Baltimore, Summer, 1968
Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
'Cause summer's here and the time is right
For fighting in the street, boy
-- Street Fighting Man - Rolling Stones
Today's predictable "Baltimore! Oh Baltimore!"editorial in the Wall St. Journal (The Blue-City Model) comes to an obvious conclusion with the old policy bromides the Journal's editors always slather on:
Of late the progressives have been making a comeback, led by Bill de Blasio in New York and the challenge to sometime reform Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago. This week’s nightmare in Baltimore shows where this leads. It’s time for a new urban renewal, this time built on the ideas of private economic development, personal responsibility, “broken windows” policing, and education choice.All of which would lead sensible people -- those not autonodding in brain-pithed agreement, to respond, "Oh blah, blah, blah..... blah-blah."
When it comes to the left-behinds in urban black ghettos from coast to coast calling for "new" urban renewal at this point is indeed so much blah-blah; pure blather. If you've had urban reNEWal already "new renewal" is just a case of trying to find a way to chrome a turd. You might be able to spray something on but it will never survive buffing.
Billions upon billions of dollars and decades of effort have gone down the drain of the left-behinds to no effect other than enriching the scamsters of "urban renewal." Baltimore is good solid case study in the proposition that nothing other than firm and unwavering policing over decades will help a deserted population captive to its nature as much as its nurture.
The first job of government (free or fascist) is, after all, the maintenance of public order. Without public order nothing good can thrive and without public order, as we see in the burned out and trashed businesses of Baltimore, nothing good can survive.
Once the flames have become ashes and the new cars driving in to haul loot away have faded away there is one lesson that Baltimore's taught other urban ghettos watching the fun on their flatscreen TVs: The police are frightened of those they are asked to police and the politicians who rule the police are even more terrified of the ghetto population. What other ghettos from Brooklyn to LA learn from Baltimore is that if they appear as flash riot mobs in enough numbers they will be able to loot as they please. Baltimore's rulers have assured the left-behinds that the cops won't come in shooting. And they won't.
Until they do. Or until the National Guard does.
Or until someone else entirely does.
The head instigator of our current race riots, Barack Obama, has defined the red-hot Baltimore riots “a slow-rolling crisis.... This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.” He might as well have added that under his leadership the race rioting will get worse since his minions cannot let "a slow-rolling crisis" go to waste. It will get worse and spread because what Obama and his cohort teach is essentially 'looting will be tolerated within zones that will be protected by the police we control.'
As human beings have learned for centuries this sort of approach does not stop looting, it encourages it.
What stops looting is the shooting of looters. On sight. In the street. Dead. "Pour encourage les autres."
it may be that, over time, the Wall Street Journal's tired prescription of "private economic development, personal responsibility, “broken windows” policing, and education choice," might help a small percentage of the festering "left-behind" populations in our urban black ghettos. But that, even were it magically instituted today, would take generations to bear even marginal fruit.
What's facing the nation in the Spring of 2015 is a whole smorgasbord of urban riot hot spots that have all been given permission from their leader Obama and his subordinates in state and local governments to riot and loot as soon as some pretext happens in their hood. It's a method of making sure that an update of "The Long Hot Summer of 1967" -- a record year for race riots with 159 riots -- is part of Obama's enduring legacy.
What we are seeing here is what happens when a racist like Obama strolls the country sloshing gasoline on ghettos for years and then warns the police to not, even if they are about to be "killed in the line of duty," to not ever make the smallest little spark.
It won't work. Sooner or later either the police, the urban rioters, or even more shadowy forces are going to start putting bullets into crowds of rioters. When that happens the rioters that have been harbored inside our cities and taught only dependency and violence will try to leave their urban spaces. And when that happens it would wise for such ambitious rioters to remember two things:
1. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of veterans currently own rifles strikingly similar to those they carried in the armed forces, lacking only the full-automatic selector switch. Their brothers, sisters, parents, friends, and neighbors who did not serve in the military are often just as familiar with the weapons, if not the tactics.and
2. There are a far greater number of scoped bolt-action hunting rifles in private hands in the United States. Keep this number in mind: based on deer stamps sold, approximately twenty million Americans venture into the woods every fall armed with such rifles, fully intending to shoot and kill a two-hundred-pound mammal. Millions of these scoped bolt-action deer rifles are quite capable of hitting a man-sized target at ranges out to and even beyond a thousand yards, or nearly three-fifths of a mile. In that context, the 500-yard effective range of the average semi-auto AR-pattern rifle is not at all remarkable. Bracken: When The Music StopsAs is always the case, lack of firm policing and appeasement and the creation of "a safe space for those that want to destroy," just leads to wider and more virulent violence. At this moment the "new" attorney general of the United States is at her first press conference blathering on about "Developing a conversation with the Baltimore police department...." Like the Wall Street Journal bromides her predictable blah-blah bromides will also fall on ears deafened by decades of rap and crack with literally nothing left to lose.
This. will. make. your. day.
[Update] And now... the backstory thanks to AubreyD,
WHEN Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.
And those that were good shall be happy; they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair.
They shall find real saints to draw from -- Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!
And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
Andd no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They are!
In America, many Christians stand down. They cower. They whimper.
They won’t even declare their faith on Facebook for fear that it might prompt a mean Facebook message and an unfriending. Christians in the Middle East will give up their lives to keep their souls while we give up our souls to keep our reputations and our social media reach.
This isn’t true across the board, of course. But it might be more true about you than you want it to be. I certainly am not hoisting myself up as a perfect example of a courageous American Christian.
What I know is that over 80 percent of the people in this country still call themselves Christian, yet we are far from a reverent, God-fearing culture. Indeed, we are a culture of abortion, of fornication, of materialism, of rationalizing and equivocating and compromising. Can you look around you and say that most Christians you know are truly on fire with the faith? Do American churches fight tooth and nail against progressivism and secularism? When religious freedom is threatened here at home, do all Christians stand in solidarity against it?
No. No to all of the above.
In order to raise publicity for their productions, MGM toured Jackie — billed as "Leo the MGM Flying Lion" — across the U.S.
For one publicity stunt in September 1927, the studio modified a Ryan Brougham plane (similar in design to the "Spirit of St Louis" but with a shorter wingspan) with tanks for milk, water and extra fuel, with a cage incorporated in the body to house Jackie.
Five hours into the flight from San Diego to New York, after a takeoff covered by extensive media, the plane crashedin the Arizona desert. The pilot, Martin Jenson, left Jackie in the cage with the supply of milk, water and sandwiches before he went for help. After four days, Martin was found and taken to a telephone. He called MGM. Their first question was "How's the lion?"
Jackie was rescued unharmed and earned the nickname "Leo the Lucky." He retired to Philadelphia Zoo in 1931 and died after heart problems in 1935.
The Persistance of John Denver Among the Japanese: Kooky and korney as Kansas in August... and Kompletely charming.
Speaking of "Earth Day, this is the tale of a tree from Summer 2007: ""Like other things in this city, this country, and this era, "the solution" to "the problem" is not exactly crisp and effective, but it sounds nice and feels good."
In mid-July the tree in my front yard is losing its leaves. It's a weeping birch some fifty feet high. It doesn't so much shade the house as stand guardian to it. On its trunk the black and white patches have merged together and long ebony tendrils of branches dangle down festooned with dark forest-green leaves like emerald fireworks frozen above the lawn.
The shade pool from the tree covers my neighbor's yard to the north. He sits under it on his lawn on hot days. He's a quiet neighbor and a nice man. Speaks two languages and has a few political ideas which are a bit too socialist for my taste, but it's Seattle and he doesn't push them too hard so we live in harmony. He has a nice little house and spends a lot of time keeping it tidy.
The shade from my tree doesn't quite reach my neighbor to the south who admires it much more than I admire his fence, which is old and full of holes. Often time's he's told me how he wishes he could lounge in the shade, but he'd have to move his chair onto my lawn to do so. He's hinting about permisson. I suppose I could issue an open invitation for him to enjoy my shade, but given the way he keeps up his house and his fence I fear he'd soon be camped out on my lawn with a lot of friends and family. His whole operation is one step away from old appliances and rusted cars as lawn decorations. Then again I don't like cutting my lawn or weeding my garden, so maybe if I let him hang out under the tree he'll do the job that I won't do.
The tree began to shed leaves in early June. Just a few fell at first. A couple here and a some more there. I enjoyed their chance patterns on the grass and the flower beds. They were small and tan and had an almost Zen effect when seen among the blossoms; little bits of punctuation, small notes of color. The tree had so many leaves that the few that fell didn't diminish it. I didn't notice any thinning and I certainly didn't think the tree was ill. After all, it was a large tree and it had sheltered the house for a long time. The trunk was thick and strong. It's roots ran deep into the soil. It had been there longer than the house.
I went away for some weeks in June and into July and when I returned my lawn looked as if it was not high summer but late autumn. The grass was covered with small tan leaves, and even though the tree above was still thick with dark green leaves it was obvious that something was amiss. It was even more obvious when you walked on the lawn and came away with clots of leaves stuck to the bottom of your shoes.
I took my ladder from the garage and set it against the trunk. I climbed up to where the branches dangled down and looked closely at the leaves. They were dark green as always but had an unhealthy sheen to them as if they had become overheated and begun to sweat. Touching them left a sticky, unpleasant residue on my hands.
I looked more closely at the trunk and saw a host of small black bugs on the surface of the white bark and even more against the black patches. There didn't seem to be any of those bugs on the leaves that I could reach, but all those leaves were coated with the same tacky sheen. It had the consistency of the adhesive side of Scotch tape.
I'm no arborist. I didn't know what was making my tree sick but it was not thriving. Fortunately Seattle is a city where more inhabitants worship trees than worship God. I put a few twigs and leaves in one Ziploc bag and some of the black bugs in another and drove off to a nearby plant cathedral to ask one of their many priests.
He looked at the bags, ran his fingers over the outside, and didn't even bother to open them. "Aphids. Lots and lots of aphids. And since aphids are born pregnant you're going to have a lot more."
I looked closely at the bags. Very closely. I'd noticed a plant in the back yard that had been stricken with aphids in early June. Those had been thick colonies of lice sized insects. I carpet-bombed them with insecticide from an altitude of eight feet. They never knew what hit them. But I couldn't see any aphids inside the bag, just sticky leaves. "There's no bugs in there," I remarked to the priest of plants.
"Nope. The bugs are higher up in the tree. This is honeydew coating the leaves. A lot of honeydew. And that means a lot of bugs."
My far-too-literary mind immediately delivered the closing lines of Coleridge's "Kubla Kahn,"
"For he on honeydew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise."
I'd always thought those lines very evocative and alluring. "Honeydew?" I asked.
"It's what the bugs excrete after they suck out the sap from the tree," he said.
Score one more metaphor forever ruined.
"What do I do to stop it?"
"You have to get it sprayed or injected. Probably both. Spray and inject is probably best. That's what we do here. I'll give you the number of an eco-friendly tree care company. No toxins... biodegradable sprays... all that jazz."
"Is that the best way?" I asked and gave him a straight look.
He glanced about him to check that we were alone at the tree altar in the plant cathedral. "Not really," he said in a confidential tone, "but that's all the company allows me to recommend. Otherwise we'd have a picket line of eco-nuts in front of the parking lot in a twinkling and that would be very bad for business. You want anything stronger, stuff that will really get the job done, get out your phone book and... call around."
I felt like we were two guys whispering on a street corner about where to score "the hard stuff." I thanked him for the information, took the eco-friendly number, and left.
Back home I stood in the yard and gazed up at my sheltering tree. Then I raked the yard and hosed off the walkway. It took a long time since all the leaves were coated with the crap of "aphid honeydew" and stuck to the grass and the pavement. Nature's Super-Glue.
As I was finishing my neighbor from the south came out and strolled through the hole in his fence and across the lawn to where I was working. It was a hot day and he held an iced Corona. (He favors that brand but never offers me one, just kind of toasts me from his porch. If he wasn't obviously Norwegian I'd expect him to say, "Hola mano. Que tal?")
"What's up with your tree?" he asked. "Those leaves are falling all over my yard and they're a mess."
I told him the tree was sick. "There's an infestation of aphids high up in the crown sucking the sap out of the tree and dripping their crap all over anything below."
"Heh, sounds like a Bush/Cheny disease and that's always bad," he offered, leaning against his part of the fence that still stood while watching me rake and clean. (Nearly everybody in Seattle's Queen Anne is a Democrat and assumes you are as well -- it's an "innocent until stated guilty" place.)
"It is bad. I'll have to get an arborist in to spray it and inject it."
"Whoa. Be sure and tell me when that happens so I can close my windows. And be sure to use those companies that don't use toxins. They'll cost you more but you don't want to risk real poisons."
As usual my neighbor was more than happy to suggest any solution at all to my infestation problem that involved extra hassle and me reaching for my wallet.
"I'll let you know," I said. "I'll let you know."
I've made the calls and I've tried to be a good citizen. I got the arborist from "In Harmony" tree service to come by. She said it will take 8 injections and cost about $300. She gave me a brochure printed in bio-degradable inks on recycled paper too. It explains the benefits to the entire planet of their methods in somewhat fuzzy type. It doesn't explain why it costs $300 to give a tree eight shots. Like other things in this city, this country, and this era, "the solution" to "the problem" is not exactly crisp and effective, but it sounds nice and feels good.
Still, there's no question that the stately tree that shelters me is sick, sticky and a mess. I've got to stop the insects infesting the top from crapping all over everything below. Organic's too slow and too expensive by half. I think I'm going to have to start hanging out in the shadier places of the Seattle tree scene, trying to make a connection with people who can really "Git-R-Done!"
It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late,
With long arrears to make good,
When the Saxon began to hate.
They were not easily moved,
They were icy -- willing to wait
Till every count should be proved,
Ere the Saxon began to hate.
Their voices were even and low.
Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show
When the Saxon began to hate.
It was not preached to the crowd.
It was not taught by the state.
No man spoke it aloud
When the Saxon began to hate.
It was not suddently bred.
It will not swiftly abate.
Through the chilled years ahead,
When Time shall count from the date
That the Saxon began to hate.
"The rules apply to everyone..."
The statespersons of Europe seem baffled over what to do to prevent a large fraction of the 1.1 billion people of Africa from climbing into boats and inundating the heart of Christendom.
One possibility, however, is to do what the Australian government has done with a fair degree of success: post a video on Youtube telling would be Camp of Saintsers that they won’t be let into Australia, so don’t bother trying. It’s so crazy it just seems to be working! from Steve Sailer - The Unz Review
According to EU’s border chief, up to one million refugees are waiting on the Libyan beach waiting to board ship for Europe. “Up to one million migrants could reach Europe from Libya amid collapsing security in the northern African country, the European Union’s border agency chief has warned.”
Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri said he expects asylum seekers’ crossings to skyrocket in 2015 and urged EU governments to ready themselves to “face a way more difficult situation than last year”.
“We are told there are between 500,000 and one million migrants ready to leave from Libya,” Leggeri told Italian news agency Ansa. “We have to be aware of the risks”.
Mama Angus: We had mothers to raise us. They raised us to be women. Raise our own children. A woman has to be a woman. A woman’s place is in the home. A man’s place is to provide and if he don’t provide that you don’t need him….I’ve been cooking since I was 4 1/2 and these women today all they know is McDonalds, fast foods and stuff. They don’t know nothing about cooking and feeding no man. A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Get your behind in there and cook, and feed him, and make sure he get up off his but and go to work!
Off camera: Is there something that’s missing in this community?
Mama Angus: The women’s soft. Now they might not like me for saying it but these young women today, they don’t even raise their children. Their children are raising them. Look, a woman’s place is to raise her children and at the end of the day tell their husbands which one they had to almost kill. That’s how that goes. That’s why the juvenile center is so full and why they’re expanding the jails, because mothers don’t raise their children and putting the blame on the man!
…I’m telling the truth. And I can’t stand it, cuz I’m 72 years old and I still don’t mind working. I ain’t scared of work. They stay in the system and use up the elderly money. They stay out there in the system and go out there and get all those children and expect us to help them take care of them. I’m sick of it!
"Those who put their faith in fire, in fire their faith shall be repaid."
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.Continued...
"The view was worth the trip.
Battling high winds, cold temperatures, and low oxygen, the trek to near the top of the volcano Santa Maria in Guatemala -- while carrying sensitive camera equipment -- was lonely and difficult. Once set up, though, the camera captured this breathtaking vista during the early morning hours of February 28. Visible on the ground are six volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc, including Fuego, the Volcano of Fire, which is seen erupting in the distance. Visible in the sky, in separate exposures taken a few minutes later, are many stars much further in the distance, as well as the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy situated horizontally overhead."APOD: 2015 April 13
To demonise element number six in the periodic table is amusing. Why not promethium? Carbon dioxide is an odourless, colourless, harmless natural gas. It is plant food. Without carbon, there would be no life on Earth.
The original source of atmospheric CO2 is volcanoes. The Earth's early atmosphere had a thousand times the CO2 of today's atmosphere. This CO2 was recycled through rocks, life and the oceans. Through time, this CO2 has been sequestered into plants, coal, petroleum, minerals and carbonate rocks, resulting in a decrease in atmospheric CO2.
The atmosphere now contains 800 billion tonnes of carbon as CO2. Soils and plants contain 2000 billion tonnes, oceans 39,000 billion tonnes and limestone 65,000,000 billion tonnes. The atmosphere contains only 0.001 per cent of the total carbon in the top few kilometres of the Earth. Deeper in Earth, there are huge volumes of CO2 yet to be leaked into the atmosphere. So depleted is the atmosphere in CO2, that horticulturalists pump warm CO2 into glasshouses to accelerate plant growth.
Our planet has about 1,000 volcanoes on land, such as Holuhraun and Bardarbunga, but most of our volcanoes are under the sea. “Some 85 per cent of volcanoes are unseen and unmeasured yet these heat the oceans and add monstrous amounts of CO2 to the oceans,” notes Dr. Plimer. “Why have these been ignored?,” he asks.
Communism is alive and well on the streets of Seattle....
Illustration by RapierWitt
THESE DAYS its not often that you see a member of the Despairing Classes being seduced by classic Communism on a city street, but it does happen.
Sidewalk Snapshot: It's a warm Spring evening on Pine Street in Seattle. Lengthening shadows and brightening light brings everything into sharp relief including the random collection of lay-abouts, short-order poets, tattoo artistes, and students a decade between degrees that take up the tables outside the Cafe Laddro on Capitol Hill.
Capitol Hill is one of those neighborhoods in Seattle that compiles a mainstream lifestyle out of alternatives. Even though it is indeed a hill, it has suspended the normal laws of gravity and everything loose in Seattle rolls up to the top of it. That includes, on this evening, me.
I'm stepping out of your "one-every-block" Seattle espresso slop shop with my machiatto when I notice the odd couple at the table just outside the door. That's not too odd since odd couples, like spiked bright blue hair, are pretty much the norm on Capitol Hill. I notice them at first because the youngest is wearing a Motorhead t-shirt with the mantra "Everything Louder Than Everything Else" on it in that faux German Black gothic font that got old when Auschwitz was in flower, and so had to be made new again back when heavy-metal was a fresh idea.
Glancing over Motorhead's shoulder I note that the man across from him is giving him an ideological lap-dance complete with a whole raft of tracts, papers and books being brought out and waved about and placed, with a muffled thwang, one after the other on the thin black metal of the table: Trotsky's "Marxism and Terrorism," (thwang!); the ever-popular Marx and Engels "Communist Manifesto," (thwang!); Lenin's greatest hit "What Is To Be Done?," (thwang!), Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks," (thunk!), Zinn's "People's History of the United States,"(clunk!).
One by one, they come out of the worn back pack and pile up on the table. All in all, a larger pile of ideological dung would be hard to imagine, and harder to handle even with meat hooks and thick rubber gloves.
The man making his pile of "roadmaps to a more perfect world" is quite a bit older than Motorhead with a slim, somewhat furtive look to him. There's the vibe coming off him that you sometimes sense when someone old is trying to pick up somebody far too young for him.
In the intense light of the evening, you can see a faint cloud of dust motes rising from him as he keeps slapping the tracts down. Greying hair in moist ringlets covers his head except for a monk's tonsure on the back of his skull. He's got a mustache and a beard that, with a little care, could be brought to a Van Dyke point. He sports small round rimmed glasses in front of thin blue eyes. His eyes, although they never waver from his prey, carry within them a permanent 1,000 yard stare -- as if he's always looking outside of the present moment at something in the distance that never gets nearer. Overall the face reminds one, as these faces so often do, of a watered down Leon Trotsky, the Christ of Communism, crucified with an ice axe but still twitching in his tomb.
Trotsky is resurrect this evening on Capitol Hill though, and I linger at the table next to them writing down a few notes about their conversation. Except it is not exactly a conversation so much as a monologue as my Trotsky keeps, in smiling and soft tones, returning to the subject at hand which is the inevitable collapse of the evil American Empire ("Long past its expiry date..."), and the inevitable rise of world Socialism ("Everyone will have more than enough, but nobody will have it all.")
Trotsky's sporting, as all good Trotskys must, a collection of slogan buttons and a sheaf of free tracts and newspapers. The button that is the largest is pinned to his faded plaid flannel shirt and proclaims him to be a member in good standing of the ISO (International Socialist Organization, good Latter-Day Trotskyites all. )
He passes the tracts and newspapers over to his intended, "Free, all free," and points out the more salient injustices they outline: eternal racism, eternal slavery of women, eternal repression of the working man by capitalists, eternal imperialism by the United States -- the whole catastrophe. He underscores that the only escape is through the ever-imminent but forever delayed Rapture of the Left, The Revolution.
After several minutes of his soft chants, Motorhead is nodding like the drinking bird over the glass. He's looking a bit dazed. I wonder if Trotsky has slipped a roofy into Motorhead's machiatto and is just waiting for it to kick in.
Trotsky's tales are the sad sotto voce sagas that underscore all the old nightmares of the Gulag, the Killing Fields, and every other massacre done in the name of the Marxist Utopia. It's a litany proving, once again, that some lies lodge so deep in man's hopes they will not die, no matter the murders they require to live.
Today's fresh lie is that if only Motorhead will attend the "event" tomorrow, Trotsky will be pleased to take him to the exclusive "Cadre" meeting that follows so he can meet the "Comrade of Honor," one Ahmed Shawki.
In soft tones salted with a quick twinkling smile that comes and goes like the red queen in three-card monte, Trotsky continues his spiel, his seduction. Motorhead is "obviously a man of no little intelligence" -- even if his five facial piercings (ears, left eyebrow, lip stud and nose-ring) might make one wonder.
Motorhead "needs to live in a system where social justice is the rule for all, not just the rich." Given Motorhead's ripped black jeans, worn black boots and general air of someone not likely to be hired by any business whose work involves meeting the public, this is probably more true than either of them realize. Motorhead nods again to this last proposition, and observes that he yearns for a social order that is more just to his lifestyle than can easily be found outside the subcultural hamlets of Seattle.
Much has been made of Hannah Arendt's phrase, "The banality of evil," and I suppose I'm witnessing a small satori of that kind here on the sidewalks of Seattle. But it seems to me to be a more insidious event than that.
After all, there's nothing evil in speech that argues for ideas that have proven, without exception, to be evil. It is, after all, only speech and the strength of the American system is to protect all forms of speech, especially the idle blather of a coffee house revolutionary. There's nothing, really nothing, in this overheard conversation that threatens the existence of the United States. The mere fact that it can be had, five years into the First Terrorist War, underscores just how strong this nation adherence to its founding principles remains. Here on Capitol Hill dissent of even the most egregious sort, is not only tolerated but celebrated.
The conversation bothers me at the same time it fascinates me. It strikes me that what I am auditing is not so much "the banality of evil," but "the banality of sedition;" a banality we see acted out daily on our television screens and on the op-ed pages of our newspapers.
The banality of sedition is now so well established that it is, well, banal and goes forward without a great deal of remark or trouble. In the last few years, the phrase that has arisen to describe this phenomenon is "The Culture of Treason." I'm not sure who originated the phrase, but its use is proliferating across the Internet for the reason that all such phrases proliferate when the time is ripe; it somehow rings true.
Of late, it iseems that large sections of the better educated and the most privileged among us have decided that the Constitution is, after all, a suicide pact and have determined to preach this death gospel to us all:
"This way to the gas, ladies and gentlemen. Step right up into the van carrying you all away into the perfect freedom of the perfect world. Don't worry about those canisters of gas dropping in through the top. It's just to delouse you of your old, traditional ideas of what being an American is all about.
"In just a few painless minutes you'll all be, as we are now, citizens of the world. And in that world to which we are all going you'll forget the old dream of America. You'll forget, at the last, everything that was good about America. You'll also forget the true and the beautiful. In the end, you'll forget about God himself.
"All those old dreams and visions will fade into a gray sameness. And then you'll all be, at the last, perfect citizens of our brave new world. We've breathed deeply of this gas before you and find it is the perfect blend of platitudes, freshly roasted, for the killing of your soul. After all, you weren't using it much. So step right up. First ride's free."
The long evening light was fading down into a warm dusk outside the coffee shop on Capitol Hill. Motorhead, in a moment of awakening, said, "Well, I should probably get grocery shopping."
Having gotten Motorhead's assent to attend the "event," Trotsky the Comrade becomes Trotsky the Closer and skins twenty bucks out of Motorhead's wallet for Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks" ($14.95 at Amazon). The tracts and, of course, the newspaper are free. Such a deal.
The threadbare backpack is repacked with Trotsky's portable library. He and Motorhead set off up the hill and, turning the corner, move out of sight.
I fold up the scrap of paper on the back of which I've made my notes of their meeting. The front side invites all and sundry to a "Solidarity Gathering" at the 45th Street Overpass: "We Support the Rape Survivor at Duke... and the Countless Others Everywhere. Come and join us in solidarity to bear witness to this terrorism against women." I make a mental note to, somehow, manage to be elsewhere.
Walking back to the Century Ballroom, I notice a large flyer that announces the "event" that Motorhead has agreed to attend. Ahmed Shawki, editor of the International Socialist Review, will speak, it seems, on "Black Liberation and Socialism."
Shaki's image dominates the flyer and looks, for all the world, like a Malcom X returned to life. The look is, of course, a carefully studied one since black socialist saints are hard to come by these days.** The Clenched Fist logo is in the lower left hand corner of the flyer. There are other details but I have a hard time making them out. It is, I discover, hard to read a flyer that is lying in the gutter. Especially when the light has failed.
"I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;"
Not the negative ones. Negativity is easy. It always has been easy. How do we recharge the batteries? How do we let the younger generation know that, even though the U-boat has vanished with the Ark of the Covenant in its hold, it’s still possible to stow-away? To stage yet another confrontation? Even when all seems lost…" -- Morgan @ House of Eratosthenes
By Grant Snider: INCIDENTAL COMICS: Colors
Wait for it.
Via Never Yet Melted
"Some folks pay a lot. Others they pay never."
“That I and most Americans have no idea whether our tax returns are accurate ought to tell us something. ” — Donald Rumsfeld’s IRS Letter
As I got up to leave the family of six at the long table across from me was served with the quick flourish and satisfied air of presentation that is the style of serving these days. The was food steaming in front of them, but none of them made a move towards it. Instead, they talked quietly amongst themselves and seemed to come to a decision. They made their selection from among them. It was to be one of the daughters, a girl of about 17 I guessed. The din in the restaurant rose and fell, but the family of six sat quietly and then bowed their heads as one. Then they said grace.
I stood motionless at my table. I had, I thought, never seen this before in a restaurant. I'd seen it in private homes to be sure, but upon reflection I realized that I'd not seen it there in quite sometime. And I was quite sure this was, for me, a rare event. I'd probably not been paying attention since it no doubt went on all the time, but still it was a startling moment. Perhaps I'd just been too long in Seattle where the only manifestations of spirit are flimsy; where the invocations are raised to a watery Buddhism or bloodless Unitarianism where God is impossibly distant if at all extant. Be that as it may, this simple act of saying grace did not so much shock me as still me. I paused to listen in. And the daughter did not disappoint. Grace in the Blue Ridge Mountains @ AMERICAN DIGEST
“I have never seen a more sublime demonstration of the totalitarian mind, a mind which might be linked unto a system of gears where teeth have been filed off at random. Such snaggle-toothed thought machine, driven by a standard or even by a substandard libido, whirls with the jerky, noisy, gaudy pointlessness of a cuckoo clock in Hell.
"The boss G-man concluded wrongly that there were no teeth on the gears in the mind of Jones. 'You're completely crazy,' he said.
"Jones wasn't completely crazy. The dismaying thing about classic totalitarian mind is that any given gear, thought mutilated, will have at its circumference unbroken sequences of teeth that are immaculately maintained, that are exquisitely machined.
"Hence the cuckoo clock in Hell - keeping perfect time for eight minutes and twenty-three seconds, jumping ahead fourteen minutes, keeping perfect time for six seconds, jumping ahead two seconds, keeping perfect time for two hours and one second, then jumping ahead a year.
"The missing teeth, of course, are simple, obvious truths, truths available and comprehensible even to ten-year-olds, in most cases.
"The willful filling off a gear teeth, the willful doing without certain obvious pieces of information....
"That was how Rudolf Hess, Commandant of Auschwitz, could alternate over the loudspeakers of Auschwitz great music and calls for corpse-carriers -
"That was how Nazi Germany sense no important difference between civilization and hydrophobia -
"That is the closest I can come to explaining the legions, the nations of lunatics I've seen in my time.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
Written by George Orwell:
"Fifteen years ago, when one defended the freedom of the intellect, one had to defend it against Conservatives, against Catholics, and to some extent — for they were not of great importance in England — against Fascists. Today one has to defend it against Communists and ‘fellow-travelers’....
"But however it may be with the physical sciences, or with music, painting and architecture, it is — as I have tried to show — certain that literature is doomed if liberty of thought perishes.
"Not only is it doomed in any country which retains a totalitarian structure; but any writer who adopts the totalitarian outlook, who finds excuses for persecution and the falsification of reality, thereby destroys himself as a writer.
"There is no way out of this. No tirades against ‘individualism’ and the ‘ivory tower’, no pious platitudes to the effect that ‘true individuality is only attained through identification with the community’, can get over the fact that a bought mind is a spoiled mind.
"Unless spontaneity enters at some point or another, literary creation is impossible, and language itself becomes something totally different from what it is now, we may learn to separate literary creation from intellectual honesty.
"At present we know only that the imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity. Any writer or journalist who denies that fact — and nearly all the current praise of the Soviet Union contains or implies such a denial — is, in effect, demanding his own destruction. The Prevention of Literature - Wikilivres
A long time reader writes, "This Saturday the 18th I'll be 70, the oldest man in my line since at least the 17th century, or maybe ever. Orphaned, abused, scorned and reviled. And through the Grace of God still here. Whew! Thanks for keepin' on keepin' on, and reminding me that all this shit happened to all of us, didn't it?"
Indeed it did and it keeps on keeping on....
I am reminded by all this of a long-ago interview in the Boston Globe when I worked as book editor and Director of Trade Paperback Publishing at Houghton Mifflin. The interview was of an octogenarian parking lot owner in Boston who was extremely wealthy (Parking lots will do that for you.) and also enmeshed in numerous vicious lawsuits with ex-wives, sons, daughters and other family members.
The interviewer said to him, "You are a wealthy man and yet you persist in all these acrimonious lawsuits with your family over money. Don't you know that you can't take it with you?"
To which he replied, "I'm not leaving."
FALSTAFF, sitting upon the ground telling sad stories of the deaths of kings
.... some poison'd by their wives.
FOOL: Good Sir John, how fare thee.
FALSTAFF: I fare well but soon must fare thee well.
FOOL: Nay. Take thy shadow off thyself.
Do but drink this bottle down and we shall merry be.
FALSTAFF: Merry? Me? Falstaff shall no more merry be.
FOOL: But thou art known from Land's End to John O'Groats
as the merriest of Harry’s merry band.
And I stand witness from our revels past
that all such tales are true.
FALSTAFF: Oh, fine Fool, if you seek one
who would be merry with you
you seek not old Sir John.
FOOL: Posh and bother, good Sir John,
with these sweet cakes
and this good ale
how can you not merry be?
FALSTAFF: I may not now make merry
because I have made myself marry.
FOOL: Merry? The very stones echo back
your merry laughter from across the years.
FALSTAFF: You hear me amiss.
I am not merry because I married am.
FOOL: Ah. Now I have your measure.
You say you married are?
Well, there's the rub that raises up
the blister on the foot of all men's souls.
How say you of this married state
in which you are not merry?
FALSTAFF: It is much of a muchness
and on it have I meditated mightily
this past fortnight far beyond the chimes of midnight.
Follow me, my Fool, in this:
The unmarried man, being merry,
seeks to marry from merriment in his cups.
For in this muddled state his merry mind
reminds him that to marry may mount
his present merriment in his maid to highest heaven,
and hence his maid,
marking he is merry at the thought of marriage,
moves maidenhead to make him yet
more merry still.
Do you follow my stormy petrel's seaward path, my Fool?
FOOL: Indeed I do e'en though it pricks my feet with shards of ice.
FALSTAFF: I'll dance you deeper still
into those darker seas
where many merry men have drowned:
Upon his marriage the merry man's merriment
doth decline until he can only merry be
when apart from, or in full flight from,
his unmerry married maid and marriage.
Is this not the very unmerry truth?"
FOOL: 'Sooth it is. For all our sages and finer fools
do of marriage make unmerry merry fun."
FALSTAFF: Then follow deeper into my unmerry depths
for hidden waters flow
from questions never made by maids.
If to marry is to be unmerry,
why should then the merry man marry?
Has he not, while merry, laughed that to marry
is to lose all merriment?
How then can he not know in marriage
he places his merriment in ceaseless servitude
not to the maid he married, but to her merry nest
and the ever mounting money pit
the maid's married plan requires
if the maid he married, after marriage,
is to ever be made merry?
FOOL: How can he not, good Sir John,
whose present wisdom would confound the waves,
and send them rolling always teeter never totter?"
FALSTAFF: My meaning I draw out as this:
I find that the merry man wearies of being merry.
He marries then because his merry life
has become burdened by being merry,
and his deeper miseries,
being mushed under his higher merriments,
grow lonely for that company such misery must seek.
I find that this lonely misery
in the midst of merriment
grows more mighty than all such married misery.
In short, good Fool, he wants not a wife
-- as wives are all too seldom spied
in the barren landscapes of our brave new world –
but wishes for a witness to his willful fall
from merry into marriage.
And in this we find that are all our maids
are merrily full willing to comply.
FOOL: But surely, good Sir John,
you slander all our modern maids.
Do they not say, in whispers and in wails,
that only marriage makes them merry?
And if so they say, do they not also wish it true?"
FALSTAFF: No slander sling I at our maids,
but only seek to see them straight,
not touted up with rouged ideas
that in their pates our stunted scribblers doth instill.
I have known many maids
and maids may, as maids,
make merry mock of marriage.
But mark me well, my Fool, once married,
maids are no more maids but wives,
and wives have but one wifely will
which is to make no merriment
in marriage unless they in houses dwell.
Deny them house and no merry love is found
in married maids for they no longer maids remain.
FOOL: So if we then would merry stay,
then marry not we must?
FALSTAFF: You have the nub and core of me proud Fool.
Here begins our brave ascent from Fools' dark depths
to the merry realms of men unmarried.
Mark well this mantled moment when you first knew
that to be merry you must never married be.
'Swounds! The growling hounds of heaven sound the dawn
and I must away to wife unmerry.
Exeunt omnes... followed by a bear.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
"A man's got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job." -- John Wayne
Once upon a time, there was "The Code of the West." [Original here] That was long ago, far away and in another country. Now there is only, "The Code of the Left." I've compared the two here. The Code of the West is in plain text. The Code of the Left is in italics because, well, it is just so damned important!
It's time for our biannual check in on how these two dueling codes are faring in America. When last we looked the Obama Banditos were riding roughshod over the people. Now, the Banditos seem to be in retreat and at our feet pleading a new birth of populism. But since the leftist Banditio is always either at your feet or at your throat it can't last. What's next? We're open for updates, additions, and deletions.
* Don't inquire into a person's past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
* There are no "people," only "social policies." Don't inquire into a social policy's past or that policy's likely consequences for the future. Take the measure of a policy by how closely it maps to the Socialist Utopia that has already killed and crippled hundreds of millions of people. Dream big nightmares.
* Never steal another man's horse. A horse thief pays with his life.
* Always look to steal another man's money with a "tax." Always ask your fellow citizen to reach for his wallet. All tax thieves are rewarded with a fat government pension and fatter health plan.
* Defend yourself whenever necessary.
* Do not defend yourself or the country under any circumstances. Killers are just grown-up kids who were abused. Terrorists are just people who haven't had their issues listened to with compassion. Make sure nobody else can defend themselves. Use only diplomacy to defend your country. Armies are raised only to place sandbags around towns about to be flooded for the fifth time. When that happens use government money to enable the fools who built them to rebuild them.
* Look out for your own.
* Look out, first, last and always, for any other people numerous enough to declare themselves an oppressed group (The minimum number is 3) - except if the group is an actual family, in which case seek to disband it by any means necessary.
* Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.
* Ban guns. Anytime, anywhere. The Second Amendment is a misprint. Erase it in the original. Burn all copies.
* Never order anything weaker than whiskey.
* Never order anything stronger than a decaf double latte made with soy milk. Yes, that drink will shrink your testicles and/or ovaries to the size of peas, but you weren't using them anyway. Make it a double.
* Don't make a threat without expecting dire consequences.
* Threaten everyone and every behavior you think does not square with an organic, green, globally-warmed new-age life-style. They will fold. There will be no consequences. There never are.
* Never pass anyone on the trail without saying "Howdy".
* Never pass anyone on the street without muttering "Bush lied."
* When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within shooting range.
* When approaching someone from behind, try to determine if they are a Republican-Christianist before picking their pocket and denigrating their beliefs with impunity.
* Don't wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the horse. A nod is the proper greeting.
* Don't wave at a blind man with a seeing-eye dog as it might confuse/abuse the dog. Lead them both into a disabled parking space and leave them there with a pocket full of kibble and food stamps.
* After you pass someone on the trail, don't look back at him. It implies you don't trust him.
* After you pass anti-Christian laws, don't look back. God will turn you into a pillar of salt and there is no salt tax.... Yet.
* Riding another man's horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man's horse.
* Riding another man's wife or significant other is not only okay, but a qualification for high office. Gay or straight, you are allowed to have anyone you want without consequences to the family since soon there won't be any. Medicines for STDs will be free and will soon consume 92% of federal research funds (7% goes to embryonic stem cell research), dedicated to finding a sex vaccine so you can get back to the level of random sex with random strangers you enjoyed in the early 1970s.
* Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim.
* Always buy and carry the really big bottle of Fuji mineral water everywhere so people can know that while you object to Big Oil making windfall profits on $3.00 a gallon gasoline, you have no problem with windfall profits on $10 a gallon bottled water.
* A Cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do, and Cowboys hate quitters.
* A Leftist is mean and bitter even when in office. Complaining and turning small complaints into laws is what Leftists at all levels do. Leftists love making new laws from old whines.
* Always be courageous. Cowards aren't tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.
* Never exhibit courage when it comes to defending your country. Cowardice is a Leftist pre-requisite for running for office on any level. Your constituents are cowards to the core and don't expect any less from you.
* A Cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.
* A Leftist only helps those in need when helping them will condemn them to being in need for all eternity. Enemies are to be helped only if they will promise to first vote for and then behead Leftists. In that way both the need to rule and the need to expunge guilt can be satisfied.
* Never try on another man's hat.
* Never try on another man's condom or use his needle - without asking permmisson which will naturally be forthcoming. Free condoms and free needles are a basic right and will replace the present Second Amendment as soon as possible. Draft text: "An unregulated and unrestrained sex and drugs and rock and roll lifestyle, being the necessary opiate of the masses, the right of the people to free condoms and free needles, shall not be infringed."
* Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table. The same was true for riders who joined Cowboys on the range.
* Be hospitable to those who "wander" into your country illegally. Anyone who "wanders" into the United States, including an enemy, is welcome at the welfare table. This is especially true for those who will do the voting sane Americans won't - voting for you.
* Give your enemy a fighting chance.
* Give all enemies a really good fighting chance always. Make the Armed Forces fight with both hands behind their back. Roll back all arms programs to the environmentally sensitive bow and arrow era. Marines are to be especially despised for their general Gung Ho militaristic attitude. Make up rules of engagement that ensure all wars will be fought on the cheap and without weapons that are more lethal than megaphones. In war, Love is all you need.
* Never wake another man by shaking or touching him, as he might wake suddenly and shoot you.
* But if he does, pass more laws restricting guns and apologize to him before dying.
* Real Cowboys are modest. A braggart who is "all gurgle and no guts" is not tolerated.
* Real Leftists are the first to tell you what wonderful human beings they are. A Leftist who is "all gurgle and no guts" can be easily nominated for high office. See "Edwards, John."
* A Cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.
* A Leftist does nothing but talk. Talk is mother's milk without the annoying lactation. Leftist talk is a three-foot length of numbing rebar pounded down the center of your spine. A Leftist will save his breath for Yoga class.
* No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.
* No matter how weary and frustrated you are after a long day of lying and pandering on the campaign trail, always tend to your political machine's needs before your own. Get your machine some more money (cash if possible) for moveon.org or Media Matters. Don't skim more than 55% of the cash for yourself. Remember that if you are elected you can feed at the public trough for life, and earn millions for blathering after you retire.
* Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.
* Cuss all you want, constantly and without restraint, especially when you hear the obscenity-triggering words, "President Bush." Be sure to teach the F-word to your children early and reward them for using it.
* Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.
* Complain about earmarks unless they are your earmarks and remember to vote for all earmarks so that others will vote for yours.
* Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand, to show your friendly intentions.
* Always sip your chai with the pinky finger crooked, to show your rainbow intentions.
* Be there for a friend when he needs you.
* Be there with a handout for a voter when you think that you can pander enough and promise enough free stuff to buy that vote. Pander early and pander often. Offer $5,000 just for being born. Be sure you put that idea forward before a group of people with a history of getting (and an undying thirst for more) handouts. Always infantalize.
* Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal and blacklisting.
* Drinking and smoking dope in office is grounds for instant lionizing, a safe seat, and a free pass should you drive off a bridge on the way home and leave someone who was giving you sex at the wheel behind to drown.
* A Cowboy is loyal to his "brand," to his friends, and those he rides with.
* A Leftist is loyal to the nightmares of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Fidel Castro - all of whom knew how to run billions of lives for the better. They may be gone but their song remains the same. Dance to it and make sure everyone else does too. Or else.
* Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy. This was also known as "the rattlesnake code": always warn before you strike. However, if a man was being stalked, this could be ignored.
* Always smear a blameless or dangerous political enemy. Lying and innuendo is okay. Be the rattlesnake. Unless the man is stalking the same office you are. In that case smear early and smear often. Lie big and lie long.
* Never shoot a woman no matter what.
* Never seek to make love to a woman unless there are no other alternatives - including shrubs - or unless you are a woman.
* Consideration for others is central to the code, such as: Don't stir up dust around the chuck-wagon, don't wake up the wrong man for herd duty, etc.
* Being inconsiderate of personal God-given liberty is central to the code of the Left. There is no God, there is only the Party and the dream of a socialist utopia. Always stir up dust and regulations around the free market -- it can and does donate money to your opponents. Don't wake up those who depend on government hand-outs for everything. Promise more and keep them comatose.
* Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in hazardous fire areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas.
* Respect the small, endless fears of everyone in the environment by not smoking anywhere at anytime unless it is copious amounts of really righteous dope. Remember the first commandment of the Leftist: "Tobacco and Fox News bad. Dope and the New York Times good." Seek to have laws passed enabling everyone to smoke as much dope as they want. Then they will be too stoned to see through your insane plans. They will even think that more taxes on the rich means higher government revenues. Praise those who are disfiguring rocks, walls, and buildings with graffiti as "artistes." Return forests and farmland to their natural state -- especially if you can get them cheap via takings or public domain. Let the surviving population live like the sheep they are and eat grass.
* Honesty is absolute - your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract.
* Lies are your friend. Never let facts obfuscate falsehoods. Your word is only good for those your are speaking to at the time you are speaking. After you've promised something, forget about it. A handshake and a contract are simply lies waiting for laws to make them inoperative. If caught in a lie and under oath remember to always ask what the meaning of "is" is.
* Live by the Golden Rule.
* Live by the Rule of the Gold: If you run across anyone with gold, make them convert it to paper money and give 98% of that to the state or your re-election campaign. Require the other 2% to be donated to a charity of your choice for a tax deduction. Live the dream by buying your way into the government which will be, when that great getting-up morning arrives, the only thing on earth with any money or privilege.
[Note: I'm also looking to add to this list. The last time it came around we got this prescient statement in the comments:
West: "Never shoot a woman no matter what."
Left: "Unless she is the Republican Governor of Alaska. In which case, blast away. Be sure to remove her orange hunting vest afterwards so you can claim it was 'just an accident' and you mistook her for a caribou."]
Easter Paradeshave been around since, well, the first Easter: "The first was on Palm Sunday as Jesus was welcomed to Jerusalem by an adoring throng. The second took place as Jesus carried a cross to Calvary."
These parades persisted as holy processions through the Middle Ages and up to the modern era when they became, especially in America, much more secular:Continued...
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) -- 2 Corinthians 6
"Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough?
"Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side.
"God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else — something it never entered your head to conceive — comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?
"This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.
"Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."
-- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
And as for Jesus: He is dead at this liturgical moment, the Nietzschean position in the Christian calendar, when one might even say that, “God is dead.”
This gives us a chance to consider what is implicit in that proposition. We are in mourning for a Christ who has been judicially murdered. But, too, for a Christ who caught even His own Apostles by surprise, as we will recollect tonight.
If liberals did not love death, they would not so consistently encourage it.
If God did not hate death, He would not have defeated it.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings
"They took the body down from the cross and one of the few rich men among the first Christians obtained permission to bury it in a rock tomb in his garden; the Romans setting a military guard lest there should be some riot and attempt to recover the body. There was once more a natural symbolism in these natural proceedings; it was well that the tomb should be sealed with all the secrecy of ancient eastern sepulcher and guarded by the authority of the Caesars. For in that second cavern the whole of that great and glorious humanity which we call antiquity was gathered up and covered over; and in that place it was buried. It was the end of a very great thing called human history; the history that was merely human. The mythologies and the philosophies were buried there, the gods and the heroes and the sages. In the great Roman phrase, they had lived. But as they could only live, so they could only die; and they were dead.
"On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn."
137 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4 How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7 Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
This is how Jeff Koons explains his work of art, above:
This painting has a sexualized sense of nature. There's reference to nineteenth-century French painting, and Courbet, and to Louis Elishemius, a twentieth-century American who has absolutely influenced me over the last couple of years. There's also a reflective silver line drawing that's what I think would be Cy Twombley's take on Courbet's Origin of the World-- but a little more primal. The image itself comes from a close-up of a couple in the act of making love. It's a penetration. Laid on top of that, with the exact same cropping, is an image of a waterfall. So you have the greens and the nature colors and then in the center of the waterfall, you have white and the flesh of the couple. It makes reference to Marcel Duchamp's Etant Donnes. Sexuality is something that overtakes you. The gesture that you end up making in the world happens through instinct and all these desires for procreation. The most beautiful aesthetics, the greatest beauty, is the acceptance of nature and of how things function. When I say beauty, I mean just true reality and openness to everything.ILLUSTRATION ART: APRIL FOOL'S DAY