Monday, August 21, 2017

Police Tactics and Performance Art

Characterizing last Saturday's "free speech" demonstration in Boston as a dangerous "white supremacist" gathering, opposed by principled, peaceful protest, is an open conspiracy.

The conspiracy isn't just open to public view, it's open to public participation. The mayor and media's histrionics prompted tens of thousands to turn out, as if to a casting call for a reality show where everyone is assured of being picked. It's performance art. It's postmodern. We participate in our own delusion, manipulation (alienation, dispossession...).

I'm not sure there's a historical precedent.

With its more provocative players scared off or kept away, twenty or so not overly white and not very nationalist demonstrators who came to give speeches in support of free expression (in the manner of previous "free speech" rallies in response to antifa shutting down Milo at UC Berkeley) huddled in a gazebo from which they were ejected before they could--small point missed by media--actually exercise their freedom of speech and assembly.

In a sane world this would be a victory for the demonstrators, and lend real weight to their assertion that freedom of speech is under threat.
Yet rather than acknowledging at least the courage it took this tiny band facing off against an angry mob of thousands, the media response was to gloat that the "white supremacists" had been turned away by an inspiring outpouring of resistance to Hate. That same resistance turned their wrath and piss on the police for two reasons: for protecting the "Nazis" from them and for being police, which they equate with Nazis. The mayor and police chief were nonetheless grateful for their service in opposing Hate.

The Siege of the Gazebo

It's notable that no press appeared to be inside the original demonstration. All the available documentation comes from participants. The rally itself is barely noted in media accounts focusing on the massive counter-rally and the relationship to Charlottesville.

In this production you only see the bad guys from a distance. It isn't as if liberal media wouldn't like to give us close shots of Real Live Nazis. Unite the Right gave it to them. They must have been hugely disappointed in Boston.

I'm reminded of a joke in the film Tootsie: a director with a homely actress asks his cameraman how far he can pull back. The cameraman responds, "how about Cleveland?"
To make these Nazis look good they had to pull all the way back to Atlanta, DC, Manhattan.

The rally was to feature Joe Biggs, formerly of Info Wars, Kyle "Based Stickman" Chapman and writer Cassandra Fairbanks (who cancelled because of death threats). 

The Boston police chief thanked the mob for its performance (overall, I presume):
[Police Chief] Evans became the most animated after a reporter said organizers alleged speakers were unable to get to the “free speech” rally.
“We had a job to do; we did a great job,” he said. 
“I’m not going to listen to people who come in here and want to talk about hate. And you know what, if they didn’t get in, that’s a good thing ’cause their message isn’t what we want to hear.”
Overall, Evans called it a “great day for the city. 
“I’m really impressed,” he said.
“We probably had 40,000 people out here, standing tall against hatred and bigotry in our city, and that’s a good feeling.”
Already forgotten the embarrassing part about police being doused with urine. You have to wonder if Boston's rank and file cops feel the same way. Don't hit me with a urine cocktail and tell me it's raining, Chief.

Boston couldn't help but bring one thing into the light. The Charlottesville Police cannot pretend they didn't know how to handle last week's rally.

There is a model; I've witnessed it myself in Cleveland at the RNC last year and here in Portland more than once. It isn't complicated. You form police lines between hostile groups, keep the streets clear and don't take any shit from antifa. What should be standard but isn't, and wasn't in Democratic Virginia despite a law on the books (fittingly, an anti-Klan law), and would be huge: banning masks.

Here in Portland we had a similar standoff, when another alt right group held a "free speech rally" across from City Hall June 4.

The city pressured that demonstration to cancel too. Weeks before a lunatic stabbed two men on a commuter train who interceded when he was verbally abusing a Muslim woman. That man had turned up at a rally somewhere with a Nazi flag recently. Naturally, it was argued, the free speech group (Joey Gibson of Vancouver, who seems to be some sort of Christian conservative, organized the rally featuring Baked Alaska and the same Stickman character who was supposed to appear in Boston).

The city has endured strange paroxysms in response to Trump; there really is no conservative institution or faction to take it out on. There's the police, of course, and any such gathering now is violently anti-police. It is that way because of the perception of how the police treat blacks. When the Leftist American terrorist Weathermen, experiencing a crisis of legitimacy, leveled up to attempted murder, the police were their target, and for the same reason they are now:
The people Weatherman intended to kill were policemen..."(w)e didn't want to do things just around the war. We wanted to be seen targeting racism as well, so police were important."
(...)
The decision to attack policemen was an unspoken act of solidarity with the group whose approval mattered most to Weatherman leadership: Movement blacks, especially the Black Panthers, who reserved a special hatred for urban police. The death of Fred Hampton and the brutality of the Chicago police in general made almost everyone in the leadership eager to seek revenge against policemen. 
"In our hearts, we all wanted to be Black Panthers...what the Panthers wanted to do, which is what the Black Liberation Army did later, and that's kill policemen. It's all they wanted to do."
Portland Police Bureau operates under federal injunction for its supposed mistreatment of the mentally ill. The city all but went looking for a federal decision showing racial bias, but having more crazies than blacks had to settle.

The lead-up to that June 4 rally was similar to that for Boston in the wake of Charlottesville.
Weeks before a pair of "Good Samaritans" were stabbed on a commuter train by a mentally unbalanced man who was shouting at a Muslim woman. This, naturally, meant the right-wingers couldn't have their demonstration, being latent knife-wielding Islamophobes themselves. The demonstration went off nonetheless, and a few hundred alt right types occupied a park across from City Hall, where they gave speeches. Many came in provocative armor.






They were surrounded on three sides: one demonstration before City Hall to the west, one before the ugly federal building to the east, and one large, menacing antifa group to the north:






Caches of weapons and projectiles were found around the park. When antifa began taking apart a brick wall and clashing with police they were cleared out:




The park where the rally was being held was cordoned off  by police with entry and exit limited to one street corner. I walked freely between demonstrations (dressed in bland non-partisan fashion) and wasn't noticed, much less hassled:



Trouble was anticipated after the rally dispersed and, presumably, antifa would seek out smaller groups to attack. Most contention was contained. Antifa did not reappear in significant numbers after being driven off the first time. Here's some bad converted Periscope video of the worst encounter I saw (sometimes I lose sound when I convert Periscope streams):


The local BLM faction arrived late and blocked a street briefly and a girl was pepper-sprayed:



 



  

I can't imagine this going off without significant violence now. The part of social justice warrior, never clearly defined, has changed. It's been modified through competitive improvisation. Now the actor so casts considers the possibility of tolerance and thinks no, that wouldn't be consistent with the character.

And he would be right.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Christians and Lions

I'm still at a loss to find what the Unite the Right rally organizers did that was legally or morally wrong. They are guilty of provocation. Antifa called their bluff. They should've known better. They hurt their own cause. All true. But they still did nothing objectively wrong. It's astounding that in just half-acknowledging that, President Trump has had to show heroic fortitude. The moment he asks whatever foolish reporter the question that is supposed to be so outrageous--are we going after the Founders next?--was presidential--presidential now is raising your head above the muck of pc idiocy to ask a sensible question.

Do note none of those scoffing reactions to Trump's so-outlandish suggestion Washington and Jefferson might be next, are coupled with the author's declaration of opposition. He should have asked in return: do you approve of removing statues of the Founders (actually I think he did--did the reporter answer?)?

But regarding (what I believe is) Unite the Right's innocence of criminal or moral culpability, I say things are dire enough that this must be all that guides you. That is, you cannot abandon anyone who shares the worthy goal of saving white America--and that's what it is, sadly--because they've embarrassed you.

Still, I'm not saying people shouldn't be mad. Richard Spencer and Unite the Right created a fait accompli for both sides. Things are different now. Accelerationists should be pleased.

It's either the end of Trump, the end of the alt right, the end of Trump and the alt right, or, the end of the mainstream. They now "own" antifa. Or do they? Having banished so much of the country now from the moral high ground, there's no one holding power accountable--there's no real political opposition in this country. A stranded president and an inchoate movement trying to affect him.

The Left doesn't so much as apologize for its militants, and neither should the Right--and I'm still not sure the Right has them in significant number. I sure wouldn't put Spencer's NPI or Unite the Right in that category. The Left has a violent street-fighting wing now and they don't have to explain themselves to anyone.

 Here's what would change things in a world-historical way: if people identified as "white nationalists" showed up at these rallies completely unarmed, walk in and out, to the extent they can, accepting any and all abuse. If that level of discipline could be observed--two hundred people, say, wearing white to emphasize any bloodshed, who could commit to allowing themselves to be beaten without striking back. Antifa and assorted thugs wouldn't be able to control themselves. The world would see this horrendous brutality and would have to then condone that. I mean, they're halfway there, right?

No, they'd never condone that that.

Right?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mondoweiss

Mondoweiss on the standard hypocrisy:

Meanwhile, the same senators are united by their ardent support for a racist regime that is no less inspired by racial supremacy and an ideology that demands ethnic cleansing. All have signed on to a bill that would protect the state of Israel by imposing civil and possibly criminal penalties on anyone who protests its ongoing violations of Palestinian rights, including illegal settlement and dispossession, by advocating for the boycott of its economic, academic and cultural institutions. In doing so, they have placed protecting Israel and its racially discriminatory policies above the rights of activists who are inspired by the same commitment to justice as the demonstrators who opposed the open display of racism and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville.
The neocons are right. There's no comparison. This is moral equivalence.
Israel acquired her Palestinian problem as a matter of recent conquest. It's a traditional dispute over land aggravated by history, religion and culture. In the United States a white majority created "the greatest nation on earth", and now we're parceling it out to people who hate us--many with the same fervor and intensity with which the Palestinians and Arabs hate the Israelis. That's happened at the same time Israel has risen from barely more than an idea to the proud nationalist state it is.

 During the same period the ethnic people of the US have deliberately (if we're not to believe "conspiracy theories") decided to gradually blend themselves out of the human mosaic. They do this because of the post-Holocaust definition of Enlightenment values, and that definition is a Jewish definition, invoking, as many proud Jews will tell you, historic Judaic values.

There is no faction within Judaism demanding an end to Judaism as an ethnicity. Judaism as a religion has not been chased out of the lives of Jews over the past half century. It hasn't been assailed legally, politically and socially to the point it humbly accepts a second rate position behind the secular order that replaced and openly mocks it still. Indeed; Judaism has the respect of that secular order, and Jews determine that order, now.

So God bless Mondoweiss for his uncommon honesty. But it's a little like Trump's press conference--despite the fact he's still humoring the villians with his denunciations of the victims, to merely name the Left and the perpetrators is downright heroic.
But we do need to be clear.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Today in Dispossession

Yesterday at the annual Netroots Nation conference a white candidate for the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor was "de-platformed", in-the-parlance-of-our-time, when a gang of black activists surrounded her and shouted her down, demanding we "trust black women."



Stacey Evans is a state House representative running for governor against Stacey Abrams, Who Is Black, Peace Be Upon Her (as well as national party support). Whatever goodwill White Stacey has in the bank won't be available for withdrawal for the time being, maybe forever.
As for her part, Black Stacey is Totally Cool with what happened to Becky:
Abrams said in a statement that she would not “condemn peaceful protest” and that the demonstrators were voicing their concern with Evans’ support for a Republican-led effort to give the state new powers over struggling schools. “From what I observed from Savannah, activists in Atlanta peacefully protested this morning on the critical issue of preserving public education for every family in our state,” she said.
“The mantra of ‘trust black women’ is an historic endorsement of the value of bringing marginalized voices to the forefront, not a rebuke to my opponent’s race.”
This would be a noteworthy endorsement of thuggery by an establishment candidate if anyone was paying attention. It's unclear if anyone's dared ask Abrams if she has any connection to the protesters.

I suspect a lot of the political hatred for white women on the left is rationalized resentment of white women by black women, going unchallenged. Whatever the case right now white women are sinking conceptually in the Democratic hierarchy. As "white" becomes increasingly negative, that sort of half-share of it they were allowed as allies gets heavier; and while having a vagina is still applied like a premium the same way as for ethnicity, black women deploying the double-premium of sex-race cancel them out, ethnic men cancel them out, and the remaining white men against whom it is a trump card are only going to grow scarcer.

White Democratic women are left only with the whiteness they've worked so hard to stigmatize.

Hillary Clinton and now Elizabeth Warren have abandoned young white women in their embrace of identity politics. Within the Democratic Party the betrayal of younger whites by aging boomers plays out just as it does in society and politics as a whole. White women are being cut out of the deal in the Democratic Party--is this what your feminist grandmother signed on for?--as part of white people being cut out of the deal in America--is this really what your liberal grandparents signed on for?

Black Stacey's core advocacy is "voter suppression"--but of course, when you consider the video above. That she's the establishment candidate, on a mission to turn Georgia blue, means the Democratic Party effectively shut down one of their own candidates. Nowadays it's hard to see the outrage for all the outrage.

Her battle with Evans is a skirmish in the broader conflict within the party between altruistic economic progressives who wish to remain on speaking terms with working class whites, and those who see one party rule in identity politics.

The elite has always quietly disdained the working class, now they openly disdain whites (even those thus afflicted); true progressive policies are still anathema to corporate America; thus we arrive at our weird new world marrying the corporate world with radical identity politics in the Democratic Party.

Here Black Stacey and Chris Hayes gloat over Hillary Clinton's upcoming blowout of Donald Trump in the 2016 election and the progress of white demographic displacement (and the importance of white women to come out to vote):



White Stacey presents an alternative to the all-identity-politics-all-the-time model which lost Hillary Clinton the presidency but to which the Democrats remain committed. She'll try to coax across white working class voters with Clintonian (Bill not Hill) rhetoric and maybe even policy.
It's hard not to assume at this point the Democrats don't want to win with whites now, when they still only need wait to safely ignore them and enjoy one party rule. If someone wins by wooing whites now someone else will try it; before you know it, the practice is a legitimate alternative.

But Democrats don't want to stretch to accommodate working class whites when they can just wait them out or, better still, hasten them--and their needs--out. Besides, accommodation of working class whites complicates the demonization of whites--which is non-negotiable (and is directed against working class whites, really, a source of embarrassment if nothing else). There isn't room for both schemes. That's why Stacey Evans and her audience were denied their civil rights; she's messing up the program.

Netroots, began in 2006, was always destined to lose its "grassroots" legitimacy and be co-opted by the Democratic Party. Now the Democratic Party is being co-opted by Black Inc, which holds a majority voting share.

It was at Netroots in 2015 that black protesters shut down Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley when he flubbed the shibboleth "black lives matter." Bernie Sanders refused to be bowed completely and managed to get off his prepared speech.

DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas himself explained why that Aggression Would Not Stand (Bernie's, of course) and in the process gave his own game away a bit:
 Sanders supporters and #BLM protesters waged battle on Twitter for days. It was an unfortunate turn of events, one that exposed a racial rift between Sanders’s highly educated, white and mostly male supporters, and the younger, more diverse crowd fueling the fight against police brutality in communities of color. 
Progressive activists have engaged on issues of unequal justice, police militarization and violence against people of color with an intensity I’ve never previously witnessed.
At Daily Kos, coverage of those issues is nearly guaranteed to receive viral hits and has driven the site’s record growth. 
Nothing else comes close to capturing community interest, not even Donald Trump, even though our audience is predominantly white. Sanders was utterly unprepared to discuss the topic that animates today’s progressive activism. [boldface added]
Moulitsas is probably being indiscreet here in admitting he's determining newsworthiness and a movement's integrity entirely on its ability to generate business through hits. But it's notable who's hitting and demanding that coverage: white progressives.

We see the Left already hopelessly tied in knots by 2015: Moulitsas' "predominately white" readership was scandalized that Bernie Sanders' campaign was predominately white.

That those "Bernie Bros" were volunteering their time out of altruism, working against their self interest for an agenda that devalues them, in contrast to women turning out for Hillary and blacks turning out in racial solidarity, wasn't enough to break the spell (and less so now), so it can't be said, but from the progressive point of view blacks and women aren't pulling their weight.

The contrast of selflessness to selfishness is striking; no one sees it. Not even the Right. We're so conditioned such thoughts cannot form in the mind.

How far down the rabbit hole is Netroots? Does it matter? Netroots is about to become as relevant as The Roots.

Whatever the case, Bernie Sanders got the message after standing up for himself at that 2015 conference. When what looked like a pair of mediocre community college students bore down on him at a podium in Seattle he knew what to do: nothing. Standing bowed with hands clasped in front of him he looked like a penitent.

Black people have been the soul of the Left for a long time. From Bryan Burrough's account of sixties terrorism, Days of Rage:
An even more prevalent myth, however, is that the radical violence that commenced in 1970 was a protest against hte Vietnam War. In fact, while members of this new underground were vehemently antiwar, the war itself was seldom their primary focus. "We related to the war in a purely opportunistic way," recalls Howard Machtinger, one of the Weather Underground's early leaders. "We were happy to draw new members who were antiwar. But this was never about the war." 
What the underground was truly about--what it was always about--was the plight of black Americans. Every single underground group of the 1970s, with the notable exception of the Puerto Rican FALN, was concerned first and foremost with the struggle o f blacks against police brutality, racism, and government repression. While late in the decade several groups expanded their worldview to protest events in South Africa and Central America, he black cause remained the core motivation of almost every significant radical who engaged in violent activities during the 1970s. "Helping out the blacks, fighting alongside them, that was the whole kit and caboodle," says Machtinger. "That was what we were all about." 
"Race comes first, always first," says Elizabeth Fink, a radical attorney in Brooklyn who represented scores of underground figures. "Everything started with the Black Panthers.The whole thrill of being with them. When you heard Huey Newton you were blown away. The civil rights movement had turned bad, and these people were ready to fight. And yeah, the war. The country was turning into Nazi Germany, that's how we saw it. Do you have the guts to stand up? The underground did. And oh, the glamour of it. The glamour of dealing with the underground. They were my heroes. Stupid me...we were so, so deluded." 
 (...)
"I think in our hears what all of us wanted to be," former SDS leader Cathy Wilkerson recalls, "was a Black Panther." 

Either the blacks give the Left its romance and energy, its vitality, and deserve the preeminence it has earned them, or blacks have been hustling whites for about a half a century through the Democratic Party.
But seeing how little we have learned in our fascination with blacks, one thing is undeniable: the more things change, the more they stay the same.`

Friday, August 11, 2017

Appropriate that which is Appropriate

It's important to understand we're in the appropriation phase of "civil rights", a period of wealth confiscation and privilege transfer from white to non-white. From culture to commerce new terms and limits are being rationalized as necessary racial justice as professions, cultural domains and even physical spaces are carved out from which whites are to be excluded. The language is all theory and romance (and sinister; at some point black "scholars" started talking about the white "role"in the New America to come) but the result is very much material and economic.

It began in earnest with the Obama Administration, and was well on its way to finalizing a sort of post-white order, with whites serving as a legacy oppressor even as their numbers dwindled. Most importantly it was about the orderly transfer of that wealth and power--it had to go to the right people after all. Needless to say Trump derailed all that, if only for the moment.

This is what all this talk of cultural appropriation and representation is about. It's why Google is convulsing right now under its own attempts to transfer half of its employment opportunity to favored groups. It's everywhere, and a proper economic analysis of its cost, and the costs to come if we continue on this path, would probably make our collective head explode.

The initial fervor that greeted Obama's rise was based for many whites on the notion it would solve America's race problem, reassuring black Americans finally of our sincerity and inspiring them to do better. It's as if the average liberal really understands it isn't white racism holding people back; he just thinks black people don't know it yet. Once they do, things will sort out. Eight years after Obama black people show less signs of catching on. The myth of white racism is more jealously held than ever.

If blacks generally hadn't been paying attention to the culture's positive encouragement Obama certainly had. He took up the archetype he learned on TV and it worked better than any amount of authenticity. A little fake inflection here, a little pretending to like hip hop there. Authenticity is overrated.
The notion that he, in turn, would inspire, finally, black America to pull its weight resembled something like an economic stimulus program, without even the temporary bump. The "Obama Effect" purported to find its positive effects, and quickly fizzled out. Another social justice perpetual motion machine never got going.

Not that blacks weren't inspired by Obama's election. Urban blacks responded right away, discovering and improvising on the flash mob concept. There was a new confidence and energy in black America, but it wasn't expressed by black America becoming more law abiding and successful, whiter; it was expressed--but of course--by more confident blacks being blacker.  As usual, blacks had a whole different idea of what things meant than their white "allies".

Their position as a group will not be improved through thrift and industry--even if mere discipline and effort were all it took to equalize us economically and every which way, in so succeeding it would remove the source of black America's unique power and position: their suffering.
But they can't compete with whites at being white and most importantly they don't want to. What they want is to be themselves, to assert themselves, to mold their world--just like anyone else--to make it more amenable and less alien. You can't blame them.
Authenticity--the authenticity Obama lacks, can never attain, is more important than any quality of life metric. To the extent to which the average person feels alienated from his culture--and who doesn't now?--might be directly proportional to the degree to which that culture has been absorbed by other cultures. Consider the degree to which black culture has molded American culture.
Black America's position as a group is improved through political power–they’ve already managed to carve out an out-sized degree of autonomy and influence purely through political action and demagogy. That demagogy--BLM and the rest of what passes for black civil rights--complements perfectly the pre-existing violence and mayhem that produce its martyrs.

The malice behind Obama's toothy grin came out after the Democrats got pummeled hard in Obama's first mid-terms. The fake gloves came off. The Trayvon Martin campaign was whipped up heading into the 2012 elections and produced Black Lives Matter, by 2016, whipped into a frenzy by the presidential campaign, its supporters were assassinating the same police working security at its demonstrations.
At the same time the seemingly petty grievances grew greater in number and fury. In Google trends the term "cultural approproation" went from obscurity to relevance 2012 with Obama's second presidential run, increased up to the administration's second mid-term elections and remains at that plateau now in the time of Trump.
Even the kitsch element in black politics, always profound, got cornier--Ta Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me came out it 2015.

Another conversation we won't have: the failure of the promised Obama Effect and the scandal of the actual Obama Effect. The reality is racial resentment has gotten so much worse over the last eight years it's hard to measure because the terms of debate have had to change that much to keep up with it--resistance not being an option.

The effect of eight years of Obama has been to render the race problem insoluble. On the good side, his policies and rhetoric hastened the rise of the alt right and Trump.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Death Wish

The trailer for the upcoming Death Wish remake has me holding out hope Eli Roth flubbed it and made a good, relevant even, film.

That hope got a little more slender reading Roth's defense of it from the predictable anticipatory outrage. Like the original, the film can't escape the charge it's "fascist":
 "...many on social media have taken issue with the clip, with some branding its depiction of violence as "fascist propaganda". The movie's director, Eli Roth, has now hit back, arguing that the movie is "not about race" and that those accusations were not his intent when making the movie. 
 "I got to say, it's just the 'alt-right' amount of controversy, because that was the number one trending video on YouTube this morning," he told TMZ.
 "Do I like it? You know what, I'm really proud of the movie, and when people see the movie in context, I think this is all going to evaporate." 
"Everyone is very sensitive, everyone is ready to take a stance against something, but c'mon guys. You have to be aware of your audience, if you want to handle that subject matter, you have to be smart about it. And we do.
 "When you see the film, you'll see exactly how we handle the killing, how it's not about race. It's about good, it's about bad. He's going after bad guys, he's going after the guys that did this to him. But you know what, everybody gets a taste of justice in this movie."
Roth's lame-punning name-checking of the alt right shows just how much times have changed. Before Trump the average normie didn't know from "alt right"; now it's a Thing. But the director has another problem: he might accidentally create the first alt right classic.

It's remarkable: just as with the original, the film's liberal detractors now are reading race into the story for us, and making the "racist" assertion that crime is necessarily a black problem.

The first film over-represented white or white-ish bad guys, including the primary villains. Roth's trailer reassures us almost all of the villains are white, and the one black bad guy we see getting smoked we can confidently tie to the adorable black waif in the hospital who tells Bruce Willis about the drug dealer who won't let him walk to school (the Ice Cream Man).

It's enough for some to see a white guy wielding a gun, of course, but in rejecting the authors' proffered white villains, the liberal critics are comically implying the worst, essentially saying: of course you're talking about black criminals. You're not dealing with morons here.

The first Death Wish came out in 1974. The very first--let's call it--urban fascist western came out in 1971, Dirty Harry. That film followed the same pattern, sort of controlling for race to make it about "crime" by making it ultimately a story of a white hero and a white villain.
Somewhere along the line this genre went away; now you couldn't make Dirty Harry. But then I would have thought that of Death Wish. Come to think of it, that's exactly what the film's detractors are saying: you can't make that film now.

The Left wasn't buying it then and they aren't buying it now: these films were right wing paranoid fantasies about black urban savagery. Of course they're right about everything but the paranoia part.
By 1970 white America had gotten its first real taste of the black boot. The riots of the late sixties and the first massive pulse of black crime released by enlightened policy and liberal judges was emptying out the inner cities; white America was still being introduced to the humiliation of black malice. Of course we wanted a film about a gunslinger who goes in and straightens them out (and still waiting, really).

The "fascist" charge was always pointless. The problem then, as now, is you're not allowed to offend blacks. Call the films racist (by implication, again) all you want, they are, I don't care, but Callahan--like Paul Kersey--is a rogue set against the state and society. Do the stories of Kersey and Callahan impugn the liberal state, and imply the necessity of authoritarian control? That might qualify them as "fascist", but I think only if you think liberal democracy can inflict no degradation on society and order that is too great.  There's never been a better time for a revisiting of these films, but they would have to be "fascist" and certainly racist to be worth a damn.

Both films are laments of the helplessness of modern man in the urban environment at the onset of the Seventies, abandoned by a corrupt state to the mercy of a perverse and cruel enemy. It's forty-odd years on, and the America facing the catastrophe of black urban violence now seems positively quaint in comparison. The enemies have only multiplied.

Dirty Harry introduced the trope that became a cliche--the bad guy gets out on a technicality because of a liberal judge. Well, was the US legal system not letting a lot of bad guys out on the streets in the name of liberality in the Seventies?  The liberal critics were entirely right that the films arise out of white fear of black crime. That, to them, is enough. They wouldn't allow then that this fear was justified; they won't allow it now, four decades later.

 It's still enough, only now, where there was once the dull, cheery confidence of those disastrously naive Norman Lear-era liberals we have the mean, unflinching paranoia of black Twitter and the whole brood of aggrieved they somehow spawned. Not a one of them bears a resemblance to their nice white parents. They must have adopted them from the Third World somewhere.

Social justice has taken on the role of vigilante, punching nazis, assembling mobs, assassinating cops; and it won't have any cinematic vigilante justice that isn't socially conscious. Of course at this point many a story has been degraded by social justice, and we can expect it's only the beginning.

Will it be that Eli Roth "ruined" Death Wish by laying it on too thick?
Or will it be that he couldn't help himself?

He doesn't even have to cast racially accurate bad guys. The Left helpfully reminds us if not who he's talking about who he should be talking about. They document it for posterity. Without them, future generations might read from these films that crime really wasn't a black thing in our time.





Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Don't be Google

And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
--Numbers, 22:23

The notorious Google memo Gizmodo calls an "anti-diversity screed" (elsewhere it's a "fulmination", "sexist twaddle", and, even, "lengthy") is neither. It opens with a sort of standard genuflection to diversity that seems earnest enough (not that being earnest would be enough). Somehow despite seeing and outlining the impossibility of diversity as a reality, the author and his defenders accept its necessity as a goal. The goons who shut them down while shouting nonsense only look like the stupid ones. They get it: the way in which diversity efforts fail--women and minorities proving inadequate--reveals the absurdity and injustice of diversity as a goal.

"If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem." He pleads. But the real problem is we can't have an honest discussion that doesn't ultimately reveal there is no problem. Indeed, if the honesty goes long enough, we might find that diversity as an idea is the problem. Even, maybe, diversity is a problem. Monsters dwell here. That's why you can't even draw maps of this place.

The problem here is the problem with "white privilege" entire: if you accept the inherent value of enlightened Western values over ignorance and hunger, and you accept the idea that this West is nonetheless uniquely hostile to such as blacks (for one)--this dissonance is conventional opinion--then you necessarily imply blacks aren't as well suited for enlightenment values. This is why we can't have nice conversations. The floor always ends up strewn with our prettiest lies. But we should have them. For one thing, those enlightenment values are being pawned off to pay the interest on our debt to black America, as the West and the US are deformed to meet their cruder biases and values. From the black vantage, civil rights are rationalized ethnic warfare contorting the law and culture to conform to black values.

That's why the line, for the moment, holds against honest public conversations about any of it. But social justice is like football. You have to move the ball. So its proponents keep advancing. Anything else is taking a knee, truth be damned. 


If the memo author's sentiments in favor of diversity are real, they are about to be a severe stress test such as an engineer can appreciate and understand. Of course all bets are off when we're talking social justice. If the hammer comes down at Google--and the standard move is to double-down every time the Narrative is challenged: "sensitivity" training, firings, expansion of diversity efforts and staff--I suspect that faction of discontented White--and likely Asian--men will grow in size and impatience.

How big is the discontent? How "angry" are the white males? They've been incanting "white male anger" into the electronic ether so long they are about to conjure it up in reality. It's long overdue. The scandal isn't the excess of white male anger it's the absence of it.

Consider the absurdity of Danielle Brown, thirty-something, riding her triumph in increasing "diversity" in just two years as diversity honcho at Intel ("...hit its goal of retaining diverse employees, with a 15 percent exit rate for women and people of color compare to a 15.5 percent exit rate for employees in majority groups"), 
without a technical background, dismissing out of hand the memo (which doesn't deserve a link) because it's inconsistent with the values and needs of the company at which she's yet to occupy an office. In her role as the social justice equivalent of a Soviet political officer.

Her linkedin page suggests she was saved from having to rely on her own education in finance and sales by being plucked out of relative obscurity at the biotech firm Gilead (she was the bomb in Gilead) and put on the diversity fast track (Intel's "accelerated leadership" program) in 2011. Six years later she's a VP at Google, and if she doesn't know computer code from the DaVinci Code it doesn't matter; she's in charge of the conversation. Nice work if you can get it.

That work involves maintaining a culture of shaming and coercion. The memo writer complains:
"While Google hasn’t harbored the violent leftists protests that we’re seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment."

Update: The author has already been sacked.

That culture of shaming is going to have to get a lot harsher. I suspect Google will take measures to root out like-minded individuals where it can and rely on the power of the non-disclosure agreement. The company is on its way to becoming Scientology.



Friday, August 04, 2017

Golden Archers

"Drunk girls wait an hour to pee..."
--LCD Soundsystem, Drunk Girls

Steve Sailer on America's Current Year Qualified Navy:
Boys like everything about projecting (in the physical sense, rather than that useful Freudian sense of “projection”). That’s why many (male) toddlers will immediately pick up a stick as soon as they step outdoors and brandish it about like the winning Killer Ape in 2001. 
The latest Navy supercarrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, launched its first jet this week, in another demonstration of the Pentagon’s ability to project power globally. But the Ford’s seamen are not to project so much lavatorily. 
But while urinals are being installed in the Ladies Rooms of luxury resorts, urinals are not being installed in the latest American aircraft carrier. From Business Insider: 
The Navy’s newest, most sophisticated aircraft carrier doesn’t have urinals Amid all its upgrades and advances, the US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, is lacking one feature: urinals. Every bathroom on the Ford is, for the first time, gender-neutral, equipped with flush toilets and stalls, according to Navy Times. Bathroom-design experts have said sit-down toilets are less sanitary...
Seamen will have to project their stream (and woe to the aged, er, hand) more accurately and carefully on the pitching high seas now. Brings to mind an unfortunate association from youth, obliterating the enemy flotilla of Dad's unfiltered Pall Mall cigarette butts, before they could turn the tide of the war or my stream failed.

But Steve is on to something regarding projection and the act of urination. Camille Paglia was here years ago. From her Sexual Personae:
Concentration and projection are remarkably demonstrated by urination, one of male anatomy's most efficient comparmentalizations. Freud thinks primitive man preened himself on his ability to put out a fire with a stream of urine [I'm willing to bet I'm not the only American youth to witness one or more of his fellows demonstrating their ability to, say, clear a brick wall]. A strange thing to be proud of but certainly beyond the scope of a woman [thus a source of, mostly, unspoken female resentment, a small but significant tributary contributing to feminism's Amazon], who would scorch her hams in the process. Male urinatinon really is a kind of accomplishment, an arc of transcendance. 
Harper's magazine ran a pre-print excerpt with that part about transcendance, with a get-a-load-of-this wink, before the book was published and landed like a small meteor in 1990. She goes on:
The cumbersome, solipsistic character of female physiology is tediously evident at sports events and rock concerts, where fifty women wait in line for admission to the sequestered cells of the toilet. Meanwhile, their male friends zip in and out (in every sense) and stand around looking at their watches and rolling their eyes. Freud's notion of penis envy proves too true...
I've personally known women who were nearly obsessed with the penis--this is not salacious, they were objectively fascinated with, and amused by, its non-sexual workings. Male appreciation of the vagina is necessarily fraught, channeling, I suspect, fear of disease for one thing into such as the vagina dentata myth.

One of the impulses behind feminism, I believe, and one for which I have sympathy, is the need for women to retreat from and recover from the company of men. Men are exhausting, precisely because we are so different from women, of course, and in the worst way for feminism: men act (they project), and women contain, as in pregnancy--indeed, in the sex act the man projects and the woman draws.

The penis is reassuringly comic in its vulnerability: it's exposure to the elements (and reaction to them), its reliance on the mechanics of the erection, its homely appearance, its double-duty as ignoble drain spigot and intrepid ram-rod. Tragic, too. The whole masculine tragedy is in the penis: in its endless rising in assertive hope, reaching the goal only to fall back spent, lessened, always "leaving it on the field", equally diminished whether victorious or vanquished. The penis, like a man, is expected to achieve; the woman to receive and rate. How's that for inequality?

There's no room for that in the Current Year, but politicizing the inherent inequality of our plumbing is perfectly consistent with feminist notions of fairness. Thus it was inevitable that it would be assailed as a political problem. Bathroom equity became a small "thing" a long time ago when women started lobbying for more restrooms, or the right to use men's rooms, to equalize the time burden. The Seat Liner Ceiling was set to be assailed. Whatever came of that I don't know, but obviously it's now superseded, and made incoherent, by the trans movement for bathroom "equality".
Momentum is taking us to something like borderless bathrooms--you can't discriminate in any fashion, so all are open to all, by law. As Bill Murray says, "cats and dogs, living together..."

But the broader movement really doesn't care about women's rights, and has performed an end-around feminism's project of creating a privileged identity for biological women, and is of course going after the very idea of sexual identity. Don't envy the fun and convenience of the outtie, girls; lots of girls have them, now. What do you mean they don't? Current Year.

A Confederacy of Dindus

HBO announces it's developing an alternative history of the South. The show-runners from something called Game of Thrones, that appears to have had a bit of success, are writing and producing. Let the games begin. They're White Guys!

If only it were so; I'm always a little depressed for our side to learn, as so often, it's just another pair of talented Jews. Of course you would never know it--the average normie doesn't, and if he did, he wouldn't allow himself to think it relevant. That is, the average white normie--the only demographic not allowed a self-interested response.
The real outrage is that whites and American history get screwed twice: by the Jewish writers pushing an anti-white narrative, and then when those same writers are deployed as "white" straw men. This isn't just a case of the latest silly outrage, either. This was a skirmish in our ongoing, disguised ethnic warfare, a looting.
HBO hasn't started shooting and can be counted on to do two things: hire more black "talent" to go with the two black writers they brought in already as window dressing, and be much more wary about the content of the show. HBO is already acceding to the bullying.

Another alternative history show about an independent black American country has been revealed to be in the works at Amazon. In an alternate present a small independent black country has won its independence in the South. Someone joked on Twitter they could call this state "Liberia" (at this rate, if it's made in two years, it will feature pyramids levitating on futuristic rockets, and eventually be shown in schools).

 Salon:
 During Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones,” #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign and her swath of followers took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the network’s decision. Reign argued the series is racist as it ignores the systemic enslavement black people currently face.
 The irony in Joy Reid's response trailed like a piece of toilet paper from her oblivious heel: “It plays to a rather concrete American fantasy: slavery that never ends, becoming a permanent state for black people. Repugnant.”
The "concrete fantasy" that "slavery never ends" has become the founding myth of the black American nation. Slavery "systemic", and in the reality of mass incarceration. Critical race theory of course doesn't stop there.

It's not clear whether someone like Reign or Reid understands that Weiss and Goldman could be expected to express something like this, better and more persuasively than any black writer. They've publicly committed to making of their intriguing idea fashionable political propaganda (no attendant controversy).
It's a relatively new sub-genre: if history can be retconned (as Steve Sailer likes to say) in fiction to create the illuison of, say, black achievement, the present can also be pro-conned in such but-only-if alternative history story.

But it doesn't matter to blacks. Weiss and Goldman themselves probably get it better than black activists, who tend toward stereotypically emotional analyses and arguments.

The history of the South, for starters, is now a sort of cultural property, proprietary to black Americans. It is a material power grab in the disugised ethnic warfare that is modern America. We can expect more of it, and more creative attempts to formalize and expand it. In a fit of absentmindedness we're creating a regime of non-white privilege, with blacks at the apex.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A Narrative's Progress

The project to erase the West--globalism, multiculturalism, critical race theory, the "Narrative"--is like a revolutionary army that's advanced too far too fast. It is stretched thin. It's gotten too far out ahead of popular acquiescence and demographic change. The unified horror of the vast mainstream of punditry in reaction to Trump's Poland speech revealed the extent to which the elite felt, with some comfort, that white Americans had already been killed off, rendered passive or are complicit in their demise. Mostly what offends, appalls and terrifies is the thought of a primordial enemy roused.

What had been a neat trick--manufacturing consent in the populace for radical social change by presenting the illusion of it first in film, television and media news, creating and occupying the moral high ground, worked quite well as long as things kept moving in the right direction. Conservative reaction would happen, was helpful even, became  a useful fall guy for the Narrative, creating the illusion of progress against ignorance, but would never challenge its core assumption--blank slate theory holding racial and sexual differences meaningless--until Trump came along offering an alternative.

What my cynical self suspects will save the Narrative after all is apathy. That there is no popular movement taking to the streets to defend Trump against the open coup progressing against him contradicts what I just asserted. What is surreal about the times isn't Donald Trump as president (and as the last defender of the West), or the absurdity of BLM against a backdrop of black hate, or even the trannies; what defies reality is the fact we put up with it all.

And yet there is Trump, and there is the fact the only political way out for him is to pursue the policies that got him elected. Losing on Obamacare is nothing compared to losing on immigration. The counterrevolution he represents tripped the Narrative up, if only for the moment, by suddenly presenting an alternative. It's way too easy to submit to the lethargy of electronic culture, and it's still too easy to get by economically; the Narrative should have been home free. Early triumphalism may have doomed it and opened the way for Trump.

(Personally I recall one particular moment, a minor controversy: a black host on one of the liberal cable outlets said something dismissive about white people trying to regain their demographic health, something about breeding; a panel of POC mediocrities sat smiling nervously. They knew it would be controversial, but they were far more afraid of the lead POC mediocrity to say anything. You had to see it, perhaps, but the moment was grim, and I can't imagine a white person viewing it without, not alarm but outrage.)

Trump suddenly presented an option and it seemed, to too many, an easy one. Simply elect him and sit back. His own bombastic self-promotion hasn't helped. But the fact is he is in out of his depth--arguably less Obama and Bush II, but they had help. Trump has needed to convert more mainstream politicians, somehow cobble together a competing elite adopting nationalism.

We're seeing now the historic, still hard to believe Trump election victory was the easy part. He presented that sudden option but it can't be viable without either significant defections from the mainstream to Trump's nationalism or popular demonstrations in the streets.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Abandoning the Bitches

The controversy regarding the whiteness of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk was predictable enough. I imagine at this point it's routine for studios to take into consideration the now inevitable controversy surrounding any story deemed "too white".
The films we get are watered down or ruined by an increasingly harsh regime of representation, but the greater effect is what we don't see: the many works that simply cannot be made for this reason. Helps to be Christopher Nolan; would a less profitable director get to make this film? How soon until no one can make it?

Social justice deems three or more whites gathering unmolested a conspiracy in itself; feminism deems the same for men. Black violence is why we can't have nice things. Female resentment is why we can't have guy things. That's not quite how the New Yorker would put it, but:
But my main issue with Dunkirk is that it's so clearly designed for men to man-out over. And look, it's not like I need every movie to have "strong female leads." Wonder Woman can probably tide me over for at least a year, and I understand that this war was dominated by brave male soldiers. I get that. But the packaging of the film, the general vibe, and the tenor of the people applauding it just screams "men-only"—and specifically seems to cater to a certain type of very pretentious man who would love nothing more than to explain to me why I'm wrong about not liking it. If this movie were a dating profile pic, it would be a swole guy at the gym who also goes to Harvard. If it was a drink it would be Stumptown coffee. If it was one of your friends, it would be the one who starts his sentences with "I get what you're saying, but..."
As Al Bundy, in his hard-earned wisdom, explained years ago, nothing drives women madder than the thought of you having fun without them. Worst of all is the thought they aren't even on your mind. This, along with Sailer's Law of Female Journalism, is what feminism is really All About.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rant

Capitalism is the ultimate conqueror, because it has nothing to defend. Tethered to no principle, place or people, it is infinitely adaptable. It thrives under nationalism as well as revolution (as in the triumphant anti-nationalist revolutionary phase we're in now), in peace as well as chaos. It's less a system of integrated parts than it is aggregated behavior establishing economic hierarchies. These hierarchies can be overturned, wealth can be transferred (at great destruction here, great profit there), but the "system" churns on and through its platforms, barely perturbed.

Its putative opposite, communism, could adapt only at risk. Capitalism is "threatened" by "excessive" government control, commerce can be stifled with regulation and entire nations beggared by bad policy, but capitalism thrives without and floods back in the moment legal, social or political barriers are taken out of its way. Communism trying to adopt a bit of capitalism ends up untenable, as in the Soviet Union, or a nominal farce, as in China. In the social democracies of Europe socialism has long needed capitalism more than capitalism needs it. Capitalism needs more consuming humans there. Capitalism needs migration. Socialism complies, has at hand, conveniently enough, the identity politics which it now wages against the interests of traditional labor. The old working class hero hasn't just been replaced; he's now the heavy, and in our electronic equivalent of the old Soviet posters of heroic working folk he's been pasted over by Minorities, Women and Gays.

But it seems we're running out of principles and people to sacrifice to capitalism.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fear, Hate and the Narrative

Eight long months running a convenience store earned a Korean eight years hard time after he shot fleeing shoplifter Jakeel Mason in the back:
Mason went into the store last week after Kim went outside to tell a group of loitering men to go away, prosecutors say. Surveillance video shows Mason trying to steal cigarettes behind the counter and Kim pulling out a gun as he walked back in, according to authorities. 
Mason was looting the store while Kim was distracted by his friends outside. Kim came back in and drew his gun.
Mason put his hands up and Kim backed him up against a shelf inside the store, the prosecutor statement's say. Then, Kim tucked the gun into his waistband and punched Mason in the face, prompting a brief struggle as Mason tried to get away, according to the prosecutors' account. 
Mason ran towards the door and grabbed a pack of cigarettes on his way out, authorities say. That is when, according to prosecutors, Kim got up from the ground, pulled his gun from his waistband and shot him twice in the back. 
Kim invoked self defense against a second degree murder charge
Kim said before his arrest he had feared for his life and claimed Mason had pushed him to the ground and tried to grab his pistol.
Surveillance video did not support Kim's account.
Fearing for one's life when confronted with a fierce American black elicits less and less sympathy with liberal Washington state judges, and apparently neither does the state of siege that contributed to Kim's fear and, probably more importantly, anger. Less than two months ago an armed member of Mason's community tried to kill Kim's wife in a shootout:
Surveillance video shows Seul Lim, 30, giving a masked man some cash before pulling a gun from behind the register. Lim can be seen firing at the robber, later identified as Tyrone Prophet Jr, 23, and missing.
Prophet promptly fires back and hits her in the abdomen before fleeing. Lim went to the hospital and came out the following day as the bullet didn't hit any organ. Kim told Kiro 7 at the time that his wife was 'a tough cookie'.
Prophet was later charged with first-degree assault and robbery. Investigators say the two shootings are not related. 'We know that just the previous month his wife was shot during a robbery, Troyer told Q13 Fox.
'We understand that probably leads to high emotions. 'But if you're going to carry a weapon you have the responsibility of carrying that weapon.
We can't have shoplifts turn into homicides.' 
Note the "first degree assault" charge. He'll be out before the husband.

Are the shootings unrelated, as the police say? What do they mean when they say it?

 They're certainly related in the mind of the once law-abiding Kim, but not in the way we once allowed, in a less tolerant nation, in human terms, that is, Kim is not allowed his anger or his fear. He is--and it isn't hyperbole!--denied his humanity. We're all being denied our humanity, when we're not allowed justified fear, when we're not allowed to return hate. In this environment to be "racist" is to be human. A human with a normal sense of self-regard and preservation.

That the Latino policeman who shot Philando Castile was visibly terrified (thinking he was confronting an armed robbery suspect) immediately prompted a Narrative response: Fear, like modesty and the inner city, would have to be sacrificed to accommodate our most fearsome people.

Fear is under ideological assault (if Trump does nothing but restore the judiciary as much as possible, he will have been worthwhile) and of course anger has long been denied white America in its perpetual state of siege regarding blacks. This new American value is one of the few newcomers are still expected to adopt, not the old-school pioneer hardiness of the Kims, of all those Kims out there in their little Fort Apaches, constrained from defending themselves too heartily lest the cavalry be called in on them.

What sort of psychological distortions, in the individual and in the group, are worming their way through us as a result of this unnatural state of affairs? Here the truth is openly suppressed and the suppression of that truth every day yields casualties: the killed, the robbed, the raped, the corrupted. Is the durability of mainstream and liberal America's black fetish really just a surrender, a surrender to the stronger, the bolder, even the unique stupidity of blacks, the physicality, above all the audacity to not give a shit about whether you are right but to assert yourself; a surrender all dandied up as Justice, ameliorated by drugs, electronic beats, ease, always, still somehow, material ease and indulgences at every turn.

There is no precedent. White America is beaten down: routed from popular culture, terrorized on the streets, beaten on the sports field, cuckolded by her skanks, silenced by the media, slandered in the culture and, always, condemned.

A people who've lavished on black Americans the wealth and admiration white America has given, a people who created the very structures that allowed that black success: professional sports, recorded music, shit, commerce; for that same people to endure black America's ongoing war against us, after having given that praise, surrendered it, having surrendered to the seductions of black culture; to be told then that this unequal state of affairs isn't a result of--God no!--blacks being ungenerous, and no, it isn't what everyone suspects, that black charisma emanates from the same well as black savagery; all against the backdrop of the flash mob, the urban torture kidnappings, the sex and drug trafficking, the moral degradation that no one dares name....

It is a humiliation that cannot be endured. So far the response has been, sadly, the reason the "cuck" epithet is so apt, and so likely to stick around: the mediocre mass (and the mediocre mass of our elite) just want to play some part in the fun. Sit in the corner and jack off? March for BLM? Is there a difference?

You're not allowed to hate those who are waging war on you. You're not even allowed to fear them. It's a surrender; how much is self-imposed is the question.

Of course:
No one was there on behalf of Mason. 
Mason couldn't raise a single friend or family member to defend his life. But the Narrative was there, weeping copiously and crushing a man.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Art and Power

A few days ago I posted on the subject of comedy. To continue on that subject.

A sort of personal fad of mine right now is the idea of art as essentially liberation--not catharsis freeing us from our repressive selves, but from our repressive systems. I don't mean to, and I don't think it's the role of art to, attack repression as such; society is repression. The necessity is to relieve it, or expose its absurdity, its distortions. But the ultimate end is still truth. Ideally it's the lifting of social burdens and relief from convention's obscuring white noise, if only in the context of the performance, for the weary psyche seeking it out.

Nowadays this might be claimed under the title "transgressive", and it looks at first glance as if there's a lot of transgression going on. Everywhere they tilt at patriarchal windmills and swoon before racist straw men, all under the banner of Truth.

Needless to say tradition as such has been routed culturally at the same time (and by, for that matter) mainstream entertainment's economic globalization. The complementary nature of capitalism and the Left wasn't recognized at first, it had to assert itself as the natural, overwhelming phenomenon it is. But what began as natural symbiosis has matured into open conspiracy. It's worth noting the sweet deal capitalism gets--it gives up nothing, while the Left has abandoned, served up for their former enemies really, the working class.

Commerce and the Left have taken over popular art, in a sort of unspoken compromise. Like the old joke about the Soviet Union--the government pretends to pay workers pretending to work--now the liberated pretend to be oppressed by those who pay them. And as with their Soviet counterparts, real work isn't getting done and high functionaries are getting wealthy producing an inferior product for which there's no competition. It's the Ribbentrop Molotov pact and we--the people--are Poland.
A dull pessimism takes hold in us, cowed on every side to accept a never-ending narrative of emerging, aggressive identities claiming a grievance against a shrinking center. Transgression, as practiced, is all now a Sailerian Who, Whom demonstration of-ironically--supremacy. So there is a curious lack of necessary vitality in even the dazzling technological marvels Hollywood produces with ever greater commitment to the dominant narrative and ever greater watering down to appeal to a global audience (the same thing, really).

Art, contrary to hoary conceit, does not exist to shock. This is a perversion; the artist should pursue the truth despite its tendency to shock. We've elevated the gratuitous shock, invoking "transgression", which is not the same thing. It's undeniable art loses vitality without an element of pushing, or transgressing, against something significant. Tradition's significance is waning rapidly. Most popular entertainment engages in at least slight fake transgressions against tradition, done up as historical bogeymen--the patriarchy, white supremacy, homophobia.

But does the mainstream artist today, despite working on behalf of power and convention against a beaten but formidable historic enemy, really betray his mission? If he truly believes he is on the side of right, his role is precisely that of the artist in a fascist system. And as they see it despite modesty and patriarchy's present submission they remain dangerous and toxic, likely to reform and rebound at any time--and this makes sense. We should expect they will; all of history up to the last century can't be wrong. The problem is, and the Left will never concede this, is how, and by whom, that reassertion will take place. But allowing for their delusion, there is nothing sinister about it. More irony, of course, is the resemblance to a fascist state of affairs--art and culture in service to a prevailing order and closed to threats to that order. Must be nice.

The Left just won't admit it's in charge. Because not being in charge is how it got to be in charge. That is, the various movements based on grievances against the Western tradition, with the black American "struggle" center (and it's difficult to imagine our predicament being possible without our black citizens and their affinity for "suffering") are how power was seized. The Left's narrative boils down a sort of selective Christian reading: the powerless are worthier than the powerful. Forget that it's always been bullshit, and a front for, among other things, ethnic warfare; nobody lasts by easing up once they're in power. The hope among the vast part of the population that is apolitical but acquiescent (the silent majority, nodding in assent!) has always been, I suspect, that the advancement of sexual liberation and minority rights would level off, find reason, lay down arms as ground was won.
It's long past the point of denying this won't happen.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fictional Friday

[I keep toying with this turd]

Thou are right, O Lord, very right.
Thou hast condemned us justly.

"Bear with me. My story requires a bit of preface. " Alex said. "I might try your patience. Even if what they used to call storytellers still existed, I wouldn't be one. The ability to tell a story with a coherent beginning, middle and, especially, end, is all but lost. No one knows how to end a story anymore. And I have no ending for this one."

"So...you've come  to me for help." I smiled.

"No." He smiled back. "I mean...no offense, I wasn't thinking that. And now that you mention it, I'm open to suggestions."

"You won't mind?"

"I will thank you, if you can give this story its proper resolution."

"What do you mean resolution?" I asked. He laughed.

"Just what I was saying about nobody knows how to end a story anymore. The true art of storytelling was lost by the middle of the twenty first century. Anyway, I'm beginning to think there is no ending. None that isn't meaningless. And I warn you now you'll find the details and course if the story--what they called plot back in the day--absurd. But not, if I manage it correctly, meaningless. The point is to arrive at meaning by way of all the absurdity."

"That's absurd." I laughed. Alex grinned.

"No, not at all. Autonomous V irtuality is still churning through themes that precede its crude early stages as virtual reality, which it inherited from cinema, which was passed down from the written word: supernatural elements, time travel, conjuring of historical figures. I borrow some of these techniques. History itself provides the absurdity.

"After I spent the summer immersed in the old writings--so wonderful they're there, so unfortunate no one cares--I was compelled to write a story in the old fashion. It's meant to be read and that's it. It isn't a script, or accompanying text for something else. Reading was once something people did for its own sake. Not just storytelling; nonfiction writing was merited aside from content for artistry, and what was called the essay, for instance, was once common. There was of course poetry, now all but indecipherable to all but an aging few and soon to pass into oblivion with them."

With all the deliberation of a man who'd finished speaking for the time being, Alex paused to pour his glass and drink. Knowing him, I didn't interrupt. The light outside was dimming.

"I've set my story in the first half of the twenty first century, just as the Postmodern Panics were beginning. Of course this is not what they called them at the time, because it's inaccurate. The Panics were not at all panics--sudden mass psychological reactions--but the logical culmination of the parallel movements that dominated American politics into the middle of the twenty first century.

"Nor do I believe any of the prevailing, supposedly deeper analyses--not that anyone pays them much attention--that they were manias born of the economic shocks of the twenties, or the post sexual revolution, or to the combination of the two, or--a favorite of mine--a mass re-wiring of the human brain due to the sudden prevalence of AV; autonomous virtuality was actually in its infancy when the Panics began in earnest--and they certainly weren't due to that perpetual specter, global warming.

"The Panics weren't in opposition to the dominant cultural and political movements of the time, as we are taught, but emerged logically, ideologically, from them. They only differed in methods and--for the most part--fervor from half of the respectable political spectrum, this was when we still had what they now call an antipodal system, from what used the be called the Left. But more than that; their assumptions regarding the justice of their causes was conventional thought. One could get in more trouble--that is lose his livelihood or, towards the end, worse of course, by publicly questioning these assumptions than he could praising the actions of the various political terrorists of the time.

"Conventional thought was a radical, non-empirical analysis of a people condemning itself and its history. There is no precedent. So in polite society the political terrorists were seen as going too far by indulging violence, that's all, and anyone of stature, celebrity or importance could lose his position far easier for disagreeing with the terrorists' analysis than he could for praising their actions--and people did, occasionally. Of course toward the end one could risk far more than loss of livelihood. Anyway, what we're taught now--that all good people stood in opposition to the Panics waged by a zealous and effective few--is not true. Let's just say by the time of my story, about 2020, the terrorists and ruling elite shared the same critique and, for the most part, goals.

"Both ruling elite and political terrorist professed nearly the same contempt for the old order, what was once called the West, and its people, loosely and broadly described, and vilified, as 'white'. This is the origin of the casual usage of the word white to mean something generally bad or suspect, while that original racial connotation is lost to obscurity.

The renunciation of Western history and culture had achieved such a revolution over such a short time--a couple of generations, and the die was cast--almost entirely through the cultural and political moral suasion of society's institutions acting in solidarity--which is not to say there wasn't a great deal of coercion, especially toward the end.

"But this suasion was of two parts: a queer self-condemnation of the West, coupled with the promise of the superiority of the new post-Western utopia. The utopia was stubborn in arriving. The condemnation, always the greater part, became like a drug: ever greater dosages and strains were required. The violence of the early twenties looks predictable in hindsight.

"The component movements of the dominant order--feminism, the black and gay autonomy movements, ever more smaller movements modeled on these--found themselves unopposed in spirit and at the time presented themselves still as the rights movements of oppressed groups. Their actions might be condemned, but never their goals--and these could be quite radical. It wasn't long before these movements started shedding smaller, uncontrollable elements, domestic terrorists and criminal gangs. Many if not most would be folded up into and fighting for the Axis of Equality in the civil wars. The worst atrocities charged to the A of E almost invariably involve these. The name 'Axis of Equality', by the way, was initially a derogatory phrase, introduced by the opposition, while there still was one, co-opted by the A of E in its ascendance.

"The terrorist organizations that emerged from the time and would later be folded into the forces of the Axis--the Black Insurrection, the Amazon Army, the Western Intifada, the Indigenous People's Brigade--which, did you know, had few of these 'indigenous' people among its ranks, and virtually none among its leadership, and eventually collapsed over its inability to reach consensus on the meaning of 'indigenous'?"--Alex chuckled--"did not differ in their analyses from polite conventional opinion. They only differed in their fervor and violence. The elite agreed in principle and even sought the same negation of the historic West and its people, at least as a people. Well, they've got their way; no one defines himself as a 'Westerner' any more, by any name. But I suspect this isn't what they had in mind.

"I was going to say I think people don't go in there and read the old writings, and the few who do tend to get it all wrong, because the actions of these near predecessors of ours are so inexplicable, ultimately. It's like you're reading about an alien race.

"At any rate the past has been jettisoned like a rocket stage by post-literacy. We don't speak the same language as our own past. What's more, we can't know what is lost. But to think the powerful used to go to great lengths to suppress information. All they had to do was wait. Run out the clock on concern. But there's more to it, I suspect."

"You had a lot of time on your hands." I teased.

"And I spent it obsessing over the past--over time!" Alex delighted.

"This then is the time and setting of my story: the Panics hadn't arrive yet and the civil wars were just a rumbling on the horizon. The Pope then, he wasn't the guy you see on the advertisements for Global Sun or whatever they're calling it now. Vatican III hadn't happened yet, of course. The Church hadn't yet abandoned its claim of descent from Saint Peter. The Pope still went about in robes performing ceremonies, sometimes wearing a grand mitre on his head. Good, simple people still believed and wept at the sight of him, genuinely moved; they were some of the last human beings to experience religious faith, and our understanding of it died off with them. They didn't see at the time the very man they venerated as somehow nearer to God was working shoulder to shoulder with the enemies of God, of the idea of God, of the Church, above all by embracing the Great Migration that set up the European theater of the civil wars.

"The erosion of power that had begun with the Reformation half a millennium before wasn't quite complete, and the Church retained a great deal of wealth and political influence. But any real power it had was conditioned on it following the secular order of the day, which could be seen as Christianity stripped of its mystery--and any elements troublesome to commerce or politics. The last of the popes were enthusiastic proponents of this order. But at the time of my story it still had more than billion professed members--declining in the advanced West but growing outside of it in the poorer south of Africa and South America.

"The Church's dependence on those from the Third World aligned with the European ruling elite's  own project of facilitating the migration of these people into Europe. Or so it would seem; that these people were overwhelmingly Muslim and thus compelled--by a religion their average believer seemed to take more seriously than the Pope took his--to oppose and displace Christianity wherever they found it, well, I don't have an explanation for why the Church was untroubled by that. But it had clearly abandoned the goal of bringing the world to Christ.

"Instead it opposed the slightest opposition to the great migration that would achieve in decades what Europe's secular impulse sought for centuries: the Church's final ruin. It's as if having been stripped of its moral authority over spiritual and family life it could do nothing but divert this thwarted energy into moral authority on the great secular sins of the time, racism, sexism and nationalism. This was no real authority at all, of course, because its converse was not allowed, or at least not considered a tenable position by Rome.

"Adopting the secular mores of the time did not lessen condemnation of the Church; in fact it only seemed to get more intense and confident. The Church was historically guilty as the source of the great sins of the time--racism, sexism, sexual morality, which had become a vice somehow--so it could never reform to satisfaction. Condemnation proves inversely correlated to the power of its target. Imagine that."
Alex smiled.

"And there we should begin. Despite allying with them on a global level, at the time of my story the Church drew the attention of of some of these pre-Panic groups, militant but not yet violent. Among them a group of radical feminist women who invaded churches and performed stunts in protest of the Church's continuing opposition to abortion and a host of lesser evils."

I drew the blinds against the darkening night. Alex turned on the lamp after fiddling with it for a moment.

"And that's where we begin. The setting is St Peter's Square. The sky is cloudless. The air has the sharp transparency of late fall, but the day is unseasonably warm. Under the midday sun in the static air it feels like summer. Terrorism has already been a concern for a while: the thick cord of people waiting in line to tour St Peter's is contained behind heavy fencing paralleling on one side the great curving colonnades that embrace the square, where groups of tourists milled about under the watchful eye of security, some in disguise.

"In the center of the square there used to be an Egyptian obelisk-"--Alex saw my confusion--"-a sort of spire-pyramid, some twenty meters or so tall. It's since been repatriated back to Egypt, as part of the global 'historical repatriation and reconciliation' movement, and was eventually destroyed by fanatic Muslims in the chaos of the mid-century. Around this striking point in the center of the vast square a commotion begins."

"Two young women have managed to elude security and are attempting to scale the obelisk. They are stripped mostly naked, one painted pink in symbolic resistance to the Church's repression of women, the other in the colors of the rainbow signifying its repression of homosexuality. They are struggling with a suction-cup and rope method of their own contrivance; the pink climber is managing better, about three meters off the ground and making slow progress before the police, scandalously late, are upon them. The other climber has managed to ascend just out of reach of police, but two have seized the slogan bearing banner she's trailing behind her. It's gotten wrapped about her midsection; she struggles to free herself of it as the police draw it just enough to hold her in place.

"As more police arrive, three more women have ditched their tourist disguises. They too were chosen for youth and suppleness to draw more attention to their stunts, the modus operandi of this particular group. Their torsos were painted with anti-Church slogans. One wore a bra attached at the nipples with dildos on springs bobbing obscenely. She set upon a policeman and twirled them, stripper fashion. He took her by the forearms and they grappled. Another wearing a headpiece with dildos curved into the shape of devil's horns seized him by the leg. Two more demonstrators rushed forward with a pink banner they intended to wrap about the obelisk; they were intercepted at its base, one becoming entangled in the banner as they struggled with police. The pink climber held her precarious vantage bravely as she started shouting slogans. But she could not be heard, as the still air was suddenly broken by gusts of wind.

"A crowd began to form around the spectacle. Here and there a shout of disapproval emerged from it, but mostly the people watched in curious silence. Political stunts like this were common enough by that time; most observers knew the bizarre sight for what it was immediately. Such demonstrations such as this were increasingly indulged by the same political leaders who were ultimately responsible for maintaining order--unlike the unfortunate police and mid-level bureaucrats, who were immediately responsible for maintaining order. Because of mass media nearly everyone in the crowd on the square had the prior, virtual experience of the bizarre scene before them, and could confidently classify it for what it was and the nature of the protester's complaints without reading the slogans on the banners. On the faces of some in the crowd you might have even seen something like resignation.

"It was then, near the entrance to the square, a lone figure approached.  It was the Son of Man, in human form, walking among us. He was recognized immediately. The irreligious, the falsely religious, the devout; all who saw Him knew immediately it was He. He glided through them, blessing their lowered heads with a look at once all-knowing and all-forgiving."

"Now hold on a damn minute. That's quite enough." I interrupted. Alex smiled mischievously. "This is getting ridiculous. And, by the way, you know I know something about Christian eschatology."
"I know very well. More importantly, I see you as a believer, unlike myself..."

"You know I'm definitely not." I protested.

"Only because no one is, anymore. But you are of the type--the good, noble type of believer. Me--who's to say?--but most likely not. I have a cursed nature. Whereas you, like I said, are a believer; a believer in a time, not of disbelief, for that would at least be an assertion...no, ours is an age of indifference."

"You make it all sound so grim. For us believers, that is."

"Oh no, it's grim for all." Alex said enthusiastically, as if this was balm. "That's the thing. This absence of a tenable religion isn't just a problem for the faithful, but for the skeptical, for while the believer is denied something 'to believe in', the non-believer is just as significantly denied something in which to disbelieve. His resistance to faith is no less a moral way than faith; after all, if he's right it is he who is a soldier for truth against deception. I'm not even sure the distinction between them is all that meaningful. Coming at this dilemma from opposite sides, faithful and skeptic alike can be said merely to be coming up hard against an indifferent natural world, unmitigated by religion. If there's nothing greater than Nature, as there is now in the absence of religious mystery, and if Nature is indifferent as it certainly is--countless failed Nature cults can't be wrong--then in this indifferent world the indifferent man thrives.

"Those who were genuinely engaged in the question of religion and the soul didn't see they ultimately shared a cause: that existence deserved an explanation. The secularists offering a moral alternative to religion, the humanists and others, didn't see religion's death was their own; they grappled with and overcame their mortal enemy as both went over the falls of history. Of indifference. Sorry, I'm drifting."

"Not at all."

"So He has returned. But this is not the Second Coming. Whatever His intentions were we can't know--let's establish that as a bound for this story, that we can't presume to know the intentions of the Almighty. That would be too much. But we're obligated to establish this isn't the Advent. He's come to be among us, that is all, for His reasons. I want to say He chose the moment randomly to the extent He in his omniscience can choose a random moment, which is of course its own interesting philosophical question. I mean, can He, being omnipotent? And if he can't then he's not omnipotent, is He? It's an interesting paradox. Can He suspend, then, his omnipotence? If anything whatsoever is in his power we must assume He can. But if he can even temporarily lay aside his omnipotence, how can He be truly omnipotent. Doesn't He then become vulnerable? Couldn't, say, Satan,--God forbid--overcome Him in his suspended state?"

"But He did, as the Son of Man The Son of Man is not God. He is not omnipotent. That is the point. Isn't it the basis of your story?"

"I won't pretend to understand the controversy regarding the essence of Christ but we can dispute that later. Let it remain a mystery, just as the Christ, just as all religion is necessarily shrouded in mystery. It is this loss of mystery in our time I lament. But to return to my story."

"Please, do." I said.

"Many there in the square bore the atavistic fashions of the time, the curious tattoos and piercings you see in images of that age. As He turned his eyes upon one such woman she covered a tattoo on her forearm with her hand, suddenly ashamed. With an exquisite tenderness he placed His hand on hers. He moved on. She raised her hand and the tattoo was gone."

"This is really too much." I said.

"Bear with me." Alex smiled.

"They fell silent in his presence and cried out spontaneously in his wake. Their shouts were joyful and grievous at the same time, and of an intensity none of them could have before witnessed, much less experienced, before. Indeed, what human beings could have known an experience of this nature, much less degree? None of us. But the sound was instantly recognizable for what it was, genuine, unguarded, human; into that world of artifice upon artifice, it came like a bolt from the sky.

"And when this sound reached the obelisk as He neared, for He was moving directly toward it, it turned the attention of the crowd away from the chaotic burlesque there. Even the police and painted women froze in mid-struggle, comic statuaries, looking off in the direction of the sound. The pink-painted climber, having been thus distracted, lost her grip and began to slide down the obelisk. She managed her slide at first, but then her foot caught up fast in her tangled rope. Suddenly and completely anchored by the foot, her momentum whipsawed her headfirst into the obelisk. She fell and crumpled at its base, the rope wrapped about her leg.

"Police and civilians pressed in on each other coming to her aid. Right away someone called out to Him, and others joined in. He was already upon the scene. The murmuring crowd parted for him, revealing the girl laying inert, a policeman kneeling by her side. There was a drop of blood on the corner of her mouth; a trickle coming from her ear. Her face was colorless as chalk against the bright pink of her torso.

"He came close and stood over her, enveloping her in his warm gaze, and said, barely audible in the tense silence: 'talitha cumi'. With that the girl sat up with effortless, casual grace. The blood had vanished; the color had returned to her cheeks. She looked about with a confused, sweet expression. Small flowers which she had braided through her hair somehow survived all; she resembled a child. The people near exulted as one.

"Their celebration was interrupted immediately. A platoon of soldiers appeared, their heels striking the ground in unison as they moved in disciplined double-time. Barking orders and shoving the people back with their rifles they created a cordon around Him. These were not mere police, but the elite forces formed after the siege of Vatican City in 2019 by Muslim terrorists. Without a word they marched him off. They didn't lay a hand on Him and He didn't resist; He all but led them along. The people cowered. They wailed and wept violently, but shrank away and made no resistance."

"I doubt the people would allow that."

"But they did. You have to understand the power the soldiers represented. The troops' appearance alone was terrifying--helmeted, masked, armored, outfitted like combat soldiers but all in black without insignia; the extraordinary and ill-defined powers they held; even, or especially, because of the fearful specter that was terrorism--immediately evoked as it was by their appearance on any scene; mall of this combined to make those troops the very embodiment of worldly power and threat. So now, just as they bowed before Him, they bowed before the muzzles of the troops' rifles.

"The great collective fear of the time was terrorism, just as previous generations lived in fear of 'the Bomb'. But nuclear weapons remained a potential threat; terrorism was occurring daily, somewhere in the world. After the horror of its introduction, the Bomb never killed anyone. Indeed, one of the fears about terrorism was the possibility terrorists would get their hands on nuclear weapons. The Bomb also kept the peace--it may still prove to destroy it of course, but there it is. Terrorism on the other hand was the continual erosion of the peace, with a similar existential threat, of another sort of annihilation, always present.

"They took him to a subterranean complex beneath the Vatican. They left him in an interrogation room, sitting at a bare table before a two-way mirror. They did not shackle Him. He remained there the night through without making the slightest move or gesture. Light was dawning outside when a man came through the door. He was unexceptional in appearance--the sort of face you find hard to recall--and impeccably but just as blandly dressed. His ethnicity was uncertain, as was his accent; he could have been from anywhere. He paused halfway through closing the door, and examined Him curiously.

" 'You were expecting maybe the Pope?' He grinned. 'He wasn't expecting you. None of us were. It is you, isn't it?' He said as he moved in and looked closer, his face momentarily grave. 'I'm the chief investigator'--his name came out unintelligible--'here--' He cut himself off before finishing. He eyed the empty chair across the table from Him but remained where he was, thinking a moment. He held his hands out before him palms-up in an inquisitive posture and said:

" 'What can we do for you?' "

"He did not speak; His expression did not change. The Investigator held his pose for a moment, waiting.

" 'Very well. What, then, can you do for us? Have you come to help or enlighten? For they are not the same thing, as you very well know. Have you come to free us?' He said with a trace of contempt. That boat has sailed. We've been free a long time. We are so very weary of this freedom you granted us. You've had a look at your freedom. What do you think of it? Is man happy in his freedom? Does it feed him, keep him warm, console him..." he laughed spontaneously at this last, "...quite the opposite, as you know. Was that your intention? Whatever the case, it's done now. You cannot pull the rug out from under mankind now. It is too late. For two thousand years we have labored under this false, yes, god.

" 'Do you not see this notion of freedom, of free will, is at odds with that other malicious gift you gave us, truth? For freedom is false, and can have no relation to truth. You paired these mortal enemies together and flung them into the heart of man, where they claw and tear at each other as they destroy their host. What god does this? Is it any wonder man continually returns to the worldly shackles of tyrants? Would you condemn the powerful and cruel for freeing man from "freedom"?'

" 'But you were so eager to grant man his freedom. This curse he does not want. But you granted him it, and he feels compelled to praise it, to desire it, to celebrate--to die and kill for it! But he secretly despises it, he yearns for the guiding hand, your guiding hand, he yearns to be your slave. And he surrenders to this desire with this latest heresy--for it must be a heresy if you're here before me now--this Islam, in which he describes himself as your slave. These people, so backward, so proud of their ignorance and intellectual squalor, these people have that one thing right--that man wishes nothing so much as to be a slave, as long as he's a slave to a higher power; indeed, the highest good for man is to be a slave to the highest power. These people--stupid, dull as they are--have this one thing, the one thing, right. And all of your followers have it wrong. Because you granted them their 'freedom', when challenged by the spirit of Satan in the desert.

"The Investigator stopped himself, as if he had gone farther than intended.

"Forgive me. But this cycle must be broken. We are doing it, and we are doing it with the help of your church. Shall I tell you then? Yes, that's it.' He snapped his heels together and popped an exaggerated salute.

" 'Progress report, sir! We have been very busy, the Church and those I represent. I'm sorry a representative of the Church couldn't be present. But we didn't want there to be any misunderstandings. Just today we another two thousand needy souls into this land that used to be one and the same with your church; we pulled them right out of the ocean! Certainly you approve?'

"Still there was no response from Him.

" 'Their misery is at its end. Hunger is soon to be a historical memory. The other sources of misery too will fall in due time. Strife itself, the eternal human struggle of family, nation, race--is nearing its end. We are at the beginning of a blessed global uniformity of peace, justice and plenty--without, pardon me, your help. Without so much as a sign from you. So if you've come to offer your help, it really isn't necessary. But if you insist, we have some ideas for how you might do that.'

"A group watched from the other side of the two-way mirror, silent.

" 'I hope you understand why we don't act in your name--and I hope you understand why we don't predicate our ministry, so to speak, on accepting you as their savior, and why the Church itself no longer does either. Sadly', the Investigator said remorsefully, 'things have gotten so bad, and you've been absent so long, that your name actually hinders the efforts to bring to reality your promise. Can you blame the people for losing faith? He will not bow before an absent god, but he will bow before worldly power.'

"He paused.

" 'We are their savior, we bring light to the darkness, we feed the hungry, we protect the weak in the here and now, and if we were to credit you we would be lying. We are instituting the universal brotherhood of man you sought. But we can't do it in your name. Sorry, I'm afraid your brand is obsolete. But whose fault is that? You handed your work and sanction to the Church, and it did wondrous things in your name. More to its credit, it did terrible things in your name. That was the real sacrifice. And when the wrath incurred by history was turned on it--where were you? You left it to its enemies. To us, frankly. But we have been magnanimous in victory. In allowing it to exist still, to prosper even, to participate in this glorious final realization of your charge, to make all mankind one family, to make concern for the stranger equal to, nay, greater than concern for one's family, one's self. We took you at your word and then some. Or are we calling your bluff? No matter. You've had all this time to correct us; we must assume your absence to be assent. What else would you have us do? You've seen the latest manifestation of the Abrahamic tradition--'

"Here he is talking about Islam." Alex said. I nodded and gestured impatiently for him to go on.

" 'Twice great heresies arose demanding your appearance. First right here in Europe, from within the Church, and then in Arabia from the savage desert without. The Church countered the first--no help from you--and now we counter the second. Make no mistake about our intentions. We will deal with this last, final challenge to man's ultimate liberation. But in so doing we will have to destroy this pernicious lie, this stringing along of humanity, this faith.

" 'And 'salvation? What is that? A promise, backed by faith in an absent, silent God. To make real your wishes for humanity it has become necessary to disassociate them from your name. The Church did everything it could--no thanks to you--and can go no farther. So you can see why it's important that you not return, that you not show your face now. Why would you? What possible good could come from it? Is your intention to return and leave again, for another two thousand years? How long do you intend to string humanity along?' "

" 'Your appearance today has caused us little trouble. Already we're putting it to good use.

"As if any who weren't present there yesterday to see for their own eyes would believe in your return anyway. You don't realize we've--you've, in your long absence--made faith impossible. Even those poor wretched souls you tormented--yes, tormented, for how can they be expected to return to daily life after this?--even they are beginning to doubt what they saw, what they felt. Those that don't will be seen as mad--already they are being mocked and ridiculed in the Press. And you will burn in tomorrow's bit of theater--do you know what we have planned?--and will be remembered, barely and briefly, as a conservative religious zealot attacking the church for its apostasy, its worldliness, its embrace of the foreigners of that great second heresy. You died once for our sins, now you will die for yours.' The Investigator stopped and swallowed, as if having gone farther than he intended. He looked away from Him and said again, quietly, 'tomorrow you will burn.'

"It was then He rose and approached his questioner. The Investigator did not move but could not look Him directly in the eye. He kissed his lowered head. The Investigator turned and left the room, his hand over his mouth as if stifling his own words."

Alex sighed.

"And that, I'm afraid, is all I have."

"You can't just leave it there." I protested.

to be continued, perhaps