Arik Mendoza

carrots

Had I had an eye on my nostalgic marble, I would have parlayed my objections to the other fellow. But I forgot the shimmering tiger’s eye tucked safely in my left, front pocket. Oh, it had been there a year, eight, decades before. It had watched Juan go tumbling off over the bump on my second-hand bicycle flying with his hands spread out about to crash over the low wall into the garden below. It had cooked his hot spicy, Harlem beans for years without him, it appears. And where had the north star of Tunisia gotten us? The lost Arab Spring. The army of tanks stopped by a single man in Beijing. The stem of a white daisy stuck in the long thin barrel of a gun by a peaceful young woman. The glass marbles of the past, these have all rolled away, been swept away by a blind, invisible hand. The coarse, spent, gritty thing called democracy in America was rooted out of the world the way pigs’ snouts dig through the easy dirt looking for a dead man’s finger, a dead man’s hand, and the lost golden ring upon it ingested, too, anything at all there to mounch and mounch and mounch, to eat, to consume, to use up as though the good earth were only their own. Since Bobby died in ’68 it had been gone.

Cassandra Smernoff

turkeys

I’d had been on the whole right pleased to see the whole shebang gone down like an old steamship sunk in the Mississippi. Why, with all the screaming and all the hollering and all the old sexpots of Egypt doing what they all had been doing, it was the devil’s due. If old Ben Franklin, he’d had had his way like he wanted it, it wouldn’t be any useless eagle taking up more than a hundred acres of good fertile land to be the bird of the country, but the other one. And that ingenious Jefferson himself who wanted the folks to talk in Greek, though it’d be hard to believe he’d have wanted that for his roughly three hundred and fifty or something slaves he kept downstairs working in the kitchen, while he wined the folks visiting upstairs quoting Cervantes. Anyhow, more than two hundred and forty years later with all that nonsense of the two or three royal families of America turning the Lazy Susan by themselves now, without any help besides a few hundred millions of dollars on either side pushing in first the one, and then pushing in the other, trading off being in charge of the supper table, now four years this king, now four years that queen, and so on again, the system couldn’t have been made any smoother than butter left out in the summer sun an hour in July. And now all those November folks lined up like stiff ants crossing the river to die for themselves like it all mattered to them. But it wasn’t any different either when Diomedes eventually lost his sword and shield, and all excellence was cast away like a dead body in the river nobody, neither party, could then claim as their own anymore.

Brushing Teeth With Crest or Colgate

flag-machineIn a similar vein, telling people about your own plans to vote can encourage others to do the same.

There’s a science to getting people to vote

If enough money is put behind an advertising campaign to buy Crest toothpaste, there will be a tendency for people to buy Crest toothpaste over other brands of toothpaste. If enough money is put behind an advertising campaign to buy Colgate toothpaste, there will be a tendency for people to buy Colgate toothpaste over other brands of toothpaste. If there are huge advertising campaigns with spending budgets in the 100’s of millions of dollars to buy either Crest or Colgate toothpaste, it does not mean, in the end, that the slim margin of people who buy one or the other brand are buying a better brand of toothpaste.

What is means is that people who buy toothpaste have bought into the trope of advertising campaigns as being truthful: that such campaigns represent truthful states of reality which are represented by the products they offer.

From some of the well-known advertising classics, that would mean such things as:

—Mountain Dew will make you white river rafting with twenty-something year olds

—Cars will hook you up with long-legged, voiceless and sexy women; or turn you into one

—Norelco electric razors are so fun that shaving will feel as though you are sledding on cartoon snow with Snoopy

—Using drugs to give men erections will make couples feel a) monogamous; b) in love while walking around the pastoral circumference of Lake Geneva; heterosexual

Within the matter of purchasing toothpaste, there is the underlying presumption that “brushing your teeth is good for you.” Within this assumption, there is the counter-implication that “not brushing your teeth is bad for you.” So, one underlying advertising assumption is to advertise products that are to be perceived by people as “self-caring” vs. the bane of “self-neglect.”

Drinking sweet fizzy soda, driving a hot car, having a baby-smooth cheek, and a stiff cock for men—all of these are cast as desirable, human norms. All of these go into the shopping cart of both “having” and “living the good life.”

Imagine buying a product sold to you that did absolutely nothing at all, however. You brush your teeth with a paste that is just a clear gel. This gel, whether it is sold by Crest or Colgate, makes for either manufacturer of toothpaste huge profits, millions upon millions of dollars. In fact, all the millions of dollars in advertising put into steering the public that “brushing their teeth is good for them,” is easily and only worth it because this plowback returns to the manufacturers, the stakeholders in the corporation, and that corporation’s shareholders, as a steady if not predictable path of increasing margins of profit over time. So, a public concern, i.e., to have healthy teeth and gums, which is valid, is exploited in this scenario of bogus toothpaste sales solely for the good of private, corporate gain.

If the American Republic actually worked as a democracy, if there actually were anything approximating a democracy, many candidates for president would be available for the voting public, not just Crest and Colgate on the shelf. The other candidates that are? Knock off generic, or small market niche, or cave-dwellers brands, scarcely important.

In the upcoming election, one brand of gel might well be made up of confetti, minced cassette tapes, and arsenic. The other brand might well be made up of pulverized iron, minced brassieres, and gunpowder. Neither is good for you. Should either win, that person representing that party, the stakeholders in that party, and the sycophantic shareholders in that party’s system will all win. They will all profit big time. One, or the other.

While the belief that “brushing you teeth” is one that rings of truth, “voting is a civic duty” is a misleading falsehood. It is, like brushing your teeth drummed into people since early childhood, hard to get over, hard to get past, hard to overcome, hard to disbelieve.

Don’t vote. Don’t vote anymore than you would buy a tube of toothpaste whose use was not just pointless, but bad for you, and bad for everyone you know, and everyone you don’t know. Don’t buy Crest or Colgate, especially this time you think about shopping for toothpaste.

Americans, just say, “No.”

For Only The Love Of White Women

citronella“Because few Republican lawmakers have Muslim relatives. Few Republican lawmakers are of Mexican heritage. Few Republican lawmakers have faced discrimination based on the colour of their skin. But all of them have white female relatives. And therefore, when Trump talks about grabbing white women by the genitals, they can directly relate.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37595079

Pretty sad that only because folks in power, pretty much white guys with pretty much white wives, only because they envision another guy going after their own white wives, only then do they turn away from Mr. Trump. What this means  is that whatever might have been or has been said by Mr. Trump towards or about Muslims, or Mexicans, or persons of any color besides bleach white, these persons to the lawmakers—GOP or pretty much others, too—really do not count at all—certainly not enough to have pulled a chair out and said, “Enough!” What this points to is really the bigotry and racism of the ruling class itself, that only when the affront is felt personally by and personally towards them, only then does whatever is or has been said by Mr. Trump matter. Only then; otherwise, not.

Left wing, right wing=silly talk. Republican, Democrat=silly talk. Clinton, Trump=silly talk.

A Massive American Voting Sit-Out for the upcoming  presidential election by registered-to-vote Americans is the only reasonable way to make the power-grabbing, political-grabbing, money-grabbing world of mostly white and mostly entitled elites even possibly pause and question itself. Only when the folks in position actually feel that they might have something to lose—more than just a lewd hand-grab at their mostly white wives, ugh—only then, when the rest of humanity is seen and heard and felt and acknowledged as fully human, equally human, only then is any change even conceivably possible.

COME AND READ: http://egbertstarr.com/

Say it ain’t so, Joe

homeless armani“We’re defined by a common creed that says to our children that if they work hard, if they struggle, if they are loyal, if they are courageous — they will have an opportunity to live a better life than the generation before them,” Biden said.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/24/politics/joe-biden-brexit-ireland-speech/

Put forward as a positive-sounding antidote to separation, or isolation, or, by extension, xenophobia, bigotry and so on, this is one of the almost forgettable comments that spells out quite clearly the horror of the times. Not by what Joe Biden seems to believe he intends—as a pretty stand-up seeming guy with a ten dollar haircut—but by the underlying ethos driving the menacing principles within his words I can only guess he must be unaware of.

Still, in 2016, the second-in-command is explicitly defining what he means by work as “struggle.” And the point of this struggle is not for now but for some unforeseeable tomorrow, some amorphously defined “better life.” Combining a penchant for his militaristic terminology of being “courageous” with his homespun, off-the-cuff ease, the vice president is suggesting a way of living and a way of life that is a throwback to times at least as grim, demeaning, and dehumanizing as those lived by the suffering and exploited masses at the burst of the Industrial Revolution, the wars of Napoleon, if not thousands of years prior to the nameless slave-hordes of Egypt.

Offered as a way of worldwide grace and virtuous living which all people deserve, the monocultural, American blight of drudgery, oppression, and pointlessness proposed is the real terror inside this silk-gloved hand whose magical grip is so tight around the neck of the world it cannot see itself for the released dove it—in its nearly immaculate self-deception—sees itself to be.

Nevertheless, people in the U.S. and elsewhere, are like dogs buying in to the notion of “hard work” and its close friend “getting ahead,” two of many sub-categories beneath the rubric heading of “progress.” And that if we all do our share, all do our pull at the oars, our turn at the wheel, if not for ourselves, then for others living in the future, life will be better. Certainly, disease, starvation, and sickness are not anything like they were in the not too distant historical past in many parts of today’s post-industrial cultures. Obviously, the material quality of life is better than at any other time in human history.

At the same time, no other point in human history has had to bear witness to the common proliferation of human violence in all parts of the world (by both individuals and nation-states alike), the ubiquity of human diseases (made only obvious by the masses seeking to put to sleep both their physical and psychological ill health through pharmaceutical means), and the boundless human destructiveness of our own environment as this present one.

Consider how far the United States as a nation has fallen short of creating a civilization of people who actually struggle less, work less hard and—in turn—have more time available to think, create, and just be—nothing more than that! Consider how far along the rest of the world has followed this progressive nightmare, this God-awful creed, almost blindly, gladly, willingly, religiously, nationalistically. It is as though it had all been for the asking to line up on the front line, to be shot upon, to fall, to die—all for the next in line, row after row, to line up and in their time in their own history, to die, to fall, to have lived and to have fallen really for nothing.

Or, if they have have fallen, if they have died, it will have been for the sake of the smallest of small elites in all countries in all nations whose sons and daughters do not fight and do not die, who dine on abalone and wear the pearls others in the deepest of cold waters have dived for holding their breaths. For the smallest of small who do not seem to suffer so much, who do not seem to struggle so hard but whose belief-system, not different than those others, is no more than the flip side of it. And so, their perishing, though not as harsh, is just as pointless.

Never Cool To Vote Again

nyc reservoir“You got to vote all the time. Not just when it’s cool.” —President Obama

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-graduation-20160507-snap-story.html

People should never ever vote. And I’m not the sort of guy who uses the word “should.” I avoid it. But voting? It is one thing no one should ever do. Of course there is the mythology of having a voice and that a vote is your voice, and with your voice along with millions of other voters in America, you, collectively, make democracy work. And, by direct implication, that if you do not vote, you do not exercise that voice, and put the brakes on the system of democracy. And, to boot, the undercurrent is that by not voting, you are unpatriotic, un-American, and worse.

Voting gives people that precious little feeling of having a say, of having a voice. And when people no longer have that feeling of having a say, of having a voice, even a tiny one, people begin to get choked up. If you’re at the dinner table and politely ask someone to pass the salt, you expect to be heard. And, in due course, you expect to have that shaker of salt passed your way, as soon as it is practical. You feel heard. And you feel seen. Were you to ask for the salt and nobody did a thing, it wouldn’t be long before you got frustrated, ticked off, unnerved, angry. Eventually you’d build up understandable sorts of resentments and one day, assuming no one ever passed you the salt, meal after meal, month after month, year after year, you’d flip out.

Votes give people the feeling that they are being heard. And it’s that feeling that’s so important. Otherwise you might just explode like that raisin in the sun does at the end of the Langston Hughes’ poem. And the political system, which wants very much to preserve itself, which caters only to the top interests—the top financial and top economic interests—of the folks in charge, at the direct and at the indirect expense of the folks not in charge, by giving voters the opportunity to vote, by creating the satisfying illusion of having a say in the system which really does not care an iota about the millions and millions of lives that are subject to it, the political system very skillfully does preserve itself.

Were it not for voting, people would explode. They would erupt. They might become violent. They would become revolutionary. Voting lets off that steam. Voting makes people blind to the fact that the odds of winning a multi-million dollar lottery twice are less than the odds of a father and son becoming president in a democracy that is actually a democracy. Voting makes people deaf to the fact that the odds of being struck four times in a lifetime by lightning are less than a husband and then his wife becoming president in a democracy that is actually a democracy. But this feeling of having a say, this feeling of having a voice, dulls all the five senses, and numbs completely the brains of the people.

So long as people keep voting, things will keep on being the same. The public theater of Republicans and Democrats, like the Sharks and Jets, like the Montagues and the Capulets, it just goes on and on. The same sides, the same families will stage the same centuries’ old political plays for the public, and by doing this, by putting on these plays between this side and that side, they will always keep their places, their power, their positions. It is these—their places, their power, their positions—which those in the upper echelon of society, regardless of their so-called political affiliation, which they will never under any circumstance give up or risk giving up, that the system is almost perfectly designed to preserve.

Voting is the grease to the machinery of the smoothly running wheels and gears of power, position, and generational entitlement. The American Republic is no different than an Old World landed aristocracy except for the illusion that every few years people vote, by which action the American people at large are completely blinded, deafened, and made completely dumb to the fact that it is they who are the peons, the servants, the crushed and oppressed underclass of this tiny but very powerful overclass of landed and political aristocrats in charge and in power above them. By voting in America all that happens is different branches of the well-established aristocracy of America sit at the long oak table every so often, every few years, while the other branches of that aristocracy, for the time being, eat elsewhere, until it becomes their time to sit at the table again, while the others now sit out. But like squealing pigs made frantic and excited to their own horrible slaughter, Americans keep voting and voting all the time, cycle after cycle, while the true aristocracy in charge, in the name of “progress,” keeps profiting and profiting.

Hecuba M. Sneath

money man close-up dc 2

Having understood the process by which the people had been elected, I had long stood my ground. I would have given no quarter, I would have not flinched, I would not have stepped aside. Readers of the Ark, transcribers of the Infidels, methodologists of Unity, behold yourselves, I had exclaimed. And all, like wooly lovers, had bowed their necks, their heads hanging low near the ground where the trampled grass had once grown. Truly, my at times pilfered run down the cinder path had been stupendous, my knees scarred here and there from my having tripped and healed later on. Still, I could proclaim quite loudly: My votes had been cast for you and for you and for you. Ah, though my chiasmatic cynicism rang like silent bells in the stars, I had successfully enslaved the bright lights of their imagined moments of universal fame household by household by household, like starving potato eaters crumpled around a tabletop too poor to really think on their own beyond the next starvation-sized portion of comestibles, heaps and heaps and heaps of them well-deceived into the sodden belief that they themselves would become earls, dukes, princes, queens, and kings.

American Serfdom

medical cabinet

The future composition of the Supreme Court is the most important civil rights cause of our time.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/scalia-death-2016-implications

In the times of Nikolai Gogol, one could work for the State and by doing such become eligible for hereditary nobility. I want you to imagine being a serf then, in Russia, around 1835. Be a serf and imagine you had a voice, and with that voice, imagine that you could bring about change in the way the Regime worked. Imagine that you and other serfs, all of you together, could with your collective voices change the way the Tsar went about affairs of the State. Imagine all of you felt you had had a say in that.

When I read articles such as the one forwarded to me by a dear friend of mine—(see above)—all I hear is an all too familiar bout of petty narcissism—the delusion of a human being who actually believes he (or she) has a voice that matters in the affairs of the State. It’s a benign narcissism—not a malevolent or a malignant one by any means. And all I mean by this petty, benign narcissism is that it is the voice of a human being who falsely believes in the importance over both his place and his effect in and on the world. The reality is this man, this voice, this human being has no more effect in and on the world about him than did a serf over the Regime in the early 1800’s in Russia.

What, however, is particular and even perhaps singular about this American version of serfdom is the fatuous and altogether narcissistic belief that one has, that one is a “stakeholder” in the play of power—be it legislative, executive, or, as in this article, if but once-removed, judicial. And it is this con that keeps down, keeps away any real threat of any real revolt of any kind. So long as people in the United States feel that they have a voice, or a vote, or a measure of selfhood that matters elsewhere—and by ‘elsewhere’ I mean the government or the State that ‘governs’ them—any possible sense of revolt or rebellion is quelled ipso facto. It is that feeling of ‘having power’ versus that feeling of ‘feeling powerless’ that keeps the gristmill going. Really, it’s like gossip—possibly true, but so what? Possibly false, but so what, too? So this guy has loosened his belt a notch, or tightened it up a notch, so what?

The effect is that this man is quieted down, and everybody reading it nodding their heads up and down is likewise quieted down, likewise shut up. Who cares that the peasants, the serfs, the “yeoman farmers” as Jefferson so elegantly put it, grumble? Let ’em grumble and mumble all they want. What matters is that the serfs and peasants, the slaves and servants keep on working; and, moreover, believe in this System, which except for a few who do turn rank and begin—let’s say like Cruz or Obama or Rubio, as well as Clinton 1.3 or Clinton 2.7 (no matter which)—to work now for the State, (and thus become eligible for this inheritance of nobility which they will under no terms ever forsake), are for the foreseeable future permanently kept in their places by. And it is this extant or consequent ‘nobility’ which the Supreme Court, as it pores through any number of pages of any numbers of cases and causes brought before the Bench, will jealously guard and preserve like a dragon in its lair overlooking its treasure.