Archive for the 'Africa' Category

Gethsemane

Amandla Awethu

It could have been that our own hearts turned to stone. It could have been that we inscribed vengeance on our banners of battle and resolved to meet brutality with brutality.

But we understood that oppression dehumanises the oppressor as it hurts the oppressed. We understood that to emulate the barbarity of the tyrant would also the mantransform us into savages. We knew that we would sully and degrade our cause if we allowed that it should, at any stage, borrow anything from the practices of the oppressor. We had to refuse that our long sacrifice should make a stone of our hearts.

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

We must act together as a united people, for the birth of a new world.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.

I will return.

—Nelson Mandela

Eyes Be Closed

This Monday, came a “report,” from a “study,” that US medical doctors, attached to the armed services, they had joined right in, back in the BushCo days, when American serial killers had determined that it was Right And Meet to, in the name of the abu ghraib superstarWar on Terra, torture, or even kill, Bad Brown People.

They had, these docs, at the very least, according to said study, sat on their asses and sucked their thumbs, while their fellow serial killers inflicted “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” on human beings never charged with, much less convicted of, a single crime.

Imagine my surprise.

For, back in the day—five, six, seven years ago—on the once and future blog Never In Our Names, folks like Valtin, and Avila, and I, we wrote about this shit all the time.

Not that anyone paid any attention.

And: note: we didn’t merely foam at the mouth. We strived, just as did these newbie “study” people, to source, to soberly express.

Not that anyone gave a damn.

I understand why the right didn’t give no damn. Because, nothing at all ever pursued, by George II and Darth Cheney, could ever possibly be considered, by such people, “torture,” much less “death.”

But I remain puzzled, even unto today, why the “left,” they, during this period, mostly sat on their Cheetos.

Until—Avila was the first to point this out to me—the black man ascended, in 2009, into office. At which time the lefty white dumb racist fuckscrackers, they suddenly came boiling from out of each other’s a-holes, to scream till their lips bled, that the black man, he should be lashed into jail, for not lashing into jail the white men—torture! rendition!—who had come before him.

Weird.

Today, I feel like such a fool. For spending all those years. There at StormKos. In an alleged “lefty” borough. As riven with racists as any righty sewer on the tubes. Yea, verily: even more so. For, these days, on StormKos, you can even crow you helped kill a black man. And still be lovingly embraced. To the dKos Marky-Markos bosom.

Semper fi.

Anyway. When, on Monday, “reports” of the “study” emerged, there came a great hand-wringing:

“This is a big, big striking horror,” said Dr. Gerald Thomson, professor of medicine emeritus at Columbia University[.]

Why? Why, exactly, is it a horror?

These doctors, all of them, every one, to the fucking core of all that they are, they are serial killers. Because they have sold their souls to the US armed forces. Which is about nothing but killing people. And breaking things.

They, these people, these “doctors,” are wedded to Thanatos. Lined up against life.

They, these alleged doctors, may once upon a time have sworn to some bullshit oath about “first, do no harm.” But that’s all over now. Because they are in the United States armed forces. Where their sworn duty is to kill. Or assist in a kill. Or overlook a kill. Or excuse away a kill.

They are not doctors. They are killers.

They don’t give a goddam fucking shit. They will, these “doctors,” visit whatever harm, upon a human being, they are told to.

And this they did.

We don’t need to go to Germany. We don’t need to go to Japan. We don’t need to go to China. We don’t need to go to the USSR.

For examples. Of doctors as killers.

We have just had more than enough. Right wronghere. In the US of A. Thank you very much.

I try not to write about this stuff anymore. Because It breaks me.

But not completely. Because I’ve looked over.

It’s simple: you don’t want your hoo-rah doctors to be some latter-day riff on Dr. Mengele? Then get them out of the armed forces.

Next, get your country, out of the armed forces.

This last, it is so simple and basic and obvious, that I’m weary tired unto death of expressing it.

But I will, below, again, because I feel that some people—this “feeling” no doubt merely some form of brain damage—are just creeping up on getting it.

And so, once again:

As has been observed here, many times, before, the Founders did not intend this country to maintain even a standing army. Which is why the Constitution specifically prohibits army appropriations of more than two years. And since the US is at peace with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, it does not need an army. So the army should be eliminated. As the only legitimate use for an air force is in support of ground troops, it should be eliminated as well. The Marines need to be folded back into the Navy, from whence they sprang; they are support troops for ships, that’s all they are; that they are sent to fight in landlocked countries, like Afghanistan, is madness. So: down the loo, they go. Since the US already possesses a Coast Guard, perfectly capable of patrolling the waters of the continental United States (Alaska and Hawaii are imperial possessions, and should be permitted to break free, as should all overseas territories, possessions, protectorates, and the like), Americans can go ahead and get rid of the Navy, too—Marines and all. Make a clean sweep.

No more serial killers. No more death industry.

Unless, devotee of Thanatos, this—hoorah, anchors aweigh, wild blue yonder, semper fi—is what you do like:

Me, I vote no. On Thanatos. In its all and every.

I vote, instead, for this: eros over eros eyes be closed in eros over all:

Oh, Ashley

In one of her most recent meth-mouth ejaculations, Sarah Palin, the tundra termagant, decreed that a number of sitting Republican US senators shall soon have their heads cut off at the ballot box.

This fate they shall suffer because the witless Panzer Powder aficionado, and her confederates, have determined senior senator, south carolinathat said men are insufficiently committed to the complete and total destruction of the United States, in the name of Getting The Black Man.

One of the termagant’s targets was identified as Lindsey Graham, senior senator from the Confederate state of South Carolina.

Graham has long frenzied the nightriders galloping at the outer edges of the GOoPer herd of the unsane. This is first because he is a closeted gay man. And second because he is so often joined at the hip to John McCain. A loose cannon anathema to the nightriders, because he first primary-challenged once and future favorite son George II for the presidency (McCain’s campaign effectively scuttled right there in South Carolina, when Rove & Co let it be known (falsely) that McCain had fathered a black child; though such is a South Carolina tradition, see Strom Thurmond, it is one that is supposed to remain delicately concealed until after the white rapist’s death). And then, when McCain had his own shot at the presidency, he refused to center his campaign around the fact that his opponent was black, and therefore an unacceptable existential threat to all that is Good and Godly.

Graham periodically attempts to woo the nightriders by dragging his knuckles right down to the ground. Such as his July 2013 scratching and hooting that the United States should boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, because of “what the Russian government is doing throughout the world.”

And so, within hours of Palin recently mustering the riders, Graham was flapping across all the televisions and tubes in the land, thundering that he shall not allow the black man to appoint anyone to a job in the federal government until he, Graham, “gets some answers on Benghazi.”

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The Said Admiral Is Dead

(For, as ever, mi Anacaona, and all the Taino. And also for all and every life extinguished by racist genocidal killers, such as the unnamed victim of the unrepentant ARacistPoet, member in good standing of the smirking laughing gas-chamber StormKos, a.k.a. the DailyKlan.)

They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Taino, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles. Fuku americanus, or more colloquially, fuku—generally a curse or a doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and the Doom of the New World. Also called the fuku of the Admiral because the Admiral was both its midwife and one of its great European victims; despite “discovering” the New World the Admiral died miserable and syphilitic, hearing (dique) divine voices. In Santo Domingo, the Land He Loved Best, the Admiral’s very name has become synonymous with both kinds of fuku, little and large; to say his name aloud or even to hear it is to invite calamity on the heads of you and yours.

No matter what its name or provenance, it is believed that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed the fuku on the world, and we’ve all been in the shit ever since. Santo Domingo might be fuku’s Kilometer Zero, its port of entry, but we are all of us its children, whether we know it or not . . . .

—Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Much about the Admiral is not known. Where he was born, and when: these are not known. The arc of his early years, when and what he studied at the University of Pavia: these, too, are not known. Where he obtained his ideas of geography, this is not known. The Admiral, it developed, did not know geography: he believed, to the end of his days, that where he landed in 1492 marked the far eastern fringe of Asia.

What is known is that when the Admiral stepped ashore on Hispaniola, he brought original sin to the New World. For the policies he pursued there exterminated that island’s people, the Taino. Every one.

All the Indians of these islands were allotted by the Admiral . . . to all the settlers who came to live in these parts; and in the opinion of many who saw what happened and speak of it as eyewitnesses, the Admiral, when he discovered these islands, passed sentence of death on a million or more Indians, men and women, of all ages, adults and children. Of this number and of those since born, it is believed that there do not survive today, in this year 1548, 500 Indians, adults and children, who are natives and who are offspring of the stock of those he found on arrival.”

Today, “the Taino survive in the shape of one’s eyes, the outline of one’s face, the idiom of one’s language.” All the rest, is gone.

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It Burns

Someone I Know, she works with a woman who draws a paycheck for pretty much nothing more than babbling ceaselessly, senselessly, uncontrollably; occasionally spinning her head round 360 degrees; now and then erupting into Tourette’s-like cursing at all and sundry.

This woman, she is like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Except she does not koolprojectile-vomit green bile, or plunge a crucifix in and out of her vagina. At least not publicly.

With Halloween coming on, I suggested to the Someone I Know that she festoon her office with this wonderment, identified by the descriptive-dullards at eBay as “Halloween Animated Exorcist Spinning Head Linda Blair Sounds Decoration Prop,” and presented to you-all there in the image to the right. The thing, its “head rotates 360 degrees, the eyes light up and the mouth moves,” it “plays (6) audio tracks and the Exorcist theme from the movie,” and “spoken phrases include ‘it burns’; ‘keep away, the sow is mine’; and ‘I can’t sleep, my bed is shaking.’”

But the Someone I Know, she demurred, reasoning that bringing the outre object into the office—it would just encourage her coworker, to further rotate her head, and spew stupidness across the land.

Oh well. I tried.

Tonight, I am trying again.

Having witnessed this day Secretary of State John Kerry—he of the once and future “how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”—rotate his head and spit green bile and slide a crucifix in and out of his urethra, as he ululated screamingly about Bad Chemicals in Syria.

Even as Foreign Policy printed a timely piece about how, back in the day, the United States of Reaganoids were only too happy to assist Iraq, in hosing down brown people, with chemical agents.

Even as the US was blearily emerging from a week which witnessed the conclusion of a dizzying confluence of legal proceedings in re one of the more recent American imperial adventurings in “how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Wherein first Chelsea Manning received 35 years, for telling the truth; though, telling, wasn’t it, that what it isthere was an acquittal, on the charge involving the release of the war-crime video of an airstrike on Afghan civilians.

Then the driven-mad Fort Hood psychiatrist, who would rather mass-kill, than be deployed to Afghanistan, convicted on something like eleventy-billion murder and attempted-murder charges.

Finally, there was the hoorah, he who cut a deal whereby he would escape the death penalty by saying “I’m sorry” for shooting up an Afghan village. Apparently, this man, he was “bummed,” he was “stressed,” about “personal problems.” News to me, and to many, that murdering Afghans is a recognized outlet for relieving stress and ameliorating bummedness.

Meanwhile Sean Klannity, there on the radio, was yammering today, in re Syria, about “therapeutic bombing.”

At first, I assumed he was joking. I mean, I know the language is going straight to Hell. But there must be some limits. No one could seriously employ a term like “therapeutic bombing.”

But no. I was wrong. Klannity, he is on it, and he is for it.

I shut him off. For there is no such thing as “therapeutic bombing.” Not in my universe.
So I’m thinking: maybe there should be a variation on the Linda Blair-head thing.
Where, instead of her whirling round and burbling things like “leave her alone, the sow is mine,” or “I can’t sleep, my bed is shaking,” one could have a hate-radio or politician head, that spins round, and round, and round, and meanwhile upchucks bile like “we must therapeutically bomb to protect the homeland!,” “travel internationally only when wrapped in plastic and sealed with duct-tape!” or “danger! danger! scary brown people!”
Just a thought.
Here in the brave new world.

Sign Of A Local Nigger Unravelin’

Michelangelo was a sculptor. That’s all of who he was. The rich rat bastards, they kept paying him for paintings—he didn’t want to paint, but painting was where the money was. So, he painted.

A sculptor—what he really was—involved selecting and regarding a block of marble. Seeing what it was meant to be. Knowing the interior. The finished let the slaveglowing being. Then, having to go, through time and effort and time, the tiresome endless work, of bringing out what was already there. The already happened.

Chisel.

Chip.

Chip. Chip. Chip.

In the last decades of his life, Michelangelo approached marble, chipped away for a time, then stood back, saying he was finished.

No one, at the time, could see how he could possibly say that he was the least bit finished.

To this day, people do not understand what he meant. By “finished.”

His, here, is an avenue of art, that no one, over the past umpteen-hundred years, has pursued. Because it appears to be nothing but “unfinished.” Like, maybe, probably, he just gave up.

Bollocks. This is the man who had already used chisel and stone to depict the most precise and divine representations of human beings in the entire history of sculpture. Before, or since.

So, when he moved elsewhere, people should have paid attention.

But they didn’t. And they still don’t.

The “unfinished” Michelangelo pictured above is called “Awakening Slave.” From the title alone, it should be obvious, to anyone employing brain cells, that it is absolutely right, that the slave is unable to fully emerge from the marble. Michelangelo’s choice, here, was absolutely right.

He said that the marble spoke to him. And, when it said, stop carving, he stopped.

True artists don’t listen to the bullshit. They listen to the art.

Writing is like regarding a block of marble. The task is to chip away the bullshit, the effluvia, the waste, revealing, relating, only what is.

That is why, when I was 16, and first regarded the “unfinished” sculptures of Michelangelo, I knew exactly what they were about. He had gone beyond the mere perfection of form. To regarding, and representing, perfection attempting to emerge, yet held back, by the muck.

Now that I am older, I see a second reason why he went with the “unfinished.” Because, for decades, he’d put it all out there, in the way that they wanted to see it. Yet, they still didn’t get it. So: fuck ‘em. Go with the quantum. The finished/unfinished. The way it really is.

So, uh, this piece, that follows, I had grand finished plans for the thing, some weeks ago, when I wanted to both Snowden, and Zimmerman. I was first concerned about those in my karass so hurt by the Zimmerman verdict. And, next, those, also in my karass, so wounded by the Snowden revelations. Unfortunately, I don’t think I ever got around to serving, in what I have here written, completely, either. Much less both. The piece is unfinished. But I’ve decided to put it out there anyway. In hopes people can regard what is there, and see also into the marble. To what was meant to be. To what is.

(for robin and denise and amazing and adept and time and sephius and conk and tree and trayvon and sooth and seeta and ms. turn-up-your-radio and my pooldar anacaona and she-be-hawaiian-feet and the far rambling planet and all whose skins and souls burn 24/7 with the lies of this nation . . . . ) 

The Snowden uproar has been driven mostly by white people.

In garment-rending frenzy, that maybe government folks, are ear-trumpeting their phone conversations, goggle-eyeing their email.

Like, checking them.

People of color have, generally, been less exercised. Because, from when they first become conscious in this country, in this culture, people of color naturally assume they are being allchecked. Watched. Listened to. Tracked. As a condition of their very lives. Because, everything about their lives, about their history, teaches them that they are.

(The exception was when the Bolivian president’s homeward-bound plane was forced to the ground: people of color, then, particularly south of the border, they for sure, then uproared, over that. Because it was, so humiliatingly, typical of their lives, their history. To wit: white people won’t believe them. Will naturally assume them of involvement in nefariousness. Will physically roust them. Whenever they feel like it. Even if the rousted is the president of a sovereign nation.

(So let it be written. So let it be done.

(Same as it ever was.)

What people of color in this country would like, it is something more basic than freedom from a government-snout snorting about in their email.

What they would like, is a guarantee of physical safety.

That, maybe, they can feel free, to, oh, say, walk to the store, and back again, without getting shot.

And what the Zimmerman verdict tells them is that, once again, this—this is a forlorn hope.

Because what the Zimmerman verdict tells people of color is: no, really, they can’t—still “not yet”—walk to the store and back, without fear of being shot.

And white people, they have no idea, what that means.

To live, day in, day out, every day, like that.

Knowing they might be killed. For just walking the streets.

As they continue to squeal. The white people. About a snout. Maybe in their email.

I received, in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, an email from a person of color, who has succumbed to despair.

Says she:

A lot of what I came up believing, spouted ad nauseam by Jose Marti and Rev Dr. King? I am doubting any of it now. I don’t believe for a New York minute we shall overcome, or “not too long.” This seems like the weakest pabulum and fairy tale imaginable. It’s open season on people of color.

What can I say to her?

Nothing.

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Fore

Golf is so Wrong, it’s hard for me to be coherent about it.

Once upon a time, I did pen a lengthy and somewhat lucid three-part jihad on the Outrage Of Golf. For one of the many newspapers that lived and died around here. Probably the papered remains, they are down in the Manor basement. Somewhere. Maybe, someday, I’ll run across them. And, maybe, thenbaby, I’ll re-screed the jihad, here.

For the nonce, though: golf, briefly, was devised by bored Scottish sheepherders, casting around for something to do while waiting for their erections to return. At which time they could again commence buggering the sheep.

As Mark Twain observed in this space, a wee while back, penile erectile recovery, it can take some time. And so there were many idle hours, for these sad-sack shriveled-scrotum Scottish men. Out there on the moors. Glumly waiting for peter, to arise again. Buffeted by the wind, encloaked in the mist. Desultorily banging with sticks a small ball. Through the sheepshorn grass. Around sand-sweeps and puddled-places. Into various and sundry gophered holes. Waiting. Waiting. For the rise.

It is a Known Science Fact that Scottish sheepherders inserting their man-sticks into the nether holes of sheep is how incubated syphilis. Pace those the-horror/the-horror people of West Virginia, syphilis marks the nadir of the Scottish contribution to Mankind.

Well. Except for golf.

After all: today there is a cure for syphilis. But there does not seem to be any cure at all for golf.

I once knew a man who worked many years as a groundskeeper on a golf course situated in California’s Central Valley.

This man: he was a good man, a wise man, a feeling man.

And so, the obscenity of his occupation, it hurt—hard—his brain.

To assuage the pain, he first, and for well over a decade, consumed, pretty much every hour, on the hour, mass quantities of the strongest mind-ripping marijuana. The paralyzing effects of this uber-gage transported him to places where few humans go. For instance, once, when, for reasons I can no longer remember, we were all sitting around watching Dumbo, he blurted out: “I am not a human being! I am an elephant!” The man also became obsessed with thewow, man notion that things here on Terra are so of the bungled and the botched because this world was designed and implemented by a “rookie god.” The creature had had no practice—this was the being’s first try—and so s/he bumbled out a planet utterly festooned with mammoth and grievous boners.

Eventually the marijuana could no longer do the job. And so he nestled next into methamphetamine. Which inevitably resulted in the day when he entered that congenital meth Reality in which it is absolutely Necessary to hurl the couch through the vast expanse of the full-length plate-glass window in the living room.

His wife, who did not join him in this Reality, in turn hurled him out of the house. He packed everything he owned into a small station wagon, and went into exile in Los Molinos. This is a small northstate community best known, to Those Who Know, for the Ewell-like family who dwelled for many years out by the town dump. The mother had died eons back, but there remained a father, and also many daughters. And so, each year, at least one of the daughters would come shuffling, somewhat shamefaced, out of the woods, charged with some errand like the family shopping, and bearing a newborn.

Yeehaw.

The reason why his occupation as golf-course greenskeeper so grievously affected this feeling man, so much so that he was eventually compelled to hurl his couch through his living-room window, is because, as he knew, siting a golf course, pretty much anywhere outside of Scotland, is an act of Insanity.

Golf sprang, naturally, from the place of its birth. Flat and/or gently undulating earth, covered with thick grass, watered by the clouds, close-cropped by sheep. Here and there, scattered about, smallish pools of water; bowls of sand. Maybe a spindly stand or two of trees. Some holes.

Golf, therefore, is fine—in its place. A place where sheep steadily crop the grass—as they do to this day on many golf courses in Scotland—and where the elements quite naturally dump down the youve_been_trumped_stillliteral rivers of water required to keep living and thriving the course and the greens.

It’s a normal thing, golf, for that sort of misty moist place.

But, as the photo there to the left demonstrates, golf, even in its native place, has, today, been brutally buggered into a place beyond absurdity, or even the Sane. Unto a shrieking maddened Court of Chaos, requiring that we must needs close our eyes, and then inject, into every available artery and vein, only the most potent of narcotics, so as to rid ourselves of the Pain.

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Reality Theatre

This week we were asked to endure the dog and pony show in a clown car known as “Benghazi.”

“Benghazi” is single-word shorthand for the most recent of innumerable attempts by members of the Confederate States of America to once and for rightall Get the black man, the black man who has committed the unpardonable sin of occupying the White House.

Though this week’s was hardly the first “Benghazi” “hearing.”

Oh no. These things recur cyclically. Like locusts. Or lice. Or scabies.

My favorite so far was the “Benghazi hearing” where Congressional members of the Confederate States of America, so avid to Get the black man, unthinkingly babbled and blurted, publicly, the classified information that the so-called Benghazi “US consulate” was in fact a CIA spy-nest.

During a recess, some Sane person advised them of their boneheadedness. They then came back to announce the hearing was adjourned, and that everyone should just forget all about it.

“Benghazi” refers to a September 11, 2012 assault on a CIA spy-nest in the Libyan city of Benghazi, wherein Bad Brown People succeeded in killing the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, an information officer, and two mercenaries contracted to the CIA.

From the get-go, members of the Confederate States of America wedded themselves, till death do they part, to a Reality in which the black man bubbled up some popcorn, and then sat there in the White House Situation Room, and laughed and laughed, as he watched, in real-time, four Americans die in Libya.

More recently, members of the Confederate States of America have hitched themselves to a second Reality. In this one, the lazy, shiftless, shuffling, bumbling black man went off to bed without knowing or caring one whit what was going on in Benghazi—downing a couple 40-ouncers, and then hitting the sack, so he could get up early to go waste the (white) taxpayers’ money by playing golf or basketball.

On Wednesday of this week I heard the towering ignoramus Sean Klannity advance both these Realities as if they were both equally and at the same time true.

For, in their hatred of the black man, members of the Confederate States of America have gone quantum.

You see, in quantum physics, it is possible, say, for something to be both a wave and a particle, simultaneously; for an object to remain whole, but also, simultaneously, split to pass through two separate doors; for a cat in a box to be both, and at the same time, dead and alive.

So too, in the quantum Realities occupied by the people of the Confederate States of America, it is possible for the black man to both eat popcorn and laugh as he watches Americans die, and also, simultaneously, sleep through the whole thing.

Clearly, people who think in this way, are not really using their brains. Their brains are instead locked leftaway in some deep shelter. To which they have no access.

It would be nice to conclude that it is only rightwhacks who suffer in this way.

But no.

For shortly before I tuned into Klannity, to monitor his latest arrow-through-the-head take on this and that, I had spent some time with a brain-in-deep-shelter nimrod who spins a propellor upon his beanie over there on the left.

Yes. I had paid one of my periodic visits to the twilight zone of Tony Cartalucci.

Cartalucci is an alleged “lefty” freelance froot loop who places pieces in the various turds that Alex Jones floats in the punch bowl of the intertubes, on the flaccid Iranian government organ Press TV, and with something called Liberty Roundtable, which foams at every orifice that “Masonic Jewish financiers” are “advancing a totalitarian ‘New World Order’,” with Jews as “foot soldiers and cannon fodder in a diabolical multi-generational plot to destroy Christian Civilization.”

Yeehaw.

When not sticking a hatpin through his frontal lobe at these other sites, Cartalucci also dribbles and drabbles in his own digs, a place known to me as minddestroyer.

During the 20 minutes or so I most recently spent surfing the Cartalucci minddestroying sewage, I learned that:

—The Russian puck band Pussy Riot—with several members currently in jail for offending Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church—consists of nothing but “bigots and hooligans,” in willing service to “Wall Street and London.”

Aung San Suu Kyi is a slavering murderer, jefe of a crazed cabal of “genocidal bigots” in monks’ clothing, a willing cat’s-paw of “Wall Street & London,” and guilty of “sedition.”

—Global climate change is a total hoax, perpetrated by “banksters and oilmen.”

—The Boston Marathon bombing was a “US/Saudi/Israeli” false-flag operation. At the same time, the two Tsarnev brothers—including 19-year-old Zhokhar Tsarnev—are “longtime CIA double agents,” who somehow suddenly and unaccountably ran amok. (Note that it is possible for the minddestroyers to believe that the bombing was both a US/Saudi/Israeli false-flag operation, and the work of deep-cover Western spooks who went rogue . . . in the same way that the rightwhacks believe the black man both ate popcorn and laughed while Americans died in Benghazi, and also was asleep and knew nothing about it. Quantum.)

—The Muslim Brotherhood is owned and controlled by Israel.

—The Chechen national resistance movement, which has been around for 600 years or so, was created by the CIA.

In this last nuttery, there is at least some Hope. For if the CIA did indeed found a movement that came into being some 550 years before the CIA itself was created, this means the agency must have secured the secret of time travel.

And since the CIA can never really keep anything secret for long, this means the rest of us will soon be able to be out and about time-traveling too.

And so we can then go into the future. To a time when people, left and right, do not keep their brains locked away in deep shelters. But instead actually use them.

Soon be the day.

Serial Killers Continue To Cry

The nation’s serial killers continue to weep openly because they are no longer permitted access to the entirety of the federal treasury.

The latest disgusting display occurred Tuesday, when John McHugh, Secretary of the Army division of the American death industry, kicked his high chair and threw his rattle during testimony before the Senate serial killer at workArmed Services Committee, outraged that some 100,000 serial killers may have to be discharged from the army over the next decade.

Good.

Although 100,000 is but a start, it is at least that.

The goal, of course, is to reduce the number of the nation’s serial killers to zero.

McHugh blubbered that the Army already planned to reduce its ranks from a current 570,000 serial killers to 490,000 serial killers, due to legislation approved by Congress in 2011.

Now, he wept, the sequester will require kicking loose an additional 100,000 serial killers.

The sequester is an automatic spending-reduction program that the Republicans in Congress refuse to reconsider because the president is black.

As has been observed here before, true anti-war people would embrace the death-industry portion of the sequester as a wondrous and unexpected gift. And, from there, work so that the sequestered funds will never, ever, under any circumstances, be returned to the serial killers. Work until the Already Happened has been achieved: the nation’s serial-killer budget reduced to $0.

However, as has also been observed here before, there do not seem to be any real true anti-war people in the United States.

Certainly I have heard no hosannas sent forth in appreciation of the truly wonderful news that emerged on Friday: that in the first quarter of 2013, “[d]efense spending fell rapidly again, contracting by 11.5 percent as compared with the previous quarter’s 22.1 percent contraction.”

This is nothing but Good. Death-industry spending must decline until it contributes not a cent to the nation’s GDP. For no decent, civilized people would what it iswish to make a single penny off of serial killers and all their worldkilling works.

The McHugh serial killer, though, that ain’t the way he sees it. He wept before Congress that “the budget cuts could threaten readiness levels on the Korean peninsula, where military forces remain on high alert after North Korea threatened to attack the United States and South Korea. Sequestration has forced the cancellation of a series of training exercises intended to help prepare soldiers for possible combat there, he said.”

Good. No sane human being wants American serial killers to be “prepare[d] for possible combat there.” Prepared for possible combat anywhere, but especially not in Korea. For United States serial killers have no business in that nation. They all need to come back to the US. To be discharged. So that they may pursue some truly useful employment. Like, say, manufacturing tinkertoys.

As has been observed here, many times, before, the Founders did not intend this country to maintain even a standing army. Which is why the Constitution specifically prohibits army appropriations of more than two years. And since the US is at peace with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, it does not need an army. So the army should be eliminated. As the only legitimate use for an air force is in support of ground troops, it should be eliminated as well. The Marines need to be folded back into the Navy, from whence they sprang; they are support troops for ships, that’s all they are; that they are sent to fight in landlocked countries, like Afghanistan, is madness. So: down the loo, they go. Since the US already possesses a Coast Guard, perfectly capable of patrolling the waters of the continental United States (Alaska and Hawaii are imperial possessions, and should be permitted to break free, as should all overseas territories, possessions, protectorates, and the like), Americans can go ahead and get rid of the Navy, too—Marines and all. Make a clean sweep.

No more serial killers. No more death industry.

Unless, devotee of Thanatos, this—hoorah, anchors aweigh, wild blue yonder, semper fi—is what you do like:

Drone Who Thou Wilt Is The Whole Of The Law

And so now the United States has determined that it is Vital and Necessary to establish and enforce tight and binding international Rules for the use of drones.

President Barack Obama, who vastly expanded U.S. drone strikes against terrorism suspects overseas under the cloak of secrecy, is now openly seeking to influence global guidelines for their use as China and other countries pursue their own o noez! chinese drones!drone programs.

The United States was the first to use unmanned air-craft fitted with missiles to kill militant suspects in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

But other countries are catching up. China’s interest in unmanned aerial vehicles was displayed in November at an air show. According to state-run newspaper Global Times, China had considered conducting its first drone strike to kill a suspect in the 2011 murder of 13 Chinese sailors, but authorities decided they wanted the man alive so they could put him on trial.

“People say what’s going to happen when the Chinese and the Russians get this technology? The president is well aware of those concerns and wants to set the standard for the international community on these tools,” said Tommy Vietor, until earlier this month a White House spokesman.

As U.S. ground wars end—over in Iraq, drawing to a close in Afghanistan—surgical counterterrorism targeting has become “the new normal,” Vietor said.

Amid a debate within the U.S. government, it is not yet clear what new standards governing targeted killings and drone strikes the White House will develop for U.S. operations or propose for global rules of the road.

Obama’s new position is not without irony. The White House kept details of drone operations—which remain largely classified—out of public view for years when the U.S. monopoly was airtight.

This is typical. One need only consider very recent history. Such as when the United States enjoyed a monopoly, or near-monopoly, in nuclear weapons, at which time it felt no need to establish any nuke rules at all.

And, indeed, that nation’s premier serial killers—a.k.a. “generals”—wished, and fervently urged, at various times, that there be nuke-rain-down-on-thee in Japan, the Soviet Union, Korea, China, Vietnam . . . even the freaking Moon.

They got their way, did the serial killers, in Japan. But never after. Nor, in their thereafter everafter lust to later nuke-rain the Soviet let's bombUnion (multiple times), Cuba, Afghanistan, etc., and on to the present day: Iran. Always, one of more civilians, tethered to the ball of sanity, have blocked them in their way.

Useful news, for those who perceive Reality through that glass-darkly straw in which the boys in the serial-killer blues forever get their way.

Anyway. Once humans not interned in the dirt-patch known as “the United States” began possessing nuclear weapons, suddenly a Great Flap swept across the American land, and it became at once Right and Meet that many and myriad Rules be established, to prevent non-’Mericans from getting themselfs a nuke, or, worse, Wrongly using one.

This is why, these days, every time you look at the news, there is something about Iran or North Korea. Something where some American is leaping and shrieking and running around with his or her hair on fire. Because some humans in these countries—Iran or North Korea—may be thinking about getting theyselves a nuke. And the US, sitting on more nukes than Midas has gold, and still the only country ever to use one to wantonly and needlessly and insanely incinerate hundreds of thousands of people, says This Cannot Be.

Decree of the US being: “I got mine. None, is yours.”

Now, I guess, we must gird our loins to eternally recur through this same sort of nonsense with drones.

furthur=>

Jaws

Sometimes tough choices have to be made.

Take the folks there at Rakwena Crocodile Farm in South Africa. With heavy rains Thursday forcing the Limpopo River over its banks, the farm people, “fearing that the raging floodwaters would crush the walls of their house,” elected to open gates that would hiallow their charges to escape from confinement and then wander across the land.

Their charges being, well, some 15,000 crocodiles.

“There used to be only a few crocodiles in the Limpopo River,” said Zane Langman, whose father-in-law is—or was—the chief Rakwena croc farmer. “Now there are a lot.”

The New York Times reports that “efforts to reach the farm and the local police directly were unsuccessful, with no one answering the phones.”

Gee. Like that is a surprise. With 15,000 loosed crocodiles padding about, there are probably no longer a lot of intact humans in the vicinity. And crocodiles do not use the phone.

According to the BBC, neither the police nor the armed forces are engaged in attempting to recapture the beasts. Their excuse: no one has asked them to. A uniformed spokesbeing, one Hangwani Mulaudzi, stated “an official request would have to be made by the farm to involve the armed forces, which has not happened.”

Of course, if there are no longer any functional homo sapiens on the farm, such a request cannot be made.

Meanwhile, “villagers have been warned not to try and capture a crocodile on their own,” Mulaudzi said.

Seems sound advice.

Nevertheless, it is civilian volunteers who are participating in the roundup.

During the floods Mr. Langman set out in a boat to rescue his neighbors. “You want to get them, but you wonder the whole time if you’ll make it there,” he said[.] “When we reached them, the crocodiles were swimming around them. Praise the Lord, they were all alive.”

Crocodile-roping is reportedly most successful at night. According to the apparently insane Langman:

“At night time we have more success and we can see their red eyes—it’s much easier to see them. They are reasonably active so you have to jump on them and catch them[.]“

One might reasonably ask: why in the world would anybody “farm” 15,000 crocodiles?

Seems this pursuit is quite common along the river: “the land along the Limpopo is home to dozens of game reserves and crocodile farms, some housing tens of thousands of reptiles.”

The Rakwena reptiles “are mostly bred for their skin, which is exported to Europe and parts of Asia to make shoes, jackets and handbags.”

Rakwena “is also a tourist attraction, with visitors able to go on guided crocodile tours.”

Now, no guides are needed. Even if they were available. For the crocodiles are everywhere. And anybody who wants to go see them, is welcome to do so.

Meanwhile, apparently some of the freed animals are taking up rugby.

South Africa’s Beeld newspaper quoted Mr Langman as saying that some of the crocodiles had been recaptured on a school rugby pitch in Muskina, a town on the border with Zimbabwe about 120km from the farm.

So: 120 kilometers. Or 75 miles. They move fast, these people. All 15,000 of them.

Rugby-playing crocodiles. Coming soon. To SportsCenter. Watch for it.

One Thing

More than five million people are estimated to have died from violence, hunger and disease in wars in Congo since 1998. It is the deadliest conflict since World War Two.

Reuters, November 17. 2012

Passing Easter Over

I tried to do my best, here in the Manor, to get with the season, in re Passover and Easter.

It’s true that I didn’t splash any lamb’s blood on my door.

But I did purchase and place a new doormat. Upon which Jesus could wipe the blood off his feet, if he happened to drop by.

Not that I expected him. Because I happened to know that Jesus last weekend was wallowing in roll-away-the-stone passion with a Minnesota siren, there in her abode of toast the savior warm, bouncing the bedsprings with thee.

Certainly there is nothing that I could offer him, that she was not then delivering.

I did bake some lamb’s blood. Oozing outta ground lamb, the essential ingredient in kofta, born of the Egyptians—the Passover connection, there—but these days most often munched by mountain-dwelling Afghans, a little sustenance before they commence to race down the hill to scream and shoot at dull-domed Americans, trying to convince them to get the hey out of their “country.”

You can find the recipe for this wonderment, as well as various assorted other Judeo-Christian heresies, beyond the “furthur.”

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March Of The 차려입 펭귄

(A variant on a piece posted here in December 2010.)

People are strange.

It’s in all the reports.

Let’s look at the Koreans. For they, in these times, have Christmas in their country, for no reason that makes any sense at all.

Because Christmas is first of all about a martyred Jewish mystic who was snapped up by Saul the Roman carny-barker and transformed into a weirdsmobile pagan sun-king, in which form he went luluing around Europe for the next 2000 years or so.

Later grafted onto the day was a Nordic fat man, who in one night flies supersonic reindeer round the globe, showering from a sleigh gifts to all and sundry, like some sort of holly-jolly communist.

None of this really says “Korean.”

And yet: there they are. Thinking it’s a good idea to dress up penguins like Santa Claus and reindeer, and then set them to marching in a parade, accompanied by a human Santa who wildly throws fake snow in the air.

These festivities inaugurate the annual “Christmas Fantasy” winter festival at the Everland Amusement Park in Yangin. The penguins promenade down a street decorated with some 2 million lights, 80 Christmas trees, and showers of artificial snow. There is also a holiday-themed fireworks show—hopefully set off only once the penguins, borrowed from the city zoo, have been returned to their usual quarters.

Everland, it is said, draws some 6 million visitors a year, and is the number-two most popular non-Disney theme park in the world.

“Everland” is presumably what you get when you knock the “N” off Neverland, and run Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys off the place.

Generally I am not a fan of dressing animals in human clothing. Judging by the various photos out there on the intertubes, however, none of the birds really seem to mind. Then again, maybe I’m no good at reading penguins. After all, they do not live as you and I: these particular penguins, known as African or “jackass” penguins, prefer to dwell in homes they have burrowed out of bird guano.

Which is why they are endangered: money-grubbing humans arrived to haul all their guano away. Now they must make do with sand, and it’s just not the same.

Humans have also run off with their eggs, finding them tasty, and have meanwhile yanked all the sardine, anchovy, and squid out of the sea, leaving the birds with little to eat. Every once in a while an oil tanker will blow, or surreptitiously clean out its tanks while rounding the Horn, thereby drenching the birds with petroleum. Now seals have shown up, and are rudely pushing the birds off their 24 little islands.

These birds are called “jackass penguins” because they emit a distinctive braying noise. Reads to me like they have a lot to bray about. As the photo above shows, they’re not very big. Plucky, though.

I suppose the Everland penguin parade perhaps preferable to this earlier-featured Korean Christmas expression. Then again, maybe not.

“No, Those Are Next Door”

They are making some interesting humans in Egypt.

First we had Al-Sayed al-Essawy, the self-described “strongest man in the world,” who lives to enter cages and there fight lions (who, to date, have not been interested), and has vowed to “pull an airplane with my teeth, and I will pull an airplane with my hair[;] I will also be run over by an airplane.”

Now there is Ahmed Mohammed, a Cairo tour guide who recently escorted a writer for the journal Bidoun through the Egyptian Museum. Below is a partial transcript of their encounter. It’s Mohammed who kicks it off. The Bidoun seeker’s remarks are in italics.

You see this statue? Man or woman?

Man?

A man with breasts?

So it’s a woman?

A woman with beard?

I have no idea. Transgender?

It’s Hatshepsut. Better to say, Hot-Chicken-Soup. So complex. She’s the only queen that ruled the country. She married her half-brother. Her husband took another woman, so she poisoned everybody in the food. She presented herself as pharaoh, dressed as a man. She wanted to say there’s no difference between man and woman. In my opinion, she was a very successful leader, but she lost herself as a woman.

furthur=>

Drive Me To The Moon

In a reluctant attempt to move into something resembling the 20th Century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently decreed that women will be allowed, here and there, to vote.

Driving, however, remains out of the question. Under Saudi law, women are prohibited from driving; it is forbidden for x-chromes even to ride a bicycle. And they’re pretty serious about it. One Shaima Jastaina was recently sentenced to 10 lashes for defying the nation’s driving ban; the sentence was not carried out only because 87-year-old King Abdullah intervened.

Jastaina is part of the intertubular Women2Drive campaign, in which uppity females get behind the wheel and go rolling across the desert, law or no law. Saudi mossbacks are getting active in return, gathering on oppositional Facebook sites to ululate about the Horrors and Dangers of women drivers. Below are some excerpts from their postings, which I nicked from the November 2011 edition of Harper’s.

I’m not against women driving so much as the chaos that’ll occur.

It women tried simultaneously to direct their family’s upbringing, guide the nation’s moral education, and, on top of all this, drive a car—this country would record the highest mortality rates in the world.

It is the Saudi man, with his intense love for his wife, who provides her with a chauffeur. And yet they reject this part of his charity and love.

It is obvious to any sane person that to empower women with driving will rob the man of his household role. This will increase the divorce rate—already high—and scatter families, children. Girls will be lost, trampled by extortion.

The economists say that money spent on car insurance for women will be at least ten times more than what is now spent on women’s transportation, private and public. And the notion is still raised! They say, “What does the West say about us? They’ve landed on the moon! Let’s catch up!” The West did not get to the moon with women’s driving!

The Keystone Of The Whole Convention

Video footage showed Gaddafi, dazed and wounded, but still clearly alive and gesturing with his hands as he was dragged from a pick-up truck by a crowd of angry jostling group of government soldiers who hit him and pulled his hair.

He then appeared to fall to the ground and was enveloped by the crowd. NTC officials later announced Gaddafi had died of his wounds after capture.

The modern laws of war begin with the sympathetic consideration of wounded bodies. In 1859, at Solferino in northern Italy, the Austrians fought the French, and after the battle a young Swiss man named Jean Henri Dunant toured the battlefield. Some 30,000 men lay in the dust and mud—shrapnel wounds, gangrene, the violently dead—and in response to what he saw that day he went on to form the International Committee of the Red Cross. The first Geneva Convention was adopted in August 1864, for the “Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field”: it holds that casualties shall be cared for, whoever’s side they are from, and protects all those who treat them. In 1906, this provision was moved to the start of the Convention; in the 1949 Commentary, the ICRC called the inviolability of the wounded “the keystone of the whole Convention.”

—Daniel Swift, “Conjectural Damage,” November 2011 Harper’s

Wounded in both legs?

Sound like he took one in the nuts.

Rec’d for making me laugh.

“Lefties” who celebrate the death of Gaddafi are not different from Bushies who celebrated the death of Saddam. “Lefties” who celebrate the death of Gaddafi are not different from those who celebrated the plane flying into the Pentagon.

They are the same.

Bertold Brecht: “Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.”

Yep. In heat in every heart that beats with joy, at the suffering and death of a human being.

Buyer Beware

I am for sure believing that “a chaotic used car salesman, nicknamed ‘Scarface,’ with a string of failed businesses behind him,” is at the center of a Web Of Evil. The veritable vortex of a nefarious plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador to the US, as well as 120 or so other people.

Because this is just the sort of man I would want on my A Team, if I were about Big Badness:

“His socks would not match. He was always losing his keys and his cellphone.”

He was perennially disheveled, friends and acquaintances said, and hopelessly disorganized.

Many of his old friends and associates in Texas seemed stunned at the news, not merely because he was not a zealot, but because he seemed too incompetent to pull it off.

[H]e had no interest in religion or politics, and smoked marijuana and drank alcohol freely.

[H]e was hopelessly unreliable. Sam Ragsdale, who runs his own wholesale car business in Corpus Christi, had one word for Mr. Arbabsiar: “Worthless.”

[He] tried his hand at a number of businesses, selling horses, ice cream, used cars and gyro sandwiches, friends said. All of them appear to have flopped, and federal and state records show a trail of liens, business-related lawsuits and angry creditors.

But you know, in the intelligence biz, we just call this “good cover.”

furthur=>

We Are Devo

The traditional notion that hunter-gatherers must carry on a solitary, unremitting search for food, that they supposedly wake each morning not knowing whether or not they will find the day’s supply, and that they usually die young from famine happens to be untrue. Hunter-gatherers, who are not solitary but live in small bands and observe many intricate social rules for the distribution of food, are far from impoverished. The San in the bleak Kalahari Desert forage for food for no more than a few hours a day on the average; moreover, the unmarried young people and those older than fifty do hardly any work at all. Medical examinations of the San have shown that their diet, both abundant and nutritious, has enabled them to escape many of the health problems associated with diets that are common in modern societies: obesity and “middle-age spread,” dental cavities, hypertension and coronary heart disease, and elevated levels of cholesterol. And far from being short-lived, many of the San live into their sixties and seventies. An important point made by studies of surviving hunter-gatherers is that their generally excellent nutrition extends to all members of the society and not just to a privileged few—simply because the prevalence of sharing insures that everyone eats the same way.

[I]t is a mistake to suppose that modern societies allow people to work less hard for their daily bread. Out of the 1129 hours worked by one Chinese irrigation farmer in a year, only 122 were needed to grow enough food to sustain that farmer. A blue-collar worker in the United States, on the other hand, spends 180 hours earning enough money to purchase a year’s supply of food. Notwithstanding Western notions of the Chinese peasant’s incessant labor, it is plain that they actually need to work less by a third than North Americans or Europeans to keep themselves supplied with food. Moreover, although a mechanized farmer in the American Midwest need put in an annual total of only nine hours of work for each acre to achieve an astounding six thousand calories for each calorie of effort, that figure ignores the enormous amounts of human labor that go into manufacturing and transporting the trucks, tractors, combines, fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, fence wire, and everything else used by the farmer, not to mention transporting the food itself. For every person who actually works on a Midwestern farm, the labor of at least two others off the farm is needed to supply equipment and services directly to the farmer—aside from the very many more whose labors contribute indirectly to the final product. Altogether, a total of 2790 calories of energy must be expended to produce and deliver to a consumer in the United States just one can of corn providing a total of 270 calories. The production of meat entails an even greater deficit: an expenditure of 22,000 calories is needed to produce the somewhat less than four ounces of beefsteak that likewise produce 270 calories.

In short, present-day agriculture is much less efficient than traditional irrigation methods that have been used by Asians, among others, in this century and by Mayans, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and Chinese in antiquity. The primary advantage of a mechanized agriculture is that it requires the participation of fewer farmers, but for that the price paid in machines, fossil fuels, and other expenditures of energy is enormous. A severe price is also paid in human labor. Once the expensive machines have been manufactured and deployed on the farms, they are economically efficient only if operated throughout the daylight hours, and indeed farmers in the United States often labor for sixteen hours a day. The boast of industrialized societies that they have decreased the workload is valid only in comparison with the exploitation of labor that existed in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution. If the prevailing forty-hour work week of North America and Europe were proposed to the San, whoever did so would be considered to be exploitive, inhuman, or plain mad.

—Peter Farb, Consuming Passions

That Remains In Africa

The sacred grove took my breath away. I had expected only more myth-making, something calling once more for a suspension of disbelief.

But the grove was real and it was beautiful: a piece of tropical woodland which had been left untouched for some time, and where no animal or creature was to be killed. That was what we had been told; and that was what we found.

Through the wilderness of tree-trunks and hanging lianas inside we had glimpses of the river that ran through the sanctuary. It was a muddy tropical river, and no attempt had been made to beautify or soften the turbid water; the scalloped melting forms on the wall were intended to match the bounce of the fast-moving river, narrow at this point.

It was all very moving to me, especially the idea of the grove as an animal sanctuary. It was said to be a hundred and sixty acres in all, a quarter of a square mile. I wished it was ten times the size.

A big gate opened into a short lane—this was for the procession at the time of the river festival. The lane led down, past a number of small home-made shrines at the foot of trees, to what was said to be a pavilion, just where the yellow river curved. It was an open pavilion, thatched, with timber uprights. To one side of the pavilion was the big shrine. The shrine was also thatched, and had mud walls decorated with figures in white, chocolate, rust and black. The priests and the soothsayers lived within those walls. The legend was that the pavilion stood on the site of the first Oba of Osun. At the time of the river festival, as people said, thousands of people of the black diaspora came here. There were morality plays in every corner of the wood.

The event had now taken hold; and the people of the diaspora who came for it would understand that though they had taken many of the Yoruba gods across the water, and though the whole apparatus of the supernatural had also travelled with them, reminding men of the precariousness of their hold on life, and though they had taken much of this Yoruba magic to the New World, making that difficult world safe, they could never take the sacred grove with them. That remained in Africa.

—V.S. Naipaul, The Masque Of Africa

Good News

Adesina and the babalawo were now settling the fee for the consultation. The babalawo wanted a lot: five hundred pounds, a thousand dollars. Adesina, used to this kind of outrage, remained calm, and began to beat him down. He settled in the end for something much smaller.

I now had to ask my question.

I had it ready. I asked, “Will my daughter get married?”

The babalawo was thrown by the question. He said, “I thought only black people had such problems.”

But he was willing to give an opinion. He lifted the dirty exercise book and showed what it covered. Sixteen cowry shells; two tiny gourds tied together with a piece of string, the gourds not much bigger than marbles. The cowry shells had been much handled. I had known cowry shells to be grey, brown in the interstices in the middle, and dirty-looking; but these shells, from the handling they had received, were very smooth and wonderfully white.

He passed the shells to me, saying, “Blow on them, give your name, and throw them on the table.”

I did as he asked. He took up the tiny gourds and muttered some incantation. After a while the gourds began to swing from side to side. That meant no. If the gourds had swung out and then back, it would have meant yes.

The babalawo said, “The girl is not going to get married. You have many enemies. To break their spells we will have to do many rituals. They will cost money, but the girl will get married.”

Everyone in the room was quite excited. Adesina, his brother, the guide: the babalawo had them all in the palm of his hand.

I said, “But what he’s told me is good. I don’t want the girl to get married.”

—V.S. Naipaul, The Masque Of Africa

Just Give Me Some Twoof

We seem to be in the midst of a mini-epidemic of people getting pilloried for saying things that are true.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been fingered by the wingers as an al Qaeda operative for accurately assessing the appeal of Al Jazeera. Clinton’s now-former spokesman PJ Crowley has been shown the door for rightfully decrying the government’s treatment of accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning. The soon-to-be-former National Public Radio executive Ron Schiller has been pronounced anathema for correctly characterizing the nation’s teabaggers. And New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller is under siege for aptly describing Fox News.

It’s not like this sort of thing hasn’t happened before. Cassandra was mocked and eventually chopped for Knowing All and talking about it. Jesus of Nazareth was nailed out to dry for unpalatable utterings in re church and state. Giordano Bruno was burnt black for apprehending the faith better than did his firestarters. And Galileo Galilei was threatened with same unless he left off his nonsense about the Earth revolving around the Sun.

Just goes to show that, now as then, people may say they want the truth, but, in many cases, many people really don’t. Truth, in this world, well, it just isn’t done.

furthur=>


When I Worked

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