id21

/ Journal /

previous save 6/29/89
Alnilam: waited 6 months after I first realized that Dickey had done another to spend the precious $5. 300 pp before I think it’s even possibly great or even merely good. another 300 before I find a passage I’m tempted to mark, then suddenly page after page, all the stuff developed so leisurely, becomes potent, though I’m still not sure all that significant beyond the repetitions. Now I’m 700 odd pages into it. I’m still not sure how good it is. But very tempted to include that fact that I can’t stop reading it as evidence of its quality. I want to say before finishing it, that I like very much the ordinary, vulgar, and repellent qualities of Cahill’s heroism and that of his son. But then the army is an obvious crock too. What are we supposed hope happens? Joel be alive, be reunited, ie meet for the first time? have his alnilam horseshit turn out to mean something? his group grow, take over the universe, replace the army? where was I when this was happening? would they be Krishnas or Nazis.
I love how Dickey shows us his boyhood reading material. EC comics. Fine. what I read too. among other things.
best is Cahill’s insulin overdose in the woods, every previous repetition a sinew.
They look for J in zuggurat
89 announcers telling stories about Cool Papa, the bastards. we know we’re illegitimate. how deep is the illegitimacy? The Major Leagues. Ha. But they endure. Until what they are has been forgotten. Then they’re not, they’re transformed. No one remembers. Except in so far as we all remember. i think the depths of our dishonesty is given away by our readiness to be reprogrammed as soon as we see that it’s serious. my ease at seeing non symmetrical relationships in music today; when it’s way too late to be musical from the performance end. but performers make theoreticians with great difficulty. Clearly Bach is good, for those ages who think so, clearly, the Beetles have people excited, for those people who are excited. Why is it so hard to see basic pattern as basic pattern, and then impossible if it gets deep enough? Pretty girl looking at a shell, a flower, good looking guy looking at her. Who can explain the beauty of the girl let alone the shell, let alone the significance of her looking at it, the beauty of the guy, the beauty, the significance of his looking at her. And at her looking.
I just play B- Minuet. !!! a long-time favorite piece of mine, fumbled through many times, since I first bought the Bach book for recorder, part of what made me buy the flute, and suddenly, for the first time, I see it! Suddenly, the B means something and the minor means something. B is the root, C# the second, D natural the third, etc.
Immediately, I can transpose it into any key! B is nice. Maybe
B is best, but look, here, G instead. C. D! A!
I pick out Milestones, starting on C. I have the first several measures anyway. Ok, what other key might it be just as good in, or actually played by Miles in? Instantly, I can now, first time ever, glance at the key board, not bother to glance, but to picture it’s regularities within its non-symmetry. CDE, three “whole” steps in a row. Move to F or G on the white keys and you’ll have the same situation, at least for those first three notes. Next in sequence will be different no matter where you are.
levitation: epis scotch tape
Schiz. interpr. war rhetoric and then horror at fatality. what place do real bombs, real rapes, real mutilations have in all our talk? Surprise, here’s a real consequence! Punks: do anything? Oh yeah? howbout killing you for starters?
Republican woman libber on tube. heads some Madeira school. MacLean VA. wants her girls to become interrupters. talking about her girls taking their PROPER place in society, in the market place, having power and wealth due them.
advertisers sell by promising you “your FAIR SHARE” of the market.
I’ve just been pulling vines again. Seeing the shower of dead wood fall down on my head. Dangerous to do it, more dangerous to look at it while doing it. Dangerous not to look.
suddenly also I remember Ravage’s disgust, trying grad school in advertising or publishing or something. Some big name comes in, pushing direct mail. “hit them in the eye” this star of freedom of speech says. How can we see what we’re doing and not hope that we do get hit in the eye. Cahill, blind among the propellers. Who can not puke?
I don’t want the wealth to be generated and then hoarded by men, or by Englishmen, or by Christians, or by Americans. Neither do I care if Mexicans get as much, or women or children or paraplegics or dogs or chimpanzees or smart people. Ivy leaguers. I don’t care. I want to live and for there to be other life too, lots of other life. Sure, we should have air and water and shelter and even luxury, whatever we can invent. An infinity of non-things to occupy ourselves with: power, respect, sons in college, titles, I don’t care.
Yet something’s terribly wrong. Shouldn’t our language mean something? “fair” “share” “proper”? If it’s fair, if it’s proper, how can it be withheld from anyone? Not just Madeira school girls. Or Harvard Business school, or Wharton, men. or coeds. Or is it fair only to Madeira school girls and not to non Madeira school girls? or is it fair only to those who learn to interrupt? Then how come it was ever fair that the polite get it in another time? Is there any difference between the head mistress’s talk and Rod Steiger’s “we’re entitled … if we can take it, we’re entitled”? I wish there were such a thing, politically agreed upon and actually empowered as fair, share, proper.
What happens if everyone interrupts? What happens if everyone is polite? Turn into Lapland reindeer. Fine as long as nothing bad happens. But something bad always happens if you wait long enough.
How about a political language in which we agree: 90% are males bred to be polite; 10% bred for savagery. the 10% denied employment but maintained just the same: Sorry, you can’t come to the party, but you’re our insurance policy. Actually, just our plain genes are our insurance policy. Trouble is, there’s built-in conservatism there, but built-in change too. Freeze some sperm and some eggs? What good will that do if the lab disappears in the trouble? Or the technicians. What the fuck are all these tubes? Smash.
Or how about different societies trying different strategies. Ok, you guys have 40% wildmen and 90% tame women. Children with no rights till their 13. We’ll try children with no rights till they’re 35. But 0% wildmen and 0% tame women. We have no tungsten, but you’ll let us have some of yours. You have little fresh water. We’ll trade.
If anyone could pay attention long enough, and if everybody understood what they were doing or were disciplined regardless, we might learn something. But there I am again, talking about the conscious mind. Valuing it, wishing we had it. Maybe it’s the very best thing that we don’t. That we can’t pay attention to our experiments. That the mix is really mixed. Trust the chaos. That only nature, if anything, pays complete attention, doesn’t forget, varies the mix, accepts the results.
The trouble is our tendency to think that evolution has a direction. Well, I believe it does. My skepticism in the matter is always short-lived. Unstable. “optimism” is the default setting. You consciously reset it, but it defaults back. Go to sleep thinking neither positive nor negative, and wake up assuming positive again. I’ve unlearned the “assume we’re the best, we’re the point of it all, we’re what everything else has always striven to be, we have nowhere left to go” part, but I still believe, see evidence for, find the mechanism explained by GB, & by Hoyle, that evolution has a direction and that the direction of local entropy is also the direction of overall negentropy: formally optimism. things getting better. what should be complex getting complex, what should be simple getting simple.
It’s hard both to see the real possibility of our sterilizing everything, diseasing everything, not only using up the egg, killing the goose, falling off the wall, but killing the farm, the kingdom, and the woods and the ocean as well. Well, maybe not killing it all, but killing the part we’re closest related too. Mammals don’t have much of a chance. Cats and dogs, fine, as long as we’re around taking care of them. Cows, as long as they’re confined in stalls, continents despoiled to keep certain grasses in their trough. And also see that as positive. Though sometimes I manage. Maybe Golem can’t have his kingdom until the entire earth is one radioactive sheet of fused glass without even cockroaches. The greedy yeast make the beer. They’re trying to make more yeast, what they actually make is beer. The beer that kills them.
I agree with Fuller, though I hadn’t thought so before hearing him say it, that man has always lived on the edge of the cliff. That that’s no different today. That we’re not likely to be any more secure tomorrow. But saying so, he wasn’t at all saying that we couldn’t still fall off it. We’ve been lucky. We’ve been skillful too, That’s been part of our luck. But the game isn’t fixed. There’s no glue holding us. No safety net if we go.
Cousteau had that great program which he ended on a reef crawling with crabs. He showed a doll being crawled over by the crabs. A world without people but plenty of crabs, inheriting the earth, and the human garbage while it lasts. The doll nothing to them. Not even food. Something to crawl over, looking past it. I have nothing against the trilobites doing well for 250 millions years. But somehow that’s not how I see the future.
Funny. I grew up thinking the world couldn’t make it to 1950, then to 1960, then to 1970, not putting any particular year on it, just not giving us much chance. Then it’s 1989 and we’re still here. Of course, I was thinking of atomic bombs. I had other baroque and ecological worries as well. I’ll never forget standing on Sunrise Highway as a kid and watching the Coca Cola plant go up in flames. Still the biggest fire I’ve ever seen. Or the biggest seeming fire. Things always big to a little kid. So maybe the Everglades fire this winter was bigger. But everybody else is standing there too, thinking whatever. Wow, look. Or all that money. Or I hope it doesn’t spread. Who besides me was thinking: it’s burning up all the oxygen: how are we going to breathe? So now I know that there’s lots of oxygen. That it would be hard to burn it all up. The least of our dangers. As a kid, I couldn’t understand why the teacher who showed us these things didn’t seem worried herself. She hadn’t digested what she was saying. Just textbook stuff, stuff for kids, nothing to do with life. I went around crushing discarded cigarettes, even with my bare feet, so the air wouldn’t be wasted.
It wasn’t until 1968 and Cole’s article in the NYT that I saw worry everywhere, that I started to think of radioactivity as secondary, the least of our problems. (All the more so, because of the virulence of the cold war, smoldering away in poor Vnam.
GBS’s we triple lock the front door, while the enemy swarms in from where we don’t even have a back wall.)
Now actually, that might be so. Even our fucking lunatic leaders are trying to wriggle back from the brink a bit. That doesn’t mean we still can’t fall off. That doesn’t make us safe. But a little safer, maybe. The danger isn’t escalating quite as exponentially.
Now Bush is saying things about the environment. A new phase of rhetoric. The rhetoric that accuses all previous rhetorics of being rhetoric. Could we see 2009? Could another 20 years be survived and rhetoric actually mean something by then? Why not? We’ve survived the brinks of the last 45,000 years. And the couple of million before that. And the 4,000,000,000 before that. And the 16,000,000,000 before that. Except that we haven’t. We’re not even the same creatures as 45,000 years ago. Something else survived, us, and we call it the same. The future won’t be us, but it may be thinking there’s a continuum. There may be. How real are continua? How much perceptual?
So what would be wrong with wiping the slate clean? Whoops, ok earth, ok nature, ok any bacteria, if there are any left: start again. Or don’t bother. Why repeat a mistake? If 4,600,000,000 years couldn’t come up with any better consciousness than that, … Maybe it’s something in the sun; they’re doing much better around Mirfak.
barbarians always taking over, the good always dying young, the bad always rising, beauty always supplanted by ugliness? Yet, I note with GB, beauty still exists, there is still good, still old, still young, still more as well as less civilized (positive meaning, not my usual).
Klingon proverb, vengeance is a dish best served cold, Ricardo Montleban Wrath of Khan says. What nice evidence of psychic unity, that these aliens not only act like renaiss. europeans, but have the same folk lore, the identical clichés.
I watch Khan for third time, one first run, one I forget where, and here on fuzzy tube. It’s still far and away my favorite, ie best tolerated, Star Trek, but it’s slipping. Leonard Niemoy is either a very skilled actor or the stupidest actor among thousands of competitors, for being able to deliver Spock’s horseshit lines. Logic dictates that the good of the many must be served over the good of the few, he says. No body argues, snorts, explains the difference between logic and undefined convention to him.
I love s-f to consider the alien. I hate the ubiquity of sf today. What it means is that the only aliens you can find are of a very comfortable, domestic variety.
The Genesis machine. Maybe I listened more carefully this time. it seems that they use an alien physics to make an alien life. molecular life. why? could it be that the author just doesn’t know any physics or chemistry and wanted to sound impressive? If your garden variety sf drives me nuts, what must it do to an Asimov?
water conservation talk. desalinization of brackish water etc. energy intensive, forget about trying real sea water, disposal problems, etc. we come along, waste water like crazy, then make it expensive for everybody. George the Seminole never uses more than 5 gals of fresh water a week, for drinking, cooking, washing, etc. He may use millions of gallons while fishing but he’s using the same water as the bass and in much the same ways under those circumstances. Passing his canoe over it doesn’t harm it much. It’s still there, after he’s gone by. But all of a sudden he’s going to have to pay big bucks for his same 5 gallons. Others wasted his and the bass’s while they were wasting theirs and destroying the aquifer.
Where did you learn to eat? You’re like a woman, Becky asked me. I wish it had been from Jackie, if not from Shiela.
Funny, the first woman to tell me I made love like a woman was Alan’s Carol, at 112th St. No kissing there. Just dick and finger tips. I was shocked most at the double idea that a 21 or so year old Vassar girl should have such an experience and be willing to admit it. I didn’t even realize at first that it was a compliment. I was less shocked, still a little surprised though, at Becky’s experience. As Phil says, from his Carol, every female is a potential dyke. I now remember, Vassar Carol had one of the two hugest pussies I’ve ever been lost in. What was the other’s name, the junky Lev introduced me to. Tamara. Like fucking empty air. If I was wandering around in space, what would another guy be?
Still, she reminds me of all the funny ways life has of balancing, things coming back around. curlicue coastlines. I though she was gorgeous once I’d given her a bath and wiped the caked saliva and crud from her lips. So I wasn’t careful who I fucked every single time. I make a statement, think I’m telling the truth, and then think of an exception. That time was really stupid. another exception with buts: I knew she was a whore. I just wasn’t fucking her as a whore. No money involved, I was doing her a favor. Actually, Lev a favor. And now I remember, I’d started with no intention of fucking her at all. Lev asked if I’d help her out, she needed a place to stay for a few days. Sure. Good guy. Tiny place, E 4th St. The Garden of Eden, said so on the canopy, and a naive mural visible from the street to prove it. Only the one bed. I wasn’t going to sleep on the floor. neither was I going to let her near me till I had cleaned her up. Only time I’ve ever bathed a girl where I didn’t strip and jump in too. Neither did I spend too much time soaping out her ass and pussy, something I normally like to do. Maybe cause I was just getting my arm in the water. She tells me in a little apologetic voice that she’s modest about her tits and I lend her a tee shirt for the night. Suddenly she lays it on me that I’m to monitor her dosage of yellows. She’s trying to get off the junk. That’s why she couldn’t stay with Merianthe and her kids for those few days. Sure again. And please don’t fuck me till I’m straight. Sure. Went to bed meaning it. She nestles her ass against me. Unconsciously while asleep, deliberately, I don’t know. I don’t even get a hard on at first. There was nothing erotic in my bathing her. She was disgusting. Just clean her up a bit. But my dick started thinking that that was a really nice ass pressing against it. I hadn’t thought so before in the light, her legs and hips all covered with bruises and black and blue marks. It practically found its own way in. No resistance. No nothing. The Lurray Caverns. She wakes up and cooperates. I don’t know how I even came. Anyway, I start to see over the next couple of days how beautiful she is. Or she became beautiful. Rebecame. I fed her. She was healing. Gorgeous dark haired girl. Out of shape but good genes. Young enough not to be a total sack of untoned flesh. The next time I bathe her, she’s putting black stuff in her hair. What are you doing? Toning up the dye. Turns out she’s a natural blond. Sure enough, her pussy hair isn’t blond, but it sure isn’t jet either. She shows me an old picture. Christ. She’s Clarissa and Pamela and Laura. Just what all the Hollywood whores were trying to imitate and insult while imitating: Harlow and Monroe and Mae West and Dolly Parton. Even a blond today would have to use bleach in Hollywood.
It turns out that this girl’s father is mayor of Portland Oregon. She hates him. That’s why she’s a junky, a whore, haunting the ghettos, the mother of n-word (Bowdlerizing K. 2016 07 31) twins. And why she dyes her hair jet black.
The next thing I know she’s screaming for more yellows. I’m sorry I’d agreed to handle any for her. She made me pledge to give her no more than x no matter what she said, now she’s screaming that she needs more, to forget what she’d said, that it was my fault, I had no idea what she was going through, I’m such a bastard … I don’t remember whether I threw her out or whether she left as soon as she saw she wasn’t going to get her way. So I see her a week later. Now she really is gorgeous. I’m staring at her pussy and really lusting for her. She knows it and she’s torturing me. Why? I had already been in that pussy and knew better. Sticking it out the window of a moving train would be more stimulating. But there it was. Ouch, that crotch, as she spread her jean clad legs, staring me right in the face. The ass was every bit what it had been. Maybe that’s where I should have put it.
So she’s gorgeous. Did she really get herself straight, or does she look healthy because she’s not, back riding horse again, but not yet covered with her own yesterday’s drool? I doubt it was anything but the latter. I kicked myself in the ass and got away from there. Damn lower east side. Everybody else in that apartment was driving me crazy too. NYU yo-yos.
Now I remember what I did with the yellows. Which ever way the quitting or leaving went, I refused to give her the pills. I sure didn’t want them. Being a good Calvinist, and also someone who didn’t steal, I took the plastic bottle over to Merianthe’s place, said these are supposed to go the Tamara, x a day, but I’m not doing it anymore. For her sake, I hope they’ll be turned over to someone who’ll be strict. I come back to Merianthe’s a few hours later, hoping for news. Is Tamara ok? Sure couldn’t find out from Merianthe. She was passed out on the floor. The empty bottle was in her hand. We thought she was dead. Good for her. She wasn’t though. They, not me, got her to a hospital and a pump, etc.
tv talk: gal cooks worms with garlic, first compares them to escargot, then agrees they’re pretty awful. gives dandelion recipe all cream. Letterman says, but they’re bitter. she agreed! probably hadn’t considered season, or boiled it twice. First time I cooked dandelion, it was Aug. Absolutely don’t eat after spring, the book said. So I boiled it twice. Not a thing wrong with it. No bitterness. Then Letterman says that the cream would make anything taste good, or pass. She agreed there too. What kind of a dandelion recipe was that?
then talk about trying what you find. never eat anything unless you’re absolutely sure of it. that was the advice no doubt being followed, however unconsciously by the people who froze and starved in the wilderness pass, practiced cannibalism, and still starved. Surrounded by food. Yeah, but the canned beans and peaches had run out. The surgeon general wasn’t there to tell me I could pee. so we all died. I said, mother may I, and heard no answer. I wrote Washington. So we all died.
ss: careful star explorers, guidelines aplenty. build hermetic civ. die. next generation helpless.
Snowstorm in the Sunshine. Heizenberg. Tampa tv exposing Tampa drug running. The addicts are shown, the dealers are shown, police are interviewed. Now there’s a panel: cops, legislators, the governor … and the tv newspeople, concerned, innocent, not knowing shit until they ask the question and nod solemnly at the expert answer. Everyone in the audience is labeled: addict, ex-addict three years, etc. The Morton Downey show a bit sanitized. But here’s Gail Shierens, concerned, objective, a different species. Not Morton, he’s a participant. I got no tattoo, but here’s pussy; I know about that.
The enforcement people go quickly to upper limit concepts, ceilings on their ability to postpone: supply side attack should switch to demand side. the head has failed, but is still put at the top. money is appealed to. we’re a sovereign nation, we don’t want our borders breached. but if our borders are breached repeatedly, and have been, and their budgets ineffective, then what does sovereign mean?
cops blame judges.
war metaphor bandied about. huh? oh, bomb the farms in somebody else’s sovereign nation, they mean. violate their sovereignty? then what kind of sovereignty do they expect themselves to have? the same kind they’ve already admitted to: none. yet the appeal is still made only to failed ceilings, pass the buck and appeal to another dethroned metaphor.
the medium overwhelmingly coaching what it’s permitted to accuse and what isn’t. Yet the fair targets are changing like crazy. This program is mired in helplessness, and yet radically different from the same crap of last decade or the decade before.
Data of crack babies, Children’s Hospital budget, costs, etc. Statistics about “white” people. So what mask now are the newsfolks hiding behind? None. But still hiding.
Invariances still. How to get excluded from the show’s air time fast: don’t share their ceilings. Don’t share their solemnity.
I’m watching a three decade swing away from supply side, without the point of three decades ago yet being addressed. No surprise why that sovereignty got pushed in so fast.
The evaporation of the value of money as much the focus of the show as anything, still the appeal. no money, no funds, treatment, hospitals, staffs, professional this and that.
1956. Levy, Schwartzman, Heim … fairly open in their use of pot. Walk into the men’s room at a dance and there was the band, reefer in one hand, Kool in the other, the men’s room, and impenetrable cloud of mixed smokes. When they all started using whatall ever else, it was less groupy, a bit more hidden. It was 1958 before I ever saw a needle, a kit left carelessly on the piano, the cop standing in the room, and nobody thinking to hide the kit.
By 1960 I didn’t see any of those people very often. They didn’t seek me out. I didn’t cross their path. When I did, I’d be glad to see them, stupidly expecting to see the person I had once known or at least glimpsed or imagined. Myron, the genius, scary how far beyond everybody he was, us 18, him 15, now unable to complete a coherent sentence. Barely recognizing you. Anxious to get away, me not holding him past the first awful couple of seconds.
Of course, I had hoped that these people would become really good, that soon I’d be sitting in Birdland nodding to Myron at the piano there. But his music never went anywhere. It deteriorated. I never heard Heim play a bad chorus. I just stopped hearing him play. More and more education about music, less and less music. But the big world was changing too. Birdland closed, not to be replaced. Other places opened, shifted around. There was a shortlived Harlem renaissance, possibly illusory on my part, good people appearing uptown, more and more places, and then less again. The downtown clubs annoying me more and more. The Halfnote coming and going, breaking every naive promise. At least, the one exception, Mongo shows up at the Metropole here and there. Marty is on the stand. A year behind us. How did that happen?
Heim sitting in a mud puddle on Fire Island after his girl had put her hand down my drawers. He had been playing that night. I’d been sitting there telling her how great he was. I’m not his girl, she said. Huh? You just told me you were in love? Yeah, but not with him.
I never heard him play again.
Running into him on 8th St in 1965 or 66. Pale but no longer so beautiful. Totally paranoid, being followed by some girl. He comes to my apartment. I’m so happy. He’s actually listening to me a bit. Maybe he’s forgiven me. Maybe he’ll finally notice that I’m smart too. But suddenly: do I care? He seems to be stupid as hell. First I was overjoyed. For just a moment. He’s talking about mysticism. Cosmic awareness. Suddenly he has facts and figures on who’s been aware of how much and in what order with dates and Sanskrit names. He’s gotta go. How can he be found by the girl who’s chasing him if he’s here? I never did get it clear whether she was his guardian or his pusher: his fellow addict or his nurse. Both, no doubt. Heim just tuning pianos. Been years since he had touched his alto.
One night I fall into the Metropole. Marty invites me to Mongo’s table. Mongo says hello and speaks not one word more. Marty buys me a beer. Sits down to join me while I drink it, but leaves again after three seconds. One of the go-go dancers is climbing down off the stage. She’s as unattractive as a mostly naked female can be. Marty gets in her way. Don’t pull that on me, she says. Can I pull your pussy? he says, still in her way. She hooks him under the arm and off they go. I feel cheated. Coming out of the Composer room one night in 56 or 57, Myron and I are in mid-sentence. I don’t even see the woman walking toward us. Suddenly Myron has hailed a cab and is holding the door for her. See you, Paul, he says, climbing in after her. Next time I see him, he doesn’t remember it. Oh, that one, he says, the 15 year old effete. Man, he said, I’ve never had it sucked out of me like she did. Kept right on sucking and sucking after I’d come. You got $5 I can borrow?
So this night with Marty, to me a substitute, for chrisake, and he lets the girl detach her arm from his to put a coat on, out of the Metropole and into a cab, and the rest of the band with him. I get on my Yamaha and ride up Amsterdam Ave. Say, there they all are in the cab. I toot and wave. There’re all bent over some tiny thing they’ve got open in there.
So I had started here with a false juncture. That wasn’t the night I visited Marty in his Bdwy apt. But it had to be around those years. 60 something. I go in. Dark, greasy. He’d gotten a letter from Mryon, in jail in England. I feel betrayed again. All news to me. He reads it to me. “So Marty, listen to your parents. They know best. They love you and want what’s right for you.” What happened to the genius that bowled everybody over with Schopenhauer? That was no Bud Powell solo.
Suddenly Marty is talking international politics. The only way to stop drug addiction is to stop the drugs. Don’t let em in the country. And the only way to stop that is to have no country, but a world. Some gigantic black woman comes out through the beads, says something to him, and disappears. I’m not introduced. She never looks at me. Total black manners. Total Harlem grunge. We’re in this godawful kitchen with no light and grease underfoot. Grease in the walls. Marty saying he’s clean, just methadone.
How come I didn’t hear you play last time I saw you? Hadn’t played in years. Split his embouchure. Mongo maintained him. Course it was Marty who’d really put that group together and made it make music. Done the arranging. So I don’t think I’d heard Marty play since the Watermelon Man album.
First time I ever heard a bald supply side argument. Now, in 1989, official attacks on supply side arguments. They want to reverse tactics. But Marty’s point had been supranational, and therefore despairing. 1989 and they’re still talking about more laws. cops helpless but doing a good job. don’t take the law into your own hands. no, leave it in the hands of the failures. those nodes of the cancer.
It doesn’t bother me. It’s not a debate they were having but another time waster: lets pay ourselves more money and push more money around while our semantic errors eat us alive. no, not alive, sedated.
It would almost seem that having no money would be a defense until you see the countries with “no money” develop their own addictions as they process the cocoa. But then that’s nonsense. There are no countries without money. or there are, actually, people with no countries, but when we find them, like in the mountains of Cambodia, we go in there, or the Russians go in there, or the Viet Kong go in there, or the Khmer Rouge go in there and say, sorry, you can’t not have a country, you have to have one, you can’t just live in the mountains without money; either come to our city, our jail, come to need money and drugs, or we’ll kill you all right here.
What to do, Tampa asks. The answers that got the applause at the end were all other addictions. More money, treatment, proposals wholly irresponsible since they reminded no one that they would have no control over making it the way they said. Politics the ultimate irresponsibility. Either agree to our treatment or stay in jail, one woman said. Right after showing people taking treatment, getting out of jail, and falling off again. An illusion exposed as it was being woven. But even apart from that, how was it up to this woman who stayed in jail and who didn’t? Did she build the jails? Did she pay for them? Did she hold the keys? Some promise from some judge? Some group of judges? How many people ever ask a king or a president or a judge, um, ok, but before I believe you, can you show me an example of a king who ever promised anything and then had the power to keep that promise for … oh, let’s be modest, let’s just say … three hundred years? How about thirty?
Don’t let the druggies get all the money, let’s channel more to doctors, to social workers. Don’t ask them to demonstrate any large scale control. We always have to have some unexamined place to put our abused faith.
If the US said: we were wrong, we withdraw, we have no borders, no sovereignty, no superior wisdom, we’re out of business, cops, go home, people, do what you can … the drugs wouldn’t go away. the wars wouldn’t go away. the money wouldn’t go away …
But if most of us died, it would. You could lose a hundred million people on this planet. Every man who found a woman could think he was Adam and she Eve.
But that too is nonsense. People live in groups, normally. But also normally, there’s always a piece broken loose from the group. A dead group with one survivor. Ayzee. So I really mean. this 200 people thinking it’s Adam. It’s Abraham. That it’s Cain is the Cain.
So. I’m a malcontent. A very old fashion, though not in fashion right now. No: Nixon lost, but Nixon won. Just like Hitler won. To take this personally for a moment, to turn the tables on me, would I really like a world without human contact, even if I survived in it for another ten years or so? Maybe not. Maybe I’d look back to the 60s or the 70s or the 80s or the 50s with longing. I didn’t know when I had it good. So what? Why should I trust my own sentiments?
The problem is simplifiable it seems to me. It seems to me that Gregory Bateson simplified it. saw it in dealable lineaments. is it a good thing for human beings to see themselves as different from the rest of life? in some absolute, exaggerated way, ie. do human beings have any choice is this perception? It’s a delusion, not that we’re different: differences are perceptual and we’re a perceiving species. Whether or not it’s our flaw, it is our character. Irremediably?
What’s most characteristically human? all the way back to the Neanderthals? Fear of death. Is this irremediable? It certainly is pathogenic.
Mankind has broken bad habits in the past. The Irish have stabilized their population since the potato famine. Another potato famine wouldn’t have the same results, even without charity from the rest of the world. Mohammed cured his people of alcoholism. Some still sneak a drink, but it hasn’t been an epidemic with the arabs for 1,200 years. It may have been another madness that he substituted, but he did cure the alcoholism.
Alnilam is so great on cults. But you don’t know what good is going to come from a cult either. Should Mohammed have been stopped just because his houris were bullshit? You can never know what might have come from what’s been nipped in the bud. Am I suggesting that we give up gardening? Forsake having an effect on the world? Of course not. The same as I go right on being a carnivore. I don’t slaughter. But I eat what I’ve killed or what’s been grown and killed for me. I don’t apologize. I also try not to overdo it. Increasingly, beef disgusts me. I mourn the sacrifice of the jungle to beef. I hope it winds up killing us wholesale. The Coke fire couldn’t suffocate all of us, but the loss of the Amazon jungle, together with say the plankton death of the North Sea, could just do the trick. We wouldn’t even need to be cooked from no ozone.
I don’t apologize for my being in the world. For any effect I might have in it. Little enough, since anyone who signals at the outset that he’s about to talk outside the accepted ceiling will quickly be shunned.
Also, manners. The seeds of failure are in every success. Thank god. I was taught manners. I followed some, and still follow some. Therefore, anyone can interrupt me. I wait till called on more often than not. The world learns: don’t call on him. So, fuck em. You can’t help those who refuse help. I wouldn’t last three seconds on the Morton Downey show. The advantage in that zoo goes to those who are learning unmanners, new manners. Interrupt, except when we’re all obeying the silence card, shh, this man’s son, the cop, was shot and killed by druggies. But then the woman body builder comes on. And when it’s her turn, she learns to interrupt herself. Flex her buttocks. Show some snatch. Good for her. A PhD in English. Bravo. Brava.
We also never mean our kills to be fatal. We forget. The queen of Eng comes to NY and they stop traffic for her. What would Jef or Wash say? Who cares? We go to Sweden to accept the Nobel prize and say, yes, your majesty. all the fairy tales didn’t get rewritten after 1776, all princes didn’t get changed to yeomen. all kings to presidents. better not do that. these kings were human and fallible, the stuff of tragedy and magic. we can’t allow wisdom to affect a new government. John Wayne will still influence the japs.
It’s hard for someone with a memory to live in the world. The year Virginia Wade won Wimbledon and went and curtsied to Eliz, and Eliz just stood there, the stick, and me screaming, you should be bowing to her, you fucking piece of furniture. But turn on the tube, the american tube, american western, and see the old idolatries slip in. I remember Richard Boone’s Paladin entertaining some princess among the saguro cactus with the greatest respect.
The govt wants us to be willing, even anxious, slavering, to kill its enemies. Bomb them by the millions. Ok. I’ve quite changed my position from the conventional “all life is sacred” (meaning all human life not officially our enemies or economically or socially enslaved by whatever is the ascendant money making principle) to “life is sacred, and therefore human life to be mistrusted and feared.” Though there is no life without individual organisms which are alive, it is still the life and not the individual organism which is sacred.
Ourselves the enemy, the dissident disappearing into a growing alienness, quite comfortable and viable once you forget old vanities. I enjoy getting foodstamps now. I enjoy speaking English to the social worker who can’t. It was delicious to hear the one cop from Tampa try to pronounce “recidivism” on the tube tonight, the word used twice, both times by blacks who couldn’t say it, how fun it would be to test the audience. What did he say just there? You could go into the tape with any kind of amplifier you wanted, and he who couldn’t guess the word simply by knowing it to begin with could ever decipher what had been uttered. The phonemes had been less than half there. It takes knowledge to interpret, to infer. You have to fill in. It isn’t a question of hearing, but of knowing. Knowing what they would have meant had they been able to say it.
But what nonsense. The spoken language is the language. Now there’s this word /E…s…u u m/. Cops use it.
(I just remember the time standing in the doorway at Colby, trying to talk film to the guy who ordered the films for the club. Not one Kurasawa film on the semester’s schedule. The guy not at all welcoming recommendations, especially not from a guy who had already seen most on his list. So I’m trying say something about the greatest film maker, and my next door neighbor, the Blake guy, walks past. He stops and wants to know why I’m talking about a liqueur in the middle of talking about movies. He insists that what I just said was Curasao, or however that stuff is spelled. Booze on the brain. He insisted. Wouldn’t let the film talk continue. Subject had to turn to alcohol. No one offered any help. Even when I repeated myself, Kurasawa. No help. Maybe the movie guy didn’t know what I was talking about either.
Had I tried to tell my dog about Kurasawa, he might have had no better idea of what I was saying that the English Department at Colby. But he wouldn’t have corrected me either.
I would have enjoyed this show more had some of Morton Downey’s people been on it. There was the one guy screaming. Go to the crack houses, kill every thing you see moving. And kill whatever doesn’t move. What jury will convict you? Do it. Test it. Trust me.
Would that guy follow through consistently? How about when it was his son he saw there? His wife? His daughter? Himself? It always comes back around home. Oedipus. But most of us don’t put out our eyes, finally to venture into the garden at Colonus. We just reinvent hypocrisy. It’s ok for the senator to look at porn. He’s what we are. We trust him. The peasant can’t talk to the devil, the pope can.
That would work though, were it possible. What kind of meaning does such a statement have? If statements. Sure, but how can you get the “if” to hold still? Kill everybody who takes dope. Yes, your wife and your banker too. And yourself with the greatest vigor of all when you find yourself doing it.
The last time the world was tested with wholesale death, the death only reached a third. the 14th Cen thought it was everybody. the end of the world.
What can we do in a world where the population just keeps expanding no matter what weapons we invent and use? It can’t keep it up? It shouldn’t keep it up.
What should one even hope for? I hope for diametric alternatives. Either go back 20,000 years and stay there, only this time to a word much reduced in biomass. Then what do you do with an ice age? Or put everything into AI and then take all the drugs you want. Retire. Your function fulfilled. Ok, so I’m an intelligence addict. That doesn’t make me right. I don’t care. It’s what I am. I don’t care how wrong I may be. right and wrong have no meaning at that point.
AI and intelligence. the thought of AI gives us for the first time a way to think about just plain “I” that isn’t just a vicious circle. Circles are fine, in logic too, but some are vicious. That one is vicious. I love the thought that Golem XIV’s methods are back to being Aristotle’s. Golem can do no research. He is wholly dependent on information fed to him, on our information. He can be objective with it, but it’s all he has.
Anyway, what is intelligence? Ability to give a variety of responses to a given condition. The more possible responses, the greater the intelligence.
Program a computer with a prompt asking you your name. Ladder. Knatz: 300,000. BK feeds in a list of aliases for each of his 10 best performances. (I’ll never forget playing Ladder all day and again all day, when BK had first left it with me, finally convinced that no one could ever have done better than the 20,000 I had just managed. Had I even reached Ghost Town at that point? Then I see the disk’s ten best games: all over 300,000!) The Ladder just takes them all, whether he’s lying or inventing or identifying himself. The Ladder asking your name is more intelligent than a program without that slot. But still, it’s not very intelligent. More intelligent would be, come on Brian, do you really want me to accept that name? That is you, isn’t it?
Now take a human being. What should we do in the “war” on drugs? Make sure that first they’ve been told that they shouldn’t take the law into their own hands. Show them that the law is a joke, that the cops are helpless except where they’re dealing themselves, but that they’re doing their best and don’t get enough praise. Interview the governor, have him disappear before anything is settled. Well, he had to go back to Tallahassee; they’re writing more laws. Show them that we have no inviolate borders, don’t go into the fact that we never have had, a mathematical proof of the impossibility of such, a geophysical proof of the illusory nature of such, a historical search failing ever to come up with an example of such, and rant and rave about how we ought to have them: that sovereignty is what we had and must regain. then talk as though we have it. contemplate, with hushed reserve, the violating of others’ similar illusions. For us to have ours, Bolivia can’t have theirs.
Make sure that it isn’t a real open discussion, the medium has to “force” the right conclusions, even as its “forces” of yesterday are
exposed as eroded.
One woman asks: is there enough money to pay for jails for everyone and for rehabilitation for everyone?
Another says to instant applause: can we afford not to?
The math of the first would have shown “impossible.” Don’t go with the math; leap at the illusion.
What would we think of the Ladder that asked us our name and then only accepted either Bob or Jane? My name is Brian. No make that, Rocmonster. Ok, Bob.
Of course that would be a program that at least recognized or guessed correctly: male, answer must be Bob.
How then could Golem XIV possibly find evidence of intelligence among human beings? It wouldn’t have heard anything different from me. I stopped answering their forces a long time ago.
Last night I read Harlan Ellison on the difficulty of getting taboo stories published. Confessing to the taboo nature of taboos in editorial offices while it still being universally evident that they had them.
Is it possible to live with no taboos? I don’t believe so. Is it desirable? Hardly. It does however matter what your taboos are.
I wish people would be more “scientific.” How? With what equipment?
How wise have we been simply to reverse ours. I don’t doubt that mine writing is taboo because I deliberately use old metaphors in new ways. No talk, no reference to the bible in these offices, unless of course solemn, mealy-mouthed. and we don’t want those either. No, we’re scientific here. no taboos. which is to say, we have nothing but taboos. fine. i wouldn’t write what i write if it weren’t taboo. I’m far more interested in showing them, however blind they’ll be to it, that they have the taboos, than I am in getting published. I didn’t accept the “force” of which taboo we’re all proving we’re stranger than this year. a detective who says shit. a cop who talks like a con, doing the best he can, with his new female partner.
That’s it. I have long been persona non grata in lots of places, cause the first, well maybe not the first or the second thing I do, but soon, inevitably, I expose myself as immune to their vanities. In business, I’d disguise it for a while, but at great energy expenditure from myself, couldn’t possibly keep it us. Expose the bigotry of the liberal. You hardly even need bother with the bigot.
I am not a member of your conspiracy of vanities. I might as well wear a sign.
At my first or second faculty meeting ever, some fossil stood up and said that we were all engaged in the search for truth. Ha, the art prof snorted out loud. I’ll bet he’s not there now either. I kept my own mouth shut. I was a beginner. I was trying to feel the lay of the land. What an assembly of bigots. I’ve never seen first hand a more elaborate escape from free inquiry than the Colby faculty meetings. Here’s what the presidency is foisting on you and here’s why it’s what you chose yourselves.
I looked around me. My ha had been silent, provisional. One was out loud. Very loud. What about the others? They seemed to be going along with it! Pussies, every one. Or where they still getting the lay of the land to? Those with tenure?
Nothing was clearer to the majority of us than that we didn’t have tenure. Not only that, but that we were ephemera. We came as ephemera. Those were the only conditions under which they’d have us. So what can possibly have made us go along? What would they do? Fire us mid-semester? They sure would have found a way. And moving expenses hadn’t been part of our arrangement. No, I had to stay at least a year.
How rare I now know that ha is. Freedom of speech and the good sense never to practice it. Set up a democracy and run an oligarchy. But it really was an oligarchy that had been set up?
Democracy. What a joke. What society has ever had it? Certainly not the greeks, who first used the term. But then what they had was democracy by definition. Except that the definition is conspicuous for what it leaves out. The active ingredient is the one not specified. A democracy of adult male property holders, the small apex of an economy supported by slave labor for food and female labor for progeny. Both for the requisite leisure.
Why not? some leisure and discussion for a few hundred or even thousand men better than for a mere dozen? what does better mean? better for that hundred or thousand, for sure? how about better for posterity. Western Europe and the US saying nice things about you two millennia later? As they practice different dodges.
What would happen if we had a society with a true recipe for what it was? These are our laws. This is the blue print. we stick to it. Could the recipe truly be true and complete? what if something comes along that was left out? the martians land. do you have to assemble everybody, rewrite the recipe, before you can defend yourself? ok, the martians aren’t a threat. they have their own democracy. they just came to say hi. no, it’s the plague. was that in your constitution? are your citizens instructed? by their consent?
the whole thing about law and consent is that the culture is already more complex than such things allow. you talk about them because you don’t have them. saying that you have them is evidence that you don’t. go to a tribe of 200 people somewhere, not sold into slavery, just living fine in the forest. ask them about their rights and their laws and their freedoms. what? whatchutalkinbout, whiteman? ah, no such word in their vocabulary. eureka: we’ve found it.
we can’t chose to go back there. there’s no profit in it. no property? what’s the advantage? but we could die our way back to it, if the rest of the biomass is still there. I’d gladly die for that. Or we can just excess ourselves and hope that Golem is there. And if he isn’t … so what? maybe isolatable intelligence is a mistake. an experiment that we’re failing right now, and that Golem would fail too.
and of course it isn’t necessary to kill anybody. we don’t need any more self-justifying prophecies. either we’re killing ourselves or we’re not. just let it happen. if we’re not, then the “fears” were insane, not the case. that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a little vengeance. something the modern world could do with a little more of. ah, but it doesn’t accomplish anything. so? who was trying to accomplish anything? you turn to vengeance when you’ve given that up.
Or we don’t fail it. We succeed. We don’t kill ourselves. The drugs, the cops, the taxes, the wars, it’s all all right. We’re still here. and spreading. colonizing space. the escalation, the inflation of semantic nonsense infinite, rights and deodorants and my car all the way to Rigel and Spica. And Andromeda. Good. So I lose. I’m losing anyway. What do I care? I see what the dice rolled and I make my move. I am unbeatable at backgammon because I don’t care if I win. So I never lose. Haven’t found anyone once who can beat me over a series of games since 1974. Most people won’t play me beyond six games. Marty played all the time until she played me. Maybe she still does, but she wouldn’t play me. And that woman in Fort Worth in 1974, we only played the two games. She won both. She rubbed it in, but also wouldn’t go on playing. Ah, just remembered. Beth won more than half once. Couldn’t keep it up. Not possible. She was making terrible decisions and winning anyway. had it kept up, I would have shifted my strategy. I always shift my strategy. I shift it even when I’m winning.
Life? I’m not losing there either. Not the game I’m playing. In control of things? No way. Getting what I want? No way. But what I want isn’t gettable. Or is, and I’ve gotten it.
Do I want control? No. I think I used to. Then I also say what it was. Flee from it.
There’s no great trick to dealing with people. You just have to pretend to like them, to be on their side, to signal agreement not to expose their illusions. No, don’t expose your own either. That still shows that you’re not safe.
Yet there are people who do that and are famous and loved as well as hated. Tom Wolf. Well, first he’s very very good. So, sometimes so am I. Ah, but he can keep it up. He can do it to order. And he started knowing what taboos to gang up on and which ones to share. Just as I suspect that Shakespeare, at least the young Shakespeare may have been genuinely jingoistic about England, of course there’s a huge difference between the 16th and 20th cens. I believe Wolf is or was genuinely Gee whiz about fly boys. Anyway, he found a potent ally before he started exposing vanities. Assignments for Esquire. When would I ever have done an assignment unless it had been given me by Illich?
Now there’s a wonderful world to live in: one that produces The Right Stuff one decade and then Alnilam the next. It’s amazing. Who could predict it?
Dickey. Jesus. two novels to marvel at now. one thing, at least one thing, in common. all this shit happens. chaos reigns. then it’s over. gone. the norm reemerges. and you have these survivors sitting around, guessing things about each other, knowing things about each other, recovering, lying in hospitals, being nice to each other. trying to digest it. keeping secrets. exposing some. going on. back home. go back to expanding the old world. new houses and beer bottles around the new lake. the bodies deep under the water. writing to the bottom of the paper. Cahill would invite the snake to the wedding. the clap wedding. one that doesn’t happen. his son’s diseased widow. a novel in which everyone is diseased. the best perceptions coming through and in terms of, disease.
It must have been about a year ago that I saw Showtime at the Apollo on southern tv. loved loved loved it and wrote so in id file. say it again several nights ago. very mediocre. one good comedian.
maybe i was starved for black culture last year, maybe I’m stuffed now, playing blues everyday. but I really think the one show was great and this recent one was awful. Didn’t like any of the music. Except …
I’ve had a long day with inarticulate people. black, black, and black. the foodstamp lady this morning, the two cops who tried to say recidivism. What did they all have in common? not being black; gobbledygook. stretching for words not natural to them without limbering or strengthening the ability to stretch. correct gobbledygook not being important enough. a contradiction in terms, actually. in the future will there be no culturally noticed difference between a couch potato fumbling the ball and Air Jordan’s magic?
sure. if basketball were compulsory, and salaried, but not loved, why should the players be able to pass behind the back, or dribble between the legs, between your legs before you can do anything about it? threaten the shot with the right hand, and slam it with the left hand? And if the audience had to watch, but hated it, or just didn’t care, why should they notice any difference between the ball out of bounds and a slam dunk?
Who once could have conceived of someone appearing on tv and not bothering to exercise their mouth or their mind enough to handle their own vocabulary? of course it isn’t their vocabulary. the woman this morning, what might she sound like if she weren’t trying to sound like a bureaucrat?
Anyway, our bureaucracies are filled with verbal couch potatoes. which has to do with bureaucracy, not with being black.
Which I mention because this lousy Apollo show introduced a guy, Skin Head who rapped an incredible song about not smoking crack. I didn’t like it, but I loved his verbal gymnastics. Reminded me of Georges Brassens. The English was very condensed. I deciphered most of it after a while, but still can’t quote it: but it was a dozen words said as two or three. As in /jwil/ for “je suis le …” And if recidivism were a real, that is, a perceived, part of cop culture, the cops might be able to say it. Sherlock Holmes, or Doyle, could have said it. Such latinate English was part of his culture.
All slaves were deracinated, but not all equally. Some people just aren’t verbal, and some are eloquent, voluble, musical very quickly in whatever crio they come up with. But there strikes me as being an awful lot of blacks, even from an oral, street culture, who don’t really have any language at all. My social worker. Is she just tongue tied on the job. twists her speech because she’s trying to sound official? she didn’t strike me as speaking it as a second language either.
A couple of days ago, I woke up with the line in my head. “I don’t like it.” That’s it. My solution. I write for a few hours, 80 or so lines, and I’m happy again, laughing, thinking it’s funny. Trash Denoument and start fresh. Use the professor after all. The critic and the prof. I run dry and stop. The next day, I hate it again. Today I do better. 140 lines from the same start but starting differently. Not I gotta back off. I want the whole to be only maybe 200 lines. And I haven’t begun to get to the major things. I don’t have to include everything, but six or eight for sure. Start again and be slick. Run real trim. 200 lines will be nothing. Besides, I’m hungry. Wow, what garlic I put in with the clams and shells. No flat parsley, never seen any around here, so I chopped a little lettuce, a little pepper, a little dried, curly parsley. Now I’m eating myself comatose. On goes the tube. I’ll play a bit more Bach, the D minor Minuet, the G minor Gavotte, my old Gigue in D. That flowed wonderfully before. I can’t believe how well my untrained hand goes to the notes more often than not. There’s something manual in understanding music. The hand gets it quicker than the mind. I’m still eating. Doctors and hospitals come on. Normally, I’d had changed the channel right quick, but I haven’t been so speedy this time. The show id’s itself: Trapper John, MD. I can’t have avoided every episode of that show all these years finally to be caught. Please. But already, I’ve seen enough of the trailer to be curious. A real issue. Hospital kidnapps a kid they suspect of being abused. What are they going to do with it? Atrocious acting, but so what? Allegories, drama of ideas and issues doesn’t have to be well performed. Maybe it’s better not done too artfully. Young couple, very white, except for dirt as makeup, very ernest, appear. They pick garbage. Their son is sitting in their old station wagon eating the apple his mother has lovingly bitten the worm from. Licked away the other garbage slime. A truck bumps the car. They take the kid to the hospital. Xrays show other fractures. Dad said they’d been turned away from other hospitals for being broke. So why did they go to this one? Anyway, the hospital refused to give their boy back to them. They note the father’s temper. They call the social worker. She’ll show up in a few days and see. Meantime, the hospital holds the kid.
I wanted the father to say: I won’t bomb the hospital my boy is in, but you give him back or I’ll find someway to burn every other such place to the ground. So you’ll kill me? So what? What do you think your doing now?
He doesn’t. He just gets mad and hits his thumb with a hammer. Finally says, hell, they ain’t giving him back, they’re just gonna put us in jail, I’m getting out. Some doctor who’s said it’s out of his hands now has the gall to say, so you’re running out on your kid? He’s part of the kidnapping, and he blames the father?
In a panel at Hunter, there for FLEX, Mercury from Free U, and a few others. Some woman worried about child abuse. Good. But she wanted to take children from their parents. And have the law with her. Huh? Where do we get this historically unexamined trust of ourselves and the state? The state accuses the parents of poor performance. Shouldn’t it ought to prove something about its own? It wouldn’t be so bad if there were some situation like: we’re arresting you for murder. we don’t know for sure that your guilty, proof is impossible anyway. but we’re going to kill you. if your heirs can prove we were wrong, we have this compensation fund. much cheaper than keeping you all alive in stir. sorry, if we’re wrong, the money may not be much, may not be enough, can’t help it, sorry, bang.
or we’re kidnapping your kid, legally. if your heirs can prove that we did a worse job, then they should be governor. we have a little fund. it’s not much, but …
Or civilization should just say: there are some things we can’t do anything about. we’ll entreat parents not to beat their children. it’s not as if public institutions have ever been free from violence or danger. we’ll beg them to give us the kid. but it’s still their kid. if they won’t cooperate, sorry, we’ll pray for the kid, maybe some private vigilante will kidnap it, but we can’t. between the state and the family, maybe neither are so great, but it’s the family that sacred, not the state. This kid is lost, but we’re all lost for sure if we start or rather continue preferring the state. At least families can be socially ostracized, outcast. try that with the state. oh sure. tell Hitler you don’t like the job he’s going. tell the President.
sure, mr. tell me at the polls in four years. meantime, we’re taking your kid, your money, your life …
I go to the bath house and the john. shoot a quick game. come back. they’ve found something or other in the kid. maybe it was vitamin deficiency that caused his bones to break. some disease. I didn’t catch it, and I don’t care what the details were. they say, oh, the parents were telling the truth, now they can have their kid back. No, they left, the doc is told. Gee, that’s too bad. Not mea culpa. Not is our malpractice paid up. Not man the baricades, if they were me, there’d be tanks coming through. Gee, aren’t we great, we’ve destroyed another family too. One that was holding together by a miracle to start with.
But of course, there’s no if it were me. their kid wouldn’t be stolen. even if they were beating it. no, it’s the poor you beat up on. why not just once in civilization don’t they just make poverty a capital offense. we’re gassing all poor people. if you’ve got money in a mattress somewhere, show it now. we need an extra million or two to keep wages low, but the rest are real excess. here are the buses to the camps. get in, please.
but as always, they wouldn’t do it. not to its conclusion. not even Hitler killed all he said he was going to, even with ahem “absolute” power to do it with. 16, or 18,000,000 people. There were plenty more gypsies, jews, fags, and dissidents in Germany than that. No, some woman screams about keeping druggies in jail unless they agree to consume even more expensive treatments. She even means it. But she’s not in control. Not completely. She doesn’t retain it. Oh, sure, she keeps some in jail, in some city or county or state. or maybe even a whole country. for a year or two. then she forgets. she gets promoted. she dies. her son is found to be a junky. there’s the first exception. oh, no, that’s no exception: she’s getting him very expensive treatment. he’s not poor. that’s not who she means the jail toughness was for.
anyway: brown’s law again.
Would it be possible for there to be a country that had consistent laws and in fact kept them? the government can’t kidnap, can’t detain without proof or a court order. the court responsible for wrongful detentions, arrests, … this or that is inviolable: these are the circumstances in which a father can take a child from the mother, these where the mother can take a child from the father, none where the state can take a child from either, except where the parent has been convicted of a felony and also agrees to release the child to the state.
convicted felon. sorry, kid. I gotta go to jail. I’m not gonna let them take you. Aunt Betsy says no. Do you think you can make it on your own? Or should I shoot you? It would be a freebie for me, they’re putting me away anyway.
why can’t we be clear on what rights mean, what responsibilities cops and judges have, and what rights prisoners continue to have? why don’t jails get put in jail? every one of them? it’s not enough to have a new governor or a new warden. or for the sadist guard to be scolded. that’s not responsibility. every guard should have malpractice insurance or just be liable himself.
sorry, con, the guard only makes 20K a year, and all you can get of it by law is 4K, but that’s better than nothing. If he ever gets a raise, that’s yours too, cause he owes you twenty million.
what’s the responsibility of an institution or a society that has institutions for forcing someone into one where they get injured. we all have to go to school where we’re all helplessly exposed to abuse, to guns, to drugs, to the clap. otherwise we might have stayed at home where just maybe we’d be exposed to guns, the clap, etc.
the schools don’t demonstrate any excellence in educating? why do we still have to go there. the excuse is a failure without the habit lapsing. you take drugs to get high, i don’t get high, no matter, you gotta take your drugs anyway.
tv’s role is to expose the egregious shortcomings and incompetence and reversed nature or all our institutions but still somehow without questing them. our president is a crook? committed treason? subverted the constitution. scuttled the bill of rights. vetoed what democracy we supposedly had? that’s ok. be patient for 4 years. then you can vote for his partner. oh, that’s ok: we wrote another law.
But would it even be possible? Can something like freedom of speech actually have any consistent meaning? You meant why should congregationalists beat up methodists, and then suddenly there are catholics underfoot. and jews. and atheists. you meant let people read Joyce, and suddenly there are pornos everywhere.
freedom of religion, without defining religion first? no restrictions? what about the religion whose central dogma is intolerance? murder of infidels? blood sacrifices of its own faithful? christ, we didn’t even tolerate the peyote eaters.
do we really imagine that our laws are an improvement over taboos?
my own life is like the story I heard of the guy who was to debate somebody or other on freedom of expression. the liberal goes on and on. all for freedom. no restrictions. his opponent doesn’t say anything, just shows a porno. I heard about this in the 50s, so if the story is true, it had to take place then or before then. and the liberal went and pulled the plug on the projector. Why … how dare you? filth. and so on. Didn’t say, thank you, now I see that I was full of shit. my phrases without meaning.
if I say anything at all, and I speak less and less all the time, it’s too often been to show whoever last spoke that they don’t know what they’re saying. and no, I never expected to be thanked. and i’m not surprised when I’m not invited back.
If I limited my attacks to the group enemy, I’m sure they’d love me. Call communists names. Gang up on ignorant people. Condescend to the poor. Even when the university pays you 8 and charges you 3. or charges you 2000 and pays you 500. great. now lets gang up on the poor and ignorant. lets handcuff these people so we can administer unto them.
sure, social workers should be licensed to carry lassos. and to make out their quarry’s checks for them. pay to me the sum of.
Well it’s twenty years since I first heard of him, through Spiegelberg, but I’m finally reading Laxness. I’m thinking of learning Icelandic so I can read this guy who’s supposed to be better than Homer, Bruce had said. “In reality she had long ago forgotten him as completely as only childhood can forget; the waves of childhood draw seaward in a great curve and do not reach the shore again till the child has grown old.” Salka Valka. Wow.
for god so loved … the imitation of jesus. what greater thing than to sacrifice yourself for the promotion of a pattern, real or possible of existence, that you see as the good? and of course it’s love that drives it. so how come what drives me now feels like hatred? I slave over ModIII and the hatred is still glaring. I scuttle my own efforts. but what is hatred but perverted love? what perversion but frustrated love? a frustration which endures and becomes habit? can it ever have been the original choice of anybody?
seeing your shadow in a different light. here’s an example right here. I wrote what I hope was well for way less than six hours yesterday. M3 is going slowly. it’s so complex, so full of traps: i want to say it all and i don’t want to alienate the reader and i want it to be as little over 2000 words as possible and it’s more than that and I haven’t even gotten to evolution, intelligence, feedback, human epis, etc. anyway, for a week now, I write m3 everyday. from day 1 or 2 I saw I could press on toward an end and say 1 day writing, 1 month revising, but decided I’d rather revise as I write. Thought it would take 3 days, then 4. so now an eighth day is about to start for me. so what? is it maximum possible use of time? no way to tell. if it’s just another story, I’ve wasted my whole life. if it’s as good as it should be, nothing’s been wasted. no way to tell. waste meaningless. So yesterday, I don’t think I added more than 50 lines. Most of the time was going over it again and again, changing this, touching that, hoping it was smooth and engaging. That moment came when it occurred to me that my mind was beginning to wander. fine. but to wander out of the story. break. loosen the shoulder. dinner. slam the balls. etc. only I never got back to M3. the break was quitting for the day. the TPlus came back on and nothing happened. I pinkled some more, watched a wretched movie and another. beat up the chessmaster from my Queen’s Gambit variation repeatedly and without joy. couldn’t even remember what I had wanted as an id entry but postponed a few days back. loaded it and went empty. fall wretchedly asleep a half hour or so after the birds had begun their dawn. wake to rain, zip the windows and sleep again. and wake with headache to “seeing your own shadow in a new light.” Put on the coffee, load the Plus, take an aspirin, suddenly it’s beastly hot, pee, rinse face, see that it’s 4pm and here I am. About to see whether shadows and lights make sense. It was one of those that was sounding good as I awoke. last night I searched for something in the last few months id files and saw wastelands of debris. what was any of that crap about? but ideas are illuminating when you’re in the dark, not when you’re in the light. if we say hocus pocus and by magic transform the world, then the new world is the world we live in. how can we be sure what the old one was like. how could einstein look smart in a world that grew up with relativity? or in a world without physics?
the id files aren’t even mnemonic to me. here’s a rare occasion: i try to look for something and can’t find it. search keys no good, misspelled, or I never wrote about Sarah Bernhardt’s French and English in the first place. Thought it without writing it. Do they help me to write M or DB or B? who knows, since nothing’s had any acceptance? can’t all be a masturbatory wasteland, can it?
Anyway, I blah and blah and still hope to capture the shadow.
I was pre-wake dreaming about my poor or graceless or insensitive or unrehearsed interface with other’s comments about my self. Some people thrive on seeing themselves bounce off of others, even if it’s all lies. others are so unaccustomed to it, they’re totally graceless. Hilary. not that any state is unalloyed. as soon as we illustrate, we’re into allegory or cartoon.
H&I were both pretty unsocial. some of the ways may have been complementary if not identical. others, not at all. hilary would glower at a compliment. I’d ignore it. ie, i ignored those I was conscious of. what can one do with what one isn’t conscious of? I say that because I’ve seen people, esp H, misperceive compliments all my life.
eg of former. Anton’s “that girl flatters his ass off, and Paul believes her.”
Lord Chesterfield’s letter to his son: if you want to flatter someone, don’t waste your time telling … a napoleon that he’s a military genius. that’s not flattery, that’s mere truthfulness. no, tell him he looks tall in those pants. tell him he’s a great lady’s man. tell him that was a wicked lead in the bridge game.
“Awesome,” Jack Bull says of my 3 iron up into the neck to the green of the 11th at Lido. Of course he had just hit a little 3⁄4 wedge to within 2 feet of the same hole. a tap in birdie off a 325 yard pin point drive. My two best shots and I’m still not quite on the green in the regulation two. Now I wish I could remember whether I pared or bogeyed that hole or what. How could I have chipped or putted after what Jack said? He was the awesome one, just coming off a 66 in the Westchester open. I still in all likelihood ignored the compliment. Maybe a blush, but no returned words.
or is i that my main life has always been mental and ruminative: hardly what society is. I respond, but inwardly. Hmm. Even if I see it as flattery, or a frame up, a straight sandbag, I’ll still go, hmm and look for truth in it. or think, that’s so obviously a cheap shot that I’ll keep still and watch to see who pretends to fall for it. Obviously a lackey, a partisan, a thief of some kind, but what are they stealing by sandbagging me?
who knows what we humans are doing with our chatter? checking bonds, testing relationships. they never find any glue around me. reject. put him aside. good, that’s what I want. otherwise, they’ll take all your time, you’ll never had leisure to think what it means. (what vanity, when not thinking is what it means).
uh oh. I’m taking too long and I haven’t begun yet.
seeing yourself, seeing yourself seen by others, seeing yourself lied about by others, seeing yourself as a part of their wall or not, seeing yourself being seen as a part of their wall or not, seeing yourself as part of the wall of the universe, knowing to ask whether you’re lying, are deceived, etc. Seeing yourself being seen or not seen, affirmed or denied as part of the wall of the universe. No, no. we don’t have such a wall. It’s very annoying that you should pretend such a thing when any one knows today, anyone who isn’t insane, that what we do today is make money, advance careers, practice whirling and spinning to prove our loyalty to the willothewisp.
everyone knows, if you make money, you can’t be any good. there’s no mistaking Donald Trump for a sandaled Christ. everyone knows, if you haven’t been bought, there can’t be anything there of value. Oh, what a disappointment; we thought …, never mind what we thought, we didn’t get where we are by trusting our thinking, …
still haven’t begun. as a kid, struggling to know what things, words, mean, assuming that adults know, that at some level of maturity and brilliance and sophistication, it made sense. still, seeing that even your stupid self could do things others couldn’t. see things not seen by them, things seen before you, but not by these paragons of civilization. then you discover sf, with others admitting to thoughts like: what if …
i’m neurotic
i’m a schiz
i’m a genius
i’m nuts
destined to be captured by aliens
destined to be the first to see them
then you grow up and see that none of those things mean anything other than: how perceive(s) the
self
group
other.
So I wake up with this dream. Somebody is saying, oh, Paul is so brilliant.
Paul is walking on, so what else is new?
Paul recalls the trouble he gets himself into by not returning signals: oh, thank you so much, or takes one to know one, or something. Even a mumble or a grumble. Paul should at least blush. (there may have been a truth to what Jack said: you were the middle aged beginner playing way past your probable ineptness. As Hogan said, a hundred player shooting 90 has done something more incredible than a scratch player shooting sixty-something.)
Paul is thinking, what do I care what my shadow looks like? It’s just interference among reflections, some sort of indication of the spatial relationship of the thing to a primary light source, etc.
Somebody else is saying, oh shadows are beautiful.
Somebody else says, but you haven’t seen this. you turn around. they’re got a black light or something which now shows the shadow to look like jewels or LSD or whatever extraordinary. you start to get absorbed in your shadow. you resist it. no, our eyes are in front of us, not behind or beneath. Nor above. the head swivels so, and the whole body can turn, but not into the shadow. like but not the same as a blind spot.
Paul thinks, it’s something, however suicidal, to see the universe curve ever toward itself; it’s nothing but a short circuit to ever be trying to shove your own dick into your own orifices. a short circuit is still a circuit, but not the designed one. (Paul wants the designed, outer circuit, Paul wants his finger in the dyke, or if not, then Paul doesn’t want the society to be built below sea level.) Is it an accident that our bodies can’t do that? And can’t see their own shadow primarily? Extra senses can. A camera. 220o eyes like an oyster. but we can’t rely on what’s not built in, and even what’s built in can be lost.
cf dif between a blind man in a society that can see (he’s handicapped, but whether pissed off, serene, or what has some idea that there is such a sense as sight, that it’s a dominant one for his culture: he doesn’t have it but still in some sense benefits from it, whatever the state of his neurosis or sense of grievance.
Now I swear I saw that dream as a story somehow. sure don’t now.
but now I see, … nothing. Bill drives by on the mower. it darkens and the rain begins again. the FL rainy season not as magical the second exposure to it as the first, but still. last year I’d have stayed cooler by remaining in FL than sweating it out in GA & NC, not daring to get out on the road to head into an equally sweltering north. gotta shower and m3.
Seeing ourselves as others see us. actors take that on as a special discipline. politicians. businessmen. nubile girls. everybody, some to most of the time. Rick MacMannis getting a big push on tube these days. two new movies out. remember his accountant in Ghost Busters. Wow. compare to Dan Qyayle. A particularly conspicuous example of not just one’s own life in front of the mirror, different mirrors, always mirrors, Der Spiegel mirrors, but of a group grooming its own and being pleased the best they can with what they’ve got. The WASP this and that is all there, but god, so watery? Can’t have Paul Newman; he’s graduated from that group.
Quayle and individual organism trying to look the same or at least representative. MacMannis mimicking what’s different, the platonic original reject.
He was so funny on the talk show. Where his quips scripted? What a life, an actor passing best for a human being, when actually fronting a team. gag writer, make up, lighting … and here, ladies and gentleman, the corporate nebbish. but then who isn’t fronting a team. the question is: what team. they don’t have to be alive or present or conscious of their influence. they don’t have to be born yet. they don’t have to ever get born.
Dan Quayle a sort of Caligula the Gladiator version of a leader, warrior, free man.
shadows and truth. we believe we see the errors of others’ thinking, and deduce falsely that that means that ours is free of such error. what does being superior have to do with being right?
I wake up aware of having just dreamed one bank teller curtsying to another as the money’s been checked and transferred from cage to office (the scene was some sort of bad check scam with Joe and Radiance, and the teller was just in the background, but that’s beside the point. I immediately am out of the dream and thinking of american tennis players at Wimbledon. bow to royalty. bend the knee. americans! what would it have taken to get out of that? boycott Wimbledon, but dominate world tennis long enough, dictate conditions: we’ll come when you grow up. or down. or whatever it is that we are visàvis them. what we are is a bunch of wishy-washy assholes. can’t keep one thing straight. in other words, human beings.
I think of the jewish martyrs of the bible, refusing to bend the knee. suddenly, I see it. the reason for monotheism. the social and political context of shifting servitudes. one day you’re a free greek, the next you’re having your face pushed into the dust before Balshazar. or Balshazar’s chief lieutenant having your face pushed in the dust before Darius. and one tribe or one dozen tribes thinking, screw that, I’ve got a scheme to make us stronger than them. invent a god, say he’s not only powerful, not only an expression of nature, in tune with nature, a force within and over nature, but the author of nature. superior to it, like a king to a peasant. not just powerful, but right.
three four five thousand years later, I come along, agreeing to that part of my attempted conditioning which touts truth or reality, knowledge, science, something ahem verifiable, as superior. I’ll yield to what’s right.
truth a poor substitute when few are qualified to judge, and no one altogether. but no, not poor at all.
we tend to think of an ideal as achieved. when we see absence of such achievement in the present, we still attribute it to the past. the founding fathers, the good kings, the golden age. See variation from the ideal, and despair. they’ve kidnapped the pope, the yahoos have taken over the university, the commies have infiltrated the fed, the revisionists the Kremlin. despairing there, we put our faith in the future, high tech sci-fi before the mirror shades.
seeing things in wholesale shortages from the ideal, we loose all ability for objective measure. Evolution proceeds (whether negative or positive the gradient) or regresses, however you want to look at it. Linear is probably a poor measure.) by some little key. a skeleton. it’s not that suddenly every creature has a skeleton. or that now skeletal species can’t go extinct. But after a while, there are skeletons all over the place. Since you have a skeleton too, you cease thinking it’s such a big deal, and are mourning the loss of some other thing that sometimes came with it: great size or huge armored plates.
also evolution may be real and may be inventive as hell, but it’s not the only force going. armored plates are doing great, when suddenly, BANG. skeletons can’t solve the problems of large herbivores or large carnivores in the universal darkness. the whole thing didn’t stall, though it could have. and skeletons came out the other side and started growing again.
we look at the church and say, my god, what horseshit. compared to what? to Darius?
we look at Quayle. you want the House of Hanover? well, maybe a lot of things would have been better with George or the Regent or Balshazar or keeping kosher than with no more air or water. But could I have my TPlus with me? Fuck all else. You can have your miracle drugs and anesthetized amputations. I could even chance the cholera water. poorly sewaged cities should kill themselves. goats’ milk and unleavened bread? ok. but i gotta have my Plus.
science is big business these days and out come the suspicions of cheating and all the other paraphernalia of competition. ask Marlowe about it. hey, big business, big crime. what do you want? big civ and no slums?
I do have to disagree with Golem XIV on one point. He said that to avoid somebody say sterilizing a whole continent, rendering the enemy’s future mongoloid, a better weapon than any I had yet thought of for Aurora, you’d have to outlaw all science, beat up anybody with a testtube in a garret. That would be surest (therefore most impossible of attainment), but unnecessary. There’s a big difference between a Leyden jar and molecular biology.

Journal

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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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