Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why ... NOT?

(Being an attempt to conclude a previous meditation 
on the death of 'The Movement' by correctitude.)
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Fernando Gonsales: Níquel Náusea - Existe vida após a morte? / Is there life after death?
                 Is there life after    And death after     And life after death
                 death?                 life after death?     after life after death?
                 Whatever!             We'll know.           Do you want to find out                You watch the
                                                                       right this minute!                           game yesterday?

Quebec City 15-04-11: YES to Climate = NO to Tar Sands.
Aislin: Canada Day.There's a demonstration in Quebec City on April 11. It takes me a minute to figgure out why not 11 days later - but I do. I think about going but know the bus ride will do me in, and anyway I have no money.

A week or so later someone passes this article: A new high bar for campaign integration onto a list server that comes my way.

I READ IT ... & ... SAY WHA?   !!!!

[Background music here is (still, a hangover from Earth Day) Leonard Cohen's 'The Future'.]

OK, let's look at the text:

One: The address of this 'advisor' is Salt Spring Island. This is a clue. He thinks there is a 'parliament' building in Quebec City, which cinches it.

Two A: He uses a specialized terminology - words like 'pivot', 'digital campaigning' &c. - which is the clear indication of a consultant. Consultants are like lawyers except they mostly have British accents and don't know anything about the law.

Two B: The author has apparently been taught that positive thinking will trump facts. Simply not so, but especially after-the-fact when what you need is (possibly brutal) honesty. Instead he is full of hearty back-slaps and most of them for himself. Positive thinking is not all bad - it can make unpleasant events palatable and used ironically can be humourous - but it isn't really thinking at all.

Two: No amount of analysis of spun or bent or simply incorrect & incomplete facts will ever deliver useful results - unless it's government work, the objective is simply to keep your job, or the objective is to get laid.

Three: He is confused about computers. I saw Occupy Toronto lose considerable momentum through similar confusion. (The infamous) Halliburton used to pay me a lot of money because I am not confused about computers. They are tools. They are means not ends. They are particularly prone to be misused based upon the "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" fallacy because most of the people who promote them are ... consultants.

Anything that calls itself a "digital-first strategy" is bound to fail.

Another important clue around computers can be found in this: "12,000 RSVP's online, 12,000 ongoing social media followers, well over 100,000 views of march videos, and a 'reach' from all related content well into the millions." The epitome of 21st century smoke & mirrors (or the very model of a modern major general if you will). Someone who does a lot of this kind of counting is Bill McKibben. [Leonard is singing "There won't be nothing you can measure any more."]

Alpha & Omega: This began (for me, as I read it) with comparing 250,000 people in Montreal in 2012, and 100,000 (actually 75,000 according to most reports) people in Montreal on April 2 this year, with 25,000 people in Quebec City. Rule-of-thumb (given ~3 million Montreal population and ~1 million Quebec City population) gives us that the 25,000 could or should have been larger before calling it a success.

Quebec City 15-04-11.
Quebec City 15-04-11.

"In her recent dystopia Margaret Atwood portrays the collapse of civilization in the near future. One of her characters asks, 'As a species we’re doomed by hope, then?' By hope? Well, yes. Hope drives us to invent new fixes for old messes, which in turn create ever more dangerous messes. Hope elects the politician with the biggest empty promise; and as any stockbroker or lottery seller knows, most of us will take a slim hope over prudent and predictable frugality. Hope, like greed, fuels the engine of capitalism."
(Ronald Wright, 'A Short History of Progress', 2004)
There are those who pin their hopes on hope (so to speak) and fearfully disparage & despise despair as the certain way to apathetic catatonia/catalepsy. This is a false distinction and incorrect ætiology as well. I'll leave it there for you to think about - just in case you're (still) able to think.

Tom Toles - A Victorian Arch from Popes to ... Popes: (or an eloquent squiggle as may be)
Tom Toles: What do you call somebody who drags his feet on identifying and punishing abusers?Tom Toles: Which one of you is taking my order?Tom Toles: Ben Franklin elected President in 2016.
Tom Toles: The wonderful new Sharing Economy.Tom Toles: The Mitch McConnell Memorial.Tom Toles: Capitol Dome Piggy Bank.
Tom Toles: Denial - not a river anymore.Tom Toles: Custody battle for the atmosphere.Tom Toles: Public concern about Big Money.
Tom Toles: Forthcoming Papal Dictat.Good to see a Pope getting over onto the right side of history for a change.

The timing seems calculated to achieve maximum bang-for-the-buck before Copenhagen ... er ... Paris. Not a disinterested spiritual meditation then.

Almost sorry that it's impossible for me not to put this praise backhanded; and I can see (from his approximately incomplete effort) that Tom Toles is comparably conflicted.

Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, & Stephen Stills: Must be the season of the witch.

C'mon Francis! Yeah!

Another memorable suite from Laerte - a primer in semiotics:
Laerte: Cruelty itself.
Make a likeness of my cruelty.                 I didn't say "a portrait of ME."           Why are you trembling?
                                                             I said "of my CRUELTY."                   I'm not trembling.
Laerte: Cruelty itself.
You made a likeness of my cruelty?         I didn't say a picture of the VICTIMS,       Would you rather do
I did.                                                      but of my cruelty ITSELF.   Try again.      a likeness of my
                                                                                                                         kindness?   No. No.
Laerte: Cruelty itself.
Congratulations,        I know it wasn't       Not a portrait of me,                             You can ask for what
you did it.                 easy, but it's           nor of the visual effects                         you like.   Exile.
I'm pleased.              a true likeness        of my cruelty, but of itself,
                               of my cruelty.          of its essence.
                               I'm very pleased.

Anon from Gord: Constant Criticism.I claim not to've had any feedback but (of course) it's not strictly speaking true. Early days in 2009 sometime I had a short email from Adriana Mugnatto that criticism might not be the best way forward for me in Toronto. I did read it carefully but ... it took a long time to sink in and then I guess I got distracted when she began turning her back on me.

And since then, silence on all sides. It seems like a long time.

If wishes were horses beggars would ride.

Toronto had an official (paid) Fool when I was at Rochdale. Kim Foikas I think his name was. I tried hanging out but it was springtime (almost summer) in Toronto and cunt was in the air and he didn't want a wing man; so I fell in love with a tiny welfare-mom and her kids instead and spent all my money buying her groceries until I found out she was headed off to a farm somewhere in B.C. with the (quite large & competent) guy who organized Rochdale's cafeteria. I remember thinking that getting out of town would be a good idea. I was already clear of notions of jealousy and 'women as chattel'. As it turned out she wasn't and off they went.

So. Maybe by now anyone with any sense has already left town, and THAT'S why there's nothin' happnin' here. Is that it?

Which is trump: Hope or trust? Which is possible inside a city? And which is (only) possible outside or beyond?

These (urban? young?) people don't read resumés - they don't read at all - but if they did, my time as a Fire Chief & Mayor and later on learning Portuguese thanks to Dick Cheney's Halliburton is no secret. Easy enough then to identify me as the CSIS guy (since we know there is at least one in every woodpile).

If I were Stevie Harper & Joe 'Arseholedent' Oliver and wanted to hamstring a movement of vicious foreign environmental terrorists on a shoestring budget I would have CSIS vaccinate 'em with every notion of correctitude known to man ('man' used advisedly) and then leave them to thrash their way into total ineffectuality.

Call it the '4 & ⅞ths column' then eh?.   What d'you think?

A-and pass a law so if anyone does stick their head up we can render 'em quick & extraordinary.

I have seen the best minds of my generation
... distracted, enervated, buggered (and loving it).

(Apologies to Allen Ginsberg.)

The Guardian's first viral video has plateaued at just over 100,000 hits. Not enough. Worth sticking around though, just to see what our good Alan R. tries next - I don't think he's a quitter.

Not like Jim wazizname in Alberta ... Jim Prentice; he's a quitter, petulant, smirking.

So am I I guess. A quitter and a blamer-of-others. All around asshole. Oh well. I take it as given that the gentle (but perspicacious) readers of this blog know it takes two to tango and that all knives cut both ways, and that meditative reflection does, in fact, reflect. I ask:

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG  WITH ME ?!   as well, and know I share in the near universal
Albeit these aspects are mostly left implicit. This is an unrepentant whoremonger over here remember. It ain't no saint. And I trust y'all can figgure your way through Matthew's text "go and tell him his fault between thee and him" with this in mind.

I was going to do another post titled 'Feral Jubilee' but I may not get around to it so:

Araquém Alcântara: Onça Pintada.
Perry Bible Fellowship: Cats.
David Parkins: New Oil Transport Regultions.
Luli Penna: Ali Na Esquina / There at the corner.
Perry Bible Fellowship: The Jubilee.
Cape Breton Coyote.
Cape Breton Coyote.
For the record, I don't know for sure that these two animals are from Cape Breton or even if they're coyotes.

The meditation is not properly concluded is it? Oh well. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Or read & reflect or think as the case may be. Probably didn't get as far as maieutic and if they did, dismissed it figguring me for a show off. It does no good at all for me to say I'm not.

[They cancelled my 350 membership though, with no announcement and no recourse. I should be honoured I suppose.]

This is the 144th post in this section of the blog. 144 is an interesting number. It has a name: a gross, a dozen of dozens. It has resonances other than decimal; and with numbers like 256 / 28 (which is important in computing) and 169 / 132 (being the next square). Pounds shillings and pence. Pecks & furlongs & fathoms. Even (perhaps?) as far away and along as the Mayan system of 20s.

The cross is empty. The grave is empty. (Say the Christians.) But of course they're empty! They're always empty. The person is gone - and it is most natural to assume that she or he has gone off ... somewhere else. The clues that are left, memories, feelings, artefacts (including the corpse itself), sustain the 'elsewhere' and it augments if for no other reason than that it is ... not (and so cannot be tested).

A proposition that can be tested is this: Don't listen to the fat old fuck! Don't answer him when he speaks. Ignore him. Say nothing to him. Maybe he'll just ... go away, vanish. "I seen pretty people disappear like smoke," sez our Bob.

Last words to John Donne:

As Sicknes is the greatest misery, so the greatest misery of sicknes, is solitude; when the infectiousnes of the disease deterrs them who should assist, from comming; even the Phisician dares scarse come.

Solitude is a torment which is not threatned in hell it selfe.

(John Donne 'Devotions upon Emergent Occasions and seuerall steps in my Sicknes. 
Meditation V: Solus adest. The Physician comes.' 1624)                            
But of course, John Donne wasn't a Brasilian!
Laerte: Portrait of death.
Isn't that a portrait of death? It is. But don't be afraid. Pet her. You see? Gentle. [Or possibly 'tame', or both.]

Shove a few more in here, too good to pass up:
Mr Fish: Now You See Him.
Brian Gable: Cannon Fodder.
Danziger: Koch Brothers vs Pope.
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