Category Archives: Cannibalism

Disinteresting Times

clockwork2borange

Did somebody say download speeds of up to 35.46 gigabits per second?

Modernity is the subordination of principles to processes, and if man is subordinate to technology, this inversion would signify a negation of life by the very means once intended to serve at its disposal.

Life, however, is anxiety-inducing, and faced with it plainly we tend more and more to retreat instead into life-negating distractions, which represent more and more of the benefit we now derive from technology, and cannot be separated from whatever ideas, however lofty, that the latest hi-tech media transmit.

A video I saw posted to LinkedIn recently featured a body language expert advising that one should never look at their smartphone while waiting for a job interview, because it induces wary, diminutive body language. Obviously, when we absorb ourselves in our smartphones, we almost invariably peer down into them. But it is possible to get an uncanny sense of how ridiculously small this frame is (in contrast with the world as we view it from a more natural position), simply by correcting our posture and holding up our arm to position the phone within the normal, eye-level field of vision.

The other day I’m out with a friend, when he tells me he needs to pay a cell phone bill, so we duck into a T-Mobile store. While he’s busy with the clerk, I stroll around the place, when it strikes me (I’m probably not the first to say so) how much these outlets are arranged like art galleries: the displays mounted mid-floor on spray-painted white particleboard pillars, or sequenced along the bleach-white walls in the foreground of splashy, lit-up stock imagery. Next to each phone display is an informational placard. To get the interactive experience you need assistance from an initiate flunky with a lanyard and a thumb drive—just enough reverence to discourage overthinking is all that’s needed. Trying to contemplate in such an environment is as taxingly awkward as trying to maintain focus on a smartphone from a normal, upright position.

As we’re leaving, I remarked to my friend that, just for the hardware, the margin on a lease must be fairly wide, considering how low the resale value of a smartphone is. But my friend informs me that, to lower cost, every time you go in for an upgrade, the retailer more or less sells your old phone back to the OEM, who does a little light refurbishing and then punts these devices in bulk into a developing market—a euphemism for a country where the buildings are still tattered from the last civil war or the peasantry have all been displaced and reduced to hawkers and bricklayers, if they aren’t combing through garbage for a living.

Think about that: every impression of these industries that the public is imbued with is one of buoyancy, bedazzlement and pure intelligence. Meanwhile, these companies are balancing the books with third world fire sales.

I work in IT sales. Not anybody’s dream job, but what can you do? (Ask me about our tower desktops with Windows 7, LMFAO). Among the concepts they beat us over the head with to peddle is virtualization, you can’t sell servers anymore without VM Ware. Again, the impression they want you to convey to customers is one of buoyancy, bedazzlement and pure intelligence. But somewhere over the rainbow there’s still a fucking server bank and, eventually, the amount of energy it takes for those sleeker, more powerful machines to direct traffic is going to exceed what it takes to run all the bulkier devices they’re replacing today, because we’ve mistaken data for value at the intersection of sloth and hubris.

If man is an intrinsically technological creature, then technology is the factor that enables us to cage animals. If you’re caged, you’re an animal, and a cage is any advantage some shrewd, unscrupulous creature has—some limp-dick sneak fuck who (without money) would be eaten in open combat or humiliated in reproductive competition, and knows it. Basically: usurers, upper-management Johns and peeping Tom data miners. The cage is technology. Your data trail. The toilet paper stuck under your shoe. That’s our rulers’ source of power; Mark Zuckerberg is a virtual used toilet paper magnate. If (as they say) you were to pull the cork out of his asshole, you could bury him in a matchbox; not because he’s dishonest, but because he’s figured out the simplest way to facilitate everybody else believing our own bullshit.

And we get the micro-managers we deserve: behold the Gothic architecture of medieval Europe, and it’s hard to gainsay T.S. Eliot’s estimation of the 13th century as the apex of civilization. What are we missing about those people when we ascribe primitivity to them? Something, I assure you. When in the intervening centuries were the structures they built surpassed for exquisiteness? Hell, the largest solid, unreinforced dome on this planet is still the Pantheon of Rome, completed in 128 AD. Technologically, this edifice remains unimproved upon in 2017.

Kurzweil, Zuckerberg, Musk…. they keep telling, not asking us how we’re going to live in the future. Who’d have thought a few autists with Excel spreadsheets for brains would exceed the imaginations of Hieronymus Bosch and every dystopian fiction author, ever, while the rest of us were partying in college? RFID implants and neural lace make precogs look like deus ex machina. Symbiosis with the internet sounds about as appealing as being strapped down like the protagonist in the closing scene of A Clockwork Orange, and that’s exactly what these control freaks want, because the minute they bet money on their predictions those predictions become a motive in themselves, if they weren’t all smoke to begin with. Tech oligarchs are the ultimate totalitarians, and they’re sold to us as luminaries! In a civilization whose denizens possessed a shadow of a survival instinct they’d be fed to orcas at SeaWorld on national television.

Yet—again—the technologies they mean to imprison us with are so…. crude. Internet traffic runs through transoceanic cables the way the telegraph did at the close of the horse and buggy era. When 5G comes online it will require a massive new infrastructure that can be traced, ultimately, to a surge protector in a wall outlet. And when these batty, syphilitic billionaires and virginal, glorified sysadmins tell us about the singularity, they’re talking about an autonomic simulacrum of the übermensch, what VR masturbation is to hot, sticky sex. We’re moving backwards, not forwards. Wireless signaling, photography, the combustion engine, conventional aircraft, even rocketry—none of these is fundamentally different today than they were at their inception, they’re just spiffier. Granted, there are still theoretical game changers: anti-gravity, fusion, quantum, nanotech, AI, genetic engineering. But do any of these developments portend spiritual or intellectual advancement? Of course not—on the contrary. Mankind is the only known species capable of true (i.e., premeditated) cruelty, and we can’t even eradicate the mosquito without taking ourselves out with it. Measured in terms of the ratio of arithmetical figuring to grandiosity of outcome, the capacity to immolate half the solar system remains our greatest technological achievement—our greatest achievement, period, if the technological inclination is our foremost distinction as creatures.

Maybe it isn’t, though. Maybe premeditation and inspiration are two different things. The Elon Musks of the world keep assuring us technologies x, y and z are inevitable and we may as well make the best of it. Sounds kind of rapey, doesn’t it? Either way, craftmanship isn’t what it used to be—at least Patrick Bateman used his hands.

Shrunken Heads

not-a-bear-necessity

Sharing is caring

Appreciation for Thanksgiving turkeys

Ulterior horizons, perfunctory well-wishes

They’d watch you be gutted like it was on TV

and wonder about the giblets

There’re no limits to what’s impersonal

Quid pro quo, exsanguinated

The serpent points the way to knowledge

that people are coin operated

Big, open, sensationless pudding-vaginas

contriving stratagems for service opportunities

Need a light there, pal? Lemme get that for ya

Thin-surfaced canned food-drive communities

Jacob’s Plateau

brugghen2c_hendrick_ter_-_esau_selling_his_birthright_-_c-_1627

Oh, alright…..

The onset of a darkening time

Of shadows as forms

Of eyes that guard no souls

Of the recession of green meadows into the bulldozer’s maw

Of menacing clouds amassed before the precincts of eternity

to download and be uploaded, or whatever

The metastasis of sickening flesh

Of bloodless jowls sagging beneath little green visors

Of numbers who aspire to be ants

Of the licensure of volition

Of callow dogs as commanders

who’ve refined to eyeless guile the art of getting what to eat and never stopping once they’re sated

Because there’s only so much to go around

Sizzler

img_2147

I am their father

How to get the DNA out of this algorithm?

A cubicle for Montezuma’s ransom

Your lucky rabbit’s foot is a handler’s gland

and second prize is a set of steak knives

What do you feel like eating?

You’ve got a family don’t you?

Because I’ve got this insatiable taste for flesh

You know, character is the barcode of transmutability

and you set the ceiling

I may not’ve determined the number of inches from fly to forehead

but I can decide how vicious I jizz tendons and marrow and keep you in suspense

Whobody? Anybody

Are you what it takes?

The Europa of Rape

dav_oath

we hold these fruits to be self-evident

“It goes without saying that mercy remains the privilege of the most powerful man….” (Nietzsche, “Genealogy” 2:10)

Population control has its ins and outs.

Ins and outs.

Ins and outs.

Ins and outs.

Kind of gives new meaning to the term “DP camps,” no?

Most Muslim societies are very crowded and poor, patriarchal and sexually repressed yet predominantly youthful…. So the dramatic recent uptick in sexual assaults across Europe correlates neatly with the introduction of millions of desperate, mostly young, mostly male Muslims into the continent.

But is this a Muslim issue?

What the Islamic world most notably has, that the west for the most part does not, is Islam; a concept generally grasped in the singular though it denotes quite a number of things. What the west most notably has that the Islamic world for the most part lacks is affluence, which can have multifarious causes and infinite effects but is wholly and exclusively one thing.

Among its more instructive effects is an incident which took place in Morocco in 2013.

One Daniel Galvan, a late-middle aged Spanish national, had been living in that country, in an apartment he owned there, for nearly a decade. In that time he may have sampled a great many local delights, but what he’s specifically known for is the rape of at least eleven local children, ranging in age from two to fifteen, with the compensated connivance of native fixers.

After he’d been prosecuted by Moroccan authorities and served eighteen months of a thirty year sentence, Galvan’s custodians were furnished by the Spanish embassy with a list of forty-eight of its nationals in Moroccan detention, contained in a peremptory demand for their unconditional release, a demand Mr. Galvan (whose name was on the list) became a beneficiary of.

As Galvan’s luck would have it, Morocco’s King Mohammad VI does not in fact rule an independent country. In fact, he has a history of so-called diplomatic gestures entailing the pardon of convicted first world pederasty tourists. Why a postcolonial vassal would release these people on demand is self-explanatory, and less interesting than why an affluent power would want them back.

It seems the Spanish authorities didn’t trust a third world regime to sit in judgment, and mete out punishment, of their subje…. er, constituent. So why did they accept King Muhammed’s verdict when he elected, not merely to extradite Galvan to serve out the sentence in his home country, but to pardon him? For you see, upon his return to Spain Mr. Galvan was turned loose and permitted to taste the sweet air of freedom, which he would have enjoyed indefinitely had public outrage (uncharacteristic in a country with a controlled press) not mounted (pun intended) upon King Muhammed, whose government then declared the pardon an oversight, issuing an international arrest warrant that compelled the Spanish government to act. Even so, in spite of how obliging Morocco had been in releasing the Spaniards in its detention, its demand for Galvan’s extradition was rebuffed.

A number of facts are implied here, chiefly that the urchins of Morocco are living under a regime that cannot be inconvenienced, on their behalf, to relinquish the opportunity to prostrate itself before a more powerful neighbor; and that Mr. Galvan is living under a regime that is more concerned to oversee his due process rights than it is with what caliber of subject it has in him. How can such a regime (i.e., a western European democracy) be expected to really systematically differentiate among migrants or, indeed, between anyone subject to its jurisdiction, migrant or non? Its stated purpose is not to prevent its subjects wrongs but to ensure their rights, a moral cover to extend sovereignty and perpetuate the many advantages its franchisees enjoy. The more powerful ones enjoy the advantages they will, the less powerful ones enjoy the advantages they must, and in exchange they tacitly surrender their whole volition (you might say, their spirit), not to a government per se—this isn’t a libertarian argument I’m making—but to an amorphous commercial and administrative hierarchy that nevertheless facilitates highly tangible if ostensibly metaphysical commodities exchanges (“justice”) as a matter of course.

On a related note, the right-wing sector of the US press—Drudge, Breitbart, Fox, etc.—is abuzz this week at the revelation that a last-minute incentive was written into the Iran nuclear deal by the Obama administration, a sum of $400,000,000 cash, transferred to Tehran on the very day (it so happens) when a handful of Iranian-American prisoners were handed over to Uncle Sam. Obama is being accused of capitulation, of paying ransom. But whatever you think of his decision, there’s something to be said for a regime that will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to retrieve a half dozen of its subjects.

Nevertheless, one US citizen exchanged in the deal, rather than gratefully keeping his mouth shut, saw fit to turn on his redeemers by going on record with the opposition press after his homecoming, to describe being brought to the tarmac of the Tehran airport and handed over to US officials only after an unidentified plane had arrived, presumably containing palettes of greenbacks. In the name of his fellow first world denizens’ right to avoid increased risk of kidnapping in the third world, this fellow retroactively opposed his own right to’ve been ransomed—how righteously convenient. And under a brief flurry of media scrutiny, the regime defended its decision to redeem this man so he could fink on them.

Now, you might be wondering how the Galvan case in any way indicates that Europe’s migrant rape phenomenon is something more than a Muslim issue. Migrants=rape, jeezus, it’s not algebra. Besides, rapists are everywhere, in some small proportion, but only Muslim societies seem to be importing and exporting them. But when it comes to the surge in sexual assaults on Europeans by Muslim migrants, in no way is the facilitation of this state of affairs by EU authorities a Muslim initiative. If very many of the goings-on in this world were Muslim initiatives, there’d be no sex tourism in Morocco.

And Morocco is not much less independent a country than many others, Muslim or non. For instance, if a Lebanese murders a solitary Israeli in Denmark, the full force of the Mossad will almost certainly bear down upon him, and his family. But if an American Gentile on holiday in Tel Aviv rapes a Jewish schoolboy, he’ll be afforded a more meticulous due process than many locals are for lesser crimes, and certainly not be killed. What the fuck’s up with that? Likewise, western sex tourists in Thailand are liable, if busted, to be extradited to face prosecution in their home countries, but if they get caught with a dimebag they’ll face execution by hanging, right there in Thailand, whose king picks his battles as surely as his Moroccan counterpart, which is to say, rarely.

So what we have is a handful of inordinately wealthy organizations whose protection, however inadvertent, enables their subjects, for a pittance, to abuse any lesser power’s citizens up to the limit of what that lesser power’s laws allow, its authorities are interested in detecting, and its officials are permitted to prevent.

And this abuse is not limited to rape, though rape is a salient, common-denominator analogy that also takes place literally, in this context, though perhaps not nearly so often as figurative cannibalism. It extends to the sadistic mistreatment of mail-order brides and adopted children, cut-rate reproductive surrogacy, organ harvesting, not to mention labor—almost anything you can name, really. Point is, to not seek a wealthy country’s protection (i.e., US or EU citizenship) is tantamount to leaving yourself open to being ruthlessly exploited and bombed by those very same countries. Rapist or rapee, them’s your options, and self employment ain’t one of them (that’s why rape’s illegal, duh). I’m no more keen on seeing Stuttgart transmogrified into Iskenderun than David Duke is, but if Holocaust guilt is behind all this then the Holocaust is just one more impediment to confronting the depravity our human rights have bought us, digestive systems have to have an outlet. Is a pale German football hooligan more likely to murder a hapless swarthy Semite in a dark subway station, or pay twenty-five Euros to sodomize a Ukrainian teenager in Holland?

In many traditional societies, perhaps especially Islamic ones, female rape victims can be murdered by their own male relatives. This is called honor killing, and like Oedipus, you’d better believe it is comprehensible. Hate me all you want, just don’t look in the mirror: there’s something repellent about a desiccated soul deprived of its most sacred honor. Deep, pre-social instinct impels us to shun the contagious, the needy and the irreparable, and we do it all the time. How often will most people visit an ailing grandparent?

This is why so many prostitutes were rape victims first, why so many boys who are raped take exclusively to homosexuality as adults. Once placed beyond an invisible symbolic boundary, there’s nothing left for them except to affirm fate, to deny that something was taken or lost by declaring that this is who I really was all along. In the modern west, one way or another, rape victims are invariably told either to forget all about what happened and put it behind them, or that they can be made whole again, if only they’ll cooperate with a treatment regimen. For whose benefit? These are lies: confront colon cancer with all the positive attitude in the world and you’ll still be out a colon.

The slut walkers of the world want to re-confer the stigma of rape upon the rapist, but that’s not how rape works (see also: “the international community”). They can fulminate, demand action against pre-crime and publicly shame whomever they please (except actual rapists), but for the victim these gestures are a mirror image: self-abasement in reaction to powerlessness. “Proud slut,” indeed. If she didn’t have all that oil, we wouldn’t have needed to invade her.

The very presence of a rape victim in the community signals the failure and complicity of all would-be protectors and sympathizers. The primitive (i.e., the only) impulse in response to this dread realization is either abandonment (to quarantine the stigma with the primary carrier) or erasure, either active (by honor killing) or passive, by denial—the latter (in some societies) involving the marriage of the victim to her rapist or (in the best case scenario) the revenge-killing of the perpetrator by the victim’s male relatives. In all of these cases (SlutWalk included), the real goal is to drive away the guilt of the people around and associated with the victim, by denying the victim their reality until all that’s left for them is drugs, broken glass and compulsive self-laceration. Get well soon! Please, seriously. You’re making the rest of us uncomfortable. But the reality of rape will only ever be confronted by the victim, whose very existence becomes subordinate, because the community insists on controlling the narrative.

So criticize Islam and globalism all you like, but we get the neighbors we deserve.

Vegas Odds

pulpfiction_gimp

An idea whose time has come

Professor Woland declaring ‘Black Lives Matter’ is how you know to bet on Operation Human Shield.

As for pelt-head, I’m guessing he gets his orders in a manilla envelope from Jeffrey Epstein, in cartoon cut-n-paste text collaged over a blown-up negative of himself doing unkosher shit to a dog collared eleven-year old.

I dunno. I could be wrong.

Personally, I prefer earnest stupidity to refined guile. So the older I get, the less it bothers me to find myself agreeing with Stormfront.org. Yet the alternative right—shallowly erudite, media savvy—seems, well, a little… off. 

And not only the alternative right.

How was the Muslim Brotherhood crushed? It was brought to power.

Why are the people who killed Kennedy tolerating a decade’s worth of John Birch in national syndication?

What could the Carnegie Endowment possibly have to do with an ostensibly alternapunk guerrilla news outlet?

Every several months brings a new and oddly polished YouTube huckster positively brimming with esoteric supposed revelations. There’s so goddamned much truth afoot you’d think deceit was a revolutionary act. I mean, 9/11 gabs don’t have firmer ground to stand on than WTC 7?

Rand sang himself to sleep on a Rodney King cover. Papa Ron’s selling doubloons for JP Morgan Chase.

An arid, inverse 1968 is being ring-led by a gay Jew fratboy and an ex-academic outer-DC trust-funder.

And Donald surrogates are legion.

Ain’t that some shit?

When the Syndicate wanted to keep the Constitution suspended, they had [what does a white racist call] a black professor lead a Tracy Chapman hum-in. Now, seven years into the Trayvon administration they’ve got a method actor—one of TS Eliot’s lost golf balls—on the stump intimating 49% of what 51% of voters want to hear like it’s a Gods Must Be Crazy coincidence.

Ironically, responsive government’s what you get when everything you say is backlogged.

an embarrassment of kitsches

Your rags betray your vanity

Your rags betray your vanity

‘Multiculturalism’ suits them to perfection, conjuring up the agreeable image of a global bazaar in which exotic customs can be savored indiscriminately with no commitments required.                         —Christopher Lasch, Revolt of the Elites (1995)

The battle’s din subsides; CNN’s swarthy erstwhile good guys have all gone home to beat their wives. Skulking asthmatically through the suk between protection racket badlands a gangly, mysterious stranger with the untrimmed, languid mug of a bus bench masturbator declares the blast radius liberated as he assesses the remaining impediments to liquidation, consolidation and free love.

They should’ve given him the Qaddafi treatment.

The consummate, bloviating hail-fellow hipster who’ll pretend to know about anything and gives a shit about nothing, in each country he visits it’s the same schtick: fatuously lament the local misfortune between mouthfuls accompanied by disconcertingly age-incongruous pornographic moaning, lob an “and how does that make you feel?” or two with the narcoleptic gaze of a burnt-out psychoanalyst, then inquire primly about the timetable for Americanization. Nary a child-like denizen of these backwaters slated for development realizes they’ve lain their Sunday best before a predator, and when they slaughter their enemies with US ordnance he shudders as though Mr. Whiskers just dragged in a decapitated rodent. For chrissake, people—have a little class, will ya? I’m tryin’ ta eat over here.

Ours is an age propitious for the lily narrator who’s seen everything and experienced nothing, but once had a drink with someone who did. Let him assure you no good can come of principles, if your aim is to keep in victuals.

Regime mouthpiece Anthony Bourdain is Karl Marx’s last laugh, a typical effete and soon-to-be incontinent (but still partying) leftover of a once puerile, now senile revolution that refuses to clear the stage and—herpes notwithstanding—always has a happy ending, and endless rationalizations for prudence. Galavanting, dainty-sampling, conflating impudence with pluck under that jaunty canopy of special providence for drunkards, fools and the United States of America—where enjoyment of the finer things vindicates imperial prerogatives and televangelical lucre as surely as going slumming sends shivers down the asscrack—he never seems to tire of recounting how very much yonder humble folk meant to him. A missionary of mass-market libertinism in humanitarian guise, he combines the scolding and verbally chastened impulses of progressivism with insatiable lust for colonial spoils. A hippy-dippy paver of paradise, ever on the lookout for unsullied authenticity to add to his collection of taxidermied heads, he’s a blue-state Paula Deen with as much regard (and as much use) for the niggers as a payday lender. And he looks like a big gay squirrel.

No fewer Indians dead for today’s cowboys being bi-curious, Bourdain’s interview questions of local denizens are always lower-div clichés, three steps short of poignance and five steps beyond real engagement. In the end, I didn’t know what to do about all the poverty I saw, but I sure ate good while I felt bad about it. He’ll use your history as a prompt for glib establishment tautologies, your city as a backdrop for a trustfund odyssey journal entry, the most hackneyed stereotypes about your culture and a dozen words of your language for a thin veneer of erudition between fits of sleep apnea brought on by the dreadful exertion of deciphering your pitifully accented ESL. The jingling in his pocket plays to local mercenaries, airtime whores and the shucking bourgeois sleeper cells that furnish him obsequious Squantos and Queequegs for guides, but never to the salt of the earth, whose testimonies he’s happy to peddle wistfully through an interpreter, but who lack the truly ground-down sense of thrift and proportion his handlers have in mind for them.

One can well suppose how this sausage gets packaged—A: Hey Pepe, who’s the gringo? B: Pipe the fuck down and put on a shit eating grin, will ya? Can’t you see he’s being followed by cameras? Which are as good as apostles, or Angles of the Lord; on whose shoulders they alight separates hip from square, living from dead, but they can only lead you if you want to be led. This week, we’re here with the guy who’s been doing the thing that speaks so poignantly to the universal Us and where We’re all going…. Well why in the hell didn’t they put him on TV years before? And isn’t that universal We just the old, royal one? This isn’t a two-way street, after all. You’re telling us what to care about.

When Nir Rosen mocked Lara Logan’s rape in Cairo, it was despicable because he and she are playing the same game, only she has to play it with a twat between her legs, while he gets to take his own assignments (“Imperialism,” he told the Senate). Same isn’t true of Anderson Cooper.

In the words of another plagiarist luminary artificially accorded relevance beyond any reasonable expiration date, The times, they are a changin’: of her travels, Rebecca West gave us a thousand-odd pages devoted with desperate passion to a single area of the planet. Kerouac regurgitated his faggy soul in its tipsy entirety, little though anybody wanted it. Orwell took up arms with his hosts. Jon Stewart may’ve been a sycophant who played an iconoclast on TV, but he did it four nights a week, and even Brian Williams deserves credit for admitting he’s a phony. But Bourdain is a new low, a middlebrow parakeet, a geopolitical ambulance chaser whose every insight turns out to be precisely CNN’s vapid conventional ordure, served up in affected tones suggestive of some scintillating intellectual morsel. The world according to Anthony Bourdain is an abortion, a tree falling in the woods—an undifferentiated clump of cells that only the trend-setter, the marketing hack and the affluent solipsist’s ADHD nanosecond of consideration renders extant. And as this gas bag orbits his handlers’ parcels, he regurgitates his inch-deep cognitive intake in blithe, self-important banalities as homogenous as his digestive output.

By itself this carnivorously pontifical agenda-setting is quite unremarkable; what makes Bourdain’s every blasé pledge-drive du jour so egregious is the feigned humanity, withdrawn in the space of an Instagram share once he’s on to the next paternalistic holiday in the sun.

He checks in with the Congo to report whether anything’s changed since Conrad, and concludes that it hasn’t. Nope, still, uh… dark. Blame King Leopold, that’ll keep the heat off our sponsors! His Morocco is nothing but the footsteps of Burroughs and sundry lesser man-boy love pioneers, to whose mughrebi meanderings he devotes the entire episode. He presents the haunted ruins of Leptis Magna as a veritable oasis of civilization in the Libyan dregs; his only complaint is that the cocks have all been chiseled off the facades by Mohammedan prudes. He gives Iran the predictable recalcitrant-child treatment: thankfully, there are a handful of brave ESL speakers holding out there, dreaming of TJ Maxx and the caramel macchiato. His Lebanon is a blur of caricatures, titillating nightlife mashups juxtaposed with exotic houses of worship and gratuitous stock footage of multi-confessional war dead. The feminism of Beirut literata Joumana Haddad in Parts Unknown is reduced to little more than…. parts unknown, the unemployed forbidden fruit of some deposed oriental despot’s harem, all lipstick and leggings and horridly uncouth death threats from jealous cleric cousins lurking somewhere off-camera. When he temerously characterizes the country’s deadly fissures as hip vibrance, she asks whether his lurid enthrallment has anything to do with the fact he’s just visiting, and the piece of shit deflects by asking “Am I not supposed to love this place?” Well you’d better ask it first, Tony. This isn’t the gay princess cruise you take it for. Where Flaubert got off light with syphilis, today they might pull your fucking fingernails out with a pair of pliers. (Now that I’d tune in for!)

Apparently monolingual (his copy-hacks don’t seem to realize raconteur is French for blowhard, anyway), Bourdain’s every encounter is a one-way street. Each new attempt to relate to those foreign “friends” he so self-servingly calls upon is terribly awkward to behold, even when he’s visiting English-speaking realms. But friends these guilelessly hospitable or attention-whoring dupes undoubtedly are, in the same sense that vile showbiz backstabbers are so adept at namedropping and mutual exploitation. His every word and gesture is smoke. Anthony Bourdain has Muslim friends the way Donald Trump does. He’s got as much chance of breaking bread with the locals unaided by fixers and coming away in one piece as the camel has with a needle’s eye. Underneath the mealy ideals is a sugar daddy impresario indulging crimson fetishes on the cheap as he moralizes behind hired protection. And did I mention he looks like a big gay squirrel?

The 48 Laws of Powerlessness

the great cornholio

the great cornholio

“Do not consider yourself wicked when forced to rely on your own efforts.” —Pirke Avot

“Consider the birds.” —Jesus of Nazareth

News broke this week not only that Mexican authorities had recaptured infamous cartel head El Chapo, but that during his time on the run, actor Sean Penn met the escaped narco in secret to conduct an interview for an American magazine.

As in the example of the otherwise forgotten gangster with which Dale Carnegie opens his seminal self-help guide, El Chapo’s self-image is decidedly counterintuitive. He told Penn,

Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never.

I’m not saying he’s a nice guy, but—strictly speaking—El Chapo is probably right. In places where life is as dire and cheap as it long has been in Mexico, for all practical purposes, people are little more than animals.

In contrast, the sterility of our lives in the US has retarded natural selection, proliferating cancer, androgyny, nervous ticks and strange new addictions. Decency has become lethargic and peremptory, a sort of Americanized building of communism, prodded by public service announcements and corprobureaucratic mission statements, maintained on life support with wiggle words and mealy euphemisms. The most thoroughly inculcated mental habits in the US are entitlement, deference, and delusion, the attributes of children, dogs and madmen. We call our goals “dreams” and our desires “rights.” Despite a zeitgeist of hardening cynicism we cannot untangle ourselves from the neuroses our congenital brutality as creatures entails under First World conditions, a respite which eventually reverts to war, by other means, of all against all; a melee of passive aggression.

A few years back, a man looking to make a quick buck authored and managed to have published a compendium called The 48 Laws of Power, a set of machiavellian precepts distilled from manipulative behaviors and business tactics he noted while living in Hollywood and trying to peddle screenplays to movie producers.

Of course, power is a quotient, and it’s perfectly conceivable that it adheres innately to a system of laws that might be discovered by scientific methods. Under the right circumstances, power can be applied to effect wondrous good, and its cultivation can uplift the soul. But power can also be also a soul-retarding, necessary evil that must ultimately be lamented the way aboriginal hunters used to pray for the souls of their animal victims. If living morally within its constraints can be likened to practicing a martial art for self-defense, The 48 Laws of Power, in contrast, is more like a guidebook for carrying out a school shooting. If you’ve ever felt thwarted or bullied, it’s an intriguing read. But beyond self-preservation, what can you really hope to win by the tactics it recommends? Certainly not peace of mind. Besides, very few people stand a chance of ever ruling anything worth lowering themselves to the grasping sleaze and darting paranoia prescribed by The 48 Laws of Power, which sells itself flattering the avaricious self-importance of ass-licking middle managers, foul harpies, excessive selfie attention-felchers and reality TV-like personalities.

More likely, you’ll just continue being subjugated by a web of agencies, conglomerates and remorseless, buck-passing apparatchiks—your neighbors, fellow peons and self-styled social betters—by means of transcripts, credit scores, criminal histories, licensure and various other cudgels. You’ll pay retail, you’ll pay innumerable taxes and ancillary fees with sub-Orwellian gibberish names that go to fund cheating, malingering and addiction, while precious few of the protections promised from the cryptocubicle hives those compulsory tithings funnel through will ever extend to you, unless you have a quarter-million budgeted for attorney’s fees. Should you require a hospital stay, overworked nurses may leave you to shit yourself and profit-driven doctors may fail to make more than the most cursory, mechanized inquiries into your condition. Employers and landlords will wring you dry with snickering disdain for the law. School authorities and later, cops will harass you for defending yourself, but do less than nothing (i.e., harm you somehow) if you turn to them for protection. Lawyers, creditors and sundry predators will constrain you to sign beneath utterly incomprehensible fine print, while hucksters of every variety tell you the most exquisite lies, entirely without shame, every single day.

In short, you will be reduced under absolute despotism, in America of all places. And however subconscious they may be, the by-now automated and seemingly disparate forces arrayed against you adhere giddily to an inverse-Christian theology of glad-handing, back-stabbing, inveterate insincerity, and an incentive system that punishes manful forthrightness, rewards slithering guile, demands gratitude of the exploited and remorse for the highest attributes of humaneness cultivated over centuries of civilization’s rise, unless that humaneness is pressed somehow into ulterior service. What you need aren’t laws of power, but laws of powerlessness, a guide for coping with the invisible shackles you’re dragging around, so that you can at least preserve some sense of self-worth and alertness to objective reality despite the obscurantism your many nibbling predators are constantly throwing up in attempting to convince you to hate yourself.

Here are 48 of them.

(1) In the beginning, there was you. The inscription at Delphi read know thyself, not “know everything.”

(2) Before you are reptile or mammal, hip or square, believer or apostate, right or left wing, you are a creature, a rack of meat that somehow possesses the capacity for understanding.

In the words of the poet, “He understands things only as he senses and smells them.”

Gaze past the abstruse layers of expectation built into your field of vision by education, convention and the interests of others in your interpretation of the things your vision beholds.

(3) You can take and be taken from, fuck and get fucked up, become prince or pauper. But in the end, the capacity for understanding, your independence of mind, is the only real power you ever will have.

(4) The pursuit of power over others may arise from any number of noble, guiding principles. But once that power is attained, the principle of power is power, and power alone.

(5) Despite whatever inordinate estimation you may have of your worth or prospects relative to others, chances are, you’re a nobody, and nobodies are liable to have to answer to anybody and everybody. You can try to mitigate this the sisyphean way, by pursuing power over others on contemporary American terms, or you can mitigate it in the only real way possible: by guarding your capacity for understanding from the efforts of those who seek to co-opt it.

(6) You may be a nobody, but you’re only a nobody relative to society, to the limitless world of names and masks. Give too much of yourself over to that world’s approval and even as president or plutocrat, you’ll still be a nobody. Commune instead with your own soul, and set your own terms accordingly, because they’re going to get set one way or another.

(7) You do not have rights. Rights are a pretext for arbitration, for power, like the Messiah, a fairytale to placate the powerless.

(8) What you have instead are imperatives, mainly self-preservation, the mitigation of discomfort, face-saving, and maintenance of spiritual and intellectual autonomy if yours is more worth guarding than it’s worth trading. It may not be, in which case this blog post isn’t for you.

(9) Think of it from a Marxian perspective: imperatives and the will to invoke them are raw materials. Power, on the other hand, is extracted, rationalized and propagandized into an end product to be hoarded. El Chapo possesses a great deal of raw power. George Bush possesses a great deal of refined power. When I say power here, I’m speaking narrowly about the latter form.

(10) Power is pretentious. For example, both George Bush and El Chapo are powerful Mexican druglords who’ve wrought untold death and destruction. But only one of these two claims to derive his power from, and wrecks his destruction in the name of, a lofty values system that he supposes makes the world a better place.

(11) Because in the United States power is always exercised in the name of decency and righteousness, those who exercise it tend to exhibit smug self-satisfaction. Despite what anybody says, smug self-satisfaction—not justice or decency—is a primary end to which power is a means.

(12) Imagine (1) a young guy who’s homely and diminutive but conniving, who utilizes his non-threatening demeanor to lure a self-esteem deficient young lady and obliquely impose his jealous prerogatives on her using various mind games. Now imagine (2) a mechanic trying to repair the engine in a Ford. Those who seek to transform society, devising all sorts of protocols for how “We” should order affairs, perceive themselves as similar to the second guy, the mechanic. But they’re the first guy.

(13) You are not a participant in the transformation of society—no one is—only in its composition. Society on the scale we’re familiar with is a force of nature. If you’re part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

(14) Don’t ever worry about what others do and think and say when it doesn’t impact you directly. Nobody asked you.

(15) If, like me and most other people, you simply must take an interest in the affairs of others, recognize that interest for what it is: a lurid little diversion.

(16) There is no such distinction as abuse of power. Power is abuse, domination, the divestiture of others from their will to invoke their imperatives. Like dogs, people are evolved over many generations of socialization to yield that will without first thinking. You may not have the option of exercising or getting out from under it, but you can at least peer past the euphemisms and slights of hand to see things for what they really are.

(17) Power in the current grey-race global order of mass-organization antfarms is not the triumph by force of one lowly person’s (or even El Chapo’s) imperative over another’s that conflicts with his, but a vast epistemic matrix of falsehood. Ledgers and algorithms are manipulated, fast-moving assets are transmitted and skimmed with nothing of value produced, and glittering iconographic pornoganda is deployed upon our deepest hopes and basest fears. Withdraw your assent to the premise that public life requires anything genuine from you and you withdraw your consent to this madness, clarifying your vision of the monstrous powers arrayed against the autonomy of your mind. Keep what little is yours for you: better you should be forced than be first convinced, then force yourself.

(18) Consent is the hot air that inflates power. It comes in three varieties: unconscious, willing, and forced. Though still prevalent in some sectors, forced consent is basically an antiquated business model, while unconscious consent is the most advanced and cost effective. Willing consent is more costly—because power must be delegated in exchange for it—but yields greater gains. That’s why cops and bureaucrats get such generous benefits. It’s also why whores get jewelry.

(19) Cravenness, vindictiveness and treachery are the only reasons for willing consent to power.

“We’ve got a great team here and a product I really believe in.”

“I’d do anything for Bill and Linda because they have a unique vision and they really care about their employees.”

“We’re here to demand equality.”

“You have the right to an attorney.”

…..the language of felching vermin. They would watch Bill and Linda be raped in a stairwell, and do nothing.

(20) If you don’t wish to be dealt with by power, i.e., to be rendered dependent, then don’t deal in power. Don’t accept little titles or adopt organizational prerogatives as your own. Don’t sweat other people’s business—and it’s all other people’s business.

(21) When it comes to minimizing your subjugation, no possible benefit can derive from chiming in about what is to be done, what rules should be encoded, how the common till ought to be divvied, and what should or should not be rendered unto Caesar. It’s none of your business. It’s none of Caesar’s business unless you agree to Caesar’s terms. It’s not even any of God’s business, for He left these decisions to man. When, in exchange for others taking action on what you believe is your behalf, you accept—by voting, liking Facebook pages, calling the cops—that they are better qualified than you are to arbitrate your prerogatives, you spurn God by trading His incredible gift of volition, of capacity for understanding, for a leash and a poop baggie. At least Judas got thirty pieces of silver. 

(22) Policy positions are not beliefs. Stop conflating the two.

Policy positions are not philosophical—they’re pecuniary and vindictive. Right and wrong have nothing to do with them. For nobodies like you or me, any policy position is only the starting off point of dogma, of make-work neurosis, of lending your energy to those who would usurp your imperatives and do so, despicably, in the name of the common welfare, for no purpose other than their own.

(23) Conceptualizing morality in terms of “the common welfare” is just a way of rationalizing our sense of entitlement.

For example, this week, it was publicized that the rock musician Ted Nugent had called, on Twitter, for Obama and Clinton to be hanged for treason. I, too, would love to see the crows pluck out their eyes, but what’s this notion of treason? Were you, or was the public, owed something that Obama and Clinton failed to deliver? They didn’t betray anyone: their many crimes are entirely unsurprising. To feel betrayed by them requires a babblingly delusional sense of entitlement.

This same week, a major news story has been the occupation of a federal wildlife refuge by a rabble of self-styled militiamen in Oregon. Left-leaning sorts are all over Facebook calling for them to be shot or locked away in Gitmo. Why? Who cares? Have they done you any wrong? Are they less deserving of unnatural death or imprisonment than, say, Clinton or Obama? To feel effected by the story requires a monumental sense of self-importance. And yet, thousands are clickety-clacking about it on the Twitters and the Facebooks as if they have something personal at stake.

Weird.

(24) ” But I pay taxes, I should have a say!” That’s adorable. No one cares what you have to say, obviously. Besides: a manifest dictate of self respect is that you minimize or evade taxpaying (duh). If you can’t (I certainly can’t), well… When did it ever occur to you to have an opinion about what the school bully eats or shares with you using your lunch money? 

(25) Think of the US like Wal-Mart: an evil corporation that has trademarked a name, but embodies none of the virtues—thrift, diligence, free enterprise, risk-taking—that name represents. It cannot be revived, because it is undead.

The United States, its departments and subsidiaries, may perform certain functions very well and others not so well, but it is morally bankrupt in any case. When you accord it moral legitimacy by supposing that it has any, that it should or shouldn’t do this or that for the common good, that you can improve it by putting in your two cents, you’re consenting to its meddling, not just in your own affairs, but in those of other people, of strangers who’ve never done you a bad turn.

Well that’s just not very considerate now, is it?

(26) Stalin is supposed to have said that “Gratitude is for dogs”, a sublime turn of profundity if ever there was one. Gratitude and hierarchy are well and good when love or respect are their bases. The problem is that gratitude in the global job market is really just sycophancy: submission on the part of docile rubes and ruthlessly self-interested chameleons to mass-organizations intended to be staffed by cheerfully interchangeable podlings whose allegiance to organizational prerogatives must be absolute. The employee may shift allegiances between organizations, but the essential relationship, the happy-talk lexicon, the aversion to all cognizance of certain of our basic needs and darker impulses, is always preserved.

Evola deserves quotation in this connection:

Entrepreneurs and employers have come to realize the importance of the ‘human factor’ in a productive economy, and that it is a mistake to ignore the individual involved in industry: his motives, his feelings, his working day life…. The private lives of employees are not forgotten – hence the increase in so-called personnel counseling. Specialists are called in to dispel anxiety, psychological disturbances and non-adaptation ‘complexes’, even to the point of giving advice in relation to the most personal matters.

In these circumstances, gratitude is absolute submission.

(27) Someone who tells you, “respect is earned” is probably a con-artist who wants to use you. Respect is earned, like trust is earned, affection is earned, and bread is earned. Respect can be maintained, it can be tarnished, it can be withheld or just not be established in the first place. Like love, it isn’t a constant: it germinates, it grows, it can wither. It is a prerequisite to, not just an outcome of, any non-exploitative relationship.

This is not true of things that simply must be earned.

(28) You can’t respect everybody. You can’t love everybody (if you’re a Christian, that’s what Jesus is for, it’s called outsourcing). It’s better to hate everyone and leave them alone than to love one person and push an agenda on them.

(29) People who have an agenda—naked power, “social justice,” corporate profit, “policy outcomes,” government funding, “family values,” new laws, “acceptance” (i.e., acquiescence), “a more perfect union”—are called busybodies. Busybodies are nobody’s friend.

(30) When there is no particular power above a busybody—as in the case of David Rockefeller or Bill Gates—the busybody will operate based on some lofty conception of their place in the world.

(31) On the other hand, classic gangsters and warlords like El Chapo, who proffer no morally aggrandizing rationale for fucking people over, do not usually qualify as busybodies. They are simply bastards.

(32) When you try to gain something from a busybody, you become one.

(33) Busybodies thrive on power asymmetry—the permission of those above (i.e., felching), and the sufferance of those below (i.e., leeching).

(34) No true act of friendship can obtain in a relationship of power asymmetry. When a supposed act of friendship makes its way up from below, this is called ass-licking. When it flows downward from above it’s called soliciting prostitution.

(35) Because a near consensus in this country equates morality with “the common welfare” on a scale so vast as to be meaningless, most people are busybodies of some sort, full and equal franchisees, voting and commenting on Facebook and whatnot. And because anyone who manages to have the media disseminate their grievances without being disparaged can claim the mantle of that righteousness, a visible enough busybody can get some power without really answering to anyone, at least not formally.

This is called democracy.

(36) The most despicable class of busybody, the thwarted aspirant who plateaued or didn’t have what it takes and now enforces for a higher busybody, is called a rat. Longing to sate his vindictive sanctimony by attaining a commanding position, the rat ends up worming into some middling, protected one that merely enables him to warm his ass while issuing petty directives.

(37) Power doesn’t work without rats to carry it out. So rats think of themselves as performing functions essential to the common welfare.

(38) Rats are especially characterized by the tendency to adopt the prerogatives of those who aren’t particularly interested in them and who have far more to gain, in exchange only for the smug satisfaction and protected outlet for aggression that comes with investiture, e.g., titles, badges, the conditional power to bully and extort fellow untermenschen. Even the president of the United States is a rat.

Especially the president of the United States.

(39) Power over others is compensation for uncorrected powerlessness over one’s self, for failure to maintain sole ownership of your capacity for understanding. This is why so many cops evince no critical capacity, only a rote vocabulary.

Another example: have you ever noticed the predominance of pasty, androgynous, narrow-chested sorts in government and corporate middle-management? A general, a mob boss or a CEO exudes some virility or sense of menace; an inmate, NCO or blue collar stiff displays some basic, non-negotiable dignity in the face of his lowly travails. But visit a medical billing cubicle bank, or go to the office of a government agency and locate the wall at the end of the elevator bay with the flag stands and framed portraits of their honors so-and-so, and you can’t tell the men from the lesbians. Supervisors in these environments are the types of thwarted, inadequate souls who lack all passion, but possess infinite patience to follow the scent of meniality and disaffectation straight to the easiest, most conspicuous victim. Cops do this all the time.

(40) By its very nature, the investiture of rats incentivizes bullying and mediocrity.

For example, where I work there was an on-duty supervisor who for all intents and purposes was equal to everyone, performing the exact same function alongside the rest of us. The only difference was that he received a slightly higher wage in exchange for the aggravation of making final determinations regarding assignments that couldn’t be parceled out from off-site. But recently, he has been given a special shirt, a desk and the use of a company vehicle, and exempted from the work he supervises. He’s still on-site, only now, all he does is keep tabs. Before, if he chewed someone out, it would be a last resort and in response to a near consensus among us all. Now, ostensibly, he seeks out violations, which is bad enough. But in actual practice he invents them, otherwise he’ll have nothing to show for his investiture without having to make an effort disproportionate to the power his superiors are willing to grant him.

(41) Should you be affected directly by their activities, the best way to deal with a busybody is by hammering out a vicious beating.

(42) Unfortunately, most of the time this is not feasible, as busybodies are adept at marshaling the protective energies of the authorities.

(43) Rats can be swayed by emotion, but can never be reasoned with.

Where the proverbial garbageman makes the fewest compromises with power and just settles for the shortest end of the stick, the bureaucrat or cop or simpering corporate apparatchik imbibes a whole inhuman lexicon his superiors may not even bother with, and be damned if he isn’t going to employ that impossible vocabulary to have a randy go at anyone unwary enough to become ensnared in his two-fingered jackoff web of knit-pickery.

(44) The mass media, the military, police, public primary education, the university system, the civil service, large corporations, courts of law, organized religion…. These institutions thrive on your indebtedness, and none has your interests in mind. That isn’t to say they do no good, but they thrive on power asymmetry, on leeching and felching. Never accept that this is fitting or morally necessary. Never lie to yourself at some other, more powerful party’s behest.

This is important enough a point that it’s worth bringing in heavier guns than my own. Another writer put it like this:

One of the fascinating facts of American politics today is that both progressives and conservatives hate their government. They just hate different parts of it, and they love and cherish the others. In foreign policy, for example, progressives hate the Pentagon, and love and cherish the State Department. Conservatives hate the State Department, and love and cherish the Pentagon….

But none of them hates Washington as a whole. So they can never unite to destroy it, and the whole machine is stable….[But] you can decide that none of these politicians, movements or institutions is even remotely worthy of your support. Trust me – it’s a very liberating feeling.

(45) If someone gives you shit, give it back as devastatingly and quickly as possible, if you can get away with it. If you can’t, let it go.

(46) Break any rule that impedes you, as often as you can get away with it.

(47) As often as you can get away with it, practice the art of completely ignoring anyone who wants something from you that isn’t theirs to have, especially your time and energy. Beggers, attention seekers, pushy co-workers, supervisors desperate to test your respect for their authority, people who talk too much, or who only take and never give.

(48) Finally, the Inverse Golden Rule: Don’t practice ethical precepts with those who ignore them. Don’t hesitate to abuse those who abuse you, as often as you can get away with it. Don’t greet, wish gezundheit or break bread for those who don’t do the same for you.

Steal high, sell low/The only true devil’s the Devil you owe/Scuttle the excess and burn off the lies/Your only defender’s the God of the skies!

Gaying Away the Prey, Pt. I

Pirates, yes....

Pirates, yes….

Decisions by the corporate parents of Guinness, Sam Adams and Heineken to withdraw sponsorship from the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day parades in NYC and Boston are being hailed:

For the first time…. companies are realizing that getting on the wrong side of the LGBT community could have a serious impact on their reputation — and business, said Deena Fidas, director of workplace equality programs at the Human Rights Campaign. “The St. Patrick’s Day parade has become this major watershed moment,” Fidas said. “It’s largely symbolic, because we’re seeing an appetite for getting rid of the last vestiges of discrimination.”

Who is doing the discriminating? Allegedly, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish-Catholic fraternal organization that  has been organizing the annual NYC St. Paddy’s Day Parade for over 150 years. Its yearly Boston counterpart is held in the traditionally Irish-American Southie neighborhood (of Good Will Hunting and The Departed fame) and organized by the heavily Catholic local Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston. Many of the headlines regarding the withdrawals of corporate sponsorship from these parades would have you believe that gays are being excluded altogether, a la Jim Crow. A Reuters article on the Yahoo! homepage (perhaps the fourth most heavily trafficked website in the world) was headlined “Guinness pulls out of NY’s St. Patrick’s parade over ban on gays“; the same article was headlined by the Huffington Post as “Guinness Pulls Out Of Anti-Gay New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade“; on the website of MSNBC, the headline was “Guinness boycotts St. Patrick’s Day parade over gay exclusion“, while the headline of an opinion piece on The Daily Beast touted the notion of “The Grotesque Ban On Gays In New York’s St Patrick’s Day Parade.”

Though not every news source that reported some version of this story couched these events in such dire and disingenuous terms, the samples quoted here represent quite a pile-on from a handful of the most heavily trafficked news websites in the US. Are the St. Patrick’s Day parades in NYC and Boston really “anti-gay”? In no official capacity have the organizing bodies’ members inveighed against homosexuality. Other than banning extrinsic expressions of homosexuality from featuring officially in their parades, they’ve issued no policy positions relevant to the discourse on “LGBT rights.” Are gays really “banned” from attending? In neither city have the parade organizers issued a ban of any kind on attendance by anyone. So if the organizations involved don’t generally tend to concern themselves with LGBT issues, and if they aren’t engaged in sexual-orientation based discrimination against parade attendees, what’s the big problem that has major sponsors withdrawing support for these events?

In 1947, the City of Boston conferred authority for organizing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade upon the (private) Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston, which was the only organization to apply for a parade permit until 1992, when the Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston (GLIB) requested to feature in the parade with a float touting their group. (Of course they had to’ve been called GLIB, because how could a bunch of out-and-proud queers sincerely want anything to do with a Catholic celebration organized by a conservative club?)

When the War Vets refused, GLIB sued, arguing that because the War Vets hadn’t ever restricted participation before, they had no right to start doing so at the time. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that even if the War Vets’ generally choose not to restrict participation that did not mean they had forfeited their right to do so. Justice Souter delivered the unanimous opinion of the court that

One important manifestation of the principle of free speech is that one who chooses to speak may also decide what not to say.

Clearly, objection to homosexuality per se has far less bearing on these events’ ban on gay groups than does unwillingness to provide a venue for a message that’s inimical or totally irrelevant to the message of the event at hand. Thus, the organizers of a Klezmer festival declining to provide a forum to PETA are not thereby thwarting vegan lifestyle choices, or even commenting on them. The promotion of LGBT themes at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, on the other hand, has everything to do with thwarting the parade organizers’ lifestyle choices. After all, GLIB, the Human Rights Campaign and other such gay organizations (and their powerful corporate supporters) are not targeting the Westminster Kennel Club, or Comicon, asking to be featured prominently and then suing after being refused. No, they’re targeting a pair of Catholic organizations’ festivities on the occasion of a Catholic holiday, festivities where nary a one of the organizers is going to stop a drag queen from showing up informally, or a couple of dudes from making out on the sidewalk along the parade route, however much they disapprove.

One doesn’t have to be an opponent of liberal reforms within the Church of Rome, or of gay marriage, to see how such efforts infringe upon everyone’s right to free speech and freedom of association. For example, The Daily Beast‘s Michael Tomasky, arguing against the ban on moral (as opposed to legal) grounds, acknowledged Justice Souter’s point that

like it or not, the Ancient Order of Hibernians is entitled to enjoy one of the few justifiable carve-outs to civil rights law. Courts have usually held that private, “expressive” associations can limit their membership, and this is right: Imagine if the NAACP were forced to admit white supremacists, or, for that matter, if a gay pride group were forced to welcome homophobes…. Back in the day, I sort of understood the Hibernians’ position. Tensions on all these matters were high in New York. This was the age of ACT-UP, the in-your-face AIDS awareness organization started by playwright Larry Kramer to, well, get in people’s faces about the AIDS crisis. ACT UP staged big gay and lesbian kiss-ins at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, on a Sunday morning no less. There were episodes, also at St. Patrick’s, of desecration of the host. I’m not a believer. But I grew up eating those wafers and sipping that awful wine, albeit in the less-demanding milieu of Episcopalianism, and that was too much even for me….. But all that is ancient history now. What tension is there in New York City over gay issues? Any questions of gay belonging are long-since settled, and I don’t mean just in Chelsea, but in Staten Island, too. What sort of threat could a gay-oriented banner pose in 2014? Even the Pope has said of gay people “who am I to judge?” There is no remaining excuse, not that there was much of one before. What remains is just bigotry….

But if “any questions of gay belonging are long…. settled”, why is it necessary for the organized LGBT community and its not-uninfluential supporters (like Tomasky, Guinness and Sam Adams) to agitate in a manner calculated to compromise free-speech and free-association rights? Don’t they have more important demands to press? And if traditionalist organizations like the Hibernians are so irrelevant and out-of-touch that they can be summed up so breezily with an epithet of dismissal like “bigotry”, then what’s so urgent about imposing progressive morality upon them? If the long arc of history isn’t making its way quickly enough in the direction of “justice”, why not simply strip the War Vets of the authority to organize the one and only St. Paddy’s Day parade held in the city of Boston? How difficult would it be to let them organize privately, excluding whom they may and marching down a different route, while newly enfranchising a public body, or a more inclusive private one, to organize an “official” parade along the old route? Why not redirect all the energies being brought to bear upon the Hibernians and the Church to do something affirmative for gays, rather than something condemnatory toward Catholics?

Why not? Because the preponderance of organized participants (the Boy Scouts, the American Legion, the Order of the Venerable Old Moose or whomever) would jump ship from a parade organized specifically in order to include drag queens and rainbow flags, thus deflating the “Saint” out of St. Paddy’s Day and depriving all these glib anti-bigotry crusaders their yearly 2-minutes’ hate. Maintenance of organizational authority in the hands of the Hibernians and the War Vets’, on the other hand, facilitates those organizations annual vilification in the press, a process which serves the interests of state power in ways that exceed its effect on the relatively insignificant organizations being targeted. How? Well, traditional community (as opposed to contrived allegiances based solely on a narrow handful of sexual proclivities) traditional religion (as opposed to bullshit Unitarianism or Reform Judaism), ethnic identity (in this case, Irish) and blood family (as opposed to adoptive or surrogate arrangements) are huge barriers to the imposition of state power upon otherwise malleable minds and communities via corporate media and the top-down cudgel of public school curricula.

Humans may not be intrinsically good, but the degenerate mess of majority divorce rates, pandemic levels of fatherlessness, endlessly extended adolescence, shamelessly narcissistic entitlement and outright exhibitionist sexual deviance (as opposed to simple bathhouse homosexuality as it has always existed) is a state of affairs that couldn’t have been arrived at entirely without determined and deep-pocketed encouragement. The powers that be can’t be content with your gay uncle Charlie bring his “friend” to Thanksgiving every year. They need atomized, emotionally fragile people unmoored from family and community, in need of “affirmation” at the expense of psychological hygiene.

So another way of framing this story would be to view a pair of lonely old traditionalist organizations (an Irish-Catholic fraternal organization with ever-dwindling membership and an umbrella group of largely elderly, Catholic veterans) that aren’t asking to police anyone’s minds or bedrooms, but simply want no part of the popular, reductionist conflation of corporeal longing with holistic social identity, who have major media outlets and multinational corporations gunning for them, in spite of their supposed irrelevance.