what I give up
In 1908, Karl Kraus wrote a famous essay, the Sink of Inquity, which was later included in the collection entitled The Chinese Wall. It begins like this:
Bourgeois society consists of two kinds of men: the ones who say that somewhere, someone is digging up a den of iniquity, and those who are worried, that they will get the address to it too late. This division has the advantage, that it often unfolds itself in one and the same person, because it isn’t the difference of world view, but only of circumstances and prospects that governs the choice of standpoints. But one goes wrong if one thinks that ethics and sensuality work quietly side by side: rather, they grappley together and are unceasingingly busy intensifying their forces one against the other and amplifying their object. It is now 1908 years that this jealous struggle of two life principles has gone on, in which indignation feeds on desire and desire on indignation, in which the world is always becoming more moral the more unethical it is, and always more ethical, the more immoral it becomes. In the end, we will run out of dens of iniquity to dig up, because up to the point that they are dug up, they are asylums of bourgeois peace. Fantasy sinks into, or curls up into slumber, and ethics is the disappointment that there is no vice.
Kraus had such sensitive skin that it was actually disturbed by metaphysical events, like the ambient sexual hypocrisy of Vienna. Although even Kraus never escaped from the childish traps of patriarchy, which makes the mindless move from the notion that women never want to have sex to the notion that women always want to have sex, a ping pong match between fucking idiots.
This was the week for hypocricy and patriarchal idiocy. So, two women testify Wednesday to being raped in Iraq while working for KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary. There is a congressional hearing. It is reported by the Associated Press. ABC news is the honorable exception to what is otherwise a story that plunges into the same media black hole into which American casualties on the week that Petraeus testified also plunged – or perhaps I should say, were pushed?
(AP) — An Illinois woman who says she was raped while working for acontractor in Iraq recounted the experience in a congressional hearing Wednesday.
A woman who made similar allegations before Congress last year listened and fought back tears.
Dawn Leamon of Lena, Ill., said at a Senate subcommittee hearing she was sodomized and forced to have oral sex by a soldier and a co-worker after she drank a cocktail that made her feel strange.
She worked as a paramedic for Service Employees International Inc., a foreign subsidiary of KBR Inc., at Camp Harper near Basra, Iraq. Leamon said the base was frequently under rocket attacks.
The alleged attack occurred just two months after Jamie Leigh Jones, formerly of Conroe, Texas, told a House committee she was raped by KBR/Halliburton co-workers and held a day in a shipping container after reporting the 2005 assault.
The Associated Press does not usually identify people who say they were sexually assaulted, but the women have made their identities public.
Jones wiped away tears as Leamon and a third woman, Mary Beth Kineston, spoke. Kineston, of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, said she was assaulted in 2004 while working as a truck driver with her husband for KBR in Iraq.
"It bothers me that it happened again after I stood up and brought awareness to it and brought KBR to such scrutiny," Jones said during a break.
Jones sued Halliburton, whose former subsidiary is KBR, and is waiting for a judge to rule if it can go to trial or be settled in arbitration. KBR and Halliburton split last year.
Leamon, whose sons served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said employers discouraged her from reporting the rape and pressured her to sign an inaccurate statement with inaccurate details.
Several days after the assault she had to provide medical care to one of her attackers. She officially reported the rape after she was transferred to another camp on Feb. 27 because she feared for her safety.”
Meanwhile, remember the D.C. Madam? The Attorney General’s office tapped the collective wisdom of the many Regency university hires who have so creatively mixed constitutional law and the LeHaye Left Behind books to rid us of the everpresent menace of Deborah Palfrey, a woman whose den of iniquity, otherwise called an escort service, was, on all accounts, a place of the most boring bliss that the wheeler deelers in D.C. could purchase for themselves. The Left Behinders, in a classic Bush maneuver, awkwardly caught in their net a number of high ranking Republican men. But the rule of hypocrisy – also known as the Scooter Libby rule – ensured that none of them are being charged with squat. Instead, we get things like this:
“Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and other powerful men appear likely to get a pass. Less lucky: the 15 terrified women being hauled by prosecutors into court to recount in graphic detail their past work as prostitutes -- and more than 100 other former prostitutes whose names prosecutors are trying to make public.
Wednesday, prosecutors forced a 63-year-old retired PhD -- her name, like those of other witnesses, now a matter of public record -- to testify about inducing orgasms in her client; the government's lawyers had similar questions for a mother of three who worked briefly for the escort service nearly 15 years ago.
Yesterday, it was the turn of a young naval officer to take the stand; the case will almost certainly end her career. The prosecutor, Daniel Butler, had the woman spell her name slowly and clearly, then had her talk about when she was "aggressive" with a client, when she was "more submissive," when she had a difficult client ("he tried to remove the condom") and how often she got "intimate."
"What do you mean by 'intimate'? "
The soon-to-be-former naval officer looked at him in disbelief. "Touching, caressing," she explained.
"What happened" after that? he demanded.
"What type of sex?"
"Sometimes it was oral sex; usually it was normal."
"Normal?" Butler persisted.
"I'm not sure what you're getting at," the stricken witness pleaded.”
Myself, I am beginning to think that Left Behind is the right phrase. Except this apocalypse is more Yeats than retard Baptist – “Surely some revelation is at hand/Surely the second coming is at hand.” We are in the hands of the worst this country has to offer. That drip drip drip of small cruelties - how long can we take it? They stepped on our necks yesterday, they stepped on our necks today, and so it will be, world without end, unless we rise up and say: enough.