id25

/ Journal /

previous save: 10/12/89
unfuckingbelievagable. you pray for it, you fast, you lacerate yourself, you wander around lost, and then, you don’t see just one portent, suddenly you’re in a meteor shower. 10 am, the eyes start to creak open, god it will take me 15 minutes here just to reach for the aspirin bottle. crushsh. the coffee pot isn’t just there where plain groping will complete the circuit, fit the plug to the socket. Can I possibly lift my head to look for it? No, search your head, close your eyes again and see if you see it. Shit, I left it on the picnic table outside last night, stumbling back from Sarasota. 10 pm. slept 12 hours? no, read Aztec for a little bit. Still. Asleep well before midnight. so move, blockhead, today’s the day you’re supposed to be up and at’em, get rolling, go see Jim.
sure. in a minute. (if I keep this up, I can totally fuck up the first half chance I’ve had in months to wake up before noon two days in a row). I’ll just lie still another minute. No, I won’t fall asleep again. Just not quite ready to move. Ah yes, those nice thoughts about Linda, how round her cheeks are, last night you brushed something against one and were as startled as you were the first time as a boy you’d felt something jabbing you and looked up to realize that it was Betsy’s 6th grade tit. not erotic, or thrilling, just … how does a human body have one of those? No, wait, it was something else I was dreaming, whoops, you’re dreaming again, …
Huhh. It’s so far away. You had it. It had you. It came to you. You were floating around with it, able to keep your place, hold onto the transformations, reversals, pull stitches and still have your needle threaded. Now it’s way later, you’re vertical, and the kite is so high and tiny and far away. and you’re squeezing so hard you can’t even tell if the string is in your hand. It is. It has to be. It will come back. It’s becoming tame. It will never be yours, maybe it was never Bach’s either, but it must always have come when he called it. Now it’s visiting you, returning twice in 48 hours.
It came and swarmed over you this morning. Like never before. Yesterday, day before rather, had Persective vs. Generation, the view from anywhere outside, any one point, and the not at all visual view from inside, where left and right do balance and the mantelpiece is what’s inside out. This morning it was back. In color. And flying around. Here. Fly with us. Look, you can ripple and arch and pucker and still be in one basic plane. Poke grommet hole in the corners. Tie on threads. Stitch lower right top thread through upper left top. See what it does to its flight? Pull it back out and on and on. Stitch same again only upper left bottom. And out.
Stitch again, still flying, upper left top again. And pull tight! Spiral and crash. It didn’t fly any more. The sheet was tied up and no longer in one plane. It was all tangled. No, that’s wrong. It had precisely ONE multidimensional tangle. Tee hee, they laughed, undid the straight jacket and flew on.
(Knowing the tangle, understanding the knot, it wasn’t tangled. It’s order was more ordered than ours. It just didn’t fly.)
First time since my children slaughtered in the desert dream of early childhood, gee I ought tell that one to you, Plus, but not now, that I was vividly aware of a dream being in color, it nudging me and saying look, schmuck, color. Do you get it?
My children were in the desert in sepia monochrome. only turned to color as my severed head rolled down hill to splash at the stream’s edge next to Beth’s.
Now I dream them joking with the human form. It’s hysterically funny. No one else laughs. The other humans look murder at me, seemingly prodded here for no other purpose than to hate me. So, tough on them; look what I’ve been prodded for. Birth after birth. Still born adult. No mother in the way. No placental gook. Arms start to fold over chest, but right arm disappears back into body under left armpit. Thank you. Next.
Intestines girdle midsection but on outside of body.
A dozen. Holding still but rotating like holograms.
Then I’m awake again enough to see the connection. April, May, … Aug., something, now Sept, it dances, it behaves. Why not May, when I begged? Why not 1959? Horseshit, I had more than enough both times. To do something. But as organic as this? I mean living and generating and mutating at will, untying and regenerating again?
I’m on my feet. Phlegm clogs my nose throat connections. People, activity, all over. Fuck. The summer is passing. I slip on a bathing suit. I don’t think I’ve wandered outside naked yet. Don’t start now. Yes, I remembered to put a suit on. I spray the hose over me. I have to make noises to breath. But not like when I was young. Hacking, snorting, ripping my throat apart as I’d spill out onto Claremont Ave once upon a time. A little discrete rumble and I can breath. First time since I can remember in over ten years that I’ve had to clear my breathing even once.
The pot perks its first perk and I stand dripping. I stand at the synth, back out of focus. I turn the synth on. Still I don’t sit down. The Minuet in D Minor comes into my right hand. What? What’s going on? For the first time, not altogether, not smooth, but still, it’s there in my hand before it’s in my mind, but a bit in both, not the tune, not the rote, the TRANSFORMS. It makes sense, it grows, the octaves subdivide, half rotate, loop about and back one single loop. How do you do all this with five fingers, improvising, not single programmed like a robot, however nice that may also be, it’s just one thing, not the organic thing that the weaving of this is. The mirror image Bach is easy enough. But the woven Bach. Altogether a different level. It can be seen, sure, at the pace of a glacier, but to be music it happens at the pace of music, at the pace the hand can move, the heart can beat.
I try the Courante from the 2 Eng Su. I don’t mean I’m playing it smoothly either. I mean I can anticipate or have the illusion I can anticipate the turns and even half guess how many fingers will have to move over to do the whole run with just one of that kind of transform. Wow. Just the fact that the thumb can be displace a space or two makes one hand position straddle two or three inside out chords. Pointer on A. Thumb can still be on E. Hmm. What Bach is that? It isn’t. It’s Sonny’s No Mo’ transposed into A minor. Wow. Now I put my hand in inverted Bb. There it still is, though now, the way i learned it. And Sho nuff, the way I came to learn to put my fingers to play it easiest.
One o’clock. I guess I’m up. But hardly under way. A minute ago I’m back outside and am reminded of the first thing I was supposed to do this morning. As I told Linda, jogging from Rt 64 to 66 (or v-v) yesterday, I turned left into a cloud of soot. The road wasn’t closed. I saw no fire. A truck had passed, but as I looked after it, no crap was spuming from its exhaust, none spilling from its cargo. No, clean and closed up. Whoosh, another cloud of black shit. I shrug and watch the road. Whoosh, another. And speckles on the windshield. Ah, but this time, I saw them float in a bit better. Those big soft squishy mosquitoes I saw last winter in the Everglades. Ah, and they’re mating. Last Feb of Dec or something repeated. Satisfied with my theory, I drive on. Now there’s a live one on my hand. It’s got a red or orange spot behind the head. Like a lightning bug. And it’s hard, not soft bodied. Whoosh. Cloud after cloud for the next 40 miles. Twice I stop and do the windshield. I have my liter of water and washer, scraper, squeegee tool. A minute later it’s seems just as plastered. A woman looks baffled at the gas station. can’t find where the equipment I’m using is stored. It’s my own, lady, you can use it. And I let her do her own work. She lives in Avon Park and is from Bradenton and never saw anything like it. And she’s got to be 55, 60 if she’s a day.
Linda gasped. Get those off fast, they’ll eat the paint, they’ll eat the steel. First thing tomorrow.
I wash and scrape a bit still in Sarasota last night. And now I’d better finish it. They’ve been on 24 or 5 hours.
Night Wind helps little girl up onto swing and gives her a push.
Thank you, mister.
Tastes great! Less Filling!
Catastrophe? GRADUALISM! GRADUALISM! GRADUALISM!
What about catastrophe? The judge is about teach Night Wind a lesson, balks when Night Wind isn’t balking. Now the Judge is really angry. His jowls wattle, he gets his robe out from under him and returns his gaze to NW, he’ll flay his own skin rather than … he realizes that NW hasn’t flinched. NW is just waiting till the judge can see himself being looked at. The earth cracks, ocean trades place with sky, mountains collapse and are swallowed. Others rise. Etc.
The girl’s swing arced higher and higher toward the blossom she’d been eyeing. Thank you, mister.
Thank you, Jenning’s Aztec, for Night Wind.
Thank you, for tepuli, tipeli, for cock, cuny.
I just play a bit. My first thing in the noon loosening. Amazing. I’m no musician and won’t ever be, you don’t take up the piano at 49 and entertain people with it, still, my improvisations now can move at least indifferently well back and forth between beat and upbeat. Mix it up. Now, that’s what I’ve always liked. But likely, hearing, feeling and doing aren’t the same. Not in our training system. My whole body understood it when I was 12 or so. No doubt it’s why I was a great dancer. One ankle could be doing an upbeat while the same knee was doing a down beat. Or the hand a sixteenth note while the elbow an eighth note. But by adulthood, my hand was something that waited to be told what to do. Not to the same extent as most in this culture, but still. And I haven’t been given or allowed any automatic training: no typing, no tools, no paint, clay, not even a sword or bow. I gradually correct that: typing at 21 or 22. Recorder at 26 or 27. Flute at 43. Synth at 49. So five years ago, having always listened to the jazz, but played mostly what was in my kiddie lesson books, I buy a new book that has rag time in it. Once I saw what it was, fumbled enough of it to recognize it, oh, wow, of course, scott joplin, but my fingers couldn’t do it, drum drum drum drum, is what the books had taught them, and my whole life wasn’t penetrating to them. It took a whole day to break through at all satisfactorily. And 5 more years from me to notice that it’s simply there, in my hands as well as in the rest of me.
With particular focus, what I’m thinking this noon, is how our culture’s chosen training for the young is to be chorus, not to solo. Kurasawa’s seven samurai were certainly disciplined. and worked well together. they drilled the farmers, wanted them to do certain things together: like, don’t let the bandits through this wall. but they didn’t spend all day marching. A sea of blah violins, then one Heifitz cavorting like a gypsy.
In jazz, even the rhythm section is soloing while they’re background. What make’s them good rhythm or not wasn’t whether they were improvising, soloing in a sense, but whether they could recede as background or emerge as foreground. The rap on Horace used to be that his comping was so good, that he never receded, even when he lowered his volume, slacked down a bit, he still drowned the solo soloist just by his drive and invention.
Ok, so what else is new? I’ve never held any basic of our public education in anything but contempt. I know we don’t train ourselves to be artists and I certainly know we don’t train ourselves to be scientists. It’s just that it seems particularly clear to me today that the method is the same in both cases.
In “math”, we don’t train for mathematics, but for computation. Not to see the pattern, but to be able to come up on demand with an accurate quantity, presumably for an employer.
Not Jefferson’s nation of yeomen, but ?’s nation of good privates, sgts, and lts. No generals. They’ll come from another method. Like manyx worker bees and very fewx potential queens, 1 actual.
The irony is how we’re startled by a Michael Jackson. How did he do that? He didn’t get any of that in PS 42. Our best trained dancers can’t do it.
They haven’t been allowed to try.
Some blacks escaped the giant scythe because we didn’t give enough of a shit about them to make sure they were employable. ie, useless to themselves. Pianorolla, not piano.
I’ll never forget walking down Broadway with Levy & Heim. I don’t remember whether we were late year freshmen or juniors. We’d known each other a while. Somebody started something. It could even possibly have been me, though I don’t think so, not that time. Only 5% probability at any time. Sometimes I’d scat something and they’d take it. As soon as they did, I’d have to drop out. I remember whistling the intro to We or maybe it was BeBop, Dizzy anyway, very fast, Levy just looked at me and I went on. WOW. Levy said after 30 more seconds. Huh? You’ve changed key about eighty-five times, he said. I didn’t even know what that meant. But I knew that my whistle hadn’t been controlled like his scatting. So, I stopped whistling.
But this other time, a later time, Heim is with us, and one of them starts something, and Heim takes the most incredible scat warble, sustains it for I don’t know how long, Levy comes in, I’m just walking long between them in bliss. Levy’s solo is weak compared to Heim’s, but Heim’s had just been extra extra. Suddenly, I didn’t know how he timed it except that it was perfect, Heim claps a background riff. Clap! like a rifle shot. Clapclap! Clap! Clapclap!
I had every normal confidence that I knew what the rhythm was. We were walking to it. I had long before stopped dancing, none of those guys ever saw me, but still, I could still move, I was still moving. But for the life of me in a millions years I didn’t see now Heim knew just when to be so crisply right.
He knew and had rehearsed the architecture of syncopation; I didn’t and hadn’t. I was only one step up from a square. I knew he had it right, but I didn’t know what it was. ie to do it myself.
I don’t suppose Heim ever liked me much. And it was never clearer than in the next moment.
Levy’s chorus was winding down or up, however you want to look at it, toward a coda, Heim spins so he’s walking backward in rhythm, just on Levy’s last beat, points his finger at me on say the third up beat of the least measure, and scats it’s your chorus. I blushed and went all elbows. And the music stopped. Heim had shown who the musicians were and who weren’t. Hey. Who had thought otherwise?
He may not have liked me. I know it bothered him that a non musician appeared so hip. What was my angle? What the fuck was I doing hanging around? Or where was my horn? How come I never joined them in the men’s room to hang the cannabis curtains? He may not have liked me, but I certainly loved him. While he was still at Columbia. Once he transferred to Manhattan … I don’t know. Maybe he was a junkie by then. I certainly never again heard him make great music. He was good that night on fire island, but not the great he had been. maybe his best night in my hearing was that night at Sarah Lawrence.
Hmm. I once thought I’d write a play about that night. I once told Phil. You must, he said. The only creative imperative Phil ever gave me. And I never did. But the Plus is on. My fingers are on it. I’ve gotten as far as I intended to go before brushing my teeth, but what the hell, another minute. The briefest outline.
It was Levy’s gig. Levy always invited me along the first two years of college, then he drifted away. The only one who didn’t become a junky. But he had a Barnard girl friend, said he was concentrating on his “philosophy,” I didn’t show anything like the same respect there, and he became not just less friendly, but unfriendly. Maybe he had always thought that our friendship was based on my admiration of him. It was: on his music. When he made it. Later, like with his big band, he’d become a controller, not a musician, a Guy Lombardo, not an Ellington. He talked, didn’t play, his music. Like I do, but I was never the musician.
So it was Levy’s gig. Who you got? Sam Most. But not using his name. If you’re gonna come you gotta promise not to say nothing to him, you might call him by name, the union could hear, might as well kill him. Suddenly Levy is deciding he couldn’t trust me with that confidence. Everybody’s become paranoid. If it was just fearful, he’d never have mentioned any of it to me in the first place. Or just introduced Sam as a different name. Assumed I wouldn’t know the difference. Or just left me out altogether.
Here, Paul, this is Gabriel. Hi. Hey, Dave, that Gabriel not only looks just like Sam Most, not only plays the flute, but he plays just like Sam Most. Na, ya mistakin.
So who else? Heim, Schwartzman, me … and this is something: for bass, Guion Bellavivié, otherwise known as Bill Smith. He’s played with Bird. No shit. He’s played with everybody.
The cat is spade, but French see? Canadian. And dig this: he’s a jew! Converted. Tall cat. Six something. Stands up over his bass. Funny, cause he’s got a pygmy brother. Bill’s married to this weird chick. I mean like weird, you know. She’s into all this weird shit. Christian Science. Got a five year old daughter never seen a doctor. And all kinds of psychology. Little chick is five years old and still breast feeds. Hasn’t been weaned. Not toilet trained either. Bill’s old lady doesn’t like to change diapers, so they leave the girl to crawl around without around pants on. Doesn’t walk much either. I tell you. Unbelievable. Shit under the piano. She doesn’t like to clean the house either. White chick. Scraggly black hair.
Weird, I say.
Yeah, Guion Bellavivié. Mean bass. But you wanna see weird, you should see his brother John. Or Jean! I should say. Cat isn’t even 5 feet tall. Been in a catatonic fit up in Rockland.
Levy has to explain what that is to me.
Yeah, hasn’t moved in five years. Sad, you know. Real close with Bird. No body’s been able to tell him Bird’s dead. John isn’t a musician. He’s an artist. Like he paints. But his friends were all musicians. His best friend … I think I told you his best friend was Bird, like lots of cats claim that, right, I mean they met him once, you know … No, John was good friends with Bird, and Bill played with him, but his best friend was Richie Powell.
No recognition from me.
Hey! Bud’s brother. Richie is a painter too, but like really a musician. Richie’s got his own problems. See Richie plays the piano. Now, like, how do you play the piano when you’re Bud’s brother?
Poor bastard.
But I’ll tell you something. When he’s on, Richie cuts Bud.
Fuck out a here. No body cuts Bud.
Ok, maybe he doesn’t cut Bud, but he’d cut anybody else if it weren’t for Bud, ya know?
I gotta pick Bill up, you want to come?
Sure.
Then we’ll pick up everybody else. I’m gonna need a big station wagon.
I gotta try to read this book. I’ll be here.
When Levy comes back to get me, the station wagon is already half occupied. One bass takes a lot of room. But I’d expected it to be just David and a station wagon empty of everything but him and his horn. There’s three people in this car.
Paul, meet Bill. Bill is tall, I suppose, but I don’t see him towering over his base. Bill gets out and shakes my hand.
Bill’s riding up front with me, Paul. Gotta have room for those legs. You squeeze in the back with John there.
?? They cat in the back is short enough all right. But …
Levy looks daggers at me. I just say, John, Hi, Paul.
And all the bop shit ends right there. John answers slow motion polite middle-class church picnic. Pleased to meet you or something.
I don’t hear any Canadian, no French, no loony, just how slow it is. But the speech is general educated New York spade. In tree sap.
We pick up Heim. I recognize the alto case and the flute case. Oh, wow. Two flutes.
Sam isn’t making it, David says.
If he shows up anyway, I’ll fill in on piano, Peter says.
David goes on about the union. Can’t risk it, playing known under scale.
Oh fuck. I’m committing suicide enough by trekking along to a dance and not have my last six month’s assignments read even 5% by exams next week. I decided that a night with Sam Most gave me no choice. Ok, a night with someone who played with Bird. But still, I don’t know this Bill Smith. He’s not on any of my records. He’s no legend to me. Or he’s one less than six hours old. And now … I hadn’t read a paragraph in the last few hours. I’ve got a book with me, but I know I wouldn’t read it, not between sets either.
Who ever else made the band that night I’m not sure. Myron probably, but I don’t remember him or anyone I haven’t already mentioned distinctly from that night.
Somewhere Levy whispers to me that he didn’t know John was due to get out that day. He’d picked up the station wagon and called Bill and Bill had said can you get me now, my brother’s waiting for me, etc. Just like the way a musician takes advantage. Don’t let anybody plan anything, just stick them with it. Plans can be said no to. No, you get sick, you throw a tantrum.
So, it’s a new legend to me, but I’m meeting it. Somehow, I’m more interested in John than in Bill. Maybe because Bill is on the stand most of the time. I agree to baby sit for John. How old would John have been? 27? 30? I’m like 19.
I didn’t know where Bronxville was, but we seem to take forever to get there. Maybe Levy didn’t know either and went by way of New Paltz. No, Levy would have known. That was his turf. New City, Rockland, … I knew Manhattan and east. He knew it and east and north.
The band was good. Heim was unbelievable. If Bill Smith was good, I hardly noticed. Levy even asked me to dance with some friend of his. I permitted myself a slow foxtrot. She was no beauty and I was content to hold her at arms length. I should even be able to remember her name. Father some famous liberal for the Post. Levy was always introducing girls to me in terms of their fathers. April Miller, yeah, Mitch this and that. And then the list of everybody who’d ever stayed in their house. Sherwood Anderson blah blah. It’s no accident that Levy became dictator of Parson’s at an early age.
The Sarah Lawrence girls were all over, but I stayed with John.
I didn’t bend his ear. I wanted to hear him talk. And now and again, he would. He didn’t say much, but spaced out like it was, and with the idea that they were close to his first words in five years, it all seemed overwhelming.
Some church held some dinner he wanted to go to. He was looking forward to it. They had shown his paintings once. Maybe he’d meet a nice girl there.
All right, John. You gonna paint some now?
Uh oh. I could have tuned him right out. I see the expression fade, but them a robot kind of smile comes back and he’s polite. I don’t think so. Four words. The better part of a minute to say them.
Times passes, then. Yeah, I’ll call up Richie and we’ll get together and we’ll call up Bird-
my heart clenches. Well I’m not going to tell him. How is this coming on me?
-and we’ll get together. I haven’t seen them in five years.
Etc.
All day I had hung around while Levy and the rest did this and stopped for that and picked up the other. In Bronxville, I ask Levy to stop by that Deli so I can run in and get beer for the dance.
They’ll have a punch there, Levy says. These are drug people, not booze people. Finally, peeved, he stops.
Who else wants some? I hold my hand out for bread. Only John digs for money. He doesn’t have any. They think it’s me asking them for contributions for my habit. They know they won’t share it. Or they’d rather let me buy mine and they help themselves to it. The economics of starving musicians is complex. Even though the majority here were rich to comfortable to very poor students, me the very poor student, the economics often applied. Myron would beg to borrow $5 in Birdland. Finally, I’d relent, giving up eating for the later part of the week. He’d come back with a round of beers for all of us and no change for me. Gee, thanks Myron, hey wait a minute.
I buy a 6 pack of 16 ounce beers. There’s a fridge behind the band stand. One stinking six pack but I’m sodden drunk. It’s been too long too often that day exposure to the freaking weed. Hmm. John also refused the reefer as it went around. John also accepted a beer from me, but it was still sitting there, warm and flat, hours later with maybe one sip out of it. My others gone, I drank it, feeling sicker and sicker. No dinner. No lunch. Then we pack up and head back. Aren’t we going to eat something? Bill is anxious to get going, etc. Finally we pass a pizzeria and Heim says there’s a place. So they had been planning on eating, just not when I was fainting. We go in and I wolf it down. Then I’m really sick. Beer, exhaustion, no food, all that goddam pot in the air everywhere, accedia over school, no studying, what the fuck am I there for anyway? To meet and know these people, that’s why, but couldn’t we at least have eaten something sometime before 3 am?
In the restaurant is the first time everyone is sitting together and still enough to hear John. He’s still sitting next to me. His brother is on the other side of the table next to David. Yeah, John is saying, next week, I’m going to go to a dinner and meet a nice girl. A church girl. A good girl. There’s one I met there five years ago, she was nice, maybe I’ll call her, she might still be … a white girl. She was rather tall. Almost as tall as you Bill. And twice your weight. But a nice girl. Or maybe I’ll just wait until the next dinner. There are always nice girls to meet there. Maybe Richie will want to come. First thing tomorrow I’m gonna call Richie and we’ll … Last time I saw Richie we went to the zoo together. Richie’s my best friend. And we’ll call Bird. I don’t think Bird cares for the zoo so much. They’ll know some nice girls we can call. You know Bird, don’t you? He looks to me for confirmation.
Never to call him up. But yeah, I saw him in Carnegie Hall. Great show. Basie, and Lester. Ella and Billie. Got a stack of Bird’s records.
So you know. He’s a very good saxophonist. Some say the best. I think …
Incredible, this conversation was ten, not five, years out of date. Bird had been long since canonized. Certainly by everyone present.
And Bird, he’s … he was … my …
And John is talking in the past tense.
The table goes from uncomfortable to quiet like death.
And Richie … Bird’s dead you know. And John looks at his brother. Bill nods confirmation. Bird’s dead, Bill? When did he die? I see. And Richie … Richie was … and he looks at Bill and Bill again nods confirmation.
If it wasn’t tragedy, what was it? I even felt exaltation while feeling crushed like a Philistine by the last, largest, slowest stone to settle in their razed temple.
I’ve recalled it in two contradictory tenses myself. My memory in conflict on one detail. Was Richie Powell already dead? Or about to die. It’s unambiguous about Bird. Bird would have been dead at least three years by then, maybe four.
I could figure it out or look it up about Richie, but I wrote it as it came back to me, uncertainly and all, while it was coming.
Next day, Bill put John back into Rockland Country Mental Hospital or whatever it’s called.
Richie Powell. I know I saw him with Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Harold Lamb, etc at least once in Basin Street. Could that have been before that night? Maybe I just didn’t know that it was Richie Powell I was seeing and hearing that night. Maybe that night had been still in high school. Say 1956. Maybe it was only when Levy told me about him that I could then think back … that’s got to be it. I knew him by sight and sound but not by name or pedigree.
The Brown/Roach band had been driving in a station wagon and crashed. All killed but Roach who’d been napping under the vibraharp. Whose vibes? There’s a name I’ve forgotten.
I felt that event like what a shame. And on with life. Sure Clifford was some comer, but I noticed and remained somewhat cool. I’ve warmed up some over the decades. Some things in music take decades if not centuries to hear. I think I probably resisted Clifford a little because some people had compared him to Miles and I automatically resented that. Not that I had really begun to hear Miles yet either. I listened to Bird’s records with growing awe. The awe at Bird. The other’s were also-theres. Miles was what the sound was when Bird wasn’t playing. Now, sometimes I listen to those old records and hear Miles MORE than I hear Bird. Christ, he was a genius back then too. I missed it. I mean sure he was good, but …
Now I listen to Clifford with no resentment about Miles. Funny, cause my worship of Miles has only gone on soaring. Miles survived and did it all. Clifford showed us a flash. But what a flesh. Sure there can be more than one genius. And they can overlap. Beethoven doesn’t diminish Mozart. Nor Mozart Hyden really.
Perhaps Clifford was more a Bird on the trumpet than Miles was. Or a cooler Dizzy. Miles wasn’t a cooler Dizzy, though Dizzy was hot and Miles was cool. Miles was Miles. A completely different invention. Bird saw it. I guess Dizzy did too, if he stood down for him. DIZZY playing piano so 19 year old Miles could play trumpet!!! This kid.
But like romantic poets, if there’s one thing great jazz musicians knew how to do, it was die young. part of the music, really. egoistic, self-destructive, painful celebration of joy, life, creation, coherence, mystery.
Hearing about Bird’s death, no surprise, but devastating. I’m maybe a junior in high school. As usual, Mom and Beth have gone to bed. I’m up or back up (sometimes I’d lie down, fail to sleep, knowing Steve Allen was about to come on, think “who might he have on tonight? Errol? Sarah?”, and get back up again), and waiting for Steve Allen to announce his guests. Any musicians tonight. Or the show has started. I don’t think it was much after 11 pm. The phone rings. I answer it. Hi, Paul? It’s …
I don’t remember his name, but he was a freshman. 15 I think. Had his own radio show. Youngest disk jockey in America. I remember I was pissed once cause he’d had a girl friend of mine on as a guest and no one had told me till it was over. You didn’t want to hear that. It’s just silly. He asks us a question and we giggle. Anyway.
Hi, Paul? Bird just died. Sorry to call so late, but I just heard it on the radio. Knew you’d want to know, just in case you didn’t catch the news yourself.
Crunch. I sit down on the stairs. I don’t know if I made any sounds back at him at all.
Funny. Bird to me in 1955 or whichever year it was wasn’t at all what Bird would become to me later. He was dazzling, no question. But harmonically … Half of it sounded brilliant, the rest sounded like a mistake. He’d be really good if he left out the mistakes. Now I listen. What had I heard? There are no mistakes? Or hardly any. So his reed squeaked once. I just hadn’t been able to keep up with the ideas. Maybe it’s an illusion with me that I can now. But no. I’ve had 40 years to practice just the listening part. And he thought of this? At the speed of light? And he could blow and finger it? And these other guys could play with him?
Still. In 1955, I knew his importance. I didn’t yet know it to me. Or I would come to know it more. About 1500% more.
I’ll never forget how I looked forward to seeing him that midnight show in Carnegie Hall. With Richie Krager. First show was Chris Columbus. Had some kind of bicycle pedals carrying his drum stool up and down rhymically. Than Basie and company. Wow. Lester Young comes out for a long solo reunion. Then Bird.
Wow and squeak squawk. I just couldn’t follow it. I perhaps Basie’s band, for all it’s being my all time favorite, may not have been the right matrix for Bird. So I believe at the time that Bird had missed one. Now I’m sure that I missed one. A big one. A major one.
Not that I can be positive there either. He was sick. He was fucked up. Yeah, sure. But could he have played a bad solo? I doubt it.
Ella came out and everybody screamed and yelled. Downer for me. She did a ballad. I wanted her to scat. Then she did. Medium pace.
Then Billie came out. Similar screams and yells. Not equal from me. I hadn’t yet put her above Ella, and certainly not yet infinitely far. White gardenia. Scream and moan. Billie sang. Wow. But then my attention slipped. It was a great night. I ardently believed so at the time, but I had two lapses. Both during the performances of the artists I would come to put above all others but Miles. Of course Billie was sick too. Dying too. Bird died first, and she’d follow soon enough.
I hope I can meet her in heaven to tell her that love doesn’t mean a thing unless she sings it. That it’s her rhythm and tone and pace. Sinatra should die for one lesson on one aspect from her, and next to her, he’s the greatest of all 20th-cen American balladeers. He could even swing a little bit.
Soon after buying the flute and REAL book, I asked Myron how to play a slow triplet: three against two beats. Half a measure triplet. Liv-ing-for Lo-ve. One measure. Listen to how Billie does it, he said. She does it right.
I knew that. But how could I do it? [February 14, 1995: I catch bits and snatches of sense as the spell check runs: gotta add here: I’ve listened to Billie sing triplets all the more consciously since writing the above, and I gotta ratify Myron in spades: NObody does triplets like Billie. Tonight, I’m listening to Ali Akbar Khan sarod ragas while the spell check runs: more than ever I’ m aware of the complex rhythms, but am at an utter loss to count what they are. Not just 3 against 2; x against y.]
Well, I do it now. christ the tedium at which I worked it out, another long story, now I see much shorter and easier ways I might have tried. Did I ever put Billie on and then try, back and forth? Nope, I worked it out quantitatively through Longfellow. No, don’t say more. Couldn’t put Billie on if I’d wanted to cause my records have been in storage since then. But even so. I didn’t want to. But when I do it, at all right, it’s Billie that I hear somewhere off in my head.
How do I do it now? I just count in cut time.
9/15: The temperature has fallen to 98° and I’m catching pneumonia. Swollen glands. Sneezing. Dopy feeling. Except for the revelation I’ve just had. I wrote about playing yesterday and also before. Could have said the same thing both or all times. Except that I’m not repeating anything. Natural language, at least ordinary prose, can’t keep track of dimensions, levels, very well. There are revelations, Revelations, Revelations, and Revelations. I’ve been discovering for myself what I had always assumed or observed or believed or something, that the fingers can be independent. Making the point again and again. Recently to Loren. But it’s not a single point. It’s a complex of points and the part of it you’re making can be anywhere on the grid. Just ran through the repertoire of “serious” stuff at the end of Bastien I. Only half paying attention, but still, some pieces I’d been half hesitant about only a week or so ago, now I go through more sure-fingeredly. I get to the Russian Dance of PITchy. I’m wiped out, just got up, the perc didn’t perc, drink the substitute mud I make, and decide just to run through it once with the right hand alone. I can hardly focus on the book. But my hand is doing counter melodies. In opposite directions. I mean they’re written, they’re Tchy’s, but my hand is doing them before I’ve seen them or thought them. Half as though the hand is “improvising” them. The whole hand, for that moment at least, was “thinking” along more than one line at once. Parallel distributive processing?
This after a half hour of not stirring for the alarm while I tried to dream non-linearly.
Last night played through B’s Minuet in G. Now I’ve known that all my life, been playing it on flute or recorder for ten years or almost, but just a one note at a time version. Very nice, but put harmony in it and it’s something else again. Well, it’s only since last week that I ever tried that piece with two hands. (synth two hands, ie, flute always takes two. Two hands to make one note at a time. Synth, one or two hands to make one, two, three, six, etc notes at a time. Chord can suddenly appear in either hand, and of course always between the two hands.) Spent one day practicing it and hadn’t touched it since. Hey, my hands remembered much of it. Would they have remembered as well had I been more alert, paying more attention?
The conscious can tinker, but with such a tiny part only, of what’s going on. Course I say that all the time too. And heard it said (or read it written) before I ever said or wrote it. But how precise is that either? (Not that I took any care to make a precise statement.) The finger ordinarily, when directed by the consciousness, does only one dimensional linear things too. Give it more to do, and you find it becoming architectural, functional in four dimensions. And the consciousness too. I don’t mean to underrate it just cause we generally so overrate it. People so often don’t follow what I say, or do, or think they do but think I’m being unnecessarily something … generally, I’ll bet because I’m thinking in at least one more dimension than them. Are we naturally so limited? Or have we specially trained ourselves to have at best a wooden understanding of things? I ardently believe the latter. And that it’s as Bucky said. He said it in terms of specialization. The great pirates founded libraries and graduate schools so that the talented of the next generations would never be able to compete against them. Let them be doctors, tell them they’re brilliant. Hire them for more than you’d pay a bricklayer. Now you own both.
Here, say the schools, learn to be intelligent at our instruction, here’s how to misperceive everything, so you’ll always be refiguring some detail of the fragments we’ve limited you to.
But something went wrong. Or you’d see intelligence behind the machinations of the owners. Or did all the great pirates die and forget to allow even one son to grow up?
So maybe the great pirates were only intelligent in the way that the current owners still are. How can we hoard the granary? Or how can we let them hoard it and then take it from them?
The hand, left to itself, isn’t linear or one dimensional. Just stroking your chin is beyond analysis.
That doesn’t mean that the wild child can sit down and improvise Bach. Not on a keyboard at least.
The group ideally or not so ideally stimulates its members as to what part, aspect of the environment needs controlling (and what part is taboo, the god part). and of course the environment is infinite.
Maybe the church’s “here, work on self-control/ you’re sinners, you can’t control yourselves: god understands/ god will cast you into hell fires forever” is a good “this ought to keep them too busy to blow themselves up, build anymore babel towers.” except for us and our glory, of course.
“F6-long value” for natural language coloring system. Stravinsky composed with a dozen or so colored pencils. Footnotes are clumsy. Variorum editions death to art. Great for a reader already familiar with the stuff, but handing such to someone as an into to Hamlet, mutual suicide. Natural language conceals or at least doesn’t advertise its complexity.
The theater goer has a great advantage over the reader in seeing Hamlet for the first time. Completely apart from the usual arguments: much right, much backwards. The kid can’t say “Daddy, what does he mean, he doesn’t know the stops?” Without being shushed. By the audience, if not by daddy. He’ll get through the whole thing, and worry about details later if ever. 15 twenty years later, he can pause over it, look it up, seek comments.
But eventually you have something like the Bible published with concordance, notes, pronunciation guide, verse numbers, etc. And the book ceases to be a narrative among other things. Now you’ve got a zillion fundamentalists with hardly a clue to any story.
But you’re got to have the notes. Properly annotated, almost any casual utterance could look like a variorum bible, in fact the variorum bible is positively reticent (and ignorant) compared to what could or should be annotated.
But how about a computer text. Just read it along. Question about something? Put the cursor on it. Phrase, word, syllable, chapter, series of books, could be highlighted, span noted on leger line. Notes could be headlined like Bold, Italics, long-value arrow.
Random House 88 2nd noun meaning 2, probably meant with overtones of 6. Note ambiguity with x. And maybe some OED like illustrations. Or you could window in and in.
inside out. forward backward. we always congratulate our own nobility on the basis of what we once said we were going to do; our enemies taunt us with what we’ve actually done. if we’re ever troubled by actually looking over our shoulder, we can make it up by saying, well, this time, we mean it, we’ll succeed. suddenly backward is forward into the unprovable. In the future, the church will have made grace catholic, the bolsheviks will have somehow figured out a production and distribution system to give according to need and receive according to ability, the US will have made opportunity equal, and I will have written a really good novel.
how delicious. reading Noam Chomsky. I return Aztec to the lib, wander around the stacks. I’m still in Waverly, a copy I don’t have to return, but no backup, so I may as well have an alternate. I’ve just been alternating most extraordinarily between finding either impossibly good books, how can Alnilam even exist side by side with Turtle Diary? let alone be discovered by me on top of each other?, and books I don’t even finish. And by people I’d just devoured another example of. I returned From Here to Eternity to the library having decided that 100 pages was enough of an effort to find out if the book could possibly be half as good as the movie. Worse is where Tom O Bedlam still takes space in my little trailer’s bin. Picked up Aztec expecting and actually hoping for it to be inferior. Give me a break. Please. A little mediocrity. Much better, better written, more moving, plotting, wow, even I had finally given up on any revelations about Waiting Moon when he springs it, etc, than a mere “historical” novel has any right to be. Though how could Jennings have failed to mention amaranth? So again I wander the stacks almost dreading that something else great will find me and leave me no time to breath. I glance in the science section. No, stay away, that’s worst of all. Little danger in this pathetic library, but still. Default back to literature. Oh, a bio on Beckett. Too fat. That skinny one isn’t a bio. I sit in the john and glance through it. Beckett submitted Murphy to 42 publishers! before it was accepted by X. This gal’s sense of Beckett is fairly good, Colorado or someplace, but still. And I wander on. Language! Jespersen. Chomsky. And Language and Responsibility jumps into my hand. Yesterday one of my worst days. Had set alarm for 7 am. To be over to Jim’s, pack up portfolio in 5 to 60 minutes and be on the road seeing what money can be kicked over 1,2,3. Still awake at 3, I’d reset the alarm to 8, at 5 I’d reset it to 9. The alarms goes off. Really? Nine o’clock? I’m still lying there. what time is it now? I finally roll out and up at 11ish. I never come into focus. I get to Jim’s, then to the library, and back to the trailer. It’s 5 pm and I’m dying. Got to lie down. No eat first. Good. eat like a pig, feel stuffed and then sleep. See if you can’t push 8 straight hours out of it, and be up and on the road Tues by 9. I might have slept five, ten minutes when at half past midnight I give up and get up. Nibble at Chomsky through the night. Here’s dawn and again I haven’t been able to sleep. How can you begin cold canvassing when you’re a zombie, covered with burns and your teeth fallen out? Ah, here comes the art salesman, oozing lymph down his arm. I have a phantasmagoria of schedule-revisions, all rather crazy, because by that time I don’t know what day it is and can’t possibly calculate as far as Thurs. fuck it. lie still. sleep if you can. and take whatever comes. maybe Hurricane Hugo will solve all problems for us. Then I’m in Model again. Mark is talking about his bog. I’m so glad I thought of that. My gods seem so precious to me. I replay the end again and again. I’m in Omni’s offices as they discuss how great it is. Etc. Finally, I sleep. Seven o’clock on the alarm? Nine? Forget it. I’ve pulled the plug. Consciousness. Two pm? God, I can’t move. 4 pm. 4:30. up. bright and bushy tailed. Tomorrow? Can’t think about that now.
I’m thinking about Chomsky. Several times I’ve tried to read him a bit. Never got far. Furthest I ever got was with the one book I’d actually bought. More politics than linguistics, but good. So good I’d quoted it a few times. Quoted it to Marcie Lyman as she was rebecoming Marcie May. Like a fool yielded to her entreaties to borrow it and never saw it again. Saw her again, but never my book. Lo and behold, that’s the book I’ve chosen from the library.
By the end of chapter one I see that I had read at least all of chapter one. So very good. But also so very naive. He writes as though democracy or morality were ever actually a standard. As though we’re turning our backs on something we actually once had. Rather than someone else’s lie about themselves that we copied to lie about ourselves. The US is behaving just like any civilization with a bit of luck and momentum. We’ve found new wrinkles on subtlety, duplicity, and hypocrisy. What would be our shame if we hadn’t?
What the hell did I write the last 65 lines for? All I wanted to say was that reading Chomsky was refreshing. I’m not the only one who thinks that way. He’s active and visible. I’m active and invisible. Not active at making a living, whatever that means, but active.
And I think this: the beauty of a particular temporal civilization is that it has no responsibility. If the gestapo murders you, who do you sue? If the free press and the free citizenry gang up to write and utter whatever fictions it wants, and all criticism not also written and voiced by them is driven trembling into the bushes, all genuine thought becomes not only illegitimate but invisible.
Doctors addict one to medicine and then monopolize what the medicine shall be. More and more money for any poison or murder or neglect they want to sell.
Ditto schools. map/territory. Education isn’t seeing the world as it is, or at least trying to, chipping away the scales on our eyes; education is what we sell. What we distribute.
Literature is what publishers publish. So the publishers routinely reject the best. But by definition, it wasn’t the best, because they rejected it. We deliberately don’t know what we’re dealing with. We look at civilizations of the past. We feel superior to them. The church beat up on Galileo. As though we wouldn’t. Or don’t. Of course not on Galileo: he’s now one of the established saints of our secular church.
The FBI and the Chicago Police murder Fred Hampton. So he had to be bad, right? Due process? What, are you serious? Only us rabbits deserve habeus corpus. Who has ever wanted democracy except from members of their own party? Is it McCarthy or Nixon’s fault if they gave a real constituency what that constituency really wanted? Totalitarian methods?
Here’s where the arguments become horseshit. Oh, you’re saying that people are naturally totalitarian: see, here’s my superiority to crazy you: people naturally want democracy. Nixon, Ford, and the New York Times. And a drive in the family car on Sunday. Now, how can we beat up the gooks who don’t want to drink more Coke?
But I’m not saying that. I don’t believe that that’s what people “naturally” are at all. I accept the zoologists’ picture. No, it’s only under constrained conditions that people want that. Over populated super-tribe. Civilization. As soon as you have any capacity to take census, whatever number you find, unless it’s just of your own tribe, it’s already too many.
And it’s the very fact of no responsibility from those who write their own version of events, that shows how pitiful, transient, vulnerable it is. Ozymandius, King of Kings …
Aztec was gorgeous on this. Cortez tortures and then frames the Mexicatl kings. The only reliable testimony: Mixtli’s, is barred as tainted. But what difference does it make? With law and language not a prescription for any description of events, but a weapon. I’ve killed the most people, betrayed the greatest number of trusts, shown the most insane values, gold over the art it made up, who should it be but I, Cortez, who decides what language means? And the people who see their bread buttered by my fortunes will go along.
We care actively about our Presidential elections because we know that’s true. One of Buckly’s bull dogs overtly threatening the liberals. We’re gonna be elected and then you better watch out. And William F. not tightening the leash. If your soldiers can’t rape and pillage, how are you going to pay them enough?
Left and right are really camps of how much should we overtly lie about our laws? 80% or 99%?
map/territory Michael Douglas, Wall Street. The workers thought that Michael Douglas’s words meant that he would help them; he knew that they didn’t. The worker’s thought that their pension fund belonged to them. MD knew that it didn’t. The workers thought the law protected them; MD knew what the law said, what it implied, and what it actually said, or rather what judges would actually do with it. MD was hateful for not sharing their common misperceptions.
Chomsky uses distinction passim without thus identifying it.
“quite commonly, social and political analysis is produced to defend special interests rather than to account for the actual events.”
“Cartesian common sense: the willingness to look at the facts with an open mind, to put simple assumptions to the test, and to pursue an argument to its conclusion.”
Boy, that last one! the second you show the ordinary arguer that you actually want a conclusion, that you’re not out of breath at the first thing either of you has said, wow, the only light is from the explosion of heat, they will immediately suspend all discussion, shaking their fist at you, retreating, and claiming radiant victory: look we just insulted anything he said or could possibly say: you can’t refute them arguments.
nudity on Brazilian tv. push pull. where should the law be? the people who want to change it always acting as though it would finally sit still. but the whole point about super stimulus and law both is that it isn’t important whether Hollywood sticks the camera right up the coo or whether it just shows a little jiggle by a bodice, but does the erotic area or associate move around? pubes this decade, skirts to the floor next, with a little ankle, now the nudity will be around the tit. the law ought more to say, no new law about this subject for next two decades. We’ll all stare at ass hole until we can’t stand ass hole any more. But you show a little neck at the same time, or try to change the law and we’ll deep six you. Was ten years. Now it’s 20 years. Twice as conservative.
Like counting fingers vs. spaces.
Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys. Just beautiful. I can’t stand it. One year after immersing myself in chaos. Two days after rereading Chomsky and reliving the 60s and 70s. I believe the jew lawyer says that you will judge the evidence without prejudice, without sectionalism, without bigotry. The Alabama lawyer slips in and jewbaits, niggerbaits, talks about outsiders and states rights, and calls everybody a communist. Guilty, the chair. All rise. The law wisely recognizes …
Do we want justice? Obviously only when it suits us. Lots of luck. Do I care anymore? I find myself reversing all my “lifelong” values. I don’t want one world, no prejudice. I don’t even want one species. I’m glad of my life. I’m glad of my son’s. I don’t imagine either of us to be invulnerable. I only wish us luck. For everyone else: if Alabama finds every black guilty of raping any number of perjured whores and lynches them all. Who is this they? Look at the maps through “history” peoples come and go. What is this Alabama? It’s already gone. Fine. Trials are so we can lynch people and use a lot of words. More money to the specialists. Fine. Do they last either? They’re with us now. It doesn’t seem to be about to end, but who knows? What identity does the “base” have? Just civilization? We are public opinion. We can frame who we want. We can even call the lawyers names. So this Horton sets the decision aside. And Alabama sets him aside. Fine with me.
What an idiot. I just changed position and twisted my balls in my pants. Ouch.
The Nazi’s tried a half assed and local genocide on the jews. The jews brag of their local and supposedly successful genocides in the bible. Should we believe them? No escapees? How could we tell. How could they tell. We killed all we saw. Those who saw escapees, those who abetted escapees have agreed to shut up about it. But as we beat up on and suborn and perjure each other, who’s who mixes. We say the blacks. An entirely perceptional group. All that Irish Cherokee German English everything mixed in. When did they have their turn? Maybe it hasn’t come yet. What they anyway? All fictions. Even the Babylonians. Certainly the US. Who? Maybe they’ve had lots but not so much talked about in history. But what nonsense. The they is imaginary. Who are the Germans now? I watch the games. some tall afro gal wins for France before being disqualified. And fighting for Ireland: Muhammed Ali.
The movie is acted and directed and edited. What would the actual trial have looked like? Probably just as much in character if not more so. The law means we can frame who we will. As long as we’re “we.” Who’s in the we? Not the same from week to week. Good. Another illusion. Fine with me.
Is that what justice is mine saith the lord means? Don’t expect any from state or church or neighbors? Unless justice means we sued and won and they didn’t. don’t hold your breath about god’s either, but that is where it will come from. Wait a year, a decade, a century, a millennium, an era. Not there any more. They didn’t make it. What do we got? Lots of other creatures behaving like themselves. Scratching for turf, ease, advantage, status, half of that imaginary. That’s why money is so valuable. We can destroy real value and still keep adding zeros to bank accounts. Until there won’t even be banks. Good. I spit on all of it.
So I supposedly value supposed knowing. Science. More vanity. Sure. But 100%? I don’t really think so.
Is my supposed fidelity to principles that I was taught, that the teachers were supposedly sending all kinds of signals, we don’t really mean any of this, read between the lines, we don’t give a shit about god or democracy or america or law or learning or literacy or logic or evidence, see jerk, blink at our horseshit and you won’t be one of the ones we frame. draft yes. survive and you’re got it made. But i take it literally. Schizophrenic? Why not? I don’t care. Unable to read signals. My revenge of some sort? My justice? I’ll frustrate you by taking you literally. I’ll learn the law and I’ll hang you with it. I take the epis seriously and find myself completely outside the pale. Pail. Pailling? the fence, that the English put around the Irish. No one to talk to. No evidence that anyone even knows what my subjects are. Some from Brian. The merest scraps.
So I know that Bateson saw, and more clearly than I, until now I look with his dying eyes. Illich, ditto. McLuhan. And now I’m reminded again of Chomsky. Even he only using famous names and evidence visible in one press or another for examples. Except in his linguistic analysis where it’s Jim and Jane and Bob and Spot. Much better. Adam and Eve.
Now some piece of shit is on tv. Only it has that actor I so admired for a minute here and there in Beverley Hills Cop. The body guard. Only now this tv thing uses him the way Miami Vice used Castro. Always the same. Give us that look, hold it, we’ll lower the camera and hold slow.
Now there’s some other actor I was astounded by in Ferris Buehler’s Day Off. Got a sit com. He’s probably awful. The great red headed principle or truancy agent or whoever. So good at being a pissed off, frustrated, imposed upon schmuck.
read more, make more money orthodoxy, I’ll design a new car, the kid says.
could any of this orthodoxy be supported by actual reading? I mean actual literature, not just reading pro-reading tv ads.
Real poems and stories about people who read a lot are generally of the they don’t fit in variety. don’t fit in and are proud of it. Wordsworth. don’t fit in and are pissed off. the Malcontent. Hamlet. feel superior but are easily taken advantage of by the illiterate they feel contempt for: Southern gal, what’s her name, story about Vassar girl with wooden leg and the Bible salesman?
the illusion (just plain lie? conscious on all sides?) that some rehearsal of orthodoxy is actually thinking, political freedom, science, culture (hmm, that it may be), theology disperses the moment any real question of evidence is asked. Suddenly the experts have no answers, they’ll dodge. If you object, you’ll be attacked viciously. Embarrassed? No. Orthodoxy justifies any bullshit. Of course they don’t know real arguing with reasons, evidence, alternate, hypotheses, etc.
Charles Sanders Peirce
mea culpa. I spew my shit here and weave what I really mean in Mod. etc. But the shit still spews. Not that I don’t mean it too. But it’s more linear. Just part. Chomsky puts me to shame. Or is it just that I’m reading a published conversation. He may spew his own shit elsewhere. “But the problem is not quantitative, it is qualitative. The principle of non-demonstrative inference does not fulfill the need. I believe a radically different approach is necessary, which takes a starting point that is quite remote from the empiricist presuppositions. This is true not only for scientific knowledge, where it is generally accepted today, but also for what we can call the constructions of “commonsense understanding,” that is, for our ordinary notions concerning the nature of the physical and social world, our intuitive comprehension of human actions, their ends, their reasons, and their causes, etc.”
Sure. He talks in declarative prose. Am I an idiot for not trying more of that?
Here: his recollection of an argument with Foucault:
“For my part, I would distinguish two intellectual tasks. One is to imagine a future society that conforms to the exigencies of human nature, as best we understand them; the other, to analyze the nature of power and oppression in our present societies. For him, if I understand him rightly, what we can imagine now is nothing but a product of the bourgeois society of the modern period: the notions of justice or of ‘realization of the human essence’ are only the inventions of our civilization and result from our class system. The concept of justice is thus reduced to a pretext advanced by a class that has or wants to have access to power. The task of the reformer or revolutionary is to gain power, not to bring about a more just society. Questions of abstract justice are not posed, and perhaps cannot even be posed intelligibly. Foucault says, again if I understand him correctly, that one engages in the class struggle to win, not because that will lead to a more just society. In this respect I have a very different opinion. A social struggle, in my view, can only be justified if it is supported by an argument-even if it is an indirect argument based on questions of fact and value that are not well understood-which purports to show that the consequences of this struggle will be beneficial for human beings and will bring about a more decent society. Let us take the case of violence. I am not a committed pacifist, and thus do not say that it is wrong to use violence in all circumstances, say in self-defense. But any recourse to violence must be justified, perhaps by an argument that it is necessary to remedy injustice. If a revolutionary victory of the proletariat were to lead to putting the rest of the world into crematoria, then the class struggle is not justified. It can only be justified by an argument that it will bring an end to class oppression, and do so in a way that accords with fundamental human rights. Complicated questions arise here, no doubt, but they should be faced. We were in apparent disagreement, because where I was speaking of justice, he was speaking of power.”
Damn Marcie for not returning this book to me ten, twelve years ago. Much as I liked his political first chapter, that’s as far as I had gotten. The science and philosophy of science is wonderful. Would I have understood him in 1977? Would have had to have read it then to have any idea now. It can’t have hurt.
p. 83. “we must simply retain an open mind on this subject.”
ought to go without saying. why is it so difficult? impossible? like map/ territory distinctions. sure we can see it in rational moments, and then go right back to speaking and thinking the way we usually do. is there a net gain? I think so. I certainly think so in my case. I think so in the population as a whole. But we’re in some monster minority, separated and all but “powerless.” Except for someone like Chomsky himself. He’s invited to speak. He’s also vilified and misrepresented by ideologs who don’t ever apologize. Don, eg. The science establishment, hand in glove with the network of other establishments. Oh no, we can’t scoff up all the thinking money if we actually think. Real thinking hardly ever gets any money. Oh, we think all right: think about how to maintain our position, me get in, keep you out. You get in by rehearsing orthodoxy, not by thinking. Not by keeping an open mind. But here I am saying it as a conscious conspiracy. Of course not. Primate status instinct. Not much more explanation needed. Except that what I’m talking about is maybe a characteristic of mental structure of exactly the kind Ch is talking about and perhaps hoping we can violate. An open mind on key assumptions.
“functionalism” p 86. “communication the function of language” like the church’s procreation is the purpose (read only) of sex. bravo.
“There is a place for functional explanation, but it is on the level of evolution.”
“I have no idea why such proposals (as communication is the function of language) are so often made, frequently with such fervor, or what on earth they are supposed to signify./ The real question is: How does this organism function, and what is its mental and physical structure?” Sure, I but still default back to ontological questions. A mental flaw? Perhaps. Where I agree without qualification is that such positions should be humble not haughty, never dogmatic, and always provisional. Those generalizations are opinion, however informed their base, however inspired they may seem (or be), however much they may be or seem universal throughout a culture or history. Exactly where the church has everything backwards.
p 89. MR has just asked about the staying power of empiricism despite demonstrated errors. NCh says, watch out: “speculation. When certain ideas are dominant, it is very reasonable to ask why. The reason could be that they are plausibly regarded as true, they have been verified, etc. But in the case where they are without empirical foundations, and have little initial plausibility, the question arises more sharply: the answer may actually lie in the domain of ideology. Of course the argument here must be indirect, because we don’t have an direct means of determining the ideological basis for the acceptance gained by a certain doctrine.” I won’t quote it all, but it’s great.
…”Why try to reduce intellectual and artistic achievement to elementary needs?
Is the attraction of the several variants of empiricist doctrine based on experimental verification? Hardly. There is no such verification. Does it derive from their explanatory power? No, because they can explain very little. Is it due to some analogy to other systems about which we know more? No. Again, the systems known to biology are totally different. …
It should be noted that empiricist doctrine has not merely been ‘accepted’ for a long period, it was hardly even questioned, but rather simply assumed, tacitly, as the framework within which thinking and research must proceed.
… What is the social role of the intelligentsia? … manipulation of social control in all its varied forms. … in order to justify such practices, it is very useful to believe that human beings are empty organisms, malleable, controllable, easy to govern, and so on, with no essential need to struggle to find their own way and to determine their own fate.” etc to the denial of a human nature.
“Service to the state includes social manipulation, preservation of capitalist ideology and capitalist institutions, within the framework of state capitalism. … convenient in eliminating any moral barrier to manipulation and control.
… before the last century or so, the situation was rather different. nice change from justification of slavery, exploitation, privilege, based on doctrine of “human nature.”
“Human nature exists, immutable except for biological changes in the species.”
light and heat! arguments most heatedly defended when there’s the least examination of or tenability to the premises.
do we know-ever-what axioms are? we can be rational with the conscious part of our arguments, but the unconscious part? are they acquired like ducklings and a chair?
Steve Martin. Roxanne. Maybe tv not so bad after all. It’s the only way I see any movies I wanted to see, broke and in Fl. Not the same to be within an hour of the Thalia and many thousands of dollars away from the Thalia. Cyrano was the one movie I saw more than any other as a kid. Cause it was readily available. Kept turning up. Saw it in the movies, again in the movies, then on tv and on tv. Even La Strada came only seldom on tv. So I saw La Strada a dozen times, Cyrano probably 16. Roxanne more like PopEye. Quiet. A small film. The humor in the windows. A wonderful quiet work of art. Even quieter than All of Me. And Martin even doing the physical stuff. If the camera stays fixed in one position, it’s a stand in. Betty White supposedly dancing. But Steve seemed to do all of it. And pretty good. Not too good. What would I now think of Jose Ferrer’s swordsmanship? As a kid, wow. Now I almost always only see the staging, the editing. Kurosawa excepted. But Martin’s comic physical dignity so small, so quiet. The film even almost succeeds in making us think that Darryl Hannah needs rhetoric to get laid. Funny because the Christian of this film was the one actually more in line with the culture’s fucking habits. You got big tits, take me home. Classical language skills was an emergent and valued skill in Muscateer days. Now literacy, however deplorable from a standpoint of literature, is more than universal enough for the capitalist orthodox marketplace world. And they/we don’t want any other kind. Great way to blame the slaves for not being on their way to the presidency. Ah, but as always in history, one may still be. Bronx dropout takes over Colombia and destroys US.
Ah the great Hollywood romances. England was right, so what does that make us? One of my favorite all time stars and his name isn’t coming to me. Always slew George, then Razil Bathbone, then Q.Eliz was ready to let him come home and to give him Kent. Even Peter O’Toole couldn’t play him.
Favorite memory. Xmas eve, staying with Holly Hire in Hollywood. First party, Beverly Hills, her old casting mentor, married to George. Peter and Holly and I walk in. I’m introduced and am instantly back to invisible. Peter and George, straight to the bar, Holly and whosis catch up on girl talk. The girls remember hostessing manners first. And show me the house. I dutifully go. Invisible again. I go to the bar. No one offers me a drink. Peter and George keep their backs to me. The conversation is about tv. How crummy. Just awful. Old Hollywood people who watch a lot of tv. The complaint turns to cop shows. Car chases. I’ll shoehorn myself in here. Right, say I, I have nothing against violence (anymore, hoping my words project vast spiritual autobiographies) but give me a good … his name, swordplay movie anytime. I decide not to mention Mifune. Fine Errol Flynn is just as apposite. Why so long in coming to me? I might as well have just farted. Peter and mine host pause till I’m done and go back on, still not looking at me. I make myself a drink and suffer till it’s time to leave. Oh, mine hostess says on our way out, George, you didn’t show Paul you model planes. Now I have to go back and listen to a lot of company names, production titles, the something or other, the xyz. I saw them hanging from the ceiling, saw that care had gone into them. So what? It had nothing to do with me. I listen politely, try to show interest, try to mumble something about not really appreciating … Ah, here, that’s all very nice I’m sure, but this is what I appreciate, and I commend the epee hanging from the same wall. George’s mouth drops open. I’d called his sword by its right name. Only then did I realize that swords and sword play had been my only words all night. Not me exactly, but one true part. I had certainly meant what I’d only 1% said about movies and sword play moving better than gun play or cars. The destruction of life more entertaining than the destruction of property, with its implicit endangerment of life. But our car chases seldom show severed heads and hands, and just about never of anyone we care about. We’re not supposed to care what happens to the motor cyclists in Road Warriors. We laugh at the loss of their fingers. But George is looking at me. A real person suddenly standing in his play room. We leave.
It’s only driving to Hollywood and Eddie Lauter’s Xmas Eve party that I get any clue as to what had happened. Holly’s is explained the provenance of her life and career. whatserface did everything for her. And George is retired. Oh, you didn’t know who he was. He was the second heavy in every Errol Flynn movie ever made. Bathbone the top heavy. George was always the last gate of skill before Errol could have the big fight with Bathbone. Wow! Now I watch Flynn movies looking for George. But always forget by the time he’s there, watching Errol. Except that the sword play now looks not very good. Oh, not as bad as Phil says. But it’s got to be Mifune after all.
And having said that much, I’ll say that Eddie’s party coming right on top was a double something. I didn’t know who he was. Making tons of money from some pilot that no body had bought. Don’t expect to recognize him the intro. But I get to sit just the two of us with Eddie. So you made a pilot? Oh, don’t expect to recognize me is his theme too. So tell me anyway. And a couple of movies before that. Oh, no body’s seen them. Never released. Etc. Tell me anyway. Well, I just made one with Burt Lancaster. I, I love Burt, etc. What was it? Forget it, not released, Burt was a convicted murderer, good behavior, prison guard in model prison.
And you were the crazy with the crazy mother and the stocking pulled over your face when you break everybody’s legs in the bar. You get impaled on some farm machinery.
You saw it? Amazing. How? and Eddie and I are instantly old friends. tv. 5 am. some uhf channel showing scraps.
Well, he’s from Oceanside, only a couple of years older n me. big jock. basketball. I can only name two players from my own school, South Side, big rivals, but when I say George Leach, he goes bananas. And I can only name them because they were seniors when I was a sophomore. My own class I didn’t know who was on what team unless they were in track with me.
Smoked a few puffs off the joint. Eeaach. Stupid. I didn’t have to. And such awful shit. Every one of the three or four stupid times I’ve relented to an entirely implicit social pressure, I’ve been very unhappy. Why not just pray for muscular dystrophy? So now, my head isn’t attached anymore. And there’s this incredible girl with incredible tits. Poses for my friend from Beverly Hills who only paints tits. I see him the next day and mention her name. you saw X? so he’s never fucked her. I thought that was all he did. If I hadn’t taken that joint, I would have fucked her myself. She started off thinking I was Maury Liebowitz. Art dealer colonizing from New York. Could have done it in the pool. Ten minutes at the most to get that first breast out of her dress.
Funny to be at a party where the first assumption is that you’re Darryl Zanuck or you wouldn’t be there.
And now I remember, Eddie’s wife was AJ’s old girl. Midnight, Xmas presents. She gave Holly a gallon jug of Jean Naté bath splash. It was so obscene, it was funny. Specially ordered from Rodeo Drive. Not all that beautiful. But there were two sets of world class tits in that mansion that night.
Looked forward to Eddie’s new years party. But Martha had come by then, was sick, and I just wanted to be with her. So we stayed home at Holly’s.
The whole of Sagittarius poses between the trees.
most interesting interview/conversation with Jim Fitch, the Xian fundamentalist. re: the Model. his story of writing a letter pouring out his theology to his father, mailing it off, seeing his father, the letter never mentioned. huh? finally, the thought, he didn’t understand a word of it. nothing to say. could have written it in a different language. so, J is concerned. what the hell was I doing and why had I done it? did he simply not understand a word? was he completely stupid and ignorant and wrong headed? or need he worry about my soul?
why haven’t I written Syn? was supposed to be in declarative prose. cause declarative prose will never made me feel like sweating. no. stories. fractal metaphors. with an architecture in time. not along the arch of our woebegone logic. so, now finally, I think:
series of ss: illustrate rethink of half-ass theo positions. eg, orig sin, virgin birth, “it’s temp, use it up,” predest, salvation … eg. personal god? I feel a close and personal attachment to what isn’t or doesn’t seem personal. the other side of the void. It’s personal because of my relationship to it once comfortable can’t help but be personal, its relationship to me is also personal, inevitably since I’m here. mother or father? hardly a good god metaphor except for how we bond to whatever seems near. a duckling and a chair, a man and his god. But the duckling did relate to the chair. and the chair to the duckling, though not in the same biotic way.
driving around Jupiter yesterday. “it’s temp, use it up” Stuart tripled in four years. Now booming. Even in Sept. Old Jupiter, closed and gone fishin. But new Pam Hunt. John LeSourd already weeping. boom boom boom. how about Las Olas? Ft Laud? gone. dead. the kids took over. the beeries came and stayed. The three month people move in north of Palm Beach. Then their kids will take over. A Rockaway. A Cony Island. The conservationists among us cry woe. While Ford Reagan say why worry, judgment is at hand. It’s money that will sign our salvation. But judgment is always at hand. Melt the ice cap. No more Jupiter, no more Florida. No more New York, Cony Island, Rockaway, Long Beach, Jones Beach, Fire Island, the Hamptons sunk too. All the rich kids sunk too. A new geosphere is confounded. get a hold on, and despoil. Also temp. Good. Inside/outside. sure the mortal creature thinks he’s it. theo intuitions the counter intuition.
great baseball situation. 9/23. cubs/pirates. count: 1 ball. pitch, swing, half-swing, something, the bat misses, or knicks the ball back to the catcher, then another pitch, strike. score board says 2 & 1, Pirate mgr wants scoreboard changed. No, 2 & 1 is what the fat plate ump has too. umps confer. long minutes. 2 & 1. mgr goes berserk. tv people replay the at bat. Ball, Strike, Strike. Count: Ball, Ball, Strike. So the announcers are saying that the umps clearly have it wrong and speculate about game under protest, about why P Mgr hasn’t been thrown out, etc. Then say that they will replay once more to watch whether ump is facing forward, taking a nap, or what. “And then you can make your own ASSUMPTION.” announcer says. Then he says:
fortunately, it didn’t change the game. !!! Of the class of knowable things (whether that class has a necessarily zero population, I don’t know, but it isn’t infinite. how finite it is is big question.), that is not a member. Like Brooks, after I’ve won the backgammon game: “Let me see what I would have rolled.” Sorry, hon. all you can ever see is what you did roll. What you roll outside the borders of the game cannot be what’s rolled inside the borders of the game (the necessarily the number result can be “the same,” there being only 36 possible rolls.
1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6
2 1 2 2 2 3 2 4 2 5 2 6
3 1 3 2 3 3 3 4 3 5 3 6
etc, this being half. If it made any difference which die said which number, then the two die possibilities would be 72.
How childish Brooks’ view. Oh, if I could only bat one more time, I just know I’d hit a homer run. Maybe, kid, but the game ends after 9 innings and at the end of nine, your team was behind, 5-9. So that was the final score: them 9, you 5. You lost. Can you imagine Mickey Mantle saying to the ump, oh, please give me one more swing, I just know I wouldn’t miss it four times in a row. No practice putts on the green you’re playing on or you are penalized. DSQ. Oh, but I just know we could have beaten the Cong if … if … if Ho Chih Mihn had phoned us all his plans. Maybe kid, what would he have done if we had phoned him ours?
To me, the epistemology of baseball has long been clear. The announcers never seem to be familiar with it. You gotta play the game the way the umpires call it. They may be wrong, but they can make a decision. The game can’t go on being played without such a decision. It is not necessary for the decision to be right, only for it to be made. Ideally, the ump ought to be alert, have senses not defective, not favor one team or one player, all impossible to be absolutely true in any real case, but that’s the ideal, the prescription, the formula. If one or more umpire always get it wrong, or seems deliberately to be affecting outcomes, fire the ump, fire all the umps, you’ll still have to hire new ones, or baseball will cease to exist, cease to attract, would degenerate toward exhibition wresting, or be state required games, You will attend, You will buy the vendor’s beer while there, You vill enjoy yourselves. Or Else.
The successful player should include in his psychology the ability to say, the ump missed that count, that play, that call, now I’ll just have to dig in and try again, try harder, I’m carrying extra weight on this one, too bad, but here goes.
Since that is not the psychology conspicuously played by, is a psychology that would implicitly be forbidden by the mgrs’ behavior, … etc. invisible to the games commentators, listening to them. Under those circumstances, a controversy over a call may affect play in uncontrolled and unpredictable ways, subtle and therefore never knowable in any cause and effect way.
The pitcher came back, the batter came back, and he walked. Oh, he walked anyway. Didn’t affect the outcome. Cubs won. But it still can’t be known. One can never the say that in the unaffected universe the batter would have hit one out, or into a double play, or struck out, and died of a heart attack. Ditto the pitcher. Walked him after a should be 1-2? Maybe. Can’t know.
At the end of a game, a ump’s performance could be reviewed. An outcome protested and challenged. Play a let. That doesn’t put things back to neutral in tennis, but it sure is the best they can do. That too could be abused. Anything can be abused. Jew playing tennis against the Nazi for the survival of his people, religion, god, culture, etc. If Nazi wins, things continue as normal. If Jew wins, Hitler will marry virgin Jewess. If Jew fails to win a single point, all Jews will be … etc. Nazi is groomed and petted and coaxed. Jew has not been fed or allowed exercise, sunlight or to lie down in last 30 days. Jew in a coma throughout most, but does finally get one good stroke in. Sorry, ump says. I didn’t see that. Play a let.
At the end of a season, the whole board’s performance reviewed. Monster penalties for deliberate error.
Why isn’t all this clearer to more people? Cause it’s not a part of our popular awareness how perceptual ordinary “events” are. Balls and strikes don’t even have objective, testable definitions. But I saw it out!!! Yeah, he saw it in. He must be lying. Do we truck out the polygraphs and the polygraph skeptics and the experts and the lawyers? Or go on with the game?
On the other side of these truths, there is this: since the game must by design have, a positive and negative outcome. a winner and a loser. we say that all the paraplegics in the special olympics were winners, you’re all winners if you drink beer at Bob’s in Bradenton. But in real stuff, real status, dominant male, territory, hog the resources stuff, Montana was intercepted? boo him. make him cringe. Pay him six million $ but boo the loser. Each January, there one winning team, and one team of losers. The other six dozen teams seem better by comparison. Winner. Loser. Fact is, Mickey may be right. Maybe he couldn’t miss four in a row from that pitcher that day. Maybe he wouldn’t have struck out if the game were designed for 4 strikes, not three. Maybe the winning home team would have fouled out and disqualified themselves if the bottom of the ninth had been played. Maybe the Yankees never would have been champions in a twelve inning game. Or maybe no team but them ever would have won. We can speculate all we want to. But those aren’t the rules. Those aren’t the recorded outcomes.
It’s just an arbitrary human activity. It has no meaning. It doesn’t prove anything. Even the heavy weight championship doesn’t prove who’s the best fighting man in the world that day. There are only two guys in the ring. One can be dogging it. Both could be drugged. The judges corrupt. How can you conclude anything about me if I’m not there competing? Sure Tyson looks terrifying. I love him. But how do we know some guy doesn’t live in the jungle somewhere? great fighter but doesn’t box. Wrong religion. Or the Nazi’s won’t let him compete. Other possible use of wrong religion. The better man won. Do those words mean anything. The worse team won. Those either?
It’s just human activity, human words, human errors and misconceptions, folks.
News announcer just reports European golfers leading in Ryder cup for 3rd year in row. “They’re beating us at our own game,” he says. Huh?
How to test. Find the exception. Scientific study of reigning ideology. with witnesses to skill, etc., get journalism job. Systematically write different views, dictions, etc. and keep track of what’s published and what’s red-lined. And what finally gets you fired. Publish results. Raw data and interpretation.
An old memory slipped in and back out before, and just slipped back in again. The temporal territory of the game. If you’re behind after 9, you don’t get ten to try again. Each year some carnival would come to RVC. Rudy would tell me. Guys would set up the tents and the cheap rides where the Little League thing is now. Quickly got sick of it. Ah, bigger one in Hempstead, I think it was John told me. Could ride our bikes over there in the pm, but we got a ride or something. We wander around. Pop the balloons, knock over the milk bottles, guess which plastic dog the water will float to the top first. Prizes. Hey, man, I grew up being taken to Cony Island. The Wonder Wheel. Skeetball. I’d win a plastic whistle, take it home, and lose it. What am I gonna do with a big teddy bear even if I could win one. The stupid movie about the alien looking photons around the air molecules that then burst the safe door without ruffling anyone’s hair or showing any energy drain to the alien, takes the arab princess to the carnival, cheats on all the games, wins the big teddy bear. she’s just bought a cotton candy. he has to hold it while she throws the darts. now he’s got to hold the big teddy bear. he throws her cotton candy in the trash. right, by ten or twelve years old I saw that it was all for the trash. Father won a giraffe or something once. The stuffing came out sooner than on any stuffed toy I’d ever seen. And I’m supposed to want a bigger one?
But this Hempstead fair had a game I’d never seen before. swing the ball on the chain and knock over the bowling pin held in position by a wooden angle. other gimmick. I don’t see stuffed bears or plastic whistles. “here, kid, c’mere.” he gets me finally to approach. “see, all you have to do is swing the ball past the pin and knock it over on the way back. He keeps doing it. Looks simple enough. you do it, you do it, he keeps prompting. Finally, reluctantly, I obeyed. I wasn’t used to doing what strangers told me, neither was I used to not doing what an adult told me. Who was this guy telling me to do things? John hangs back, for some reason, it’s been me the guy is calling. I knock the pin over on the first try. Now put down 50 cents, the guy says. Huh? Why? Knock it over and win $2. But I can’t pay you the $2 without your 50 cents being down. What happens if I don’t knock it over? I keep your 50 cents. But how can you not knock it over?
Why does this stranger want to give me $2? (funny how $ is both singular and plural) Why should he keep my 50 cents? I step back to think it over. I keep watching the booth though. The guy can’t believe he’s not getting my money. Finally he gives up, waving me aside, a real schmuck, stupid kid, etc. gestures. John wants to try it. I think we ought to watch what goes on first. We watch the guy con some other guy. All the freebies, the guy knocks down. Soon as his money was on the counter, miss, miss, miss. Finally the guy is pissed off as well as confused and walks off. Some old guy, twenty maybe. Sees me watching. he says there’s always some trick, some con. Maybe it’s a in back pulling a rope that realigns the booth. Maybe it’s how the guy leans on the counter. I stand there and watch and watch, trying to see what the guys is doing that makes it easy or impossible. I was finally convinced that it was the guy working alone and leaning on the counter or not as his switch. John is outraged and wants to call the cops. The guys sees us and starts his pitch till he sees it’s those two kids still. Hey, beat it. We step back a few feet. John says lets get out of here. And we finally do.
Since then, on those rare occasions that I’ve walked a carnival, that’s what I do, stand a way back and try to guess the scam. The last time I was maybe 25 or so. Some guy tried to chase me from his booth. Finally came out to sally at me, threatening violence. I was curious how far the guy would leave his booth by, but I didn’t push him too far. I figure I could outrun him or even a knife, but maybe not a rock or a bullet. had entirely forgotten it until I stopped at a casino in Reno. After I had stood watching the blackjack for more than ten minutes and twice refused the female dealers enticement to play, a bouncer came to chase me. Out of the casino, not just away from the table. I took my time leaving but I left. Then forgot both. Till today.
“Fifty million men, women, and children died: all because one man lost his soul.” The Equalizer, who is rapidly becoming the new John Houseman, intones. The show about Hitler is still on. It’s actually a bit better than that, but what a clarion call, via a fairly “rounded” fact, to irresponsible, undefined, nonsense propaganda. Later in the show, he stands at a gigantic warboard, and mentions Hitler’s exploiting the German humiliation at defeat in WWI, the feeling of being a victim. This is said as though it were mere propaganda. Something that had nothing but moral superiority to do with us. On a moral level we were shameless and not to be trusted before he was. My point of course is not to elevate Hitler (a great rhetorician, a more than competent artist, so what) but to excoriate us. Germany the aggressor in WWI? maybe, but the Kaiser’s attitude toward war as an honorable or at least “natural” and inevitable way for powers to conflict (not provable wrong by history or by most tautologies) was in fact shared by all except for the inside-outside difference of no, wait, you’re not supposed to attack us, we’re supposed to attack you. The fellow war mongers blame the war on one member. Like black in chess blaming white for having gone first. GB’s great point in Steps. Confusion of logical level. Armistice discussions isn’t supposed to be another weapon IN the war, but something relating to the war on a more abstract, not directly attached level. If we then use it as a weapon, we “win” perhaps, but expose ourselves in unqualified for trust, for evolution, for pity, for charity, no matter who the victim is. The Allies’ only honorable course, having done so, would have been then to commit suicide and say let the peaceable things which survive choose any gov’t to follow. Our honor is in having defeated the mess of the 19thC and our own part in it as well. Scorch the field and then bury yourself in it.
helping Dick lay turf the other day. Joyce goes out for frostees. we sit and sip in the shade. I more than earn my keep here; the difference between the Miles and others is that they acknowledge it. For the moment anyway. Meantime, … it’s good for me. Like today, I’ve got a problem with insurance etc. & Dick chauffeurs me around town for a couple of hours. But we’re sitting and sipping: talking art. For some reason, I tell them about the time in RVC Victor put a watercolor in my hands and said What do you think. Pretty good. Very good. Cézanney. Not great, but very very good. “Look at the signature.” Adolf Hitler. Victor trucks out some old Time mag from 1938 or 36 and there it is reproduced. When I mentioned a building fairly well realized, Dick & Joyce sit forward. Hitler, we knew it. And I then learn that Dick has Mein Kampf in German and in English. Today, Dick drives me to see Jim, I pick up some money and explain my absence, and Dick drives me to the insurance Co. En route, he takes me back roads. Shows me some no longer incorporated no longer town. Sebring’s ghetto. Wants me to notice that no body has to live like that. Africa never contributed anything, etc. Every well paid steel workers in Pittsburg … still live like slobs. You know that’s true, right. I know that’s not true. And I tell him about the quote in Desmond Morris, West African cities as large, clean, prosperous, and well organized, maintained, etc as Amsterdam. Wood, burned, destroyed, no trace remains. But the evidence is incontrovertible. And you believe that, Dick asks. Nothing to believe: document. fact. Interpretation has something to do with belief. So, sure. And I try to change the subject. Argue it through? And lose the only “security” I have for the moment. I think I said enough. As much as could be effective. But wow, Hitler, and let’s despise our victims. Would killing them be kinder? Hardly. What would be kind? What we do is kind. Human kind. I must be cruel in order to be Kind.
Sure wish I could remember the dialogues that came to me the other day. Already fading as I wrote:
“earthquake”
& logical levels: where does the conspiracy take place?
The latter I remember a bit, but earthquake? And earthquake talks things over before happening?

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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