“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

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tears again

It kills me. It kills me. In Don Delillo’s Underworld, he has Lenny Bruce giving a performance during the Cuban Missile crisis about JFK’s speech on TV, and he says:

"Kennedy makes an appearance in public and you hear people say, I saw his hair! Or, I saw his teeth! The spectacle's so dazzling they can't take it all in. I saw his hair! They're venerating the sacred relics while the guy's still alive."

And he punctuates his monologue with a “line he’s come to love: we’re all gonna die!”

That was back when superman first came to the supermarket. The monster was just being born back then, and it didn’t seem at all like a monster, it seemed like art: those Esquire writers, like Norman Mailer, going beyond the surface scrim of politics to contact with knowing fingers the Siamese twin tie between the larger than life personality and the larger life at large, the semiotic encoded in the statesman’s gestures, his suits, his dislike of hats… And so this new way of writing about politicos, writing about them as though they were characters in a novel, was born. Born just as the novel was dying out as a dominant aesthetic form – cut out the middleman, make your own in living breathing flesh and blood characters, hire consultants to do it, and then raise up a brood of commentors whose perceptions are as predictably shallow as their upbringing, a background in which was omitted all history, languages, nights of the soul, empathy, imagination, knowledge, and loose this whole dire bestiary on tv and in the papers as a permanent chorus, giving us ever thinner narratives, novels in which Superman gradually lost the irony and became an action movie figure, President Mission Accomplished, and in which now the emphasis was all on the hair, the cleavage, the tears – because this brood weaves novels that will never reflect the sad state of our prosperous days. These are the days when democracy is giving birth to feudalism, to syndromes ong thought to be long extinct – mercenary armies, torture, an executive claiming more divine rights than Charles I ever dreamed of. Accompanying it is the slugs orgy of outrage 24/7, the cretinorama by which all the information by which one could make an informed choice about anything – drugs, cars, toothpaste, politicians – is utterly waylaid in a maze. As our lords and masters intended it to be – make the world hazy and issue credit cards, that’s the plan.

The continuing ‘controversy’ about Hillary Clinton’s tears hurts so bad it is going to make my balls drop off. Nobody gives a flying fuck, except in TV toyland. Oh, it isn’t that sentimentality and mushiness should be off the radar as far as politics is concerned. I propose we do talk about it. I say, let’s talk about the worst, the bloodiest, the most malign sentimentality of them all, which is called toughness. It is the silence the boy substitutes for calling for his mommy. And soon it hardens delightfully over the tyke. Oh how they love toughness, the media Heathers, oh how it makes them cum cum cum all over their peashooters. Of course, the funny thing is that the toughness they sentimentalize about is projected on such amazing, bilious old physical wrecks like Fred Thompson or John McCain. On the other hand, the Ur-gesture of toughness – going into a convenience store and blow the head off the cashier, for instance – is all too yucky. Oh, that scares them so much that they desire even tougher men to lock those tough boys up. So it is tough and tougher, a simp’s progress down the road to the pit. And all that fucked up toughness is unmoored. It is part and parcel of the whole unmoored emotional landscape that has to float above the wasteland created by the corporation and the state, it’s a clip joint sentimentality designed to get men and women down down down on the totem pole to look up and admire, as their heroes, the men and women who systematically plunder them, who contrive their vulnerability, who pride themselves on gambling with the lives of the feebs’ and rubes’ children. They are tough, those who build, cell by carcinogenic cell, the environment of disaster into which we are collectively drifting.

19 comments:

northanger said...

An old tradition tells us that God, when He banished Adam from the terrestrial Paradise, gave him in His mercy the power of producing instantly the animals of which he was in want, upon striking the sea with a Hazel rod. One day Adam tried this, and produced the sheep. Eve was desirous of imitating him, but her stroke of the Hazel rod brought forth the wolf, which at once attacked the sheep. Adam hastened to regain his salutary instrument, and produced the dog, which conquered the wolf. —Plant Lore Legends and Lyrics

AZ 23 = RAMEAU (AZ-48 ART OF FUGUE → AZ-62 COUNTERPOINT → AZ-87 MELODIC INVERSION ↑ AZ-59 RAMEAU'S NEPHEW [+][+][+][+][+][+][+][+][+][+][+][+]) = BUDOKAN = CHIC = EADHAD = ED UATH (AZ-87 HORRIBLE GRIEF) = SIGMAS (AZ-75 THE DIVINE NINE) = TERKW- (To twist. 1. Possible variant (metathesized) form *twerk-. a. queer, from Middle Low German dwer, oblique; b. thwart, from Old Norse thverr, transverse. Both a and b from Germanic *thwerh-, twisted, oblique. 2. Suffixed (causative) o-grade form *torkw-eyo-. torch, torment, torque1, torque2, torsade, torsion, tort, tortuous, torture, truss; contort, distort, extort, nasturtium, retort1, torticollis, from Latin torquere, to twist) = VÖLSUNG.

roger said...

North, that is a lovely legend!
So what are we gonna do about the sexism and racism and rascality of the media?

northanger said...

AZ 81 = THE HAZEL OF WISDOM = BOUQUET OF NASTURTIUMS (...AZ-17 KAXKAK-ŠU → AZ-42 NEZ PERCÉ' → AZ-71 PERFORATED NOSE → AZ-47 PINCE-NEZ → AZ-7 NAS- → AZ-39 NASTURTIUM ↑ AZ-58 NES/PREPUCE 1/AZ-57 NES/PREPUCE 2 § AZ-11 NASUS, AZ-11 FE, AZ-11 NES; AZ-17 NOSE, AZ-17 DURA, AZ-17 IMBAS, AZ-17 KAXKAK-ŠU, AZ-17 LAID, AZ-17 VÖLSI • AZ-19 CRESS, AZ-19 ALEKTO, AZ-19 ASPEN, AZ-19 MELOS, AZ-19 NES-1, AZ-19 NIN, AZ-19 ROSC • AZ-23 TERKW- • AZ-34 TORTARE, AZ-34 ASPEN WAND, AZ-34 RATINGS • AZ-37 LARK'S-HEEL, AZ-37 DOWSING, AZ-37 LARK'S-HEEL, AZ-37 BOB SEGER, AZ-37 CHIC-ISM, AZ-37 FORFEDA, AZ-37 MISTLETOE, AZ-37 RHAMNOUS • AZ-40 NASTURCIUM, AZ-40 A KNOT (SNAIDM), AZ-40 GESAMTAUSGABE, AZ-40 LIKE A ROCK, AZ-40 NEMESION, AZ-40 NUTS OF IMBAS, AZ-40 OAK GROVE, AZ-40 THE GATEMAN, AZ-40 THETA SIGMA • AZ-46 NOSE-TWEAKER, AZ-46 TROPAEOLUM, AZ-46 LABYRINTH, AZ-46 MELLOMENON, AZ-46 RAMEAUNEURS, AZ-46 WAND OF ASPEN • AZ-47 TORQUERE, AZ-47 A WAND OF ASPEN, AZ-47 NEZ PERCE, AZ-47 SILENT WORK • AZ-50 CABBAGE WHITE, AZ-50 PUNGENT SMELL, AZ-50 AUGMENTATION, AZ-50 NES/PREPUCE, AZ-50 NEZ PERCÉ 1, AZ-50 NINE-HEARTS, AZ-50 NOISY WORK, AZ-50 NOSE-TWISTER, AZ-50 PRAEPUTIUM, AZ-50 PREPUCIUM, AZ-50 ROD OF ASPEN, AZ-50 TOO CLOSE TO CALL • AZ-52 INDIAN CRESS, AZ-52 ASPEN FACT SHEET • AZ-65 CONTRAPUNTAL STYLE, AZ-65 MICHAEL MOSCHEN • AZ-73 BLACK VELVET NASTURTIUM, AZ-73 PERMANENT CHORUS, AZ-73 THE BRADLEY EFFECT • AZ-77 A BOUQUET OF NEUROSES, AZ-77 AFFECTIVE MEANING, AZ-77 BACH'S COUNTERPOINT, AZ-77 PERFECT CONSONANCE, AZ-77 PUNCTUS CONTRA PUNCTUM • AZ-85 FEADHA HY RONGAILE, AZ-85 TREATISE ON HARMONY • AZ-90 JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU, AZ-90 CRYSTAL BALL MANIPULATION, AZ-90 DO YOU HAVE A MAP OF THE CAT?, AZ-90 HAZELS OF PROPHECY, AZ-90 STUFFED NASTURTIUM BLOSSOMS).

Arkady said...

If I may be permitted, sir, to impart a wisdom gained from perusing your archives, I would say that there is nothing to be done about the sexism and racism and rascality of the media. The process of auto-cretinization has no remedy, save for that provided by a session in comforting ligatures of a straitjacket; accompanied by the baptismal virtues to be found in a bucket of horse piss.

roger said...

Arkady - excellent suggestion! For my entertainment and delight, I've been reading Jan Potocki's Manuscript found in Sargossa, and the hero has just escaped from the Inquisition in the company of two very luscious sisters - who may be Moorish demons come to tempt him to hell. Anyway, the hero's father, as we learn from a story that interrupts another story that interrupts another story in this book of stories grafted on stories was famous for his dueling prowess and his superb sense of honor - so superb that he fought three or four duels a day on such subjects as a carriage overtaking his carriage, or a man who questioned the existence of ghosts (which were believed in by the hero's father's grandfather, which mean that the skeptic was questioning the word of his grandfather, which was imputing, thus, a blot on the family honor, which as is well known is one of the seven hundred legitimate reasons to run a man through with a sword). All of which makes me think I should take up dueling and send challenges. If I'm gonna be put in a strait jacket, it might as well be for cause!

Brian said...

I'm sorry to disagree with you, roger, but sexism and racism granted, why are you so sympathetic to this person? I think Dennis Perrin better sums it up:

"Hillary Clinton has blood on her hands, and is looking to keep her fingers a rich, moist crimson. I have zero compassion for her, and that narcissistic display about how "hard" it is running for imperial manager was one of the more nauseating sights I've seen in this whole wretched campaign. That liberals buy into it doesn't surprise me, given their strange attachment to the Clintons over the years, but it does sadden me. And now that Hillary is back in the race, at least for now, there'll doubtless be more hideous, self-centered spectacles to come, with libloggers wagging their fingers at the sexist corporate media, warbling about gender bias, Beltway jealousies, and related gossip games.

Next stop, Michigan, where Hillary is running virtually unopposed. The poor thing."

She is part of the system, part of the problem. I could care less her feelings were hurt by rejection in Iowa. As I reject totally the idea that she is owed the presidency, I don't believe rejecting her will result in us going "backwards" in any way. A pox on her (and all the candidates. The only solution is dissolution)

On an off-topic note, do you know what happened to Mr. Scruggs site, UFO Breakfast?

Arkady said...

Sympathy? If there is any at all, it is of the kind one might feel upon learning that a gang of murderous embezzlers and sneak thieves was successfully defrauded by an equally violent and somewhat more accomplished bunco artist. She is sympathetic only in comparison and only because the gang had numbers on their side.

In this matter, sir, I speak as a connoisseur!

roger said...

Brian, I thought I'd hear from you on my depression porn post! So, there's a great band from S.F. I've been listening to lately - Scissors for Lefty . Are these guys big in the Bay area?

About Hillary - sorry, I don't buy Dennis Perrin's take. I noticed an absolute total of zero criticisms of Hillary Clinton for the blood on her hands from the media - which is a good thing, since she was being dissed by people who have more blood on their hands than even Hillary Clinton, the enablers of the Shark Attack posture taken up by the U.S. in the last seven years. It is pretty easy to see that exactly the kind of misogynistic attacks that were launched on Hillary C. could, without adjustment, be used against any woman you want to name - from Cindy Sheehan to Arundhati Roy.

And to tell you the truth, I think it is useless and a bad sign to harden your heart so much that you would jeer at somebody crying. The jeers were more of the Maureen Dowd variety, who reports some smartass NYTman said, "oh, what is she going to do if we declare war on North Korea? Cry?" I thought that perfectly represented the sentimental, ridiculous bric a brac ideal of stage and screen, toughness, that is the driver behind the war culture. I can't see how having sympathy for Hillary Clinton as a victim of unchained sexism is in any way helping the war effort.

Brian said...

Now, I agree with your last paragraph. I am not speaking about the media circus at all. I actually did have a compassionate moment, so I am not completely heartless. I still consider Hillary so much part of the machine I cannot, however, maintain that sympathy. Even if, as you rightfully point out, there are others even more guilty. (And, I don't think Dennis Perrin's response is necessarily directly inspired by the media per se. I think he is responding to his knowledge of her history)

I just cannot help my visceral reaction to her, even if I humbly acknowledge that my reaction may be conditioned by the media. Still, I watch almost zero television news and don't read a lot of mainstream press (Dowd is not a regular in the SF Chronicle). So...I don't know.

As for the Depression Porn? I plead lack of education for many of these posts, roger. :) You need to be better read than I to follow some of the stuff, even if it is interesting.

I have heard of your band, but have not heard them. I like some gothy stuff along with the metal (I am currently listening to a Finnish black metal group, Enochian Crescent, that sing in a mixture of English, Finnish, and "Enochian" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enochian (Note my new Wikipedia edit under "music" I is an Encyclopeida Editor!)

roger said...

Enochian???? North, meet Brian. Brian, meet Northanger.

Brian said...

Mr. North leaves me even more beffudled than you, roger :)

roger said...

That's Ms. North - and me, a befuddler?

That would be a pretty good moniker, actually. If someday they steal my Limited Inc title, I'll call myself the Befuddler. I gotta go out and practice that with a can of spray paint on one of the yuppie highrises they are building on 5th Street.

northanger said...

Mr LI your current moniker seems Derridean.

my main problem with Hillary Clinton is... Bill. or, more precisely, the former president Clinton challenging that gender-glass-ceiling dynamic.

Anonymous said...

LI, please do not give up your Limited Inc. moniker. If the powers that be do snag it, you can always put it in quotation marks ad infinitum.
I think this question of tears relates to your investigation of happiness triumphant, no? What to make of the pundits and their worship of happiness that responds to tears in a manner that is quite obviously fascinated yet "emotionally" numb if not dead.

roger said...

I'm not giving up my blogger name, Limited Inc. But I am gonna use the Befuddler as my tag and general superhero name. When the comic book rapture comes and I find myself in tights and a cape, I want to be: THE BEFUDDLER! Using my awesome fuddler ray. A mildmannered lint sculptor by day, but a fog spewing supervillain by night, weaving a complex semantic web to entrap and immobilize the police.

Brian said...

is this possibly a sticky sweet but mesmerizing web of happiness, roger, so that at least our men in blue will be trapped in self-regarding "self-actualization"?

roger said...

Brian, the Befuddler does not give away his secrets, man! - he leaves cryptic notes for the Newspapers to figure out!

northanger said...

AZ 91 = ORDER OF PRECDENCE = THE DRIVING FORCE = THE PYGMALION EFFECT = ZIZEK ON THE COGITO.

AZ 141 = ORDER OF PRECEDENCE OF MOTIONS = EADHADH » ED UATH » HORRIBLE GRIEF = REIGN OF HAPPINESS TRIUMPHANT.

AZ 94 = HAPPINESS TRIUMPHANT = CENTER OF INVERSION = CRITICAL RACE THEORY = FANTASIZING FUNCTIONS = INEGALITARIAN LOGIC = THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME.

AZ 130 = SHIVISI ADONOI L'NEGDI SONID = GREATER EQUALITY AT THE MARGINS = GREATEST WEIGHT TAKES PRECEDENCE = LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY = THIS I ENGRAVED ON AN IRON TABLET.

AZ 96 = FERROUS METAL HARDWARE = BEGRIFFSGESCHICHTE = HOW A CANDIDATE GETS ELECTED = HUMANITY-IN-THE-MAKING = MU EPSILON LAMBDA LAMBDA OMEGA = ORDER OF PRECEDENCE = PERMANENT REVERSION = QUANTUM CHROMODYNAMICS.

Anonymous said...

IGDI. Noting that the tough guys on the Rethug side are a bunch of pathetic pussies branded with a hyper-masculinist ideal nobody with a working brain cell would want fulfilled in the first place—how does that translate into sympathy for Hilary?

As for Maureen Dowd...well, let's just say I'd might hurt myself laughing if something really really awful happened to her. But I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing myself. That would be uncouth.

—et alia