Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 17, 2005

Billmon: Scenes From the Cultural Revolution

Which one?

"If the system were fair," says Larry Mumper, sponsor of the Ohio bill, "Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would be tenured professors somewhere."

Posted by b on March 17, 2005 at 11:40 UTC | Permalink


Billmon's new post "Scenes From the Cultural Revolution" is a tour de force. It needs no comments. (It needs to be published in the MSM).

Posted by: DM | March 17, 2005 06:46 AM

(double post - missed this thread by that much)

Posted by: DM | Mar 17 2005 11:48 utc | 1

Billmon has again proved himself to be a genius...and a "A" class research hound!

Posted by: Diogenes | Mar 17 2005 13:20 utc | 2

billmon's genius on display once again. On it's way to all the academic types on my email list.

C'mon, billmon, how about one of those fantastic plays using the characters' own words.

Posted by: Vicki | Mar 17 2005 13:40 utc | 3


Horowitz deserves the title of human scum just as much as Bolton, imho.

I'm also of the opinion that the whole cultural revolution was the lowest point of the whole post-WWII China era, and is one of the lowest points of the entire Chinese history up there with the first Emperor's reign of book-burning and mass-murders. Mao may have been a good revolutionary leader (though he initially lost big time), but he was a very lousy ruler (understatement) and quite power-hungry to the point of crapping the whole country and system to come back to power.
(yes, I know RGiap will disagree ;) )

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 17 2005 14:24 utc | 4

I'm at one of those Universities that Horowitz has targeted. Last year the student newspaper had an advertisement with a clip-out form that students could send in to the Hitler Youth funded by Horowitz to "inform" on any professor who had discussed the invasion of Iraq in the classroom if the class was not directly concerned with some aspect of Iraq or modern American policy.

If Rush Limbaugh or Hannnity are considered worthy to be professors by the stupid asshole who made the remark...if conservatives claim American schools are in trouble now...just imagine a junkie like Rush teaching political science...sort of like Burroughs teaching nursing or something.

The conservative "revolutionaries" will destroy this country if they keep this up because professors can get jobs in other countries much more easily than most people here. They have contacts with others in their disciplines in other nations who do research in the same area and tenure often involves working in another country with other scholars.

The brain drain created by other totalitarians is apparently not a learning experience for those who could and should stand up against their peers with this same tendency in the Legislatures across states.

If IU did not exist as it does, (i.e. full of liberal and even radical people, who happen to also be very creative in many instances), the city where it is located would become a one-horse town sooner rather than later. IU is the only reason many talented people live there. IU is the only reason world-class scholars even know Indiana exists. IU is the only reason many people would ever even give Indiana a thought (and I'm not talking about basketball fans.)

IU is the only reason people from all over the world come to Indiana to study, and bring their $$ and families and make connections they keep when they go back to their own countries to set up businesses,etc. The grandchildren of ambassadors of different nations go to school next to the children of chicken farmers, and those experiences influence our perception across the world, and create ties that send others here.

So, if the Indiana Legislature wants to severely cripple the Indiana economy, they'll
go along with the Horowitz purge.

A group of male students came out of a restaurant just before the Nov elections and were trying to bait me as I sat, minding my own biz, eating lunch on a bench. One said (for my benefit) "yeah, we're gonna MAKE this town conservative." I looked up (he was looking at me) and said "Nobody said you have to live here." He said, "you must be a lesbian." (That would have to be a lipstick one, btw.) I said, "No, but you're, obviously, a m*%ther F#%ker."

He then said...You should go see The Passion! (this was after he and his friends had quoted Dave Chappelle over and over, oblivious to the fact that they're just the sort of a-holes Chappelle skewers.)

So, if the conservatives want to take over campuses, we should start a betting pool for the collapse of the American university system, because the conservatives have already made students less interested in studying here, with the invasions of privacy to get here, and intellectuals are well aware of the course of history in totalitarian regimes and know, even if they want to fight back, that there comes a time when you get out if you can.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 17 2005 15:35 utc | 5

thank you billmon! these rabid anti-communists keep embracing the "red" state rhetoric. pull back that veil.

Posted by: b real | Mar 17 2005 15:45 utc | 6

...and another thing...

Horowitz's call for "balance" in the Universities in the U.S. conveniently ignores the tenure process, which consists, in part, in the publication of peer reviewed papers that are published in journals...and for many, many disciplines, these journals are not the sort of thing you'll find in the typical bookstore.

Peer reviews are obviously not without their personal/political issues, but the point is that papers are sent to a variety of people, not just one, for each paper.

These peers are also in nations around the world who specialize in a particular subject, since subjects are so specialized in so many disciplines these days.

So, the dream that Horowitz has that conservatives could and should be recognized as scholars and are discriminated against based upon their politics because of some cabal is a joke, considering subjects like math and computer science and other theoretical subjects that have nothing to do with any ideology.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the majority of people I know in those disciplines are not right wingers. And their politics have nothing to do with their abilities and the judgments of their work that determine tenure.

The only two "groups" I know of that have a significant conservative population are those in the school of business (and that's not everyone) and in Russian studies (because, from what I heard through the grapevine, IU's Russian studies were influential advisors in the Reagan era.) ..and, again, that's not everyone in that discipline, either.

also, it's a joke to think that most professors are radical, at least based upon the hundreds I've known in my lifetime. Most of them are middle-class and, yes, liberal, in the same way that anyone to the left of George Wallace is liberal.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 17 2005 15:57 utc | 7


I'd be really interested in seeing a scan or jpeg of that student newspaper advertisement fauxreal, anyway to get that? I know that we keep hardcopy as well as online archives of all our past college issues of the kaimin student newspaper. That would be news in and of itself.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 17 2005 15:58 utc | 8

great post fauxreal.

thanks, billmon.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 17 2005 16:03 utc | 9

...and one more thing...

Richard Florida has written about the reverse of Horowitz's dream for America, both here

As other nations become more attractive to mobile immigrant talent, America is becoming less so. A recent study by the National Science Board found that the U.S. government issued 74,000 visas for immigrants to work in science and technology in 2002, down from 166,000 in 2001--an astonishing drop of 55 percent. This is matched by similar, though smaller-scale, declines in other categories of talented immigrants, from finance experts to entertainers. Part of this contraction is derived from what we hope are short-term security concerns--as federal agencies have restricted visas from certain countries after September 11. More disturbingly, we find indications that fewer educated foreigners are choosing to come to the United States. For instance, most of the decline in science and technology immigrants in the National Science Board study was due to a drop in applications.

For several years now, my colleagues and I have been measuring the underlying factors common to those American cities and regions with the highest level of creative economic growth. The chief factors we've found are: large numbers of talented individuals, a high degree of technological innovation, and a tolerance of diverse lifestyles. Recently my colleague Irene Tinagli of Carnegie Mellon and I have applied the same analysis to northern Europe, and the findings are startling. The playing field is much more level than you might think. Sweden tops the United States on this measure, with Finland, the Netherlands, and Denmark close behind. The United Kingdom and Belgium are also doing well. And most of these countries, especially Ireland, are becoming more creatively competitive at a faster rate than the United States.

and, via Maisonneuve, here">">here

The media, though, have focused most of their attention on Florida’s city rankings, including the infamous “gay index,” which looks to the number of gay couples in a city as a measure of its tolerance. As a result, they’ve largely neglected Florida’s fundamental message: that cities must move away from funding corporate tax breaks and big-ticket white elephants designed to stimulate the economy. (In one recent example, Washington, DC, convinced the Montreal Expos to settle down by offering to build a new ballpark, raise business taxes and sign over all potential profits to the team’s future owner, all on the public dime.) Instead, says Florida, cities need to promote grassroots innovation and small-scale creativity, conditions that have spawned some of the biggest business successes of the past twenty years. “Human creativity,” he writes, “is the ultimate source of economic growth. Every single person is creative in some way. And to fully tap and harness that creativity we must be tolerant, diverse and inclusive.”

...and something everyone seems to want to ignore is that artists of all kinds attract the sorts of monied people Florida calls "the creative class." Those artists, of course, generally do not make a living wage for their work, nor do jobs exist that supply a living wage for many of them...but that's another subject...apparently artists are supposed to enjoy being the trained pets of the creative class...but that's also only in America, since other western nations do a better job of subsidizing art and thus artists.

With the Horowitz revolution, America can also look forward to velvet Jesus paintings and Pat Boone wannabes singing Mudvillainy.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 17 2005 16:12 utc | 10

Uncle $cam- here's a link to the newspaper. you can ask them to send you a copy, maybe?

Indiana Daily Student

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 17 2005 16:20 utc | 11

Excellent post, Billmon. And the photoshopping is indispensable to the lasting impression of what our Red Party is doing. Keep it coming, please.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 17 2005 16:36 utc | 12

Anti-intellectualism goes with fascism. So none of this is surprising coming from people fairly easily identifiable as neo- or crypto-fascists.

It's an intrinsic part of the package. You can't foster the kind of bully-boy, macho swaggering certainty and brainless violence that underpins fascist authority, if you also foster the depth and breadth of literacy, perception of complexity, and degree of informed skepticism required for intellectual rigour. Blackshirts don't thrive on long heartfelt debates on the nature of perception and reality -- they want simple slogans that can be chanted in one long breath.

The peer review process is the heart of intellectual rigour. It is this process, if we think about it for a sec, that BushCo flatly rejects. It is anathema to them (a) to consider that Amurka has any peers, or (b) that anyone has any right to "review" or error-check their work. They are, in essence, political crackpots -- as pathetic as those "scientists" who cannot produced repeatable results, refuse to submit to peer review, and flail around wildly trying to prove that "everyone is against them" rather than that their results may have been a fluke.

Peer review is the essence of democracy -- that we all review the facts and error-check each other's results; that we review and audit the processes of our government, not as humble subjects begging the favour of a peek behind the veil but as equal "stakeholders" [hmmm, how the language of Wall Street has infected our everyday discourse] in the enterprise of civilisation. Openness is the lifeblood of democratic government and of a healthy academy -- which is one reason to be concerned, very concerned, about the increasing incursion of private corporate funding into university research and the subsequent binding of researchers and students to intelprop secrecy agreements. Not to mention undue influence being exerted to falsify results of tests for marketable products... But that is another topic.

The contempt of the radical rightwingnuts for the standards and practises of academe [and working within that world I do not romanticise it by any means, nor pretend that it is some kind of Camelot free of unfairness, abuse, power politics and all the rest -- but at least we have some standards, one cannot get published at gunpoint (yet)] is perfectly reasonable. It is a necessary implication or consequence of their contempt for democracy, for civil society, their avid appetite for some dopey Nietzschean-sentimentalist "law of the jungle" cartoon feature in which they fondly imagine themselves as the gorgeous large predators [snort]. Peer review is unnecessary when you have the Revealed Truth in your possession and are ready to impose it by force. Skepticism is thought crime when patriotism is mindless obedience. The academy cannot be allowed to function if skepticism and inquiry are banned; it must revert to the state of a mediaeval ecclesiastical college, teaching rote doctrine rather than empirical research.

The Red Guard era is one of history's terrors sho'nuff -- right up there with the most stifling suppressions achieved by the Catholic Church. But my impression has been that it was not what Mao wanted, and that the Red Guardism was encouraged more by the gang of 4 than by Mao himself who was being sidelined (kinda like Colin Powell?) at the time. Can anyone correct or amplify?

I agree with much of what fauxreal says of the political atmosphere on an average college campus. Few professors are "radicals" in any sense. Those who are community or labour activists are generally considered a bit "unsafe" by their peers, a bit "ultra" and not quite respectable. The majority are comfortable, affluent liberals and comfortable, affluent conservatives. It is interesting that one of the first taunts the hostile boys came up with was "you must be a lesbian" -- the old kneejerk Pink Monkey association is clearly still alive and well: "commie pinko queer". Just another way of saying "and yer ugly and yer Mum dresses you funny," in wingnutspeak.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 17 2005 18:49 utc | 13

"It is interesting that one of the first taunts the hostile boys came up with was "you must be a lesbian" --

A little off course but reminded me of Stephen J. Ducat Dissects "Anxious Masculinity,"

Posted by: beq | Mar 17 2005 19:39 utc | 14

@beq not really off course at all. the whole Commander Codpiece floor-show was all about Anxious Masculinity if you ask me.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 17 2005 19:49 utc | 15

I'm at the University of Oklahoma where we've yet to experience the full wrath of Horowitz (though I personally was the victim of an attempt by our local Dartmouth Review clone to struggle me as a dangerous, lefty influence). But the legislature has been too busy trying to hang the 10 Commandments and prevent localities from passing non-discimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation to get involved in trying to police us. Good thing, too. We've been down this road before at OU.

Little known fact: the very first football coach at the University of Oklahoma was Vernon Parrington, who later became much more famous as the Pulitzer Prize winning author of _Main Currents of American Thought_, and as the one of the founding figures in American Studies.

He was summarily fired from OU not because he wasn't winning football games, but because the Regents, who were overwhelmingly fundamentalist, conducted a purge of the faculty. I believe Parrington was fired because he was a smoker.

Posted by: BenA | Mar 17 2005 20:23 utc | 16

DeA, Haven't seen that enunciated quite like that before, how the Bushes think Americas supposed innovative edge can be maintained within the new global economy, is counter-intuitive to say the least. Moral and ethical issues aside, your pragmatic reasoning on this essential point needs elaboration &widespread dissemination.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 17 2005 20:53 utc | 17

The Whore-o-shits's of the world pray on the smaller campuses. That way they can get publicity quicker from small twon newspaers who lack stories to publish. If they go to large campuses they get lost and told off. Its the small campuses with small town and rural kids that are listening to this bullshit. This idiot is just a bug at U of M and USC, etc.

Does anyone have the ability to post Billmons excellent post on Whore-o-shits site. It needs to go to Limblohard, Hannity, Cato and Heritage.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 17 2005 21:41 utc | 18

Hallucinating outcome of present times. The US has always been (rightly) proud of its superb Universities (big country with class system and triage, worked a treat..), its championing of academic freedom and generous funding.

Academic Freedom was erected as a a principle, to permit the implementation of both scientific and technological advances that would not have been possible if constrained by religious bigots, rabid parents, elected Gov., local powerful potentates seeking to limit others taking power or those promoting change.

US drive to innovation, creation but mostly acceptance of new ideas, and particularly commercial interests saw to it that the unfettered devp. of science + technology was encouraged and flourished. All set in favorable energy (the US used to be Saudi Arabia oil-wise) and territorial condtions (land, agriculture, more) permitting expansion at home - rare thing, that.


“Fascist” Gvmt. control leading to the destruction of all previous mechanisms, quietly surpressing proper numbers, studies, recommendations based on facts, and encouraging the worst kind of obscurantist science masquerading as legitimate because of so-called moral principles.

What the Chinese (Mao..) did was completely different.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 17 2005 22:10 utc | 19

clueless joe

you are quite correct to assume that i do not demonise the great proletarian cultural revolution & comrade deanander is wrong to assume the lin piao & the gang of four were the principal instigators of the cultural revolution

i was in china at a moment during the cultural revolution & the people are not the unwritten canvas of which mao sometimes spoke - the people participated in this & often led it despite belated attempts to see it as an interparty conflict

you do not change a society like china as was rapidly done & there were enormous errors of judgement before the g. p. c. r. like the great leap forwardwhen much was done too quicly in the desire for industrialisation that caused famines for example - there were many errors in the fifties & a part of that conflict was centred on the concerns of the national bourgeoisie & their representatives within all elements of the chinese communist party

largely i think in instances of such profound changes as china has been through in the last fifty years - it is too early to fix judgement

i think at the beginning of the cultural revolution & certainly at the beginning of it - was a profound desire to search for a selfless society - but we as individuals are far from being perfect & the societies we try to construct are far from utopias but what i do not see is malevolance. in fact i refuse to see it - even in the darker moments of this period

this society had been treated with the utmost contempt by all the colonisers before the revolution - a contempt that translmated into many millions of dead - & a society that had been utterly ravaged. what the japanese did physically the europeans had done socially, morally & economically

these are not the dainty people of folklore but a very hardy population that has survived upheavals that would have completely destroyed other societies

what i do not see - i repeat - is evil

wheras with continuing american administrations i see nothing else but evil & i do mean evil. evil in thought & evil in thoughtlessness

i am the opposite of pascal if you wish - i do not prefer my own necessities above that of others & for if their necessities are not met - then mine are hollow, shadows, phantoms that would haunt me all the days of my night

horowitz is a perfect example of that dictum - a little knowledge is a dangerous thing

he was always a minor intellectual - & the left of the sixties did much not to challenge the likes of him. their vanities were not confronted but cultivated as acceptable eccentricities. to even speak in the same brath as someone of the stature of fred hampton or george jackson or cesar chavez or any number of people who paid the ultimate price of their exemplarity

horowitz is the complete contraire of exemplary. he is a fifth rank mind with a tenth rate form of strategy. he is a puppet of puppets. today - even with power - he is a man of nop consequence. what isd shocking however is their brutality & their degraded, very degraded sense of humanity

in the 20th century horowitz'z are from a long line of men for the most part who wanted to be gods used the left falsely & i include the informer george orwell in that gang - who wept over 'failed' systems - who were they these men - to be demanding perfection from systems when they themselves war far from perfect & were often venal . generation after generation of the left from the 20's on created this little right wingers with their cia funded journals who imagined themselves major men but were in fact caricatures of caricatures

robert novak is a perfect example. the brothers bloom are another. the hungarian psychopath teller quite another - mr neumann & his mathermatic whiz kids are another form of a specious form of 'experts'. now we have less than that - scruton for example - these are non thinkers - they are not worth the piss wittgenstein peed into a norwegian lake. they are not worthy of even his most minor meditations. & it is a theory that lugwig recruited spies for the kgb at cambridge & it would have a certain consistency

there is a site consecrated to the cultural revolution that is neither hostile nor particularly sympathetic - it is called - morning sun - & it is directed by the long bow group

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 17 2005 22:48 utc | 20

jdp- Indiana University is not a small campus. It has a student body of about 40k. It is the company town that keeps the city where it's located solvent. (and bizzes who shat on the environment have left now, after their big tax incentives...and the factory jobs have all migrated to Mexico. So, again, Indiana U. in Bloomington is vitally importånt to the Indiana economy (with the grants De mentions that fund research and pay staff salaries and equipment...) Grants from places like Dow and Eli Lily, in addition to private scholarly sources and NSF and NEH, etc. sources.

There are world-class scholars who call this place home (like the guy who wrote Godel, Escher, Bach, for instance.) Leonard Bernstein endowed part of the school of music here...and as far as I know, the Julliard was the only other endowment of this sort for him...but maybe I'm wrong.

International figures have archived papers here, like Fellini and Orson Welles, for instance.

UC at Boulder is also not a small campus. But both of these schools are the flagship U's for their state college systems...I know for sure that's the case with IU; UCBoulder I'm pretty sure of.)

The reason these two Universities have been targeted is because both states have significant conservative populations.

..and yes, I was so surprised when that little prick found the first out of his mouth was the accusation that I was a lesbian...but I think I gave it right back when I accused him of carnal relations with his mommy. His friends laughed at him when I said it, too, so I know I got him.

I'm not afraid to fight the assholes on the right. I grew up with them. I know them. They can kiss my ass...except my ass is too good for them to kiss.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 18 2005 1:26 utc | 21

he's back w/ a vengeance. the new triumph of wolfowitz post is beyond. billmon's heading for the best post 05 award w/ this one.

Posted by: annie | Mar 18 2005 1:28 utc | 22

Another great institution in American life is being torn from the roots by the brownshirts. And where do these professors go??
Canada. The University of Waterloo recently recieved a greatly respected duo of Professors from Penn State who were concerned about the death of acedemic debate in the U.S. I expect there to be more "reality-based refugees" in the comming months and years.

Posted by: The Key | Mar 18 2005 2:24 utc | 23


I am not saying he is not approaching larger schools. But, Whore-O-Shits finds a more willing audience at small schools. The Hillsdale colleges of the world are his playground. While he doesn't need to indotrinate at a Hilldale because they are already very right wing, it is those schools that have atmospheres that are more excepting of his BS.

These are the same areas that Bushie and the gang targeted during the elections. Editorializing in small town papers, turning the prejudice of the more rural areas into Bushie stooges. For instance, the community about 22 mile from me, a community of 11,000 people has a paper owned from down south. We get a steady stream of Sinclair type viewpoints in their editorial and a diet of Robert Novak, Walter William, Sowell, Linsa Chavez, you name it the right wing pundits are there. I am constantly harping on these assholes. I have written numerous letters to that ignorant Detroit News. Thomas Bray, their main editorial writer writes like hes from the stone age. But these environments are furtive ground for the Whore-O-Shits of the world.

The thing to remember is many of these rural kids and small town kids move to the larger cities for jobs. Then you have a mind with conservative views planted where you want it. The conservatives know what their doing. It may take time, but they have a plan.
In your case, I don't know what to tell you. Indiana sticks out like a sore thumb in the midwest progressive states. Sorry that you live there.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 18 2005 2:34 utc | 24


hungarian psychopath teller quite another

Thank you rememberinggiap, this was my second laugh of the day, the first being Billmon's wolfowitz post, in particular:

It seems the Caspian is only 170 miles across -- not 1,700 miles as recently suggested by some liberals in Congress.

I needed a laugh today, I have been preparing for a Saturday vigil on this 2nd anniversary of the ongoing massacre in my country's name. Also the 2nd anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie. I was recently invited to an Elk's Lodge as a guest. I consider myself a NYC person even though I live in the suburbs, since I work in Manhattan and used to live there. Now I went to this Elk's club for a drink...within minutes I was regaled with how the "Guatemalans are overrunning the school district.". This in a northern suburb of NYC.

I am not confronted directly yet about my liberal opinions, which I express when I have the opportunity. No, they are not opinions, they are mostly moral values (I must use this term even though it has become perverted in the English language). So I hope that the vigil not only leads to people of conscience seeing that they are not alone, but also forces those who have repressed these feelings to confront them. And I even hope that those quiet few who actually enjoy the death and hate and hide it well will reveal themselves.

Posted by: ct | Mar 18 2005 2:50 utc | 25

Holy shit -- The new "Wolfowitz" piece -- Not only is it incredibly brilliant, it is also *in Billmon's own words* instead of the quote montage.

A new beginning?

Posted by: mismn | Mar 18 2005 4:37 utc | 26

I have been reflecting on why it was that anyone would have even considered believing Wolfowitz's claim that U.S troops would be welcomed in with flowers, that Iraqis everywhere would roll over to have their bellies scratched. Consider the Red State distribution in 2004 and its close match to the old Confederate states - did you know that when Sherman marched to the Sea through the South, the South rolled over to have its belly scratched? Not just blacks joined the army, thousands of white southerners joined Sherman's Army. The South has forgotten this because we teach our children only what will flatter our past (bad Sherman!) - and because the South refuses to remember that it was too divided against itself to keep fighting after the war, we have a strange delusion that everyone will lick the boots of a winner. It is no surprise when 1940s Japan is cited as the model for what to expect, for that is another country that was thoroughly exhausted by its own internal betrayals and lies. Today, neither Japan nor the South and faces its past, and by and large we are incapable of understanding people who know who their enemies are. Alabama, (Alabama!) had a county that declared itself a free republic during the Civil War out of disgust at a war fought to keep rich men owning black men and women. Nearly every southern state had at least one region like that (South Carolina excepted). Secessionists were everywhere in the South, and by 1862 states rights had become a dirty word in the Confederate States. Over 5 years, the levels of cognitive dissonance rose too high, and we just surrendered at the end. That is why anyone ever believed Wolfowitz - too many ghosts of betrayal to believe that heroes like John Brown really meant it when he died for other men's freedom. Its why we don't laugh Bush off the stage when he uses the word.

Unfortunately, the cognitive dissonant South has risen again and again is asking poor whites to fight for (debt) slavery. (Kind of explains where the World Bank fits in) Again, my home border state of Kentucky is in the old position of wanting to keep its hatred for some of the people all of the time yet still trying to be recognized as idealist. What we don't get is that people are getting the hell out again. Last time the Union blockaded the South, but this time we are doing it ourselves. The students are ceasing to apply to universities. The jobs are running away. We have less and less to offer. And when we get used to the idea that so many people really do hate what we have done to the place, we will lose control of the ghosts of our forgotten history. We took Florida from the Spanish because we didn't want slaves to have anywhere to run to, and we will not be happy tomorrow to lose military service slaves trying to escape to Canada.

It is taboo in history books of the Civil War to even hint at how many people rejoiced to lose to the Union. But our United Daughters of the Confederacy covered that up pretty good - and now we run the joint. And just as Walker Percy diagnosed, we fantasize every damn day about our world being utterly defeated and destroyed, and we think others dream about being defeated too.

We are too haunted by our ghosts to notice how the living feel. which explains a lot...

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 18 2005 4:53 utc | 27

@citizen nice riff.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 18 2005 6:50 utc | 29

Fine post Citizen, will link to a Digby post that is relevant link toThe Resentment Tribe, Feb 25

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 18 2005 10:31 utc | 30

We are too haunted by our ghosts to notice how the living feel.
thoughtful. thanks citizen

Posted by: annie | Mar 18 2005 14:27 utc | 31

Citizen wrote: I have been reflecting on why it was that anyone would have even considered believing Wolfowitz's claim that U.S troops would be welcomed in with flowers, that Iraqis everywhere would roll over to have their bellies scratched.

1) For the neo-cons, BushCo., this was a best-case scenario amongst many, with the outcome (one or another) being quite indifferent. Accomplishing the aim would be, they knew, either easy or difficult, slow or speedy. All that was no matter. There was no way the Iraqis (any of them, including Saddam’s army or henchmen, Baathists, insurgents, workers, farmers, etc.) could prevail against the US military might, either during invasion or after it.

2) The presentation of the hearts and flowers stuff flowed naturally from US prop. and media conventions. Americans prefer the positive spin, are trained by the media to consider only today and never to refer to recent history or calculate the future. (That is a characteristic of the powerful.) Putting a positive spin on it, fanciful past expectations are natural or at least accepted - if not realised, you move on. Go bankrupt, start a new business, become a millionaire. Potent Memes.

3) The hearts ‘n stars spoof was a direct echoing reference to WW2, making the Iraq invasion remeniscent of the ‘liberation’ of Europe and the ‘subjugation’ of Japan and Germany, both at the same time! (Yikes.) It worked. Americans take great pride in their role in ww2, a repeat seems natural. Glorious liberators who fight tyranny and are loved is a useful sugar pill.

4) The expectation was not utterly unrealistic. The Iraqis were ready to hope for better, were pleased to get rid of Saddam, and had the US done things right, it might just have worked. It was indeed a possible scenario, on its face, its stated aims; many people, US and Iraqi, believed it for that reason.

All BS of course.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 18 2005 18:32 utc | 32

Gee, it's good to know HSA/TSA is protecting us from>Canadian bloggers.

Him: Why would you visit someone in the states you’d never met (I mentioned I was planning to visit several people whilst down there)
Me: Well, I have met most of them, but I’ve talked to them dozens or hundreds of times online.
Him: Do you have any of their phone numbers?
Me: No, but I talk...
Him: You can’t talk to someone without a phone number. Stop lying to me.
Me: No, really, I can talk from my computer to theirs
Him: Don’t be a smartass. If you don’t have their phone number, and you’ve never met them, how can you have ever talked to them.
Me: … (at this point I’ve learned that sarcasm doesn’t help, nor does answering questions he doesn’t want to hear the answer to)...
Him: So, you’re trying to tell me that you’re going to visit someone who you’ve never met, never talked to and who knows nothing about you? And I’m supposed to believe this?
Me: … (This was two hours in, and minutes before I demanded to be released) ...

followup comments are of some interest.

of great interest/poignancy to me is the terminal technological illiteracy of the enforcers (read thugs) who are allegedly "guarding Amurka." if these guys don't even know about audio over IP, think they would recognise some of the world's more sophisticated covert weapons and sabotage devices? anyway...

if you grew up when I did, you remember reams of travel lit from the 50's and 60's (amd earlier) in which cosmpolitan, urbane whiteboys would venture into rinkydink little third world countries and tell harrowing but funny tales about how their new Leica was taken from them because no one had ever seen one in Bakkabeyonda, Africa and they were accused of being "a spy" -- or some parochial copper would refuse to believe that they had flown in from London last night because the distance was too great and he had never seen an aeroplane. or they would be held up at Customs while all the deskmen admired and played with their cordless shaver -- what the heck is it? is it a bomb? that kind of thing.

kind of a "thrilling adventure" narrative, because of the real danger of being strip-searched and/or tossed into the local oubliette on some trumped-up charge; but also a reassuring narrative of the Ignorant and Primitive Other and the whiteboy's inherent superiority and good fortune in coming from the "real world," swanning about in the benighted places where his everyday possessions aroused confusion, mystification, and wonder.

well... at least some US border checkpoints are starting to remind me of that school of lit... the risk of being manually sodomised, framed on some trumped up charge, and thrown into the clink or kicked out of the country is real enough; but so is the quaintness, the backwardness of the peasants in uniform "guarding" the border.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 18 2005 21:19 utc | 33

So now we're the USSA?

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 18 2005 22:39 utc | 34

Oh, and I've just got to also say that Albert Einstein was the symbol of everything hateful to the Nazis and German Nationalism and the "Volk."

At one point there was a plan to assassinate him.

None of that "new science" for the right volk.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 19 2005 0:15 utc | 35

i want to elaborate soemthing i sd earlier.

there are societies born in evil. societies who become evil & there are soceties that are evil because they are too stupid to be anything else

i hold to my belief - that communism was borne first in the hearts of good men & women - who wanted something better, more human, more rich, more understanding

for all its errors - i hold that truth to be self evident. i do not see monsters in lenin or bukharin or radek or trotsky - on the contrary i see humans extending themselves beyond their actual capacity. these human were not a dime a dozen - they were giants who walked th earth. yes they had bloody thoughts as some poster here once suggested of bukharin for example - but really - that poster came from a country, poland - that has nothing to be proud of in its own relation to the bllody events of the last century. they were a classic case of perpertrator & victim sometimes simultaneously - when they tried to liquidate their jewry while themselves were being liquidated

the stalins, the togliattis, the hoxhas are many - they are a continuation if effect of capital's 'leadership' formations & were themselves not 'natural' children of the movement form which they came. their 'evil' wasnot the result of new developments but rather the opposite - of the past holding itself back from its truer but more difficult mission

but fundamentally & unaffected by slothrops entreaties in this direction - i have & i do see the american empire as something founded in evil - that as dresiser & dos passos suggested was founded on a moral corruption or a sickness that had to be treated. & it wasn't. i don't want to idolise fdr but his administrations is so qualitatively different from those before & after - it is hard to see him & his administration as something other than an eccentricity within american politics

truman, kennedy, nixon & bush pere et fils were so patently evil in their constructions & works & seem to follow something unfortuantely truer tro an 'american spirit' - that of self centredness, the rejection of the other, the marginalisation of all errance but a deep acceptation of profound levels of perversion that have deeper roots in the 'civil societies' of fascism than they do with 'parliamentary democracies'

just the body count of these presidents is staggering & does proud to tyranny from here to eternity. they are administrations soaked in the blood of people & in the misery of the other wherever they are including within its own belly

king leopold was evil but he was mad as a meataxe. his rule was neither systematic or predetermined - it was greedd turned into ravishment except the body he was ravishing was his own

some societies are criminal in nature - many of italy's parliaments have been othing other than a reworking of criminal organisation. there are sociies like france - where there are clans - & the society rests within those clans, there are sadder societies like england australia who having lost wh they were dream up personas that are deeply out of context in a lived world - therefore inherently corrupt & potentially evil in their possibility

what seperates american societies is the sytematic construction of evil - the corresponding construction of the institutions of fear & the burning out of the lights amongst them

an example - perhaps one of the greatest american directors was of jewish origin - abraham polonsky - whos film noir - choice - was & remains a work of great intelligence & beauty though it uses what was until then a limited genre - he wanted to bring light top people with his work - & to bring light - you must also shine it into the darkeness. this he did - in this film with a potency - a mr tarantino can only imagine in his dreams. but american society destroyed that man in much the same way they did to paul robeson. it was a destruction so sordid & systematic in its elaboration that spoke more of its perpetrators than of its victims. not satisfied with ruinbing people - they set about to humiliate each last breath of their lives

& in this j edgar hoover represented not an exception in american politics but the rule. the same is essentially true of the schoolteacher himmler & his love of the tantric text & eastern & celtic mysticism - they represented something that was deeply characteristic of the societies from which they came - & were not aberration - on the contrary - they were models. their evil was as fundamental to that character as was their breath

i am a litttle incoherent but i must challenge the sensibilities of my friend slothrop & say that this empire - the american empire - needs to be destroyed - root & branch

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19 2005 1:11 utc | 36

rememberinggiap: just wait - we'll implode. If not sooner, then later. Hang in there.

Posted by: beq | Mar 19 2005 1:57 utc | 37

If the US occupation resulted, as it might, in the removal of arab despots, and if the US retreats not as colonizer, but as liberator, then the war is just.

There's historical analogy: Napolean. This is what the Great German poet Johann Seume put it:

The French are beating us partly through the rights which the revolution has brought into being. Their spirit is triumphing over [290] ours because, although their lives may be controlled by the arbitrary personal power of an usurper, their state nevertheless contains more justice and reason than ours and, as a consequence, more spirit of action. Whether this will be maintained for long is another question. In France, all contributions are calculated in proportion to wealth, according to the rule of three. What all bear equally, all bear with strength. I am not exactly an opponent of the monarchy, but until my dying day I will oppose injustice, oppression, privilege, fettered justice, and all the excesses of unreason which afflict us.

As Seume suspected, Napolean was just another despot, but, hey, there was much enthusiasm among German bourgeoisie to see "liberation."

The Americans might, by their own incompetance, liberate the ME. I doubt it. But the outcome would be just.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19 2005 2:19 utc | 38


Demanding the generalization of "national character" is odious. Doing so obscures the structural constraints on agency experienced by poor everywhere who a badly guided by the Hidden Hand. Also, you make the demand in order to confirm your own Frenchness.


Like the great Frankfurt jews who demanded their place as Germans in German history. Oh well.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19 2005 2:27 utc | 39

Maybe it's just from maturing in Reagan and Bush's America, but my skin crawls a bit to hear you using phrases like:
their evil was as fundamental to that character as was their breath.

Maybe there are philosophers somewhere who know how to use these words, but in my experience calling someone evil is little different than referring to people as cockroaches - simple dehumanization. I think of evil as a pre-sociology term for understanding social forces. I think we can do better by talking about evil as something purely social (purely relations, ones that cause changes), not personal. All the people you criticize I will agree are responsible for great evil, but it seems a great loss of humanity to call them evil individuals. And we will never win except as human beings.

I know, you have said that you cannot find it in you to be Buddhist, but I am appealing not to generosity of spirit, but to your sense of truth. Eichmann is a perfect case, not evil as far as his neighbor in the pew could see, but immensely responsible for evil. And that his neighbor in the pew could also recognize - and many did.

Try to convince an American that Kennedy was evil, and you are fighting the tides. Try instead to show that he was responsible for evil, and then you may do some good for what people expect from one another. This is no quibble.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 19 2005 5:39 utc | 40

Yes, the empire is a system of evil relations built from violent attacks and poverty traps. Yes, this empire so designed to feed directly from suffering needs destroying root and branch. And no, the people will not remain hanging in the air when the great steel cage collapses.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 19 2005 6:04 utc | 41

And no, the people will not remain hanging in the air when the great steel cage collapses.

and it's a long way down. feeling the vertigo, daily. well put...

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 19 2005 6:36 utc | 42


i don't think i use 'evil' in any theologicals sense. but the word seems to describe aptly the inertia of the masses in relation to german fascism & the american empire

capital creates a perfect mechanism with institutions of fear but the way the people acced to those institutions & sometimes help to reproduce them is truly frightening

at the heart of my claim - is that the people in both instance show a complete lack of care or interest in the other in a way that permits their genocide

german fascism & the american empire do the work of genocide - man by ban woman by woman child by child in a way that ideology cannot fully explain nor the foundatio texts of sociology truly clarify

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19 2005 11:03 utc | 43

from rgiap-

there are societies born in evil. societies who become evil & there are soceties that are evil because they are too stupid to be anything else

gee, are you sure you're not channeling General Boykin there?

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 19 2005 15:37 utc | 44

faux real

perhaps you are correct. at this stage of the game i think i am chanelling the entire 2nd international, the central committeee of cpsu(bolshevik of 1926, the enitre thalman brigade, elements of the lincoln brigade, the 9th congress of the chinese communist pary, the entirety of the frankfurt school & several communist parties(marxist -leninist) of peru canada, iceland, holland & several couuntries that appear to be falling off the map

other than that i think i am acting as the involuntary medium of madame cesescau & madame hoxha & chiang ching

worse than that - as you point out ii might be channelling the west point gaduating class of 1963

no wonder i'm not feeling so well

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 20 2005 1:12 utc | 45

Never mind the Class of '63, General Boykin on his own might need his own entire herd of pigs to clear out of your head.

Message received and appreciated about your medium overload.

I have no grounds for preaching, just ideas that seem to help me - saying "evil" about a person makes me feel like a murderer, makes me feel like a man trying to play god. So I try leave that to the TV prophet-frauds. But I was not so calm when my friend died, and I can not promise how I will speak when my friends are murdered.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 20 2005 6:32 utc | 46

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