedom: pay for it the same way you use it: voluntarily. No, we have institutions paid for by extortion: coerced taxation.
Ah, but at least Terry Jones makes great teaching films as well as great TV comedy.

Gentleman’s Noblesse
2017 11 14 My mother taught me to hold the door for ladies: and ladies first, all of that. In college I found myself to have an enormous advantage over those who lacked such training. The next step I took myself: hold the door, or don’t hold the door: what choice are you making? for whom? I could offer my courtesy, I could withhold it. The choice was mine!
This morning Miss Manners chastises an irritable woman for confusing feminism with rudeness. The woman addressed had a point to make, a very old point, but habit compelled her to make it; not philosophy.
But real quick let me recall a particular instance where I dediced rudeness counted more than courtesy. I wanted to shp at Macy’s, I arrived on Harold’s Square, I arrived at the door, I saw a woman coming behind me, I held the door for her. She didn’t thank me, she just put her head down, scowled, and went through. Now I was holding the door for myself: and I saw another woman quicken her pace to step into the position of she for whom the door is held. Hell, I let her get away with it: I held the door for her too. But then another woman, and still another woman, darted toward that vacuum. I saw that a dozen women were coming in from the street, that all were ready to put their head down and dive for the position of priviledge. I counted six more women through, and slammed the big door into the next one. I imposed a tax on the free ride, I made the door heavy, penalized the freeloaders.
As I explained to my freshman English class: if you know what a split infinitive is, you can take care not to split your infinities: or, go ahead, split all you want: it will be you deciding on the usage, you employing the manners; not the manners enslaving you. But first you have to know what a spolit infinitive is: the majority do not, including the majority of English teachers. They are forever in the grip of manners as accident, their fate is outside their influence.
No: hold the door, or don’t hold the door. Genuflect, or leave you hat on in church. … Know the consequences, and chose.

That latter story reminds me of another. Once I went into the West End Tavern, saw Bill, a public school teacher, and took the stool next to him. Other people came and went. A cripple with a walker came and went, some guy whispered in Bill’s ear, Bill erupted in laughter. Bill leaned toward me and whispered that the just just whispering and just whispered that he’d slammed the men’s room door onto the cripple, leaving him sprawing in the piss coving the filthy floor. This story race up and down the West End bar, the longest bar in the world, mid ’60s. I was horrified, aghast: and said so. Oh, then you don’t know So&So, and he named the cripple.
The specific irritation turned out to be that this particular cripple expected, demanded as it were, common courtesies. His assailant knew he would expect the door to be held fo him, he knew he would be scalwed at, not thanked, and Wham, he skidded the SOB across the mens’ room floor.
I’ve thought of that a lot since then. I was once so proud to be an American, to be a Christian, to be civilized, the epitome of civilization. Now, no. I’ll take plain human nature, with no guarantees concerning survival.
From then on I noticed that cripple. Yes, he was rude. All the time.
So: wouldn’t it be nice if Miss Manners’ rude feminist got an elbow in the eye while she blocked traffic to refuse a held door?

Ad Out
2017 11 11 Once upon a time I paid no more attention to actors in ads than to extras in crowd scenes. Who did? Then again sometimes the model in a commercial can rivet us: masses of us. It isn’t just me, the whole world falls in love with Milana Veyntraub.

No kidding. She goes straight into our hearts. Progressive has that annoying girl with the red lipstick; but however much we may hate her and the horse she rode in on, we adore, and vibrate to Milana.
Now explain to me this: how did I wind up falling in love with Jackies Stewart: refusing Heinedins with the dandy line, “No thanks, I’m still driving”!
2017 11 15 I’ll tell you another actor who’s appealing in some otherwise obnoxious ads: J.K. Simmons. Guy gets under your skin.

Secular Knee
2017 11 04 When I was a kid I was taught to kneel at my bedside and humbly pray to God. I was taught to thank God for my life, to thank him for my natural advantages: parents, shelter. I had a sense that worship and obeisance were God’s natural dues, I felt that the worship was God’s by right; not by force: I felt no sarcasm, no irony in the gestures. The cross was my Christianity’s natural icon.
When I got to school I was taught to put my hand on my heart and to pledge allegiance not to the cross, but to the flag: that meant the American flag, the stars and stripes of the United States. It was emphasized to us that the phrase “under God” had recently been added, and belonged: “one country, under God. The founding fathers were presented to us as wise men. In another step they were holy men, saints: secular saints.
I was in my late teens, I was at college, Columbia, before I became acquainted with William Blake and his autocratic god: a slave master, the protector of all the dark satanic mills of industrial society.
The Chinese have just mandated a three year prison sentence for any who disrespect China’s icons and emblems.
Gee: you mean we’re allied with Chinese Communists? How does Jefferson fit there?
Regardless, right there we have more than enough to see the irony of “kneeling” becoming associated with defiance of authority, not subordination to authority. Notice in any case that the appeal is political, not theological.
Notice in all events that people with some control over prison budgets are palming themselves off as experts on interpretation of the stars and stripes as though it were text, the text unambiguous. The jail directors know who to put in the jails, who to line up and shoot.
I’ve been writing since 1948. It’s done little good, good visible to me at least. Now what brains are left me can’t stay focused for thirty seconds. The help I offered was despised, then plagiarized: the plagiarism perverted, the thieves judging my crimes. My IQ is falling from NY to China, right through the center of the earth. I’m glad. If only I’d been this stupid to begin with. In any case I’m glad the society is immune to guidance. Helpless hell is where we belong.

Continues as reverse chronology: Monthly Archive

Such archives date backwards: counter chronological: today, yesterday, the day before … (Continues in several archive choices.)

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Posted in pk Personal, pk Teaching

Schooled Movies

/ DeCentral / DeGate / Deschool / Rants

Homefront (2013 film)
Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth … Well, the cast sounds good. YouTube gives me a sample. Statham is called into the school his daughter attends. She’s punched the hell out of some bully, daddy is called on the carpet. Statham admits “Well, maybe that’s partly my fault: I taught my daughter to defend herself.”
No one accuses the school of having taught his daughter to defend herself: but why is he half defending his inalienable right as a parent? (as a human)? But she hit him so hard one bureaucrat complains.
In the school parking lot James Franco tries to pressure Statham. Statham puts him on the ground, fast and hard! Imagine me trying to lean into Joe Louis!
But did you have to take him down so hard? queries another upstaged bureaucrat, some sheriff. Ask Joe Louis not to hurt Max Schmeling!
But it’s ridiculous: Franco looks tough: until you see Statham!!!
Back in the truck with Kate Bosworth, she accuses Franco of being a “pussy”. Clearly the school system here represents Franco, and Boswoth; not Statham or the daughter!

One think pricelss: we already know how very very English Statham is: what’s he doing with these egregious rednecks? Clearly the idea of free markets, freedom of any kind, had nothing to do with it!

Deschool Menu

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Agitating Manners

/ Culture /

I just remembered a date from the 1970s. I was invited to a party by a client in Rockville Centre on Long Island. The party was in Balkwin. My client’s granddaughter would be there: a former Broadway show girl, a singer, dancer, actress, now unfortunately crippled. The girls at the party all were attractive and looked ripe for an affair. They looked non-plussed as I paid attention only to the cripple. I’m not sure what Grandma intended but I began to fantasize about the cute hips and round once-dancer’s-bottom of the girl I’ll call “Hair”, ’cause that’s the title of the show she had been appearing in when she became crippled. I invited her for a weekend and her family delivered her to me in Long Beach: she needed taxi service and they volunteered trip one.

I want to ponder one thing that made my attraction to her evaporate:

Who Is the Waiter Serving?
Women and Children; Not Work-A-Daddy.

Hair wants veal picata for diner, she requested a favorite restaurant. The waiter recognized her: fine: catereed to her: fine: ignored me; not fine.
The waiter brings menus, asks Hair only if she’s ready to order, ignores me. He finally takes my order too, as an afterthought. Mid meal the waiter asks Hair, not me, how everything is.
We eat, we have desert, the waiter shoves the bill by my elbow, still not looking at me.

I’m mad at the waiter, mad at the restaurant for having such an ill-trained waiter, but I’m also a little mad at Hair for so utterly cooperating with the waiter’s ignoring of me, the presumed Work-a-Daddy: the scmuck bill payer: the Daddy who not only knows not-best, but not-at-all: like the Romanoff’s during the Russian Revolution.

I’m with her, it’s a first date, I’m trying to be nice: but I was tempted to insist that the waiter present the bill to Hair! not me. What did I, 1970 inventor of the internet, have to do with the bill?

Hair and I were going to walk on the boardwalk later one. My apartment was 210 Shore Road, right on the boardwalk, open sky all around, left to right. I’d screw her brains out, then we’d have a nice walk. But the TV was on, PBS, and the announcer promised a documentary on Edvard Munch.

Edvard Munch
after David’s Death of Marat, Munch and girlfriend modeling

thanx theculturetrip

“Oh, wait, I have to see that.””
But Hair never understood what I was talking about: and I was despairing that she’d never understand anything I said. Maybe I shouldn’t have pronounced the artist’s name in Norwegian. Maybe she wouldn’t have known Picasso either.

Her family picked her up the next day. And that was that.
No, A month later she called me, how was I? I wasn’t rude, not too rude, but I wan’t encouraging. She heard that and got off the phone. And that was that.

I don’t think I could ever explain to her what restaurant manners used to be once upon a time. We grew up in different worlds. But there was something else too, something I absolutely would not address with her:
In the 1950s and into the 1960s Barbara Streisand’s People was all over the jukebox. I’d get up and leave the West End when it came on. She was emoting, but it wasn’t singing, she was screaming: I couldn’t stand it. So, mid-meal Hair announces to me that Barbara Steisand is the greatest singer. I didn’t leap in to agree: so she insisted that I understand that she, Hair, a Broadway singer, was an expert, a professional singer herlself, blah blah blah. No, no: it shouldn’t be for me to introduce this barbarian to Billie Holliday, to Lena Horne, to a couple of really great singers.

If you don’t understand that I’m the founder of FLEX, a disciple of master Christian Ivan Illich, that my FLEX gave the world a chance to become Christian, at least to discuss a couple of the implications, you can’t know what I’m saying or who’s saying it.
I failed: before, then, since: but I join a host of failures (results not yet in).

A re-edit might help. There’s a zillion find points not yet mentioned.

Culture

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Political Symbols

/ Scholarship / Symbols /

Symbols can be tricky. Don’t rely on the symbol user(s) to understand more than a fraction of the symbol. And absolutely don’t expect the symbol user(s) to fully aware or honest about their symbols. Do expect symbol users to assume that you will assume that their use is intelligent and honest. Expect them to assume it in the face of evidence to the contrary: take our present president for example”: is he inciting us to murder, to arson, to disorder; or is he talking us out of it?

His appeal to our being “Americans”, for example. Does that have any objective meaning? What’s the meaning of a mob or protest?

Charlottesville 2017 08 mid-month
What’s the meaning of people, mostly men, marching with torches? That has a long-standing meaning among Americans. Isn’t it so familiar as to be obvious? Doesn’t it mean “We’re a lynthing party? The law means whatever we say it means? and we can change our meaning thirty times an hour. It means We’re Christians! But God didn’t give us this land: we took it! We took it fro the natives, we built it by slave labor, we order it by terrorism.

We all have some idea what “cross”es mean; how well do we understand the burning cross. You wake up, there’s a seven foot wooded cross planted in your lawn, flaming. Is your piety being saluted? Or is your life being threatened? Have your “rights” now been revoked?
Those revoking your rights: how did they get the “right” to revoke them?

Whether or not you voted for Trump, does he now have the right (or power) to redefine the law? Does freedom of speech mean that you dare not speak? and if you do speak, do you dare not say anything challenging or difficult? or unconventional?

Aspects of Symbols To Watch Out For
School compels us to attend and to profess belief that forced attendance and free speech somehow go together. People seem to be so stupid that they can “think” that writing something down makes it true. Slavery is illegal now: therefore, all those people trapped in their cabins on this plantation (or in Chicago tenements, there’s not much difference) are free, not slaves: Christians, not robots.

You have freedom of assembley: that’s why the cops set off the tear gas.

Another trick is: if we compare our experience with what we’re told about ancient Romans, then we may seem free. No, no, compare yourself and your moviements with the humans who walked out of Afrida tens of thousands of years ago. I don’t know how well they were free; but I know perfectly that we are not.

scribble always needs revision, editing

To date I’ve commented on personal symbols, pk idiosyncracies; I’ve taken common understanding for granted. But some symbols which are huge, under our nose, escape detection, are more micro-understood than macro-understood: dwell in musunderstanding.

K. Teaching Thinking Tools
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Nietzsche Notes

/ Scholarship / Reading Notes /

I first heard of Friedrich Nietzsche as a freshman in college. I didn’t then claim to have read much or well (or understood much, or well) but on a number of occasions since then, 1956-57, I realize I’d read (and understood) more than I’d claimed. I remember walking with my favorite intellectual, Myron (age fifteen), from Battery Park back to Columbia on Morningside Heights and we talked as we walked, Nietzsche, Nietzsche, Nietzsche.

It’s hard for me to remember, humiliating, because Myron was a Schopenhauer scholar: I still only barely know who Schopenhauer was!

Yesterday evening I watched Genius of the Modern World, Chap 2, Nietzsche. Now I’m about to watch it again: and prepare this spillway for notes.

I like this presenter, Bettany. Three days ago I watched Merx, two days ago I watched Marx again! Then I watched Nietzsche, and yesterday watched Nietzsche again: and watched part of Nietzsche again this morning. Some of my thoughts from the mid 1950s return to me now, and most welcome. Bettany tells us that Nietzsche despised Darwin: in his search for a post-Christian morality, a morality that didn’t need any authority, any God, Nietsche argued that his superman had no need to procreate, or even to survive himiself: martyrdom (non conventional) might be the best, the most noble, heroic path. Suddenly my own life, my whole life, shines before me as an example. The herd needs survival, not the hero.
Note: people misread Darwin, impose alien misreadings on him, it’s the readers’ fault, not Darwin’s. Ah, but Nietzsche: that’s partly the philosopher’s fault: he wrote so vividly, leading into our prejudices. It’s certainoly Elizabeth’s fault.

I’d always heard the Nietzsche’s sister (Elizabeth) fooled the world by appropriating his work, abandoned by him, and making it hers, adhering to her lights. So: which Nietzsche are you reading?
I’m reminded of Thomas Hardy. Mrs. Hardy was forever being told that she was married to a genius, a great writer: Oh, yeah, well I’m a pretty great writer too, Mrs. H. thought: by which she mean stock Christian. No, no, that is not what Hardy was.

So funny: remembering my Victorian studies from 1963: Hardy today, Eliot yesterday!

Reading Notes A — L By Author M — Z
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Mushroom Anniversary

/ Culture /

I have a rare memory: I remember Pearl Harbor! US involvement in WWII was packed into the next couple of years: ’41 to ’45. I also remember in that period hearing huge airplanes overhead: bracing, trembling. There were airplanes before WWII, but it wasn’t until Hiroshima that the sky was filled with nghmare. Little kid, six, seven years old, hears the loud bombers: we brace, we freeze, we’re ready for eclipse.

By 1950 people my age were ready for any day to be our last. It didn’t matter whether the US won or lost some war, we expected our life to be at an end. And we certainly didn’t believe that even at age 3 or 4 that we were innocent in the matter. There followed Kennedy’s threats and Khrushchev banging his shoe and bombs and bombers filling Havana.

Most Christians believe that they’re the exception, No? I was always ready to believe that we are the rule: there’s no essential difference between us and the goofballs who stood by while the Romans, led by the pecker by Jews, crucified Jesus. We’re stupid, we’re evil, and we’ll do stupid and evil things at every opportunity.

But let’s concentrate on only one thing here: I heard loud noises in the sky, monster machines roared overhead, I was not the only mortal expecting any moment to be my last. We bombed, why shouldn’t we be bombed? The Passion typified our acts of justice: we built a republic on slavery, not to mention genocide: anyone can see the quality of our innocence.

Did Germans believe after WWI, with Hitler’s rise in the ’30s, that bellicosity made them safe? ? I suspect that’s a fault universal in human belief.

Look at Trump: he really seems to believe that leading with his face makes him look intelligent.
We want to look intelligent, fool the world, so we elect him.

What launched this babble last week was a Yahoo headlined Trump Has Been President for Six Months Now and It’s Exhausting. And North Korea is banging its shoe on our lectern. Between me in the early ’40s and this generation of kids is acceptance of your own doom the norm? or the exception?

I drafted this last week without posting it. Now I do post it, sparked by today’s Yahoo headline that N Koreas IBMs aren’t very dangerous after all. I believe it; but it doesn’t make me trust the world. I don’t trust humans, I don’t find human intelligence to be genuine: more like BT Barnum suckers: This way to the Exodus.

Note: Am I quoting Barnum’s sign correctly? Barnum charged admission, people pid it, but then stayed all day. Barnum wanted more cash at the entrance: so he put up sign intended to confuse the illiterate, get them to leave: they could come back in if they paid a fresh entrance fee. Good. But was “exodus” the word he chose to mask “exit”? You know what I mean whatever the word was.

Fire & Fury
2017 08 10 Uh oh, now Trump is toying with the nukes, toying with crazy men.
Read Jared Diamond’s stats on primitive warfare: seems to be universal, universally deadly: how did we ever get to here from there. One day we’ll really be here, and there, and everywhere: so much jelly.

Culture

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Sexist Quantification

Quantification is a key concept, modern and still only partially developed: Galileo timed things with his pulse: most people still don’t get it, not even if they’re in a science department at Harvard.

Wimbledon is coming, the tennis world, the civilized world, is about to retest its enthusiasms: who’s number 1? (on grass) Who’s #2? Who’s 1 and 2 among the women …

Johnnie Mac, a good tennis player but an even better stand-up (or sit-down) commentator, had said that Serena Williams was one of the greatest athletes of all time. He’d also said that she was the best female tennis player ever seen publicly. Ah, but people, people who don’t know their ass from their elbow, were saying that he said she was one of the greatest, period; so he had to qualify: greatest female tennis player. He qualified further: if we were talking about tennis players worldwide, without regard to gender, he estimated she’d be able to play competitively among the males at a level around 700 world-wide: the top 699 male tennis players would beat her off the court; she might split sets with players #700, 701.

Serena didn’t thank him for the compliment. Until we actually test such claims in a series of tournaments, it’s neither a compliment nor an insult. It would become a compliment if we knew, from rational testing, how other great female tennis players would have faired against the top several hundred men. Ask yourself, you can’t “look it up”: how deep among the males would Chrissie have had to play before she won, ever? before she won consistently? How deep would Navrotalova have had to play? Lenglen? Hingis? When would Sharapova have started to win a set now and then playing against males? 800? 900? Would Martina Hingis have been able to beat ranked males while the number was still three-figures? Played the 700th ranked male Hingis loses 0-6, 0-6? How about Court? Lenglen?
How many women players would win a single game before we got to male #1,000? #3,015?

Myth must not be tested.

No, no. Notice. Civilization doesn’t know the answer. We’ve been protected from the answer. We’re in the realm where reason is forbidden, myth rules. Myth must not be tested, no quantification for religious beliefs.

Serena’s reply to Mac was was cute: please limit yourself to things knowable!

Wait: no imagining allowed? Notice, the web interviews celebrities; no scientists, no philosophers. No, no. Our prejudices are far too important to us to allow rational inquiry: no testing allowed.

Chrissy’s responses to such speculations decades ago were right on the moneh: playing about John, her husband, Lloyd, she wouldn’t have won a single point! the best woman player in the world, multiply tested, not one point!!

later Tuesday afternoon
Wow, Mac got a lot of people’s goat. Now he’s said he wished that men and women did compete together: then we’d “know”; “We wouldn’t have to guess!”

Whatever John’s point; that’s my point: Guessing is all we’re allowed because myth is involved. Vested interest.

It’s too late to test the past; but we could try to figure out how to test the future: next Wimbledon women’s champ: schedule her against the men, figure her place: then, Always test.
Or, don’t: but then admit that you don’t want to know.

Knowledge isn’t easy, but some knowledge ought to be possible: at least more possible than it’s been.

2017 09 21 Way back memory:
I was just watching a doc with guys surfing in Scotland amid snow: and I remember first seeing Tne Endless Summer, so great, wonderful. and I’m reminded of a surfing profile from that period: California surfer gal explained why she wore a long pony tale. She explained that as a proud sufer gal she wanted her gender to be telegraphed at a distance: because if anyone mistook her for a guy they would think she was lousy! Bless that girl. That was the 1960s. Glad to be remembering you, gal: I love you.

I love women. I love athletic women. I love funny women. Just in the last couple of weeks I’ve been gaga over Jessie Graff, the marvelous stuntwoman. Search YouTube.

EG Scrapbook
Something related has been assaulting me on YouTube: clips of Jason Statham as a NARC among meth-cooking rednecks, you know, something like witness protection, he’s living in disguise: some fat ugly stupid bully, that is, a male, fails to intimidate the NARC daughter, Maddie. It’s ridiculous, it doesn’t correspond to the world: Holywood having no idea of reality. Do men ever bully women? Certainly they do, regularly, but distinguish extortion from harem building. Bulls don’t but heads with the females; they fuck the females and but heads with the candidate males.

Thinking Tools

first draft,
2017 06 26 -27

John McEnroe called Serena Williams one of the greatest athletes he’s ever seen. He ameded that to The greatest female tennis players, etc. Now Mac says that if she played on the men’s tour she’d be ranked maybe 700th. That’s very good: has any female player ever been likely to do better than that? It’s a surprise only to those who don’t know or understand a thing about it.

I’m reminded of an interview with Chrissie Everett from decades ago, she was married to tennis player John Lloyd at the time. Lloyd was a pro but was wasn’t top dozen or two. An interviewer asked Chrissie how she’s fare if whe played singles against her husband. “I wouldn’t win a single point,” Chrissie answered.
No. She was just the best female player in the world. The best.
And we fans loved her.

PS Would Chrissie have been around 700 among the men? I doubt it. That’s Serena’s accomplishment.
And of course she would have shellacked Bobby Riggs, the conning old drunk. But until it can be quantified, tested, it’s just bullshit. And “Bobby Riggs” isn’t a real test: he was the top male pro once upon a time, a long time ago. That was tested, quantified. But tests would have to be regular, and unregulated, that is not regulated by church or crown, to be rationally meaningful. I like to see Serena, at her best, say age twenty-five, tested against the top males, the top several hundred males, for lots of money, before we judge whether “700” is a compliment or an insult. I read it as a compliment, but what do I know? same as Mac knows: next to nothing.

There was a story today right on the money where Mrs. Mac said to John Why don’t you and I play mixed doubles together at Wimpledon. Johm replied, But you’re not a tennis player! She responded, “Exactly.”
You need a tradition of quantification, continuous testing.

I’m also reminded of the days when Nixon’s White House was acusing Times journalists of being “self-appointed.” And actual Times journalist mocked, “Hello, I’d like to appoint myself Nixon-critic at the New York Times“!
No, the jounalists are hired and promoted by the editors who are hired and promoted by the owners who are hired and promoted by the advertizers, the university journalism departments. … Right, Mrs. Mac, exactly, you don’t just walk into Wimbledon and appoint yourself to the qualies, then to the final sixteen …

If Mac is right, and Serena would really be able to play @ 70 +-, then where would Martina fit? and where Martina Hingis? and where Margaret Court? Evonne … If there are really difference between males adn females let us know rationally what they are, and not by court of no-data-allowed.

I would really like it if you’re average fan could instantly retort, Yeah, Serena can play at 700; could Martina have played anywhere near 700? or Hingis or Suzanne Lenglen?

Suzanne Lenglen

PS I was able to track down pix of the divine Suzanne Lenglan because since age 15, wandering MOMA, I’ve been a huge fan of her cousin, Jacques Henri Lartigue.

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