/ Journal /
previous save: 10/3/89
research: which defaults we’re aware of and which we wouldn’t see if they were pointed out to us, and of course be very pissed off at whatever it was that was trying to do the pointing.
difference between “is” and “perceived as.” fine, ordinarily in human life. so what? first you have to see it in a situation that makes no difference to you, then you have to notice the same pattern in a situation that does.
selective processes. shrimp grappling in a frenzy of mating, grabbing other males, grabbing females already thrice grabbed. Just by probability, most of the females get grabbed at least once. But not because any shrimp is noticing at the important time. The time H&I mated Angus. We got them together again and again. Angus was all ready, the female all flirt, coy, give him a lick and turn away. That’s what we get for trying to mate two 10 month old virgins. Maybe he’ll figure it out by the 13th day, the day we were told was maximum fertility. Or was it the 11th day. We drive up. I roll the window half down: Hey, Martin, I call. The dog appears at the upstairs window, Martin a second behind her. I’m just leaning my head toward the opening to say, you think anything will happen this time? as Angus almost takes my head off. The window wasn’t open enough for me even to get my head out of yet, and that head was already blocking what opening was there, but Angus was through it. Martin appears above. Hilary can’t see, she had to have seen the storm of Angus flying out the window. Hey, Martin, I began. What’s going on, Hilary asks? “Don’t worry,” I said. “She’s already pregnant.” And there on the sidewalk, I think Angus must have been in her before either of them hit the ground from their simultaneous leaps from their respective windows, Angus car height, but she from the second story, they’re lying there spent and attached, Angus looking very weird and she licking him. What? Hilary cranes her neck. We get out. Martin emerges. We stand around for a half hour, and they’re still locked. It was unbelievably fast. Angus was already coming by the time I straightened my gaze from his having knocked it aside. All I see is a blur of humping. I don’t think anyone else can have seen anything. Neither would I have had I not been the driver and pulled up on the driver’s side, St Nicholas Ave running uptown and Martin being on the west side at 118 St. He was hanging outside Minton’s when he first propositioned us about a match. That’s right! I’d forgotten until this moment that Angus had been to Minton’s too. Martin was one of the pimps. His dog is on his leash, and Angus and she don’t pay too much attention to each other. In another second I’ll remember who was playing inside.
That was fun to remember, however unpleasant the aftermath with Martin, but my point was, that there was all this flirting, almost two weeks of: here, smell my pussy, while I turn it away. Angus would have been pushed by or would have pushed other males around. Toward the right day, they would have fought. If another male had somehow been flying through the air from a third window at the same time, I don’t doubt that the fight that time would have been too the death, just as fast as the fuck, and that Angus would have proved no pacifist as he normally was. One dead dog and one female harboring assured conception by the time three canine bodies hit the ground.
We made a mistake. They seemed to be attached for a long time. I want to show off my arcane knowledge and tell Martin that a bucket of water will help separate them. He drenches them and they’re still attached. Maybe apart sooner, but not immediately. There’s Angus with this monster though sagging schlong shaped like an anvil. No wonder he couldn’t get it out. She gives that schlong a little lick before it puts itself away. He had done 100% of the eating till the day of days when it reversed. Wet Angus with this frog’s tongue coming down from his rear, looking very dopey. Now I understand that the lock is to insure conception, and by the entered male. Or three hundred other males could have had her by the time Angus was out. So, my fault that we didn’t just leave them alone.
But the point is, that we had two weeks to research, study, speculate, psychoanalyze the dogs, they’re too young, he’s a fag, stand around, take notes …
How many hours of films of head butting male ruminants did I ever see on tv or some classroom screen before finally hearing the important point: this dominant male is engaged in defeating his seventh male in a row. He’s already gathered a dozen or so females to his harem. They, the females, are standing around as he goes for another victory. Except for one who walks off with defeated male number three. The readiness is all. But it’s not a readiness you can time, Hamlet. Nature times all the jousting more or less. But something inside the female times the actual series of seconds when it’s time for the male to get going. And it doesn’t matter which male notices it.
we planned the mating and were successful in terms of there being a litter. we had the particular male and the female it turns out had been successfully reserved for him. Not altogether an accident, but an accident still. She would have turned to any dick coming at her once she was truly ready. All the flirting before hand was to make sure a male would be there when the time came and that his come would be built to bursting when that time came. But it still didn’t have to be Angus.
No, no, no. the princess says to all the most eligible princes in her world. it’s poland and germany that we want to ally, thinks her father. locks her in the castle to be doubly sure. then one day: and poland and germany are or aren’t united by the castle guard’s son.
My favorite story of university hirings. Math the big thing in the late sixties. The top of three math grads of a college hired by the biggest, richest corp at a record breaking contract. The rest gather for the left-overs. grad number two now has corps competing more heavily. He starts at 10g more than the valedictorian. Now there’s only the low man on the totem pole. But he’s all that’s left. He finally signs for double what the top guy got. Now, I don’t know what the follow up is. Who finally made the most money, became president, founding a new multi billion co with his own patent. Hell, it was only 20 years ago. And it’s irrelevant to my point. The ritual of who is supposed to get laid the most and who actually gets what are not one and the same. The system works, I’m not saying it doesn’t. But it doesn’t work according to our cartoon. Largely, yes; exactly, no. So neither am I saying that it’s better to be low man, or last come, first served. In general, the cartoon formula probably gives the best odds. But it’s still only one of many strategies, not all of which can work, not at the same time, by definition. Except that in the whole of the universe, that’s exactly what I do mean. If we ever reduce everything to our cartoon, I guarantee it will be soon over for us. Evolution will still be doing what it does. It will have used the cartoon to get rid of the cartoonists.
Would I be more in favor of our figuring it out better? Assuredly not. I don’t want my long shots to be sure things. I don’t want the cartoon to be a sure thing. I don’t want sure things. I wholly approve of destiny being fractal.
Human beings being merely what they are may be exactly what’s needed to save the biosphere after stressing it. What would happen in time to a universe which contained greater intelligences which were nonetheless descended from what we’re descended from? An intelligent narrow vision? What’s that?
What little I produce, and in terms of it’s really being what I mean, I suppose that production is zero, but still, even those fragments, I ardently believe are my voice trying to respond to the indefatigable voice of truth. Vanity, ego, ambition, sure, those things are motives too, and I don’t care who might say they’re the only ones, whether they meant me or anyone; but they’re not what I believe are the main thing for me. Also, the infantile attempt to try to get away with murder: sure, but minor. Minor.
Semi-tropical rain. Wow. I’ve seen it rain as hard and harder than it did this pm, but never with the feeling that it was merely normal, with plenty left in reserve. The rain making up for its tardiness and reticence this week. Several times a day, round the clock. I go to paint the fence after Wimbledon, haven’t worked a half hour when it starts again. My garbage pail half filled with the morning’s rain water as I empty it a bit after noon. But here’s more. I change to bathing suit to walk to the shower. Fabulous. I’m getting just as wet walking over. A cold shock only with the first step into it. Water, warm from the ground, over my ankles by the time I arrive the fifty yards away. Mmm. Three hours later it’s still drip, dripping.
How can I work though if I can’t sleep? Didn’t write Friday, hell, I needed a break. But then never felt right Saturday either. That’s ok. I’m sleepy by nine. Read till midnight and at least it will be day when I awake and get to it. Write 4 hours and still see the tennis. But I’m still tossing as the birds sing. A 4 aspirin headache when I do get up and find I’ve missed half of Mac’s match already. More miserable today than yesterday and no hope of sleeping tonight either. How can I even try a first draft of the final solution to the Model when I feel like this? If I were wound up, the fatigue would be a plus. Now it’s just limbo.
it’s a boy, the fax machine cartoons out. ah, joy. i don’t know from experience what a father hoping for a son feels when he’s told the binary opposite, but it must in most cases be an instant switch of his own universe of hope. the lingering dissatisfaction must be the exception. has any male child ever grown up feeling he’s disappointed his father by not being a girl? mother, maybe, but father?
I once again think of 1,2,3…infinity. Binary organization being one of many, but ubiquitous none the less. especially to a perceiving species seemingly wired for either/or. both/and being hard to see, the sight temporary and incommunicable.
I think of evolution’s history as the war between gradualism and catastrophe: the former having seemed to be the winner, just as the star of the latter begins to rise again.
R Leakey’s prediction that human evolution was just about over. Brilliant, and wise no doubt, much to be pondered, but still, incomplete. the ordinary gradualism certainly put into a different league by our social organization with its paraplegic olympics. might that not just make us all the more vulnerable to the intermittent catastrophes? might it not introduce toward visibility a kind of gradualism not yet noticed? or even, less likely, innovate one?
i love the ordinary tv sci-fi time traveler fare. Billy never had any trouble being made at home in the heart of the american revolution, the court of Louis XIV, etc? Could Billy get into the White House except on the regular tour in his own time?
But in fiction, he walks right into the dressing room at Wimbledon and warns Boris Becker of the plot against him. Maybe Becker scoffs, but the access part, was easy. So:
tt: Billy wants to get into the dressing room at Wimbledon. He’s got a press card, phony, so what?, but phony Phila Inquirer, in 2030, when Inquirer is so defunct, it’s not even remembered. He’s thrown out on his ear. So. He metamorphoses self as a strawberry. Or a tub of gatorade. Carried by a waiter to the stands instead.
what’s the word for a concept related phonetically through different languages and time? fader, phater, father? they’re all “words” but not the same word. the same what?
right: cybernetically: unknown area from which have been eliminated a finite number of exposed (believed exposed) “wrongs.” “the best we know” must always be understood as preceding “is.” Except of course where politics are involved (as where are they not?) in which case the best we know may be precisely what is being avoided.
stone age man sees hi-tech. aren’t you impressed? sure, he says, inwardly thinking, but they can’t even knap flint very well. can’t knap it all, far as I can see. thought of that as tv shows self-lighting charcoal commercial. what the pros use. don’t even know how to light a fire, these fucking yo-yos, and we’re supposed to believe that they’re proud of it?
american tv watchers approve news item on Chinese harshness toward students who can’t properly pronounce “radar” in English class. all who approve, vote yes. thank you. future cart blache for persecuting barbarian inability to read the Tao de Ching after oriental hegemony.
McL says the electronic age repealed the Bill of Rights. for sure. answer? amplify all voices to point of universal deafness and chaos. then outlaw amplification. except of course it was never fair. was it fair, even accepting the slave economy of greek democracy, that Demosthenes had to struggle for his rhetoric, that oh say Aristotle had it naturally, while Xenates never had it at all?
And not accepting the economy, how about the slave who had it just as naturally as Aris.? maybe he rises to privilege anyway: privilege as a slave. or say he’s freed finally. he’s still not allowed to be Aristotle. or it’s too late. or just if not more likely, he’s too smart for his own good, and his tongue is cut out. or he’s killed, or put in the front line of some danger.
But then, there’s always that chance that being so put, is exactly what saves him from the earthquake. or allows him to rise as Tamburlaine. or run off to Africa to learn the drums, his sound, some arrhythm, coming out of Miles horn 2500 years later. (uh oh, I certainly don’t mean that to suggest that the West African tribes couldn’t invent their own music without some greek to show them; only that when we squeeze, something can spill.)
male and female not the same degree of difference from species to species, but no sexed species where they’re the same. human both can understand a fair amount but always with their own bias as well as flavor. objectivity would have to be minimally both understandings, not possible in any individual.
but then there are other ways we divide ourselves (or are divided as given) which may be pseudo differences. alien arrives. first told he has to be citizen. ok. now told he has to be democrat or republican. which one? who cares? pin the tail on the donkey.
invitations to a party. 50 say come as Roman, 50 say come as barbarian. could it make a difference? if the party lasted 50 years? could anyone switch costume?
boy oh boy, do I want a boy. it’s a girl. boy oh boy, do I love girls. what if we had a society in which it was announced: this month, 60% of us will be liberal, 40% conservative of which 10% will be reactionary. the assignments are as follows, knowing that next month, you’d be reassigned, possibly but not necessarily to the same group?
how about both/and with goodandevil?
salami sandmich and flip channels again and again, trying to find least objectionable show. bad UHF since clouds socked in doesn’t help. but if I can’t work, may as well drool like a moron. planes in the air, as my hand gets tired and I want another bite. Air war movies, increasingly all war movies, to me are like horse races. Animals I don’t know run around in a circle. What do I care what order they’re in at the finish line? One jockey wears pink, another yellow. So? What should I do? Root for blue all the time? It’s seldom a nice blue. I don’t know who’s in what plane or care. Even if one of them is the amazing Tom Cruise, he’s got a mask on. Made himself indistinguishable from the bad guy, whom, actually, I also like. But Tom Cruise isn’t in this one. There isn’t anybody I like. Every once in a while I can see that a plane is Japanese. I have less against the japs than ever. But I’m tired of turning. Then, suddenly, there’s this Sgt. mechanic for the planes, aggressively disrespectful, condescending, leering, threatening, bullying to the commissioned pilots. They remind him that they’re officers. So, Sonny?
Now he’s calling them college boys. I become interested in whether these appointed heroes … fuck. the movie just ended. i was sure some point would be made that I could then agree with, refute, howl at … well, now I’ll never even know if the sgt was ever given a “motive.” wanted to fly himself, felt inferior, felt superior, was really tough, just suicidal, stupid, whatever … but mainly, I became interested in why the movie was emphasizing this discrepancy between theory and character. and, happily, I started drifting off weaving map/territory stuff. any society which sells indulgences, commissions, builds degree factories and then actually USES them, believes its own lies, … deserves whatever it gets. now, in so far, as the movie was responsible for this old record reimprovising itself, it matters no more what the sgt’s grief was than it matters who satan is or whether he’s “real” or not.
I also liked to consider how this was the guy their lives were fairly directly dependent on, since he fixed or failed to fix their planes. movie did nothing with that. no planes crashed from malfunction that I noticed. when the officers surround the sgt to stand up for themselves only one actually fights him and he’s roundly defeated. So some of the sgt was at least partly genuine.
wow, 8 minutes later, the same thing again. Fri 13th. cop escorts college girl to morgue for anatomy, fails to scare her. “maybe you’re a bit too educated to believe in ghosts,” he snarls. 40 min later. great line. therapist says: let her watch her own nightmare over and over again, till it’s like summer reruns. that’s what I do!
It only doesn’t seem to be political if it’s orthodox.
Bateson’s tram/bus distinction and politicians deciding budgets and plans without understanding either: explanatory principles: but the vocabulary and the “principles” never get meshed or digested (in any generation of users, and they’ve changed by the next!), so college coaches, advising “don’t think” one second and screaming “you didn’t use your heads” the next. If the first sports zen were true in any simple way, ie if they had an explanation system capable of articulating what they mean (the world now does, but the coaches and the public are far from having learned it or even from hearing of it), then an infant should be able to outshoot the archery master or beat Air Jordon to the basket.
when you couldn’t do something yourself but you don’t want to elevate the doer, you call it instinct, when you do, you call it genius.
I’m now doing things on the synth that would have left me with my mouth open when I was a kid. unfocused, barely awake, face unrinsed, but coffee in hand and fingers in place, I do a little Frankie and Johnny with the book open. a series of false starts. it’s the book. it’s throwing me off, but none of it sounds bad: i don’t mean anybody should stand in line to hear, only that my uncoordinated fingers were finding other, perfectly decent Frankie and Johnnys. I’d play it my usual way, then get lost, cause my single up beat intro isn’t in the book I learned it from. I generally just insert it. but now the discrepancy was preventing me from being able to read or play. also, I’d be in the middle of the piece before I’d finished deciphering the first written couple of measures. I was reading at (toward) my beginning place and playing at (toward) my playing pace. But all the crossed wires and faults of coordination were procluding acceptable alternatives. I was in C when I should have been in C, or close enough, and in F, etc.
So I have a day dream/memory. Me as a kid standing worshipfully next to some musician. I’m probably embarrassing the guy. He’s probably all too conscious of the limitation of his skills, he wasn’t showing off, he was practicing, and now he’s got this votary distracting him. I didn’t say the guy was Bud Powell, but he’s black and it’s jazz of one sort or another that he’s fumbling around in. I ask him a question, “are you reading or improvising,” he answers truthfully, from his side, miraculously from mine, cause I don’t have the tools or experience to understand the possibility of the truth of my hoped for answer. I don’t know that you can’t separate Apollo from robot merely by separating reading from improvisation. The player can’t separate them except by special training to be a special kind of a robot which it takes great intelligence to be. Sort of like: read the Bible but don’t make anything of it, except as we’ve already told you. Of course generations of musicians were trained that way: you’re just a reproduction machine till the composer writes here, over this number of blank measures, “flute improv.”
Now, put a total novice’s hands on the keyboard and say, man, it’s your chorus, and he freezes and stays frozen. at rest, remain at rest. the manic kid, already waving his hands, Anthony, begins happily pounding out cacophony. and since he’s not yet a social creature at age 6, he doesn’t mind that the crowds don’t gather, but flee or scream at him, if gathered already. but if your hands have put in so many hours wandering over the board in this pattern or that pattern, say, it’s your chorus, and they go right on wandering, and in that pattern.
I looked at the guy playing and saw Apollo, merely by the fact that he could do it at all, and maybe a little by the fact that he was just there, jazz oriented, an occasion for me. He was in all probability a drop out garbage man or something. Maybe a little apprehensive that I’d turn out to be the principal’s son or the son of the firechief or of the minister, depending on whether my memory was in church, school, or firehouse. Now bring in principal, chief, or preacher. What if this racist adult is also impressed by this guy’s playing? Will he think Apollo? or trained monkey? point out that the guy isn’t trained. OK, so untrained monkey. the insult against the guy, the music, and the monkey, altogether independent of any possibly objective assessment of the quality of the music itself. also, a confusion between “training” or say just practice, experience, a history, and official, qualified, master training.
show a civilized person a bird’s nest that they couldn’t weave, but they dismiss it as instinct. you’re not claiming that that individual bird invented the nest, but its species sure did.
does the dismissing person claim to have invented the automobile? yet they feel superior for being a consumer in a society stuffed with things they are conscious of as inventions, though far more stuffed with inventions they’re not conscious of as inventions.
show that same person some pottery. maybe they’ll think it’s nice if it’s in the store and for sale, but in the museum: it’s primitive. So? What about it? Ok, try and make one. I don’t even say invent it. Go to the book, look it up, read up on how, and then try to make it. Fucking idiot.
America an interesting thing. Which ethnic hegemony in 15th-cen Europe imagined that it would lose its own identity by going out and getting rich, bringing back the pepper, conquering the world? Being “white”, pretending there was ever any kind of agreement between the White Russians and Poland or between the Celts and the Saxons. Yet which in themselves wasn’t some previous forgotten coalition? Spain? what the fuck is that? Moors, for godsake, the goddam A-rabs. Plus scraps of this and that, including light skinned northern wanderers not wandering at the moment.
What we call western music I’m seeing esp. clearly this 4th of July am, really does have strong parallels with politics and the culture at large. forsake your own masculinity for Napoleon’s and maybe your chances go up that he will let you be bull in your own little stable while he turns as much of the biosphere as he can into his own big stable. one genius and forty million toy soldiers. Beethoven. what crap. brilliant. fantastic. but still crap. I mean the monster orchestra music. Four amateurs can sit down and say let’s play Der Grosse Fugue. Fine. Then they can play Brahms. Then they can jam. But 40 or 60 or 100 people subsuming their entire lives to play someone else’ music? I don’t care how great he is. To my mind, it’s sick. But it’s what we’ve all been doing in more and more spheres, first show yourself a eunuch, then we’ll let you pretend to be masculine. Vote with the administration and then say all kinds of crazy shit to the poor freshmen.
If the big orchestra developed because some king or conqueror was paying for it, from the standpoint of the musicians, I understand and appreciate it, however the king got the money in the first place. If people today want to pay to hear a big orchestra, then fine, there would be lots of big orchestras. But they have to be subsidized! Private, corporate, and public funds. Pay taxes to be subjugated by Beethoven. For the orchestra to be subjugated by Beethoven. Without the subsidies, there would probably still be one or two great orchestras in the world, and I’d be all for them. I’d wish there were more. I’d mourn any diminution in quality. But expect to go to Berlin for it. Maybe New York too. And pay big money. It would be worth it. So maybe I’d never have been able to afford to go. Maybe once, a great gift, or something I’d saved for. Or grown rich to be able to afford.
What do people pay money for in music? Some poor bastard, 40 years old, with mass produced electronics and a mass produced audience, pretending or actually being an adolescent jerk, amplifying the lie that we approve of no inhibitions. Maybe in the future we’ll pay even more to someone who shits on the stage and then rolls around in it. How about if he flung feces into the audience? Disney never took Mickey Mouse quite that far. In fact, the younger he drew him, the older and more civilized he had him act, until now he’s a hobby horse to the millions.
Of course I favor improvisation. I love jazz. I favor the various Afro and Cuban and Brazilian inputs into it. But Bach can be improvised. I play some and see: hey, they’re lessons in a particular key and its relatives. Not just the AMB Notebook. Beethoven’s Fur Elise looks half an improvisation to me. In fact, now that I think of it, those guys, Handel etc, expected their musicians to be embellishing the written line. Maybe not Bach or Vivaldi writing for school kids, but they were special circumstances.
So, of course, you improvise in the tradition that you’re playing. You don’t improvise Bach the way you’d improvise with Sonny Rollins. So, in that sense, the improvisations are pre-written. Play in this style: not you play raga and I’ll play Danny Boy. Or either of us will play either.
OK, an orchestra should rehearse so that one member doesn’t try to put Scots syncopation onto Bolero. If it’s the third symphony you’re doing, you don’t want Ellington suddenly introducing his own counter melodies and rhythms or changing the changes. Unless, that is what you agree that you’re doing: Ladies and gentlemen, the Duke will now show us if we can’t find a new and Ellingtonian Eroica. Therefore, you other guys, stick around what’s written, so that it’s Duke’s contrast that will stand out.
Again and again, Miles goes back and shows us a pure blues.
I think that there’s no such thing as just music. It all comes in some basic style. Whether our descriptions of that style have much validity is another matter. We hear the accuracy in music, not words; Miles has got it right. BB King also has got it right. Ray Charles too. Which doesn’t mean that they’ll play at their best together.
Last night MadMadMadetc World came on and I allowed an episode or two to remain on. When H&I saw it in Hunter, I wanted to walk out, but leave poison gas behind for our fellow Americans who were enjoying it. Laughing, anyway. I was far less offended this time, though I still thought it was plenty bad. Kramer gets a mob of great comics and the movie was ugly cacophony. Maybe too it was too much vaudeville and not enough cinema. How could anybody stand Ethyl Merman and Phil Silvers on the stage at the same time? Following Jimmy Durante? And then along comes Terry Thomas? God.
Though that movie maybe more than any other single one reminds me of how grateful we can be that Gilda Radner finally came along. She didn’t have unstained yellow gloves at the climax of Hiroshima.
Funny, last night I was kind of admiring the actress I so hated first time around. All she has to do is look pretty and smile and be stupid no matter what’s going on. When we first meet Terry Thomas, she’s sitting almost on top of him and smiling straight into his face and into the camera at the same time, while Ethyl Merman has fits. I’d like to see even Vanna White be a better dumb C- (Bowdlerizing K. 2016 07 30). Last time, I blamed everybody; this time I didn’t blame her. She even had a surprising variety of dumb-c-looking-fascinated smiles.
Maybe Hollywood said to itself: Stanley Kramer is so crass and stupid and pretentious, so unaware of sociological absurdity, so totally the pre-Godel, even pre-Freudian man, and we have such contempt for the millions who make us rich, let’s bank anything Kramer wants to the hilt: it’s be sure to be so awful we’ll have an unending cascade of Oscars.
I imagine the director of Witches of Eastwick telling Nicholson, let it all out, you can’t overdo it. go, man, go. I imagine Kramer saying the same but somehow conveying, don’t stop until you’re a lampoon of your own style.
Ellington put together an all star orchestra that somehow had its own flavor and that flavor was Ellington. Kramer put together so many stars, and sure enough, the flavor is Kramer. Gross.
irony of evolution. Success can be the beginning of the end, or even the end of the end. We steal German scientists and so well pursue Hitler type weapons mastery. Maybe our actions were reactions, but Hitler still led the world far past his death. Soon, there’s no doubt that we can blow anybody up. We can miss them by ten miles and still blow them up. Exterminate their families too, far beyond anything the Chinese or Ghengis Khan could accomplish.
any brat can take his football and go home. any poor kid being bullied can take his football and go home. always, if it’s his football. but how about, I’m going blow up the football and the football field and the homes? And it’s up to me whether you’re treating me right.
So, we live in fear. But we still like to honor that part of us which is still mammal, the side related to the ruminants. males have to show strength and ruthlessness before the females. a few females want to try it too? hey, why not? Maybe we really are becoming a different kind of a species.
we look at the past and see a pattern: evolution. history. whatever. we look at the present and see a pattern. sometimes we want to see a link, a continuity. hey, you can’t do that, see, we’ve always done this. sometimes we want to see change, progress. contrast to our bestial past, ho ho. the pattern of the past may link with the pattern of the present, but until it’s the future, we can’t be sure what that link is. any such presentation is political. tendentious. propaganda.
trouble is, the movies that celebrated these things with us or for us, escalate their own weaponry, and soon find that they have to fall back. every car turning over or boat running against a rock now shows something approaching a mushroom cloud. So turn over 50 cars. then 100.
And what’s cutting into and then taking huge portions of your profits? japs, with at worst, swords, and kung-fu chinks kicking each other in the teeth with ballet slippers.
Super human fighting, but still human that it’s super to, not imitations of stellar dynamics.
Now Hollywood too, for a long time, typically found it’s heroes shedding the fancy weapons and fisting it out. Feudal tourneys where they start out mounted and wind up rolling around in the mud like yeomen. Total ahistorical. And totally unmilitary. Like the karate or kung-fu syndrome: how come the good guy never fights fair? We fight like good villains, ganging up on him by the dozen, with all kinds of sneak weapons, and still, he’s alone and just with his fists, and every movie-goer knows, those odds are insuperable. So why don’t the bad guys separate and let the good guys gang up on them? Then they’d have the advantage.
Ah, my opponent has jammed his machine gun. Now I’ll throw mine down too and we can slug it out.
What would have really happened to a knight in that situation. After a time in chivalry, they were so weapons proud that they probably would disdain to save their own life with their bare hands. Samurai too. Take away his sword and you could kill him with a straw. Or, you wouldn’t have to: take away his sword and watch him commit seppuku.
Anyway, we’ve got just the weapons we wanted, and nobody’s impressed any more. Bruce Lee take John Wayne’s position? And be a hell of a lot better? Preposterous.
But the big guns lose. Acrobats, gymnasts kicking a choreography, must better badass entertainment than mushroom clouds.
We think freedom is something that can be won and held on to. It strikes me that it’s not in our control, never was, and never will be. Yet freedom, part freedom, is something that can never be altogether eliminated or for long. I bet the founding fathers meant some of what they said. ThosJeff especially. Yet he was one of the first imperial presidents, lying, duplicitous, all for the good of the republic, no doubt. We plan our environment without knowing what it is. What it’s limits are. What it’s limits aren’t. We planned a nation without adequately considering its interface with the world. Or changes to that interface, changes to the world. So our plans were nonsense. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t have planned. We should keep planning, plan better, learn what we learn, apply, and still expect to be surprised. Praise to god if we’re still here, believe in our hubris as well as our reason.
Oh oh, Hitler has us so scared. So we go for the A bomb. Now we got it and no more Hitler. Do we then get rid of them? Say thanks, sorry, and exterminate the scientists who made it as one would kill a mad dog, even if it’s you who deliberately trained the dog to be mad? a pit bull no longer need, but a danger to its owners and his neighbors? Burn the papers? Oh no. Now there’s another enemy. We’ll use it to lead the world. We’re the good guys. they’d better accept our trade terms, our military in their country. still, there’s freedom. and no doubt there’s freedom in the USSR. I don’t doubt that we have more, I recognize that we work at it, not just work against it, but what ever we work at, it isn’t the fact of our working at it that gives us what freedom we have. If we knew ourselves, if we knew our environment (I suspect that such knowledge at best would be knowledge that we couldn’t, not completely), then maybe. at least more than now. but now, yes, we sometimes work at it, we also shun it, we also have it, we also don’t, and there’s no simple causality anywhere in the relationship.
Lindquist vs Fairbanks. such terrific athletes, such baby faces, even the more slender looking Fairbanks with some trace baby fat. She goes for a shot and the camera shows some healthy buttock and a hint of snatch. Carol Emshwiller’s great Sex and/or Mr Morrison. talking about her young thoughts of male and female being “out and nothing.” later seeing that its “out and in.”
I wish she could see my Mod2.
Looking at the tennis players I’m again marveling at female groin. both male and female topographically go in and out all over, but in and out differently. The female goes in for the snatch but then extra out all around the snatch, going overboard to advertise the hidden. The male’s other outs are more work oriented. ie female out, reproductive oriented (ie influence the environment over time), with the actual reproduction in; male out, oriented: influence the environment here and now; what’s around the organ relatively in, but the organ, out. Out in two modes: the normal, stable mode-out, the occasional mode- way out.
I love Emshwiller’s piling up of organic shapes for sex, especially “an oyster, one eyed, between the legs”
how come I never thought of that image? But I’d have it opposite: Blind oyster. there’s something about cock, tit, and cuny that’s profoundly non-visual. perceiving like hell, but not as sight.
Must also remember Joe Hershey and Lord Randy, My Son.
Fritz Leiber and Poul Anderson also good in same Ellison anthology.
Godfather’s double standard of public and private, family and business. then, it’s all personal. the public only understands the lie. but topographically, it’s the out that goes out, but it’s the in that goes out too. Puzo showing a little fractal sociology.
wanna fight? no thanks; I’m married.
bar fights before the females. but ritual fighting is for territory and for harems. aren’t we supposed to be working toward monogamy? are we reversing our field? growing chaotic? high energy? what does it mean?
does my memory for names seem to deteriorating toward senility because it is? or because I’m concentrating more on other things? or because I know more names to forget? Or because there are more to know? I’m slowing down for sure.
I had told Dyan that she reminded me of somebody, I couldn’t be sure who. (I know I’ve remembered Sally Fields since then, but can’t remember whether I admitted Sally Fields to her out loud as one of the ingredients. I know I said I was having trouble putting it together. She helped. “People are always telling me I look like Stephanie Powers.” I know I wanted to note that, but couldn’t remember Stephanie Powers’ name by the time I got into the id file. I remember I wanted to write this note, can’t remember doing so, remember the name coming to me, but never catching it. Now, a year and a third later, it pops into my head while the file is open. I remember having to confess to Dyan that I didn’t know who Stephanie Powers was. Since then, I’ve had my eyes open. I still don’t really see it. Put it in who.file for future comparison.
PS2 It & Mirror Shades. the present is the nightmare of past science fiction fulfilled. Remember Fiedler’s point about sci-fi as future gothic, “fear” of the future. sci-fi big toy wish fulfillment, sure, but never simply a utopia. (or utopia’s usually show little more than that imagination can be far more horrible than the horrid reality.) we continue to choose the tree of undigested knowledge on faith. It’s death, it’s obvious that it’s death, the message comes back from everywhere that it’s death, yet we still choose it. Before we understand yesterday’s disastrous solution, let’s burn more rain forest to buy tomorrow’s even less digested and almost certainly more disastrous solution. How ya gonna do it? You’re gonna PS2 it!
But we know ourselves. We know it in myth if not in day to day depredations. The newspapers find facts to lie to us with; myths find fictions to tell the truth.
Yet there’s a difference, I suspect an improvement between: “What’s the secret ingredient of Vitalis? Why secret formula X-9.” An answer which answers nothing, just gives it a meaningless label, a name. But a non-name name. A number. un-human, in-human. Anti-human?
Now You’re gonna PS2 it, in fact is something you’re going to use yourself, corporation and corporate individuals. You may not really understand it, yet the “secrets” are part of public discourse. “The solution is IBM.” Un-human, maybe anti-human, corporate, anyway. But at least we can know that it means International Business Machines, or some such.
But it’s still more of the modern syndrome: what we sold you last year with such expense on your part, untellable frustration, confusion, and further retreat from a sense of community, is no good, now you have to spend even more money, but this time, we promise (hoping you’ve forgotten that we promised before too), you’ll be happy. You’ll still have lost whatever little sense of humanity and coherence with your world you had left, but don’t worry, you’ll be compensated. you’ll be ahead of the competition. or at least with them, because of course, we’re not selling you an exclusive.
other ad comes on, reminding me of my just recorded army story: “Stand in a designated area by the tower.” frozen yogurt song and dance. “What have you got to lose?” (I suppose implying the answer: “weight”, when right on top of it comes the jingle, “All the pleasure; None of the guilt: TCBY.” They paid money for this? Don’t they realize what they’re saying? Is the juncture ironic? the ad man the owner’s Maoist son, as on Monty Python? Buy our product and lose all the pleasure, lose none of the guilt?
“Something wicked this way comes.” Enter Macbeth.
feudal lord japs tribe & chief; renaiss. cleric japs chivalrous lord; corporate stud japs bureaucratized democracy.
utopia, a form of fiction which demonstrates (Plato’s Laws, Republic, etc) that even refined ideals can be far worse than the reality.
old penciled scraps I no longer remember the intent of:
can you suffer without a body?
you’re outside the space/time continuum, not independent of it. if you were, you wouldn’t …
Be a proton with a mad … couldn’t read it. something about being crowded by the annoyingly more permanent neutron.
Liz. in a coat of testicle trophies at the Oscar Awards.
more and more virulent strains
Here we are congratulating ourselves on being right while the rest of the world is wrong. Just remember: we might be wrong too. Consider: what if god is wrong about X? God is right by definition. Sure: but what if the definition is one that has zero possibility of being true in any system that we actually have any awareness of? then the definition is meaningless. the tautology is meaningless. Or what if the god is incapable of being wrong or right by definition in system Y? but SysY is a sub-system of X where the rules are more widely defined.
What goes up must come down is always true in a system whose escape velocity is x and nothing is ever noticed to exceed x.
what do you mean “rights”? for whom?
X the AI. A BK and a DM discuss “rights.” Come to agreement that definition is needed. Enlightened definition. Do their best to define human, man, rights, etc. Whatever the input from this or that one in what’s become a group, it’s decided that AI is not and cannot become human, therefore rights a,b,c don’t apply. Next X is born an AI. Crucified all over again.
A week goes by without my even being able to scribble here. painting the wall, working in the library, fighting with the food stamp bureaucracy. One time I say, that’s it, my dinner is digested enough, I’ll catch up, reach for the tube, and the movie just coming on says “Françoise Dorliac.” I also feel I recognize the graphics. So I’m just saying to myself Jean Paul Belmondo when his graphic comes on. Sure enough, Man from Rio. I love Philip DeBroca movies, but seem to love them in inverse proportion with the rest of the non-French speaking world. Heart of Hearts, his biggest English world hit, is my least favorite. I like the Belmondo ones, but not nearly so much as the Jean Pierre Cassel ones. Anyway, I find myself watching it. Fascinated at how posey and stiff and not even really very good Cathrine Denueve’s older sister seems: the beautiful one, was the opinion in those days. Lev was always talking about her. And Elle. Whereas when DeBroca used the younger sister, never has actress been better turned into pink cotton candy more attractively and less offensively.
This first viewing after a very long time is interesting to me. I see the movie more and more in Light in August Terms. Europeans leading the rape of the rain forest. The Emerald Forest. Yet, the bulldozer at the end had been unmistakable even then. I didn’t miss it, I just didn’t see it as the theme throughout.
But also: the movie is always one I remember as the first I ever noticed in which somebody (JPB) kicks somebody in the balls to the approval of the audience. So I was even anticipating it. This time around, it was almost unnoticeable. This time around the Aztec thug seemed less monstrous. Far fewer steroids and iron-pumpers around just those couple of decades ago. So many other movies shooting outrage, insult, and injury, a readjustment of our myths of the male to who knows what combination of good and harm, in slow mo and lingering close-up, that now it takes a piece of whoredom like that Burt Lancaster/Kirk Douglas old train robbers offensiveness even to be visible.
the influence of the untrue over the true.
a young champion comes along and stuns the public. Becker at 17. Young Chrisy. Years pass. Then out come the old stories, the old tapes. Billie Jean tells how once she was alarmed on the court, hearing this boom, boom, from a neighboring court. She went to look and there was Boris, the child, practicing his serve. So:
ss: no one in the city (or planet, etc) could have guessed … But no surprise to the suburbs, the moon, the followers of X.
Rumanian porverb: It is better to make his mother cry, than your mother cry. Ion Tiriac.
every micro second is judgment day. on the micro level. but the result of the judgment in the macro world is delayed. rather, not delayed, it just has to pass up through the levels.
now, on the macro level, where map/territory becomes increasing discrepant, and it becomes harder for the consciousness program to keep track of anything, let alone everything, we’re bound generally to be way off base about what it is that’s being judged. we get away with “intention” defenses within that program and expect to get away with it even when the judge is objective. not where’s the fire; but “your vehicle was going more than 50 mph. period. but judge, that was after the cops forced me off the road and I was in free fall. at 32 ft/sec2, I couldn’t help it. don’t worry, the cops are being judged too. but meantime, I sentence you to hit your next intersection with the mountain at F=MA or whatever it is.
simultaneously, we know how wrong and stupid and corrupt and venal we are in our own consciousness program terms, how it’s lies and cover-ups all the way down. so have concepts of mercy, compassion, etc. Now listen here, god, you’ve let us get away with it so far, I just bet the farm on you’re letting me get away with it a bit further; and now you suddenly calling a foot fault? (I think mixed metaphors here are the only appropriate kind.)
The bible as the word of god. maybe. but who says that words are the best, or even a good, way to look into a mind? we have only fallible instruments. words may once have been the best that we had, as a group, at least. but science is better. it isn’t that we are all capable of it. we’re not all capable, certainly not to the same degree, with words either. and no one is entirely or consistently capable. still, science, for now, for all how it too may be quicksilver, is the best way we’ve got. evolution shows us more of the mind of god than the bible. homology, growth patterns. etc.
back and forth, back and forth, all my listening life. Jazz, Bach, jazz, Bach, jazz, Bach. Right now it’s Bach. Last night, spastic, uncoordinated, fatigued, frazzled, before another sleepless night and ghastly midday headache, I fumble some spirituals, some Sonny, some Miles, some Ornette. And a gigue, a minuet, and courante, polonaise, and sarabande. Today, I play the Gigue in D again and the Minuet in B minor. Much better coordinated, my mind able to see some of the harmonic progressions, and therefore my fingers a bit more instinctive. The thought of switching to the blues scale seems completely barren.
I must continue to become more aware of the intervals by which the harmony progresses, not just the intervals of the melody. It’s not easy at fifty, but what else is worthwhile? A couple of years now of trying to see chords and it’s coming naturally. How long would it have taken when young? With instruction? Perhaps longer, since little instruction is really architectural in a world in which technique is emphasized over recognition.
Reading Picture This. Heller so great. I despise the sunday school technique of being a good slave i was trained in. whatever i think, those are still my habits. I’ve devoted my life to the relationships among understanding, communication, words, and modes of perception. To a degree where I can’t communicate with anyone. The results aren’t in, may not be in by my death, may never be in, may never show. And I indulge a bit in second guessing myself. How much better it might have been to have learned micro-biology, to have developed a weapon which could check the weapons of the totalitarian democracies and the totalitarian committees. Hold the law at ransom: mean what you say, be careful in designing it, because I will hold you to it. Oh, I know: all you meant to get away with was murder, and you have, but no longer, while the greater doom is held in my hand.
Play god? Oh, you mean only you are allowed to do that? You have a law against it? Well, I’m breaking that one. See what it will cost you to do something about it.
Fantasizing for a moment about an actuality of such: what if they determined or guessed the source of their destruction? They’d try pin point respect, even obeisance. Sorry, that won’t do. X said it: do it to these and you’re done it to me. The point wasn’t to be exempt from the law, to be privileged, but to stop you from trying that for yourselves. But Paul, you’ve killed everybody: the innocent and the guilty. So what else in new? It’s the matrix I’m working on, not us flies in it. Just as you were working on the matrix, working on what you inherited. How is the matrix of one intelligent species to serve the biosphere? It don’t matter; get what you can; you’re entitled, if you can get away with it. Sorry, I know that’s what you want of the matrix; but, you see: (you said it yourselves) we’re enemies.
expendable? sure. but what isn’t? the individual, the group, the species, the GenusFamilyOrderClassPylumKingdom to the entire biosphere, the planet, the SS, the galaxy, the universe. the cosmos? I don’t know. Maybe that too.
would that in- or ex-clude god? don’t know. depends on how coextensive he is with this or that level of the hierarchy. claiming, guessing, posturing isn’t knowing. Up the ante of the bluff. no matter how many dissident minds, bodies you torture and kill. I’ll kill all of you if you don’t believe that I believe … (can one torture the body and not the mind? depends on the mind. maybe the answer is just no.)
torque. many shapes of influence. the helix even more than the circle more typical than the straight line.
change sign? ying & yang intertwined. beyond and below sight. infinite? who knows? but torque from below. and maybe from ahead and above.
say freedom while striving to limit
why not limit? Must! But it’s not in the rhetoric of both seekers. So yang has to lie to yin and yin lie to yang. Torque from the hidden, the ancient. and might not the unwoven part also torque? Is there a place where time future is woven. Or acts “as if” it is woven?
law and rights. You need a pack of lawyers to get them. But we provide you with one. Huh? to sue you? And even when you do, it’s just so you can shuck more responsibility.
we think that secrecy and hypocrisy is our invention. America directed by Geo III, by Louis, by cavemen, by lizards. By molecules? by before the BB?
school. skill acquisition is the jab. social control is the right hook. the jab distracts from the real hammer. keep him busy with your weak left till he forgets your strong right.
typical teaching. now don’t be afraid to ask questions. they take 60 min to tell you how open they are. then they’re behind schedule and god help you if you question anything but those questions you’re led to ask. the magician’s forced card.
my exper with courts. I go in. the judge get a load of me. Ah. That’s the privilege that we serve here. Just wait till the rest of them, the low lifes, get a load of some justice here. How nice for a change. I’ll play straight man to this aristocrat. All will bask in my wisdom. He of course assumes I’m there pursuing or defending my own self-interest. Not to humiliate the law. I tell my story to one. “And I’ll bet the cop was entirely disinterested,” the judge says, showing off his illiteracy. God, If I let that pass, god will see I’ve allied myself with a fool. should I accept this ally? join the fraud. In that case I did. He must have smelled a fish when my face went blank, I, catatonic within, in the conflict over that part that in fact was pursuing self-interest. I don’t want to, can’t pay this fine. Most people pay as a convenience, a tax, a lottery that fell against them. Civilization runs by excess wealth; there’s no place in it for someone who doesn’t. (of course I run by excess wealth too, but a tiny amount, as little as I can get away with.)
But in most cases, the judge quickly sees or already believes that I’m a lancer of boils or I wouldn’t be there. Get out the tar and feathers. Do they see how much themselves they are in everything they do?
rain and wind certainly have their own character in the semi-tropics. I love it.
T: Teen Drug Lord
Conflict Between (and of course Among) Modes of Perception. There’s the usual: it’s true if it’s mostly true. Then there’s: it isn’t true if there’s a single exception. Most of us most of the time are the former. I doubt that even the best scientists are most of the time the latter, even within their science. An eg that makes me think that none of us are 100% in the former is the category of crime. Murder is supposed to be against the law. You don’t have to murder everybody or even two people to be a murderer. Once is enough for the category to change from Joe Blow to murderer. However, one innocent prisoner convicted and sentenced, isn’t enough for us to relabel the Justice Department the Injustice Department. From a scientific standpoint though, what does such a title mean? It starts meaning an intention and winds up meaning that that’s the label of that bureaucracy. Or it does mean it: whatever happens in that society of a public nature concerning formal justice, happens or fails to happen in that department. Also however, at a murder trial, a defense might try to present character witnesses. “Jimmy is quiet. He never did me any harm.” What? Implying that since he didn’t kill you, he can’t have killed anybody?
We are trained that we live in a society of laws, a society of principles. We grow up hearing somebody declare, “It’s the principle of the thing.” But when we are actually grown, and can look around and compare experience to principles and labels, we find only fragments of principles, long arguments about principles leading to a hasty decision made by expedience or by no apparent system beyond it being late, or past the end of the day, or just make one. We live in a stew of different laws and principles, sometimes one attracting us, sometimes more another. Sometimes, usually, the principles are simply irrelevant to each other. But sometimes, they’re in conflict. OK Boy, here’s the double bind, the stuff of character. Figure this one out. Tragedy. I know of no story where this is more formally or patently true than … hell, what’s his name? the japanese fag and body builder novelist who broke into the general’s office to commit seppuku. M something. Yukio Mishima. His movie Seppuku. If that was the name. Not the movie Hara Kiri, with Tatsuya Nakadai. The small film with Wagner’s Liebestod on the sound track as his glistening guts spill quivering into his lap.
Oral culture vs. Print culture. The illusion of specifiable genealogy. (I don’t care if you are descended from Abraham: you’re also, even therefore, descended from slaves, pygmies, retards.) Of dates and sequence and an ordered “this influenced that.” cf. Bishop Berkley. In this world, nothing exists until a book has been written about it. Or by it. Where there whales before Moby Dick? Oh yes; there’s one in the Bible, though that couldn’t have been a whale. Or does it say big fish. It says something in Hebrew. But people repeat it as whale. Oral still mixes in. Now there are lots of whales. Just look in the library. You can even see them on Save the Whale posters. The universe itself didn’t exist until Genesis said it did. In the beginning was the word. Which word? Whose word? God’s? Or John’s? Of course the authors of Genesis were backdating it a bit. That’s ok in the print world. Then Bishop Ussher to count years and give it a date.
Twenty years since Apollo? Tv documentary last night looked like bad sci-fi. Funny that I should deliberately leave the channel on and watch the rerun when I had ignored, maybe even avoided, coverage of the original. Now I read confessions from other sci-fi people about how disappointed they were, how petty it seemed, our clean idea all covered with the shit of politics.
ss: in which alien’s find footprint, flag, and “We came in peace.” They know or decipher English but somehow don’t know the culture. Make wrong then less wrong guesses about footprint. Have no idea what the flag is. Know English grammar but are fuzzy on vocabulary. What does peace mean? Look it up. Ah. It means that they’re warlike, have war on their minds, are actually at war, came here as a part of that war, and leave a lie. Then they can begin to understand the flag.
So. No real adventurers or scientists aboard: just the militarily selected cream of the crop of the dregs that allow themselves to be part of such a process in the first place. No, these aren’t draftees, slaves with a lance put in their hands; these are volunteers, lifers, economic and social slaves sure, hmm, and I guess one real careerist too, at least the one guy I just learned last night was son to a general, nephew, brother or something: three generals in his immediate family. We had to read all this shit about how smart Kennedy was as though no one else had ever gone to Harvard or taken a speed reading course. They actually used that as an example of intelligence! Then Life magazine is shoving all this crap about the finest young men down our throats. God. Though I loved them all in The Right Stuff.
Watching the dreariness of the documentary I could imagine other’s reactions, not sci-fi people like myself or a Harlan Ellison or an Isaac Asimov, genial, following closely, but aware and contemptuous too, but just plain pop culture consumers, people who’ve seen Star Wars, or even just a James Bond film, wondering why the cut to and from the booster rocket dropping away is so slow. Why that thing cost a lot of money. The camera was a robot. Of course we’re going to show it till everyone is bored to tears. Andy Warhol should have seen this film. Talk about slow. Put the camera in one place and leave it. Now we can all go to church on it, not even hearing the grass grow. Imagine a documentary about Columbus where most of the film was of the creaking of some kind of rope new in 1492. Shown to people who couldn’t imagine why they used rope at all. Long close up of guy who’s sea sick. Longer of same guy with scurvy. Four month close up. Shit: this isn’t interesting; cut to montage of common like in Seville.
Yet this stupid treatment kept apologizing for how much hardware it’s showing. (Yet it had an innuendo about the “1969 computer” running the lunar landing simulator. Come to think of it, there were passim mentions of computer mistakes and the humans taking over. Wish wish wish.
Then they’d cut to “ordinary life of July 1969, CBS’s time capsule opened, yawn, 20 yrs later. Oh, was Vietnam going on then?
The hell with this. I go to the john. I return not more than a half hour later, surprised that the show wasn’t longer. I didn’t switch the channel did I? Now it’s a documentary about pottery. Its ancient heritage. Guy working pottery wheel. How old pottery is. Lots of ancient civilizations mentioned. “Beep.” Huh? Maybe it’s the same documentary after all. There’s no mistaking that sound track. Like a strobe light in an otherwise Victorian drawing room. Yes folks, loud and clear, whatever we’re showing, this is a high tech film. Sci-fi, folks. The space age. Ah, that’s it. It’s another defense of our human selves, another awkwardness not knowing how to relate to the computers and rockets and vacuum suits. Much on the suits being sewn by “ordinary seamstresses.” You’d think, the narrator says, that these suits would be made by” scientists, fancy technicians, or something. No. “Ordinary people made these suits.” Working for the fucking military. Where we to understand that this women who used to run an assembly line sewing machine also designed them? Watch out for meteoroids. I also loved the earlier line, that there was no money for space until they “found it,” lolling around in the military budget. x billions. Just lying around.
Now that I think of it, this documentary was the best, most complete, polymorphously revealing history of the last 25 years I’ve seen or could imagine. Portrait of a society tied up in knots, stumbling over itself, as each stumble, each lurch in hope of correction, leads to a new awkwardness, and trying to posture that it’s in control, that it has values, that it’s so terrific we ought to admire it, etc. I wonder if a similar documentary made by the society itself, partly consciously at the time of some event, a twenty year planned time capsule as it were, would ever look much different. I don’t of course mean the hardware or the going to the moon or the war’s being Vietnam. Just the double binds, intended bluster coming across as clumsy second-guessing uncertainty. What the fuck have we gotten ourselves into? Uh oh. Egg on my vest. Don’t brush it off now. Stand at attention and salute.
trailer for film, actress acting. She says, well, you know … hunh … yeah. much acting, not that I’m comending it, that’s not my point. plenty unspoken, also by the silent Billy Chrystal’s back. how do you translate it into subtitles? the foreigner can maybe hear the exact sound track, see the action, but it’s in the difference of how the words are used and said and paused and swallowed, the difference from the norm, that the meaning is.
Never seen it before in thirty odd years of watching Tonight shows. Arsenio Hall isn’t bad. If fact, there are some ways in which, speaking of sci-fi, that his show is like a sci-fi story. Imagine this? Show this show ten years ago, five years ago, and say this is a successful show in 89? Nah. But it is. I also like the way he’ll let his band get down and boogie a bass line. He’ll even do rhythmic presentation. Tonight, his guest in Eddie Murphy. Hey, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as himself being a personality. Christ, he’s done some obscene video. Every other close up of him singing, there’s this adorable pussy gyrating in baggy jeans just over his shoulder. Not bad. He’s quiet at first, but gradually, he takes over the show. And Arsenio never gets it back. Even the camera stayed on him. I mean a total and terminal take over. Arsenio barely squeezed himself into the frame and squeaked out good night as the time ended.
Eddie Murphy. Wow. Very disappointed at first, once his music video was over. I’d thought, this might be something. These guys made a movie together. They know each other. They’re both black, comedians, young, successful, etc. But it started off almost a satire of itself, two guys, shinny clean, in expensive suits, sitting there filling up their chairs like a couple of capitalists. Gradually, Eddie warmed up. Then there was no stopping him. Talking about stuff from school. Then he mentioned that they’d left him back. !!?? On tv? “Hey, Eddie, here’s a new one for you. Have you heard this? Ho, ho, ho. Uh, by the way. Here’s your report card. See you again next year.” Hysterical. Arsenio is falling out of his chair, but the camera doesn’t even include him in the frame after a while.
wisdom. a synthesis not commonly held, ie containing a high level difference (a synthesis automatically being of a high level), in which two or more other parties see appropriateness. The second or third to the n parties need not be contemporaneous. Ie, we can find wisdom in another culture’s martyr. (I like the way Asclepius said, not Socrates may be full of shit, but he’s still far and away the clearest spirit among us, and clearer than any previous that we know of, but rather “I don’t see the crime, what’s the evidence?” Ditto Pilat: “I find no fault in this man”; not Are you kidding? The rest of us are a bunch of yo-yos compared to him.
wisdom doesn’t have to be right. If it did, we’d have to wait forever before we could ever consider anything wise. The universe will end, transmutate, do something, before forever ever arrives. If we knew, this is the last second, there’s still be no time to draw a conclusion, certainly no time to gather the evidence, and we wouldn’t be likely to be thinking of wisdom anyway if we knew it was the last second.
JD: a simple finding the footprint, the flag, the “we come in peace,” and drawing conclusions. A simple, here’s a book, Picture That, we’ll judge them by this. Oh, and here’s a movie. Murders of the Rue Morgue. Actor, George C Scott. Author, some committee after E A Poe. We’ll judge them by that too. Ah, and here’s a review. Intelligent actor. Actor of intelligence. Huh? Did you see him smirk? That must be it. And he says “logic” a lot. Huh? What the fuck is he talking about? What was the logic? But here, it fits right with the portrait in Picture This. The movie trips over itself showing the daughter’s fiancé to be sleazy. Did you get it? Nudge, nudge. We’re not supposed to like this guy. We’re supposed to give a shit about the daughter. Ah, see? It’s all about pussy. Who reproduces with whom and where does the property go is all they think about. Except for murder and justice. And slandering other animals. Let’s take one concept. Justice. A creature seemingly impossibly strong somehow impossibly got into the room, impossibly got out again. And there was no motive: meaning, he didn’t take the money. A totally irrational crime. All that gold, being sifted by this old miser, and the killer didn’t take a single coin. (We know the amount. Before and after.) Ok, justice. Arrest somebody, fast. They arrest the simpering weakling of a fiancé. The evidence. He knew about the gold. Butchered two people not to take any. If that’s not proof, what is? Well, we get to find out. George C Scott is so smart. They’d put him out to pasture. We see that he’s smart because he always has a chess set in front of him which he and everyone refers to but which we never see him play. When he’s supposed to be playing, he’s actually thinking of other perfectly ordinary things: human relations, his dead colleague’s son, his resentments over his retirement. The daughter wants justice. But daddy, how can anyone believe him capable of such a thing? You have influence, use it to free him? Not: how can anyone know whether anyone ever did anything or not? What would constitute evidence were they present? Could they believe their eyes? What if they weren’t present? What is evidence? What are conclusions? Anyway, daddy, you know about these things, you know what the group believes, what will sway them, find such evidence and present it. Or find evidence that will tell me I’m wrong. Or present arguments to show that the whole enterprise is nonsense. No. Use your influence to get him off. Because I can’t believe … So. It’s transparent. The story isn’t about murder. About logic. About evidence. About justice. It’s about careers. What’s an allowable motivation if not who controls the gold and the pussy? It’s about bureaucrats getting away with their behavior and prevented from or retired from getting away with their behavior. Popular demands are crazy. The press is always wrong. But they set the tune we jump to. By these standards, I see no evidence that the usurping crime commissioner wasn’t any better at his role than George C Scott. Ok, so in fact Scott found the … what was it? Not a gorilla. Not an orangutan. Such a behavior from any such actually existing creature unless specially trained to crime and murder by a criminal and murderous type is most impossible of all, but it’s the “fact” we’re left with. Look how awful we are. But we must believe that the rest of life is worse. So now let’s put all our hope on the future being born between the daughter and some less wretched fiancé. And put George C. Scott back in charge. Give him more money. Obviously, he didn’t really want to play chess.
But about the “crime.” So some imaginary “ape” did it. Not any of us. We’re not apes. But if one or two or more of us did do it, as was first presumed: Did it ever matter to anyone for one second that it made a difference who was charged? Who convicted? The criterion for evidence seemed to be: will it wash? Not, is it true? Scott finding this fictitious and near impossible “truth” was hardly more than coincidence. The motivation on his side, professional resentment, jealousy, a feeling of I’m not longer privileged to push so many people around. What good am I if I can’t lock people up? It’s not enough to have done it once. It seems I’m an addict. Railroad some slob? Innocence? What does that have to do with this society? Haven’t you learned about original sin? The point is: are the bullies given the big houses our friends? or enemies? Don’t railroad me. And don’t railroad my friends. That will satisfy me, beyond that, do anything that makes you happy. You can’t lynch niggers this year? So invade Cambodia and napalm gooks.
What made us glad about the capture of the killer-ape wasn’t that it was true, but that he got him back officially into a position of power. Power to arrest people, lock them up, dictate to the press, the people, the judges and lawyers.
alliances. how big? how reliable? What level of abstraction? king, country, party, man … life, existence. less and less reason to despair the higher you go. loosely translates into I love god. How big is the god that you love? If he’s the mountain, and the railroad blasts it away, builds a motel on top, runs a tunnel through it, what are you left with? If it’s your party and your party loses, what do you have? If it’s your country and your country loses the war, is annexed, or commits crimes that even you can’t stomach, what do you do? Go to a bigger god. No, my god build the whole Tigris Euphrates valley, even agriculture couldn’t ruin that … um, wait a minute, maybe that ziggurat isn’t impregnable enough, no, my god lives on the biggest mountain, too big for the railroad. On Ararat. Oh, Ararat bores people just coming from the Alps. Uh, no, he’s in heaven, beyond the moon. Life? Life in trouble on earth? Figure there’s got to be life elsewhere. The earth itself in trouble? At some point you have to posit your god as bigger than big, and then start to see that he has to do with the small too, because there is no big without the small (no small without the big, either). You asked for rain, and it came. You asked for relief from your enemy and you enemy died. Now you ask relief for life, for the earth, uh, we’re about to go and strew our behavior further and further. We’ve already politicized the moon. Slandered Mars. We’re taking pictures of Jupiter. Maybe at some point we have to do something ourselves. Maybe something different, better, higher (in an arbitrary scale that puts better and higher and more abstract in the same direction, if convention put it lower, it would make no difference. Consistency is all that matters.), something we have to try. Or hope for. What’s the evolutionary, cybernetic, non-linear relationship between hope and what actually may happen? The individual can’t do it. But numbers can. But the numbers can’t be numbers without individuals being ready or already becoming of that different type. I won’t be a cop, I won’t run for office, I won’t annex this that or any property. I don’t want to napalm gooks if I can’t lynch niggers. And I don’t want you to annex or lynch or napalm me either. Though I’ll certainly recognize your attempts. As I’ll resent your successes. But I already resent your attempts and even more your successes with the gooks and the niggers and the commies and the fictitious apes and the snakes and the whole species with its original sin. That’s not accepting guilt, that’s shucking it further away. Guilt, schmilt, I don’t mean guilt, I mean responsibility. What’s the point of being guilty but not responsible? Because it’s true by definition in some insane non-tautology exploitive theology?
if and when we encounter life elsewhere, life beyond the fossil-meteorites we’ve already martyred people for finding, or if and when we encounter God, a really big god, we’ll of course think that there was some correspondence between our having already thought so and this now experienced “truth.” Uh, sure. But correspondence of the same kind we normally think of. Like we “cause” our speech? What if it’s just something that can’t help happening under the circumstances, all the circumstances. The correspondence would be more like the sound track in a cartoon. Of which actually, the sound track in any synched film is not so different. We associate Mastroianni’s voice synched with Mastroianni’s face as being spoken by Mastroianni. Well, yes, but not the way we think. And in the English version it will be Mastroianni’s voice only if he also did the English track. The “voice” is caused by DeLorentis-Hollywood, which is caused by the appetite for and general affordability of $5 entertainment, etc. A situation no doubt a fractal set would be a better picture of than a line. Is this point in the set “causing” this other point? Uh … it’s just not the best way to talk about it. It’s forcing yourself to be left back. But I was comfortable in the 4th grade. You were? You don’t remember your first day?
Brown’s (I say Brown, not being sure of the name) Law of Public Health. So true. And maybe our salvation. When public effort has a disease just about eliminated, it’s the effort and not the disease which will be eliminated. Take disease as a metaphor for any type of colonization. Let’s go out and recruit for the Republican Party. Great success is some number. It’s never 100%. If it were, even 100% of a class, let alone a society, let alone the world, the nature of the party would have to change just as dramatically as its elimination would change it. Christians convert with fervor. When they’ve reached a certain proportion, it’s everybody trying to convert everybody already converted. The chances of continuing to escape the net of those already escaped increases. Sure the net will catch some not in it, but mostly it catches those already caught. Already infected. Already converted. (And since conversion isn’t objectively defined or measurable, those already in the net can be converted and reconverted, born again and again.) Sure, you send missionaries “abroad,” but your main efforts will remain where you can see. And missionaries run into other crusades. Within a few centuries you find your finest Anglican becoming Hindu. Alan Watts photographed in Zen gear.
hoard of Moonies outside the Vatican. They want the Pope.
Our minds latch onto some gestalt. Hey, what liberation. It’s bigger, better, better tested (less less-tested, not yet tested, maybe not so easily testable, but it seems to solve our existing irritations). It isn’t this identification with the animals that I hunt, or with the competing hunters, the animals I don’t hunt, the animals I fear, or respect, or can’t quite figure out or keep up with, it isn’t this totemism that will protect me, give me luck, it’s the volcano. Please don’t fall on me. Oh, volcano, we’re terrified of you. Oh, volcano, you didn’t fall on us again this year. We love you so much. How can we thank you? No, it’s some super tyrant. The Platonic original ego. Justice? I mean this justice can flay you alive. And he controls the volcano too. What? Yeah sure, he controls the animals. And those crops we’re somehow now always breaking our backs over. Sure we have more food. By the ton. But look at all the people we now have who have to eat it. It isn’t enough. Anyway, no, this god lives beyond the Moon, beyond the stars, outside the universe. And he controls the volcano? Uh … sure. I mean, we have different opinions about that. No, wait a minute, you don’t understand … I see you need converting. I couldn’t explain it to you until you accept the mass. Until you unlearn those questions, and learn the ones instead that we have answers for. You don’t think they’re very good answers? Well, let me tell you, the smartest people who have ever lived, our saints here, didn’t think so. So, smart ass, you see this rack here? Ok, forget the volcano. I think the god is also in these animals that we don’t hunt anymore. The animals we respected? Fuck, man, we got rid of them decades ago. You see any tigers in the suburbs? What? You say the god is in all of us too? You mean in this imbecile who was just showing you the rack?
We start out with some new gestalt. Somewhere else somebody else is starting out with some other new gestalt. A lot of other people are holding onto their old gestalts, though their gestalts are changing without their noticing it. When they do notice they have to invent some incredible contortions to deny it.
Hey, I got my idea published. Look, there’s this whole new group that agrees with me. Now they’re found roots for it. It wasn’t so new after all. Good. In fact now we’re proving that it’s the oldest of all. The Platonic original gestalt. We just didn’t recognize it. Look, they’ve given me a prize. And you start imagining taking over the world. One reigning gestalt. The true holy catholic whatever. You tolerate the punks who are wearing parts of your costume. Iron cross earrings. A pyramid holding their razor blades. The pollen path silk-screened on their tee shirt. On their way to yoga class. Before they have to change into their national guard uniform. Tonight they’ll hear a talk about the constitution. Praise of the first amendment.
What would Jesus make of the chicken blood, the snake wrapped around the Cony Island prize plaster virgin mary? Would he still be into Father, forgive them? For they know not what they do? Would he grab a whip and scatter things? Would he say, so what else is new? It mixes, man. What do you think it’s supposed to do?
Oh, but I started out so focused. It was so clear to me. If only I could express myself clearly. Actually, I did. If only they could hear what is clear.
What? You wanna be in charge? You were in charge. Like I was in charge. As in charge as anything ever is. What’s in charge is the overall process. It separates. And it mixes. It’s doing exactly what’s it’s supposed to be doing. You don’t like it? Oh, my heart is breaking. It separates and it mixes. It tries different combinations. Some things last in the mix. Somethings last less long. The mix, the mixing lasts. Now. Do you want that, the mix, the mixing, to be immortal? Obviously not. You want it to stop, and be one thing. Do you think you could find a single logic to any frozen moment of mix? If it was frozen, how would you think about it? You’d be frozen too. How would you see it? Your neurons would be frozen. No photons would reach your eye. You wouldn’t “know” or “see” anything. Knowing and seeing are part of the mixing.
the default values are set before we are born. many before our parents were born. before our king’s dynasty was founded. before the species emerged. but some we can tinker with. be entirely aware of. be aware of the shadow of. be partly aware of. be aware of an adjunct, an associate of. the important things are no more visible than water to a fish. birds may be magnificently aware of shifts in air currents, but I’ll bet they don’t see it. Or how would they see their prey? What we must understand of those we become aware of is that we change them at our peril. Or fail to change them at our peril. The point isn’t to change them or not to change them. But that it’s important. Basic. Vital. One way or the other. Change them and you change both you and your matrix.
Or whatever mix we settle on. And once settled, we either live or die, prosper or suffer. What we can’t know, is what would have been down an alternate path. Nevertheless, imagining what might be down alternate paths may be the healthiest possible exercise of the mind.
On second thoughts, it’s healthy only in a changing environment. It would be quite wasted mind among stable defaults.
Difference between believing our predecessors, accepting their results, and respecting the fact that they invented, participated in, or found new angles to the game. Aristotle’s epistemology may be lousy, but he invented it! Plato on the soul may be horseshit, but would we have the word had he not used it? Actually, of course we can’t know who invented what. But it’s true that they invented these things for the written word world. Which became the print world. Which became …
It’s similars which perceive themselves as different. Milton condescending, hating, attacking the worship of “sticks and stones,” as though it were diametrical from what he did, not merely a not very distant origin of what he did.
defaults. invisible. Johny Carson. the ordinary man. what manners are rising? We enjoy and elevate him because the difference we perceive is no difference from us. The man who could have passed visibly invisible among feudal lords would have been mannered like them, sharing their embarrassments, making sure his clowning was so broad as to miss the mark by hitting it too widely. (It’s only even later at night that a David Letterman can make his satires of the ads really insulting. My favorite: he has as a guest, does NBC force guests on him, all guests these days are peddling something, K-Mart has hired some Miss Manners to paint over their shabbiness. “Beautiful things,” she says. “In K-Mart?” DL snorts, “Soandso, have you ever been in a K-Mart?”)
But to us, get that fucking snob off the screen. Mistake the clown for the lord. A difference we wouldn’t perceive.
id 22 cont’d
Funny. What would I think if I met any of the kings? Who is this bumpkin? this pip-squeak? this faggot? this ignoramus? If they didn’t sound like Olivier or at least O’Toole. When he would have been the king. It’s Olivier who’s the clown. By feudal standards, that is. Oh, no. We Lorded him.
golf an ideal sport for the imperial class. deceptive. like the “public” school of England for their aristocrats. beat them up before they’re 16, it’s the last chance you’ll ever get. at 18, you’ll have to place the whip into his hand. if you’ve scared him enough, maybe he won’t beat you. Maybe he’ll remember what beating feels like. It’s your best chance. Gold looks easy, but is humiliating. You see occasionally a fat man or an old man be good at it. But could Billy Casper have won many tournaments had Greg Norman been in the same ones? Billy would have lost a lost of weight. Or taken up coaching. Meanwhile, gee, any slob ought to be able to do this. You can even ride in a cart. The cheater has to catch himself cheating, moving his ball, forgetting to count the slice out of bounds. Can he hide his cheating from himself?
batman symbol: figure of field? What is it about that symbol? Am I the only one? I see it. I can’t figure out at first what it is. Looks like an open mouth with funny teeth and tonsils showing. I remember that it’s batman before I see it. Then I do see it. The mouth is the field. What I was taking for the field, maybe because it’s black? is the figure.
epicell in human body. trying to figure out the manners. picked on by somebody just goofing. doesn’t know the rules, so looks like an idiot. Why don’t you guys put on the gloves. Misunderstands. Look, you schumck: box. Ok, tell me the rules. You get in the ring and you try to knock him out. He’s trying to knock you out. Fall unconscious? Bell rings. The guy falls down. Heart attack? What did he do? Cheated somehow. They examine the guy. He’s fine. Out of breath. Doesn’t know what happened. What did you do? You weren’t close enough to even throw the gloves at him? Moved the air from his part of the ring.
“Bungawa.” Tarzan calls Tantor. The chained elephants break free and help him bend the bars of his cage, just as the kidnappers are escaping with the child. I remember the thrill I felt as a kid first seeing Tarzan command the elephants when all seemed past help in defeating the bad guys. How we wished that we could actually do that. Impossible of course.
But, put it on another level, and maybe we can. Someday. Or already do, and don’t know it. But communication won’t be “bungawa.” Won’t be a command. Not even a request. And isn’t likely to be one way.
I hope not. And if the result is to make the elephants sit up and put out their hooves, I’ll want to destroy both man and elephant.
The world changes more by seeing it differently than by any other kind of change.
So then, what’s the difference between enslaving things but giving them a hallucinogen to make them believe they’re free and happy and not enslaving things? Maybe the enslaving of things too is an illusion. Maybe an illusion shared by the “slaves.”
Ahha! just got it! JD ss: The Second Coming. With a sword. What kind of sword? Clearly, we no longer mean one piece of metal wielded by one human arm. We never did. A synecdoche for an army. For force. Do this or be hacked to pieces. But this second coming with a sword, on the surface looks exactly the same! Jesus does the same stuff. We do the same stuff. What ever his name is this time, which ever country is Rome, who ever or whatever is Caesar, there’s a Pilat. He says I see no fault. Do what you will. More rebellion is the last thing I need. Washes his hand. First time, X remains silent except for a “sez you” here and there. He sees what Pilat and we can’t see; he’s won, the seed is sewn, it’s just a matter of time. We’ll still have Caesars and Romes and Pilats, and even more Jesuses, but there’ll be a difference. Whatever we make of it: turn the other cheek, try varying your symmetrical “you push-I push back harder” behavior, try a little empathy, imagine more than one perspective, these will be part of the culture. You’re the black widow female, it matters not whether you catch and kill me. I’ve already fucked you. You’re pregnant with my seed. My role is done. What now happens to my body is of superficial consequence only. That was the first time.
This time. There’s traumatic difference. But hidden. Pilat says this. X skips the sarcasm. X is taken away. X thinks silently: it’s done. I win again. This time, the ultimate sword. Yes, billions of them. This time, I didn’t fuck you. You are barren of my seed. It is finished.
Jesus. Wrestling. Actually a black guy. It’s ok, he’s just getting beat up on. Now here’s a barber. Comes on with Playboy rabbit ear shears. Threatening castration all the way to the ring. Beat the guy up quickly and then cuts his hair while he’s still groggy.
Some other wrestler is cheating. So what else is new. Isn’t that wrestling’s main schtick? the ref warns him. Well, that’s different. Warns him again. Holds up the arm of the unconscious guy. the announcers are outraged. the bully is outraged. The ref starts forearming the wrestler. They have to be separated. Some show. Oh, now I get it. The ref has to now appear, I see, it was a replay, a flash back from last week. The ref now stands there, Mr. Milquetoast in his bow tie, the barber has gotten him. He apologizes. He calls the bully Sir.
Two new guys come on. Call themselves the greatest tag team in the world, ever. It’s ok, its a growing world, but a small world, which reinvents itself at the pace of the short memory of its changing audience.
Phil, Anton and I on the beach in the early 60s. We pick up a piece of wood and throw it back and forth. We throw it hard to catch or easy to catch. Just like any other catch game. Hey, it’s been ten or a dozen throws since anyone has dropped it. We’ve invented a new game. We call it Stick. We hold the world’s record. A week or so later Phil and I are on the beach. We find a stick. All easy throws, the skill in assuring no miss from the other. We throw it back and forth 100 times. A new world’s record. Then we stop. A nice round number for bi-symmetrical bipeds of five-way symmetry extensions. 25 plus years and I’ve never told anyone. I bet Phil never has either. We never even mentioned it to Anton. Easy for Phil since I bet he’s never seen him again. Shit, the next thing you know, the Guinness people would know about it and you’d have some Korean pair up to 100,000. No, the record is ours. Another “never be broken” record. World’s record.