I was the indifference
Q: Why is it important for persons to be healthy? A: So that more surplus value can be extracted from them. (BMcC)
Yes, my reader, the above is the invasive monitoring to which I was subjected as an elementary school child (early 1950's), each year, as 25 December approached. A decade previously, Admiral Karl Dönitz had implemented a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare by the German U-boat fleet against Allied shipping over the whole world, to sink on sight at will.
I do not recall whether "my" mother actually posted a piece of paper on the the wall above the kitchen stove, to log my daily positive or negative progress. At age 18 years, of course, I would be evaluated as to whether I was fit to be Falstaffian "food for powder", by my putative uncle, Sam, who deployed thermonuclear weapons, not just psychological warfare, in the battle of a massive nation state and its minions against against a single child so scrawny that his parents threatened him to send him to hospital unless he gained weight. A child who, as an adult, further, would be flattered by a leftist jewish man in the prime of his life, who said I looked like I was from a [Nazi] concentration camp. That last point, however, I did sincerely take as an appealing compliment, in part because it was something meant well, and was not yet one more unsolicited and unwelcomed threat, and, in other part, because I like[d] looking that way (in the fashion world, size 6 female models are highly sought after).
Now, my reader, please consult the two reference images, above right, for examples of what, like North Korea blares anti-South Korean propaganda from massive loud speaker arrays across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into South Korea, I was bombarded with, as 25 December approached, each year ["Target in sight, Colonel Tibbets. Hands off the yoke, Sir! Commencing bomb run!], but from which Covid-19 looks likely to spare some persons for once in 2020. The "stocking", please note, is in reality 21 inches long, and Bing Crosby was a "crooner" (to be differentiated from a crone, a Crosley automobile, a dog or other honorable canid howling at the moon, etc.).
Please, give me a break!
Can you imagine, my reader, that there are "people" who seem to like this stuff, or at least pretend to each other that they like it, and bless their progeny by exposing them to it?
And these semiotic viral infections have consequences. My adopted daughter, as a small child, liked to go to bed and to sleep, each nite, Until: She was kept up long past her normative bedtime one Xmas Eve, due to the adults celebrating Yule-fool or whatever they called it: after that she fought every night for years against going to bed or. a fortiori, to sleep. But I have been by one of said people assured this did not happen, even though, each nite, I paid the price for it. She still at age 19 years, goes to bed at like 02:00 AM, but I no longer have to stay at her bedside until she quits for the night.
Why should I (BMcC) be the difference?
"You are the difference." (IBM Poughkeepsie motivational slogan, 1979)
From earliest childhood, I never bought into this secular idolatry. Given a chance, today, I have my semiotic 45 Magnum loaded and cocked to target those prigs at the sanctimonious (Saul of Tarsus) prep school I attended at point blank range: "¿Did your Lord and Savior play lacrosse to 'Beat Gilman!', or did He die on a cross to redeem your sins?"
No, I could not have thematized this, then, like I do now in 2020, because I was denied the words and concepts to do that by those who did it to me, and I was not a genius who would have generated the words ex nihilo all by my ownsome. Why should I expect "my" parents and teaches to "get it" when Jesus of Nazereth's parents didn't get why he, as a 12 years old, did not come home on time because he had to be about his Heavenly "father's" business? (Luke 2:49)
This, however, is a fact: At Xmas (aka: Christmas) time, in Richmond Virginia when I was an elementary school aged child, my parents would load me into the automobile and we would drive around the city admiring all the glitzy Xmas lights and faux-statuary people had put up and out for the approaching holy-day. Since I never had the strength of character (or the capitalization) to be a hermit, I went along for the ride. And I did look at all the bright lights and faux-statuary [Please, Frank Zappa, come before dawn and knock all those faux-statues over on the rich people's lawns (right)!]. None of it "did anything" for me.
One house, however, did strike me in a very positive way. It was a home in a rich neighborhood (we lived in a good neighborhood, too, but not this one) that was decorated with only a single light gently shining on a light bluegray painted front door with maybe a modest wreath on the door. I forget the details. The point is that this one house was "decorated" as I would later learn was Mies van der Rohe's religion of modernity: "God is in the details" and "Less is more". I knew nobody else who "got it" that all the Xmas decoration was of no interest or value except this one house.
I should have been treated differently and honored, because I was different, and better (or is Mies van der Rohe lower in our hierarchy of values than "decorated sheds" Robert Venturi and his postmodernist fellow travellers?).
Stella Marie Znamirowski (later: Rhea McCormick)
My mother was pathetic. She as alcoholic, anorexic and apparently moderately schizophrenic, and she died while we were "on vacation", unknown to anybody until dawn, in the middle of one night by choking on a probably regurgitated a Wonderbread sandwich in her bed. My father paid for a very expensive copper coffin for her corpse, but today she lies in a grave in a Veterans' cemetery where my father's half-plot will be forever empty because of his third wife, who was a small-time Nancy Raegan. My mother was a kind of idiot savant: she had a very refined esthetic sensibility and much innate but untrained artistic skill. She could easily make a "silhouette" (construction paper cutout) or a good drawing of your face.
What does this have to do with anything? I have always known that I have zero artistic ability, i.e., freehand drawing skill, etc. This is one reason I was no good to get into any prestige university Master of Architecture program. On the other hand, I have always had extremely refined esthetic sensibility (per above). And, ever more as the years have gone on, I have had ability to create conceptual art, like R. Mutt and Rrose Selavy's plastic art, Tristan Tzara's poetry, etc.
I now think I should split up my mothers "genes", and conclude that I inherited 1/2 of her artistic talent: (1) I did not inherit the freehand drawing (etc.) part, but apparently (2) I did inherit the esthetic sensibility part from her. I may have also inherited some of her psychiatric problems, but 50 years of massive humanistic education has, I believe, been a crutch to help me limp along and not collapse from whatever I inherited of that.
This latter may also be why I so strongly respond to such questions as: "Knowledge for what?" The "for what", for myself, is to be able to be alive. Who would take away from me what (POTUS №40) United States of America President Ronald Reagan shamelessly called: "some intellectual luxuries", murders me and is a cannibal. Bon appétit!
Love makes the world go round (Really?)
"It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!" / "I've had my breasts lifted-but not injected" (Dolly Parton)
My reader! Need I say a single word after the two pictures, immediately above, which are each worth a thousand words even if the one on the left would not likely launch a thousand
ships sailors' pinups?
From the Hellenistic world (2nd Century BCE), which, for all I know, may have been less interested in the beauty of post-pubescent females than pre-pubescent males, we have a statue of an graceful woman who hardly needs to wear a brassiere. From 2020 CE U.S.A., we have a living national treasure who could use William LeMessurier (pronounced Luh-MEASURE) to leverage her buyouts, i.e., to compute the structural steel necessary to support here 40DD cantilever. To make a riff on Mies van der Rohe's [in]famou dictum: More is just more.
What hope is there for The United States of America? That, 4,000 years from 2020, when people will no longer wonder if the Sakura bird's missing tail, if found, would indicate the Egypteans of Imhotep's time ("Who's that?") understood the basic aerodynamics of flight → Will the archeologists of that future age of science fiction made flesh and dwelling in every person's personal Starship, marvel that in 2020 there was a civilization on earth so advanced that they had developed -- not the Step Pyramid -- but Minecraft, which in that distant and so much further advanced someday, 4,000 years from today, even Alan Turing and Kurt Gödel would never have been able to
understand play even if given a thousand more years to try? Give me a break! Let me breathe!
Back down to earth (or at least some persons' interpretation thereof)
I (BMcC) have no idea under Heaven what size my mother's breasts were, even though she went around the -- finally redeemed from Split-level utopia to a 2-bedroom 2-bath apartment on the top floor of a middling-luxury high-rise -- apartment all day dressed in "baby dolls" while she drank her Virginia Gentleman bourbon, and more consequentially for her newborn: Did she ever breast feed me, or was my first nourishment a proto-Big Gulp? I seem to recall "my" Birth Certificate says I was born at 01:02 AM, so, if they live up to their name, all the 7-Elevens would have been closed at that hour, but surely they could have kept some in the University of Maryland (Baltimore) hospital's pathology lab's refrigerator for a few hours, or in the morgue?
The immediately preceding question is not really funny,. The psychoanalyst Melanie Klein spoke of the infant developing concepts of self and other out of experiences of "good breast" / "bad breast", i.e.: the baby wanting milk and sometimes getting it and sometimes not getting it. We must here take that notion metaphorically, a probably at the time glass formula bottle substituting for maternal flesh. Yum!
I was born in the days when mothers did not breast feed and obstetricians (M,D.'s) hacked off every foreskin they could get their latex gloved(?) mitts on. Were these the Reaganomic trickle-down effects of The Manhattan Project and "Silverplate" (the codeword for Colonel Paul Tibbetts's carte blanche authority to requisition any and everything for his squadron of specially equipped B-29's, to drop "the bomb")? Talk about ROI! Did I regurgitate any of it and soil a towel? [Original sin!]
Fast forward maybe 12 years
My mother had no culture (it wasn't her fault; she was childreared that way). But, for some reason, she took me to Ford's Theater (no, not in Washington D.C., but Baltimore Maryland) to see [I had to look this up on Wikipedia]: the musical: "Carnival" (no, not the cruise line, or a travelling amusement show, or Roman Catholic Church pre-lent blowout). I was ants in the pants bored by it. But I remember one thing, from which I traced back to the show's name, some lyrics:
"Love makes the world go round, love makes the world go round. Somebody soon will love you, if no one loves you now...." (this is available free on YouTube)
Yes, Ma'am, them'ds 'da words. Buckle up your 5-point harness, folks, because we are now all going down. Clearly, at the time, my bio-microphone picked up the acoustic signals and transferred them to long-term neurological ROM, for, as you are reading here, I can still, 60 years later, issue a PRINT command "in my head" to reproduce them as English language words, not inscrutable glyphs. I syntactically parsed those words but semantically they had no noematic correlate. I did not ask:
"Love, what's that, mother? Sounds like I might like some. Will I ever get any when I'm older? Is there anything you can do to help me, or at least help me find a good referral?"
No, I just continued to have the "Bottled in Bond" Gentleman at home (actually, I think it's probably fairly decent liquor), and the self-appointed USDA inspectors / white-collar hominid carcass disassembly line workers, at school.
Unlike Friedrich Nietzsche's "Last Man" who has sunk so low that he cannot even despise himself, I did not know to ask such a question as: "What is happiness?" I did have the physiological reaction, however, occasionally to blink. What is longing, what is a star? Character strings to enter in a "blue book" (No, not the United States Air Force UFO project!). If I was schizoid and/or had Asperger's syndrome, I earned it. I paid both at home and in the office [aka: classroom in school]. This was real stuff, not just reaction formations "in my head". What head? Hello, Alice Miller!
Ambulance chaser lawyers are not all bad
Cable TV is full of advertisements for lawyers eager to take on personal injury claims. The latest one, which I heard a moment ago in writing this sentence, is for AIDS drugs that had known bad side effects and for which a replacement already existed, but which were kept on the market until their patents expired instead of being immediately replaced by the new, better drugs.
These lawyers say they take no fee unless they win you a settlement. Apparently they take 33% of the settlement. That's almost highway robbery. But isn't it better to get 66% of something than to be roadkill? Not every personal injury victim has the time, the money and the savvy to research a really top-notch lawyer, follow the audit trail, hold for hours on telephone support lines or even figure out whom to hound, etc.
Let the vulture lawyers eat the living carrion corporate and other criminals! My primary demurral is that there should be more felony laws to let them go after and hopefully bring down (force into declaring financial insolvency as a symbol for their ethical bankruptcy) a lot more of them, like "my" (BMcC) perp school✟
Another attempt to describe the anti-sexual catastrophe of my childrearing
Whenever I see a picture of woman who is also an intellectual, artist or other culturally substantive person, the first thing I am curious about is whether she had had orgasms or, if she hadn'd, whether that mattered to her, or was the notion that erotic pleasure could exist unknown to her, repressed, or what? I am interested to see how far the wasteland of my anti-sexual social surround of origin and its compeers, extends into the entire world.
Another aspect of this impoverishment of mind is that I thought that even though the football and lacrosse playing brutes got sex, that was literally what they got: physiological semen discharge into vaginas; a male-domination act, at best (something any Minotaur could do). I did not believe they had any sexuality in a cultured sense, just sanitary service, so that I envied them only in a strictly empirical sense, for their raw sense data.
Finally here, this extends much further than merely that particular aspect of life which my prigmasters most focally denied me. When recently I reread part of my dissertation, it was painful and I wonder: what intelligent person wrote that? Here is a part of my life that was stolen from me not by 55+ years ago varsity lacrosse worshipping prigs, but by 21st century multinational corporation [fill in this blank with a plural negative noun].
Even if you, my reader, think I (BMcC) am worthless, consider all the great minds who have been destroyed by sex-priggery, and whose contributions to civilization have consequently been curtailed by prigitis aka: syphilis, such a Adolf Loos and Paul Gaugin and Edouard Manet and others. Can these crimes against humanity be justified by the enormous benefit to humanity, or at least to prigs' smugness in their self-righteousness, which derives from repressing persons' natural instinctual life and consequently leading good folks to seek out prostitutes who latter themselves are repressed so that they do not receive proper medical care, etc.? Why cannot all prigs do the right thing and kill themselves, stat? A pox on them all!
The Elgin marbles again
I watched a BBC documentary in Melina Mercouri's cry-baby quest to return the Elgin marbles to Greece (1983-94). She was all morality wimpy over the statuary having been stolen from Greece and in her Medusaness, she wanted then back, as a wolf in sheep's clothing who projectively identified her egotism with the sociological formation "the Greek people" or something like that. I stared daggers at the video.⇝
Playing the role of a prostitute in a film does not qualify one as an art museum conservator, much less one to conserve the Elgin marbles. I have nothing against prostitutes earning their liviing by doing their work. But this lady is trying out for a position on a Jodie Foster minor league team.
My opinion: All art works should go where they will be best preserved, and if that means "stealing" an ethnicity's cultural objects, its factical Objective Spirit, that's just what must be done, because anthropology should always trump parochial possessiveness. Amputate the arm to save the patient. Genuine love is unselfish, not just for individual persons but also for social groups. Tough love is a good idea, so long as it is directed at the perp and not at the victim. If a group needs totem objects which will be consumed in their ritual ceremonies or whatever, let them make replicas to waste, and preserve the authentic, irreplaceable treasures of mankind's cultural heritage in HVAC salubrious conditions in civilized institutions in civilized places. It was not Lord Elgin who had used the Parthenon for an ammo dump or fired the shot that blew it up. Don't kick the cat.
Who are the rightful heirs of the builders of the Parthenon? Let us assume present day Greeks are truly direct biological descendants of the classical Athenians who built the Parthenon. Does that make them their spiritual heirs? No. The spiritual heirs are the persons, if any, who carry forward the spirit of classical antiquity. Might these be scholars in England? If these Brits are great scholars, philosophers, playwrites and politicians of our time who know ancient Greek history better than the current "natives", such as Ms. Mercouri, then they should own the Pratheon as the objekitvation of their spiritual life. What does Ms. Mercouri know? She attended The National Theater of Greece Drama School. That qualifies her as a classics scholar? Again, love is not selfish; if you love something or somone, give them the best you can offer (I certainly did not get this in my (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) child rear-ending).
Had Ms. Mercouri presented a sworn affidavit from Victor Covey (Chief Curator Emeritus of the National gallery of Art, Washington, DC), stating that the British Museum is not taking good care of the Elgin marbles, and, after reading it into the court record, demanded: "You goddamned Brits are not taking good care of these treasures like we Greeks can and will if we can get them back from you brutes, so let us be fiduciary protectors of them, you barbarians in Carnaby Street suits!" I would have said: "Go get 'em, girl!" Butthat does not seem to reflect what she was being all martyrous about. She just seems to have wanted to get her greedy mitts on something she thought she might rip off by manipulating bourgeois sentimentality and celebrity worship. Bitch! [Now, my reader, please skip up a few lines here to read about my (BMcC) personal apocalypse in life. If the skeeters don't get you, then the gators will. ⤴]
End of this disquisition on love and learning.