Two Conflicting Currents

by Buzz on 29/01/2016

The challenge facing the body politic of the US of A today is one of two conflicting currents.

We have already slid into a plutocratic oligarchy. There are few citizen / officials among us, and most of those only at minor local levels in non-influential communities and regions.[1]

Most politicians are professionals; they either settle into a career as an elected official, or they seek appointments to high office, or they serve in advisory / lobbying positions to those who are elected, or they serve in organizations that facilitate the elections of others.

By nature — by very real, very human nature — these people are disinclined to dismantle the system that gives them value (read “$”) and worth (i.e., pride).

So be it:
At least try to be competent at your job and realize that killing the golden goose by starving it to death so you will have more grain is a foolish strategy.

Nearly a century before the French Revolution erupted, the more observant members of the aristocracy (which includes high ranking clergy) could see the storm clouds coming. Thirty years before that storm actually broke, French kings were assigning their best and brightest scholars with the task of figuring out how to head it off before it reached them.

The scholars’ answer was invariably “Curb the power of the aristocracy and tax them fairly.”

The aristocrats did not want to hear this and while many gave lip service to the idea of reform, in actuality they worked to prevent such reforms from happening.

And then one day everyone lost their heads…

Fortunino Matania - just a little off the top CAP

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The Last Night For A Teddy Bear Spy

by Buzz on 29/01/2016

“We had Beirut.”

“We had Beirut.”

“Mumbai was good.”

“It was.”

“And Caracas.”

“And Caracas.  Especially Caracas.”

“It’s sad it has to end.”

“You could always come over.”

“Would you?”

“No.”

“Ah.”

She stubbed out her Gauloises on the already scarred nightstand.

The garret felt hot and dry; outside she could hear the city softly crying itself to sleep.

The time for tears was over.

“We could have made quite a team.”

“We were quite a team.  Unofficially.”

“Unofficially.”

Nobody knew the truth, not even in the official sealed reports labeled Ultra Top Secret, buried in lead-lined vaults so deep and publicly denied so often that even their existence was forgotten…

…or the stuff of legend.

They made quite a pair, one working for this side, one working for that side.

Years of surgery transformed him, changed him, altered him.  Years of training and a fanatical devotion to duty enabled him to stay at the top of the game.

He looked so harmless, so innocent.

So fuzzy.

An adept in nirodha yoga, he could remain motionless for hours, his heart slowed to an imperceptible murmur, his breathing so shallow as to escape detection, his brain operating below even the lowest detectable delta wave frequencies.

He would be a gift to a diplomat’s daughter, a present, a souvenir.

He would sit motionless on a shelf or a dresser in the child’s bedroom, or even tucked in next to the little girl as she slept.

Then, in the dead of night, he would creep out to spy on the diplomats, to learn their secrets, to betray their confidences, to thwart their plans.

He was a great secret agent, and he sacrificed much to the cause, but underneath the plastic surgery and hormone treatments he remained a man.

With a man’s wants and needs and desires.

She came from the filthy back alleys of Wahiawa, daughter of an apostate Mormon stripper, stepchild to a dozen and one soldiers and sailors and other skilled practitioners of homicide.

Her surrogate fathers liked her, and taught her well, well enough for recruiters to notice her and find her and offer her a job at the one thing she did really skillfully, the one thing she truly loved:  Killing men.

They taught her all the tricks of the trade that she didn’t already know, then turned her loose and watched in amazement as she invented brand new tricks.

Her original orders were to kill him, only nobody knew who he was, much less what he was or what he looked like.

By the time she learned his secret, she was already in love with him.

She killed his handler on that first mission, and told her handlers that the dead man had been the spy.

She didn’t tell her side that she had kidnapped the real spy, and kept him locked safely in a toy box in her closet.

He escaped, of course, but he couldn’t hate her; that was impossible.

She excited him, aroused him, summoned forth feelings he never thought he’d experience again.

His cause be damned:
She was his woman.

They hid their relationship from their superiors, and she had to hide his true nature from her side as well.

The noose began tightening around them, however.  Questions were being asked, demands were being made.

Their brief and sporadic hours of happiness came further and further apart, until finally they came to the one they knew would be the last, the climax (as it were) to their relationship.

“Are you afraid?”

“No, my dear.”

They both knew at best only one of them would leave the garret alive, albeit wounded non-fatally in the heart.

The Latvian was the best assassin for hire.  There were men — and one woman — better than he, but they were all committed players.

The Latvian would work for anyone who would pay him.

Who to shoot first? she wondered.

If she shot her lover then the Latvian (she could sense him, practically smell him lurking near the edge of the garret window) would doubtlessly kill her.

And if she shot the Latvian, wouldn’t her lover spring forward with a concealed switchblade and stab her through the heart?

You already stabbed me through the heart, you bastard.

A faint creak on the roof:
The time of decisions had passed.

Whipping out her customized 9mm Taurus PT92 from under her pillow, she fired a single impeccably aimed, instinctively guided Barnes TAC-XP round through the head of her lover and into the heart of the Latvian.

The Latvian blinked in surprise and died with a look of disappointment on his face, as if he’d already been mentally spending his bonus.

Her lover just lay there motionless — genuinely, for once – his now truly lifeless eyes staring at the cockroaches mating on the ceiling.

She gave him a last chaste kiss on the cheek, her tears soaking his fur, then dressed, turned out the lights, left the garret, and locked the door behind her.

Sixteen hours later she crouched atop the Chrysler Building in Manhattan with a 7.62mm Dragunov SVD-63 sniper rifle.

But that’s another story…

Teddy Bear Spy

text © Buzz Dixon

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the big red truck

by Buzz on 28/01/2016

the big red truck
blocks the small parking lot
like the cat on my blue chair

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Fictoid: robot contemplating a box of corn flakes

by Buzz on 26/01/2016

I am so lonely CAP1

text © Buzz Dixon

I am so lonely.

If only I could
eat this box of
corn flakes, how
happy I would be !

Oh, who am I trying to kid?

I am locked in a bunker five miles underground.
All of humanity is dead.  I will stay here until my
gears wear down, my oil dries out,
and the atomic pile turns cold…

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Only One Way

by Buzz on 26/01/2016

Love one another
by treating them
the way you want
to be treated is the
only way to love God.

There is no other.

Indifference to suffering is the only sin.

If you don’t care if others suffer,
you are already preparing your
justification for rape, pillage,
and murder.

If you want to see the hand of God,
look at the end of your wrist.

If you want to stare
down the devil,
look in a mirror.

All the pious words
and elaborate rituals
and sacred taboos
and holy houses of worship
are meaningless.

God doesn’t care
about what you think
about what others do.

God only cares about
what you do to others.

Don’t interfere
with others
unless it is to
save a third party
from unjust harm.

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This Week’s Superhero Movie

by Buzz on 25/01/2016

NEVER DIS A FIRESTARTER

animated fake smile

animated audrey eyes

animated head burn

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 23/01/2016

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls


WotP 14 Bondorffer

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Thinkage

by Buzz on 23/01/2016

“The culture of war banishes the capacity for pity. It glorifies self-sacrifice and death. It sees pain, ritual humiliation and violence as part of an initiation into manhood. Brutal hazing, as Kyle noted in his book, was an integral part of becoming a Navy SEAL. New SEALs would be held down and choked by senior members of the platoon until they passed out. The culture of war idealizes only the warrior. It belittles those who do not exhibit the warrior’s ‘manly’ virtues. It places a premium on obedience and loyalty. It punishes those who engage in independent thought and demands total conformity. It elevates cruelty and killing to a virtue. This culture, once it infects wider society, destroys all that makes the heights of human civilization and democracy possible. The capacity for empathy, the cultivation of wisdom and understanding, the tolerance and respect for difference and even love are ruthlessly crushed. The innate barbarity that war and violence breed is justified by a saccharine sentimentality about the nation, the flag and a perverted Christianity that blesses its armed crusaders. This sentimentality, as Baldwin wrote, masks a terrifying numbness. It fosters an unchecked narcissism. Facts and historical truths, when they do not fit into the mythic vision of the nation and the tribe, are discarded. Dissent becomes treason. All opponents are godless and subhuman.” — Chris Hedges, “Killing Ragheads For Jesus

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 17/01/2016

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement hallsWotP 14 Cornel West

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2nd Thots On MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

by Buzz on 16/01/2016

Let me explain the circumstances behind my re-watching Mad Max: Fury Road so as to better explain my additional thoughts on the film.

Along the way we will eventually drag in
Stephen King and The Horror Of Party Beach.

Soon-ok is a light sleeper, so if the volume on the TV downstairs is above a whisper — particularly for an action film — I run the risk of waking her when I watch movies late at night.

To compensate for the volume being waaaay down, I turn on the closed caption subtitles. This actually makes it a lot easier to track most modern films.

I re-watched Mad Max: Fury Road the night after the last GOP debate. Reading the dialog as opposed to hearing it thunderously shouted at me on a theater sound system sparked a couple of thoughts.

First off, it’s lousy pretentious dialog. George Miller & co get away with it by keeping the pace and spectacle so huge and over-the-top that you only catch a few phrases and ideas tossed out here and there.

Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t do a lot to develop those ideas, and a lot of them (like the entire premise of the movie) would collapse under their own weight if examined too closely, but they go ripping by so fast that when you do catch them they sound Really Important and, like much of the rest of the movie, we fill in vast blank spots on the mental canvas with our own imaginations.

Which is okay:
Mad Max: Fury Road is a popcorn movie and is meant to be enjoyed as a visceral experience.

And as a visceral experience, it is enjoyable.

So call this a post-apocalypse motor-fantasy, not an actual bonafide sci-fi movie, and have a good time.

But reading the dialog made me recognize how much the language of the GOP debates parallels it.

I’m not talking about the weasely obfuscation found in standard issue political / diplomatic discourse, but rather the very specific ways the bulk of the GOP candidates use language. [1]

A fast pulp writer could turn this whole election cycle into a Mad Max pastiche with no real difficulty.[2]

In the film, Immortan Joe uses language not so much to convey information as to trigger responses in his followers.

They literally hear what they want to hear, and a catch phrase tossed out at the right moment will trigger a reaction that Immortan Joe can exploit.

The war boys can not explain their reactions, they can not analyze why they do the things they do. They have been conditioned to respond and respond they will, even when it’s painfully obvious it’s against their own self-preservation, much less self-interest.

In fact, only when Nux thinks of himself as cast out of Immortan Joe’s blessed circle does he take even the most rudimentary steps towards analyzing his own personal situation.

So how does this tie in to big Steve King
and The Horror Of Party Beach?

Well, in his book Danse Macabre[3], King writes about how the lowest forms of pop culture can tap into the cultural gestalt at a basic, more intrinsic, more primal level than high brow art.

Case in point:
When the makers of The Horror Of Party Beach wanted to make a movie about hideous monsters attacking slumber parties full of teenage girls, their explanation of where the monsters came from was a short sequence showing leaky drums labeled “Radioactive Waste” being dumped into the ocean.

An A-production from a major studio on the topic of handling nuclear waste would have taken years to get produced; it would have faced both political and business pressure not to denigrate such an important industry so vital to America’s future. It would have required A Major Star or three as well as Some Very Important Writers and it would be all yak-yak-yak and in the end not a single person would have had their mind changed because by the time said film actually reached said eyeballs, their audience would have predetermined if they believed those liberal Hollywood types or not.

But The Horror Of Party Beach just chucks a couple of cans into the water, shows a couple of monsters evolving from the muck, and bingo! – next thing ya know they’re attempting to devour and/or mate with teen girls in negligees.[4]

Stephen King’s point was that instead of rationalizing it, the makers of The Horror Of Party Beach just tapped in on something they instinctively knew everybody else instinctively knew: It was not a good idea to dump radioactive waste into the ocean, yet if there was a buck to be made doing so, somebody or some business would do so.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a film about
the end of civilization as we know it.

And, no, not in the obvious manner you think:
On that level it’s just another mindless action movie, and you could change the costumes and the location and the handwaveum and turn it into a Bond film or a Star Wars movie or a Harry Potter adventure and get pretty much the same superficial story / spectacle.

No, it’s not about blowing things up and then people ride really cool junk cars out in the middle of the desert: It’s about the triumvirate of religion / business / defense finally collapsing. It’s about white boys, the staunchest supporters of that triumvirate, finding themselves replaced and superseded and ultimately ignored by a new non-white boy culture.

“It’s the end of  the
world as we know it,”

sang R.E.M.,
“but I feel fine.”

What Miller & co have done, in their brilliantly brainless fashion, is to cut through all the obfuscating bullshit of talking head TV pundits and show what all of us instinctively know: Established organized religion is empty; big business can not even recognize its own self-interest if it doesn’t mean an immediate profit; defense is never about protecting anyone.

There is, like it or not, a new world being born around us. It is a world that, for ill or for good, is going to be much more responsive to the needs and objectives of the non-whites and the non-boys.

Mad Max: Fury Road calls its white boys “half-lifes”. They are recognized even by themselves as being a dying breed, kept alive only by the machinations of Immortan Joe and The People Eater and The Bullet Farmer; kept alive to serve them in exchange for a promise dangled in front of the white boys, a promise neither Immortan Joe nor his ”brothers”[5] intend to keep — in fact, that none of them are actually capable of keeping.

That’s the old world we have let the greedheads build, the one that can no longer be sustained, the one that’s unraveling and in that process terrifying those who bought into the false promises and now live in abject horror that the powerball lottery will be closed before they have their chance to become multi-millionaires.

That is what Mad Max: Fury Road is all about.

It’s not a hopeless message, and it does show a way out for those who have invested heavily in the old system (such as Nux): White boys can recognize that change is upon them and help birth that new world, but instead of trying to dominate it, be prepared to step back and serve it.[6]

So in retrospect, I have somewhat modified
my opinion of Mad Max: Fury Road.

It’s a good movie,
but not a great film.[7]

And that’s a good thing, because if it had been any better, if it had been any smarter, it could have never said what needed to be said.

The Faces Of

MMFR Mad-Max-Fury-02

 Religion

MMFR People-eater-3

Business

MMFR Bullet_farmer03

Defense

.

 

[1] And I’m focusing very specifically on language use as opposed to the topics purportedly being talked about.

[2] Anybody out there who wants to take that idea and run with it, be my guest.

[3]  Highly recommended, BTW.

[4] The teen (ha! Twenty-somethings!) girls are in the negligees, not the monsters; we had to wait for The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the latter.

[5] Literally? Figuratively?

[6] A lesson audiences seem more than willing to embrace; viz. Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

[7] However, it would make one helluva double-feature with The Hateful Eight.

 

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