Category Archives: America

A fig leaf for sanity

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This dude has a problem with homos?

I just read the SCOTUS decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and I have to say, Justice Ginsburg’s dissent—though disingenuous on numerous points—is more logically consistent than the majority opinion. The fact is, gay marriage cannot, and was never meant to coexist with the free exercise of religion. “Well if your stupid Flying Spaghetti Monster wasn’t such a goddamned bigot….” I rest my case. (See also: “Real Jesus loves everybody just the way they are.”)

But Masterpiece is not actually a victory for religion, or the free exercise thereof. All this case does is differentiate conscientious objection from actual freedom. It’s a protracted religious test at the behest of scorned, chubby poofters, with the result that only the inscrutable fig-leaf of religion at its most passive and irrational now merits a carve-out, so long as you can satisfy a roulette wheel of vindictive bureaucrats that it’s all just in your head; whereas a straightforward moral rationale against the enfranchisement of sexual deviance would never, on its face, have stood a chance here. With Obergefell, such uncomfortable questions about public morality were effectively rendered hypothetical, merely philosophical, historical curiosities. With Masterpiece, they’re now conveniently quarantined (unlike AIDS.)

Of course, like killing a fetus, the scope of the Court’s purview is procedural, not moral. So: does a retailer have a right to inquire what I intend to use his product for, as a prerequisite of doing business? If so (a big “if”), does he have a right to refuse if he dislikes my answer? That depends. In Masterpiece, Phillips (the baker) was presumably being asked to include some message (“Congratulations Adam and Steve,” a couple of little plastic grooms, etc.) That would be compelled speech, a matter the Court already settled in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston. But that’s not the issue this decision focuses on. Rather, Masterpiece is about whether Phillip’s religious beliefs were duly taken into account by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (boy, that sure sounds like an impartial body, doesn’t it?)

Indeed, the inverse case cited by Philips’ attorneys—of one William Jack, a hellfire-and-brimstone Okie from Muskogee who submitted complaints to the Commission against three separate bakers for their respective refusals to decorate cakes for him with biblical verses condemning homolingus—is a bad analogy to Masterpiece, because in the latter case, the Commission was considering (or refusing to consider) a religious exemption; whereas, in the former three cases, it was compelled speech that was the issue.

But according to the majority, there was another problem with the way speech was treated by the Commission:

The Commission ruled against Phillips in part on the theory that any message on the requested wedding cake would be attributed to the customer, not to the baker. Yet the Division did not address this point in any of the cases involving requests for cakes depicting anti-gay marriage symbolism.

This is highly telling, and Ginsburg doesn’t really have a rebuttal, so she ultimately addresses another difference between the two cases, one that’s more pliant to her purposes:

The different outcomes the Court features do not evidence hostility to religion of the kind we have previously held to signal a free-exercise violation, nor do the comments by one or two members of one of the four decisionmaking entities considering this case justify reversing the judgment below.

The first half of that sentence seems to me factually sound. But there are two problems here. First, Ginsburg comes very close to saying that the Commission’s rationale is irrelevant. Secondly—of course the different outcomes do not evidence hostility to religion per se. Rather, the peculiar way Phillips’ case was adjudicated evidences hostility to his religion in particular. Obviously, the “love-wins” Unitarian community did not file an amicus brief in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop. Neither is Phillips alleging that the Commission’s ruling implied disapproval of Reform Jews, androgynous Episcopalians, or anglo-Buddhist hot-tubbers. In fact, the notion that a ruling against Phillips would compromise such peoples’ rights, even just in principle, involves quite a stretch of the imagination. So the Court’s decision necessarily grants “religion” a wide berth because otherwise, we persons of Sodom might have to acknowledge what religion actually is, and this here ain’t America if you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

In any case, the comments Ginsburg is referring to are treated more seriously by the majority:

As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. No commissioners objected to the comments. Nor were they mentioned in the later state-court ruling or disavowed in the briefs filed here. The comments thus cast doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the Commission’s adjudication of Phillips’ case.

A lot hinges there on the word thus, and Ginsburg’s dissent sidesteps and downplays most of it. But she’s right that a carve-out is being created here for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and to that extent her dissent has greater rhetorical force and logical consistency than the majority opinion.

Ultimately, however, the Masterpiece decision does not merely create a carve-out for religious discrimination against gays. Rather, it creates a carve-out for religious discrimination against gays that affirms the otherwise wholesale banishment of religion from public life; an exception that proves the rule.

Ginsburg again:

Colorado, the Court does not gainsay, prohibits precisely the discrimination Craig and Mullins encountered. Jack, on the other hand, suffered no service refusal on the basis of his religion or any other protected characteristic.

Again, William Jack wanted a cake with anti-homosexual Bible verses on it; three bakers refused, and were vetted by the Commission. They should no more be compelled to make him a cake than Phillips should be compelled to provide one for Craig and Mullins’ wedding. But if objection to decorating a cake with biblical verses on it—on the basis of what those verses say—isn’t “refusal on the basis of religion,” I don’t know what is. And that’s not a carve-out that will ever require defending before the Supreme Court. On the other hand, the carve-out that Masterpiece provides for is tenuous, and remains open to challenge: Jack Philips is being allowed to discriminate not on account of his sincerely held beliefs, but because those beliefs were belittled and not taken seriously prior to being rejected by the Commission.

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Why War?

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known for their fondness of brains

“All things pall after a while—sleep, love, sweet song, and stately dance—still these are things of which a man would surely have his fill rather than of battle, whereas it is of battle that the Trojans are insatiate.” —Homer, Iliad, Book XIII

A group of 250 French public figures signed a statement released last month, decrying the “quiet ethnic cleansing” of French Jews as a result of Muslim extremism. This is a very interesting choice of words.

Strictly speaking, it is correct, and backed by the relevant statistics. Indeed, over the past couple of decades, French Jews have been emigrating (to Israel, to North America) to escape both a steady, irreversible increase in street crime and a campaign of terrorist massacre at the hands of lumpen Muslim banlieue-dwellers (whose fanatical antipathy to Jews undoubtedly exceeds their disdain for other non-Muslims.) 

Certainly this suggests that the machinations of the global inner-oligarchy (behind both the humanitarian disasters in the third world and the mass migration of its denizens into Europe) have little to do with Judaism per se or the welfare of Jews overall—which it appears to consider expendable, in spite of the high proportion of ethnic Jews in its ranks and among its lackeys. But there’s an elephant in the room here: if “quiet ethnic cleansing” in this context entails a precipitous drop in quality of life (particularly in terms of public safety) for the targeted group, their displacement from whole cities, and their being targeted for every kind of violence (on account of their ethnicity and its privileges—real or perceived, legitimate or illegitimate), then the ethnic cleansing thus effected by the mass inflow of third world migrants into Europe touches Jews only incidentally, because its primary target is the native majority. This is obvious. Under the rules of public discourse (unwritten in the United States but partially encoded, as it happens, into actual hate speech legislation in the EU) such a dire warning can really only be issued about Jews. But the fact that it is being issued at all speaks to a subconscious awareness of far larger developments.

Now consider the following scenario:

Country ‘A’ is large and unmatched in wealth and power. Its rulers gain and maintain power in large part by promoting moral corruption around the world* (sexual perversity, intellectually stultifying mass entertainment and, especially, usury) and have boasted openly for decades about their plans for world domination. Beleaguered and near-universally disliked, Country ‘C’ survives and thrives as an appendage of Country ‘A’s warfare industry and has managed to place both its sympathizers and in some cases even its operatives in very high positions in Country ‘A.’

Meanwhile, Country ‘B’ refuses to submit to vassalage under Country ‘A,’ and to that end is covertly developing a nuclear deterrent. Although ‘B’ is in no position to ever strike ‘A’, its venal and repressive rulers make intemperate threats against ‘C,’ which is located nearby, and the two countries fight one another by proxy in neighboring third countries. In addition, every six months for the last decade, the swaggering (but henpecked) little kritarch who runs Country ‘C’ scolds an international body for its inaction against ‘B’, or holds a press conference where he hops up and down in front of a power point presentation, demanding that ‘A’ invade ‘B’ and slaughter its citizens wholesale by aerial bombardment.

This is of course all very tragic and volatile, but what I want to point out about it is that discourses regarding this situation nearly always fail to touch upon at least one of the following three important facts:

(1) ‘C’s pretext for possible further action against ‘B,’ (i.e., the suggestion that the whole world is in real danger from ‘B,’ and therefore needs to preemptively attack it) is laughably incredible, while ‘A’s pretext for possible action against ‘B’ (i.e., the credibility of ‘B’s threats against ‘C’) is critically exacerbated by ‘A’s own explicit designs on ‘B’s sovereignty.

(2) While ‘C’s demands demonstrate an unparalleled solipsism and myopic self-regard on the part of its people and their culture (which is why they’re so widely disliked), ‘A’s rulers are actually leveraging ‘C’s insecurity and playing with the lives of its citizens as surely as ‘C’s leadership is brazenly attempting to manipulate ‘A’ and siphon it’s bloated energy for the purpose of destroying ‘B.’

(3) The resistance by the rulers of ‘B’ to ‘A’ and ‘C,’ no matter how odious either or both may be, is not a redeeming characteristic in itself. Its rulers aren’t interested in their professed beliefs, or their people’s future, to 1/100,000th the degree they’re interested in their own asses, and bank accounts. In our day, the enemies of Rome (and of Judea) are never saints.

So would a US war on Iran be a “war for Israel?” Was Iraq? Was Libya? These memes are incorrect. Vital interests of the global inner-oligarchy are at stake in Iran and Syria, namely the imperatives of great power politics which Zbigniew Brzezinski specified in The Grand ChessboardThe long-term vision of this elite (which you can read about here, here, and here) has nothing to do with Judaism, properly understood. And as I’ve pointed out here already, although many of its ranking members are ethnic Jews and even Zionists, one effect of its strategy is to make regular Jews pawns, and subject them to terror.

Still, the Israeli leadership, along with the Saudis, has its own priorities vis a vis Iran, and can certainly move the ball on a US war, as it has done before. From the perspective of a morally normal, intellectually honest Hebrew this raises disturbing questions. What kind of people believes that others have a limitless moral obligation to defend it? What kind of nation hopes, expects, and sends its leaders abroad demanding that the soldiers of another nation be killed doing so? In Israel’s case, this actually goes against the premise of Zionism, i.e., that the Jews have only ourselves to rely on. Self-defense is a sacred right and a duty, but there has to be a defined objective, a point at which other contending parties’ legitimate interests enter into one’s strategic calculus, or else we are totally solipsistic and unhinged.

However, encouragement of Arab and Muslim disunity and backwardness is the pillar of Israeli foreign policy. So while you may accept the premise of Zionism, when a nation is obliged to help spur destruction on the massive scale we’ve seen in Iraq (a war the Israeli leadership lobbied for vocally, across party lines), Syria (where Israel is directly supporting the scum of humanity), Libya and Yemen, along with the spillover of desperate people from these regions into Europe with all its attendant horrors—well then the reasons why, e.g., the apparently endless sense of victimhood and entitlement of organized Jewry, no longer matter. A faction that cannot envision an attainable end, nor even a plausible reason for an end to its imposition on others simply has no future.

 

(*a phrasing for which I must credit the conservative Catholic historian E. Michael Jones)

Don’t trust this Charlatan

 

“Stay with me here for a minute. I’m going to tell you something that sounds crazy….” Wow-just-wow. This is how they keep you in the Matrix, alt-reichateers, superfluously reveling in the soy-laden tears these kinds of non-events always provoke.

Scott Adams is an admitted hypnosis aficionado who has books and speaking engagements to sell. He knows that Kanye West is a typically impressionable, egomaniacal boogie with a huge Twatter following, who will retweet the living shit out of any smarty-pants cracka who tosses his salad a little; and that the pyramid-scheme caliber of people who follow him will be the first to fall for this shit-tier faux-esoteric slight of hand. If Kanye West is “bringing you the golden age”—on Twitter, “altering reality” and “helping people break out of their mental prisons,” then not only are we dealing with prisons within prisons within prisons, but we’re well past the Golden Age. We missed it, we have to get off at the next stop and walk back a few miles, and what we’ll be looking for is Mad Max Does Johannesburg, where the wife and kiddo get crucified by we-wuz-kangs and the protagonist gets gang raped.

Sanctuary of Shamelessness

The secret of a master deal-maker

I never would’ve thought Donald Trump and Mahmoud Darwish had anything much in common, but hearing Trump make his announcement this morning recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital reminded me of the same banality of holiness evoked in Darwish’s “A Soldier Dreams of White Lillies.”

Like anything—not least our 45th president—that poem has its flaws. Namely, it denies the reality of Jewish communion with the land, suggesting that a Jew disabused of vulgar nationalism can only abandon his community and quit the region. (But of course, the converse outcome is the aim of all “anti-extremism” initiatives, and in this sense the most toothless or even conciliatory Darwish can only be an extremist.) Not incidental to those flaws, the Arab threats of violence in this matter are frivolous, narcissistic and—above all—boring, even if they’re followed through upon. But then, so are Jewish complaints, and threats of counter-measures. At least primarily, to be Palestinian can only mean being anti-Israel, full of vengeance, resentment and wounds to loudly nurse. Likewise, to be Israeli necessarily and primarily (at least, but always, in practice) means being anti-Arab, anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, anti-Gentile; snide, superior, embittered, and conniving, like a diabolically scorned yenta—a characteristic that no amount of stoicism or machismo can ever absolve the Israelis of.

The first Arab riots against Zionist designs on Jerusalem were sparked in 1929 by allegations that the placement of a dozen chairs and a cloth mekhitza for elderly Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall was a prelude to the destruction of the al-Aksa mosque. As of 2017, fifty years of Israeli administration has entailed a great deal of covetous malfeasance, but not the slightest disrespect of the Noble Sanctuary. Yet the Muslims never tire of this pretext, and such outbreaks are veritably seasonal in Jerusalem, because—although Israel indeed steals their land little by little and suppresses them politically—the original Zionist provocation has always been assertiveness on the part of a non-Muslim minority. Political repression is par for the course in the mideast, with or without Israel, and in almost every Muslim land, some ethnic or religious minority is constrained to know its place, and know it well. 

Not incidentally, Jewish non-combatants are better protected today than they were in 1929, because a Palestinian protest is rarely just that, and international audiences witnessing Israeli troops fire tear gas canisters into throngs of Arab men don’t generally realize the appetite of the Palestinian resistance for violent confrontation is not limited by scruples regarding age, gender, or non-combatant status—nor, until quite recently, has it ever been readily divisible into violent and non-violent branches.

So for Trump to be deterred by the Arab street’s predictable reaction would be pusillanimous, regardless of whether his Jerusalem decision was a wise one. But the arbitration of highly sensitive religious matters by the star of The Apprentice may not be the biggest irony here. That among all the gravely concerned world leaders opposing him in the matter, the one whose objections carry the most moral force is the sinister pope, Francis—a gilded, pharisaical career accomplice to the foulest possible acts of sexual predation—is a commentary all its own. The conventional wisdom is that the international community indulges Israel and tolerates Palestinian suffering, but generally speaking, the extent of world outcry on the Palestinians’ behalf is greater, more sustained and less proportionate to the corollary offenses against them than any sympathy the Jews have ever managed to elicit, certainly from the Vatican, and including during the Holocaust. Massacre of Jews just feels too familiar to be condemned without nuance: a consensus that Israel ought to be prepared at all times to absorb a modicum of civilian casualties—without response, as a matter of course—exists among world bodies, governments, NGOs and news agencies that would never be so much as whispered to Muslims as a suggestion.

Since the Oslo Accords went into effect not only Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP but the PLO (through its bad-cop Tanzim faction—essentially a death squad) has carried out dozens of attacks on Israeli civilians. So when PLO officials and PLO-affiliated scions of Palestinian civil society like Marwan Bishara, in his capacity as a TV host for Al Jazeera, warn that bloodshed will result from Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, they aren’t forecasting the weather—they’re making a threat. Of course they don’t mean to be understood this way by anyone but the Jews. Surely (to some degree) they don’t even understand themselves this way, because the Palestinians are always supposed, and suppose themselves, to lack agency. Like the dozen chairs which provoked them to a frenzy of murder in 1929, they don’t think, they only react. Supposing we grant this premise, then when Ismail Haniyeh warns that Trump has “opened the gates of hell” with his decision: who are the demons?

But if the Muslims are evil to covet Jerusalem, the Jews are evil for clinging to it, and ought to be put in mind of an Arab proverb: “Where there is concession, there is strength.” For what is Jerusalem? I recall it as a dusty, mildewy disappointment, like a woman who has to be gazed from a very peculiar angle to be thought beautiful; the Dome of the Rock as a lid rattling precariously atop a broiling, apoplectic sense of entitlement; the Holy Sepulcher as a dreary, vulgar little tourist trap akin to an amusement park haunted house. And the Western Wall? That Jews should venerate and kill and be killed for that stupid, ugly pile of bricks left behind by Herod—a sadistic Quisling—is the very definition of idolatry that Judaism once cut its teeth rooting out.

So I don’t use the word “evil” lightly. Israeli administration of Jerusalem has from the very beginning involved strategically needless property theft, selective destruction of historical sites and expulsion of innocent people from their homes. In 2007, this was ratcheted up to the worst form of desecration: the wholesale removal of medieval Muslim graves to a trash dump and their replacement by a Wiesenthal “Museum of Human Dignity” (seriously) atop the former grounds of the Mamilla Cemetery, just over the Green Line from the Old City. But Israel’s “unified eternal capital” is, indeed, an interactive museum, teetering precariously on the nape of what normal, everyday life still manages to persist there. It belongs in the same general category as Florida’s Holy Land Experience, or the Kentucky Creation Museum, but at least those institutions’ proprietorship doesn’t require recurring blood sacrifice (or grave robbery.) There is so beauty in Israel, but to the extent the place is ugly, it’d be a lot less so without the Old City of Jerusalem and the mischief that the coveting of holy relics always inspires:

In Defense of Bowe Bergdahl

Thanksgiving turkey

(See also: “In Defense of the Westboro Baptist Church” and “American Diaper“)

“Experiences of inner emptiness, loneliness, and inauthenticity are by no means unreal or, for that matter, devoid of social content; nor do they arise from exclusively ‘middle- and upper-class living conditions.’ They arise from the warlike conditions that pervade American society.” (Christopher Lasch, American historian, 1932-1994)

For at least the duration of this week, Bowe Bergdahl will remain the most hated man in red-state America. So far, the loudest voices denouncing him are the supporters of a sitting American president who, as a draft-eligible youth during Vietnam, received four deferments and a (probably) bogus medical disqualification from military service while other, less privileged young men went to war in his stead. Most of Bergdahl’s detractors will have never served in any military or, if they did, will never have deployed to a combat zone.

An acerbic remark about the President’s draft dodging was in the news two weeks ago. It was made by an admiral’s son who graduated at the bottom of his class at West Point; who, once in theater in Southeast Asia, was promptly captured and sang, like Bergdahl, for enemy propaganda. This admiral’s son was eventually released home and a (probably) false narrative of heroism was promulgated as he rose to a seat in the US Senate, while hundreds of his fellow POWs were left behind—a disgrace he has been at the forefront of covering up for decades. Like the President, the Senator sends US servicemen to die for sordid reasons that will never be clarified to the American public. But most of Bergdahl’s detractors won’t get too animated about that.

From what can be gathered on his Wikipedia page, Bowe Bergdahl is an omega-male eccentric: homeschooled, vaguely artistic, brought up in a splinter sect church but with a fetish for Buddhism and delusions of sauntering off into the wide Mohammedan vistas of Central Asia like some kind of Great Game cartographer.

Here is what he emailed home shortly before being captured:

The future is too good to waste on lies…. In the US army you are cut down for being honest, but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank… I am ashamed to be an american…. The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies…. We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running [Afghan] children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks…. I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting.

Jaundiced, subliterate vomitus. Still, it contains little in the way of outright falsehood. But if a narcissist is someone who conceptualizes himself as the star of his own movie (“The future is too good to waste”) then the character Bergdahl is playing is Rambo with a lisp, and the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Here is what his father wrote back:

OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!

Dear Bowe, In matters of life and death, and especially at war, it is never safe to ignore ones’ conscience. Ethics demands obedience to our conscience. It is best to also have a systematic oral defense of what our conscience demands. Stand with like minded men when possible. Dad.

¡Conscience!

Conscience? That’s the last thing you need in the army. Bergdahl the Elder (a typical exponent of the kind of hippy-confederate pretense to self-reliance so common in the late-American cycle) is essentially advising junior not to reimburse gangsters he willfully borrowed money from. Bowe’s wrong about the Ugly American, too: what’s peculiarly disgusting about Americanness is not compulsive rule-following or callous disregard for human life (those things are universal.) Rather, it’s the coquettish insistence on enjoying complicity and rebellion simultaneous.

When I was in the Israeli army I got butt-hurt about something and went AWOL for a week. I rode into Jerusalem and left my bag and rifle in a locker at a youth hostel, but I didn’t want to be there either, so I went for a jog.

It was late. It was dark. After running four or five miles, I realized that the Dome of the Rock was peering at me from an angle it never had before. I emerged out of darkness into a well-lit intersection. Packs of male teenagers were roughhousing on street corners. Cabs and delivery drivers with unfamiliar license plates were stalled up and down the curb. The smelly runoff from dumpsters and shawarma-joint mop buckets mingled in the gutters. Waddling matrons in hijabs were taking advantage of the evening reprieve from the summer heat to do their grocery shopping at vendors’ stalls. The storefronts were lit up in neon Arabic.

I had wandered, unarmed and alone, into Palestine (well, Baba Zahara, technically within Israeli jurisdiction, but still a Hamas hotbed.) A callow, bourgeois existentialist, I didn’t know who I really was, and when I did, the conviction was fleeting. But if the people on that street had noticed me—or, if I hadn’t gotten out of there swiftly in the direction from which I’d come—they’d have known perfectly well who I was, and things would have turned out very, very bad for me.

Of course, war pervades the middle east, but “war-like conditions” pervade America. What does that mean? Deception is the essence of war, but what is the essence of America? You can see it in Times Square, in a Hollywood picture, a philanthropic campaign or public apology. What characters are more quintessentially American than the huckster, the shill, the confidence man, the philandering or money grubbing preacher, the motivational charlatan, the tycoon?

The first white men who settled this continent came in search of freedom: cash crops, real estate, Montezuma’s coffers. Slaves. The freedom of finder’s keepers. The freedom to fuck, suck, eat and shit. Freedom isn’t free—it has to be strong-armed, unfortunately. If she didn’t have all that oil, we wouldn’t have needed to invade ‘er. True, many of the Indians were no better to each other; and subsequent waves of immigrants escaping to these shores came largely for prosaic reasons, if not sordid ones. What savior, what savant, what Dostoevsky Idiot can rightly demand any redress of grievances now? For example, today the curtain is being peeled back on the world of American pederasty. Bravo. But the father of American pederasty was Horatio Alger.

In summarizing the film American Beauty, a once verbally-unchastened Louis CK put it aptly:

Kevin Spacey playing the man… he’s fantasizing about fucking a cheerleader in high school, and the way they represent this, in this gay movie, this fucking bunch of cum through a projector—according to this movie, when you fantasize about a cheerleader, you lie on your back and rose petals fall all over your body. Instead of her hot, sweaty ass, and the confused look on her face as you cum in her stupid eye…. No, it’s Kevin Spacey with a sweet look on his face, and flower petals, and jazzy music.

[And at the end of the movie, the ex-Marine] is the one who’s really gay. ‘None of us are gay, it’s actually the one hetero guy, he’s the gay one.’ No one else is gay, Kevin Spacey’s not gay. He’s straight as an arrow, he lifts weights, listens to Zeppelin, drives a Firebird—and thinks about fucking rose petals. And then when he actually sees her tits he almost vomits…. He finally sees the 18 year old tits and says, what have I been doing all this time? I forgot I like men….

If the makers of American Beauty (such as Clinton confidante Harvey Weinstein, the film’s exec-producer) can glorify pederasty and drug-dealing, but can’t forgive an ex-Marine, it’s because “it belongs to human nature to hate whom we have injured.” But the consignment of combat veterans to poverty, derangement and indifference is an effect, not the cause of injury. The Bergdahl case illustrates this in ways we might not like to know.

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Love wins

The last American to be tried and executed for dissertation, during WWII, was found guilty of escaping from danger (near the front lines), back into safety (in a liberated area of France.) Bowe Bergdahl, on the other hand, spurned safety and traipsed off into incredible danger. To treat this extraordinary incident strictly as a commentary on the stupidity or moral turpitude of Bergdahl himself is to miss its significance entirely; rather, it’s an indication of how suffocatingly padded, litigious, infantilized and delusional American life has become. A system that automizes, “utilizes,” and pathologizes people, and measures them by “metrics,” can offer young men for fodder, but cannot let them be men. On the far-flung rugged terrain of Afghanistan this vaginized baby-sitter regime only trebles its emphasis on procedure and safety and unthinking.

But how would a green recruit know that in advance? Not only is Hollywood not gonna tell him, no one in his community will, either: scarcely 1% of Americans have or ever will serve in the US military, and if they aren’t keeping their mouths shut about it, they’re probably blowing smoke (bravely, I might add.) But if Bowe Bergdahl did just eight hours of guard duty, he did 8000% more than most any of the rest of us. Sure, he got people killed and injured looking for him; everyone else is content to let others be injured and killed in our place. Bergdahl’s crime is not being a bigger piece of shit than most other Americans, it’s being exactly as big a piece of shit, with the added feature of bad timing.

That most of his colleagues in the combat arms represent a greater or lesser exception to this goes without saying. So certainly there is a characteristically American kind of honor—there has to be, it provides fodder for the other penguins to shove into the water. But Sun Tzu was wrong when he said the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. In America, our enemies are one another, they’re everywhere, and the supreme art of war is to get them to fight your battles for you. To obfuscate, intimidate or disconcert and get something for nothing while the mark blames himself. Maybe I deserved it. Maybe I secretly wanted it. I didn’t fight hard enough. I saved my objections for the staircase. I had no choice. I’ll find a way to compensate. At least I wasn’t the only one. Conscience is freedom’s truest enemy.

The grasping protagonist of Borges’ The Immortal is a legionnaire who says “I barely glimpsed the face of Mars [and] that privation grieved me, and was perhaps why I threw myself into the quest, through vagrant and terrible deserts, for the City of the Immortals.” How much flailing braggadocio is likewise expended by American men who will never feel truly tested, vindicated or individuated? That weaselly energy has got to profit somebody in this land of second chances, where Jesus is Lord, insurance is mandatory and Budweiser urges you to drive responsibly. Where once we came fleeing persecution or poverty, today, with nowhere else to go, we try (and fail) to escape from ourselves. Profligacy, obesity, overdoses, dropouts, car crashes, rap sheets, rejection, one-night stands, bullying and being bullied, chicken-shittery of every variety. That’s not who I really am. But its perpetrators are the soldiers of the real America, where around the Thanksgiving table and in mommy’s waiting embrace, all is validated, all is tolerated, and all is forgiven. So why not Bowe Bergdahl? In the words of Al Pacino’s Tony Montana in Scarface, “You need people like me so you can point your fucking fingers.”

Peak Degeneracy

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Spot the non-manjaw

It seems there will never be a time when some half-wit somewhere isn’t being taken in by the Semitic prime mover theory of history, but as I’ve argued here before, the movement alt-right is effectively undead, having shot its exuberant wad in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, when it momentarily entered the glorious street-fray against the genderfluid and semantically-woke handicapped.

Occasionally I see debate on alt-right forums about whether or not Richard Spencer is some kind of shill. The respective positions taken are generally as follows:

(1) Spencer is indeed a deep-cover spook provocateur; or

(2) Spencer is espousing his ideas sincerely.

I want to suggest a third possibility: that Spencer is both a shill, and sincere.

Of course, “shill” is imprecise. Obviously he’s getting his money from somewhere, and being afforded media coverage for some reasons. We can always go deep rabbit hole about this if we want to: is the alt-right a puppet show, or an idea whose time has come? But those possibilities aren’t mutually exclusive. In any case, the question just brings us back to first principles, i.e., what are we really talking about when we talk about the alt-right?

Well, to a large degree we’re talking about explicit white identity, which is a flimsy basis for mutual commitment and self-sacrifice outside of prison, or other such dire circumstances. To the extent that circumstances are dire, I certainly support it, such as I am able being an unwelcome half-breed loner outlier. But class, status, personality and philosophical differences will always be impediments to this kind of unity. Shared fear and loathing are far more powerful unifiers than anything really affirmative. So who do white nationalists consider their greatest enemy? You might want to review Borat for clues.

A quick thought experiment: if we could remove the Jewish Question from alt-right consideration, leaving every other alt-right premise intact, would the movement remain fundamentally unchanged?

Of course not. The JQ is a street-cred litmus test. But when xenophobia (which is healthy, evolutionary, and should require no laborious rationale or social approval) starts coming packaged with demonologic rationalization, then we’re either looking at a reaction against a violent cultural hegemony, or we’re looking at negative transference. More likely both. It doesn’t take any great genius to see that the alt-right is basically American Roadshow trying to pass for Mad Men, with motorcycle goggles and leather-bound classics just for decoration. “Unite the Right” leaders speaking out in the wake of Charlottesville were correct: only a controlled media bent on eliminating any dissent that can’t be cöopted could possibly treat them as a serious menace. They just aren’t serious people, and neither is their message: the cataclysm is immanent, the sensual negro is at the gate, the Jew is making me so dirty. Which may all be true, but it only resonates for the same reason 50 Shades appealed to so many capricious women.

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“He’s gotta be strong/and he’s gotta be fast/and he’s gotta be fresh from the fi-ight”

Reductio ad Iudaeoram, Pt. I

Valerie Plame

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(Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here, Part V here)

“What have the Jews not done to prove that they do not stick together?” (Menachem Begin)

This week saw media coverage of author and (perhaps, former) CIA agent Valerie Plame, who provoked controversy when she tweeted an article from Unz Review titled, “America’s Jews are Driving America’s Wars.” Plame subsequently apologized and resigned in disgrace from a spook-tank called Ploughshares Fund.

A CIA agent pointing fingers about who’s driving America’s wars is pretty rich. (In the greater-DC area alone, how many horse faced goyim are dining on steak tonight or driving all-terrain motorized shopping carts out to their hot tubs, courtesy of the military-industrial complex? I guess they just don’t realize how egregiously they’re being taken advantage of.) What’s interesting about this little kerfuffle is that, ironically, Plame did nothing more than express the establishment position. Of course it can be a matter of degrees, but to assert in a major publication or on a university campus that Israel and her US supporters exercise critical, undue influence on US mideast policy has been uncontroversial for quite some time. I even recall an episode of The Simpsons making a joke to this effect as long ago as the late 1990s. (If I ever find the clip, I’ll hyperlink it.)

If, on the other hand, you really want to know what the US is up to in the mideast, it isn’t all that hard to find out. So this idea that, due to Jewish pressure, an otherwise cohesive and sober American elite (or an inept, naïve one) is sticking its neck out for Zionism with no corresponding ROI is pedestrian wisdom masquerading as radical, taboo and esoteric. And the notion that the global power elite is comprised of just so many portfolios being managed out of Tel Aviv by means of seamy Polaroid floppies and Monopoly money may never lose its mystique for the great plurality of intellectual minutemen. But Israeli meddling in US domestic politics, at least, can be explained with simple common sense: i.e., in order to mitigate overbearing US meddling in their affairs (particularly their aerospace defense sector, essentially an ankle-monitored junior partner to its US counterparts) the Israelis are leveraging the labyrinthine inertia of the American system just like other foreign actors—they just require more brainpower, man-hours and connections to accomplish what others can get done less conspicuously. For instance: the US puts personnel in actual harm’s way by the tens of thousands to defend Poland, Saudia and South Korea. Yet no one ever thinks to inquire about these arrangements as if they’re particularly fishy, ulterior, or inexplicable.

In any case, US aid to Israel is equivalent to about 0.7% of the overall US defense budget ($5 billion versus $640 billion annually). Zionism has less to do with America’s wars than Lutheranism. (If you think I’m being facetious, click the hyperlink.) The question is, why would that be so counter-intuitive for so well-informed an insider as Valerie Plame? She may only be a lackey, but she’s got to know a thing or two about how the system works.

According to her Twitter profile, “Valerie is a wife, mother of twins, author, anti-nuclear activist, and a former covert CIA ops officer.” In other words, she’s a legally blond soccer mom in the big city. But while nothing a CIA agent (former or otherwise) says can be taken at face value, it does seem as though Plame was very deliberate in tweeting the article. For one thing, she didn’t have to, and there was, apparently, personal cost involved—and before you quote Voltaire (i.e., “If you want to know who rules over you, find out who you cannot criticize”) I’ll have you recall that you’re also not exactly allowed to speak impolitely in public about the mentally retarded, or say nigger, or question the sanity of men who claim they need surgical castration in order to self actualize; but no one seriously believes that transgendered niggers with Down Syndrome are running the government.

In tweeting her subsequent mea culpa Plame pled ignorance of the article’s contents:

I skimmed this piece, zeroed in on the neocon criticism, and shared it without seeing and considering the rest. I missed gross undercurrents to this article & didn’t do my homework on the platform this piece came from.

This is not only implausible, but irrelevant. I mean, “undercurrents”? The headline reads “America’s Jews are Driving America’s Wars.” In the same Twitter thread, Plame tweeted that, “in the past, I have also carelessly retweeted articles from this same site”—clearly she’s well aware of “the platform this piece came from.” Clearly, Plame wants (or wants others) to believe that America’s Jews are driving America’s wars. The question is, why?

Certainly Plame is no innocent lamb when it comes to America’s toxic impact in the world. You don’t even have to be a covert intel operative to know what I just noted above: that Congress just proposed a $640 billion defense budget for 2018, a $37 billion increase over the Trump administration’s $603 billion request for the same year and a $57.3 billion increase over the Obama administration’s $582.7 billion defense budget for the prior year. America’s Jews are driving this?

If so, it hardly makes sense that Valerie Plame would condemn them for it, because she can hardly regard the US as anything but a force for good in spite of its all worts. To consider other possibilities would be to confess venality. Ms. Plame, after all, is a product and lifelong servant of the system, and it’s axiomatic in our day that machiavellianism tends to fly under cover of sanctimony. Much more convenient—and well-precedented—to blame the Jews wholesale. But Valerie Plame—neé Plamevotski—is kinda, sorta…. Jewish (not to mention Lutheran.)

What makes so many Jews and partial-Jews denounce their own kind like this? The Christian critique of Jewish moral turpitude has long been aped by Jews—in part as a distancing mechanism, a defense against criticism, but also because many Jews love not only to morally agonize, but to remind people how ethnically special they think they are. It is nowhere clear that Valerie Plame is invested enough in Jewishness to make this true in her case. The question remains, however: what makes anyone settle on clandestine Jewish machinations to explain so comprehensively such diverse and multifarious phenomena? The great, torpid ease with which this is so often done ought to offend the meagrest intelligence. Is there nevertheless something about Jewishness that provokes or exacerbates it? (Of course there is.) Is there a way for Jews to mitigate it, without stentorian public self-flagellation over the Palestine question, or who controls Hollywood? (Probably not.) Either way, how should persons of Jewish provenance orient themselves to it?

Stay tuned for our next installment…..

 

 

 

The Help

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House nigga 4 lyfe

The argument that black celebrities can’t possibly have grounds to complain about being black in America—because they’re rich—is a sophomoric bit of conservative boilerplate. But then, the absurd protocol that black perspectives be treated as more valid because black experience is somehow realer than others is equally tiresome. The morning headlines all insist on some variation of “Ice Cube schooled Bill Maher about white privilege,” but I wonder (not really) if it occurs to Mr. Cube that he was giving Maher moral cover by going on Real Time and calling him out.

Of course I’m not talking about a morality that I personally concur with; taboos against words can only elicit my sympathy for the sentiment that’s being repressed (naughty, naughty). So for example, I wouldn’t get too worked up if an Ice Cube were to rap, “You can’t be the Nigga 4 Life crew/with a white Jew telling you what to do.” In fact, Ice Cube did rap these lyrics, shortly after NWA broke up.

Now, ‘Jew’ and ‘white’ are clearly meant in the pejorative there, and it wasn’t the first or last time Ice Cube rapped anti-white, anti-Jewish or anti-Asian invective—which is not only excused but lauded in the NPR article linked above. So you can recapitulate the bollocks dogma that the N-word is more hateful because the black experience in America is uniquely unfair—in a way that’s totally unfathomable to non-blacks. But who I am is presumably as important to me as Ice Cube’s identity is to him, and I would be well within the electric fence of conventional cant to take umbrage, I just wouldn’t get anywhere because black resentment is more useful and (above all) malleable to elites than the white or Korean or even the Jewish varieties. After all, if you unreflectingly give people enough power that they can obligate you to respond to little trigger phrases like a marionette, then you’re a silly cunt and a weakling. Clearly, Ice Cube—a public image gangster who’s actually a pot bellied, noodle-armed little man in his late forties who lives in a gated community—sees things differently, and that’s his business. But by calling out Maher he’s reinforcing the entertainment industry pecking order he referenced in that song we just quoted from back in the 1990s.

This is not a spurious complaint, by the way. If I wanted to go all Irv Rubin and start calling in bomb threats to Farrakhan, I’d still have to admit the (latter) man’s got a perfectly valid point about Jews in the media. The fact is, a black actor or entertainer can only ever be a commodity in Hollywood, whereas a white Jewish comedian can conceivably reach a level—like Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, or Bill Maher—where he becomes an institution, an arbiter as opposed to a mere influencer of tastes and discourse, and a near-equal to real decision makers, who’re all Jews.

So Ice Cube can stroll into Real Time studios affecting as hard an image as he wants. The more indignant the better because, again, he was being used by Maher for moral cover. Public figures as powerful as US Senators have been taken down for saying nigger; obviously Maher has powerful protection. Again, the morning headlines all say Ice Cube “schooled” him, but if it matters to Ice Cube on any level what comes out of horse’s ass Bill Maher’s mouth then he’s a silly shit. “Please Missa Jewman, please don’t be using that o-ffensive language when you be referring to us black folk. We sho’ would be grateful. Nigga 4 Life crew, ya heard!?! You just been schooled.” This is why, according to the oligarchs and their marionettes, uttering nigger is what passes for unacceptable injustice in a world of actual slavery.

To say that Ice Cube is a hypocrite for taking offense at Maher’s salty language after making a career glorifying drugs and pea-brained street violence would be another bit of sophomoric conservative boilerplate. I think it’s true, but so what? The media Jews say one thing’s more offensive than another, and who am I to argue? It’s not my country, I don’t make the rules. I just wonder, with all the bloviating we tend to hear about irrational white wariness of blackness (from all these three-named, Jew-approved horse’s ass black intellectuals: Marc Lamont Hill, Michael Eric Dyson, Ta Nehisi Coats—who can even tell the difference?) will it make black performers who bank on mean-mugging “jack-yo’-shit” yippity-yap—or their shithead street acolytes—feel any better to know there are whites who don’t take their bravado or their hurt feelings seriously? I won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer.

Jumping the Great Whitegeist: the Alt-Right Viewed from the Right

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“You guys feel like going for frozen yogurt?”

The conviction that bloviating is tantamount to action is a peculiar, late-20th century misapprehension, precisely the plush-doll American dream that Occupy Bernie and the alt-right both thought they were rejecting.

Don’t get me wrong—Richard Spencer’s incisive, he’s got pluck, and neofascism is an overdue rejoinder to the empiricist hubris, intellectual courtesanship and mercenary behaviorism of TED Talk America. But while I’m all for realism (and vigilantism) in the face of swarthy Idiocracy, the alt-right ain’t it:

I asked [Spencer] whether I, as someone who is half-Chinese but had a classical Western education, would fit within his group… “I’m a generous guy,” he told me. “If you truly identify with our people, I would not have any problem with that.” But there were genetic deal breakers. “A full-blooded African, no matter how wonderful he might be—I’m not sure that would really work.” (Graeme Wood, Atlantic Monthly, June 2017)

How’s that for “freedom of association“? I know, I know: he’s talking about membership in his own group. But this is a group that wants to impose the same separation, involuntarily, on society at large. The pompousness here is far worse than the crudeness. It may be half-joking, but it can never be more than half-serious.

Still, to its credit, until just before the election the alt-right was the last bastion of real, uncöopted social satire left in this country. I mean, what’s less relevant today than SNL? Lately the dominant, left-liberal paradigm begets only humorless ideological directives and “validation” of skin-crawling peccadillos. Like aging pop-stars, Saudi oil-wells and boomer entitlements, the brick-and-mortar media is an obsolete investment being defended with increasing shamelessness:

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Even its Silicon Valley supersessionist heirs (whom you’d think would display more independence of thought, Lord knows they’ve got the requisite leverage) cling to its mid-20th century CFR ideological commitments, such that criminal syndicates that reject the premise get more leeway than political opponents who accept it:

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Under the spreading chestnut tree….

Speaking of Vice, myriad popular online outlets affect a cutting-edge veneer these days, but a good general rule is that the more lurid and higher-budget the content, the more wholly owned are its producers by the planetary managerial class. The biggest backers of Vice, for instance, are BofA, Disney, George Soros and Rupert Murdoch. This brackish scene deserves the vilest ridicule, the most acerbic satirization, but there’d be no funding for that, for the same reason nobody ever invades Switzerland. The powerless don’t leverage power—it leverages them, and all the penny-ante social media antics in the world won’t get the alt-right’s fingers unstuck from the pearly gates of the Big Time.

A lot of NPI and Radix Journal materials were deliciously subversive circa pre-Trump, when the point was to express these ideas, not just expand the audience for them. Now that the antiseptic media klieg lights have warmed the alt-right’s obligingly exposed butt cheeks, the fact can’t be concealed that vindictive, half-witted, pathos-laden language (not to mention dry, committee-meeting type knit-picking and purity spiraling about activist strategies and doctrinal purity) is rife on Counter-Currents, Radix, TRS, Red Ice and Occidental. This click-hungry humorlessness has diffused throughout the alt-right punchbowl as the imperative to justify itself to outsiders eclipses insider ribaldry.

But who expects humor from fascists? Fascism is always a sign of rigor mortis. what portends the Kali Yuga is not Jews or loose women, it is you, my alt-right friends—e.g., the inexorable pull that novelty and the allure of power exert upon the human psyche, which is why Evola’s advice was to ride the tiger, not stick your head in its mouth. (But how many alt-right personalities have really read all the authors they like to block-quote on social media?) How sad to be peddling an ethos of order, hierarchy and opposition to commercial vulgarity in the 10 cents’ admission Imagination Land of new media, only to get mere first world pushback as they traffic in ideologies that really punished thought-crime. Now that they’ve had their fifteen minutes, the little grandeur-deluded leadership will spend the rest of their lives panhandling like a one-hit wonder performing at an Indian casino: “Remember me? Just ten grand more to meet our goals this season.” Even Milo was writing interesting columns as recently as 2015, before the Twitter ban and his election-year transition to full-time attention-whoring. Spencer’s criticisms of him are apt, and blissfully unselfconscious.

So the problem with the 2016 NPI conference wasn’t the menace or poor taste of the coy sieg heiling, it was the quivering bunghole that compliments the kind of toast Spencer delivered. I mean, “Children of the Sun”? That’s what the Times was calling a Nuremberg rally? Sounds more like a Maya Angelou quote over a stock photo. Children of the fucking sun, why not “God’s Chosen People”?

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“Hail Trump! Hail our People! Hail victory!”

The fact that the bourgeois American WASP is an over-socialized, emotionally sterile cardboard cutout who masochistically enjoyed deferring this past seventy years to comparatively dysfunctional cultures that have a little more cut-loose panache than his own is as little discussed on the alt-right as Germany’s no-go zones are on MSNBC. But to suppose Trump will arrest these developments significantly is pitifully gullible optimism. As Spencer told some pie-faced yenta at Rolling Stone, “I think we’ve leveraged ourselves in an incredible way, but at some point we need to cross the Rubicon and have a footprint.” Translation: OMG, this might even lead to an internship. In a duck costume. At a mall kiosk. For (in the words of the great Marshall McLuhan) when you gaze long into the Facebook, the Facebook gazes also into you.

Disaffection

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Too much of a good thing

As a kid I was a thief. Something inexplicable just seemed to possess me from a young age, about 9-10, to shoplift. By the time I was a chubby-cheeked bar mitzvah boy I had shelves full of CDs and cassettes I’d walked out of record stores with. Throughout childhood, if I saw an adult doing physical labor, it was a Mexican migrant or some peckerwood prole. I never learned how to produce anything, just how to consume, and to bullshit my way through school. I lived in a nice neighborhood but there was an underclass there of latchkey kids and failed families, failed in that they didn’t keep up appearances, or kept up appearances too well.

Once I got into high school some fellow miscreant pals and I would run out of convenience stores with armfulls of cigarette cartons and resell them, steal laptops and glass bongs from dorm rooms on the university campus, stake out student drug dealers in off-campus rentals and steal their stash, their scales, their loose cash. If they were at home when we struck I’d strong-arm them. It wasn’t like, a routine thing, but it happened a few times. As a 15 year old I hung out with a 13 year old kid who used to drop down into strip malls late at night through various hatches in the rooves and hoist the safes up out of taquerias and liquor stores. Years later I ran into him downtown and it looked like he was heavy into meth and peddling his ass. All that time he was doing Mission Impossible shit he’d been closeted. Talk about sublimation.

Anyway, eventually I mellowed out and started selling pot. There were a hundred pot retailers my age in town, but once I got the hang of it I managed to drum up a nifty little book of business. Problem was, I was so habituated to the thought process of running up on people and just ganking their shit that the fake schmoozing and (figurative) smoke blowing was too much for me. It gave me anxiety. Ironically, thieving had made me too honest (impulsive, really) to cultivate commercial wiles or insincere relationships or even just future-time orientation. I’d never been a calculating sneak, just brazen, short-sighted. I was naturally gregarious and empathic, but didn’t want to blur the line between business and friendship. I didn’t want to ensnare people or string them along—I just wanted to steal from them. But it’s calculating, sneak fucks who run the world these days, or swarm institutions aspiring to run shit because they know their kind is most eligible in this system. People with inverse values and no impulses.

Being heavy into pot had one advantage, it was that glass pane dividing rebellious upper-middle class mediocrity from real depravity and forfeiture of the most basic moral inhibition. My childhood best friend has been a meth-head alcoholic stumble-bum wherever-dweller since the year we got out of high school, the guy uses smack the way smokers use a nicotine patch. I hear from him once in eighteen months now, and not from lack of effort on my part trying to locate him, although we live in different states. Two years ago he told me he had pawned his mother’s jewelry after crashing at her place for the night. Six months ago I heard from him again and he was totally gone, fried, kaput, insane in the membrane, he was trying to talk but made absolutely no sense. But at least being a scumfuck or a psycho is honest. An animal or a devil is a known quantity, there may be a ton of day-to-day conniving and a trail of fucked-over relationships but there’s no overall pretense to goodness.

Now, me (on the other hand), here I am today working a corporate sales job trying to be a good guy and pay my bills. But that lashed-out resentful kid is inside of me with all those violent impulses, and in a way he’s truer to who we are, more psychologically hygienic for all his so-called maladjustment. The world is war, physical war. Money’s not real, your stomach is. We forget that difference between the word and the thing, we like others to slaughter the meat for us, but if—for a living—you don’t grow something, fix something, build, transport or guard something, you’re a fucking parasite; and as a salesman, a marketer, a manager, executive, PR hack, entertainer or public face of any kind, an academic, a “journalist”, a whatever-you-fancy-yourself, you’re always a fucking charlatan, every word you utter is smoke, because your end-goal is always to bedazzle someone and get inside their pocket. You can be as transparent, as forthright, as helpful as you want. It’s just a tactic. The other guy’s interests are a means—and it can never be finally acknowledged. It’s so standard (i.e., pervasive), yet so slimy. And those impulses I gave reign to as a youth now sit like stone guests, restrained yet blocking my every effort to sublimate the fundamental guile of this most accepted protocol for making a living into the neat little rationales that make it effective.