Sunday, June 25, 2006

Madness and Survival

Life in Catatonia
Two of my favorite subjects, Madness and Survival. I believe in evolution and I believe in two sides of evolutionary being, both sides attempting to survive against the odds all living things face. Still it is paradise; the best evolution has to offer us; to enjoy it, YOU must survive it. You have to do it alone--that means only you can learn how to face things first as your self then as a compadre or as a gang member, cop, a writer, a militant, a religious fanatic, whatever social position you decide to take within the society evolution has pitched you into without a map, with only these genetic carriers who call themselves your parents as your guides. You face so many guides. Before you walk there are hundreds of rules you have to learn. Life suddenly becomes switching on and switching off, just like a computer. We face a million switches a day and we have to automatically know which ones to turn on and which ones to turn off and which gates to enter and which gates are locked to us unless we are privileged to have a password...and now, of course, it's easy to see how some of us may just fucking give up on switching these switches on and off--"F-it!" their psyches shout giving voice to the twisted desires in the belly of their solar plexus--the nerve plexus in front of the diaphragm but also the pit of the stomach.

What makes a person go mad? I've thought about that a lot. Henry Miller says in The Rosy Crucifixion he's too sane to go mad; he wants to go mad; at the end of Sexus, he's crawling around on the floor of his apartment going "Woof, woof, woof"; yet, still he's sane; he's certainly sane enough to write about trying to be insane sanely. Eugene O'Neill looking into the eyes of the mad and seeing it's he that is really mad for not giving up and letting society take care of him. But he cries, "No, I don't want you cutting out a part of my frontal lobotomy! Mutate, don't mutilate, dammit." I like figuring out how to stay sane. Doctor Hunter Thompson gave up to it. Hemingway gave up to it. John Berryman gave up to it. Writers love committing suicide; their "easy way" out. Yet, Henry Miller stayed sane and went through a hell of a lot worse times as a writer than Doc Thompson or Il Papa, living to be an old man, satisfied, living a life of being idolized and watched over by bevies of babes and admirers, his books selling, his art respected and selling; DAMN, perfectly sane all the way to the end. Woof, woof, woof.

We're told, especially now by the pharmaceutical oligarchy, the only hope for a madman is to give himself or herself up to society and let society's vaunted institutions fix the situation; oh yeah, electro-shock, dope, lead enemas--yeah, that's how society deals with something it denies is the opposite reason for the dark side of living--SURVIVING. They go mad to survive. Get it?

Then I saw this dude, Jay Neugeboren, on teevee being interviewed and he's written a book Imaging Robert, My Brother, subtitled, of all things, Madness and Survival, a sentimental book about coping with a schizophrenic brother who was fine until he got 19 and went catatonic. I never heard of this writer, but, by God, he's pretty successful, especially having good luck with this book (a genre very popular these days, ie, A Beautiful Mind-- he got a movie out of it, plus a teaching job at UMass, which impresses me, having a fondness for UMass at Amherst because it set up a top jazz program back in the used-to-be and hired some of my favorites, like Max Roach, to teach there; also one of my favorite Civil Rights workers, Julius Lester, who I first came across when my wife and I joined the first CORE organization formed in New Orleans by one of my wife's boss's, and we had two field reps assigned to us, Huey Newton and Julius Lester. Julius was a folk singer in those days, but he was our field rep, and showed up with Dick Gregory at the first CORE meeting held in New Orleans, over in the Garden District at this guy's really nice house. I think my wife's boss's friend's wife was more the humanist than he was.

Julius Lester was the morning guy on NYC's Pacifica station, WBAI, for many wonderful years in the early seventies (those wonderfully free years for LIBERALS), until he read a anti-Jewish Harlem landlords and storeowners put-down poem written by a Harlem schoolgirl, like 12 years old, who in her quaint way said landlords and storeowners were a bunch of money-fleecing Jewish scumbags and openly prejudice against the very people they made their incomes off of--oh hell, so it was true, but, you know, we can't be anti-Semetic unless the Semite is Islamic, then it's Katie bar the damn door. That radio incident got Julius kicked off BAI, but he survived by landing a good job at UMass, where he was for many years. Here's a site that has some of Neugeboren's writings available:

I studied Social Psychiatry when I was a college kid and catatonic schizophrenia fascinated me. I have actually observed catatonic schizophrenics in both the Austin, Texas, State Psychiatric Hospital and in handling many cases of socially disordered juveniles as an intake officer for a juvenile court. Catatonics still amaze me. Also, I am fascinated by hebephrenic schizophrenics the most. Hebephrenics are my kind of madfolks. I offer a definition:

A form of schizophrenia in which affective changes are prominent, delusions and hallucinations fleeting and fragmentary, behaviour irresponsible and unpredictable, and mannerisms common. The mood is shallow and inappropirate and often accompanied by giggling or self-satisfied, self-absorbed smiling, or by a lofty manner, grimaces, mannerisms, pranks, hypochondriacal complaints, and reiterated phrases. Thought is disorganized and speech rambling and incoherent. There is a tendency to remain solitary, and behaviour seems empty of purpose and feeling. This form of schizphrenia usually starts between the ages of 15 and 25 years and tends to have a poor prognosis because of the rapid development of "negative" symptoms, particularly flattening of affect and loss of volition.

In addition, disturbances of affect and volition, and thought disorder are usually prominent. Hallucinations and delusions may be present but are not usually prominent. Drive and determination are lost and goals abandoned, so that the patient's behaviour becomes characteristically aimless and empty of purpose. A superficial and manneristic preoccupation with religion, philosophy, and other abstract themes may add to the listener's difficulty in following the train of thought.

There have been quite a few madmen in my family background, though for the most part, they were a pretty sane bunch considering how hard life was for especially the elder and ancient women of my past--MAD, most of them, yes, but insane, no. I did have a great-grandmother, who was definitely a witchy woman, who opted out for madness, I think, because she saw the end of the road and had rather suffer it out of her mind than be cognizant of how fast it was diminishing ("At least she had the good sense to go mad")--like Frank Harris of My Life and Loves fame in the last chapter of his singular tome--a huge autobiography in 4 volumes of over 400 pages per volume; the fourth volume and last chapter marking the end of his LOVES and the beginning of him becoming fully and alertly aware that the end of his LIFE is nauseatingly near; he's in his seventies and is beginning to suffer from his chain-smoking cigarettes all his lusty life, and this chapter becomes his most morbid chapter and the saddest chapter of an otherwise lighthearted and rather wittily whimsical book. Hell, his writing in that damned last chapter made me cringe. In this chapter, Frank looks down this road he suddenly finds himself declining down and he can't help but look up ahead on that road, and he does and he sees and what he sees is what he sees at the end of this road, and he sees it clearly, and what he clearly sees is his f-ing tombstone! It blows Frank's mind and the final words in the chapter fall off into a pit of total mental depression told with the bluest of blue words.

When Frank was frisky and full of bravado and full of lusty life, he became obsessed by 12-year-old girls and they became his male seduction objects. As he aristocratically admitted in Life and Loves (he was a Brit, now), he found he had no sexual interest in women after they passed the age of twelve. Sounds like old Polish art-movement celebrant Roman Polansky (remember when the Poles suddenly were on the cutting edge of writing and performance art and filmmaking--Polanski the only one to reach celebrity? Unless you count that plagiarizer Jerzy Kozinsky and the literature of violation) who admitted, safely tucked away in France where it's perfectly all right to seduce and bang a 14-year-old girl (and boy, too, I'd suppose--equality being a big deal to the French), that he could only get it up for 14-year-old girls and he didn't consider that in the least abnormal. Hell, he's right; kings used to could screw when they were 4 and 5, marrying little princesses at that age. And god help the many catamounts over the years who've known young-age sex with old dwadling reprobates. All through the Holy Books of all the stupid religions you find the ancient ones were particularly erected to prolific heights by very young girls; King David even got to bang, with the Lard's impunity, his own daughter--and he said she was splendid in bed, too. Rues. That's what these guys are. Rues. Howard Stern, who used to be one of the funniest guys I've ever heard, that is until he made it, got rich, got powerful, and became simply a purveyor of juvenile rascality, used to do a parody of "sweet ole" Meester Rogers called "Mr. Rue's Neighborhood." Funniest shit ever in those late eighties times of unbounded radio freedoms, long gone now, mostly thanks to the FCC's and the religious nutjobs's smashing down on Howard's kind of original humor in the early days of the new century, driving the man out of commercial radio and onto satellite radio. And this is the radio guy who made Infinity Broadcasting so big it took over Viacom and Paramount and eventually CBS. All thanks to Howard Stern.

The world is full of rues. Check out the rectumry of most Catholic dioceses and check out the number of young men going in and out of those sacred backdoors. Oh those manly priests! Remember Giovanni Boccaccio's tale about the priest "Putting the Devil Into Hell." Ah, the ribald pleasures of those days of rowdy jongleurs going along the roads telling their tales of ribaldry. I was proud to have a poem of mine published back in the glorious "New Frontier" sixties in a small-press journal called the Galliard. I was so impressed when I found out a Galliard was a dance created by the jongleurs in ancient Europe, a pavane of sorts that contains hops and stuff like that. I'll bet Hoptoad could do the Galliard with much grace and ease.

Mexico's Coming Presidential Elections
I see that ALMO is back in the race for El Presidente del Mexico. Wasn't he imprisoned by Vicente "Fuck My People I Love Coca Cola Best" Fox recently? Anyway, he's Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City, and he's a character who says he's on the side of the true Mexican, los mestizos, los pobrecitos, los peones, los gentes, los mexicanos y mexicanas and who is going to bring the prosperity of Mexico back home to the real people of Mexico. Mexico pumps a hell of a lot of state-owned oil, millions of dollars a day going into the Mexican coffers, little of it ever reaching the true people of Mexico, los companeros, the struggling workers and farmers all over the country. Where maize (CORN) comes from; yet now Mexico imports corn from the U.S. because of NAFTA and the GATT-imposed trade rules set up by and ruled on by the WTO that has its headquarters in Europe but is dominated by the U.S. controlled World Bank, home now of Paul Wolf O'Witz, the kind of wolf you don't want blowing down your door if you live in a straw house--which are the kind of houses most of the world lives in.

ALMO is a Rooseveltian of all things. Yep, he wants to bring a Works Project-type of system to Mexico, to put the people to work in Mexico and thus keep them from running off to America looking for that mountain of gold the Chinese immigrants also are looking for when they immigrate overhere by any means possible, some of them willing to suffer the utmost of humiliations hiding in the bellies of rusted Chinese cargo vessels or sealed up in airless cargo containers risking life and limb to get here. Did you know that the Mexicans working in America send over 2 billion dollars a year of the money they make here back to Mexico?

ALMO's backers go around dressed as cockerels, the chickens used in "cock" fighting. Obrador in defending himself against Vicente Fox calling him a crook in return called Fox una chachalaca, which means what Vicente Fox says is like the racous call of the chachalaca bird, a mocking call, and called a "mockingbird" in my old neck of the woods--a dirty rascal of a bird that steals other birds's calls and mimicks them. "Listen to the mockingbird, listen to the mockingbird, the mockingbird is singing all the day!" The mockingbird is the state bird of Texas.

Vivo ALMO! It is said to be a very close race, with ALMO leading the popularity polls by just 2 lousy points over Felipe Calderon leader of the National Action Party, a conservative party. Here's a well-written article about ALMO:

for The Daily Growler

A Daily Growler Sports Final With Marv Backbiter

The Brits are the luckiest team in the World Cup. Ecuador played like champs in the first period holding the Brits to only one or two shots on goal to their 4. Then came the second period. You'd'a thought the Brits went in and drank a gallon or two of liquid steroids at the between periods while Ecuador, on the other hand, seems to have taken a ton of saltpeter. Suddenly the Brits were shooting on goal like hell, missing wide, especially Beckham, who a couple of times made some, I thought, stupid plays, twice on penalty kicks, but then, he got lucky and bent one around the Ecuadorians and just into the tight left edge of the goal just passed Mora, a damn good goalkeeper. Shit, I hollered. And after that, the Ecuadorians looked like Togo and though they got two wide-open shots of goal in the second period, they blew both of them. I'd say in the game, Ecuador had at least 5 shots on goal that missed by a crossbar or a hair. Oh well, I take this loss personally I am so opposed to those lousy Brits going on and a fine team like Ecuador having to fade into the history books and better luck next time.

And then the pesky Portuguese, Wow, they surprised me and ground one out against the equally pesky and a bit F-ing rude Nederlanders (Lowlanders)--what's the old song, "the lowland Dutch and the highland Dutch, the Rotterdam Dutch and the God-damn Dutch...." 'Cept Portugal proved to be a tougher team and won 1-0.

So here we go. On to the next round. You have Brasil and Ghana coming up Tuesday. Then Germany and the, the Germans are a lucky team, too, plus they have the refs on their side. Italy's still in it; so's Spain; Argentina; Switzerland!?, Ghana...I'm so unfocused on this. So, here's the list now:

1)Brasil, Argentina, Portugal, Germany
2)England, Spain
3)Whoever's left, Ghana, that bunch, all long shots.

I'm losing interest in the World Cup now.

The Amazing Mets are still charming the hell out of me this year, with the fine managing of Willie Randolph and the excellent pitching of Tom "Amazin', Amazin', Amazin'" Glavine and the great hitting of Wright and Delgado--pretty saavy trading after last year's ho-hum team.

The Yankees? They're still in there, though they lost Robinson Cano today to a pulled hamstring in an interleague game against the loser Marlins, which now means, the Yankees have three of their top players, Sheffield, Matsui, and Cano, on the disabled list. Plus, their bullpen is shot to pieces and they're having to use Double A minor league stars as relievers now. Plus, the Yankees's starting pitchers are a wreck continuing to happen; Chacon pitched today and quickly started giving up hits and walking batters and then giving up 5 runs in 7 innings; hell, this millionaire loser has a 5.03 ERA this year; inexcusable for a Yankee starting pitcher.

Mets are the best team in baseball right now; 10 games ahead of Atlanta; that's something right there to shout about! Still you can't trust Bobby Cox and the Braves; they can easily come back from 10 behind; the Mets are usually the team that has to win 13 in row to beat the Braves, but now the shoe's on the other foot, Jackson.

Yankees are tooting they could be the first baseball team to top 4 million in one year's attendance. Oh, that's why they need a new stadium so badly.

Still banking on a Subway series, baby; though the Yankees may be the team to let me down this year. Again, the damn BoSox can't seem to lose no matter how stupidly they shake their teams up. Detroit still hanging in there--what a race that division is--White Sox still looking good. Also, Toronto is hanging tough, too, with the BoSox and Yankees. The National League? Who the hell knows, except the Mets shall surely not take a nosedive this year. Come on, Mets, old Casey's expectin' the best from you and now you're finally as good as the '69 team maybe--and what a team that was. That was a great year for New York City sports, plus Woodstock happened that summer. Tommy Agee! What a player. Almost forgotten now, I'll betcha.

for The Daily Growler

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