Prejudices about prejudices and other unpopularities
There is a very good rational reason for not touching the third rail on a railroad track: the electric current will electrocute you. But why is there a metaphorical "third rail" in social life? Because person(s) with power over a given person have made it clear to said dependent person that said person(s) with power will impose severe negative consequences (e.g.: punishment) upon said dependent person if said dependent person mentions a topic which said person(s) with power do not want said dependent person to bring up. "Mommy, do you masturbate?" But mommy was socially conditioned to have her own third rail about her own body, and on and on it goes.
The psychoanalytic term for what's going on here is that the person(s) with power implant imagos of themselves: "toxic introjects" in the dependent person's head. There is a social "third rail" because people are taught to be afraid of the bogeyman. It's a great mechanism of social control, since part of what the dependent person must not bring up is that they have been intimidated by the person(s) with power. The Gestapo not need to allocate personnel to monitoring the citizens, because the citizen are policing themselves, and, as Antigone sort of said: "Our toxic introjects make the longest demands on us because they never die". Mommy the mortal person dies some day, but the imago she has implanted in the kid's head keeps on monitoring him (her, other) without cease, like a space probe after its launch rocket has dropped off and burned out in the atmosphere.... A good psychoanalyst exorcises a person's toxic introjects; it's not easy.
"Mommy, you are threatening me about this question because it makes you uncomfortable about yourself. I think there is something wrong with you, mommy. Don't you know that sticks and stones can break your bones but names can never hurt you?" "How dare you speak to your mother that way! You should be ashamed of yourself! [Mother proceeds to impose some new punishment on child for having touched the highest voltage third rail of all: the taboo against exposing taboos.]
Fear is the bedrock of social life in most if not all societies most if not all of the time, and it is crucial that this fact not be exposed so that the intimitation can continue to function unthreatened by exposure to the light of rational examination. But doesn't the Bible say to let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, mommy, daddy, teacher, boss... (Matt 5:16)?
Can we think of some "third rails" besides children asking adults with power over them about their sex lives (similarly, whether they pick their noses)?
- Israesi treatment of the Palestineans.
- The forbidden word: "N*gger." (Ever since Donald Trump, the old "George Carlin" words are no longer as high voltage risks as they used to be; back in 2000, an OpEd writer in The New York times newspaper was forbidden to call the President of the United States a: "liar" ).
- How much money your boss, and often, even a coworker earns ("Hey, boss, how come Joe is making $5,000 more than me for doing the exact same [or, a fortiori, lesser...] job as me?").
- "Dirty pictures" ("Gee, Mr. [Mrs., Miss, Mx.] CEO, what's that magazine you're looking at? Can I see?").
- Calling out medically unnecessary infant circumcision as barbaric child abuse.
- "Black sheep" in the family
- Anything that is an don't-ask-don't-tell exception to norms of polite behavior, such as sex for jocks in the "prep" school I attended (this is an "it depends" case, depending on whether what the person is given an exemption for is illegal or not). Click here for a real life example.
- Felonies a person has committed but got away with (this item does not really belong here, beause its exposure can result in real, material harm to the person, not just "embarrassment")
- Anything else a person with power does not want anybody to know about him (her, other) self, NOS [Not Otherwise Specified] (anything a dependent person wants to hide about themself is fair game for exposure and punishment by the person(s) with power over said dependent person)
Here's a fact which probably nobody will like but which I think is instructive: Adolf Hitler 卐 was a rabid anti-semite (¿or maybe he had some other even maligner agenda that racism was a cover for?) who mass murdered millions of innocent jews. However: Adolf Hitler issued a special exemption for one particular jew: Eduard Bloch, who had been his family's doctor. Even Adolf Hitler was not so block-headedly insensitive that he would not care about someone who had obviously cared for himself and his intimates. Just like the lion remembered Androcles in the Coliseum.
Do we not often see less famously and flagrantly evil persons -- even otherwise decent persons -- say that they do not like some social group, but person X who is an unquestioned member of said group is a decent person or even their friend? "Oh, well, [s]he's an exception...." Bertolt Brecht has a telling play: "The Exception and the Rule" (it's short and fairly easy reading).
I take this kind of exceptionalism to mean something unpopular: If a member of a group wants to be respected and honored, let said group member cease to instantiate the group's stereotype and act as an individual, or even protest against being associated with the stereotyped group, because the stereotype may have some truth to it which some persons may dislike with good reasons and generalize to group members who do not deserve it. If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, some persons will for whatever reasons not study zoology. Let the individual person disavow identification with any and all groups, because groups are at best only adventitiously good. Groups cannot justify themselves and if you rip out their guts [say: blow up their executive headquarters] they don't feel any pain, either; only individual persons can defend themselves or feel pain (or joy), e.g., as agents for what they personally avow is a group's agenda, which may or may not be veridical for said group.
Even "worse": If you want to be a Dr. Bloch, you've got to be an individual person relating to another individual person, not a member of a group on either side. All groups are bad news on principle, even if, empirically, we are stuck with them to lesser or greater extent. If the Panzers are overrunning your peaceful little Belgian village where everybody knows everybody else, there's generally not much chance of talking with any individual German soldier about it. Mutatis mutandis, if you are a German civilian and Patton's Sherman tanks are coming through.
Especially those who are not discriminated against should disavow group membership, to set a good example, like if Olympic gold medal winners would start teaching everybody that competition is bad. Let the individuated person avow transcendent values of individuated personal accountability, personal imagination and other high personal agencies. As Debbie the sometime toddler poster girl for her father's donut business said [either in reality or only in the comics]:"First of all, I'm Debbie the person!"
Those who hate individuality and seek only to deploy masses to service their parochial agenda (Shakespeare's Falstaff's: "food for powder") will always do their worst to "take out" any individuated person, any person whom they smell out as maybe ideating: "It ain't me you're talkin' to!" These thugs (who may sometimes have graduate degrees and wear Oxxford suits, not have beer bellies and wear t-shirts with profanities written on them) must be stopped. But that's different from somebody hiding behind an excuse of being a member of a discriminated-against group and therefore they deserve special privilege. If not "all lives matter", does my life matter? If my life does not matter, I have been put on notice. You cannot have civil discourse with persons who will not be civil with you (melanomas are examples, here).
Part of the most enduring harm anti-semitism in the first half of the 20th century caused was to slow down or reverse assimilation of persons of a certain religious provenance. The more educated of them were eagerly "assimilating" into universalizing, albeit perhaps misfortunately named: "Western" civilization. They did not want to live in a ghetto. What of "The West" in my understanding deserves to exist is the part of it which is not parochially "Western" but which embraces the best of all human existence over the whole earth and for all times, and consigns everything else, from ritual bodily mutilation of helpless children to Omnipotent All-loving Deities the individual person has not encountered in the flesh, to the ethnographic archive, like smallpox bacilli are consigned to refrigerators in maximum-security virus laboratories.
Neither white nor black nor pink nor green nor any other abstract attribute of anything or any person is beautiful: Individuated personal self-reflective self-accountability on two feet or if a double-amputee, on no feet, is beautiful: "First of all, I'm Samuel Paty!" No I'm not! I'm everywhere and nowhere, and I include Samuel Paty. I am not anybody: I'm me! Are "you", my reader: you, a personal individuality, or are you an instance of something?
Finally, de gustibus non disputandum est: if some persons are viscerally disinclined to savor others with whatever secondary attributes, let there be sensitive acknowledgement and exploration of connoisseurship. Is a cat who saves a little boy from being mauled by a dog not a higher life form and more honorable than some so-called human being that just walks down the street without even shouting for the dog to stop it or calling 911? There has been at least one such cat in reality. If an unneutered male weimaraner dog (Yuk!) saved my life, would I need to overcome my aversion to picking up its feces and lick its face to be thankful to and honor the dog -- from a distance, and let him live his life in peace with persons who appreciated him? I might buy him his favorite dog toy, again, from a distance.
Of course, when things get bad enough they become hopeless. The German people were probably screwed over so bad by the Allies lust for reparations and such that they were going to find somebody or something to hate and they could not strike back directly at Great Britain and The United States and such. But where did the British govenment say that it was the German high command not the German people who had been bad, hold a war crimes tribunal andget on with a Marshall plan? In general, which side a soldier was on depended not so much upon his character as upon the GPS+UTC coordinates of his emergence from a birth canal or C-section operation.
Questions: (1) Are Palestineans semites or are they not semites. If they are semites, then clrealy snti-semites need to be anti-Palestineans as well as anti- some other people. I do not know the answer to this qustion. (2) Are all or most Israelis semites? Are all jews except converts semites? If the answer is no, then anti-semitism is a misnomer, and what these people [who may be bigots] really are is anti-Israelis or anti-jews or anti-whatevers, not anti-semites. Again, I do not know the answer to this question. Why cannot we just aver: Anybody who infringes on anybody else's freedom to live and let live is a criminal and needs to be defended against as needed to prevent them from doing harm to anybody who is not doing harm to them or to anybody else.
What I strongly believe is that all persons must be opposed to all -isms with one self-reflectively self-critical exception: the unnamed -ism of reduction: phenomenological reduction, eidetic reduction, ethnographic reduction, sociological reduction, etc., i.e.: reducing all contents of consciousness to objects of consciousness and taking out of commission any evaluation of them (esp.: that they are any good), pending rigorous examination of each and every one, for, it seems to me, as Wilfred Bion wrote: social customs are shared hallucinoses aka social psychoses. That includes keeping America beautiful by getting a haircut, genitally mutilating infants because G-d said you should or because daddy wants his son to look like him, believing the earth is shaped more or less like a big tennis ball and not a big flat plate on the back of a Heavenly turtle, and everything else. Anybody who interferes with this process is committing a crime against humanity, in part because it will likely trigger a reactionary response in the discriminated to defensively retreat into their -isms of origin. Telling me to do something is a very good way to make be determined to not do it, and conversely: tell me to not do something and I will want to do it. Don't intimidate persons! Satan get thee hence!
As I have written else where here, I think part of the enduring damage of early 20th Century German anti-semitism is that it made many jewish persons stop wanting to assimilate into universalizing Western culture but instead to be more "jewish". Persecuting jews created jews out of many persons whom it did not exterminate, whereas if they had been left alone, jews might have disappeared as a semiotic construct, leaving only persons who could find in their ancestry forebears who believed in judiasm but not they themselves.
Furthermore, both Hitler's and Stalin's purges and persecutions seem stupid in even a crassly Realpolitik sense by killing or alienating and forcing to emigrate many persons who wanted nothing more than to contribute to their country. You don't cut off the hand that feeds you without consequences, or even stupider, hand over your resources to your adversaries.
I think all ideologies except, again, always self-critically tentatively, the ideology of disenchanting all ideologies, are just bad news which either has happened or is yet to happen, because any belief or thought which has not been critically re-appropriated is just a result of a cosmic throw of dice. For my favorite example: If a person entered the world from the birth canal of the wife of a slaveowner in Savannah Georgia in 1820 and was doted over by his or her parents, does anyone really expectk that person would likely grow up to be a rabid abolitionist? Of course it's possible, and an automobile got hit by a meteorite in Peekskill New York some years ago, too.
Ethnographical reduction needs to trump hagiography, unless a person is willing to be burned at the stake because somebody deems that necessary to save the person's immortal soul, or whatever. . Example: Wasn't Abraham ethically identical to Adolf Eichmann? Both of them just obeyed orders to murder people. And was Abraham's G-d any better than Heinrich Himmler for ordering the execution of innocents? And don't say that Yawveh didn't go through with it but was only testing Abe boy. So too did Stanley Milgram test people. And don't say that God's ways are inscrutable to man, for then how do you know what in heaven or purgatory or hell or on earth or elsewhere you are talking about since you have said you understand what you are talking about. That's just flat out nonsense. Abraham intended premeditated murder, and was going to go through with it → what a paterfamilias for his intended victim to honor, love and emulate! I distrusted my parents for far lesser rimes.
My problem is that I was childreared and schooled to respect fools and to believe their foolishnesses, and to be ashamed of myself if I dared try to out them and/or their doings and/or their not doings and/or their beliefs, etc. Thou shalt not take the name of thy father, mother, teacher or any other authority figure authorized by any of same, on earth or in heaven or anywhere else, in vain. Damn them all. But, of course, easier said than done. Practice makes perfect.
Judico ergo sum. What ethno-ideation can trump that? I adjudicate: none, and anybody who is honest must, it seems to me, also admit that, at root, they believe what they believe because they judge it to be believable, not just because it fell from the sky, unless "having fallen from the sky" is what they adjudicate to be an ultimate criterion criterion of truth and desirability.
If you don't need it and you can't prove it, don't have an opinion about it. What does it matter to most lay persons whether the earth is flat or round? Answer: Nothing. So why believe it is either or any other shape. So what?
Let agnosticism apply not just to unencountered Deities but to everything else that is a don't care. Did Neil Armstrong walk on the moon? So what if he did or did not, unless you are a lunar geologist or whatever? It's a good story either way. Does it matter whether Adam and Eve existed or not? But maybe it does matter what you think about your own sexuality and any prigs in your own home. Etcetera and so forth. Whether or not Galileo Galilei dropped objects of different specific gravities off the top of the leaning tower of Pizze does not matter to anybody short of a parachute jumper, maybe. And if you want to try it yourself, might you need a license from the city of Pisa? A commercial airplane pilot could probably fly quite well from Newark Liberty to Washington Reagan without believing the world was not flat, or couldn't he or she? and, anyway if it isn't flat is it round of cylindrical? Properly oriented, a cylinder might do quite well from going from New York to Tokyo, provided the pilot does not want to stop in Quito on the way. If you live in a city, do you really care about what happens when you flush your toilet? But it does matter if you have eczema on your elbow (scratch! scratch!).
Nancy was wrong. The issue is not to "Just say no." The issue is to know when to say: "I don't care to waste any of my always too short life on it." [...including on you, Nancy.]
Anent: Oedipus complex
I think this is rubbish. I did not like my father, but I did not feel I was competing with him and I had no desire to replace him in whatever he was doing in his life. I very much wish I had had a father I could look up to and want to become like. Had my father been George Steiner, I would have been very glad to aspire to emulate him, and the two of us could have developed culture each in parallel with the other, in mutual synergism. But as for my own father, it was like I could have been a bird and he was a land mammal. He could not help me to fly. I pity my father for having been childreared in a social surround which had not nurtured him to become what he could have become in his life. I loathed his third wife who was a small-time Nancy Reagan and worked as bookkeeper in an advertising agency that cooked up campaigns for election of Republican politicians, but I very much wish he had married another woman who liked him and who seemed to me lovely. Even the names of the two were phonetically diagnostic: The bad one, Melva Bertier Heil; the good one, Geneva Nestor. But that's not Œdipus complex stuff. (His second wife was a bitch, but even he would have agreed with that if stated in more polite terms after she kicked him out of her house because he was not "good enough" for her who herself came from nothing much. And my mother....)
I think Freud's Œdipus complex would likely apply in the case of a family business where the father refused to let his son take over the company as the father descended into his dotage, and just jerked the kid around as a cat to kick. And/Or if the mother was very attractive and seductive and the son was denied the company of desirable young women.
Lana del Rey
Lana del Rey is a popular music star about whose singing I learned on, of all places, WFUV: Jesuit radio, New York City. She is no Jesuit. The song I heard on WFUV that night was "Love me like a woman". It was very seductive. I looked up "Lana del Rey" in a Google search and found out she graduated from a "prep school": Kent School, Dutchess County, New York. More interest because I have very strong feelings about prep schools due to what St. Paul's School for Boys Brooklandville Maryland did to me as a young person. Unlike myself, who was just a perhaps brilliant and definitely wimpy kid vulnerable to the teach vultures (yes, that's unfair to the birds), Ms. del Rey (right) was apparently a moderately dissolute boozy druggie, whose parents probably had a lot more money than mine.
I have thought a lot about her songs. Conclusion: she is probably a cynical person who may really be dissolute or not, all the way to the bank. Her songs express a soft porn masochism -- who knows? maybe like a black widow spider. But it's not stupid; she refers to some things in her songs. There is another singer who is what Ms. del Rey would let people think she is. This person is not widely known here in the United States of Ronnie and Nancy: Amanda Lear. She s either French or Italian, and there were questions about her gender of origin. She was a member of a ménage à trois with Salvador Dali, who was almost as "good" a self-promoter as Mr. Socrates. Her music has more cultural allusions than Ms. del Rey's.She may well be a "piece of work", but her "schtick" is literately making fools of fools, and being seductive by addressing men on a high cultural level, not playing submissive.
Ms. del Rey is [pretending to be?] asking to be raped by a Proud Boy or Hell's Angel, or for a demi-powerful corporate executive who's really just a hypertrophic superannuated toddler looking for his rejecting mommy's blessing -- who pretends to be something when he gets off Metro North in Westport Connecticut each night of his Robert Hall [no: they went out of business in 1977...] work week. Cap'n Sluggie, the wild raging Wall Street bullshit. Amanda Lear asks: "Are you question or answer", and as for the compute science Ph.D.'s, she observes: "Externally you are superior; internally you are a transistor. I want a man not a machine." What is Ms. del Rey capable of wanting? Counting her money with her daddy after diner?
Let's think even more about Adolf Hitler
Alice Miller wrote that the only person in Adolf Hitler's family home whom the father did not abuse was the family dog. Adolf went off the fight in The War to end all Wars, and he wanted to stay in the army after the war, but the army was downsizing and he could not stay. He wanted to go to art school (he had better freehand drawing skill than me, BMcC!) but he was twice rejected there. He was unemployed. What more does one need to make a disaffected person? Adolf was not a dummy; he seized the day, and almost seized the world! That's a pretty good tradeoff, isn't it? I think it must have been great fun while it lasted: being chauffeured around in Mercedes-Benz motorcars and worshipped by millions, instead of selling hand-painted postcards on the street to get his next meal.
I (BMcC) know little about Weimar Germany, except for The Bauhaus and Stefan Zweig's "The world of yesterday". Of course I would love to live in Wassily Kandinsky's Three Free Circles or Walter Gropius's home. But what did The Bauhaus ever do for Germany's unemployed masses? What might have happened if, instead of screwing Germany after the War, the Allies had executed the German high command and then invested in the Country's peaceful reconstruction such as occurred after the next World War? Vengeance sometimes breed revenge?
Whom would The National Socialist Party 卐 have recruited, or why would The Party even have come into existence, in a country of neatness freaks, with 1% unemployment and no reparations to pay and a stable currency? Like it or not, chickens come home to roost. Ferdinand Porsche designed great automobiles. Paul Klee painted better twittering birds than today's Twitter social media compute app. Europe's political hacks should and could have done better, starting with not having a Big Bertha hissy fit after the assassination of a dude Stefan Zweig wrote educated people didn't like anyway.
The Israelis and the Palestineans and all the other creeps everywhere
Here's a solution to all this ethnic, religious and other nonsense: Every religion, nationality, race and other things people get told and believe in are stories people tell each other instead of just sniffing each other's anusus like dogs. But the canine version is harmless; the human ethnicizing version kills people.
All religions that believe in any thing such as a God or a Messiah are nonsense, so let's have all the people believe some constructive nonsense: Like Santa Claus is coming to town and making a list of everybody who makes enough noise for HIm to notice they exist, and then one day on the near future He's going to skewer each and every last one on his list from anus to wherever the stake comes out near their head (right) like Vlad the Impaler did, and then he's going to go back home and let them think about their situation.
He won't notice you unless you do something noticeable, like protest for a Good Cause in a mass march in a street or attend a rock or a symphony concert or a soccer game or go swimming at a public beach or gang up to lynch somebody or stone an adulteress, or you're a woman who cries "Metoo!" when a man whistles at you, or do any ethnic or other groupie thing or make noise or wear "revealing" clothes that attract people's attention if you have something to reveal. He's very interested in young ladies who look seductive, not because he has any interest in trying to have sex with them so they can try to blackmaill him like they like to do with New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo: he just notices them because they are making themselves noticeable, and he puts them on his list. If they'd quietly find a man they like they can fuck the day away behind closed doors or they could just shut their door and think about their hormones or enter a nunnery, but quietly. If you're LQBQWERTY, jus keep it to yourself: Don't ask, don't tell, and enjoy yourself in private. Just be quiet and mind your own business and you'll probably be OK. Preachers who have seen the light or been some mountain top or anything else and preach about it in public get his immediate attention. Don't woke up in public, either.
He sees you when you're sleeping and he knows when you're awake, so don't engage in rowdy sex or shout at the television screen when some sport team shoots a goal or do anything else that might be seen or heard, like cheering for anything or booing against anything. Just leave everybody else alone and mind your own business, including not getting involved in other people's abortions or masturbations. Don't publish Charlie Hebdo newspapers and don't decapitate school teachers for teaching that not everybody believes the same lies as your do -- I meant: the same Eternal Truths for Everybody. If you are rich, don't do anything that might get in the tabloids.
The Army Corps of Engineers will run the world. They will do what is necessary to keep everybody alive and amused, including the currently homeless and uninsured. If you want excitement in your life, sign up to work on a garbage truck. Santa likes people who dispose of other people's waste but he's very interested in wasteful people. He is especially interested in celebrities. Anybody who gets their name in the news will wish they hadn't. And there will be peace on earth, as all the people who used to cause other people to be two legged sheep or "food for powder" -- all the haredim rebbes and other rabble rousers -- will quietly stew in their own juices in private or pay the price. And don't reproduce, either, because babies make a lot of noise. Writing stories about the absurdity of life can be done quietly, so too can drawings of despair at being mortal (if you have no artistic talent you can just color a whole sheet of paper black). Santa like snooping around in locker rooms too, guys, so don't talk about Monday night football or who you humped last nite there, just undress, take your shower, get dressed again and get out.
When the currently living global population gets below one million, then Santa will consider women who lust to have stretch marks and varicose veins having children again, in moderation. The Grim Reaper has told Santa he's all booked up already, so would people please stop making more work for him; he doesn't like having to pay overtime. I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) wa taking with him yesterday, and he reminded me that Franz Kafka is not just for disaffected prep school kids.
All sorts of right-wingers seem to like to collect Nazi stuff. Why not collect German World War I military memorabilia, including barbed wire and gas masks and other goodies? Why not everybody get all interested in the losing side in The War to End All Wars, even if it didn't? After looking for a while, I finally got something I could use (right). Doesn't every social institution that eats its "people" believe that God is on its side or at least tell its people He is? Yum!
The relation of women to their bodies
Leaving aside such perversions as young ladies who take jobs in big politicians' offices and wear seductive clothes in hopes of getting the boss to touch them in a way that they can sue him to get money out of him and destroy his career (e.g.: the lynching of New York's governor Andrew Cuomo by a bunch of opportunist young ladies), women get all sorts of flattery about their bodies, from the banality of flowers for mother for Mother's Day from Homer [Simpson] and the kids, to paeans from great poets saying they are startds in Heaven. And these compliments are not always empirically incorrect, albeit polite people don't call attention to the obvious fact that Rosanne Barr's body and Claudia Cardinale's are different. What must all this toadying (of course it's not ass kissing because touching lips to buttocks is imploite) do to warp the ladies' self-images if they take it personally?
Isn't the following more the truth of the situation: (1) A woman's relation to her uterus is analogous of a farmer's relation to his fields: to produce good crops? And to keep prices up, sometimes farmers get paid to plow their crops under. (2) As for the lady's relation to her flesh, her body is like a museum conservator's relation to great wqorks of art: to keep the things in prime condition for esthetic delectation and connoisseurship. But the farmer's soul is not in his fields nor is the consevator a great painter or sculptor. They both manage resources, the one agricultural, the other art historical. Both their jobs are very important, but they are not the objects they work on. In other words, don't take it personally, ladies. Just keep the natural resources with which you have been entrusted in in great shape for your audience.
Click here for Federico Fellini's classic image of feminine divinity from his unabshedly hallucinatory film 8½ (1963). 8½ was the first "foreign film" I saw, when I was a high school "senior" (senior what? a senior lump?), in 1963 or 64, at Baltimore's Charles Theater, back when "foreign films" was something good American citizens did not look at or mention because they contained cultured eroticism and good American citizens were not erotic beings although somehow they managed to reproduce like rabbits in the post-World War II "Baby boom"; I still remember this scene, along with a couple others, none of which expressed anything that could have been part of my dismal culturally irradiated☢ social surround.