Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions in the Armpit of Diogenes by DINGO the DISSIDENT binge-thinker since 2008.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Two words that say so little :

GLOBAL CRISIS

In the 72 hours
it takes a woman in Mali, Burkina Faso or Sudan
to stand in line under the hot sun
for less than 20 litres (5 gallons) of water for her family,

a middle-class woman 'born equal'
elsewhere will have, unthinking,
flushed lavatories many times, taken several showers
(or even a bath of at least 80 litres),
washed vegetables, dishes, her hair and perhaps a floor,
and at least one load of
hardly-dirty clothes in a washing-machine 

– all with water purified for drinking.

Then there's the car-wash,
the lawn-sprinklers willy-nilly,
the electricity, petroleum products...
bottled water shipped from France
and sugar-peas flown in from Chile.

===

see also:

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/gallery/2022/may/13/every-drop-is-precious-the-mexican-women-saving-water-for-their-villages

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Sometimes, a shock

is not a surprise.
At birth we realise
that life is dislocation.


The winter rug is lifted.

 

The summer rug goes down.
I insert my hearing-aids,
discover bright bird-song.


Saturday, 14 May 2022

Home is anywhere

a nomad feels at ease.
I am not a nomad.  I have felt
most at ease in the different houses
I have made my own,

but also in certain vibrant places
such as around Bragança in Portugal
where I slid into a kind of trance,
and the convivial little town
of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
in South-West France.


A Chilean Copper Mine.

 

photo by Edward Burtynsky

Friday, 13 May 2022

The Minotaur,

Asterion, Star-being
was not disabled.


I am Proud To Be Bald !

To call a man 'bald' is sexual harassment, a [British] employment tribunal has ruled.  

For 50 years I haven't had to worry about my hair.

'Commenting on a man’s baldness in the workplace is equivalent to remarking on the size of a woman’s breasts'.

Ha! Ha!
Three cheers for small frontage and male-pattern baldness!

A flattering photo from many years ago.











Thursday, 12 May 2022

Irina Ratushinskaya : a poem from prison.

Well, we’ll live
as the heart dictates,
and not ask for anything.

To have a dog is impossible,
so I'll tame a mouse.
And he and I will pace about,
read letters in the corner.

He’ll climb into my bed
without wiping his feet.
And if letters suddenly stop —
after all, anything could happen on the way —

he, Mr Grey, then and there
will angrily wrinkle his nose
and then snuggle into my palm:
as if to say, remember, we’re in this together!

No need for us both to take Validol
— better to chew on a crust!
I’ll bring out a squashed heel of bread,
and we’ll regard the world more cheerfully.

He and I will invent a land
where there are neither cats nor camps.
We’ll abolish the cold,
cultivate bananas …
Maybe after our term we’ll be sent there
— though it's more likely
we'll be shipped off to Magadan.

But when I’m taken for transportation
and subjected to the search,
he’ll discreetly tag along behind,
scurry after me wherever I go.

I’ll put him in a secret pocket
so he’ll keep warm while wheels
rumble on rails.
And we’ll share sugar fairly —
ten grams for each nose.
And we'll go wherever the track leads —

for anywhere suits us,
we two old lags,
my long-tailed friend and me.

We’ll make a home beyond* bars,
beyond any frozen February —
beyond any Spring…

And if we are still alive
we’ll definitely get a dog,

when better times arrive.

   — August 8, 1984


Note:  'Behind bars' and 'Beyond bars' are the same in Russian:
за решеткой.

Irina Ratushinskaya was born in Odesa, Ukraine.

More of my translations/adaptations here.


Rape.

“It’s always the men
that people think are least likely to do it
who are involved in it.”
 

– British Member of Parliament, Stella Creasey.

My unmarried mother wryly told me
that my RAF father was dashing.

That is all that I know about him,
except that he soon (early in 1941) dashed off
to join a pacification mission in Iraq.


Thought on being a bit deaf.

The technology
that allows me to hear birdsong
from my balcony
is probably helping
to kill all the birds.


Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Almost his last printed words.

 'Sometimes the whole of marriage
was a cover-story'.

John le Carré, Silverview, page 199.


'In a tight spot,

you’d probably intuit that a human life outweighs an animal’s.
There are good arguments why that’s wrong.'

And we're in a very tight spot –
though we refuse to believe it.


Tuesday, 10 May 2022

A musical - but not dancing - bear.

 "Zaro had heard something extraordinary. His description of someone trying to play a violin was setting it a little high, musically. It was like the plucking of a string on a double-bass.  The note was loud and sustained, dying gradually away. It was being struck about once a minute and throbbed through the forest. We looked at one another in wonderment and started a stealthy general move in the direction of the sound. 

Fortunately, and quitte accidentally, we reached the source from downwind - and froze. We were on the edge of a clearing, on the other side of which was a tree blasted by lightning.  The main trunk had fallen outwards from the clearing without having torn itself completely free from its lower part.

At the break, about five or six feet above the ground, a long splinter stuck straight up. And as we watched the splinter was drawn back until it was bent like a bow. Then it was released, and the 'music' vibrated on our ears.  The performer : a great black Siberian bear, reared up on his hind legs to his full and impressive height.

Peering round the trees we saw him pull at the splinter again and again, standing each time with his head on one side listening in comical puzzlement to the sound he was producing.  The performance lasted several minutes before he got tired of it and shambled off - away from us."

- Slavomir Rawicz, The Long Walk, 1956. 


Putin Triumphant ?

 






















No, Putin is much less handsome.


A Flaubertian Irony.

In order to outrage the middle class[es]
– épater les bourgeois –
you have to be middle-class.

And there will (eventually,
probably) come a time
when the FOMO* Principle
will take effect.

*Fear of Missing Out.


Monday, 9 May 2022

Why consumer-capitalism will not so easily collapse.

1. In French supermarkets
a Cabernet-Sauvignon from Chile
(strawberry nose, oaky and slightly tannic taste,
a cherryish finish)
sells for just 1.80 € ($1.50).

2. As long as people subscribe to big-win lotteries
socialism will never catch on.


Ha! Ha!

apathetic.org

Let's make a Fabulous New Website together !

___________________________________

By the way,

DID YOU KNOW...

that California was the first legislature in the world to promote 
Mass-Sterilisation ?

Nazi Germany, impressed, soon followed suit.

MEANWHILE,

in another part of the Hideous House of Horrors
White Supremacist (anti-) Christians metamorphose into
the anti-abortion lobby(Thank you, Bob Jones 'University'.)


Sunday, 8 May 2022

There is, of course,

 no 'right side of history'.


Only Now! Shame!

Apology, 800 years on, for laws that expelled Jews from England...

 

I'm not completely sure, but I think that England (+ its Principality of Wales) was the first kingdom in Western Europe to expel the Israelites.

But it welcomed Karl Marx.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/08/apology-800-years-on-for-laws-that-expelled-jews-from-england


Saturday, 7 May 2022

Nation-states

are obscenities.
I am an insignificant nation of one.
I have learned to mistrust alliances
which cease to be fun.

Labelling non-labelling.

A 'relationship' can now be described
as non-labelled.  This is a label
which I like, having spent my life
puzzling over abstract labelling.
But why do we hang on to the fatuous word
relationship ?

Also in today's online newspaper
I came upon the word overage.
Not over-age.  Overage
is the amount over which something
is supposed or expected to be  –
such as two kilograms over weight
or over-weight – or overweight. 
So I suppose (or guess as they say in the USA)
that there is underage,
which is not the same as under-age.


Friday, 6 May 2022

"I have always found it comforting

rather than otherwise
to contemplate my own significance,
for if I am negligible
why should anyone persecute me ?"

- Stef Penney, The Tenderness of Wolves.

Unfortunately, the negligible
are probably the most persecuted.

In the same book, a truer statement:

"Mutual need is what makes people co-operate;
nothing to do with trust or kindness
or any such sentimental notion."


Thursday, 5 May 2022

The Goon Show.

Although the online etymological dictionary suggests an English or American origin for the word goon (e.g. from 16th century gony=simpleton or goony-bird=albatross) it is in fact of Indian origin, as is obliquely acknowledged in the title of Brecht & Weill's musical play 'The Rise and Fall of the Town of Mahagonny' i.e. maha (great) gunda ( गुंडा,  criminal).  

Gunda[h] or Goonda seems to date back to the 17th century. 
Goon did not appear in English until the 1930s, and, though first used in the USA, was applied to Nazi bully-boys amongst others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goonda

Enid Blyton's Famous Five books for children featured a risible policeman, PC Goon.

Then came Spike Milligan and The Goon Show, of which the Prince of Wales is a the most famous fan.


Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

All realities are real,

even if we think that some are more real than others.

If dreams are real - as they certainly are while we are dreaming -
“We can never prove we’re not in a computer simulation because any evidence of ordinary reality could be simulated,” writes David J. Chalmers in Reality +.

All experience is real, whether it comes through heroin or dreams,
ayahuasca, peyote or virtual reality,

and it is very good
to sleep alone in a big bed. 


Monday, 2 May 2022

When Ways of Life

gave way to Life Styles
of the bourgeois spazzers.
aspirational, yet stressed and bored,
the writing was on the wall
and wilfully ignored
by millions of would-be Belshazzars.


Sunday, 1 May 2022

A Rug and a Frieze.

A long time ago, when I was buying rugs in Northern Ireland,
I borrowed a very dramatic Qashqei gabbeh (2 metres x 1 metre)
to see how it would look in my house.
 
Well, it needed to be in a huge room, probably on a wall –
so I brought it back.





















I had thought it was Gilgamesh killing the Lion
(in the Epic of Gilgamesh)
but recently, by accident, I discovered that it is a lively, enhanced copy
of part of an alabaster frieze in the British Museum (and from Nineveh)
showing the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal on a lion-hunt.  











So somehow, someone in Iran had a photograph or postcard
of the British Museum frieze, or this detail, and made their own version...
which ended up in Northern Ireland.

 

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Neo-Epicurus.

The least
and possibly the best
that we can do
is to live as elegantly
as possible.


Friday, 29 April 2022

Bad Feeling Machines.

I know what I heard, he said.
And that is all I need to know.

And so malicious gossip
has been replaced by Facebook
and the other antisocial media.


Thursday, 28 April 2022

What Proust cannot be forgiven

in his unreadably snooty and detailed
novel about appalling people
(working title :The Stalactites of the Past)
is that in the loathsome Baron de Charlus
(modelled partly on the Comte de Montesquiou)
he created for generations of French people
the stereotype of 'the homosexual'.

'Monstresquiou' :
Cartoon of Robert de Montesquiou, after Boldini.


Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Nietzsche and Christianity.

Recently, at the swap-library on the street,  I picked up Nietzsche's Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality. It was sitting beside a volume by Jodi Picoult - which I'm glad I also took home.

Christianity worries me as it worried Nietzsche.  How a perfectly bland, simplistic and harmless (if mealy-mouthed) doctrine, turned on its head, imbued with magic and endowed with miracles, came, through a whole series of historical accidents, to be a religion of millions and the arbiter of morality in the world, has quite simply gobsmacked me as it outraged Nietzsche.  And it is not the belief in Jesus as Saviour (from Original Sin) which has vexed me, but the ordained (Hegelian) necessity of the scapegoating of Judas - which makes Christianity more primitive than the other two Abrahamic religions.

Moreover, tenderness and loving-kindness should not be preached as a Moral Duty but celebrated as spontaneous feeling, 'essential humanity'.

Nietzsche's book on the mutability of morality is simply a kind of daybook of numbered jottings.  Like everything he wrote, it is pretty tedious and wordy.  I think it is best dipped into once or twice a year.  But I have noted down a few :

47. Words lie in our way!  Wherever primitive mankind set up a word, they believed they had made a discovery. How different the truth is! they had touched on a problem, and by supposing they had solved it they had created an obstacle to its solution. [cf Wittgenstein: The world we live in is composed of the words we use.]

87. The moral miracle. In the sphere of morality, Christianity knows only the miracle...  In the New Testament, the canon of virtue, of the fulfilled law, is set up: but only in such a way that it is the doctrine of impossible virtue...

222. When fanaticism is desirable. Phlegmatic natures can be inspired to enthusiasm only by being made into fanatics.

297. Ruinous. The surest way of ruining young people is to teach them to respect those who think as they do rather than those who think differently.

405. Luxury. An inclination for luxury lies in the depths of our being, and demonstrates that superfluity and excess are the waters in which our souls most like to swim.

564. Just beyond experience! Even great spirits have only a hand's breadth of experience. Beyond it their thinking stops and their endless, stupid vacuity begins.

574. Do not forget!  The higher we soar, the smaller we seem to those who cannot fly.


The Large Hadron Collider

is now ready after its three-year upgrade
to investigate new particles, black holes
and dark matter.

Of course, the real and dangerous dark matter
is human stupidity, ambition, arrogance, 
stubbornness, inflexibility, purposiveness;

and human beings ourselves account for
the largest collision of black holes
in the universe.



Tuesday, 26 April 2022

The greatest consolation

is the realisation
that the only consolation
is acceptance.


A good line

from an Italian film I watched yesterday evening :

If you're going to be a failure, it's best
to fail at something you like doing.


Monday, 25 April 2022

The best thoughts

will never be thought.
But the worst acts will be committed.


For outrageous lies to be accepted

and then propagated
the connivance (if not eagerness)
of the lied-to is required.
They are not gullible victims.


Sunday, 24 April 2022

'Eat Local!'

Yes, indeed - and mostly I do*.
But the population of Peru
can no longer eat their (rather tasteless)
indigenous quinoa
because the trendy/veggie cuisinarians
of the rich countries to the North and East
and South-East have raised its price
well beyond that of less-nutritious rice.


*But it works both ways.
Criminally, I have bought Chilean Malbec
for $1.50 (€1,80) a bottle
at a
Lidl supermarket here in France,
('where 
we-don't-drink-foreign-muck-unless-it's-cheap-Port'
or at least as prestigious as Brunello di Montalcino*)

and found it better than six-times-more-expensive
Malbec of local (Cahors) provenance.

*Which I have drunk twice - in Montalcino.



Sebaätou Rijal

from The Observer today

 

School

in poor countries takes poor kids
away from toil and tradition. 
They love it, and often see it
as a first step to emigration.



Saturday, 23 April 2022

Confession.

The only 'spirituality'

that I am aware of

is the inspiration

of spirited animality.


A Cheap Remark.

How war changes language !
Yesterday I heard the word
besiegement —

an example of making
a simple word complicated
and ponderous
by adding a redundant
prefix and suffix.


Friday, 22 April 2022

Back in January

I mentioned Orphaned Web-pages.
Nearly twenty years ago,
in one of my very low periods,
I wrote a suicide note
and uploaded it - without a link - to my website.
It is no longer orphaned.


PS  I found another one (not a suicide note).


Mixed woodland.

Below
is a detail of the lower part
of my steep acre of French woodland
on the opposite side of the little glen
to my edge-of-the-village house.

Mixed includes: oak, beech, elm, lime, holly,
spindle-tree, chestnut, elder, hazel, maple,
butcher's broom, hawthorn, blackthorn (or sloe)
- all self-sown, plus this flowering crab-apple
which I introduced 5 years ago...

































...and has resisted the depredations
of nimble roe-deer and their stodgy hunters.


Thursday, 21 April 2022

Why Democracy is a fairly good thing.


Autocrats go mad.

Oligarchs feather each other's nests

when not having each other murdered.

Military governments wreck economies.

Liberation leaders become autocrats

and rely on the military

who take power abruptly

...and after some years

establish semi-civilian oligarchies

who (of course) rule corruptly.


What's wrong with "What About-ery" ?

I think we need it more than ever
in the current climate of hypocrisy
over Russia's vicious attempt
at annexation of Ukraine.

— What about the interference of the USA
in almost every country in the world
(except Andorra, San Marino, Monte Carlo...) ?
What about its invasions of Grenada, Vietnam and Iraq ?
Its genocide of indigenous people ?
Its annexation of Texas, California, etc. ?

What about its removal of democratically-elected leaders
in Honduras and Chile ?
What about its political assassinations around the world,
its direction of the drug cartels in Mexico
to fund the overthrow of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua ?

What about its establishment of puppet regimes
in South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Guatemala ?
What about its support for horrible autocracies
on the Arabian Peninsula ?

— What about the British and French genocides
all over Africa ?
The wiping-out of Hottentots, Tasmanians ?
What about the annexation of Algeria by France
and the British carpet-bombing of the Kurds ?

—What about the Danish slave trade...
the horrors committed by the Dutch in Indonesia ? 
India's economy destroyed, its people starved
its princes brought to their bejewelled knees ?
(No need to mention Germans, Spaniards, Portuguese.)

What about ?
Turn about.

That's what its all about.


Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Bambi, the movie.

Milan Kundera’s claim that “kitsch is the absolute denial of shit”
is not really true,

it is, rather,  the painting of the walls of our imprisoned minds
with comforting fæces.

Nor is it just "a parody of catharsis", as declared by Adorno.

It is the double wallow of weeping over the suffering of others
and then again over our self-indulgent self-identification with the sufferers,

the cluttering of consciousness with sickly sentimentality
to ward off awareness.

Like many kids I was reduced to tears
by the kitschy Disney film,
and have hated Disney and his grotesque
all-American kitsch-factory ever since. 
Understandably, I am now a coprophobe
from being thrown into that shit of kitsch.


'They all look the same.'

— What ?  No - I'm sorry,
I think you're looking for the other Caucasian. 
The person down the corridor who looks nothing like me,
has a different last and first name, and is Moldovan.
Or, if you like, South Ruthenian.  
I'm Irish (Northern), and male.  She's female,
but has the same mousey-coloured hair
and big European nose and wears glasses
a different shape from mine,
so I understand your confusion.
Have a nice day!


Tuesday, 19 April 2022

"Death is a wilderness

in which everyone is lost for words."

- Jonathan Raban, Passage to Juneau, chapter 5.

Life, too - from a different angle.


Absolute monarchs, Lenin and Autocrats

got it right :
people are not unique and fascinating
individuals, but masses
of wobbly blancmange
which very occasionally jumps out of the mould.


Monday, 18 April 2022

African Drought.

photo by Ed Ram
 











Dead giraffes at dried-up water-hole, Kenya.

Meanwhile, in NW New Mexico...>