Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Election Season

A whole bunch of people, long hours and no overtime pay, they'll probably be peaky faced computer literate millennials desperate for employment, are currently engaged in attempts to reduce Liberal Democracy to an historical footnote. These workers are not so concerned with the USA's Republican Party who are already fully engaged marching around in uniforms, doing the right thing for the future of tyranny, rather their concern is to divide the Democratic Party, a loose leaf collective of quarreling tribes upon which the future survival of Liberal Democracy depends. Wishy-washy snow flakes are already on the receiving end, or on the Front Line as it should be called, and many groups will soon by persuaded to fall to outrage with other groups as a result of some devious fantasy dreamed up during someone's lunch break and introduced to the streams of social media.

Tactics employed by middle management will be to persuade their operators to pay heed to the assumptions of equality in the nature of the divisions between rich, middle class and poor potential Democratic voters by using words in such a way that definitions of something like the word socialism is always associated with words like destructive, traitor, Nazi, un-American. Electoral Reform becomes Power Grab. Climate Change Amelioration, Taking Away your cars, airplanes and starving you to death by making you eat vegetables. Labor Organizations, Taking Away your Right to Work. A Public Health Option, an attack on Freedom that encourages the undeserving lazy and illegal immigrants...  which raises the suggestion that Democrats will never fall for right wing talking points. Trust me, some will, and if you want to know why, you'll find the answer in the nature of the divisions between rich, middle class and poor, an area the US Republican Party has been manipulating for generations... 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Current Events

Trying to find the thing in the brain that strings words together enabling sentences to be understood has yet to reveal a pulsing life breathing golden egg. The idea was that if there was such a thing rules common to all languages could be derived, but until you actually find the golden egg that does this magic you can't really progress, and as a result many have concluded that something like grammar far from being an insight into how language works doesn't actually add much to an understanding of what language is or where it comes from, they go on to argue that something like grammar is better understood as a side effect of the processes in the brain that cause language to be possible.

It's a subtle difference, a more minimalist approach perhaps, but when you're looking for logical forms there's a flexibility in the brain that produces literally billions of possible logical forms and by logical we're not talking a language mathematics has yet learned to speak, rather we're talking the kind of logic many have come to fatalistically think of as just making stuff up as you go along. It's a distinction akin to the action/reaction experience many might be familiar with in obsessive tickle fishing for "Likes" from the Devil's algorithms on Facebook. In the end the tragedy of language is that it's about meaning, and don't worry pretty soon now we'll all be talking gibberish, but by golly it'll be meaningful gibberish.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Ned Broy, G-Man

 Eamon Broy was an agent for the Irish Republican cause during the Irish War of Independence, this two and half years of conflict from January 1919 to July 1921 has other names and as with so many things titles often depend upon perspective. Broy was employed by government authorities, so strictly speaking he was a double agent, in a department of the British and Loyalist interests devoted to anti-rebel activities, a division called G Division, a role that enabled him to pass a great deal of useful secret information along to his comrades in the Irish Republican cause. Those who worked for G Division called themselves G-Men. The war ended with a treaty, Ireland divided between Protestant north and Catholic south. Southern Ireland became a self governing state, the Free State it was called. Northern Ireland remained British. Not everyone liked the idea of dividing Ireland and soon enough a civil war was fought between supporters of The Treaty and those were against it. Broy was all for The Treaty, during the Civil War he became a uniformed colonel in the Irish National Army. After the Civil War Eamon Broy became Commissioner of the National Police Service of the Republic of Ireland, or the Garda Siochana, which translates as Guardians of the Peace.

Being a Police Commissioner guarding the peace in the aftermath of a civil war was tricky, fascism was on the rise in Ireland and there were still outposts in most of Ireland that still reckoned the Island shouldn't have been divided. Broy's tactics in the maintenance of peace in the Free State were sometimes very appalling. For British Authorities and the Loyalists Eamon Broy, whom they called Edward Broy, was a traitor to the Crown of England, whether the English Legal System would have agreed is debatable. But during the war Eamon Broy was instrumental in revealing the names of fellow G Men, six of whom were killed by the Irish Republican Army. During the war of independence around 230 Irish soldiers who had fought for the Crown of England in the First World War, joined the guerilla forces that fought for the Irish Republican Army against the Crown. Amongst the Irish, Broy was both a hero, a turncoat and a traitor to the cause of Irish Unity. In his later days Eamon Broy became the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland. Then there's the issue of how to spell Eamon. Is it Eamon or Eamonn. Well, when he issued an order as police commissioner his name was typed as Eamon, which translates to Edmond in English. Whereas Eamonn, translates to Edmund in English. Where the name Edward came from no one knows. As I understand it his nickname was Ned. "And the point of this list!" I hear the echo. Being a G-Man isn't Apple Pie and Roses.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Spartacus and the G-Man

Spartacus was an enslaved Thracian. Thrace was a territory, to the west of the Black Sea, it included parts of modern day Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. Alexander the Great, pretty much a wholly perverted teenager who conquered much of the known world and some perfectly contended places the ancients reckoned hadn't even been discovered, took the backbone of his army from Thracian Tribes. I guess too, somewhere amongst the modern day learned is a peer reviewed paper devoted to the anthropology of the Thracian Peoples, their habits and customs, their poems and sagas, their sense of identity as Celts and what might have happened to them when they were eventually granted Roman Citizenship. The trouble is no one alive today was actually there, and anthropologists ruled by their primary imperative, "Don't just make things up," can do no more than offer a pinhole through which to glean what we can. The point being, according to a review of a book written for him by collaborators, the G-Man who was recently dismissed from service hours prior to his retirement, an action which resulted in him losing his pension, apparently asked this question, "When is the right time to give up on people's general ability to understand any slightly complicated statement that they don't agree with?"

Putting aside the provenance of the book, it was written by others, I'd argue that this sentence requires at least another forty thousand words to explore more precisely what the G-Man meant. For odd reasons I find myself totally on his side were the question born of exasperation produced by being pawed over by the functional equivalent of Jelly Fish during the course of a couple of congressional enquiries the purposes of which were  to hunt a down a scapegoat. If so then I believe it has long been the case that frustration usually follows from any attempt to dialogue upon something like causes of rain with something like a brick wall. Then there's that whole area of thinking well summed by "I am surrounded by idiots," which in the end is as much an inability to explain as it is an inability to understand. Then there's the whole business of assumptions. Our G-Man assumed 'a general ability to understand' in the sense that Spartacus might have voiced were he to have suggested to his slave masters that even though he was of warrior stock, he didn't really like being a gladiator. And here had someone explained to Spartacus that he'd been defined as a casualty in the interest of a higher power, he might have accepted his lot had he believed in the worth of the higher power. The disenfranchised, as opposed to the enfranchised, more often than not are forced into acceptance when attempts at dialogue lead to impasse. Fair to say, Spartacus and our G-Man have much in common.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Boujees, Proles and Spartacus

In the end I guess it makes more sense to distinguish between the enfranchised and the disenfranchised. Spartacus was from Eastern Europe just north of Greece. As a Gladiator he was a slave and there can be no doubt that slavery is the ultimate cast of disenfranchisement. All points of view considered, mine would suggest he was pissed off with his lot in life, which was to kill or be killed for the entertainment of the masses, and having taken his disappointment to the streets, he was able to make the most of the absence of the Roman Army who were off in Spain trying to put down a Spanish revolt, and for around two years Spartacus with the support of many escaped slaves was the rebel military commander in what the Romans called the Third Servile War. One of the problems Spartacus had was that his supporters were actually more interested in pillaging and killing off the wealthy Romans than they were in coming up with some sort of a plan. While Spartacus had several opportunities to reach 'freedom' by travelling with his army beyond the territories Rome controlled where they might have made a society of their own, this guiding light was never sufficiently formed and what with the Romans being outraged by a revolt of slaves, Spartacus the commander never really got a chance to think beyond military victory or defeat. 

Marx reckoned that Spartacus was a most noble and real representative of the ancient proletariat. Sadly neither Marx of Lenin ever really understood the proletariat, they were both solidly middle class in their convictions, so when you hear someone like Steven Miller sneer out the word bourgeoisie as he answers a question, or hear Steve Bannon go one about Plutarch or attempt to define Leninism rest assured you're dealing with an intellect... and I don't quite know how to say this, but if you think of rainbow of crayons their box only really has one, maybe two colors, which has an effect upon their coloring book, and this means when asked why is the sky green their answer is more visceral than it is well considered. Trouble is, as the Ancient Greeks suggested  "stick it to them" rests firmly in the Liver and the Gallbladder, and down there it's all about bile. Generally speaking Peasant Revolts inspire the more unruly passions which are a force to be reckoned with, the results are usually counted by the number of Crucifixes lining the Apennine Way, which was the lot of Spartacus. And there's countless examples of sending in the Dragoons to quell riot. The reason Middle Class revolts are more successful has to do with enfranchisement, not necessarily as defined by a polling booth, rather because the middle class has skin in the game of society as it is. There are other opinions of course. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Current Events

Exploring the origin and movement through time of a word does as a rule produce deeper understandings of the meaning lodged within a word, same with history and always worth remembering the role of political inclination in movements within both words and within interpretations of history. It's a wonderful and at the same daunting fluidity, sometimes a difficult area for a species for whom certainty however poorly grounded is more highly valued as a source of both mental and social stability than something like the honest truth seeking implied by the word sapiens. Which is why The Ides of March figure large in my own often pathetic attempts to come to terms with the endlessness of February. For me middle of March is called Potato planting. In the wider scheme The Ides of March had religious significance and for others its gone down in an utterance from a Roman equivalent to a representative of our own Supreme Court who according to both Plutarch and an Elizabethan playwright whispered the warning to Julius Caesar that he should Beware of the Ideas of March. The Romans were a superstitious peoples so let's not get into a huge argument around the mechanism by which we manage relationship with concepts of certainty, the entrails of Cockerels or long lists of sentences, same difference they're all seers, and it just leads to conflict, name calling, and the sort of incivility that ends badly for everyone as we try to explain ourselves to a variety of magistrates, many of whom are not yet even born and this rate might never be.

Of the interpretations, the Elizabethan playwright had some superior asides on the characters of Cassius and Brutus. Brutus was a comfortable, fat bottomed, jovial good old boy who was doing very well for himself, probably had freckles,  and it came as a big disappointment for Caesar to see Brutus wielding a bespoke ivory handled dagger. Not so Cassius. For Caesar it came as no surprise at all to see the glint in the eye of a skinny, peaky and sneaky, short, ambitious man, who might have had slicked-back hair and kitchen carving knife. The trouble with the Elizabethan playwright and possibly Plutarch they saw Caesar as a somewhat heroic figure who was badly misunderstood by quarrelling senators who in their own self serving way might not even have been able to a pour water out of a boot. Caesar's problem was that he was an incredibly ambitious man who'd massively increased Roman Territories through military conquests, he had become rich a famous, he'd caused years of civil war by denying the traditional authority of Rome's equivalent to our very own leader of the senate as the position holder might have been thirty or seventy years ago and Caesar had a gut feeling about how inadequately the bubble in Rome had grasped the tenuous control Rome had over its territories.  His "I alone can fix this" promise appealed mightily to the populace and many of their mostly unelected representatives. Oddly, while you don't get to be powerful without being well possessed by both narcissistic and paranoid impulses, there's never been any doubt that Caesar was an entirely sane man who could both read and write long books and who had a poor view of vengeance for vengeance sake.  Tomorrow, if I'm not pummeling an emergency white ball with a club, I'll make yet one more valiant attempt to compare and contrast "Peasant Revolts" and "Stick It to Them."

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Mars and Venus

There are Crocus and Snowdrops blooming in the outdoors, and the arch upon which Snake Gourd once grew surrendered to the inevitable, broke a good part of it's back to either a straight line gust of high wind, or possibly a night hunting Barred Owl attempted to perch upon it, a wandering Turkey Buzzard, there's a reckless, likely insane Fox Squirrel who's decided he's mastered the art of invisibility and of the other possibilities there's a chance The Kitten who is currently devoted to developing the skills of achieving altitude saw the arch as a vantage point from which to fearlessly leap upon unsuspecting prey in her eternal struggle to compete with the Girl Cat for the title of Ace Serial Killer.

The more sensitive of secondary caregivers might be inclined to for example declare that hunting down, partially dismembering and then delivering a White Throated Sparrow to a living room carpet an act of barbaric depravity not even Caligula would have been capable of. And yet had this gift of nourishment been something like a Vole instead of a wondrous Song Bird, the reaction would have been a more matter of fact reaction, a what goes round comes round type of reaction, a teach you to like Carrots, and all very civilized as a secondary caregiver attempts to grasp the fundamentals of how to open a can of carpet cleaner. Not so matter of fact for a Sparrow who can sing a tune of such marvelous simplicity it can inspire a path between sadness and joy in about four beautiful seconds. From the rest of us a White Throated Sparrow's seconds of effort require a special day, a corporate structure devoted to the pinkness of the pudgy offspring of the war god Mars and the Goddess Venus, a postal service, a couple of hundred thousand heart shaped helium filled balloons... it's all very symptomatic.