What I will address here is something someone asked me about: my esthetic sensibility, which would better be designated as: My sensitivity in general and in every particuar, since the esthetic is pervasively important for me. Esthetic, for myself, is also in one-to-one and onto mapping with ethical. If something falls outside the domain of the felicitously esthetic, for me, it's at best misfortunate. This sensitivity has at least two salient aspects: (1) keen sensitivity to esthetic qualities including minute details, and (2) cultivating the universal in the particular and the particular in the universal, and alluding every which way both horizontal and vertical. Unsympathetic persons might say: OCD + loose associations. If you sense you might be going to find offensive what I am going to write here, my reader, please skip it. My connoisseurship is bounded only by my undercapitalization.
For many years I have never cut my fingernails to the quick but kept them "long" (but not vampire length!), which some persons did/do not approve of but which for myself is not a sign of being "effeminate" (or whatever) although, also for myself, better "effeminate" than "macho" (long fingernails would be a real not ethno-taboo no-no if I was a medical professional but I have always been a white-collar office clerk aka computer programmer!). I don't like to get my hands dirty or to touch things I do not enjoy (long fingernails help protect fingertips from contact with unwelcome things). As a child, I was averse to walking on beach sand because sand would get between my toes or in my shoes. Where did this idiosyncratic sensitivity come from, with parents whose parents were in one case industrious blue collar (maternal; one great-uncle was a gentle man who was a machinist and died by roadkill), and in the other case they wanted nothing to do with them (paternal; my father's father tried to blackmail him to extract money from him because my father worked hard and earned some money)?
Elitism? To this extremity: I have 2 cats. They shared one bowl for their 2 cans of cat food each meal. Bowl got broken almost exactly into 2 half bowls, by one of the cats being too eager to eat and knocking bowl off the table on which I was fixing the cats' food. "X" is a great letter. I capitalized on this accident of fate to henceforth feed each cat with her own half-bowl. My elitist challenge: Buy something that is priceless but you only paid less than a tank of gasoline for (set your own price limit, provided it's low), and that didn't rip off the seller, i.e., that was not a "bargain", was not "marked down", etc. Buying something from somebody who "has to sell" doesn't count.
Old Japanese connoisseurs prized tea bowls made by Korean peasant boys (I didn't do so well: US$60 in 2020 for a classic Bizenware tea bowl). Today they fix broken pottery with gold; I could not afford that. Most "people", I think, not being archeologists (or, at most, not not being archeologists of their own daily lives) would have, unthinkingly/reflexively thrown away the broken bowl shards. I recently found an old Christie's Auction House ad from The New York Times: An original R. Mutt Marcel Duchamp urinal was up for auction. Estimated gavel price? US$1,500,000 - US$2,000,000. Got it, all ye who would feed their cats (or themselves) only from intact bowls? There were almost no books in my childhood home; we did not even subscribe to a newspaper. A self-description which keeps going through my mind as I write this is: a failed state.
Let's here cut to the quick: I want to come out of the closet, and why should I feel uncomfortable about making my toxic introjects/punative superego uncomfortable?. I massively resent having been circumcised (made un-intact) as an infant without even the benefits of being a jew (my elementary school experience: jewish boys studied; Christian boys beat each other up). Presumaby the reason for the surgery was either (1) obliviousness on the part of the person who otherwise could not have been comatose, to make the required muscle movements and their abettors, or, (2) even worse: the desire of a father who wanted his son to look like him. Verily, if not ears that hear not, most certainly eyes that do not see.
Now, as I have finally figured out in writing this (study is not necessarily a biological-based kurzweil machine process!), everything fits together even if it still does not explain its provenance: one aspect of the crime of ritual male circumcision is to one part of the body as short-cut fingernails are to a different body part (I am not here suggesting anybody other than myself grow their fingernails long if they do not want to do so!). Both facilitate bodily contact by unwelcomed foreign objects. I think each person should be accorded the decency/dignity of not having their body or their spirit impinged upon without their unintimidated (no: "Or else!"s!), positive consent (except in cases such as where the person is trapped in a collapsed building and the only way to extract the person and keep them from dying is to saw off a leg, etc.).
The immediately previous paragraph spells out the negative side of my sensibility. It does not answer where the positive side came from, such that a 12 year old boy who had never visited an art museum, etc. wanted a Rolex wristwatch? (50+ years later I would get over this and want at least a Patek Philippe, and, after that, not want to wear any wristwatch.)
This is an easy question. Where I want to go is an egalitarian social surround in which asymmetrical human relationships asymptotically go to zero, and, where they may still need to exist (which seems likely, with > 7.94 * 10 ** 9 persons currently living on this planet), the persons with power humbly devote themselves to nurturing the persons under them. (Somebody has said: "If you are working overtime, your manager is not doing their job.") This is expressed in a quote from psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, about generosity and gratitude.
It would be a society in which: "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs", or, as a World War II United States Army Air Corps mess hall dictum went: "Take what you want; eat what you take." And where freedom of enterprise would be superceded by freedom from enterprise, and for everybody except essential workers on duty (e.g.: EMTs), there would not be just free time but better: freedom from being timed.
To make my life worth living. I take seriously New York Times OpEd writer, Maureen Dowd's, guidance that one of (POTUS №45) Donald J. Trump's favorite songs is the "morbid" Peggy Lee ballad: "Is that all there is?" (I strongly encourage you, my reader, to look up this song on YouTube and listen to it. Before I did that, nihilism was a kind of abstract concept for me. Now I have empirical evidence.) For myself, it would be a 24/7 waking nightmare to less-than-live in a 7-Eleven store and have to drink Big Gulps to ward off kidney failure. But maybe my childrearing would show its stuff and, like Odysseus had he not had himself bound to a mast of his ship to safely listen to the deadly song of the Sirens, I would succumb.
I have distasteful second-hand experience of a doctoral degreed Big Gulper. Now that I think about it (12 September 2020), isn't drinking Big Gulps and reading The New York Post in a Chevrolet bloatmobile station wagon while having a home of such quality that persons come to the front door and beg the owner to sell it to them if they ever did decide to sell it ("Ein feste berg..."), and an earned doctorate and coming from money, etc., a kind of elitism, albeit a differnt kind than mine? Said person also provided me evidence that "No person ever rises so high that they cannot reach a hand down to help another person up" is either empirically refutable or else the phrase "another person" needs to be focussed to: "me".
During my first iteration of the first half of 7th grade in a public Junior High School in Richmond Virginia named after a Confederate General: A.P. Hill, where free-range savages (juvenile dilinquents) roamed the halls after class hours and threatened me although less after I stabbed one of them as hard as I could in the arm with my ball point pen, I was tasked with memorizing the latin names of the two hundred plus bones in the human body (nothing about how to enjoy genitalia, of course). There is a place for testing: If I was going to need a surgical operation, especially open heart surgery or brain surgery, would I choose: (A) A doctor who had a perfect score on a pencil and paper test about surgery, or (B) a doctor whom experienced surgeons attested had performed skillful operations on first cadavers then living animals and then living human beings, or (C) an entirely untested doctor? Which of the three would one of my prig masters at St. Paul's Illiberal Day Carcel for Pubescent Male Virgins (except for we don't want it publicized after-school off-campus intravaginal semenal discharges by jocks) choose?
+2021.04.25. I'm listening to a whining liberal Fordham Professor of Political Science on WFUV complaining about President Biden wanting kids to attend mandatory summer school in 2021 to make up for lost education due to Covid-19. This whining liberal says how standardized tests are not helpful to kids because public education's focusing on preparing the students for the standardized tests does not help the students prepare for life. Agreed. But just what to you mean by "life", whining liberal?
shining whining liberal proposes his alternative: to prepare kids to see the world. Dangerous equipment in playgrounds is good because if you make things too safe for children they won't gain skills for living. Bullshit! If my kid fell off a risky jungle gym and had compound fractures and had to spend weeks in traction in a hospital, thank you, whining liberal! See the world, whining liberal? Where the hell do you think the air pollution from commercial airplanes comes from, whining liberal? From peregrination in stabilitate ("To go on a pilgrimage you do not need to get your rear-end up off the chair it's already plopped down on")?
This whining liberal talks about the best thing in his happy childhood being capture the flag in summer camp. Well, now we know how culturally enlightened and how large his imaginative horizon was, don't we? What about kids who are not happy campers, whining liberal? What about kids who don't want to chase other kids but maybe be enchanted watching movement of gears in John Harrison's H4 and learning how it works? Kids who would prefer a private room with private toilet and balcony in a luxury hotel, to bedding down at nite in a public barracks, kids who don't get off on getting all muddy? (Pigs like to be clean, you know; mud is their sunscreen and their Off. )
"Children are little animals. They need to run... catch frisbies...." and god knows what else this whining liberal mouthed off that I coundn't transcribe because I cannot type that fast and the quiet liberal show host sheep approves, unspoken: "Yezzuh, Yezzuh, mazzuh! We loves yah, mazzuh! We all prays just like you, mazzuh!"
But maybe we can agree on kids being little animals, like man's closest animal relative, the pygmy chimp bonobos, who all promiscuously have sex with each other all the time. I'm in, if you make sure none of us has any venereal disease, whining liberal. But I never wanted the promiscuous part, just the sex part for me, please, whining liberal. I'm a wimp, not "normal", presumably like you are proud to be, whining liberal. Whine liberal, whine! Baaa!
Being indoors is bad for kids? I never wanted to be sun-baked (or have to look at salary men displaying their albeit nonfunctioning nipples on the beach). The August midday sun is so damned much too blindingly bright; give me a shaded arcade and let me talk with Aristotle or Sappho! I never wanted sand between my toes. I never wanted gender-segregated public nudity showers and neo-internment camp barracks bedding. I don't need no camp activities director. Not all kid-s are pig-lets, you whining liberal.
Of course standardized tests are bad. "Let's expand our imagination of what kids can do this summer... riding horses... at riding camp..."? How about learning latin to be able to read and write illuminated manuscripts in coed scriptoria where there are ancient crypts a couple can sneak off to, to have gentle sex when the spirit combines with the hormones to move them? And, whining liberal, why not that in latin, too, because latin is not a dead language like politically correct English, is it, gender-neutral maybe even LGBQWERTY whining liberal? (Are you on of those politically correct people who get all upset about trans pseudo-sexuals getting discriminated against but not at all upset about straight wimps not getting any sex at all? If yes, then, to borrow a phrase from St. Paul, may you "burn"! Enjoy yourself!)
Whining liberals are great for kids who can't be anything more than "kids". You learn about teamwork by being on a team." I never wanted to be on any team, you whining liberal who wants to force me to be be as small as you are, you mental dwarf with tenure! I want to be a person, not an instance in your cramped fantasy less-than-world of things like "playing sports". I agree with you that cooping up kids all summer in classrooms without air conditioning will lead to behavioral problems and other bad things.
Fine. Install air conditioning. Bring in your town's starving stand up comics to make the kids want to stay inside. Distribute Zap comix. Teach them safe sex (The New York City Department of Public Health advises for people old enough to download a pdf and read it: "You are your own safest sex partner during pandemic... [and] wash your sex toys...."). That would have been my my kind of summer school, not your budding little Tarzans and Janes in the dude ranch
jingle jungle gym with camp counselors [aka.: collaborators] to make sure they all at least pretend to keep their virtue, you creep! Whining liberals are just new model Mensheviks. Keep getting slaughtered in your trenches killing Krauts, kids! Excuse me: I meant: If you video tape yourself having Jock and Jill sex, kid, please don't let any kid's parents know.
You whining liberal (with tenure), who knows what's got to be good for me since you know nobody's any better than you. I've been deconstructing your spiel in real time. To repeat out of context something a manager I had at work once said about a corporate liaison stoolie:
"If I am ever in line with that man and above him I will fire him because he is a traitor."
The Last Man has sunk so low that he is no longer even able to despise himself. (Friedrich Nietzsche, paraphrase)
In schools, who are the sellers and who are the customers? The administrators and teachers are selling, and the students are the customers buying what the admnistrators and teachers are selling, namely: education. Schools are the only business where the customer is always wrong. This is especially true for private schools and colleges, where the students (or their parents) are forking over their own money out of their own pockets for the administrators' and teachers' services. The purchasers are even going deeply in debt to buy the product, with young persons coming out of college and graduate programs sometimes with debt in 6 digits USD.
But the administrators and teachers are jerking the students around and grading them, not the other way around. Shouldn't it be: "Hey, teach! You are failing to educate me", not: "You student, are failing the course." Of course, it should really be a two-way street: Educational institutions should refuse service to persons they deem unworthy of receiving their services, and students should not have to buy bad education. But, in the end, it is the administrators and teachers who are serving the students, although in the present social situation, they get away with threatening the students with "bad grades". The best defense, here, as often, is a good offense. My (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) "prep" schooling -- the administrator na the teachers -- was a failure, and, because I was stuck being taught by them, I lost a lot.
"An Educated Consumer is our Best Customer" (Sy Syms, CEO Syms discount clothing stores).
Here are some more reminiscences of my
prep perp schooling: In the 7th grade I tried to make a few cents by lending small change to my classmates at interest because they often forgot to bring their lunch treat coins. I did not need the money. I was interested in banking and keeping an accounts book. The school did not like this. They thought there was something improper about it. I do not recall if there were any sons of bankers in my
class, nor, a fortiori, do I know if the school had any outstanding loans (at interest from banks or
I also tried being a bookie. But I fared even worse there because the only bets my classmates were interested were betting for the school, and the Crusaders✟ always were winning teams, so I invariably lost. (I was impartial; I did not care which team won any contest, and I would have been less unhappy had there not been any contests.) I myself had the good even if not eth[n]ical sense to get get out of this business of my own volition, although, once again, my free market initiative was not nurtured by the school (you don't bet against your own school, and the free market stops at the School's fund raising door). Any guess why maybe socialism and Marxist humanism appealed to me when I learned they existed? (Viva Leon Trotsky!)
But there was much better to come! In my class was a creature who could only be aptly described as an: "ass kisser" (characterological, not sexual; see fairly close likeness right): Robert Muldoon. His I.Q. was surely in 3 digits but he was not taking any chances on getting a failing grade in any of his classes. In my graduating class's school yearbook, each Senior got a full page with a picture of their face in the upper right hand corner, and a legend under said mug shot (I would not have thought of it in precisely those terms then, because introductory Criminology was not an offered or, perforce, required course). For the caption of the photo of this paragon of Christian✟ virtues and neo-chivalrous bravery ["I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith✟."], one of my co-editors and I selected the text:
This, along with a picture of the school's heroic football team charging down the field under an overcast sky, which we captioned:
St. Paul's School for Boys✟, Brooklandville, Maryland, seemed to collect losers -- maybe like a planet gravitationally attracting space junk as it orbits the asteroid belt? My class's yearbook's faculty advisor was Mr. Thomas Longstreth, University of Pennsylvania alumnus (M.A.?). He seemed to be perpetually in a perhaps even partially benign fog, or maybe he just looked and acted that way.
Mr.(sic) Longstreth had more pressing things to do each weekday afternoon than to review, or, a fortiori, to edit yearbook pages, and he told us so. He had
to coach an athletic team
and he may also have had a wife who, as one might say, had problems (I am not sure of this
last item, because (1) I had no sex education, because (2) she gave me no "Tea and Sympathy", and (3) because
teachers' our Masters'
personal lives, like our own I.Q. scores, were none of our business (Like I have recently become curious about their putative Lord and Savior of this nominally church-affiliated school which made me be a flaming a[nti]theist: Did they or didn't they?, I now wonder).
Teachers did have a separate Upper School toilet room which was off limits to students and, although architecturally adjacent to, was not a miasma of fermenting urine residues, stains and smells like the students' toilet room → I held my urine all day, every day, with very few exceptions, to avoid having to hold my nose and publicly expose✟ myself (I did, one time, for some reason. sneak a peek into both these excrementoria).
We students were, of course, let on to such things as that one of their smiling faces was supposedly an ex-Navy Commander or some rank or other [this prig was no Captain Brett Crozier!], whom I, in my wimpy vulnerability, cognized as being as thick as, and more self-righteous than, the Upper school building's cinder block walls, so I chose American History for idiots, taught by the Director of Athletics, rather than Advanced Placement American H. For decades, I had occasional bad dreams of not having turned in my term paper in "Mitch" Tullai's ("Mr." to me) class and, consequently having been prevented from going to college, and consequently being sentenced by "them" to end up rotting in a street like a stray dog✟ -- maybe, now, with an earned doctorate, I get a pass?). I never took American history course in college and I got advanced placement for something else (today I love the history of everyday life, and military history beginning with General William Tecumseh Sherman's ("Billy" to his men) ethnic cleansing operation in Georgia and South Carolina).
Unlike our faculty yearbook advisor, somebody at the Yearbook publisher did read what we wrote, and they reported what they had read to the school's administration. The two above cited truth telling acts (maybe they were also subconscious revenge?) earned myself and the Editor-in-chief an Inquisitorial Proceeding✟: The whole faculty or at least most of them, including if I recall correctly, the doddering old foggie -- something like this was the by almost all beloved's (not by me!) nickname: Foggy Warner -- arrayed themselves in about 300° of a circle in front of the Editor-in-chief and myself, who completed (squared?) the circle. [It is interesting to note they had set it up in such a way that we two defendants had no opportunity to talk with each other, I believe, in the hope we would tell contradictory stories. Clever kittens they were!]
I stood my ground and told the truth, that we had advised Mr. Longstreth that if he did not oversee what we were doing (I forget the rest of this sentence, but it was something to the effect that we would do what we were doing).
Anyway, this was my second Inquisitorial Proceeding✟, and this time, unlike the first Inqusitorial Proceeding✟ they subjected me to, I straightforwardly told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: about Mr. Thomas Longstreth. They did not like it, but while I was thinking virtue was its own reward, I had an ace on the hole which I did not at the time recognize, else maybe I could have really stuck it to them (Viva Baltimore's own Frank Zappa of whom I was not aware at the time!): They maybe did not dare expel me because that would have meant them having to remove a kill flag from their crusading fighter's fuselage [An F-minus one Scumjet?]: I was going to Yale and they wanted good PR to lure more parents to pay tuition to deposit their scions in their institution. I was indeed a piece of meat, but I was USDA Prime, and not only to be eaten for faculty lunch (in Japan, restaurants display lifelike models of their menu offerings in their front windows). If I recall correctly, my Inquisition✟ took place at lunchtime, and the faculty may have forfeited their food in hope of consuming me and my co-defendant.
I was prohibited from attending my graduation (should not having to sit out this presage of boring meetings at work have bothered me?), and presumably somebody else collected my Book Awards. I never read the books. Books were just school assignments to test how high fidelity a bio-based tape recording and playback machine I was. A year or so after college, I did discover the Revox advertising slogan: "It's built like a brick shipyard." (Aside: I have often thought of this place as: St. Paul's School and Shelter, pace the possible unintended empathic connotation of that last word.)
Before matriculating at Yale, I spent a summer vacation which included my mother finally drinking/anorexia-ing herself to death -- she apparently choked on a Wonderbread sandwich in the middle of one night. On the drive home from the vacation place where it happened, I was driving the car and ran over an animal in the road and wondered if I should stop but my father said to just keep going.
I never saw service in Vietnam, but, if I had not had a probably high I.Q. [this number was a secret assiduously kept hidden from me by adults who maybe had I.Q.'s] to help pull me through, I was pretty much a "basket case", to deploy an idiom I think I had heard of then, which was not often joy giving but may ironically have helped me see light in the darkness, if only chronic debilitating OCD fear of being murdered by melanoma. At Yale, I liked R. Mutt and Rrose Selavy, long before I became able to fantasize being Monica Vitti or Amanda Lear. Dada et lux et veritas!
When prigs tell kids to respect their elders, I think they are making a very good point: just they do not correctly understand what they are saying. The prigs should respect their elders, such as Diogenes of Sinope, who, after careful investigation, concluded he could not distinguish the bones of Alexander the Great's father from the bones of a slave. He also was impolite in public, to tell the prigs what the kids would think of them if they [the kids] were not intimidated by them [the prigs]. They could also follow the example of Wilfred Owen, casualty on the Western Front in World War I, and clue the kids in that stuff like school spirit and patriotism ("Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori") were old lies, and that they [the kids] should be on the lookout for persons who would turn them [the kids] into Shakespeare's Falstaff's "food for powder".
Indeed, self-righteous adults should respect their elders; a problem, of course, is that they [the self-righteous adults] lack ability to tell one thing from another -- unless they're just cynically faking stupidity to evade owning up to what they are up to. When 12 years old Jesus explained to his parents that the reason he did not come home on time was that he had to be about his Fathert's business:
"But they did not understand the statement He was making to them...." (Luke 2:50)
St. Paul's School for Boys was not the free school (Khalwa) in Sudan, run by Sheikh Hussein. We students were not whipped for making mistakes when reciting our Koran. We were not imprisoned with no food or water for up to 5 days. We were not forced to sleep on the floor in extreme heat. No student was so badly tortured that doctors in hospital did not think he would survive; indeed, I know of no fellow student at St Paul's School for Boys whose treatment resulted in hospitalization (there was one off-campus suicide in my class: Thomas Stetcher). We were not put in leg shackles or chains for bad behavior or for trying to escape (such misdemeanors only merited: "demerits", which were discharged by light labor on Saturday mornings). There was a school nurse. Man, was I lucky!
It is my understanding that when a popular book does not sell and the bookseller is stuck with a lot of unsold copies, the bookseller rips off the cover, does a Hester Prynn on the first page of each book (writes a big black line on the now exposed naked first page), piles the books in boxes and ships them back to the publisher for credit against the bookseller's account. So let it be with all my teaches.
This is a very serious matter: Because my teaches had political power, even though they had no moral authority, They were able to bully students around with impunity (it was only when I worked for IBM that there was a security office and I memorized their phone number in case -- which came more than slightly close to happening one time -- my manager physically assaulted me). So, Mr. William Clintion Burriss Young, of whatever ordinal number, take away your power to grade me, and what do you become? I will tell you.
On CNN one day, I was watching some lefties baiting some Proud Boys. There was this lady who did not exactly look like a Sumo wrestling champion. She said that she put these hunks in their place by calling them:
You, too, Mr. William Clinton Burriss Young who humiliated me by testing my skill in carpentry when I lived in a split level ranch house where I didn't even know if there was a screw driver in the whole house. Without political power, i.e., without his paycheck, I could have tormented this holier-than-thou Harvard B.A., verbally, until the cows came home, and this prig would have had to eat it or at least run away. Did "he" even have one? Well Sir Anthony wannabee, you know what George Steiner had to say about traitorous clerks [intellectuals], don't you? (WCBY: "I don't whoever that person is.")
Heck! If your St. Paul said: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good", I have no evidence to prove the whole bunch of you were not KGB agents, or do I? So why should I hold fast to you? Let's see if yourself, Mr...., and an archeologist's trowel fall off the top of one of Mr. M. Pei's Twin Towers at the same rate. I promise you, Mr. Ratcliffe, that I will write up the result of my little experiment for Physics class. I know that, as Assistant Headmaster, you are very busy, and I respect that. So no need for you to hop on an Amtrak to rush to the scene. The Pennsylvania Railroad police will take Mr....'s body the the New York city morgue, like they took Louis I. Kahn's body, for tentative identification from his passport, for I think he had one, since his summer gig was doing archeological digging somewhere not here. As Diogenes of Sinope noted: It is not possible to tell the bones of William Clinton Burris (I almost mistyped that: "Buttocks") Young, of whatever ordinal, from the bones of the great humanist architect, Louis I Kahn. ("Who?")
Having attended a prig school associated with a Christian religious denomination, I associated the prigishness with the religion. But now I think that may be wrong. Perhaps not all conventionally religious persons are prigs. Perhaps the prigs were as religious as a wolf in sheep's clothing is a sheep.
Some persons' imaginative horizons are restricted whether by limited ability or limiting pre-reflective social conditioning. If praying to God is their way of being creative and caring and so forth, that may be their interpretive framework for values which are materially decent not prig. What would be catastrophic for them about celibacy before marriage if there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and time and energy enough left in their lives to cash it in, especially if they've seen Paree and still choose to live down on the farm? Which is better: an Egg McMuffin or fresh farm eggs? I will take an almond croissant from La petite Pâtisserie, but they may not relate to that.
So I listen to a Christian radio station in the car with sympathy. The problem is not the religion but the prigishness, be it associated with an established Church or not. The Church may be subject to both prig and pro-life interpretation, i.e., pro postnatal life, irrespective of disagreements about foeti.
In writing about my
prep perp schooling (grades7 thru 12 on a scale of K thru 12),
I saw the light: In 7th grade, the school had such a thing as high school
competitive contact sport athletic teams and
something else called: "school spirit". Perhaps, my reader, you will already see where I am going here?
I had zero interest in "my" school's competitive contact sport athletic teams. I was impartial about whether said teams won or lost or whatever. "School spirit" was a phenomenon to me: it was a noematic object subject to variation of noetic modality. Other students may have believed in it. (I just wanted to not be impinged by it.) I will here grant that at least some of those other students really did believe in it, i.e., that "school spirit" was something incomprehensible to myself: an encompassing semiotic field within which they were existing rather than an object in their semiotic field. If yes, then they were in its thrall: they were in: the natural attitude!
So there you have it: All I needed to become a student of Edmund Husserl was to get the jargon. I was naturally into at least a primitive form of: bracketing. Needless to say, my torMentors -- actually they were my: masters, as if I was the child of slaves pre-1863 → did not applaud or encourage my proto-philosophical activity. Because, unless they were practicing another form of bracketing, namely: being a/immorally cynical (not in a Diogenes but in a Jeffrey Skilling / Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme sense --, they too were mesmerized in a natural attitude thrall. I, of course, would condemn them for such "naive" ideation but they would either have self-rightiously disagreed, or, as Freidrich Nietzsche said The Last Man habitually does, they would have: blinked. Such people should not be teaching anybody anything until they understand something and not just instantiate and teach by example: banality.
There is something more here: I think I was at least mildly "schizoid" in a clinical sense. Schizoid persons are detached from their surrounding world. They are not evil, like narcissists and sociopaths. They just don't connect with people. Isn't that a form of "bracketing" and potentially thematizing the world of "the natural attitude"? In other words, psychology professionals must be very careful not to do to schizoid patients what is done to the one-eyed man in the land of the blind, which to surgically remove his eye to make him whole and normal. Psychology professionals need to help schizoid patients to connect in a way that preserves their distance from "the natural attitude", i.e.': what saves them from being homologized to become like the "everybody else" who are not fully aware that they are doing what they are doing but just doing it (waking sleepwalkers?). Schizoid patients need to be gently welcomed into protective warmth and affection which respects their space. I am one.
|Vanna House stairway to a wall||[Not a Venturi Staircase]|
there is a Santa Claus the world is a piece of shit. The greatest architect since Imhotep: Robert Venturi, created it for his mommy to mummify herself in. "The bedroom on the second floor [of Vanna House which Bobby built for Vanna] has a 'stairway to nowhere,' that continues the winding path of the home's staircases but doesn't lead to anything." ("Visitors get an inside look at Chestnut Hill's famed Vanna Venturi House", WHYY, + 2013.04.24). [Another house he designed is even worse, if you can imagine, which I could not: here. When I saw a picture of the inside -- of inside the living room looking out -- I thought it must be a late-stage Alzheimer's hallucination of a demented sometime B-29 bombardier.]
That stailway does lead to something: a blank wall, like you can beat your head against. It's a prescient symbol for how all our lives are going nowhere what with the earth overheating and minds now going dark, too. Aren't you lucky, child?
It's a damned shame we aren't "persons of color" so that we, or at least people of our color in the aggregate even if not any particular individual except our great "Activist", woke leaders, can have a right to life -- and maybe then we could collect some reparations from despicable people like we are. You have to face facts: Your daddy is going to be a "dead white male" some day, and you will have to live with that shame and stigma for the rest of your life. But you will die, too. It's alright. "Black lives matter" -- not you or me, or even individual persons of color: just their tribe as a clump. No, darling, they're not a hoard of locusts: they are herd mammals, like sheep.
You ask what's on the other side of the wall? Well, of course it's just more empty space, but if you can pass thru that wall, say, when you "kick the bucket", maybe you will go to Heaven, or to Hell, where you will meet Vanna and Bobby in a better, completely politically correct place? If you kill yourself you'll find out sooner than if you get a job and become a wage-slave for 40 years until you won't get Social Security because -- because I don't know what but it doesn't matter because, as I told you, we don't matter except for providing reparations to "people of color" who have been persecuted such as Professor Angela Davis, Ph.D.. They're special, you know. Now, before you go to sleep, child, let us pray to our tribal Spirit. Ready? Here we go. take a deep breath, and say it with me: Woke! Woke! Woke! Lights out.
The 2022 war in Ukraine is a duck-rabbit.
Almost everybody in The United States sees the war in Ukraine as a fight to protect the virginity of a helpless damsel in distress who is being raped and brutalized by an evil monster: Russia's Dictator Vladimir Putin, who is the worst thing since Adolf Hitler. No effort is too great to help save Good from Evil. It's falling dominos time: If Mr. Putin wins in Ukraine, the next thing this soulless former KGB agent will do is attack Disneyworld in Orlando Florida and kill the American dream.
Mr. Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy is a combintion of the damsel and her knight in shining armor. Give him the weapons he needs to slay the fire-breathing dragon: to defeat the Russian invaders. If it means destroying all life on earth higher than grasses and cockroaches, that's just the price which may have to be paid for Good to defeat Evil, because better dead than red (Aside: Russia is no longer even a nominally "Communist" country). America's President Joe Biden has brevely sounded the clarion and sounded the claxon: All hands on deck! Putin must go, no matter what the cost! And the ladies probably all think that in his green commando t-shirt with his buzz cut hairdo and two day old growth beard [cnt' take time to shave when you'v gotta save your country for the barbaric Russians!] he is the sexiest man alive. Mr. Zelensky is a hero for freedom bravely leading an existential war to save democracy!
I see the war in Ukraine as a denial of history: America issued a promissory note to Russia in the 1990's we would not take NATO east of Germany, and now the loan has come due and Mr. Putin wants to collect, and since we haven't been nice about it, he's doing being the repo man. I see this war as risking global thermonuclear catastrophe to double down on a lie.
I see TV actor Commando Z as a selfish opportunist whose television role has gone to his head and he's getting away with it: A man is obsessed with being the autocratic ruler of a Ukraine propped up by NATO/The United States of America, who is waging a very savvy public relations campaign to play on the emotions of liberal democracy people in The West, starting with America's puerile President, Mr. Joe Biden, to give him weapons to slaughter Ukrainians by placing them in harm's way and baiting Mr. Putin to kill them so he can scream "Russian war crimes!" to keep pushing his sob story to please give him more weapons to stop the Russians from killing even more of the Ukrainians whom he has placed in harm's way. Not only that, but personally, I see him as a disgusting little man who trots along like a dog behind anybody who will give him weapons and whose cultural level he himself has bragged about by saying he finds some British comedian or other "more understandable than Monty Python". I'd like to see his remarkably spherical head on a tee-ball stand to whack with a baseball bat and see if Mickey Mantle could hit it out of the park. Mr. Zelensky is an opportunist sleazeball, cynically orchestrating a totally unnecessary war for personal gain!
I (BMcC) am astounded. Each and every word and image I encounter on the unreliev
Whichever side you are on, isn't it clear that Mr. Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy is being seen in two incommensurably different ways by the different people described above: Freedom fighter or cynical mass murderer. Hero or opportunist. Celebrated or despised. Duck or rabbit. The 2022 war in Ukraine is a duck-rabbit.
And on and on it goes: People who have nothing of value to live for (the arts and sciences) can get all emotional about their dead ancestors: They would join them under the ground to keep their graves from being plowed under by the enemy to build an airbase runway. I'd be upset if either side took my books away. Wave the flag? If it's hot and you have no other rag to wipe your sweat off then you'd have to wring it out. But it would be bad to have to do that if the flag was for either side and very finely crafted from quality fabric.
I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) just want the slaughter and the waste of resources to end. Potlatch people. I'd like for Russia to get what we promised them in the 1990s. Then, if Mr. Putin attacks Germany and France, it would be a different story. I would like to see all petty people, such as patriots, to stay in their place and respect their betters, such as myself, and not cause us any trouble.
"All social customs are shared hallucinoses aka social psychoses." (Wilfred Bion)
Three years ago, he [French President Macron] invited Mr. Putin to the presidential summer residence at Brégancon and declared that "Russia is European, very profoundly so, and we believe in this Europe that stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok."
The Ukraine war has jolted, if not undone, that idea. "Mr. Macron knows Ukraine cannot resist without the United States," Mr. Moïsi said. "You cannot build Europe as a power without America because you lose half of Europeans if you try. The unity of the West is the key to the unity of Europe."
Whatever Mr. Putin declares on May 9, that unity has proved effective in defending Ukraine and hurting Russia. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III wants to see Russia permanently weakened, "to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine."
This will not happen overnight and it carries evident risks.
"In 'First Person,' the autobiography he published more than 20 years ago, Mr. Putin described cornering a rat in his dilapidated St. Petersburg apartment building as a boy.
'So, he turned around and jumped on me,' Mr. Putin wrote. 'It surprised me and I was very afraid. It pursued me, jumping downstairs,' before the boy who would become president managed to slam a door on the rat.
'On that stairwell I understood once and for all what it is to be cornered,' Mr. Putin wrote.
If, as it seems to be, the rat story is any indication of the convictions of the man who now controls Russia's nuclear arsenal, then direct, even reckless, attack is Mr. Putin's response to feeling cornered." ("Two Europes Confront Each Other Over the Glory, or Shame, of War", Roger Cohen, NYT, +2022.05.07)
And so it goes. Duck or rabbit? Was boy Putin's response to being cornered by a rat: (a) reckless, or (b) sensibly self-protective, or (c) other [Please specify: firstname.lastname@example.org]. Duck or rabbit? Or what?
bradford mccormick <email@example.com>
4:11 AM (3 minutes ago) [+2022.05.09]
to letters [The New YorkTimes]
I reread the ending this article yet again in a new day and it is even more terrifying than I originally thought.
America is trying to harm Mr. Putin: "Austin III wants to see Russia permanently weakened".
As a child, Mr. Putin was terrified by being attacked and cornered by a rat -- a rat bite can kill a person. We are trying to corner and harm Mr. Putin, a man who has been traumatized by being existentially threatened.
What would one expect from a man who suffers from such a childhood trauma than for him to try to defend himself when another rat attacks and tries to corner him?
The understement of the century: "This will not happen overnight and it carries evident risks." Risks of our having provoked Mr. Putin causing him to fight back against his attacker: us, but this time not with a door to slam, but with thermonuclear bombs. This is an entirely predictable and reasonable response to our threat to him.
What should we do? Back off and stop feeding Mr. Zelensky's anti-Russia war which Mr. Z provoked and was planning since at least 2019 (we have documentation of this fact).
What should we have done? We should never have moved NATO East of Germany, which we promised the Russians we would not do before Mr. Putin came on the scene.
As the title of Univ. of Chicago Prof. John Mearsheimer's lecture free on Youtube has it: "How The United States created Vladimir Putin."
The Times is indeed doing propaganda of which Dr. Goebbels would have approved: Tell the people a truth that is bad about their political regime in such a way that they hear it as supporting their regime's bad policies as good policies which in fact it argues against. Obviously this is not reporting the news without fear or favor. It's mind f*cking. It's what Hermann Goring said in his [in]famous statement about patriotism.
The NYT is an unindicted coconspirator in The United States government's plan to overthrow the Russian government by proxy fighters in Ukraine and economic strangulation without our President who cannot control his emotions going before Congress to ask for a formal declaration of war against Russia (one very scary thing is that he would likely get it if he did ask).
What's next? Your New York City Headquarters building in an h-bomb crater? Here in central Westchester, I should be able to watch the mushroom cloud before I die of radiation poisoning.
Bradford McCormick, Ed.D.
19 Stanwood Road
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
Here's another duck-rabbit. Above is a detail from a famous propaganda painting: "The Death of General Wolfe," painted by Benjamin West in 1770, depicts the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, outside Quebec City. It was the turning point in a war that would end with the British takeover of French colonies from Quebec to Florida. (NYT, "The Myth of North America, in One Painting", NYT, Jason Farago, +2020.11.25, reprinted +2022.07.02).
The intent is to show a great manly general on our side sacrificing his earthly comfort as a martyr for the cause of truth, justice and The American Way. I see the General not as about to become a PR corpse, but as an anachronistic transexual having a faux clitoral orgasm from God like St. Teresa of Avila in Gian Lorenzo Bernini's famous sculpture. The general is having la petite mort of patriotic rapture in his fake female genitalia. Which do you see, my reader: a manly British proto-American patriot dying from battlefield wounds for a Good Cause, or a sexually repressed French Roman Catholic nun in hysterical ecstasy?
It's like another duck-rabbit, the death of Mr. Socrates: Martyr for truth or selfish PR suicide act?
I (BMcC) continue to be enlightened (i.e.: for the darkness of my social surround of origin to be illuminated and to see things I don't have that would be good), for instance by Professor Walter G. Andrews book: "The Age of Beloveds". Louis Kahn wrote:
"The city is the place of availabilities. It is the place where a small boy, as he walks through it, may see something that will tell him what he wants to do his whole life."
This is beautiful as far as it goes. Anything less is less than fully human(e). Nobody should have to do anything they do not desire to do. Been there. Done that. Every person should earn their daily bread doing activity that enriches their soul and gives them joy and which also contributes to the preservation and further enrichment of their shared social living. Win-win. Unless I have it wrong, the correct latin is: Laborare orare sit. Let working be praying (not preying, as in exploitation of wage labor to extract surplus value)! My daily passum sub iugum before I was made redundant 15 June 2018 had destroyed my will to live and was destroying my mind.
What is ornament? It is everything that makes anything look better than it is: better to somebody wth the power to make another person eat it. It is evrything that makes people with power look good when they are just selfish. Take the example of Mr. Adolf Loos. For whatever reasons or lack of same, late Victorian upper middle class men and women wanted to play a ver ysick sex game: not straightforwardly enjoying their bodies and making sure nobody else, especially young persons, did either. Ladies deveoped hysteria which some physicians addresse dwith masage. Middle aging gentlemen did not frequent brothels or the righest and best have mistresses even though they did (you are faar less likely to catch syphilis from a mistress than from a street walker, yes?).
Young men and women were chaperoned. I have no idea what the young ladies did altough Dr. Sigmund Freud did admonish his daughter to not masturbate because the citoris is not a properly female organ, but maybe they were more enlightened than most? In any case, young males, since they could not hav eheathy intimae relations with their peers and maybe aso were terrified of going insane if the y self-pleasured, frequented brothels which we r illegal and thus the women wer often infeted sith Syphilis. So syphilis was an ornament of Vidtorian society. Mr. Adolf Loos apparently among those who got so ornamented. Politely he died suffering from a neurological dementia: it was syphilis. Had his life not been decorated by public "virtue" it would have been healthier and longer. Politeness kills. In the famous painting above we see Victorian young upper-middle class persons decorating their Sunday afternoons with public virtue. How are the young ladies hiding their vaginal bleeding at a certain time of each month and the young men not inquiring bout this surely interesting physiological phenomenon? Dunno.
Is ornament crime? It puts a smiling face on ugliness. Item: Mr. Robert Venturi, AIA. If something is bad it should look like what it is: bad. Ornament is: smiling faces that tell lies. Had my soul murdering job been in Mies van Der Rohe's Seagram Building on the Avanue it would hve been no different tha n had it been in a decorated shed: In 1974, my job did move from a pretty modernist skyscraper to a warehouse: same work, differnt facade. Ornament is only to surface os the deep problem: a whole defective wosial surround (Abwelt).
But Andrews points out that something is still missing from this taxonomy. Curiously enough, the title of a Hollywood film may nail it: "Imitation of life" (1959): Life without love is an imitation of life. Of course, that could refer to 💗cutsey💗 little asexually nude putti💗 dancing on the head of a pin with Valentine 💗hearts💗 floating in the empty space immediately above and/or within their blubber veneered (aka: "💗pudgy 💗") skull bones, and Oochy💗, Coochy💗 Coo💗! swooning perma-virgin auntie Lillian Lorenz Dildo having problems with clitoral constipation💗, but that's not what I'm getting at.
What is missing from Kahn's description of a city, where he rightly does not connect urbanity with population density which can just as well be implemented in an interment camp, is that the built world needs a different kind of ornamentation: to be inhabited by persons who are beloveds, who bring vital energy to the in the end inanimate bricks and mortar, Anderson windows and Subzero refrigerators, Eames chairs and Danese wall calendars and even the living potted plants and house cats and dogs: living breathing erotically enchanting persons.
The problem is not that the prigs made Hester Prynne wear a scarlet "A" on her sweater; maybe she attended a college whose name begins with the letter "A" and their school colors, like Harvard's, are red and white and she got a letter for playing varsity Volleyball. The real problem is that somebody let the prigs buy a truckload of WiteOut, and they have been busy whiting out all traces of life in the human lifeworld (Lebenswelt), like the ancient Egypteans defaced Akhenaten's images after he was dead, ever since.
Know, prude, that paradise were loved the less
Without its glorious visions of loveliness
Let there be no trace of dwelling places
Unadorned by loved ones' lovely faces
How well it may be fashioned matters not
Such a house will still have gone to rot
And anywhere that winsome beauties be
Is beautiful to us, oh Latifi
[No wonder I hated poetry in school where I was assigned to find the hidden meaning, i.e.: an underlying stratum of sediment, like orthodox Freudian interpretation of a dream, and, on the other hand, I liked Assember Language computer programming because what you code is what you get -- the surface is the depth -- and you really do get something that does something not just lumpen. Here's a poem that speaks to me, not E.E. Cummins Diesel Engine cutsie horizontal and vertical text spacing which was supposed to awe us kids who had to write essays in Puritanical format, or The Charge of the Zippo Lighter Brigade → no, that would have been kind of "cool": it was just E.E. Cummings and The Charge of The Light Brigade. Where's the beef? My beef with them is that there was none.]
However, even here,I would deviate from simple conformity to the text. The text goes on to celebrate bejeweled adornments whereas I would have Miesean bodies in a Miesean building. Moderately fitting t-shirts and jeans would be my ideal., or, if somebody else takes the stuff to the dry cleaners, even 1970's corporate business attire. Cats and dogs are naturally outfitted, although the dogs,since they have to go out to go to the toilet, need flea and tick collars. And, of course, some ornameentation is ironically enough, subtractive, such as haircuts and shaving body hair. All ornament is crime, including not just costume jewelry but also shaves and haircuts (ostentation by excision, the worst of which is ritual circumcision → all ritual is ornament, which, per Mr. Loos, is practiced only by savages and degenerates. Period.).
In "Cosmpopolis: the hidden agenda of modernity", Stephen Toulmin at one point lumps together Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Adolf Loos. But previously he had said that Mies aimed at abstract forms which were context-free: buildings that could be used for almost any purpose, whreas Loos was always sensitive to function and context. A Loos house in the middle of a city would not look like one in the countryside, nor either like an automobile factory. So let us throw out the bathwater and keep the baby.
"Form follows function" precedes both architects by decades, according to Wikipedia being the dictu of 19th century Smerian architect Louis Sullivan, whose buildings to us today look 19th century. Mies is saying: form irrespective of function. Not good. But he also said: (1) "Less is more", and, less famously: (2) "God is in the details". While these two ideas fit in with decontextualized art=chitecture, they are not wed to it: Discard everything that is not necessary to serve the purpose in the context. Andm even mor important and universal: buildit to the highest level of execllencr in both design and execution of which we are capable (one could, perversely, even do ornamenttion this way, for instance: In the Vanderbilt mansion Hyde Park New York, the dining room wzlls are marble: up to the hight wher they could get away with painting the wall to look like marble; instead, they could hav extended th true marble decoration all the way up to the ceiling).
So: Go with Adolf Loos, and take the good from Mies and leave the reast. Best, of course: go beyond both and everybody else, what I call, apparently incorrectly using a term frow Leon Trotsky "Perpetual revolution" (he apparently meant: spread the current revolutio everywhere; I mean to overthrow even the current revolution itself, ever again, onward and upward so long as we endure on this side of the topsoil or any place else).