Posts Tagged ‘kubhlai’

Tracing The Roots Of My Umbrella

20 Sep


The Howell House 2004


Originally published on June 11, 1999

Peggy once held down that same night auditor's job at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Peachtree way back in the early Eighties, although to those of us still dangling her memory chains, it seems like yesterday's music, always with us, cotton soft protection against the white light of a permanent game of trenches. Every cuticle of horsepower in RCH management and grunt services, starting with the owner himself, shined of pride, sliced butter like the most tapered of gay blades, rolled with a sophisticated childishness she admired in herself, so Mother always referred to herself—not as the token female (having owned that role before) but rather—the token straight, always sharing a laugh with her accommodating lads, sharing their jokes as an surrogate, even honorary insider. As a woman in constant struggle and a woman of a certain breeding, she had always prided herself (there's that word again) the longsuffering supportive mother of a high-strung gay son, my youngest sibling, John. Yes, she was of tolerance and empathy, she told the world, however misguided and self-indulgent she often was in presenting this deceptive image of herself.

In fact—Mother was on the job when I took respite on her sofa at the Howell House a mere hundred steps away. This move of mine began a rather quick but import six weeks era of great reading, writing, and window gazing at the street below, little else to drag me into action, after wheeling into the great Georgia capital city from Corpus Christi, poor, thin, desperate for a sneeze and my own artistic statement to initiate my transition from stiff to standard bearer, or something worse.

Home was a sixth floor, corner, modestly appointed, mid-scale one bedroom apartment in a Midtown Atlanta eighteen floor highrise. Mother lived there rentfree in exchange for her services, straight up for acting as the senior-citizens coordinator in a building demographic just over 50% extremely geriatric.

The Ritz-Carlton towered over Peachtree directly across the street from the fabulous and famous Fox Theatre, where "Gone With the Wind" premiered back in the 40s at the height of Hollywood glamour. Tucked into the street level corner of the hotel was famed Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom, now under new management and dubbed the Agora Ballroom. I never saw a show at either.

On the Fox side of the block only a parking lot and Third Street separated the elegantly ornate old theatre where I watched the moneyed classes pour into the streets after soaking up bands like the Stray Cats, the Go Gos and Elvis Costello (whom I had already seen in Houston five years earlier when I was a still a stakeout chief flush with cash). And me six flights up wishing and twitching I'd had the money to go, but once accepting I'd missed the show, miffed I had no camera to mark the spatial moment of my desires.

Beautiful people playing ugly, ugly people playing beautiful, each marked for the glory of the times screaming bloody murder at the winds of freedom flung out to every dick-n-jane exercising the basic American youth ritual of bringing down a rock show, a right fought for and won about the time I was busy being born in 1955. But pacing barefoot in carpet along the sixth floor corner windows, I peered out.

Blank gazing, I had nothing to do but generate assumptions, skirt ripping, roaring assumptions about these oddball and crazy people as they laughed and skipped and coughed and cursed, perched from on high pined the pointless I. Though I was young for my age, I was already 26. And yet, though I was old for my age, I was only 26.

A zetetic heritage group had recently saved the Fox from the demise of public demolition, which to Old Atlanta seemed more a personal humiliation than an urban renewal project, which gave them just enough gravitas to gird themselves for the fight they were panting for. The grand theatre, still in decent shape with a spit of glistening in her eye, yet aching for major repairs was then owned by a notorious porn mobster headed to jail who was threatening to bulldoze the landmark to spite the city as well as raise funds for his own empire quest. Rumor was Southern Bell wanted to erect another 'scraper on the spot.

One block west on Third and West Peachtree stood the 688 Club, the only only punk club in the city at the time. Punk as in cheap. Cheap tickets. Cheap beer. This was the only life I had for those six weeks rocking out on Jason and the Nashville Scorchers, as this powerful crew were originally called. The Georgia Satellites, as THEY were then known. Pylon. REM. The Swimming Pool Q's. Richard Hell. The Restraints. Punk and nasty. Ample nights bled into all night dream sessions quickening into stark frightening unfulfilling stations.

Fashionably thug ugly Chris Wood, the diabetic skinhead lead singer of the Restraints always squeezed off an insulin syringe into his bald skull at some spectacular point in a song during every show. He had a local hit single, an S&M ballad called Whacka Whacka Whacka, where he usually tried, and often successfully to pull a babe onto the stage for a whacking. When the fuss had ended, the girl in suburban clothing was scratched and torn, ass was bared. This was eyeball to eyeball punk rock Atlanta 1982-styled, pre-Genitorturers-GWAR-Mentors razorsharp breakout jones.

I heard through the Carol Jean Reed grape I guess two years later, my first year in DC, that Wood had been convicted of murder, and was in prison for a long string, and that was that. Diabetes and minor rock stardom wasn't enough for this guy. He wanted more more more whacka whacka whacka. But true to the myth he was a soft-talking nice guy when we drank a few beers together at some jukebox bar in the area which offered up the Whacka single before he pushed off into the ether of yet another fame flameout...

Pushing up skin on occasion a few more blocks up West Peachtree at the kindler, gentler, most quaint Bistro was a glitterpunk lesbian band called the Lipstick Stains. The L-Stains, along with another queer band called Weeweepole featuring a pre-drag Ru Paul jacked our jetsons once or twice a week, so the awakening had never been richer or more frivolous for me during my previously coarse life. Packing it up for the Lipstick Stains were three girlz & a boy who knew how to throw pajama parties at the Bistro, doing so with a flourish unique to the scene back in the day, and not a moment too soon as I began digging at the roots of my umbrella...

But that was then, this is now, so pray tell, what on God's black and blue is going on between Matthew Manus the night auditor and Kubhlai the life counselor, father of eight, and moral consciousness of our group? Does it concern me, GT, the SWORG, the changing of the guard, the seasons, the starch I've never had spray my underwear, what?

Oh yes, I almost forgot, after a number of months, three, four maybe, the gay brigade eventually ran my mother off the job to replace her with another of an endless parade of fey boys. She was notably upset at the time, really digging the convenience and prestigious atmosphere of the office, but she shoved on, kept her senior-citizens duties at the Howell Howell for another couple of years or so, and was still kicking up the dust of all her detractors...

The gay mafia clandestine machine, like all special interest power machines, lives on to stroke its unrelenting agenda ...

[My mother does not.]

Hints On Intellectual Honesty While Splitting My Atomic Britches

16 Jul


In Paris, November 2000


I had nothing to add to this note originally published on the SWORG SWILL listserv on June 21, 1999, but I must say this note was an absolute gem to find in the mush of data recovery I am still mining, if for no other reason than to reinforce the notion that I always tended to agree with Kube, and this snippet was no exception. While he still writes from what is generally considered a leftist niche and mindset, his own summaries as fit in rather nicely into the right of center libertarian mold, where I have stood for a long time. So rather than two hippies in a tent, we’ve got two excavators in a hole.

But what fantastic treasure are we mining but a self-organizing return to traditional values grasped at the individual then wholistic level, without using the apparatus of state to force a groupthink upon a naturally flowing cooperation of human individuals armed with a mutual respect, for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that includes all those who would be king, queen, or even the party feen who should be operating within the epic conditions of the whole. But all good things come to an end in this world of entropy and collapse. The Swill label died a natural death after three of the five of us spent two weeks together in Paris and Amsterdam. Nothing like the sharpened elbows of ego economies to corrupt the stodgy idealism of mere scribblers.

Crash writes: I'm glad that you are so clear on your political position.

Kube writes: This was a joke right? Here are a few clearer generalisations.

1. that everyone is and should be out for themselves (individualism)
2. that everyone is mutually interdependent and only equity (of opportunity to develop what you are) can ultimately deliver what anyone needs (communism, self-interest). That is, the nurturing of the parts is the nurturing of the whole.
3. that such an interdependent and complex system can only work on the basis of control by the people (anarchism, efficiency.)
4. that the task is immense and cannot be perfected overnight (revolution, pragmatism) (also see my position on violence)
5. that human relations are inseparable from material conditions (sociology, biology)
6. that all that is springs from material conditions (materialism, religion)
7. there are loads more, but the above will do to fill in most of the traditional boxes.

Crash writes...
Because I'm still working on my position and feel that I'm constantly evolving, I'm not willing to throw my hat into the standard groups (situs, anarchists, marxists, whatever).

Kube writes...
Well I've been *trying* to throw in my lot with some kind of standard group or other for longer than I can remember, for the simple reason that I felt it necessary to organize and coordinate in order to have a benign effect upon a hostile social order. But the trouble with all these groups is simply that they're all fucking wrong.

Inevitably therefore, the basis of action, or of any cultural or political system which is its objective, must be individualism. In order for other people to be what you want them to be (whether you imagine this to be "sharing", "obedient", "enlightened", "beautiful" or whatever) you must create the conditions for them to make this of themselves.
And writes...
This is not to say that I disagree with Situationism (I want to live in situations!), Anarchism (I want to be free!) or Marxism (we must work together!), but as doctrines they fail to ensure the enlightenment of their own members let alone society at large, and therefore, one must induct that as worldviews they are not necessarily wrong, but they are certainly lacking. My opinion is that they all lack much the same thing—a sufficient comprehension of relationship and its role in the creative process (that is, in its creation of the future).

And writes...
Anarchists simply refuse to acknowledge the dynamic expansive essence of human nature—they fall back onto small fragmented self-contained worlds (two hippies in a tent on an allotment); the Situationists fell into the pomo Sargasso of 'going with the flow', everything is permissible and utopia will build itself out of nothing at all; the Marxists developed dialectics—but only to the size of a blastocyst, then stopped. All those libraries of paper, all those pyramids of ponderings on what should be done in Somalia, Timbuktu, Peking when the truth is that their members couldn't collectively make a chicken casserole out of a casserole and a chicken.

And writes...
Inevitably therefore, the basis of action, or of any cultural or political system which is its objective, must be individualism. In order for other people to be what you want them to be (whether you imagine this to be "sharing", "obedient", "enlightened", "beautiful" or whatever) you must create the conditions for them to make this of themselves. A world held in the shape you want it to be only by your own expenditure of energy is a world in which you suffer eternal hunger, toil, conflict, frustration and boredom. In other words, it's a paradox, or more to the point, an enigma not a trifle.

And writes...
This is the world we live in (reality on the ground, as Gabriel puts it).

And writes...
Even the honest desire to control others "for their own good" leads to a contempt for others, whom do not desire "their own good" any longer—therefore THEY must instead be punished for being the projected object of YOUR own dissatisfaction.

By Their Hair You Shall Know Them

06 Aug

Bracing For Raw Intelligence

Bracing For Raw Intelligence


On 12/5/03 at 11:24 PM (Situationist) found the brilliant nerve to write:

--->I shaved off my body hair. To my astonishment I didn't even recognize the person looking back at me afterward. If there is a better social future—it is for us to share us. Tell me what the fuck is wrong with your lives that makes you write here. Fuck Sake—let's do this. —kubhlai

Well, then, you must truly resemble one of those shockingly nude Sphynx cats now, Kubhlai. I commend you on your daring. I too, have gone through several cheap shots to the self-image via the blade since you, them, and I hustled along the streets of Paris and Amsterdam. Shaved my head, kept it shaved all through this past winter, and last spring allowed it to grow again into this spiky throwback to say London '77. Shaved the beard once or twice but despite cultural pressures to modernize, I simply don't have the jawline to pull it off, as the bone continues to deteriorate just as that young student dentist predicted it would some 20 years ago. Grew the red fuzz back in, but of course my facial hair is so spotty that to keep it short is impossible. I keep it groomed as close as I can. While some folks can opt into any number of styles, others "appear to be" more limited in their choices. Such is the fate of the ugly. It's always been a struggle for me just to be presentable. Self-admiration, not a chance...

But speaking of hair, how about the musical? Last week's performance at Towson State University just north of Baltimore was phenomenal. The bouncy number of talented individual performers, Towson students all, flinging limbs and laughter akimbo, naked and clothed, who sang delicious solos was amazing, and the fact that each song was full, vibrant, and successfully rendered made this finest musical I can recall ever seeing, not that I've seen that many. The twist of fate which improved our seating arrangements from the mediocre to the two most strategic seats in the house proved most satisfying. I had purchased tickets online ten days or so before the show. Sue, who keeps a close handle on the finances, noted that the charges had already been posted on the online account. However, while the school computer contained the records of the purchase, and there was no explanation to the contrary, our tickets were not waiting on us. Available seats would have put us far in the back off-center.

Masculine appendages no longer than man’s knowledge of himself, alpha explained, then shriveled to a cluster amid voices and vigor renewable and renewed. The story was story, told and retold, the rise and fall of empires sold amongst two or three gathered.
This snafu not only improved our own viewing pleasure but added a hint of long awaited public revenge. Although this was the first time we had seen Susanne in several years, she and I have had a somewhat comfrontational relationship, a cat and mouse game that is not so much confrontational as a persistent competition for attention between two stumbling competitors. She would deny this, of course. During intermission, as we were chatting up the show standing in the aisle at her nosebleed section which is where we might have also found ourselves were it not for the clerical mistake and some fast thinking, my comments about proximity which she had already voiced in her typical J.A.P. chagrin, teased her into opining that I was not one to shy away from attention. I sheepishly agreed, and lowered my grin a few inches closer to her face, and then growled in my feline jovial best, "Yeah, and I know that you were JEALLLLOUS the whole time." Her eyes grew larger than I'd ever seen them, as if she'd suddenly been caught in a sex act she'd sworn she'd never do.

The artists on stage were beautiful, perfectly formed, distorted, fat, thin, black, white, red all over, contentedly hairy, shy, bold, ugly, pugnacious and dramatic. Feminine shapes mounted clay forms and were hanging like fruited claims in the omniverous orchard, perky and prime suspects of the tribal fold ministering to the sweep of time then reckoning along the political and sexual axis of the 1960s. Masculine appendages no longer than man's knowledge of himself, alpha explained, then shriveled to a cluster amid voices and vigor renewable and renewed. The story was story, told and retold, the rise and fall of empires sold amongst two or three gathered. Having never seen the HAIR production in full costumed splendor before, neither on stage nor on the screen, I was impressed by the general honesty of the script which acknowledged without shuttling the shifting of the era's messages, flowing from the individual to group identity and back again straight up through what would soon enough collapse into petty jealousies every group recognizes as its own.

Took a job down at the local photo lab until the fumes finally chased me away this autumn. I toiled there nine months, catering to the some of the most self-important people I've ever met, in one of the most upscale neighborhoods in the city, took the summer off, returned on October 1, but left again by the end of the month. I now devote my time to racheting up the radio station I launched on July 2, and retooling the website.

As usual,

Gabriel Thy
Program Director
Radio Scenewash Network

Now listening to: "Machkuesse" by *Goethes Erben* on the "Kondition macht" LP

SWILL: Trading Comforts For Prison Cells And Rivers Of Blood

23 Feb

Blood and Guts

Blood and Guts


Date: 23 Feb 2001 03:07:35 +0000

Article 3:

Again from the same root causes, the SI constrained their critique, their explanations and their strategies to the Economy and its material manifestations. Vaneigem himself has clearly moved away from this inadequate and dated position in identifying the underlying processes of human delusion and repression at work in medieval and middle-age periods of history (the Free Spirit). However in a nutshell this shortfall in critique may be defined as an absence of ecological sensibility.

Rebunk: Developing at the precise moment the economy began its current domination of all social life, it was inevitable that as a theory of social totality, the SI's critique would focus on commodity fetishism and the alienated labor behind the production of desire. Unlike most so-called Marxist thinkers, the SI did not limit their thought to pure ECONOMIC CRITIQUE, but rather concentrated on a CRITIQUE OF THE ECONOMY (the two terms are markedly different). They were thus able to predict the content and motivation of the May 68 insurrection. This lay not in material privation, whose elimination from the lives of most workers through trade union compromises had led many Leftist theorists to believe that the proletariat had all but disappeared, but in social and cultural alienation, where the relations of production described by Marx had invaded every level of existence, spreading beyond the factory into the classroom, the living room and the bedroom. Nevertheless, the SI did not elaborate extensively enough the motivations of those in power, and were thus unable to foresee the reaction that prevented the rebellion from turning into a full scale revolution. Despite a few formal considerations, the situationist critique of the economy's occupation of all spheres of life has maintained its relevance. With this crucial labor out of the way, we are in a position to examine those elements of the SI's work that could not be fully developed until now.

But this GUT revulsion was TYPICAL then and it is NOT typical now. I don't see it in my own kids even though their exposure is many times higher than mine was. The fact is—homo sapiens ADAPTS—the direct disgust which was normal in the 1960s is not even comprehensible to most people today, it is not even REMEMBERED.
Well put, but. The omissions of the SI are substantially greater than the phrase "those elements of the SI's work" suggests. Actually its a pretty damn big omission not to have considered "the motivations of those in power" for a start. Absurd in fact. Actually, of course, the SI were "unable to foresee" mostly because they had not sufficiently understood (although Vaneigem surely had his suspicions) the motivations of those on the street, and the fact that they would no way trade in their comforts for prison cells and rivers of blood.

One could say, that Vaneigem's latest book focused on the moment in history when mercantilism was emerging, but the savagery with which he describes the suppression of joy in that historical epoch makes 1960s capitalism look damn cosy by comparison. Foucaults historical work is far more balanced than anything offered by the SI and in effect spans ALL cultures in (almost) ALL historical phases. In this far far bigger light, is it reasonable to say that we are dotting the I's left by the SI? I think not—on the contrary I think it fairer to say they were the I-dotters for focussing so narrowly (and that narrowness ensues primarily from their constraint within mechanistic Marxist traditions whether it was economic critique or critique of economics).

There is too a sense in which the SI is simply out of date because of its focus on commodity fetishism. I can remember (along with mother's pride, tricycles and Watch with Mother) when my own disgust with the modern world discovered an echo of itself in a couple of books called SOS and ROEL. For years leading up to that moment the ADVERT had made me sick. Wherever I wandered, wherever they found me—the billboards, the commercial, the circular, the neon in Picadilly, the radio-drivel...I felt seriously oppressed by the evergrowing incitement for men to wear perfume and women to shave their legs and kids to drink Cresta and old men to utilize cunning technological gadgets to rid themselves of unwanted nasal hair and housewives to have blue white shirts and electric this that and the other. But this GUT revulsion was TYPICAL then and it is NOT typical now. I don't see it in my own kids even though their exposure is many times higher than mine was. The fact is—homo sapiens ADAPTS—the direct disgust which was normal in the 1960s is not even comprehensible to most people today, it is not even REMEMBERED. I don't even feel it myself—I have acquired an immunity, and my kids were born with it, inoculated at an early age.

For example, since the beginning of the 90s we have no longer been subject to the same pressure to be A-LA-MODE, fashionable, a member of a certain subculture that we were throughout the 60s, 70s, and early 80s. "Post-modernist" consumerism is, in that sense, far less overtly authoritarian than previous commodity-fetishist decades (why could The New Avengers never attain the charisma of the original?).
This wee anecdote is surely incredibly important. The SI felt as I felt : I knew that even as a child; but today it is thought of as an intellectual theory simply because it requires an effort of the mind (for the average person) to see their point of view which in actual fact it did NOT require at the time—in a postwar world which suddenly found itself subjected to a barrage of oppressive and exploitive technology-powered communication.

Re-analyzing and re-adapting to the 21st century is hardly a mere continuation of the SI of the 1960s, because we no longer live in the 1960s—we have instead a whole new world to deal with which they could barely have conceived of....

Now this might hardly matter if indeed we still had similar "social and cultural alienation" albeit manifesting in different cultural guises, but in fact there has been a major shift in the nature of the game, from class based alienation to alienations which infect us on much more Individualistic levels on the one hand, or to other disatisfactions and anxieties which hardly merit the word "alienation" at all but which require us to dig back down to that more general quality of human nature—existentialism—in search of an understanding...Moreover the idea that "the economy began its current domination of all social life" may also be past its moment. For example, since the beginning of the 90s we have no longer been subject to the same pressure to be A-LA-MODE, fashionable, a member of a certain subculture that we were throughout the 60s, 70s, and early 80s. "Post-modernist" consumerism is, in that sense, far less overtly authoritarian than previous commodity-fetishist decades (why could The New Avengers never attain the charisma of the original?). Isn't the explosive increase of "beggars" on the streets of western cities in the same recent period (late 80s to present) also a sign that refusal of commodities (or the public appearance of it) is more tolerable than it was? More people are willing to be beggars because rejecting consumerism is itself trendy: well what kind of market is that?! One, I would say, that blows the whistle on the notion that the economy dictates the plot rather than being merely a plot dictated by REAL power which is no longer clearly economic if it ever were (which is to say that economic relations are UNDER a pre-existing control—that they are derivative of other material forces and never really were primary).

Okay—this is just a difference in stress. But it is the point of Article 3 to break out of the notion that everyday life can be reduced to a side issue of Economics.


[simple_series title="First International"]

Back When Pretentiousness Was God

05 Feb


American Empires by Gabriel Thy


Originally written to a young American cohort, Matthew Manus, who requested that I reserve this domain name and web server for him. I had visited Matthew and his girlfriend Michelle in Paris a few months before with my wife, This email is dated February 5, 2001. The website was never deployed by Manus, and the project-oriented relationship ended abruptly in May of that year, having never really recovered from the Paris event.

Cheerio my friend. Welcome back to the Gabriel of old—your web site is ready and already has a default page loaded, and this works during testing. Note that the default page must be named "index.html" to match 'XusNET webserver configurations. You have full FTP privileges. You can create new directories, read from, write to, and download anything from your domain's directory. The following information should be entered into your FTP client so that you can access your web site.

          FTP INFO...
          USER ID:
          PASSWORD: cleverjones
          Directory: /

Your new web account is configured. Check it out mon frere! Let me know if you have any troubles or questions.

Look forward as always to your cheerful voice once you return to France from the land of Joyce. Me, I'm still properly sick with the flu, no day better than the next, a week now of fever, scorched throat, pain in both ears driven with ice pick precision, the usual sinus stuffiness and upchuck too. But I am as inspired as I've been in years to focus on our global critique, but tire easily and return to bed often.

Rebunk has sparked a flame under me to—once and for all—draw the lines of where I stand on this Debord crescendo. Of course, it looks as if I'm going to have to torch his own Aussie canopy with a direct hit of GT phlegm since, as Kubhlai pointed out recently, he has never ever really put his own two cents on the line, but continues to hide in silence or behind the SI bulk of work he has archived. It's time to quit pussyfooting around. The imperative that I slash away this fog that's been hovering over me for some three years now has reached illuminating proportions.


Sue, Michelle, Robert, Matthew in Paris

The Jappe book on Debord is helping pin the Frenchman down for me, and as I suspected, there is so much that I find self-contradicting, just as I find much of the Christian outlook self-contradicting, that I must keep good notes and finally put my own sorry self to the test of my fellow sworgsters. I will start with that very last fragment Zizek (a new name to me, but a piece full of typical dishonest extrapolation) Bunkee sent over the SWILL. I know Kubhlai and I are on the same page, whatever that happens to be, and I think you are there as well. But Rebunk and Crash have shown us nothing but bookmarks from the past, and no clear definition on who in the hell they are as individual credits to their race for humanity's sake.

I cannot help but believe that within the common parallels nee inconsistencies (notwithstanding some quite distinctive divergences) I find in the comparative Situationist-Christianity creeds lies the answer to my own special dilemma as to which spectacular point along the political scale I stand or AM SUPPOSED TO STAND (according to my own nature, and self-interests).

We can make metaphor and we can mix metaphor, poorly or insightfully, forever my friend, but sooner or later, and NOW is MY time, I just have to know what IT IS I KNOW. And there is much I've soaked up in pieces that Debord (the braggart who said he learned nothing from scouring books, but everything by dallying along the streets) touted that I do not believe is true, sweeping generalizations absurb on the face of all things self-evident (relying on dubious constructions such as nearly everybody else's false consciousness while touting the reality of his own desire to make his every point), and even more absurd considering his call to action, knowing the chain of corruptibility people everywhere will die to protect.

You and I have agreed on this point before. But what we must do, or perhaps this is my own chore, is prepare a solid critique of Debord, taking agreement where we can, and marking void those points of fantasy we find impossible to swallow, given that our own cultural bias will never be his, and therefore quite interestingly enough, absent the francophilian and xenophobic texture of many of his assumptions.

While France has its immigrants, America is worshipped by the hordes and hated by another substantial group as well. Paris, well, it's merely a city of glamour, now mostly in the past, for better or worse. However, I suspect that this heady investigation will lead me to suggest that Debordism is very close to Nazaritism (the words and praxis of Jesus) and that any rejection of Debord is a rejection of Jesus on the very terms that I have long been availing the old prophet and dismissing the more recent one. But I must know where I stand with both men.

This exploratory surgery may not interest you at all. But nothing less than this exacting sort of critical analysis will set me free of my own confusion and foster the next step towards defining ourselves as AMIST, SIFTOLOGIST, GEOSOPHIST, in that order.
Debord writes often about the essence of humanity, while ignoring the general corruptibility of that same humanity. This was the point Kubhlai tried to make in his most recent post trying to draw Rebunk into the ring. Yes, a lot of this teasing might sound like retrograde religiosity. Perhaps it is, perhaps it ain't when brought up to date in modern terms we wish to introduce, perhaps with very different social schematics, although we'd be hard pressed to suggest a singular Christian scheme given the complexity of the Catholic-Protestant fillibuster. Your recent remark that originality is not the aim, but rather, relevance is the cornerstone of our endeavor is brilliant!

Remembering our own initial urgency in SWORG terms to embrace the man in the street, Debord fails this universal test, a victim of his own cultural inheritance. His patented exaggerations and smug dishonesty hardly qualify him as the honorable man of action he had aimed to be. He was a man of books and eloquence, staged harrumph and star egotism, and could not feign ignorance, or even virtue long enough to save his own life. Considering he didn't consider writing or contemplation worthy of the name—action—his greatest action was putting a gun to his heart. That greatness rests solely in its finality. Deborg boasted that almost everyone he met wanted to follow him; well, I seriously suggest one cannot comprehend the truth of an intrinsic vision without feeling the floodwaters of petty and trifling rejection.

So after I get the Paris Summit site fully completed and uploaded, I would hope that we might collaborate on a few nails in staking Debord to the cross side by side with the praxis of Jesus, not Pauline Christianity mind you, or at least not until summarizing the similarities and disparities between the two primary men in focus. This exploratory surgery may not interest you at all. But nothing less than this exacting sort of critical analysis will set me free of my own confusion and foster the next step towards defining ourselves as AMIST, SIFTOLOGIST, GEOSOPHIST, in that order. To humor the clowns, I await your response.

By the way, I ordered two copies of [Henry] Miller's The Cosmological Eye a couple of days ago, one to replace my ragged copy, and the other to toss into your care package. You should return in person to the VV and request a refund, pocket the francs, and think of the sad state of business affairs some find acceptable in a world seething with shoddy co-operation. Uh, long live the revolution. Don't you just despise us impatient Americans!!!! Unfortunately I tossed the receipt in a momentary lapse of judgement just days before your recent call, not that you had anything to do with me tossing or not tossing the receipt. I was supposed to be saving ALL those receipts, and have most of them, but alas.

Yet, I was stillllllllll thinking...

Myself Naked Upon Thy Mercy

11 Mar


Myself Naked Upon Thy Mercy


On Sat, 11 Mar 2000 08:09:03 -0500

The house is officially on the market. Wow! Talk about "moving and shaking!" Well, I sense the sunset of an era! I guess the process is well under way towards the next age of pages. I hope to take a drive to look at the location of a handful of places our agent earmarked for us here in DC. A girl at Sue's office is a Virginia realtor. Once she returns from vacation she'll show us a few places in N. Arlington. Yep, Sue's down and out for the weekend. She's got some medication an office mate gave her, and she's got an appointment on Thursday. She wants to go the the ER, but I told her that the local ER's don't measure up to the TV version, and I think basically rest is what she needs. She may opt for chiropractic care if she can find one in her HMO available today, but I'm doubtful on that note as well. But it's her call. By the way, that last note you sent came twice, with different time stamps. Very odd indeed.

Kube—looks like I found some info that suggests that indeed this WebStar 3.02 server should be able to dish up real audio tracks. The hex gibberish you mention, hmmm, are you using Stuffit Expander v5.1.1? I forget the exact context and language but I recall there was something nearly mandatory about upgrading to the latest version of Alladin's decoding and extraction software awhile back. System 8 and above, perhaps was the nuance, but I really don't recall. Now, like I said before, I haven't dealt with the creation of RA files, so I don't know that much, hell, I know nothing about how you created or had them created, but I do know that in my experience in downloading binaries off the newsgroups, quite a few sound and video files do not play, and aren't even recognized by the purported media players as proprietary files.

I do have a copy of Media Cleaner Pro 3.0 I have been meaning to explore, which should educate me on these terms, but obviously I haven't done so yet. As fer your Java course, how did it go? Are you finished? Did that Roaster stuff help you out any? That's pretty damned exciting, pulling on your techie-bound galoshes, and wading through the jello of object programming. Also on my list of things to do...

To advocate destruction of any and all order, to reject sensibilty at any level save that of discourse (why here?), what sort of dreamlife do you expect you should have? Your leftover choices in full rejection of humanity hardly offer up a frolic in the fields of favorable phalanges, now do they? By discouraging all the plain pleasing temptations of life, you are left with a shrieking demonology and the bitterly arcane, and barely enough juices to get by.
To sum up those thoughts on witchcraft you made, it was that very same Jew we've quoted on many an occasion who said, "As you think in your heart, so it shall be..." which sounds pretty nifty, some very top drawer witchcraft, but we know it ain't necessarily true, for if it were true, we'd all be muck a muck geniuses, rich as oil sheiks, and masters of our own domain. And I have to think it ain't all neurotic self-doubt that's keeping us billions of nimrods light years away from these wish fulfillment psychic circuitries which entice us into thinking we're the one that can do what's never been done, or if so, just a little bit better, or a little bit easier, or sexier, or quicker, or stronger, or stranger, et cetera, ad nauseam.

Comedy venues. Yes, berry berry big in America, particularly in the Eighties. I've actually never been to one because I too have the same gnawing trepidations about public laughter that you have, although I do enjoy an occasional clever stand-up on the tellie in the privacy of my bricks and mortar (funny guy that Eddie Izzard), although for years in my twenties I shunned all such folly, only to recant with the remark in my early forties that comedians have become our modern prophets, the only folk who can shoot straight and get away with crossing boundaries spouting their trade of self-evident truisms that the politically correct charges in our civic life have blurred on the one hand and denied on the other.

I nearly creamed spinach when I read your jeremiad: Jehovah Jehovah, why hast thou forsaken thy son?! Have I not remained true to thy instruction? Have I not been obedient to thy word? I have discovered the secret of Satan's power and yet shunned it as soiled and unclean; I have loyally builded NOTHING of PERMANANCE, I have shed my vital bodily fluids generously upon the parched stony ground... I have refused followers and leaders alike and wandered alone in the wilderness. I alone am pure yet shunned in the marketplaces. I have thrown myself naked upon thy mercy and thou hast told me to fuck off and die...

Otherwise the goblins of goo will sneak in for the grope, and for the most part, this sector of creation hardly cares a wit for the subtleties of spin, based on an in-your-face and mush-your-mind gestalt, as Marc Bolan of the glitter rock band T.Rex once lyrically put it,”Bob Dylan knows, and I bet Alan Freed did, there are things in night that are better not to behold.”
A veritable masterpiece of crucial understanding in depicting what the greater chunk of Western pew squatters have forgotten about that word they bandy about ever freely without pain or clue to what it means according to the very sixty-six books they so rabidly flock to worship and idolize, and that word is spirituality. Elijah's lament.

Again, concerning that mock and mocking "Deliverance" dream sequence, I am reminded of what Galloping Bill Burroughs had to say upon exiting an American Indian type sweat lodge twelve hours after entering it. Depleted of liquids and hardly cognizant of his traumatized senses, he kept muttering something about the Ugly American as the force of much evil, easily recognizable to the rest of the world by the crackling coterie of demons fluttering about the individual and collective auras of these Ugly Americans. I immediately sensed that the bardic Burroughs, unbeknownst to himself, had simply seen a vision of self. HE, WILLIAM SEWARD BURROUGHS III, was the Ugly American of his own psychotic nightmares. And so, it may quite well be that your own dreamlife is merely the product of your own conscious yearning indicated in the very paragraphs accompanying your description of these recurring dreams. To advocate destruction of any and all order, to reject sensibilty at any level save that of discourse (why here?), what sort of dreamlife do you expect you should have? Your leftover choices in full rejection of humanity hardly offer up a frolic in the fields of favorable phalanges, now do they? By discouraging all the plain pleasing temptations of life, you are left with a shrieking demonology and the bitterly arcane, and barely enough juices to get by.

Of course, unfortunately this is also a cartload of horse manure, as you so aptly put it. But as long as we are human flesh we must find some common ground with the earth and its inhabitants. Otherwise the goblins of goo will sneak in for the grope, and for the most part, this sector of creation hardly cares a wit for the subtleties of spin, based on an in-your-face and mush-your-mind gestalt, as Marc Bolan of the glitter rock band T.Rex once lyrically put it,"Bob Dylan knows, and I bet Alan Freed did, there are things in night that are better not to behold."

In contrapuntal resolve, J. Wolfgang Goethe on his deathbed: More light, more light...

Frankly, since energy forces tracked in the brain are substantive, information collected, burned and sorted in the nerve cells, thought is materialistic, its audible and other symbolic forms such as written language, also substantive material, but the stretch that telepathy involves has never been adequately reproduced outside of myth and the subsequential.
Just as I was finishing this off, I received a chain letter from my always astonishingly cheerful Auntie Maude who's just a few years older than I am, the first time she has ever done such a thing, and the first note she has sent to me in quite a few months after a year of active chitchat abruptly stopped. Coincidence or not? The spells we weave, the spells some cast. Chain letters, ouch! Of course, I almost never (maybe three times in my life) participate in these ridiculous spells, but this time I'll just have to squeeze the sponge, and put you on the list.

However, if positive thinking is such a powerful force, then why did it take 400 years for the Negro slaves to gain their freedom in this treacherous land of freedom of mine? And why do rich tycoons die and beautiful starlets grow old and ugly despite millions of fans and dollars in their favor? Sure the kid responded, but what if a nurse had sung instead, or someone had piped in a copy of Karen Carpenter's greatest hits? Funny thing is, earlier today I heard an NPR broadcast by some doctor who wrote a book which touched upon the topic of the mystical roots of today's modern healing professions. Noting that there are situations that medical science can't qualify or quantify in the healing fields, many people seek supernatural explanations, but he was reminded of a couple of quotes, and I'll have to paraphrase. One was from Samuel Johnson who said I think, "Physicians seem to confuse the consequential with the subsequential."

The other was that ninety percent of illness are gone by the next day, so in effect, anything doctors do, encourages them to think their treatment was the cure.

This author suggested however that within 20 years science should begin to sport answers to these mysterious powers of positive thinking the brain exerts upon the body in times of dire necessity or yearning, for instance, why statistically few terminally ill people die during special holidays or events they've earmarked for personal reasons, but will buy the farm shortly after these mustered occasions. And throw in those sudden cures most doctors have witnessed but none can explain.

Soft thinkers of various stripes attribute all this "miraculous" activity to love, positronic thinking, outside intervention, auxiliary hocus pocus, yawn and fawn, and some of this is very well likely, but a chain letter fer godsakes???? I mean, St. Paul's epistles were chainletters in every sense, and look at where they have led us...

You must expand your thoughts on the witchcraft you perceive as more powerful than prayer and other traditional sources of collective bargaining on the earthly-otherwordly intercessional plane. Or is witchcraft just another word for what other cultures dub with other cheeky labels? But how does this truck with your stand as a materialist? Frankly, since energy forces tracked in the brain are substantive, information collected, burned and sorted in the nerve cells, thought is materialistic, its audible and other symbolic forms such as written language, also substantive material, but the stretch that telepathy involves has never been adequately reproduced outside of myth and the subsequential.

Anywaze Kubhlai, I trust that friendly reciprocity has been achieved with this note, and look forward to your next outburst.


He Died Believing This, Says Waller

10 Dec


Biting The Hand


Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 09:24:27 -0500

Editor's note: In Richard's defense he would be 73 years old on February 12, but the reason he was invited to join our list was to submit him to a dose of his own medicine in the only way I knew how—but only because I knew he would drop out after a few weeks, and he did. Richard had begun to become a major nuisance with his own long "look at me, aren't I clever" rejoinders, and as luck would have it, his long missives would arrive just as I would be jostling with hosting or other hardware and software problems and I had zilch time at all to deal with him, so of course, he became belligerent in letter and then on voice mail because none of my explanations comforted him. It got nasty, not vulgar, no, just strong in fact and follow-through, after a long bout of him berating me while I'm trying to deflect his rage and sense of propriety as a well-educated and well-traveled elder to whom all prestige was being resented or rerouted, he left without a hint of his own complicity in any ongoing crisis.

It wasn't like I was accusing him of anything, just that I didn't have time right yet to get to his long rambling anecdotes about Buddhism, vegetarianism, or meditation, or some other Richard Waller whimsy, and occasionally when I did follow up a note it wasn't what he expected, and thus, I failed him in that regard as well. When he couldn't get to his web site he screamed bloody murder, as if I weren't spending 21 hour days already trying to keep things running as they were supposed to run when it was ToadNet, our uplink—who was failing in their role as ISP provider—more often than not.

We would fall out to each our utter end of decency further down the road, but that was the price of peace. We both agreed good riddance was a strategy worth pursuing, but here we are again, the young having the last say once again as onlookers wince at the silliness of this long joking gesture, this hobbled parade of the horribles...

Gabriel Thy

Dear Gabriel, the kube's writing this morning is just really too much, too time-consuming for me to dope out and fathom. We have not begun to fully grasp the philosopical systems we already have. For instance, Schopenhauer said, "Subject to the limitations of human knowledge, my philosophy is the real solution of the enigma of the world." He died believing this. Nobody paid much attention until he died. And he was probably right. But each man wants to try.


Too Much Too Soon

Wittgenstein said the same thing in his Preface to Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, "...the truth of the thoughts that are here set forth seems to me unassailable and definitive. I therefore believe myself to have found, on all essential points, the final solution of the problems." If just a fraction of the members of the human race must each have an elaborate system, we won't live long enough to think about the millions. No one solution is ever enough. We must simplify.

I don't want to offend ANYBODY when I ask you to unsubscribe me to the Swill. I am beginning to have health problems and can barely keep up with the course of studies I already attempt—music, the poetry of others, the history of thought, and above all, this business of living.

Richard Waller

Pissing At The Peephole

16 Sep




Originally published on September 16, 1999

Arthur - I have no burning desire to cull the herd of genuine interested parties, far from it, and I certainly appreciated your first response a while back, and now again, when pressed, it seems you have indeed brightened my day just in hearing from you. Smells like loneliness, doesn't it? Not really. It's just that sometimes my own sense of failure and frustration in building an active community where different voices can be counted upon to seed the common causes and indeed foster that notion of belonging to a focussed group greater than oneself, gets the best of me, and I plot yet another "situation" to stir the soup.

I mean, one does get tired of groveling for input. But I've had a rough year myself since this list was founded last November, and certainly do not crave the ax just to exercise some phony sense of authority. The peepholes you mention: Matt, Kubhlai, Michael, and Gabriel, none of us have met in the flesh. But Len Bracken, Steve Taylor, and Lynn Landry all have met me, and have each pleaded cases of personal friendship with the GT, but something is drastically lacking in these friends who hardly have a word to share with this project. Friends indeed, I say to myself. In full-bodied candor, their absence is my strongest resentment of the moment.

Rebunk down in Australia, well, I dunno where he's floated off to, and there is only one other new name (to respond to Matt's query) on the subscription list, but this person has NEVER piped in with a word, not once in the several months since signing on. This person has a UK address, but has remained mum. Again, there is no criminal breech of etiquette in this behavior, but I do interpret a slight rudeness I think for a list this small already.

To me, this present anxiety is not a matter of seeping paranoia over the content or stylings of these conversations, uh, falling into the wrong hands or some utter nonsense like that; as incendiary cant they barely make muster, but there is a pinching personal disappointment fueled by a periodic suspicion that perhaps the SWILL is indeed nothing more than a crass waste of time since there are many other lists out there which seem to attract all sorts of opinionmaking noise, of the feverish sort or the mundane, but here, uh, well you know what I mean.

And I really despise the fact that I am whingeing over this.


The Writer's Block

13 Sep




Originally published on September 13, 1999

KUBHLAI: Like me, he is markedly unimpressed with the intellectual sincerity of Man. Where he immediately impressed me was by identifying precisely that there is a distinct duality between *Worldview* (''weltanschauung'') and *Philosophy* or supposedly objective human reasonings in general. Now I have never clearly made this distinction between philosophizing and worldview—rather leaving it as an assumption I suppose, that thought (along with other attitudinal modes) is but the building bricks of the total Worldview. In Hulme however, they are at odds from the very start; philosophizing (by which is meant human thought and judgement in a wider sense) lays claim to the humanist value of ''Reason'', but all the while the Worldview, which is defined as the grand picture we have of where our "satisfaction" lies, is exerting a gravitational force tempting us to construct complex arguments which, by an amazing coincidence' as it were, arrive at a point which is ''satisfying'' , which provides an apparent justification for the often crude and simplistic desires which were there a priori.

GABRIEL: Here is an interesting piece I found somewhere under a napkin not of my own choosing, a piece quaintly reviewing Kundera's TESTMENTS BETRAYED: "Kafka, Stravinsky, Rushdie—the modern artist confuses and often outrages critics looking for the clarity of orthodoxy. Kundera, whose talents as a literary and music critic almost match his formidable gifts as a novelist, defends the artist against obtuse or perverse critics, disciples, and allies. Thus he rescues Kafka the artist from the embrace of disciples who want to remake him into a thinker. Likewise, he brings the genius of Stravinsky out from under the shadow of the misguided criticism of a close friend. Similarly, Kundera reclaims Rushdie's Satanic Verses as an imaginative work from progressive intellectuals who have never read it but have claimed it as a political symbol of the need for a free press. Discipleship, friendship, and comradeship can all turn into betrayal. Against such betrayal, Kundera insists upon the creative autonomy of the novelist and the composer, whose works live in an ambiguous sphere outside of all history except the capricious history of human creativity. Though he offers keen insights into music and literature, it is in his celebration of humor in the European novel that Kundera's genial brilliance burns most brightly."

The writer steps down from the podium.


"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""