Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Like You, They May Be Waiting Separately at Their Own Levels, Inside Their Own Portions of Your Incoherent Flat

Biblioklept's posting of this Vollmann quote last night:

My critique of American society remains fundamentally incoherent. Would I really have preferred my grandfather’s time, when Pinkertons were cracking Wobblies over the head, or my father’s, when Joe McCarthy could ruin anyone by calling him Red? All I know is that although I live a freer life than many people, I want to be freer still; I’m sometimes positively dazzled with longing for a better way of being. What is it that I need?

serendipitously mirrored a conversation I was simultaneously enjoying with my Obamaphile friend. He was particularly enthused by Krugman's Obamaphile pep talk from Monday and ready for argument. My friend brought out the Green Lantern, insisted I expect too much from Democrats in general and Obama in particular. He earnestly reminded me of the dangers of the American Right (citing both the Right's reaction to the Bergdahl story, which I haven't followed, and gun nuts reaction to a surprisingly sensible NRA statement and subsequent NRA submission to gun nuts). I earnestly reminded him that while some of the American Right is fuckawful, the American Left doesn't exist except as a counterweight character reacting to the stimuli of a stimulated fuckawful American Right in the oligarchy's kabuki called Democracy. Even if that's true, he said, if that's the only game in town, shouldn't we try to make it as least shitty as possible. Ah, less-shitty, I said, it always comes back to that. I understand the argument, I sympathize with the argument, I agree with the argument just .06% less than I disagree with the argument, I debated the pluses and minuses of less-shittism for eight fucking years on this blog, I recognize the argument's deployment to justify acceptance of greater shittiness, and what our Triskelion overlords have planned is more shittiness, I.... I got home, turned on the laptop, saw the Vollmann quote, realized the word I was looking for was incoherent, the motives for my attempts to disengage from the clusterfuck, the motives for my inability to disengage from the clusterfuck despite my impotency (and self-interest) before it.

  • Omidyar and the Oligarch's Code.
  • Savage capitalism is back.
  • Graeber interviewed.
  • One percent America.
  • Too little, too late.
  • On Assata ShakurBut the anger... it should be simple, but the ongoing history of white supremacy in this country makes nothing simple. That Assata Shakur's daughter should ever have been separated from her mother, that she should have believed that her mother did not want to be out of prison: these are great crimes, inexcusable crimes, all too common crimes. There has been much talk in recent weeks of reparations for slavery. It's not clear to me how a debt like that could ever be repaid. How even individual crimes, like those against Assata Shakur and her daughter, could ever be adequately atoned for.
  • A bleggalgaze: I feel like I keep saying this every few blog posts, or maybe I just think about it in the shower: I need to write more, I’ve lost the purpose of this blog, I need to be more interesting, I need more clicks (I almost typed “dicks”—and yes … perhaps), I need more retweets, I need the favs, am I alive, etc., and I know people are like, shut up already, what are you, a narcissist, what are you, a woman, what are you, and the crux of it is I hate myself for having those thoughts and for wanting to write and for wanting attention. What this means is that I’ve lost the ability to not give a fuck and write. When I say “lost” I mean “I never had it”. This is not a bad thing at all but capitalist ideology posits solipsism as a triumph, an admirable thing, a wonderful starting point. Or maybe it’s both the starting point and the goal. You are supposed to not care. I know that this idea of not-caring-what-you-think-of-me needs to be historicised, raced, and gendered, before it can mean anything. Some of us get away with not-caring! Are rewarded handsomely, in fact! Make pots of money off of not-caring! And some of us care too much and then we die.
  • Anne Carson, for those of you who do.
  • Josipovici, for those of you who do.
  • The life of John Fahey, American guitarist.


David Wagoner

Right after the bomb, even before the ceiling
   And walls and floor are rearranging
      You and themselves into a different world,
You must hold still, must wait for them
   To settle down in unpredictable ways,
      To bring their wars, shuddering,
To an end, and only then should you begin
   Numbly to feel what freedom may be left
      To your feet or knees, to your elbows
Or clenched fingers. Where you used to walk
   Or lean or lie down or fix your attention
      At a whim or stomp your foot
Or slump in a chair, you'll find a new
   Architecturally unsound floor-plan
      To contend with, if you can move
At all. Now you may remember others
   Who were somewhere near you before
      This breakdown of circumstances. Caught by surprise
Like you, they may be waiting separately
   At their own levels, inside their own portions
      Of your incoherent flat. They may be thinking
Of you, as you are of them, and wondering
   Whether some common passageway, no matter
      How crooked or narrow, might still exist
Between you, through which you might share the absence
   Of food and water and the cold comfort
      Of daylight. They may be expecting you
To arrive at any moment, to crawl through dust
   And fire to their rescue as they find their bodies
      Growing more stiff, assuming even more
Unusual attitudes at every turn
   Of a second hand, at every sound
      Of a bell or an alarm, at every pounding
Of a door or a heart, so if you can't reach them
   Now and they can't reach you, remember, please
      Remember, whatever you say,
Whatever you hear or keep to yourself, whatever
   You scream or whisper, will need to make
      Some kind of sense, perhaps for days and days.


  1. the fuckawful clusterfuckery is the Setting, we're only written in to cope with it. as a sometimes Discordian, i applaud your incoherence. ;-) just as hope is not necessary for perseverance, coherence is not necessary in personal striving. here's to the freedom we manage to eke out between the lines.

  2. “This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.”
    — Franz Kafka

  3. sorry, brother. last one:

  4. a) good to see cnihilist, formerly Montag, here

    b) didn't know he was a Jeff

    c) possibly amusing - the youtube ad prior to the brotherhood of jeff 'heavy days' video was promoting weight loss surgery

    d) speaking of musical performances, the lone time i saw john fahey in person - in buffalo - he was on the same bill as john sebastian

    e) i didn't know fahey was from takoma park, which is in some ways one of the most progressive places in the country, if letting teens vote in municipal elections is progressive [my ignorance about fahey is vast - i didn't even know he was dead]

    f) and speaking of towns in maryland - there's one called woodstock, and they are having a woodstock music festival there on june 21, 2014

    g) "held at a field adjacent to St. Alphonsus Church in Woodstock, Maryland, will begin at 7:30 pm. Gates open at 6:30. Your donation of $25 per person will help in our support of the men's homeless shelter in Catonsville, as well as with the schooling opportunities and expenses for rural poor in India....Refreshments will be ample and available to purchase at nominal fees, so please bring only yourselves and an expectation of having a 'rocking good time'."

    h)and the headliner - john sebastian of the loving spoonful - the possibility of going to this occurs to me - maybe missus charley might enjoy it - and it is not summer in the city, it's summer in the country

    i)speaking which quincy jones jazz version of summer in the city

  5. sh' looks at 'er ..freer.. house in new paltz differently .. .