22 July 2007


In these increasingly brief moments of relative stillness, when the hard edge of the frantic, input-overloaded, aimlessly spasmodic lurch-fest of 21st Century consumer existence is temporarily blunted, I at least try to find some wordy inspiration within the pages of a good book. This week I'm re-reading The Grapes of Wrath -- it feels almost like a "prequel" to what's to be, when Cheney's jackboot utopia is finally established beyond doubt.

OK, well. Perhaps another work of literature is required. Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker maybe, or even some 30-year old back issue of Mad Magazine.


Monkey Man's executive order from last week, wherein the First and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution were effectively eviscerated with one fell swoop of his turd-shaped pen, for some reason sent me scurrying toward my dog-eared copy of William L. Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Jeeze, talk about pumping too much hot air into one's already dangerously distended psychic innertube -- it very nearly qualifies as criminal self-abuse. Shirer explicates, in no uncertain terms, what always seems to happen to nations when hubris and/or psychosis becomes the animative principle of policy; if nothing else, his monumental history of Nazi Germany serves more than admirably as a cautionary inspiration, if you know what I mean, rather than as (one would hope) an inevitable blueprint of what we have to look forward to.

Speaking of Shirer: I highly recommend his almost-but-not-quite so well known work, The Collapse of the Third Republic. Read about the outrageous machinations of the hard core of defeatist collaborators -- Laval, Petain, Weygand, and others -- who single-handedly destroyed what remained of constitutional government in France, in the disastrous backwash of a lost war; for some reason, it always reminds me of a certain "opposition" political party in the United States, here in the sad Neo-Con era. Vichy Democrats, indeed.

Then again, logic and common sense would tend to indicate that larger, transcendent themes are much more the order of the day -- hard to imagine even attempting to superimpose some wider, encompassing perspective over the utterly trashy and base circumstantial footing of Bushworld, if one spends every waking moment wallowing in all of the filth and putridity. During these sober moments, when the essential futility of all human activities and aspirations is nothing but blatantly apparent, I usually reach for something like Nine-Headed Dragon River, by (in my opinion) the greatest living literary figure in America today, Peter Matthiessen. It's next to impossible to view the obscene foibles and criminal follies of the Neo-Cons -- and our constant knee-jerk reactions to them as well -- in quite the same way after reading passages like this:

I lower my gaze from the snow peaks to the glistening thorns, the snow patches, the lichens. Though I am blind to it, the Truth is near, in the reality of what I sit on -- rocks. These hard rocks instruct my bones in what my brain could never grasp in the Heart Sutra, that "form is emptiness, and emptiness is form" -- the Void, the emptiness of blue-black space, contained in everything. Sometimes when I meditate, the big rocks dance.

The secret of the mountains is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no "meaning," they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day.

If only I could write so well, and apprehend the true nature of things to such a depth ... sort of makes the whole silly business of blogging seem, well, rather shallow and empty in comparison. No kidding, I hear somebody muttering.


LATER: I was going to interminably continue with this, but within the understandable yearning for inspiration -- literary-based or otherwise -- the above quote from Matthiessen seems to have inspired me just enough to want to shitcan this waste of a blog, once and for all, and do something authentic instead.

Hmmm ... food for thought, I guess.

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