what they do is who they are

“It’s hard,” writes Thomas Harris somewhere of Starling and Lecter, “to accept that someone can understand you without wishing you well.” Life’s too slippery for books, Clarice; anger appears as lust, lupus presents as hives.

I wrote something in July about political grifters, left and right: an argument (over-compressed, over-allusive) that their adept way with words — their subtle deployment, and indeed understanding, of the elaborate shibboleths of the tribe — is by no means necessarily the conclusive tell for their motivation. The heart of a good con is that you’re hearing what you very much want to hear: the conman may or may not at some level also believe it himself (and please to note: they are by no means all men). The sentence “I love you” is not on its own proof that the speaker loves you (this powerful argument is Seth’s, by the way). Karl Rove and the Super-PAC American Crossroads; the people who built ORCA for Romney… what did these projects seem to say but “I love you” to those whose money they took, in such eye-wateringly large amounts?

This species of con is BY NO MEANS restricted to the moneyed right: though I think the equivalent on the left perhaps feeds more on moral-intellectual authority and celebrity and glamour than actual cash. (Though some of them do like cash.)

none dare call it skewed

Quick unedited notes the morning after (on just 4 hrs sleep)

1: the road-testing of the citizens united decision has not developed entirely to the 1%’s advantage
2: TRUMPBOT SMASH *trumpbot falls over on face in puddle of someone else’s vomit*
3: no one ever got rich betting against the continued stupidity of the US pundit class, but — and usually like emerson I am pro creative-transformative intuition and against the soulless bead-counting technocrat where’er he be — but Team Silver has surely helped ding the the current pundit-layer’s crappy jalopy, in a way that a mere unpredicted shock dem win would not have done
4: ratfuck report (relevant internal repug warfare): Continue reading “none dare call it skewed”

decline of the western (2)

(rough notes on oaters, watched when tired and in need of semi-brainless distraction while re-decorating my flat, and written up at speed without checking except dates and such in hardy on cowboys…)

And “decline” perhaps not so much, this time: as it’s four westerns from just three years, 1959-62, and what’s more interesting I think is the variation, at what afterwards proves to be the downslope of the highest peak — though of course no one quite knows this yet. Television has swallowed up the last of the serials, as well as the oater indies (=Republic Pictures): the qualities that came from mass unpoliced repro have vanished. Plus the Civil Rights Act is beginning to make racial Othering work quite unexpectedly, at least for a while. And for a half a generation, a significant proportion of young white men stop looking at the way older men are in their own families and thinking, “I want to be that”…

platonism and anger management

Entirely unsurprisingly, the word ‘troll’ now has a politicised range of meanings—all the way from anonymous internet bully to subtly provocative dialectician, with a fractally wriggly continuum linking these extremes—and the comment this is a response to (a) made it reasonably clear which meaning one s/he had in mind* and thus (b) deserved a better (or at least more self-aware) answer than “By using the word X you can only be saying Y about me and I know myself well enough to say this is false.” Of course dsquared was trolling here — and it’s not as if Farrell is historically that good at identifying the motivations of the people he deems trolls by his own over-simplified (which is to say self-exculpatory) definition. The revealed fact of the faultline is an indication that people on both sides are uneasily (=angrily) aware that they too exist within contradiction: “just a lot less so than those OTHER deluded clowns,” the more twerpish partisans on both sides are busy telling themselves.

*And yes, s/he later disappointingly backed away from a good strong usage…

huh-JEMM-uh-ni

Is there not a point — of acclaim, respect, mainstream success, [stupid word alert] “influence” and simply being paid lots to do what you enjoy doing — where self-awareness should kick in, as you find yourself unleashing this take-down term at others? Own your power: you are not the embattled nobody you imagine.

(Am looking at self somewhat here, not that I use this specific word very often.)

(But not just at self…)

decline of the western

rough notes on oaters, watched when tired and in need of semi-brainless distraction while re-decorating my flat, and written up at speed without checking except dates and such in phil hardy’s big book o cowboys

i have a bunch more recorded, to be watched and written up at some point — and some vague thoughts about what had been strong and became less so (and why) which i may also write up at some point (don’t hold breath)

the age of intellectual mass repro

When the first film came out and I spotted you could collect little Lord of the Rings figurines at Burger King, I grinned: I imagined Tolkien’s vast rage at same, and the complex irony of his world-spanning success, in relation to his actual beliefs.

Then I started imagining the factories and warehouses full of these pale green and poorly fashioned figurines, and started feeling a bit ill myself: it’s not such a bad habit, when something mass cultural entertains you momentarily, to imagine how it would strike you en masse.

In my day-job I have to read — and deal with — the terms “appropriation” and “subversion”, maybe not exactly en masse, but far too bloody often. The people using these words (not just these words) mostly imagine they are observing stuff from a higher intellectual plane: on the whole they’re really really not.