Sucker Punched In Mythland

You can place a modicum of confidence in those expressing views that align with yours. But you have to let it go at that. Take a little here, take a little there. But don’t take it all. From anyone.

I watched a streaming lecture from travel-guru Rick Steves the other night. Besides having followed his insightful advice before in some of my travels, I had been entranced by his 2009 sojourn to Iran, and its ground-breaking propaganda-busting quality, in the face of the mainstream Muslim-bashing that was demonizing the entire Iranian nation as evil. I thought that took a lot of balls. I mean, telling us that “it probably isn’t a good idea to bomb these people”. He gained quite a bit of respect from me to have changed so many minds about the humanity of Iran’s populace, and it probably accomplished much more than he realized at the time. Maybe more than he intended. That was then.

So when I received notice that he had just returned from Middle-East with plans to do a 3-part doc on the Levant, and besides israhell, also actually NAMED Palestine as a destination, I was excited to see his myth-destroying acumen at work again in a place that is dear to my heart. Well, life is full of disappointments. And it seems that most everyone has a price. Apparently Rick has his.
The streaming lecture was a teaser for his new series on the Holy Land. And although he spent a goodly part of the talk covering  the humanity of Palestinians…in the West Bank and Gaza…when it came to assessing the horror they face daily, he began parroting every lie we have all heard too much. Penned, it seems from the Beast itself. From “Arabs and jews have always been at each other’s throats”, to “holocaust survivors came and built shining cities in the sand”, it was the same-old-same-old hasbara propaganda that we all know word-for-word. You know the drill. There was little if any political truth in his lecture, as I am sure there will not be in the series when it hits the airwaves next spring. *sigh*

Such a wasted opportunity. But after all, he is merely a travel guide; not a martyr. My confidence(not trust) was misplaced yet again. Oh well. I was sucker-punched. No biggie. I’ve had worse. They don’t hurt, really. They just kind of disorient you for a short while. Then you get your bearings back and keep fighting.

In the title up there somewhere, I mentioned mythland. That would be right here. The trenches from which I write all this crap. The land of the free and the home of the brave. Terrorism Central. It’s easy to get sucker-smacked here. We are bred for it. Few of us even feel it anymore. As this astute article points out, its just a matter of course now. “You are going to feel a little pressure on your jaw”. 
“Why, that didn’t hurt at all!” we say, with glassy eyes and almost constant disorientation now.

I guess what gets my goat more than the ignorance for profit that rules supreme here now, is how rampant it is among even those that profess being ‘enlightened’. The patriots. The constitutionalists. Those that wish to restore our once-great nation to…I dunno…some mythic past for which none of them can provide evidence of ever having really existed. According to those wanting to ‘save amerika’, this glorious period in our history to which we should all want to return was sometime after the Declaration of Independence was signed, and yet before we began committing horrific genocide and theft from the indigenous humans living here. Or was it before Aron Lopez  and his tribe started shipping Africans into slavery here. Or sometime after our great Civil War(and under the guise of abolishing such wholesale human trafficking, we guaranteed that no state could secede from our federal bloody policies). Or was it that time when the robber-barons began destroying our ecology by industrializing an otherwise pristine continent? Was it before or after the two world wars we eagerly participated in…slaughtering over 70 millions?  I’m confused momentarily on the exact period in our history to which we need to return. But I’m sure they have a big myth planted in their little brains. Ever notice that they are all Caucasians? These patriots that long for saving ‘our’ heritage.

I dunno. I guess I am of the opinion that this country was NEVER anything but an empire-building terrorist entity, manufacturing consent to be the latest to rape and pillage the rest of the world. Never. Not in your white-only suburban childhood memories. Not in your bullshit-history books. Not in your yiddish hollywood treatments. Never. Didn’t happen. No freedom. No bravery. No integrity. No mercy. Zip. So rejoice. There is no destruction of a once-great nation. You cannot destroy that which never existed.
But if you DO possess some of the above-mentioned un-amerikan  qualities, I would suggest you follow the teacher’s advice and get the hell out while you still can, before you are blamed personally for all that is to come. 
If not…well…
At least you have learned to take a punch now. That will come in handy.

“Belief in myth allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy


The End Of The World…Again


I don’t deify leaders. Never have. I figure they have enough admirers without adding my critical adoration to the mix.


I met Jack Kennedy. When I was a little kid at school, we were out for recess on our asphalt playground on a chilly autumn afternoon playing a game of “scrub baseball”. A block-long black limo pulled up and a man in a suit got out. No cameras. No reporters. An unscheduled stop. Our teacher called us all over to the iron fence and this handsome young man shook our hands and poked and teased us and asked who was up next. When he saw my friend with the bat he said “keep your eye on the ball”. That in itself was nothing. Our fathers told us that all the time. It is amazing though, what that little piece of advice can do for a kid’s swing. If a child is really listening to the coaching…he can clear his little mind of all other distractions and smack that ball as easily as slapping apples from a tree. Focus…that’s the thing.
He waved goodbye while telling us to make sure that our parents went and voted for him in a few weeks. I was too young to know what that meant. I don’t know why he stopped and kidded with us. Maybe he just liked kids and he had some time to spare between whistle stops. Anyway, it was in all the papers.
Like Bill Clinton often said about meeting Kennedy at a young age…it made a huge impression on me. But obviously the impression left on me, was of a different bent. It was more and more important to me, as I grew…and of course he and “Camelot” died.

Not long after that, the world ended. I was about ten I think. The young man that had poked and kidded us was making an announcement on our television that clearly frightened my parents. This then frightened their children. This was about the Cuban missile crisis. I understand a bit more now of what was actually going on behind the scenes when that message was delivered to us. But it was unprecedented in my lifetime till then. It was the first time most had ever heard official warning to a populace of an impending nuclear exchange.
Well, the jewish took care of Jack for Dimona, refusal to sell israhell f-16’s, attempting to abolish their federal reserve scam, Northwoods and a slew of other ashkanazi reasons. But that was then. To me at the time…when they had him killed…the world ended again in a way. Some innocence was lost and I stepped into a much larger world. Even the radio airwaves played a song which, although had nothing to do with Cuba or communism or jews, nonetheless kept that phrase on the tip of our tongues as we sang along…“don’t they know it’s the end of the world?”

The world has ended many times since then. For all of us. Not just radical change in our personal lives, but the world outside our heads.
I also met Bobby Kennedy…well, his wife anyway. He was speaking at our town square…a small republican town. After the speech, he and Ethel went to the Democratic headquarters in town…and a few friends and I were milling around there getting bumper stickers and pins and such. We didn’t know they were coming so it was a surprise when they walked up to us. Ethel shook my hand and thanked me for my support. Me? I wasn’t supporting anyone…but that was a nice sentiment. She was so exuberant and pretty and open-faced. It was hard not to fall in love at first sight. Bobby was across the room engaged with others…I didn’t wait to talk to him. Sorry I didn’t now. Oh well…it was in all the papers.
But jews put and end to Bobby too. Shame.

I look around and see the end of another world. There is no innocence left. They see to that. Amerikan Idolatry and faux revolutions, and the world we used to know is no longer good enough for them.
Maybe I am not getting across what I want. Perhaps I am not “communicating effectively” to use a phrase that in Jack Kennedy’s time would have sounded very odd. Things change. Worlds end.

So anyway, I was just thinking about all the things that have happened since that autumn day when the soon-to-be-assassinated president told us to keep an eye on the ball. I still am, Jack. I know who is pitching it. I know who killed you and your brother… when that world ended.

The Average Guy

I have yet to meet him. Joe Average. Of all the thousands of people that I have met and worked and played with, I don’t think I would insult any of them by calling them by this fictional moniker. Much trouble has been stirred by glossing over humanity to find a common denominator that strips Joe of his. 

Joe doesn’t exist in a spreadsheet any more than he exists in reality. 
But that’s as may be.
Everyone has their humanity despite what we are led to believe. Even Arabs. I won’t berate Joe because he isn’t aware of things that I think I am aware of. And I say ‘think’, because I deal in speculation. I ‘know’ very little. I know that I read a lot. Mostly other people’s speculation. We all seem to be playing a game out here of “if-this-then-this”. Trying desperately to connect dots that will vindicate our particular brand of awareness. What I think I “know” for example, is that every single problem we face in our modern world has its roots in how we raise our children as a species. Every one. I have yet to be disproved on this point. Wanna give it a shot?  It all comes back to the simple concept that what you are around your kids influences them and how they will act when they get to the age where they make their own decisions. That to me is more than obvious. The old saw that tells us that ‘people don’t change’ is of course, true. The reason it is true is that by the time children have been hard-wired with the example of their parents and are on their own…if they

make it that far…will behave in the only fashion they know. Operate from a core program that tells them ‘if it was good enough for Mom and Dad…”. Or, the program in their biologic computer rebels and tells them, “Mom and Dad had their heads up their asses and there is no way that I am going to be like them”. Of course you can substitute ‘Mom and Dad’ with whatever role-models you had if you don’t come from a nuclear family…and who’s to say that we should?

This Be The Verse

By Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad. 
They may not mean to, but they do. 
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats, 
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

But that’s as may be. To see the world for what it is, look at it through your kid’s eyes. Look at their education, their facebook page, their celebrity worship, their worship of the material. You taught them this. And it is reinforced by the very media that you hate. Social and non-interactive. That is the world you handed them. Is it good enough for you? If it isn’t, well you need to talk to them. Like the mistaken concept in the second “Back To The Future” where Doc says “We got to do something about your kids”. That is all he had to do. Talk to them. Telling Marty and his girlfriend that, is enough. They don’t have to take a Delorian to a possible outcome to fix what hasn’t happened yet.

My parents told me ‘no’ incessantly…and even that wasn’t enough. No…is a good word. Along with the word ‘hate’, it has gotten a bad rap. Both serve a fundamental purpose without which we would be lost. Well, more lost than we are.

But back to ‘Joe’. We all know him even though he doesn’t exist any more than that half a child that we see on population charts. He is an affable bloke, Joe. He believes everything he is told. Questions nothing. Goes along with the crowd…no matter where they are going. Watches TV 24/7. Drinks the right beer, uses the right

deodorant and has a designer dog… and half a cat. We try against insurmountable odds to wake him up to the horrors that surround him, but the knucklehead just won’t live like us. He doesn’t have time. So why do we bother when he is a figment of the imaginative marketing strategy of corporations? Because we know him too well, I guess. We gave birth to him and just walked away. Went to work to buy him the things he asks us for. So we won’t have to be placed in that uncomfortable position of saying “no”.

Lane change:
Mark Twain once said of death: ” I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit”.
Several readers have pointed out that I cannot possibly get a defensible position defined here in essays with less than two-three thousand words. Bullshit. I have a post-modern take on it. Impressionistic essays.
Just sayin…

The Undiscovered Country…

“…The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will…”

It dawned on me the other day that I would rather be dead…than to have my youth back. Sounds crazy, huh? But it isn’t so nuts if you think about it. If I was 20-30 again, or even younger, I would be behind someone’s bars. Guaranteed. But as it is now, in the last few stages of my game, I find myself devoid of the energy of my convictions. Not lacking the courage, just that youthful motion that got me into trouble so many times before this country turned into an unabashed, unashamed fascist dictatorship. Oh well. It happens to the best of man’s efforts eventually. But if I did have that energy back and having witnessed what I have over the last couple score of years, I think my anger and vanity would get the best of me. I would rather journey to the ‘undiscovered country’ than to rot in some corporation’s cage. So. It all works out for the best. For me that is. And we are egocentric…this species to which I belong(although I didn’t actually apply for membership…honest).
I am ashamed to be human more often than not. I am no

tree-hugger, but I am powerless to come up with anything really noble that we as a rather disgusting species, sharing(not dominating) this rock, have ever accomplished. We are the newcomers that screwed things up for a lot of other inhabitants for a while, thinking we are at the top of some food-chain or other and have no predators above us. That’s a giggle as we drive by marble orchards filled with those that have succumbed to a really dominate life-form commonly known as bacteria. But that’s as may be.

I want to see this country “from whose bourn, no traveler returns”. I like that whole idea. It’s hilarious, really. In an ironic sense.

I recently mainlined the PBS(aka JBS) series, “Shakespeare Uncovered”. I will amend my statement up there about our species accomplishing nothing of note, to ‘except Shakespeare’. 
I recommend the series to anyone that is enthralled by the Bard’s wisdom. It is true affirmation.  And, you get to experience what I have always noticed, in spades. “And now a word from our sponsors”. In every episode(each one taking on a different play narrated by actors that have played in them), there are of course pundits. Talking-head-scholars that provide history and purpose of the various plays and characters. Thoughtful individuals all, presenting insightful info about the subject. All but a few. The sponsors. The jews. It is giggly to watch these tribe members mouthing nothings about the greatest poet of this or any other century. Again…the irony. Other than their surnames and their PhD’s, they have nothing of note to contribute. But they are there. As they always are. Laughable. But if you can get by that…the series(save the episode dealing with The Scottish play, starring the only amerikan, Ethan Hawke…how embarrassing…skip that one fer sure), is enlightening, entertaining and wholly not-tv.

But even that isn’t what I wanted to cover today. As the title alludes, it is Shakespeare, the man, that is on my mind again. I have always thought that if anyone in this species has ever expressed the entertaining futility of the doomed experiment that is homo sapiens-sapiens, it was he. And he did so in such a highly palatable way. For all the joy he plotted within our species, so too was he wise enough to conclude that it is indeed predestined to fail. That so many connected to his clear view of humankind, to me, speaks to that undiscovered/discovered knowledge that we all share. That we are the loud, violent family in the neighborhood that will eventually default on our home loan and soon vacate an otherwise balanced community of lifeforms. And the decent inhabitants of the planet will just have to put up with us, until we are finally kicked out. Foreclosed on by the force of a balanced nature that was here long before we arrived with our ‘intelligence’ and twerking. 
So the ‘we’ that are unwilling participants in this offensive evolutionary mews known as mankind(with emphasis on the ironic ‘kind’), an undiscovered country of rest from the fever that is a dying infection, is all too alluring.
I arrived at understanding this conclusion that the Bard described for us after having read “The Tempest”, many years ago. At that vain age, I thought I was the only person that ‘got it’. I have since learned that I wasn’t. There is again, an ironic understanding therefore, that so many that have taken themselves out of the equation so to speak, fully grasp what he was talking about. From “As You Like It” to “The Tempest” and all stops in between, we can travel his path of enlightenment to our own confrontation of that country which we must all enter.
As one of my readers deftly put it, I excel at saying things people don’t want to hear. I suppose this is a prime example. It’s tough to rally around one that is such a defeatist. Even if there is a bitter joy to the realization that they express in their resignation. But hey…I calls em like I sees em. There is joy in this pragmatism that I espouse. The joy that the playwright taught me.

Enjoy your brief stay in this brief run of a doomed evolutionary failure. Try not to hasten our eventual downfall in your ‘intelligent’ fashion. Be as kind as you can to superior lifeforms. And look forward, don’t fear the visit to that undiscovered country. For as he reminds us: “…the rest is silence”.