Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Preacher Offering a Future World, the Historian Waxing Nostalgic, and the Dead Man Underwriting Them Is What It Takes

For a review of neo-conservatives' philosophy of power, read this:

The single greatest threat to America, according to many neocons, is not communism or radical Islam but nihilism, and they see nihilism as the inevitable outcome of Enlightenment liberalism and America’s founding principles. The real problem with liberal-capitalist society for Strauss, Kristol, and Brooks is that individuals do not sacrifice themselves to anything higher than themselves and their petty self-interest. What America needs, therefore, is a two-step antidote for its cultural malaise: the inculcation of public virtue and the promotion of nationalism. The neocons seek to restore a public philosophy that promotes sacrifice as the great moral ideal and patriotism as the great political ideal. 

The American people need something greater than themselves to live for. They need to learn the virtue of sacrifice, which means war. War–perpetual war–is the ultimate means by which the neocons can fight creeping nihilism and promote sacrifice and nationalistic patriotism. An aggressive, proactive foreign policy therefore serves a greater purpose–to raise ordinary Americans above their daily, selfish concerns. Nation building also provides neoconservative statesmen with a grand theatre on which to practice their statesmanlike virtues.

The guy's arguing against neo-con philosophy, but why the fuck would you group David Brooks in any category other than stooge-propagandist much less flatter his hack-ass by comparing him to Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol - no matter your issues with the one, other, or both?

O, there's this to read too.

It’s mid-summer 2014 and a drawn-down U.S. garrison in embattled Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is suddenly, unexpectedly overrun by Taliban guerrillas, while U.S. aircraft are grounded by a blinding sandstorm. Heavy loses are taken and in retaliation, an embarrassed American war commander looses B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters to demolish whole neighborhoods of the city that are believed to be under Taliban control, while AC-130U "Spooky" gunships rake the rubble with devastating cannon fire.

Meanwhile, angry at the endless, decades-long stalemate over Palestine, OPEC’s leaders impose a new oil embargo on the U.S. to protest its backing of Israel as well as the killing of untold numbers of Muslim civilians in its ongoing wars across the Greater Middle East. With gas prices soaring and refineries running dry, Washington makes its move, sending in Special Operations forces to seize oil ports in the Persian Gulf. This, in turn, sparks a rash of suicide attacks and the sabotage of pipelines and oil wells. As black clouds billow skyward and diplomats rise at the U.N. to bitterly denounce American actions, commentators worldwide reach back into history to brand this "America's Suez," a telling reference to the 1956 debacle that marked the end of the British Empire.

That's another autoblogographical anchor-trope, cause Hamster's agent won't even return my calls anymore when I call and ask if Hamster's available for dinner. Also, I hereby trademark the word obamatopoeia.

As for the stanky apocalyptic hyperventilating, even if it is fart-yellow, it chills the heart of a father of a seventeen year old, yo. I'm small this way.


Marvin Bell

    Live as if you were already dead.
                     —Zen admonition

1. About the Dead Man and the Numbers
The dead man is outside the pale.
The dead man makes space for himself the way a soccer player moves to the place
    to be next.
The angles shift, the pace slows and picks up, it matters more, then less, then
    more, then less, and others run by in both directions.
One of them may slow to stoke the embers of a failing thought.
For example, the dead man restores the poet's ambition to plumb the nature
    of existence.
Sometimes he, sometimes she, asks the dead man what it is to live as if one were
    already dead.
It's the feel of an impression in the earth, a volume in space, an airy drift upward.
It's downwind and upwind at the same time.
It's a resonance to wrap one's mind around, like a bandage beneath which the
    healing may happen.
It's the idea of turf beyond the neighborhood.
It's a cold flame in a hot season.
It's what you do facing the guns.

2. More About the Dead Man and the Numbers

Here we go, with what it takes.
The dead man wakes in a dream, lungs aching as if the night were a stairway
    or a hill.
Is he indoors or out, an insider in public or an outsider at home?
He hears a splash of tissue in a knee and a click as his shoulder slips the edge
    of an obstruction.
You would think he thinks himself awake, but the dead man does not.
He has a way of making the ephemeral last, the rusting slow, the leaf hang,
    the bullet hold up in midair.
In the waking world, there are too many of us to tell, the ushers are overwhelmed
    by the numbers wanting a box seat.
The preacher offering a future world, the historian waxing nostalgic, and the dead
    man underwriting them is what it takes.
How is it to be the dead man among shifting loyalties?
It means living in the interstices, swimming in the wake of the big boats, crossing
    the borders on back roads.
It means taking the field with those whose lives are numbered.
It means finding space for when it will matter. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Story - Hieroglyphics of Scuff and Blister

Yeah yeah yeah, I posted that six weeks ago on the 65th anniversary of Divine's birth, but in response to the ridiculously preposterous suggestion that Babs Mikulski (D-Fort Meade) make a primary run at Mobamafucker from the Left, and more importantly, to remain constant in never missing an opportunity to repost a bit that always makes me giggle (while blegally calling those bits crucial autoblogographical anchor-tropes), I had no choice but to post that youtube.

Had no choice on that either. 

I did have a choice in this:


Vievee Francis

My story - hieroglyphics of scuff and blister.
How can you know me? Tin and bridle,
neigh and crocker sack. My gandy-song -
the blue-buzz of flies.
Sugar from your palm? No.
Give me your fingers. Under this hairshirt
steams the vocabulary of the flesh,
crosshatched and scarred into meaning.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Omen I Didn't Know I Was Waiting for Pulled Into the Station the Same Instant As the Train

I used to write about kayfabe all the time. I found a notebook yesterday from 2002 while looking for The Franchiser (which I recommended to a friend who's now asking me questions a rereading seems necessary to answer - YAY!), and when I opened the notebook to a random page there was kayfabe, a random twenty pages later there was kayfabe. I swear, I haven't written kayfabe in a tablet in two years.

The demise of Brand America mirrors the decline of professional wrestling, Elric's mother's daytime soap operas, the rise of MMA bloodfests, the victory of embarrassment TV, the saturation of digital distractions. When pinched, Corporate calls on us to maintain our own kayfabe (says the pseudonymous blegger). 

Wikileaks serves Corporate (against their wishes) by breaking the kayfabe it simultaneously believes is necessary for Corporate's success and a drag on that success. Power would be easier to project if that image of rational decency and superior morality and civility didn't need to be protected. Corporate is furious at Wikileaks because Wikileaks was disobedient; it's not that Wikileaks broke kayfabe, it's that Wikileaks broke kayfabe ahead of Corporate's timetable. Brutal, incompetent, and petty adjustments will be make, hindered by clumsy attempts to both maintain and weaken kayfabe. 

  • On collaboration and complicity
  • Wikileaks, Julian Assange & Modern Anarchist Praxis. (h/t)
  • A few questions we wouldn't be asking in a sane world: Why is it that most people in the United States and elsewhere are not disturbed in the slightest that, despite abundant evidence, American officials who apparently committed heinous crimes in the war on terror will not be investigated and held to account, while WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who apparently did nothing illegal this week, is hunted to the ends of the Earth? And how in hell is it possible that when a former president of the United States of America admits he authorized the commission of torture -- which is to say, he admits he committed a major crime -- the international media and political classes express not a fraction of the anger they are now directing at the man who leaked the secrets of that president's administration?
  • Ron Paul stands up for Julian Assange.
  • Attacks on Ron Paul begin.
  • Krugman's obamapostasy: still not awesome.
  • Frank Rich's lamest column yet: Those desperate to decipher the baffling Obama presidency could do worse than consult an article titled “Understanding Stockholm Syndrome” in the online archive of The F.B.I. Law Enforcement Bulletin. It explains that hostage takers are most successful at winning a victim’s loyalty if they temper their brutality with a bogus show of kindness. Soon enough, the hostage will start concentrating on his captors’ “good side” and develop psychological characteristics to please them — “dependency; lack of initiative; and an inability to act, decide or think.”
  • Last Thursday the past five Republican secretaries of state published an op-ed in YFWP endorsing the Senate ratification of the latest START treaty with Russia. I don't listen to news, I only read what I read, but have more people given less of a fuck about the opinion of five Republican secretaries of state ever? In the land ever aching for Republican daddies? Has anyone seen anybody anywhere any yammer about this on the cable news shows or in the big Left or Right media?
  • In YFWP, Kaplan assholosity: The American empire has always been more structural than spiritual. Its network of alliances certainly resembles those of empires past, and the challenges facing its troops abroad are comparable to those of imperial forces of yore, though the American public, especially after the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in no mood for any more of the land-centric adventures that have been the stuff of imperialism since antiquity. Americans rightly lack an imperial mentality. But lessening our engagement with the world would have devastating consequences for humanity. The disruptions we witness today are but a taste of what is to come should our country flinch from its international responsibilities.
  • Primary challenge from the Left? But there is a real way to save the Obama presidency: by challenging him in the 2012 presidential primaries with a candidate who would unequivocally commit to a well-defined progressive agenda and contrast it with the Obama administration's policies. Such a candidacy would be pooh-poohed by the media, but if it gathered enough popular support - as is likely given the level of alienation among many who were the backbone of Obama's 2008 success - this campaign would pressure Obama toward much more progressive positions and make him a more viable 2012 candidate. Far from weakening his chances for reelection, this kind of progressive primary challenge could save Obama if he moves in the desired direction. And if he holds firm to his current track, he's a goner anyway.
  • Like whom? Public officials who would make excellent candidates should they run on this platform include Sens. Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Mikulski or Al Franken; Reps. Joe Sestak, Maxine Waters, Raul Grijalva, Alan Grayson, Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Lois Capps, Jim Moran and Lynn Woolsey. Others include Jim McGovern, Marcy Kaptur, Jim McDermott or John Conyers. We should also consider popular figures outside of government. How about Robert F. Kennedy Jr.? Why not Rachel Maddow, Bill Moyers, Susan Sarandon or the Rev. James Forbes?


  • It's the start of Zappadan! I need confess, I like but do not love Zappa, I enjoy listening to but never put on Zappa, I would fail a beginner's level trivia test on Zappa, but I've friends who love Zappa so Happy Zappadan to them all.
  • Dostoyevsky's death mask
  • One of the official themes songs of Ten Mile Creek. This was on the radio when Willy Bayne ran down the cat. 
  • Superchunk covers The Cure.


Tom Sleigh


The omen I didn't know I was waiting for
pulled into the station the same instant as the train.
It was just a teenage boy busking on the platform,
cello cutting through garble, Bach's repetitions

hard-edged as a scalpel probing an open wound. 
But then I kept thinking how a sound wave 
travels the path of least resistance, 
how the notes rebound off steel and stone 

the same as a blast wave shattering row on row
of windows as it swerves through the city.
And when the music stops, on the balcony

above the rubble, coffee and tea are served. 
And if there's sugar, is it one lump or two
and did you hear what happened to Mrs. So and So?


I saw, out from under the grime, whiskers 
dipping into clear water that trickled between 
the rails to get the feel of what was near—
the same scene as on the church wall, the slimy brethren

gathered at the river, one gnawing 
an ear of corn, the rest intently listening  
to Francis teaching them their catechism
about the wild man John and his crucified cousin.

Except they were birds in the painting, not rats.
But let's go with that, let them stand 
on hind legs and sniff incense and myrrh

wafting down from high up in the air
so that one day on miraculous, fly paper feet
they'll scale the golden walls and storm the high ground.


Nothing moving on the platform, nothing for miles. 
And then a shovel clanging against paving stone
like an old man clearing rubble while a rat climbs a vine
and looks into the broken window and smells the smells.

Rubble shoulder high after two weeks work,
a toilet with a sink and a light on a pull chain
stand framed at the end of the gravel walk
already sprouting suckers leafing out more green

from the fire that scorched the burned out bush.
Ten years, fifteen, and tree limbs shade the bedrooms
and branch out window frames toward the sun.

And where the electric pump pumped water for the town
the wellhead lies broken and two clear streams
wear ruts in the floor of the wrecked house.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


MLS has released the list of players available for "the first MLS re-entry draft (that) provides veterans with the freedom to move to other clubs within the league. The first stage is Wednesday, the second the following week. Players available are primarily those who did not have the option on their contract exercised and hope to retain that salary in 2011. The 2010 finish determined the selection order, with D.C. United picking first. High-profile players are intriguing but most come with a substantial price tag." The list is mostly garbage (here's Fullback doing to work I don't want to), but look! there's Dema!

I, um, actually wouldn't want Dema back even if United didn't already have 72 mediocre holding midfielders, but Dema's expiration date is approaching and I may never get another chance to trot out this gag ever again.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Is, Therefore, the Intensest Rendezvous. It Is in That Thought That We Collect Ourselves

Even by my normal standards of head-swirling my head's swirling like White's Ferry down a flooded Potomac when the cable breaks. Too much to sort, too busy to sort, but there's lots of fresh and important reads that need your eyes, plus JRB's kind comment (Planet says Thanks!) reminds me to remind you that all Fleabus photos are by Planet, including this one, taken last night when she was inspired by JRB's kind comment to take new ones (Thanks, JRB!).



Wallace Stevens

Light the first light of evening, as in a room
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good.

This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous. 
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:

Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth, 
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.

Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole, 
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.

Within its vital boundary, the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one... 
How high that highest candle lights the dark.

Out of this same light, out of the central mind, 
We make a dwelling in the evening air, 
In which being there together is enough.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

World Tells White English-Speaking World to Go Fuck Itself

England humiliated as Russia wins 2018 World Cup vote

Football will not be coming home in eight years time, after it emerged England had crashed out in the first round of voting, securing just two votes, and the tournament was instead awarded to Russia.

History made as Qatar gets World Cup

Qatar will become the first Middle Eastern hosts of the World Cup after Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, announced the 22 executive committee members had voted to award the 2022 tournament to a country of only 1.7m people, beating off the rival bids from the United States, who had been considered the favourites by many, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

Even if these decisions were based solely on FIFA's greed for most money, there are no accidents. And from a United Kingdom of America point of view, these decisions being a massive FUCK YOU! is the best case scenario.

Theme Song December 2010

Holyfuck, awesomely weird days. Sing along!
Hey, man! Hey, man !
If there’s a drop of sake left in last night’s little bottle
Won’t you give me some?
Hey, boy! Hey, boy!
You think I’m satisfied with a little bottle?
Don’t say there’s none left!
Ok, man! If the little bottle’s not enough, give me a big one

Hi, man! Hi, man!
I wanna marry, I’m not a kid anymore
Can I marry your daughter?
Hey, boy! Hey boy!
Marry? No kidding!
You’re still too young to talk about such things
Ok, man! I’ll wait till my hair turns white

Hi, man! Hi, man!
What a big bald spot you have!
Hey, boy! Hey, boy!
Bald men are excellent
My forefathers were really excellent
Ok, man! I’m gonna have cosmetic surgery to add bald spots

Hi, man! Hi, man!
Your beard is funny, like the whiskers of an attic mouse
Hey, boy! Hey, boy !
Laugh at my beard, but women love bearded men
Ok, man! I don’t wanna be outdone by you,
Starting tomorrow, I’ll grow a beard that looks like the whiskers of a mouse

Hi, man! hi, man!
Last night’s hooker was really pretty, you should go there, too
Hey, boy! Hey, boy !
In Chiji, Nakajima and Watanji,* I’m a big shot
Okay, man! Going around here and there, I’m wasting my money
You’re wasting your money

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Open Any Mouth and Out Blows Some Hope in a Binary Data Stream

I'm unpacking still the latest leaks. It doesn't matter if Assange's motives are noble or not, it doesn't matter, as Elric warned, that the fetish for transparency will eventually fuck with you, it doesn't matter there's not a fucking thing in any cable that surprises me or you about American empire, it doesn't matter that Wikileaks strengthens Pig-American devotion to American exceptionalism, it doesn't matter that Corporate will use Wikileaks to speed-up the police state: if it wasn't Assange now it'd be someone else soon. Information is currency: you can't create a game and not expect people to play.

Wikileaks serves at least two purposes: It pisses-off people who hate being pissed-off by littles and it's a reminder to piss-off people who hate being pissed-off by littles. It's pissing-off people who hate being pissed-off by littles that reminds those who hate littles that littles still exist. Payback being hell, of course.

Thought experiment: Assange's tortured corpse turns up face down in the Tidal Basin and Glenn Beck asks Mobamafucker on live national TV, Did you order the wet kill? and Mobamafucker turns to the camera, peaks his eyebrows, and says, Fucking-A.

Sheeyit, Mobamafucker could disembowel Julian Assange at next year's State of the Union, pulling out Assange's heart so Assange could watch it stop beating, and Mobamafucker would still be called weak by Pig-Americans, though that is Mobamafucker's best path to his reelection (and my collecting my pints).



Matthew Zapruder

We have some sad news this morning
from Mars. But I'm thinking about lions. Someone
said something salient and my head became
a light bulb full of power exactly

the shape of my head. Sinister thoughts
at the Xerox machine. A chat with a retired
torturer. Now the sharp blade. Apparently
some solar wind pushed a few specklets of actually

not red but gray Mars dust through the seal
into the vacuum where the very tiny oiled hydraulics
of the light from the distant future collector seized.
What was it my brother said to me once? Like

a vampire bat on a unicorn Change rides
every moment. Houston is full of dead elephants
and empty labs experimenting on silence, open any mouth
and out blows some hope in a binary data stream.