Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Tale of Two Boo-Boos

Yogi and Boo-Boo Bear, fifty years ago.



From more recent times -- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Good Fellas



David Walsh.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bloombergistan


Wee Mikey Bloomie:
"We live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change. We live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11. We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to."
Arthur Silber has other ideas.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ames and Abby on Boston



Abby Martin!

See -- a girl doesn't have to look like Amy Goodman, Barbara Ehrenreich, or Rachel Maddow to be righteous. . . .

(Oh, yes: the great Mark Ames at 13:50. And thank you again, Paul!)

Friday, April 19, 2013

High Comedy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fear and Loathing

HST's -- felt and used the first time the night of 11/22/63.
November, 22, 1963, Woody Creek

I am tired enough to sleep here in this chair, but I have to be in town at 8:30 when Western Union opens so what the hell. Besides, I am afraid to sleep for fear of what I might learn when I wake up. There is no human being within 500 miles to whom I can communicate anything - much less the fear and loathing that is on me after today's murder. God knows I might go mad for lack of talk. I have become like a psychotic Sphinx - I want to kill because I can't talk.

I suppose you will say the rotten murder has no meaning for a true writer of fiction, and that the "real artist" in the "little magazines" are above such temporal things. I wish I could agree, but in fact I think what happened today is far more meaningful than the entire contents of the "little magazines" for the past 40 years. And the next 40, if we get that far.

We now enter the era of the shitrain, President Johnson and the hardening of the arteries. Neither your children nor mine will ever be able to grasp what Gatsby was after. No more of that. You misunderstand it of course, peeling back the first and most obvious layer. Take your "realism" to the garbage dump. Or the "little magazines." They are like a man who goes into a phone booth to pull his pod. Nada, nada.

The killing has put me in a state of shock. The rage is trebled. I was not prepared at this time for the death of hope, but here it is. Ignore it at your peril. I have written Semonin, that cheap book-store Marxist, that he had better tell his boys to buy bullets. And forget the dialectic. This is the end of reason, the dirtiest hour in our time. I mean to come down from the hills and enter the fray. Tomorrow a cabled job request to "The Reporter." Failing that, the "Observer." Beyond that, God knows, but it will have to be something. From now until the 1964 elections every man with balls should be on the firing line. The vote will be the most critical in the history of man. No matter what, today is the end of an era. No more fair play. From now on it is dirty pool and judo in the clinches. The savage nuts have shattered the great myth of American decency. They can count me in - I feel ready for a dirty game.

Fiction is dead. Mailer is an antique curiosity. The stakes are now too high and the time too short. What, O what, does Eudora Welty have to say? Fuck that crowd. The only hope now is to swing hard with the right hand, while hanging on to sanity with the left. Politics will become a cockfight and reason will go by the boards. There will have to be somebody to carry the flag.

My concept of the new novel would have fit this situation, but now I see no hope for getting it done, if indeed, any publishing houses survive the Nazi scramble that is sure to come. How could we have known, or even guessed? I think we have come to that point.

Send word if you still exist - Hunter

Friday, April 12, 2013

All Thumbs

"He’s up there with Will Rogers, H.L. Mencken and A.J. Liebling, and not too far short of Mark Twain, as one of the great plainspoken commentators on American culture and American life."
-- Andrew O’Hehir of Salon on Roger Ebert
"Let's put it bluntly. The health, and hence the future, of our culture is in the hands of hacks -- hacks of whom it may be said that, when they die, it will be as though, professionally, they never lived, as though their opinions were never expressed, as though the millions of words, the literally millions of words, which they committed to print during their lifetimes, failed to make the slightest impact on either their own posterity or on that of the medium to which their careers were dedicated. Given the stratification of our society, we have no choice but to entrust the management of its culture industry to these hacks, as we have no choice but to entrust our social and economic welfare to politicians. That, however, is no reason why we should regard the former as any more intelligent, any less obtuse, than most of us do the latter." -- the late great Gilbert Adair on Roger Ebert
And another great critic writes about a totally disposable one.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Escape Artist

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Surviving Capitalism

How to?

Noam Chomsky at University College Dublin, April 2nd, 2013.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April

1963 was the greatest year of the American Century -- the only one in which the United States matched its military and economic strength with its moral restraint, purpose, and wisdom. Beginning this month, we'll be highlighting the many ecstasies of '63, and its Stations of the Cross, leading to the Golgotha of Dallas. (The day, as Norman Mailer wrote, the postmodern world was born.)

In April: the 4-month-old New York City newspaper strike ends on the 7th, with the Sunday edition of the Times coming in at over 700 pages, weighing almost 8 pounds. On the 10th, a United States nuclear submarine named Thresher sinks off the coast of Massachusetts killing all 129 men on board. Also on the 10th, an assassination attempt is made on the life of retired Army General Edwin Walker, at his home in Dallas, Texas. It fails. The Warren Commission later tries to frame Lee Harvey Oswald for this shooting. The most beautiful encyclical ever coming from the Vatican is released on April 11th -- Pope John XXIII's Pacem in Terris. Herbie Nichols, the greatest jazz pianist of his time, dies on the 12th, of leukemia at the age of 44. April 15th, the White House announces that Jacqueline Kennedy is pregnant. April 16th, Martin Luther King, Jr. releases his Letter from Birmingham Jail. On the 27th, Bob Hayes becomes the first human to run the 100 meter dash in less than 10 seconds.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Good Man

One of Chris Floyd's best, for Easter Week:
This is the age of loss, not the age of defeat.

Drone strikes, kill lists, murderers and torturers approved for high office. Austerity for the poor, record profits for the rich.  Truthtellers shackled, liars lauded, ignorance exalted, cruelty and callousness gilded with righteous piety. Everywhere, goodness is driven to its knees, and this brutality is not decried but celebrated.

As in that age of iron that lowered over our forbears during dark night of the Thirties, you see faces once thought kind and kindred turn suddenly feral. Fear is behind it, but not just fear: also a self-hatred for what fear has turned them into, a self-hatred that cannot be borne and so is turned outward, thrown outward, into harsh projections of hatefulness, violence and desolation.

The avid embrace of what was once denounced, or the sad but “savvy” acceptance of the “lesser evil”: this is what we see at every turn today among ourselves, among those we thought were our own, and sometimes, maybe – when the lowering is darkest, heaviest – in mirrors as we pass. When the lowering is darkest, when the soul is lost. In them. In us.

This is the age of loss – but it is not the age of defeat.

What do you think goodness is? Some commodity, a material substance that can be wasted utterly, atomized, made inert? Do you think it is a thing, that can be destroyed, organic matter that can die? Do you think it is an idea that can lose its force, its coherence, its context, can be rendered quaint or antiquated by time’s passing, or by any suppression or negation? What do you think goodness is? Goodness is like fire: it is a process not an entity, not even a mental entity: it is process, it is relation, it exists only in the moment of its enacting, in the moment of ignition, of relation, where matter and energy become one, become nothing, become all.

Goodness is like fire, but it is not fire, because the matter it feeds upon is existence itself: inexhaustible, in all of its uncountable coalescences of innumerable elements – right down to the quantum switchings in the invisible cores: rising, decaying, recombining, rising again, decaying, recombining, on and on, in every direction, at every level, until the end of whatever time is, if whatever time is has an end.

Fearful, damaged creatures rule us. It is because they are more fearful and damaged than we are that they want to rule, that they aren’t content with mere images of projected self-hatred (like so many of their sycophants and followers). No, they must have the viscera in their hands, smell the overpowering stench of death, hear the wail of suffering, see the damage, the destroyed body that is the image of their own soul. They think that in this way what is fearful and damaged inside them will be expelled. But of course, the opposite is true; the hateful damage is only increased, exponentially, the rot grows deeper and deeper inside them.

This is what our politics is, this is what power is: the maniacal attempt to overcome relation -- to blot it out, stop the endless process, put out the fire, and impose a deadened stasis on the reality that pains them so.

But this is impossible to do, because the flame of reality cannot be extinguished. Individual points of consciousness can be destroyed – an abysmal, irreplaceable, inconsolable loss – but not the always-changing, rising, falling, recombining process that is reality. What do you think goodness is? Goodness is reality, it is Being itself. Evil is the attempt to quell reality, to quell goodness, to stop it, arrest it, indefinitely detain it, to beat it, terrorize it into submission, to assassinate it, sequester it, to make it go away somehow and stop reflecting back to us the damaged thing we have become.

But this cannot be done. It cannot be done. Goodness can lose, but it cannot be defeated. It can be balked, but it cannot be quelled. In every single moment of existence, the choice for goodness is there. Every single moment – the choice. And you can make it at any point, you can begin the process of accepting, enacting, igniting goodness at any point, even the darkest and most degraded.

Sometimes we don’t have the strength, of course. Sometimes we don’t know what’s working on us, turning us away from reality, the process, the flame, drawing us down into hatefulness, into the dead world of projection. Sometimes we know, but can’t control these forces. As I once wrote elsewhere (nothing new under the sun), “moments will be lost, moments will be won; this is the imperishable way.” This is the endless task of consciousness, of being alive in reality. (And “goodness” here does not mean “goodiness” or righteousness or any kind of bloodless, lifeless thing. Goodness is the impulse or action that moves in relation, the impulse or action that does not abstract, exploit, dehumanize the other, does not solidify them, but moves, flows in empathetic relation to them. You can have a hell of a good time in that kind of flow.) In any given age, the lowering clouds can bear down more heavily than in others. Ours is indeed a very hard age, another age of iron. It is an age of loss, of grievous loss – but it is not the age of defeat. Reality remains, the process goes on, the choice for goodness is always – always – there, no matter what.