Monday, May 31, 2010

Hobbes' ghost

You should read this interesting article on Hobbes penned by one Ann Talbot:

....""""If the ghost of Thomas Hobbes were to board an airplane and head across the Atlantic, he would surely point out to {Corey Robin, hack at The Nation} that men’s politics are determined by their class interests, because that was the lesson that he had learned through hard experience by the time he came to write Leviathan. Hobbes would recognise in Obama a man whose political actions are determined in the most blatant way by the interests of the financial oligarchy.

And what would Robin do if the ghost of Thomas Hobbes came knocking on his door? He would certainly consign him to one of the inner circles of hell, because Hobbes the materialist, Hobbes the determinist, certainly belongs at the very least in a rogues’ gallery of evil Enlightenment figures for academics like Robin who derive their arguments, at several removes, from the theories associated with the Frankfurt School. The diverse and often antagonistic trends in twentieth century thought that spring from the Frankfurt School are often regarded as some form of Marxism, but they owe more to nineteenth century German irrationalism. They were taken up by the radical left in the postwar period and influenced the ensuing waves of postmodern, poststructuralist and deconstructionist thought in more recent years. What is common to them is the desire to trace back all the ills of modern capitalism to the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution, to rational thought, to materialism and most of all to determinism.

These irrational anti-Enlightenment traditions of thought are entirely foreign to the ideas of Marx and Engels. Writing of the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution, Engels described the period as “a time which called for giants and produced giants—giants in power of thought, passion and character, in universality and learning.” [4] Thomas Hobbes would certainly qualify as one of those giants.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dennis Hopper RIP

"""The motorcycles for the film (Easy Rider), based on hardtail frames and Panhead engines, were designed and built by chopper builders Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy, following ideas of Peter Fonda, and handled by Tex Hall and Dan Haggerty (of Grizzly f-ing Adams fame!) during shooting.

In total, four former police officer bikes were used in the film. The 1949, 1950 and 1952 Harley Davidson Hydra-Glide bikes were purchased at an auction for US$ 500 (equivalent to approx. US$ 2500 at 2007 currency rates). Each bike had a backup to make sure that shooting could continue in case one of the old machines failed or got wrecked accidentally. One "Captain America" was demolished in the final scene, while the other three were stolen and probably taken apart before their significance as movie props became known. The demolished bike was rebuilt by Dan Haggerty and shown in a museum. He sold it at an auction in 2001. Many other replicas have been built since the film’s release."""

When the aged Hopper or Fonda jumped on a hardtail supposedly from Easy Rider--they're just saddling a mutha-f-ing replica! The original panheads were stolen during the making of that semi-legendary flick. RIP, Billy or in the extended original, Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per Dei misericordiam requiescant in pace.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


the intellectual failings of Ayn Rand, continued...
Garbage and Gravitas/Robin:
"""[Ayn] Rand's following in Hollywood has always been strong. Barbara Stanwyck and Veronica Lake fought to play the part of Dominique Francon in the movie version of The Fountainhead. Never to be outdone in that department, Joan Crawford threw a dinner party for Rand in which she dressed as Francon, wearing a streaming white gown dotted with aquamarine gemstones. More recently, the author of The Virtue of Selfishness and the statement "if civilization is to survive, it is the altruist morality that men have to reject" has found an unlikely pair of fans in the Hollywood humanitarian set. Rand "has a very interesting philosophy," says Angelina Jolie. "You re-evaluate your own life and what's important to you." The Fountainhead "is so dense and complex," marvels Brad Pitt, "it would have to be a six-hour movie." (The 1949 film version has a running time of 113 minutes, and it feels long.) Christina Ricci claims that The Fountainhead is her favorite book because it taught her that "you're not a bad person if you don't love everyone." Rob Lowe boasts that Atlas Shrugged is "a stupendous achievement, and I just adore it." And any boyfriend of Eva Mendes, the actress says, "has to be an Ayn Rand fan."

But Rand, at least according to her fiction, shouldn't have attracted any fans at all. The central plot device of her novels is the conflict between the creative individual and the hostile mass. The greater the individual's achievement, the greater the mass's resistance. As Howard Roark, The Fountainhead's architect hero, puts it:

The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid.

Rand clearly thought of herself as one of these creators. In an interview with Mike Wallace she declared herself "the most creative thinker alive." That was in 1957, when Arendt, Quine, Sartre, Camus, Lukács, Adorno, Murdoch, Heidegger, Beauvoir, Rawls, Anscombe and Popper were all at work. It was also the year of the first performance of Endgame and the publication of Pnin, Doctor Zhivago and The Cat in the Hat. Two years later, Rand told Wallace that "the only philosopher who ever influenced me" was Aristotle. Otherwise, everything came "out of my own mind." She boasted to her friends and to her publisher at Random House, Bennet Cerf, that she was "challenging the cultural tradition of two and a half thousand years." She saw herself as she saw Roark, who said, "I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one." But tens of thousands of fans were already standing with her. In 1945, just two years after its publication, The Fountainhead sold 100,000 copies. In 1957, the year Atlas Shrugged was published, it sat on the New York Times bestseller list for twenty-one weeks."""

Madoff-land ....."Uomini fummo, e or siam fatti sterpi"
* * *

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dial M for Movieland

Zizek on Cameron's Avatar---

"""Cameron's superficial Hollywood Marxism (his crude privileging of the lower classes and caricatural depiction of the cruel egotism of the rich) should not deceive us. Beneath this sympathy for the poor lies a reactionary myth, first fully deployed by Rudyard Kipling's Captains Courageous. It concerns a young rich person in crisis who gets his (or her) vitality estored through brief intimate contact with the full-blooded life of the poor. What lurks behind the compassion for the poor is their vampiric exploitation.


Avatar's fidelity to the old formula of creating a couple, its full trust in fantasy, and its story of a white man marrying the aboriginal princess and becoming king, make it ideologically a rather conservative, old-fashioned film. Its technical brilliance serves to cover up this basic conservatism. It is easy to discover, beneath the politically correct themes (an honest white guy siding with ecologically sound aborigines against the "military-industrial complex" of the imperialist invaders), an array of brutal racist motifs: a paraplegic outcast from earth is good enough to get the hand of abeautiful local princess, and to help the natives win the decisive battle. The film teaches us that the only choice the aborigines have is to be saved by the human beings or to be destroyed by them. In other words, they can choose either to be the victim of imperialist reality, or to play their allotted role in the white man's fantasy.

At the same time as Avatar is making money all around the world (it generated $1bn after less than three weeks of release), something that strangely resembles its plot is taking place. The southern hills of the Indian state of Orissa, inhabited by the Dongria Kondh people, were sold to mining companies that plan to exploit their immense reserves of bauxite (the deposits are considered to be worth at least $4trn). In reaction to this project, a Maoist (Naxalite) armed rebellion exploded."""

The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living (Marx).

and Bigelow's anti-Avatar   

Sunday, May 23, 2010


""Der Krieg ist der Schöpfer, der Hunger der Vernichter aller großen Dinge. Dort wird das Leben durch den Tod gehoben, oft bis zu jener unwiderstehlichen Kraft, deren bloßes Vorhandensein schon den Sieg bedeutet; hier weckt der Hunger jene häßliche, gemeine, ganz unmetaphysische Art von Lebensangst, unter welcher die höhere Formenwelt einer Kultur jäh zusammenbricht und der nackte Daseinskampf menschlicher Bestien beginnt.“" Der Krieg is DER SCHOPFER! jawohl. {Spengler}

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand as in Aynd?


""Start with Rand. Like many libertarians he is never happier than in dashing back through the corridors of history to distant, sometimes obscure champions in the fight for liberty, as construed by libertarians. On the night of the MSNC face-off it was William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society in 1832. When Paul rolled out his name in response to one of her early questions about his posture on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Maddow blinked in astonishment as though he was mustering to his side the shade of the Venerable Bede. If she’d asked him about his posture on the rights of juries to nullify, to act according to the dictates of conscience and to set the law aside, he’d probably have brought up Edward Bushell and the landmark case against William Penn and William Mead in 1670.

Few are destined for Greatness...

Libertarians are like that. On some big and important things they’re admirable and staunch. Many of them, on some big and important things, are rancid. Half of Rand Paul’s positions are disgusting, like his end-of-week defense of BP. Other libertarians decry him from being evasive on O’Reilly’s Show about opposing war with Iran. Libertarians in the dust and heat of the political arena have no grasp of scale or priority. At heart many of them are nutty, martyrs to their truths, like fourth-century Christian schismatics. Ardent to refute charges that they favor the untrammeled sway of the market, the rejection of all federal intrusion, they dash to Von Mises and kindred heroes with all the childish enthusiasm of Gabriel Betteredge invoking Robinson Crusoe in The Moonstone. They have no sense of timing. Rand Paul, after five minutes of jabbing from Maddow, could have easily swerved the conversation towards issues more congenial to the MSNBC audience than his theoretical take on the Civil Rights Act. He could have denounced the farce of financial “reform”, of Bush’s and Obama’s wars, of constitutional abuses. These are all libertarian positions. But no. He couldn’t stop himself shoving his foot in his mouth. He seems dumb.""

Shades of John Galt! The Road to Hades is paved with liberaltarian contentions, as Alex C nearly realizes once out of 10 scrawls. At least AC sees the essential worthlessness of corporate gorgons such as Rachel Maddow--more authenticity than yll see from the usual Press-punk at talent nite.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

e-Meg--non voter for 28 years


""Is billionaire Meg Whitman having fun yet? She's certainly had a careening week in her once seeming juggernaut of a bid to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California.

In any car race, the worst moment is not when the trailing car pulls up in the rear view mirror, it's when you can no longer see it in the rear view mirror. That's because it's alongside.

I've been reporting for weeks on her steep slide in private polling on her Republican primary race against super-rich state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who was once dismissed by nearly all as a hapless speed bump in the race. That culminated here on the Huffington Post in "Meg Whitman's Titanic Campaign for Governor of California.""""

While Poizner may be a corrupt, silicon-valley corporate exec., e-Meg's a corrupt, silicon valley corporate nutbucket. Yay e-Meg!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mormonics, cont.

perps of the LDS

Ted Bundy--Bundius!--was an LDS boy (why is that not surprising). They forgot to include Joseph Smith hisself.

Mo' mormonic phunn

the Mittster

Monday, May 17, 2010


""People who are in a fortunate position always attribute virtue to what makes them so happy.""(JK Galbraith).


"""Question: “Governor, you said you would be seeking additional cuts in Health and Human Services. And I’m wondering, how do you justify that when the economy is not doing well and the demand for government programs is going up?”

Schwarzenegger replied: “Well, I think that you said it. Because the economy is not doing well and because we have a broken budget system we don’t have more money. We have to live within our means. That’s what I need to do in my business, that’s what I need to do in my family We have to live within our means.”

For Schwarzenegger, living within his means apparently involves commuting to work every morning in his own private jet.

The Governor continued, “Everyone has to tighten their belts. Local government has to tighten their belts, we have to tighten our belts. We have to recognize there’s only so much money.”

.... ....

The Democrats in Sacramento, for their part, have made use of the absence of actual budget negotiations to denounce the Schwarzenegger ‘s plans, using oppositional-sounding rhetoric which costs them nothing. According to State Senate President Darrel Steinberg, “The cuts are absolutely unacceptable.” Senator Denise Ducheny of San Diego said that under the Governor’s plan, “children have no value, but corporate tax breaks that do not exist today have greater value than the children of California.”

There can be no doubt however, that the state Democrats will, in the end, fully agree to massive austerity measures in one form or another. The Democrats, no less than the Republicans, represent the interests of the financial elite who demand further sacrifice from the broad masses of the population."""

Authentic demos opposed to Ahhnuld-nomics might consider a celebrity and athlete tax (not to say a modification of Prop. 13, that giveaway to the California wealthy elite). Have west LA and malibu actors, rock stars and jocko-scabs (yes, comrade, pro- athletes are scabs--as are the news-boys pitchin' the schports biz) and corp. executives foot the bill--could say an LA Laker, or ho-wood starlet, or Ahhnuld himself--or a silicon mogul such as Jobs-- pass the same tests the average high school math teacher has?? Un f-ing likely.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Amgen ouch--Palmdale to Big Bear

"""A 135-mile journey of pain and anguish and frustration, of will and of want, of physical endurance and mental fatigue.

Through the dusty streets of Palmdale and up the Angeles Forest Highway, surrounded by the charred remains of the Station Fire, a bleak landscape of blackened sand and burned trees. Up Angeles Crest Highway, more winding than a Slinky and half as fun, and over State Route 138 and its stomach-churning dips.

Past the overturned Kia Amanti and the creative teenage snowboarders and the snowcapped pines of Lake Arrowhead and past Zelda and Tarzan, the Sacramento couple hiking from Mexico to Canada and known to non-trampers as Cindy and David Peters.

Up and up and up State Route 18, into the clouds, the air thinner than a model's wrist, and through Big Bear, waving goodbye to barkeep John Bratton at the Northshore Tavern and Brewery, finally settling at Snow Summit."""


Pancake pater-noster

Our Father, which art in kitchens,
hallowed be thy chow;
thy flapjacks come;
thy syrup be poured,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily cakes
maple syrup, butter, and sides of bacon as well,
and forgive those who serve soy products unto us.
And lead us not into vegetarianism;
but deliver us from health food.
[For thine is the IHOP,
the Carrows, and the Denny's,
for ever and ever.]

(with a tip of a hat to St. Alphonzo, and ...St. FZ)

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Le Connoisseur (Rockwell).

It sounds like every thrift store shopper’s dream. Teri Horton, a 75-year-old former long-haul trucker, bought a painting for a friend as a gag in a California thrift store, only to learn that it could be a lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth more than $50,000,000. The original price tag: $5.

“I saw it at the shop and I asked how much they wanted for it. They told me eight dollars,” says Horton. “I told them, ‘I love my friend, but I don’t love her that much. I’ll give you five.’”

When the painting wouldn’t fit into her friend’s mobile home, Horton brought it back to hers and eventually tried to sell it at a yard sale. When a local art teacher remarked that the painting could be a Pollock, Horton responded with what would later become the title of a documentary about her find: “Who the $#&* is Jackson Pollock?”

Those ahhtistes who will never be Rembrandts or even Rockwells might aspire to Pollock-ness Abstraction, Inc--and cash it in (or, possibly fake your death, and set up your estate properly, THEN rake it in).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Walker Percy's Weirdest Book

from The Chronicle:

""Easily the strangest book [Percy] wrote was Lost in the Cosmos, which is shelved among the nonfiction but is actually an indescribable concoction of hard facts and wild imagination, a parody of self-help books (sort of), a philosophy textbook (kind of), and a collection of short stories, quizzes, diagrams, thought experiments, mathematical formulas, made-up dialogue, ridiculously long chapter titles, and a few David Foster Wallace-worthy footnotes. It's honestly great, or possibly terrible, depending on your level of patience for Percy's stew of literary high jinks.""

"You live in a deranged age, more deranged that usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing."(Percy)

Dr. Percy's probably not the preferred literary cup of tea for those infatuated with space opera heroes or bay area BeatnikCo, yet he had something valuable to say, even for the non-believer. One might appreciate Percy's mockery of behaviorism (substitute in Dawkins and/or Dennett for Skinner and Quine) without subscribing to his neo-thomist conclusions--or so it seems. PercySpeak could result in a violent reactions in some quarters, like among WASP-masons and/or darwinists who consider all catholics Pat Buchanans (or worse..."Percy? Waddn't he a g*d*mn*ed Marian, a papist? Why BillY Bob, the pagan freak's now learning the errors of his ways in the pit of perdition").

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Yarnell Kid

“RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.

"What is your religion my son?" inquired the Archbishop of Rheims.

"Pardon, monseigneur," replied Rochebriant; "I am ashamed of it."

"Then why do you not become an atheist?"

"Impossible! I should be ashamed of atheism."

"In that case, monsieur, you should join the Protestants."”

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dishonoring J.P. Stevens

Turley on the nomination of Kagan:

""President Barack Obama said he wanted to honor the legacy of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens with his nominee. If so, he has chosen to honor it in the breach with a nominee who is likely to dismantle a significant part of Stevens’ legacy. As with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has decided to nominate someone who is demonstrably more conservative than the person she is replacing on some issues –potentially moving the Court to the right. I discussed on the nomination on this segment of Countdown.

For many liberals and civil libertarians, the Kagan nomination is a terrible act of betrayal after the President campaigned so heavily on the issue of the Supreme Court during his campaign. He is now replacing a liberal icon with someone who has testified that she does not believe in core protections for accused individuals in the war on terror. During her confirmation hearing Kagan testified that she believed that anyone suspected of helping finance Al Qaeda should be stripped of protections and held under indefinite detention without a trial — agreeing with the Bush Administration....."""

Given corporate liberal control-freaks such as Miss Kagan, who needs conservatives.

LAWFUL, adj. Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction (Bierce).

Sunday, May 09, 2010

eMeg Whit-Goldman

from SF Gate:

""In 2001, Goldman put Whitman on its corporate board, paying her an estimated $475,000for little more than a year of part-time service. The company also gave her insider access to the initial public offerings of hot stocks worth millions, according to the records.

Whitman left the board in 2002 after she was singled out in a congressional probe of bond underwriters and "spinning" - a financial maneuver, now banned, in which Goldman and other firms allegedly traded access to hot IPOs for bond business. Whitman later settled a shareholder lawsuit related to profits she and other execs made from buying the IPOs.

In recent years, Whitman has kept part of her fortune, estimated by Forbes magazine to be $1.2 billion, in investment funds managed by Goldman, her financial disclosure report indicates. For her campaign, she's received $105,500 in donations from Goldman executives, state records show.""

more GoldMeg!HuffPo/Whitman

Miss Meg's not only tied to the Goldman-Sachs sugar daddies (the finance gang who brought us the mortgage crisis, with help from a few others), but also a Mormon (allegedly, cyber-snoops), and supporting Mitt Romneyoid for Der Fuhrer president in 2012. Just say...nyet.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Baron Von Schwarzenegger....tweets

""It promised to be the most exciting and unpredictable election for a generation – and it didn't disappoint. Social media, reflecting its younger user base, has tended to amplify support for the Liberal Democrats and Labour, skewing expectations of its users. On results night, it was the prospect of a Tory majority.

Results came in slowly, partly due to large turnout, but attention was focused on chaos at the polling stations – though the first outrage came at 10.20pm when California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted: "Just called @davidcameron to congratulate him on the victory.""""

Vee vant to Tweeten Zee upp. Ahhnuld jumped the gun (Cameron won, as did the royalist swineTorys)--the victory was not as resounding as the UK conservatives had hoped, and resulted in a hung parliament. The tweet-call to Cameron--considered by many as a near-fascist--reveals Schwarzenegger's own Goering-lite ideology, his few concessions to the environment or slight increase in taxes notwithstanding (mainly in fees and sales tax, which amount to a tax on the poor).

""""As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty, as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings. All anti-monarchial parts of scripture have been very smoothly glossed over in monarchial governments, but they undoubtedly merit the attention of countries which have their governments yet to form. Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's is the scriptural doctrine of courts, yet it is no support of monarchial government, for the Jews at that time were without a king, and in a state of vassalage to the Romans."""(Thomas Paine)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

NDOP, cont.--Rev. Melville's sermon

"""There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gently rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. Over Descartian vortices you hover. And perhaps, at mid-day, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea, no more to rise for ever. Heed it well, ye Pantheists!"""

from Ch. 35, "The Mast-Head", Moby Dick by Herman Melville Guar-ann-teed to scare the phrack out of the usual WASP or wicca, trash mormonic or methodist, wahaabbi or rabbi


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Decid grazias a Benito Juárez

history of Cinco de mayo, from Wiki-College:

""In 1861, Benito Juárez stopped making interest payments to countries that Mexico owed money to. In response, France[11] attacked Mexico to force payment of this debt. France decided that it would try to take over and occupy Mexico.[12] France was successful at first in its invasion; however, on May 5, 1862, at the city of Puebla, Mexican forces were able to defeat an attack by the larger French army. In the Battle of Puebla, the Mexicans were led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Although the Mexican army was victorious over the French at Puebla, the victory only delayed the French advance on Mexico City.

...tespios son algunos de los más grandes demonios de la tierra

A year later, the French occupied Mexico. The French occupying forces placed Emperor Maximilian I on the throne of Mexico in 1864. The French, under pressure from the United States, eventually withdrew in 1866-1867. Maximilian was deposed by President Benito Juárez and executed, five years after the Battle of Puebla."""

Most likely information to be purged, if/when Chairperson eMeg Whitman takes command of the California reich...

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sunday Morning


Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.


Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.


Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.


She says, 'I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?'
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven's hill, that has endured
As April's green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow's wings.


She says, 'But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.'
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.


Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.


Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feel shall manifest.


She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, 'The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.'
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Death is the mother of beauty....Wallace "Wally" Stevens, definitely won a cup of capp., once, at Talent-nite at Cafe Noesis.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

National day of ~(prayer)

A wisconsin Federal judge, one Miss Crabb, has declared the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional:

Crabb...wrote in her decision that ‘”some forms of ‘ceremonial deism,’ such as legislative prayer, do not violate the establishment clause.” But she said the National Day of Prayer goes too far.
“It goes beyond mere acknowledgment of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context,” she said. “In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.”…
The suit was originally filed against then-President George W. Bush and members of his administration, but President Obama is now listed as the defendant because the president enforces the statute in question by issuing a proclamation each year declaring National Day of Prayer.

Judge Crabb probably made the right decision, or at least the Constitutional decision, and that needn't imply that all prayer is misguided, or superstition. As a type of mental health or contemplation, prayer may provide comfort or serenity. A monk deep in prayer, intoning the latin of the Vulgate-- engages in a meaningful act, whether one shares his faith or not. People praying in the pews on sunday morning--say, a mother praying for her soldier son fighting in the middle east-- also attach a great deal of weight to their prayers, and the sort of glib, Dawkins-ish scoffer--why, any educated person knows prayer doesn't work, yada yada yada-- misses the point, greatly.

The National Day of prayer, however, extends the private act of prayer to the public arena. Judge Crabb probably offends many believers (including jew and muslim, along with christian) with her assertion that public prayer "serves no secular function", but her point seems quite in line with the First Amendment. Of course, the national day of prayer folks claim they are "ecumenical"--the event usually starts with the evangelicals prayers, a catholic priest perhaps, one or two rabbis, an imam, the moongoddess sort, evangelicals again, and maybe a unitarian freak, or one person representing an eastern religion. Yet these religions really have little in common. In ways, they are diametrically opposed (i.e. monotheistic vs polytheistic, for one), and since the evangelicals generally outnumber the other faiths by like 7 to 1, it's in effect a ...baptist prayer meeting, a prayer to Jeezuss of the IHOP, and to his pops, Gott, to keep property values increasing.

James Madison opposed public displays of christianity (or any religion) such as prayers from podiums, and at the end of his life, Madison attempted to keep chaplains out of the US Military (he lost). Crabb's decision seems rather Madisonian--even those religious people who don't belong to the big mainstream churches (ie baptist/presbyterian, or catholic) should approve of her separation of church and state.
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