Monday, February 21, 2005

RIP Hunter S. Thompson

Interesting reminiscence on Thompson:



"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

HST On Republicans:
“In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are f-ed until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.”

On Nixon:
“If there were any such thing as true justice in this world, his rancid carcass would be somewhere down around Easter Island right now, in the belly of a hammerhead shark.”

I'm saddened at HST's bowing out, but it's a fairly understandable response to an absurd world for an old rebel in not great health...due to a miserable hangover? bitch problems? strapped for cashola? Bush re-election? dope connection vamanosed...some ho-wood mafia intrigue

Dylan Thomas yawped it better than I ever shall:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

* * *

Cynical addendum: Offing yourself in a room next to where your son and 6 yr. old grandson are located might be gonzo, but it doesn't seem too ethical or sane. And there's a bit too much bad craziness in HST's oeuvre.

I don't think HST was of the genius sort. He came from the sportswriting department. His political writing and columns ( especially his old Herald Examiner stuff in LA) packed a punch but he was no Mencken, certainly no Bertrand Russell or Pynchon. Kerouac's writing, however unfocused, also contained more heart and profundity than Dr. Gonzo's savage journey into the American Dream. Like Mailer, HST's machoism and violence is tiresome, even if funny--and there are some rumors that HST was a bit more perverse and criminal than one would think.

We should attempt to overlook his "character flaws" but in many ways he personifies much of the 60s and 70s excesses. Gonzo reminds me of old, bad rock & roll albums I would rather forget, too many hippies and freaks who unthinkingly bought into the entire 60's ethos. I listen to Stravinsky and Coltrane and Debussy while commuting, web-surfing, or working, not drug-crazed Marin cowboys or Malibu minstrels. I have witnessed too many people's lives ruined by alcohol and narcotics to join in the gonzo par-tay, and I suspect others might object to his incessant praise of drugs and alcohol and his rude and even redneck perspective.

His unpolitically-correct views and his attacks on repugs were needed but he was lacking, well, a certain modicum of rationality.

His strange exit may remind us of the existentialist's meditations on suicide (Camus thought it was the central philosophical problem), or perhaps the buddhist monks who during the height of 'Nam bombing immolated themselves. He might have been a bit more of a decent phreak and taped the event for us.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Kern War Profiteers: Bechtel

"On April 17 [2003], Bechtel received one of the first and largest of the rebuilding contracts in Iraq. Worth $680 million over 18 months, the contract includes the rebuilding, repair and/or assessment of virtually every significant element of Iraq's infrastructure, from power generation facilities to electrical grids to the municipal water and sewage systems. The contract was granted in backroom deals without open and transparent bidding processes and the content remains hidden behind a veil of secrecy. The contract has not been publicly disclosed to American taxpayers, who will be paying the majority of the bill. While there is no doubt that Bechtel has experience in these areas, it is an experience from which the people of Iraq should be spared.

War profiteering and political cronyism is just part of this story."


Friday, February 18, 2005

Herr Doktor Mike Von Fleichmann: Judo Coach, Shakespearean, and CrimeFighter

Perhaps you’ve heard of C-SUB Professor Mike Fleichmann. A Shakespeare Instructor and Judo coach (no lie) on the Cal State dole, Fleichmann also is a crony of Ed Jagels (the notorious Kern DA who was slammed in Rolling Stone a few months ago) and other notable Central California right-wing extremists. Mike, like any decent Californian neo-fascist, works real hard at his job and has been rewarded for his service to Truth amd Judo with awards from the John Birch Society or something—-he has been awarded Cal State Bootlicker of the Year numerous times.

Mike somehow got it in his head, back at the University of Skokie or whereever he bought his PhD, that Literature might be profitably implemented for right-wing ideological ends; thus he makes a living (at the taxpayer’s expense) passing off his Shakespeare/Himmler pep rallies to those gullible Kern citizens who flock to lit. classes in search of culture. Kernoids, however, don't receive culture in Mike's classes--though they do get Fleichmann’s lectures in "How To Be A Great Machiavellian", with the MikeMeister often using Antonio from the Tempest as his role model, though he does have some problems with the Bard's polysyllabic syntax.

If you have read Ellison’s Invisible Man you remember the cynical and corrupt college administrator Bledsoe. Like the usual Cal State professorial hack, Fleichmann IS another Bledsoe, but lacking Bledsoe’s deadpan irony and verbal sophistication. CSUB has plenty of other Bledsoes, other incompetent hatchetmen and women, some of them quite pathological if not psychotic in character, such as Bi Mama Plugowski. Big Mama P. (a feminist member of the politically correct Kern Vichy French, contrasted but not opposed to Von Fleichmann's Wehrmacht), could not divide fractions correctly, but she does know some French and has read lots of Ginny Woolfe, and manages, in a very consistent manner, to consistently distort the Deep Thinkers, in the name of “post-structuralism” or “hermeneutics” or some crap. Confronting Mama P. with a syllogism would most likely cause her to have a nervous breakdown, but really, kids, it’s better to get some entertainment from the resident Crazy Circus Lady of C-SUB than suffer through a Seminar in Drama of the 3rd Reich with Herr Fleichmann from Skokie.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Verbatim quote from Assemblywoman Sharon Runner's website, on The Issues:

"It is time to establish an equitable funding system in order to ensure that no community college student is funded at an adequate level regardless of where they live in California."

Appears as if Miss Runner could have used that Bonehead English or logic class at Tumbleweed Tech, instead of Trailer Park Marketing 101....

The Honorable Sharie Mae intended to say something like "all students are entitled to adequate funding regardless of their geographic location," but she, alas, has not quite attained a 12th grade level of language skills: thus, in effect, she asserts that NO student should have adequate funding.

Assemblywoman Sharie Mae Runner, 36th District...howdee

Sharie and George Runner, like their boss Ahhnuld the King, recently have turned their attention to pedagogy. That should be pretty amusing, though sadly so, to any person who has managed to pass a few college classes. Sharie unlikely could follow her Bible College griddlecakes recipe correctly, and you know she couldn't distinguish standard deviation from her Standard Revised Version of the Good Book. George, from the renowned University of Redlands, located somewhere in a mall off the I 15, claims to be an business or econ. major, but for some reason methinx he gets most of his "deep thoughts" from the Book of Revelations. So not only the 3 R's, but an extra R for Rapture: "All students meet in the gym for "Rapture Awareness Days"..."

Senator George Runner

I recently had a political-historical realization--deep thought time: although they think they are "patriots," hicks such as the Runners and the "Walmart baptist" type of conservatives, are not, let's be honest, real Americans. Even conservative Founding Fathers such as Adams and Hamilton--really an English aristocrat in disguise and quite a tyrant-- supported the secular Constitution and were opposed to theocracy. More moderate and liberal "Fathers"--Madison and obviously Jefferson himself--would I think have supported John Kerry, reluctantly. TJ, somewhat of a Stoic and a rationalist, would not have found much in common with what currently passes for a Democrat (tho TJ did voice support for Abolition it may be recalled), but he would have opposed and fought the rise of the corporate capitalists and the militarists, and the redneck fundamentalist grunts who support them.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

From Petr Kropotkin, 'War!' (1914)

“What Germany, France, Russia, England and Austria are struggling for at this moment, is not military supremacy but economic supremacy, the right to impose their manufactures, their custom duties, upon their neighbours; the right to develop the resources of peoples backward in industry; the privilege of making railways through countries that have none, and under that pretext to get demand of their markets, the right, in a word, to filch every now and then from a neighbour a seaport that would stimulate their trade or a province that would absorb the surplus of their production. When we fight nowadays it is to ensure our Factory Kings a bonus of thirty per cent, to strengthen the “Barons” of finance in their hold on the money market, and to keep up the rate of interest for shareholders in mines and railways. If we were only consistent, we should replace the lion on our standard with a golden calf, their other emblems by money bags, and the names of our regiments, borrowed formerly from royalty, by the titles of the Kings of Industry and Finance - “Third Rothschild,” “Tenth Baring,” etc. We should at least know whom we were killing for.”
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