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mood politics
posted 01/07/2004
by Turbulent Velvet

For msg:

That's what stops me at the armed-love security check, because the logic seems to go there, stepping from the shrieking feedback of hysterical 'commentary' to the refusal to recognize even the most parliamentary voice of dissent, to the visibly growing hunger for blood-pageantry amongst the nervous millions, and the fang and claw beneath the song and dance won't respond to reason. So die with a body count. But that alone dooms the side. So don't do that. But be able to consider it and then reject it.

We hunt down the equation, the abstract machine, less because we think it will provide some guarantee against doom than because we wish, at least, to know our doom in advance. Yet the future gives no equation. So to banish chaos we impose certainties of mood: "optimism," "pessimism," "irony," "revenge." Each emotion a narrative, each mood a telos--not just in the head but in the body entire.

"Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison."

Suppose, rare moment, we could see beyond. Where is that place? Who could speak from it? To say what?

The uselessness v. utility of any of this won't be ours to measure, ever, that's my take.

What rises next, after the night, after the inevitable, will come from what this was. So it matters.

Beautifully said. And mea culpa. But maybe the pessimistic style, like so many other things, is strategic. Not so much a refusal of optimism as a machine of selection, winnowing the coercive from the cautious & kind. A way of goading the preachers of hope to declare themselves, thus to distinguish the "optimism" that functions only as a gun to your head--"display cheer or die"--from that whose evocation of hidden light or saving grace has about it the mark of tragedy which tells you it's been earned & is offered generously.

Dreary, joy-killing, always, triggering that cheerleader assault. But sometimes it's worth baiting the former legions into open attack if only for the satisfaction of an compiling an itemized demonology, and to pre-emptively and permanently dismiss them so as to save one's energy for more useful encounters.

For very different reasons, and without ambiguity, the latter are worth calling out, too. Being so rare.

There are 2 comments

"the refusal to recognize even the most parliamentary voice of dissent":

I think this expresses the essence of the challenge our system of government now faces.

Closing down that big area under the Big Tent were the loyal opposition live, one closes down the republican system of government.

Does anyone remember the introduction to Robert's Rules of Order? The motivation underlying all the arcane rules governing parliamentary order is simple: it is to avert a tyranny of the majority.

But what do we have? A winner-take-all election system and a winner-take-all ideology that paints Lani Guinier's proposal for proportional voting as if it's antidemocratic.

Ramming the recent Medicare "reforms" down the Democrats' throats, forcing a vote within a day or so of the thousand-plus-page bill's issuance from committee, the Republicans have given "tyranny of the majority" a vivid and bold new life.

Newt Gingrich's "conflict similar in intensity to a civil war" goes on, now, unabated. We are told we are a divided nation, to be conquered by Republican political calculation. We toy with our national survival, children with the unexploded bomb of human history in our hands, a brightly-painted curiosity that has lain dormant under our house for so long it is unrecognizable for what it is.

Divisiveness? My disgust at the famous "Poor George" speech from the 1988 Democratic Convention is obsolete: trumped and trampled and shrunken to a virtuality, a vanishing point in the full-frame horror of what now is.


I commend Turbulent Velvet's choice of excerpt, and do not mean to distract from the perspicacious summary msg gives to the "fang and claw beneath the song and dance."

We circle a pit, inspecting it from all angles, wondering who dug it and what it means. A parody of the apes and the obelisk opening 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I vocalize a thin howl. A pure hard C one octave above Middle C. I taste it as it resonates. There.

Thank you for your forbearance. I return the floor to you.


Posted by Zoot Organizing Kit
01/08/2004 10:11 AM EST


"When you sleep in your cloak there’s no lodging to pay."
George John Whyte-Melville

'Comrades, we will overthrow the government, as sure as there are fifteen acids intermediate between margaric acid and formic acid.' Victor Hugo - The Miserable Ones

Cataracts of declamation thunder here,
There forests of no meaning spread the page
In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there,
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion; roses for the cheeks
And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Heaven, earth, and ocean plundered of their sweets.
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons and city feasts and favourite airs,
Ethereal journeys, submarine exploits,
And Katterfelto with his hair on end
At his own wonders, wondering for his bread.

'Tis pleasant through the loopholes of retreat
To peep at such a world; to see the stir
Of the great Babel and not feel the crowd;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear.
Thus sitting and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates and exempts me from them all.
It turns submitted to my view, turns round
With all its generations; I behold
The tumult and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me;
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride
And avarice that makes man a wolf to man;
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound.
He travels and expatiates, as the bee
From flower to flower...

Cowper The Task book 4
at Project Gutenberg

I am under the influence of the stars at present, and not fit for the simplest tasks.


Posted by msg
01/08/2004 04:42 PM EST

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