Friday, December 2, 2016

I Dread Multitudes Yet Have Zero Capacity for Solitude

  • Fleabus, night before last. Best cat ever.
  • And then I started to rank them - Fleabus Number 1, Clover Number 2, Napoleon Number 3 - and what the fuck is wrong with me?
  • Olive has dropped a spot - she's developed a mean streak. She's simultaneously gotten smarter and funnier. Fine metaphors abound. I've dropped today's me three spots in my me ranking.
  • Scapegoating is the cement of group identities.
  • On political correctness, the straw man (and it's role in scapegoating).
  • Underestimating Trump & Bannon and a pertinent follow-up w recent historical examples.
  • There is nothing Democrats can do now, a friend, a polisciprof, said yesterday, to effectively derail anything Trump wants to do. That's not what I'm asking, I said. I know, she said.
  • Reviving the art of threat inflation.
  • Our dystopian future.
  • The politics of (not) hope.
  • So yesterday I snark tweeted Overlord James Fallows on his wail that facts don't matter anymore, re: duh, and then my mind immediately thought of Talking Heads' Cross-eyed and Painless, which once was one of my top fifteen most air-guitared songs for X-Date decades ago, and lordy, does it lumber like an arthritic fart. Fine metaphors abound.
  • Dan's book officially released today!
  • There's new Mary Ruefle?
  • Sexton's Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty).
  • My email tells me iTunes has dropped the new live 2014 Kate Bush into my possession. Three days ago someone tweeted a Kate Bush tweet in which she endorsed the Tory PM of Britain. I had never given a moment's thought to Kate Bush's political views - I assumed that if she did have political views they would be - what? - mine? 
  • So I'm gonna wait a few days to listen, cause this is nagging at me. Everyfuckingthing nags at me. I need think about this more, scribble about it in tablet. It's not changing anything, everything changes everything. What a dumb motherfucker.


Dean Young

Someone’s baby don’t love him
no more no no no more
twangs a workman’s radio next door.
I recommend red and plenty of it.
What’s another identity crisis
more or less? Perhaps this night
is genuine and not another
fake-out rhyme for darkness,
not that anything won’t rhyme with darkness.
I worry about a tooth, worry if
this typewriter will ever achieve
escape velocity as long as my feet
hurt. I dread new shoes.
I dread multitudes yet
have zero capacity for solitude
which may put into perspective my
befriending squirrels, strays, starting
political feuds with kindergarteners.
Perspective is for sissies.
If you can’t draw a dodecagon
on the fly, you’ll never catch
a cloud convincing enough
to vanish in or one of those
50-foot sunflowers that ate Van Gogh.


  1. in dean young's poem i read

    I dread multitudes yet
    have zero capacity for solitude
    which may put into perspective my
    befriending squirrels

    which reminded me of something that surprised me that i read earlier this morning at

    and i quote from yoni appelbaum's article:

    Americans used to assume a clear line between wilderness and civilization. Bradford called the land he saw a “hidious and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men.” As European colonists moved inland from the coast, they called that boundary the frontier—on one side wild, untouched forest, and on the other, cleared fields, farms, and settlements.

    Where the early settlers found squirrels or coyotes or deer or turkeys, they knew that they were venturing into wilderness. These wild creatures they hunted for food, and for sport. Onto the clear-cut land they brought new creatures—pigs and dogs and cows. They even brought tame turkeys, domesticated from a Mexican subspecies, taken to Europe, and then reimported across the Atlantic.

    As Europeans advanced across the continent, they drove out its native species. And as these creatures dwindled and disappeared, the settlers began to regret what they had done. Some, like Teddy Roosevelt, saw the fauna of the New World as a natural resource, a treasure to be protected and cherished so that it could be harvested by future generations. Others, like John Muir, viewed the remaining patches of wilderness as sacred trusts, little patches of Eden to be preserved and enjoyed.

    But both groups of conservationists drew a clear line between the pure preserves of nature, and the soiled, sullied domain of man. The conservation movement aimed to cordon off parts of the country from development, where woodland creatures could thrive and survive. Without such spaces, they warned, they would vanish altogether.

    * * *

    The squirrels were the first to return. In the mid-19th century, Boston, New Haven, and Philadelphia released small numbers of squirrels on to their commons, as curiosities. Hundreds came to marvel at the incongruity; imagine, a squirrel in the city! They dined at the public trough, of course; such wild creatures could hardly be expected to find their own food in an urban environment.

    Those first released did not survive for long. But within a few decades, squirrels became fashionable appurtenances for upscale urban parks. Their presence, one contemporary gushed, “excites feelings of admiration akin to those awakened by the birds and the fairer forms of nature.” They remained dependent on the kindness of people, a necessarily fragile existence. But city dwellers cherished them, little avatars of the natural world dwelling peacefully in their midst.

    the article goes on to assert that the "forest primeval" our colonialist ancestors encountered was less "natural" than it appeared:

    Far from an unspoilt wilderness, it was, in fact, a carefully tended landscape, cultivated by a large and prosperous population to meet its wants and needs. Native Americans set fires to clear the underbrush and provide a habitat for the animals on which they depended. They hunted the deer and the turkey which thrived in the forests they maintained.

  2. You've made what must be at least a half-a-dozen fine metaphors abound references without linking the associated KitH vid. I find this disturbing. One or two, sure. But eventually, newbies've gotta be hipped. I have consequently dropped yer grog three spots from where it was, which was three spots above best grog ever.

    I must acknowledge being unnerved by KT's comments in Canadian e-rag interview. Too much so to get into at any length here. Too many alternative angles meta-ing outward unto infinity, none of them having made me feel too much better having thought them. Suffice it to say, in the spirit of the general tone of the interviewee — what I would provisionally describe as glass-half-full opportunistic optimism: Hey, at least she didn't say that Tony Blair had been the best thing that's happened to us in a long time.

    1. Here you go.

      She's fabulously wealthy, of course, which doesn't necessarily make her a Tory but makes being a Tory much more likely, if I'd thought about it. But it's weird (so I'm told by a good friend who's also a big KB fan) - I've never thought about her real life. I never had a crush on her, never thought of her at all except the voice and the music. I wish I hadn't heard the interview she did on BBC6 - I didn't want to hear what her speaking voice sounds like. She's a region of my brain that's only unlocked by her song.

      It's not that I care what her political views are, it's that I had to think about them at all that bothers me most.

    2. Thanks. Maybe some more pizza.
      My feelings are similar. Most of my fave artists, particularly of my youth were accentuated by the mystery of their existence. So, yeah, the mention alone was the thing. The interview comment itself counters the brilliant coyness of her one word "No" response I noted re. the Beeb thing.

      Still: In spite of all the Tory talk in the reaction to the interview, there is zero indication that it has anything to do with Tories or their philosophies. It is just as likely she's ignorant of much of the PM's previous consequence and was reacting to one) the context: woman in power and the fear of it" and 2) the sequence of PMs in the UK and the results thereof over "a long time". But, again, that we've even gone on about it is itself the issue.

    3. I still listen to Roxy Music and its fox-hunting founder, so if I got over that and only thought about that on this little this, I'll get over this, so, um, fine metaphors abound.

    4. Like (plus one, thumbs up).
      Too, I'd like to think that my not still bro-swooning over ol' Bry despite an ongoing love for Roxy Music (& even his solo work) is as much for my having matured and not merely his having turned out to be a bigger dick than'd been evident by the image that led to my bro-swooning.

  3. When I was young and immortal and studying music my time was taken up with practicing, going to rehearsals, performing in concerts, and taking lessons. I was completely oblivious to everything else. I didn't pay any attention to politics or anything else. I was much happier then. Knowledge may or may not be power but it can sure ruin your outlook on life. I suspect Kate Bush doesn't have much time for anything but her music like many singers and musicians. All of my friends in the present have the most awful and ignorant views on politics. I do my best not to discuss any of it with them even when they try to draw me out. While I do think it is partly their fault I also see them as victims of propaganda that comes at them from all angles and all quarters, the worst being the entertainment industry of books, movies, and television programs. Propaganda turns people into idiots. I'm still an idiot even though my awareness has grown. I still retreat into my music when I've had a bellyful of becoming aware. Otherwise I'd go nuts. I have no idea what Kate Bush's views are but if they are awful I think people should be forgiving of it. It's not all her fault.

    1. You're right Rob, thanks. The average person generally well-informed is only casually familiar with what's going on. And of course all of our returns may vary.

    2. a)it has been said that to understand all is to forgive all

      b)and martin luther king jr once sermonized on the topic of how to love one's enemies - see

      c)whether and when and to what extent one might constructively speak about one's views on current affairs can be tricky - although active avoidance of controversy promotes peace, possibly a full and frank exchange of views might - once in a long while - increase the amount of understanding in the world - probably very infrequently - social occasions are usually not intended as opportunities for learning, growth, and change

  4. Good stuff from Davidly and Mistah Charley. But these people aren't my enemies, merely friends and acquaintances. I don't mind exchanges of views, it's just that it's a waste of time. I never start in on this stuff, it's usually them trying to draw me out and when they succeed it always ends up with them saying they don't want to talk about it. It's the old don't bother me with facts because I've already made up my mind routine. I've come to the conclusion that especially for liberals, all they care about is their symbols.