Month: August 2019

Trump, the Attempted Cure

To say that Trump’s tweets on Epstein’s death are demented is to suggest that he’s suffering from a disease.  He’s not, and to say so is to dignify his cretinous behavior.  This so-called man has been peddling conspiracy theories all his life.     Which is to say he’s been bullshitting, in the technical sense, all his life. As Harry Frankfurt, the expert on the subject, would say, the liar knows the truth and countermands it for a specific purpose, whereas the bullshitter is actually incapable of acknowledging any reality external to his own utterance.      Conspiracy theories thrive on a tragic scheme of motives that, as Kenneth Burke explained, bend toward both the supernatural (vertical) and the utilitarian (horizontal).  The inscrutable Gods up there have convened, and so have the international bankers (the Jews, of course) down here–there’s no way to identify them, nor their purposes, but they are so fundamentally causative that their effects are everywhere.  The conspiracy theorist has faith in the sense that Paul the Apostle, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, described it: “the conviction of things unseen.”    Trump the bullshitter has entertained a lot of conspiracy theories in the course of his so-called career, most importantly the “birther” business about Obama, which made him the president of the United States, dedicated to undoing everything his African-American predecessor had accomplished.  His political capital, like...

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Something Darker than Farce: the Spanish Left Again Turns Victory to Defeat

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” Karl Marx, the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte Late in July, a full three months after the April 28th national elections, the effort to forge a broad government of the left once again failed decisively in Spain. As in 2016, so in 2019, the stage was set for cooperation and victory, but the two progressive parties in a position to form a government could not close the deal. Their failure,...

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I Can Smell Death

I’m a turkey vulture, Cathartes aurain scientific ornithology.  I’m an ugly old bird, just about dead, but that name matters to me.  It’s from the Greek katharsis, which means to purify or cleanse.  To transform, anyway.  I don’t fly a lot these days because when I spread my wings, to 8 feet, it scares the shit out of everybody, including the morons with guns down below.  They think I’m coming for them.  I am, of course, but later, when they’re dead.  One of them tagged me today, almost blew off my left wing. I guess that’s why I walked these blocks up from the park, why I’m pecking at this mess on Donaldson Street.  A dog got run over.   Sure, it’s gross, you think vultures like what they have to for for a living?  Not anymore than you do.  We do it because we have to.  We’re not equipped to hunt animals down. We’re parasites, like you.  We wait on your demise and decomposition–although it’s true, we prefer fresh carrion, and some of us have attacked small mammals. I eat anything that is, in fact, dead.  That’s what vultures do, it’s our brand, you could say, speaking without permission of the species—the comrades, I should say–I’m just thinking out loud.  But remember this, what sets us apart from all other birds is that we can smell death, even while...

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Jeffrey Epstein and the Death Rattle of the Playboy Generation

I grew up during the height of “the Playboy generation”—the late 60s and 70s, when the “free love” counterculture movement was co-opted by the 1950s “Mad Men” society that still peddled jokes and cartoons about secretaries being chased around desks. When I was a teenager in the 70s, Playboy magazine was delivered monthly to our house for my father’s subscription. There were three daughters in our household, two of us teenagers. We absorbed, by watching our parents’ behavior, the default message that we lived in a both a man’s house and a man’s world, and that his pleasures and...

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