The press said that JFK was the President, the Commander in Chief: answerable to no one! but the people, and God, and the Constitution … And the schooled consumers of the press thought so too. Maybe JFK thought so as well: until J. Edgar Hoover let drift a hint or two to the contrary: the FBI owned JFK’s ass, and J. Edgar Hoover owned the FBI.
Oh, I don’t mean on paper. Real ownership is never on paper, it’s manifest: paper is for the schooled, the passive consumers of choreographed fictions.
2013 06 23 I might be persuaded to believe in property if I could first be persuaded to believe that humans are capable of knowing who the original legitimate owner is.
Jews saying that God gave the Canaanites land to them, the Jews, isn’t good enough. Americans saying that God gave the Indians’ land to the white invaders isn’t good enough: any more than Americans saying that God gave the white people the labor of the slaves.
and back to the original draft:
Let’s put this in context: when I was a kid I rode my bicycle to the garage on Brower Avenue I picked up my papers from so I could deliver my route. Sherman Avenue butted up against Brower, Doc’s pharmacy / soda fountain was on the corner. I worked for him too, after, age sixteen, I passed my paper route on to some other kid. Nearly every day till then I’d gotten a vanilla malted before I pedaled away to start hurling the Review Star at the door mats of my subscribers: and sometimes I bought a Clark bar too: a nickel, um, um! I lived in a world, with a neighborhood, and a wider neighborhood, that had a store, more than two: and malteds, and papers, and door mats, and Clark bars. I could have a Clark bar for a nickel. As I unwrapped the Clark bar, astride my bicycle, and bit into it, I didn’t know who manufactured Clark bars, I didn’t know which parent company owned the subsidiary company, I didn’t know or care, who owned 51% of the stock, who’d slept her way to 10% of it … Hell, I didn’t know Doc owned the soda fountain till just before I asked him for the soda jerk job I knew was being vacated. (And if I’d had much curiosity about why it was being vacated I wouldn’t have asked Doc if I could take over the onerous unappreciated punishment of the position.) I was a kid: what did I know or care who owned what?
I was never a passive consumer of the culture the way most people are, but I was passive about much, and believed much: before the beliefs started to crack and chip and erode and be flat out contradicted, and washed away. Sure I would have believed that FDR ran the country, under God (added when I was in grade school, ooo, all that retraining!), and Truman, and Ike …
When Massa dies the slave doesn’t know Massa’s written will. One day it’s Massa who’s dressing down the foreman for not cracking the whip hard enough, then Massa Junior is seen talking to the foreman before the foreman has Lil’ Juniper hosed off, lice picked out of her hair, and sent to Massa Junior behind the shed. Or: the slave sees the foreman go into the house, then come back out, then lay on, or off, the whip. Is it the slave’s business to ponder whether Mrs. Massa is now giving instructions from the interior of the big house up the’a? Maybe Mrs. Massa doesn’t even come to the veranda to talk to the foreman.
If a stock holder sleeps her way to 15%, it’s not printed on the label of the Clark bar. The people have been sold down the river as often as the slaves were without new owners names being printed in the Times, or the Bible …
So: Who owns the Constitution? Who owns J. Edgar Hoover? The ownership is largely invisible, and keeps changing.
Even the composition of Eisenhower’s “military industrial complex” keeps changing. And the members of the ownership are not necessarily better known to dissidents than they are to JFK or to Hoover … or to Nixon: though Nixon had a name for “them.”
And sometimes even a Nixon would be surprised, and discover, The 100 and The People are not that distinct after all!
I’m not done with the above, but before I continue I scribble a related note: Part of what owns us is / are abstractions not altogether in our control: God, law, a nation, a culture, ethnicity … Jesus … Elvis … One season mega-farmers loom large, another season cattlemen … now information technicians … (The information technicians being thieves of the information innovators just as were the farmers and cattlemen and sheepherders also kleptocrats.)
There can be no owning entity entirely removed the owned: there isn’t one of us who doesn’t participate in what “English” is, there’s no constitutionality, no law, without citizens … (Is there any god without believers?) (which gods?)
For example, I posted my “will” at K. a couple of decades ago. I asked that my body be chopped up and fed to the bass and blue gills around Grassy Island and Big Island on Lake Istokpoga. The culture congratulates itself on honoring the will of the dying; but the culture will not hesitate to refuse to honor my will: chopping up bodies and feeding them to fish will be found to violate a stack of laws: some written, some assumed. The culture doesn’t hesitate to tell a soldier what all soldiers want, all without consulting the soldier; the culture doesn’t heitate to tell women what women want; and men: real men!
The only way for my to get my will is to find a colleague who’d chop me up in secret and scatter the meat pellets unobserved, braving detection. I expect I’ll die without once ever having discussed the problems with a single intelligent person: demonstrating the difficulties of the problem(s).