Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ignominy obloquy calumny et spiri(too)-snafu.

Poetasters, philosophasters, Tartufferie & general paresis.

Postscript: The death of 'The Movement' by correctitude.
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No less and no more than Freddie Nietzsche himself playing silly buggers; or myself. Or could it be callous disinterest? Incomprehension & misunderstanding? There are so many ways to go wrong, to get it wrong gentle reader and I can't find much of a way through them though I've tried.

'Akrasia' (The state of mind in which one acts against one's better judgement; weakness of will, ‘incontinence’.) sez one'a the pundits over at The Guardian.
Matt Davies.
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.

Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm.
Rainer Ehrt: North & South.
Arend Van Dam: Realities of Smuggling.
Cristina."It doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you," (says Neil Young, the wanker!).

ignominy: in- not + nōmen name - so literally 'without name' (echoes of Nobodaddy);

obloquy: ob- against + loqu-ī to speak;

calumny: straight Latin - false and malicious misrepresentation of the words or actions of others;

also pariah (paṛaiyan, paṛaiyar), shunning, and outcast.

Interesting that 'gnomon' comes from a different root - Greek for 'know' not Latin for 'name' although the etymology is confusing, unclear, as if the roots of 'know' are so old as to be almost lost, obscure.
Ballard Street: Fly in the ointment.Got the cold shoulders. Got the silent treatment. Even got the bum's rush. 'Magine 'At!

Got the Kenosha Kid. Got the Hokey Pokey. Got the Shuffle Demons. Waltzing on Air. Got the Tennessee Waltz. Shit from shinola.

Only left the apartment on Earth Day to trek across town for cheap coffee grounds at the No-Frills. So.
Joep Bertrams: Vredesgedachte / Thinking of Peace.

I wish I could disappear gentle reader, vanish and re-emerge as the porteiro in some run-down termas in Mangaratiba or Chuí.

The woman over at Compassionate waziz, Julie Johnston, has apparently ... retired.


When Chris Hedges talks about it he says:
Friedrich Nietzsche in “Beyond Good and Evil” holds that only a few people have the fortitude to look in times of distress into what he calls the molten pit of human reality. Most studiously ignore the pit. Artists and philosophers, for Nietzsche, are consumed, however, by an insatiable curiosity, a quest for truth and desire for meaning. They venture down into the bowels of the molten pit. They get as close as they can before the flames and heat drive them back. This intellectual and moral honesty, Nietzsche wrote, comes with a cost. Those singed by the fire of reality become “burnt children,” he wrote, eternal orphans in empires of illusion.
But the only mention of 'burnt children' I can find in Nietzsche is:
Perhaps there even exists an order of rank among these burnt children, these born artists who can find the enjoyment of life only in the intention of falsifying its image (as it were, in a longwinded revenge on life): the degree to which life has been spoiled for them might be inferred from the degree to which they wish to see its image falsified, thinned down, transcendentalized, deified - the homines religiosi might be included among artists, as their highest rank.

[Section 59 of 'Beyond Good and Evil', translation by Walter Kaufmann 1966. I can't find any more or any sign of a 'molten pit' in Adrian Del Caro's 2014 translation either.]
Luiza Pannunzio: You taught me to see further.

I can't help wondering (and not for the first time) if Hedges is one of those homines religiosi our fine feathered Fred is on about?

Friedrich Nietzsche & Arthur Rimbaud - some common elements in their life stories.

Fat old guy among the moon & stars (from Laerte).

Great Paradise, 1970: Loyola Pomeroy, Alton & Elizabetth Wilson, & Gerald Sorensen.
I will tell you a little about the people in this photograph.

Loyola Pomeroy was a fisherman in Great Paradise and one of the keepers of the Marticot lighthouse. They were two brothers, Loyola (Lol) and Albert who married two sisters, Bridgett and Carmel, and all of them kept the light as their mothers and fathers had done before (but that's another story).

When I knew them they had taken the "shiftin' money" and so had to humbly ask the government's permission to come back to Paradise and live in their own houses for the duration of fishing season - because the government "growth centres" weren't really growing much except broken men and everyone knew it.

Lol showed me how one man could get a drum of gas up out of a skiff and up onto the wharf at low tide by himself. He could also pick up a drum of gas and walk with it - without his arms going all the way around. He showed me how to "run new bearings" into a make-or-break engine without taking it up out of the boat. He taught me the rudiments of splitting cod - an essential skill.

Lol fished lobster in the spring of the year and he was renowned for being able to stack an unbelievable number of lobster pots onto his punt on opening day, a huge pile. He would chug out of harbour, top heavy and wavering, with a proud smile that seemed to go twice around his face. One year he had his young son with him and, when they hit open water outside the harbour he caught a bad wave and it all tipped over. The water was freezing. He managed to push his son up onto the hull and hold him there - one hand on the keel and one on his son - but he could not get out of the water himself. When they found them Lol was dead. His son lived. Quite a legacy.

The man in the middle was Alton, my father. Look how he puts his hands on their shoulders. Look at the size of those hands. See his smile. The woman was Elizabeth Anetta. See the eager vitality in her face. She quit smoking when she found herself pregnant with me - not so common in 1945 as it is now. She believed that carnal love touches the eternal (a crazy idea) and I must've picked it up from her somehow.

The young fellow in front is my nephew. Up in Fort Mac these days makin' money. Still there even after all the recent layoffs. He has grown up to be quite tall, so that when he assumes Charlie Daniel's posture (below) it is particularly comical.
Charlie Daniel: Every day is Earth Day.
There is an implicit story in the photograph as well. When I went out to Paradise in the late 60s, know-nothing kid from Toronto with a beautiful young woman companion - Harold Horwood called us the 'Paradise Hippies' when he wrote about it in The Telegram - mom and dad hired a float plane to come and see first-hand what we were up to. And found it good. Yeah. That was their way - see first-hand - and there's a lot to be said about that ... maybe later.

You may already be aware of the 'Keep it in the Ground' campaign spearheaded by The Guardian. The development of this campaign is documented in a remarkably frank series of podcasts (six so far).

The latest initiative is to promote a video to 'go viral' - and the first try came on-line on April 30th: Dear Bill Gates, Please help us to Keep it in the Ground. Now (after 24 hours) it is pushing 50,000 hits - too soon to say if it will really take off. If it did it might actually reach Bill Gates.

The Guardian / Alan Rusbridger / YouTube: Dear Bill Gates, Please help us to Keep it in the Ground.I find the campaign fascinating because Alan Rusbridger and The Guardian are playing it straight. If you listen to the podcasts (above) you will see the birth of a campaign: bumbling, bungling, warts and all.

It began when Rusbridger met Bill McKibben late last year as they were both about to be awarded 'Right Livlihood' awards, and finally hit the front page of the Guardian in March; and although McKibben has not (as yet and as far as I can see) supplied much substantive support, his '' logo appears on some of the Guardian pages endorsing the campaign. I may be quite a cynic but the thing has captured my imagination and I have done what I can (which is not much to be sure) to make it known about in Toronto (as mentioned in the last few posts here).

So yesterday, as I just so happened to be on-line when Alan Rusbridger's email with the video link arrived, I immediately passed on the news to the Toronto 350 mailing list (something on the order of 100 email addresses). It wasn't long before the 'President' of 350 Toronto whacked my peepee:
Please don't use the members' list for posting things like this. The members list is for important announcements that relate directly to the whole group. This isn't the kind of thing we want to fill our people's inboxes with — especially without explanation. People will either think it's spam (especially with an moralistic and imposing subject line like that), or might have seen it before from other sources. [sic]
Judge for yourself how imposing and moralistic it was. The entire message was, "Please look at this and pass it on, it's the right thing to do!" with the URL of the video. Oatmeal is moralistic? Who knew?

This is not the first (or even the second or third) time I have been stopped cold by Toronto 350 on bullshit correctitude issues. The last time was when I suggested making a Chinese Dragon in the form of a black tar-sand pipeline. The only reaction was for someone to inform me that 'Chinese Dragon' is not an inclusive term and that some people might feel 'unsafe' in places where such phrases were spoken openly (this from the so-called 'Director of Outreach'); and the chairman of the meeting (the 'President' already mentioned) refused to include the suggestion in the minutes. And that was the end of that (!).

Not a pretty question but ... I have to ask:

(Thanks to Bill Maher.)
For someone firmly embedded in an agnostic/atheist landscape - even a fat old whoremonger like me - it is hard to live down early exposure to the KJV. This empty space now resonates with Lot's story of Sodom (and the very comparable 'Everyone Knows What A Dragon Looks Like'). And one can't help but wish that any of them had heard and understood Matthew's "go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone".

What to do? Good question. Best idea is to get (ta fuck) outa this uptight town somehow but ... I don't have the money for that anymore gentle reader ... nor any objective, nor any invitations. Oh my.

I'll come back to this issue in a week or so when I've cooled down.
Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like Jay Williams & Mercer Mayer.Kenneth Snelson: Dragon.
A-and here's an interesting 75 cent word for y'all (picked up this week in Coetzee's 'Waiting for the Barbarians') - maieutic: Pertaining to intellectual midwifery, i.e. to the Socratic process of assisting a person to bring out into clear consciousness conceptions previously latent in his or her mind. (OED)

And anyone with experience of midwifery knows it's a messy business.

The 'come-back-to-this-issue', the carry-on (carrion?) is here.

Himself.Himself.Himself.Fact is, you just never know:

After some months of apparently increasing indifference my sweet beloved sends a bunch of photographs and pretty soon I'm hummin' Manu Chao "Só têm que ser homens" and dreaming of better days - and then she wants pictures from me and I don't have any but I snap a few selfies on the cell phone and figgure out how to get them over onto the computer and then here. Ain't love strange.
Ignominy nothin' !!
Adão Iturrusgarai: Homens com Alzheimer.
Did I tell you I love you     I love you.                 Did I tell you I love you    I love you.
today? No.                                                     today? No.                     I adore men with Alzheimer's.

Unfortunately it's not all funny: Sex, Dementia and a Husband on Trial at Age 78 (in the NYT a few weeks ago).
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

No-name progress II.

Soon gonna be Earth Day innit?
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Take the only tree that's left and stuff it up the hole in your culture.
On this day of days, I recommend a careful & repeated listening to Leonard Cohen's 1992 album 'The Future' - enough to see (perhaps) the overall shape & pattern of it, the 'order' if you will; or at least that the despair in it is not complete, or not completely in control, and that there is something there that might be called hope (but wouldn't be). In the face of such prescient eloquence we can temporarily overlook his being such a ham, and even forgive the kiss-&-tell on our Janis.
Slave ship layout detail.
SLAVERY:   Oh, of course there are no more slave ships coming to the Americas from Africa ... but if you happen to be in the South China Sea there are others on the go these days just as desperate. A ubiquitous human behaviour down through the ages. Not to mention wage slaves the world over.

In industrialized war, practice makes perfect. Then the pious peek into Auschwitz and their leaders mouth the words "Never again!" but what it means is "Always! Every time!" and they give us Rwanda, Darfur, endless extermination. Aztec, Tupí, Beothuk, Apache.

'Course y'all think this is rhetoric buddit ain't. None of it is clear cut, one could wish it were - see here.
Passhendaele, panoramic view.
Guernica, panoramic view.
Pablo Picasso: Guernica.
ATOMIC BOMBS:   Oh but the cold war is over now isn't it? We're disarming aren't we? Sure we are ... except for slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, and mostly not, and then there're North Korea and Iran.

CIVIL RIGHTS:   Are you kidding me? You don't read newspapers. Is that it?

THE GREEN REVOLUTION:   Ah! When will Norman Borlaug return his prize and join the ranks of Cecil Rhodes and Nobel himself in well-earned disgrace?

GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE CHANGE   &c. &c. &c. :   Considering the unfolding environmental catastrophe from the pinnacle (or is it precipice?) of human perfectability is sobering & instructive. Eh? Don't you find?

Here's Chris Hedges (from a 2013 Q&A session) on fantasy, discernment, & judgement:

        The fact is if we were serious about attempting to extract ourselves from where we are we would declare global warming to be - every country would declare it to be a national emergency. We would shut down the tar sands in a minute. We wouldn't even discuss the XL Pipeline. We know where this is gonna end up. Part of the problem is that those who control the power of popular culture, popular ideas, and popular images have done a really good job of keeping us entranced by fantasy and feeding this mania for hope.
        People say you're so pessimistic or you're so dark, but I don't make up climate change reports. I don't make up what Wall Street is doing to the global economy. Those are just realities. Having been a war correspondent for twenty years is a kind of advantage in that we didn't talk about who was a pessimist or an optimist. We coldly calculated what the weapons systems were at the end of that road and how we were going to react and people who had a kind of Pollyanna-ish view about their own immortality are no longer with us.

Alan Rusbridger.
It seems that Alan Rusbridger proceeds approximately without a plan. This is documented (for which one praises his open & forthright character) in a series of podcasts (five so far).

The language used is replete with hedged & woolly diplomacy, contingent correctitude, hesitant understatement. It might remind us of perfidious Albion.

One distinction is particularly interesting: that the boardroom right-wingers probably don't eat müesli for breakfast while the Guardian left-libs do. What this reveals is that the struggle is seen as being between elites, or factions of the elite class. All good except that it leaves us yobbo whoremongers and dirty old men out in the cold. Reminiscent of Birkenstock & Wellington (the black rubber boots with orange trim) greenies back in the day.

The campaign is struggling along. Certain things - a quite open Q&A session, and reaching out via email for feedback & suggestions - seem very positive; as is the intermittent presence of 'Keep It In The Ground' on the Front Page.

Some other indications are not so sanguine, particularly the involvement of 350 & Avaaz which are so hobbled by a narcissistic misunderstanding of the Internet - exalted navel-gazing determined to count its way to glory.
                TRENDING ON TWITTER?!   DOH?!
Time will tell. An election coming up an'all.
Diana Vishneva as Narcissus.
"He worships at an altar of a stagnant pool and when he sees his reflection he's fulfilled."
(Or she as the case may be.)

Each of them sucks you off in different (and mostly gratifying) ways, but they are all energy-drains - ideologies, patterns without heart. The Internet (standing in for technology which has too many letters) is not alpha & omega, neither be-all nor end-all ... after all. No more than another place to hide, and not even a very good one, and so expensive in so many ways.
Ed Hall: Big parties have a banquet.
Sandy Huffaker: Ted Cruz - Crocodile Tears & Forked Tongue.Martin Rowson: Monster.
Laerte: Gizélia.
        My life,
                by Gizélia:
        My name is Gizélia - I am made of chalk [giz=chalk]. A magic fairy told me that
        if I was clever she would transform me into a real girl ...

(These kinds of transformations are seen frequently in Laerte's art. 
No mystery in that.)
Consider the English expression 'not by a long chalk'. The OED tells us it alludes to the use of chalk in reckoning & recording bar tabs and keeping score in games (such as billiards & snooker where chalk also has other uses) scoring ‘points’, with citations from the 16th century to the present day.

Taking the metaphor (allusion itself used to mean metaphor) as relying on 'long' introduces wholistic tinges: completeness, a sense of 'fresh from the box', even the punchline of a ribald joke "a pas longs" / 'take big steps [Appolon!]'.

I come back again and again to the last sentence of the 1972 report 'The Limits to Growth':

        The crux of the matter is not only whether the human species will survive, but even more whether it can survive without falling into a state of worthless existence.
David Olere: Muselmann.Carl Zahradnik: Muselmann.Carl Zahradnik: Muselmann.Yehuda Bacon: Muselmann.
Of course, one presents such images and people immediately assume they are intended to shock; which happens not to be the case in this instance gentle reader.

The search for the elusive Green Party of Canada has so far proven fruitless. I say "so far" ...

And the famous blue three-point-plan is foundering (I use the present participle but really I think it's a done deal) upon the reefs of correctitude. It's hard to believe how they turn their backs on me. I used to claim complete ignorance - but I am coming (too late) to savour and appreciate the fear that accompanies this correctitude, which will not, cannot, can never bear scrutiny and so does not permit it.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Divestment as a strategy to build the movement.

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I wonder if I can put this simply and succinctly enough for y'all to actually read and think about and maybe find useful? It may be preaching to the choir but please hear me out before deciding.

On March 2nd, last month, I was in a room and heard Elizabeth May say that our coming election and the UN foofaraw in Paris in November are the last kicks at the can. I believe her. But there is no faith involved. I have studied the analyses of Jim Hansen and Joeri Rogelj and Michael Mann and many others, it's a long list, most recently Camilo Mora at the University of Hawaii - so you could say I agree with her rather than 'believe' anything at all. (Her party - as far as I can see, and I'm very sorry to say it - is not so forthright.)

For several years I've thought that the only antidote is mass civil disobedience. Toronto is truly an excellent place to get disavowed of such naive notions but I'm a slow learner so even after a string of still-born failures I've carried on cheering for Zoe Blunt & our friend Brett Rhyno and Toghestiy and Louis Lesosky.

Then along comes Alan Rusbridger over at The Guardian a few weeks ago and starts a fossil fuel divestment campaign 'Keep it in the Ground'. AND he has some significant early victories. AND what I see now is this:

What we need, generically, as a movement, is to grow exponentially at such a tremendous rate in the few remaining months (nine in fact, enough for a birth) that something emerges with enough moral momentum to turn the tide and stop the madness. And what I see in divestment is, exactly, a way to do that.

If two people stand out in front of any church in this city on a Sunday morning before the service with a very polite banner that reads "Do you know if the funds that support this church come from fossil fuel investments?" then there will be at least two in the congregation who will join with them and the movement will have doubled.

"If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved."

There is already the example of Trinity St. Paul's United Church which has accomplished it.

We all know the story of the rice on the squares of the checker-board. Don't we? 2 grains on the first square, 4 on the 2nd, 8 on the next, 16, 32 and so on until there is not enough rice in the king's entire granary for the last square.

The logic of divestment arguments is so simple and true. No difficult scientific terms like 350 ppm and ocean pH and albedo and methane clathrates and the like to be patiently explained. Just two weights: 500 billion tons and 2,500 billion tons; and lots of money: many billions of dollars annually in subsidies and continued exploration to find fuel which cannot sensibly be burned.

And standing politely out in front is an extreme of the possible approaches - there are other clever and effective ways to get at it (knowing how averse this town can be towards anything the least bit aggressive or confrontational). And not just churches either - every organization with any claim to social conscience and a pension fund, including every labour union &c.

So ... "Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

Be well, David Wilson.

PS: I wondered aloud to your colleague how the UofT divestment campaign could have taken so long and resulted in (what looked to me like) no more than a 287 page document of (what I saw as) dubious efficacy. (It's now down to 230 pages but I have not re-read it yet.)

He set me straight - for which I thank him (again). There's an important, even vital, lesson in this for y'all if you will hear it - viz., there is nothing like a straight answer to a straight question (however stupid) for building connections. I was ignorant, f'rinstance, of the lengthy struggle leading to the recent confrontations at Harvard which is certainly comparable. And so on.

I present two bits of evidence for thinking the ambience may have changed:

1) Among the fifty or so people I approached at the teacher's pension meeting at the Carlu the other afternoon none were unaware and only one was dismissive - this is a HUGE change from 2009-2012 when I gave away thousands of 350 buttons on Toronto streets (one of them to Jack Layton himself) and found less than one in a hundred who had any idea whatsoever about global warming; and,
2) It took Alan Rusbridger only a few days to convince The Guardian's financial caretakers to pledge to divest. Granted he telegraphed his punch but even so.

This to say that I continue to think the strategy of going for quick divestment victories is a way of building the movement at a rate to give real results in the limited time remaining.

In any event, three pairs of people could verify it at three churches in the space of a few hours with little risk or outlay.

Again, be well,

        Guardian - Keep it in the Ground
        Trinity St. Paul’s United Church, Climate Justice
        Zoe Blunt / Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network
        Louis Lesosky / Occupation Apple Tree
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Dark fruit cake.

Conspiracy of noise.
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Everyone's heard the expression 'conspiracy of silence'.
I'm wondering what a 'conspiracy of noise' might be like?
Mike Luckovich: ISIS Founding Fathers.
Corrigan: Fear & Division.
David Parkins: Lipstick on a Pig.
Greg Perry: Economic Distraction Plan.
Ed Hall: Big Cheese Koch Brothers.
Daryl Cagle: California Drought.
Wiley Miller: First Sacrifice.
Leonard Cohen's "Getting lost in that hopeless little screen," almost seems to be about TV. Maybe it's also about these solitary computer screens. So many of the threads here appear in his amazing 1992 album 'The Future' that I can't help but try to gather up a few of them: Keith Ecclestone talking (so many years ago) about the 'plenum void' as flip-side alienation (it was the 60s); the 'Always' of my mothers crazy notion of carnal love; Ivan Illich's compassion and Jacques & Raissa Maritain's "l'armée des étoiles jetées dans le ciel," considered as 'amorous array'.

I mentioned Chris Hedges' set piece 'The Myth of Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies' most recently delivered in Vancouver a few months ago as 'The Rules of Revolt'. In the Q&A portion of a 2013 reading he says:

        Sitting in front of your computer screen, alone in your room typing angry screeds about the government means you're still sitting alone in your room - which is just where they want you. Where they don't want you is out in the street.
        The Internet and electronic communications are very good tools for organizing, but very bad tools for creating mechanisms of mass movements that have the ability to actually begin to impede the function of the state. The Internet has created this strange world where those who are hackers have the ability to break down electronic walls and expose the inner workings of power to us, which is why they are being so ruthlessly persecuted, far and beyond anything they do or even might have done.
        I think the Occupy Movement showed that we have got to begin to build the kind of large mass movements that I saw - I covered the revolutions in Eastern Europe - in Eastern Europe where we were pulling 500 thousand people to Alexander Platz in East Berlin or 500 thousand people into Wenceslas Square in Prague. That's what we've got to do, and we have to use mechanisms like the general strike. These are the mechanisms that are going to save us.
        I don't - in that sense, in terms of the ability to actually begin to, other than hacking - see the Internet as particularly useful that way. In fact if you look at Julian Assange's latest book 'Cyber Punks' which he did with Applebaum, he argues that ultimately the digital age is going to make totalitarian control even more efficient."

The other thread, an image, a string of images: from Hedges talking about Neitzsche's 'molten pit' and 'the burnt ones' (also the title of Patrick White's first collection of stories); through Cohen's blizzard that "overturns the order of the soul"; Ibsen's boyg in 'Peer Gynt'; the vast whirlpool which I think I first saw in Edgar Allen Poe's 'A Descent into the Maelström'; and coming full circle back to the sinking of the Pequod in Melville's 'Moby Dick' that Hedges also mentions (after a brief diversion through Dante’s Inferno and the myth of Ulysses).

He says (this is quite a tangly bit, replete with nonsequiturs, and needs close reading):

        It is only those who harness their imagination, and through their imagination find the courage to peer into the molten pit, who can minister to the suffering of those around them. It is only they who can find the physical and psychological strength to resist. Resistance is carried out not for its success, but because by resisting in every way possible we affirm life. And those who resist in the years ahead will be those who are infected with this “sublime madness.” As Hannah Arendt wrote in 'The Origins of Totalitarianism', the only morally reliable people are not those who say 'this is wrong' or 'this should not be done,' but those who say 'I can’t.' They know that as Immanuel Kant wrote: 'If justice perishes, human life on earth has lost its meaning.' And this means that, like Socrates, we must come to a place where it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong. We must at once see and act, and given what it means to see, this will require the surmounting of despair, not by reason, but by faith."

The bit from Kant brings up (again, from the ol' compost heap) the last sentence of 'The Limits to Growth':

        The crux of the matter is not only whether the human species will survive, but even more whether it can survive without falling into a state of worthless existence.

I don't actually think that faith has necessarily to do with it. And ministering to the suffering is not an end in itself. But I can see how Hedges' background might lead him to put it that way. Jesuit rhetorical tricks? Is that it?

All of this (gentle reader) makes exactly where I am sitting - viz., alone in my room - more and more unbearable, untenable, silly, wasteful ... and so on.
 :-)I just hope that the automated text-analysers over at CSIS and the NSA don't interpret these meditations as anything ... dangerous.
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Thursday, April 9, 2015

You may not like this.

Or you may like it for superficial reasons.
Or (most likely) it may tumble down the well and make no splash.
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Wiley Miller: Olpharts Bar & Grill.
Where to begin?   OK. Let's see if eight months (almost a 'term' or a 'gestation') of Chris Hedges' trajectory sheds any light - three points on the curve.

1) We can start with Abby Martin & Chris Hedges just after the People's Climate March last fall:
RT: Abby Martin & Chris Hedges, 2014-09-29.
Thought provoking. Regardless of the presenters or the format, the scenario of massive civil disobedience seems preferrable to ISIS, Boko Haram &c. (and preferrable to what came before these extremities) on the one hand, and stunned complacent inaction on the other.

2) In February he delivers 'The Rules of Revolt' at SFU (Video):
SFU: Stephen Collis, Lynne Quarmby & Chris Hedges, 15-02-19.
It's a barn burner! Literary an' all. (Turns out it's a set-piece he's delivered here-and-there since at least 2013 but that doesn't diminish the power of it. Nor, necessarily, do the bogus references to Melville as Shakespeare, Nietzsche's 'molten pit' & what not.) The tall fellow on the left is Stephen Collis.

3) Then, towards the end of March he's back in Vancouver again (over the objections of Stephen Collis this time, the fellow pictured above who was praising him only a month before):
Toghestiy & Chris Hedges at Simon Fraser University (SFU) 15-03-27.
There is a video of the event on YouTube, and three related articles: Recalled to Life, March 23 2014; The Whoredom of the Left, March 8 2015; and, No One Is Free Until All Are Free, March 29 2015.

He starts out with large scale integration, unification - bringing all of it in under the environmental catastrophe umbrella - this is good.

He then he segues into talking about the abuse of women by men. He doesn't like either pornography or prostitution (but then, he didn't find the Charlie Hebdo cartoons funny either). He reminds me more and more of a preacher I used to know who when he used 'concupiscence' or 'incontinence' (and such like words) would screw up his mouth into a perfect imitation of someone sucking lemons. That's not to say there's nothing to be learned from listening and hearing what he says.

tOad: C'est lumineux.But ... then he says abuse of women is not under the umbrella after all - the issues are separate and explicitly stand-alone. And it becomes ... confusing. The pimp/cunt/abuse/slavery stereotypes he employs are painted entirely dark. Anything subtler, even vaguely gray, is immediately lumped with the capital 'E' Evil. And the confusion becomes overwhelming.

Toghestiy is driven out into the hallway, apparently by personal demons, and then returns with a more-or-less inarticulate 'final question' (which is not consistent with what I have seen of him previously around the Unis'tot'en blockade). Hedges comes back with "all of this is better out in the open" which is, of course, true.

(Here's Toghestiy in Muskrat Magazine with videos: 1, 2, 3, 4; in 2013.)

What has been proven is that the process of bringing out difficult experiences is fraught with fugal reactions which can turn the exercise nasty sometimes. Digging and delving in the ol' compost heap almost always releases odours, many of them (apparently, initially) unpleasant. Best done on a breezy afternoon when you've got lots of open-ended time, or when you're experienced and have a glimmering of what to expect and how to deal with it and the resources to deal with it (you don't need professionals but you do need lots of willing ears).

To my mind all of this, while undoubtedly important, is a large-ish red herring, a distraction, a diversion, a source of division. When Stephen Harper sees us hareing off after it I am sure he rubs his hands in glee.

It's the environmental catastrophe! THAT's the EXISTENTIAL part of this!   Doh!

Hedges has been railing at Canada's Terrorism Bill C-51 too: Rabble: C-51 - They have won, and it is up to us, March 17. (Four points on the curve now.)

[Note: Some of these articles originate at TruthDig. I find the site annoying because the text is chopped up into more-or-less arbitrary lumps - presumably to boost the numbers of ads and a traffic counter somewhere - but especially because when I browse there my computer is regularly attacked by phishing and what appear to be malware invitations. So the links in this post go to a safe archive - where the original TruthDig links may also be found if you're determined to go there.]

Chiquinha: Fantasias - sensual ou ridícula!? / Fantasy costumes - sensual or ridiculous!?An old friend once told me he'd gotten addicted to pornography. At the time I thought the realization had something to do with a woman he took up with who had strong opinions. He said he'd absolutely given it up and I believe he did. Other old friends have told me they're alcoholics and gave up drinking. The mantra of addicts seems to be that the condition is permanent with constant resistance required to withstand temptation. Pornography is not a shared pastime (at least not in my experience) but drinking often is and I always wished my alcoholic friends had found another way so we could spend more time together.

My credentials include three up-to-the-elbows home births. I'm an old man now but if it came to a pinch I might still be able to help bring another babe into the world. A-and, (I hesitate to say it but) some of my best friends are garotas de programma - I know something of the landscape they inhabit.

Old men, coroas and viejos verdes, like looking at young women - this is a fact of life as I know it. Maybe it helps keep the young bucks sharp and on their toes in some evolutionary way - I don't know. Sure, some get carried away (though generally it's the younger and middle aged ones), hurt people, hurt themselves; but the same goes for bog-standard courting, bringing up children - any and every intimate human activity includes some possibility of getting it wrong. Does this mean I support, or accept, or condone or countenance the violence Chris Hedges is talking about? No.

I like quotes taken out of context. "Something there is that doesn't love a wall," says Robert Frost, and for me it also covers all of the so called 'zero tolerance' oversimplifications that pass for public morality these days.

The curve (remember the curve?) I see here is flying high and crashing into contradictions in one's own fundament. Others may see it differently.

Cut to the chase.

If the project of avoiding the potential for extinction in the unfolding environmental catastrophe depends upon perfecting human ... substance along moral lines, then I'd say we don't stand a chance.
(With all respect to divinity school graduates and socialists who like to keep such progress myths going.)
Sharie Farina & Emily Dextraze.
Emily Dextraze is 12 years old. Sharie Farina is her mother. Emily has been competing in beauty pagents since she was 4 years old.

The photographs come from a recent NYT article based in turn on a project by Ilana Panich-Linsman (unfortunately her site does not work very well, for me at least).
Emily Dextraze & Sharie Farina.
Emily Dextraze, audition.
Adorable Teen.Adorable Teen.Adorable Teen.

I like it when pictures tell a story even when I don't like the story very much.

No name was given to the girl at the left beyond an embedded tag: 'Adorable Teen'. According to what looks like a Cæsarean scar she is also a mother. What I appreciate is that she shows a certain defiant insouciance in the last frame which I admire.

Ordinary humans I'd say, getting by somehow flaunting tits & coochies.

And if these few images are interpreted as obsessive or myself as perverted - all good.
Abby Winters girls.Brown-skinned girls.

There is a Thai restaurant nearby that serves green mango salad, and another I know of with a papaya salad - both replete with chopped nuts & subtle chillies, hot and tasty.

I sometimes buy a mango at the supermarket. Of course it is nothing like a real one but it reminds me (at least) of the originals (of yesteryear) dripping down elbows and off chins into shirts while joy & laughter bubble up irrepressibly while the hot hot HOT moqueca de peixe simmers on the stove.

[The OED tells me that 'yester-year' was coined by Rossetti to render 'antan' in his translation of François Villon's Grand Testament. Delightful!]

Renée Cox: Hott-En-Tot.Girls sitting in a whorehouse somewhere.Girl sitting, Melida Prado.The image of Melida Prado there is the single largest draw to this blog. (For the record there is no underhanded watchful intrusion going on here - the Blogger traffic monitor reports this without any IP address or other trace-back.) Fifty or so people pass by most days and most of them come to see Melida without any clothes.

Ho hum. Oh well.
Cynthia B: Acabou O Carnaval / Carnaval is over.In Brasil there is a well known spike in births nine months after Carnaval. Children born in late October through early December (being Spring in the Southern Hemisphere) are received with a knowing "Ah, aproveitou Carnaval, né." The complementary forces of illegality and poverty make abortion less frequent in Brasil than elsewhere.

So here we are. Carnaval, Fat Tuesday, Lenten reflection, Maundy Thursday, and Easter are all past. Like it or not April showers are bringing May flowers. Lobster season gives way to trap time in Placentia Bay and the old make-or-break Atlantic gas engines thump in and out of harbour. That's if there is still anyone engaged - I am told there are very few to none.

Watershed Moment:  

        [This space left intentionally blank.]

Laerte: Não acredito em amor voluntário / I don't believe in voluntary love.
Sargent, I need love.         I'll assemble the troops and get a volunteer.               I don't believe in
Yes commander.              No! No! No!                                                             voluntary love.
Laerte: Vai lá, ideia. / Off you go, idea.
Idea.                     It's an incredible idea -      Off you go, idea.                      Look, the world changed!
                            it will change the world                                                    I don't recognize it!
                            through the simple fact                                                   Who did this?
                            of someone's having had it.                                             We have to look
                                                                                                                    at everything again.
Wiley Miller: Cable News Illusions.

Convoluted Bastard:   Certain words and phrases set me off: 'Mitigation' when it is used to mean stopping CO2 emissions; 'Mother Earth' when the person using it appears not to understand that it is a metaphor not a fact; ... there's a list. Certain attitudes as well - particularly the notion that natives, indigenous peoples, first nations, have inherently closer links to nature and sustainable living than say, old white men. This list goes on too.

In the 70s sometime two ex-professors of mine financed a prototype, what I called a 'renaissance yurt' to house the then numerous Afghani refugees living out in the snow and rain of northern Pakistan. It wasn't a big investment - maybe $300, time was unpaid, I think they used it on an R&D tax credit. We built one, and then nothing happened. I met with them one day and it became clear that their involvement was over. I was now to somehow parlay the prototype into a CIDA contract or whatever on my own. I said, "But I don't now how to do that and you do." They had framed one of my design sketches and hung it on the wall of their office in which we were meeting. The conversation turned ugly and one of them shouted at me "You are such a convoluted bastard!" And I said, "Sure I am, but you knew that from the get go."

And that's the end of it. The next time I'm in the area Jim Strutt is already dead and I'm told Bill Dawson is 'very old'. My informant declines to give me his email address. Who knows? Maybe he's already past being able to read emails.

Bottom Line:
Caco Galhardo: Shoes made by slaves in Hell.
It's not just the kids slaving in sweatshops making cheap sneakers for other kids living marginally better in big cities around the world who are in Hell. We are all in Hell. And I don't mean some after-death cauldron you get pitched into when you die if you've been bad - I mean here and now and no judgements.

The whole object of this post (and all of the posts in all of the blogs for that matter) is to wonder if we are thinking ... properly. Humans mostly (myself included) don't think at all but it is at the point now where we'd better. (Heaven being no more than the thickness of a thought away.)
So, a convoluted bastard I remain. It's an honorific.   Be well.
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