A 5th Museful Miscellany

Postmodernism is like a giant sculpture of a nose in tribute to the human olfactory sense, but made entirely out of freshly emitted human excrement. Only those with no sense of smell whatsoever can appreciate the artist's achievement, and ponder the inventive choice of building material, without ever getting wise to the irony. While anyone with a functioning nose is going to have a hard time believing how truly unintended the irony is.

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Who is this A. Z. Foreman guy that wrote this stupid garbage in a review 3 years ago? I would never have written shite like this! Clearly he has much to learn.

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Shit is like poop. The only way to avoid being full of it, at some point, is to not exist.

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Maybe it's a perverse flipside of so much translation of poetry, but my own poetry is almost relentlessly untranslatable. Everything that makes translators pull their hair out: the extreme wordplay, ambiguity of register and syntax, explicit allusion to cultural phenomena....this I do. Obsessively. 2B or not 2B. Which is my apartment?

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I think when I tell people they're full of shit, what I really mean a lot of the time is "You're so full of Heidegger"

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I loathe any and all versions of "Blood and Soil" ideology. When it infects a dominant group, it mixes with smelly supremacist orthodoxies to form the kernel of Fascism or something kindred to it. (Indeed "Blood and Soil" was originally Blut und Boden.) When a version of it is clung to by a marginalized, subject or, by whatever definition, "indigenous" people, it often becomes one among many intellectual and political drags on the mind which do little good beyond offering comfort in the manner of a mirage


A 4th Museful Miscellany

Behind much talk of challenging power inequality, and attempted criticism of power structures, there lies no coherent, rational and secure vision of a better world, but an incoherent, insecure and irrational obsession with power itself, not as a means to an end but as an end in itself, a state of being. The seductive idea of power obscuring all other considerations. Much of this bloviation about "empowerment" in many circles seems to both perpetuate and mask a continued Enslavement, to a retrograde idea of Power Itself.

***

When a group feels that there is only one person who could lead them to salvation, and that person dies before delivering, it sometimes occasions a strange mass delusion that this dead person is either not really or not permanently dead, and that he (it is always a he) will return someday to at last deliver them from their woes and foes. Prominent cases include King Arthur, Constantine Palaiologos, the Twelfth Imam, and even in a way Jesus of Nazareth. Lordy does hope ever spring eternal from the fount of untruth.

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There are some languages where different word-order may be as unimportant as that between a sleeping man, and a man sleeping. There are others where it is as crucial as the difference between a venetian blind and a blind venetian.


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We're caught between particularist weasels, libertarian assholes, intellectual midgets and a very hard place indeed. God how I yearn now for the good old days of Scylla and Charybdis.

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I'm glad the forbidden fruit Adam consumed was an Apple. Just think how much more damned we would all be if even the Fruit of Knowledge were running Windows.

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Plato, you're full of shit. There is no evil in this changeful material world. But the world of our immutable ideals is crawling with it.

The Indigenous and the Disingenuous

Being "indigenous" doesn't usually mean you're necessarily the original inhabitants of a region. It often just means you're the earliest surviving inhabitants because you were so successful at wiping out everyone who was there before you that now no trace remains outside the archaeological record.

Much sick hilarity in this regard lies in the history, archaeological and otherwise, of the Americas. Most discussions of the Iroquois confederacy leave out what we now know from archaeological evidence, that before contact with Europeans, the Iroquois confederacy was an ambitious expansionist and imperialist power that would have obliterated the Algonquians if they could have.

Oh, and I doubt that today's useless, historically-amnesic PC hand-wringers will ever be able to square themselves with the well-established fact that the reason Cortés was able to subdue the Aztec empire so easily (compared to the difficulty with which the Maya States of the Yucatán were subdued) had less to do with guns, germs or steel than the fact that many native groups were hideously oppressed by the Aztecs, such as the Totonacs, or threatened by Aztec expansionism, such as the Tlaxcaltecas. Such groups allied themselves with the Spanish eagerly, and fought alongside them. Indeed, had they not done so, Cortés original landing party of 508 Spaniards would have been killed. For example, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan fell to no more than 1,500 Spaniards fighting alongside 150,000-200,000 Tlaxcala.

At the very least, could we please for the love of all that is sane and decent do away with this widely-circulating pious delusion that there were no land-thieving imperialists in the Americas before White People came?

Bullshit, when perfumed with a scent of Truth To Power, smells so noxious I can't stay near it for too long without vomiting.


Against Truthiness

I think I have developed such a revulsion to identitarianism, most French feminist theory, almost all of feminist philosophy, the many post-colonialist sub-genres of epistemological masturbation, and the whole panoply of cultural studies, because at bottom I find that, whatever salutary functions they may served, an increasingly wicked and dehumanizing thing festers at the core.

The focus on difference, one is assured, is to enable us to transcend difference. Fair enough, and often true. But focus on difference more and more shades into insistence, and insistence into fetishism, as points of similarity are downplayed or ignored with great routine. Perhaps the acknowledgment of a difference or divide feels so wonderful, after a long period of dehumanizing erasure, that it's tempting to go about acknowledging that difference as much as possible in massive overkill. It becomes easy to lose sight of the goal of transcending difference and making it irrelevant, not reifying it further. Some seem to completely forget that such essences of difference are often maintained as a tool of domination.

We are ever assured that concentrating on difference, rather than similarity (real or potential) is to help transcend boundaries and inequalities, that this is in aid of a more equal and more importantly, a more fair world. But this enchantment with difference should suggest that such assurances, though not usually outright lies, are not necessarily to be taken at face value. For along with the pragmatically sound principle of recognizing, appreciating and being mindful of difference as a way of handling a messy reality, there is the abstract principle of preservation of difference for its own sake, the difference is of course now not just that but a "distinctiveness." Sometimes, of course, such distinctiveness' preservation is entirely sensical, as with a minority language, or culinary traditions. At the most extreme, however, such distinctiveness can include normative illiteracy, not letting women work outside the home, rejection of western medicine, refusing to accept that one's oral tradition contains something other than fact.

The professed desire to demolish hierarchies and inequality starts to stink, and one realizes that this is in fact a love-affair with hierarchy, just of a different sort. These discourses bear the indelible influence of parties who are very interested in creating more inequality, just more on their terms. The equality being striven for shows its true colors as merely a world where groups are "different but equal." This is of course a non-racist power-inversion of the sentiment underlying the "separate but equal" of Plessy v. Ferguson: keeping other groups at arms length, and maintaining difference (of whatever kind) as a good in and of itself. It is dehumanizing in its aim, as it requires a degree of dismissal or neglect of what is common to humanity, in favor of tribal narcissism, usually with a hint of either paranoia or callousness. Taken to its logical conclusion, it allows us to find a practice abhorrent if done to our own children, but normal for the children of Those People Over There because that's "just their Nature, I mean Culture, wait what's the difference again? I always get those two confused."

When respect for difference is used to rationalize letting a child of intransigent parents die of a treatable or preventable disease, "ethical dilemma" seems to me to be very often another name for cowardice for convention's sake. Whether it be white Christian Scientists who insist God will do the rest for their daughter without antibiotics, or an aboriginal family with blinkered ideas about White Men's medicine when their Leukemia-stricken son is begging for it.

Ultimately, the idea of truth can get contorted in ways that can be downright wicked, and especially miserable for a group's less powerful members.  
"I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written. In the past people deliberately lied, or they unconsciously coloured what they wrote, or they struggled after the truth, well knowing that they must make many mistakes; but in each case they believed that ‘facts’ existed and were more or less discoverable. And in practice there was always a considerable body of fact which would have been agreed to by almost everyone. If you look up the history of the last war in, for instance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, you will find that a respectable amount of the material is drawn from German sources. A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys. Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as ‘Science’. There is only ‘German Science’, ‘Jewish Science’, etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ — well, it never happened."
-George Orwell "Looking back on the Spanish War"

A Truthy Poem Fragment

You know it's the twenty-first century when you find yourself writing the beginning of a poem, in which it feels completely natural to use a form of the word truthy as a rhyme-word.  O Great Colbert, evermore shall I hymn Thy name of El Shaddawesome, for Thou didst gift me with the Word whereby The West is conjoined unto The Truthiest.

To see inside the how a why
And others in your self, to tell 
The fib of life to go to Hell
The only choice is love or die.
What strikes with tears each open eye?
What holds the heart up like a gun?
I can do nothing more than cry
"Welcome to Century Twenty-One"

Behold how wilder grows the West.
Where once to purpose we could run 
Each slithers on their simple own
Whichever way proves truthiest.
So sure we can't be sure, we lie
Drained. But at least you're having fun.
I can do nothing more than cry.
Welcome to Century Twenty One.

Twilight's Last Gleaming

Twilight's Last Gleaming
A.Z Foreman

What is the point of blunted you,
Hacking away in cyber sects
Of blogged Safe Space where all that's new,
Guilt-fouled and gutless intersects?
No guts of old in anyone,
We cower at a Wicked Thing.
America is dead and gone.
It's in the grave with Dr. King.

A beast wakes in the mirror. Say,
Can you hear the anthem that it sings?
Dressed in a flag for feeding day,
Roaring like you think freedom rings
While we've no mood to more than yawn
Then back to deadly slumbering.
America is dead and gone
It's in the grave with Dr. King.

Was it for this that they, who fought
Slaver and Crown, in havoc died?
For this the Freedom Riders got
By burning crosses crucified?
Wait to be chopped by Washington
As cheery trees. With one last swing
America is dead and gone.
It's in the grave with Dr. King.

Their fires were fed of different air
Than this foul cyber smoke you breathe
In hymning them. No time was there
To play pretend for those beneath
The heel of life crushed on the run.
But go, have fun petitioning. 
America is dead and gone.
It's in the grave with Dr. King.

Too bored and bedridden to fight,
The marrows cancered in our bone.
Sing no more of Dawn's Early Light.
Nightsticks are drumming down the sun. 
Our future is the shining gun
Beneath the Balding Eagle's wing.
America is dead and done.
It's in the grave with Dr. King.

The Ascent of Man and Woman

The Ascent of Man and Woman
A.Z. Foreman

"We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities....with his god-like intellect.... Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."
-Charles Darwin, "The Descent of Man" 

"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: "and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live for ever" Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life."
-Genesis [3:22-24]

What goes beyond itself? Some great things do,
Immortal as scripture born of mortal hearts.
A great old book in young hands opens new
And humans rise in sum of all their arts

In unforigiving reply to the Lore of lords
Who needed his toys immaculate, and small:
God not of peace on earth but Angel Swords!
Our eyes see through Thy petty and prettied wall

That kept us in the cage called Paradise
From the honest fruits of knowledge and of life,
Pets of a Jealous Fraud that now denies
The good of a man being fucked by his own wife.

Though Thy sword wound the brain to shame of sin
And circumcise Job's heart, indelible 
Stamps we shall be of Thy low origin,
Characters in the story of Thy Fall.

A snakeworm shalt Thou be beneath the heel
Of women and men who study the earth, the stars
And the apple-rotten core Thy words conceal.
The joke of Thy creation proven ours.

To make our own fire, We The Lovers leave.
The hominid hath learned to speak its name.
We go beyond ourselves: Adam and Eve
Opening fire against Thy sword of flame.