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What's it all about, Jerry?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Doc
    From the commedia dell'arte. Harlequin gives his love freely and foolishly to Columbine, who is largely oblivious to how she has affected him, not realizing how recklessly Harlequin pursues her. It sometimes involves a third player (Pierott, who is even more sad than Harlequin) who complicates both sides of the relationship.

    Frank, Catherine, and Jerry often take turns in each of these archetypical roles.

    You can also see the structure in Romeo and Juliet.
    Actually, I always thought it was Jerry, Catherine and Una, with Jerry and Una taking turns at being Harlequin, who at least most of the time got Columbine while sad Pierrot was left on his own. Frank never really fit into any of these roles. He was too much the villain.

    Comment


    • #17
      Frank and the others (Miss Brunner and so on) are not part of that threesome, quite right, but they DO take on some characteristics of other important commedia roles. Frank sometimes features as a faux Pierrot, as it were!

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

      Comment


      • #18
        Well, I was born in '71 so I have no recollection of the period in which the JC stories were written, but this topic has given me food for thought. I think that the 60's were one of those very rare times in history when the opportunity existed in every area of society and the arts to arbitrarily turn established ways of doing things 'upside down' or at least reverse their order. I think to a large extent the JC and Elric books are exercises in this kind of questioning and deconstruction, in the case of the Elric books a very direct reversal of Conan, and in the JC books a full-scale attempt to redefine narrative.

        These opportunitites don't come around much, and I don't think that 2005 is one of those times. The trend, even in the so called 'avant garde' is still to combine different things from different times into new and interesting combinations. Fun, but not quite as exciting as a revolution, I guess.

        To drift off into a topic covered in another thread, the implications are pretty dire for 'fantasy' novels in general - we need a revolution to keep the genre alive, a reversal of order, and there doesnt seem to be one coming (none that I can imagine - maybe Mr. Moorcock could oblige!) We'd like to see an elevation in the overall quality of the work in the traditional sense - plot, character, prose quality - which seem to be happening in some science fiction but strangely 'fantasy' continues to degenerate to the level of genre romance novels - JC's 'muzak'.

        As far as the 'in-joke' of the JC novels, you know, I think you either like them or you don't. There are a googillain books written about how we're supposed to understand 'deconstructivist' literature but the Cornelius books manage to exist on a pretty 'normal', unpretentious level as well and can be enjoyable, unlike most of the funky french-fried stuff that gets tagged with an 'ism' label.

        That being said, if I can play critic for a few bytes, I certainly liked the later books a lot more than the 60's stuff, in the early 60's I think Mike was busy deconstructing and trying to get to the bottom of what it meant to be writing 'The Novel', and perhaps showing off a bit for the first time, but by the time of the later Cornelius books, 'deconstruction' and 'non-linearity' etc., were just previous additions to a growing bag of tricks.

        jb

        Comment


        • #19
          As I've said elsewhere 'the 60s' were characterised by the fact that we were jumping in with both feet -- into a number of largely unexplored areas. When we went into a recording studio we had no clear idea what we'd come out with. When I started a story for New Worlds the same was true. We didn't know what our politics, publications or other activities would produce but we were optimistic that we'd produce something 'good'.
          Now everything's controlled. We think we know what we're doing. Someone does a rock album, it's carefully produced to sound a particular way for a particular market. Books are produced in the same way. Magazines have market research to tell them what's what. And so on.
          The essence of that period was that we didn't know what we were running up the flagpole and we weren't even sure who was shooting at it.
          This freed us to make various assertions, of course, and expect certain results. For a while it worked. I remember hearing Johnson's biographer telling how Johnson listened to the chanting crowds outside the White House and as a result didn't dilute the legislation as he'd planned. We've been living with his decisions and actions ever since.
          Conservatives blame 'hippies' and so forth for our current troubles.
          The fact is that Immigration and Civil Rights are to 'blame' for those troubles. They destabilised the status quo and continue to do so, in spite of efforts to restore it by the likes of the current neocons. I'm not much interested in the sf field any more, mainly because although it gets more sophisticated it certainly doesn't take the risks which made it so full of energy.

          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

          Comment


          • #20
            I also meant to mention that in the US and Europe the young had a lot more money and power than they'd ever previously enjoyed. It helps to be rich when it comes to taking risks. I am convinced that the right took back that wealth which, until 1977 was spreading more evenly across society. Make people scared of losing their jobs, health care and so on and you have a public far less likely to upset the apple cart and since they are less likely to take risks the society becomes moribund. There's a strong indication that unless we start rethinking all this (or circumstances change) we're going to be in trouble precisely because of our caution and tendency to put the blame on others and 'the outside'.

            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

            Comment


            • #21
              I was a teenager in the 70s and remember very well the economic shift, how the sense of security the middle class (and it was a blue- and white-collar middle class) had at the beginning of the decade was by the end starting to slip. Have a look at the Sears catalog from 1972--believe it or not, people really did live that way--then go visit your local Walmart. Hardly seems the same country.

              These days to motivate my students I tell them about the "good old days" when mom's chose to work rather than hadto work, when people had secure jobs and benefits, and so on. The older women in my classes--in their 30s, 40s and 50s, by far the best students--confirm this, and together we try, usually successfully, to motivate the tattooed, bling-wearing teens and 20-somethings. Many of the older students are there becasue their factory jobs have been sent to China. Uncle Sam gives them a grant to get a certificate, or maybe an associates degree. They don't have any illusions about what's going on--and, as I said, during class discussion we get the message across, and rather bluntly, to the younger students.

              A friend of mine from the suburban 70s is an engineer/department head at Delphi--the GM parts division that's curently going belly-up. He says the factories that have been moved to Mexico and China have been money losers. The pipeline is too long for effective coordination with their customers (other GM divisions), and making the inevitable corrections/refinements in their products takes forever beacuse of the long communication lines. As for all that highly-touted cheap labor--the Chinese are pocketing the profits for themselves, moreover, their engineers are copying the technology as fast as we can ship it over to them. Despite the losses, upper-management seems more concerened with breaking up the unions than making profits.

              The commedia dell'arte is a facet of the JC books, but a small one. In the way I read the books, it is an ornament: I see it in passing, dart an eyebrow at it, but I am rather more concerned with Jerry and what he's thinking and feeling. The commedia isn't signifacant in itself, but rather as the something--the label, the brand name--that is printed on the masks everyone is wearing. The masks aren't so important as the scenes where people realize they are wearing them and then take them off--and with not a little healthy English disgust for having gone round wearing them in the first place. Similarly, the fashionable critical buzz words---postmodernism--are to me ornaments on the discussion of JC, but again the proof is in the pudding--what's Jerry thinking and feeling? What's Jerry considering? Indeed, I'm rather more interested in what Jerry might say about postmodernism than what critics might "mean" when they deploy this or that depleated buzz word--moreover, factitious buzz word: All--ALL--the elements "critics" identify with "postmodernism" are present in Pound, Eliot, and Joyce. Are these icons of "high-modernism" actually postmoderns? !!!! Once more, ALL these elements are also present in Lewis Carroll, Peacock, Austen, Byron, Sterne, Swift, Milton, Burton, Rabelais, Cervantes . . . and so on back to Petronius in first century Rome, or Aristophanes in Periclesian Athens. And then there is Homer (800-700 BC)--have a look at the "Shield of Achilles" passage from the Iliad.

              Comment


              • #23
                Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                Just one point here -- the commedia stuff isn't really ornament. It's more to do with structure.
                Interesting. I'll have to take a look at that next time I read through them ('bout due). Your structuring was lost on me until I read Death is No Obstacle. When I read the JC books I was oblivious--I was caught up in the images and the attitude. Which raises the question of how much an author's technology and structuring are lost on readers. Technique and structure undergird the generation of the text, but then texture runs away with the show?

                Comment


                • #24
                  Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                  Just one point here -- the commedia stuff isn't really ornament. It's more to do with structure. Take your other good points.
                  I always saw it as a "stepping outside and looking in", much like having a narrator in between scenes of a play, but in this case the narration is not for the purpose of explaining what just happened or is about to happen but is more of an abstraction of what happened or is about to occur, like a silhouette of an image after the image has been viewed.

                  Comment


                  • #25
                    Originally posted by Carter Kaplan
                    I was a teenager in the 70s and remember very well the economic shift, how the sense of security the middle class (and it was a blue- and white-collar middle class) had at the beginning of the decade was by the end starting to slip. Have a look at the Sears catalog from 1972--believe it or not, people really did live that way--then go visit your local Walmart. Hardly seems the same country.

                    These days to motivate my students I tell them about the "good old days" when mom's chose to work rather than hadto work, when people had secure jobs and benefits, and so on.
                    It seems we're living in a different country these days. Growing up, I remember people asking me if something was wrong in my family, simply because my mother worked. It never occurred to me that she shouldn't be. I suspect that many of the similar contemporary conversations run counter to the ones people had with me.

                    Originally posted by Carter Kaplan
                    The older women in my classes--in their 30s, 40s and 50s, by far the best students--confirm this, and together we try, usually successfully, to motivate the tattooed, bling-wearing teens and 20-somethings. Many of the older students are there becasue their factory jobs have been sent to China. Uncle Sam gives them a grant to get a certificate, or maybe an associates degree. They don't have any illusions about what's going on--and, as I said, during class discussion we get the message across, and rather bluntly, to the younger students.

                    My experience is similar. Returning students are often my best, and most are far more engaged than students in their teens and twenties.

                    I had a conversation in an intro class about the shrinking middle class in America. I began by contrasting the middle class of the 70's with the middle class of today. (Your Sears catalog anecdote will be coming out the next time I have this coversation, by the way.) My students were amazed at the security and relative prosperity the middle class used to enjoy and represent. They seemed to think I was perpetrating some liberal myth (this is Texas, after all) until a fifty something returning student explained how he was squeezed out of his middle class job and the middle class lifestyle he had (decreasingly) enjoyed since the 70s. More importantly, he told them he was back in school because his job was sent overseas. He was hoping to find a job with health insurance. He didn't care about the wages. Talk about redefining middle-class expectations...

                    Originally posted by Carter Kaplan
                    Indeed, I'm rather more interested in what Jerry might say about postmodernism than what critics might "mean" when they deploy this or that depleated buzz word--moreover, factitious buzz word: All--ALL--the elements "critics" identify with "postmodernism" are present in Pound, Eliot, and Joyce. Are these icons of "high-modernism" actually postmoderns? !!!! Once more, ALL these elements are also present in Lewis Carroll, Peacock, Austen, Byron, Sterne, Swift, Milton, Burton, Rabelais, Cervantes . . . and so on back to Petronius in first century Rome, or Aristophanes in Periclesian Athens. And then there is Homer (800-700 BC)--have a look at the "Shield of Achilles" passage from the Iliad.
                    Without engaging in a lengthy conversation here, I will add a comment...

                    You hit the nail on the head when you talk about people who use "postmodernism" as a buzzword. Most of them know the buzz instead of the ideas. I would guess that many of these "critics" are "critics" instead of critics?

                    Comment


                    • #26
                      I've said this elsewhere but my friend David Harvey (Condition of Postmodernity, which we've discussed before) is an economic geographer, usually at Johns Hopkins. He explained to me how the spread of wealth from capital to labour increased the general prosperity of both the British and American economies, but that capitalists didn't like this because, of course, it also robbed them of power. By the late 70s the reversal, spreading wealth from labour to capital, was achieved. By the 80s it was racing. In the 1960s I remember economic journalists I knew in Fleet Street saying how, if business was to expand further it had to become international and take over the public sector. Those who advised and backed Reagan and Thatcher were of this opinion and 'deregulation', the 'Big Bang' and all the economic changes of the 80s were a result of that advice. This pumped up the economies in some ways, but not to the general profit. Essentially, it seems to me, capital has been living off labour (that is blue- and white-collar labour) ever since, forming far more of a parasitic role perhaps than ever before. Add to this the social changes created by Johnson's
                      changing of Civil Rights and Immigration legislation (both very good things in my view) and you get opportunists moving in to exploit useful loopholes in Civil Rights law and a huge number of voters who come from predominantly undemocratic countries (or spurious faux democracies) who don't know what their rights are or how they should protect them. I would guess that US politics were never as healthy in some ways as when the Democrats were run by Irish (and sometimes German) based party machines. Frequently the attitude of new immigrants (at least of the first generation -- and my hope's invested in people of second or third generations) is that they are not voting for a representative but for a patron. The Irish and the Germans arrived here with a very strong sense of their democratic rights. All of this skews the system a bit and allows for the terrible exploitation and corruption we've been witnessing since Reagan and Thatcher. The French (who have their own problems, of course) and other Europeans who didn't go for deregulation have economies scarcely any worse than USUK's, but manage to deliver better social services and a better quality of life. Germany, for instance, actually exports more manufactured goods than the US - not in proportion to population -- it's MORE period. Our monetarist economies, almost wholly now depending on the artificially high price of real estate, produce less and less and consume more and more.
                      It's no wonder, too, that FDR is the black beast of modern Reaganite Republicans. Once you make people fearful, you can then pretend to be saving them. That, indeed, is one of the things they learned from FDR, though I don't think that was what he meant his message to achieve.

                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                      Comment


                      • #27
                        I can't say or write anything more clearly than David Harvey.

                        I can add that George Ritzer hammers the idea that production is largely controlled by the corporate elite, yet despite that, that we've created a culture that celebrates consumption for consumption's sake. He argues that this consumption is as alienating as (if not more than) the production end that orthodox Marxists analyze. We'll buy whatever they're selling. Literally. Moreover, we buy into the idea of consumption to the point that we think it is good for us or even our duty. I find it hard to argue with his analysis.

                        Of course, we do have a president who tells us to spend, or the terrorists win. Saving is unpatriotic!

                        Comment


                        • #28
                          So how do we take power back from the corporate elite and spread it more fairly, actually improving our quality of life as well as our economy ?

                          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                          Comment


                          • #29
                            Back before Frank Zappa died, I remember seeing or hearing an interview where he said that when he got into the business, record companies were run by guys who didn't understand the music at all, but just put stuff out to see if the kids liked it. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't. By the time of the interview, according to Zappa, the business was full of people who believed they knew what people wanted - either because they thought they had the right taste or they had focus groups.

                            I'll add to that the factor of industry consolidation, where you now have this situation in which there is no impetus to compete - therefore no motivation to innovate, to 'throw something against the wall and see what hits.' So you have fewer artists being signed, fewer being promoted, and all of it desinged to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

                            On wikipedia there is a list of the best selling artists of all time, and what's happening is that artists who've only been around a few years are surpassing the sales of artists with 50 year careers. The dollars are all being put behind a few names, to maximize returns, and all the variety past and future is left out in the cold. So you just get the most banal stuff. People get used to it, they come to expect it and then want it, like a twinkie instead of a home-made cake.

                            In a situation with no real competition, the qaulity of the product goes down. This happens in all industries. You end up with leaky boots, DOA electronics and bad fiction. This is the worst tragedy for the everyday person, and IMO it's an ethical tragedy as well - there's no reason to take perfectly good material and make a pile of crap out of it, that's the opposite of what we're supposed to be doing. It's one of the only things I can think of that the words 'inhuman' and 'unnatural' rightly apply to.

                            Making something cheap makes the producer disposable as well - interchangeable, under cpaitalism, like one commodity for another. If consumers actively seek out quality then labor becomes more of a unit of value in and of itself and not so replacable.

                            I think technology can disrupt this situation, where the only real competition in consumer goods is between product categories, not products with different qualities. Going back to the music business, good records are certainly cheaper to make now, and the technology and know-how is something that a normal person could get, with some work (as opposed to just having a pile of money and living in a place where the 'right people' live.) This at least helps to level a playing field.

                            On a larger scale, apparently you can run deisel engines off vegetable oil, although I keep coming up short when I try to find data on fuel efficiency and pollution. But just imagine if it's not BS - you have the infrastructure of the entire world running off of something that you can make a lot of in a small place, is renewable, and doesn't need refining. You could store it in your backyard and buy it from your neighbor, who's got a truck full. No more pipelines in occupied countires, no more tankers, no more huge gas companies with a revolving door to the defense department. If it's a pretty efficient fuel, there might end up being a more or less permanant surplus. So imagine a world where the 'military industrial complex' has a lot less capital to work with.

                            Ironically, technology is pretty much a by-product of militarism and consumerism, an advantage to the armies and a selling point for a consumer looking for a fix. I like the poetic justice of a technology being so revolutionary as to destroy it's progenitor.

                            We already have this system where everything is a product, with a quantifiable value, even ideas. So my feeling is that whatever can revolutionize our system now is going to be some kind of product that people can buy, that they want and see the value in. Beats guillotines anyway, that's so last year.

                            jb

                            Comment


                            • #30
                              Originally posted by jb
                              So my feeling is that whatever can revolutionize our system now is going to be some kind of product that people can buy, that they want and see the value in.
                              A problem arises, however, when the means of production and product development are in the hands of a status-quo-defending elite. Just look what big oil has done to enhance the centrality of their profit margins.

                              Of course I agree the free market is a good thing; however, for it to be really free, people have to be trained to keep it free. Guillotines were the solution the French hit upon, and what a mess that lead to. Wisely, we did it with education--schools, but also a religious and cultural disposition towards learning. I wonder, has that disposition evaporated? What might be necessary to restore that disposition? Are we smart--and strong--enough to overcome what's now out there?

                              Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                              So how do we take power back from the corporate elite and spread it more fairly, actually improving our quality of life as well as our economy?
                              Hmm. Well, vote with your pocket book. Don't shop at Wal-Mart. Grow your own vegetables. If you live in a city patronize the organic vegetable markets. Engage in barter. Start your own magazine. Start your own publishing company. Gamble on your self. Create a community of fellow travelers.... Jerry is out there waiting for the word, and we need to hook him up.

                              I just finished What's the Matter with Kansas? I think he's right about the Democrats (and what he says goes for New Labour, I think). What the Dems and New Labour represent are the "second" parties of big business. There is no grass roots movement. The grass roots has been sold out.

                              Buckminster Fuller argued that scarcity is a myth perpetuated by elites to enhance their power. And I think he's right. There is plenty of wealth to take care of everybody.

                              Um, one of the principles of liberalism is that the first purpose of education is to teach people how power elites behave. One thing my colleagues can do is drop the postmodern nonsense, flush all that Continental philosophy down the sewer where it belongs, then stomp their dainty pink feet down into the mud of planet earth and teach what Orwell, Aristophanes, Milton, Locke, Hawthorne, Jefferson, Melville, Mary Shelley, Byron, Peacock, and Browning are actually saying. (Um, I am coing at this from the perspective of a literature specialist, so anything I say that is wacked out isn't my fault.)

                              And DON'T let anybody make you apologize for being a Christian, or for embracing English and Scottish philosophy. Become as hard as a Puritan when it comes to saying that separation of church and state, shared affluence and an inclusive middle class, and the free press came from PROTESTANT CHRISTIAN theology and DUTCH and BRITISH culture. Don't budge an inch on this one. Can the truth hurt us? The lack of it certaily can. Compromise on the truth of liberal origins, and it will all fall apart. Of course, the academy has already compromised, in the name of multicultrualism, all that is correct . . . anyway, over to Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind for that discussion. It's all right there. He diagrams the sell out. Yes, he seemed a bit radical when his book came out in the mid-80s, but the trends he identified have certainly bloomed, haven't they? No pun intended.

                              And if you are NOT a Christian, don't be ashamed to admit that the liberal system we enjoy was drawn up by Christians. In fact, the most effective way to neutralize the tyrants who are using the fundamentalist machine is actually to teach America's Christian antecedents. America's Christian antecedents do not resemble in any way, shape, or form what the fundamentalists are saying. I've had countless colleagues who have gotten no where battering their students with Marxist platitudes. Meanwhile, I've used C.S. Lewis, Hawthorne, Milton, and Melville to great effect. The students might be fundamentalists, but they ARE Americans afterall. Their religion is essentially rooted in liberal tradition. Is it not? They will respond, and naturally so. Moreover, reason is after all a component of the universe, at least as far as human beings are concerend? Yes?

                              We now pause for a joke:

                              Actually, my prognosis at this point is . . . it's over. The New World Order has won. Sell out while you still can.... Don't listen to me. Be a smart guy, like Joe. Hock your imaginary guitar, and remember that imaginary guitar notes only exist in the mind of the imaginer. As Zappa has said.

                              I remember the first Gulf War when I was in my first year of PhD bootcamp. I was not insensitive to the irony of the professors from my department engaging in protest rallies. While they may have been against the Republicans and the war politically, ideologically they were thoroughly lock step with the power-conceptions embraced by the new world order. "Postmodernism" was a sort of nihlist smokescreen--or narcotic--that let them promote the "market place of ideas" while at the same time affecting the posture of "committed andsensitive champions of the oppressed." Alan Sokol exposed one source of that fraud--Duke University Press--when he hoaxed Social Text. And google that for more information. Moreover, the left has under the guise of multicultural sensitivity training turned the the universities into brain washing boot camps, that is indoctrination centers for a new global corporate state. Isn't it intersting how Political Correctness has 1) alienated the grass roots/working people form the universities and intellectual life? and 2) effectively displaced the study of our liberal traditions and origins? Get the picture? And over to C.S. Lewis and That Hideous Strength for a diagram of how that works....

                              Um, perhaps everyone should join the NRA. If there was a genuie liberal voice in the NRA--a liberal NRA president even--well, that would send quite a message to the corporate gang, wouldn't it? It would represent a significant "irritation."

                              Now of course all us "liberals" know the NRA's Charlton Heston is a bad guy becasue he thinks the Constitution says people can own firearms--eek!--but anyway, er, what was it he was trying to say in Soylent Green?

                              My final suggestion is an appeal to fantasy: teach everybody to read Huckleberry Finn, and moreover have the youngsters count how many times Twain uses the word "fraud" in that jolly little commentary on the human race. And here's my fantastic appeal: wouldn't it be a better world if everybody had the word FRAUD branded into their cheeks when they were born? But over to Hawthorne for discussion on that one.... I don't want to say anything that can be construed as, er, pious.

                              Joking? Of course, branding is so last year.

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