“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

Monday, December 15, 2008

shoes

Cioran, in his essay on tyranny in History and Utopia, quotes one of those marvelous marbleized sentences of Montesquieu: When Sylla wished to give liberty to Rome, Rome could no longer receive it, having only a feeble remnant of virtue left. And as it had always even less, instead of waking up after Caesar, Tiberius, Caius, Claudius, Nero, Domitian, it was ever more the slave; all blows were directed against the tyrant, none against the tyranny. Watching Bush dodge some shoes, to the general delight of the world, Montesquieu´s phrase seems appropriate. Although LI, being only human, would have liked, too, for the man to have been given at least a small bruise, it is still too little, and no blow against tyranny. The draining of republican feeling, the draining of the energy it takes to be democratic, can be measured by Bush´s unheckled and rather comfortable existence as a president. Johnson, by contrast, had to chose where he´d appear in America in 1968, so great was the fury against him. Cioran uses a wonderful word to describe a certain kind of politician in the Europe of the 1950s – tyranneau – a mini-tyrant. The label fits our second tier caddy of a president well. And though I don´t have any desire to subscribe to Cioran´s repentent fascist description of democracy as a paradise of debility, I will grant, in the case of my U.S.A., during the time of the Great Fly´s reign, a certain degree of utter senility. Far from being a great scoundrel, a sadist, an adorer of bloodshed, a major vampire, the scandal of Bush is his utter insignificance. He is an object rebarbative to meditation, like a stain, or a dirty rag. He is, in fact, in the damning phrase of the journalists who have formed his most enthralled claque, the kind of guy ´¨you could go out and have a drink with.¨ That rotten male amiability, mediocrity poisoning itself in healthful doses until reaching the point when all the inhibitions dissolve and the flow of cliches, the orgy of them, amazes our meritocratic reporters with the underside wisdom of the frat house – yes, it is to this that the American power elite has dwindled. Once, they were exalted by the power of life and death given them, synechdocally, by the ICBM, a monomania that at least produced an elevation of the elite type. Now, we have reprised past glories with the comic opera global war on terror, the kind of thing that would come out of a confab of barstools in our more meritocratic city districts. A war in the name of democracy by its undertakers and most rabid opponents. A war in the name of free enterprise by the fixers and the frauds.

There is, at least, something new under the son in this corruption, this contagion that has rotted us all. It is, of course, the corruption of meritocracy, the American superstition that virtue – the virtue which the Romans, in the age of their enfeeblement, lacked enough of to attack the system of tyrrany instead of the eccentricities of any particular tyrant – is something accorded by multiple choice, or a thumb´s up job assessment by the boss. For a culture that has retained its ideals from the stage of toilet training, and only those ideals, Bush is the tyranneau it deserved. But this is no excuse for inflicting him on the rest of the world.

Now, of course, our feeble virtue has been reawakened as the Great Moderation has shed all masks, and displays itself as the Great Peculation, starring Bernie Madoff. Meanwhile, the most odious group of legislators to foul Congress since the class of 1850 is busy shooting the American auto industry, the largest manufacturer, in the head this winter, due to the greed of the assembly line worker. Keep your needle eye on them sonsobitches, boys! Since, in spite of the cliché that the system is all connected, which has been mouthed a million times by economists and hacks over the last twenty years, the system really is all connected, the bullet intended for the UAW is sure to lodge in the banker´s brainpan. And, of course, the meritocratic chorus in the NYT and other good establishment papers has been moaning, for months, about the very idea of interfering with creative destruction, while holding out the can for Wall Street. It is their way of throwing shoes at the workers, those overpayed extras. Extras in life, and in death, not like, say, your go to guy in the gated community who can guarantee you a 1 percent gain per month per year.

Ah, Zona Zona, I would sit by the waters of Babylon and weep – but I am in Mexico City, and can only cast one baleful crow´s eye on the moronic inferno I call home.

2 comments:

northanger said...

AQ 2083 = WHEN SULLA SOUGHT TO RESTORE ROME HER LIBERTY, SHE COULD NO LONGER RECEIVE IT; SHE RETAINED BUT A FAINT VESTIGE OF VIRTUE = OR, IN PLAIN ENGLISH, THE FAILURE OF A LIFESTYLE ORIENTED AROUND VOLUPTÉ TO ACCRUE A FULLY ETHICAL STANDING UNDER CAPITALISM = THE PRESENT ERA MAY BE SHAPING UP AS, AMONG OTHER THINGS, YET ANOTHER ROUND IN THE CONFLICT BETWEEN LIBERALISM AND AUTOCRACY.

AQ 180 = 02-FEBRUARY-2008 = MT. HELICON = NITRIC ACID.

AQ 995 = THE POETICAL IMAGE OF HELICON ESTABLISHED BY THE ROMAN POETS = WAKING AFTER CAESAR, TIBERIUS, CAIUS, CLAUDIUS, NERO, DOMITIAN.

AQ 1320 = IF YOU'RE ALL ABOUT THE KITSCH OF RELIGIOUS ICONS, THESE ARE THE SHOES FOR YOU! = CAPITAL MARKET CONTAGION AND RECESSION: AN EXPLANATION OF THE RUSSIAN VIRUS.

AQ 301 = VIRGIN MARY KEDS = EQUITY POWERS = EXILE; TOUR GUIDE = FRIDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2007 = IN-FLIGHT ANOMALY = MARKET CONTAGION = NATIONAL CONDUCT = NOCTURNO DE CHILE = OVER THE RAINBOW = POETIC MOVEMENT = PRECIOUS CUPCAKE = PRIESTLY KINGS = PROFILES IN PANIC = SOUTHCOTTIANS = SYMBOL OF POWER = THE FOUR WORLDS = THE GREENSHIRTS = THE HOLY SPIRIT = THE RIGHT ANSWER = THEODOR W. ADORNO = TO FORM; TO THINK = TRUTH-IN-LENDING = WHAT A SELF COULD BE.

AQ 1460 = 1900-1910: THE TIME WHEN AMERICA WENT FROM BEING DOMINATED BY INDUSTRY TO BEING DOMINATED FINANCE = YOU'LL GET NO RED RIBBON FROM ME," ANSWERED THE VIRGIN MARY, "UNTIL I GET SHOES FROM YOU".

AQ 167 = IUSAASET = JUAN DIEGO = PATAPHOR (AQ-286 PATAPHOROLOGY) = THE 8:9 TONE.

P.M.Lawrence said...

What emerged in 1850?