Archive for the 'Liberte Egalite Fraternite' Category

. . . . You Were Only Waiting, For This Moment, To Be Free

Eve Crucified

I’m Telling You, So You Can Tell

Not Finished

yet will I sing
bonny boys
bonny mad boys
bedlam boys are bonny

for they all go bare
and they live in the air
and they want no drink nor money

i went to pluto’s kitchen
to break my fast one morning
and there i got souls piping hot
that on the spit were turning

bonny boys
bonny mad boys
bedlam boys are bonny

for they all go bare
and they live in the air
and they want no drink nor money

Get The Message

All The Guns Are Gone

I write along a single line: I never get off it. I said that you were never to kill anyone, and I meant it.

 —Kenneth Patchen

Last year, round about this time, I broke.

A boy, so broken; broken from birth. So broken that, as he entered adolescence, he came to physically less resemble a human being, than a pop-eyed sketch of an extraterrestrial gray.

Ugly and strange and not-normal. And everyone always em,iliesaid: ugly and strange and not-normal. And they laughed—every one. And it became a torment, ever to, in public, even show his face.

So, through weeks, and months, and years, he closed himself off, from all the world. Eventually sealing all the windows, of his room, and of his soul. His room, he sealed with desperate scratchy black plastic, and duct-tape. So he could freely crouch. Ape-like. Masturbating. Before his video screen. His hands on the controls. Sealing the cessation of his soul. As he ceaselessly engaged, there on his screen, in killing. Killing. And killing. And killing. And killing. Killing. Killing. And killing.

Till, one fine morn, he awoke. Took a face from the ancient gallery. And walked on down the hall.

To blow, with her own gun, his sleeping mother, into bloody chunks.

Killing, this time—at long last—for real.

Then, the broken boy, he went to school.

And rained death down upon them with the second amendment freedom discharge of his god-given-right weapons unrecognizable some they had no longer any face what so proudly we hailed upon twenty little children in the twilight’s last gleaming they were five-year-olds they were of the age of fairies and fingerpaints and a broken boy because he could because any freedom git yer gun git yer gun git yer gun broken boy in America can freedom freedom freedom came to them with a gun and he concealed carry freedom second amendment blew all their faces and their brains away.

They were shot and they were killed and they were buried in closed coffins because they no longer had faces. Their faces splattered all about the schoolroom. Traces of blasted faces among the fairies and the fingerpaints. Five years old. Because freedom. Clap your hands. Because freedom. Clap your hands. Outta yer cold dead hands. Because freedom. Clap your hands. Sometimes. I. Feel. Like. A. Motherless. Child. Because freedom. Clap your hands. Hoo-rah. Semper fi. Aim high. Anchors aweigh. Because freedom. Clap your hands. Clap your hands. Clap your hands now.

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Wave That Flag

A number of new laws—national, state, local—took effect January 1.

Many of these laws are Good. Such as the local ordinance that now permits me to deploy mammoth spike strips, both east and west, so that by the time these ludicrous motor wide and highvehicles lumber by The Manor, their tires are totally deflated, the infernally combusting sadsacks shrieking along, slowly, but on the rims, and thereby no longer posing any Menace, at all, to the squirrels.

Others of these laws are, to many people, Unknown.

Such as the Decision by the 60 Cro-Magnons of the United States Senate, back last spring when they were busy not being sane about the nation’s gun laws, to introduce and approve legislation designating American Warrior as the new national icon, and Ordering that he be depicted on both the nation’s money, and its flag.

You see, throughout many regions of this planet, there exists an iconic representation that is said to embody the essential nature and characteristics of a nation’s people.

In Britain, for example, there is John Bull—a stout, middle-aged, stuffy twit, with a Union Jack emblazoned across his ample and protruding midsection.

In France, meanwhile, there is Marianne, a comely, topless, determined lass, most often depicted leading the people against some Outrage or another.

In Bhutan, there is Druk, the dragon who speaks truth in gentle thunder.

In the United States, traditionally, there has been Uncle Sam. A tall, lanky, bewhiskered gent, with a penchant for scowling and pointing his finger at people, commonly as part of a demand that they go enlist in some wing of the death industry, so they can slog off to kill non-Americans somewhere.

But in the 1970s Uncle Sam was appropriated by the extraterrestrial anarchists of the Grateful Dead, transformed into a merry skeleton, and set about dancing and drugging and fornicating and astral-space-traveling and all sorts of other essential wonderfulness.

So, decided the Cro-Magnons of the US Senate, Uncle Sam, he is over. He has been soiled, besmirched,  besmeared. He cannot be redeemed. And, moreover, the new, he is americareal, true, iconic representation, that nails, precisely, the essential nature and characteristics of the American people, these days, decreed they, is American Warrior. That is the fellow shown in the photo to the right.

He is America.

American Warrior, he is ugly, and he is obese. He has guns, and he has ammo. He has a computer, so he can howl, to all and every, on whatever might drag its knuckles through his brain, and without surcease, all of the day, and all of the night. He lives in a hole even a termite or scorpion would spurn. He is without sense. He is without taste. He is without grace. He is without shame.

He is America.

That is why he is going on the flag. The design for the new American flag, the American Warrior flag, the flag Mandated by Congress, it may be seen below.

Expect to see it shining, in the rockets’ red glare, soon, from a flagpole near you.

And the money, henceforth, it shall read: “In God—And American Warrior—We Trust.”

American Warrior patches will also, by law, be sewn on to salutethe uniforms of all the nation’s serial killers. And American Warrior decals will be placed upon all the vehicles employed in the American death industry.

Programs shall be introduced into the nation’s schools, to encourage American children to model themselves—physically, mentally, morally, spiritually—after American Warrior. Those children who do not so model themselves—they shall be Punished.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans costumed like American Warrior shall be dispatched across the land—like a sort of escape of characters from a satanic Disneyland—and those who do not salute American Warrior, as he passes by, shall be guilty of a felony, and will serve five years in the federal prison, after which they shall be deported.

It’s a new dawn.

There Is No Such Thing As A Grownup

“In Vence,” said Herzog, “my parents left me under a crucifix. And I asked them, my parents, ‘What happened to him?’ I meant the man on the cross, the Christ figure. I was then ten years of age and had no idea what a crucifix was. We lived in Paris. After the liberation I was not yet fourteen. The prefect told me who I was. That I was a Jew. That my parents, my family, had been delivered to the Germans and murdered by them. And I felt—what can I say—a recognition.”

“But you couldn’t leave the Church?”

“Oh,” Herzog said with a little shrug, “I didn’t care much about the Church. The Church was men, people. Some good, some not.” He looked at the floor.

“Then why?”

“Because I was waiting,” said Herzog. “Waiting where I had been left. At the foot of the cross. Out of spite or devotion, I don’t know.” He laughed and put a hand on Lucas’s shoulder. “Pascal says we understand nothing until we understand the principle from which it proceeds. Don’t you agree? So I understand very little.”

“We’re supposed to believe that Christ has gone on to reign in glory,” Lucas said.

“No,” said Herzog. “Jesus Christ suffers from now until the end. On the cross. He goes on suffering. Until the death of the last human being.”

“And that,” Lucas said, “brings you here?”

“Yes,” said Herzog. “To attend. To keep on waiting.”

From the steps of the church, the evening smelled of car exhaust and jasmine.

“I realize that in this kind of world,” Lucas said, “I have no business being so unhappy. I realize also that on a religious level I’ll always be a child. It’s absurd and I regret it.”

For the first time Herzog smiled.

“Don’t regret it, sir. Perhaps you know Malraux’s Anti-memoires? His priest tells us that people are much more unhappy than one might think.” He offered Lucas his hand. “And that there is no such thing as a grownup.”

—Robert Stone, Damascus Gate

Into The Light

(Christ Jesus, but Christmas has galloped like a motherfucker, this year. Just the other day, it seems, I easily went to sleep, at the dawn of December . . . only to awake to find the thing nearly here.

(Guess, now, it’s time to start wheelbarrowing back onto the blog yuletide faves, from Decembers gone by. We’ll start with one from last year. Or maybe that was the year before . . . . )

The French, they can differ from other humans.

They are for instance known, in the immortal, if crude, words of National Lampoon, as folks who “fight with their feet and fuck with their faces.”

Now it seems they have determined that a proper way to honor Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, is to light up a building like a pinball machine, and then play it.

For many centuries, the people of Lyon have in early December paid homage to Mary, in gratitude to the goddess-woman for interceding with the Mean Man to spare the place from the plague, back in 1643.

In them Olden Times, said homage involved a procession culminating at the Basilica of Fourviere, where candles were lit and offerings presented.

In 1852, the sculptor Joseph Hugues Fabisch erected a Mary statue next to the Basilica. The people of Lyon in that year planned for December 8 a mammoth Mary party. Here is what happened:

Leading up to the inauguration, everything was in place for the festivities: the statue was lit up with flares, fireworks were readied for launching from the top of Fourvière Hill and marching bands were set to play in the streets. The prominent Catholics of the time suggested lighting up the facades of their homes as was traditionally done for major events such as royal processions and military victories.

However, on the morning of the big day, a storm struck Lyon. The master of ceremonies hastily decided to cancel everything and to push back the celebrations to the following Sunday. In the end the skies cleared and the people of Lyon, who had been eagerly anticipating the event, spontaneously lit up their windows, descended into the streets and lit flares to illuminate the new statue and the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière, later superseded by the Basilica. The people sang songs and cried “Vive Marie!” until late in the night.

In years since, Lyon humans have each December 8 placed Mary-devoted lit-candles on their windowsills. The place is each year alive with light. Meanwhile, in the center of town, various assorted performances and such have built upon one another until these days they draw up to 4 million tourists, to what has become a four-day event.

As it is necessary on this planet that things mutate to survive, the Mary-fest now features some very clever humans, from the French lighting company CT Light Concept, who project with colored lights an assortment of pinball bumpers and flippers onto the side of the Celestine Theater. The display fully playable, as can be seen in the video below.

Pretty cool.

Frisky and alive.

The French: good with light. Knowing Mary as the one and only. And thereby sailing into the great wide open.

Seasons Greetings

Peace, love, contentment, to all.

To that day. When we all go together.

Into the great wide open.

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

Pilgrims Progress

F. Scott Fitzgerald saw it. To the bottom of every bottle. Which, early—44—killed him.

No matter. He got it right. Wrote the Great American Novel. The Great Gatsby. Which ends with this:

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away. Until yesgradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther . . . . And one fine morning—

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The green light, it will never be attained, as Fitzgerald knew, on this continent, by white people. Because they do not belong here. It was a mistake, for them to ever to have come. To this place. Because it is not their place.

The green light, they can bask in it—the white people—when, “boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” they return to from where they came. Where they should, forever, have remained.

 

 

 

the little bird; all that there is

Orwell Discovers He is Beloved By Censored French, Unknown To Ugly Americans

(Another entry in the beloved Orwell is Eeyore series.)

Early in 1945 I went to Paris as correspondent for the Observer. In Paris Tribune had a prestige which was somewhat astonishing and which dated from before the liberation. It was impossible to buy it, and the ten copies which the British Embassy received we read orwellweekly did not, I believe, get outside the walls of the building. Yet all the French journalists I met seemed to have heard of it and to know that it was the one paper in England which had neither supported the Government uncritically, nor opposed the war, nor swallowed the Russian myth. At the time there was—I should like to be sure that it still exists—a weekly paper named Libertes, which was roughly speaking the opposite number of Tribune and which during the occupation had been clandestinely produced on the same machines as printed the Pariser Zeitung.

Libertes, which was opposed to the Gaullists on one side and the Communists on the other, had almost no money and was distributed by volunteers on bicycles. On some weeks it was mangled out of recognition by the censorship; often nothing would be left of an article except some such title as “The Truth About Indochina” and a completely blank column beneath it. A day or two after I reached Paris I was taken to a semi-public meeting of the supporters of Libertes, and was amazed to find that about half of them knew all about me and about Tribune. A large working man in black corduroy breeches came up to me, exclaimed “Ah, vous etes Georges Orrvell!” and crushed the bones of my hand almost to a pulp. He had heard of me because Libertes made a practice of translating extracts from Tribune. I believe one of the editors used to go to the British Embassy every week and demand to see a copy. It seemed to me somehow touching that one could have acquired, without knowing it, a public among people like this: whereas among the huge tribe of American journalists at the Hotel Scribe, with their glittering uniforms and their stupendous salaries, I never encountered one who had heard of Tribune.

—George Orwell, “As I Pleased”

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.

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Who I Am

Into The Light

The French, they can differ from other humans.

They are for instance known, in the immortal, if crude, words of National Lampoon, as folks who “fight with their feet and fuck with their faces.”

Now it seems they have determined that a proper way to honor Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, is to light up a building like a pinball machine, and then play it.

For many centuries, the people of Lyon have in early December paid homage to Mary, in gratitude to the goddess-woman for interceding with the Mean Man to spare the place from the plague, back in 1643.

In them Olden Times, said homage involved a procession culminating at the Basilica of Fourviere, where candles were lit and offerings presented.

In 1852, the sculptor Joseph Hugues Fabisch erected a Mary statue next to the Basilica. The people of Lyon in that year planned for December 8 a mammoth Mary party. Here is what happened:

Leading up to the inauguration, everything was in place for the festivities: the statue was lit up with flares, fireworks were readied for launching from the top of Fourvière Hill and marching bands were set to play in the streets. The prominent Catholics of the time suggested lighting up the facades of their homes as was traditionally done for major events such as royal processions and military victories.

However, on the morning of the big day, a storm struck Lyon. The master of ceremonies hastily decided to cancel everything and to push back the celebrations to the following Sunday. In the end the skies cleared and the people of Lyon, who had been eagerly anticipating the event, spontaneously lit up their windows, descended into the streets and lit flares to illuminate the new statue and the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière, later superseded by the Basilica. The people sang songs and cried “Vive Marie!” until late in the night.

In years since, Lyon humans have each December 8 placed Mary-devoted lit-candles on their windowsills. The place is each year alive with light. Meanwhile, in the center of town, various assorted performances and such have built upon one another until these days they draw up to 4 million tourists, to what has become a four-day event.

As it is necessary on this planet that things mutate to survive, the Mary-fest now features some very clever humans, from the French lighting company CT Light Concept, who project with colored lights an assortment of pinball bumpers and flippers onto the side of the Celestine Theater. The display fully playable, as can be seen in the video below.

Pretty cool.

Frisky and alive.

The French: good with light. Knowing Mary as the one and only. And thereby sailing into the great wide open.

Code Unknown

Three weeks or so ago the spirit vacated the corporeal container known as “Russell Means.”

This is what his Kossack companero, cacamp, had to say about Means:

Russ was my brother-in-arms He and I were both AIM leaders and led our people together in many fights and struggles. We stood shoulder to shoulder all across our great land, we had many hard times but also the most wonderful times of our lives. Russ was an independent man who walked his own path and often surprised even his comrades like me. But he always put his people first and did what he thought was right. Russ was also a brave man who was always willing to put his life and freedom on the line for a just cause. He was a warrior who inspired us all and a beloved figure in our community. Today Indian Country is in mourning even though we knew this was coming. Russ will be missed by his family, Oglala Tribe, AIM and all who knew him.

In 1980, Means delivered what I consider to be the most important “political” speech of my lifetime. Find it beyond the furthur.

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Twitch And Smoke And Rotate Endlessly

(Around about the 4th of July Meteor Blades put up “Thoughts Ahead Of Independence Day,” over on the Orange Place.

(That was a good Diary. It reminded me somewhat of something I’d penned myself, back in the 1990s. Not nearly as polished and precise, mine, as Meteor’s work; but then, after all, he is he, and I am me.

(Then, later that very same day—because sometimes that’s the way these things happen—I actually ran across the thing that I’d long-ago written. And I thought maybe I’d put it up for July 4th.

(But then that seemed like so much work. To retype it for the tubes.

(So I abandoned that idea: because, basically, these days, I’m fat and happy and lazy, and pretty consistently vote “no” on anything that seems like work.

(But then, for reasons that best remain obscured, I was galvanized to enter the thing—changed some, naturally, because the intertubes allows one to do that—after all.

(A day or 18 late, of course. And several hundred thousand dollars short.

(What’s interesting to me now, about this piece, is how angry I was then. Because I’m just not that angry anymore.

(But that’s a different Diary.)

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

I write along a single line: I never get off it. I said that you were never to kill anyone, and I meant it.

—Kenneth Patchen

“They’ve gone crazy.”

High above Second Street, in his nook in his cranny in the Chico News & Review editorial sukkah, journalissimo Jason Ross stood erect in full naked fulmination.

“They’re acting like it’s VJ Day, for chrissake,” he fumed. “And all they’re doing is putting up a flag. Ads all over the radio, live television coverage, Bruce Sessions beating the drum hourly—these people have lost all control.

“Look,” he demanded, freeing paper pinned to his wall. “Look at this.” Thrusts forth a Calvin Klein image, pleading to peddle Obsession for Men, flashing a giant b&w naked male torso: above, the head peers downward; below, a hand stretches open, and taut, the front of a pair of briefs.

That’s what they’re doing, with all this flag bullshit,” Ross declaims. “Looking at their cocks. That’s all it is.”

Though Ross is a direct descendant of the dowdy dowager who sewed the first stars and stripes, in a fetching but ultimately futile attempt to seduce George Washington, he was not at all impressed with the day’s flag-waving affair.

For this day, out in the asphalt lot afront Ron and Nancy’s, the Park Avenue steak & scotch joint where cigarette smoke goes to die, a zealous swarm of north valley idolworshippers planned to raise a massive banner in honor of some nonsense known as “America.”

Karma—and, more urgently, the need for money—had called on Billy Buck Naked and I to cover the erection. We’d stopped by the office on the way to the event to grab a camera, and to receive last-minute instructions from the international communist cabal that controls the CN&R.

“If there are going to be dicks on display I guess we better forget the pictures,” Naked now mourned. “Speer’ll never print them. I used to work here; I know.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “These are Republicans; it’s against their religion to get naked. A lot of these characters aren’t really attired like you and I anyway. Bernie Richter, Wally Herger, Ted Hubert—those people don’t change clothes; they shed.”

“Then let’s get going,” Naked urged. “I don’t want to miss the blessing of the tanks.”

furthur=>

The Green Light

The very most interesting thing about the United States is that it died even as it was born.

As expressed in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which must serve as the “great American novel,” for there shall never be another:

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away. Until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther . . . . And one fine morning—

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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Bless The Beasts And The Children

The young’un cat, for reasons that are not at all clear to me, has decided to go the full barbarian. Living with him is like having Attila the Hun in the house. The folks at Uncyclopedia describe Attila as a being who “made men shit in their togas, bar the doors to churches and look up to heaven for help.” Yeah. It’s like that.

Earlier adventures of this absolute animal may be found here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. But all that is as nothing, compared to his most recent forays into the annals of Outrage.

For instance, the other day I wander into the bathroom to find him employing his unusually dexterous monkey paws to savagely unroll all the toilet paper off the roll. He had a completely crazed look on his face during the entire procedure. Occasionally he would pause in his labors to sink his teeth into the helpless tissue, ripping and rending and shredding and tearing. Then, when he had finished, he turned and began wantonly sniffing the toilet.

There simply was not enough medication in the Manor to deal with this spectacle. “The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report,” just how 5th Century this was. All I can do is mutely offer the photographic evidence of this Hunic display.

I think I am going to have to get in touch with this Genevieve person. It is said that when Attila set about besieging Paris, round about 451 CE, she managed to summon some juju that caused the Hun to cease and desist in his barbarian ways. I need some of this juju. Please, dear Genevieve, dispatch to the Manor said juju, post-haste.

Sometimes Your Name Really Is Mud

In the ancient past, the Seine spread throughout the entire bowl-shaped valley that now forms the Paris region, and at one time, it split into two arms. To the south, the slightly wider branch roughly followed the river’s present-day path. To the north, an arc of water swept across what is now the Right Bank, through Bastille, Menilmontant, parts of Belleville, and lower Montmartre. It reached all the way to the present-day locations of Chaillot and L’Alma, just across the river from the Eiffel Tower. When these two branches flooded, the whole basin filled to become a lake several miles wide. Little by little, the northern arm of the Seine dried up, and by 30,000 BCE, it had vanished completely, leaving more or less the Seine we know today. Large parts of the Right Bank remained wetlands for some time. The neighborhood called the Marais—which means “the swamp”—was once a marsh adjacent to the river. It is no wonder that when the Romans first invaded the area inhabited by the Parisii tribe in the first century BCE, they chose to construct their city on the less soggy Left Bank. No wonder either that they named the city Lutetia, likely derived from lutum, the Latin word for mud.

—Jeffrey H. Jackson, Paris Under Water

The Unbearable Cheeselessness Of Nicolas Sarkozy

Tomorrow the French go to the polls to vote in the first round of their presidential elections.

The French, they vote on Sundays, because, as is well known, they are against God.

They are also against Nicolas Sarkozy, the nation’s current president. Who is seeking a second term. But who now seems less likely to serve again as president, than Tom Thumb, Wile E. Coyote, or a petri dish of scabies.

Sarkozy’s own prime minister, Francois Fillon, has decreed: “the carrots are cooked.” Fillon’s predecessor, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, moans “there is no chance of us winning.”

It is said that Sarkozy was once the most popular chief executive in the history of the Fifth Republic. But today he is less popular among the French people than the German army.

It is part of being French to occasionally embark upon an unfortunate love affair. That is what happened here. The French electorate, heady with too much cheap political wine, hallucinated that Sarkozy was the man of their dreams. But, the morning after, they awoke to discover that he is actually an animal. Somehow they had slipped between the sheets with a truly strange and unnatural creature, a sort of cross between a ferris wheel and a werewolf, a Dr. Moreau melange of an avaricious dwarf and a bad-tempered pot-bellied pig.

And this realization set in almost literally upon the morning after.

Five years ago, as the electorate prepared to engage in its usual scorn of Yahweh by trudging to the polls on Sunday, victory for Sarkozy was assured. Publicly, Sarkozy piously proclaimed that, once the voters had officially spoken, he would for a time retire from public view: he would enter a monastery, there to “rest, retreat. I must prepare myself to occupy this place. I need calm and serenity to find the necessary distance.”

Privately, however, he gloated: “I will have a palace in Paris, a castle in Rambouillet, and a fort in Bregancon. That’s the way it will be.”

And, once the votes were tallied, he threw a lavish election-night party for a small coterie of his wealthiest supporters, in the swank brassiere Fouquet’s, then flew off the next morning for a leisurely cruise off the coast of Malta, aboard a 200-foot yacht owned by his billionaire corporate-raiding pal Vincent Bollore.

As Philip Gourevitch writes in a December 2011 profile in The New Yorker:

Fouquet’s and the yacht: even now, when the French discuss their contempt for Sarkozy the conversation tends to turn quickly back to the impression he made in those first few days after the election—the ostentation, the exclusivity, the strutting, nouveau-riche vulgarity.

And it’s not like he has since changed.

Last fall, presiding over the opening of a traveling exhibition of modern art, Sarkozy could fix only on money. “That cost millions,” he observed of a painting by Yves Klein. “Is a Klein more than a Leger? Less than a Matisse?”

Among the people, he is these days known as President Bling-Bling.

Uncomfortable with his close relationship with George II, the French took to calling him “Sarko the American.” To which Sarkozy replied: “they consider it an insult, but I take it as a compliment”—an outrage that, in an earlier era, would have sent his head rolling into a basket.

When the Obamas entered the White House, Sarkozy shoveled to the Obama daughters several editions of a French comic book. “Were there not other works to offer to them that would evoke French genius?” wailed Franck Mouchi in Le Monde, opining that a non-buffoon French president would have presented Sasha and Malia with Proust.

Because he is French, Sarkozy while in office switched wives. He entered office married to Cecilia, who had earlier warned: “I don’t see myself as First Lady; it bores me.” When she left Sarkozy to return to her lover, the president took up with Carla Bruni, a woman famously bored by monogamy, who has publicly sighed that “burning desire” lasts only about two weeks. Bruni, she Sarkozy promptly squired to Euro Disney. Which caused a member of his own government to rend his garments, as “Euro Disney is the worst image in France for someone who is already seen as uncultured.”

When, during an audience with the Pope, Sarkozy pounded away at his Blackberry, French philosopher Pascal Bruckner moaned that “he desecrates everything,” pronouncing Sarkozy “a figure from Italian comedy.” Sarkozy’s former friend Bernard-Henri Levy has stated that Sarkozy, “in morphing as he has from a questionable but imposing statesman to a quaint, Warholian character, may now interest only folklorists, or students of political curiosities.” Dominique de Villepin, who will probably be charged with salvaging the wreckage Sarkozy has made of the French center-right, describes “Sarkozyism” as “the marriage on a dissecting table of the sewing machine and the umbrella. Sarkozyism is surrealism.”

Sarkozy has even heaved cheese out of the presidential palace. He doesn’t like it, so he doesn’t want it around. He also eschews wine, in favor of Diet Coke. Guzzling Diet Coke, while tossing wheels of cheese into the garbage, is the French equivalent of Barack Obama placing a baby, a crucifix, and a legless soldier on the White House lawn, and then peeing on them.

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The Flower Of Being

In Feerie pour un eautre fois Celine has taken the plunge. Instead of stopping at the gates of the spirit world he has marched in. Prose has been left far behind, so has ordinary reality. Celine is making a conscious attempt to exhaust the possibilities of language. Alongside his linguistic exuberance runs the sense that language is inadequate and must give way to music and dance. Numbers are an alternative to words. The shapes and lines which the planes trace in the sky are yet another form of expression. Celine is showing a world full of signs that the artist must decipher. He can only express it by becoming a musician. The bars of music that recur in the closing pages are proof of this. All of Celine’s linguistic innovations are an attempt to reach the other reality that those few notes contain.

In doing so he lays bare the forces that shape the universe—the cry of pain, the web of time, the dance.

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When I Worked

April 2014
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