THE INFORMATION #918 DECEMBER 8, 2016

THE INFORMATION #918
DECEMBER 8, 2016
There he goes on another voyage of his own delusion never knowing where the next thought will take him.– John “Twink” Alder

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE

BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER ELEVEN: PART ONE: DAYS OF WRATH
 
“Every time I see a campaign poster for some Yellof or another who hopes to be elected and become a local muck-a-muck,” said Count Victor Justin, in one of his confidential palavers given during one of our evening constitutionals, “I smile and I say to myself, ‘Of course none of this would be possible if the Gib Yellof didn’t give the go-ahead.’  You do know who I mean, I suppose, when I speak of the G.Y. If not, Yob, then say so.”
 
I started to utter the name Richard B. Stolas when, quite uncharacteristically, the Count hushed me with a look of mingled anger and fear. 
 
“Nit. Ix-nay. Never mention that name. Listen good, you green Yellof: In the future, stroke your fingers along your beardless chin if you want to refer to him. In that way I will get the picture, and know that you mean to say ‘The Bearded One,’  on the hush-hush, on the q.t., and withouten having to say the name out loud. What’s the need of it? Say, Yob, why don’t you get wise to yourself? Don’t you know that he has rubbernecking spies who are practically everywhere? Both policemen, and crooks, who he calls his ‘confidential informants’. People who work for him, and people who just want to get in good with him. Don’t you know that he heads the Citywide Improvement Association, which has on its board every bank president, every school superintendent, every judge, and every up-and-coming shyster? Don’t you know that all the crooked politicos who gather down at Feist’s Cigar Store are in his pocket? He’s got his fat finger in every crooked little pie there is, and not a sparrow that falls from the sky does so without him knowing all about it. 
 
“There’s all kinds of flapdoodle circulating about him by way of the man on the street. Some say he sold his soul to the devil. Some say he never had a soul at all. And still other folks insist that he has extracted the souls of  his many slaves through their noses, and put them in a little green bottle which he keeps under his enormous four-poster bed. They even say that to protect himself from being poisoned, he bathes weekly in a bathtub full of goat’s blood. Others say he can mesmerize men to do his will; that he can make men bark and slobber like mad dogs, or turn them into gibbering lunakicks. They claim that he has horns on his head, and the vestiges of a forked tail which his parents had surgically removed when he was but a tot. They say that when he was matriculating at Ivy U., he pissed and shat and puked anywhere that took his fancy, and had one of his hired flunkies tag along behind him to dispense baksheesh to the peasants who had to clean up after him.
 
“I have studied his habits closely, and I do know this. He arises every day at the unseemly hour of 430 am, like a monk–this after a day in which he doesn’t get to bed until one in the morning. He hardly ever sleeps at all, it seems. He doesn’t read himself to sleep; he reads himself awake. Newspapers and magazines–he reads ’em all. Very little escapes his notice, or so I am led to believe. 
 
“There are certain asthma and catarrh powders which he uses on a regular basis, to induce this state of wakefulness. Plus copious cups of coffee. Also, he is enormously fat–weighs some 300 pounds. Probably from sucking the marrow from the bones of his defeated foemen. Who knows? Madre Dios! That is not my tale to tell.
 
“Remember when I said that there were certain types of chicanery which were too raw for even a dyed-in-the-wool con man to essay? Well, ‘Beardo’ and his plutocratic cronies have perpetrated them all. D’ye suppose he cares one whit for anything except squeezing out another dollar from his victims? Nit! Even the most low-down carny who has wiped you out on a gaffed skillo will lend you carfare so you can get back home. Not these boys. They don’t want you to have nothin’. Extracting blood from a turnip? Check. Holding on to a dollar until the eagle screams? Check, and double-check.
 
“Forgive me, Yob, if I wax incoherent. Even the most dyed in the wool cynic needs must let his jaw gape open in awe-struck wonderment and utmost stupefaction at the evil wrought by this gang of vultures and freebooters. They make the depredations of the so-called Robber Barons of old look like a slapping party between pantywaists. 
 
“Do you want to know how The Money Power truly works in this man’s Town? Sit tight, Yob, and I’ll bend your earie. The Gib Yellof is like a eight-armed spider who presides over the web of all the conflicting interests here in Noxtown. F’r instance, just to give ye but one example, the corrupt patent medicine trust has been taking a lot of heat lately, what with peddling their poison to sick babies and tired old widder women. Endless misery is the result, with thousands of slum-dwellers hooked on their awful dope–a path which leads only to the laughing academy or the jailhouse, and then the boneyard. Some of the more respectable newspapers have gotten to the point where they are refusing to accept advertisements for these quack remedies. But a little pow-wow between the Gib Yellof and the publisher set this squabble aright., sho’ nuff.  
 
“Of course, the peddlers of quack nostrums are opposed by legions of physicians, many of whom are so old-fashioned that they themselves are little more than quacks. But they are often very well-off and respectable; they have a reputation as learned men even if the only skill they ever truly mastered was to gouge the well-to-do; nevertheless,they have a lot of influence, and so in return for their cooperation, the Gib Yellof gives them a free hand to run their hospitals any way they choose, which, of course, is bound to leave room for a great many unsavory practices. Like the mysterious ‘Black Bottle,’ which hoboes and querulous bohunks will swear up and down is administered to the poor as medicine, but is actually poison, and they pass it out in order to give charity cases a quick send-off and free up a profitable hospital bed for a customer who can pay the full freight.
 
“I’m not saying it’s true; and I’m not sayin’ it ain’t. But from what I know about human nature, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least once or twice a particularly troublesome indigent was slipped some sort of fatal Mickey Finn to get him off the nurses’ hands. 
 
“All I know is, if you’re ever all in, you should avoid the charity wards at all cost. Take your chances in the hobo jungle, Yob; you surely don’t want to croak on account of having to suck on the black bottle.” 
 
1*SALUTATION
THE PRETTY THINGS
PRIVATE SORROW (FRENCH TV 1968)
2*REFERENCE
WHITE WORKING CLASS VOTERS
 
ALSO SEE:
WHO EXACTLY IS THE WHITE WORKING CLASS AND WHAT DO THEY BELIEVE?
SEE ALSO:
WHEN ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS WERE ‘THE OTHER’
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/10/opinion/falco-italian-immigrants/
3*HUMOR

Back when times were tough, I would go to Wal-Mart and buy the budget pet food:
Diamond Low Energy Dog Food
Diamond All-Fat Dog Food
Diamond Maintenance Service Floor Sweepins Dog Food
Diamond Minimal Performance Dog Food
Diamond Premium Adult Dog Meat
Diamond Puppy Meat
Diamond Chinese Restaurant Floor Sweepins Cat Food
Country Value Cream of Sick Puppy Fixins ‘n’ Gravy
Country Value Newspaper Trimmings for Your Adult Dog
Country Value Crispy Puppy
Country Value 99 Dead Dawg Soo-prise
Diamond Ground Up Horsemeat and Hooves
Diamond Crispy Chicken Beaks ‘n’ Claws
Diamond Crunchy Hog Maws ‘n’ Eyebrows
Professional Tapewormz in Gravy for your Grotesquely Obese Cat
Country Value Paper Pulp ‘n Sawdust for Your Sluggish Fat Dog

4*NOVELTY
BOSTON MOLASSES FLOOD OF 1919
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
ACUTE FINANCIAL STRESS: AN ALL-AMERICAN STORY


6* DAILY UTILITY
THE WORLD’S MOST HEALTHY CUISINES
7*CARTOON
HOMER AND JETHRO
GONNA SEND ‘EM HOME
ALSO SEE:
ALLEN SHERMAN
POP HATES THE BEATLES
 
SEE ALSO:
DORA BRYAN
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A BEATLE
8*PRESCRIPTION 
Smithsonian makes more than 5,000 Arhoolie Records tracks available
IS SOCIAL MEDIA DISCONNECTING US FROM THE BIG PICTURE?
10* LAGNIAPPE
THE GOONS
I’M WALKING BACKWARDS FOR CHRISTMAS
ALSO SEE:
JAMES BROWN
SANTA CLAUS GO STRAIGHT TO THE GHETTO
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones.
By Rich Cohen. Spiegel & Grau, 2016. Hardcover. 381 pages.
Cohn has most of the serious credentials deemed necessary to write about “The Greatest Rock Band in the World.” In spite of having been born in 1968. (Which is actually good; it gives him a certain necessary generational distance to balance his overarching enthusiasm for the band.)  He has written for both Rolling Stone and The New Yorker. He has also collaborated with Mick Jagger and filmmaker Martin Scorcese on the HBO drama Vinyl. And, need I add mention yet again, he is an ardent Rolling Stones fan; albeit one who has written extensively about and gotten to know most of the individual members of the band in most of its incarnations, as well as having conducted extended interviews with the people who helped make them what they were, including Chris Barber (father of the British Skiffle movement); Marshall Chess (son of the famous Chess Records impresario), Bobby Keys (saxophonist and sometime band sideman), Rock Scully (Grateful Dead manager who was involved with the selection of the site for the infamous Altamont concert), and many others. Cohn even takes the time to track down the nephew of their swindling manager, the notorious Allan Klein.
 
Early on, Cohn delves into the influence which the early British Blues scene had on the formation of the band, and how Jagger and Richards happened to meet the golden boy, brilliant and doomed, named Brian Jones (previously known as Elmo James). Much is made of how Brian was probably destined to become an acid casualty from the time of his very first trip. He was not the first, nor would be be the last, to be sucked into the sinister vortex of drugs, sex, and other assorted debaucheries which came, first to define, and eventually to at least partially subsume, The Rolling Stones. What made the fall of Brian Jones so tragic was that he was exceptionally talented. Listen, for instance, to the slide guitar on “No Expectations”. The trouble with Brian was that he started a band which was intended to serve as a homage to the American Blues: “Brian was the band’s spirit. It was his vision, his dream; a blues engine….” However, the rise of the Beatles and the concomitant British Invasion (which Cohn hardly mentions as such) buried that dream. Because the endless money to be had from selling out made Jagger and Richards see dollar signs. If only they could write their own songs, like the Beatles. If only they could produce a number one hit–which they eventually did with “Satisfaction,” a song which, legend has it, came to Keith Richards in a dream. If only they could make it to the top–then there would be no more starving in an unheated apartment, and no more scuffling from one half-filled provincial venue to the next. Instead, they could tour to sold-out stadiums swollen with screaming pre-pubescent girls.Instead of mere musicians, they could be stars. But poor Brian wasn’t exactly with the program; he wrote songs, which the band rejected, and saw his dominant control of the band’s trajectory slip out from under him. He became moody; erratic. He began missing practices and gigs. When the band fired him, he was already far more than halfway to being dead. So his early death, at 27, which occurred in circumstances which are still murky nearly 50 years later, was perhaps merely inevitable. Brian had a death wish. According to Cohn, “I’m not saying he committed suicide. I’m saying that he put himself in a position where he could easily die.”     
 
Cohn is equally good on the the minutiae regarding the Altamont Concert; he is scrupulously careful to relate the side of the story told by Hell’s Angel head honcho Sonny Barger; perhaps too much so. Again, the circumstances surrounding the death of Meredith Hunter, who, we are informed, was no angel, remain enshrouded in mystery. Did he pull out a gun because he was preparing to shoot a member of the band–or because he was surrounded by menacing, murderous, and thoroughly drunk motorcycle gang members? Cohn gives us all sorts of side details which you may not find elsewhere, in more standard biographies. Apparently, the Rolling Stones were practically shamed into giving a free concert in the first place because critic Ralph Gleason laid a major guilt trip on them owing to the high ticket prices for their shows. 
 
We also learn from Cohn that Ry Cooder was the one who taught Keith Richards the open tuning that he used for many of the band’s most memorable songs, notably “Honky Tonk Woman.” And that Gram Parsons–another doomed soul–was the one person most responsible for imbuing the Rolling Stones with an appreciation for American Country music. This is a fact which, Cohn archly observes, is most likely all the more true simply because Mick Jagger denies it so vociferously. Exhibit one: “Country Honk.” Cohn takes a side trip to chronicle the last days of Parsons, and it is a harrowing story. Keith Richards may not be directly responsible for his dissipation and his early death, but Cohn implies that he surely bears some blame.The author is certainly not shy about pointing out the band’s myriad experiences with illicit drugs, which, after all, formed a large part of their sinister mystique. (The only part of the book which made me question the author’s credentials was his casual mention of teens smoking the high-potency “Thai Stick”…in 1967. Possible–though not likely.) 
 
Cohn is particularly good at chronicling the band’s “golden run”: Beggar’s BanquetLet It BleedSticky Fingers, and Exile on Main Street. A run which was, he implies, in part made possible by the absence of their friends and rivals, the Beatles. In those chapters, his obsessiveness regarding the Stones pays off. However, rather than trace the trajectory of the band’s slow decline into irrelevance and nostalgia, Cohn simply informs us of it by omission. He deems Some Girls the last great Rolling Stones album and declares that Tattoo You, which was partially assembled from out-takes form that record, was “the last true Stones album”. (He certainly has a point.) This is not a biography, per se, and not exactly a memoir; it’s more in the nature of an exploration of a mystique, and a clarification of the legends and folklore which surround the band. When it comes to the major landmarks defining how the band came to be–details which every fan knows (or should know), Cohn leaves few stones (so to speak) unturned. All in all, this is a book which any Rolling Stones fan, even a casual one, and particularly an obsessive one, will read with great pleasure.     
 
*11a BOOKS READ AND REVIEWED
A-FORCE. HYPERTIME. **1/2
ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL. GATES. ***
ALEISTER & ADOLF. RUSHKOFF & OEMING. ****1/2
ALL NEW X-MEN INEVITABLE 1. GHOSTS OF CYCLOPS. ***1/2
THE ATTACK. DAUVILLIER & CHAPRON. ****1/2 
BATMAN/SUPERMAN V. 5. TRUTH HURTS. ***1/2
BLACK MAGICK. RUCKA & SCOTT. ****
THE CAPED CRUSADE. WALDON. ***1/2
THE COMPLETE NEAT STUFF 1 &2. BAGGE. ****
CRY HAVOC 1. MYTHING IN ACTION. SPURRIER & KELLY. ****
DARK MONEY. MAYER. ****1/2
INHUMANITY. ***1/2
INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US. YEAR 4. VOLUME 2. ****
JUSTICE LEAGUE 8. DARKSEID WAR PART 2. ***
THE LOST WORK OF WILL EISNER. ***
LUKE CAGE: AVENGER. **1/2
OMEGA MEN: THE END IS HERE. ****
OUR TIMES: THE AGE OF ELIZABETH ii. WILSON. ***1/2
PANTHER. EVANS. ****1/2
QUEER: A GRAPHIC HISTORY. BAKER & SCHEELE. ***1/2
SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE. BOOK ONE. WAGNER. ***1/2
SPIDER-MAN 1. MILES MORALES. BENDIS. ***1/2
SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL 1. ISN’T IT BROMANTIC. ***
SUCH A LOVELY LITTLE WAR. TRUONG. ****
SUICIDE SQUAD 2. MONSTERS. ***1/2
THE SUN, THE MOON & THE ROLLING STONES. COHEN. ****
THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THE MARVEL UNIVERSE. ***1/2
WHY THE RIGHT WENT WRONG. DIONNE, JR. ****
WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN: BERSERKER. LEMIRE. ***
WONDER WOMAN: A CELEBRATION OF 75 YEARS. ***
X-MEN. WORST X-MAN EVER. ***1/2
 
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
877. ZAPPA DIGS SAB SHOCK!

Zappa: I tried to help Wild Man Fischer and he turned out to be just as crazy as everybody thought he was.
Sandy: Does that mean he’s impossible to work with?
Zappa: Well, I think he’s dangerous to work with. He’d come to my house at one time … he used to live in the street, his hair was all dirty, he lived in dirty clothes. I brought him in, my wife shampooed his hair for him – he started breaking the kids’ toys and punched the babysitter and left.
http://www.afka.net/Articles/1978-01_Sounds.htm

MODERN WISDOM NUMBER 218 DECEMBER 2016

MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE

NUMBER 218

DECEMBER 2016

Copyright 2016 Francis DiMenno
dimenno@gmail.com
http://www.dimenno.wordpress.com

1. A HEARTWARMING CHRISTMAS TALE

A kid saves up his allowance money so he can buy his mean dad a present that will make him love him. He carefully saves up every penny, earning more money by running errands and collecting soda bottles. Christmas day arrives. Mean Dad gets a genuine imitation leather belt. Which he promptly uses to whup the boy, for having given him such a cheap present.
2. SPIRIT LIFTING THOUGHTS FOR EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH! 

I must keep a travel diary. Soon Messiah will come. 

No! I am not worthy! When we stand before God we are all Judas Betrayer!

The Joy of the Lord is my strength.

When I picture what God looks like, I see a tall, Galactic feller. 

God sees all. Even the dark side. Especially the dark side.

Jesus is the number one fella in my life, and I am nothing but worthless number two.

From now on I must laugh. A lot.

The Lord tastes good.

Without God my life is a lonely whistle-stop on the way to nowheres.

Who will rid me of these turbulent thoughts?

Consider the ant. The audacity of that creature. We are that creature!

Use me, Lord.

Idolatry is the idleness of idiots!

Yesterday I prayed for the courage to live. Tomorrow I will pray for the courage to….

Lord, recharge my thoughts like a teeny tiny battery.

God is my rose. Lack of faith is my thorn.

A man is what he chooses and I chose to be a man.

I don’t feel cold when I pray to My Lord.

Whenever I want one of Daddy’s hugs I think of Our Father In Heaven.

My hands may be frozen and bleeding, but HIS Wrists were nailed upon a cross.

Lord, free me of memories from my profane past that keep me from thinking of You.

I’m coming up rich in my search for Jesus, and I didn’t even know I was digging for treasure!

Even a ten dollar chicken dinner feast without Jesus is like ashes in the mouth.

Only God is perfect. I can be less than perfect and still get God’s work done.

The Lord God is with me wherever I go. Even the bathroom!

Give the program thirty days to work! Christ Himself was resurrected after three.

How am I? I am how God wants me to be.

The geography of heaven is a strange land.

God loves us all, even the rough old bullies living next to a patched-up furnace.

The Lord restores antique people.

God’s work is manifest, even in a football game. Especially football!

Job one is that I get along well with the man I call Mr. Jesus.

God, like time, will work His Healing Wonder.

On earth, no. In heaven, maybe. In paradise!

Lord, point the way, and when You walk away, I will follow.

I have kissed the lips of hell and they are cold.

I distinctly heard the boiler laughing at me as I said my daily prayer.

Whenever you check off the items on your list of things to do, make sure The Captain is on board.

The voice of the universe is warning me that this is my final chance!

Trust that God the Comforter has a delightful Rest in store for all of us.

Hell is just one thing damned after another.

3. CHRISTMAS IN CRUIKSHANK

Ho ho ho! Look at those boarded up tenements in the center of town, within spitting distance
of the City Hall! Festive? Perhaps not to battle-hardened souls. But the men and women who lurk 
inside have far from lost the Christmas Spirit, for lo, they have lit the interior with the merry 
wavering light from a piping hot bowl of crack!

Note the tinsel decorations festooning with seasonal brio The aptly-named Dollar Store, as well as the adjacent 
Chinese buffet house where $6.95 will buy you “all you care to eat”. The adjacent whitewashed store-front 
Church of Christ Our Savior is, needless to say, gaily decorated by a faded but earnest plastic 
wreath in army soldier green, and the security gate of the discount clothing store hard by intermittently 
flares a decidedly jolly red.

Although the liquor store is once again being robbed, please take careful note of the fur-trimmed 
red Santa hat each holiday-minded armed thief has carefully used to shield his features 
from the security cameras. Even the screaming fist fight between the man who failed to signal a 
turn and the man who rolled through a stop sign has a certain festival charm, as though 
they are daring one another to be less than truly full of the blessings of the season.  

Sure, even though many are yet at work, there are several young freebooters who loiter around the drug stores 
and the vacant parking lots limned with broken glass and soiled diapers. It may well be they 
were gallantly chased away en masse by foot constabulary summoned by concerned managers of the 
local Wal-Mart. If you were one of a flock of migrating geese, you might be able to look down 
to see how they march in an eerily precise formation and eventually congregate next to the 
shopworn show window of the now-defunct Super Rexall, in a vacant lot next to a time-worn 
tenement bearing a faded Tom Tucker Ginger Ale sign. See! One of their number, a most enterprising man, 
now begs for coins beneath a sign that says “Cash While You Wait”–and more than a few grudging 
pennies gather in the worn mustard-yellow socks this eminento has elected to use in lieu of gloves. 

Nor are the fair sex absent! Observe the sweating, pleasantly plump young woman with her hair arranged in a 
greasy flip pushing a worn stroller down icy Washington Street. She has certainly retained some moiety 
of Christmas cheer for surely you have observed that her sweatshirt bears the disproportionately 
enormous yellow face of the famous Warner Brothers cartoon character known as Tweety Bird.

No hablamos español? Note, then, that awning with a poorly drawn picture of the world! Your relatives 
in the far-away Dominican Republic, should you have any, would be glad to know that, in league with 
the omnicompetent Santa, sole proprietorships have been established to ensure that brightly wrapped 
holiday gift packages from the Estados Unitos will soon be on their way!

Perhaps you have no more time to spare. Be sure then, to return in March–when the threadbare but 
well-intentioned Christmas decorations on the light poles downtown will doubtless still be in their 
wonted place of honor! 

4THEREIN LIES A TALE….

RUSTY OLD CHAIN HOOKS MAN “UPSIDE THE HEAD” AND DEALS “GENTLEMAN
FARMER” A FATAL BLOW
[Chump Junction, April 23rd, 1971]

Jasper Grogan, 39, a self-described “gentleman farmer”, was fatally
injured last week when using a tractor chain and hook in an
ill-advised attempt to pull up a stump.

“The tom-fool city-slicker ought to have stayed in Gibsonia,” said his neighbor, Winslow Hulberd, 45, a long-time farmer from the neighboring town of Chokecherry. Hulbert was first on the scene.

“Everybody knows you that with a stump like that, you use a blasting cap, and you stand well clear if you decide to use a hook and chain.”

Apparently, according to Hulberd, the rusty chain snapped, whipped around and struck Grogan in the face, and “Nearly took his dern fool head off. What a mess!”

Grogan is survived by a wife and three children. Funeral services took
place on April 27th at the City Limits Funeral Home in Gibsonia.

AREA RESIDENT IS “STUMPED” BY EXPLODING “STUMP”
[Chokecherry, May 1st, 1971]

Winslow Hulbert, 45, was critically injured in an apparent attempt to
blow up a stump on his property, Brillant Farms, in the village of
Chokecherry.

Police have said that judging from the extent of the explosion,
Hulberd miscalculated and used the equivalent of four sticks of
dynamite, “when one would have more than accomplished the job”  according to High Sheriff Kemp Rittenhouse, who was the first man on the scene.

“It’s not like Winslow,” said the High Sheriff. “To make a boner like
that. Somethin’ must have been eatin’ on his mind, to miscalculate
like he did.”

Neighbors, who wish not to be named, have mentioned that Winslow’s
wife had been planning to “run off to the big city” with a “city man”
who lived nearby, and that Winslow had lately been “despondent.”

Hulbert is currently listed in critical condition at Our Lady of Care
Hospital in the town of Revo.

5. NAZI CHIMPS

At age 10 I saw, at the Kennywood amusement park outside of
Pittsburgh, a postcard of a chimp in a chef’s toque serving coffee to a disgruntled Hitler, who was seated at the counter of a greasy spoon diner.

Hitler was saying, “Where’s the coffee in this caffeine?”

This is so wrong, of course.

It is well known that Hitler abstained from all caffeinated beverages.

6. HUSKER DU?

Plastic pink flamingoes that poor people put on their scraggly front lawns.
The news is that these items will no longer be manufactured.

Lawn darts.
The banning of lawn darts.

Nodding dogs on the back shelf of cars.
Replaced by nodding junkies in the back seats of cars.

Green plastic pickle whistles.
These were known as “pickle-os”. They hearkened back to a time when there actually was a piccolo player in a big band.

William Frawley.
Vivian Vance, who despised the drunken Frawley and referred to him offcamera as “that old man.”

Stumbo the friendly giant.
The vaguely European residents of “Tiny Town”, which is the actual name of a Denver suburb.

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hats.
The Bob Dylan song of the same name.

Metracal, the meal in a can.
Carnation Instant Breakfast, which is still made but no longer
incessantly advertised.

“Goodnight Irene.”
A criminal about to be publicly executed would traditionally sing a
song of lament. The technical name for this song was a “Goodnight”.

Margarine sandwiches on Wonder Bread.
Before we knew that margarine was made with the dreaded trans-fats.

Tiparillos.
And the misguided ad campaign, “Should you offer a lady a Tiparillo?”

Bronzed baby shoes.
There is now a process whereby you can preserve them in plastic or something.

Penny Loafers.
Long since fallen to the lure of “Retro chic.”

The buck-and-wing.
Tap dancing is celebrated as an art form and is allegedly no longer
considered degrading.

My metal Batman and Robin lunch box that now would be worth a small fortune.
Well…actually, it would depend on the condition.

Supermarket cantaloupes so big that they looked like they were from another planet.
Though when you’re a kid, everything looks far bigger than it actually is.

Computers so enormous that they took up an entire large air-conditioned vault.
And people who are fond of pointing out that the same components now fit in a unit the size of a calculator. As if this makes us modern!

The movie soundtrack that would play this peculiar motif that went
“Rada rada ra, ra ra ra ra, rada rada ra, ra ra, ting” whenever an
Oriental person appeared.
I have a Casio SK-1 keyboard purchased in 1989 that has that motif.
Some cell phones also feature it as a ring tone.

Danny and the Juniors.
And the Beach Boys song, “Do You Remember,” that references them as nostalgia less than ten years after the fact.

Feeling uneasy around nuns.
As though they were about to tell you that your sins have found you out.

The Boogie Man.
Now considered a racial slur.

The man who would drive around our neighborhood in a truck with a three-horse merry-go-round mounted on his flat-bed. It cost a nickel to ride. The man was a drunk, or so they parents said. They never gave me a nickel. I saw an empty beer bottle in his truck, so maybe it was true.

The song, “Donkey dear, the sun is on the mountain.” We sang it in second grade.
We would make comical chewing motions during the lyric “Eat your
hay/And let’s be on the way.”

Pressing all the buttons on the elevator.
Still fun to do, though only when you’re angry.

Little girls being afraid that the bottom or top of the escalator
might suck them in.
I used to frighten my sister about bridges collapsing as we were
traveling over them. It’s over 30 years later, and she’s still
traumatized.

Not being allowed to have a turtle because “they spread disease.”
Toxoplasmosis, if I recall correctly. The scare began around 1965. It
was recently listed. But those turtles can grow to enormous size, so it’s probably still not a good idea.

An Easter chick dyed pink that took a crap on my best friend’s head.
The chicks seldom lived long enough to be a nuisance. There were
city dwellers alive in 1960 who actually remembered rural life!

People named Adolf.
Or ‘Adolph’. Still don’t know how the meat tenderizer people got away with it.

The card game “Spoons.”
Now it’s Texas Hold ’em. Twenty years from now, who knows?

The expression “Good Lord.”
Popular in EC comics of the 1950s. Usually accompanied by “Choke.”

Mean, brawny, abusive gym coaches.
I had one named Mr. Maddox. He even haunted me in my dreams. One day I woke up and thought I saw his head in the corner, staring at me. But it was only a basketball.

Raymond Burr and his ridiculously fat face.
Maybe that’s why he sat down so much on the set of Ironsides.

Sending in boxtops to get “free” prizes.
Usually made of cheap plastic.

A Chihuahua so small it could fit in a teacup.
Yo’ Mama so fat, she leads a hippopotamus on a leash and it look like a chihuahua!

Organ grinders with a monkey on a chain who would tip his little hat
when you dropped a coin in his tin cup.
I guess it never occurred to us to question whether this wasn’t just a little bit cruel.

How people (usually your parents) would say “Listen to me.”
Though I also saw the expression used in a commercial for an accident lawyer.

How people (usually older people) would say, “Goodbye and good riddance.”
With an accent grave on the “rid”.

7. FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE

http://www.fborfw.com/

The adventures of a feebleminded Canadian

dentist and his kin.

When the strip first debuted, professional cartoonists used to refer
to it as “It Couldn’t Be Worse.”

Why would anybody find this strip even remotely interesting?

After thirty-odd years I think I’ve finally figured it out.

Most everything else is so much worse.

But Ms. Johnston still seems to have trouble with basic anatomy.

I’ll say it again.

Lynn…can’t…draw.

And those “clever” little last-panel zingers she favors are a
middlebrow’s notion of poignant and insightful.

Everything about the strip screams mediocrity.

Many many people who take cartooning seriously agree with me on this one.

even cartoons deserve to be taken seriously as an art form.

Quite frankly, it is rather easy to tell whether a person can draw or
whether they cannot.

Even if Lynn were using the “bigfoot” style ala Garfield, she would
still be called upon to be consistent.

But her style is semi-realistic and it’s all the more important that
she consistent from panel to panel.

She’s not. She never has been. The strip is just plain awful a good
deal of the time and mediocre at best.

But Lynn also seems to feel she has an obligation to step up to the
plate and address serious social topics.

See:
http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/strips/2007/june/j4d/070623gnu.gif
http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/strips/2007/june/j5k/070627tqx.gif
http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/strips/2007/june/j5k/070628jjm.gif

Sample dialogue:
“I… want… to say… STOP! Stop… ma-king… fun of us! We’re
dif’rent from… you… but,… SO WHAT? Don’t… give… us… a…
hard… time… Give us… a CHANCE! You… tease… me about…
the… way… I… talk! I… was… born… with a… cleft…
palate!… They… couldn’t… fix… it… until… I… was… four!
I… had… to… learn… how to… speak… all… over… again…
and… that… is… why… I… talk like… this. I can’t…
change… the… way… I… talk…. but… you… can… change…
the… way… you… LISTEN! Kids… with… special needs… are…
people… too! We… have a… lot… to… offer! Get… to know…
us!… Don’t… tease… us! PLEASE!… E-NOUGH… IS… E-NOUGH!”

I love how Shannon praises herself–“That took…guts…man!”

Also how she seems now to consider herself the Martin Luther King of the cleft-palate chowhounds.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m a passionate admirer of comic strips and their long history. But Johnston’s strip is sentimental and pathetic, and verges on sheer demagoguery. Say what you will, but propaganda is not art. It is a parasite on art. Just like advertising, which strongly resembles it.

And the whole schtick about people’s acts being justified as long as they make money at it (i.e., the ends justifies the means) is just the kind of iron-headed prole-think that enabled to the rise of Huey Long on the left and Joe McCarthy on the right.

The far left and the far right frequently find common cause over just such a spectacularly wrongheaded philosophy.

Once again, you might say, “Well, it’s just a comic strip.”

True enough.

But all entertainment has an ideological subtext.

And yeah, most of the time the adventures of those banal Canadian
dumbasses are content-neutral, except when it comes to implying that bourgeois values and the status quo ante are intrinsically best.

But when Johnston gets preachy and starts injecting public health

issues into her strip, she verges on propaganda of the clumsiest sort.

8. COMIC STRIPS THAT ARE NOT KITSCH

When I hear people say that they read comic strips like FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE even though it sometimes makes them cringe.

I am reminded of the category of art that such a description
generally implies.

Kitsch.

The Pattersons are a squishy-soft bunch of goo-goo Canadian mugwumps who we are supposed to admire simply because Lynn doesn’t have the narrative skill to create a world of nuanced relationships.

I’m sorry, but I can think of a dozen strips just off the top of my
head that were far better, in rendering or narrative or both, but
which are more or less forgotten or ignored today.

I would strongly urge those who once found, or who still find, FBOFW to be the ne plus ultra of the comic strip to dig a bit into the
history of the medium and discover the splendor of such narrative
strips as the following:

Thimble Theatre (by E. Segar)
L’il Abner
Polly and Her Pals
Toonerville Trolley
Skippy
Dick Tracy (by Chester Gould)
Little Orphan Annie (by Harold Gray)
Barnaby
Pogo
Count Screwloose of Toulouse (or anything by Milt Gross)
Smokey Stover
Krazy Kat

Even a couple of single-panel offerings like:
Our Boarding House
Out Our Way (by J.R. Williams)

Throughout the long history of the comic strip, even the once wildly popular but now-forgotten also-rans shine in comparison to the antics of the Patterson Klan:

Moon Mullins
Gasoline Alley
The Gumps
Captain Easy
Bringing Up Father
Little Nemo

The Smithsonian Collection of Comic Strips provides samples of nearly all of the above-mentioned. There are other anthology collections which can be had for a modest sum in the art section of used book stores.

Furthermore, a great many of the above-named are also collected in single books or even series; notably the following:

Thimble Theatre (by E. Segar)
L’il Abner
Toonerville Trolley
Skippy
Dick Tracy (by Chester Gould)
Little Orphan Annie (by Harold Gray)
Barnaby
Pogo
Krazy Kat
Out Our Way (by J.R. Williams)
Moon Mullins
Gasoline Alley
Bringing Up Father
Little Nemo

Fans of the adventure strip will find that the following strips are
widely available in collected form:
Terry and the Pirates
Tarzan
Flash Gordon
Buck Rogers
Prince Valiant
Smilin’ Jack

If you want to read some truly laughably bad comic strips, small town newspapers have some of the damndest examples known to man…strips that no real newspaper wants to pay for and no sensible subscribers want to read. Popeye. Mutt and Jeff. The Born Loser. Gil Thorp. Mark Trail. The list goes on and on….

I’d love to find a master list of syndicated strips, the rates
charged, and the number of papers who subscribe. According to my
understanding of the industry, figure regarding rates and numbers of subscribers are generally held pretty closely, except, of course, for the superstars….

9. THE LATEST CONSPIRACY

I hear a crook stole a shoebox with a woman’s dead cat
inside, only, actually, the way I heard the story, it
was a bat, and the bat was Dracula, and he sucked the
blood out of the crook’s neck, but the crook was a
rummy, and so Dracula got drunk and became Drunkula
and then he met Jesus in a bar–also drunk, because
his blood is made of wine–and Drac said “Let’s step

outside” and the Messiah kicked his ass. And then I
heard that Jesus got upset and went to an AA meeting
and made the following speech: “My name is Jesus the
Nazarene and I am an alcoholic. It has been 3 months,
7 days, and 1,974 years since my last drink–a sponge
soaked in vinegar. I have apologized to the wedding
party at Cana, and admitted that I enabled them to
drink by turning water into wine. And finally, I would
like to say that after making a fearless moral
inventory of my past habits, I have decided to look to
a higher power–myself–to overcome my alcoholism.”

THE INFORMATION #917 DECEMBER 2, 2016

THE INFORMATION #917
DECEMBER 2, 2016

…but these backwaters of existence sometimes breed, in their sluggish depths, strange acuities of emotion….― Edith Wharton

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART NINETY-NINE: KINGDOM COME
 
“Of course, Yob” said Count Justin Victor to me, as we walked through the now-empty and snow-covered park where all the hoboes camped out in the summer, “there’s a difference between a Yellof who plays dumb, and one who is a certified stupe. Usually, that Yellof is a rube. A hayseed, a gawk. A clodhopper. A cornball. A hick, a yokel. a chawbacon,a rustic oaf. Why all this animosity, you ask? Me, personally, I don’t mind ’em none. They’re easy to fool. And so much fun to watch! I’ll tell you Yob, that watching the ways of some of these bone-ignorant country folk is oftentimes more fun than being in the front row of a dog fight.”
 
“You can always tell right away that you’re dealing with your garden-variety backwoods hick because they are prone to consider intelligent people as evil godless queers, and educated fools. And to say things like ‘That there’s tainty taint meat–taint mine and taint yourn.’ And they also talk about God, and especially their good pal Jesus, every day, as though Jesus were some cousin or pet dog of theirs. Jesus cured mah rheumatiz’, and Jesus got me to stop drinkin’ whiskey in public, Hallelujah, I’m saved, and now I only get loaded when I take several sly nips of Peruna every night, which is eighteen per cent alcohol by volume, but who cares! It’s mah special secret medicine!
 
“These country lads and lasses seem to be operating under the delusion that a long-dead hallucinating desert nomad is alive and well, and cares so much as one jot or tittle about their everyday doings. Which goes to show that in certain matters of intellection, they have the mental capacity of a five year old. They seem to actually think that Jesus is not only watching them, but that he also really cares if they play cards, or excel in sports, or fornicate with their cousin under the bleachers, or go dancing in a shit-smelling hay barn. Jesus stands in relation to the everyday doings of these chuckleheads as the good policeman stands in relation to You or I. ‘Mustn’t spark with a purty gal–Jesus wouldn’t like it.’ ‘Mustn’t Sass my Mammy–hit will make Jesus cry bitter tears of pain.’ ‘When I think of that faithful back, scourged with whips and clubs, and that faithful head, running with rivulets of blood on account of a crown of piercing thorns, it gives me the inside meemies, and makes my every bad deed loom large, because he was beaten to a pulp specifically for MY SINS.’  And the hell of it is, the most educated man in the whole community–the only man with book-learnin’ at all–is the country preacher, who is the one who spreads these very same superstitious nostrums both far and wide. Their whole religion is based on fear, and punishment, and dread of eternal torment. And those snake-handling, hellfire-spouting, Bible-pounding preachers are in back of all of it. You can bet that none of the big plantation owners give any more than lip service to such cretinous rot. But they’ll always invite the preacher-man in for a chicken dinner–because he keeps the work force temperate, and lulls the Negroes into a god-besotted stupor.  
 
“Don’t even get me started about the way they treat their sharecroppers. Good God! The only folks more ignorant and downtrodden than the smallholder is the sharecropper. Imagine if the boundary of your entire life, and your Pappy’s life, and his pappy’s life before him, consisted of staring at a mule’s ass as you guide a plough over worn out soil with rocks the size of goose eggs. Imagine having no money at all. None. Imagine looking at the account book used by the white man who runs the company grocery store–staring at the cover with a can of W.E. Garrett Scotch Snuff on it–and knowing that with every purchase you are somehow being cheated and falling further and further behind. Imagine your bairns having to walk to the well in bare feet in the snow because you can’t afford to buy ’em any shoes. Imagine them leaving off schoolin’ after the 4th grade on account of having to work on the farm chopping cotton. Imagine indulging your wife by buying for her a nickel feed sack so she can sew it into a dress. Imagine having no prospects other than that–for as long as you live. And for generation after generation. No wonder they are so lacking in civilized refinements! The have no civilization to speak of, at all. they live in the same way as savages always have, since time immemorial. 
 
“Of course, these country Younkers don’t have a great many of the more sophisticated botherations which afflict every man of affairs in the big city. There’s no gangs, no movin’ picture shows, and no pool halls and taverns on every corner. About the biggest thing they have to worry about  out there in the big stick country is boll weevils eating up all their cotton, or tornadoes and hailstorms destroying their wheat, or rats and weevils getting into the flour, or hogs eatin’ the baby, or swallowing their own chaw of tobacco, or getting kicked in the head by a consarn mule, or having their kiddies drown on account of their goin’ swimmin’ down at the gravel quarry even after you told them not to. Nor do they ever have to worry overmuch about getting nutted on the head by a snowbird and waking up naked in a filthy alley with a missing wallet. and an aching lump on the back of their noggin. Sure–every now and again one of these fine country denizens will get a bad batch of moonshine or will catch cabin fever or will accidentally ingest locoweed and go a little nutty and maybe shoot up someone’s house up with buckshot, but all in all, country life ain’t anywhere near as dangerous as city livin’. All they have to care about is working from can until can’t, and laying in provender for the livestock come winter, and sowing and tilling in the spring, and haying in the summer and harvesting in the fall. 
 
“If only for all the reasons I mentioned, they are among the most fearful and closed-minded people in God’s green earth. Would you count on them in a pinch if you needed to have a hoss shoed, or to catch a rabbit? Sure you would! But they ain’t too much for thinkin’ on the intellectual level. Sure, you might have a schoolmaster here and there who has read a book, but you can bet that all the pretty damozels are fixin’ instead to be married off to that husky hired hand from the farm just down the road. 
 
“Why? Because ”Too much book-learnin’ ruins your shootin’ eye.’
 
“Unless, of course, it’s The Good Book.”
 
1*SALUTATION
JOHN’S CHILDREN
MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S SCENE
 

SARA CRAZY CHILD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2rRPyN0zG8

2*REFERENCE
THE WORST TASTING FLAVOR IN THE WORLD
3*HUMOR
RODNEY DANGERFIELD ON JOHNNY CARSON (1983)
4*NOVELTY

A History of Music Bootlegs, Told Through 25 of the Most Significant Recordings

5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
THE NORTH POLE IS AN INSANE 36 DEGREES WARMER THAN NORMAL
 
ALSO SEE:
WHAT’S REALLY WARMING THE WORLD?
6* DAILY UTILITY
TINEYE IMAGE SEARCH
“Go to the TinEye website and install the TinEye extension to your browser. Then you can right-click on any image and instantly search TinEye for matches. I do this almost every day to find larger, smaller, or clearer versions.”
7*CARTOON
THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
 
ALSO SEE:
THE DARK SIDE: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
9*RUMOR PATROL
AVOIDING FAKE NEWS SITES
10* LAGNIAPPE
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
MITCH O’CONNELL: NOT-SO-SUBLIMINAL ADS
 
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.

THE INFORMATION #916 NOVEMBER 25, 2016

THE INFORMATION #916
NOVEMBER 25, 2016

 

“Compared to the dullest human casting his shadow on earth, the most brilliantly drawn character is a bag of bones.”–Thomas Hardy

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART NINETY-EIGHT: KINGDOM COME


“I dinnae wish to claim any great distinction owing to the details of my personal history,” said Count Justin Victor, as he flipped me a fifty-cent piece as a prelude to my accompanying him on his evening constitutional Through the grimy alleys of Blowtown. “But ever since I was run over by a wagon wheel when I was but a mere tot, I have had what I account to be ‘The Second Sight’. It’s funny, when you think about it–how almost dying–more than once!–so wonderfully clarifies the mind. It gives you a better idea of what’s important and what is minor–as well as what is completely beyond your control. Politics? Pfaugh–I leave that to the colorless and unimaginative types who clutter up the corridors of City Hall and fill it with the stale reek of cheap cigars. Religion? That is a matter to be debated by clerics and other charlatans–people who smell of old fish and mothballs–y’see, Yob, I operate by a certain moral code, believe it or not, so I try to never step in on another man’s racket, or, for that matter, rub another man’s rhubarb. 

 
“If you think that the political issues of the day or the eternal questions of religion are important, then you’re barking up the wrong tree, me fine Bucko. They’re only consequential on the rarest of occasions. At every other time it is always best to leave such questions alone. Because there’s no sense in gettin’ aggimated over the imponderables. Trying to argue with a fool is like trying to master Chinese arithmetic–it’s possible, but why do you want to waste your time? People will believe whatever they want to, which usually means they’ll fall for any damn thing that just ain’t so–and 99 times out of 100 there’s no convincing them otherwise. 
 
“The reason that mucking about with politics and religion is such a losing proposition is that it distracts you from the real business and main purpose of life, which is to make all the money as you can in as short a time as humanly possible. Don’t worry about being a great sculptor or any other kind of artist. Better that you should be a noted surgeon or a smooth-tongued lawyer. That’s where the money is. Because let me tell you this right now, Yob: a poor man stinks in the nostrils of heaven. In this man’s country, poor people and other such rabble have mostly outlived their usefulness.You can let your factory smokestacks run full blast and turn the sky a leaden gray. I would gladly watch my starched white shirts turn sooty black, and birdies fall dead out of the sky. So what if the air is thick and hard to breathe, and it smells like rubber tires and burning dogshit? That factory smoke is the smell of money, Yob; and, as a wise man said, many centuries ago, ‘Money does not stink.’ 
 
“You need a friend? Get a dog. Otherwise, having dosh, and lots of it, is the only friend you’ll ever need, in this lifetime, and quite possibly in the so-called afterlife as well. Because the man of money is welcome everywhere he goes, and respected. When he opens his mouth to speak, people listen. Anyone who tells you different is simply pulling your leg, Greenie. The man who speaks out against money is playing you for a fool. Money is power. Jesus knew it. The founding fathers knew it. And you had better know it too. 
 
“And the best way to spend your money? The best way of all? Buying real estate. Set yourself up as a slumlord, and watch as all your worries disappear. Sure, you’ll still have to donate to the crooked politicians, and the crooked police, and it might also behoove you to sit in the front pew of the church and hand out ten dollar bills for the collection basket–doing so in such a way that everybody can see you. But once you own that property, you can set back and watch the money roll in. If you don’t feel like tending to it yourself, then for a small share of your profits you can pay a property manager to do the dirty work on your behalf. 
 
“Animals have instincts which inform their priorities. And so do people. And, in a lot of ways? Those priorities…are exactly the same. Find food. Build a nest. Sleep. 
 

“Except that when animals are unhappy, they have never learned to lie about it. That there’s the great difference. Back when people didn’t know how to talk, they didn’t lie either. But as soon as they were able to form words, you can bet that they also formed the most outrageous lies. 

 
“The ability to plausibly lie is quite valuable, as it is virtually worth money in the bank. There are, however, shades of deception. Trimming your sails just enough to ride the current is the best way I know to get one over.
 
“Let me give you an example. Say some loudmouth gink wants to start an argument about politics in some low dive or another. The only thing you have to do to deflate the blowhard is to be non-committal and be willing to sway in the general direction that the wind blows. To do that, you must say things like, ‘I’m for reform–but not TOO MUCH reform.’ And ‘I don’t vote the party–I vote the man.’ And, of course, the ever popular ‘My country–right or wrong.’ People who mouth that line of palaver aren’t really thinking straight, for what they’re really admitting to is that they ain’t any too bright. But that’s OK! You must take the advice of an old riverboat gambler of my acquaintance–when in mixed company, or among strangers, you must never show your hand. Never!
 
“And I’ll tell you one more thing I learned. It’s this: Nobody wants a genius. They say that genius is revered–but it really isn’t. Keep it to yourself–THAT’s the smart thing to do.
 
“Folks are frightened of people who think original thoughts. Especially when it comes to religion. Don’t ever let anybody pin you down when it comes to your personal beliefs–or lack thereof. Again, it’s always wisest to trim your sails to suit the prevailing breeze. Best to say that you used to be a Catholic. If you happen to meet a Catholic, then you can always turn around and say that you’re thinking of returning to the Good Old Mother Church. Of course, if you’re dealing with a Protestant, you can say that you have long ago repented of your Papish ways, and that you are no longer a snapper after mackerels.
 
“Above all: Whenever you’re in a tight spot, the best way to wiggle out of a difficulty is to play dumb. You can stupid your way out of nearly any situation, with a little practice. And that’s because people don’t want to believe that you might be smarter than they are, but they are always happy to think that they are smarter than you. So if you want to make friends wherever you go, the best way to go about it is to act a little dim. A lovable goof is always popular in any crowd. But don’t overdo it–you don’t want people to think you’re a clown. All you really have to do is to learn the party line, and parrot it faithfully and assiduously. Whatever it might be. Remember: To get along, all you have to do is lick your finger, stick it up, and chart your course. 
 
“Any way the wind blows.”
 
1*SALUTATION

WIRE

REUTERS
2*REFERENCE
AMERICA IS FIGHTING FIVE WARS
 
3*HUMOR
WHITE MEN EXCITED THINGS FINALLY GOING THEIR WAY FOR ONCE
 
4*NOVELTY
THE WURZELS
COMBINE HARVESTER
 
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST

SNOPES’ FIELD GUIDE TO FAKE NEWS SITES 

 
6* DAILY UTILITY
OVEN-CRISP CHICKEN WINGS
 
7*CARTOON

1994 SCIENTOLOGY HANDBOOK

9*RUMOR PATROL
A DIVIDED COUNTRY
 
ALSO SEE:
APE IN HEELS
 
SEE ALSO:
ABILENE BLACKFACE FLAP
 

Nota bene: “An important symbolic step was taken in 1999 when the president of Abilene Christian University “confessed the sin of racism in the school’s past segregationist policies” and asked black Christians for forgiveness during a lectureship at Southwestern Christian College, a historically black school affiliated with the churches of Christ.”

10* LAGNIAPPE
13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS
I’VE GOT LEVITATION
 
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA

An Occasional Poem

Cold air in trembling day,
And evil in the lulling showers.
Today the world is old and full of tears;
Its people made of clay; they only love today
To entertain themselves for endless hours.
Romance? A toy; a game of joy
Remembered dimly down the frozen years.

CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
875. TOM LEHRER
I WANNA GO BACK TO DIXIE
 

Well, what I like to do on formal occasions like this is to take some of the various types of songs that we all know and presumably love, and, as it were, to kick them when they’re down. I find that if you take the various popular song forms to their logical extremes, you can arrive at almost anything from the ridiculous to the obscene, or – as they say in New York – “sophisticated”. I’d like to illustrate with several hundred examples for you this evening, first of all, the southern type song about the wonders of the American south. But it’s always seemed to me that most of these songs really don’t go far enough. The following song, on the other hand, goes too far. It’s called I Want to Go Back To Dixie.

I want to go back to Dixie,
Take me back to dear ol’ Dixie,
That’s the only li’l ol’ place for li’l ol’ me.
Old times there are not forgotten,
Whuppin’ slaves and sellin’ cotton,
And waitin’ for the Robert E. Lee.
(It was never there on time.)

I’ll go back to the Swanee,
Where pellagra makes you scrawny,
And the honeysuckle clutters up the vine.1
I really am a-fixin’
To go home and start a-mixin’
Down below that Mason-Dixon line.

Oh, poll tax,
How I love ya, how I love ya,
My dear ol’ poll tax.

Won’tcha come with me to Alabammy,
Back to the arms of my dear ol’ Mammy,
Her cookin’s lousy and her hands are clammy,
But what the hell, it’s home.

Yes, for paradise the Southland is my nominee.
Jes’ give me a ham hock and a grit of hominy.

I want to go back to Dixie,
I want to be a Dixie pixie
And eat corn pone till it’s comin’ outta my ears.
I want to talk with Southern gentlemen
And put that white sheet on again,
I ain’t seen one good lynchin’ in years.

The land of the boll weevil,
Where the laws are medieval,
Is callin’ me to come and nevermore roam.
I want to go back to the Southland,
That “y’all” and “shet-ma-mouth” land,
Be it ever so decadent,
There’s no place like home.

THE INFORMATION #915 NOVEMBER 18, 2016

THE INFORMATION #915
NOVEMBER 18, 2016

 

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. –Groucho Marx

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART NINETY-SEVEN: KINGDOM COME

“I often think,” said Count Justin Victor, “that one day the party of the South will utterly bury all its scruples and, instead of basking in the sunshine and then crawling back under their rock, maybe someday they will nominate a real strong man for President. And no, I don’t mean a muscular moron with leopard-skin tights and a spit-curl; I mean a real Autocrat. A blubber-bellied bully-boy. A despot, if you will. A Simon Legree as will crack the whip and make the poor old Congress heed his every admonition. I’m surprised that it hasn’t already happened. But that’s on account of the fact that blowhards and bloviators are seldom in short supply in the vaunted halls of Congress, but hardly ever shall you come across a man of iron will. Now, you may say that The Money Power would never let it happen. And you would be a fool. The Money Power would like nothing better than to pull one over on the savages who comprise nine-tenths of this benighted population. Bleeding, rotting sods and bleating lambs waiting to be led to the slaughter. Once you get more than about twenty miles out of the big cities, most of the population consists of brutes and blutos who care only for three things: plenty of greasy fatback to eat, a tolerably warm place to sleep, and a twitchet willing to service their every depraved desire. Lord help us all if this mob ever manages to gain the upper hand. I suppose the first thing they would do is to agitate for to outlaw the Negro and the Mexican, just on general principle.

“And I’m thinking of some other charming things a genuine herald of the mobile vulgus would perpetrate. First, he would nominate the sorriest passel of owlhoots ever assembled in one place to serve on his cabinet. Next, he would pack the Supreme Court with his corrupt stooges. And then, I imagine, he would throw all the sissies and lavender lads in prison, so as to keep the byways of our country free of contaminating influences. I suppose he would also take care of all the big-city cosmopolitans he could get his hands on, and ship ’em back to the Europe they fled from to escape the knout. The same would go for all the Socialists who like to stir up so much trouble with their marches and demonstrations. Socialists always make a good rag doll to blame the country’s troubles on. That’s because most ordinary people see them as nutty. Furthermore, they’re scruffy and they look like vagabonds and they don’t like to wash. Take it from me, Yob: a Socialist is just a Hobo with a PhD.

“But that wouldn’t be the end of it, oh no. President Scarechild would have thousands of posters made, and he would plaster them everywhere. He’d have legions of spies in all the taverns and barbershops–just like it was two millennia ago, in the long-gone days of Tiberius. Picture an army of Pinkertons, who are everywhere all at once. A bunch of thieving coppers who can bust into your domicile any time of the day and night and shake you down. I’m well-endowed with ooftish; I can stand the gaff. But what about the smaller fry? They’ll all of them end up in the hoosegow. And then–they will dance a Newgate hornpipe without music. From the end of a hempen necklace.

“I can tell you this much: There will be no more wild women running around in long pants demanding equal rights or other such nonsense. No–the woman’s place is right there in her home, and the new leader would make that plain from the get-go. In fact, I’m guessing that the new President will be addicted to straight talk, and will refuse to pussyfoot around. He’ll call a spade a spade, by God. And he’ll say a lot of other things too, and not all of them will be to the people’s liking, but he won’t care. He’ll say, ‘The people be damned! Ain’t I got the power?” That’s what all politicians say, you know, in private. Even the ones who bleat about caring for the poor and the sick and the hard-to-help and like that.

“When we get a man like that in power, then all the fat-cats and plutocrats will be well chuffed. He’ll be just like a Jesus for the rich–he’ll magically give them everything they want, and more. He’ll wage war on small countries that are easy pushovers for our brand of two-fisted diplomacy. He’ll make the Spanish-American War look like a slapping party between pantywaists. All the money for poor relief will get shoveled down an endless rathole of armaments buying and there will be plenty of sword-rattling, you can rest assured of that. All the ploughshares will be beaten back into swords, by the double-barrelled jumping jiminetty!

“And the newspapers will toe the party line or be squashed. Right down to the funny papers. The afflicted will be afflicted some more; the comfortable will continue to be comforted. The newspapers will focus on optimistic messages. Recipes, puzzles, games. Literature will be reduced to the level of a mere congregation for the propagation of the faith. There will be one religion; and that one faith will be compulsory. Think you hate church-going now? Just wait until you have to go to church, or end up in jail. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the new leader overreached himself with that one. People take their religious faith a darned sight seriously. He might have to make a little wiggle room with the Bible stuff. I see a seal of state that incorporates a cross, but with none of the messy Jesus-style platitudes that make rich men so uneasy. No–it’ll be a brawny, Old Testament faith that downplays the love-thy-neighbor stuff. There will be all sorts of changes implemented. Every schoolchild will be compelled to wear the same uniform, for which the President and his cronies will provide the contract. Membership in the Boy Scouts will be compulsory, and there will be a land-office business in supplying those uniforms as well.The great prisons of our land will be filled to bursting with the elderly and insane, and there will be plenty of splendid little wars to distract the populace and occupy the idle hands of the poor and unemployed young men who currently clog the gutters of the great cities. Oh, by Jingo!

“All in all, Yob, from one point of view we would have us a paradise. And yet–it is a prospect profoundly to be despised. Say what you will about us Confidence Men–but even WE have some scruples.”

1*SALUTATION

THE WHO
“HAD ENOUGH”
https://youtu.be/yEAdhs9tKv4

2*REFERENCE
NON-HUMAN ELECTORAL CANDIDATES
 
ALSO SEE:

 Eric Barnouw archly observed that J. Fred Muggs was an honored guest at “I Am an American Day,”– “although really a native of Cameroon.”

3*HUMOR
TERRIBLE REAL ESTATE PHOTOS
4*NOVELTY
NY MAN WHO FATALLY PUNCHED STRANGER SURRENDERS
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST

SO HIPSTER IT HURTS

6* DAILY UTILITY
HOW TO PICK UP GIRLS: A GUIDE BY GIRLS FOR BOYS
ALSO SEE: WIKIHOW’S ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO PICKING UP GIRLS IN THE CLUB
7*CARTOON

FLETCHER HANKS

TURN LOOSE THE DEATH RAYS

ALSO SEE:
THE FANTOMAS WEBSITE
9*RUMOR PATROL
HAUNTING PHOTOS OF LIFE INSIDE NEW YORK’S TENEMENTS
 
ALSO SEE:
IMMIGRANT SLUMS
 
IMMIGRANT LIFE
 
SEE ALSO:
THE SUN BRIGHT HOTEL
10* LAGNIAPPE
ELECTION 2016: YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN!
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA

The Difference Between Men and Women.
Men will eat greasy take-out even if they forgot to ask for a napkin.
Women would rather starve than eat messy food with their fingers.
Men will seldom kiss a dog on the lips.
Women never bite the dog to show it who’s boss.
Men don’t care if her shoes match her handbag.
Women will react in horror to mismatched socks.
Men aren’t really interested in depilatories.
Women never eat their own toenails.
Men will often drum their hands on the steering wheel in time to the music.
Women seldom play air guitar.
Men will never admit they are afraid to do something.
Women seldom play practical jokes.
Men will never say, “I had a good cry.”
Women will never say, “Pull my finger.”
Men will spend half an hour reading on the toilet.
Women will spend half an hour talking in the rest room.
Men seldom scream at the sight of a spider.
Women seldom yell at the television.
Men will seldom hesitate to describe their bowel movements.
Women will seldom blow their nose into their shorts.
Men will interrupt what you were saying.
Women will help you finish a sentence.
Men will seldom initiate an air kiss.
Women will seldom exert crushing pressure in a handshake.
Men love the sound of their own voice.
Women are oblivious to the sound of their own voice.
Men will always lie.
Women will seldom tell the whole truth.

CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
874.  IS “IMAGINE” THE WORST SONG OF ALL TIME?

THE INFORMATION #914 NOVEMBER 11, 2016

THE INFORMATION #914
NOVEMBER 11, 2016

Thrust ivrybody—but cut th’ ca-ards. –Finley Peter Dunne

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART NINETY-SIX: KINGDOM COME

“Yobbo, it does not behoove a la-ad of your tender years to talk of political matters better suited to be discussed among the sober councils of serious grown men.”

Count Victor Justin was in a jocular and an avuncular mood, and was, I think, mildly teasing me.

“But just let me ask you this–what do you think of our two great parties?”

“The Demmycrats is full of rats,” I blurted, reflexively, having heard this taunt chanted among my schoolmates many a time. “I’m a Republican, and proud of it.”

“Indeed,” said the Count, who I suspect was a Democrat his own self. “There’s a world of difference between the adherents of one party and another, though it usually takes a wiser head, and an American born, to suss it out. The difference is basically this: since time immemorial, the Democrats have been the party of the slavemasters. And the Republican Party, during its comparatively brief life-span, during which it has been ascendant more often than not, is the party of the slave-makers. A difference without a distinction, you say? Very well. There’s a certain Providence, it is said, which looks out for fools, drunkards, and the United States. And it is very true that we have yet to elect as president a totally worthless drunken fool, or a completely devious crook, or both. That may change. Our luck is bound to run out, and I suspect it will be sooner rather than later. I mean, not to indulge in loose talk, but along with our Stovepipe Daddy, who everyone up North reveres and everyone down South secretly despises, we’ve had a swish, a sot, a sot, a fatbelly, and a cowboy, along with the usual colorful parade of adulterers and spoilsmen.”

 “But, God be praised, because, fortuitously,  the Presidency hardly even matters. The system is so constructed that the whip hand is held by the Congress, and the Courts. Of course, the Congress is perfectly worthless, and always has been and perhaps always will be. It’s jam-packed full of crooked bloviators who will borrow your gloves so they can steal a hot stove–and then never return the gloves. Among members of Congress, an honest man is one who, once he is bought, will stay bought. Of course, being a United States Congressman implies a certain gravitas, which means that many of the deals get done behind the closed doors of fancy men’s clubs, where women and non-members ain’t allowed. Like Mr. Dooley says, ‘Politics ain’t bean-bag.’

“Don’t never listen to no Yellof as says, ‘T’ain’t the money; it’s the principle of the thing.’ Trust me, Yob: It’s the fucking money, sho nuff, and yes indeedy-do. And that’s all that politics is, the world over–it’s men fighting over who controls the ooftish. Don’t let no one tell you otherwise. It’s the law of the jungle. Might makes more might, and heaven favors the largest battalions. In spite of anything Voltaire may have had to say about it.  Wiseacre. Where does he get off? ‘Once a philosopher, twice–a pervert.’ I do agree with that.

“In the end, it all comes down to how determined you are to make your pile; to lie for a living; to live for lying; to stab your friends–what friends?–in the back; to impersonate a swell by day and play the cad when out comes the Hooty Owl. When you’re talking about that level of power, then you lose all perspective. The so-called electorate –what a grim farce; anyone can buy an office if they have the oofish to carry off the grift–the electorate, people you supposedly represent, begin to look like cattle. You give ’em your brand and you expect ’em to say ‘Moo’. Listen, little Yob: I would rather kiss a Goon than have anything to do with any of those grafters and racketeers.

 “Of course, a man in my situation can’t completely avoid party politics. Let me say this: The art is politics is simple, when you come right down to it. It is the art of looking dignified when you are caught stealing the wonderful tin box with all the payroll money. If you’re really good at playing the pompous ass, you can get away with nearly anything. People are half-blind, is what I am trying to say. They see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. And they won’t believe their own eyes even when the truth is staring them right in the face.

“There’s plenty of rapscality going on in Washington D.C., which is the land where all the lushes congregate. Don’t you know that  Washington is where all the best Whiskey goes? Dasright. Straight from the still and direct to the District of Columbia. If I was a serious boozehound, I would head down there on the first thing smoking. Plenty of drunken rascals, and Pimps, and Johns. But if you want to see human nature at its worst, then the State Legislature is where you have to be. That’s the place where the small fry are even more jealous of their prerogatives–because the stakes are so much lower. I don’t even want to tell you what goes on in the State House, because you’re still too green to take it all in. But I will say this much–some of the best customers at that wee cathouse you bide in are legislators and the lawyers and other rascals as do their bidding.

“There’s two parties in this country, sure enough, but they’re not the two parties you think they are. There’s the party of the North, and the Party of the South. Slavemasters and Slavemakers. Down South, at least, if you work then you’ll never starve. Someone down there will always feed you, at the very least. Even if you’re an old Darkey without a tooth in your head. You mought have to walk around in rags, with no shoes on your feet, but for most of the year the weather is tolerable, and when it rains you kin sleep in a hollow log. But it’s not like that up North. No, Sir–down South, everyone is your friend, as long as you know your place. Up North, no one is your friend. If you’re a stranger, they treat you lower than any dog. If you want to get fat you had best find you a hidey-hole for those cold winter nights. because, the fact is, you can work harder than any slave; you can work 14 hours a day, every day–and you can still freeze, or starve. Unless you’re willing to throw yourself on the mercy of the goo-goos and prohibitionists–and I’ve known many a man to say that in preference to doing that, they druther be dead and buried in their grave.”

1*SALUTATION
FRIEND AND LOVER
REACH OUT IN THE DARKNESS
2*REFERENCE
Scientifically, What’s the Best Way to Die (Without Killing Yourself)?
9*RUMOR PATROL
The 19 Absolute Craziest Conspiracy Theories About America’s Founding Fathers
http://offbeat.topix.com/slideshow/17834/

10* LAGNIAPPE
SEX PISTOLS
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN (SYMPHONY)

https://youtu.be/9dL04FiF4iM

 
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
EVANGELICAL CARTOONIST JACK CHICK WAS THE DR. SEUSS OF ‘HATE LIT’
 
ALSO SEE:

R.I.P. Jack Chick, comics scaremonger
http://www.avclub.com/article/rip-jack-chick-comics-scaremonger-244738

Died: Jack Chick, Cartoonist Whose Controversial Tracts Became Cult Hits
 

Jack Chick Was Right: How ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Made Me an Occultist

 
JACK CHICK WAS THE LENI RIEFENSTAHL OF AMERICAN CARTOONING
 
RIP JACK CHICK, FATHER OF THE SATANIC PANIC
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.

MODERN WISDOM NUMBER 217 NOVEMBER 2016

MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE

NUMBER 217

NOVEMBER 2016

Copyright 2016 Francis DiMenno
dimenno@gmail.com
http://www.dimenno.wordpress.com

1. SPURIOUS PROVERBS

The fear of death is to be dreaded as the fountain
overflows.

Love, and a cough, soon dies.

Fear is the parent of happiness.

Beware the tyranny of will power.

A poem should be more fun than a drinking spree in New
York City.

100,000 men and 100,000 dollars are never wrong.

The devil is a hero.

Free will is neither will nor free.

Hunger is better than a laugh.

The world is a playground where madmen grow dizzy.

Self control is the opiate of the bourgeoisie.

Spelling equals morality.

The man who prays the loudest is the most pious.

In their secret heart of hearts, most dentists know
that flossing is a waste of your precious precious
time.

Look to your aunt, thou sluggard.

Jesus was actually a werewolf.

Chess would be more fun if all the pawns were queens.

What the world really needs is more folk singers.

It takes a village to build a prison.

Discussing the antics of self-indulgent jet-setters
makes life worth living.

Fat people have a good deal to be jolly about.

Immigrants are mostly imbeciles.

Radioactivity is all in your mind.

Without air conditioning and taco sauce, life would be
unendurable.

Tradition is what gets in the way.

We will all have free will if only we submit ourselves
to God’s word.

Rectify the fucking language.

2. IRISH-ITALIAN RESTAURANTS
Icepick O’Houlihan’s
Tater Fanguul
Guappo McBogtrotter’s
Killer O’Drunkies
Stiletto Malone’s

3. QUINCY
Jack Klugman’s Oscar Madison reincarnated as a ranting
nitwit coroner, whose every other breath was used to
shout, “I’m going to get to the bottom of this if it’s
the very last thing I do!”

Actually, Jack Klugman was cool.

It’s just that this truly vile 70s show was the
template for every
gimmicky, loud, pointless, self-righteous, loud,
brassy, lousy, gratuitously spooky,
mostly brain-dead medical examiner and forensic
pathologist show ever devised
by some of the most heartless hacks to ever crank out
brainwash fodder
on behalf of
the suits upstairs
with fuck-you money
who like to violently roger self-loathing white trash
whores
with beat-me pouts
and all for the indubitable delectation of
the slack-jawed
fuck-me masses
sitting at home
stuffing their hog maws with General Cho’s chicken
and coconut butter-slathered popcorn
and all-butterfat-and-carageenan cheap-ass store-brand
ice-cream
and washing it all down with generic diet “cola”
that tastes like billygoat piss in tin cans.

But Oscar was cool.

4. THE SUBURBAN MIND

I am so happy, especially now that I can live through
the accomplishments of my children.

Pondering the amusing televised antics of sports
figures and Hollywood celebrities occupies a
significant portion of my time.

I love finding an inexpensive restaurant in
Collegetown so I can have PhD-level peons wait on me
hand and foot. Who’s the smartie NOW??

I feel vaguely threatened by anything that I’m not
likely to see on television.

I hate to admit it, but when repairmen come to my
home, I hide, because I’m afraid of those burly men.

Pictures o’ cute l’il pups and kitties gives me a warm
‘n’ huggy feeling inside.

It’s really not funny, you know, to make sport of the
Negroes.

Gee, work sure does stink, but at least my fellow
employees are a friendly bunch. All except for this
one jerk.

Did I tell you about the cute little poopie that my
puppy left in the rose bed?

Polluters. Tsk.

Oh! Those crazy big-city drivers!

5. “BEM” MAKES THE SCENE

The inestimable  boulevardier, flaneur, and all around
agent provocateur known as BEM is largely forgotten
now, but in his heyday he ws as potent a change agent
as Abbie Hoffman, Benjamin Spock and Joe Namath put
together.

Please do not attribute my love for the BEM saga as
mere random genre spoofery. If any aspect of the 60s
deserves to be preserved in its unalloyed full-color
glory (and remember that, for the most part, this
insidious crypto-PSA-cum-Mind-Kontrol-Ultra-Man

pastiche was originally presented in Noirish-graytones
and utilitarian B&W) it is BEM. (Recall too that in SF
circles, BEM also stood for “Bug-Eyed Monster”—thus,
BEM is also a sci-fi to hi-fi melding that anticipated
retro-revivalist kitsch such as Mike Allred’s RED
ROCKET 7 (1997) by a good 30 years!).DC comics commits an act of semiotic ju jitsu in the
very first panel of this ageless saga. Who are the
three individuals hankering to make “a hit” at “this
party” (which is a curious blend of 50s blah and
high-fashion sixties voom—for instance, note the
wasp-waisted girl in the ponytail silhouetted in the
background)?  None other than a Dilton Doiley
simulacra (Brains), an Archie/Jughead amalgam
(Emotions), and a Big Moose cut-out (Muscles).We immediately note the curiously effete and feminine
expression on the big-nosed Brains–rather like a
puerile George Wills if the truth be known, with his
castrato’s bowtie, suffering eyes, and archaic and
curiously anhedonic Elvis-era bouffant.We also note the enormous jug-handled ears of
Emotions, his disheveled collar, his dreamy and
somewhat crazed expression, and his Beatlesesque
mop-top, a bird’s nest of colored-outside-the-lines
hirsuteness. He bears an uncanny resemblance to
Boston-area impresario Billy Ruane.

The expression on the grimly clenched and anal Muscles
is perhaps most terrifying of all—a vulgarian in a
gray turtleneck, eyes as soulless as a raven’s, with
suspiciously dark black brows surmounted by a crewcut
head of Nordic blonde master-race hair as trimly
manicured as the patch of lawn in the interior
courtyard of the Pentagon.

Of the three, Muscles is the one who is most likely
headed for a bad end—while Brains seems destined for a
drab life of bachelorhood, and Emotions will likely
become a shock-therapy candidate, drug-addict, and
homeless misfit minstrel idiot boy spouting bad mad
verse on the streets of some odious Podunk State
College town, it is the mindless, broken-nosed golem
Muscles who will be deemed physically fit (and dumb)
enough to fight in Vietnam, where he will doubtless
either bleed his life and sanity away in a stinking
Tiger Cage or incautiously step on a shit-covered
punji stick and have his football-kickin’ gangrenous
foot amputated at the knee. There goes that swell job
at his father’s Cadillac Dealership (“Jesus, Son, you
know I don’t mind—but your crutches make the customers
puke!”).

In the shorthand of 1966-era DC comics, what
subsequent panels (2-4) tell us about 60s courtship
rituals is quickly summarized by the position of the
woman’s mouth. Brains is obviously chaste and
old-fashioned and favors a long, drawn-out engagement.
He is evidently keen on kissing, but no tongues,
please. It is equally plain that the impulsive
Emotions likes to sweep-her-off-her-feet and elope,
then check into a cheap hotel as newlyweds and assault
her Doggie-style.  However, date-rapist Muscles is an
old-fashioned hitter who clearly fancies a bit of the
old in and out—he’s not above a bit of
fascistic-sadistic rough stuff—he likes “to love like
the lumberjacks love.” (What has happened to the
nameless girl’s eye? Has Muscles already given her a
shiner?)

Plainly, their archaic sexual strategies are all wrong
for the nameless hoyden whom the three of them are
implausibly stalking simultaneously. It is here that
the Mind Kontrol aspect of this meticulously rendered
fable kicks in. In Panel Six, some kind of
ego-effacing mind-battle occurs between these three
characters, and they combine into one monster-mind—the
emotion-jacketed, Muscle-headed, insufferably
egotistic and brainy BEM—a pre-programmed pimp
simulacrum for the emerging Master Race, who will
effortlessly sweep aside the putative future attempts
of “groovy” hippies like so much chaff. What callow
doxy wouldn’t prefer this soulless pretty-boy Freud
with his fascistic black arm band (and hey, what the
fuck is up with THAT?)? After all, isn’t he “so smart,
so understanding, so strong”? Note from the blindingly
smug expression on his face that BEM just knows that
he has utterly hypnotized this brown-haired thrush
with the grateful, toothless mouth, and that a trip to
heaven via the fellatio express is in the offing (as
foreshadowed by the silhouette of the clarinet-playing
musician in the background).

Quite aside from the tiresome faux-Freudian banalities
of the Id-Ego-Superego triptych, ultimately, what this
powerfully archetypal fable of BEM is telling us is
that all men are different but all women are alike;
this is, in fact, the very same Mechanical Bride motif
so successfully explicated by Gershon Legman (in his
1947 monograph “Love and Death”), and, later, Marshall
McLuhan, and both, incidentally, by way of Walter
Benjamin and Germany’s Frankfurt School– though,
given DC Comics’ then-popularity among unreconstructed
rednecks and hillbillies, we might better refer to
this implicit critique-cum-manifesto as perhaps
belonging more to the Frankfort School of Kentucky.

Looking at this fascinating testament nearly 50 years
after the fact still begs the question: Is this a
study in how to capture and keep the Hausfrau of your
sick-and-twisted fantasies, or is it (as I suspect)
merely the wet-dream of an eternally frustrated sexual
predator?

http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/260/

 

6. JUMPING THE SHARK

Time was when people say that such and such a
phenomenon was passé or had “peaked” or was “[way]
past its prime” or was “increasingly irrelevant”.

Perhaps this was during that olden era when junk
culture hadn’t yet thoroughly permeated ever cell of
our polity right down to the molecular level.

Now they say it has ‘jumped the shark’.

I blame Mondale. His 1984 crack about Gary
Hart–“Where’s the beef?”–was the first time the
mindless parroting of an ad slogan was treated by the
media solons as political wit of the highest order.

A far cry from John Randolph’s retort to one of his
detractors, who said that it was fitting and just that
a monster such as himself should be impotent and
therefore could not have children.

“You pride yourself, Sir, on a faculty in which your
slave is your equal, and your ass is your superior.”

Most of the things that people use that expression for
were never really very good to begin with. I mean,
really–‘Happy Days’?

We are free to ignore such trash.

Epictetus said it best:

He is free who lives as he wishes to live; who is
neither subject to compulsion nor to hindrance, nor to
force; whose movements to action are not impeded,
whose desires attain their purpose, and who does not
fall into that which he would avoid. Who, then,
chooses to live in error? No man. Who chooses to live
deceived, liable to mistake, unjust, unrestrained,
discontented, mean? No man. Not one then of the bad
lives as he wishes; nor is he, then, free. And who
chooses to live in sorrow, fear, envy, pity, desiring
and failing in his desires, attempting to avoid
something and falling into it? Not one. Do we then
find any of the bad free from sorrow, free from fear,
who does not fall into that which he would avoid, and
does not obtain that which he wishes? Not one; nor
then do we find any bad man free.

http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/discourses.4.four.html

Perhaps I sound elitist.

But such elitism is a luxury.

There was only a brief period in history in which what
we call literature was appreciated by large numbers of
people.

That would have been between about 1820 and (roughly)
1950.

The movies began to trivialize the culture by the
1920s and television finished it off in the 50s.

What amazes me, is the number of people who are
willing to argue about popular culture so
passionately. It puts me in mind of magpies scapping
over bits of brightly colored glass and old cigar
butts.

I spent years researching the origins of popular
culture for my history thesis, and I hardly think that
stating a bald fact about the peak years of
near-universal literacy among English-speaking peoples
(documented in, among other sources, ‘The Popular
Book’) makes me an elitist.

I guess what I’m trying to say was that at one time
the reading of books was an integral part of the
dialogue surrounding popular culture, but that for
about the past fifty years, with very rare exceptions,
that is no longer the case.

My father’s father came over in about 1921, and for
many years spoke of how he “worked on Mussolini’s
railroad.” I was the first person on either side of my
family to even so much as attend college.

Finally, I don’t think that the refusal to wallow in
regurgitated pap is necessarily a sign of
snobbery–though I am well aware that in an ostensibly
democratic society it may be considered the very
height of elitism to point out just how many of the
icons cherished by the credulous mob are mere idols of
brass, not gold.

Puking on your date.
Crucifying Christ.
Exterminating the Kulaks?

Right. Jumped the shark.

Admiring your date’s purse?
Purchasing a book on Gnosticism?
Eating cabbage soup?

Now you’re in the groove!

 

7. LIFE IN THE 2000’S

The next time you are cleaning nuclear waste from your
genitalia and grousing about how your testicles have
shriveled, think about how things used to be some 500
years ago. Here are some facts about the 2000s:

Most people got “married”, meaning a man and a woman
were supposed to live together for the rest of their
long and miserable lives. They did so year-round
because the fools fancied they were “free to make
their own decisions.” Ha! Pitiful animals!!

Decontaminant baths were primitive, and usually
consisted of a great deal of bleach and some
scrubbing. Pitiful, and nearly useless in removing
radioactive wastes and preventing their accumulation
in the thyroid gland.

These baths essentially consisted of a glorified
shower. Workers were actually trusted to bathe
themselves, thus ensuring that many would skip one or
more crucial steps and spread their radioactive
contamination everywhere.

Primitive stone houses were held together with mortar,
made from common dirt, and, unbelievably, some houses
were actually made of wood–precious wood! Unlike our
modular houses made of plastic byproducts, these
primitive cave-like hovels were often hot in the
summer and cold and draughty in the winter, instead of
being suffused with a warm green glow year-round.

There was nothing to stop insects from entering the
dwellings of these savages. Even mice, rats, raccoons,
birds, bats, and other unspeakable pests were a
not-uncommon sight.

Many floors were actually made of wood. Precious wood!

(I swear that all of this is true.)

In those olden times, they actually cooked raw meat
and vegetables, sometimes with the dirt still clinging
to them. You may find it hard to believe that these
primitive animals actually devoured with relish such
“grub” as loathesome root vegetables and reeking meat
and fish, but it’s a fact. Many people had at least
heard of powdered nutrients, but they were regarded as
a novelty; “something the astronauts would eat.”

Sometimes they would even eat pork. Filthy pork!

Those with money would indulge in a ritual called
“eating out”, where filthy strangers would actually
physically handle food cooked in kitchens of dubious
hygiene. People known as “health inspectors” were
forced to regularly close down such places due to
health violations so egregious that even these
primitives could not tolerate them.

People regularly ate staple, water-intensive crops
such as wheat and corn, and even rice. Valuable rice!

They would often intoxicate themselves to
near-insensibility with crude, dangerous stupeficants,
which would, of course, only serve to radically weaken
their immune systems, which made them especially
susceptible to cancers, viruses, radiation poisoning,
etc.

Back then, the United States was still considered
vast, and much of it was even thought of as
“underdeveloped.” So it was that the authorities
looked, for the  most part, with a lenient eye towards
swarms of alien interlopers who swarmed in from the
far shores of the teeming planet, bringing with them
incurable diseases and exotic customs even more
unspeakably barbaric and primitive than those of the
“native born” Americans. These people were actually
provided with food, jobs, and health care, and in some
instances were even provided with a free education.
All this money spent on harboring fugitives and
interlopers– while the radiation spread and nothing
was done about it!

Sure, today most of us live underground in vast
subterranean cities, and will pass or entire short
existences from hatching to disintegration without
knowing the feeling of sunshine on our cranial
extrusions. Nevertheless, to live in that savage era
when blood ran dripping red down the mouths and chins
of these unspeakably hairy and smelly men and women is
a fate no right-thinking humanoid would wish upon his
worst podmates.

 

8. INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
If we ever expect long-lasting change, we need a
viable third party.An independent candidate elected or put in place
without party support would be a disaster.Think Tyler. Andrew Johnson. Carter.It’s a sad fact of American politics that the
President can accomplish relatively little without the
backing from some coalition of party stalwarts and
independence-minded opposition party members.

We should look to our past to see how lasting
political changes are made in our polity.

Lincoln and the Republican Party arose out of the
failed Whig party.

Between FDR and LBJ, the modern Democratic Party
evolved from a party that catered to racists to a
party that built its coalition out of a combination of
liberals and minorities.

In both cases, a literal or figurative “new” party had
to arise out of the failed remnants of an old, failed
party.

However, I believe that the Democrats have so
thoroughly compromised themselves in order to remain
viable that if any party is going to “recast” itself,
it will be the Republicans.

And I don’t see that happening for a long, long time.

Therefore, a new party will need to arise that will
appeal to the broadest possible fraction of the
electorate.

Anything less will cast this putative third party into
the role of a ‘spoiler’ in the electoral arena.

The last viable third parties we had were in the teens
and twenties. In 1912, TR’s Progressives came in
second with about 27% of the vote.

In 1924, La Follette racked up an impressive total in
terms of electoral votes and popular vote.

But even these comparatively successful politicians
were merely spoilers in the two-party race.

Look to Thurmond and Wallace’s 1948 run. Truman pulled
it out in spite of two spoilers in the race, but if
Dewey hadn’t been such a stiff and if Truman’s machine
hadn’t been able to mobilize urban blacks, Truman
would have lost.

Look to Wallace’s run in 1968. He very nearly cost
Nixon the election.

As for Nader and Buchanan in 2000–well, that’s been
discussed to death. The fact is, historians will
probably agree that the Florida election results were
suspect, and Gore got some very bad advice regarding
how to challenge the results.

So. What we need, I think, is a viable third party
structure that will place third party candidates in
Congress. That way, when a President from that party
runs, he can’t be cast as a “mere” spoiler. And, when
that President is elected, he or she will have a party
infrastructure in place that will facilitate
legislative accomplishments and well as the
all-too-crucial fundraising.

9. THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

At the risk of sounding like a poor man’s Charles
Peters,  I suspect that we don’t need a President. We need a
Pope. Someone of  irreproachable moral stature who could rule by fiat
and make this country swallow some bitter medicine.

Hmm, let’s see….

He or she would thereby be able to:

Eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction.

Cut radically back on Pentagon spending and the space
program.

Restore 1960-era tax rates on the wealthy.

And use those savings to:

Forgive third world debt.

Nationalize health care.

Develop clean wind, geothermal, and solar energy
alternatives.

Develop alternatives to the internal combustion
engine.

Work on the problem of factory emissions.

Pass an Agriculture bill.

Build up the infrastructure with a WPA-like program
that would employ the underclass (‘steada using them
for cannon fodder).

Build the price of auto insurance into the price of
gasolene, so that the more you drive, the more you
pay.

Perhaps this Godlike leader could also break the power
of the Teacher’s unions and get some more classroom
instructors into those schools where they are most
needed.

And then break through the tangled morass of special
interest groups and announce that thenceforth those
people who are working to make this country healthy
will be favored, and all others will be forced to wait
their turn at the end of the line. So we bump
environmentalist groups to the front and the NRA all
the way to the back of that line.

But who am I kidding? The American people have
historically always rejected statism except for a
brief period between 1933 and roughly 1938, during a
national emergency so severe that even farmers were
dumping their milk into the streams rather than sell
it for less than what it had cost them to make.

I suspect that most Americans would rather wallow in
their own shit than be compelled in any way to clean
up their act.

Maybe if we could implement these reforms one state at
a time there would be a chance, but there would always
be some holdouts, and, yes, I do mean the Old
Confederacy.

Note to people who are still nostalgic about Ross
Perot:

DO YOU NOT RECALL THAT THE MAN DROPPED OUT OF THE ’92
PRESIDENTIAL RACE BECAUSE HE CLAIMED THAT MEN IN BLACK
HELICOPTERS WERE TRYING TO DISRUPT HIS DAUGHTER’S
WEDDING?

That he selected Admiral Stockdale (“Who am I? What am
I doing here?”) as his running mate?

Thet he entered the race largely due to a 20-year old
grudge against George H.W. Bush?

That he claimed he dropped out of the Naval Academy
due to all the “excessive cussing” he was being
exposed to?

That while at IBM, all his employees had to wear blue
shirts? (OK, that actually makes some kind of sewnse
next to the first four items).

Seriously–the man did not play well with others. His
political judgment was highly questionable. His
presidency would most likely have been an unmitigated
disaster. He would have had no standing among
Democrats or Republicans, no political base, and would
likely have gone off like a flash the second he was
criticized in the press. He would have been more
ineffectual than Carter and more paranoid than Nixon.

Speaking of whom, it was good ole Pat Buchanan who
wrote speeches for Nixie and his running mate, Agnew.
When Spiro referred to the Press as “an impudent corps
of effete intellectual snobs” he was using Buchanan’s
rhetoric. Like “cosmopolitan,” I suspect this was code
for “Jews.” Ohh, Nixon and Agnew were pipperoos, all
right. You might not remember how Agnew had the
charming habit of referring to folks as “Polacks” and
“fat Japs.”

Yes, say what you will about the glorious
accomplishments of those colorful political figures of
the early 1970s, folks like Perot and Buchanan were
legendary for their crudity and poor political
instincts.

Ohh, but here’s the piece de resistance. Earl Butz,
Sec’y of Ag under Nixon and Ford, told a joke on a
plane to some of his confreres.

“What are the three things a black man wants most?
Loose shoes, tight pussy, and a warm place to shit.”

It was none other than John Dean who ratted Butz out
to the Press and Butz was forced to resign!

Funny though–nobody seems to be very upset over the
salty joke that John McCain told about Chelsea
Clinton….

Q: Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
A: Because she’s the daughter of Hillary Clinton and
Janet Reno.