“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Reasons to live in America

America, circa 2005.

Essential reading on the state of this so called civilization in the Washington Post story about the Civic Center.

There are two reasons, essentially, to live in America if you have a philosophical bent. One is that there is more pure buffoonery per square inch in this country than anywhere else in the world. The other is... what is the other? Oh yes, it is the freest, richest, and most just country in the whole wide world. No, that's not it. Let's see -- well, it is a country in which this can happen. Remember, this was after four days of no food and no water and no security, with the bodies piling up and gangbangers raping and stealing and assaulting people, with old ladies and men pushed into corners and left to die, and with the Secretary of Homeland Security very proud that he'd finally identified the Superdome on a Map of New Orleans:

“On Thursday … the New Orleans police made a dramatic entrance. Sgt. Hans Ganthier and 12 other New Orleans SWAT team members entered the center, M-4 commando rifles at the ready. Prayers had been answered -- only it was a rescue mission of a different purpose.

A Jefferson Parish police deputy had appealed to SWAT team Capt. Jeff Winn for help in bringing out his wife and a female relative from the center. "He knew they were there and was hearing nightmarish stories," said Ganthier, who declined to identify the officer for security reasons.

Winn approved the mission.

When the SWAT team entered at 11 a.m., the Jefferson Parish officer called out his wife's name. She heard him, and along with the relative rushed to his side. The SWAT team put the women in the middle of the team, then backed out the door.

Once it became clear that the SWAT team had come with the single goal of rescuing two white women, anger exploded.”

PS -- Not to worry, however. The Vatican has seen the Wickedness in America. They have noted the cries of the oppressed. Blake's America, in its travail, will be comforted by the Vicars of Christ! They have been moved by their infinite compassion to finally act:

Vatican to Check U.S. Seminaries on Gay Presence

ps -- LI's correspondent in NYC, Mr. T., wrote me after reading this:

"There are two reasons, essentially, to live in America if you have a philosophical bent. One is that there is more pure buffoonery per square inch in this country than anywhere else in the world. The other is... what is the other?"

Another way to cast this, a way I have thought autobiographically, is that one who finds themselves living in America either capitulates (the ultimate fate of most non-confomity), blows their brains out (another possible fate for a far smaller slice of the non-conformists), or develops a philosophical bent. For my own part - the rage and sarcasm of the punks of my youth (and the ones that pre-dated me) - those beautiful punkers that I was so enraptured by in those teen years of mine - seemed to lead only to one of the first two possibilites. At the same time, I started to encounter those writers of a philosophical bent, and some straight-up philosophy to boot. I couldn't capitulate, for some instinctual non-rational reasons, and, for similarly sourced reasons, I could not blow my brains out. A psychoanalyst might argue that the development of a philosophical bent was a matter of survival. "Whatever!" to that argument; I always thought that it was much more a question of style - only incidentially and accidentially might I have saved my own life.

To bring this all to the present: yes, what is that second reason?????

3 comments:

winn said...

"It's hard to leave people behind like that, but we were aiding an officer."

Gah.

I have to love that they don't identify the officer 'for security reasons'.

But remember, race and class didn't contribute to the way people reacted to Katrina!

Man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me what I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is the manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of.

winn said...

Also, I am a different winn. It's my first name, and not my last.

roger said...

Winn, nice quote from Smith. Although perhaps this is a case for The Dialectic of the Enlightenment, who write at the end of their excursus about Sade and Kant:

"To have screamed out to all the world the impossibility of finding a fundamanetal argument against murder out of Reason, instead of hiding it,
has kindled the hatred with which Sade and Nietzsche are persecuted by Progressives. In another way than the logical positivists, they have taken science literally. That they have adhered more firmly to Ratio than the latter has the secret sense of freeing utopia out of that shell which is contained in Kant's notion of Reason as well as in every great philosophy: that of a humanity that no longer mutilates itself because it no longer requires mutilation."