Saturday, June 25, 2011
Enlightened Man/Woman vs. the Masses
Foto by tgw, New York City (in retrospect), 2008
The Masses Are Basically Dumb As Hell
I listen to and watch President Obama straight-facedly babble out his brand of lawyer-emit-trained politico-speak at me and I don't gain anything relevant from what he's saying EXCEPT--and it's at that word except that I stop, because except is a jumping-off word. In the preceding sentence, for instance, because acts as a stop sign: "Because...." and one expects after the stop a reason will pop up that will clear the path ahead like a stop sign holds up one flow of traffic so another flow can flow through. Keeping the flow going is the basis of most of our science. Keeping the blood flow going is the science of life. It gets complicated when you start relating all of our different levels of reasoning, which is all our sciences, to keep the flow of thought going--to keep things progressing--some of us using pure science (mathematics, physics) and some of us using pseudo-science (sociology, economics, philosophy, poetry, literature), and some of us using supernatural science (alchemy, astrology, fortune-telling, theology, extrasensory perception)--all of these sciences trying to keep the flow of life going.
Just yesterday I came to a nice big break in my reading of one of Balzac's exciting and enlightening tomes, Lost Illusions, a 600 + page tome (I used to like using roman a fleuve in place of tome back in my younger and dumber and more romantic literary times (the 1960s--the Patty Duke years)). And oh how I needed a break from that book. Balzac has to be, at least he is to me, one of the greatest writers in whose-ever history. To me there's no comparison that I know of and I'm including Will Shakespeare in my conclusion. And, yes, Will was a masterful output-er of meaningfully combined words, most of which he wrote on the fly backstage as his productions were evolving out on the stage--his historical dramas being just the pap (propaganda) to keep the dumbass Brits entertained while the royal buffoons were playing soldier in the constant wars going on between the royal families of that century's Europe--that era of war-whoring royals that gave Will Shakespeare so much to write about, so much to parody and satirize, and, yes, when I get into reading Will, I find him hilariously funny--in the vein of Jimmy Joyce...certainly in the vein of Mark Twain...Nabokov, et. al. But Balzac. Balzac wrote over 200 tomes in his lifetime. Balzac wrote almost 24/7--he only slept 30 minutes at a time (all the sleep geniuses need--Thomas Edison only slept 30 minutes at a time)--to stay awake and alert using high-octane Mexican coffee beans that he ground himself and brewed in his coffeemaker to his dark-brewed delight--Balzac's coffee pot in a perpetual state of brewing--and, yes, Balzac crushed his coffee beans with a mortar and pestal--Balzac it was estimated consumed on an average of 40 cups of coffee during one writing session--now, yes, these may have been demi-tasses, expresso-sized portions--and I, too, being a consumer of dark-roasted coffees drink Turkish and Greek coffees in demi-tasses--those coffees that leave that nice chocolatey thick spoonful of remains at the bottom of that dainty cup.
Taking a little break (this can be skipped over--though it shouldn't be because of its relevancy to the dance, if you catch the flow of what I'm writing and saying at the same time--writing being simply a conversation a writer is having with himself)--I'll bet you readers (both of you--I jest of course) a dollar to a donut (did you realize this is the accepted spelling of doughnut in this blog's SpellChek's opinion?) that I'm the only Internet pundit (Pun-jabbing pundit) in this particular end of the blogosphere (a part of the bigger Googlesphere) who writes while listening to America's true CLASSICAL music, Jazz (Madame Zzaj)--and I'm writing now while listening to, under my stereophonic EARphones (headphones), one of the greatest-ever recorded live jazz performances that turned out to be one of the greatest ever spontaneous set of jazz inventions ever recorded--thanks to Norman Granz, Creed Taylor, Rudy Van Gelder (if you know Jazz you know these names) and the Verve production teams in 1965 (the year after the Beatles had invaded us (and I don't blame the Fab Four for this) with White Brit-fop (bubblegum on the bedpost) "rock" to the more musically advanced USA--in order to please the masses (the White mass market in this case))--this great jazz accomplishment was entitled: Smokin' at the Half Note and featured the genius of the jazzmeisters, Wynton "Winetone" Kelly and Wes Montgomery, both being ass-kicked by the kick-ass sectionists: Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb--whew, this shit inspires the holy behemoth hell out of me, stirs me up (a la Bob Marley), and builds sweet hot fires under my already inspired rattling off a mile-a-minute's worth of punditry--I mean, under the influence of this U.S.A.-born-and-bred genius music by now I'm raving like a crazed evangelical Christian fakir, walking the boards hollering the merits and beauties and nuances of this salvation music and...Jesus, I'm babbling like the brook Virginia Woolf drown herself in.
By the bye, Paul Chambers's bass had a head carved at its top in whose mouth Paul used to place his lit cigarettes while he played. Miles later fired Paul because he suspected Paul of stashing his mezzrolls in that bass's head's mouth, too.
Paul Chambers Playing Bass With Miles: You see that little head up on top of Paul's bass? Photo thanx to kalamu.com.
And, yes, cats smoked while they played in them thar past-age days--and check out how many musicians died from either cigarettes or cigarette-smoke contact. It's a hell of a lot of 'em who left us early due to cancers and massive organ failures (the autopsy report on Charles Parker, Jr., who died at age 33, stated that nearly every organ in his body was diseased)--and even I have musician friends who've never smoked a day in their lives who have spots on their lungs now--from working those old smoky clubs and bars--myself included--I was never a cigarette smoker--at least not any cigarettes I didn't roll myself out of my choice of smoking tobakies--like Balzac got his coffee beans from Mexico, so, too, do I get my tobaky from that great land. Should one admit one's sins on the Internet? Yes, and especially you can when you are a protagonist character in an on-going reality novel called The Daily Growler--think about it--The Growler is written by a Man-Wolf (hybrid) and edited by an editing horse and collated by a two-headed "girl" reporter--and managed by a man named after a Texas city and a kid's highchair. That's the The Daily Growler reality, folks. Though it is a civilized reality--really it is.
And now back to our logic: So, we're back to my taking my break from Honore Balzac and to continuing from the word EXCEPT. A word I called a jumping-off word as opposed to a stop-sign word like "because"--in the sense at EXCEPT you are first stunned to find the flow being detoured. You expected the flow to go on down the traditional direction. Instead, EXCEPT leaves you hanging--briefly, yes--EXCEPT in the case of the way I write--in that case you may be held suspended for several long paragraphs, as you just were left hanging--er-ah, come on, I try and reason, this is the fun of reading The Daily Growler. It gets kind of like a crossword puzzle at times.
So I listened to President Obama spieling out his withdrawal of troop plans for poor old bombed-back-to-the-Stone-Age Afghanistan (the Afghanistan War the perpetual war (you wanna bet?)) and I found the President's spiel babble...not comforting babble, because it was military-speak babble, and when you analyze it using my "backward thinking" logic, you find that what this President is saying is that though he is bringing home 10,000 troops right off the bat and then 20,000 more by the end of some other soon-to-be-forgotten-and-overlooked future date, he is leaving 60,000 troops there, plus whatever NATO (a joke army) troops are still there, plus 100,000 "contracted" troops (soldiers of fortune) still there, plus the CIA operatives and Blackwater goons still all over the place there, plus the bungling Afghanistan raggedy forces, plus the inept Taliban-infiltrated Afghan police force--all to be still overseered by the Good Ole USA, the invader and occupier, the Neo-Imperialistic Corporate forces of the USA under their Nobel Peace Prize-winning Commander in Chief, Barack Obama.
And this campaign-speeching bullshit of Obama's got me breaking from Balzac and picking back up after a long delay, Ortega y Gasset's Revolt of the Masses to start reading it again. And soon I was back in that great book's reality--the reality that when its brilliant light is shined on my fellow We's the Peeps of the USA, I see how mortally (I think) dumb WE are. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Obama: DUMB. John Bonehead the House Majority Leader: DUMBER than DUMB. Nancy Pelosi: poor little rich girl: Catholic girl school DUMB. Hillary Clinton: just plain Clinton DUMB. Big Dog Bill Clinton: Arkansas hick DUMB. Mitt Romney: DUMBER than the DUMBEST of the DUMB. And Mitt's a dumbass Mormon, which rhymes with Moron--in fact, one of the Mormon White Angels is a Moron(i)--and please, folks, I tried to read The Book of the Mormon one time in a Pendleton, Oregon, motel room, after eating a very badly cooked sirloin steak at a steak restaurant I had seen touted along the highway all the way from Washington state into Eastern Oregon--and the first chapter of the Book of the Morons was so moronic, I caught myself bursting into mad laughter and calling my wife into the room to read her passages of it, especially the ones I found full of total idiocy--both of us laughing like Cheshire cats at the insipid stupidity of what surely is drunken writing. Like if I were to down half a quart of say Ron Rico rum and be writing like a maniac, "And in the beginning was a large goose-like man who rose above the desert to flower into a pansy of a angelic mortal whose first words were, 'When I see seagulls I see the semen of seminarians in whose golden-goose light I hear the honking of Jesus Frig'em Young Christ and the Tribe of Benjamin following faithfully along behind him as he leads his multiwifed army against the monogamous Devil in the Great Salt Lake desert--praise ye Moroni, ye Morons of the Latter Days.'" By golly, I'm inspired...to rewrite the Book of the Mormons as the True Book of the Morons. I'm on fire.
And Ortega y Gasset blames this dumbness on the masses, who he says took over in terms of majority rules in the middle of the 19th Century after the French Revolution.
A Very Relevant Passage From The Revolt of the Masses:
"The theme I am pursuing in these pages is politically neutral, because it breathes an air much ampler than that of politics and its dissensions. Conservative and Radical are none the less mass, and the difference between them--which at every period has been very superficial--does not in the least prevent them both being one and the same man--the common man in rebellion.
"There is no hope for Europe [published first in 1930, revised in 40s for publication in 1950] unless its destiny is placed in the hands of men really 'contemporaneous,' men who feel palpitating beneath the whole subsoil of history, who realize the present level of existence, and abhor every archaic and primitive attitude. We have need of history in its entirety, not to fall back into it, but to see if we can escape from it" [pp 69-70, First printing Signet Mentor edition, 1950][It is interesting to note that on the copyright page its says the translation was approved by Senor Ortega y Gasset and the translator has chosen to remain anonymous.]
I can't top the above statement by Brother Ortega y Gasset. How right this man is in saying we have to learn history to escape its distortions.
Trying to escape history, I remain,
for The Saturday Evening Posted The Daily Growler
Photo courtesy (again) kalamu.com.
PS: I ended today's punditry listening under my headphones (earphones) to an Eric Dolphy album called Vintage Dolphy featuring the evolving jazz of the innovating Eric Dolphy. The great Dolphy--1928-1964 (he died from complications from diabetes)--goes toward a classical dawn on this album that came out in 1986 as a CD. It's a compilation of the spontaneous combustions from 3 different live concerts from 1962 and 1963, just months before one day Eric was GONE. In his introduction to this CD, Gunther Schuller writes: "Eric used to 'shed' [jazz musicians call practicing "woodshedding"--"I gotta get back out to the woodshed, man, I'm getting so slouchy"] untold hours every day, often at the expense of eating, sleeping and any leisure time. Frequently I stayed with him at his place in Brooklyn, a single room apartment with virtually no furniture; just a mattress, a chair and a small table. One day, after playing/practicing all morning and well into the late afternoon, I mentioned (having myself grown quite hungry) that he hadn't eaten anything, and I saw hardly any food in the apartment. He took me to one end of the room, opened a closet door, and pointed to two huge sacks sitting inside. 'They're full of white beans; that's almost all I eat. And you know, that's how black folks in the south survived for years in the old days. You almost don't need anything else.'
"Like I say, he was much more into playing his horns than he was into eating well."
Gunther Schuller, Intro to Vintage Dolphy, GM Recording GM3005CD.