Archive for January, 2014

For Just One Day

(Alexa posted this on her Never In Our Names blog for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in 2009. I think it’s worth reposting every year.)

For Just One Day

by Alexa

“And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn’t done, and done in a hurry, the whole world is doomed.”

—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop.”

For just one day, let there be no progress. Let us not find a new way to convert seemingly worthless pieces of earth into technological slaves that fulfill our every whim. Let us not alter the chemical composition of this substance to turn it into something new, something nature never thought of, that will come back in the fish as a poison lasting millions of years. Let us not bring the fossil fuels up from the ground so that we can burn them, their particles rising into the air to return back to us in rain water. Let us not re-engineer the rice so that we get three crops a year instead of two, but are forever dependent on the manufacturers of the rice seed, because it is a sterile, patented product now. Let us leave Mars to the science fiction writers and give up thoughts of permanent homes on the Moon.

For just one day, let us be something less than what we could be. Let us have something less than what we could have. Let us look at what is possible and say, “no thanks,” in favor of what is preferable. Let the moon be for poets who make meaning out of its reflection on a lake. Let all things be as they are born and enjoyed just for that. And may you too be loved and embraced just as you were born, needing no embellishment or proof of your worth. Let how we treat the least among us reveal a societal identity we are proud to claim, one that leaves each of us feeling safe and secure even as we rest in the pure essence of our being.

For just one day, let us not earn our keep. Let us instead be still and listen to the birds sing in the trees, watch the wind blow in the leaves, feel that same breeze against our skin, and smile at how lucky we are to be living on Earth.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction….The chain reaction of evil—hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars—must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

Today marks the holiday for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. who dedicated his life to the freedom and dignity of all people, just as they were born. He was slain by an assasin’s bullet, but you still live. There remains a hope that if you dare, if you have the courage and the conviction, you may claim your life as your own and set yourself free.

This is an invitation. Be still and know that you are God, that God is all there is, and that that is good enough.

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Sign Of A Local Nigger Unravelin’

Once upon a time, there on the deeply sad, old-and-in-the-way mercy-preserve for crippled, doddering, withered, sick, ancient, and/or feeble white people—known round these parts as The Great White—there was a foam-at-the-mouth, blind pigprojectile-vomiting, glow-in-the-dark racist, who called hisself Uberbah.

Among this man’s many manifest manifold sins, included his inability to inscribe a comment without upchucking either the term “weak tea,” or “hand-waving.”

Well, as it is said, “even a blind pig can find an acorn every once in a while.”

And so, tonight, Uberbah, I bow to you. In all your nightriding, white-hooded, glory.

Because, having heard, and turned round and round in my mind’s hands, like a rubik’s cube of the operative universe, the black man’s speech, in re the serial killers of the NSA, I conclude, but four words.

Weak tea.

Hand-waving.

furthur=>

Orwell Is Offended By Ugly

Looking through the photographs in the New Year’s Honours List, I am struck (as usual) by the quite exceptional ayn and alanugliness and vulgarity of the faces displayed there. It seems to be almost the rule that the kind of person who earns the right to call himself Lord Percy de Falcontowers should look at best like an overfed publican and at worst like a tax-collector with a duodenal ulcer. But our country is not alone in this. Anyone who is a good hand with scissors and paste could compile an excellent book entitled Our Rulers, and consisting simply of published photographs of the great ones of the earth. The idea first occurred to me when I saw in Picture Post some “stills” of Beaverbrook delivering a speech and looking more like a monkey on a stick than you would think possible for anyone who was not doing it on purpose.

When you had got together your collection of fuehrers, actual and would-be, you would notice that several ugly ronqualities recur throughout the list. To begin with, they are all old. In spite of the lip-service that is paid everywhere to youth, there is no such thing as a person in a truly commanding position who is less than fifty years old. Secondly, they are nearly all undersized. A dictator taller than five feet six inches is a very great rarity. And, thirdly, there is this almost general and sometimes quite fantastic ugliness. The collection would contain photographs of Streicher bursting a blood vessel, Japanese war-lords impersonating baboons, Mussolini with his ugly hillaryscrubby dewlap, the chinless de Gaulle, the stumpy short-armed Churchill, Gandhi with his long sly nose and huge bat’s ears, Tojo displaying thirty-two teeth with gold in every one of them. And opposite each, to make a contrast, there would be a photograph of an ordinary human being from the country concerned. Opposite Hitler a young sailor from a German submarine, opposite Tojo a Japanese peasant of the old type—and so on.

—George Orwell, “As I Please,” January 7, 1944

 

Orwell Doesn’t Want To Do The Dishes

Every time I wash up a batch of crockery I marvel at the unimaginativeness of human beings who can travel under the sea and fly through the clouds, and yet have not known how to eliminate this sordid time-wasting drudgery from their daily lives. If you go into the Bronze Age room in the British Museum you will don't wannanotice that some of our domestic appliances have barely altered in three thousand years. A saucepan, say, or a comb, is very much the same as it was when the Greeks were besieging Troy. In the same period we have advanced from the leaky galley to the 50,000 ton liner, and from the ox-cart to the aeroplane.

It is true that in the modern labour-saving house in which a tiny percentage of human beings live, a job like washing-up takes rather less time than it used to. With soap flakes, abundant hot water, plate racks, a well-lighted kitchen, and—what very few houses in England have—an easy method of rubbish disposal, you can make it more tolerable than it used to be when copper dishes had to be scoured with sand in porous stone sinks by the light of a candle. But certain jobs (for instance, cleaning out a frying-pan which has had fish in it) are inherently disgusting, and this whole business of messing about with dish-mops and basins of hot water is incredibly primitive.

Washing-up, like sweeping, scrubbing, and dusting, is of its nature an uncreative and life-wasting job. You cannot make an art out of it as you can out of cooking or gardening. What, then, is to be done about it? I see no solution except to do it communally, like a laundry. Every morning the municipal van will stop at your door and carry off a box of dirty crocks, handing you a box of clean ones (marked with your initial, of course) in return. This would be hardly more difficult to organise than the daily diaper service which was operating before the war. And though it would mean that some people would have to be full-time washers-up, as some people are now full-time laundry-workers, the all-over saving in labour and fuel would be enormous. The alternatives are to continue fumbling about with greasy dish-mops, or to eat out of paper containers.

—George Orwell, “As I Please,” February 9, 1945

Why The Sun Can Never Be Too Careful

On one occasion a Dog-Rib Indian chased a squirrel up a tree until he reached oopsthe sky, where he set a snare for the squirrel and descended. Next day, instead of the squirrel, the sun was caught, and darkness at once ensued—in other words, the sun was eclipsed. “Something wrong up there,” thought the Indian, “I must have caught the sun.” So he sent up a number of animals to try to release it, but they were all burned to ashes. Finally a mole, burrowing through the ground of the sky, succeeded in gnawing the cords asunder. But just as it put its head through the ground, a flash of light put its eyes out, and it has been blind ever since. The sun, however, after this experience, travels more carefully.

—Alexander Porteous, The Forest

Orwell Is Sad

A little while back a young American soldier had rung up and I asked him to stay the night at our flat. He was sadquite interested and said it was the first time he had been inside an English home. I said, “How long have you been in this country?” and he said, “two months.” He went on to tell me that the previous day a girl had come up to him on the pavement and seized hold of his penis with the words, “Hullo, Yank!” Yet he had not seen the inside of an ordinary English home. This makes me sad.

—George Orwell, summer 1944 Partisan Review

Big Darkness, Soon Come

The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, once upon a time, he served as governor of the spice planet, Arrakis.

But never did he figure out the sandworms.

And so he lost the ring.

When things, there on Arrakis, got very, very dark for him, the pb_harvesterbaron, he stage-managed his own supposed “death”—stabbed and poisoned (so the tale, to this day is told) by his own toddler grand-daughter.

Though, in truth, the baron really escaped hisself, slinking aboard a nearby space-freighter. Which whisked him off Arrakis. And transported him to this here planet. To rudely dump him in New Jersey.

A fate, many would say, actually worse, than death.

The baron, ever adaptable and ambitious, did, in the course of things, emerge from the fetid swamplands of New Jersey. As Chris “Meaty, Beaty, Big, And Bouncy” Christie.

Under which rubric he eventually—through bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble—managed to get himself elected governor of the state.

Next, the baron transformed into Captain LapBand. A persona with which he expected to attain the presidency of the United States. So he could preside over—and jeebus knows why he’d wanna—the further crumbling of a terminally failed nation-state.

But now, in recent days, has come a Problem. The baron has become confronted with Horrors unseen since those dark Arrakis days when the sandworms came a-flowing through the Shield Wall.

For—yea, verily—it has been j’accused, that he, Captain LapBand, and/or his people, deliberately snarled into four-day stasis chaos, traffic on the George Washington Bridge. The busiest, and therefore most insane, bridge, into the busiest, and therefore most insane, city in all North America—New York City.

And all but to punish the mayor of a tiny New Jersey burg. Who wouldn’t endorse the LapBand for re-election to the governorship.

A mayor sprung from long-ago Atreides loins: the same Atreides with which the baron did long-ago war, there on Arrakis.

Confucius, it is said, that once upon a time, he did say: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

And this is why, today, earthmovers, from all over the nation, are steaming avidly to New Jersey. There to dig, somewhere in the stinking poisoned superfund sites which comprise the vast majority of that state, a vast christie must go undergroundand yawning pit, capacious enough in which to lay the bursting bloating remains, of Captain LapBand.

For when you tip the scales at roughly 400 pounds, and you exclusively travel hither and yon in a stretch limo flanked by domestic serial killers on motorbikes with sirens, who blast any and all traffic out of your way, it is daylight madness to get caught lifting your chubby sausage-like fingers to intentionally and terminally fuck with the way mere mortals get about in their automobiles.

For everyone who has ever once been sentenced to living in a city has experienced the Warp 10 impotence and rage of being stuck in a traffic jam.

And, since cities are currently nearing maddened frenzied colony-collapse—see the already-happened non-fiction tome City, which traces the blessed death of cities—said cities are more crowded than ever before.

And, thus, more Americans, than ever before, are thereby daily beset, by said traffic-jam impotence and rage.

Because we have not yet reached. The blessed place. Where the de-evolved colony of the scrambled-brain city collapses.

Where let it be written. Where let it be done.

I’ll try to keep this particular tangent down to the below seven-paragraph minimum.

To wit: the bridge that Captain LapBand fucked, the George Washington, the busiest bridge in the nation, it feeds into the howling fetid terminal insanity-vector known as New York City.

When white people arrived on this continent, not that many years ago, the NYC area was home to some 15,000 native people, the Lanape.

So sorry, but that, then, provably, is the maximum number of humans that the land can support.

The other 8 million or so folks currently living there—they’ll just have to move.

But that’s okay. They’ll sunnily be better off elsewhere. The certifiably crazed and unbelievably twisted mad-scientist BF Skinner experiment of NYC: it’s just over.

So let it go.

To settle, with Captain LapBand, into the grave.

So anyway. Human Americans, sitting there in their cars, in a traffic jam, hearing that the Harkonnen human-zeppelin intentionally let them stew for four days in non-moving traffic—they will pound their fists through their horns, and loudly vow, with spittle spewing from their lips, blood vengeance.

Americans, they will put up with a lot. Slavering murder, random bomb-rain, unsane wars, sniffing through the underpants of their intertubes, literal vaginal and anal probes.

But—jeebus christie—don’t fuck with their cars.

A guy who, like the baron, needs one or more cement-reinforced dollys, to move him merely from this vehicle to that, he simply cannot afford to be seen to slow, even an iota, any of them, his, ‘Mericans, moving mobile.

‘Less he wants to be lynched.

Though, it is true, considering the baron’s poundage, said lynching would probably require at least three, and possibly four, ropes. And, no doubt, moving his blubbery carcass, out of state.

Because I don’t think New Jersey, it, any longer, grows, anywhere, a tree, strong and sturdy enough, to bear his burdensome weight.

Too bad for you, baron: still too suffused with Arrakis-think. For this is ‘Merica. Where all, must always be free, to go, unfettered and free, mobile.

Captain LapBand’s bumbling sausage-fingered thumbs-down on all the vehicular traffic burbling up from the town of the cursed Atreides-spawn: it reminds me of the 1994 foam-flecked frenzy over the “House banking scandal.”

That is when it was learned that legislators in the United States House of Representatives could blissfully and recurrently avail themselves of the round-heeled services of a special House “bank,” one that allowed them to bounce, oh say, 200 or 300 checks a year, for which they would not be expected to pay any penalty fees, checks they could pay off two or three or four years down the line.

Americans, en masse, when once this became news, went insane.

Back in that day, you could turn on your television, at any hour of the day or the night, and see brown South American people who, right before your very eyes, were being viciously and maniacally tortured, killed, and raped, by US serial killers. But all the foam that did fleck from North American lips, it concerned but the fact that their congresscritter had a bank, that would do for him, what a bank wouldn’t do for the Normal North American.

See, the Normal North American, the bank gives s/he, no mercy. And the Normal North American, deals with said merciless bank, every day.

And then, for a Normal North American, to see a congresscritter, lying naked, upon a perfumed couch, being suckled and serviced, by such a very same bank: this made the Normal North American—yea verily—want to Stab, and Shoot.

And the result of this, was that 77 serving members of the House of Representatives were thrown out on their rears. And, as consequence, the Publicans took control of the House. For the first time in 40 years.

And it’s basically been their place, ever since. Unto the dawn of today. When the House of Representatives is dominated by pre-monolith retroverts who would outlaw the human orgasm, and command that all publicly laugh, whenever any poor person dies.

I guess it’s too bad about the baron, really. At heart, he’s just a Jersey fat boy. Who, like just about every Jersey boy of his era—fat or no—wanted nothing more than to be Bruce Springsteen.

And, in this, Barack Obama, shrewdly, gifted the Cap’n. Giving Bruce onto Cap’n Fatband; as close as the Cap’n’ll will ever get, to Bruce.

For when the Cap’n agreed to snuggle up close to the president, in exchange for aid for Hurricane Sandy, The Bruce, The Boss, thereby agreed to come into the presence, of the Cap’n.

And, so it was written, and then it was done. The Bruce, and the Cap’n, they did speak. And, then, they did—yea, verily—embrace.

That, now, it is clear, will stand as the highlight of Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy’s, very life.

He could, then, have settled.

But he did not. He tried to strive higher.

No go.

Too much time spent on Arrakis, my fat not-friend. You never sufficiently absorbed, the human touch.

For a human, a real human, a feeling human, s/he doesn’t let another human, sit, stewing, sweating, swearing, in an unmoving vehicle. For four days. For no Real reason.

But you: you did that.

And so: you’re done.

You’re over.

You’re finished.

You’re gone.

Just think. Baron. Of what you might have had.

Oh well. Too bad. All over now.


When I Worked

January 2014
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