July 5, 2004
"To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life."
(Swans - July 5, 2004) Power must be an aphrodisiac. When you have it, seems you can't let go of it. Some, like Papa Cheney, like it raw and colorful; others, more liberal-minded, exercise it with a profusion of bland goodness à la Kerry; but all want to keep it for themselves, for the system is ideally suited to their needs. They are on top; the hoi polloi is at the bottom. So the dance carries on unabated through the ages.
Feel-good Dick, a "very honest" man in the high echelons of power, someone who can't be "blamed for standing up for his integrity," in the words of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), showed his clout the other day as he dealt with a pesky senator from the other side of the aisle. Fuck yourself (apologies to the defenders of la veuve et l'orphelin), the august man told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- Vermont). Hey, Leahy, you fly shit, go fuck yourself, says the father-like would-be caudillo, "standing up for his integrity." Leahy went home to mommy and said "it was inappropriate" what big Dick had said to this littler prick. Mommy agreed.
That's hilarious. The "very honest" man, in mormon-ic (not moronic, mind you), long-underwear Hatch formulation, is nothing but a pathological liar, a Machiavellian deceit, a venal hypocrite, an American Pétain ready to short-change his lesbian daughter, or at least her kind, and immolate the "terrorists" at will, all in the name of profits and pure, sheer power. And the whining Vertmonter is shocked, as though he had never entered a business room -- like Enron -- or his corner store in Montpelier.
Funny these two words...quite possibly the most used in Americana, after I, I, I, and me, me, me...
The last time they were applied to this gadfly, it came unexpectedly from a Demgreen, ex contributor cum columnist to Swans. We (co-editor JB and your badself) had caught the scribe plagiarizing once. We'd fixed the boo-boo and alerted him. Did not acknowledge it at the time, found some sophistic explanation -- red flag flew high the mast; but then there were extenuating circumstances: He was the loner, drifter, kitchen-philosopher, hitchhiker, old-dying-woman caretaker, our own beerophiliac, resident ecotopian, and anti-schadenfreude vagabond... We bought the malarkey...on credit. The second occasion came in due time. It was even worse: Over 50 percent of that piece had been lifted from someone else's. We published the darn thing and the next day scrambled to make it right. Subsequently or concordantly I had a few fiery words of my own for the con man. His answer? Welcome to Cheney's territory.
Fuck You, wrote the infamous "Michaelangelo" (spelling appropriate). I sought guidance. Was advised to be lenient. Penpushers, I was told, like fathers and caudillos, call for the benefit of the doubt. Give 'em a Bush, get a Cheney. Nec pluribus impar... The third time occurred a few months later... Upon discovery and full disclosure, the irate wordsmith, wandering along the California Coast, simply wrote "get a life" and disappeared from circulation for good. Just another Americana page turned, I suppose.
Would-be caudillo Dick, however, may be with us for a short while longer. Whether Americana gets it or not is a matter of pure speculation...and much depends on who the bosses decide they want in the front window to maintain the store. Either way we'll keep being fucked by these sonofabitch mothafuckers.
There's plenty of other friendly ways to express similar sentiments without unnecessary use of expletives, though. I recall the con-master of the block, the king of the user lot, the Palo Alto Joe Isuzu, the head of a wishy-washy, feel good, chosen one, family business -- a non-profit, of course -- peddling into neo-liberal Global Community (Global? You could check for non-whiteness there and become as colorblind as the locally well-known Palo Alto councilman, pillar of the community, and long time bishop of the organization). At least those guys were snake-oil smart, the Kerry- and his catsup-type smart. They'd kill you with a kiss, Wilde-like, while tending to the same store and keeping the troops in line with bromide-filled homilies -- made of theological seminars about the three R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), the three E's (Equity, Ecology, Economy) and the three P's (People, Planet, Profits) -- and, of course their chosenness.
I recall that chieftain -- another pathological liar, by the way -- who'd tell with total impunity and arrogance that he could get whatever he wanted in the organization (he was the son of the founding High Priestess -- and he could, and he did), with his tiny piggy eyes (apologies to the pigs), flimsy blue as the sky he sold over and over again, through caressing sermons and patronizing platitudes, to the benefit of his own well-being aided by a helicopter, cars, motorcycles, endless vacations, free house, all paid by the organization and wealthy friends. He would look at you, his eyes misty, and perorate, "I really appreciate what you are doing. We really appreciate it. We love you, you know; you're a part of the family; we are all One"...and I would sense the chill down my spine. What he was saying was, "How does it feel to get fucked time and again and kept on a leash?" -- an art he and his cultural creative peers had honed for decades. And you'd fall for it for a short while till you realized their gentler and more polite approach had the same purpose as Cheney's: How can they take advantage of you, rape you, exploit you, have you accept your fate through violence or honeybull and other psychological con games -- and, worse, make you ask for more! Their syrupy wives, chignon coiffed and manicured, like Lynne, would benevolently keep an eye on their little in-house "radical," a proof of their immense tolerance -- all Judy O'Gradys in a colonel's wife's clothing! Ask those framboise-scented bourgeoises about Judy O'Grady. 'Tis like askin' Lynne to point her finger to the location of Iraq on a map...of the USA... "Eyeraq what?" she'd ask. "Judy who, do we know her, from Northern California perhaps?" Then, the chignon ladies would tell you how hugging a tree can satisfy the soul and make you mystically content and whole...an embrace they had perfected over the years meditating upon the deeper (or is it higher?) meaning of life in their spiritual retreat ensconced in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz mountains. Then, they'd retire to congratulate themselves on the goodness of their heart and purity of purpose while taking tea and sharing petit-fours in good company. Let us pray.
The consciousness crowds share their "moral values" year in and year out with Cheney's family-minded gang -- but not with Baby Bush (a bit too Christian fundamentalist for their own gospel). For ces gens là, power -- whether absolute at the top of the pyramid or relative, down the Palo Altoan jesuzzy lib-labs and all their tiny-weenie bees, leisurely tending their hives through a system they utterly support for their benefit and that of their siblinghood -- is a keeper at any, whatever cost. At the least they are consistent -- the "last refuge of the unimaginative," said Oscar Wilde -- in their determination to maintain the edifice as-is, sprinkled with a few reformist crumbs (if free-market oriented and profitable) to further dumb down the already zombie-like inhabitants of Oz. They'll vote for Kerry to bring a "humanitarian" face back to the front store. Money has no odor. Eh, even the insipid Cobb-LaMarche Green ticket is soliciting votes -- for Kerry... Talk about a fucked-up system!
Of course, you'd say, "es konte auch andess sein..." and sure enough, it coulda, it coulda...but as long as these "concerned citizens" and other "good people" of this world pull it all together -- same combat Your Honor -- it certainly won't.
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America the 'beautiful' on Swans
Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.
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Words of interest (added March 31, 2010 as a test for Google, which does not take into consideration meta words): Jesuzzy Lib-Labs, Jesuzzy Palo Altoans, Palo Alto, CA, Bay Area, power as aphrodisiac, aphrodisiac, drunk on power, dick cheney, john kerry, elites, ruling elites, plutocracy, upper echelons of power, orrin hatch, cheney swearing, cheney outburst, cheney temper, patrick leahy, mormons, montpelier, VT, americana, plagiarism, plagiarize, foundation for global community, FGC, Beyond War, Spiritual Renewal, teachings of Jesus, Enneagram, prayer and meditation, spirituality, cultism, cults, sects, religious cults, 'power greater than myself', cultural creatives, non-profit organization, not for profit, NGO, feel-good organizations, foundations, global community, three r's, reduce, reuse, recycle, three e's, equity, ecology, economy, three p's, people, planet, profits, tree huggers, bourgeoises, judy o'grady, california politics, northern california politics, palo alto politics, palo alto council, Santa Cruz mountains, santa cruz retreat, Sequoia Seminar, Ben Lomond, moral values, lib-labs, Richard Rathbun, Emilia Rathbun, Jim Burch, Wileta Burch, Don Fitton, Virginia Fitton, cobb-lamarche, green ticket, other ways, political change, agents of change, humanism, nonviolence, nonviolent alternatives, local activism, alternative views, alternative thinking, rationality, intellectual honesty, intellectual integrity, ethics, humility, Swans, Swans Commentary, aymery, Gilles d'Aymery
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