Instapun*** Archive Listing

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August 26, 2012 - August 19, 2012

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is it just me?

I'm betting the house he'll be at the Army-Navy game this year too.

POST-MEMORIAL DAY. Mrs. CP wanted to see the Arlington wreath-laying ceremony. She always does. She admires Admiral Mullen, and she doesn't despise Secretary Gates nearly as much as I do. She's also prepared to appreciate a genuine presidential contribution even from Obama. So we watched.

It really could just be me. Honestly, it could. The president's speech was okay, especially after the predictably soporific intro by Gates. For once Obama didn't pretend that all of American history was simply a symbol portending his own arrival on the scene. (And I had a positive thought too. Michelle reached out to kiss the Doles, and I observed to Mrs. CP, "I begin to suspect that the First Lady has learned more about America and Americans than her husband has... I think she might actually be falling in love with her country."†

But as I told Mrs. CP in a completely other context this weekend, "I may be just a nasty, cynical, suspicious old sonofabitch, but..." (although she agreed with me in that instance; pursue in comments if you're intrigued), I had some issues with the Arlington speech. Here they are, enumerated:

1. I think he's learned that the Marine Corps is not pronounced "corpse." But he never did say the words "Marine Corps" in his paean to American military bravery. Omission at this level is proof of error, if not shame.

2. Here we are at Arlington, and the underpaid, undermanned CSPAN crew is doing its best, but as we observe the proscenium awaiting the most moving, heartfelt, and nonpartisan of presidential† remarks, there are the inevitable teleprompter panels, so visible and out of place that they actually obscured the face of the president on the podium. (God bless the fat, pot-smoking CSPAN technicians.)

3. It's not the U.S.S. Naval Academy, which doesn't help the familiar, anecdotal, "I know what I'm talking about approach," does it?

4. Watching Obama speak has become like watching the world's slowest, most ponderous tennis match. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. It's called moving by the MSM. I know Well, if you worked for the Washington Post or the Providence Journal, you'd be moved to sustain your whole fake education and value system too. Even if you'd never heard of Bill Tilden.

5. Something that offends me a lot. Sorry if it's petty. "I love my daughters more than anything else in the world." I hate it, hate it, hate it when fathers talk that way. And these days, everyone does and we applaud it. Oh what great dads they are! Fuck them. The line should always read, "I love my wife and children more than anyone else in the world." If you can't say that, your wife is simply the dispensable vessel from which your children came, in which case I have absolutely no use for you. American Sharia.

6. Double down. Of all the losses our president cited in his sorrow for those killed in the military -- in his 2011 Memorial Day Address -- he conspicuously never listed the loss of a spouse, husband or wife. He talked about about brothers, sisters, uncles, fathers, daughters, grandfathers, but never husbands or wives. Hmmmmmm.† Check it. I'm right about this. And they ridicule us for thinking Obama has muslim sympathies. uh, what do you think Michelle thinks?

7. I couldn't help it. I didn't even express it to Mrs. CP because I was so sure it was my own bias. When we first heard the helicopters descending on the Arlington ceremony, and when we got word that the president was arriving, I could NOT evict from my mind the image of the president's golf clubs waiting in the wings or, at least, stashed on Marine One. I had this image of him reading off the teleprompter and then fleeing headlong for the links, leaving his gradually expanding wife for a DC golf course with appropriate amounts of shade and presidential libations. Was I wrong?

Can you imagine David Cameron enjoying a round of golf on Remembrance Sunday? It would be inconceivable for the British Prime Minister to do so, and not just because of the usually dire weather at that time of the year. Above all, it would be viewed as an act of extremely bad taste on a day when the nation remembers and mourns her war dead. I canít imagine the PM even considering it, and Iím sure his advisers would be horrified at the idea. And if the prime minister ever did play golf on such a sacrosanct day he would be given a massive drubbing by the British press, and it would never be repeated.

Contrast this with President Obamaís decision to play golf yesterday, Memorial Day, for the 70th time during his 28-month long presidency. For tens of millions of Americans, Memorial Day is a time for remembrance of the huge sacrifices made by servicemen and women on the battlefield. The president did pay his respects in the morning, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, but later in the day traveled to Fort Belvoir to play golf. The story has not been reported so far in a single US newspaper, but was made public by veteran White House correspondent Keith Koffler on his blog. Hereís Kofflerís report:

The business of memorializing our war dead done, President Obama headed out to the Fort Belvoir golf course today, finding his way onto the links for the ninth weekend in a row.

8.† The "Two Voices" problem. It's rare that you get a true one-two punch in presidential politics in two days. Here's his presidential voice at Arlington.

9. And here's his voice the day before:

President and Preacher. Are they anything like the same person, apart from their common paternalistic presumption? Or are they flip sides of the same Caesarian coin? And if they are, what does it mean and how are we to interpret a president who adopts polar opposite personalities depending on who he's addressing? Could it mean that he's trying to defeat Lincoln's truism about fooling all of the people by fooling them one demographic at a time?

10. Follow-on. The one thing in common between the Arlington and Joplin performances is the mouth at rest, which is invariably downturned. Look at the footage. I'm thinking "normal state." Which body behavioralists interpret as broadly negative.

Slight changes in the mouth can also be subtle indicators of what a person is feeling. When the mouth is slightly turned up, it might mean that the person is feeling happy or optimistic. On the other hand, a slightly downturned mouth can be an indicator of sadness, disapproval or even an outright grimace.

And which I interpret as utter contempt.

Does your mouth, at rest, turn into a fixed upside down smile?

Think about it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

WASPs and
Other Female Patriots

They flew everything.

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SERVE. Memorial Day is upon us again, and I'm thinking, particularly this year, it's time to remember the women. Why particularly this year? Because despite the supposed progress of feminism, it's clear that the most "progressive" among us are the most blatantly misogynist. We've just had the latest incident in a long line of incidents designed to make it clear that when it comes to politics, the operative progressive principle is as benighted as the ancient cliche "barefoot and pregnant." Conservative women are fair game for every low, sexual insult a progressive man (or woman) can aim at them. And TA DA, it's all okay. The apology is done with a wink we can infer from the incredible, ongoing sexual belittling by the left that has accompanied, like a bad smell, the political activities of Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, and others. Let's not kid ourselves. At times the raging abuse has amounted to a kind of rape, naked hope for death, or an invitation to murder. And women are as much to blame in this disgrace as men.

What does all this have to do with Memorial Day? A lot. Women patriots have a harder time generally fulfilling their love of country. They're hopelessly second string or worse, bench sitters, in the U.S. military, and when they dare to run for office or argue policy in the media arena, they are wide open to assaults that always somehow find their way between the legs, with, as I've said, the complicity of other women. Moreover, they're subject to immediate drastic censure if they respond in kind. They're expected to be ladylike throughout -- something akin to the age-old advice that if rape is inevitable, you might as well relax and enjoy it. Does Laura Ingraham respond to Ed Schultz by telling him she'll cut his balls off? Does Sarah Palin inform Andrew Sullivan that if he makes one more comment about Trig, she'll give him a buggering that will turn him celibate for life?

No. They're still obliged to be ladies, no matter how coarse their male and female slanderers are. Which is why, on this particular Memorial Day, I'm thinking of the World War II WASPs.

You can read their official history here. They ferried planes all over the world during WWII, six million miles worth, freeing up male pilots for combat. Their contribution to the war effort was finally honored with a Congressional Gold Medal in 2010. But I'm not thinking about official history today. I'm remembering what my dad had to say about the WASPs.

He marvelled at them. They were skilled pilots, brave and hard as nails. They also, in his words, could outcuss any man in the Army Air Corps. He told me, "They used language I'd never heard before."

Funny, huh? Look at these sweet old ladies at the White House. They'd never say a bad word, would they? Sure, they would. And did.

So, I'm thinking, have we actually regressed from 1944 to 2011? I'm sure their brassy personas were a response to being knee deep in a man's world. But isn't that the same situation women in politics are faced with today? Maybe the WASPs have a lesson for our conservative gals. (er, that's an old World War II term.)† Fight back. Go ahead. Cut their metaphorical balls off.

And, yeah, sorry. Memorial Day should be more dignified than this post. But I'm not feeling very dignified at the moment.

Remember the women along with everyone else this year. All I'm saying.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The Seth Phenomenon

Jane Roberts and "Seth"

WHAT YOU CAN STILL FIND.... A friend reminded me of this recently. It's a secret some otherwise rational people share, that a woman named Jane Roberts channelled a "personality" who was demonstrably smarter than she ever was, who made fools of psychiatrists and scientists who attempted to debunk him in live trance sessions, and made sense of the nature of existence even to people like me, who had to discover quantum physics before we could read Seth with anything like an open mind.

Basically, my friend challenged me to man up and admit that the Seth books -- now no longer in print -- were a major philosophical milestone for me as they had been for him. We've known each other for a quarter century and I can't recall having discussed this matter with him before. That's how secretive and defensive we can be, meaning writers who know what writing is and how impossible it is that the Seth books could be some kind of hoax. Seth was a writer on the order of Immanuel Kant. Jane Roberts, uh, wasn't.

Here's the nub. A woman from Elmira, New York, published in the 1980s a series of books "dictated" by a personality she channelled in a trance state. Her husband transcribed these sessions with embedded time codes, demonstrating that the sessions were occurring in real time and at great speed. with no edits or corrections. The Seth personality had an unmistakeable tone of voice, very even and precise. He was evidently, to all of us who know writing, a formidable and careful intellect who defined his terms from a great height, aware that there were in many cases no words in our vocabulary to capture what he was saying. But he never hid behind that handicap. He was, well, relentless about finding words that would convey his concepts. He was also continuously joyful about life. Although Jane Roberts died young from a mysterious wasting disease that could and probably should have made her bitter about the nature of existence.

Things that have stayed with me over the years that strike me as remarkably penetrating, plausible, and thought-provoking. According to Seth, the Christ event was an incredibly important and real event, imperfectly remembered perhaps, but consisting of a single transcendant and archetypal meta-personality incarnating in three different individuals to precipitate Christianity: John the Baptist, Christ, and St. Paul. He said the crucifixion as we remember it did not occur in fact but became real afterwards, which relates to his description of existence itself.

He said of the world's major religions -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc -- that there was one which was a fraud. Islam. (Hardly PC in the early 1980s...)

He said he could find no information about Atlantis. He speculated that Atlantis either didn't exist or was a memory of the future. (If you're a cheap seer, wouldn't this be a question you'd have a ready answer for...?)

He said, by way of explaining some of these phenomena, that all time is simultaneous. There is simply one continuous present in which we all participate in a process of creating consensus reality. He postulated the existence of mass events, like the Kennedy assassination (or presumably 9/11) in which we agree via dreams and other subconscious forces to enact a drama that enables us as individuals to realize our characters and pursue our own personal growth.

We do not, any of us, ever die. We are all creators in training. And we all have so many existences in parallel worlds -- every decision does split the universe -- that every sort of potential we possess is realized, which is the good news. The bad news is that if we realized how many versions of ourselves are operating in parallel realities, we'd feel hopelessly insignificant. Although we're not insignificant. Because every one of us is one center of the universe.

He also talked about pets, many of who whom are "fragment personalities" of people we have known who choose to remain with us even as the larger part of themselves move on.

I'm not saying that I have no skepticism about Seth. I'm saying that I read all the books and there are no inconsistencies, which, believe me, I'm always alert to. And I'm wondering these days about Mickey, who was born a few months after my dad died (although I didn't meet him, couldn't have met him for a couple of years after that death) and seems to spend an inordinate amount of time these days taking charge of all the dogs and cats and telling me what to do and when. Sometimes he just stares at me. For no reason. But he definitely wants to be with me. All the time. Which for a feral cat is a miracle.

Okay, George? Have I done my duty?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011



UNDER THE RADAR. I admit there's no real point to this post. But maybe that is the point. Commenter Helk said:

Not sure about using hate anymore. Reeks of desperation and a lack of faith. The calm, imperturbable face of a train coming down the tracks seems like it might be a better visage (for me). No emotion, only force mixed with orientation.

I think he's hit on something. And I'm surprised that someone as young as he has made such a connection. Which fills me with hope.

For someone of my advanced age, trains have always been a romantic background, rarely the star but always a sense-laden spur of memory and emotion precisely because a pure "force mixed with orientation" is such an apt metaphor of modern life. You can hop on or off, but the train keeps going, and its power is both primeval and intelligently controlled. Trains are mankind itself, forever moving, fuelling the business of a species that builds nonstop and runs over anything and everything in its way. That's the romance. They're big, relentless, and full of sound and fury, signifying something, maybe everything.

You don't ever think about trains. You just experience them. They're the unicorns of the industrial age, mythic but more real than myth. Everything about them is weighted with symbolism -- locomotives, tracks, rails, boxcars, cabooses, whistles, clanging bells, steam, bridges and tunnels, signal lights, switches, iron, steel, and iron -- and they're simultaneously impersonal and curiously intimate. Sexual but remote and metaphysical in their massive physicality.

Boys in my day were entranced with trains. My grandparents had a store of 50 years of National Geographics. Before I even realized that these magazines had pictures of naked women, I fell in love with the ads for trains. Gleaming passenger cars and the locomotive headlight beaming in the night. I clipped the ads and made a scrapbook for school called, simply, "Trains."

Later, when I was away at school, late at night I used to hear the distant chugging and moaning whistle of a freight train I never saw. It was life to me, the going somewhere I couldn't do while I was chained to a campus and a regimen of duties Trains meant freedom, momentum, reach of superhuman scale.

Like other boys, I'd had a Lionel train set, which is the illusion of control, but I never thought of the toy train when I heard the faraway whistle at night. I was able to visualize it, though, because I knew about whistles and cattle cars and boxcars from earliest childhood. The metaphor pool was deeply established.

Odd, isn't it, the roles trains play in our favorite cultural touchstones? Bogey in the rain at the Paris train station in Casablanca, heartbroken and bitter about the remorselessness of history in the making.† Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, and Eva Marie Saint being naughty in a sleeping car in North by Northwest. Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield duelling over life and art in The Train. Neo killing the Agent via subway train in The Matrix. More recently, Denzel Washington battling trains in Pelham 123 and Unstoppable. What's Atlas Shrugged about in the final analysis? Trains. And my own choice, so many years ago, of a name for the ultimate punk writer band, The Shuteye Train.

Actually, I could go link crazy if I started searching past posts for train references. Why I'm not doing that. You can feel free to do so.

Trains. What do you see when you are obliged to stop at an intersection and let one pass? Do you see life, your life, the story of Casey Jones, the history of your own affluence in a blessed country, the golden spike, How the West Was Won, or a mere gigantic inconvenience in your day?

I see trains. The beautiful bigness of human life, rasty, noisy, and irresistible.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


DISCREDIT WHERE DISCREDIT IS DUE. Now that he's produced his birth certificate and given the green light to kill bin Laden, Obama is getting a universal pass on the suspicion that he favors muslims and dislikes Jews.

Except here. Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday couldn't believe the "arrogance" of a foreign leader "lecturing" the president of the United States at a photo-op.

Really, Juan? It's arrogant to fight for your life when even your most powerful friend insists that proven genocidal hatred is a diplomatic position roughly analogous to your own desire to survive? But the rest of the pundit class isn't much better. They keep talking about Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, terms of peace, equitable dispositions of the issues. How do you negotiate the fact that your opposite number at the negotiating table wants you dead? You, your family, their families, and all the people they know -- dead. Meaning that's their first and only objective in the negotiation process.

I refuse to get sucked into the inane chattering of the chattering class. I just want to make a few simple, obvious points. First, for whatever reason, the new liberalism -- also known as progressivism -- regards hatred of the Jews as a virtue. I won't be using the easy term, 'anti-semitism,' here, because Arabs are also semites. Sorry if that's not PC.

Second, Obama may not favor murderous jihadists, but he does favor muslims over Jews. I think he also favors muslims over Christians. Because he agrees with their fundamental grievance, that the prosperity of the western Christian or post-Christian nations represents a longstanding process of theft from the indigent muslim nations of the world. It's probably not a religious but a political conviction. Although, like so many marxists, he can't help hating the Jews.

American Jews who support Obama give him a pass because they also hate the Jews. That's pretty much a big problem they've had since they stopped believing in God and started believing in Freud and Marx instead, not to mention hedge funds. And, truth to tell, if American Jews believed in Israel, they'd be there, not here.

You're right. I'm creeping up on another point. The most important point. It's okay to dislike the political fatuities and hypocrisies of American Jews. It's okay to dislike the stereotypes they sometimes seem determined not only to live up to but surpass and demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt. What's not okay is using dislike as an excuse for failed responsibility.

We can't wash our hands of them. They are the source of the difficult, frequently distasteful mechanisms that made our civilization in the first place: law, banking, obsession with education, frank acceptance of the physicality of pissing and shitting and fucking, unending personal competition for the spoils of economic conquest, conspicuous consumption, runaway ambition, quarrelsomeness, the incredibly annoying self-absorption of individual consciousness, and Jesus Christ, the antithesis of all this who could not have existed without the culture that spawned him.

And now for the point within the point. Show me somebody who hates Jews, and I'll show you somebody who thinks only in proper nouns. Like our president. Muslims good. Jihadists bad. Palestinians good. Jews bad. African-Americans good. Whites bad. And so on.

I think in common nouns, at least as much as current events will permit. I don't capitalize very often. Which is to say I try to draw distinctions, to discriminate. (Yeah, I know it's a dirty word these days; get over it.) I am the best of friends with individual jews, although I want to smack the American Jews who are so convinced they're smarter than all the rest of us. I feel the same way about muslims. I suspect, or hope, that many of them possess a live and let live mentality. I also fear that there are a great many Muslims, even the ones who insist they're Moderate, who would like to see us all dead because Abraham preferred Israel to Ishmael. I have nothing against black people, but when they start capitalizing and hyphenating themselves, I get edgy in a hurry.

I'm pretty sure our president lives in a world of capitals. He's led a life so sheltered and parochial there's no other way he could view things. And there's no other way he could feel confident and virtuous about seeking to force Israel into a peace that would result in their total annihilation.

Netanyahu confronting Obama? See the jew who's looking straight into your eyes, not the Jew of your ideological loathings.

That's a lesson that's appropriate to any forum, including the White House. If Obama could learn it, which he can't, it would redound to the benefit of all the capitalized villains he can't bring himself to tolerate: Southerners, Gun Owners, Capitalists, Christians, Suburbanites, Doctors, Insurance Progessionals, Conservatives, Fox News, Korean Grocers, Police Officers, White People, and, um, yeah, Jews (otherwise known as Hebes, Kikes, Sheenies, and, uh, Jews.)

Israel is surrounded and all the Arab countries are dissolving into a chaos akin to that which produced the Ayatollah Khomeini as a replacement for the Shah of Iran, in a tantrum the western media insist on calling the "Arab Spring." There's one thing they all have in common, Moderate Muslims as they are; their only negotiating point with Israel is to see all the Jews dead. Who would you negotiate with if you were a Jew? The only way not to see how dangerous this is to Israel is to, well, not give a shit.

We pay the president to give a shit. Sorry if that's anathema to a man who thinks only in capitals. To the hopeless adolescent ideologue we call "The One."

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