Community

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Survival /
@ K. 2000 08 18

Mission: to promote community, to eschew kleptocracy

This module will become an important one but for now I make only one point.

The Nazis picked on the Jews, the Gypsies, Homosexuals, dissidents … lots of people. Was Berlin a “community”? By what meaning of the word?

Community

We have the word
What need have we of the thing?

Here in Florida’s Rosewood (to name only one example) the rednecks, including the sheriff, ganged up on the descendants of slaves. Percentage-wise, their brutalities may have exceeded that of the Nazis. Was Rosewood a community?

The Berliners who believed themselves to be “Aryans” probably thought they had a community. They could show you that they went to church, were good to their children, had charities, maybe took in a stray … Ditto the fell bigots of Rosewood … Alabama, Mississippi …

My trailer park here in Sebring calls itself a community. It’s advertised as such. But does it deserve the sense of cooperative self-interest implicit in the word? Not in my experience.

Does any entity have the right to characterize itself and not leave the field open for reasoned challenges to the claimed character? Perhaps the field should be open to unreasoned challenges as well. Hear all views and let the truth sort itself.


There’s so much more to be said, it’s a shame I haven’t been back here till now: 2002 09 16. I add a very brief illustration from my first week in Sebring: 1989. I’d spent the winter in the Everglades, trying to recover from the work I’d done on my third novel. It was time to get back to New York, do some business, get on with my life, try to avoid writing: each project more disastrous than the previous. I stopped in Highlands Hammock State Park to avoid traffic over Easter: and found myself making great progress writing sequels to a decades old story. Then I found myself making similarly great progress with my diary. I was just about to pay the rangers for another couple of days in the shade when it occurred to me to inquire about rent in one of the trailer parks I’d passed closer to the highway. The off season was just beginning. The guy wanted $80 a month. I’d just collected $700 or so on a sale in Fort Lauderdale. Man-oh-man, if I eat rice and beans, don’t drive, I can write right through the summer. So I registered.

The landlord asked about me. I told him I was a writer. He expressed further interest. I showed him a story. “Genius,” he said half way through page two. Oh boy, the guy’s got an intellectual to show off. He goes out of his way to drag people over to meet me. “Well, I’ve leave you guys to chat.”

What happened with the first guy is what happened with the second guy: what happened with the third guy. We wouldn’t have talked for two minutes before some comments about “them people” would come up. You know: “n-s.” “Them people are lazy, dishonest, dirty, stupid …” You fill in the blank. I knew what was going on: the neighbor was exercising his sense of community by feeling out for solidarity: us against them. He wanted the security of knowing that I too was one of the “good guys”: the n–,
[Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 02 To me a syncopated word is even more offensive than the straight vulgar term.]

commie-, Jew-haters. Well, I’m not. And I let the guy know it right away. And the guy would back off real fast, Oh, no, I’m not prejudiced: but he also wouldn’t come around to chat any more. Good. My landlord stopped dragging people over. The beginning of a new period of shunning pk was well underway.

Anyone who would live should endeavor to identify the good guys.
Then, recognize the pathology of their delusion, and strive to avoid them.
I don’t want any Bolshevik teaching me Communism on the point of a bayonet
any more than I want to be taught about Jesus at gun point:
and I don’t want to be taught democracy by coercion,
with bombs hanging over my head.
The good guys are devils encroaching hell onto earth.

(In New York, at least in the right neighborhood, people pay their neighbors the courtesy of ignoring them completely: for years: for ever.) I saw no community in NY. I saw no community in Sebring. Only prejudices in common.

One day, before my landlord had stopped talking to me (but before he systematically sabotaged me), he’d given me a ride down to Route 98. He drove us back through DeSoto City. He pointed out to me the ghetto character of the neighborhood. He said that the dirt and the poverty and the shabbiness were completely inexcusable. I told him that archaeologists have uncovered traces of wooden cities in Africa that had been as large and clean and prosperous as Amsterdam at that time. The slave traders burned the cities. Broke up families. Made speaking one’s own language, practicing one’s own culture, religion, a crime. How good would our habits be in three hundred years if that had been done to us? The culture destroyed? The family structure fractured?

“You believe that?” my landlord asked me in disbelief. “What’s to belief?” I asked in return. “It’s history. It’s evidence. How many interpretations can it have?”

He never spoke to me again except to tell me to get out. By the way: you should have seen the dumpy trailer this ex-cop landlord lived in. note

And speaking of racial prejudice, that reminds me of one of my favorite stories: a story of extraordinary heroism. Dick Gregory was “leading” some march in the 1960s. Alabama, Mississippi, some damn place. The local gendarmes decide that the march is illegal. Fat cracker sheriff comes up to Dick Gregory, pokes a shot gun in his belly, and says, “Move off, N-.” Dick Gregory, with the shot gun barrel goosing his gut, looks the sheriff in the eye and invites him to Chicago. “I’ll let you walk around in my house there,” Dick Gregory says. “Then you come back down here and walk around in your own house. Then you tell me which one of us is the “N-.”

Now. I’ve lived in poverty more often than not for decades: for most of my life, actually. If my trailer was falling apart, it’s because I have no income, not because I don’t work day and night. But my landlord: what was I supposed to see in the DeSoto City “ghetto” that was different from how he lived in Highland Wheel Estates?

Now. I’ve never lived in a community since I left the dorm as an undergraduate. But in New York, with FLEX, (with my writing), I was trying to create community.

Then again, when I was invited to join the rednecks and show myself one of them, maybe they thought I was trying to destroy community! Maybe they thought their solidarity of hate was community.


2005 06 14 “Community” is one of our culture’s pretend words: it’s not a description, it’s not a name; it’s a fantasy. Kleptocracies destroy communities, then pretend to nurture them.

I’ll work out my concept of “pretend” terms in a separate location, then return here and paste the result over this.


2005 11 28 Guy on TV today, Oprah, was talking about being on crystal meth, going to bath houses, going what he called bare back with as many as twenty-five men in one night’s party, the lights dim, everybody on meth, not knowing who your ahem partner was … getting AIDS, giving AIDS … And then he starts talking about preserving the gay “community.” Community !?!?! You don’t know who’s fucking you, it’s typical, everyone, you say, is zonked, diseased … uh, where’s the community? Do you borrow a cup of sugar from each other? Mow each other’s lawns? Band together to defend your homes from the Aryan Brotherhood? the guy said he was homeless much of the time, that that too was typical: everything goes to the crystal meth and to the all night, all day, every day orgies … Who had a home to defend?

Community is an ideal that may be on occasion be achieved; it’s not a label that should be just slapped on anything involving more than one human in a geographical, political, region.

It used to be common for people to live in communities. That was before everyone got drafted, went to college, got relocated by a corporation or by the eminent domain kleptocracy. Now people don’t know what a community is; or they do: but the meaning has changed, changed utterly. I just moved, again; someone brought me a Welcome Basket: now we’re a community.

I saw Oprah in the Color Purple. A gal I knew who had competed against her for the part, jazz singer, spectacular gal who had competed against her for the part, told me I had to see her: and the movie. I’ve seen Oprah in other movies. Pretty good, good enough. But: how many decades is this now that she’s been everywhere? Two and a half decades or so. Anyway, this is the first time I’d ever seen her on TV.

It was a mistake, I was cooking, forget to flick the channel, looking for some martial arts thing.

Cooking, I started to listen anyhow. Something else the guy said belongs in other K. files, but I’ll slap it here.

The guy was talking about getting bug-eyed on crystal meth, and actually looking for sick looking guys to get HIV positive from. Finally, he had had enough, he said. He saw a construction site a few stories below him, and he took a head first dive into it.

“OK,” he says he said, “This is it. If there’s a God, catch me.”

He dove, but he landed face first in some sand; not on the concrete he says he had aimed for.

“So that proves that God exists,” he concluded.

A rapt audience burst into applause!

Community?

Here’s more community: Oprah’s show ended. I still didn’t flick the remote, still didn’t just turn it off: my usual move. News came on. Some guy Thanksgiving Day beat his kid brother to death, then his mother, then his father, then his grandmother. Some guys were arrested getting lap dances in a bus outside the football stadium. Somebody else was murdered. Somebody elses were looking for I don’t know how many murderers.

Community?

Marshall McLuhan explains that the media need the bad news to sell the good news: that Germaine Lincoln / Mercury will not be undersold.

OK. I understand that. But community?

Notes

Dumpy Trailer:

How the landlord lived looked shabby to me; he though he was clean: thought I would agree with his contempt for the ghetto.

I college one of my favorite friends, a Jew from Queens, became my roommate. He lived like a pig. I loved him for his intellect, for his jazz, not for his personal habits. When he told me that his mother had doubts about his rooming with me, “because I wasn’t clean,” I freaked out. “No, no,” Myron said. “She just means that you’re not Jewish!”

Oh. Right.

Social Survival

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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