Category Archives: Senility



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?



This might burn a bit

When a stranger’s blithe gesture outweighs your plodding devotion

and you’re granted the serenity to accept the things you cannot change

When you carry around in you a shattered Jerusalem

and find yourself a stranger, but people aren’t strange

The millstone, the cross, the imperative to forgive

the impulse to murder, the necessity to live

the dread that stalks awake-nights, the antiseptic light

dementia and goosebumps and envy and blight

When lies gain the weight of stentorian tomes

and vigor and vim, and known unknown knowns

Then we ordinary folk can cross bridges in space

secure, validated with spit in our face

and decide when to chase and to now flee our tails

and determine the contours of our own comfy jails

When Might may lie down with the left and right hands

and erode all embankments and count up the sands

Then old Lot and his daughters can go fuck themselves

and grannies and housepets and Santa Claus’ elves

and beat the meatcleavers to swordshares and plows

and secure our slick winnings with purrs and meows

and confide our blanch longings despite no true friends

and incline our ears, trifling, to the way the world ends

Stockholm calling


This’ll only hurt for a minute

Regarding what promises to be another protracted summer of orchestrated destruction, the following non-sequitur from Henry Rollins, who is to punk rock what Lenny is to a mouse:

In 1969, when I was about 8 years old, I saw the divide. I went to a school in Washington, D.C., with mostly African-American kids who were bused in from different neighborhoods in the same city. It was a constantly harrowing experience. I got picked on for the color of my skin. Pushed into the urinal, head slammed into the water fountain, shoved down the stairs…..

It was in this year that I understood that my life in America was going to be different, not only because of the color of my skin but because of the advantages that came with it.

Then there’s this other advantaged guy. Like Rollins, he learned the hard way.



The bait ‘n’ switch


Trump 2016

As a youth I admired a man, an experienced man with the wisdom of a poet. He was the hunter and I, the dog. I subsumed his instruction like a sultry musk. But when I asked a poignant question the smoke cleared, and he had vanished….

The promise of the good life is the bane of examination

Orchestrator of spectacle

Capturer of imagination

A grand discovery indeed, that connected fear and loathing to vices

Fool me twice, never again: an ancient, malevolent license.

The obscurantist’s inimitable art is to put a price on the sublime, not from town to town, but everywhere, for all time.

A discerning host, your merry diversions are his constant attendance to business.


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?

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.