Saturday, February 19, 2011

Athletes of Evil

I'm tempted to say that most people do the best they can by their own lights, but I think closer to the truth is that most people are no better than they have to be. At the very least, certainly many people are no better than they have to be. But the crucial question, the question with which I started this blog, is this: are some people evil? Corollary questions include things like when do they become evil? Are we evil in the moment or to the degree we ascribe evil to others?

The fine novelist Richard Price presents a well-researched practical viewpoint on the matter when in Lush Life he has a New York homicide cop reflect upon how most perpetrators are really just sad sacks, morons or fuck-ups bumbling through life in an incidentally lethal way, although even this hardened character allows for the rare existence of what he calls "athletes of evil," those, I suppose, who go the extra mile in brutalizing, bullying and betrayal because it delights them to cause anguish. I'm sure there is this impulse in all of us, perhaps waiting to express itself in the right dovetailing of opportunity and impunity. Most of us never get that opportunity, except in small ways, and even then we're sickened, in retrospect, when we see it lashing at out some especially helpless subordinate -- because we can.

Still, I read of people like Rupert Murdock and the Kock brothers, already richer than anyone should be, the new kings of our age, and I wonder why they feel the need to inflict more pain, to roll back the real moral gains of Western culture, by seeking again to concentrate all the power with the plutocrats. It just seems cartoonishly evil. I suppose this sort of evil arises (like the Inquisition and Nazism) when people become convinced of a higher good that necessitates tormenting the enemies of that good.

This is of course what it's all about in Wisconsin (a Koch brothers subsidiary), as this editorial makes clear. The "budget crisis" is what their Koch-Puppet governor has ginned up to break the unions, a Republican/Free-Marketeer/Know-Nothing wet dream since unions came into being, and what really makes Ronnie Raygun a saint to these people (See under PATCO.) Collective bargaining gives many people countervailing force against the plutocrats, and so naturally the royals want to disband the unions (not just public-employee unions, all unions), divide and conquer.

Anyway, In honor of recent events, and VD's recent passing I composed this little ditty:

Valentine for Washington

Gone the girls of Fourteenth Street
where once the Jills and johns would meet.
Sidewalks crammed back then with whores,
now host bistros, condos, bars.
The girls of then have left The Life,
in fact, or else they’ve gone to wife.
Not to say the trade has died,
but nowadays it has gone inside.
Now it’s on the internet,
where what you see is what get
(– plus a viral lagniappe,
if you fail to safety-wrap):
Latin Lover, Siamese Twins,
Chocolate Maxi, Nordic Sin,
naughty nanny/dirty diaper –
here it’s called the “David Vitter.”
Others who once walked the streets
gave it up; they can’t compete.
Now the black-robed ruling class
will cheaply sell its pimpled ass;
Antonin and Clarence T
give it up but not for free,
put Justice’s fine scale in hock
to the wealthy brothers Koch.
The Democrats say who has time
to prosecute such petty crimes?
Barrak O and Eric Holder
don’t see any need to bother.
They “look forward,” never back,
and those crimes happened in the past.
Surely none will steal or torture
any time in the near future.
The blow-up doll has just three holes
but modern pols will pimp their souls,
with oaths that are a waste of breath
like the hooker’s “Yes, love. Yes!”
They sell the future for loose change
called on K Street “making rain,”
don the kneepads for the rich
and play the role of prison bitch.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Ruling Class

I would bet the rent that Eric See-No-Evil Holder will do all he can to cover up the mess, but you would think that Clarence T's failure to disclose $ 600, 000 in income from right-wing influence peddlers, and his failure to recuse in the Citizens United case, after he'd been wined and dined by the Koch brothers (financiers of the suit) would merit some sort of investigation -- especially given that, in the Citizens United case, it's clear that Antonin Scalia was a benficiary of the Koch brothers largesse too. (Of course if Leura Canary didn't have to recuse, why should anybody?)

Today's legal climate is a Reactionary's wet dream: the courts are at long last packed with people who care little or nothing for the law or justice, and think that the good is what's good for Corporate America -- which is to say the emerging right-wing ruling class among whom they count themselves. The Democrats don't say much these days for fear of being kicked out of the club, becoming "little people" when the plutocrats finallty consolidate all the power.

Virtually everyone seems to forget that America was founded on a class struggle (more than even its authors knew), a war to overthrow any ruling class. Will nobody take up that banner again? Note that, Leura Canary is still a U.S. Attorney (why?) , and Obama isn't really doing much about getting judges appointed and approved. We will have justice when the last Democrat is strangled with the entrails of the last Republican.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Fang and Claw and Wings and Bourbon

To work up an appetite for the Sacramental Foods of SuperSunday The Lobbyist and I walked through yesterday's springlike morning in Rock Creek Park and up through the zoo, where much to our delight there was a pageant of lions, a tumbling scrum of cubs all practicing earnestly to be savage beasts, stalking, pouncing, lying in wait for approaching victims, working through the countless wrasslin' moves that lions must learn in order to thrive in the pride -- the Granby Roll, the Half Nelson, the Leg-Shoot, the Mirror-Reversal Escape, the Jujitsu Flip, the Tail-Bite etc. The two lionesses patrolled the Martial Arts Academy with great dignity, offering correctives and constructve criticism where necessary, and the father sat on the hillock above it all keeping a sharp lookout (whenever not actually asleep) for hyenas, and generally looking as if it was his job to pose for statues -- and that's pretty much it. It was all fabulous. Anybody who doesn't love a show like that can kiss my ass. We also saw otters on parade (otterly ridiculous!) and the Cloud Leopard walking around in his tree and yowling about the dire existential state of the universe. Big teeth on that cat, as one could tell when he was really louding. Yowza.

Afterwards I went out to a StuporBowl party in Arlington that was fabulous. Many great iterations of the Sacred Food (chips, dips, wings, chili etc) abundant drink, children sledding outside, throwing snowballs, tormenting the small, timid, and weak, and generally behaving like the lion cubs. Also old friends and major MILFage. Some sort of sporting contest on the host's drive-in-sized screen as well. Is this a country or what!
I caught a cab back to the District in time for Big Love at The Lobbyist's Dome of Pleasure and Cable Channels. Very weird and fun also.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


I used to wonder what Kierkegaard meant by a lot of things, like this: "People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

Now, of course, I understand this as another of his koäns, in context of his distrust of publicity, of expression. But of course there is a very objective sense in which this is true too. Certainly the average American has no more need of freedom than (as they used to say) a fish does of a bicycle. He has nothing to express that isn't subservient and conventional and insofar as his appetites or business practices are criminalized, he feels entitled to ignore such prohibitions, because the law is so manifestly an ass. Give me libertinage, or give me death!

Rich, spoiled, soft, ignorant -- the American people are like stampeding sheep. If you panic all that stupid passivity in one direction, well, then your enemies have something to fear. As do your friends.

I see the Reactionaries are celebrating Reagan's "centennial." I am again aghast that the Gypper is so rosily remembered. He really was Evil in all its smug, Brylcreemed banality, happy to have power without a use for it, and without any principle limiting its exercise. Of course, most Americans will find this heretical. Ron, evil? Where are the bloody fangs?