Thursday on the River

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  • Less than a week ago, real time, but somewhere back in the neanderlithic in blog time, my friend Bruce at the River wrote another great piece. Nominally he was writing about Dershowitz’ folly, his ability to adopt inhuman principles promoting the Nazification of just about everything and everyone just about everywhere, including ironically enough those two bold national champions of freedom and justice, the United States of America and Israel.

    But he was writing about something deeper than that, because it’s not really Alan’s fault… well, it IS his fault and the war crimes tribunal will imprison his nasty celebrity professor ass for a million years because he does stand for torture and pre-emption, but you see it’s not his fault because his mind has been marinated in the briny depths of American media just like the rest of us. We don’t know up from down. We can’t tell if we’re on a great Starship boldly going where no man has gone before, or on a Wagon Train, boldly going west to claim our manifest destiny.

    With inspired links such as this and this, Bruce argues forcefully that for most Americans, the war on terror is a TV show. Bruce says,

    … the world situation is like a bad movie that we are fascinated with but don’t care about. Lives are either blown away cinematically or vaporized when you turn off the TV. For the most part, all these cathode ray and celluloid lives become our playthings, objects, hence no feeling for them one way or another. Luckily, the fine writer, director and actor can break through these limitations, but that’s the rare exception, hardly consequential and no one serious gives it credit…

    This isn’t about “us” and “them.” As Bruce says, “the system” is in power, de-humanizing everyone from the leadership (witness the bizarre caricatures, the host of flying monkeys, populating the executive branch of the US government) to the proletariat, soccer moms who have learned to seat their kids in front of a video taped entertainment while they put a meal together, or zombie dads who mark the passage of time by the shift in sports entertainments projected on the forty-two inch flat screens of their home entertainment centers.

    I think there is important stuff being written out here in the blogs, and Bruce is writing some of it. I resisted a close reading and response to his “What do I think” until now, because honestly, we turn these blogular interactions too much into intellectual tennis warm-ups, volleys and serves, pacing a “conversation” until it runs down because we are distracted from it by the next great enthusiasm.

    We are here building a common perspective, sharpening our tools for self expression, encountering the same bullshit that has troubled others for decades, muddling through and not losing sight of a path beside the moral swamp that Dershowitz wades through. This is no wagon train, this is no star ship. This is not even a cattle drive, and you are neither Gil Favor nor Rowdy Yates.

    Hard to accept, I know…

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    1. Posted August 29, 2024 at 8:13 | Permalink
    2. Posted August 29, 2024 at 10:21 | Permalink

      Ginsberg was expressing similar sentiment in ’56.
      I’m addressing you.
      Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
      I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
      I read it every week.
      Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
      I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
      It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
      producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
      It occurs to me that I am America.
      I am talking to myself again.

      There’s not much difference between then and now.

      Time magazine has become cable companies in a post-modern sort of way. Time-CNN to be precise.

      Can a country’s subconscious be judged by its media? And if so, when did the USA (and Australia) have their collective lobotomies?

      And in another case of post modernism, the 50′s duck-and-cover mentality has been revived….. except the bad dudes wear Kufis instead of fur Ushankas.

      The American melodramatic subconscious demands a bad-guy. Strauss and the right wing think tanks tapped into this decades ago, it’s now part and parcel of “the man’s” manifesto. Add a shake of patriotism, a sprinkle of secrecy and a dash of moralising and you have a sure-fire-way-of-staying-in-power.

      The left isn’t buying in………

      Lieberman is out in your country due to a groundswell via the netroots(tm). Is the netroots(tm)the new beat generation?

      The kid’s TVs seem to be all turned off.

      I read he reads you reads she reads you reads me and we all read together.

      I am the Eggman.

      The keyboards are diamond sharp and they seem to be slicing a hole in the startled wizard’s curtain. And the wizard, just like Lieberman (on his 15 buck hosted website) is absolutely clueless about what is happening.

      Bad, bad bloggers……..

      Where did all these pissed off, articulate, well paid, informed people come from? Who is their leader? Why aren’t they paying attention to the glurge and fear we spout forth on TV? Why aren’t they supporting the party preferred centre-right candidate?

      Why are we melting?

      Bring your bongoes and catch a ride on the groundswell kids…’s up!

    3. Posted August 29, 2024 at 9:20 | Permalink

      Johnno and J. Alva… you are great. And I opened my email tonight and there was a strange Rick Griffin piece of psychedelia guaranteed to cheer me up no matter how deeply depressed I was beginning to feel. I think I’ll post it with thanks to all of you get it.

    4. Posted August 31, 2024 at 1:53 | Permalink

      I left a comment over at Bruce‘s but couldn’t stop myself really tying Johnno and J Alva into his insight. As you say, Frank, these guys are great…and there’re quite a few over at Bruce’s (and further beyond The River — Tom captured the moment in his exquisitely inimitable fashion a coupla days back). And, hey, after all these years I really have to admit it, you ain’t half bad yourself.