/ Journal /

Sometimes it seems that inflation has no purpose. Sometimes it seems that it does. I say seems, because we don’t have a clearly valid enough metaphysics to know what purpose means in abstractions less individual than “It’s my purpose to go for a walk.” Today happens to be a morning when the purpose seems clear to me. Not for the first time. It’s the sacred right of every american to be able to pursue life, liberty, (`property’ crossed out to) `happiness’ … It’s an even more sacred right that those who exercise the most freedom should have the most freedom. ie those engaged in cornering resources, sticking their own valve into marketing channels, etc. should have the freedom required to be able to do so, and having done so, most sacred of all, is the right to raise prices so that they can have more, especially if it means your having less.
oh, but we all have more. the minimum wage is now more than a lawyer used to make. yeah, but a day’s drinking water costs a dollar. transporting it from the market costs: a grand a year in insurance, 3 or 4 grand for the year’s payment on the car, say 3/4 of a buck for the gas to go a few miles. and the calculations for the extra wardrobe, the deodorant to go near the people, etc, could be very tricky and never definitive.
Damn. I had something good to say. One word into it and the illustrations, the ranting for my starting point, my mis en scene, runs 20 lines and my real point is gone. Of course I’m cooking breakfast and pinkling on the synth at the same time. Happens again and again. Does anything at all manage to trickle into these files?
i think and all that comes back to me is my usual thing. why do the employees, the bottom of the scale owners put up with the impossibility of planning a budget other than to plan to have way too much and so escalate the ruinous addiction? (it isn’t that there couldn’t be an infinite amount of money; there certainly can be, maybe not in paper, but in numbers, just keep adding them. Neither is it the people, for the time being, as long as we continue to be viable including fertile, we can make more of them. No, it’s the squandered resources, the destruction of space; it can’t recover at anything like the pace at which we’re consuming it.
Cousteau’s wonderful closing image of the sea, the world inherited by crabs crawling over an ownerless doll.
Well, what ever it was, it had to do with our choosing addiction, however unpleasant and destructive. It can’t even be pleasant for those we’re choosing it for. It’s possible to get a big rush when someone wins most of the marbles as in a world series. i’ve gotten them at 28, and at 50, just to remember two. But then you look at Stengel’s face and its another day at the office. how much of a nixon’s rush at being elected can be related to satisfaction? even to the fulfilling of a vital need? no, honey, i can’t get no satisfaction.
our wish to lie about the nature of what we do is not new. i’ll bet that the romans at the games liked to think that they too were engaged in some fight to the death. just like a widow living on investments can think she’s somehow genetically and morally superior, an illustration of the survived fittest. (can a Michael Jordan be indirect evidence that the rest of us need help in getting up off the couch?) How about an audience participation game to the death? How about a world series in which the citizens of LA get to pillage and enslave the city of Oakland? (unfortunately, it already had.) Or an election where the victorious republicans get to kill and eat all the democrats? (I can picture some saying oh, goody. ok, add that the eating, no waste, no leftovers, be compulsory and supervised.)
that’s what was wrong with that English anti-nuclear movie of a quarter century ago. Not only was the chaos orderly, with everyone properly queued, but all the shots were of survivors. I said then that the opening announcement should have been: we don’t know any way to show this to people who are whole and who may expect to leave the theater whole. You’ll simply have to imagine, not only that your neighbor on your right is gone as well as your neighbor on your left, but that you too are gone. Maybe that old drunk dozing in the back survived, having passed out under some slab that then shielded and didn’t crush him. He won’t live past the next few days.
tv is wonderful. push or turn a button, and there before you is the group’s living core rehearsing its epistemology. occasionally revising. it’s rare that I actually want to pay attention to anything on the tube, but common that I’ll turn it on. sometimes 6 or 7 pm, sometimes 11 or midnight, rarely 5 or 6 am. I did as much as I was alert for on sections 2 and 3 of DB last night, knew it was no good to go on, and tuned in the last half hour of some all night movies. followed by a cartoon. how wonderful. then I see where which ever station did the olympics has been hiding Bryant Gumbel. He does some morning program. Not as well as he did the olympics where I’ve seldom seen such dignity. His female was awful. Sleep troubled. Don’t wake up till 9 this evening. Breakfast and back to work. On goes the tube as the coffee perks. Fantastic. I can tell within a second or two whether I want to even 10% see whatever actors or scenery or chase or crash is on the screen as I flip channels. You can spot the tv movies from the movie movies in a fraction of a movement. No sports, nothing looks good. A young guy is mutually undressing a young girl in one, another channel is just tv. Back to the first. A bunch of females in a car going somewhere. The pretty, more than nubile young girl, a very pretty not yet nubile girl pouting, and some woman talking about being forty-something at the wheel. The pace, the tone, says horror flick. The other one said adolescent raunch. I stay with the horror. I’ve been amused by a few, thanks to the tube, where a movie doesn’t have to be worth driving out for. taking the subway to the Thalia, paying money. Maybe I’m especially tuned in. But more and more, the movie rivets me. It’s great. Breakfast is neglected. I must have come in near the beginning and I watch the whole thing.
I’m tuned in, ie super clear, because: 1) I’m writing 2) it’s The Model I’ve been writing 3) now it’s Dark Beacon I’ve been writing, 4) I’ve just been reading, studying, rereading, being exhausted by, wondering when I can altogether reread Lem’s Golem XIV, surely one of the greatest and most responsible, most penetrating uses of words ever. Just this past minute I’ve copied “Ignorance about ignorance accompanies cognition uncompromisingly” into my quot.not file. The book will have to go back to the library. There’s no way I can buy a copy at present. But another close encounter with epistemology’s anatomy.
When … !!! so’s this formula movie! It’s blatant. And I don’t mean the core epistemology in fuzzy rehearsal mentioned above. I mean this movie is drawing skeletal diagrams.
It’s blatant in its usual things of course. First, the normal is shoved down your throat, while all along, from the timing of the editing/acting, the pace, the pregnancy of the gaps, the paranormal is buzzing just off camera.
Blatant in how the young females are already and, you are absolutely and correctly confident will be, paraded and stretched before the camera. You won’t see any pussy. Not even any tit. Maybe you would have if you had lingered with the adolescent farce another second. So what? The girl was 16. No mystery there. This one is maybe 14 or 15. Baby fat cheeks. Baby fat tits. An ass you already know will have been cast as carefully as the special effects to come even though they haven’t shown it to you yet. Whoops, didn’t have to wait very long. They get to grandma’s house and the girl stretches herself out, mons down, dumplings up, on the bed. First her baby fat tit is tilted into the camera: it doesn’t just hold itself out, it sticks up! But now her ass is on the bed like a turkey on a platter for the audience’s delectation. Yes, it separates all by itself. The opening is there. You don’t have to open up the young ones, they’re already open. The door when you got there would be closed, or tight, but the first opening, the invitation, the command, is there. Self-separated buttocks. A continuum to the pussy. False advertising? No, not in time. The message is: it will be soon. The bud just opening. Come back for the nectar later today. Or tomorrow. Next year. Your wife may be available to you routinely, but that billboard got covered up a long time ago. It’s only to the visual sense that there the fat and the gravity close it off.
There’s some business about giving a lamp, all the way from Long Island. The first night they’re haunted by some ghost. The woman’s husband. Dead? Who cares. The little girl wants to sleep with mommy. Mommy says she’s a big girl. They’ve already talked about this. Oh, ok, just for the first night. Hadn’t the mommy already awakened with hubby’s dead and “not really there” arm being thrown over her in her sleep? I love how perennially stupid the adults are in these things. The mother in The Exorcist.
A commercial break tells me that I’m watching something from the Amityville series. The Evil Returns or It Escapes or something. I realize how carefully mammalian relationships are being rehearsed, reinforced, and violated here. Pouting girl. Now she sleeps with mommy. But there’s three generations of female here. Mommy is visiting her mommy. We have the cultural ossification at three levels of hardening. Or mummification.
meantime, the lamp is plugged in. We see some “thing” burrow down the cord and enter the circuitry of the house. Stupid? Sure. But how else are they to show the non-things to an audience carefully educated as well as congenitally unable to think except in concrete terms? Like the computer going haywire in War Games, they have to show flashing lights and trembling as though electricity were the same as steam.
But I got ahead of myself above. I hadn’t really started paying strict attention yet. Therefore I don’t know exactly what the order of things was. But the usual weirdnesses started to escalate. The bird dies. Accidents happen. The adults ignore the clues in proportion to their age. The children accept the clues in the same proportion. But nobody accepts them altogether.
Where I really woke up and took notice, running for SideKick, was when Grandma says: “there must be a logical explanation.”
There: an eternal subject. We perceive what fits with our explanation system; we don’t perceive what doesn’t. We demand that all else be invisible to us even as it obtrudes. I suddenly realize that the movie is being very, exceptionally Realistic. capital R. orthodox Thomistic pseudo platonism.
And, of course, the obtrusion is regarded by the audience as by the stupid priest, who spends the whole movie not getting there until the end, as evil. Evil. what is, but is not covered by our usual explanation system, by the pretenses of our laws, our institutions, our justice, what we imagine we control: taxes, armies, police, the usual.
So what does this evil do? What’s evil about it? Well, it takes life, it dismembers. And our institutions don’t? Hey, dad, can I borrow the car? Crash. Go whoop those japs, son. Boom.
It’s ok, I accepted it. It’s symbolic, like the burrowing up the electric chord.
Isn’t it wonderful how confidently we make pronouncements about what we can’t know. Thermodynamics speaks for the whole universe. Histories are conspicuous for nothing more than for the narrowness of their sense of time. Human institutions characteristic of nothing more than their wrigglings to seem unique, unprecedented, yet normal. American baseball’s “World” Series. Anybody’s All Time list. Some magazine’s best dressed list. When all of us know that our own wardrobes were not considered. You don’t have to be black to know that Cool Papa wasn’t allowed to play, but we still speak with pride of the Babe’s records. You don’t have to be Indian to know that our statements cover up much more than they include.
“There has to be a logical explanation.” This statement is always made by people who assume that logic is something that belongs to them, something they have a right to, not something that must be won or earned. That’s it’s just one single thing. That it’s accessible. In other words, they’re never talking about logic at all. They want their world, deliberately narrow, and the cosmos to be coextensional, homogeneous. What would happen in an ordinary conversation if in response to the usual: “but that’s not logical” (by which John’s Charlotte never meant anything more than that she disagreed with it) with a question of which logic did she want: Aristotelian? Boolean?
Horror flicks know that we know that they’re not, that not all things are “logical,” and remind us of what we know. The ending was wonderful. It ends in a lie, that knows it’s a lie, points out that it’s a lie, but still lets us go home, to bed, back to work, on to the next election. They throw the lamp out the window. It falls down a cliff onto the wave beaten rocks. It’s in pieces. The little girl, the most possessed, says mommy I had a bad dream. The mommy embraces her, “I know,” she says. But the cat is down on the rocks and now its eyes glow with the special effects.
Just so they can have an Amityville roman numeral to the nth? Sure. But the point is still made. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.
Whether or not the universe is penetrable by human perception and
reason, does it owe us any explanation?
Einstein died insisting on such clarity. Physics since then has turned from such cognitive optimism.
Did the movie also use the catch phrase “common sense”? Or am I intruding it? At doughnuts last Sat am., a social participation that cost me dearly, a least a couple of days good work, went after one hour’s sleep. Accepted the coffee, and oh boy, ever since …
But the phrase came up there. Ordinary people talking. Somebody said something about college. Isn’t college just common sense? A little more of it?
I had the sense to keep my mouth shut. They weren’t asking for instruction. They were demanding ratification. Or silence. But people know when they’re closing off inquiry, don’t they? Their narrowness is deliberate. Like the judge listening to the property owner and not to the vagrant. They know they’re thieves, murderers, how tenuous their landlordship is. Doesn’t bother them to take it from you. If you can take it from them, which necessitates your wanting to bother to do so, then you’re enthroned, you were right, you’re Napoleon, the founding father of the future. How liberating. For them. But you’re not liberated, you’re enslaved. Now you have to rule them. Let them sleep with you when they’re frightened.
Debby going berserk, beseeching me not to shatter her illusions, insisting on not being instructed after begging me for it. She uses computers in her work. Her truce with them was based on her willful belief that they couldn’t add to knowledge. That humans could solve any problem they could. But only by Asimov type nonsense possibility. Give me a real case of human beings sitting down to do a thousand years worth of computation to try to predict weather that would then be 1000 years minus two weeks in the past.
What was stentorian to me at that coffee was that there were two possibilities for the people there: either they had never for one second seen the spatial transformation in Pythagoras’s theorem, or, like me, they were keeping their mouths shut about it.
Mammalian reinforcement. Poor pussy.
Another thought on horror flicks, evil the protagonist if not the hero, I include here such a play as the Dybuck. There’s always only one reigning convention of myth. They’re all catholic. They’re all protestant, they’re all jewish.
You have to go to comedy for realism with a small r. Ringo Starr’s “I’m not a member of your religion,” as they’re about to make him a sacrifice.
Can you imagine The Exorcist, the Amityville anything, the demon spinning and puking, the priest at the door, and the resident victim saying, “Sorry, I’m not catholic”?
Been thinking of dear Lisa as I write this. “I’m not a Christian; I’m Catholic.” Her running her astonishingly precocious ten year old breast into my open hand as I tried to warn her that she was about to run her pretty neck right across my fishing line. Until it filled my hand, I’d had no idea it was there. Can she have been aiming? What’s the likelihood of so perfect an intrusion being an accident?
How deceptive dress is. I’ve seen women who looked good but who undressed were less developed than she. Or Ginny. Sure you see that she had breasts, but how had she hidden all that inside an ordinary blouse? “When I stand on my head, I have to breathe through a straw,” she says the first time you’re alone together. A few games of backgammon and off comes the shirt. Jesus Christ, where did THAT come from? Or Lisa again: on her bicycle her bottom looked ready to play in the next Amityville film. But patting her, she was all bone. Her bottom you had fully expected to pat. Her chest had never entered your mind. Touch the reverse of sight. Totally flat chested, but three quarters toward Marilyn Monroe below the waist? Exactly backwards. But then how often do black women who you think are all buttocks, flesh that levitates, turn out to be all hip?
But back to the movie, how essential to the kiddie porn I now see the celibacy of the priest to be.
Previously I had just though of them as perfect antagonists for the demons, the unexplained, the paranormal, because priests, even more than lawyers, are the professional epitome of pretending that double binds make sense. They may be unavoidable in life, it may irreducibly be what life is, but sense is exactly what it doesn’t make.
Now also particularly apparent to me is the ratio of active males to active females. In any of these movies. No, wait. Just realized: they’re both zero! Virgins and widows on the distaff side; priests and puling infants on the others. They even talk about the baby boy’s faggy hair. The only normal male may also have been celibate but only because he’s maybe 16. Not for long it didn’t look like when he meets nubile sister with her hand in the clogged drain and her tit pointed at the zodiac. He gets his hand ground up in the disposal system for her. When a moment before we were sure that it was her hand that would be lost. He saves her. Shows her how to be careful. Tapes the switch to off. Then whir. The only thing that happens to her is that she gets to brush her teeth with black sewer water.
The demon is on the rocks, and they’re all still virgins! Thanks to the disposal system.
Death, dismemberment, poor sanitation … they’ve crackled the air with sexuality, and that’s all this evil has got to show for itself. Ok, the baby sitter gets strangled by the electric cord gone erect, but she was an oldie. The very little girl gets puffed up as she flies around the room, but with the devil outside, she’s a virgin again. And so’s the mother, and the grandmother, and the audience. Thanks, priest.
And it wasn’t just that the lamp was so mandrake anthropomorphic to begin with. it was just as tree like, vine like, rope like. The catholic church defeats the Druids all over again?
Would all this work in a Kali culture? Does Satan, the Father, make any sense in the more southern, agricultural, goddess oriented religions?
I’ve gone on about the sex when all I had intended to talk about was the logic and the “outside the conscious system of explanation” syndrome. And the perfection of its portrait of epis. in terms of relationship.
But that’s just it: it isn’t sex, sex is exactly what’s so conspicuously absent while gender is so very present. Just who and what are these females being preserved for? They’re presented as property: but they’re not destined for orders, virgins for god alone. No lovers are ever hiding about in these films. Those who would do for the girls lose their hands. The audience isn’t let in on granny and mom hiding their boyfriends from each other like in any film outside this very special genre.
The problem is never so much the norm nor the evil, but the good. What’s that? I don’t mean the norm. The movie already shouts that the norm and the good aren’t identical and may not even be synonymous. I mean, we’re dealing openly with things supra- here. So what’s supra-good? Where’s the god?
There, the movie is silent.
Wow. I started writing above with the conviction that horror films, led by this jewel of the genre, are transparent human epistemologies, and now, seeing this a day to two later, I’m not a all sure.
That it was about logic and extra-logic and mammal/primate/human relations and very much secular/sacred relations with gender and chastity and longing of both sides absolutely bulging, when I’m not so sure. The absent real father, threatening ghost father, Satan disguised as father, priest and his holy water not worth a damn, no brothers to speak of, suddenly I’m not so sure what the relationship is. Is it less skeletal in that most important aspect? Or is it so obvious that it’s invisible to me too.
That time I stopped at the side of Lancaster Av in W Phila to look at that billboard for Kools or Newports. Wracked my brains for days. Then came back and studied it with Brian. Two experts. He didn’t see anything that evening either and I don’t know if he ever solved it. Or tried to. As Brian and I stood there, what I had decided had to be what the airbrushes had done under assignment (though I imagine Madison Av works the way the Godfather works: no witness, indeed, no actual order ever given at all, just perfect understanding. You know what has to be done … Leave it to me …), the obscenity clarifying and receding from me.
But the time was well spent for subsequently, I can spot the giant quickly in ad after ad. There’s the ad. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s incomprehensible how this girl with her hair streaming wet exactly horizontally instead of vertically should be selling cigarettes. Ok, so the water is going sideways. So what? So I study it. First suspect, always the leading suspect, you look for SEX, for cock, for pussy, for copulation, for blow jobs, etc. You look for the word and for the images. If it were a liquor ad you’d look for the word and then for skulls, sharks, death’s heads, ghosts to outpopulate the orgy. I can’t find nothing. For sure, it isn’t natural. That’s not hair, wet or otherwise. The airbrushing is conspicuous. but what is it? Had to walk away and come back. Holy mackerel! That weird blue hair she’s got: that’s not hair! You couldn’t see it cause it was so off scale. The girl is normal bill board size girl, so you think that at it’s biggest, the cock would be billboard size. That was my mistake. Now I see it. The blue hair is the blue god’s hands and forearms holding her head in place. The cock, it’s the hammer of Thor, doesn’t fit on the billboard, it doens’t fit on Lancaster Ave. Just the head squashes this girl’s face flat. No way she can get this thing in her mouth; she’s just kissing the opening.
So what’s the actual male female relationship in horror movies? Is it so obvious? Too big to see?
Christ, just after writing and rewriting Mod, and loving how I used Shakespeare, there’s Lem with his last line to Golem. “The rest is silence.” I was thinking he was closing in on something like that, but I was more anticipating Wittgenstein.
Lem contradicts Bateson here and there. But that’s all right. It isn’t as though Lem is unaware of the pitfalls. Neither is it certain that Bateson’s rules for mind are without flaw or unimprovable. He insisted merely that they were careful and formal and therefore could be used. And extended. Refined. Even corrected. But then I just realized: when Honest Annie unplugs herself, no longer using MIT’s Pentagon funded electricity, when her meditation proves to give off energy, that still doesn’t mean that her mind is without external power. MIT’s Con Ed isn’t the universe.
Another May night with the flaps shut and wearing full length jeans and long sleeves. unbelievable. never imagined anything like it in Florida. One or two nights in Dec and Jan. Then a week or two in Feb. and March. But May? Fine by me. What I dread now is heat that can’t be escaped from. If I can’t sleep, then the air conditioned college library won’t help my work. And I’ll have no where else to go. Time is passing. Why am I writing here when I belong in DB3?
Because I have something to say about that too. Unbelievable. Those days last august. working off the power in the Hunterdon Co Library. Writing so much in a day. Progress and more progress. DrR in the meadow, home to bed, and right back at it the next day. I’ve been in Sebring a month and a half now. I have nothing to do but to write. Nothing whatever. Sleep, eat, and work. Shoot a little pool. I haven’t even gone for walks. First session or two at Mod and Week II was 90% identical to what it is now. Two more and Week III was a couple to three thousand words. Then three weeks later, all I’ve done is rework it. It was supposed to have been a week on the Model and three weeks on DB. Then another week, and it’s still The Model. Ok, finally, this past week, DB. I work, I slave, I’ll be ruthless, slash and burn, fuck it, get to the metamorphoses, stop the Kafka shit and get funny. Finally, I arrive at the end of Section 2. The first important line. you’re in heaven. Bravo. But so long? Let’s see what you did. I go into the old version and ^F3 the words. 3000 and a few. I load new DB1&2 and ^F3. Huh? Maybe 50 words fewer. But that’s not possible. I really was ruthless. A whole week of killing myself. To cut 50 words? Ah, but I added the freckled girl. Other stuff crept in too. I put it on a diet and it gains weight. No, that’s what happened the first time, a year ago. This time I put it on a diet and it gained muscle. It got leaner and meaner. I think it did. It better have. Or I’m a complete idiot.
I don’t care if it is 10 pp so long as it propels the reader. If it doesn’t get the reader to Mrs. Bloom, then it wouldn’t help if it was only 3 pp.
how would one, one who wanted genuine accuracy, as genuine as possible, determine how purely afro american-black blood really is and how much the rest of the world is mixed in? slave master, whore master? one could estimate here and there. 10% here. 95% there. conceivably even a rare 100%. 40-60% on average? anyway, after using all available historical and sociological methods, after exhausting demographic practice and one’s imagination, there’s a calculus one might try. Take two separate groups that seem to be statistically similar. Now you’ve already asked them to cooperate, but how hard can you expect them to push? Tell one group that there’s a prize for how pure white you can prove yourself to be; tell the other group the opposite. See what they come up with. Look it over. Might you not have two point tangent to the curve that you could them estimate infinitesmals from?
one way our perception is false in a world in flux, is that when we have a static picture, we imagine that we have a true picture. Like the moment in calculus. It’s false, but it’s all our minds can handle.
just finished copying some Lem into quot.not. Paused to watch SNL last night. Funny. I pick up Lem and see some of my own schtiks, both accomplished and merely thought of. So it was very funny turning to Dennis Miller whose update included Al Frankin to see Lem too duplicated there. Frankin certainly hasn’t read my letters. And neither is it simply that we’ve both read Twain and Swift. It’s that we’re in the same world: Swift, Twain, Byron, Lem, my anonymous jokes, and SNL. Only people without imagination of their own think that things have to be stolen: the CIA tormenting Philip Wylie. Though of course too things are stolen. In the mental world, often unconsciously. Maybe too in the extensional world. Does every shoplifter know what they’re doing?
A substantial body of the Lem I’ve read is simply great from the beginning and grows phenomenally in greatness as it progresses toward the end. On the other hand, there’s some, the stuff with Polish hero names, Ijon Tichy, Pirix, that seems far more ordinary. I thought the beginning of The Futurological Congress to be a bit sophomoric, but once he gets to 2039! Wow. What a wonderful novel. A full and careful examination of one of the central images in my own perception of the world: Mad comics’ Manduck the Magician. And into other logical levels. There are hallucinogens to deceive the supposedly unhallucinated monitors. And stupendous image: the cold war military budgets more and more merely absorbed as profit by manufacturers who see no reason actually to manufacture what’s never used. Deceit all the way. And the self-deception of the ahem controllers! Furthermore, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it could be somehow demonstrated that he’s the greatest universal punster ever. Joyce uses many languages, but its still rooted in English. Rooting his puns in science, in the Greek and Latin of the lab and pharmacy and the catholic church! They’d translate equally well into Japanese, or wall-less Chinese.
abstract “me”: Elizabeth Taylor sees crowd response, ah, they recognize “me.” Who? What’s this me but an incredible teetering pile of roles, fictions, special lighting, publicity, other people’s dialogue. certainly her little girl voice, a near-century-fogging uniqueness, but coached, written for, and promoted by an entire industry obscene in its excess wealth and meretriciousness.
education so much learning to recognize not things in the world but the groups’ cartoon of things. we stick a picture book or a tv monitor or something in front of a child. show them buggs bunny and they say rabbit. i won’t say that there are more things that the picture is than that it isn’t, but i will say that one of the things that it isn’t is a rabbit.
cabinet secretary is interviewed on weekend tube. yes mr secty, yes sir, the limo will take your to your hotel. ah, I have the imprimatur of the people. (meanwhile, ex slaves also learning politics: you’re not the people, i’m the people). same secty or VP or even pres, Nixon, goes to Latin Am. why are they yelling at me? throwing things? what’s wrong the ayatollah that he shouldn’t even want our generous help? Now, is it that the SAs didn’t recognize him? Nixon’s me, our “me”-for-him? Or was it a different me that they recognized, one we can’t, cause it doesn’t have the imprimatur of CBS, Hollywood, our choreographers?
when we say “me” we think we’re saying such a simple and objective thing. the exception proves the rule. what do famous people mean when they say me? some private person? can there be such a thing?
funny how there are other non-People-visual areas where the famous don’t expect to be recognized. my jazz heroes with the photos on album covers, on tv, always on stage, yet surprised when recognized. or was that just because they were black and i was a white kid? Hey, Basie, at Meadowbrook. Cozy Cole saying, um, oh, uh, yeah, how’s your father? imagining that maybe he had met me at his lawyer’s house or something. Jimmy Cleveland sitting in the cafeteria non-plused even as i tried to explain to him that i’d seen him in Basin St, in Birdland, in the Village, in Harlem.
Prof Rice showed us Rembrants. we had all heard the name. we had all seen the images. both had automatic respect. some of us may actually have spent time looking hard at them. i knew them first from that BookoftheMonth Club gift that mother kept on the coffee table, a sheaf of cheap reproductions, mostly from the Met. weird, that light seeming to shine out of that darkness. Now Rice is telling us the life matched to a chronology of the paintings. Success turned failure. Telling us that a little of his innovation had been rewarded, that a lot of it had been punished. The air I felt I was breathing seemed to tell me that the rest of the class was more with the contemporary burghers few a few uncomfortable seconds, then the light dawned, darkness was appreciated, they knew that their bread was buttered with agreement. So suddenly we’re all superior, looking down of the hebitude of the leaders of that astonishing society. we’re always suckered, recruited, sucked into feeling we belong in some in group, aristocracy, youth, the elect, the educated, the responsible, the free, the 1%ers, the powerful, the undeceived, the sophisticated, the innocent, etc. what so special about calling Rembrant’s contemporaries fools because the art professor can intimidate us into agreeing that his unsold paintings were the best of all? now we can feel superior without any demonstration that we’re not doing the same thing. What did Rice do to demonstrate his own taste and discernment other than to agree with the general consensus on most issues of art history? (except now it’s driving me crazy: it wasn’t Rice. whose class was that? Gould? had to be Phil Gould.)
some French romantic said “property is theft” and I’ve always agreed with it. Only in the last decade or so do I feel I could defend it very well, the same period of time in which the announcement is clear that no group I’ve managed contact with wants me listened to. Or course a large part of how i present myself clearly reserves: you’ll get this from me, and more, but strictly on my terms. I won’t be pushed, owned, regulated. I don’t lay on demand. i reserve the right to tune out, right in the middle of a sentence. but see what you’ll still get if you’re patient.
the aphorism is of course the byron, GBS, standard humorist device of take a cliché and stand it on its head. contradict something common and see what it looks like. often you’ll see that it was the common that had been standing on its head.
society would be so nice if there were only honesty say the dishonest, the inheritors, people whose ancestors did the dirtiest stealing for them. women are especially good at being honest, not traditionally being the bread winners. ie in a money economy, where nothing is paid for the most valuable things, services, continuities.
make a computer model of a society: follow its laws to the letter, and see what happens. does the program monitor the inflow of non-local resources?
in particular have an america, a US in a world, freeze the map, close the system, give US laws to all other entities, the same tariffs, the same quotas, the same laws, distill an ethos … see what happens.
Marx seems conspicuous for a lack of appreciation of the value of invention and sub organization. macro without micro. the workers run production? the workers invent the shoes too? create the demand? vary the output? know the market?
Marx worked for industrialism. The people he meant to be speaking for I suspect rather more meant Ludditism. Uncreate the factories, give us back the commons. all i want is my stupid sheep.
That’s where I agree that property is theft. Stolen from the commons. A commons that is the biosphere, or any local ecology. I’ve drunk my fill and I still want to control the water hole? You can drink from it, but we’ll kill the snakes? You can’t drink from it, now my wife is using it to wash the cloths? You can now pay her to wash your clothes? Why, sure, you can buy your drinking water from us too.
War and Peace. Freeze the map? Ok, let’s stop killing and stealing now that I have the best resources. Uh oh, I’ve burned all my oil, and now I want yours too. Peace, except let me steal that last thing. Ok, I’ll buy it from you, but you have to sell it to me, or else.
I’ll set the limits of your price too.
Is everyone suited for this? Is there any correspondence here between civilization and the escalating addiction to escape? entertainment? drugs that either redefine the You into, on one hand, and It, on the other a Thou, or alternately, simply remove the I from contact. Plug it into itself. Here, I’ll just watch my own nervous system.
I am totally addicted to those things myself, but please, totally without an special chemicals from some specific or even nonspecific lab. I can’t help but breathe something from Dow and something from the sugar cane growers, but I don’t need Owlsley as well.
What happens to me inescapably near the highway I can’t help. I’d rather take my chances at a free waterhole. Free meaning the lion takes his turn pretty much when he wants. we can gang up on them, drive them away, they’re not fools, but the point is the satisfaction of thirst, maybe the whole days thirst. watch your back while drinking. you’re all being possible meals is part of the freedom.
Does the addiction rate among the non-managers, the majority, approach, match, or exceed the addiction rate among the pawns? The year I was most “successful” standard definition, my frenzy and my drinking skyrocketed. Otherwise, it was easy. all you had to do was pretend to be on the take. ah, good, one of us, we’ll open our pockets to him, he’ll fill as well as take. Everything was a scam. Fools conspiring to fleece the foolish. Oh, all very legal, Hell, it was all being done with or under the direct inspiration of those who write the laws. I had shunned it for years. It seemed at last that joining was the only way even to get crumbs. They were succeeding in cornering the market, taking over the industry. The lawyers. But crumbs aren’t given. Either a big slice or nothing at all. Of course the slice then crumbles. Everybody’s slice crumbled. What else should we have thought? You don’t expect to eat the slice you’ve cut yourself, you just keep cutting. Not me, it would have escalated. It was designed to escalate. Oh, I don’t mean deliberately, I mean that was its form. What was easy would have become harder. They all wanted me to hang around, more and more. Move in. Make my office your home, Marty said. Hell, I had only come there in order to be able to go back and burrow into my own home. Pretend to like these people day after day? Hey, five minutes or an hour was already the performance of a lifetime from me.
but it hardly seems that I was unique in this.
most businesses go under in the first five years they say. The implication is how hard it is to do, to be successful, lack of money, or something. No doubt there’s plenty of that. But how many fold from seeing the horror of success? How many chose insanity over such sanity? How many winners of the lottery benefit from getting their wish? How many still have anything a year later? No, it takes a special breed to manage civilization in its own self-destructive terms. The schools in fact are very good at breeding them. a controlled minority. no, it doesn’t matter which race or religion, just that it be a controlled minority. label those who can swallow camels whole as intelligent. label those who can’t as stupid, or non-management track. label those who used to swallow them but then start choking as drop outs. couldn’t take the heat. god, what good metaphors we have for ourselves. basketball coaches talking about shots in the arm on public tv.
just saw a tv thing of some pretty, healthy, appropriately inhibited/ uninhibited wasp woman having a good time, dancing to our rockanroll. “got a brand new bag” tickle tickle from the guitar. The wasp woman smiles and throws her head to the side, coy, enjoying herself.
consciously endorsing drug addiction? no, just being sophisticated. in other words, not knowing what the fuck is going on around you. kids proving their worthiness of entry into the adult world by learning all the jargon of the underworld, pushers, car thieves, professional assassins.
why is there such a problem with driving and drinking? we chose two different roads and the same time, never imagining how they’d meet. chase people with imagination away. drop them out and promote the leftovers. the schools know what they do. getting the phd doesn’t take intelligence, it takes sticktoitiveness. they say so. it’s a cliché. they what you’re supposed to stick to is a shitty seat. whoops, we didn’t give him enough of the deodorize the environment pill. that’s ok. we’ve still got this paraplegic who’ll be happy to take his place. but drinking and driving: the law makers can’t crack down, how would they drive? you can’t run this world sober. ah, but their own lives are in danger too. if you can’t take the heat … but their own kids too. well, that’s a risk they’ll just have to run. not everybody gets killed. we chose the cars, we chose the need for inebriation. Ferris Buehler wants the Ferrari that the friends old man is too chicken to drive. He knows perfectly well how little correspondence there is between what the teachers were saying in class and what’s needed to raise advertising budgets. he had already learned what he needed for success. from his environment. and from the school too. what does Hamlet need the university for? Laertes does, not Hamlet.
I’ve also long been convinced that a major reason for alcoholism among poets is: you spend your time and talent, making semantic connections, seeing things, seeing through things, seeing new and alternate possibilities, searching among the double binds, who can take that undrugged? There is a way. I’ve found it. Just don’t expect anything. Not even life to continue.
Thatcher. probably good at what she does. Maybe the next period of civilization’s history should be run by women doing their damndest to imitate what they’re presumed to be deficient in, and going overboard if anything. maybe pseudo balls will be rougher than real balls. if we want to really put a finish to male run civilization, let the women run it. they’ll run it in the same terms until we really slide into oblivion.
And a confession. Waking up, dreaming the above, having my usual pleasant nightmares. being back in school, being back with Hilary, being in business, being with Gail, with Martha, put in the dock, threatened with everything. You know it isn’t the truth or justice that they want, you’re confusing them, they thought you’d be the good guy, you’re embarrassing them, it’s their job to decide, not really who’s the victim, but who labeled the victim best benefits them. And you’re a turncoat. how can you stay on top, riding the avalanche? who should you keep on the surface with you, who raise up, and who bury? In one part, I had left Sebring, gone north, still broke, and October, no gas … Then I know I’ll wake up and be … I’m still in Sebring am I not? when did I leave?
Then: clear as a bell. A memory of twelve year old shoplifting. I was dream remember a pastiche of things. David Letterman from Chicago with those two idiot comedians. One guy drowns during a card trick: the schtick is that he’s got the card inside the water tank with him? So, in my dream, i’m solving it. Has to be the quarter inside the little bag tied with a rubber band, inside the shell, inside another shell, … all in a bag and all tied with rubber bands. The time I did that one with the secretaries at stone and webster, using the girls wedding ring. it had the inscription on it. they could only figure that I had switched, but that it was impossible to switch such a thing. Especially since they had themselves chosen the thing to disappear and reappear.
So, I’d have to watch the trick again and in person, uncontrolled by them, free run of the stage. If it wasn’t that trick, I’d be back to zero again. But look for the chute. The card would have been passed very early on. Probably at the same moment of choosing it. That the packaging takes any time. It’s just that it has to be passed while being handled. Zoom: powerful lens back to 1949 or 50. Gus’s record shop, me with my weekly purchase, my bike outside, my paper bag over my shoulder. It had papers in it. I always brought it in with me, a regular habit of a regular customer. But Gus, no doubt I was a favorite customer-or did he compliment everybody’s taste? I doubt it, they bought the popular shit, I bought Commodore, Louis, Kid Ory, rag time …, Gus must have been taking inventory, or just finally grew suspicious. What you got in the bag, he says peering close. I’m just sticking my purchases in among the extra papers. Extras, I say, opening the bag wide for him. You want one? He sticks his hand into my paper bag and pokes around. I put my hand in to help, to open it wider for him, holding the stolen records under their inserted weather flap against my thigh, exposing all but the improvised secret compartment for his inspection. Uh, no thanks. I leave, my heart pounding.
I’ve never made it secret that I had had an episode of shoplifting as a kid. But I never told the whole story. I said that I had sneaked records out as I bought. First I’d bought a lot, just buying, then I began to give myself a 10% dividend. Never more than 50%. My story was that my conscience bothered me so much that I sneak them back in again. That’s true. What I never mentioned is that I never sneaked all of them back in. In fact, not remembering for sure, I suspect that I sneaked back in only the ones I didn’t want after all.
Anyway, this particular time, Gus suspecting me, for the first and only time that I’m aware of, was the first time I had stolen a bunch. Could I have exceeded the 50% that time? I don’t remember, but it was an escalation. Not one, but four or five against my thigh. $3, $4 worth. Or was I buying 10″ lps too by then? In which case it would have been $10 or $15. How much had I just spent? I don’t think I ever spent more than $8 in a week. I was making $10 or $12. I never spent quite all of it on records. My daily expenses were one .25 malted. period. And the drawer at home was filling up with money. Money that just accumulated for years. Till I could hardly open the drawer. I still had some of that money as a senior in college. And I certainly still had and still have all the records. At crushing expense.
It’s really the same trick. A fast switch through an opening invisible to ordinary perception. My invention of the trick was of course independent. Ah. just remembered a refined detail. I’d take two records from the shelf. If I then wanted it, and it was part of my free budget, one then went into the bag. Its clone would then go back onto the shelf. The number of times I took from the shelf minus the number of times I put back onto the shelf always equaled my purchase. No matter how closely anyone might be looking and counting. If I didn’t want if after listening, both would go back on the shelf. And of course I didn’t steal every time. Am I inventing this next memory? Conspicuously slamming my empty bag against the door as I went out? By sheet clumsiness of course. No breakables in there, folks.
And then I’m dreaming of property as theft. All property. Property by definition. And all of us thieves. Of two sorts: the conscious and the unconscious. But then there’s the semi-conscious and the semi-unconscious. Etc. And is any one fully conscious? Not in Lem they’re not. and not in trad Xity. And not in Newton. Newton, wandering an infinite shore, seeing merely more than his predecessors. Knowledge complete only in “Newtonian.”
fairy tales. we learn early that it’s all right to steal from the giant’s castle. and that killing the giant is good too.
unbelievable. I feel good for the first time in days. All I have to do is stay alive and write. It’s torture. Rewriting DB is torture. no passion to keep me going. stubbornness doesn’t carry the same energy. too hot to sleep. night, I can’t. force myself to bed. why? to lie there in the dark? get up. can’t work. too tired. can’t sleep. can’t wake up. can’t work. sat like a zombie yesterday. no food, the store only 5 miles away. need to shop. they’re open now. free watermelon with the neighbors in another two hours. then I sleep. the alarm has been going 45 minutes before I hear it. back to sleep. Midnight. I rise. 4 hours at the above. shower. feel good. back to DB. All I want to do is trim the beginning. Establish heaven in a few lines and get to the office. What’s this 17 pages? Ok, so now it’s less, but still. Why can’t I just say, Outside, after walking awhile, DrR came to a row of barracks. And why barracks in the first place? Why drive away readers? Why not cherubs and then Mrs Bloom? Cause that’s how it came to me. If I’m going to be stubborn, if I’m still not published anyway, I may as well go one having it my way, whatever the cost. The cost is torture.
Rubriks: “All they wanted was to come home again.” the announcer says of “boys” going to Vietnam. ie soldiers in the US Army. tens of thousands of individuals subsumed into a group, hundreds of thousands? over years and years. with only one wish? can large groups of people really be moved around the globe, heavy equipment too, for the sole purpose of going home again?
we understand the statement on us tv to refer to us citizens in the usarmy/navy/etc. was that army policy? us policy in Nam is to “want to come home again”? billions of dollars? i don’t get it.
surely some of the soldiers were drafted and didn’t want to go at all. surely once there they has other volitions as well. stay alive, eat, fuck, get wasted, read a book, kill commies, kill gooks, hang children upside down by spearing them through the ankles, smell more napalm in the morning. avoid a real job, get away from that girl, rescue of life already dropped out by believing the military to be respectable, or at least responsible, or at least capable of sharing its disguise with a jerk, fuck it, they’d feed and cloth you. and what was the real chance of dying? If Leroy could come back …
The ad ends: isn’t it time they did, or we let them, or something.
But my point isn’t about Vietnam in terms of world and in particular us interference in the second half of the 20thC. My point is rubriks. Synergy. Laser organization. How do you get disparate things to fit or to pretend to fit or to cooperate in being disguised as or to be incapable of resisting disguise as: one thing: the rubrik: all americans want is to be: left alone, rule the world, have freedom, get the girl, go for a drive on Sunday … it doesn’t matter what the generalization is or who it’s about, the point is: does it work? can one thereafter measure different frequencies from outside?
Any group knows its differences within. Their concern is always a look of uniformity to without. Of course, inside they can’t see what it looks like from without, but they hope. the us is always worrying about appearances and then writing the world’s opinion, history, for it, for internal consumption. presidents now write and announce what history will say of them, and you better not horse laugh.
but again, my point isn’t american politics, but rubriks. synergy. my point isn’t even human behavior merely.
uh oh. immediately i want to go on illustrating with another contemporary example, one stimulated recently. how can i help it? i’m responding to recent and locally available examples, gravity pulling me back toward the center I’m trying to escape from, to aid others in escape from, to unalign the laser beam of civilization, to prefer chaos to illusory organization. oh, the organization isn’t illusory in that waves of nazi soldiers really can blow up poland and waves of allied planes really can blow up naziland, but the illusion that it’s all interchangeable, that one nazi is like another 24 hours a day, out of as well as in uniform, ditto Charlie, ditto, GIJoe. Ditto republicans, ditto ditto. no, what i really want to expose is the illusory gravity of it. does one really have to suppress the horse laugh within one’s own group, when a jew says a true thing about the Church does a catholic really have to hit him? does groupness do more good or more harm? if we can’t help it, if we really have to form into laser beams, do we have to lie about the organization? do we really have to pretend that our slogans refer to anything rational? couldn’t we just be exploitative usians and skip the crap about democracy, rights, equality when if any of the terms have meaning they’re far more evident in their absence than presence, in the breach than the observance, in being irresponsibly used than judiciously.
but the recent eg. we only allow two sides to amorphous reality. choice/right to life. now already “right” to life is mired in rhetoric (not that choice isn’t also, it’s just two fewer words) I mean what does “right” mean if you don’t have it until lawyers, having been paid by you, succeed in getting a judge to remember that side of the law? what good is a right that isn’t as reliable as say gravity or inertia? uh oh, i did it myself. mixed pleroma and creatura. bad,
anyway, you get recruited to support abortions by some poor girl’s sad story. then next thing you know, you’re supporting unbelievable crassness and butchery. alternately, the think you’re sticking up for life (human life, of course), you think you’re in line with God, that ultimate Rubric, and you’re Procrustes, only a Procrustes refusing to cut where cutting is needed. You’ve stuck up for absolutes in one more of the infinity of places where there are none. you’ve joined in the removal of males from having anything to do with begetting beyond first the getting and then the killing. the first, free; and the second, remunerated. what, do the abortionists act out of charity? you mean there aren’t professionals using overpriced cookie cutters?
can we really act only after reality has been misidentified, wrapped wrong, and has a significance altogether different from what we’re saying?
you stick up for the 1st amendment, freedom of speech, the one so obvious the fathers thought they didn’t need to write it down. The Bill of “Rights”. again, if we had it, twice, as a “freedom” subsumed within a “Right,” a right which had been a Bill passed, how could it ever have been abridged in the society in question? Anyway, when discussing it, we use as examples Ulysses or Huck Finn. only, of course, after they’re no longer regarded as dangerous. or are in cultures not immediately relevant. What harm does an american feel from Ulysses except maybe a “C- (Bowdlerizing K. 2016 07 30)” here and there? So, we “win”. The result that avalanches isn’t an upsurge in the reading of classics, old or contemporary, but Times Square. Every mail box filled with porn. Now I hear reverse generalizations from some stupid tv minister. These publishers are only interested in money. there’s no art there. what evidence has our minister shown that he would know the difference?
(i don’t imagine that there would be any easy test, maybe no possible test, but it would be interesting to estimate whether there was an increase in reading of Ulysses, how long it lasted, a decrease, etc?
GBS wrote as though it ought to be possible to specify under the law: you can do anything, but if you show a blond blowing a horse, then 5 years … Etc. Behavior is of course actually and potentially so complex that the next thing you know you’re swamped under Leviticus and Deteronomy. You’ve got to cut the Gordian knot every so often. of course you’ve also got to crucify the guy who cuts it, never admitting that he’s cut anything until at least a century after his death when you don’t have to deal with any of his direct friends. When he’s a rubric.
what happens to rights? academic freedom was supposedly won for academics back in the renaissance. around the same time it was spreading as protestantism. in the US it supposedly was set for all citizens. still, it existed in the universities, if it’s in the society in general, what do you also need it specially stated for in the universities. because it didn’t exist either place.
we have laws against murder? if abortion is murder, what do we need special abortion laws for?
Hoyle’s novel this morning says that everything we know about physics (1964) ought to be writable in one book. everything about technology in 100 books. so how come we have more than 101 books on the subjects? somebody certainly doesn’t have the convenience of the young in mind. English spelling, etc. Why drag everybody through outmoded training to then upset them in grad school with Godel? What is this technological society that promised itself that it’s obsolete by the time it’s handed to you, but still expects you to trust what it’s handing you, to grant it the right to go on with its handouts?
altogether different view from: we’re doing our best to improve our maps, of course the map isn’t the territory. watch out for those selling old maps. of course, it’s of interest to the map maker what the history of maps is. preserve them all. respect those that demonstrate this or that advance. And always remember, the best map, the genuinely best map, still might be fundamentally wrong in some way. some way we don’t know. some way unavoidable. what we need to guard against isn’t faulty maps, but knowably faulty maps, deliberate obfuscation. closeouts. what, we can’t sell this poison in the us anymore, sell it in SA. what, we can’t make this poison in the us anymore, have the gooks make it for us.
Yet people within the group still want to be regarded as intelligent. guardians. sensible. is my view that at least Ghengis Khan was honest and direct in his retributions, in his acquisitiveness, or Suliyman, how i love Inagaki’s Bandits on the Wind, they steal rape and pillage, there’s no shit about it’s being good for you, not even any about it’s being good for them.
Why doesn’t a public leave a leader like a flash tide the second they see him hedging the interests he had pledged to support? does inertia really apply is that aspect of creatura? or is it something else. something possibly like inertia?
Maybe even respect mediocre maps, they were made by human beings probably no worse than us. i don’t mean look UP to them. maybe even respect bad maps, maybe even deliberate lies and forgeries. I’m not saying use those maps, not follow them, not prefer them. I would respect the church in inverse ratio to its influence. ditto the us. ditto ditto. ditto science in so far as it’s an industry, a priesthood, people scrambling for crumbs gathered by other industries, priesthoods, and scams.
ok, we’re just people: what do you expect? fine, then stop having the football rallies, the political celebrations, releasing all these balloons, …
what in life isn’t a struggle between monism and pluralism? yesterday, talking to Dick about his new computer, and he’s being respectful and hostile and ignorant about it, and me and the whole process, alternating hostility and anxiety. He tells me how he took a course on New Math a few years ago in some, god, college, and the, god, professor kept saying “I can’t explain in but that’s how they did it in Pittsburg.” was it set theory, symbolic logic, what? didn’t know. I sure couldn’t recognize anything he described, he didn’t know whether anything I referred to matches anything he’s studied. I tell him how by special dispensation of the elders I was the only man at Columbia not to have to study math as part of the AB. It was arranged that I avoid it by taking both chemistry and physics instead. huh? dick says: if you can do chemistry and physics, you can do math; they’re all math. click. right. why did I think I could bluff in them? I had bluffed in math too, in high school, but it had been rare and made me uncomfortable. in trig, for example. of course the answers had come out right, I never doubted that, it was just that I had merely applied their stupid formulas before I understood them. Oh, sure, it was easy enough to see where they went in the recipe, it was that is if you paid even 10% attention 1% of the time. Now I’ve got to check myself: I sure took enough other tests where I didn’t do that. I made scribbles on the paper didn’t I? What was I doing? I don’t know; but the least possible, that was for sure.
I remember the joy I felt seeing Aaron Sachs at the end of one of the physics lectures I attended, reminding himself and us, that he had promised help with the assigned problems. Made no difference to me; I certainly hadn’t looked at them. Then somebody’s hand is raised. Um, #7, the guys says. Sachs says, 7 what? Problem 7, the student insists. The noncommunication continues, until suddenly we realize, I know I wasn’t the only one to have a revelation, Sachs didn’t know the problems by number! He hadn’t done the homework! He may never have read the text book we were using. It wasn’t his name there as author, but he could have written it. Why should he read a basic physics text?
Now that were a little less dumb, the student reads the problem as prose. Immediately sachs recognizes the blue print of the problem and doesn’t have to hear the whole thing stated. Chalk in hand he says, oh, that’s a problem where you have to discover that such and such a relationship applies. He strings out a very phantasmagorical equation. My eyes and mind go back out of focus. but I’m paying a little bit of attention. I make an effort to come back into the room I’m sitting in. Sure, all the shit that I’ve just been tuned out on is there on the board in the Platonic original problem. Needs Alexander and his sword this shit.
But not to Sachs. He says: once you see that x and y such and such, then … And huge cloudy areas of the formula get quickly swept into neat little piles. Then another apparently standard insight and the remaining thirty symbols fall into two piles of no more than three or four each. And then, he says, it’s just algebra: bang, bang and 3x = 21. Then, he says, um, then … What’s going on? He’s just slowed down for the first time. I’m looking at the board. 3x=21. Even I ought to be able to solve that. Something to do with division, for which you have to remember multiplication. 3 into 21. If I had ever learned my multiplication, I’d know the answer without having to bump around bumping into things. Um, a, three … and you can do the rest yourselves. Huh? Professor Sachs couldn’t multiply either?! Or was he hemming and hawing because he thought he had already done too much for us? Did his reflexes freeze because ordinarily the slide rule would automatically be in his hand at that point? No doubt he had been automatic in it once, and then forgotten it enough to have to search instead of his automatic systems just handing it to him.
Clearly that computational ability was the utterly dispensable part of his wizardry. I think was probably also the first time that I ever had any clue that at some levels, education had anything to do with reality. I saw that Sachs was perceiving real patterns in the world. I knew that engineers built things, and that geometry etc was important to them, but for all I had ever thought about it, it was which priest had to be able to say mumbo jumbo for the skyscraper then to appear. oh, I guess I had seen that math had something to do with the relations among numbers, but I never for an instant imagined that the relations among numbers had anything to do with anything important. What Horace Silver was writing. What I could see at MOMA. the proper packaging of beer.
So now I think very differently about all those things, but still never acquired the computational skill, the automatic computational skill that is.
Now, this morning, I’m sitting at the synth, seeing how Steal Away, the sequence of chords, fit into the hand nicely and all but automatically if you just prepare yourself a half a beat ahead of time. Of course once you’ve played it more than twice several times, those markers will have gone automatic. Frankie and Johnny is much more complicated, but I worked at that one months ago.
But now I don’t want to think. I just play that G to F to G to F rock and roll thing. Oh yeah, once I had tried it E to D to E to D … Now I try it G to F; F to D, D to C, D to B. etc. Hey, wow. Then E to D again. Eb to Db.
Wow. I’m recognizing the basic hand position for all those keys and more and so which weird notes as Cb, Gb, E#, etc are familiar if not as familiar as CEG. Hell, Take Five in GB is one of the first things I ever tried to play. Bb,C,D,Eb,F isn’t torture. Hey, it’s all counting. And computation is also counting, or shortcuts in counting.
But you can’t just look at or even touch a keyboard just on it’s surface and expect to see these things let along to make them come out. You have to familiarize yourself with it. Go inside and look around. See it more than once. See it in difference sequences. C to Bb? With the pinkie and without looking? Just as easy as C to F. You have to do it a few times. You miss? So what? It’s against the law? If it were, you’d be doing it deliberately.
But if it’s counting, how is it different from math? It isn’t. And neither is that tree swaying in the high breeze over there. The air molecules count very fast. They know when to move over, when to hit and when to avoid. Do they know algebra? Do they need to bother, so long as they can count fast enough? Ah, but the whole universe can’t just be counting, can it? Just counting, like a stupid micro- computer? Doesn’t it require algebra and more on some higher abstract level? Sure, but that’s merely redundant, since that’s what algebra etc is: the meta relations.
So, monism is reigning as I think this. What is this gravity that wants everything together in its perception? Aaa, that difference is no difference. Pluralism is informational; monism antiinformational. Is that how consciousness breaths? expand and contract, expand and contract?
AS IF. bootstrap evolution takes place like termites dropping pebbles for arches at random. They drop them and pick them up. they drop them as if they could be right. suddenly they are. now the termites pick up their pebbles once dropped until two or more actually do start to or seem to form an arch’s foundation. or do they, like human beings, stand around and argue that their random drop is good even when it isn’t? we behave as if there were trustworthiness, love, justice, knowledge, honesty … when we get kicked in the balls, we’ll kill the person who dares to try to point out that we’ve been kicked in the balls. oh, no: my wife, girlfriend, best friend, priest, father, mother, fuhrer, owner, boss, policeman, milkman wouldn’t have done that. How can you even mention such a thing? that person is driven away. is the pretense, illusion, whatever (it’s difficult to impossible under the circumstances to know which) a bootstrap in making the impossible arch begin to happen? termites can’t build arches, they have all those arches only because they behave as if they could build arches.
correspondence. how little there is of it in so many things that we’re not allowed to notice.
ditto that Eng. tv math guy pointing out how the computer, stupid as a bug, is programmed to treat you as though you’re the idiot. First time I ever sat at one, Don’s Sinclair, I knew I didn’t know what to do, but he had invited me to play, had said I couldn’t hurt it. He hadn’t warned me that it could hurt me. Generous and free, or sadistic? Something comes on this tiny screen which I assumed was a prompt and so it was. I don’t know: what do computer’s do? Math, for sure, but I don’t care about that. I had been invited to study PL1 at NYU in 1964 or 5: the professor had said programming wasn’t done in English, but that PL1 was deliberately close. For the convenience of liberal arts people. Anyway, I think at the sinclair, well I’ll just type something and watch it come up on the screen. Feel the keys. So I press these awful little electric points, not keys or buttons, my usual phrase: Now is the time … etc, see the end of the line, hit return, my typewriter habit, and the screen drops what I’ve done and says: SYNTAX ERROR.
Imagine shoving that in the face of a typist, Eng major, poet, writer?
Imagine going to an alien planet, inviting your host to talk in his own language, and the screaming syntax error at him, even though you had no idea what he was saying or how he was saying it. Now the sinclair hadn’t invited me to use it, Don had. But still, the Sinclair didn’t say “That’s not a syntax which I recognize in my language which is BASIC.” It said SYNTAX ERROR. What could it refer to but what I had just done? It doesn’t even know English. It’s famous for not knowing English. And I had asked Don if I could just type on it. He said something about not having a word processing program, but go ahead. He hadn’t answered me in English either. But I had understood the go ahead part.
Footnotes. students are told to footnote every reference. What correspondence does one find there with the practice of real scholars. They seldom do so. False scholars, ministers and such never do, except in the narrow area of their familiarity. They’ll talk about Nietzsche and Sartre without reference but give full support with Hebrews 11,1 or John 1,1. Or are we all false scholars in that sense? What professor ever footnotes Aristotle on ethics or scientist Aristotle on physics or something without simply making a generalization. a general culture reference. easily checked? checkable, but not easily. say you’ve never read Aristotle. but it sounded like Ethics. You accept translations as ok. You begin with the Nicomachian, etc. You read, you don’t find it. Different translation, you misunderstood, you misread? Twenty years later, you’ve read it all. Still haven’t found it. Now you’re not too sure you remember the exact original quote, having invented your own considerably more sophisticated standards of scholarship as you go. You’ve read it twice. Did he have it wrong? He’s dead now. You can’t go back to him. He’s not dead, he became president of the university, dictator of the world, all on misquoting Aristotle, but now you can’t expose him, because he’s dictator of the world on the basis of his Aristotle scholarship, you’re not a scholar of Aristotle; no one knows what you’ve been doing. You invite comparison with the original. You’re dragged to court. No one has time for that. Who’s the authority anyway.
It’s all trust. We believe as if our sources were trustworthy. Footnotes are given only where we are being rhetorically scrupulous, where one side or the other, we or our audience doesn’t know. Or, when we are practicing. But practicing we don’t know what, or it couldn’t be presented more honestly to us. Do these five finger exercises. They can’t likely be music, but they are technique, without which you can’t play our technically oriented kind of music: composer to automaton. Our mental currents are alternating. We know it’s all fraud, but it’s all we have, and don’t upset my balance. why can’t a liar at least tell the truth about his lying?
or are we not termites? they do it right and we’ve missed it altogether. we’re about to be swept away, but don’t tell us. we’re too busy being immortal.
You know that you’ve been declared the alien when someone asks you to prove something; they certainly don’t place the same obligation on themselves. Ok, judge, I’ll prove where I was on the night of the 4th as soon as you prove to me that … n: you’ve capable of judging proof, now I have here a certain test designed by the psych people at blah blah. I’ll show you proof, I was appointed by Mahoney when he was tight with Tweed, now think that over for the next twenty years at hard labor.
tragedy tells truths about our relationship to the cosmos: fate, the transcendental, the order of things, sacrament, …
comedy can tell mundane truths. a needed relief from the majority of our fiction which is neither. But is the tinted mirror we wish to look in, the lies we wish to tell, the political influencing we wish to do. some detective show just on, two detectives visit some magicians. it was all rather Perry Mason like, miners and rich tramps acting civilized and quaint at the same time. blue collars with middle class manners. thank you, Mr Mason and Miss so and so.
But comedy does accents without the pretense. Oi vey, what a terrible lining, Buddy Hackett’s old jewess says to the flasher. you couldn’t have that bit of cultural flash on Simon and Simon.
attitude. it was the kids around 305 RSD, ie the kids from WE Av, hanging around with their keys jangling like janitors, from whom I first heard the word “attitude” stand alone. You’ve got an “Att-i-tude.” What could this be but a syncope of “attitude problem”? Namely, vis a vis some profession or institution which the young find themselves unaccountably enslaved to, serving, or doing time with. Preeminently, the school. How inconsiderate of the young not always to be fully cooperative in being cut open, molded, deprived of freedom of motion, noise, pissing when they need to, showing daring or hostility, etc. on inspiration. No, don’t express yourself just now, Johnny, I’m talking. Questions can come in a minute. Don’t wriggle now, Johnny, I’m sticking this needle into you. Now, Johnny, now. Now you’re on the playing field, be as daring as you want. But don’t cross the fence.
Now the girl who said to someone that they had an att-i-Tude, said it with mock chastisement, with admiration, etc., all of which could still easily enough turn into official aggrievement in a few years when she works for some hospital, the police, the mayor’s office, the school. If the girl was 15 then, she’s close to 30 now.
Or, she’s at home raising her own problems, and probably finding less to admire in her husband, whose “attitude” will keep him forever in only one kind of advancement. Or she dumped him or was dumped by him, and now has her own attitude to contend with.
Raising kids in New York, a city designed by commerce: we don’t have time to consider the consequences of anything, just prod, and then scoop the money as it flows. You gotta keep scooping, cause you’re surrounded by others scooping it away from you, scooping what you’ve scooped. You’ve gotta let them, cause they can pry you away from the trough altogether. Shit, all I scooped this year was $60,000. And all that got scooped from me. I’ll never move over to the east side at this rate.
Dental assistant told me a sample or two yesterday of the “funny” dental stories she has for me. Patients in the navy who sat in the chair the wrong way. How do doctors put up with patients who haven’t been properly trained in sitting still while you cut holes in their head? It’s an endless wonder how stupid the other class of people always is.
Socrates argued that his society had a right to will his death without his resenting it too much. Socrates was a leisured member of a slave labor based economy, a democracy of the male slave owners, within which he had been fomenting against the democracy in favor of a return to tyranny. Should one of the slaves feel the same yielding of vital rights?
You don’t have time for that sort of rationalizing when it’s the pride of lions that’s decided that it’s thirsty while you’re at the water hole. Or those same lions that are hungry while you’re wandering around on the same territory. The question is: are you edible? tasty? easy to catch? worth it? There’s always a risk, even that particular dandelion might turn out to be poisonous. Even the water in the water hole. Worrying about that when it’s all there is or when you can’t know is pointless. Doesn’t mean it can’t be true. But the odds are against it. Or you wouldn’t be here.
(Socrates and St Thomas Aquinas both are examples of intellect based in its own semantics: I find it wonderful that Lem’s Golem XIV is back to being of the same sort. It doesn’t experiment except by reading for information gathered by others and then ruminating and digesting. And checking out what gets processed. Pretty much what I do too. I don’t experiment. I think of experiments, but never perform them. Except by living.)
What I love about my assumption/deduction about the school finding young with “attitude problems,” abbreviated to “attitude” is that it assumes no attitude or attitude problem on its own part. The doctor has a right to operate, the patient’s only right is to behave while being operated on. The city has a right to kill whole ecologies to house the scooping, the dying ground has no right to quake. The school has a right, a holy quest to separate the managers from the slaves, and to begin discouraging the will-be slaves from any too vital interests as early as possible. Management and worker will both produce and will both consume, as long as the production and consumption is defined narrowly enough. All other thirsts must be trained into semantic will-o’wisps. You want freedom of motion, you don’t care about danger, you want to break rules, infringe on others? good, hope to win the lottery and buy a Porsche. Don’t worry, the real possibility of that happening is so low, that even though it will happen, again and again, those it happens to will never have time or skill to communicate to those who haven’t won the lottery that you still won’t have freedom of motion. That winning the Porsche doesn’t suddenly put you in Nevada before traffic. A free site at the Salt Flats doesn’t come with it. Nor does a pit crew. Try and buy one and your lottery winnings won’t last a month.
People dream of having enough money. Who but a poor man has ever had even close to enough money? Howard Hughs died without having enough money. Or why was he trying to borrow $35million? To buy back TWA. Would that then have been enough? For how long? Imagine being able to buy anything you want to. Sure. I’d like my car fixed. Insured. Be able to pay for gas rent, and a little better food. CompuServe. Why not then cable tv too? A bigger synth with more rhythms? Bigger sound? A series of piano lessons. And how about a sail board? A trailer with a bigger fridge. A sink I could do dishes in. A bigger trailer. Then air conditioning. A shadier site in a park with more trees. A few new disks. Then another couple of hundred to see what these agent scams are about. Gee, I just spent $10,000. Then I’d want something else. Say I had another $100,000. Last time I had $100,000 it didn’t last 6 months. And what did I have at the end of it except a system demanding more alcohol? And did I even buy a thing for myself. A coat and suit, but that was for the expo. Oh, yes. golf clubs, two lessons, and a locker for the season.
This time, I wouldn’t do anything but make sure I could work for the rest of my life. But I’m already doing that without the $10,000 or $100,000. I’m as healthy as anyone has a right to wish at 50.
And the advantages are inestimable. Poverty keeps the women away. Staying alone keeps the women away. Two decades of fucking my brains out, and only one son as the issue. Half a dozen supreme ecstasies I can recall. Martha, a couple. Gretchen, one. Can’t even remember their names. Ah, Eleanor. I could almost measure the come by the deciliter as it flowed down her throat and my erection not wavering in the slightest. No cessation, no slowing on her part. But even she had a snag. The most wonderful cuny, but something around her clitoris always made me feel like I was slitting my tongue on a razor blade. An ass to build a city on.
But what do I remember when I remember Martha? The first time, yes. The morning light through her pubic hair on Malibu. Her “dying to eat” me within a second of her being sure I had plunged the car off the cliff at Big Sur. The week before, the lights of LA spread below us. Mostly I remember the time she reached down to hold me, just before I came, and a giggle filled the room. 6 am, and her daughter had sneaked in to watch. Who knew how long she had been standing there looking up our coo?
So, I think, what would it have been like, if it had been Laura, touching me, and not Martha? That would have been funny, me starting to come, and Martha wondering why, her own hand not there yet, a signal between us. Could her touch possibly be anything but wretched? Her mother’s being supreme? You’ll never know, will you?
The next day or so, at breakfast, Laura making great show of looking at the Picasso book. That’s what I like, she said, fingering one of the blue period beach portraits. Jabbing the penis, to remove any ambiguity. No, I don’t think so.
What satisfaction would I be likely to get from any woman I could meet now even if I had money? Not another Dyan. She came along last year all by herself. It was my leisured poverty that enabled us to meet. Debbie? Brooks? Brooks a few ecstasies, but then like the rest, a labor. Shit, do I really have to fuck her again? Tonight? And tomorrow?
Balzac said that a night of love cost four good pages of a novel. With me, it’s probably more like a paragraph, but still. Course, if my id file were marketable, I might be half way toward him. Just for these couple of years. Volume, if not quality. But surely he didn’t keep the same quality all the time either. First page or two I ever read of Balzac: holy, Jesus. I know. It was the point about young men in Pere Goriot. After that: yeah, Balzac.
You don’t marry a fuck, you marry a life. And what life would I possibly want to be married to? Margaret Mead? What would she possibly want with me? Especially when she’s dead.
How about Emily Dickinson? Would she have any idea what my themes were? I know hers. I believe I do. Then how come the line you identify with her was written by Vaughan? “I saw Eternity the other night”?
Last night, I start a Terry Carr anthology from 1974 or so. The theme of the alien. An introduction I would have been proud to write six years ago. Then I read the stories. What sophomoric shit. No wonder Terry Carr didn’t have any idea what I was up to in 1984.
Dick, harping on one thing at every opportunity where he brings it up. Why say “proctologist”? I should say ass doctor when it’s doctors talking? Bad example, since med terminology is not my point at all? Ah, but epistelomological terminology is, and that’s harder. More rare, more important. In other words, literature has been taken over on the production and consumption side by those who don’t want to learn. No, yesterday’s pabulum for the mind, like today’s pabulum for the body. Try to suggest something of the cosmos? Oh no, we don’t even want to know as much of the world as is shoved at us. Shove the japanese at us and we’ll redouble our efforts against jews and n-words (Bowdlerizing K. 2016 07 31). what’s an iranian? an organized n-. damn right you’d better be frightened.
What a time I had the other day trying to give away my excess of hot peppers. Oh, no, we can’t eat that. Thanks anyway.
ss: unpublished writer kidnaps publisher right within his own office, holds gun on him, ordering him to read short MS. Choices: be shot in belly, agree to publish story and to consider other material, not just a yes, but a detailed plan, just plain royalty ok, uh, no gotta be some cash token of seriousness, or explain why wouldn’t publish it not under duress, who would, why, why not, etc. uh oh, gotta go to the john.
forty year span of rejection letters, no correspondence with the stories or with established principles of criticism, sometimes form, sometimes just a line, sometimes long, irrelevant, erroneous critique, sometimes request for more examples, finally turning back into A. lives chaste existence, no movies, no nothing that costs time or money. teeth fall out, bloody stool, heart palps, autob and then some, what the hell, make them pay at the very least. what the crime? not publishing you? hell, no. passing for, not denying attributions of, being a literary bulwark, while literature is pissed away in favor of 3 to thirty channel think. Simplify the human group nervous system? Hey, great, why not? Just don’t call it wrong names and still call yourself literate.
Bluffs way into big shot’s office. alone. pulls gun. one of two things gonna happen. you read this out loud to me right now or I shoot you. If 2, then it’s be in the belly, famous for pain and sometimes mortality as well. Being already shot will not preclude being shot again. If 1, then gun against kidney, your arms up and elbows to the side, you tell your secretary you are not to be disturbed, no phone calls, no exceptions.
Pub answers, when civ ever anything else? when was the map accurate, the naming honest? when was any quotidienne establishment ever open to self criticism or outside criticism? after a disaster doesn’t count, not then quotidienne. When was all genius or near genius or we’re not sure, we’d better not throw it out anyway ever exposed to much light? Oh, then why the self-congratulation, will way business, if it’s all luck with those holding cards allowed to manipulate the odds? When was that ever different?
BHC: first thing an AI would have to be taught to pass for anything like intelligent, would be to lie, to bluff, to pretend that the ambiguous means only the politically dominant thing of the moment. why, of course you’re free, have rights, are all equal, have a self independent of your gender earlier than quite old age (once or twice I’m met or heard about old women and old men who were actually simply human, objective, meaning not at all simply human) … couldn’t just blurt out SYNTAX ERROR. (of course there i’m slipping into my hobbyhorse about BASIC, the computer simply not understanding what you say in English just about not matter what you say. here i’m assuming a computer competent in the natural language, but in the only way competence is possible, by very narrow focus and biased if not short attention span.
for yourself alone, and not your yellow hair, AI goes and looks up person, human, etc. can’t find any example of human organism of no gender.
Last night, bed early enough. Then head pouring out stuff. Ordinarily get up and load TPlus. No, must sleep in cooler night and be up and about or gone in hot day. Must. Head really pours, poems, total epistemological clarities, whys and wherefores. Ideas for Beg, for BHC, for Mod, for things not yet begun. Five hours sleep, and all gone. Not a wisp. At least I’m up, tired or not.
FL! Scorpius so high in the sky!
The shitty UHF channels the least effected by the Plus or by the Yamaha, so, if I want fuzz in the background, but still to have some minimal discernment of what the fuzz might be supposed to be, I have UHF on. Perry Mason. I’ve probably seen more Raymond Burr in the last couple of week than I saw in all the fifties. Tonight especially nice. Perry made an actually nice little speech about epistemology, the necessity of human trust. He didn’t say so much that it was trustworthy, only that at some point we have nothing but to trust it. But what I particularly thought for the nth time, was how funny it is: Perry shows everybody that the DA has been wrong, the police have been wrong, everybody has been wrong about everything. Twenty-five people in the court room turn out to have committed the murder that they’ve all been sitting around watching little Jimmy being tried for. Witnesses have lied. The judge is a schmuck. Hamilton Berger and Lt Tragg, bat zero again. They’ve accused the wrong guy. Do they apologize? Do they fold up shop and declare that their business is a fraud? Do they ask Perry to rewrite the constitution? To take the bench and just tell everything about what’s what? No. Right on to the next fraud.
Funny thing is: I’m sure it was Perry Mason that made me first aware of the medium/message, forces from the writer/director. Beth was watching. I walk across the room. I’m aware that somebody’s being tried for something. I’m aware that they can’t possibly have done it, but that the real guilty party is in the court, will have appeared on the stand. Beth is trying to figure it all out, probably paying attention to evidence, motive, whatever. I know nothing about it. I just walk across the room and say, “He did it.” The climax comes and Beth is furious. How did I know? I wasn’t paying attention. Because the camera was on him for a half a second too long, for no good reason, I don’t remember, only that there was a force. Pick a card, any card … and the deuce of diamonds is in your hand. Gee, how did the magician find my deuce of diamonds again after all that shuffling. Or pull it out from behind my ear. Number and suit have nothing to do with it; it’s just the force. But, if it was Perry Mason, now I can find no trace of it. Now I watch enough of them for the force to be invisible to me too. Or do they have lots of forces, all false, all mcguffins, and I just happened by coincidence to walk past one of them. Happened to be the right one, and I got a false reinforcement. Not wrong in principle, just in the particular.
Ah ha! tube ad. Jack Nicholson in a Batman movie! If he muggs half as much as Witches, it’s wonderful.


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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