Dingo the Dissident

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

Monday, 4 July 2022

" The whole dream of democracy

(wrote Flaubert)
"is to raise the proletariat
to the same level of stupidity as the bourgeoisie"
 – who, wallowing in hypocrisy,
aped the aristocracy
– who aped the kings and popes
and khans and emperors
who dreamed of Omnipotence.

And now even I live a life undreamed of
by Roman autocrats.


Hell

 


is a crude but logical construct,

whereas human life on earth

is anything but.


Sunday, 3 July 2022

Some of us

have delusions of grandeur.

Others have delusions of intelligence,
competence, social acceptability
or/and sexual attractiveness.

I regret to say that I have a had a little of all of them
except the last.


Branding.

Marriage is just a relationship
with a label –
and a price-tag.

 

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Once upon a time there was a princess –

 I don't like princesses.

Once upon a time there was a prince 

 I don't like princes.

? ? ? 

 Once upon a time there were two hairy ogres
and they lived happily until ogres
became deeply unfashionable
and were discontinued.
The End.

– Or maybe they were Ainu.


Friday, 1 July 2022

False accusations

of rape must be almost as old
as rape itself (and potentially
more deadly) and were once
a defining feature of life
in the Deep South of the USA.


Scholars

are trying to decipher
the ancient Cretan language Linear-A.

Astronomers are thrilled to find a new B
lack Hole ... while Lesser People
doss down on their doorsteps
and beg on the streets

and ice disappears from the North Pole.



Thursday, 30 June 2022

Missing: Global View.

If sheople could only see

beyond their noses, their status,

their children and their dicks,

there'd be no appalling problems

for them to fail to fix.


In British English we say

He laughed his head off.
Americans say He laughed his ass off.

The astonishingly frequent American use of 'ass'
is one of several influences from French,
which uses the word 'cul' in dozens
of daily expressions - from je suis sur le cul
(bowled over, gobsmacked, flabbergasted) and
faux cul (a shifty, tricky shady person; a hypocrite)
to cul-de-four and cul-de-lampe, not to mention cul-de-sac
now often replaced by impasse.

'Ass' is a bowdlerisation of 'arse' (inadmissible in Puritan New England)
which left no word for the long-eared equine (Latin: asinus)
which came to be called 'donkey' (also donky, donkie, from 1785),
itself probably a corruption of 'Duncan' (a stupid Scot,
just as 'Paddy' meant a feckless Irishman),
and pronounced to rhyme with 'flunkey'. 

Fortunately the old word (Old World) 'arse' survives
in most overseas English,
though the original word for the handsome and intelligent equine
seems to owe its scant survival
to the King James version of the Bible.


We are 'petroleum

on the surface of the ocean'. 

(Asmaa Jama, du ha'r ret!)*

We are poisoning all life forms below us.

We will burn, we will burn, we will burn

as we get and get and get and get and get....


*Asmaa Jama is Danish.
Du ha'r ret is Danish for You're right.


Wednesday, 29 June 2022

What use is education

for those who are intimidated
and stupefied by the schools,
their class-mates, the teachers,
the class-system and its demeaning rules ?


Monday, 27 June 2022

The Society for the Promotion of Cannibalism.

My canine friend said :

If humans really wanted to Save the Planet

they'd take up cannibalism — 

as we (and chimpanzees) do

when the worst comes to the worst.


I had one of

the Best of Educations –
Reeling and Writhing, of course,
to begin with. And then
the different branches of Urethratic –
Ambition, Distraction,
Uglification 
and Derision
designed to make me
a Refined kind of shover.

I may never fully recover.


(with acknowledgement to Lewis Carroll)


Reeling from the ugliness of absolute hierarchy.
Writhing from the punishments and derision I received.

 

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Daisies on the Grass

Three out of every four Americolacans
(93% in the Bibble Belt)
believe in Angels.
Angels are kinda mystic.
They drink heavenly Pepsi
And are sexless but not genderless
and make believers Spiritual
and almost Artistic.

But who am I to jeer,
who am Borderline (low-end) Autistic ?


Art in a French Village.

All on show this morning.


1. Galerie Flo.










2. Galerie Draw






















3. Caylus Arts



Friday, 24 June 2022

With devilish ingenuity

we have bred double-petalled flowers
for our desolate gardens
which bees are powerless
to enter.


Apparently

my one-night

-stand father was a

WW2 pilot

(heroic and

happy band

of brothers!)

Fly-by-night

Vol de Nuit

viol de nuit*

and not Saint-

Exupéry.


viol=rape


Thursday, 23 June 2022

Life

by definition
is a hubristic phenomenon
and process.


If queer men had not been hell-bent

on habitually imitating heterosexual penetration
there would have been no HIV/AIDS epidemic.

love-affection-great-sex-untold-story-terrence-higgins


It is convenient for those with viable incomes

to confuse beggars and hustlers. 
On a serious radio programme
I heard a sociologist declare that 'beggars'
now had portable terminals to take his credit card.

This class-war disinformation we can disregard.


Wednesday, 22 June 2022

From Facecrime to Facebook and Prolefeed.

“It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander
when you were in a public place or within range of a telescreen.
The smallest thing could give you away.
A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety,
a habit of muttering to yourself – anything that carried with it
the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide.”

– George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-four.


Democracy can be evil.

Just look at Israel

and despair.


(The USA, which, of course, disenfranchises millions of its non-white inhabitants, is, of course, not a democracy, and was not founded to be one.  Jefferson, Adams, Washington & co. would have been horrified by the very idea of 'Negroes' having a vote...or firearms.) 

(The Holocaust ה שואה is no excuse for the revenge-dispossession, impoverishment and herding of Palestinians into "refugee camps" in Israel and Lebanon.)


Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Art and Entropy.

Art crudely distracts us from the rude truth
that we destroy the truth

and with it what we can destroy of life
by building, endless building,
flattening, rebuilding.

All of it will fall, all smashed and beaten flat
and not be built again
by the lie of human dignity.


I have a certain sympathy with Vladimir Putin –

or, rather, I can understand where he is coming from.

He watched well-intentioned men dismantle
a no-longer-viable USSR and try to create 

first a viable Commonwealth of Independent States (which fell apart)
and then a Russian Federation with a decent constitution and a parliament.  

He watched evil men from within the former USSR
and from "The West" appear like vultures
(or like bomb disposal squads) to bring Russia
economically to its knees.  

He then watched "The West" enter into illegal wars or "interventions"  against Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya,
knowing that it was Stalin who insisted in 1945
that undeclared war (like political assassination by agents of one state against another, as Israel is wont to do)
was henceforth an International Crime.

And so he decided to Make Russia Great Again
by hook and by crook and by intervention.
SRSV : Сделать Россию Cнова Bеликой


After a bloody success in Chechnya he lopped a chunk
off Georgia.  Then he lopped Crimea (deemed to be Ukrainian
only in 1954, by a minority of the Soviet Præsidium)
and south-eastern borderlands from Ukraine.

Finally, he ordered another "intervention" in Ukraine, which, so far, has not gone well - but has to his glee disrupted the whole capitalist house of cards on which he and the Russian Federation and almost the whole world unfortunately rely.

But Mr Putin has not 'gone mad'.  He is no worse than many bitter dictators.  He is not as bad as Stalin, not as bad as Hitler, not yet as disastrous as Napoleon.
He may be a very unpleasant puritan and nationalist Russian autocrat in the Tsarist tradition, but he has a long-term global view, and that view - any long-term view - is unAmerican.


Monday, 20 June 2022

Sophocles' Antigone :

The respect of ego for ego
against ego through the ridiculous
practice of ritual burial for Important People —
though common soldiers were left just so
for the contentment of wolves.
Funerals are just for show.


Bureaucracy.

 Now it's all in the clouds.

photo by Dayanit Singh


Sunday, 19 June 2022

Fairy tales conflicted me,

because I liked the pictures of the dwarves and ogres,
not the entitled, goody-goody princes and princesses.

So I have a certain aversion to blue eyes and blond hair,
preferring swarthiness; and I have had no ambition
beyond a vague desire to practise light sedition.


Heatwave.

Yesterday:
the river Loire at Ancenis, France.

photo by Sébastien Salom-Gomez 

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Religious practice

is just another form of entertainment
for those who want more than entertainment.


The difference

between trade
and modern moneylender-capitalism
is environmental cataclysm.


Friday, 17 June 2022

Thursday, 16 June 2022

"I don't care what anyone says,

"or how often or winningly they say it: no-one will ever, ever be able to persuade me that life is some awesome, rewarding treat. Because, here's the truth, life is catastrophe."
 "And as much as I would like to believe [that] there's a truth beyond illusion, I've come to believe that there is no truth beyond illusion."

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch,
a thriller with a back-story almost 500 pages long, and a (tacked-on ?) coda which is a disquisition on Truth, Reality, and whether life is worth living or not.

Amazingly, over 1500 people

have listened to my short musical composition
from around 2006 on youTube
(with its accompanying film made in 1967)
called Tombeau de Kurt Schwitters.



Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Isn't transience wonderful ?

In 1949, when Stephen Spielberg was three,
I discovered Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, Brontosaurus
and (I think) Archæopteryx on a visit with my mother
to the Natural History Museum in London.
My subsequent enthusiasm was astronomy.
I was a skinny little boy with glasses
who read a lot, and, almost skeletal, still do.
Much later I turned to Irish Megaliths.
The more I learn about history, prehistory,
palæontology, geology, the great extinctions
and so on, the more I come to feel
that the good thing about time is that it passes.

We take for granted

that Action is much better than Inaction...
so we swim and squirm
around our busy brains – like goldfish
through decaying sperm.


Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Compulsory Education

penalises those (many, bottom-of-the-heap)
who are intimidated by it at the outset
and are doomed to remain in what
the self-styled educated
call the Underclass.


Last week in Benidorm (Alicante, Spain)

 

and in Ukraine.

photo by Maksim Marushenko



Saturday, 11 June 2022

Beauty is not for fucking.

Too many men see women
only through the penetrating gaze
of the penis-eye.


"Going forward",

a particularly egregious and woolly phrase of politspeak –
meaning, it seems, 
From now on or From then on, or In the future –

has long since made it into Serious Literature :

'After Saeed was born, the frequency with which his parents had sex
had dipped notably, and it continued to decline
going forward.'

– Mohsin Hamid, Exit West, 2017.


From the same book I read with horror
that malnourished and underfed people all over the world
are watching cookery programmes on smartphones.

Going forward.



Friday, 10 June 2022

Chimpanzees' Tea-party.

Contrary to what they encourage you to believe,
most cultures promote and cater to
most of our worst tendencies.


The Word of the Day

which I heard yesterday :

INVISIBILIZED.


Thursday, 9 June 2022

On Doctrine.

"We don't embrace an idea.
Rather, the idea encircles
and enslaves us, and drives us
into the Arena where, forced
to be gladiators, we fight for it."

— Heinrich Heine.


Tree of Birds.

Part of a flock of Budgerigars resting on a dead tree in central Australia.

photo by Charles Davis



Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Pathetic Androcracy :

a form of society controlled by and for men
who are so conflicted about their pudenda
that they are unmanned simply by being naked
in any situation that they do not control.

 

Reports from Ukraine

that a Russian General Kotuzov has been killed
in the Russia-Ukraine war do not mention
that another General Kotuzov fought against Napoleon
in 1812, and is an important character
in Tolstoy's War & Peace.


Tuesday, 7 June 2022

All civilisation

is based on the addictive species'
greatest addiction: the accumulation
and protection of property -
from twigs to forests,
and fields to skyscrapers.

Good news for (a tiny bit of) Ukraine.

A small Ukrainian vineyard next to a Russian-occupied area
has won a gold medal (in blind tastings)
at a prestigious international wine fair.

read more >


Monday, 6 June 2022

Intelligence

is an inherited hypertrophy
or tumour on the brain
which, when encouraged by civilisation, 
causes psychopathic narcissism.


As the world warms up

we can expect destruction of Northern Mediterranean
environments by Opuntia stricta, the invasive
Caribbean Prickly Pear,























which is already devastating parts of Africa,
whither it was introduced as an ornamental plant
and for hedging.

It grows happily beneath my balcony.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Crocodiles on Greenland.*

There have already been 5 earthly extinctions
- one of which eliminated 95% of all life on the planet.
So the present one is no big deal, cosmically speaking.

What 'sticks in my throat' (so to speak) is that
the present one is occurring incredibly fast -
not over hundreds of thousands of years -
but only since the 'Stone Age' and
mainly in the last three or four hundred years,
and now at industrial speed -
due entirely to a rogue runaway species
powered entirely by greed.

* And no humans to admire them.


American Education ?

There are web-sites which offer Aids to Education –
for whom, I don't know. 
(Heaven help them!)

One of these is GradeSaver.

When I googled 'The Kreutzer Sonata',
the eighth listing on the first page
revealed its 'study guide' to Tolstoy's novella.

Read it and be appalled.



Saturday, 4 June 2022

Before Eden.

In the world of 'naked savages'
there was no lord nor master.


'The sound of water

 says what I think.'

― ZhuangziThe Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, 3rd century BCE.


How could anyone

as thoughtful and intelligent
as the great novelist Margaret Atwood

(1974)






















have decided to submit herself to a face-lift ?



Friday, 3 June 2022

One of the many insuperable

problems of civilisation
is that it depends on leaders,
and every leader turns out to be
your enemy.


Fête du N'Œuf.

click to see all the eggs






















This creative Easter eggfest lasted only a very few years in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val (on the river Aveyron in SW France), because it was the 'brainchild' of one very imaginative man, Tim Grosvenor, who had his own excellent art-gallery in the village. In 2008 he moved to Switzerland, later opening an art gallery in Brussels.  


Thursday, 2 June 2022

Virtue,

 the word, comes from the Latin for 'man'.
(Virile and world have a common root.)
Is a woman's virtue, therefore,
a measure of her manliness ?


I think that marriage

protects women less
than it divides them.

 

'Bye-bye Blackbird'

The loud and delightful warbling
that I listen to on the balcony fades
to almost nothing when, one by one,
I take out my hearing-aids.


Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Category-wonder.

This self-portrait by Charlie Wetzel
makes me ponder the terms
'transgender', 'hermaphrodite'
and 'pseudo-hermaphrodite'.  





























A different myth.

Asteria, the female Minotaur
cut off her breasts
(a practice which is fairly rare)
and placed them on a marble plinth
as offering to the dying slave
who was the cleaner of the labyrinth.


Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Centaurs

(half-human, half-equine) were sometimes depicted
with two sets of male genitals, but not
(so far has I know) as conveniently hermaphrodite.



'Fringe Ideas'

that some would call 'half-baked'
apparently tend to cluster.

If you believe in the Loch Ness Monster
you will be more likely than others
to believe that the Moon Landings were faked.

https://aeon.co/essays/the-different-lives-of-fringe-and-strange-scientific-ideas


Dystopia

is not the future, but the present
altered and continued from the past.
It's where we live  we the merely
moderately bad people
who live in plenty and self-excusing ignorance.


Monday, 30 May 2022

Homo erectus.

Humans lost their fur (apparently)
so that they would not overheat

and thus could run farther after prey
in and out of Africa.

Then they invented clothes.


Sunday, 29 May 2022

Two male urogenital musings.

1. I have often wondered how early we are programmed
not to knee or kick bullies in the balls, but to use our fists
upon their faces and upper bodies - a strategy
mastered only by the athletic and pugnacious of both sexes.

2. Men's cocks are primarily pissing-tubes
which can afford a moderately-pleasurable urethral sensation*
several times a day, and is more frequent
as well as more reliable than ejaculation.

Antique (Attic ?) Piss-pot.





















*via the venerable Tantra of Micturition.


Only 5 copies were printed

of the Declaration of the Rights of Women
by Olympe de Gouges, guillotined in 1793.
Only 5 streets in France are named after her.


Saturday, 28 May 2022

The well-travelled

bring back a prejudice
from every place they've been to.


Do blueberries enable you to live longer ?

Is pilates proper exercise ? 
How to keep your body younger than your years.











In the Dissident Republic of Anhedonia
Life Scientists are developing a virus
which will attack electricity.


Friday, 27 May 2022

The curse and crime

of white men's 'education'
(probably the most enduring colonialism)
is that, like any patristic religion
it is a top-down oppression,
not a bottom-up efflorescence.

This is hardly surprising,
since it originated in medieval monasteries.

Children should learn what appeals to them,
and about what is around them.
Squares and hypotenuses, gerunds and gerundives,
optative moods and the Napoleonic Wars
can come later, if desired or even necessary.


I AM AND AM NOT

my translation of a poem by RUMI

I'm swimming
in the flood
which has yet to come

I'm shackled
in the prison
which has yet to be built

I am the checkmate
in a future game of chess

I'm drunk with your wine
which sits untasted

I'm a corpse on a battlefield
of long ago

I don't
know the difference
between idea and reality

Like the shadow of a pot
I am
and am not.



Thursday, 26 May 2022

The sound-track

of the excellent Camerounian film
The Fisherman's Diary (on Netflix)
is composed entirely of Camerounian pop-songs.
One of them has the opening line
I am guilty of everything around me ...



Since there is no male equivalent

to 'hag'
I propose the even less
mellifluous

heeg.


Two splendid Chinese expressions :

躺平   ‘tang ping’ (lying flat, keeping a low profile)
— the rejection of gruelling (and cruel) competition
for an unambitious, unaspirational life.

摆烂   'bai lan' (let it rot)
— refusal to accept crass, materialist goals set by others.


Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Although I early realised

that people often didn't mean what they said,
told white lies, it wasn't until recently
that it occurred to me that people's eyes
are not soul-windows, but opacities
— and their bodily and facial
expressions fake.


Since I was born,

335 new diseases potentially fatal to humans
have emerged across the world.

Since I was born (in 1941)
the global human population has trebled.


Tuesday, 24 May 2022

It should go without saying that

there are no Good Bullies —
not the British, nor the French, nor the Americans,
nor the Russians nor the Germans;
not the Christians, not the Muslims,
not the Buddhists nor the Hindus, not the whites,
the yellows or the blacks; not the males,
nor yet the females, not even the hermaphrodites.

My neighbour

has a little piece of garden
occupied by two cherry trees
and a radiant carpet of buttercups

which he devastates
in his humble way
just as armies
and industries
devastate whole landscapes.

And just as people have no interest in fish
except to grill them,
my neighbour has no interest in native plants
except to kill them.


Monday, 23 May 2022

An enemy is not an animal,

a monster, sub-human, a blasphemy, an it
but merely someone we fear, or even just dislike :
an enemy does not have to be an adversary,
but a gun gives a young man an erection
and becomes an extension of his cock
which he must fire off — perhaps wholesale.

False friends, of course, are worse than enemies.

In peacetime the cock's enemy is unlikely to be male.


Tsarbacks and McPutins

Capitalist-monopolist global exploiters
have been defeated by close-down
or sell-out - but only in Russia
and only because of global Sanctions,
and possibly not for long.


Sunday, 22 May 2022

"It is much more humiliating

to be forced to tolerate filth
than to be required to clean it up."

Irina Ratushinskaya, In the Beginning (1990)

My Secret, Subtle Installation

 











on a rampart wall (right) : a broken quartz clock
found at the rubbish-bins.










How many will notice it, I wonder ?

Saturday, 21 May 2022

On Ageing Well.

Once you have decided that your 'mental capacities'
have diminished only slightly, and are stable,
you can relax
and hope that a massive stroke will strike
(preferably when you're asleep
or at the dinner-table)
and carry you off as you would like.

A corner of an Exhibition...

 




















...currently at the new Caylus Arts gallery
in the Market Square, Caylus.

Five of my paintings are displayed,
including this Portrait of the Artist's Arse.

'Significant moral suffering.'

"Don’t worry,
we’ll get you out of here as fast as we can.”

Ketamine, Lithium, ECT...

Request for euthanasia.



Friday, 20 May 2022

In praise of 'Little Black Sambo',

which made me want
to have lovely dark skin

—  and maybe one day look like Kang Quintus...

White faces have unsexy tongues.


I am biologically male

 but, psychologically, a quantum creature.

The philosopher Mary Midgley compiled a (binary) list of opposites in 1985,
reminiscent of the Pythagoreans’ idea of opposing principles. 

It included:

Hard / Soft

Reason / Feeling, Emotion

Objective / Subjective

Quantity / Quality

Male / Female

Clarity / Mystery...

Midgley commented that the list served for scientists as a ‘mental map …
marked only with the general direction “keep to the left”’.
Not politically, of course.


Thursday, 19 May 2022

Arrival.

    by George Szirtes

Finally we arrived at the City of Silence,
enormous, high-walled, its furious traffic lights
signalling in panic. The streets were covered over
in thick rugs. It was a place without doors, a series
of moving mouths.
Their eyes, of course, spoke volumes,
vast encyclopaedias. There was little light reading.
Their white gloves fluttered before them
with grotesquely dancing fingers.

It was written that all this should be as it was.
Their thought-crimes, hand-crimes, and heart-crimes
were listed in long numbered chapters.
Policemen pulled faces or pointed at notices.
The civic authorities were sleeping in the park.
DO NOT DISTURB, said the signs.
ASK NO AWKWARD QUESTIONS.

The rest went on feeding and breeding.
They were planting tongues in the cemetery,
thick flowering shrubs of silence.



The Game of Games:

 competitive similarity.


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Unfinished business.

Even if, by some miracle,
human life becomes no longer
merely misbegotten business,
it will become, more and more frantically,
unfinished busyness.


Silly old story.

Eve plucked The Apple

(which more likely was The Pomegranate
whose seeds offered eternal life)
with incitement from God's enemy.

She generously offered it to Adam
without incitement from the enemy of God
(check the text).

Adam took it eagerly...he wanted eternal life
as much as unerring wisdom.
So Eve is cursèd by a childish deity much vexed.
And both the marks are "Sent Abroad". 


Tuesday, 17 May 2022

A Good Life : Minimum Requirements.

You could be said to have lived well
if you had done no deliberate harm
to any person or animal

and

you had enhanced the life of just one person
(who had done no deliberate harm
to any person or animal)

or just one animal.


Monday, 16 May 2022

יִשְׂרָאֵל إِسْرَائِيل

All nation-states
were founded upon
extreme violence
and are sustained
by threats and by
extreme violence.


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...>


Am I right ?

Those who look in the mirror most
are those who look inside themselves least.
Or am I just an anti-mirror apologist ?


Sunday, 17 April 2022

The Curse of Advanced Civilisation

is inanity...
leading to
inanition...insanity...
to global perdition.


Cheap Wheat and Ponzi Globalism.

The invasion of Ukraine has revealed
that Globalism is a kind of Ponzi scam
in which the least-wealthy countries
(especially in Africa) lose out.

It is a house of cards.  Remove one
(Ukraine, the poorest country in Europe
but an important supplier of cheap wheat)
and the whole chain collapses,
with mass starvation in Africa.