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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

THE AMERICAN MALAISE

eva hesse


I can't help but laugh every day when the thought comes to me about the brothers in Boston setting off the bombs, then going home to watch it on tv. Somewhere I read that the older brother, evidently the "master-mind," who had lived in USA ten years since he was 17, said he never understood Americans. Seems to me he understands Americans very well. What more American thing to do than to jump into something without any foresight. Jump in and see what happens. That's not just American. Gotta be spontaneous. Why let something that might happen next be an inhibitor? What if it doesn't happen? About twelve years ago I had a falling out with a friend of many years when he told me he was going to do something to his 18 year old boy when he saw him next, and if I see him first don't tell him. I saw him first and told him. Daddy got in my face a few days later wanting to know why I told him when I was told not to. I said, "I saw what was coming next and wanted to save you from it." If I had it to do a thousand times, I'd do it a thousand times the same. He and his boy were on the verge of killing each other, actually, very high tension between them at the time. He gave me an ultimatum, I can't go on being his friend if I continue to be his boy's friend. It was one or the other. That was not even a decision. I've not seen him since.


christo



The day those Boston bozos set off bombs in a crowd and went home to watch it on tv, the word foresight was injected into my thoughts through the course of a day. These guys truly rate the Darwin Award, at least so far for 2013. The Darwin Award events are almost always results of absence of  foresight. Google Darwin Awards and you will laugh for days. One that stays with me was a guy who went into a gun shop with a cop car parked in front of the door, cop inside and several customers. He shot at the ceiling and announced this was a stickup. Everybody in the place shot him. In another one a guy who worked someplace that had to do with the big transport planes stole a booster rocket and fixed it to the back of his car on a long, straight desert highway. He burned the tires off the rims pushing the brake pedal to the floor, the car left the road, bounced 150 feet through the air straight into the side of a cliff. Boom. These people are given the Darwin Award for taking themselves out of the gene pool. That's how I feel about the Chechen bozos in Boston, saving future generations from their particular ignorance.


carl andre


I sometimes think the American experience with universal public education has failed. For one obvious example, our political representatives. They've been to college, many of them ivy league schools where you have to work really hard to make it; give them responsibility, they go for the money and throw responsibility to the dogs. I don't believe we have any true idealists of democracy anywhere in our government. If there are any, they don't show up. Obama affects the appearance of one who holds democracy up high, but he does not. I looked up in the dictionary the definitions of republic and democracy. Both elect people to public office. In a democracy, the ones elected "represent" the voters. In a republic, the ones voted into office do not represent the voters. Therein is the difference between democrat party and republican party. The democrats give at least the illusion of attention to "the people," enough to get a star by their names from time to time for a photo op showing they care. Republicans blatantly represent no one but money for themselves from corporate lobby. They don't even pretend to represent "constituents." The democrats are the same; they're just
not so upfront about it. The problem is, the behavior of our elected representatives represents our beliefs. Constituents believe money is the only thing important, the representatives act it out. Politicians are like preachers motivated by free money.


isamu noguchi


In the time we're in, we have no collective morality anymore we hold ourselves to. Parents leave it to the church to teach morality, the church leaves it to the schools and the schools leave it to the parents. Morality as a subject of interest is dead in America. Morality is about living in a world of others in peace. When morality becomes rules and regulations, it's dead. It has been rules and regulations so long in Western Civ that there is nothing to morality anymore. Each individual is expected to figure it out for him or herself. It's the forbidden subject like sex education or anything else that's practical about living in the world. We're taught details to memorize in school. In church we're taught we're not OK. At home we're taught by television to indulge our desires. American individualism evolved into the particular American egoism called narcissism, total focus on self as body, as desire. Television, itself, is the end of morality. I'm not talking about pious morality. I mean the basic morality of treating others right, of an understanding attitude, empathy, compassion. Going around saying things like, "That ain't right! They hadn't oughta be doin like that. God loves the sinner but he hates the sin," is not morality. It has nothing to do with morality. It has only to do with the egoism of the one talking. From my own way of seeing, I'd say compassion is the foundation of morality. Compassion among Americans is sissy. It makes you a wuss, the politically correct sanitizing of pussy. In other words, it makes you a woman, a shameful thing to be in a patriarchal warrior culture.


dan flavin


Seeing that our American, in particular, society is in need of feminizing (compassion), I'm seeing at the same time the men coming into incompetence from absence of compassion. There is absence of compassion just like there is absence of foresight running loose in the world. In all my years of church in Christendom, compassion was never an issue. I'm recalling a Regular Baptist preacher I heard some 25 years ago who preached once on the Sermon On The Mount, a subject I'd never heard one of the preachers address--a little too feminine. He was a preacher I had no respect for, as a preacher or as a man. He took off on the Sermon On The Mount and I thought, What do you know about the Sermon on the Mount? He was one of the most obvious frauds of a preacher I'd ever listened to or known. It turned out he was using it to justify himself for some jackass thing he'd done that set people at odds with each other in a church he had to do with. He was known as the church wrecker. He used his sermon to identify himself as the peace maker. It was all I could do not to get up and walk out the door. I had to control my interior laughter so I wouldn't shake the bench. The only time I'd heard a preacher touch that hot potato was the fraud of frauds justifying himself for some fraudulent behavior in the recent past. Christendom without compassion flies in the face of the Sermon On The Mount. We look around and ask why everything is falling apart. For one way of looking at it, the norm is to take all for self, no leftovers for anybody else, to walk by somebody homeless and think, too inhibited to say it, Get a job.


julian opie
 


Guns are certainly not expressions of compassion. The day after a school massacre on the news, gun stores sell out all over the country. It's driven by propaganda fear, but you look at it from afar and it's sick. I mean sick like undiagnosed collective insanity. It's equally insane to be that subject to propaganda and not even see it. Now we're getting into self-unawareness, another American epidemic after television became reality. Several years ago an aunt went off in my face on a day I had not listened to the news and didn't know Conway Twitty had died. I need to get out of those mountains and get back in the real (television) world. I thought: we have television in the mountains too. I don't have to leave the mountains to see television. I don't see television by choice, and I have reasons behind the choice that I have thought about. I don't want that mind in my head. I told her I don't care that I didn't know Conway Twitty died. That caused another explosion, that I didn't care Conway Twitty died. Sigh. It was like my mother telling me I'm not afraid enough of Satan. I better think about it. I was thinking, get real, and laughing because that's what she was telling me to do. She meant real with television; I meant real without television. I see plenty of television at other people's houses, enough to know I could not live with that going on in my house. I'm glad I don't have a problem with silence.   


constantin Brancusi
 
 
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1 comment:

  1. maybe I am simplistic, but reading what Jesus said, even the King James docotred version, Jesus was pretty specific...Love one another as I have loved you...Christian Compassion, you nailed it, the missing ingredient, the reason we are all doomed as a society, doomed to slip into historical obilivion.....America? oh yes, that was the nation that excelled in making weapons, their crowning achievement....the bombs that could literally destroy the world several times over, alas, we do lack any morality as you so aptly defined it....I too choose not to own a TV and find them very obnoxious....listen to the sounds of silence....was that Simon and Garfunkel?
    silence is golden......wildernesss, bliss
    mbr

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