“Baboon society made so much sense. You were born into a family, and immediately everyone knew who you were and where you stood in the world. Maybe your family was high ranking enough that you got to eat the best foods and sleep in the safest trees, and maybe they weren’t, but at least you and everyone else in your world knew which it was. I didn’t have a clue where I stood in high school society. I thought I was a pretty cool person, but clearly I wasn’t cool enough to have a fake crush on Alex, so I guess I had one data point. I looked around. No one else had a massive book about dragons next to their lunch, so maybe that wasn’t a “cool” thing to have. No one else had a dusty, baboon-poop-stained backpack either, and when I looked closer, everyone was wearing something that either said Abercrombie & Fitch or Gap on it, not hand-me-down L.L. Bean clothes from their parents like I did. My own focal follow today wasn’t going very well. Approached by Crushy, put down by Crushy, now sitting silently and not speaking to anyone.” – Keena Roberts
“And I can say I am dearly sorry to the guy who is probably driving a used Civic right now, who had requested the Smashing Pumpkins, Silver “Frick” (as they say in church) – that’s a nine minute song and I’m sorry, I’m on a strict, strict timeline here.” – Alaska Wolf Joe
“On paper his (George Wallce) speeches were stunningly disconnected, at times incoherent. But videotapes of those 1968 rallies captured a performance. A wild energy seemed to flow back and forth between Mr. Wallace and his audience as he called out their mutual enemies: bearded hippies, pornographers, sophisticated intellectuals who mocked God, traitorous anti-Vietnam War protesters, welfare bums, cowardly politicians and ‘pointy-head college professors who can’t even park a bicycle straight.’ For the television networks the spectacle became irresistible, particularly since rallies often erupted into violent chair-throwing confrontations between Mr. Wallace’s supporters and angry demonstrators. Hunter S. Thompson understood that George Wallace’s followers were not interested in position papers on banking regulations or the pros and cons of thermal energy. Watching the Alabama governor perform was awe-inspiring to the gonzo journalist, who likened the rallies to a Janis Joplin concert ‘in which the bastard had somehow levitated himself and was hovering over us.’” Dan T. Hall
“You, who shall resurface following the flood
In which we have perished,
When you speak of our weaknesses,
Also the dark time
That you have escaped.
“For we went forth, changing our country more frequently than our shoes
Through the class warfare, despairing
That there was only injustice and no outrage.
“And yet we knew:
Even the hatred of squalor
Distorts one’s features.
Even anger against injustice
Makes the voice grow hoarse. We
Who wished to lay the foundation for gentleness
Could not ourselves be gentle.
“But you, when at last the time comes
That man can aid his fellow man,
Should think upon us
– Bertolt Brecht
“A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him. A man when he gets into a higher sphere, into other habits of life, cannot keep up all his former connections. Then, Sir, those who knew him formerly upon a level with themselves, may think that they ought still to be treated as on a level, which cannot be; and an acquaintance in a former situation may bring out things which it would be very disagreeable to have mentioned before higher company, though, perhaps, everybody knows of them. – Dr. Johnson”
This was the week that brought tremendous joy.
Have you ever had a thought or even a snippit of a thought that you knew was true, but you were afraid to give it voice because the others would think you’re nuts?
For years and years I’ve had one of those fragments stuck int he back of my head which I could not rid myself of. Time and time again I fought the urge to say it out loud for fear of what might happen next. The last Tuesday at 6:30am I was running through one of the various email newsletters that crosses the transom each day and there it was – a headline that proved one of my oldest and most deeply held thoughts was true after all.
In large friendly letters it said:
How Living With Baboons Prepared Me for Living Through High School by Keen Roberts (excerpt above)
The hierarchies, the enforcement of hierarchies, the adherence to your troupe (or lack thereof)?
Finally somebody said it – in print.
So looking back it wasn’t youthful exuberance, a phase I was going through, nor was it a rebellious streak.
I was baring my teeth and flinging my poop at the football players.
Well, in a socially acceptable and far more sanitary way.
Oh don’t look at me like that. It happens every day. What do you think Alaska Wolf Joe was doing when he truncated Honda Bro’s request?
He was merely asserting his place in the hierarchy of the electromagnetic spectrum much the in same way our former president did when he said, “I’M PAYING FOR THIS MICROPHONE!”
Yeah, good ol’ Dutch.
There was a silverback who knew his way around a good poop flingin’.
Where were we?
Sometime back I said I’d blog more often, but my primate nature got in the way. When you really come down to it – or as the dullards say – at the end of the day what is social media but The Veld?
The gap is posting was due to an unavoidable delay after I left the following comment on someone’s post on a certain social media platform where the OP and his ilk exalted certain classic rock bands.
My response to all that?
If The Steve Miller Band is the processed cheese food of rock-n-roll then Fleetwood Mac is its non-dairy creamer.
Such screaming the likes of which you’ve never heard. As a famous young man once said, “And would you believe it, o my brothers and only friends. There was your faithful narrator being held helpless, like a babe in arms.” Or at least that was the impression I left them with so I could slip away and write this.
Which begs the question, “Were you flinging your poop at the people or flinging it at what they believe is their unassailable cultural touchstones?”
Does it matter?
A poop flingin’ is a poop flingin’.
Which brings us to our second point –
STEP AWAY FROM THE FRENCH GUYS AND NOBODY GETS HURT
Some of you may have seen this a couple of weeks ago.
Postmodernism has been a favorite scapegoat for our ills for decades now. The conventional critique of postmodernism is that it’s nihilistic, a knock that you hear from critics on the left and the right.
In the Trump era, the critique has deepened — not just nihilistic, critics say, but the source of our era’s woes. Liberals like the former chief book critic for the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani, argue that postmodernism spilled out of the academy and seeped into the broader culture, devaluing the very concept of objectivity. She lays the fact-averse both-sideism of the Trump age at the feet of postmodernism, which she believes cemented the idea that no “perspective” can be privileged over another.
The psychologist and pop-philosopher Jordan Peterson believes postmodernism’s obsession with marginalization and cultural appropriation kicked off our current political correctness “crisis.” As he describes it in a blog post, postmodernism was the brainchild of a handful of leftist academics in the ’70s and ’80s who argued that “since there are an innumerable number of ways in which the world can be interpreted and perceived … no canonical manner of interpretation can be reliably derived.”
For Peterson, postmodernism’s skepticism of capital-T truth unleashed the menace of identity politics and placed race and identity at the center of the struggle for power. There are a few problems with that logic, but if you buy Peterson’s premise, then his conclusion more or less follows. – Sean Illing
Stepping back some – in the 00’s the noonday sky couldn’t be seen because Th’ Bloggitysphere was so thick with blogs. Back then there was a hierarchy. Some were known as A-Listers because of their ability to mimic the English Shrike. They acceled at finding some pundit or another to impale on something sharp so they could pick at the poor sap while he or she slowly and supposedly died. Despite years and years of such effort Th’ Bloggity Sphere failed to do away with the pundit. To this day Maureen Dowd and David Brooks roam free. Punditry lives on and still manages to interpret current events in a silted and haphazard manner such as Mr. Illing’s attempt to make postmodernism into the Boogie Man.
Speaking of the 00’s some of you might remember that I spent a great deal of time applying postmodernism to what was then known as The Base. Back then the Right called such efforts “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” Supposedly Dubya was an apt and cunning fox who drove us libs to distraction, but when you came right down to it those on the Left thought of it as little more than a variant of night reflux. The only reason to bring it up – beyond presenting my bona fides AKA thumping my chest and baring my teeth – is to say that it’s not postmodernism at play here and the article should not leave the impression that postmodernism is for everybody. In fact thinking of it as some sort of democratic or universal lens is pretty dangerous, dangerous along the lines of letting a five year-old play with radioactive battery acid.
So who should dabble in the postmodernism?
– The bicycle parking challenged.
– People who are comfortable wearing tweed.
– The leather-patches-on-the-elbow-of-the-sweater crowd.
– Beatniks and/or some other type of bohemian who is not an old hippie.
– The people at the branch library who smell like the old books.
Now, if you didn’t see you name on that list then give it pass. If you have aspirations to take it on as well as owning a NPR tote bag, membership in a book club, or positive thoughts about The Grateful Dead then please go back to whatever pledge drive you were watching and let us experts handle all things epistemological.
And the first one of you who mentions Eckhardt Tolle gets detention for a week.
So what are we dealing with?
First, this is not an attempt to pick on Kellyanne Conway. Her appearance here is only to serve as a reference point since most of you are familiar with the statements she’s made over the past few years. That said – none of us will ever know whether or not she’s read DeLeuze much less Baudrillard, but we can all be reasonably sure that once the camera is off and she walks away from her various tv appearances she is not thinking to herself, “BOO-YAH you structuralist motherfuckers!” Second, if we were to take the time to parse her many comments it’s unlikely that we’d find any hint of a mention of post-industrial consumer society or using history as the backbone of a general theory of political thought. Because when you come down to it – America is not being torn apart by some guy’s iffy definition of what postmodernism might be.
What’s tearing us apart is the sublimation of good old fashion rudimentary, albeit unsanitary, primate behavior. (See the above.)
Side A flings at Side B. Side B returns fire. Meanwhile we all burn in the fire of constant change. Soon people will not move fast and break things. Technology will be able to do that without our help. There will be mass migrations from the inhabitable parts of our hemisphere to the few places were humans can live. Conflict will erupt. There will be wars over access to fresh water and long before that there will be violence before, during, and after next year’s election. Gun laws cannot save us now, we are far too weaponized and our nerves are being rubbed raw every day. By next Christmas the late governor’s vision of a National Guardsman on every street corner might be a reality, but not for the reasons he thought. Rather than deal with it directly we will turn from the outside world and bury ourselves in our daily lives. Some will find refuge in small misshapen aphorisms concocted by those with larger agendas.
But all is not lost. As Brecht said –
“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”
In the meantime –