Invisible Elephants in the Room
¶ America is a country of homeowners or at least persons who aspire to be homeowners
"Forty acres and a mule" (Special Field Orders No. 15, William Tecumseh Sherman, partly apocryphal)
I own the shoes on my feet. I own (aka: "hold") a mortgage on a house. The owner of the mortgage (a bank that on monthly mortgage statements currently calls itself "Chase") owns the house. The relation of ownership here obviously is not transitive. Americans are mortgage holders or at least aspire to be mortgage holders. Many hold mortgages but few find home ownership. Home ownership is a subset of the set of not mortgaged objects. If you "own" a house/home, what is the maturity date of your mortgage? (If you're like myself, the actual mortgage is the smaller part of the monthly payment; property taxes are > 50% of my payment. Then there's all the upkeep costs. It's loss without end, for me at least. It's no wonder persons hope to sell for a lot more than they paid for it. Such domiciles are Big wallet Gulps!☟)
¶ If certain kinds of persons move into your neighborhood the value of your home will be decreased
The hypothesis is true. The real question, however, is: Are houses/homes domiciles (places where persons live their daily lives) or are houses/homes investment instruments (like stocks, bonds, gold bullion, etc.)? If houses/homes are not investment instruments then the prospect of certain kinds of persons moving into your neighborhood would be primarily a problem to be dealt with by police (e.g., blatant narcotics trafficking or running a brothel or moonshine still) and public nuisance laws (e.g., blaring ear-damaging noise from 18:00 to 08:00 each day, or collecting junk automobile parts in front yard), not a critical desideratum of resident's wealth management. My take on this: Persons are well advised not to live in houses they cannot afford to walk away from as total losses (I once lived in one; the manageable economics of it permitted me to not get anxious about it; it also happened to be an albeit low square-feet treasure, but, other than the small square-footage, that is not relevant here). Middle-class Americans' battle cry? "More square feet, now!" (Oh, yes, also: "NIMBY!")
Philosophical conundrum: If a tree falls in your suburban yard when nobody is home to hear it fall, did the tree fall?
Rent an urbane Manhattan apartment. Let there be government oversight to regulate that both landlords and tenants get a fair deal.
My (BMcC) ideal suburban house (excluding uplifting architecture, of course): When a house is for sale, the real estate ads generally tout the house's virtues, like zillion bedrooms or 24 car garage. My ideal house would include this feature: "Property entirely forested. No lawn to mow. No raking leaves in the Fall."
¶ Teeth whitening, hair coloring and more
"Is it real or is it Memorex?" (Memorex Corp.)
What's the problem with naturally aged yellowed (not rotten) teeth? If I was offered a bright white young elephant's tusk or a yellow mellowed mature elephant's tusk (and it was legal) and the price of the mature tusk was manageable, I'd gladly pay more for the yellowed tusk, just like I prefer aged whiskey: the color is an esthetic feature, not a pathological bug. Am I being absurd here? Heian Japanese noblewomen colored there teeth, too: black.
Gray hair? What's the problem here? Again, it's a benign sign of maturity. Silver/white is a fine color. I believe there are even a few young persons with light gray hair. And be thankful you have any color hair (why discard it via haircut, unless you are donating it for wigs for cancer patients, which is noble?)!
Double chins and such, alas, are for myself a different matter. I would only say, if one needs a face life, for God's sake, don't do it during an ice storm when nurses balk at going to private duty work and consequently a relative needs to risk their automobile if not their life driving an hour on ice slicked roads to do post-op support.
¶ Anent luxury
"Luxe, calme et volupté" (Henri Matisse)
I love luxury. I'd love to have more of it, and, also, less of what is not luxury. But what is luxuty? Is it living in Versailles or living in Shugakuin Imperial Villa? There may, of course, be differences of opinions here, just like there may be differences of opinions about the holders of said opinions. At least young persons should be schooled to learn that Chateau de Bloat is not the only way for the privileged to metabolize. (And, of course, as Diogenes of Sinope discovered, it is not possible to distinguish the bones of Alexander the Great's father from the bones of a slave.) Why not vivere est orare? a la Thélème.
¶ Was Galileo Galilei an idiot?
"The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go." (Galileo)
"Large invisible elephant in the middle of a small room. Many persons (incl.: BMcC[18-11-46-503]) are infected by their childrearing, schooling, commercial, patriotic and other advertising, etc., to not see what is obvious and most important in their living, and in their dying. Item: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
Everybody knows Galileo was persecuted by The Holy Inquisition. Indeed he was disgustingly persecuted, presumably by self-righteous hypocrites. But we also know that, at the time, The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) had no issue with persons describing the heliocentric model of the starry heavens as a speculative hypothesis. I have also read that, and this sounds reasonable to me, given the limited telescopes and other relevant technologies of his time, Galileo could not conclusively demonstrate that the earth goes around the sun and not something else. We also know Galileo was a wimp. Why could Galileo not have presented his work as hypothetical and promulgated it only in Latin (i.e., so that lay persons -- the Roman Catholic Church's "base" -- would not be possibly agitated by it)?
Eminent Professor, were you so socially defective that you were not aware that if a soldier sticks their head up over the top of their trench, it will likely be shot at? I doubt the scholarly world would have been deprived of knowledge of the accomplishments of your research if you had used your head. A parable?
¶ Depression is aim-inhibited rage
"Behind every joke is a grievance." (Marshall McLuhan)
"Little Suzie is depressed. Poor Suzie. Something's wrong with her. Give her some Prozac and maybe she'll feel better...."
The truth about depression -- at least this should be the prima facie assumption until proven otherwise -- is that depression is: repressed rage. Little Suzie has been abused somehow, whether physically or "only" psychologically (i.e., Soul Murder -- there is a book of that name by Dr. Leonard Shengold). Somebody(s) (e.g., her parents) has/have hurt Suzie, and Suzie is in a dependent/powerless position where she could not escape the abuse when it happened, and now cannot get redress because the abuser(s) still have power to hurt her even more. Needless to say, suicide can be aim-inhibited rage, too.
Personal counter-story: I was a patient of Marjorie Schlenoff, LCSW (ca. 1986). At the time I was looking everywhere I could think of for a lady friend (lover / soulmate / not any "one night stand" or other dreck) who would be cultured and attractive. Schlenoff once mentioned to me that there were women who would very much like to find a male like myself, the implication which I drew from the context being that she knew at least one (who could have been her patient, or a personal friend, I don't know).
Of course it would have been "unethical" for her to introduce the two of us. My technological adroitness in finding suitable women for myself was about zero. We both knew the work of Prince M, Masud R. Khan (to whose books Schlenoff probably introduced me), and we both knew he did unethical things to help his patients, not perhaps being a matchmaker, but definitely bailing patients out of bad situations by paying out of his pocket for the solution, which also is probably not "ethical". Perhaps Schlenoff should have thought more before speaking. For me, the cat was out of the bag. My opinion? When it is a question of a person's joy or suffering in their living, "professional ethics" are worth less than nothing.
¶ Baby dolls
I get really creepy feelings about looking at, or, a fortiori, ~touching~ a baby doll. The kind of dolls that look like human babies. They give me the creeps. Once, when I was working in The Baltimore Museum of Art's Registrar's Office, somebody donated 100 Victorian baby dolls to the museum. I was tasked with accessioning them, which probably even included writing Accession Numbers on the creepy things. I did everything I could to avoid working with the dolls; I left the job before having to have got very far with the task.
Hans Bellmer, for me, is an artist from hell. I don't mind Barbie Dolls so much, especially if they are still in their original package so that their collectability value is undiminished (then the doll is, also, shielded, like radioactive material☢). I love most children's stuffed animals, so long as they are generic, not "lifelike". I saw a picture of some Amish rag dolls which pleased me in part because they are just cloth lumps, and even better, because they have no facial features. If Amish believe that it is wrong to make images of the human form because man was made in God's image, this instantiation of that principle is fine with me (I do like Henri Matisse's in-your-face "Blue Nude" and "Pink Nude", but they are not precisely verisimilitudinous either). (Truth be told, I find real human babies, before they are toilet trained, unappealing, also. I have changed diapers, but, each time, prayed that I would not have to deal with cleaning the baby's fecal matter.)
There must be some infantile trauma that I have not recovered from the repressed. I'd like to know it, not to "cure" my problem, but to understand it better and assign cuplability. For me, baby dolls are a kind of negative sexual perversion: objects of repulsion that I try not to look at -- like who would want to stick their hand in a fire?
There may indeed have been some trauma, because my mother "had problems", including, when I was a male adolescent, going around the house all day dressed in "baby dolls" while she drank her Virginia Gentleman [bourbon] (she was no doll...), but I do not think these two items are connected (although I did find what she was doing aversive, also), because I think my baby doll aversion antedates her doing that, so that my aversion to what she was doing may have in part been do to the antecedent baby doll issue.
A return of the repressed (self-psycho-archeology)
"Everything is grist for the mill." I just now (+2021.01.24 09:29 ET) remembered something I had happily forgotten for years if not decades: I have a visceral repulsion to buttons (some go on clothes; I like zippers), which aversion may undergird part of my aversion to baby dolls. The only buttons I tolerate are on my button down dress shirts which I wear 16/7/365.25.
I have no idea where this aversion to buttons comes from. I may have heard from my mother that one of her siblings once choked on a button (or was it a dime coin?). I want to touch buttons as much as lit burners on a kitchen stove and I stay as far away from them as I can. The button department in a department store was ick! for me from as long as I can remember. Is there a psychosexual trauma at the root of this? I do not normally have an aversion to female flesh, but couple a woman with buttons and it's a no go, but it would be the same with a male, like if I was undressing a man's corpse or helping an invalid get dressed.
This has brought back a dream I had many years ago of a person (me?) having no genitalia but instead having two small buttons on their abdomen, like mini microphone jack ports. This dream is from more than 50 years ago. Where did that come from? William Clinton Burriss Young (right) has a Morris Minor aka: "mini" car. When I was like 5 years old, my mother dressed me in icky shirts with rounded cutsie collars that had buttons at the neck which made the collar so tight that it almost choked me, especially while she was buttoning the button that buttoned it tight (why didn't she have a baby doll to dress instead of a living child?).
Is the idiom "hot button" relevant here? Certainly people do not care if they "push" any of mine, because, as they have often explained to me, what I want does not matter whereas they have needs.
Later, I had to wear a spring loaded little appliance that also pressed against the front of my neck to keep my shirt collar ends down because they were not button down; I also am repulsed by shirts that do not have button down collars. I was never let to think of thi collar management appliance as a small time torture engine, but wasn't it? I had no broken cervical spinal bones; I had no medical need for a neck brace. (Now I see that his stuff was "sick". Why did these people do these things to me?)
When I was a small child, my mother wore a cheap "costume jewelry" bracelet, which (again, around age 5 years) I did not like because it was a hollow stamping. I especially did not like the clasp and the little chain I probably had to hook for her, which served as a backup in case the clasp failed and seems to me in the same league as buttons. At the time, she could not afford good jewelry, but she could hav not worn any jewelry.
And this leads me to an indication that my privation of awareness of female anatomy was not just an experiential lacuna, but something that must have been a parentally constructed void (like a black hole in astronomy, it had an "event horizon"). I recall one time (at age ca. 7 or 8 years) vaguely sensing that there was "something" in the bathroom closet which unbeknownst to me, must have been sanitary napkins. BTW: I never had any notion of any "primal scene"; that was a genuine lacuna in my social surround of origin. No sex anywhere, period(←pun acknowledged here). What the heck? In 10th grade, William Clinton Burriss Young (above, right) made me learn the ascii character string: "A s h u r b a n i p a l". Was it just: "The sorrow and the pity", or was it really more like: "Nacht und Nebel"?
The Matriarch of all Invisible Elephants is here.
¶ Anent "racism"
I am tired of the tallk about racism. The great public intellectral, George Steiner , said that everybody was a racist if "somebody" bought the house nextdoor to theirs and tanked their home's resale value. I am also long since tired of persons who ancestrally belong to exploited minorities but themselves came from professional class money so they could maybe go to Harvard, whining over slavery which they never experienced, to get tenure in some public university's department of ethno-pseudo studies. On the other hand, I believe exploited and abused persons of whatever secondary characteristics, including Caucasian males including myself, need to be rehabilitated and raised to fully human life by their societies of origin because they did not ask to be born or discriminated against or abused. But they deserve this not because they have any secondary perceptual or ethnographic characteristic, but because they are human and have been hurt. As Elie Wiesel said: "Don't compare! All suffering is intolerable."
My elementary schooling was in Richmond Virginia in the 1950's, where, as I like to put it, they had not yet fully acknowledged that the South had lost The Civil War. People in my upscale intown neighborhood had "maids": black women who were effectively servants. But if I was walking down a street, would not have expected them to step aside if they were walking toward me in the opposite direction. My problem was with Caucasian boys who were neighborhood bullies (who should have been subjected to retroactive birth control). If The Ku Klux Klan had marched down my street, I don't think many of my neighbors would have rushed out of their home to cheer them, because my neighbors were often professional people like a lawyer and the owner of the small local pharmacy chain. They would simply have wished the ignorant rabble to go away. As a young adult, I had some kind of idiopathic chronic diarrhea which my Caucasian primary care physician decided needed inspection by the then precursor of colonoscopy. He gave me a choice: He could do the procedure but he was not adept at it so it might take a half hour and be very uncomfortable for me, or I could go to a black physician whose office was in a black neighborhood who did many of these procedures every day and it would be much less unpleasant for me. Which option do you think I took, my reader? If Paul Robeson came to my family's front door -- and he was not just negro but also politically suspect! -- would my parents have spit on him, and myself, like Ronald Reagan said of United Nations diplomats from Africa, have yelled at him that he was a: "monkey"?
To the best of my knowledge, assimilated jews were not discriminated against at all. But I think that's the key: they were not shtetl Hassid freaks, but American professionals and business persons. My parents were ignorant, but my pediatrician was jewish. I cannot remember Dr. Askin wearing a curious little cap on his head. If you don't want racism, don't have races: have people who are childreared to live and let live, not to aggrandize their sanguinity and/or fear "outsiders". I recently read of a black Army Captain who had racial problems with his white subordinates until he proved his mettle in battle and they realized he was an asset for them. "Oh, but these people are exceptions!" Damned right! Each person should be an exception, not a substitutable human resource.
Which brings me to another of my pet peeves: When I was a teenager, there were two words which were much in the air: "conformist" and "non-conformist". Conformist was a middlng derogatory words for people who unthinkingly just instantiaed the social customs of the social surround. Non-conformists were somewhat threatening because they didn't. I never wanted to conform, I wanted not to be harrassed by the protectors of public order and decency and everything else conformists got upset about. And, had I had the good fortune to be born into an intelligentsia family, I probably would have been somewhat protected. I was not; I got bi-weekly haircuts and other intrusions from the Them.
Even university professor parents would likely have helped me keep America beautiful, but perhaps such a father would never have escallated the abuse to the point of letting loose the barberian's razor on my neck. to see if I was a real boy. Maybe such a father would have said: "Who cares about neck fuzz if it's going to cause my son to have a fit; he'll pass"?
My point here is that in 2020 I do not hear these two words any more. Are attendees in hundred thousand plus person mass marches for Good Causes conformists or non-conformists? This question never seems to be asked. If I was black, would I care whether black lives mattered, unless I could cash it in for something? Or would I care, as I do as a Caucasian, whether my life mattered? I think the latter. I do not believe in metempsychosis or that a Group Super-consciousness subsumes mine in suprapersonal ecstasy which I will somehow enjoy without being personally conscious (I think that is a logical self-contradiction). I think all groups are the darkness which pertains any object of personal consciousness, for none to those is in itself a personally conscious field. of consciousness. Has individuality been trashdenotesay it is more? Do they eat their own dogfood? Or are they really cynical like Edward Bernays's, and according to Adam Curtis, Leo Strauss's elite which deploy pious fantasies they know to be false to control the hormones of "the people"? Are you, my reader, a conformist?
Here's my proposal: I should have been proactively stillbirthed (the obstetrician could probably have finessed that), because if an infant born to passun sub iugum'd ever discovers anything about how the other half lives and figures out he (or she or other) might have been capable of enjoying it too, they may not bend over and say thank you to being just a source of of surplus value to provide pleasure to their "betters" whom they figure out are often naked emperors behind their pious self-righteous smiling faces that tell lies. Alternatively, I could have been given up by my birth parents for adoption by some childless cultured, intellectual couple who wanted children but were "infertile". They might have appreciated having a child like me and I might have appreciated them and we might have all lived happily ever after. As for my birth parents, if they had done the right thing, if ever I would have encountered them, I might have humbly thanked them for their self-sacrificing love, not have been repulsed by their flesh and suspicious when not scared of their gestures, actions and word, for I would have been safe from them and safe from their social surround. I recently came across my you-have-no-right-to-life-kid document: my involuntary servitude / corvée; government registration document, aka: "draft card".