Dingo the Dissident

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

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Not the Dead Sea.

'This must be the place
where God decided to give the world
an asshole.'

Douglas Kennedy on Secaucus, New Jersey,
in State of the Union.

My latest 'artwork'

in different lights, on a wall
outside my home which is partly shaded
by a tree and shrubs.
It is an 'anti-gallery statement'.

Saturday, 27 May 2023

Depending on presentation,

any information, however factual,
can be propaganda.
Thus we are the victims of
The Presenters.

Yet another small Crime Against Nature.

Ever since Roman texts warned women against appearing “bristly like a goat”, body hair removal trends have come and gone, but historians say Britons now have less body hair than ever before in human history.

read the grisly details


Friday, 26 May 2023


"is the presence of absence [or lack]." – Kojève

"is the wanting of the Other's desire." – Lacan

is a symptom of sociopathic arrogation. – me

When Kojève (Aleksandr Vladimirovich Kozhevnikov) was 15 years old, he was arrested and condemned to death for selling soap on the black market in Moscow. But, like Dostoyevsky, at the last possible moment he was spared because his uncle, a personal physician to Lenin, intervened at the request of his mother. 

Borges' dictum

that if you can't improve on silence
you shouldn't open your mouth

ignores the fact that silence
is less and less appreciated
and people are addicted to noise.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

It could be anywhere.

Cities look more or less the same
when you take away the flags.

Wednesday, 24 May 2023


from Southern Europe to Central Asia
were founded on water-bubbling
earthquake-prone geological faults. 
But this is only one of many reasons
why cities are against all reason.

Cobbett called London The Great Wen,
then the greatest of the planet's tumours,
in no way benign.

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

"Too much time on Twitter

...turns you into a little kid in a schoolyard
who is both desperate for attention
and afraid of being the one who gets beat up.
You end up being this phoney who’s self-concerned
but loses empathy for others.”

 Jaron Lanier

                                        [posted by @NophoneAuban]

Ireland welcomes refugees...

 less cruelly than Britain.

Sunday, 21 May 2023

Anything can be a religion

in all but the disposal of the dead –,
with rites and rituals, duties,
prophets and saints, sometimes
even martyrs:

football, racism, pop music, guns,
atheism, nationalism, basketball,
capitalism, war...even science,
which should be its opposite.

Better than any religion is
a shared sense of humour,
fun and the ridiculous.

The Communist Control Act

of 1954 made it a Federal Offense to communicate
'any communist thoughts' by any means, including semaphore,
in the land of free racist speech (not to mention lynching)
and home of brave bigots - who now are on the rampage
against abortion rights, contraception, the theory of evolution,
and, of course, socialism – which, they will be glad to know
has been almost universally erased through the application
of both hard and soft power : Missiles and McDonald's.

(with thanks to Bill Bryson)


Saturday, 20 May 2023

People are amused

by other people talking to themselves,
unaware that most so-called conversations
are conducted by people talking to themselves.

Despite the obvious fact

that we are constantly subject to Weather,
few people have the slightest interest in meteorology.
So this satellite image of the extraordinary
system now in western Europe (in late May)
will mean nothing. 
The western and central United States
are also experiencing bizarre
meteorological occurrences.
And none of us is abandoning
our hot water or our car. 

The Biggest Threat to the World

is not the crude aggressiveness
of "tin-pot" Putin and slavish Russia

but the corruption of cultures
and minds by the USA and its
turbo-capitalist, class-ridden
anti-culture of untrammelled
ambition and greed.

Everywhere in the world
you can see the ugly American
baseball cap, and hear ugly
American music: Soft Power.

Everywhere in the world
ugly American lies
about freedom, democracy 
and all that crap are enthusiastically
propagated and believed.

As for freedom:
25% of all known prisoners in the world
languish in the Land of the Free,
most of them not pinko-gray.

As for democracy: there are only two political parties
both of them crudely right-wing, both of them financed
by gross billionaires and transnational planet-destroyers.

In the Home of the Brave,
there are more guns than people or dogs
or coyotes or bison.
Guns appoeal greatly to testosterone-toxic cowards. 
The US has twice as many guns per person than
the next highest-in-league country: Yemen. 

In the Land of Opportunity
the gap between very rich
and very poor is by far the greatest in the world,
and a quarter of the population has no access
to medical treatment.

And we have all been Americanised,
however reluctantly
by the most successfully-aggressive
pizza and hamburger, monopoly
monoglot culture yet devised.


Thursday, 18 May 2023

Another thing that I don't understand

about Normal Men
(in the USA at least, to judge from films)
is that they tip waitresses for looking 'sexy'
and not because they look tired,
or are good at their jobs.

However, I have given money to beggars
because they look 'sexy' as well as
managing to survive,
and often have lovely dogs to maintain –

as well as to an extremely sad Romanian woman
regularly begging in the Northern Irish rain.


a crime against the planet.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Sometimes I think

that I am wonderfully rational –
and then I remember that I am human.

All too human.

Paul Verlaine,

absinthe- and Rimbaud-addict
wrote a famous poem praising
Rimbaud's nether regions.
It appeared in his hand-written
and personally-distributed collection
with a title in Spanish,

portrait by Félix Vallotton

and published after his death.
It was a parody on a collection of poems
by Albert Mérat, entitled l'Idole,
each of which praised items of female anatomy.

It is 'not one of his best',
certainly not better than
the famous Arsehole Sonnet
that he wrote together
with his much younger 'Idol' Arthur. 
It is also untranslatable,
especially if you want it to rhyme.

But today I had a go at the first verse,
keeping the original ABBA rime-scheme,
and here is the result:

Even when it’s not erect
Your cock delights me, dangling there,
pale gold beneath your pubic hair
commanding my utmost respect…

Just after completing this masterpiece
of 'free translation' (in a mere 70 minutes)
I saw the Hidden Statue of Caylus
(around the corner, 150 metres from where I live)
in particularly good light,

and took this photo of an ephebe with an over-large
(or detumescent) dick by a probably-queer 
pupil of Zadkine, who lived here for a while),
which I think is apposite:

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Mountains are amazing.

for admiring
and not for self-admiring conquest.

Mountains in France...
and in Albania.

Monday, 15 May 2023

Sunday, 14 May 2023

An addition

to an earlier blog:

Freedom of thought
is more important than
freedom of speech
(or expression)
and doesn't even require it...

but it requires open minds. 
Has there ever been an open mind ?
(What would it feel like ?)

I’m high as a kite –

Milvus milvus or artificial (originally silk
high-flyer on a string –
– after abandoning my long-time, falsely-labelled
Anti-depressant: empty, drab, dreary Escitalopram.  
It’s just as well that Bearz abandoned me
when he did (9 months ago, oh!
what a depressing pregnancy!).  

Just now, I’d be impossible to live with (or even near). 
But the sweet plants think I’m OK –
who/what better to believe ?  Hey –

(Pause while I kiss a particularly sexy cactus). 

Oh, sweet Rebutia, your tiny spines
upon my lips and nipples  – and willy ? 
no, please don’t be rough,
you naughty and presumptuous succulent !
I’m not that tough.
And not so silly.

I’m very sensitive, you know.
(But, on reflection, pretty silly.) Even a feather
passed across my nipple or my Nether
Regions makes my whole kooky kundalini glow.

... Not to be continued – in the interests of
Undemocratic Google Decency!


– my free translation of a sonnet from Rilke's

Der Neuer Gedichte, Anderen Teil, 1908. 

Headless, he glows! See in the slight
twist of his hips a kind of smile swerve
towards his broken neck. How the curve
of his chest dazzles with a light -

no - more like the glint from a still-living pelt.
An echo of a gaze gleams from a mere torso
as from an oil-lamp turned down low.
This mutilated marble stump can melt

our stony hearts, its radiance spreading far
beyond its broken surface, like a star!
On this small ruination there is nowhere

that does not greet you with an accusing stare.
This fragment that could sit upon a shelf
commands you now to change your very self.

I first tried to tackle the translation of this famous poem around 1970.
It appeared in my Tide and Undertow (1976) as an example of a failure
in translation.  This was because – as with most poetry translations (most poetry-translations are failures) – I tried to be too faithful to the difficult original.

Today, still rejoicing in the uplift of my recent (non-menopausal) change-of-life*, I read this misquotation or mis-translation of the last line of the above poem by the popular (hence shallow) poet Heaney: 'You must change your life.'  Well, changing one's life is very much not the same as changing your self

So I went back to the original and decided to have another go.  Although I retain the rhyme-scheme of the original sonnet (which I think is important) I have been more relaxed (and maybe also more perceptive) in my approach some fifty years later.

I hope you like it.

Back in the 1970s I could only imagine what the torso looked like.  But today (Glory Be!) I found within 5 seconds via the internet what looks very much like what Rilke saw in the Berlin or Paris museum.  Note the smile!

*occasioned by my abrupt abandonment of a long-prescribed anti-depressant, resulting in my return to a bi-polar high, such as I enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s.

Saturday, 13 May 2023

My life

is a static kind of space-travel
through the eerie chasm and chaos
of consciousness.

Part of my garden

after recent, welcomed rain.

Well, not really.
This was once a dump of ashes & small items
by the gable of a Catholic nursery school (that is to say
a Catholic indoctrination centre) run by
The Good Sisters who got rid of the ash from
their wood-burning stoves
like they got rid of doubt.

The old-fashioned nursery-school closed. 
A couple of years later
I arrived nearby, and saw an opportunity for
embellishment-experiment.  I 'took it
upon myself'.Ashes are dry. Caylus sits upon
porous limestone.  It has taken seven years
for this former dump to transform. 
Above it, to the right, are the remains
(a square keep or donjon) of a twelfth century castle.
From now on (after years of waste-water
nurturing in summer), this little prettified
cornerof Caylus
will probably hold its own against drought.

The Ramblers and Cyclists have come out

from hibernation – in Expensive Kit.
The ramblers have the obligatory little rucksacks
and Pilgrimage-to-Compostela staves
to help them on what seems to me
a joyless exercise. Their gaze
falls mainly on the ground.
The cyclists mostly see just their knees.

Friday, 12 May 2023

Somewhere 'on the autistic spectrum',

I enjoyed
the few dinner-parties to which I was invited.
The pleasure for me came mainly from the food
and other people's pleasure.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

'Secret History'.

Perhaps all history is secret.
Public history is doctored, embellished,
invented, amputated and presented.

I was born during the reign
of the British Empire, and have
endured its untruths
and fabrications all my life.

On Parks (French: La Nature)

Too much mowing.,
Not enough growing.

There's a Great Deal in a name.

Countries, cities, towns, villages, streets

(and of course people) have their names changed.

During the Revolution the nearby village of
Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val changed its name to
Libre-Val.  It returned to its full,
pre-revolutionary name in the 1960s.

The republican Irish Free state (established 1922)
changed the names of towns|
and counties containing the words King or Queen:

Kingstown became Dún Laoghaire; Queen's County
became Offaly; Queenstown became Cobh.
Dublin was renamed Baile Átha Cliath, but nobody
in her right mind has ever called it that.

The USSR had a fun time changing names of cities:
Nizhni Novgorod became Gorki, Tsaritzyn turned into
Stalingrad (of course),
and after that Great Dictator was denounced: Volgograd.

Königsberg became Kaliningrad. Now the Poles are 'officially'
re-naming it Królewiec.  The Lithuanians will probably
go back to calling it Karaliaučius.
Both of these mean Kingstown.

I wonder when a Trump City will emerge
from defiled Floridian swamps ? As for other names,

I suggest that New York should now be called
Washington: Genocide-in-Raped-State
(as Virginia will henceforth be known)

and London: Mind-boggling Corruption-upon-Thames.

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

"War on Drugs"

 If plant-based 'recreational drugs'
had been re-legalised decades ago,
the far-more toxic – indeed deadly –
Fentanyl and Crystal Meth
might never have been made in small laboratories
to kill more people than Covid-19
or Alzheimer's disease.


For dogs,
dog-racist France is one of the most miserable countries
in the world.

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

The weight of the world

is only slightly greater
than the mass of misery
which Man has put upon it.

I'm fairly certain

that I see colour differently to many other people.
Like the Aztecs, I see many shades of green,
and can actually start 'freaking out' when
deprived of that colour - e.g. in the desert
and (of course) in cities.

This is particularly interesting, since I am (or was)
a painter.  I suspect that other people will not see
as I do this early painting, on wallpaper,1965,
obviously influenced by the great Vincent,
amended some 40 years later).

by kind permission of The Bearz Collection,
Seaforde, Northern Ireland.

Monday, 8 May 2023

Before the Internet

pictures of art-works, megaliths
and other buildings could only be seen
in expensive art-books.

Paintings in galleries were
(and still are) often defiled by their frames.

We now take so much for granted.

The loathesomeness of Gauguin

was not just that he infected 11-year old Tahitian girls with syphilis,
nor that he abandoned his impecunious wife
and 5 children in Copenhagen,

but (thirdly) that he inspired the equally-loathesome Picasso
(an equally second-rate painter) and infected

the already long-pestilential Western Culture*
with the viral capriciousness
of much "Modern Art".

*Now called The American Way of Life

Thankyou, Bearz,

for inspiring this expanded
version of your observation this afternoon :

The 'Great' (prentious) Museums
(and Art Galleries)
are mass graves for paintings,
and show-cases of destruction.

Sunday, 7 May 2023

Why do thrillers

now so often involve killers ?

Murder is not the worst crime.

Americans are obsessed by guns.

Saturday, 6 May 2023

I don't have the imagination

even to write a short
short story,

but I can easily imagine
visibly-diseased people
being driven from towns and villages
to die in ditches, desert, rubbish-dumps.

Hunchbacks have had a bad time in Europe.


Bravo, BBC Radio 3.

Its morning programmes on the day
of the crowning obscenities in Brexitland

began with Edith Piaf (La Vie en Rose)
and Charles Trenet (La Mer).
We deteced a very subtle dissident comment
from a programme-planner
but of course not sufficient to throw
into the works a spanner.

S. Holmes & G.J. Danton

Friday, 5 May 2023

It is quite hard to explain

to people who don't think
they have lost their wits

that you just sometimes
seem to lose your wits.

I 'm pretty sure

that Britain (now jitteringly and fashionably
referred to as [the] UK)
and France (always called France
even when it was a tiny statelet)
together have committed more 'genocide'
in India, Africa, Indo-China, Australia...
(not to mention Tasmania, Ireland
and the murderous Scottish Highland
and Island Clearances)
than Germany and the Austro-Hungarian
& Russian Empires combined.

Spaniards and other Pale Invaders in the Americas
may well have murdered more 'unacceptables'
and 'sub-humans' than the Nazis.

In Shakespeare's day the Irish were considered
'subhumans' like Calibán 
and the Tudor opinion of the Scots
provided the modern word Donkey
(from Duncan, cf Dunce) to replace Ass.

Do you (on your Smart-Phone)
fondly imagine that universal mutual respect
will ever come to pass ?

In the merry Mary-month of May

the politics of dancing
flagrant, masturbatory dancing.

near pole or cave.
That's no way for
civilised people to behave.

Thursday, 4 May 2023

Never mind the neurons.

Alzheimer's Disease reveals
'the real person'
both in the 'sufferer'
and the carer.

If so, can the condition
be called disease ?

(Just talking to myself.
 It would be insane not to.)

Never mind the blood and guts

the violence and militarism,
the obscenities of the religious...

freely available for view by all,
even 'innocent children' –

don't show even a very small
old-man's cock or half a dead man's scrotum
or anything that would a century ago
have been called blue.

Western Values must be upheld
and reinforced by YouTube-Google, too.

Tuesday, 2 May 2023

The more cruelly

a people or a society treats its children
the more 'successful' it becomes,
through 'successional psychopathy'.

Hence the 'great' European empires,
whose children were treated
with a cruelly-monastic rigour
which has morphed into
the cruel competitiveness of modern childhood.

There will be no 'Queer Liberation'

until queer men (and women)
can audibly mention and appraise
other men (or women)
in public spaces/places (such as cafés),
exactly as (the often woefully-unliberated)
Normals do.

Monday, 1 May 2023

Hardly surprising.


Many Europeans want climate action – but less so if it changes their lifestyle, poll shows.

I don't think I could tell

a diamond from a well-cut bead of glass.
Why would I want to ?
Amber, jet, and ordinary opal –
or just a strikingly striated pebble –
is just as beautiful –
not to mention a perfect blade of grass.

My first (fairly brief)

encounter with Xylazine:


picture allegedly from The California Examiner
 offered me by nice Mr.Google

Very Few People

actually want Power (with a Big P),
but it only needs a very few
to take it (or be offered)
for the world to fricassee.

Sunday, 30 April 2023

The Big Lie of Binarism.

After World War Two,
we in 'The West'
were 'brainwashed' to believe
that Russia was Bad
and the USA was Good.
And so we were 'brainwashed' to behave
like the Babes in the Wood.

'Workers of the world, unite!'

Loners of the world, escape!

– or hide!.

Saturday, 29 April 2023

'Sex' is not in itself a problem,

but what uses humans put it to
certainly is.

Affection, fondness
caring appreciation,
all mean more than love,
especially when combined,

and nothing to do with 'sex'
or (horrible expression!) 'getting laid'
which sounds so similar to 'getting paid'...

(though, I guess, there's nothing wrong with that
so long as love does not get up off the mat.)

Over a month ago

I wrote a letter to the Pope
to say that I'd abandoned hope
(the slippery slope)
for Lent, and then decided
to give it up for good.

I hope I'm not misguided.

A bee amongst the stamens

of an apple blossom.

photo by Andrej Isaković

Friday, 28 April 2023

No country for old men - or the blind.

In the land of Louis Braille
it is impossible for the halt or blind
to navigate the towns and villages
not just because of street furniture,
but also because of cars and vans
parked up on sidewalks with impunity.

Phew! the swallows have arrived.

The richly-hollow Tree

of Our Little Time is being felled

by industrial arrogance

and ignorance and bloody-mindedness.

Come! let me dance in isolation

If music be...etc., play on, Chopin

and play me off

to self-loving self-stimulation.

Thursday, 27 April 2023

Although she hid it very well, my mother

was very disappointed that she
unconsentingly produced
the opposite of her admired, esteemed,
Lieutenant-Surgeon, homophobic brother.

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

April Song

This is the time of the Judas-tree
There's none to hang about with me

One is as none, but there is grim fun
Under the Yew, under the Ash
Under the Y'udash-tree

Under the boo under the bam
Under the bull under the ram
Under the bramble tree
The squirrels run

Three are as one
Twelve are as three
Under the do, under the done
Under the doo-don't tree.

This is the masochistic month
When priests do prance in hellish glee
Under the ewe under the ass
Under the Jew under the Dach
Aunder the Judas tree.


is the kindest adjective
that I can think of to describe
a culture that, for energy
and gluttony and cash,
pollutes and poisons us,
and will turn the world to ash.

Most of the native English-speakers

who cannot - will not -
pronounce their Rs
come from an area
less than half the size of Britain.

Bananas and birds

Although my preference in 1957
was for Classical Romantic music
(Tchaikovsky, Sibelius)
and traditional jazz,

I (along with Princess Margaret)
liked Calypso and the very popular 
Banana Boat Song.
I also loved the colour of the singer's skin
(even though it was a bit too pale for me,
having once been in love with Epaminondas
and Little Black Sambo).

Later, from other singers,
came Yellow Bird up High Banana Tree,
and Three Little Birds...
I love fried bananas and have been to Bangui.

Tuesday, 25 April 2023

'Power corrupts.'

The greatest power adapts.

A great line of literature.

Lev decided, as the night progressed, to try to remember
certain significant cigarettes of the past.

 – Rose Tremain: The Road Home.

There's no real solitude.

Even I as semi-hermit share

my time and space with spiders, moths

bacteria – and complicated air.

German oaks alter leaf-shape with climate change.

'The wisdom of trees'
is not poetic fancy or conceit.

From ancient seed-memory of hotter places,
hotter times, they can adapt to drought and heat.

Monday, 24 April 2023

The 'thing about' our universal hypocrisy

is that it is unconscious.
Conscious hypocrisy
has been (erroneously)
dubbed 'cynical'.

Freud-Fraud : A Stolen Article (a long read)


by Henry Marsh

The Guru, the Bagman and the Sceptic: A Story of Science, Sex and Psychoanalysis

Séamus O’Mahony 

from the NEW STATESMAN, APRIL 2023

When I was very young, my mother fell ill with painful, haemorrhagic bruises over her joints, and became increasingly disabled. All treatment failed, including having the family pets put down in case the problem was an allergic one. Only arsenic helped, though it was to cause a rare skin cancer years later. Eventually, in despair, my parents wondered if there might be some deep underlying psychological cause, and my mother was admitted to hospital for intensive in-patient psychoanalysis. She emerged six weeks later, cured, her pain and bruises gone.

I was brought up, therefore, to take Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis seriously, and there were several of his books on my parents’ bookshelves, which I inherited after they died. I doubt if my parents took all of Freud’s theories as gospel truth, but in the middle of the last century, psychoanalysis was immensely influential, although it is now largely debunked.

Seamus O’Mahony is an Irish physician who has written three highly readable books regretting what he sees as the degeneration of medicine and the medical profession, with institutionalisation, the “medico-industrial complex”, the medicalisation of death and the steady loss of the autonomy that doctors had in what he calls the “golden age of medicine”. He laments that he largely missed out on this, as he graduated in 1983. Now retired, in his latest book, The Guru, the Bagman and the Sceptic: A Story of Science, Sex and Psychoanalysis, he has turned his witty and critical eye to Freud (the guru of his title), Freud’s biographer and associate Ernest Jones (the bagman) and the now obscure English surgeon Wilfred Trotter (the sceptic).

O’Mahony describes Freud’s evolutin from hard-up, struggling neurologist to dogmatic, international celebrity psychoanalyst, and Jones and Trotter starting out together in London as young doctors at University College Hospital (UCH) in 1902. Trotter was already outstanding – when he was still a very junior doctor the famous neurosurgeon Victor Horsley commented that Trotter was the only member of the UCH staff whose opinion he respected. Trotter was widely read and pathologically shy. “Surgery colonises its practitioners so comprehensively,” O’Mahony tells us, that “surgeon-intellectuals are as rare as unicorns.”

Despite their wildly different personalities – or perhaps because of them – Jones and Trotter became close friends (and Trotter married Jones’s sister). Trotter went on to write a bestselling book, Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War (1916), in which he stressed the “gregarious” nature of human beings, our irrationality and suggestibility, in marked contrast to Freud’s emphasis on the individual and early “sexual” childhood experiences. We have been using the phrase “herd instinct” ever since. Trotter wrote no more and devoted the rest of his life to becoming one of the most respected surgeons in Britain.

Trotter and Jones had both been interested in psychoanalysis and learned German so that they could read the literature. In 1908 they attended the first international psychoanalytic conference in Salzburg, organised by Carl Jung. Freud spoke for five hours without a break. He received a standing ovation but, Jones wrote, in deference to Freud’s dislike of debate, “papers read at psychoanalytic congresses have never been followed by discussion of them”. Trotter missed Freud’s speech and was to become increasingly sceptical about psychoanalysis.

O’Mahony gives an excellent account of the rise of psychoanalysis, and its cult-like nature. It had much more in common with the received, indisputable “truths” of religion than any science, and clearly filled a gap left by the decline of religious faith. As a counterpoint to Freud and his disciples, Trotter – the true hero of the book – is depicted by O’Mahony as a brilliant and modest surgeon in a prelapsarian age. When O’Mahony contacted UCH to ask if their archives had any material about him, the answer came back that there was none. It is Trotter, O’Mahony writes, who has much more to tell us about science and medicine, and even philosophy, than Freud, but is now completely forgotten. Freud, “flawed and fundamentally in error, a tragic figure whose life’s work was a chimera… is the great man”.

The real joy of this book – and it is immensely entertaining – is O’Mahony’s depiction of the “raggle-taggle army of failed neurologists, curious intellectuals, psychopaths, sexual opportunists… eccentric aristocrats and bored, rich dilettantes” who followed Freud’s banner. He describes them in often hilarious detail. There was, for instance, the manic-depressive, drug-addicted Otto Gross (at one point he and Jung were analysing each other and Jones was sleeping with his wife), who advocated free love and was one of the inspirations for the anti-psychiatry movement associated with RD Laing many years later.

Jones had to abandon hopes of a conventional medical career as a result of accusations of sexual impropriety with patients. He was even tried in court after three girls at the Edward Street School for Defective Children – for which he was medically responsible – made accusations against him. When he was acquitted on all charges, Horsley threw a party. The Royal College of Surgeons paid for his legal expenses. As O’Mahony dryly observes: “In 1906 the testimony of intellectually disabled children was not taken seriously by the courts.” But there were further similar problems, including in Toronto where he had gone in the hope of salvaging his medical career after more scandals.

Psychoanalysis, with Freud as its godhead, provided Jones with a career and purpose (and also many sexual liaisons) and he went on to write a three-volume biography of his hero. He also came to act, in effect, as Freud’s agent, referring many English patients to Freud in Vienna in the 1920s – patients he vetted for both social class and financial means.

It became quite fashionable for Cambridge intellectuals to go to Vienna, though Freud was often too busy to see them. Among them were the brilliant philosopher Frank Ramsey and Archibald Cochrane, the founding father of evidence-based medicine. Both had gone because of sexual problems. Neither was especially impressed by psychoanalysis or by Theodor Reik, the analyst who treated them. Ramsey was probably cured by a Viennese prostitute, and Cochrane was never cured, although he later attributed his problems to familial porphyria.

It is difficult to take psychoanalysis seriously – if you ever did – after reading this very well-researched book. Inspired by it, I found my parents’ copy of Freud’s masterwork The Interpretation of Dreams. Freud wrote extremely well, and reading it you are initially seduced by his dream stories and their interpretation. His fundamental – and completely mistaken – insight was that all dreams express wish fulfilment. In the chapter Distortion in Dreams he confidently explains away, with convoluted inventions, the fact that so many dreams are nightmares, filled with anxiety. How can they possibly express wishes?

Much of this chapter reads like a passage from Sherlock Holmes, with whom Freud liked to compare himself. The learned professor brilliantly reveals the clues. He tells us that when his patients had unpleasant dreams it was because their unconscious was trying to resist their analysis. Their dreams were fulfilling the wish that their dreams were not about wish-fulfilment. Heads I win, tails you lose.

As the book progresses, you start to descend into the “secular hell”, as O’Mahony calls it, of psychoanalytic writing. Freud had to invent repression and infant polymorphic sexuality, castration anxiety, penis envy, the Oedipus complex and so forth, to justify his dogma that all dreams express disguised desires and can be decoded by the initiated.

This is not to say that psychoanalysis did not help some patients, and since we know that confident doctors have greater therapeutic success than unconfident ones, belief in the Freudian mythology might well have been beneficial.

My mother did comment that her successful treatment may have been because her psychoanalyst, like her, was a refugee from Nazi Germany and this, combined with the enforced rest in hospital from a very demanding life as a mother of four children, might have been responsible for her cure, more than any Freudian insights. The haemorrhagic lesions recurred 30 years later, but on this occasion she was treated with the anti-leprotic drug Dapsone, and she recovered immediately without any psychoanalysis. The diagnosis was probably of some kind of vasculitis, which may or may not have been stress-related.

Freud did not discover the unconscious – Goethe, Schopenhauer and the ancient Greeks had all written about it. He was certainly right to stress the importance of early childhood in our later psychological development and the role of sexual repression in turn-of-the-century Vienna, but his theories of psychosexual development and neurosis now seem absurd. Nevertheless, despite a century of progress in neuroscience since Freud, the relationship between what is conscious and unconscious in our brains remains deeply mysterious.

The Guru, the Bagman and the Sceptic: A Story of Science, Sex and Psychoanalysis

Seamus O’Mahony

Apollo, 336pp, £27.99

How wonderful for the world

it would be
if some mutated Wuhan virus
infected humans with
the highly-contagious
Lemming Sickness... 

or perhaps prevented the descent
of the testicles of boys;

and perhaps, in another part of the world
another kind of virus
(not originating from tortured dogs) 
proved fatal for the internet
(goodbye blogs!)

Sunday, 23 April 2023


 are amazing liars."
~ Harlan Coben, 'best-selling author', in Drop Shot.

"The guy's a politician.
That's like a step below child-molester."
~ ibid.

Why do so few politicians and other liars read the rollicking Harlan Coben ?


from a cactus and succulent stall
at the plant-fair this morning 
in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val:
two Rebutias and a Sulcorebutia.

$6€, £5.


Saturday, 22 April 2023

The drug of choice for suicide

is no longer Pentobarbital (Nembutal)
which, in any case, is very difficult to come by –

but the opioid Fentanyl, much more powerful and
(if you are In The Know) probably
available locally.

       A potentially lethal two-milligram dose of fentanyl,
                                         with a U.S. penny shown for scale. 

Agribusiness : Kings of the Desert.

One small 'Earth Day' statistic :
there are six hundred million fewer birds
in Europe than there were in 1980.

My neighbour has eliminated bees and butterflies
along with other flora and fauna
in his now-dismal patch of garden.

No swallows have arrived this year,
no swifts and no house-martins.

This area used to be dense with foliage all year round.
Though the cherry and hazel trees remain, shrubs have been removed,
including a fine 'Snowball Bush'.
Note the remains of an illegal bonfire, and the decking
for eating outside.  Needless to say, there is also a barbecue.
Bees and ladybirds have gone elsewhere, or died off.

Friday, 21 April 2023

First find an emerald, then look for a snake.

They said that
if you show a snake an emerald
it will weep for the verdant Eden
it was expelled from – even if
it is a serpent of the desert.

The democratic, online "free encyclopedia"

with the stupid name
doesn't have a page on Alvaro Umaña
one of the world’s greatest environmental heroes.

On the other hand, Wikipedia's page on Wikipedia
declares that Wikipedia is the largest and most-read reference work in history.

Dog help history!

Thursday, 20 April 2023


People (including the famous)
like to make famous people
even more famous.

Dog help us!

Never mind the desiccation
and flooding of the planet,
wars everywhere, poisoned seas
and water – there will be a 'cure'
for the grey hair of the rich.

 “It is the loss of chameleon-like function in melanocyte stem cells
that may be responsible for greying and loss of hair colour.”

Happy to be bald.

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

Sartrean Question.

Am I the mollusc or its shell ?

Am I – or are other people – hell ?

Tuesday, 18 April 2023

Of all false gods

the most deceiving
is the Spider God
who, as you read, is weaving
the World Wide Web.

Saturday, 15 April 2023

In my last moments of clarity

I hope that I'll remember to say:
Well, so far, you survived your own stupidity.


In love with entropy,
I encourage sweet April woodworm.

(But because of 'unseasonable' weather,
they may not appear till May.)

Une pensée pour l'Ukraine.

The French for thought is pensée,
likewise the word for pansy, the flowering plant.

Friday, 14 April 2023

Simple logic.

Since mankind has always treated
'Nature' as an even greater enemy
than other humans, it follows
that the creation of humans
is (as the Catholic church would put it)
Contra Naturam.


in the Romanesque abbey-asylum
at Saint-Rémy-en-Provence.

The corridor of the priory-become- asylum
where Vincent van Gogh was detained for a while,
after cutting off his ear-lobe.

Vincent's bedroom (imagined and tidy and surely inauthentic)
at the former priory at Saint-Rémy-en-Provence.

My bedroom, tidy and authentic, Caylus 2023.

The painting on the right is of my childhood bedroom in Belfast.

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Literature and Politics.

English literature had a profound effect
on politics.  The writings of Pope, Addison, Steele;
of Dickens, Shaw, Cronin and Orwell
influenced the course of British
society and history.

Similarly in France.
But Russia's great tragedy
is that writers (even Gorky)
went unheeded, censored
and imprisoned by the deaf
and blind autocracy.

Tsar Nicholas II

was called Our Little Father by the poor and pious.
Nevertheless, Russians are not the only people
who like a Big Brother ruling them.

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Between two points

a line can be drawn.
Between two people
only a smudge.


After the (American) Cult of the Individual

comes (via algorithms, Wikipedia, A.I.)

the Cult of the Totalitarian Impersonal.

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Fathers, rape and fantasy.

Psychology and psychiatry
have been blighted
by a crackpot
(father of psychiatry and Anna)
who could not,
or claimed that he could not, believe
that respectable middle-class fathers
could sexually abuse (and abusively deceive)
their young daughters

– yet insanely thought
that those daughters' brothers
wanted subconsciously
to kill their fathers and marry their mothers.


is rooted in the belief that employment 
can provide everything we have historically expected
from organized religion.

– Derek Thompson

Well, not quite – and certainly not to the lowest paid,
such as imported sex-slaves and abattoir-employees –
not to mention prison warders/guards in the USA.

Careerism is an opiate of the middle classes.

Monday, 10 April 2023

Team Games and Sports

have always made me feel
somewhere between
a eunuch at an orgy
and a skeleton at a feast. 

Sunday, 9 April 2023

They asked me

what I wanted to be
when I grew up.

I said: A doctor,
because that was what
they wanted me to be.

But what I really wanted
was to keep on being me.

A rapidly-filling and already much-extended Russian graveyard.

 Most of the graves are those of concript convicts.

Bakinskaya, Krasnodar.

Friday, 7 April 2023

The Emergence of Life:

the worst thing that could happen
on any planet ?

The Crucifixion

of the Islamic Penultimate Prophet
a.k.a. the Christian Son of God,

involved the felling, chopping and
crucifixion of a tree.

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Nobody noticed.


(pronounced Ee-Nuff, sometimes En-Uff)

Quote of the Day.

 by Ai Wei-Wei.

 We see everything and we don’t see anything.

We naively thought

that the Internet would celebrate
and increase, enhance
all kinds of diversity.

But it has turned out to be
a vast totalitarian machine
for narrow global uniformity.

Sunday, 2 April 2023

It wasn't Nietzsche who said:

Being wise
is depressing.
Being happy

The following Nietzschisms come from a quotations website:

Wisdom maybe arrives in the world like a raven lured by carrion.

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.

Scholarship has the same relationship to wisdom as righteousness has to holiness: it is cold and dry, it is loveless and knows nodeep feelings of inadequacy or longing.

The growth of wisdom may be gauged precisely by the diminution of ill-temper.

Wisdom sets limits even to knowledge.

My wisdom has long accumulated like a cloud; it becomes stiller and darker. So does all wisdom which shall one day produce thunderbolts.

Birds, of course, are a kind of fish.

It's not surprising

that, 'hot on the heels' of Trumpism
comes a new McCarthyism

in the domineering nation
that the rest of the world
hears far too much of and from.

Saturday, 1 April 2023

Yet another linguistic/racist state.

It is impossible to study Arabic
at universities in Israel!

This is wrong.
See comments below.

The situation is much subtler.
Dr David J. Heinemann writes to Haaretz:

'Sadly, it has been forgotten that when the State of Israel was first formed Arabic was accepted and endorsed by the forming agreement as an equal language along with Hebrew. All road signs were to be in both languages, and Arabic was to also be the language used together with Hebrew as a SPOKEN language of the Knesset.

That this has all changed is the result of the prominence of the Ashkanazei over the Sephardi, together with the dominance of the culture of the U.S.A. May this use of Arabic continue!'

Israel's main problem, really, is not other Middle-Eastern states or the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, but the Ashkenazy immigrants (pouring in from Eastern Europe and Russia since 1990), backward-thinking, bigoted, right-wing and anti-democratic.  They are Israel's Trumpeters, who may actually destroy the overpopulated country in which they have 'pitched their tents', to use the Biblical phrase.