Narrative Non Fiction And Too Many Unnecessary Words

rubicon cover.jpg

Actually I’m not done with it yet. In fact, after about half-way through it, I put it down last week and have been reluctant to return to it. Reason? I know most of the history already. What I was hoping for, though, was that Tom Holland would consolidate a bit. You know, cliff-note the history but then go crazy with some interesting narrative. For it is, dear worst-reader, a narrative non fiction book. Boy, were my hopes misgiven. That worst-said, Holland is not a bad writer, but he does write a lot–where perhaps a little less would be just as good. Does he have to fill pages? Is there a publisher out there wanting to print more? It doesn’t matter. History is history. With that in mind, I enjoyed reading Caesar’s Civil War more. And so…

Currently reading the book Rubicon. It’s a celebrated narrative non-fiction of the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. That’s right, dear worst-reader. They were two different things. But, as previously mentioned, I’m not as tickled with the book as I had hoped to be. Holland’s writing does not pull me in. Does it push me away? I’ll hold off on that question for now. Of course, this book did make my reading list a few years back after reading about it. And now I’m battling through it. So let me just worst-write a few thoughts based on what I’ve read so far–in case it joins my list of I give up books.

Even though the author is British, I get the sense that through his “narration” he is chronicling the fall of today’s Western empire–with my beloved & missed #Americant in mind. Considering that one of the reasons I chose this book from my to-read list now is the fact that #Trumpism and his lust for authoritarianism is running amok, I’ve always wanted to know why it is that so many many many people can fall for something as stupid as, well, believing and then electing… a President Stupid. I mean, I get it that there is a faux-newz channel in the united mistakes of #Americant. I also get it that Rush Limbaugh has played a major role in corrupting already vulnerable half-baked minds. In fact, the whole right-wing narrative that has corrupted practically everything in #Americant, has never been more obvious. Yet, even after Ronald Reagan, after what one side of politics in the US has done (I am NOT a both-siderist!), I’ve always believed that more than a few people by now should wake up to reality and do the simple task of not voting for the shit side all the time. As usual, I am wrong and I am probably off subject.

The only thing that stands out after reading half of Rubicon is the relationship between the ruling elites and the willing slaves that supported those elites through both the Republic and the Empire of Ancient Rome. But then again, if you’ll allow this tangent, I am obsessed with hating not just President Stupid (the perfect imbecilic example of a 20th century wannabe emperor) but the minions (modern slaves?) that put him there–just like those idiots of Rome that ransacked the world in the name of greed, lust, hoarding, spite and bigotry, etc. Yeah, history sounds familiar, don’t it?

I guess there’s no point in reading a book that tells me neither anything new or anything original about ancient Rome. But for those who know nothing of it, this book might be a great place to start. Who knows, I might finish it eventually out of sheer boredom and that unwillingness to put Caesar’s dagger through my left temple.

Rant on.

T

Feminism, Distorted Reality And Friedrich Schiller

Jungfrau von Orleans cover

Subtitle: Enamoured after reading Schiller’s Die Jungfrau von Orleans… In German!

Note about book cover above. This is my first read of a Reclam e-book. I bought this on iBooks (2,49€) and am very pleased with how the publisher has taken the time to produce it, align it, make a joy to read on a screen. I have to admit, dear worst-reader, there’s probably no turning back for me. Although I’ll enjoy my physical book collection for the rest of my life, by slowly  and surely re-reading from it, here, it doesn’t look like I’m gonna miss buying real books anytime soon.

Onward worst-ho.

It’s been a long time, dear worst-reader. Probably waaaay too long. So I finally broke down the other day after reading this quote from The Hitch (Christopher Hitchens) and jumped on the good foot and bought me the Reclam e-book version of (one of) Schiller’s Meisterwerks. The English title of this book is: The Maid of Orleans. Although I recall dabbling in it (for quotes) years ago in its original German, I was never able to get through much of Schiller’s writing. What a shame, eh? So let me just put this out there, dear worst-reader.

Toms reclams
Part of my book collection includes these Reclams. Love them.

Now that I’ve finally read it in its original German, I’m totally enamoured with this play. In fact, the other night it almost had me in tears. But it wasn’t what I was reading that caused the tears. It was the fact that I was reading Schiller’s German. Yeah, baby. I was getting it. I was understanding it. I was, in fact, enjoying it so much, emotion began to over-take me. Every sentence, every stage direction, every scene and every act put me in fifteenth century France–while reading poetic German. Yeah, baby. This story became a piece of work that I didn’t want to finish. That is, I didn’t want it to end. And so. I skipped the last sentence of the final scene. That’s how I do it, don’t you know. That’s how I stay in a piece work that I never want to end. Also, since I’m getting the hang of reading these ebooks, especially on my ageing iPad Air, I’m really loving how I can so easily access my notes or highlighted text. Wait. Did I mention how flabbergasted I am with this play?

Joan of Arc according to worst-writer.

I’ve always been fascinated with story of Joan of Arc. Reason? Of all the things the Universal (Catholic) Church can do, it’s really, really good at twisting ancient stories, sewing mystery into historic events, and just flat out making $hit up in order to propagate an agenda. The story of Joan of Arc, which I believe to have been a real person, was one of its best über-lies. The only problem is, if the Church is so good at lying or making $hit up, what should one believe if one is interested in the truth? The wiki link above does provide a great deal of info regarding the story of Joan of Arc, including links to revisionist theories. But for worst-moi, something is missing.

Here a short list of what I consider acceptable worst-writer story-lines that could contain the truth about Joan of Arc:

  • The standard, church version (see link above). This is the canonised version of Joan of Arc where she’s a farm girl, potentially from a rich farming father, perhaps even somehow connected to royal blood, but through contact with God, she heeds the call to not just save France from England but also to unite long warring French tribes. In the end she is burned at the stake.
  • The conspiracy-theory. Until reading Schiller this was my favourite Joan of Arc theory. But be warned, it’s kinda out there! In it Joan was part of what remained of the royal blood of the Cathars. The Universal Church committed genocide against the Cathars between the eleventh and fourteenth century. Very few Cathars remained by the end of the fourteenth century. Of those who remained, they gained power and wealth in the chaos of the Hundred Years’ War. In fact, this theory goes so far as to claim Joan was one of the last members of the bloodline of Jesus Christ. JC, btw, is one of the founders of the Cathars as he wasn’t crucified but instead made his way to the coast of France… With his wife and family! I kinda dig the whole idear of the JC bloodline-theory because it fits well with the evil and violence committed by the Church in order to propagate their sick, authoritarian, patriarchal agenda including krapp like the inquisition, crusades, Galileo, etc. But enough of my nonsense, eh.
  • I finally have a new favourite version of Joan of Arc? Way to bring it on Fred Schiller!

The thing that really threw me for a loop in Schiller’s Virgin of Orleans (literal translation of the German title), is its feminism. Not well read in literature of the era, I’m curious if there is any other work from that era where females play such a prominent role–especially when it’s all about war. And not just any war but a war that French men couldn’t win. Indeed. Bring on the Feminines, baby.

The three feminists in the story are Joan, Isabeau (mother of the king) and Sorel (the kings wife). These chicks do some serious conniving. And that’s kinda cool. Also. Unlike the canonised version of the story, where Joan is arrested and tried for witchcraft, cross-dressing, and/or back-talking stupid, ugly white men–all perfect accusations by church authoritarian patriarchal mongers–Schiller instead focuses on her abilities as a warrior and a leader of men. He also makes it pretty clear how men either follow her or fear her. She is also a stedfast believer in God that in no way contradicts the dogma of the time. This leads to her fighting off charges of heresy (by cross-dressing?) but then she dies in battle thereby freeing France from the Engelländer. (Ain’t that a cool way to write it? Schiller, you da man!)

But here’s the real question that Schiller has got me asking: why would he write/create this version of an already established, canonised story at the beginning of the nineteenth century? Would it not have been more dramatic to have Joan burned at the stake? Would it not have been more titillating to portray her as a cross-dresser? Yet in Schiller’s life-time, this was his most popular play. Did his audience like this version better than the Church’s version?

Yeah. The greatest creator/perpetrator of reality distortion fields has to be religion. So much truth is out there and so much of it distorted. Why is that? Nomatter. Schiller definitely helped me sift through it (distortion) a bit more.

-Rant on

T

Everything Is A Joke Until It Isn’t

Kundera The Joke cover.JPG

Subtitle: Thoughts on re-read of Milan Kundera’s The Joke (the 1982 English translation)

“Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky!” -from The Joke by Milan Kundera

According to Ludvik the quote above is from a postcard he sent to woman of interest as a joke. I suppose when written to a person while in the midst of love-lust confusion and during the striving days of the Soviet Unions’ new-beginnings in early 1960s Czechoslovakia, Milan Kundera considers the twisting of Marx’s Religion is the opium of the people more than just a joke. But what can one do if/when the thing you are really joking about is a system that depends on the control of not just words written but also of words thought?

As I ride it gayly and march ambiguously into the twilight of western democracy’s funny-train (the #Trump-era), I’m often wondering if I’ll see the day when the same type of total control (totalitarianism) that Kundera deals with, I’ll also have to deal with. Considering how things have turned out since 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union, I also wonder if the whole socialist experiment was just one big joke played on humanity by some dirtbag she-goddess with a grudge–that stems back tens of thousands of years because of how males grabbed females by the HAIR and dragged them into caves. You know, as in, grab ’em by the… But I digress.

“You used to say that socialism sprouted from the soil of European rationalism and skepticism, a soil both nonreligious and anti-religious, and that it is otherwise inconceivable. But can you seriously maintain that it is impossible to build a socialist society without faith in the supremacy of matter? Do you really think that people who believe in God are incapable of nationalising factories?” -from The Joke by Milan Kundera

Then again, of the political and economic systems alive & kicking in the world today, there really is only one that has past the test of (recent) time. If you’re thinking Capitalism is that system, dear worst-reader, you’d better think again. Socialism is kicking butt right now. From both sides of China’s Great Wall to Vladimir Putin’s total ownership of Red Square to the various interpretations of Socialism in the vastness of #Eurowasteland’s epic confusion, Socialism is way ahead of #Americant… Sorry. Way ahead of Capitalism.

“‘As Communists we are responsible for everything that is going on here.’ I nearly laughed in his face. Responsibility was unthinkable without freedom, I told him. He said he felt free enough to act like a Communist and that he had to prove, would prove himself a Communist. His jaw trembled as he spoke. Today, years later, I can still remember it clearly, but now I realise that Alexej was not much more than twenty at the time, a child, an adolescent, and his destiny hung on him like the clothes of a giant on a little boy.” -from The Joke by Milan Kundera

In worst-short, Capitalism in its current iteration is nothing but a reimagining of Feudalism. Feudalism was a system of lords and serfs, including inbred monarchs. What lead to Feudalism was Slavery. Slavery had the longest run of the three. Slavery goes back to Egypt, don’t you know. It was also used in Ancient Greece, Rome and, of course, it was used to build my beloved & missed #Americant. But then $hit started to hit the fan as that whole Enlightenment thing took hold after the 16th century. Btw, I will always admire the French for one-upping the US when it comes to social and political revolutions derived out of human oppression. Indeed. The French nailed it. (Well, they nailed it in the revolution but fcuked it up in the counter-revolution.)

“Rationalist skepticism has been eating away at Christianity for two millennia now. Eating away at it without destroying it. But Communist theory, its own creation, it will destroy within a few decades.” -from The Joke by Milan Kundera

The thing to keep in mind when worst-writer says that Socialism is currently outlasting, winning, kicking the a$$ of capitalism, is the state of things in the strongest Capitalist strongholds, the US and the UK. Is it any concern to anyone how small these remaining Capitalist nation-states are? Or should one consider how large China is? So even if my claim here is kinda out of whack, the fact remains, China is on the verge of over taking #Americant as the largest economy in the world–and it is far from being a Capitalist nation. Will we someday soon consider Capitalist nations and their extreme isolation a joke? Think about that worst-thought.

“Nobody liked people who relied on pull.” -from The Joke by Milan Kundera

It’s all a joke. Seriously. The state of things in the Capitalist West is a fcuking joke and it can only be comparable to the fcuking joke of the former Soviet Union (and its failure) and to the success of China along with a few places in #Eurowasteland. (I’ve always said that Germany is the last Communist State in the West.) And the thing about a joke is sometimes you’re in on it and other times it’s in on you. I mean, come on. Crooked, lock-her-up #Hillary won something like four million more votes than #Trump and she wouldn’t have done much to counter the chilling effects of the post FDR years where Capitalism has pretty much run amok. Is that not a joke? The Capitalist democracy joke? Is the manipulation of #Americant’s electoral college combined with bailing out banks that act like loan sharks the joke teller? Jokes galore, dear worst-reader. An audience of joke lovers.

Milan Kundera’s idear of the perfect joke: Helena, one of Ludvik’s lovers, attempts suicide by stealing pills from a young man. It turns out the pills are laxatives hidden in a prescription jar of pain killers. While in a panic and trying to save her, she is found hysterical sitting on toilet.

The Joke was Kundera’s first book. Although I started reading it years ago, I never got around to finishing it. Having read three others (Laughable Loves, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Immortality), I knew that I would eventually get around to this one again as it waited patiently for me in my Kundera collection. After picking it up the other day and having a first sitting with it, I realised that I had actually read more than I initially remembered. All the markings, underlines, etc., that I had made so many years ago woke my memory of having read through it one night while gloriously penetrating a bimbo I met in Amsterdam. Yeah, Dankyavel was her name. I would fcuk her for a bit and while in my refractory period I’d read from this book. We’d then fcuk some more and with each subsequent fcuk I’d need a longer refractory period where I could read more. Hence I feel safe considering this a re-read. Btw, the only thing I miss from youth is cumming in or on or around a woman smarter than me ten times a day.

“Pray tell, dear friend, Why doth this honest groom desire to take this honest maid to wife? Is’t for the flower or the fruit?” -from The Joke by Milan Kundera

Most of The Joke is a joy to read. But I can understand why some might consider Kundera’s narrative style a bit cumbersome. (At least that’s what my wife says.) To me, Kundera is an author that has unlimited creative prowess, he maintains a thread that permeates all his work (which I really dig), and his word sculpting never ceases to amaze. But the thing that always brings me back to Kundera–let’s say as a reference source, especially in times of trouble where Mother Mary doesn’t come to me–is the fact that I have always been touched by his exasperations regarding Stalinism. Along with Vaclav Havel, Kundera introduced me to a new reality of political thought. The fact that Kundera is able to combine (his) musings about love, passion and desire from the POV of political oppression, makes his work even more interesting. (Btw, that’s the thread that permeates.)

When I first started reading Kundera, back in the early 90s, capitalist and/or economic oppression hadn’t shown its #Trump face yet. In other words, Reaganomics hadn’t made the full turn to ugly (Deplorables) yet. The Soviet Union was in free-fall but the former oppressed were suddenly free to buy jeans, Marlboro reds, travel, etc. Yet the whole time I couldn’t help but feel that the oppression of the Soviet Union wasn’t isolated nor was it bound by politics. Oppression is oppression, eh. As we all now know, the only thing the peoples of the Soviet Union really wanted was jeans, Marlboro reds and…. blah, blah, blah. What was once authoritarian oppression has now become economic oppression–the difference between the two being jeans, Marlboro reds, blah, blah, blah.

My first read of Kundera was The Unbearable Lightness of Being and it was like being struck by lightening. From the get-go, Tomas became my secret hero. His heroism, btw, has nothing to do with his fight against the Soviet-Man. No. Tomas was about love and the conquest of love and then eventually losing yourself in love. Tomas, to me, was the kind of lover I sincerely wanted to be. Was I ever able to find my Tereza or my Sabina? Of course not–although I did enjoy trying (to find her.) But until the power, the anger and the need to fcuk finally subsided (resulting in the true cute ugliness of feminine payback aka marriage), all I ever wanted was to fcuk like Tomas. The real beauty of Kundera’s The Joke is that Ludvik is Tomas’ predecessor, if not Tomas’ character in spirit. It’s almost like reading Tomas in a beta version.

“Yes, suddenly I saw it all clearly: most people willingly deceive themselves with a doubly false faith; they believe in eternal memory (of men, things, deeds, peoples) and in rectification (of deeds, errors, sins, injustice). Both are sham. The truth lies at the opposite end of the scale: everything will be forgotten and nothing will be rectified. All rectification (both vengeance and forgiveness) will be taken over by oblivion. No one will rectify wrongs; all wrongs will be forgotten.” -from The Joke, Milan Kundera

Kundera’s The Joke is really one big joke. It’s brilliant!

-Rant on

T

Links that motivated this post:
Opium of the people | Wiki

Uncode Yourself – Before It’s Too Late

capitalism and freedom friedman

Subtitle 1: It’s Too Late!

Subtitle 2: Thoughts on re-read of Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom.

“The Liberal conceives of men as imperfect beings. He regards the problem of social organisation to be as much a negative problem of preventing “bad” people from doing harm as of enabling “good” people to do good; and, of course, “bad” and “good” people may be the same people, depending on who is judging them.” -Milton Friedman

Sound familiar, dear worst-reader? Sound anything like what President Stupid said when trying to explain there are good and bad people on both sides of Charlottesville, VA, 2017? With that in mind, is it time to wake up to the embedded code that makes up this/your sucker>fool #MAGA again again again, etc.?

The code has got you.

On the one hand, some refer to the code as the bubble. Others may call it the narative. Then there’s drinking the kool-aide. Let’s stick with bubble, shall we.

“Dude, you’re stuck in a bubble and that’s why you can’t understand what I’m fcuking trying to tell you.”

Of course, the issue being discussed is that of politics. Witnessing a discussion in America with Americans about politics is indeed a sight to behold. But who doesn’t like watching monkeys alternate their thumbs between ass to mouth? And speaking of monkeys, politics and the krapp #Americant has gotten itself into. Here a few random thoughts as to how it got this way.

  • Can you pay off all your debt in thirty days, two months, less than six months?
  • How are those multiple mortgages that you took out; think you bought low, got some great fictional interest rates; and now no one can pay rent to feed that low interest?
  • Worried about seeing a doctor, dentist, or even calling an ambulance?
  • Finance a car for seven years lately, sucker? Seriously. Seven year car financing. Are cars made to last that long?
  • How does it feel to be part of the minority-rule supporting the 1% because you’re too fcuking stupid to have thought about this over the past thirty years?
  • And let’s not even talk about credit cards, student loans, etc.

But there’s more code.

“On the one hand, if the minority feels strongly about the issue involved, even a bare majority will not do. Few of us would be willing to have issues of free speech, for example, decided by a bare majority.” -M. Friedman

“That’s a demon I will take down, or I’ll die trying. So that’s it. It’s going to happen, we’re going to walk out in the square, politically, at high noon, and he’s going to find out whether he makes a move man, make the move first, and then it’s going to happen. It’s not a joke. It’s not a game. It’s the real world. Politically. You’re going to get it, or I’m going to die trying, bitch. Get ready. We’re going to bang heads. We’re going to bang heads.” -Alex Jones about Robert Mueller (who is investigating President Stupid for being stupid)

What is your favourite code? I know the favourite code of certain types of stupid, ugly white people. And I assure it has nothing to do with an app for your phone. But let’s not get too complicated. Here an example of some very simple non-app code: unite the right rally. Why would a country need such a rally in 2017? Has the right been so convoluted/diluted over the years–you know, post 1865–that it has to unite (again)? If so, how does such a thing permeate through time & space of the American Dream (sarcasm off)? Indeed. What motivates these really, really ugly, stupid white people to do such a thing? That’s right. Code. The code of language, of gesture, of eye-contact, clothing, crocs. And so, after recently reading a brilliant book, I began to ask: what is this code?

Last night in an ill-motivated and drunken stupor I reached for my e-reader and immediately called up Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. I started re-reading…

Chapter 2: The Role of Government in a Free Society

“The mere mention of royalties, copyrights, patent; shares of stock in corporations; riparian rights, and the like, may perhaps emphasise the role of generally accepted social rules in the very definition of property. It may suggest also that, in many cases, the existence of well specified and generally accepted definition of property is far more important than just what the definition is.” -M. Friedman

“That depends on what ‘is’ is.” -Bill Clinton

Yes. Re-reading Milton Friedman while suffering a kind of panic-attack, especially while sorrow-raging over a twenty-nine year old minimum wage airport worker stealing a commercial airplane, crashing it in a fit of suicide, and then listening to the Newz (The Media?) never ask once why a human being would resort to such a thing. Yeah, reason enough to re-read Friedman, eh. Then again, the thing that hit me is that there is something that connects all of this. What connects is not just all the (bad) Newz, don’t you know. But also all the blatant stupidity that has somehow given rise to THE CODE. Which begs the questions: Is the code emerging, showing its true face? If yes, what’s brought it out? Is it the sorrow-rage of mass suicide on a social and cultural and epidemic scale that no one wants to question? Does the code include the peripheral that goes beyond killing yourself by hi-jacking a commercial airline but also to take with you as much as you can–as the Vegas Shooter (2017) did? Have these people understood the code–a bit too well?

Who are the code writers?

Seriously. I always thought Milton Friedman was one scary motherf’er. The $hit he writes, man. All pure code. And how many people follow him? How many adore him? But it doesn’t stop there. I had no idear that he could be topped. I suppose, in a way, after reading extensive research about him, and now having discovered someone even worse, I’m afraid to go anywhere near a guy like James M. Buchanan. Is it because, maybe, like so many of my #Americant brethren, I’m worried something might turn me? You know, convert me, show me the light, redeem me in the confusion-hate of John the Baptist and his lead-tainted industrial river greed water? Reading one of these crackpots is enough, ain’t it? Please let it be enough. And although I will admit I am tempted to dabble in Hayek for posterity’s sake, please don’t let me go near the likes of James M. Buchanan. Aghast!

As stated, since reading Capitalism and Freedom during a Bali trip ca. 2006/7, and only being impressed with the first two chapters, although I did read the whole book, something tethered my thoughts back to it recently after opening the can of worms that is hate-economics e.g. Friedman & Co. And it’s all about how they write not what they write. Well, it’s also about what they write. Nomatter.

Code. Code. Code.

Code is what these crackpot, dogmatic, idealist, pseudo-economists use when they write books. (Ok. “pseudo” probably not applicable but I’ll keep it all the same.) And their books are nothing more than how-to guides on economic authoritarianism. That’s right. They really are writing how-to books for fascists. Remember, fascism is capitalisms answer to communism, per F.A. Hayek. Yes. These man produce easy guides (easy for the edumacated pawns of the fascist dear leader) about how to oppress people, nations, etc. using economic torture. And boy are they good at it. Friedman & Co., baby. They have been feeding the mind of greed-mongers for at least a century now. And look at the result.

Obviously, President Stupid is taking the code to new levels. Perhaps he’s even side-stepping convention in his use of the code. But make no mistake, dear worst-reader, he too is a code-monger. I mean, come on. At least Friedman can articulate a thought and make it intellectual–even if it is an evil thought. President Stupid does it on Twitter where he’s able to spew code to the redneck shitkickers at the base of the alt-right, right-wing, WWE, fly-over states, free t-shirts and hats make millions of minions vote. And that’s how you activate the electoral college, #Hillary.

Side note: The reason Twitter won’t cancel Alex Jones after Apple and other tech companies have, is because of #Trump. Think about it. Just look at the number of President Stupid followers. Then calculate how much it might cost in stock value if Twitter were to actually do the right thing. (Yeah, Twitter can’t afford it.)

But I digress.

Code Code Code.

“It is therefore clearly possible to have economic arrangements that are fundamentally capitalist and political arrangements that are not free.” -M. Friedman

Two words out of this last quote. Capital and Free. Milton Friedman’s book is titled “Capitalism and Freedom”. Perhaps, not unlike Einstein’s E=MC2, which is also a kind of code, Friedman has found a way to explain everything in the most simple terms. The only problem is that Einstein eventually came around to the destructive power of his code. Friedman died laughing about the suckers he turned to fools with his code. Indeed. Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom is ONLY about capitalist being free to do what ever the fcuk they want. And they do so via code:

Capital + Freedom = Freedom for Capitalists nomatter what the result.

Or maybe not.

Either way, good luck on your journey (#Americants) from being turned suckers to fools.

-Rant on

T

Pseudo Review – 2: How Deep Do The Unpeeled Layers Of Your Rotten Onion Go?

democracy in chains cover

Subtitle: “Democracy In Chains” By Nancy MacLean Goes Seriously Deep Into What Makes #Americant Stupider Not Greater.

She took me deeper, dear worst-reader. This historian, this professor-type person that writes books–and she can take you deep, too. That is, if you’re at all inclined to go deep. Especially the kind of deep that involves figuring out what made The Land of Free To Be Stupid. I mean, ain’t that where we’re at right now? Especially considering that such a claim is straight out of the worst-mouth of an expat–who jumped ship over twenty years ago on account he saw all this stupid coming? Then again, with the political situation in my beloved & missed #Americant–that I probably follow waaaaaay to much–I’d say we’re long past the old saying: going off the deep end. Yeah, we’re actually right there measuring how deep that deep-end goes as we fail-upwards and the ground can be seen below… I mean above. How’s the view for you?

I finished “Democracy in Chains” by Nancy MacLean the other day in the late morning. I’ve been telling myself that I need to let the book rest–as in, rest in my mind–a bit, especially considering I wrote this worst-post about it only two days ago. The thing is, two days ago, I couldn’t stop my typing fingers even though I was only half-way through the book. That’s what happens when you find a book that gets to your innards, eh, dear worst-reader? Indeed.

If you are at all into trying to figure out how something can get so fcuked up, especially politically and economically, MacLean has found a way to explain it to you. Of course, I’m always looking out for a good book to read. I’m specifically looking for a book that will get under my gander by teaching me a thing or three about this fcuked up world we’re all stuck with on account a bunch of greed-mongers run it. This book comes pretty close to doing just that. For example, who the fcuk is James M. Buchanan? Not even sure if I ever heard that he won the friggin Nobel Prize for economics. But before I get too much into all that, allow me to provide an analogy or two that might help you understand worst-writer and where I’m coming from.

Analogy 1 – Peel the onion

You know that old saying, don’t you dear worst-reader? But what does peeling the onion really mean? Well, for some, it’s about work. It’s also about slow work. Some even think it’s about how to get chicks. But let’s stick with work, shall we? You peel the onion and with every layer peeled you complete something. For worst-moi, Democracy in Chains, is the result of having completed a seriously cool onion peel. Layer after layer MacLean shows how the political right-wing of #Americant–and for you both-siderists out there, this really is a right-wing only problem–has a plan to fcuk you over all in the name of, to put it simply: old-money. Let me worst-write that again. Old money is fcuking you. And that’s not the best part about this book. The best part is that MacLean seems to have made a major discovery by…

  1. Peel a completely new onion
  2. With every layer peeled, blow worst-writer’s fcuking mind that kinda knew all this already. (Or maybe not.)

And so. If you want to understand what’s wrong with #Americant and how someone like #Trump can become President Stupid, have a look at what the right-wing has been doing since… Get this. The right-wing has been fcuking you since the fcuking civil fcuking war and they’ve been doing it like leeches, roaches, cockscukers, etc. But let me move on before I blow a gasket.

Analogy 2 – Inception, the movie

It’s been a while since watching the movie, so let me summarise it like this. (Spoiler Alert!) Leonardo DeCaprio is a kind of dream thief. Through some weird chemical and technical manipulation where two people are connected, a dream-state is induced between them. While in the dream-state Leonardo becomes part of the other persons dream–but they don’t know that. They just think he’s a character in their dream. The dreamer is then manipulated by Leonardo which leads to some form of criminal activity in the real world. And here’s the kicker about how I think this has something to do with what Nancy MacLean has done. Leonardo not only can go into one dream-state but he can also go deeper into a dream-state within a dream-state. You got that? I can’t remember how many levels of dreams he ultimately penetrates but he obviously goes pretty deep into various dream-states by the end of the movie.

If I understand MacLean correctly, #Americant republicans, libertarians, Neo-liberals and conservatives, for decades, have been working deep within the layers of the #Americant onion. With the help of Leonardo DeCaprio they’ve been peeling it away from within your dreams in order to screw you and…

Ok. Maybe not. At least forget the last DeCaprio reference. Let’s move on.

Up to now I really only thought republicanism had two levels. I thought these two levels pretty much controlled the whole show. One level is a particular form of economic ideology, you know, Milton Friedman & Co. The other, of course, is religious bat$hittery. You know, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, The 700 Club, weight-lifting, muscle-bound, gun-totting Jesus, etc. But I was wrong. Although the religious part is probably singular in its execution, there are multiple layers of economic ideology that have been stealing the show for decades. These multiple economic layers, though, are not just Keynesian or Austrian schools, among others. Instead there is something completely different going on here.

Seriously. If you thought things couldn’t get any worse because of $hitbags like Milton Friedman, think again. MacLean, in her book, reveals some pretty astonishing stuff about the players in the grand greed $hitshow–from a whole bunch of new layers (peeled away). For example. I had no idear someone other than Milton Friedman was part of what turned Chile, if not most of South America, into a bastion of old money Neo-feudal aristocracies–that right-wing extremists in #Americant adore. Another example. A rinky-dink college in the middle of Redneckville, Virginia, George Mason University, has played a huge role in some of the most dirty, rotten onion layers of republicanism. Seriously. Redneck school got one up on the infamous Chicago School (Milton Friedman)? Take that, Chicago!

If MacLean is right, the stuff she’s discovered in her research is not only scary, but people should probably start filling up their shelter-bunkers–cause it looks like the bat$hit greed-mongers have a long-term plan in place and they ain’t done yet. The upper middle-class schmucks should get on with filling their bunker’s first on account they ain’t part of the layer of republicanism that is doing all this–as they are beholden to the trickle down of the 1%. More on that in my worst-post about being ruled by the minority 30% here.) And, as I’ve worst-said before, the people that make up the #Americant political right-wing, especially the really, really rich and well-inherited dudes, if they can’t get their way with all their misconstrued economic ideology that is basically nothing but bigotry, greed and racism, they will fcuking burn the house down. And they are in pretty good position to do it, too. Speaking of…

Charles Koch

A name that has been creeping around the newz I read and listen to (podcast) for years. But to be honest, I’ve always thought he was just another lucky dude that inherited a krapp load of money from his father. According to the history of Koch Industries, since he inherited it, he’s done pretty well for himself. But has he done anything new, anything original? Of course not. Even though MacLean is very lenient about this man in her book and even praises him for having earned multiple academic credentials in whatever field of science or engineering from whatever bat$hit school, I haven’t fallen for any of that. This guy is nothing more than a second or third generation a$$hole that inherited inherited inherited–like so many others in #Americant. And because of his/her perverted, sexually repressed upbringing, mixed with Godzilla-like bigotry, he is nothing but a man who has never been able to face the fact that he’s never known an original thought. That’s how and only how his old inherited money has enabled him to “succeed”. If you can even call not having ever done anything original but instead buying other companies, bullying other business, blah, blah, blah, success. He and his ilk (very old money inheritors) hate the fact that the world is desperately trying to move on. Men like Koch would rather stop the world from turning. That, btw, is one of the main reasons why old-money is so ugly. Charles Koch, with the help of his favourite political ideology (Libertarianism)–that in its essence is nothing more than greed mongering galore–uses his wealth to manipulate politics for one thing and one thing only. For himself. The #Americant way!

James M. Buchanan

People like Charles Koch, as I said, are incapable of original thought. Therefore they need thinkers. But what do you do if the only people you can associate with (because of your innate prejudices) have even less original thinking than you? You find someone that doesn’t need original thinking. You find someone that can take unoriginal thought and dress it up in a suit and tie and a certain lapel flag-pin–and then sell it as something new. Enter a world full of pawns, academia and pawn-credentialed-academia. Seriously. I thought Milton Friedman was a jerk-off. But Nancy MacLean peeled that onion and found a jerk-off that tops Friedman.

James M. Buchanan, a man that should provide thinkers of this world enough ammunition to finally laugh-off the Nobel Prize–or at least reject it–turned out to be the perfect pawn bigoted a$$holes like Charles Koch could rely on. According to MacLean, Buchanan’s economic idears are perfect for despots of the modern age because they facilitate the writing of constitutions that almost literally put people in economic chains. Hence, the title of her book. And so, Buchanan was useful to Koch until the bitter end when eventually they had to break ranks due to, you guessed it, bigoted, rich-a$$hole infighting.

In worst-summary

Although I don’t want to spoil the book (or have I already), here’s what republicanism is up to according to Democracy in Chains: old money needs to be secured constitutionally–even more than it already is. That is, republicans–as they are guided by The Virginia School (Buchanan, Koch, etc.), the Chicago school and, of course, now #Trumpism, etc.–are in the process of making the system even more one sided and in favour of the rich and the privileged–and making all this akin to what things were like, lets say, between 1850 and 1913 (give or take a few decades). Btw, the term robber baron remind you of anything?

So there you have it. After reading this book I feel fulfilled and I’m happy–even though this book is at times utterly shocking. On the one hand, it has taught me something. On the other hand, I can go into the near future without questioning the contempt that burns inside me for everything #Americant, republican and conservative. Also, I am somewhat relieved that this book helps reassure me that the disease of both-siderism is nothing more than a layer in the right-wing onion. For real. #Americant is the way it is post 2016 presidential election because of republicans. And I think that’s cool. Reason? It makes me feel superior. It makes me feel tingly and giggly as I LMAO on this side of the Atlantic. It also reassures me that the choices I made in life, that were mostly because of the deep-seeded onion filth/rot I left so many years ago, was the right choice.

And boy do I miss America!

Good luck suckers.

-Rant on

T

Pseudo Review – 1: “Democracy in Chains” – A Book To Steal The Heart Of Any Rational Useless-Eater That Figured Out How To Dropout In Style And Doesn’t Look Back With Too Much Anger

Update: Pseudo Review – 2 is here.

Afeared yet, dear worst-reader? Well, if you ain’t afeared yet, it might be time to get your bloomers in an uproar. Or is it get your bloomers in a gander? Wait. How ’bout gettin’ things up in a pickle? Nomatter. I’ve been reading the book Democracy in Chains by the historian Nancy MacLean. In fact, I’m not even done reading it while I worst-write this pseudo-review. And let me tell you, dear worst-reader, two things have gotten to me since starting this book–that I’m about half-way through so far.

The first thing, as just mentioned, is that this book once again reminds me of why people–normal people, people that aren’t born rich and of privilege, people who have earned their “keep” and/or still owe but can pay their bills–including but not limited to people that vote for #Trumpism because they are incapable of dealing with the reality they’ve ALL gotten themselves into by falling for republicanism from the past thirty (sixty?) years…. All these people should be scared (afeared) out of their fcuking bat$hit minds.

Second, and I don’t mean to be overly spiteful, presumptuous, and giggly here, but even though Nancy MacLean probably nails it in this calling-out book about the fcuked-up right-wing of my beloved & missed #Americant, I am snickering my a$$ off at the fact that I knew all of this already–just not as empirically and academically as MacLean details it in her book. Indeed. Ever since I was a young man and tried to make it among the mindless greed herders so long ago, what MacLean writes about is definitely part of my #Americant, worst-writer, failed-artist be-speckled being. With that in mind, let me put this out there:

I am a proud Unützer Esser. Come on, dear worst-reader. Give those old Germanic words a go. Unützer Esser. Unützer Esser. Unützer Esser. Unützer Esser. Say it a few more times. Enjoy the mouth watering acrobatics of the umlaut. Let the double Germanic ‘S’ role over lip and gum and provide that gracious tickle that only comes from subjective oral pleasure you conjured out of any of the many sexual conquests that made HER mouth more appealing.

But enough about worst-moi.

In translation, of course, Unützer Esser means: Useless Eater. Sound familiar to you if you’re one of the minions mentioned above who can’t see through the demise of your own making? I mean, come on. These are two easy words that are pretty easy to grasp, even in the original German. Right? You know. Call up your prejudice. Yeah. There it is. You got it. For you and the conservative-bent that has ruled your life, a Useless Eater is a burden to you because you think and believe that such a person gets by in life and you’re the one that pays for it because you have to pay things like… wait for it: income tax. Of course, does it matter that I use the original German for this term–and not the one most greed mongers, especially those from the infamous #Americant middle-class, use? You know, using the original is cool on account Germans, at a certain point in their near past–which a lot of #Americant white people are obsessed with–kinda invented it? But do you really know what a Unützer Esser is?

For the Germans, Usless Eater wasn’t a term used to describe fully functional people who made choices in life that lead to suckling on the government teat. You know, the marginalised, the drop-outs, those not quite good enough in the realm of corporate behaviourism, etc. I mean, come on. Have you worked in a cubicle lately? Oh, really. You still do? Or are you collecting rent from smart-ass real-estate investments enabled by urban gentrification and artificially low/fake interest rates? Oh wait. Or are you one of them stock-market cocksuckers that actually believes the numbers you see are real–and not fiction/fake that can only be derived from the willing and able über-gullible? If so, good for you. But before we get too off the beaten worst-path.

A Useless Eater, for the Germans, was someone that was physically incapable of being productive and therefore was a cost, a burden to… wait for it: National Socialism. It was a term used to describe the physically and mentally dysfunctional (disabled)–not people that simply didn’t agree with the bullshit of greed-mongers or the ignorant-moronic middle-classes or those who never wanted to be part of a rentier-system that mis-associates a livelihood with actual, real achievement, i.e. a meritless society. Indeed. The Nazis had a different fate for those folk. Usless Eater, for the Nazis, was a term in conjunction with the systematic use of gas chambers, concentration camps, Final Solutions, etc. And as we can see, it’s quite a versatile term, don’t you know.

So here’s a question for you: Would the Germans have eventually used the term Unützer Esser–you know, after they gassed everybody–for the mass of people that would eventually be forced into similar, costly societal dysfunction because capitalism would once again (post 1929) turn into a $hitshow of greed?

Wow. Talk about a mute question, eh!

And now for a little on this book that I’ve only read half of so far.

The thing that motivated me to read Democracy In Chains was Bill Maher’s interview with the author on last week’s show (which I listen to via audio podcast; see link below). In the interview MacLean mentioned how the current #SCOTUS pick from President Stupid was very, very dangerous. In fact, the whole #SCOTUS thing has preoccupied me since right-wingers stole Barry-O’s pick after the death of Antonin Scalia in early 2016. Keep in mind, I’m not worried about this pick because of the reasons many liberals espouse, i.e. he’s a religious $hitbag–which is bad enough. Instead, MacLean mentioned that his judicial record indicates he is a follower of an even more extreme political and economic ideology than the one that’s gotten #Americant into the mess it’s now in. MacLean mentioned in the interview that Brett Kavanaugh is a right-winger that wants to change the US Constitution so that it will better favour property and liberty–for the rich. To do that, according to MacLean, this guy wants to change the 17th Amendment back to what it was originally, i.e. state legislators pick National Senators. He also wants to change the 25th Amendment, which deals with how to get rid of a corrupt President. And now you know why President Stupid picked him. And of course, let’s not forget he will most certainly over-turn Roe v. Wade thereby resetting political and social gains of women in the past… Gee, I don’t know: hundred or so fcuking years!

Wow.

The second thing to motivate me to read this book was the mention of Charles Koch and, someone I had never heard of: James M. Buchanan. Half way through the book I can easily tell you that you should be scared out of your wits–especially if you’re one of them both-siderists that enabled President Stupid. Or you’re a libertarian that will spend your life dreaming the dream of dreams thinking you’ll be safe when it all crashes–you know, with your Ayan Rand gold collection. Or, and here’s the doozy, you should be biggly, huuuuuugely afeard if you voted for Trump and you actually work/worked for a living. Yeah. What’s going on in the halls and cess-whirl-pools of the United Mistakes of #Americant right now should make you run for the fcuking hills! But then again, don’t you’all deserve this?

Golly-gee! The dystopia-ists who chronicled all this a century ago–because they already lived through it–Orwell, Huxley, etc.–are probably laughing their a$$es off just like me right now.

“But why are you laughing, worst-writer? You’re a f’n failure through and through!”

I’m laughing because, well, it’s hi-larry-us that I jumped ship because I knew as far back as the mid to late 1980s how that ship was sinking, the train-wreck was underway, and since then, in all my travels, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting one American that actually made it beyond being a pawn in this the grand shit$how of greed.

Anywho.

I’ll be posting a follow-up pseudo-review of this book once I finish it.

Good night and good luck, suckers.

-Rant on

T

Links:
– NPR review 1 – https://www.npr.org/2017/06/18/531929217/democracy-in-chains-traces-the-rise-of-american-libertarianism
– NPR review 2 – https://www.npr.org/sections/ombudsman/2017/08/14/542634650/readers-rankled-by-democracy-in-chains-review
– NYT review – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/books/review/democracy-in-chains-nancy-maclean.html
– Glossary of Nazi Germany ‘U’ – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_Nazi_Germany#U
– Ep. #467: Malcolm Nance, Nancy MacLean – Released Aug 04, 2018 Bill’s guests are Malcolm Nance, Nancy MacLean, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Charles Blow, and Steve Schmidt (Originally aired 08/03/18) | This show is available as audio podcast on iTunes | https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ep-467-malcolm-nance-nancy-maclean/id98746009?i=1000417184062&mt=2

Suburban Hell Tribe Wars Or How The Feminine Stole The Show

the mere wife

There are two things I always think about when I think about the tale of Beowulf. The first is the connection the story has to religion, specifically monotheistic religion. At the time the story was written polytheism was still relatively common in Northern Europe. Even though it is a very minor part of the original text, I believe the slight mention of Christianity is a significant one because the story stems out of a time period where northern Europeans were determining their fate and considering carefully what was going on to their geographical south. Indeed. Odin and Thor and Loki were obviously not enough as the roar of the Roman + Christian empire(s) just below them glowed large and all-powerful.

In the original Beowulf text the Christian religion is mentioned during a debate with the King of the Danes that maybe they should hire the Romans–as in the Christ believers–instead of Beowulf to help them fight Grendel. It is because of that question I’ve always believed that Grendel is not an individual but instead a group or a tribe. Btw, the same applies to Beowulf. In other words, although the story can be about an individual or a few individuals and the heroism that entails–as it’s been interpreted through out the centuries–I believe that the story is actually about tribes that were in a perpetual state of war not only about power and possessions but also beliefs, dogma and Gods. So what were they fighting over?

The second thing I think about is the role of matriarchy in society (tribes) and how rule by the feminine has pretty much been annihilated–even to this day. That is, Grendel and Grendel’s mother represented a tribe(s) where matriarchy ruled. Such rule was unacceptable to the King of the Danes and Beowulf–i.e. two macho-tribes that teamed up. Hence, the Roman Christ God, its patriarchy, its dogma, its weapons and techniques of war, was an acceptable alternative for the macho-pigs in their quest to take over (everything). At the least, this other form of religion put the women-folk in their place. Ultimately, the macho-pigs, embodied in the macho Beowulf, fulfilled this fledgling dogmatic image and, at least in the short term, saved the King of the Danes by defeating–annihilating–not only rival tribes but the rivalry of matriarchy itself. This, in-turn, was the final straw that lead to the Christianisation of Northern Europe that The Universal Church (that would eventually become The Catholic Church) up to that point had been unable to tame. So was Beowulf the north’s first sacrificed saviour? But on that note, I digress.

So much for worst-writer’s interpretation of the Poem of Everything. Instead, dear worst-reader, let’s focus on someone else’s interpretation of Beowulf. Someone who I think has nailed it. I just finished The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley. Talk about interpretation, baby! And not only can this chick fcuking write–she has created a glorious text to read–and she’s even come up with a pretty good interpretation of Beowulf. But only pretty good!

Set in the modern suburban-hell of my beloved & missed & war-torn #Americant, Headley has kinda done a reverse and inverse of Beowulf. Her interpretation is not hero centric but instead heroine centric. By turning the story inside-out and telling it through the point of view of the feminine, who must cope with the fcuked-up world created and facilitated by male driven war, if not penis-driven suburbia, she has masterfully concocted a story of the trials, pains and tribulations of a once great nation run amok–and what that’s done to the chicks. Even though I don’t actually like her feminising my favourite man-cave text–and I’m especially not sure if I would like it if I wasn’t already familiar with the original–she writes with such lyrical precision and word-beauty that I’m ready to give one of her other books a go. Yeah, baby. Queen of Kings is next?

The Mere Wife deserves every bit of praise it gets. In fact, I’m gonna have to search the #interwebnets for whether or not anyone doesn’t like what Headley has done with Beowulf. And if/when I find someone who doesn’t like it, I’m gonna hunt them down and stick a big fcuking knife in their neck and drink their blood till the roar of Beowulf booms out of me. Argh!

-Rant (and read) on.

T