Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We Will Not Look Up How They Got Their Name in a Book of Names We Will Not Trace the Name’s Root Conjecture Its First Murmuring

The recent reappearance of Nader Zombie 2000 begs a question: Suppose Al Gore is president and gifted with 911, a once-in-a-generation chance to redesign paradigms: is there anybody reading this who isn't convinced Al Gore wouldn't have grasped and seized the same opportunities to expand the power of the executive that George Bush did, that Barack Obama does? The one paradigm Gore - and Vice President Joe Lieberman - would have spent the most bloody capital on rebranding is the meme that Democrats are national security pussies. Bloodily rebranded.

I don't know it would have worked - this is Crackerstan: Obama could be personally beheading Muslims on prime-time TV live from the Oval Office and he would still be called soft on terror - but it would have been tried. I'm a rube, whore, hypocrite, I cash corporate's check every-other Friday, bought this Dell laptop I'm writing this with on credit, yadda and etc, but I believe - apparently I need to believe - that I'd be as disgusted at Al Gore two years out from 911 as I am disgusted at Barack Obama two years after his election victory, but again, what if Al Gore was president on 911 - advised most closely, national security-wise, by Vice President Joe Lieberman - and did exactly what George Bush - advised by Senator Joe Lieberman - did, and it worked, Team Democrat won? It's entirely possible this country isn't farther to the right than it is because George Bush was president in 2001.

UPDATE! Jack asked some questions at his place, especially regarding the last sentence of the above paragraph. I tried to clarify my intent in comments:
What I meant by the last sentence is that Gore could have moved as much to the right as Bush did and *more* and been cheered by middle-class Democratic America. There's a substantial number of Democrats in America that were driven more by opposition to Bush as King than by Bush's policies; the resistance to Bush policies was more anti-Bush than anti-policies. I don't doubt Bush would have gone further to the right if the politics would have allowed it. Gore might not have had that political obstacle; in fact, politics may have required him to move further to the right than Bush.

    Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1953)
    JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1953)
    William Golding, The Lord of the Flies (1954)
    Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (1955)
    Allen Ginsberg, Howl (1956)
    Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving (1956)
    Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)
    Norman O Brown, Life Against Death (1959)
    RD Laing, The Divided Self (1960)
    Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)
    Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962)
    Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962)
    Pauline Reage, The Story of O (1965)
    Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
    Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape (1967)
    Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice (1967)
    Norman Mailer, Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968)
    Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan (1968)
    Arthur Janov, The Primal Scream (1970)
    Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch (1971)
    Robert M Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycling Maintenance (1974)
    • The fiction on this list, with the exception of Catch-22, is bullshit, the most overrated novels of the past century EVEN IN FUCKING 1974, and the one book of poetry is possibly the most overrated poet of the past seven millenium, and when was the last time you thought about Carlos Casteneda? Might as well read Seth Speaks.
    • McCarthy.
    • Roth says read Turgenev. 
    • RIP, Alex Anderson
    • On the above.
    • This week's new releases w/MP3.
    • Lovich.
    • Warpaint. What I've heard I like.
    • I wanna be your be your Joey Ramone.
    • Get up.
    • I've always had a major crush on Carrie Brownstein.
    • Dig me out.
    • Oh! 
    • Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker's new band channels Patti Smith channeling The Byrds is delicious:


      John Taggert

      Darkened not completely dark let us walk in the darkened field
      trees in the field outlined against that which is less dark
      under the trees are bushes with orange berries dark green leaves
      not poetry’s mixing of yellow light blue sky darker than that
      darkness of the leaves a modulation of the accumulated darkness
      orange of the berries another modulation spreading out toward us
      it is like the reverberation of a bell rung three times
      like the call of a voice the call of a voice that is not there.

      We will not look up how they got their name in a book of names
      we will not trace the name’s root conjecture its first murmuring
      the root of the berries their leaves is succoured by darkness
      darkness like a large block of stone hauled on a wooden sled
      like stone formed and reformed by a dark sea rolling in turmoil.


      1. I still have copies of the Second Sex and the Naked Ape.

        But man, you're right.

        And Castaneda. Yikes, me got fooled, as a wee kid. I don't blame myself, though. Who doesn't want to become a panther? Who doesn't want to fly?

      2. The book list works best as a middlebrow "essentials" list. To someone who never reads, the list is highfalutin'. To someone who takes fiction very seriously and discriminates with ease, it is probably a bit too pedestrian.

        Castaneda's stuff is best taken as metaphor. That some of it is fictional doesn't undercut the metaphoric messages inherent in Yaqui witch stuff. There are & were actual Yaqui sorcerers. Datura does cause hallucinations and people can see weird things while hallucinating, things that can feel like transmogrification. The book isn't entirely bullshit. IMO the attacks on its authenticity have to do with jealousy and a fear of alternative metaphysics (read: non-Judeo-Christian).

        Golding's Lord of the Flies is terrible in its fear of fictional-anarchy and worship of centralized power. But as a story of kids alone on an island, it's not bad. I prefer Marianne Wiggins' semi-remake, John Dollar.

      3. Hey BDR,
        Wasn't Desmond Morris the guy who thought homosexuality was caused by industrial civilization?

      4. Hey Jack, thanks for bump.

        My comment on Castaneda was more on how prominent his books were then versus how forgotten they are now. I can certainly vouch that the people I knew who read Castaneda were far cooler and far less creepy than those who read Jane Roberts.

        I love Wiggins. I liked John Dollar, but the one I still think about all the time is Evidence of Things Unseen. Her last one, Shadow Catcher, didn't work for me. Hopefully she has a new one soon.

      5. I've handled the checking out of many of those books, just never read most of them. Now that I think about, I realize just how small a piece fiction takes up on the reading subject matter pie chart.

        The Dums can have my vote. At least $800, bet that gas bill this winter's a motherfucker.

      6. JV, I remember Morris thought that industrial civilization was emasculating, don't know if he thought it caused homosexuality. To be honest, I never read him; what I know is what I heard in classes when he was mentioned, usually, though not always, dismissively.

        RG - most were on reserve fifteen, twenty years ago. Today? Just Autobiography of Malcolm X.

      7. No personal slights intended in my prior comment... just saying what hits my noggin when I think of the list and reasons the list may be inadequate. All such lists reveal personal taste bias, a prejudice of fancy, a tribalist opinion. They reveal, in other words, that books are made by and read by humans, who are whimsical creatures.

      8. Oh, no slights were inferred. No worries, now or whenever.

        Yeah, we're about a month away from the Best of Year lists starting. They're always good for an arrghgiggle or two.

      9. The idea that the guy who picked Lieberman to be his heartbeat-away would have moved anywhere but to the right is laughable.

        I never tire of that tribute to babs. Please keep it coming if she ever makes the news again before 2016.

        As for Ehrlich, if someone break into his house, it just might be a member of his family.


      10. Your favorite book sucks? Same here about the Malcolm X. We started keeping all the copies of that on reserve right after the pic came out and they started disappearing.