She-Goat

Most of what passes for entertainment is what, in 1509, Erasmus referred to as "dumb shit" in his essay Laudare Stultitia (Praise of Folly). My Dutch is mediocre, my Latin is worse, but I just don't like any of these English translations so as far as I'm concerned the phrase "mutum stercore", even in the early 1500s, translates to "dumb shit".

Reality shows, YouTube videos, social media noise, video games..all of the distracting "mutum stercore" that keeps the working class from focusing on the causes of their nagging despair and economic enslavement..all of it..plays into the psychological need to avoid dealing with the dire realities of the present and instead revert to the instant gratification of an electronic ice cream cone for the screaming inner brat.

Erasmus, of course was more concise in his assessment: "Stultitia est ulna res, quod tenet iuvenis propinquo et senectus procul," which, to the best of my ability, translates to "Folly is the single thing that keeps youth nearby and old age at a distance."

It is this same folly that allows Americans to sit on their hands while their elected representatives in the Senate vote down a proposal (61-36) to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force in Afghanistan and Iraq - the blank check that gave the Cheney/Rumsfeld Administration (as well as all subsequent administrations) the go ahead to loot the US treasury for trillions of dollars, set the entire Middle East on fire, and turn the US military into a thinly veiled security force for multi-national energy, mining and weapons manufacturing corporations.

It's what Erasmus would have called "stupri absurdities" or "fucking bullshit".

Those 61 members of the US Senate who voted down that proposal do not represent the interests of the American people. They represent the corporations that profit from the continued exportation of war.

If you asked 100 people on any American street if the Senate should continue to authorize the US military to spent HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR on endless, deliberately un-winnable wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and other countries rather than spend that money on universal healthcare for every American, massive job creation in the state-by-state rebuilding of urban and rural infrastructure, and tremendous tax breaks for US-based, small corporations willing to invest heavily in renewable energy companies that employ American workers at decent wages to create an energy independent America for the 21st century, you would NOT get 61 of those people voting as the Senate did.

You know that old phrase, "the fox is in the hen house"? Yeah, well we're a little past that now. The fox has already eaten all the hens and he's turned the hen house into a bachelor pad where he smokes crack and jerks off to porn all day, kicking' it 'till the farmer figures out why the egg production has stopped.

While Pierre-Joseph Proudhon is my current favorite malcontent, I do enjoy the way Erasmus liked to whip out his Dutch crank and swing it in the face of religious authority. You have to admire the balls of a high profile guy in the early 1500s publishing this Latin sentence -

"Nulla recta invideo habent enim si nutrix capra cum laeta deae eram duobus uberibus"

or

"There is no reason I should envy you for having a she-goat for a nurse while I'm getting suckled by two jolly nymphs."

The "fox is in the hen house" quote is probably more relevant to what I was talking about but Fuck yeah, Erasmus!

John Bizarre

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..and from September..

Floating on my bag of coconuts

Imagine taking your smart phone, your computer and your television, turning them all off, and then leaving them off for a month.

A month.

You tell everyone who needs to know that "I'm gonna be electronically unavailable for a month, so if there's something truly urgent taking place that absolutely requires my attention you can just tell my contact at such and such a number and he'll slip a note under my door and maybe I'll open it and maybe I won't, but really, I did use the word unavailable and I'm sure you'll be able to figure out how to deal with whatever comes up and, y'know what, sweet jabbering Jesus, I just need a breather from all this twaddle for about 30 days and I bet when I get back everything's gonna pretty much be the same, only faster, more annoying, and a fuckload louder than I remember it."

At the beginning of '94 I gave away all my possessions and moved to Amsterdam, Holland to build a rickshaw and just loaf for a while, much like Larry Darrel plans to do in New York at the end of a book called The Razor's Edge. The idea was to work for myself when I wanted, for how long I wanted, IF I wanted, and make enough money, when I needed some, to just hop on a train to Budapest or Brugge or Barcelona or wherever the hell I felt like going, and hook up with people in hostels, people from all over the world who, like me, just want to drink coffee and smoke Moroccan hash and sit at an outdoor cafe with the International Herald Tribune watching the world go by, maybe go to a museum and try to find a Frans Hals or two, play some guitar on the street for a few hours and make enough cash for some bread, cheese and wine, then go find that Italian chick with the thing on her face and tell her she's fulla shit before I run out of money and have to hop a train back to Amsterdam, unlock the rickshaw and make enough money for another adventure.

I ended up doing that for two years.

It was before smart phones, I didn't have a computer and I don't remember there being any internet cafes in Amsterdam at that time. If they were there, I wasn't aware of them. I didn't have a telephone and my pain in the ass Nigerian roommate, who considered life to be little more than one long argument, wouldn't let me use hers. So once a month I would go to a "phone place" and pay some money up front to call my mom and dad and tell them I was alive. I also kept in touch with some friends through the post office now and then, but that was it.

No texting or facebook or twitter or email..none of that. Just a single phone call once a month and the occasional letter. All of my other interactions were present and immediate, happening moment to moment and there were no recordings of any of it, except for one time when I gave Ricky Lee Jones and her husband a ride from the train station to Paradiso on Weteringschans and her husband sat on the floor facing backwards in the front of my rickshaw with his VHS video camera shooting Ricky and me as we chatted, cruising down the Prinsengracht.

It's funny for me to think of Ricky Lee Jones going through her old home movies and stumbling across this footage from her mid-90s tour through Holland when she had this weird American rickshaw driver with a long red beard who kept talking about the Jacob van Ruisdael clouds and the anarchist coffeeshop on Marnixstraat where the smoke is a little thicker.

It's hard to describe the level of freedom you have when you let it all go.

I've lived a lot longer than I had planned. I was pretty sure I'd be dead by 1997. Somehow I..couldn't quite make that happen. Many of my closest friends are dead now and I miss the level of chat we used to have. I could call up John Weiss and Dave Feinman with a wild hair across my ass about Marx or Trotsky or Hegel and they'd both be on board for a back and forth for as long as I had the wind for it. And often, after a particularly thorny intellectual odyssey, maybe a week later, both Weiss and Feinman would each send me a letter carrying the conversation further, long letters, like 9 or 10 yellow legal pad pages long, often written on both sides.

I still have the letters. I miss those guys.

A few days before I left for Amsterdam, my friends Steve and Julie handed me an empty journal, telling me to fill it up and send it back to them. It was a wonderful gesture and I followed through with fulfilling their request. Years later they gave it back to me and I read through it, reliving some of the moments I had forgotten. It was crude and clumsy and clearly written by an animal..but it was mine.

There was a moment during those years when I found myself at a corner of Hyde Park in London arguing with a communist at Speaker's Corner who really had that red snap down. He was wiry, maybe even gaunt, and his feet were filthy and his teeth had been condemned by the city and due for demolition, but damned if that guy didn't know his rap. He talked me into a rhetorical alley that I couldn't find my way out of and I walked away to get some coffee and think about it. When I came back he was taking a break, sitting next to his soap box with who I assumed to be his wife and child. They looked desperately poor. I walked back up to him, handed him some money and thanked him for the talk. He took the money, smiled slightly and just nodded his head, staring off in thought.

Probably the most Socratic cat I've ever met.

For reasons I can't explain, I just remembered Bookie Brooks, an enigmatic stoner dude I knew in Portugal who had this curious command of the language where he would never say, "Fuck you" or "Eat Shit" when he was pissed at you. He would instead jack his thumbs toward his crotch, lean into you with a tight look on his face and say, "Bite a ball, dude. Bite a ball." I've never met anyone else who has ever used that phrase or managed to shoot that level of particle acceleration through his eye.

More often than I care to reveal I feel like Steve McQueen floating on a bag of coconuts at the end of Papillon, looking up into the sky and yelling, "I'm still here, you bastards!"

Age is the wrinkled hand that wipes away dust from life's windows. I still believe ideas are the greatest accomplishments of human beings, I still believe the reward for having lived a good life is having lived a good life, and I still believe the best philosophers rarely wear shoes.

John Bizarre
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October 23, 2017

I'm having trouble putting this into words. That's why I haven't written anything for the three weeks since the shooting here in Las Vegas. We live in an era of endless war, black site torture, large scale psychological experiments, the use of terrorism to incrementally remove all human rights, and a diversity of publicly accessed electronic platforms that almost seem to have been designed to generate an environment where governments and corporations can produce enough conflicting media noise to make it impossible to distinguish between fiction and reality, making it child's play to get away with just about anything.

We are WAY past what Orwell or Huxley envisioned, and on a path that looks much more like a Terminator/Matrix/Elysium fusion of some kind. We seem to be in an earlier chapter of that scenario right now, when Ned Beatty tells Peter Finch in Network that there is no America or democracy, that we no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, that the world is a business, a college of corporations, a vast ecumenical holding company, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.

You can just imagine that idiotic look on the face of our game show host president as the Joint Chiefs of Staff pull him into a room without his twitter feed and tell him to just stop saying dumb shit for a minute and meet the motherfuckers who really run the show.

A couple of macro-global notes..

As the BRICS countries implement collective efforts to crush western dominance with aggressive trade tactics (rethinking the notion of reserve currencies in favor of the "basket" model, and scooping up gold like crusty old, knee-slappin', cacklin' prospectors), the United States is in deep shit battling downwardly spiraling confidence in the dollar alongside the emerging viability of crypto currencies. The federal government's approach to this system failure is to print up billions of dollars a day for purchasing its own debt, and encourage corporate shareholders to make large purchases of their own company stocks in an effort to artificially inflate the market.

It's a big fat lie, and it's gonna be a mess to clean up. Laws are being quietly passed to protect banks from billion dollar lawsuits that will soon be filed by Americans who realize what's been done to them.

But really, it's the defense contractors who are calling the shots. Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics..these are the companies that develop the hardware and have the will to overthrow any government they please, any time they want. And they do, when it suits them. Defense contractors (through the Pentagon and with the mercenary armies that work for them) initiate, train and arm insurgency groups to destabilize countries, then offer to provide private security solutions to those same countries, effectively managing both sides of every conflict, to the tune of trillions of dollars and unlimited power.

This brings us to the Las Vegas shooting on October 1. Domestic arms sales dip because a republican president with a republican congress insures the right to retain a personal arsenal so, to make up for that dip, the president is pushed into easing restrictions on the foreign sales of small arms in mid-September, opening up lucrative markets in a promising orgy of chaos and death for the new century, creating fresh streams of revenue to make the shareholders happy.

A few weeks later, the most horrifying and vicious domestic mass shooting in American history is staged in the country's most "security conscious" city, shattering any notion of safety and providing a blueprint for large scale murder, using those same small arms that can now be purchased worldwide and with no restrictions.

To understand what happened on October 1, 2017, it's important not to dismiss the dozens of reports about multiple shooters at multiple locations, or the cold and professional approach to this mass murder, or the larger institutions that stand to reap huge profits from its historical precedent, namely, the corporations that provide goods and services to the security and surveillance state.

THIS is where to start when looking for justice.

We live under a monstrous regime, a corporate dictatorship run by some of the most savage devils hell has ever shat out. Presidents come and go, but these guys...these guys are entrenched.

Let's start talking about peaceful methods for their removal. Let's start over.

John Bizarre

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November 16, 2017

I don't even know what this is other than something I had to get out of my head and into a video so that I could sleep again..Please try to enjoy..The Baby.