27 July 2007
Grade, born Lewis Winogradsky, was an archetypal show-business mogul, who often made his decisions to go ahead with film or television shows based more on hunches and gut reactions to what he was told about the projects' concepts, than on market research, focus groups, and all the rest of that nonsense.
Sometimes, as in the case of "The Prisoner", his hunches worked spectacularly well. Sometimes, they didn't.
Either way, here's your chance to see just what such a mogul looked and sounded like for yourselves.
Be seeing you.
Among the items discussed in the interview are plans for what was then an up-coming film adaptation of "The Prisoner", for which McGoohan wanted Mel Gibson to play the new Number 6.
Mind you, this interview was done ten years ago, before all the recent brouhaha about Mr. Gibson's ultra-montane Catholicism, alcoholism, and anti-Semitism exploded.
Also interesting, because McGoohan, like Gibson, is a devout, and quite conservative, Catholic, though I don't know, and hope he doesn't take his beliefs, to the ridiculous extremes that Mr. Gibson and his father do.
Be seeing you.
The first is to Rosa Brooks' op-ed piece in to-day's LA Times on yet another Administration Executive Order, this one issued on Friday last, that essentially authorises the CIA to snatch anyone anywhere in the world, as long as the CIA's Director believes him or her to be somehow linked to Al Qaida or other such groups.
It can be found here at http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-brooks27jul27,0,7795419.story?coll=la-tot-opinion&track=ntottext.
The next one also comes from the LA Times, and is another op-ed piece, this one by Brian Copeland, an African-American playwright, on why and how Barack Obama isn't considered a "real" African-American by some in the African-American community, and by others outside of it as well, and how this kind of "identity policing", if anything, only further encourages stereotyping and bigotry.
It can be found at http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-copeland27jul27,0,90968.story?coll=la-tot-opinion&track=ntottext.
The third and last link is to an In These Times story on how Latino kids, including illegal immigrant kids, are targeted by US military recruiters, and advertisers working for them, and are lured into joining up by sometimes true, sometimes false, promises of citizenship and other benefits for themselves and their families.
It's located at http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3271/illegal_immigrants_uncle_sam_wants_you/.
All right, so the issues in the last two stories weren't discussed in "The Prisoner".
But, on the other hand, the use and abuse of power, the snatching of people from their homes and off the streets and indefinitely imprisoning them, the pressure to conform to some group ideal, and the use of truths, half-truths, and outright lies by those in power to get what they want, were discussed in the show, and, I think, are quite apparent in these stories.
A little something for y'all to mentally munch on on this hot July day.
Be seeing you.
In this scene, McGoohan has a bit of a spat with the doomed convict's wife, played by Sylvia Syms.
Be seeing you.
In this clip, Drake, who's infiltrated a pirate radio station's operations, has a rather interestingly tense bit of breakfast conversation with some of the station's employees.
Be seeing you.
"Such Men Are Dangerous", in which Patrick McGoohan's character, John Drake, has a tete-a-tete with the lady of the estate, played by Georgina Anne Ward, whilst undercover as an employee on said estate, which is owned by a general who's apparently involved in something fishy.
Be seeing you.
Music you can groove to, while escaping the Village, whatever and where ever your particular version of it might be.
Be seeing you.
No. 6's part is taken by a fox, while No. 2's played by a rabbit.
Be seeing you.
It's quite well done, I think, and well worth a look.
Be seeing you.
Its main distinction is that it was shot on location in Portmeirion, Wales, during a Six Of One(Prisoner fan club)convention that year.
Be seeing you.
In this scene, Homer, the new arrival in the Village, engages in a little one-upsmanship with No. 6.
Be seeing you.
Also features lotsa clips of Paddy McGoohan doing his Prisoner thing that he did so well.
Be seeing you.
Be seeing you.
26 July 2007
Damned good spoof of "The Prisoner", if I may say so, and do.
Skim it if you want, read it if you must, or ignore it entirely. Whatever floats your boat.
If you make it all the way through this, and find anything resembling the ghost of a coherent argument with semi-solid backing, you're either a reader and reasoner of the most heroic kind, or you've been taking some DAMNED good drugs!!!!
Either way, hope it's of some interest.
On Sunday evening, I re-posted a blog entry from a friend of mine about the latest Presidential directive authorising the seizures of money and property belonging to those individuals whom the Administration felt are hampering the war and peacekeeping efforts in Iraq, and, yes, this includes US citizens, Folks.
My friend was, to say the least, more than mildly disappointed that the numbers of responses to this particular post were far lower than to the Harry Potter related posts on her blog.
As for the re-post here, I can tell you precisely the number of comments it got here, and that's ZERO.
Par for the course with most of my stuff, and, while I can find it irritating, am not going to let that get me down, at least not to the point of not blogging anymore.
Anyhow, here's my response to her latest blog entry, containing a number of, yes, guesses, as to why the public response has been so muted to this latest piece of news.
Below that, am going to enclose a few thoughts on revolution, civil war, and what they would mean for you, me, and everyone else living here.
D. : Dunno what to tell ya, except that perhaps, PERHAPS, some of the reason the reception of this news has been so generally underwhelming, is because the Administration very cannily took advantage of the fact that most people don't really pay attention to the news on week-ends, and especially on Sundays.
Please notice when that release was made, and that was on Sunday last.
Some of it as well may be, and I include myself in this camp, attributed to an unwillingness to believe that the arseholes actually mean this, and mean to do it.
On the other hand, have no doubt they do.
Some of it may be general weariness with news about an Administration and its products, mainly the Wah On Tewah(Heh, heh, heh!!!)and the Iraq War, that only keeps getting worse by the second, minute, hour, day, week and month.
Some of it may also be just plain old-fashioned complacency, indifference, and the sense of "WhudkinIdoaboudit??" on the part of many Americans.
There's also the fact that, all rhetoric to the contrary aside, neither the American Left(and yes, I am painting with an extremely broad brush here), much of the American Centre, or the Libertarian Right have the organisation, financing and other resources, the discipline needed, nor the will and commitment to launch much of a tough, victorious, election campaign, much less an armed struggle against the US government and its supporters, if that's what need be.
Organising and maintaining any sort of organisation, particularly when resources are scarce and many of the participants dislike each other on ideological or inter-personal grounds, or both, is a difficult job.
It's not impossible, just damned difficult, and it requires a level of commitment that many people either don't have, nor are willing to give.
During the Maoist era in China, there was a popular saying among the peasants, which was "Under the Guomindang(the Chinese Nationalists), too many taxes; under the Communists, too many meetings", and, particularly in establishing, running and maintaining an organisation of any real size, it takes a LOT of meetings and time spent away from family, friends, hobbies, etc to get it up and keep it going relatively harmoniously.
I don't know what it will take, if it ever does, for many Americans, beyond a relatively small minority of the population, to actually ever develop the desire to get involved, in whatever form, in the political process, if it isn't already too late.
That said, that doesn't mean that those of us who are even somewhat aware of what's going on should give up, go to our local drinkin' places, and start downing liquid anaesthetic.
It means, though, that we're going to have to keep on keepin' on, doing what we do, until such time as we gain even half the results we want.
It means having the tenacity of a bulldog, an iron will to survive and prosper, and, most importantly, well-developed senses of perspective and humour, 'cos, to borrow a saying I got from a radio talk-show host in Reno many moons ago, "He(or She)who laughs, lasts", and, especially given the nature of much of what goes on in politics, that's so bloody true.
Stay strong, hang tough, and don't forget to laugh often and loudly.
Yep, Folks, it's better to organise, mobilise and take effective, non-violent action NOW and in the days to come, rather than let the situation get so bad that violent action's the only feasible way out of this mess.
Let's be blunt; assuming for one hot second that the various Left groups in this country, as well as outraged moderates, libertarian conservatives, etc, had the financial means, loads of resources, willing, experienced and able people ready to go, and a political, military and economic plan that was sound enough to survive, at least in part, the shocks and set-backs of a revolutionary war here, it would also require the commitment, discipline, and sheer bloody-minded will to see the task through to a victorious end, and I am not sure that these groups, at least at present, have those in sufficient quantity.
That said, what a revolutionary war in the US would mean would be the kind of widespread social, economic, and political disruption that would impoverish large numbers of Americans, and push those already in poverty right into the gutter, if not the grave.
It would mean revolutionary and counter-revolutionary terror of various sorts, whether committed by Regular Army, Reservist or National Guard soldiers, police agencies at every level, or citizen auxiliaries of various kinds and official, semi-official, or unofficial natures on the latter side, or by whatever "regular" or irregular formations on the former side.
It would mean curfews, restrictions on travel of all sorts, arbitrary detentions, arrests, trials and executions.
It would mean massacres, carried out by one side or another, of the other side's partisans, or of even relatively uninvolved civilians.
It would mean sieges of communities of various types and sizes, with all the horrors of privation, malnutrition, starvation, disease, madness, and premature death by a variety of causes.
It would mean looting, burning, rape, torture, mass murder on a scale that would make the Lebanese Civil War of 1975-90 and the Yugoslav civil wars of the '90's look small and tame by comparison, and might even make the current Iraqi conflagration look anemic, and that'd be tough to do, in my opinion.
But, our country and population are large and diverse enough, and weapons are plentiful enough to get, so it's entirely possible that, given the right or wrong incentives, we could quite easily turn the US into a big version of Somalia in a relatively short period of time.
Think social inequality's bad now????? Wait 'til you find yourself living in one enclave or another, held by one of the various sides, and watch the shortages of food, medicine, potable drinking water, and other goods and services pile up one on top of the other.
Those who are either members of one of the various ruling groups or another, have connections to them, or who are in one kind of black market ring or another, are going to have the lion's share of whatever there is to go 'round, and everyone else will have to muddle along as best they can with they have, or go without.
If that means a few hundred, or a few thousand, poor bastards die, so that the war effort, and the ruling elite's control of a given area of the US can go on, that's what happens.
Think the levels of outright lying and other forms of deception coming to you from the government, "mainstream" media and other sources are epic????
Just wait and see the glorious new levels of wartime(and, depending on who wins, extended long into peacetime)censorship of every form of media, and the attempts, some successful, some not, at cutting off any sort of differing opinions than their own by the various elites, and that includes the 'Net.
Have no doubt that at least some of these clowns will take their cues from China's attempts to block various forms of 'Net sites, and other 'Net features that communicate points of view differing with the official Chinese government line, and attempt to implement similar measures of their own.
Ain't gonna say that they'll be entirely successful, but they will try, nonetheless, 'cos we don't wanna have the punters out there doubting whatever our glorious leadership says, now, do we????
You bet yer sweet arse, we don't, Sugar-Plums.
As for lying and secrecy-mongering, well, our current government, like just about every other government in war-time throughout human history, has certainly tried its share and then some, and then some again.
But, in many respects, these jokers really haven't been all that terribly successful at those tactics as they might have been.
In this projected revolutionary war, the various sides may or may not be more successful at it than this current government, but, believe me, they will try their damnedest to be such.
One of the hardest tasks in any country at war, and I think it was George Orwell who first observed this, but I could be wrong, is for so-called ordinary citizens to find reliably truthful information sources in a social atmosphere characterised by tremendous amount of cant, mis-information, dis-information, propaganda of all sorts, and outright lying.
Have found this rule borne out over the past nearly six years, and also have no doubt that, in any revolutionary war situation, the various sides, Yours, Mine, Ours, Theirs, and The Other Guy Way Off In the Far Left Corner's, will also do their very best to bring you, The Little Guy or Gal, the absolutely worst, most un-trustworthy information they can, as long as it serves their interests.
Another thing to consider, and that's the destruction of all kinds of infrastructure, physical and social, that would take place during such a war, because, beginning with Sherman's March Through Georgia during the American Civil War, governments, military planners, and even the urban guerrillas of the 1960's and '70's, have understood that one of the quickest ways to defeat your opponent isn't on the battlefield, but by targeting his physical, economic and social infrastructures, and inflicting on them the maximum possible amounts of damage and destruction, so that yon opponent's war activities cease, because the society, both at the front and behind it, has suffered so much damage that it either barely sputters along, or falls apart entirely.
This means that NO areas of human activity, even hospitals and other medical facilities, churches, synagogues, mosques, whatever house of worship you fancy to name, and similar non-warlike institutions get targeted, and get it, right in the neck, but good.
You want your opponent so entirely and utterly broken that he or she couldn't get up on his or her feet, even if he or she had a hundred people helping.
That's what total war is, and means-TOTAL war, in which every part of a nation's society, and every person therein, is a military target, period.
There are no dividing lines between military and civilian, combatant and non-combatant, the front line, the rear area, and civvy street.
Every area, and everyone in it, are part of a massive free-fire zone, where anything and everything goes.
This observation sure as Hell ain't original to me, as this form of warfare's been practised since at least the American Civil War and has only grown stronger in influence and power ever since.
When the hi-jackers piloted the jets into the Twin Towers in New York City and into the Pentagon on 11th September, 2001, they were practising total war, and bringing it to their most hated opponents-us.
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols did the same kind of stunt to the Alfred P. Murragh Federal Building on Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on 17th April, 1995, for very similar reasons to those held by the 11 September hi-jackers, and because they believed they were at war with a Federal government that they neither recognised or thought of as their own. So, anything and everything was justified, including the deaths of men, women and children whom they'd neither met, or who had done either one any harm.
Total war means total terror, especially for the enemy and his or her supporters, and it means that, in the end, if your mama's on the opposite side of the barricades from you, and you're ordered to kill her because that's what you've been ordered to do because your superiors have deemed it a military necessity, you waste her, or pay whatever price you'll have to for not doing so.
It means being as ruthless, if not more so, than your opponents, and not just towards your opponents, but to your supporters, immediate, intermediate and subordinate, and the populations beneath them, in turn.
If you have to purge the ranks of your supporters to weed out those who may be traitors or spies, you do it.
If you have to order the deaths of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people, regardless of whatever involvement or non-involvement they have with your opponent's war efforts, you do it, if it will bring ultimate victory to you and yours.
If you have to carry out those orders, you do it, whether you know and understand the reasons why or not.
If not, someone else can always be found to cheerfully do it, and don't think they can't or won't be found.
No one is indispensable in war, especially in revolutionary warfare.
In the end, even if it takes massacring millions of people and turning large portions of the US, or any other part of the world into a wasteland, you do it, and you live with it.
It's been a little over a century since our last experiences of guerrilla and partisan warfare on US soil came to an end at Wounded Knee, the last massacre of the Indian Wars, but, especially during those wars, as well as the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, we had episodes of war-to-the knife, cutthroat partisan warfare that World War Two-era Yugoslavs, Albanians, Greeks and Soviets would have recognised in character, if not form, as not so different from their own styles of making war.
The riots of the 1960's, and, to an extremely limited extent, the urban guerrilla movements of that same period worldwide, gave us a glimpse of what an urban civil war would be like.
Make no mistake, whatever plans and high ideals you have at the beginning of whatever revolutionary struggle you make, those plans and ideals will be changed by the realities of warfare, its changing circumstances and policies, the million great and small compromises and deals that violate your ideals, but need to done along the way to victory, and, finally, the realities of governing whatever areas you have at war's beginning, the ones you take and hold during the war, and, in the end, a nation at peace.
Shattered, busted to bits in every way, and poorer than Hell, but, at peace, nonetheless.
Then, the TRULY hard work starts for you.....
That's why I say that it's better to organise, mobilise, and work for change peacefully now, because, once you pick up the gun, and especially after you use it, there's no "Sorry", no way you can make up for the death, injury and destruction you and your opponents inflict, and surely NO turning back.
If you MUST go down that road, please be aware of these facts and more, and make damned sure you are both prepared and willing to pay whatever price, even your life and the lives of your loved ones and revolutionary comrades, that it takes.
Don't say you weren't warned.
Be seeing you.
25 July 2007
Can't say I know much about 'em, even in spite of having seen a recent documentary on the Newark riot, Revolution '67, on the PBS series POV a couple of weeks back.
Nonetheless, here they are.
The first pic depicts, and I've long since forgotten where I saw this, the lone African-American Michigan National Guardsman on patrol in Detroit during the course of the five-day long riots.
Considering that one of his white colleagues was quoted as saying that if a potential target moved and was black, he'd shoot, I wonder what that African-American guardsman must have thought and felt while the riots were going on, and after that.
The second depicts an African-American man being detained by two New Jersey Guardsmen during the Newark riot.
The third and final shot depicts an African-American man laying on the sidewalk in Detroit, Michigan, after having been shot.
By whom, well, I'll leave that up to you.
But, at least according to one site where I got names and some personal info about the 43 people killed during the Detroit riots, more likely than not, he was probably shot by either a Michigan National Guardsman or a Detroit police officer.
In closing, am enclosing a small list of links to sites where you can get more and better info on the Newark and Detroit riots of 1967, than the meagre amount provided here.
For starters, let's go to the Wikipedia entries for both, at, respectively, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12th_Street_Riot(Detroit Riots), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Newark_riots(Newark riots, of course).
Then, let's go to the Rutgers University site on both riots at http://www.67riots.rutgers.edu/, which provides an detailed, academic overview of the events preceding, during and after the riots.
After that, we'll head over to the Revolution '67 page at PBS. org, so you can see more about the documentary, its creators, and get more info on the '67 Newark riot.
It's at http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2007/revolution67/index.html.
The next link's to Bongiorno Productions', the company that made Revolution '67, site at http://www.bongiornoproductions.com/REVOLUTION%20%2767/Revolution%20%2767.html.
Finally, am enclosing a couple of sites that have a bit more personal takes on the Detroit riots of '67, the first being a site dedicated to, and listing the names and personal stories of the 43 dead in those riots(and from where I got that figure and the info about most of the casualities being caused by police and National Guard fire), Detroit Riot Victims, at http://www.geocities.com/michdetroit/riot1967.html.
The second is to a blog entry by a fella who was a child in the Detroit area when the riots broke out, and their aftermath, and this entry contains his reflections on both.
It's at http://isteve.blogspot.com/2005/09/nola-05-detroit-67.html.
The blogger wrote this in September, 2005, and, in the post, he links the various similarities he saw between how the news media covered those riots and the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina.
As always, the opinions, etc, found on these various sites, aren't the responsibility of, nor endorsed by, blah, blah, blah, Yours Truly, but belong to those who own, maintain and post on 'em.
So, please don't send me any nasty e-mails(not that you've before)about what someone said on their site or blog.
BTW, sorry for the small number of links here. There are a lot more out there, but I'm a lazy sod, so that's why there aren't more.
At the very least, hope they're a good start for whatever 'Net expeditions you may make to find out more about these topics.
Be seeing you.
23 July 2007
...will not be televised
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22 July 2007
Posted this, or rather, re-posted much of this on my MySpace blog a few minutes ago.
Don't know exactly how the Administration' s going to implement this directive, or at whom it'll be targeted. It mayn't work out to anything in the end. On the other hand, it just might.
Text follows below.
Don't usually re-post other people's blog posts here, but, given the importance of the issue, I am, and strongly urge those of you who see this to re-post this entry as well on your blogs.
Thanks for your attention, and thanks to MO for originally posting this on her blog.
Just saw this post a minute ago. Am also enclosing a pair of links, one from truthout.org about this, and a link to the Presidential directive from the White House's own site that I saw a few hours ago.
The links are, respectively, http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/072207A.shtml, and http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070717-3.html.
July 22, 2007 - Sunday
act NOW. Bush moves toward martial law
Please repost this. I took it straight from a bulletin from Active Muse. I am going to try to repost that bulletin here.
Please read this and act now.
Be seeing you.
----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
Date: Jul 22, 2007 8:56 PM
NEEDED: 3 More Congress Members to Impeach!!!!
Call, Call, Call !!
Please contact your Congressmen/women to push for impeachment. BE RELENTLESS!!
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has said that if three more Congress Members sign Kucinich's impeachment bill, he will start the impeachment proceedings. (The story was broken tonight by After Downing Street).
Remember, criminal proceedings against Bush, Cheney and others for 9/11 cannot start until they are out of office. Impeachment is the first step.
EVERYONE should call their congressional representatives (especially if yours' are not one of the signatories to Kucinich's impeachment bill) and DEMAND they co-sign. Click here to find your congress person.
REPOST: The dictator criminal Bush and the 5th amendment
Date: Jul 22, 2007 11:54 AM
Thanx for posting this. This reminds me of my futile attempts to read the fucking USA Patriot Act. They make this shit incomprehensible with their llabrynthine references to laws by code, and obscurantist kant. Maybe we need to develop an underground core of translators to inform (in plain and comprehensible language) the few amerikkans who are just a tiny bit awake of how they're being raped. AND maybe even wake up a sheeple or two...This is a call to action - volunteers????
Executive Order Overturns US Fifth Amendment
July 20, 2007
Wednesday, the world was a little different. By executive order, the Secretary of the Treasury may now seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The Secretary may make his determination in secret and after the fact." There hasn't been much media notice of this; the UK's Guardian has an article explaining how the new authority will only be used to go after terrorists.
A CALL TO ACTION: CALL CONGRESS NOW!
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 17, 2007
Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution ...
Bush Moves Toward Martial Law
Interview with writer and researcher, Frank Morales. We discuss the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, signed by the President on October 17, 2006, which allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America, without state or local consent, in order to "suppress public disorder". Also discussed are the actions of FEMA in reponse to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the deliberate dispersal of much of the population. First broadcast on January 10, 2007.
Bush Moves Toward Martial Law By Frank Morales
March 7th, 2007
In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1).
It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.
Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007? (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."
President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is "martial law."
Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies." Section 333, "Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law" states that "the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of ("refuse" or "fail" in) maintaining public order, "in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy."
at dissident news
Well, not literally, but pretty damned close at times, especially after receiving an e-mail from a friend, and after viewing several articles from different sources on-line.
First, the e-mail.
This e-mail was a forwarded one giving 14 good reasons to deport all illegal aliens from this country, citing welfare costs, etc, etc, etc.
In short, all the usual baloney I've heard and read a thousand times before, at least.
Quite frankly, I'm damned sick of it, as I am about the whole covertly, but-not-TOO-covertly racialised, debate about immigration that's been raging in this zoo of a country, since at least the 1970's.
This is just another chapter in the same, sad story of American immigration and how politics, class and race are all entangled in the debate over it that's been going on since the mass migration of the Irish here in the late 1840's and early 1850's.
Over and over and over again, the same sort of debate, combined with the same sort of rhetoric, conspiracy theories, etc, have popped up about the Irish, the Italians, the Poles and other Eastern European nationalities, the Chinese, the Japanese, etc, etc, etc, right down to the various Latino immigrant groups, as well as some very occasional mention of the new Eastern European and Asian immigrants coming here as well.
Fear of change, fear of subjugation, fear of having your daughter marrying one of "them", whomever "they" might happen to be, and just plain fear like Mother used to make, combined with economic and social resentments, and various forms of bigotry(I'll let you name 'em, as this essay's gonna be long enough already), are the animating forces behind the disgusting tone of the whole immigration debate saga, and I think it's about Goddamned time that we finally acknowledged that those motivations are precisely what's driving it.
But, most of us don't, or at least, don't want to, because then that means acknowledging at least a part of the darker side of the whole American mythos that we've constructed for ourselves.
"Land of the Free???" Sure, as long as it's just for me, me, me, my family, friends, and everyone else who looks, speaks and acts just like me.
Everyone else had better know their place(usually well below me, me, me, at the very bottom of the social ladder), stay there, and keep their mouths shut, and well outta sight.
If not, well, you can either go back where you came from, or you can get good and dead.
And here's the really disgusting aspect about all this, some of the most outspoken anti-immigrant advocates are descendants of immigrants themselves, like Colorado House Represenative Tom Tancredo, who's also running in the Republican Presidential primary.
Guess of what descent HE is???? If you said Italian, Eye-Talian, Guinea or Wop, you win a cookie, Boys and Girls!!!!!
Yep, the same damned community whose ancestors, even quite recently, were generally treated with the same kind of scorn, derision, discriminatory behaviour, and, at times, subjected to the good ol' fashioned, All-American sport of lynching, as happened in New Orleans, LA, in 1891.
But, then again, a fair number of Italian-Americans also ended up adopting a lot of the racial bigotries of their Anglo-Saxon, Irish and German neighbours, when it came to African-Americans, as did so many other European immigrant groups, their kids and grand-kids.
And so it goes, especially as the generations pass, and the sufferings of those immigrant groups are either forgotten, or romanticised into something "noble" and "up-lifting" by the children, grand-children and great-grand-children of those immigrants.
That's just part of being an American, right??? Inflicting the same, or similar kinds of discrimination, on those who came after you, just like they'd been inflicted upon your ancestors, 'cos why should anyone else get a free ride, huh????
Yep. You betchum, Red Ryder.
Everybody needs a nigger, or nigger-substitute, just so's they can feel better about themselves, and, By God, this country can't and won't work properly without at least one such item in stock, By Cracky!!!!
Combine the current debate over immigration with some recent Supreme Court decisions prohibiting the use of race as a factor in school integration, the whole spate of incidents involving celebrities and their racial epithets of choice, plus the wholesale demonisation of Arabs and Muslims in a fair portion of American elite and popular media, because of the Wah On Tewah(Heh, heh, heh!!!)and the Iraq War, with the radicalising climate that war invariably brings, and, well... you get my drift.
It just seems to me that this country's taking the fond look backwards to the late 19th and early 20th Centuries that we began in the 1970's, and pushing it to its illogical conclusion.
Hell, while we're at it, let's bring back race riots, lynchings, Jim Crow segregation in the South, and de facto segregation in the North, Midwest and Far West, anti-miscegenation laws, curfews and alcohol prohibitions for African-Americans and Native Americans(those people can't hold their liquor, y'know), and, in every part of the mass media, images and words ridiculing, attacking and demonising anyone different from those who own and make mass media products.
Hell, let's bring back criminalisation of sodomy and other un-natural sexual practises, so we can give our hard-working and hard-pressed Boys and Girls In Blue an opportunity to earn some extra money through black-mailing and extorting money from homosexuals, lesbians, and other "perverts".
Let's start calling each other lovely names like "Wop", "Spic", "Kraut", "Kike", "Coon", "White Trash", "Guero", and "Bai Guei Ci", among others, not only in drunken bar-room arguments, prisons, and other similarly unfashionable and decidedly seedy venues, but even in the highest-class boardrooms and bedrooms.
Here're a couple of examples of how that might work in practise:
A senior corporate executive and a junior executive pass each other in the hallway of their company's headquarters one fine morning.
Senior Executive(cheerfully): Good Morning, Mr. Chink.
Junior Executive(equally chirpily): Why, Good Morning to you, too, Mr. Spook!!!!
Or, how about the following lovely romantic exchange between two lovers in a restaurant over a candle-lit dinner:
Boy(soppily in love): Gee, Shoshanna!!!! I think you're all that and a bag of chips, for a Sheenie!!!!
Girl(equally besotted):Oh, Arturo!!!!! You're the nicest Beaner a girl ever had!!!(They kiss)
Yes, Folks, weren't those just delightful, hmm????
You GOTTA be kiddin' me, if you think that actually was.
Folks, it just seems to me that, once again, we keep stumbling over the same old obstacles and creating new ones for ourselves, all in the hopes of somehow hanging on to whatever power, privileges, and bits of nuts for ourselves, while trying to deny them to others, especially by denying the "other's" humanity whenever possible.
We keep doing this and doing this and doing this, and, while we've had a good long run pulling this sort of crap, eventually our luck and chances will run out.
When they do, don't expect those whom we've attempted to de-humanise, repress, exclude or kill outright to be too terribly charitable towards us in return.
One of the sad facts of human history is that, far too often, those who have been oppressed enact, whenever they get the chance, a pretty terrible vengeance on their oppressors, or those they perceive to be their oppressors.
If they don't get the chance to do that, then they take it out on each other, or find some other group to vent their wrath upon.
Either way, it may make for interesting reading for future generations, but sheer Hell for those who have to live through events like those, and a complete waste of time, resources, talent and lives all 'round.
The immigration debate is tied in with a whole number of factors, including American foreign and domestic economic, social, political and other policies, as well as the policies of the immigrants' homelands, and, most fundamentally, the decisions that our and their elites, plus all of us so-called ordinary folks, make about who gets and who don't, and why.
These are tough, sometimes heart-breakingly so, complex issues with often complex and tough answers that need to be addressed.
Stupid, one-sided assertions, lines of "logic", and solutions that end up causing more harm than good that come from the former two, won't solve the problems at hand.
They'll just create far worse problems for everyone involved, and, if pushed far enough, batches and batches of corpses.
I'd like to say that I currently have the confidence that we can, generally speaking, have the guts and the will to sit down and work this process without going completely bananas.
However, I can't.
More's the pity, I think.
Be seeing you.
17 July 2007
Well, I hit the RSVP link in the e-mail, and informed MoveOn that I'd be coming down there with my digital camera to take piccies of the event.
It was scheduled to take place in front of the Federal courthouse in down-town Vegas at 5:00 PM to-day.
Well, I got there 15 minutes or so late, but I went into set-up mode right away, and took pics of the demo, for as long as I was there, which was a little under an hour.
Not much in the way of security personnel presence there, as you'll see in two of the pics displayed below, and the size of our crowd was about 25 people(so I heard one person say. I didn't take a count), and fluctuated a little in size, with some people arriving and others leaving, while I was there.
No counter-demonstrators, either.
Anyway, after I got home, sat down and edited the following pics for size(making it easier to up-load here), enhancement(mainly because some of the pics were quite dark in the original state, and to make reading some of the sign texts easier on the viewer), and cropping the little things, mainly to cut out extraneous background or side material in the original pics that would have distracted from the main images.
Well, now they're here for you to peruse and see a tiny sliver of what one day will be a very small part of Nevada and American history.
So, on ye go, down, down to the pics below.
Be seeing you.
Here are two bits of unintentional comedy from two rather different sources.
The first is from Senator John Ensign(R-Nevada), responding to an on-line anti-cluster bomb petition I signed last week.
If you've never received an on-line nor snail-mail form reply letter from your Represenative or Senator, this should give you some idea of the kind of carefully-crafted(usually by some aide or another in said Rep's or Senator's office), oh-so-careful-not-to-alienate-any-potential-voters, weasel language that comes in these messages.
Its text follows immediately below.
This is an official communication from the Office of Senator John Ensign. Any tampering or alteration of this communication is prohibited and may result in criminal investigation or prosecution.
July 17, 2007
Mr. Donald Rilea
457 N. Lamb Unit F
Las Vegas, Nevada 89110-3376
Dear Mr. Rilea:
Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 594, the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act of 2007. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me, and I value the opportunity to address them.
The United States is currently pursuing a cluster bomb policy that adheres to the Convention on Conventional Weapons framework and strives towards balancing the humanitarian risks associated with the weapons while retaining the protections they afford our troops. Our policy includes deploying cluster munitions that self destruct after firing and allocating resources to detecting and removing non-detonated ordnances whenever possible.
I believe that cluster bombs provide an important capability to our armed forces and allies. They allow our military to engage various types of targets simultaneously while reducing the exposure of friendly forces to enemy fire. It is important to note that cluster munitions cause less collateral damage than other commonly used munitions. The most obvious examples of instances where cluster munitions were successfully deployed were against the Taliban after September 11, and by Israel during its conflict in Lebanon through the fall of 2006. These weapons helped eliminate terrorists while ensuring the security and safety of our troops and allies. The cluster bomb legislation you support would so severely restrict the use of any cluster munitions as to remove this necessary weapon from our arsenal, thereby increasing the probability of U.S. and allied casualties. Current U.S. policy is sound, and I support it.
Through my work as a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee and as Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, I will continue to do all I can to ensure that our troops and the American people are provided the best possible protection. I will be sure to keep your concerns, and the concerns of all Nevadans, in mind. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. If you should have further questions or comments or would like to share your thoughts on another matter, please feel free to write or e-mail me via my website at http://ensign.senate.gov.
United States Senator
Your thoughts and opinions are important. Unfortunately, any replies to this e-mail will not be received and processed. If you want to contact Senator Ensign electronically again please visit:
The second comes from a MySpace bulletin posted at 7:04 PM this evening by a MySpace friend of mine who saw an interview with an "anti-terrorism" expert on MSNBC this afternoon.
The comedy, such as it is, comes not from the description this friend provides of this expert, and what the fella was saying, but from the very assertions that the expert himself made.
Text is right below this.
From: Stanley Gallon
Date: Jul 17, 2007 7:04 PM
Subject: Myspacers and facebookers are potential terrorist threats?
Body: Today I was watching msnbc when a so called, "terrorism analyst" came on to discuss the new growing threat of non muslim terrorism in the United States. Among those he refered to as terrorists were environmentalists, liberal special interest groups and worst of all those who are dissatisfied with the current state of our government.
What was really interesting was when he said that the way to identify who the "potential terrorists" among us are is that the are most likely people "networking on myspace." He said these agitators and activists are gathering together to engage in terrorist acts.
He then went on to say that families should be looking to see what their children, brothers, sisters, husbands and/or wives are doing on myspace and facebook, and report any suspicious behavior to police or the Department of Homeland Security.
As unbeleiveable as this may sound it is true. If anyone has the ability to pull and post the video of the interview of this MSNBC terror analyst it aired on MSNBC sometime between 3:30 pm and 5:30pm on Tuesday July 17, 2007.
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The expert's analysis of who potential American terrorists might be is rather a slanted one, as it leaves out anti-abortion radicals, remnants of the various groups comprising the old militia movement of the '90's, Neo-Nazis and other radical racist groups, radical Christian, Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists, and so on and so forth.
From the interview's description, sounds like the expert had a rather obvious political agenda to push, and he did, all the way.
When so-called "experts" pull tricks like that, it's time to wonder just what their qualifications are, where and how they got 'em, and why ANYONE in their right mind would take them even remotely seriously.
Some people's children.... should never be allowed out of the house, ever.
Be seeing you.
This morning, 'round 10:30 or so, was layin' in bed, petting Annabelle Lee, when the phone rang.
The caller, who sounded like a male in his 20's or 30's, asked me if a "Kerwin D. Frog" was there.
My response: "Kerwin D. Frog???"
Caller: "Kerwin D. Frog."
I informed him that there was no Kerwin D. Frog here, and the conversation came to an abrupt end.
Don't know if it was a joke, a wrong number, or what have you, but it was certainly a strange way to start the day.
When I first got on MySpace, a little while after that, saw a notice that I had some friend requests waiting for me.
Well, recently, most of these requests have been from spammers using names and pictures of pretty girls, and, well, you get the idea.
So, I went over to the Friend Requests page to see what they were, and found three of them. The exception to this general rule was that all three's profiles had been deleted!!!
Laughed my head off, and denied the now non-existent MySpace friends.
So, there you have 'em. Two bits of everyday weirdness. Nothing spectacular, but that's probably just as well, as most bits of weirdness really aren't all that spectacular anyway.
Now, for the announcements, which follow below.
Join Local Poets for an Evening of Readings on July 20
Some of Las Vegas' most talented poets as well as open mic
participants gather for an evening of readings at the West Las
Vegas Arts Center's Poets' Corner on Friday, July 20. Keith
Brantley hosts the event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. and is open
to the public. Admission is free.
The arts center, located at 947 West Lake Mead Boulevard, is
operated by the Arts & Community Events Division of the city of
Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services. In addition to the
Poets' Corner, which is held the third Friday of every month,
the center is the site of numerous culturally-focused
activities, from films to special events.
Classes in African arts, dance, music and more are available
for both children and adults.
Coming August 2 and 4 is the final musical production by the
participants in the arts center's annual Performing and Visual
Arts Camp for Kids. Boys and girls learn character-building
skills through an integrated arts program, which culminates in a
multi-faceted production. This year's presentation, "Generation
Next.Pulse, Passion and Power" will be held on Thursday, August
2, at the House of Blues and Thursday, August 4, at the West Las
Vegas Library Theater. It is cosponsored by the Las Vegas-Clark
County Library District and admission is free.
Call (702) 229-4800 for information about these and all West
Las Vegas Arts Center's programs.
Also, MoveOn. org's Las Vegas chapter is having a counter-filibuster demo at the Lloyd.D George Federal Courthouse in down-town Vegas, starting at 5:00 PM this evening.
This demo is aimed at protesting and stopping the proposed Republican filibuster of a Senate bill aimed at mandating a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
So, if you can, come on down, and bring your digital still or video cameras, or your analog ones, if you still use those, and, most importantly, yourselves.
For those of you outside Las Vegas, please go to MoveOn.org, and find out where and when the counter-filibuster nearest you is taking place.
Be seeing you.
16 July 2007
Got a comment to my re-post of "Some Rude Bits About Harry Potter" here, and it made me laugh enough to re-post it, along with a following extended extrapolation from there below it, on MySpace. Well, here's the comment, along with the extrapolation, re-re-posted here.
Talk about your vicious circles, eh???? Hope you like 'em.
Re-posted "Some Rude Bits About Harry Potter" on my other blog at http://afistfulofteeth.blogspot.com/, and got this response to it.
Made me laugh my head off, so, I thought I'd re-post it here for you to see, with, below the comment's text, a few more jokes of my own.
So, cry havoc, and let slip the Dogs of Humour!!!!
In the next Harry Potter book, Harry battles the blind, deaf, dumb, paraplegic Sheikh Omar ul-Hawaqq, and his band of radical, though slightly simple and bumbling Islamic extremists, as they try to cast a demonic spell on the Thames, turning the half of Britain's water supply into canary guano.
Film on BSkyB at 11.
And now, BSkyB will explode. After that, my head will explode(Donald's head duly and immediately explodes after the announcement's made, as Amigo and Annabelle Lee look on in fear and dis-belief)
Amigo: Oh, no!!!! Mama's head blew all up!!!! Now, what are we going to do???
Annabelle Lee: How do I know, Arse-Sniffer???!!!! Hey, what's that smell???
Amigo(walking over and sniffing through the various bits and bobs that remain of Donald's shattered skull)I dunno, but...(stops, takes one of the bits of Donald's brain lying on the floor into his mouth, and starts chewing it)... it's delicious(Amigo immediately starts searching for more, while Annabelle trots over and starts hunting for brains herself)!!!
(Annabelle Lee finds a bit, and starts chewing, while continuing to cast a practised eye around the floor for more)
Annabelle Lee(whilst chewing)Yeah, but not many of 'em, though.
New Announcer: And now, this entire bit will exp-(New Announcer's cut off by a pompous British Army colonel interrupting him)
Colonel: Stop it, stop it, stop it!!!! This is all too silly, not to mention grotesque, and not at all suitable for Family Viewing!!! This is the sort of so-called "entertainment" that right-minded, decent people like myself will no longer stand for in this count-(the Colonel then disappears in an extremely large and loud explosion of his own).
(We next hear the sound of New Announcer coughing, then clearing his throat)
New Announcer: And next in this post, the sound of Rupert Murdoch having a rabid wolverine stuffed down his trousers.
Rupert Murdoch: Now, look here, you Yankee bas-(sound of a rabidly hissing, growling and altogether ill-tempered wolverine being forcibly stuffed down Murdoch's trousers, followed by a bit of screaming by the Australian media tycoon, a short, sudden gasp from him as he expires, and a thud as he hits the floor)
New Announcer: And now, here is the sound of my being hit over the head with a large mackerel by a fellow in a suit of armour(we then hear the clanking approach of said fellow, a sort of dull Smack!!!, followed by a stricken "Oh!!" from the New Announcer, and the sound of him hitting the floor)
(We then hear an Anglican prelate intoning the following)
Prelate: Here Endeth The Lesson.
Boys' Chorus: Ahhhh-meeee-nnnn.
(This is followed by the sounds of two large explosions, then, after four beats of dead silence, followed by the sounds of someone chewing on a large carrot. It is Bugs Bunny)
Bugs Bunny: Ain't I a stinker????
(cue "The Merry-Round Broke Down(Looney Tunes' closing musice), as Porky Pig says, "Duh-dee-duh-dee-dee-That's All, Folks!!!". We hear the last chords of "The Merry Round Broke Down", and we are out. The End.)
15 July 2007
After all the intense, serious stuff have posted here recently, it's time for a joke or two, just so you and I don't all start feeling lower than the bottoms of our shoes.
As some of you in this section of MySpace may have noticed in the past few days, there's been a explosion of Harry Potter mania in these parts.
This, of course, provoked a slight counter-reaction by one of my MySpace friends, who, in a bulletin last night, asked if Hecan Blowme was a minor Harry Potter character.
When I saw the bulletin this afternoon, I gave him this reply, which has been expanded here for my pleasure, by incorporating a few old Monty Python routines. And now, onto the jokes.
Hecan Blowme was a minor Harry Potter character only in the Irish Gaelic version of the HP books. There, he's the unfortunate world-weary janitor of Hogwarts who is killed in a tragic accident involving a jar of whisky, industrial-strength floor cleaning chemicals, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, a goat, and one of Dumbledore's incantations gone horribly wrong.
This results in Tony Blair being turned into a giant cockroach named Franz Kafka that is shot dead outside of 10 Downing Street by the SAS and the Orkin Man.
And, there was much rejoicing. Yaaaay!!!!
And now, on BBC One, the Sound of John Denver Being Strangled.
John Denver(singing to the tune of "You Fill Up My Senses"): You came on my piillow!!!!-Harkkk!!!! Hackkk!!! Fronkkk!!!
(dead silence for two beats)
Announcer: Thank you. And now, BBC Two, CBC 2, and PBS will explode(this is immediately followed by the sounds of three consecutive, enormous explosions, then the sounds of crumbling bricks falling, wooden furniture crashing, and glass breaking, followed by dead silence, and, this time, no bloody announcer's voice).
Here Endeth The Lesson.
Be seeing you.
A friend of mine posted a previous version of this comment to the entry below this last night.
However, he sent me this one, via e-mail, with some corrections for typos and the like, to be posted here, and requested, in a phone conversation we had last night,
that I post this version here.
So, that's what you're gonna see.
There's a link at the bottom of this message to the Eneagram Institute, so, if you're interested in this topic,
you can go there and check it out for yourselves.
Also, want to thank my therapist, my loving sister Beth, and Mr. Tangredi for their kind comments and insights sent, either via e-mail,
or posted here.
Am glad to be proven wrong, for which I thank you all.
Be seeing you.
Don - as you've known for a long time, I am a big proponent of
something called the
Enneagram. Although I am not autistic and don't have the same
set of psychological
conditions you might be experiencing, I swear by this particular
bit of what some might
(derisively) call "pop psychology". (Others, if they take the
time to investigate it,
will find that the Enneagram has deep historical roots, going
back to the Kabbalah, the
ancient Greeks, the Sufi Muslims, the Jesuits, as well as more
contemporary thinkers like
Oscar Ichazo and G.I. Gurdjieff.)
I have to say that learning the Enneagram (it is not so much a
philosophy as a dynamic
system of understanding the human psyche), has really changed
the way I interrelate with
people, on a deep level. (And also on a superficial,
day-to-day, practical level.)
I was introduced to the Enneagram in 1991, in Senator Harry
Reid's office in Washington,
by his then-Office Manager, an Alabama native named Lena Smith.
I discussed my innermost struggles with having left a budding
medical career (which I had undertaken to please my physician
father, and not out of great personal intellectual interest), to
follow what was really my first love -- politics and public
policy. She instantly intuited what I was trying to explain,
and handed me a book called, simply, "Personality Types" by one
Don Richard Riso.
The rest, for me, was history. And a very positive history, I
might add, in terms of
understanding not just myself, but others. And relating much
more knowledgeably and
confidently to other human beings. The more, and the deeper, I
studied the Enneagram,
the more these profound revelations about human nature
penetrated my mind. And they
remain there still.
"Personality Types" was but the first book written by Riso (a
former Jesuit and perhaps
the world's foremost contemporary Enneagram expert). He's now
written several more books, along with Russ Hudson. Together,
they run the Enneagram Institute in the Bay Area.) Each book has
unlocked more profound revelations and has deepened my
understanding of human nature.
I'm a lawyer now, but in medical school, in the late 80's, I
excelled in BEHAVIORAL
SCIENCE, which was their term for all things psychological. On
the National Board of
Medical Examiners basic sciences exam, I received the highest
possible score in Behavioral Science -- and that was BEFORE I
was introduced to the Enneagram.
But it was only AFTER I was introduced to the Enneagram that
everything about human
psychology REALLY started to make sense. Everything I learned
from the Enneagram meshed perfectly with everything I knew about
Behavioral Science, yet the Enneagram took that several levels
Moreover, all of it meshed perfectly with everything I had
learned in med school about the
structure of the human brain, human neuroanatomy and
I felt like a light of true understanding had descended upon me.
Again, the Enneagram is not a pop philosophy or pop psychology,
but a true, practical, and
revelatory dynamic system for understanding the human mind, and
the differences between
people. It is profoundly, undeniably rooted in the realities
of biology and neurology.
Yet is it as practical as knowing how to drive a car, or
dressing oneself. And the more
you read, and the deeper you understand this DYNAMIC SYSTEM, the
more you should be able to understand yourself (and your own
mind), and other people (and their motivations). You will not
only be able to understand and predict other people's behavior
to an uncanny degree, you'll also be able to truly forgive them
when their behavior deviates from your expectations, or your
I strongly recommend exploration of the Enneagram.
14 July 2007
Yep, another MySpace blog re-post, this one done just a few minutes ago there.
While no one's yet asked me this question, why do I compose and post blog entries there, and re-post 'em here, and not the other way 'round, if not making original posts exclusively for one location or another, I want to head that off by giving ya the answer now.
There are some MySpace friends of mine whose opinions and friendship I respect and esteem whom, I hope, will see these pieces and comment on 'em.
So, I post there first, then take what I consider to be the best, most personal posts, and stick 'em here for those who aren't on MySpace to see and judge for themselves.
That said, let's get to the heart of the matter, shall we, and it lies just below this last sentence. Hope you find it of interest.
Just received a response from my therapist about my recent blog posts, here and on my other blog.
She generally enjoyed them, and felt that there were signs of "growth and maturity" in them, though she also felt that the last post, the one just below this here, had an "everything is about me" quality to it that annoyed her somewhat.
Well, I have to say that she's right about that quality being in that particular post, and I can whine with the worst of 'em, when I want.
Especially, when I'm feeling very frustrated, as I was at the time I posted the thing.
That said, it brings up another point I thought about, but neglected to state in that last essay, and that's, as she pointed out with events in her own life, that people have their own joys, problems, crises, whatever, to deal with, off- and on-line, and that, while there are times that I mayn't like it, they take ample precedence over reading or viewing someone else's essays, photos, etc, etc, and this goes for me, as much as anyone else.
That is, however basic, a natural fact of living, and there's no getting around it.
I can find it to be very frustrating at times, but that feeling's something I have to acknowledge, and deal with as best I can without going all aggro on other people, whether on- or off-line.
To be honest, it's one of the more unpleasant aspects of my personality, and I know it.
But, part of the risk of the new direction I'm taking in writing about myself, my life, feelings and all that, is revealing, however slightly, at least some of those aspects.
Not everything is, or can be, to everyone's tastes, nor should they be.
The same goes for people, and aspects of their personalities, public and private.
I can be a very acquired taste, and not always a pleasant one in the mouths of some people.
That is their right, just as it's yours, mine, and everyone else's.
One of the reasons I dis-like Jackie Chan's film persona as intensely as I do(I know nothing about the gentleman off-screen, and have to hand it to him for doing the incredible stunts he does on-screen), is because his characters are generally horribly over-played, "nice" guys, designed to win as much sympathy as possible from film audiences.
That's part of the film business, in Hong Kong, Hollywood, and elsewhere in the world. The main characters MUST be likable, or, if not initially likable, become so to the audience, at least in most commercial feature films made 'round the world.
So, this means finding writers, directors, editors, and, especially, acting talent who have the abilities to make and convey, through script, direction, editing, and the actor's physical attributes, vocal abilities, facial expressions and dialogue, that likability, or at least those qualities of likability that the film-makers, the producers and studios behind them, audiences, and the cultures that spawn them think are likable.
The problem with that is that, unlike in real life, where people are often complex, ornery critters, who can be alternately charming, funny, sweet, heroic, likable souls at at least some points in their lives, grouchy, self-pitying, griping, miserable sad sacks of wet shit at others, and can occupy various points in between and sideways of those extremes at still others, film characters are, depending on the sort of film, and the skills of those involved in their creation, often two-dimensional images of what a given culture considers to be good, bad, heroic, villainous, comic, or tragic at a given point in time.
That's fine, and there are, and have been, some fine exceptions to this general rule.
But, they are exceptions, nevertheless.
I don't particularly care for, though, depending on the story and the skill with which it's told, can get wrapped up in, the kind of film characters and stories described above.
People, in my general experience, don't entirely work that way, for reasons I've stated above.
Each and every man- and woman- Jack and Jill of 'em, even the worst of 'em, have days, or at least moments, where they can be whatever qualities that personal choices and circumstances allow them to display.
Some display personal qualities that a given culture or sub-culture considers desirable more often than others, and some display quite the opposite qualities more often than others, too.
It's a blatantly obvious fact, yes, but, sometimes, even the most blatantly obvious facts need stating and re-stating from time to time, because some people and cultures can, if not reminded, forget them in the daily rounds of doing whatever bits of business that they do.
As for Chan's characters and myself, well, I guess I've stated, perhaps over-stated my reasons for disliking 'em.
It just seems to me, though, that no one, and given the number of cops and other authority figures that Chan's played over three decades now, can always be as damned nice and apologetic as his are, and that very unreality, of character and performance, just irritates me to High Heaven.
That, like every form of criticism, probably says more about me, and not necessarily for the better, than it does about Chan and his screen personae.
I can be very cynical, and I think often ignorantly so. I can be bitter, frustrated, or whatever negative personal quality of which one could conceive, on any given day, depending on my mood and circumstances at the time.
I can also embody quite the opposite qualities, or a mixture of both, also depending on time, mood and personal circumstances, in which I'm encountered, like anyone else.
I can only hope that, in my postings here and elsewhere, that I can be as honest with you all about as many of those various qualities of my soul as I can, and to minimise, both on- and off-line, my negative aspects, without trying to hide, or otherwise be dis-honest about 'em.
No one is all saint or devil, though there are folks who try their damnedest to embody one or the other, for reasons of their own.
Those are their choices, as is their right.
As for me, all I can hope to be is who and what I am.
In closing, just wanna say that, while am going forward with this new, more personal direction of blogging, I don't want to get exclusively into the kind of self-involved, navel-gazing sort of blogging that some people can.
I am more confident, especially after these relatively few and recent turns at it, about how well I can write about myself, my life, feelings and all the rest of that, and that's fine.
On the other hand, especially when it descends into the "poor me" school of writing, which I can do at my worst, it does a great dis-service to whomever reads that kind of post, and to the author him- or herself, because it neither enlightens the reader about a particular subject, but subjects him or her to tales of woe-is-me ad nauseum, and, by over-indulging the author's penchant for a particular kind of self-pitying narrative, can cause the author to fall into a mental trap, in which he or she is always the heroic, or down-trodden, little victim, whose woes are never, ever, even for a New York second, partially of their own making.
Sometimes, I can, and, if I allow myself to, will fall into that intellectual tiger trap.
That's going to take a bit of tough-minded intellectual and emotional rigour to avoid as much as I can.
But, it's also part of the obligation of writing for an audience, no matter how small, and it's one I hope to generally up-hold to you out there.
Just also want to say a very heart-felt thank you to those of you out there who've responded to my blog posts, both here and at my Blogspot one, and especially to those of you who've responded to my most recent and personal posts.
Thank you for your comments and responses to them, and for taking the time out of your lives to do just that.
Even if it seems I don't always appreciate them, I do, especially because you DIDN'T have to do that.
You did it, because you WANTED to, and that means a lot to me.
Again, thank you very much.
Be seeing you.
Originally posted this to my MySpace blog at 1:53 this mornin'.
I was, and still am, in a pretty shitty mood regarding a number of messages and blog posts there to which I'd received no response, and this essay reflects that.
It also reflects, I think, a long-standing sort of unease, cynicism and outright despair that I often have.
It can be very frustrating, as many of you out there already know better than I, just how disappointing life, on- or off-line can be, and just how tempting the desire to pack it all in, and say, in the immortal(and immoral)words of Eric Cartman, "Screw you guys. I'm going home."
It's tempting and easy to do, but it can't always be, nor shouldn't be, done.
Anyway, thanks to the people who responded to my post on "Random Thoughts Of A 42 Year Old Autistic Man", for the positive posts and the support. To the latter poster, I also want to say that have not forgotten you, and will send you an e-mail within the next several days. Again, thank you so much for posting your comments here. Now, if more people only had the interest or the guts, I'd be a happier camper than I am.
But, then again, maybe it ain't the quantity of the comments, but the quality that matters. Maybe. I don't know.
See what you think of the post below and decide for yourselves.
As some of you out there have probably noticed(I have very little idea myself), have been blogging quite a lot over this week almost past.
Most of these have consisted of link blogs.
Well, right now, and probably for quite a long time to come, am taking a break from churning out link blogs like their sausage counterparts.
Instead, this entry is a Helluva lot more personal, and concerns two subjects, the first being blogging, and Internet activity in general from my worm's eye view, and the second is a set of ramblings of how I feel about myself and the world immediately around me.
That said, let's have at it.
The rewarding thing about blogging, whether here or on my other blog, is being able to get the various thoughts, ideas, notions, whatever, in my head out without worrying about length, content, language or other restrictions, other than the ones stipulated in the various service contracts here on MySpace or at Blogspot.com.
It's my way of communicating with a world that is, whether I like it or not, largely ignorant of and indifferent to my existence.
I can share essays and pictures that would otherwise be seen by only a very, very few people, if at all.
Those are the advantages of blogging as far as I can see, and they are substantial.
The dis-advantages of blogging are that, for whatever reasons, my posts, of whatever sort, can be ignored, and, to me, that's even worse than someone posting a hostile response to a particular blog post of mine, because, unlike hostile posts, which means that someone has actually taken the time to read, or mis-read, a particular post of mine, and gotten emotionally involved enough to post a counter-response to it, indifference and ignorance can, in its very silence, say to me that either no one reads the bloody stuff I put up, or, if they do, for one reason or another, it makes little to no impact on them.
I find that quite discouraging at times, to say the least.
It also feeds a certain kind of nagging insecurity that I've had for much of my life that anything and everything I touch is doomed to fail, for one reason or another.
I had it when I did poetry here in town, and with other creative endeavours as well, including my pics.
So. Why continue to do them, you might ask????
The answer is, there are a lot of things, like poetry I no longer do, because I felt I wasn't getting the sort of positive reinforcement that I wanted, I felt alienated from much of the poetry crowd, just as later, I would feel alienated from much of the arts crowd here, and so on.
In fact, alienation has been, and will continue to be, at least for the foreseeable future, my lot in life, or at least much of it.
Some of this may be due to the autism, and to the rather hyper-sensitive physical and psychological reactions I have to external stimuli. In some respects, and, yes, I often congratulate myself on this, though perhaps for undue reason, on NOT having succumbed to a drinking habit or drug habit, aside from the nicotine that I in-take daily, and the prescription drugs I take under doctor's orders, years ago.
The temptations have been there, and are there, should I decide to do so.
I've thought of suicide so many times I can't even begin to count, though these thoughts are less and less as I age, and believe me, I am VERY conscious of aging, thank you very much.
I always have been, from the time I was a tot, until now.
Loneliness and I are old companions, as are frustration and I, and, for those of you who read my entry on advice to younger auties may have seen, it's a strong theme with me in my life.
I have often longed for the "Big Breakthrough", so romanticised in novel, poem, play and film, where, at a climactic point in the protagonist's story, he or she experiences a life-changing event, or has a tremendous, usually life-affirming, realisation of some sort, his or her life turns right 'round, like a record spinning right 'round, and, by the end, there is usually some sort of happy ending or another, unless, of course, one's going for the tragic effect, and it all just falls to shit.
Even biographies and histories follow this basic story-telling structure, and there's just one problem with it in my view-it is just so much complete and utter horse shit that, if it were real horse shit, it'd be decorating the bottom of a stable stall or corral someplace.
Life, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to realise this, doesn't fall neatly into those narrative conventions, especially when one is living it, period.
It's messy, tiresome, often boring, sometimes nasty and frightening, and isn't stuffed full of grand adventures and the like, at least for most folks.
But, it's also not completely dreary and dull, as some schools and works of fiction, like the old British "kitchen sink" plays and films, would portray it, either.
It is what it is, and we are, within our limitations imposed on us by genetics, raising, society, economics and history, what we are.
Yes, we can BE better than we might otherwise be, but that takes a Helluva lot of effort , time and energy, and, at times, can be weariful, especially when it seems to bear little or no fruit at all.
Being an arsehole mightn't seem to take as much time, energy, etc, and bear far greater fruit than the former. But, and here's the rub, Folks, it actually takes as much energy and time to be one as it does to even try to be marginally better than that.
Also, the rewards may be greater, but, and as an agnostic verging on atheist, am speaking of THIS life only, the punishments, even if only in terms of the growing number of regrets that one has as one gets older, are more severe, and severely dealt out.
But, that's entirely off topic of what this discussion started out to be, so, am gonna curtail that for the moment.
Whether blogging, e-mailing, or other form of on-line activity I've engaged in in the decade since I first got onto the 'Net, there have been times when I've been completely and utterly disappointed by the lack of responses to a particular post, picture, etc, and, especially if I'd high hopes for its impact, felt especially crushed by it.
There have been times on-line where I've been pleasantly surprised that anyone responded at all, and that the response was as positive as it was. It's been responses like that, however scattered at times they've seemed to me, that have kept me going.
That, and the feeling, often borne out by circumstance in my off-line life, that there really wasn't anything going on in that life to pull me away from the 'Net, and that is quite true now.
I've no substantial ties to the community, some good friends here, but no family aside from the Cats, am not a member, at least currently, of any local clubs, societies,etc, and, while I might want to be, am also on a limited income that I've to stretch out over the course of a month as best I can.
I used to go out much more than I have in recent years, and part of that was because I lived down-town, and had better access to bus transport than I do now, living here in Northeastern Vegas.
Also, there's the amount of time it takes to get to much of Vegas from where I live by bus, plus the problem drinking I did at some of the various First Fridays in recent years, where, on some occasions, I got into fist fights with people while in a drunken rage or two, and am quite lucky that I'm neither imprisoned, severely injured or dead as a result.
The last First Friday I attended, back in March, and I actually came well after 10:00 PM, when the official festivities had ended, and hung out until 7:00 in the morning at the Art Bar, drinking Coke the whole night, and had a decent enough time, all well and good.
My therapist once asked me, after my last fight, to analyse WHY I drank as much as I did at First Fridays. At the time, I was hard-pressed to give her an answer of any sort.
Now, I think I can give a partial answer, but, even then, I am suspicious of it being the entire truth.
It is an utter lack of social confidence, combined with loneliness, a desire to bond with other people, and to lose my inhibitions. Who knows, part of me thinks, I just might get lucky, though the overwhelming evidence from my life thus far says firmly otherwise.
All that said, those reasons might have barely worked, when I was younger, but, in fact, they never really did, and they sure as Hell don't work now that I'm in early middle age.
It may help for a short time to assuage whatever pain I'm feeling, or to boost my self-confidence, but, it's a chimera, a ghost, a spook, an illusion, and decidedly un-real, to boot.
Again, I've got off the original subject, but, this time, please bear with me here, because this, along with everything else, ties into what this essay's about.
Being on-line can and does help me cope with some of the loneliness and alienation that I feel, if, at times, even just providing me with a few hours of diversion by looking up subjects in which I'm interested.
In that way, it's far superior to drunkeness, I can tell you that.
I can, and have, communicated with people in other parts of the world whom I've otherwise have not met.
I've got back in touch with old friends and acquaintances, some of them here on MySpace, whom I otherwise wouldn't ever have seen nor heard from again.
But, there are also times when I hear from no one, or almost no one, and the e-mail in-box and Friends Request section here are full of spam messages and the like, and there are no responses to the messages I send out, and I fucking despair of the whole thing.
It's not all at once, mind you, but is an acculmulation of small incidents and objects over what can be a very short period of time, and I struggle with myself, and struggle with myself, and struggle with myself, until I feel I can take no more, and then I have to find some way of letting off the building steam.
This is really the first time that I've deliberately tried putting down much of how I feel and why down in blog form.
I find this exceedingly helpful, even if only temporarily, in order to keep myself from launching myself into the waters of Self-Pity and eventually going through the Desert of Rage, and ending up in the Slough of Despond, as I have in the past.
Self-pity is, and can be, an exceedingly destructive emotion, especially because when I'm engaged in it, the temptation to play the martyr, the victim, the wronged hero comes right out, and it is as ugly as it is silly and farcical.
I often war with myself about how and what I should feel about this, that and the other, and that may be part of the burden I carry as an autie. But, then again, it may simply also be part of the burden I carry as a human being, who is alive and conscious.
The worst part about self-pity for me, though, is that, even in its depths, I can't escape the fact that I've not always been the ever-considerate, ever-responsive, ever-kind and capable human being I'd like to be in my day dreams, and I've a lot of day dreams, thank you very much.
I've not always been a complete arsehole, either. Just, more often than not, more of a procrastinator in meaning to get back to some people's messages, or meaning to do this, that or the other.
But, that is, however, un-meant, still inconsiderate, etc, and just as hurtful to those who sent me the messages in the first place as the lack of response from others is to me.
That's a lesson I'm still learning, and often the hard way, thanks.
I can't and won't say that, from this day forth, I will never procrastinate in sending a response to a message, blog post, whatever,ever again, because I probably will, at some or another.
What I can do is to limit the number of occasions on which that happens and to constantly remind myself of how I would feel if the situation were reversed. It's not a fool-proof formula, but it's the best I can come up with now.
Also, I do remind myself, even if it frustrates and angers me much of the time, that I may send messages, post blog entries, what have you, but there's no law stating that everyone I send the bloody things to, or who see the posts, etc, HAS to respond to my messages, posts, etc.
There's a sense of entitlement lurking not so far behind those sentiments that, "Goddamn it!!! I'm intelligent, sensitive, sophisticated, etc. WHY AREN'T people responding to MY messages and posts???!!!", blah-de-blah-blah, yakety-schmakety.
Well, the more reasonable, or is it, side of me says, "Who said they have to???".
Good point, I think.
No one, unless it's an official communication from some sort of governmental body with enforcement powers, HAS to respond to anything if they don't bloody well want to.
That goes for me, you, and the rest of y'all out there, and, while it often sucks dead donkey dicks by the pale moonlight, there it is, large as life and twice as ugly.
People respond, quite often for reasons maybe only semi-beknownst to themselves, to messages, posts, ad campaigns, whatever form of communication you care to name, because there's something about that particular bit of communication that grabs them enough to respond.
Name any field of human endeavour that involves communication, and you'll see that principle in action.
Advertisers and other professional opinion makers study the various techniques currently available for grabbing people's attention and keeping it, and, a good portion of the time, they work. Other times, not.
But, as much as I'd like to be in such a field, not advertising so much, as film, photography and similar forms of artistic endeavour, I'm NOT a professional, I don't know many of these techniques, in fact, I don't think I know any of 'em, and that's that.
I'm just a 42 year old autie, single with two cats, living in Las Vegas, Nevada, who tries, and sometimes succeeds, sometimes fails, and sometimes just muddles through in spite of himself, to do the best he can with what he has.
Yes, I want something more than that, but, I don't get out of the house very often, so my chances of that happening, particularly in a big way, are pretty slim.
I still hold out hope, and, if there's one thing that writing these personal blogs, as opposed to some of the more political stuff, and especially the link blogs here, has given me, it's something of a bit of confidence that I actually can write, and write well when I want.
It's not journalistic material, by any means. The sentences would have to be much shorter and concisely worded than they are in my writings here.
It's not poetry, of which I've little knowledge of and desire to know technical points like metrical forms and such. But, I use alliteration, repetition of words and phrases, puns, what have you, in my prose to spice it up, and, at the risk of sounding grotesquely pleased with myself, I often enjoy doing it.
In fact, even when writing a grimly worded political essay, if you were in my living room with me as I was composing it, you would often hear the sound of my laughing at a joke, or two, or ten, I put into it(Truly, the sign of a bad comedian is one who supposedly laughs at his own jokes. At the same time, if a comedian doesn't laugh at his own material, how does he know it's any good, if no one else's around???).
I've often laughed at my own jokes, and at other people's, in the various messages, blog posts, etc, I've seen, and especially in the last few days here.
I don't have to laugh all the time, nor to cry, which I don't often do, and is probably not good for me that I don't do so more often, nor to be angry, etc.
But, am glad I've those opportunities to, just as I am to get this sort of thing out, for others to see, or not, as is their fancy.
This doesn't mean that I've worked everything all out, and that everything will be all right from now on, because I'm feeling sooo much better, thank you very much.
There probably will be times I will fall into states like the one I was in when I started this essay this evening-turned-early morning.
So be it.
After all, I, like any other human being, am prone to changing moods which are, in turn, dependent on the varying circumstances I find myself in.
That's part of being a living being.
Remaining in a static mood is part of being dead, i.e, no damned mood at all, 'cos you're fucking deader than a stump. That, and rotting, but don't let's go into that now, shall we????
So, I'll continue to blog here, send messages and responses from time to time, and keep doing whatever the Hell it is I do here, because I feel like it, and, because, for the moment at least, I've no-where else better to go, and nothing better to do.
If y'all see something in this that strikes your fancy enough to respond, go for it. Nothing would please me more.
If not, well, it'll hurt, but I won't automatically drop you from my Friends list, either. Not for a relatively trifling bit like that.
Send me something massively personally insulting, racist, anti-Semitic, or flood me with spam messages;yeah, I'll drop ya, and like a hot rock in the middle of the Southern Nevada desert on a Mid-Summer day, too.
Those are good reasons, I think, for doing that, not failing to respond, however frustrating I might find it.
Just please remember, I ain't made of steel, just as you're not. So, if I fail, lemme know, OK???
Thanks for your time, and, if you've actually made this far, your patience in reading this. Much appreciated that you had enough of both to spare for this.
Be seeing you.