Tuesday, February 21, 2017
"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. […] I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come." Game of Thrones
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Monday, February 13, 2017
"I believe it is never too soon to issue a warning about the dangers ahead."*
A few months ago I thought the slaughter of the Civil War, and the agitation of the violent Abolitionists who helped bring it on, were evil. But possibly they had to be violent, because easy-going citizens like me couldn’t be stirred up otherwise. If our grandfathers had the alertness and courage to see the evils of slavery and a government conducted by gentlemen for gentlemen only, there wouldn’t have been any need of agitation and war and blood.
It becomes clear that the installation of a fascist government will not be a revolution or coup d'état; rather, the groundwork for fascism has already been constructed in the ideological worldviews of the majority of Americans. The riposte to the claim that “It Can’t Happen Here” is “It already has.”
It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
After all, Germany was a state where the law rested on a firm foundation, where a majority in parliament was opposed to Hitler, and where every citizen believed that “his liberty and equal rights were secured by the solemnly affirmed constitution.”
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Catastrophes: missed opportunities [to change the present].
“This is the fourth great crisis in American history,” Bannon told an audience at the Liberty Restoration Foundation, a conservative nonprofit, in 2011. “We had the Revolution. We had the Civil War. We had the Great Depression and World War II. This is the great Fourth Turning in American history, and we’re going to be one thing on the other side.”
“It’s just a conceit. It’s a fiction, it’s all made up,” Wilentz said about cyclical historical models. “There’s nothing to them. They’re just inventions.”
from: Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable
image: Paul Nash: We are Making a New World, 1918
Saturday, February 11, 2017
What he said was always the same, expressed in the same words. The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
For Beckett, the integral being is not the acrobat but the clown. The acrobat acts as a specialist, using only a limited segment of his faculties.
The clown is the integral man who mimes the acrobat in an elaborate drama of incompetence.
Beckett sees the bicycle as the sign and symbol of specialist futility in the present electric age, when we must all interact and react, using all our facilities at once.
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, (Corte Madera, CA: Ginko Press, 2003) 251.
image: The New Yorker
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Dr. Seuss, ... and the wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones...
but those were foreign children and it really didn’t matter."
October 1, 1941, Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons. Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Orwell wrote that freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. He wrote that he who controls the past controls the future, and that he who controls the present controls the past. If you can colonize the minds of a population with untruths and confusion, you forcibly re-write reality. This is done with stories. It’s done with language. How we speak about the world is a reflection of how we see it.
Friday, January 27, 2017
“The challenges inherent in creating the alliance sought by the Populists were formidable, as race prejudice ran the highest among the very white populations to which the Populist appeal was specifically addressed—the depressed lower economic classes. Nevertheless, the Populist movement initially enjoyed remarkable success in the South, fueled by a wave of discontent aroused by the severe agrarian depression of the 1880s and 1890s. The Populists took direct aim at the conservatives, who were known as comprising a party of privilege, and they achieved a stunning series of political victories throughout the region. Alarmed by the success of the Populists and the apparent potency of the alliance between poor and working-class whites and African Americans, the conservatives raised the cry of white supremacy and resorted to the tactics they had employed in their quest for Redemption, including fraud, intimidation, bribery, and terror.
Segregation laws were proposed as part of a deliberate effort to drive a wedge between poor whites and African Americans. These discriminatory barriers were designed to encourage lower- class whites to retain a sense of superiority over blacks, making it far less likely that they would sustain interracial political alliances aimed at toppling the white elite. The laws were, in effect, another racial bribe.
The agricultural depression, taken together with a series of failed reforms and broken political promises, had pyramided to a climax of social tensions. Dominant whites concluded that it was in their political and economic interest to scapegoat blacks, and “permission to hate” came from sources that had formerly denied it […].”